Friday, December 31, 2010

Obama in '08: Oregonians, who approved Physician-assisted suicide, 'did a service for the country'

Since it has recently been revealed that the President has stealthily resurrected the hideous 'death panels', as part of his new medicare regulations, I've decided to post the following tidbit:

In March of 2008, while campaigning in the state of Oregon, then-Presidential candidate was asked by a local newspaper about his views on physician-assisted suicide; Oregon voters narrowly approved a measure to legalize the ghastly procedure.

Obama, the master politician, who is is always heedful to express his views ambiguously, in order to cloak both his true feeling and his extreme left-wing agenda, replied:

"I am in favor of palliative medicine in circumstances where someone is terminally ill... I'm mindful of the legitimate interests of states to prevent a slide from palliative treatments into euthanasia. On the other hand, I think that the people of Oregon did a service for the country in recognizing that as the population gets older we've got to think about issues of end-of-life care."

As I've noted several times in the past:

In an interview with the New York Times in April of 2009, President Obama expressed concern over the huge costs of end-of-life care, saying:

"I actually think that the tougher issue around medical care... is what you do around things like end-of-life care... I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here!"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Michael Vick more important to Obama than family of slain soldier

The parents of Sgt. Sean Collins - who was killed in Afghanistan earlier this month - say they're extremely grateful for the letters of condolences they've received from friends and strangers alike, the News Tribune reported on Thursday.

“As a father of someone killed, it is overwhelming,” said Sean's father, retired Lt. Col. Patrick Collins.

Nevertheless, Sean's parents say they feel slighted by the response, and lack of response, of two U.S. politicians: Sen. Maria Cantwell [D-Wash.] and President Barack Obama.

Sen. Cantwell did indeed send a letter of condolence to the Collins family, but strangely, the final paragraph of the letter reads:

"May your memories of Bryn and the knowledge that he made a positive impact on the lives of so many serve as a source of comfort to you during this time of sorrow."

The Sergeant's name was Sean, not Bryn.

Sen. Cantwell's office, it appears, sent the parents a form letter, and much to the family's chagrin, neither the senator, nor the senator's staff, had even taken the time to proofread the letter.

Sean's mother, Linda Collins, lamented: "I’m sure if [Sen. Cantwell's] son had died, she would’ve at least wanted his name spelled correctly."

The lack of response from President Obama, however, only added insult to the injury.

Mr. Collins recently called the White House and asked if President Obama could call his ex-wife, Linda, to talk about their son:
Collins was told [by the White House] that Obama did not regularly make phone calls to the families of fallen soldiers.

Later, Patrick Collins read a story about Obama’s phone call to Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie. Obama reportedly praised Lurie for giving quarterback Michael Vick a second chance to play football after serving time in prison for running a dog fighting ring.

“That burns,” Patrick Collins said Thursday.

“Any soldier that gets killed in action, you’d think the president would be calling someone in the family. There’s no politics in it. His predecessor did it.”
Apparently, the vacationing President is too busy to fulfill the request of a fallen soldier's grieving father.

Obama's plate is filled to capacity - filled with ice shaves and other Hawaiian goodies - and he simply doesn't have time to thank Mr. and Mrs. Collins for their son's sacrifice. But he did find time to call the owner of the Philadelphia Eagle's to thank him for, what can only be described as, the ultimate sacrifice: offering Michael Vick a second chance to play football.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the President also found time to call Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah [who's recooperating from back surgery in a New York hospital] to wish him well.

It is doubtful, however, whether King Abdullah even noticed that the President was actually bowing before him over the telephone....

Obama & Chavez, Striking Similarities

Here's a few excerpts from a Yahoo News article entitled, "Hugo Chavez pushes through law to rule by decree". In between paragraphs I interject and insert related developments pertaining to President Obama:
At Christmas, most Venezuelans put politics aside to occupy themselves with whiskey-laden celebrations, heart-stopping firecrackers and visits to far-flung relatives. So few were surprised when President Hugo Chávez chose that annual party time to push through a law that allows him to rule by decree for 18 months, effectively superseding the new, less friendly National Assembly poised to take office on Jan. 5. Most Venezuelans were just too busy enjoying themselves to object — for the moment.
U.S. President Barack Obama has used a controversial strategy to appoint the first U.S. ambassador to Syria in nearly six years... Under the constitution, the Senate must vote to approve such decisions. But since the legislative body is in recess until January, Mr. Obama is able to [bypass the senate] and push through his nominees without a vote... Mr. Obama first nominated Ford [as ambassador to Syria] in February, but the Senate refused to confirm him... The U.S. state department designates Syria a “state sponsor of terrorism.”
Mr. Chavez's supporters have also rushed through a stack of last-minute laws that regulate the Internet... and make it easier for the government to intervene in banks...
President Obama on Tuesday used the FCC to impose government controls over the Internet... Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has urged the President to leave the Internet alone, as he has already nationalized healthcare, banks and student loans.
Mr. Chavez's supporters have also rushed through a stack of last-minute laws...
The White House closed out last week with a last minute push to rush its agenda through the short Lame Duck session of Congress...
It's not the first time Chávez has taken steps to challenge those who oppose him... Critics have also accused his government of using politically charged corruption probes to disable his opponents and laws to limit the power of opposition governors.

"It's the way he's acted in the past when he's suffered a setback," says Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based think tank Inter-American Dialogue. "Chávez obviously doesn't like to be challenged politically."
In his first race for office, seeking a state Senate seat on Chicago's gritty South Side in 1996, Obama effectively used election rules to eliminate his Democratic competition.

As a community organizer, he had helped register thousands of voters. But when it came time to run for office, he employed Chicago rules to invalidate the voting petition signatures of three of his challengers.

The move denied each of them, including incumbent Alice Palmer, a longtime Chicago activist, a place on the ballot. It cleared the way for Obama to run unopposed on the Democratic ticket in a heavily Democrat district.

"That was Chicago politics," said John Kass, a veteran Chicago Tribune columnist. "Knock out your opposition, challenge their petitions, destroy your enemy, right? It is how Barack Obama destroyed his enemies back in 1996... He made sure voters had just one choice."
Mr. Chavez scoffed at critics who allege he will use his decree powers to slide the country toward dictatorship, saying, "There will be democracy, democracy and more democracy."
At a BBQ stop this afternoon, Obama received an unwelcome greeting from one woman - Diane Fanning - who yelled "socialist, socialist, socialist – get out of here!"

Obama responded: "I know some people have been hearing rumors about it, but as far as I can tell that's just not something that's happening. We would never give up our sovereignty in that way."
"We would never give up our sovereignty in that way" ?

"There will be democracy, democracy and more democracy" ?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Deputy AG, James Cole, a former defense attorney for Saudi terrorism financier, likens terrorists attacks to Domestic Crimes of Murder, Rape

President Obama took advantage of the senate's holiday recess to appoint several new members into his administration, including the appointment of James Cole as Deputy U.S. Attorney General.

Recess appointments enables the President to bypass the normal Senate confirmation process.

Why was it necessary for the President [to use the senate recess] to sneak in Mr. Cole as Deputy AG ?

The answer, according to the Washington Post, is that "Cole's nomination had stalled in the Senate because of Republican concerns about his comments about terrorism and his work as an independent contractor for the insurance giant AIG."

However, while Mr. Cole's comments about terrorism are indeed troubling, his legal work on behalf of Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family, who'd been involved in financing terrorists [aka Al Qaeda], is even more troubling.

Prince Naif ran the Al Haramain Foundation, a Saudi charity designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a facilitator of terrorism, which diverted charitable funds to Al Qaeda both before and after Sept.11, 2001. Mr. Cole, as defense attorney at the law firm of Bryan Cave, represented Prince Naif. Eric Holder had already stacked the Justice Dept. with several former Defense Attorney's who previously worked on behalf of suspected terrorists [Gitmo detainees]. Mr. Cole has now been added to the list.

