Despite praise for The Obama that he is intent on governing from the center, much to the dismay of the ultra-crunchy ultra-left base, Jules Crittenden links to a scoop on Obama throwing the perpetually tie-dyed outraged a bone. From Washington Post:
Samantha Power, the Harvard professor who was forced to resign from Barack Obama's presidential campaign last spring after calling Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "a monster," is now advising the president-elect on transition matters relating to the State Department -- which Clinton is slated to head.Indeed, Samantha Power once called Hillary a "monster", but that is hardly controversial and occasionally appropriate. However, an examination of issues she has brought up in public indicates an overly-peaceniky agenda in a time of terrorism and rogue states. She spoke at Pitzer-Claremont's graduation this year, and after shamelessly plugging her 2002 book, she implied America has been a disgrace so far:
Power is listed on Obama's transition Web site as part of the team reviewing national security agencies. Her duties, according to the site, will be to "ensure that senior appointees have the information necessary to complete the confirmation process, lead their departments, and begin implementing signature policy initiatives immediately after they are sworn in."
...and your kids will ask you, "what did you do to meet those challenges?" I hope you can claim prouder ancestry than we can.Of course, this was better than her spiel against the U.S. military at Santa Clara's graduation two years ago (also involving a shameless book plug):
...none of my yammering was making the US government even a tad more willing to act morally abroad. We had invaded Iraq, which was falling to bits; our soldiers and guards had been revealed to be torturing detainees and, despite the pattern of abuse, only minor "bad apples" were being punished.Hopefully, Ms. Power understands that working for the State Department involves putting a "happy face" on American foreign policy, and she will drop the tired old arguments preached at institutions of higher education about America being the source of all evil dating back to the days of the woolly-mammoth. Her blog indicates that she did an interview with Democracy Now!, the same group that made apologies for the RNC protesters that wreaked havoc and vandalized the Twin Cities. Perhaps she will ensure that unemployed, low-life hooligans get appointed to key ambassador positions around the world. Now that's the hope and change we were looking for!
I've been worried that protests against the Guantanamo terrorist resort like the one pictured above would end with the Obama administration since one of his centerpiece proposals is to close the tropical residence for slow and stupid terrorists. But I'm heartened by Michelle Malkin's syndicated piece today in which she describes the dilemma Obama faces when determining the fate of the current clientele at the resort;
Some top legal advisors and supporters of Barack Obama, whose name detainees chanted on election night, are now rethinking the President-elect’s absolutist campaign position on shutting the center down and flooding our mainland courts with every last enemy combatant designee. Yes, reality bites – and Democrats must now grapple with the very real possibility that an Obama administration could potentially release a Gitmo denizen who would turn around and commit mass terrorist acts on American soil or abroad.
But, it seems the Bush Administration is in a hurry to show Obama what a mistake it would be to release prisoners by releasing bin Laden's former driver to his home country of Yemen (AP link);
Salim Hamdan, the first man to go before a U.S. war crimes trial since the end of World War II, was flown from the U.S. Navy base in Cuba to Yemen.
Hamdan was convicted on Aug. 6 of providing material support to terrorism, and the military said it could keep him locked up indefinitely if it considered him to be a continued threat. Instead, he was sent home early.
A Pentagon official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said the decision was made by the White House.
Hamdan was sentenced at the war-crimes trial to 5 1/2 years in prison. Being credited with five years and one month for time already served means his sentence ends on Dec. 27, according to the Pentagon.
“As part of a transfer agreement with the United States, the remainder of Hamdan’s sentence will be served in Yemen,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
So he has a month left on his sentence and his return to the terrorist flock is being expedited by sending him to Yemen. The main problem with Yemen is at the center of the plan to release Gitmo alumni, as it's described a few weeks ago by McClatchy;
President-elect Barack Obama's pledge to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, faces a major obstacle: Yemen.
The Bush administration has transferred hundreds of Guantanamo prisoners to the custody of their home countries, but it's been unable to win assurances from Yemen — whose approximately 100 prisoners are the largest group still jailed at Guantanamo — that the men, if they're returned, won't pose a threat to the United States.
I guess Hamadan is a good test for Yemen to see if they can hold him for a month. If he shows up on the battlefield before Christmas, we'll have our answer. The Boston Globe outlines the debate within the Obama administration;
However, divisions have emerged among Obama allies on how to proceed. The civil libertarians, legal scholars and lawyers who were united in condemning the Bush administration's policies differ on what to do with the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
All agree that a crucial first step is to review each detainee's case thoroughly to see how many could be put on trial in US courts and how many could be released to their home countries.
"There are 20 to 30 people in Guantanamo that present serious, serious problems," said Donald J. Guter, a retired rear admiral who formerly served as the Navy's top uniformed lawyer and was an adviser to the Obama campaign. "If you can't take them to a court and get legitimate convictions, what do you do with them? Do you hold them, or do you release them?"
Imagine that, lawyers who can't agree on a solution. Seems impossible doesn't it?
So I guess the folks at Amnesty International should hold on to those orange suits a bit longer since the question of what to do with the thugs housed there is just one more thing Obama won't solve in his first term.
President-elect Barack Obama is vowing to watch spending carefully even as he plans to push for a stimulus package of $500 billion or more.The article expounds on Obama's rhetoric that he's going to cut "wasteful spending" and hold back "special interests", but never provides an example. Cruising over to the NYT, they can't even justify their guy's politician-like distractions:
Mr. Obama cited, as an example of the sort of cuts he expects Mr. Orszag and Mr. Nabors to find, a recent government report showing that farmers whose incomes exceeded $2.5 million had probably wrongly been paid some $49 million in government subsidies over a three-year period.$49 million is no small chunk of change, but considering that Obama's entitlement obligations are wracking up well into the trillions, he's going to have to start slashing and burning government spending a little further.