Here's what I wrote in June shortly after the President nominated Mr. Cole as Deputy AG:
It should come as no big surprise that President Obama nominated James Cole to be Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Cole, after all, shares the President's view that terrorists should be treated as ordinary [civilian] criminals rather than enemy combatants.

It should also be noted that Mr. Cole, as defense attorney at the law firm of Bryan Cave, represented Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family, who'd been involved in financing terrorists [aka Al Qaeda].

Oh, I forget to mention that Mr. Cole had been hired by the DOJ and SEC to work as an independent consultant to monitor business [investment] practices at now-bailed-out AIG. On the same day that the President nominated Mr. Cole to be Deputy AG, the Department of Justice closed its two-year investigation of several AIG executives and exonerated them of all criminal wrongdoing. More on that at the end of this post.

From CNS News:
Despite a resolution by Congress authorizing war against those responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Obama’s nominee to be the number two official at the Justice Department, James Cole, wrote an op-ed in 2002 likening the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to the domestic crimes of murder, rape and child abuse, while arguing that the attackers ought to be treated like domestic criminals.

“But the attorney general is not a member of the military fighting a war--he is a prosecutor fighting crime,” Cole wrote in a Sept. 9, 2002 article in Legal Times that critiqued the way then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft was handling the 9/11 case.

“For all the rhetoric about war, the Sept. 11 attacks were criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population, much like the terrorist acts of Timothy McVeigh in blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City...,” said Cole. “The criminals responsible for these horrible acts were successfully tried and convicted under our criminal justice system, without the need for special procedures that altered traditional due process rights.

“Our country has faced many forms of devastating crime, including the scourge of the drug trade, the reign of organized crime, and countless acts of rape, child abuse, and murder. The acts of Sept. 11 were horrible, but so are these other things,” Cole wrote in his op-ed...
Read the rest.

James Cole is a personal friend of Attorney General Eric Holder and is currently a defense attorney at Bryan Cave. Mr. Cole served as a former federal prosecutor at the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Division during the Clinton administration while Holder was serving as Deputy Attorney General.

From The Hill:
“Jim is going to be a great deputy attorney general,” Holder said during a news conference to discuss a recent drug bust. “I’ve known him for a good number of years; we worked together a long time ago in [Justice’s] Public Integrity Section. To have him on board in aconfirmed position, in confirmed status, is extremely important to the running of the Justice Department.”

Republicans likely will grill Cole about his representation of Saudi Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud after insurance carriers and Sept. 11 survivors tried to sue him and others after allegations surfaced that they had been involved in financing terrorists.

Editor's Note: Prince Naif ran the Al Haramain Foundation, a Saudi charity designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a facilitator of terrorism, which diverted charitable funds to Al Qaeda both before and after Sept.11, 2001.

As the second-highest official at Justice, Cole would... likely play a key role in decisions involving terrorist prosecutions.... Republicans have blasted Holder for reading the failed Christmas Day bomber his Miranda rights just hours after ascertaining him and beginning to question him...
The AIG Connection - From Main Justice:
When Deputy Attorney General nominee James Cole appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing, Republicans plan to question him on his work monitoring insurance giant American International Group (AIG)...

Cole’s firm earned fees of about $20 million for its work as a compliance monitor [at AIG], according to The Wall Street Journal. Some of the transactions Cole examined had been structured by AIG’s Financial Products group, the same unit that would later write billions of dollars worth of credit default swaps that almost destroyed the company and forced the government into a costly rescue deal fearing the potential damage to the overall economy.

As a monitor, Cole regularly attended AIG Board of Directors committee meetings, including at least two February 2008 meetings where board members were told of findings of “material weakness” in the company’s accounting systems that were uncovered by auditors at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the Journal reported.

A Bryan Cave representative declined to comment on Cole. Calls to Cole were referred to the White House. A Justice Department spokeswoman also declined to comment.
From Whistle-Blower:
On May 21st, the White House nominated James Cole of Bryan Cave, LLP for the position of Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Cole was the Independent Consultant at AIG in the years leading up to the September ’08 bailout there.

On the same afternoon, the Department of Justice closed its two-year investigation of Joseph Cassano, Andrew Forster, and Thomas Athan of the London-based Financial Products Unit of AIG and informed them that they would not face criminal charges.

Cassano was the CEO at AIG-FP, Forster was the head trader and executive vice president and Athan was a managing director. None of them will be the subject of criminal prosecution, according to the Washington Post.

So, just about two years after AIG nearly runs the international economic system over a cliff, the Justice Department decides there was no criminal wrongdoing and the former AIG monitor is selected to run the day-to-day operations of the Justice Department...
Conclusion: Taking all of the above into consideration, it is perfectly understandable why President Obama chose Mr. Cole to be Deputy Attorney General. In the post 9/11 era, Mr. Cole would seem to be the perfect man for the job. It goes without saying that he will serve this country well.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Exploding Bullets - Not Hairspray - Caused Bomb Scare at Miami Airport: TSA

From NBC Miami:
A man has been arrested after FBI and TSA officials said his luggage contained volatile gun parts, which caused his bag to explode Tuesday just before it was about to be loaded on a plane.

The unidentified 37-year-old man had 500 to 700 bullet primers in his luggage. Primers are considered the "spark plugs" of a bullet and ignites the gun powder, projecting it toward the intended target.

Officials originally said the exploding bag was caused by a hairspray aerosol can.

The situation turned out to be much more serious and could have been even more dangerous if the bag containing the combustible elements would have exploded while the plane was in the air.

The Miami-Dade bomb squad was called to the airport around 11:30 a.m. after a baggage handler said he was taking luggage to an American Airlines plane that had just arrived from Boston and a bag exploded, sending pieces of metal flying.

The FBI confirmed the passenger and the exploding checked bag got on the flight in Boston and the luggage was being transferred to another flight headed for Jamaica.

The 148 original passengers from Flight 2585 had already departed the plane before the incident...

While it is legal to have a gun and ammunition in your checked bags, it is illegal to pack primers or percussion caps.
Perhaps the TSA should conduct pat downs on our luggage too.

Obama gives terror suspects access to frozen assets

Please do not misconstrue the title of this post. I'm not referring to the frozen assets currently being consumed by the President in Hawaii...

Obama is certainly entitled to treat the terrorists to ice shaves, if he so desires.

But these frozen assets are of a different nature:
Caving in to the demands of liberal civil rights groups, the Obama Administration has quietly amended a counterterrorism sanction so that accused terrorists can pay for their defense with assets frozen by the U.S. government.

The exemption to the government’s Global Terrorism Sanctions was made official this week by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control... The office operates under presidential national emergency powers...

Among its duties is to freeze the assets of individuals or groups engaged in terrorist activities... That means that individuals charged with terrorism can’t access money to pay for attorneys, something that has long bothered the left. This week the Treasury Department gave in, making it possible for terrorism suspects whose assets have been frozen by Uncle Sam to use the money to pay for legal representation....

Jim Kouri adds: This latest instance of the Obama Administration assisting terrorists is not a surprise to many working in law enforcement or the intelligence community. For example, the issue of Attorney General Erich Holder’s past legal papers came up after some Republicans asked why lawyers who had previously done legal work for terror detainees now had jobs in the Justice Department, something President Barack Obama successfully avoided discussing...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Classified maps show security in Afghanistan is worsening, despite Obama's assurances that the war is 'on track'

From the Wall Street Journal:
Internal United Nations maps show a marked deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan during this year's fighting season, countering the Obama administration's optimistic assessments of military progress since the surge of additional American forces began a year ago...

The U.N.'s October map upgraded to "high risk" 16 previously more secure districts in Badghis, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Parwan, Baghlan, Samangan, Faryab, Laghman and Takhar provinces; only two previously "high risk" districts, one in Kunduz and one in Herat province, received a safer rating.

A Pentagon report mandated by Congress drew similar conclusions when it was released last month. It said attacks were up 70% since 2009 and threefold since 2007. As a result of the continued violence, the Taliban still threaten the Afghan government, according to the report. The White House's National Security Council declined to comment.

The director of communications for the U.N. in Afghanistan, Kieran Dwyer, said he couldn't comment on classified maps. But, he said, "in the course of 2010, the security situation in many parts of the country has become unstable where it previously had not been so. There is violence happening in more parts of the country..."

The assessments of the U.N. accessibility maps, based on factors such as insurgent activity, political stability, coalition operations and community acceptance, contrast with President Barack Obama's recent statements that hail the coalition's progress in the war.

"Today we can be proud that there are fewer areas under Taliban control and more Afghans have a chance to build a more hopeful future," Mr. Obama told American troops during a visit to the Bagram Air Field northeast of Kabul earlier this month.
The President also stated in a press conference earlier this month that the U.S was on track to start pulling out troops next July as planned. While the President's assessment appears to be incorrect, his pledge to begin withdrawing U.S. troops as early as July is nevertheless a morale booster for the Taliban and will ultimately create the strategic balance that he is seeking in Afghanistan.

Afghan Vice President, Marshal Fahim, meets with Iranian brass, discusses military cooperation

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Barack Obama stated that Iran had a vital role to play in the future of Afghanistan. Hence, it should come as no surprise that Afghanistan's Vice-President, Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, met with both the Iranian President and Defense Minister over the weekend.

Mr. Fahim toured Iran's Defense Ministry Abilities exhibition on Saturday and held talks with Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, where he thanked Iran for its support of the Afghan nation and called for increased cooperation, particularly in the area of defense.

Fahim decribed Iran’s role in helping to restore security to Afghanistan as 'Excellent', and added that he expected to see the development of bilateral relations in all fields during the construction era of Afghanistan.

Defense Minister Vahidi, for his part, praised Afghan martyrs, who died for freedom of their own country. The Defense Minister also announced Iran's readiness to help Afghanistan strengthen its army, and noted that Iranian-Afghan relations are strategic.

During his meeting with President Ahmadinejad, Mr. Fahim praised Iran as a “powerful state” in the region, and added that Iran could play a major role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and help restore peace and stability to the war torn nation.

Clearly, Barack Obama's plans for the bolstering of ties between Iran and Afghanistan are forging ahead, just as he had envisioned.

As the year 2010 comes to a close, it is worthy to note some of the foreign policy accomplishments which President Obama has achieved during his short tenure in office.

1) The START treaty, Obama's crowning achievement.

So great was this achievement that a prominent Russian official conceded that: "If one reads the text of the document [of the START treaty] carefully, then it becomes clear that Americans will really have to reduce the number of [nuclear] warheads, while if we [Russia] want to reach the levels defined by the document, will actually have to increase the amount of warheads."


2) Russia acquiesced to Obama's wishes and agreed to impose sanctions on Iran. So great was this feat that Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, during a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad several weeks ago, issued a statement saying that "following the" adoption of the UN "sanctions resolution", certain countries "sought to intensify sanctions against Iran, to which Russia strongly opposed and took stances against."

The Russian President added: "Russia seeks to improve its political, economic and even military ties with Iran."

Indeed, Russia is not only a major facilitator of Iran's nuclear program, it is also providing Iran with various kinds of armament and weaponry - thanks to President Obama's unparalleled diplomatic prowess.

According to President Obama's close ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Russia has also agreed to loan Venezuela $4 billion to buy Russian military hardware. What's more, Russia recently sold Venezuela nearly 2,000 advanced, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles capable of hitting aircraft as high as 19,000 feet.

"Equally and perhaps more alarming," says Mike McDaniel, "is an October agreement between Iran and Venezuela. The agreement establishes a joint ground-to-ground missile base on Venezuelan soil and calls for the sharing of missile technology and the training of technicians and officers..."

These weapons gives "Venezuela the ability to strike targets throughout South and Central America and throughout the U.S."

Without Barack Obama's "reset button", none of this could have come about. Simply incredible!

3) Ever since Barack Obama set foot in the Oval Office and began to both reestablish U.S. diplomatic ties with Syria and ignore Syrian intransigence, the Syrians have begun to re-exert their influence in Lebanon. Consequently, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who for years blamed Syria for his father's death, changed his tune several months ago and asserted that it was a mistake to accuse Syria of killing his father. Hariri is now bowing before the altar of Bashar Assad and Hassan Nasrallah. Were it not for Barack Obama's diplomatic skills, could this rapprochement, between once-forsworn enemies, have come to fruition?


I could go on and on, listing all of Obama's diplomatic successes. But suffice it to say that no other US President in the annals of American history has ever come close to matching Barack Obama's foreign policy achievements.

What can I say? Obama is truly unique, he's one of a kind, and he deserves to win the Nobel Piece Prize again - and again - and again - each and every year - from now until the end of time.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Death Panel resurrected by Obama - in stealth fashion

The New York Times is reporting that "starting Jan. 1, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment."

Democrats in 2009 dropped a similar proposal from the health care reform bill due to Republican opposition. The Obama administration, however, will achieve the same goal, starting Jan. 1, "through the regulation-writing process, a strategy that could become more prevalent in the next two years as the president deals with a strengthened Republican opposition in Congress."

According to the Times, Democratic lawmakers are keeping mum about the new policy for fear of provoking another furor like the one that erupted last year during the congressional health care reform debate. They are also urging their supporters not to publicize the new policy, saying that, thus far, they've been fortunate that the aforementioned policy has received scant press coverage.

According to the Times, the new policy is included "in a huge Medicare regulation setting payment rates for thousands of services including arthroscopy, mastectomy and X-rays."

The Times goes on to say that the rule was issued by Dr. Donald M. Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services...

Mr. Berwick has been quoted as saying that “using unwanted procedures in terminal illness is a form of assault."

In an interview with the New York Times in April of 2009, President Obama expressed concern over the huge costs of end-of-life care, saying: "I actually think that the tougher issue around medical care... is what you do around things like end-of-life care... I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here!"

Lavrov: START treaty links offensive weapons to defensive weapons

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Russian Parliament on Friday that the text of the new START treaty "unambiguously" links strategic-offensive weapons to defensive weapons, and that the creation of a global missile defense shield by the US would allow the Russians to withdraw from the treaty. This runs contrary to statements made by both the White House and Senate Democrats, who've asserted that no such link exists:

Related Posts: Lavrov: Link between offensive and defensive weapons in START treaty preamble is binding

Russian lawmaker: Russia able to up nuclear arms potential after new START treaty

Russian lawmakers in no hurry to ratify START treaty

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ahmadinejad calls UN Security Council 'political retards'

From Sify News :
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the member states of the UN Security Council were 'political retards' for still believing in the effectiveness of sanctions, the news agency ILNA reported Friday.

'The officials of those countries who in the third millennium still think sanctions are an effective means are politically retarded,' the ILNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying during a visit to Istanbul...

Ahmadinejad claimed, as he has previously, that the UN sanctions have no effect as neither the United States nor Europe has any major role in the Iranian economy.

Lavrov: Link between offensive and defensive weapons in START treaty preamble is binding

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Friday said that language in the new START treaty's preamble linking strategic offensive and defensive weapons is legally binding. The White House and Senate Democrats earlier this week reassured Republican lawmakers that the text was non binding. Several Republican Senators, however, were not satisfied with the Democrats' vacuous reassurances and they 'attached a non-binding amendment to to the resolution of ratification technical document to recommit Washington to deploying a missile defense system.

Mr. Lavrov on Friday said that Russia was "absolutely" opposed to any additions to the treaty that rejected a link between missile defense and strategic arms.

"We are absolutely not in agreement with this. This is an arbitrary interpretation of the principles of international law," he told the Russian lower house of parliament.

"The Senate's resolution claims that the treaty does not apply to new kinds of non-nuclear strategic weapons that could be developed in the future. But this is not true," he said.