But he did not offer any other specific targets, and by itself, correcting the problem with the farm program would make only a trivially small dent in the budget deficits the federal government will face for years.
The Obama T-shirts are still selling well amongst college students, perhaps the President-Elect's advisors can start selling this wardrobe for the coming hard times to generate a little revenue.
President-elect Barack Obama's campaign promise to cut spending has been waylaid by the reality of the economy, and he warned Monday that the deficit is going to grow and spending cuts will have to take a back seat now to stimulating the economy.See, that's fine with me, tax increases should be postponed in any economic climate. If tax increases would hurt the economy now, why was he still promising them just a scant three weeks ago? What has changed? Other than the fact that he was elected by mouthing the platitude about tax cut for 95% of Americans and raising taxes on the 5% who make too much money in his estimate? Of course, it was just rhetoric three weeks ago, 21 months ago, and I warned that the tax cuts would be the first thing he threw under the bus.
He also signaled he may forgo immediate tax increases on high-income families and instead wait for the Bush tax cuts to expire.
Probably more importantly, if tax increases might damage the economy now, why is it that they're being considered in the future? Why are they planning on letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Don't they understand that the economy today is based on predictions for the future? If there's a tax hike in our future, that will stall the economy, too.
He also said he would announce "meaningful cuts and sacrifices," though it was not clear whether that would include specific line items or broad principles.Yeah, well, I expect that that Obama's backers don't have much to worry about. When a Democrat talks about "cuts and sacrifices", it means the military is about to pay the price. It's easier to waylay defense advances than it is to cut truly useless government programs that buy votes in the inner cities - that's why Republicans get called "big spenders" because they have to make up for the cuts of their Democrat predecessors in the military spending area. Up-armored HMMVs should have been a priority after Mogadishu, not after Baghdad. Fielding M1s and M2s should have started after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan not four years later.
The Wall Street Journal writes that Obama's plan to create 2.5 million jobs with taxpayer money is drawing fire from the few Republicans left in Congress;
The plans brought a quick retort from House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio. He said lawmakers "should start listening to the American people, who do not believe increasing government spending is the best way to put our economy back on track." He proposed eliminating the capital gains tax, which is currently 15%, as well as other tax cuts.Yeah, well, we already know that answer. The Democrats aren't interested in building a constituency in the Pentagon.
Other Republicans said some large-scale economic intervention is inevitable. "We clearly need a stimulus initiative, and it's clearly got to be a big one," said Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee and a budget hawk. "The question is, 'Is it just going to be walking-around money for the usual liberal constituencies that does nothing?"'
Of course it could be worse - Barbara Mikulsky could be in charge.
To restore fairness to our system, I will embark on a multi-faceted approach including increasing our investment in public education, promoting genuine health care reform, and backing a higher minimum wage.Just like when you asked Santa Claus for a pony, Americans put their confidence in Obama for outrageous promises, like free health care, that the government does not have the money to pay for. But there's not just going to be disappointed faces like on Xmas morning when The O takes power, it's probably going to be a whole lot worse. Get ready for a wild ride.
Domestically, no need is more urgent than fixing our broken health care system. Today, nearly 47 million Americans have no health insurance. And those lucky enough to be insured are seeing the cost of their premiums soar. At the same time, the uninsured cannot afford screening for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or even get a flu shot -- and our health care system as a whole places far more emphasis on treatment than it does on preventing disease in the first place. As a nation, we dedicate only three percent of our health dollars to health promotion, but over 20 percent of our health care dollars to care in the last year of life. We must guarantee affordable coverage for all Americans.
There was some outrage over the Obama team asking potential employees if they owned firearms, but that unnecessary snooping into potential appointees has morphed into downright silliness as they are asking about people's personal diaries and text messages. Reason unearthed a copy of the questionnaire [PDF] for employment at Obama Inc. (which looks like a bigger pain in the ass than getting a security clearance). Check out question #14 on pg. 2:
Diaries: If you keep or have ever kept a diary that contains anything that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you or your family, or the President-Elect if it were made public, please describe.It's understandable that the Obama team is trying to prevent websites like Wonkette from soliciting teh lulz by digging in the dirt, but is it really necessary to have this as a job qualification for The O? Who had a diary that wasn't embarrassing? At 13 years-old, I bet you never thought that writing about your fantasy where you gallop off on a unicorn with Joey Lawrence would ever prevent you from getting a job. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.
In addition, U.S. Attorney Eric H. Holder Jr. said in an interview that he is considering not only prosecuting more marijuana cases but also asking the D.C. Council to enact stiffer penalties for the sale and use of marijuana.Ever since Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs, we have seen the explosion of meth and crack, continuous erosion of our civil liberties, and a string of lousy federally-funded PSAs of McGruff jamming out to 80s music. Our War on Drugs goal has even hampered the fight against terrorism as President Bush actually gave the Taliban federal aid to halt heroin traffic prior to 9/11. Don't expect Obama's pick for Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, to distinguish between the high-priority War on Terror as opposed to the War on Pink Floyd as evidenced to a press release he issued back in 2006:
"We have too long taken the view that what we would term to be minor crimes are not important," Holder said, referring to current attitudes toward marijuana use and other offenses such as panhandling.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Representative Rahm Emanuel released the following statement in response to reports that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez’ called the war on terror a real war, not like the war on drugs.To help out Obama's Chief of Staff, here's a couple of photos to emphasize the priorities based on the current threats to our democratic society.
“Thanks for the white flag. From the United States’ most senior law enforcement official, the man who should be leading the war on drugs, this white flag of surrender will not be reassuring to the millions of parents trying to protect their kids.”