"There are a few problems," he said. One of the main ones being the assertion contained in this statement that the correlation between strategic offensive and defensive weapons, reflected in the treaty, is not legally binding for the US and Russia because it is stipulated in the preamble. This thesis cannot be defended by lawyers."

Russia's State Duma passed the treaty ratification bill in the first of three readings on Friday, but delayed the other two readings and postponed final ratification of the treaty until January to allow Russian lawmakers additional time to counter the non-binding amendments which Republicans recently inserted into the treaty.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Iranian soldier captured in Afghanistan

From the AFP:
A member of the elite al-Quds force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard has been captured in southern Afghanistan accused of cross-border weapons smuggling, international forces said Friday.

The man, described as a "key Taliban weapons facilitator", was captured Saturday in Zhari district, Kandahar province...

He was targeted "for facilitating the movement of weapons between Iran and Kandahar through Nimroz province," a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said...

"The now-detained man was considered a Kandahar-based weapons facilitator with direct ties to other Taliban leaders in the province," the ISAF spokesman added in a statement...

Kabul has insisted that Iran, as a neighbouring country, has a legitimate concern in helping the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan... [Ed. note: Obama has said this many times in the past. Sigh...]...

British newspaper The Times reported Friday that Iran has released a string of senior Al-Qaeda militants from custody so they can help the network rebuild in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas.

The newspaper quoted anonymous Pakistani and Middle Eastern officials accusing Iran of giving covert support to the Islamist militants, often through the Revolutionary Guards...

Afghanistan's deputy commerce minister Mohammad Sharif Sharifi said this week that Iran was preventing 1,600 fuel tankers from crossing into Afghanistan because Tehran believed they would supply foreign troops.

Southern Afghanistan -- particularly the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, where the Iranian was captured -- is seen as the Taliban's home turf and is at the heart of the war in Afghanistan between international forces and the Islamist militants...

Gibbs: 'Obama not thinking about 2012'?

"I think the president, if he were here, would tell you that he spends next to no time thinking about his reelection in 2012 and spends his time with his team here working on how to strengthen our economic recovery."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs - press briefing, September 21, 2010

"If he has, he hasn’t told me."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, during a press briefing - October 14, 2010 - responding to a reporter's question about whether the President has begun contemplating his reelection in 2012

From the New York Times - December 23, 2010:
President Obama is planning the first major reorganization of his administration, preparing to shuffle several positions in the West Wing as he tries to fortify his political team for the realities of divided government and his own re-election...

White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs will probably either become a senior adviser to the president or work outside the White House, defending Mr. Obama on television and beginning to define the field of 2012 Republican presidential candidates...

Some [aids] will be dispatched to Chicago, where the re-election effort is scheduled to be well under way by the spring, with the fund-raising, political and communications staff among the first to report for duty.
"I think the president, if he were here, would tell you that he spends next to no time thinking about his reelection in 2012 and spends his time with his team here working on how to strengthen our economic recovery."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, during a press briefing briefing, September 21, 2010

If he has, he hasn’t told me."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, during a press briefing - October 14, 2010 - responding to a reporter's question about whether the President has begun contemplating his reelection in 2012

Russian lawmaker: Russia able to up nuclear arms potential after new START treaty

The Russians are celebrating their victory!:
Russia will be able to increase its nuclear arms potential after a new arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia is ratified, a top Russian senator said on Friday.

"If one reads the text of the document carefully then it becomes clear that Americans will really have to reduce the number of [nuclear] warheads, while if we [Russia] want to reach the levels defined by the document, will actually have to increase the amount of warheads," Mikhail Margelov, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, said in an interview with TVTc television channel.
Ah, yes, the sweet taste of victory!

My fellow Russian comrades, enjoy your Christmas present - compliments of Chairman Obama!

Russian lawmakers in no hurry to ratify START treaty

President Obama and Democratic lawmakers refused to postpone a vote on ratification of the new START treaty until January of next year, citing the urgent need to reset US/Russian relations without delay. However, while some Russian officials have indicated that the new treaty could be ratified in the the Russian Parliament as early as Friday, others have suggested that Russian lawmakers, unlike their Democratic counterparts in the US Congress, are in no hurry to ratify the treaty:
Russian lawmakers need more time to examine a U.S. resolution ratifying the START nuclear arms reduction treaty before approving it, a senior MP said on Thursday, crushing hopes for a swift ratification in 2010...

"The ratification resolution as it was voted for by the U.S. Senate contains a large number of interpretations which require study and response from the Russian lawmakers," Konstantin Kosachev said.

Kosachev said the treaty will be debated in the State Duma lower house of parliament in the first reading on December 24 at the last plenary session this year, but then the MPs will go on their New Year holiday to re-convene after January10...

But analysts and arms control experts said Russian approval was all but certain.

"It will now be ratified for sure," veteran Soviet diplomat and arms treaty negotiator Roland Timerbayev told Reuters...

"If the Kremlin [i.e. Medvedev and Putin] wants do to it as quickly as possible then it can be done in one day," Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, told Reuters.
Jon Kyl and other Republicans in the senate expressed concerns over various aspects of the treaty. Of primary concern to Mr. Kyl is the language in the treaty's preamble that links offensive nuclear weapons to defensive systems, which could severely restrict US missile defense. Sen. John Kerry rebuffed Mr. Kyl's claims and insisted the text in the preamble was non-binding and that, regardless of how the Russians interpret the language, everything would be just fine.

However, prior to approving the treaty, Republican lawmakers - who are acutely aware of both the President's propensity to capitulate to the Russians and his longing to fulfill their every desire - 'attached non-binding amendments to the resolution of ratification technical document to recommit Washington to deploying a missile defense system, modernizing its nuclear arsenal, and seek new talks with Russia on curbing tactical nuclear weapons.'

Of course, a non-binding amendment recommitting Washington to deploy a missile defense system is of little significance as long as the Russians have the preamble to lean on. Nevertheless, some Russian parliamentarians are unhappy with the aforementioned amendments, and unlike their US counterparts [Sen. Kerry and company], they feel they need additional time to study the treaty before voting on it. Which is why [Russian MP] Konstantin Kosachev said that, although the treaty will be debated in the parliament in the first reading on December 24, MPs will go on their New Year holiday to re-convene after January10 [to futher discuss the treaty].

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also suggested that Moscow would need additional time to study the treaty:
Lavrov said that... the text of the resolution had been 'somehow amended compared to the initial draft.'

'The ratification resolution ... is a complex document that must be deeply studied,' he said.

'The ministry and the parliament, we need some time to study the documents of the US ratification.'...

A senior Russian MP had said earlier on Wednesday that the Russian lower house could pass the treaty before the end of the year but was more cautious following the US ratification.

'We must carry out a deep analysis of the text and its commentaries because this is a matter of national security,' said Leonid Slutsky, the deputy chairman of the the State Duma's foreign affairs committee...
However, while Russian lawmakers may view the text of the treaty as a matter of national security, Sen. Kerry and his colleagues believe the text is nothing more than a trivial matter, an insignificant thorn in the backside that mustn't interfere with the Democrats' political aspirations and their claim to victory.

Nevertheless, I believe that Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev will see to it that the treaty is ratified on Friday, for ultimately the treaty not only benefits them and their security needs, it also gives Russia a much needed edge over the US. Additionaly, I do not believe that Mr. Medvedev and Mr. Putin are prepared to leave Obama hanging out to dry - not right now, not after he just handed them a major victory.

At a later date in time, however, they will indeed leave him hanging, and, while they're watching him cling to the laundry line they'll have a few beers, and they'll laugh, and they'll scoff.

And the former KGB bigwig and his disciple will live happily ever after.

Rape victim with pacemaker pushed to the floor, dragged, handcuffed and arrested for refusing TSA pat down

Story and video is here.