The extremely enthusiastic and extremely funny SGT Freedom is back with a post-election YouTube rant. Like the Four Horsemen, he respects people's decision to vote for Obama, but don't expect him to go quietly in the night.
The Sniper asks a very pertinent question that other bloggers are too scared to ask: What type of apocalypse would you prefer? Somehow, that post and the theme of this blog could be remotely related.
President-elect Barack Obama will not move for months, and perhaps not until 2010, to ask Congress to end the military's decades-old ban on open homosexuals in the ranks, two people who have advised the Obama transition team on this issue say.
Repealing the ban was an Obama campaign promise. However, Mr. Obama first wants to confer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his new political appointees at the Pentagon to reach a consensus and then present legislation to Congress, the advisers said.
I'm not complaining, mind you, I'm just saying.... So far Obama has tossed the anti-war crowd and women aside and now the gays. I guess the "95% of Americans will get tax cuts" is next. Who would have thought that he's just another Democrat politician who thinks it's fine to ignore campaign promises.
Yeah, yeah, I'm pretty sure someone will tell me "they all do it", however, when George Bush took office he made clear what he was going to do and he did his best to keep to those promises. The tenets of the Contract With America put forward by the Republicans in 1994 were 95% enacted as law. What about the promises of Democrats since 2006? One promise they made they kept - the minimum wage and that triggered the unemployment rate we're seeing now.
Yet you Democrats keep voting them in hoping they'll change.
The Soros-funded Center for American Progress has been a huge advocate of regulating free speech in their favor via legislation and policy. One example of this brand of regulation is the wretched Fairness Doctrine, which, luckily, went tits up on the house floor last year. If it had passed, you would have to be listening to Praise for Dear Leader on the TV/Radio/Paper, and not just the TV/Paper. So the wonks are trying to find new clever ways to silence the opposition. On the think-tanks website, one of the "Top Features" is an article about the "imbalance of political talk radio", where they desire leveling the playing field by a concept known as "localism", which means you grant "friendly" broadcasters access to the airwaves while imposing heaping mounds of regulations on those nasty wingnuts. Even though it is painfully obvious that this progressive think-tank wants to crush dissenting voices of the mostly conservative airwaves, one of their employees says we're all crazy for thinking it's a return to The Fairness Doctrine! From Yglesias at Think Progress (the blog for the CAP):
Marin Cogan has a great piece on the right-wing’s mobilization against the phantom menace of the fairness doctrine...It’s very strange. Political movements mischaracterize the other side’s general goals all the time. But I’ve never heard of anything like the current conservative mania for blocking a particular legislative provision that nobody is trying to enact.A phantom menace? It doesn't take a tin-foil hat to be concerned with Obama hiring the head of the Center for American Progress as a leader in his transition battalion, and the case for more regulations of free speech still being up on the CAP website. The fact that a writer employed by the same think-tank calling us Cassandras for dreaming up conspiracies of the collapse of the 1st Amendment is creepy. Just like all this newfound outreach of hugs n' kisses from the left, it seems to be a big ruse to float a bunch of turds through congress while we're off getting shitfaced like Troy.
We don't see enough of Obama's face these days, so the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is putting his mug on a fare card available in early January according to the DCist. Funny, but I don't remember seeing any commemoration fare card for anyone else. Ever.
I expect passing through the turnstiles at the subway stations will take longer as holders of the card pause to genuflect when they pull The One's visage from their wallets to swipe the sensors.
I sure hope my card doesn't crap out next month and they force this one on me.
Currently, Metro plans to sell them for $10 per card, with no value added to the card at the time of initial purchase, which would make them $5 more expensive than regular SmarTrip cards. They may also be hard to come by, as Metro will only have an initial order of 35,000 on hand to begin with, though Taubenkibel said the agency hopes to have more available as time permits.
So they'll immediately be targeted by thieves.
The activists are uneasy not only about signs that both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates could be in the Obama Cabinet, but at reports suggesting that several other short-list candidates for top security posts backed the decision to go to war.
"Obama ran his campaign around the idea the war was not legitimate, but it sends a very different message when you bring in people who supported the war from the beginning," said Kelly Dougherty, executive director of the 54-chapter Iraq Veterans Against the War.
The activists -- key members of the coalition that propelled Obama to the White House -- fear he is drifting from the antiwar moorings of his once-longshot presidential candidacy. Obama has eased the rigid timetable he had set for withdrawing troops from Iraq, and he appears to be leaning toward the center in his candidates to fill key national security posts.
The Common Ills thinks they were foolish to believe him in the first place and foolish to make the war their central case against Hillary Clinton;
...an IVAW contingent already embarrassed themselves publicly in Denver. They staged a protest at the Democratic Party convention. They were getting press attention inside the convention because -- as the press gas bagged -- wasn't Barack the alleged 'anti-war' candidate and here was IVAW protesting him. Phones were buzzing, it was going to be the big story. And Team Obama was being asked to comment. So Team Obama sent Tall Tales from Texas out to the protest to make a lot of meaningless remarks that sounded like promises but were nothing more than standard 'rap session' b.s. ("I know where you're coming from," said Barnes.) They bought into that crap hook, line and sinker. And gave interviews where they were excited about Barack (the War Hawk!) and he was going to do this or that and maybe they'd be onstage tonight during his big speech and . . . . It was all so thrilling people might pee their pants!
Reality check, they were punked and everyone knew it right away (including the press -- not always notorious for grasping reality immediately) except IVAW.
They stopped their protest and there was no story (certainly nothing that would embarrass Barack). Barack turned them into props for the 2008 election.