TSA pat downs may be a necessity, but why did they manhandle this woman, and why did they arrest her? If she refused the pat down, they could have simply denied her entry onto the plane. Was she trying to force herself onto the plane that they felt the need to arrest her? Who Knows.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Anna Chapman, Russian spy, 'to lead youth wing of Putin's United Russia party'

Anna Chapman, one of the ten Russian spies arrested by the FBI in June on charges of spying for Russia, will soon be appointed to lead a youth wing of Vladimir Putin's United Russia political party, the Telegraph-uk reported on Tuesday.
Miss Chapman's role in the pro-Putin youth organization will involve working with "patriots and young businesspeople", a source in the organization told Russian media.
Mr. Putin met with the ten spies, upon their return to Russia in July, and sang "patriotic" songs with them:
“We talked about life. We sang. It was not karaoke but live music,” said Putin. "We sang From Where the Motherland Begins..."

“I’m not joking," he said, "I’m serious. And [we sang] other songs with a similar content."

The spies have been lampooned in the West as incompetents, but Mr Putin portrayed them as brave people doing difficult jobs for the motherland.

Just imagine,” he said. “You need to master a language like your mother tongue. You need to think in it, speak in it.

“You need to fulfill the task set in the interests of your motherland for many many years, not counting on diplomatic cover, expose yourself and your loved ones to danger.”

The ten would now be found “worthy” jobs in Russia and lead interesting lives, he predicted. He also said that the spies had been betrayed, hinting darkly that he knew the betrayers’ names.
According to CBS News "Putin warned that the "traitors" who exposed [the spies] could end up "in a ditch."

Meanwhile, President Obama has yet to announce whether he'll meet with the Russian Prime Minister and Ms. Chapman, and join them in singing a few patriotic songs in honor of the "Motherland" - as part of his efforts to reset US/Russian ties. Failure to ratify the new START treaty, however, would likely scuttle any such plans - which, undoubtedly, is the impetus behind Obama's rush to ratify the treaty. If the new START treaty is ultimately ratified by congress, both Mr. Putin and Ms. Chapman would have little choice but to allow Mr. Obama to sing along with them.

A brilliant strategy on Obama's part, indeed!

It should be noted, though, that President Obama is still not fluent in the Russian language, which would make it difficult for him to sing the lyrics of "Where the Motherland Begins". However, that would not prevent him from singing the melody while Mr. Putin and the Russian spy belt out the lyrics. It would be a grandiose way to START [pun intended] off the new relationship.

I can't wait!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mitch McConnell, the START treaty and Obama's politically motivated timetables

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the senate floor on Monday to speak about the new START treaty. He concluded his remarks with the following statement:

"Our top concern should be the safety and security of our nation, not some politician's desire to declare a political victory and host a press conference before the first of the year. Americans have had more than enough of artificial timelines set by politicians eager for attention. They want us to focus on their concerns, not ours, and never more so than on matters of National Security."

The aforementioned statement and more in the video below:

Mark Kirk, a no-show at DADT repeal celebration?

During his acceptance speech last month, after he had won the US Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama, Republican Mark Kirk described himself as a "fiscal conservative, a social moderate and a national security hawk."

On Thursday, while Sen. John McCain was speaking on the senate floor, thanking both his senate colleagues and the American people for their assistance in facilitating the demise of the Omnibus pork bill, Mr. Kirk interjected himself into McCain's remarks and asked him, "did we just win?”

McCain responded to the affirmative.

Kirk continued: "So for economic conservatives, a 1,924 page bill just died?"

McCain, once again, answered to the affirmative.

Kirk continued on with his game and finally concluded:

“All of the GOP senators just signed a letter to the leadership this morning saying that we should not move forward with this as representatives of the new mandate. And it seems change has come to the Senate tonight with the death of this $1.1 trillion plan.”

In his aforementioned remarks, Mr. Kirk, the self-described 'fiscal conservative and social moderate' noted: "for ECONOMIC conservatives, a 1,924 page bill just died."

Kirk, was in essence, making the point that, although he had interjected himself into Sen. McCain's remarks in order to bask in the limelight and glean some positive PR for himself, he was still a moderate and that he was only a conservative when it pertains to economics.

On Saturday, Mr. Kirk proved the aforementioned point when he and several Republicans, including Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, broke with the GOP and voted in favor of repealing DADT. Shortly before the vote, President Obama's political arm, Organizing for America, dropped off a petition with 28,000 signatures [from the state of Illinois] at Kirk's Washington office, demanding that he vote in favor of repealing DADT. [OFA made a similar drop-off at Senator Scott Brown's door.] OFA also organized a massive phone campaign to Kirk's office. It goes without saying that OFA did not support Mr. Kirk's senatorial campaign, but nevertheless, Kirk, the self-described "social Democrat", granted Barack Obama's acolytes their Christmas wish.

However, as Sen. McCain noted on the senate floor on Saturday, repealing DADT is not merely a social and moral issue, it is also a national security issue that will likely have a huge detrimental effect on the US military. Hence, although Mr. Kirk, as mentioned earlier, depicts himself to be a "national security hawk", his vote on Saturday belies any such notion.

During his remarks Thursday on the senate floor, Kirk stated, with regards to omnibus bill's demise:

"All of the GOP senators just signed a letter to the leadership this morning saying that we should not move forward with this as representatives of the new mandate. And it seems change has come to the Senate tonight with the death of this $1.1 trillion plan."

Does Mr. Kirk really believe that the new mandate, which he was elected to represent, entails him to heed the directives of Organizing for America?

In his remarks, Kirk went on to say: "And it seems change has come to the Senate tonight with the death of this $1.1 trillion plan."

But sadly, Mr. Kirk is living proof that just the opposite is true - that [real] change has yet to arrive in the Senate.

On Saturday, when Senate Democrats came out to the Senate floor to celebrate their victory [the DADT repeal], Kirk was nowhere to be found.

Was he hiding in an undisclosed location, salivating over his recent PR stunt and on how he had managed to hog some of the limelight from Sen. McCain?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

John McCain & Mark Kirk celebrate the death of the omnibus pork bill

Despite President Obama's directive to congress to pass a proposed omnibus spending bill containing $8 billion in earmarks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday reluctantly conceded that he did not have sufficient votes to file for cloture on the bill and therefore he was unable to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.

Republican Senators John McCain and Mark Kirk celebrated the good news on the senate floor:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Obama & the Omnibus hostage-takers - Part 2

Despite all the rhetoric, the speeches and the weekly radio addresses in which President Obama promised to do way with earmarks, the Obama administration on Wednesday advised Congress to pass an omnibus spending bill containing $8 billion in earmarks. An administration source offered up a lame excuse to ABC News as to why the administration had decided to endorse the pork-laden bill.

It should be noted, however, that the President, in the past, has faulted congress for engendering all the earmarks and the pork, but he himself created plenty of those earmarks - not to mention the sweetheart deals the White House made with various CEO's and lawmakers behind closed doors, including the Nebraska Cornhusker bribe, the Pharma deal and various other covert transactions.

Last week, MSNBC reported: "Top Democratic fundraisers and lobbyists with links to the White House are behind a proposed wind farm in Texas that stands to get $450 million in stimulus money, even though a Chinese company would operate the farm and its turbines would be built in China..."

The aforementioned individuals donated heavily to Obama's Presidential campaign and bundled plenty of dough for Obama.

What's more, as I've noted previously, dozens of former lobbyists and bundlers to Obama's Presidential campaign have been appointed to various positions within the Obama administration.

Clearly, when it comes to making sweetheart deals and catering to cronies, and special interest groups, Obama reigns supreme.

Yesterday, I noted how the President - in a press conference last week - characterized Republicans in congress as hostage-takers who were holding the middle class tax cuts "hostage to the high end tax cuts." And I questioned whether Obama would also label the earmark culprits as hostage-takers who were holding the omnibus bill hostage to their beloved earmarks and pork. I wondered whether Obama would consider overriding or confronting the earmark hoarders:
Will President Obama capitulate to the demands of the hostage-takers? Will he extort billions of taxpayer dollars to pay up the 'earmark' ransom? Will he even bother to use his beloved "hostage" analogy this time around? Or, is this analogy a tactic to be used exclusively to squeeze out money from the taxpayers, and one that must never be used - by the President - to save taxpayers their hard-earned money?...
And today, the White House gave us the answer:

The King of special interests would never even contemplate taking on the spenders, for ultimately, it is Obama himself, who is the ultimate spender.