I said the same thing and several times since. While Code Pink declares that they ended the war in Iraq by electing Obama, while IVAW chirps about meetings with Obama's staff, they still don't realized they're just being strung along. They threw Hillary Clinton under the bus for her vote in 2002, so now they get her for Secretary of State. And they're also getting the Senate Majority Leader who wrangled the vote for the war in Iraq and the airline bailout for his wife's industry in 2001 - Tom Daschle - in the Obama cabinet. Even King of the Dolts, John Kerry, is being considered for a posting. From the Richter LA Times piece;
"It's astonishing that not one of the 23 senators or 133 House members who voted against the war is in the mix," said Sam Husseini of the liberal group Institute for Public Accuracy.
Not really astonishing - I've been saying all along that they were being played by Obama. I remember that Jon DeWald, the IVAW's new intellectual spokesman, came here and explained how this was a genuine gesture on the part of the Obama campaign. So who gets the last laugh?
Would they be better off with Hillary? Not as far as the war is concerned, but at least they knew where she stands on a issue, she wouldn't necessarily intentionally lie as Obama apparently has done.
Kevin Martin, executive director of the group Peace Action, said that although Obama had campaigned as an agent of change, the president-elect is "a fairly centrist guy" who appears to be choosing from the Democratic foreign policy establishment -- "and nobody from outside it."
"So, in the short term, we're going to be disappointed," he said. "They may turn out to be all pro-war, or at least people who were pro-war in the beginning."
So, all that Hope and Change stuff is out the window. So Code Pink and IVAW get tossed under the bus - not that it's a bad thing. I also get word that ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice applied six months ago for protest permits in DC for March 21st and the protest is still on. From a blogging standpoint, an Obama presidency is looking like a lucrative business.
A source familiar with transition planning said Mr. Cleland, a Vietnam veteran and triple amputee, is under consideration for either secretary of Veterans Affairs or secretary of the Army in an Obama administration, and liberal grass-roots support is building for his selection.
That just might make sense - a combat-injured veteran who has, most likely, spent the last forty years in the VA system knows what veterans need and he's probably going to do the right thing more often than someone off the street looking for a cushy job. But if they're considering him to be Army Secretary, not so smart - it would be waste of his expertise.
He voted more often with Conservatives on Homeland Security issues, but as the Army Secretary, he'd only be charged with implementing policy rather than making policy. I'd prefer to see him doing the most good for the troops in the role of VA Secretary.
Obama's new honchos on the FCC transition team are huge fans of regulating "teh internet". From Wired (h/t Reason):
"We're not doing at all well for reasons that mostly have to do with the fact that we failed to have a US industrial policy pushing forward high-speed internet access penetration, and there's been completely inadequate competition in this country for high speed internet access," she said.
And in a final introductory statement during her talk (that's likely to send shivers down the spines of telecom company executives) she said that she believes internet access is a "utility."
"This is like water, electricity, sewage systems: Something that each and all Americans need to succeed in the modern era. We're doing very badly, and we're in a dismal state," she said at the time.
Compromise, bipartisanship? Don't think so. Here was one clear signifier of blackness that couldn't be tamed, muted or otherwise made invisible. It emerged right before our eyes, in the midst of our growing uncertainty about everything, and we were too bogged down in the daily campaign madness to notice. The one clear predictor of success that the pundits, despite all their fancy maps, charts and holograms, missed completely? Michelle's butt.While Obama continues appointing former Clinton operatives (and Hillary herself) and Soros-funded wonks to his team ensuring that havoc is wreaked on America, political commentators seemed completely mired in the inane details. This would include Michelle Obama's wardrobe, Ariana Huffington lavishing disgusting praise for her Dear Leader during primetime, and now the rump of the first lady. Get used to 4 years of this crap.
Even though the youth vote did not come out in record numbers as anticipated (they were too busy updating their Facebook profile, gramps), they still went decidedly for The Obama. But amidst an orgy of support to compensate for their vacuous lives, it's nice to see the cool heads prevail at some of our nation's universities. From The Daily Bruin (UCLA's student newspaper):
After grumbling and groaning for years, we are suddenly dusting off our pom-poms and waving them in favor of the government. Will we step up to the plate when it comes time to call out our hero on any of his mistakes (he won’t make any of course, not Obama, not him) or when policies don’t go as planned?
This is a strange mantle of responsibility for us. We are soon going to be a part of the work force – the actual world where bills, mortgages and babies exist. Can we still be the same Generation Y that had everyone slightly intimidated by our attitude? USA Today featured an article about Gen Y in the workplace and pegged us as the ones who were groomed to take over corporate America.
Parsi has written only one book in his short life on the subject of Iran-Israel policy. In that book, he makes the point that Iran doesn't particularly like Israel because of politics, not religious differences. Iran doesn't like democracies. I included some of the more bizarre suppositions of Parsi's theories last Summer;
In this interview for the CFR, Parsi actually argues that the Iranians don’t have nuclear ambitions, they just want to look like they do…then stop developing the nukes just short of the actual warheads;To get the full dose of delusion from this young scholar, you have to read both of my posts on TAH. It's no wonder that Obama has been half-assed on his proposals to talk with Iran without preconditions if this is the kind of advice he's getting.
Well, I think they definitely are looking for a nuclear option, being — as you mentioned — like Japan or Sweden or Belgium — having the capability to be able to go for a nuclear weapon, but stopping short of that. And that is exactly the same approach that the Shah took during the 1970s. He wanted to have the option, but he also recognized the strategic disadvantage for Iran to actually go for a weapon.So I guess we just cross our fingers and hope that even though they go through all of the motions, they stop short of the goal. I guess that’s part of that “Hope” mantra from the Obama campaign.
So the Iranians do have strong incentives not going for a nuclear weapon, but because of them living in a very tough neighborhood, they definitely want to have the option. And I think that’s what they’re aiming for now. I don’t think they have made a strategic decision to go for a weapon, but if tensions between the United States and Iran were to increase further, then that decision would probably be reassessed.
In this interview on CNN, Parsi waves away Ahmadinejad’s letter to the UN last year condemning liberal western democracies in an attempt to bully the West to delay sanctions. Parsi says it’s a plea for negotiations with the US, when it’s clearly not. He goes on to blame the US for Iran’s nuclear ambitions, when there are a 160 other nations in the UN - why does the US have to talk with everyone?
The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in Iraq was put together by the executive branch of the current administration and is currently in the approval process by the Iraqi government. It was just approved by the Iraqi Cabinet today [AP], and awaits Parliamentary approval. The agreement requires that Coalition Forces be withdrawn from Iraq by 2012. This is a testament to the effectiveness of the surge in crippling the enemies of Iraq, the improvement of the Iraqi Security Forces, and highlights that the Iraqi people are comfortable that the worst is behind them. Journalists familiar with being on the front lines are saying that the war is essentially over.
Obama has been advocating for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq for quite some time; however, he did so when violence in Iraq was at its peak in 2007 and he even suggested that some level of genocide would be acceptable if troops were withdrawn early. But all is hunky-doory on Obama's website as he is still pushing his own withdrawal agenda, despite the fact that the SOFA is already done being negotiated by the Bush Administration. From Change.Gov:
The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government. Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month -- which would remove all of them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 -- more than 7 years after the war began.Under the Obama-Biden plan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel. They will not build permanent bases in Iraq, but will continue efforts to train and support the Iraqi security forces as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism.This plan sounds closely analogous to the SOFA, and no doubt The Obama is going to be the hero to anti-war lefties who have been clamoring for an end to the Iraq war ever since it began. The original Change.Gov Iraq Agenda called the Iraqi government a bunch of imbeciles for not making enough political progress. I guess "going with the program" and taking credit for other people's hard work is a step up. But, why does Obama feel like he has to cater to MoveOn.Org types who have been feeding us talking points about Iraq that conveniently ignore reality? At least he's not pushing that dumbass Biden plan from 2007 that went over like a lead balloon throughout the Middle East.
This is not winning the lottery, and I sure hope the guy leading our Armed Forces during a time of war knows what the hell he is doing.
The one part of the economy that is doing well I swear to god is the gun industry. Since Obama got elected gun sales have shot up because there's a, you know, this is, I read this in USA Today, a survey of Americans, how they felt about Obama's election, 67% proud, 59% excited, 30% pessimistic, 27% afraid. So we'd like to f#%k with those people right now. The people who are afraid. A little something we call Obama World. In Obama World all guns will be confiscated and melted down to make a giant statue of Allah.Another example of Obama surrogates erroneously labeling the opposition as paranoid is progressive blogger Yglesias, member of the Center for American Progress, stating that no one on the left is pushing to limit free speech via the Fairness Doctrine. This is despite the fact that the Center for American Progress agenda states:
The new president and the Federal Communications Commission should restore the primacy of the public interest standard and our national commitment to diverse voices and diversity of ownership. The FCC should also prioritize including all of our rapidly diversifying population in the mainstream of the technological revolution so that women and members of minority and immigrant communities are not just consumers of technology, but also owners, producers, and creators of content, applications, and facilities.Obama's agenda is also calling for "diverse" viewpoints in media ownership, which implies shutting down troublesome critics to publicly fund more "politically friendly" outlets under the guise of media ownership looking like a multi-ethnic Burger King Kids club. I have to hand it to Team Obama, they have effectively found a way to squash dissenting viewpoints by denying that their own positions are not really what they seem. At this rate, we'll be hearing about a Soylent Green ration policy for the huddled masses and the Obama surrogates will be denying that its people.
President-Elect Obama has begun a weekly YouTube address to the nation in an effort at transparency in government. In his first dull monologue, he discusses extending unemployment benefits, using $150B of Chinese money to expand "Green Jobs", and something about free Health Care.
YouTube has been around for over 2 years, and if you want to compete for views in our short-attention span world, you need to spice things up a bit. Here's a suggestion from our good friends in India:
That Bollywood Obama could sell anything!
IVAW has been working to hold a face-to-face meeting with now President-elect and members of his staff. Our hard work has paid off! We’ve recently been contacted by a member of President-elect Obama’s veteran staff and will be meeting with representatives of both his Veteran and Foreign Affairs Committees this month. This is a huge opportunity for IVAW to assert our voice and perspective at a new level and to continue to demand accountability for ending the occupation.
So I'm guessing that the IVAW will be presenting their three demands - immediate withdrawal from Iraq (before we win despite their best efforts), fully funded veteran services (one out of three) and full reparations to the Iraqi people (with what money?). I wonder when the Obama staff will meet with the grown ups.
We have been witness to the horror and violence of war and we are determined to give Americans a real eyewitness account of the occupations.
We? Got a combat veteran mouse in your pocket, Kel? Doughtery's testimony at Winter Soldier was confined to a single incident that involved KBR employees firing bean bags at Iraqi civilians to control the situation at the scene of an automobile accident. Oh, the horror. You know that's the worst incident she witnessed because if she had more she'd have used other stories instead.
Dougherty is also the person who told the House Progressive Caucus that they didn't need to swear in any of the witnesses who testified to the committee because IVAW had already verified their testimony. I wonder if any of the banking CEOs who testified to Congress this morning got the same consideration.
Thanks to my busy little mole for the tip.
Remember those OBEY posters plastered all over billboards that were cool in like '98, well the artist, Shepherd Fairey, talks about his mysterious Obama art that has swept the nation 10 years later. Hipster Ariana Ratner from NYC is so stoked she can hardly contain herself (2:23 in the video):
It reminds of the, like, Che Guevara shirts and stuff, like, he'll be an icon in the future.Hard to figure out which is more depressing, that a young, attractive woman would think that mass murderer Che Guevara is cool, or that we have to live in the same country as these morans.