The President has already created tons of pork, and in doing so, has taken American taxpayer dollars hostage. But sadly, unlike many other hostages, these hostages will never be released. There is no ransom, worth that kind of money, that can possibly free them. They belong to Obama. And they are his to keep.

'Wikileaks: The [video] Game' - Julian Assange vs. a snoozing Barack Obama

A new video game, called "Wikileaks: The Game", has been released. The game features President Obama and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

In the game, players control Mr. Assange as he attempts to download classified information from the President's laptop while the President takes a snooze. How much information Mr. Assange is able to download depends on the player. In the real world, however, Assange is clearly defeating the President, hands down. But of course, this isn't the real world, it's a video game. Besides, the President doesn't appear to be too concerned about the leaking of classified information and, at least for the time being, he hasn't really made an effort to stop Assange - which explains why the President is snoozing in the video:

Will Obama capitulate to the Omnibus hostage-takers?

Last week, President Obama likened congressional Republicans to hostage-takers, who were holding the middle class tax cuts "hostage to the high end tax cuts". [In truth, it was the Democrats who were holding the middle class tax cuts hostage to their proposal to end the high end tax cuts.]

A day earlier, Sen. Claire McCaskill made the same analogy [as the President]:

"I'm frustrated the Republicans are holding the middle class hostage for really added tax bonuses for millionaires that we really can't afford right now with our deficit," McCaskill said. "It would be nice if they came to their senses."

Truth be told, Republicans were merely trying to extend the same middle class and high end tax cuts that have been in effect for the past ten years. Nevertheless, both the President and Sen. McCaskill made the same exact analogy - which begs the question: Did the President borrow the analogy from Sen. McCaskill? Or was this simply a case of two Great Minds thinking alike? Who knows.

On Tuesday, Sen. McCaskill [a self-described moderate Democrat] once again, reverted to the "hostage" analogy to voice her displeasure with the new omnibus bill [unveiled on Tuesday], which contains $8 billion dollars in earmarks. The earmarks are predominantly, and overwhelmingly, Democratic earmarks:
Obama last month called for an earmark ban...

Taxpayers for Common Sense, a non-partisan group that tracks federal spending, said Tuesday evening it had found 6,600 earmarks worth $8 billion [in the omnibus bill]...

Sen. Claire McCaskill... said the omnibus would present Obama with a tough choice if it passes Congress.

“He know the abuses that occur with earmarking; he knows that it’s arbitrary and we’re not in a time where we should spending money arbitrarily,” said McCaskill. But she added that the rest of the budget is being “held hostage to the earmarks.”
Hence, the question arises:

Will President Obama capitulate to the demands of the hostage-takers? Will he extort billions of taxpayer dollars to pay up the 'earmark' ransom? Will he even bother to use his beloved "hostage" analogy this time around? Or, is this analogy a tactic to be used exclusively to squeeze out more money from the taxpayers, and one that must never be used - by the President - to save taxpayers their hard-earned money?

Only time will tell.

Update - December 15: The Obama administration has advised Congress to pass the omnibus spending bill containing the $8 billion in earmarks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TSA X-Ray Machines Easily Fooled, Researchers Find

From Fox News:
Any would-be terrorist can easily outsmart the ubiquitous backscatter scanners found in major airports around the world, two scientists say...

Leon Kaufman and Joseph W. Carlson, two physics professors at the University of California, San Francisco offer a stark conclusion: [The TSA's X-ray backscatter scanners] can be easily duped, according to a recent paper published in the Journal of Transportation Security.

It is very likely that a large (15–20 cm in diameter), irregularly-shaped, cm-thick pancake with beveled edges, taped to the abdomen, would be invisible to this technology -- ironically because of its large volume, since it is easily confused with normal anatomy," the researchers said in the paper... [Ed. Note: The researchers note that "forty grams of PETN, a purportedly dangerous amount, would fit in a 1.25 mm-thick pancake... and be virtually invisible." A 100 grams of PETN is enough to blow up a car.]

"It is also easy to see that an object such as a wire or a box-cutter blade, taped to the side of the body, or even a small gun in the same location, will be invisible," the paper notes.

Experts have already highlighted that such machines are unable to detect hidden plastic explosives. The authors of the new paper expand on these limitations -- and it couldn’t come at a worse time, as families prepare for holiday travel plans...
According to the aforementioned report, "Normal anatomy would make a dangerous amount of plastic explosive with tapered edges difficult if not impossible to detect."

Related Video: Naked airport scanner catches cellphone, misses bomb components

UCLA professor Kent Wong slams racism, derides 'old white men' in congress

Recent quotes from UCLA professor [and former staff attorney for the SEIU in LA] Mr. Kent Wong:

On illegal immigration and racism:

"Let us be very clear what is behind the anti immigrant hysteria in congress today... It is racism, plain and simple!"

On "Old White Men" in Congress:

"We will win the dream act soon - very soon.... And when that day happens, the young leaders of this DREAM Act movement will go on to accomplish great things with your lives... You will go on to become lawyers, teachers, doctors and members of the US congress to replace those Old White Men..."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bill Clinton: "Stimulus" is no longer an acceptable word

During a joint press conference with President Obama on Friday, former President Bill Clinton uttered the word "stimulus", and then reminded himself that: "We're not supposed to use that word anymore":

Romney $10,000 bet vs Obama $500 Million bet - Capitalism vs Socialism

During the Republican Presidential debate on Saturday, Mitt Romney challenged Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet over a passage he had written in his book about his health care policy.

Former Obama adviser, Bill Burton pounced upon Romney and tweeted, "Not alot of 99%'ers are out there making $10,000 bets." The DNC and the mainstream media quickly joined the chorus and portrayed Romney as a wealthy, privileged individual, who is out of touch with the middle class.

But truth be told, Romney was simply using his own hard-earned money to wager a pretty simple and low-risk bet. Barack Obama, though, by his own admission, has used millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars to make bets on investment projects that faced the strong prospect of failure.

The contrast can't be any clearer: It's Capitalism vs. Socialism.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Obama administration, E.P.A delay tougher rules on emissions

President Obama has opted to place a moratorium on his left-wing environmental agenda, for fear that his agenda would only push the economy further south and exacerbate the fiscal paralysis that is already being fueled by his socialist-leaning policies:

From the New York Times:
The Obama administration is retreating on long-delayed environmental regulations — new rules governing smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers...

The move to delay the rules, announced this week by the Environmental Protection Agency, will leave in place policies set by President George W. Bush. President Obama ran for office promising tougher standards, and the new rules were set to take effect over the next several weeks.

Now, the agency says, it needs until July 2011 to further analyze scientific and health studies of the smog rules and until April 2012 on the boiler regulation. Mr. Obama, having just cut a painful deal with Republicans intended to stimulate the economy, can ill afford to be seen as simultaneously throttling the fragile recovery by imposing a sheaf of expensive new environmental regulations that critics say will cost jobs.

The delays represent a marked departure from the first two years of the Obama presidency, when the E.P.A. moved quickly to reverse one Bush environmental policy after another. Administration officials now face the question of whether in their zeal to undo the Bush agenda they reached too far and provoked an unmanageable political backlash...

The F-bomb: Bush tax cuts vs. Health care reform, which one is a "bigger" deal?

Question: Which issue is more important to Democrats in Congress: Health care reform or a repeal of the Bush-era tax cuts?

Answer: During the signing ceremony of the health care reform bill in March, an elated Vice President, Joe Biden, used the F-bomb to express his exuberance with the passage of the bill. Biden whispered into President Obama's ear, "This is a Big F---ing deal!"