There's been a lot of hand-wringing in Washington over whether or not the auto industry is going to get bailed out by the feds, but one only needs to stop by the Huffington Post (gossip-cum-dumbass politics site) for new ideas for The Obama administration. Neil Young recently started up some electric car company under the guise of saving mother earth. Electric cars might help significantly reduce carbon emissions if our country didn't consume energy from primarily fossil fuels, or if electricity grew out of the wall socket of your house. But logic like that can't stop Neil "Heart of Gold" Young from trying to extort taxpayer dollars to fund his crooked little business. From HuffPo:
Detroit has had a long time to adapt to the new world and now the failure of Detroit's actions is costing us all. We pay the bailout. Let's make a good deal for the future of America and the Planet. Companies like UQM (Colorado) and others build great electric motors right here in the USA. Use these domestic electric motors. Put these people to work now. This plan reverses the flow from negative to positive because people need and will buy clean and green cars to be part of World Change. Unique wheel covers will identify these cars on the road so that others can see the great example a new car owner is making. People want America to win!Notice how "World Change" is capitalized meaning Neil did way too many drugs and can't type correctly or there's some new program we don't know about that's going to flush a bunch more of our taxpayer dollars down the tube. With 60s icons-turned-geezers trying to dictate our consumer habits, and the loathsome Hillary Clinton possibly being the face of America to lead the State Department, I'm half-expecting Medea Benjamin to be appointed the new SECDEF. It can only be concluded that we are living in the Twilight Zone. Get used to it, as it'll be a very weird four years.
I found this article my local paper, The Morning Journal, that tells the story of two regular people who left nearly a million dollars to a local public school.
The estate of Richard and Marian Cronowalt has bequeathed $937,253.67 to endow a new scholarship fund for Vermilion schools....
During World War II, Cronowalt served in the U.S. Army in a tank squadron in Africa, Latteman said. Mrs. Cronowalt worked in a defense plant in Lorain. After his time in the service, Cronowalt worked as a crane operator unloading ore freighters at the port of Lorain. They started saving money, quietly building what would become the gift to Vermilion schools.
"They were just hard workers and savers," Latteman said. "They were hard workers and conservative, especially her. She always wanted to pay her own way, she always wanted to be sure she had enough to cover her or him in the rest home."
Here are two people that clearly lived within their means, under their means, to save money to give away. They did not have kids, Mr. Cronowalt worked a blue collar job, and yet they managed this feat.
These are the kind of people I want to be like, and I believe more people would be like, if they didn't count on the government to do their job. They gave to others out of the good that is them, not because the government confiscated their money.
Below is an image from Bowling Green State University showing what the ore yards look like.
Here it looks way more glamorous than it really is. Up close it was a nasty place. They've since torn it down, it blocked the mayor's view of Lake Erie.
This is another example of a veteran who who served his country and proceeded to serve his community. Nice.
Those dashboard Obamas would really come in handy for when I'm feeling a little blue on the drive to work.
Now, I'm no conspiracy theorist, but Emanuel seems pretty focused on this concept of a civilian paramilitary force. He tries to make it sound innocuous, but you look at the pool of people from which he wants to draw this force (college kids) it's almost as if he wants the cultural opposite from the people who enlist in the military. People more ideologically aligned with Democrats trained and armed. these are the same Democrats who opposed the draft for our military, but see it as useful tool for building a civilian force with the same amount of training, the same weaponry, the same skills. To "teach them what it means to be American",in Emanuel's words.
Now for those of you too young to remember the Dignity Battalions, it was a trained paramilitary force in Panama who owed allegiance to Manuel Noriega. Noriega shuttled them around the country during elections to vote multiple times in May 1989. When the election didn't go the way Noriega wanted it to go, he sent DIgnity Battalion members to beat the crap out of the President-elect Guillermo (Billy) Ford with lead pipes. The attack was so blatant, a CNN cameraman captured it and beamed it around the world.
Hugo Chavez has his own Popular Defense Units, civilian supporters of Chavez, trained in military techniques, who have been used to quell protests in Venezuela, some using gunfire on unarmed civilian opponents.
The Left admires Chavez' brand of socialism, his ability to shut down opposition media and now his solution to crush dissent. I'm just sayin'....
I thought ya'all'd like to discuss this one.
The super fandom of the Obamas has reached a bizarre level of craziness with the launch of Mrs. O, the blog with the stated purpose to "Follow the Fashion of Mrs. O. A regular look at what and who she's wearing". Here's an example of this highly important commentary from the post Global Icon in the Making:
Without doubt, the Maria Pinto coral red dress she wore at the White House yesterday caused a spike in global media admiration, with the dress earning its own column inches in the mainstream British press.
I have no idea what the hell Marina Pinto Coral is, and I don't question the First Lady-Elect's ability to dress herself, so why is any of this relevant except to show the depravity of our celebrity-obsessed culture? There are lots of nutty websites out there in the innertubes, but the disturbing reality is that this blog seems to be mimicking our mainstream media rather than out there on the fringe. Some recent examples of hard-hitting journalism from our corporate-owned conglomerates is "Will Obama Girls be on Hannah Montana?" [CBS] and details of how Obama's inner-circle of friends likes to play scrabble [LA Times].
The Four Horsemen are most concerned with issues like "Is Obama's Economic Policy Going to Bankrupt America" and "Is his Foreign Policy Going to Get Us All Killed?" I guess not caring about where the Obamas shop makes us the wackos.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. military in Iraq is abandoning — deliberately and with little public notice — a centerpiece of the widely acclaimed strategy it adopted nearly two years ago to turn the tide against the insurgency. It is moving American troops farther from the people they are trying to protect.
Yes, by all means let us portray it that way, lest someone get the idea we are winning.
Granted, Operation Enduring Freedom is in need of a serious overhaul as enemy combatants continue to operate freely in the Pakistani tribal areas and violence has risen rapidly this year. But, according to the Washington Post, Obama might be leaning a bit too precipitously towards negotiations and reconciliation with the fanatics in the Taliban to end a long war in a quick fashion:
The incoming Obama administration plans to explore a more regional strategy to the war in Afghanistan -- including possible talks with Iran -- and looks favorably on the nascent dialogue between the Afghan government and "reconcilable" elements of the Taliban, according to Obama national security advisers.This tactic of "reconciliation" worked well in Iraq, as Coalition Forces teamed up with Sahwa councils (many of whom were ex-insurgents) to give Al-Qaeda the boot. However, you get into an "apples and oranges" argument, because the Sunni insurgency in Iraq was largely motivated by power and money (which is easier to co-opt), while the Taliban are much more motivated by religious fanaticism. A look at Musa Qala, which fell under Taliban control in early 2007, demonstrates this fact. From The Long War Journal:
Four Afghan men are hanged for allegedly spying for American forces. Locals claim that the Taliban closed all of the schools in Musa Qala and force females to wear a burqa and be accompanied by a male relative when traveling in public; they also claim Taliban FM radio program airs during the day. A hefty Taliban tax has also been imposed on the impoverished citizens and tales of forced military conscription have merged.Attempting to negotiate with a bunch of crazies may prove completely worthless, as Pakistan has learned the hard way. General Petraeus (CENTCOM Commander) has given subtle indication that some level of reconciliation would be a "positive step", but it is certainly unwise to make it the cornerstone of a new strategy in Afghanistan.
Obama also is considering talking with Iran to achieve some level of common goals in Afghanistan[WaPo]:
Obama said during the campaign that his administration would explore talks with countries such as Iran and Syria, rejecting bedrock Bush policy and rhetoric that some U.S. military officials believe may have outlived their usefulness.It is true that the Iranian theocracy has a vested interest in keeping the bordering countries of Afghanistan and Iraq stabilized. But the past few years has shown that they are much more interested in fighting their holy war against The Great Satan. Whether it be using Hezbollah surrogates to murder our troops, shipping weapons to the Taliban, or deliberately undermining newly-formed democracies to make America look bad, the motivation for Iran's nefarious activities remains clear.
Iran, on Afghanistan's western border, has played a mixed role over the years, at times indirectly cooperating with U.S. objectives and at times assisting the extremists.
The President-Elect needs to weigh these options carefully and consider the consequences. As our Commander-in-Chief, we hope that he leads the world in stomping out the murderous brand of terrorism that has besieged civilization. But, we are deeply concerned that he may try to pander to the far-left base that is already banging on drums and proclaiming "war is over". These are tough times for our country, and we urge Obama not to cave-in to a quick fix like Ellis.
Before Obama's website was purged of his controversial agenda, it mentioned that he would reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Despite needing a law degree to understand what the hell constitutes an "assault weapon", the media has already begun their culture war against lawful gun-owners labeling them red-state rubes with Napoleonic complexes. From NJ.com (h/t Crook's Shadow):
One further point - I'm inclined to believe that the vast bulk of folks buying guns per recent gun shop owners' claims are repeat buyers, they already have guns at home.The Oboner media would obviously like American citizens to be uneducated serfs who will bow their head to whatever turd of an agenda Washington flushes our way. Fortunately, we have a second amendment to prevent such government encroachment. However, people with well-heard voices are offering up extremely creative interpretations of "the right to bear arms". Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
You can see it, can't you? The 'boys with their toys' using any excuse to do the old: "Hey, Honey, because (Obama was elected, a big snow is predicted, an old tree looks frail, any excuse for a new toy) I need to go down to the (gun shop, hardware store, etc.) and pick up a new (gun, snow blower, chain saw, whatever)."
I doubt there are many new buyers. So, again, this 'crisis' is of far less concern than the press makes it. It's really no big deal.
Although Mr. Obama's new administration has been criticized for being too Clintonista, it looks like he may make the right decision regarding Defense in our country's time of war. From WSJ (h/t Small Wars Journal):
President-elect Barack Obama is leaning toward asking Defense Secretary Robert Gates to remain in his position for at least a year, according to two Obama advisers. A senior Pentagon official said Mr. Gates would likely accept the offer if it is made.Luckily for us, Obama is pondering a choice based on SECDEF Gates' superb accomplishments and competence rather than the idiotic rhetoric of his nutty far-left base. Medea Benjamin of Code Pink is furious over the possible nomination. Also, the partisan wags over at Talking Points Memo are having a hissy fit over the whole scenario. Presumably, because they would rather make sure that they're friends had jobs waiting for them in a Democrat-only Washgington than be successful in two very difficult conflicts.
The ephemeral nature of Web publishing does raise some serious issues: if a president-elect circulates a physical press release promising to do something, and then changes his mind, there's a paper trail. That doesn't exist when files are added to a Web site and then quietly removed over a weekend.Speculation about why the agenda was scrubbed remains unclear. But perhaps the genius of Obama team rehashing idiotic talking points from the campaign season and then making them vanish will make the new agenda that much more anticipated and "electrifying" to us gullible Americans. That is in spite of how flimsy the agenda may be.