However, during a House Democratic caucus meeting on Thursday, an unidentified lawmaker was overheard muttering to himself, “f--- the president", as he expressed his anger with the President's inability to override Republican opposition to a proposed repeal of the Bush-era tax cuts.

Both issues - health care reform and the Bush tax cuts - appear to be significant enough to have evoked the f-bomb from the Democrats. However, the Vice President's f-bomb in March was preceded by the word 'BIG' - "this is a 'BIG' F---ing deal" - whereas the unidentified lawmaker's f-bomb on Thursday - “f---- the president" - was not preceded by any kind of adjective. Which leads me to believe that health care reform is indeed a "bigger" deal and a more important issue to Democrats than the Bush tax cuts.

Health care reform, for the Democrats, appears to be both the ultimate and the 'biggest' f---ing deal of 'em all!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Obama negotiating with hostage takers, itching for a fight & healing the partisan divide

President Obama, at a press conference on Tuesday, discussed the Bush tax cuts and his recent negotiations with Republican lawmakers. Mr. Obama referred to GOP lawmakers as "hostage takers". The President's remarks, and some of his previous remarks, in which he pledged to tone down 'the political rhetoric', can be seen in the video below:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WikiLeaks: Saudis proposed Arab force to invade Lebanon & fight Hezbollah

From the AFP:
Saudi Arabia proposed setting up an Arab force to fight Hezbollah militants in Lebanon with the help of the United States, UN and NATO, a leaked US diplomatic cable said Tuesday.

In a meeting in May 2008 with US ambassador to Iraq David Satterfield, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said a "security response" was needed to the "military challenge" posed to Beirut by the Iran-backed militants.

The Saudi prince feared a Hezbollah victory against the Lebanese government led by then prime minister Fuad Siniora would eventually lead to Iran's takeover of the country.

There was a need for an "Arab force" to create and maintain order in and around Beirut, he argued...

Such a force would be aided by UNIFIL troops deployed in southern Lebanon, while the "US and NATO would need to provide movement and logistic support, as well as naval and air cover," the cable added...

What was needed was an "Arab force" drawn from Arab "periphery" states to deploy to Beirut under the "cover of the UN," Saud said, accusing the UN troops in southern Lebanon of "sitting doing nothing."

But Satterfield said there were real questions about the "political and military" feasibility of such a scheme, and winning a new mandate for UNIFIL would be difficult.

A US diplomatic memo released earlier by WikiLeaks showed Saudi Arabia is obsessed by what it sees as a threat from Iran [and Iran's nuclear aspirations]...

Obama's Taliban-friendly policy, a death knell to US troops

The Obama administration recently engaged in a policy of rapprochement with so-called moderate elements of the Taliban, hoping to strike a deal that would integrate them into the Afghan government and thus facilitate the President's planned exit strategy from Afghanistan. But unfortunately, as it turned out, Obama and his minions were duped by the enemy.

The New York Times, last month, reported as follows:
For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.

But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.

“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”...

NATO and Afghan officials said they held three meetings with the man...

As recently as last month, American and Afghan officials held high hopes for the talks. Senior American officials, including Gen. David H. Petraeus, said the talks indicated that Taliban leaders... were at least willing to discuss an end to the war.

The American officials said they and officials of other NATO governments were helping to facilitate the discussions, by providing air transport and securing roadways for Taliban leaders coming from Pakistan.

Last month, White House officials asked The New York Times to withhold Mr. Mansour’s name from an article about the peace talks, expressing concern that the talks would be jeopardized — and Mr. Mansour’s life put at risk — if his involvement were publicized....
[The Obama administration, cognizant of the fact that it had been duped all along, has now altered its strategy, somewhat.]

It is also important to note, what was reported several months ago, namely that, as part of the aforementioned strategy of reconciling with the enemy, the U.S. released certain Taliban prisoners, hoping to reintegrate them into Afghan society and subsequently win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people:
The young Taliban prisoner was led to a sweltering military tent, seated among 17 village elders and then, faced a chief accuser brandishing a document with the elders’ signatures or thumbprints. Capt. Scott A. Cuomo, a United States Marine commander who was acting as the prosecutor, told the prisoner: “This letter right here is a sworn pledge from all of your elders that they’re vouching for you and that you will never support the Taliban or fight for the Taliban ever again.”

After a half-hour “trial,” the captain rendered the group’s judgment on the silent prisoner, Juma Khan, 23, whom the Marines had seized after finding a bomb trigger device, ammunition and opium buried in his yard. Mr. Khan’s father and grandfather, who was one of the elders, were among the group. “So on behalf of peace, your family, your grandfather,” Captain Cuomo solemnly said, “we’re going to let you go.”...

Acting under military guidelines aimed at persuading low-level fighters to lay down their arms, commanders repeat the mantra that the United States will never kill its way to victory in Afghanistan. They say that in a counterinsurgency war intended to win over the population, reintegration is crucial...

Military officials describe reintegration so far as sporadic at best, an interim effort ahead of a more formal process that they hope the Afghan government will adopt at a political summit meeting in Kabul in coming weeks.
From McClatchy Newspapers, June 20, 2010:
Afghanistan's controversial new commission formed to release suspected Taliban prisoners has set free 14 detainees already, primarily from U.S. custody, and more than two dozen more releases are imminent, Afghan officials told McClatchy on Sunday.

McClatchy has discovered the committee... is apparently getting co-operation from the U.S. military in Afghanistan. The committee is now pouring over lists of more detainees....

Robert Everdeen, a spokesman for the U.S. prison at the Bagram air base, now known as the detention facility at Parwan, said that "we have freed 12 detainees within the last week,"... He added that 20 more detainees were expected to be freed "in the near future."
The reason I'm rehashing all of this right now is due to an article I read in today's Washington Examiner, entitled "Catch-and-release of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan angers troops.":
More than 500 suspected Taliban fighters detained by U.S. forces have been released from custody at the urging of Afghan government officials, angering both American troops and some Afghans who oppose the policy on the grounds that many of those released return to the battlefield to kill NATO soldiers and Afghan civilians...

For American combat troops in Afghanistan, the release of suspect Taliban is seen as a symptom of the corruption of the Karzai government...
I beg to differ a tad bit with that assessment.

For indeed, the release of suspect Taliban, rather than being 'a symptom of the corruption of the Karzai government' is, in actuality, a symptom of the inept and corrupt policies of the Obama administration who, in its zeal to latch on to an exit strategy, no matter how weak and lame the exit strategy may be, believed it could simlpy wave its magic wand and rehabilitate the terrorists.

As the aforementioned New York Times article noted, "Military officials describe reintegration... as an interim effort ahead of a more formal process that they hope the Afghan government will adopt at a political summit meeting in Kabul in coming weeks."

The Obama administration is pulling the strings, Karzai is simply following orders.

As it turned out, Obama's reconciliation and reintegration bid was all a waste of time and energy, which led to plenty of spilled blood and countless deaths among US troops.

One final footnote: Several months ago, the Guardian UK reported that 80% of prisoners released from the US-run Camp Bucca in Iraq have rejoined terrorists:

Iraqi security chiefs are blaming a big rise in violence this year on detainees released from the contentious American prison system who used their time in custody to appoint new leaders and plot mayhem after their release...

Major General Ahmed Obeidi al-Saedi, who leads the sixth division of the Iraqi army in south and west Baghdad, claims as many as 80% of detainees have either aligned, or realigned with militant groups, mostly to al-Qaida in Iraq, or its affiliates. He said 86 former inmates of the US prisons, known as Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca, have been rearrested since 10 March.

I say to you emphatically that 80% who have been released from Bucca have returned to work with the terrorists and have in fact become stronger," said General Saedi, whose area of command has been increasingly under attack over the past two months.

"We ask them, did they finish their time in prison rehabilitated psychologically and they say 'no, it was the perfect environment to reorganise al-Qaida'."
Many of these former detainees, the Guardian notes, were behind a slew of bombings and attacks that took place in Iraq.