Following up on Obama's tendency to bring about a new age of politics by advancing far-left ideas from the 1990s, he has selected various Clinton-era relics for his Economic Advisory Board. Politico has a scoop that Robert Reich, former Clinton Secretary of Labor, and Laura Tyson, Clinton's Head Economic Advisor have all been tapped. These wonks have been safely sequestered at UC-Berkeley during the "rethuglican" rule of the last 8 years. Bu,t hopefully they don't run America into the ground the way the the lavish expenses for the UC system is making the CA state economy teeter on bankruptcy. The Obacalypse also hopes that Robert Reich's advice on Iraq isn't followed by The Obama. From his blog in January 2007:
Let’s be clear: Twenty thousand additional troops won’t quell the violence in Iraq. It will only lead to more American deaths. The civil-war bloodbath there is escalating and it’s out of our hands. The only practical issue here in the U.S., over and above the additional losses of life, is who will be blamed for this slaughter – and its repercussions throughout the region – especially during the runup to the 2008 election.Luckily for those Americans that were there and the Iraqis, the violence was quelled with additional troops. However, Reich doesn't think much of our military in the first place, as he sees them as underskilled, undereducated rubes with no choice but to suck off the teet of Uncle Sugar. With a crack advisory team like this, Obama's off to a great start.
Sitting on a couch in front of the television in the early hours of the morning, an Army Captain watched as the election results were being reported. He shook his head in disgust. "This is proof that the media can elect a President." The room walls were grey concrete, the floor covered in a red Afghan rug, the sofa and love seat torn and worn down from constant use. The dusty television was set in a plywood box; a field made "entertainment" cabinet. The Captain continued, "I take [Obama's] not wearing the flag on his lapel and his reasoning very personally. Fuck him. That flag is more than just about a country and its ideas; it is about the man on your left and right that you fight with and die for." The Master Sergeant sitting in the room commented,"He has no use for soldiers. He never took the time on his tours to spend time with soldiers, only senior commanders and foreign politicians."Now there are some observations from people on the ground, people who are actually affected by the decisions of their commanders, both civilian and military. They spoke their minds about the way they perceive the political impact that Obama will have on their profession and their very lives.
So what do the commenters have to say about that?
rgblue: This article is very sad and absolutely amazing.See? The folks who are pulling the triggers are "backwards" compared to the enlightened goofballs on the frontlines of their living rooms watching the election unfold between American Idol and World of Warcraft. And because this fellow "met" ONE Iraq veteran who voted for Obama, that means all of these guys in the article are lying.
These men are completely backwards in their passionate beliefs and opinions and what sounded like hatred at times. They are also a shrinking majority if not already a minority.
Unfortunately, the media they accuse of electing Obama is likely the same media that has fed them lies and poisoned them for years.
This historic election IS what our soldiers have always fought for.
The media did not elect Obama, the PEOPLE did in a magnificent rebuttal of the politics of fear and class warfare and division and hatred.
I met a 24 year old Iraq veteran recently. He voted for Obama. Enough said.
Pushmepullu: The media didn't make the election. In fact, the media was much more careful about calling the election than it has been in the past. Our military is misinformed.The only news the military gets is from the same sources we all have. It's not like their first sergeant reads his version of the news to them every morning. If the military is misinformed, it's quite possible we're all misinformed.
jafreelance: Thank goodness the American People of all races,young and old knows that our Country has to go forward instead of staying in libo.McCain tried using his pow while many others that were pows knew that doesn't make a good President.McCain was out of touch not evening knowing how much gas was while Obama was in touch with the people and did know how it was like to live in a single parent family home with grandparents helping out.Look,read and see how many people are getting laid off from their jobs every single day around the Country while wondering where are they going to live with their kids.Yeah, that's one of the rocket scientists on the Left that's leading us over the cliff. he almost forgot to add "for the children" until the end.
Pushmepullu: Wow. I am really sorry our soldiers in the field do not share our joy at the election of Barack Obama. The President-elect did not shun all soldiers in uniform. I have seen pictures of him shaking hands with troops. I have heard that conservative viewpoints are everywhere in the military. The military needs to open its mind and hearts to possibilities. They can rest assured that Obama is a completely loyal American, with or without flag pin.Get that? The commenter has "seen pictures" of Obama shaking hands with the troops, yet the troops say they haven't seen him. So who's right? And, of course, it's the troops who are being closed-minded and being led around by the media. The troops need to open their minds and their hearts. Never mind that they are are at the spear-point of our foreign policy and these HuffPo cretins are watching what they're fed on the tubes.
Etniks: After living in so many countries and traveling through many others, I just can't take this constant talk about soldiers being "heroes" just for being soldiers. You can travel around the world and the only time you'll see flags hanging from their homes is on their respective Independence days celebrations.I love how the Liberals always have to lead off with how worldly and urbane they are. An urbane person would know that what happened to our troops' opinions is the result of brainwashing - and it began in those secret brainwashing elementary schools on the farms where we grow our super-soldiers. This goofball went to the same school that the rest of us went to but somehow with his superior intellect was able to resist the brainwashing techniques that work so well on us lesser beings.
Not here in the US. The brainwashing supported from school and reinforced constantly in the Media, makes United States a Warrior country, a country not inclusive but expansive and aggressive with military bases over more than 170 countries!!
It's common to see US governments use the excuses of "national security" to attack another country, whether it's true or not , as the case in the attack and occupation of Iraq and the war in Vietnam. The so-called "domino effect" which was the main excuse to "stop communism before all of Asia falls as well" has been proven COMPLETELY FALSE as we can see Russia, China and even Vietnam itself choosing to shed communism on THEIR own terms, even after the US was defeated and ran from Vietnam.
These soldiers in Afghanistan are there trying to make sense of the sacrifices they have been making, and their brainwashing shows its face in their anti-Obama attitude.
The Four Horsemen are all either serving currently or veterans. Our opinions aren't representative of every single member of the military, but some of us have been in the military when Democrats were our commander-in-chief and we know what's in store for our troops, because we know that as soon as they can, Democrats will cut benefits and stop paying the troops properly. Training and maintenance will suffer - and Democrats will tell the troops to shut up and follow orders. And they will, praying for the next election.