And although US officials say the aforementioned detainees were released into Iraqi custody, the decision to hand them over to the Iraqis has brought about a dramatic increase in violence in Iraq.

Hence, there is no need to blame Mr. Karzai or anyone else for the aforementioned carnage, when, in reality, the primary culprits are sitting in the White House.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Obama rescinds his rescindment of drilling moratorium

On October 12, the Obama adminstration lifted its ban on deepwater drilling, which was initially scheduled to end November 30. The lifting of the moratorium - six weeks ahead of schedule and three weeks before the midterm elections elections - was clearly intended to give Democrats a boost at the polls.

A commenter on Michelle Malkin's blog noted at the time: "Obama was against drilling before he was for it and most likely, after the election, will be against it once again."

And lo and behold the New York Times informs us today that, "the Obama administration is rescinding its decision to expand offshore oil exploration into the eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic coast because of weaknesses in federal regulation revealed by the BP oil spill."

Apparently, the weaknesses in federal regulation, which had been rectified, have fallen into a state of disrepair.


A Stimulus Project that LITERALLY runs (and runs the economy) into a DITCH!

A sidewalk in Boynton, Oklahoma funded by President Obama's stimulus package

During the midterm election campaign, President Obama repeatedly used his now-infamous “car in the ditch” analogy to falsely illustrate how Republicans had run the US economy into a ditch. At the time, I posted a YouTube video connecting the President's so-called "shovel ready projects" - which Obama recently conceded are non-existent - to the “ditch” analogy. The point, and the analogy, I was trying to make was that the President's astronomically exorbitant stimulus package was funding non-existent projects with non-existent shovels, that were digging, or running, the economy into a ditch.

However, upon reading an article, written in August by Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn, entitled "100 Wasteful Stimulus Projects That Actually Cost America Jobs", I noticed how one particular [stimulus-funded] project literally runs directly into a ditch, no analogy necessary!

People around Boynton, Oklahoma were left scratching their heads after the town was awarded nearly $90,000 [in stimulus funds] to replace a quarter-mile stretch of sidewalk that was replaced only five years ago.

One longtime resident of Boynton, Ray Allen, said the project “had been the talk of the town recently, and none of it positive,” because it is “100 percent a waste of money.”

Another resident, Mike Lance, noted that “the best indication of the absurdity of the project is what the contractor did with a section of sidewalk at the north end of town – one that fronts no homes or businesses, and leads directly into a ditch.”

A sidewalk in Boynton, Oklahoma funded by President Obama's stimulus package, that leads directly into a ditch

That's right, directly into a ditch! No analogy necessary!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Putin says WikiLeaks not 'a catastrophe'; but Kremlin leaders are terrified

In an interview with CNN's Larry King on Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir played down the significance of the recent WikiLeaks disclosures of US diplomatic cables:

"It's necessary for the diplomatic services to be more attentive to their cables," said Putin. "Such leaks occurred before in previous times. So I don't see this as being a catastrophe."

However, Mr. Putin's cool reaction to the leaking of US diplomatic cables, belies his own [and his government's] concerns about the Wikileaks' website:
The National Security Agency, the U.S. government’s eavesdropping agency, has already picked up tell-tale electronic evidence that WikiLeaks is under close surveillance by the Russian FSB, that country’s domestic spy network, out of fear in Moscow that WikiLeaks is prepared to release damaging personal information about Kremlin leaders.

“We may not have been able to stop WikiLeaks so far, and it’s been frustrating,” a U.S. law-enforcement official said. “The Russians play by different rules.” He said that if WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, follow through on threats to post highly embarrassing information about the Russian government and what is assumed to be massive corruption among its leaders, “the Russians will be ruthless in stopping WikiLeaks.”
Sure sounds like a catastrophe to me. Or perhaps it is only a catastrophe when the leaked information pertains to Putin's corrupt affairs.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hariri in '06: US must destroy Iran's nuclear program

American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks indicate what has already been known for quite some time, namely that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is a fake, a phony and a spineless coward.

As I've noted previously, George W. Bush, during his Presidency, firmly backed international calls to end Syria's occupation of Lebanon.

In April of 2005, Mr. Bush told viewers of the LBC channel: "The United States can join with the rest of the world, like we've done, and say to Syria, get out, not only get out with your military forces, but get out with your intelligence services, too; get completely out of Lebanon, so Lebanon can be free and the people can be free."

Armed with the strong support of the US President, the Lebanese people took to the streets and waged massive protests against the Syrian regime. Under intense international pressure, Syria had no choice but to recall its troops from Lebanon.

With George W. Bush standing on the side of freedom and Democracy, voicing his strong support for a free and sovereign Lebanon - unfettered by outside interferences from tyrannical regimes the likes of Syria - Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'd Al-Hariri felt at ease to speak out fiercely against the Syrian regime and Hezbollah, who were responsible for the assassination of his father, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon.

But ever since Barack Obama set foot in the Oval Office and began to both reestablish U.S. diplomatic ties with Syria and ignore Syrian intransigence, the scene has taken a dramatic turn. The Syrians have begun to re-exert their influence in Lebanon, and Mr. Hariri has been forced to halt his criticism of Syria for fear that he might meet the same fate as his father. In September, the now-spineless Lebanese Prime Minister, who for years blamed Syria and Hezbollah for his father's death, asserted that it was a mistake to accuse them of killing his father.

And now the New York Times is reporting that diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks reveal that Mr. Hariri, 'like several other Arab leaders, told American officials in 2006 that the United States “must be willing to go all the way if need be,” to stop Iran’s nuclear program. According to one cable, Mr. Hariri called the war in Iraq “unnecessary,” and then asserted: “Iran is necessary.”

That was in 2006.

However, as the New York Times notes: Speaking at the end of a three-day visit to Iran on Monday, Mr. Hariri did not mention the leaked cables and told reporters that Lebanon “will never, ever consider itself as part of an international system which aims at pressurizing Iran” to end its nuclear program, "and has always condemned such moves." He added: “We believe that Iran reserves the right to enjoy peaceful nuclear technology".

During a meeting Monday with Iran's "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Hariri stated that, “we regard the Islamic Republic of Iran as a brotherly and friendly country"

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chimed in and expressed satisfaction with the solid relationship shared between Hariri and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah along with other officials from Hezbollah.

“These relationships should become stronger than before,” Khamenei said.

At a joint news conference on Monday with Iran’s Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, Hariri said that "the political results of his visit were “good and useful because they again highlighted the common principles on which the relations of both countries are founded and has proved beyond any doubt that Iran is a friendly state.”

During a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later in the day, Mr. Hariri stated that "excellent relations have been formed between the governments in Tehran and Beirut and their consolidation and expansion serve the two nations and the region."

On Sunday, the Lebanese Prime Minister told Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi that "the defense ministries of Iran and Lebanon should pave the way for the expansion of defense relations between the two countries."

Question: Who's to blame for the Lebanese Prime Minister's dramatic change of heart, specifically his willingness to bow before the murderers who facilitated his father's death?

President Obama, who conceived a dangerously inane and convoluted foreign policy toward Syria and its rogue allies? Or Saad Hariri, who possesses an extremely cowardly disposition and a inordinately craven personality?

Answer: Both of them are equally to blame.

What's more, they are both culpable for the inevitable disasters that are about to befall Lebanon. Sadly, rather than own up to their cowardly, ill-conceived and brainless policies that are slowly but surely facilitating Lebanon's inevitable demise, the two of them will no doubt take credit for the disastrous changes that will soon beset the beleaguered country.

That's their nature, it's in their DNA, it is who they are.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama will never change. Instead, he chooses to inflict "change" upon everyone else. "Change you can believe in."

Truth be told, it is no longer necessary to merely believe in Barack Obama's vision of "change" when we can see it clearly before our very own eyes.

Indeed, it ain't a pretty picture, it ain't pretty at all....

Related Post: Ahmadinejad, Obama & Medvedev to bolster Lebanese military