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The “President Didn’t Know” Administration

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On the heels of the story that the NSA for more than a decade has been eavesdropping on leaders of America’s allies (most particular German Chancellor Angela Merkel), comes this response from the White House:  Obama had no knowledge of the program at all.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/28/politics/white-house-stopped-wiretaps/index.html

The White House cut off some monitoring programs after learning of them, including the one tracking Ms. Merkel and some other world leaders, a senior U.S. official said. Other programs have been slated for termination but haven’t been phased out completely yet, officials said.

The account suggests President Barack Obama went nearly five years without knowing his own spies were bugging the phones of world leaders. Officials said the NSA has so many eavesdropping operations under way that it wouldn’t have been practical to brief him on all of them.

First problem with this is, does anyone really believe a low-level intelligence staffer would decide to bug the phone of the leader of a major U.S. ally, without White House approval?  Secondly, when this information percolates up the food chain to its ultimate recipient (namely, the President of the United States) don’t you think people would wonder what the source of the intelligence was?

I think most people with a semblance of common sense would assume that this is a farce; for Obama not to know this was going on after five years in the Oval Office is either simply a lie, or means that our Commander-in-Chief is far more incompetent than even his harshest critics have claimed.

However, this “Obama didn’t know anything!” defense is nothing new.  Go back to Benghazi, the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, etc…Obama never seems to know anything going on in his own administration.

And it isn’t even primarily foreign affairs issues either.  Look no further than Obama’s signature domestic legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

In an exclusive interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked when the President first learned about the considerable issues with the Obamacare website. Sebelius responded that it was in “the first couple of days” after the site went live October 1.

“But not before that?” Gupta followed up.

To which Sebelius replied, “No, sir.”

To which I provide the same response:  either Obama is incompetent and doesn’t have a clue what is being done in his name on the signature policy initiatives in his own administration, or somebody is lying.  At this point, I am not sure which is more likely.

I understand the natural tendency of the President’s staunchest allies to defend him, and try to protect him from attacks.  But this is getting ridiculous.  Is there nothing Obama’s responsible for within his own administration?  Again, at some point, you come to the conclusion that either you are being lied to, or Mr. Obama simply is more incompetent than anyone could have imagined.  In that line of though, the President would be better served by taking responsibility for his mistakes, rather than looking for somewhere to hide when his policy decisions blow up in his face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Right Now, I Think Chris Christie Is Our 2016 Nominee

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 O.K., before I get too far into this, DO NOT ATTACK ME.  I predict I will get hate through my comment section, twitter and elsewhere quite quickly.  Chris Christie posts do that, much like Mitt Romney posts got me kicked off of various conservative websites a few years ago.

This is not an endorsement; in fact, you could in some ways call it an ‘antiendorsement’.

But I think we are facing the very real possibility of Chris Christie surging ahead to become the 2016 GOP nominee.  And quite honestly, we really won’t have anyone to blame but ourselves.

If there was a big winner in the Obamacare defunding episode, Gov. Chris Christie was it.  In many ways, he benefits far more than any Democrat, and is ideally placed to take advantage of the political winds of the day.

Why do I say this?  First, let us review what the basic political trends of the past few weeks have been.

For the most part, the GOP marginalized itself.  We can argue whether defunding was a good or bad strategy, but the worst strategy of all is one where the party is going in three different directions, had no leadership or spine, and ultimately capitulates on every issue.  That is precisely what happened here.

Furthermore, for the large part of the populace that wasn’t really paying attention to the intricacies involved, the GOP looked like the radical party, shutting down government against the hapless President.  Yes, I stipulate that this is not the reality, but that is what the public saw.  And they made the decision to blame everyone in Washington, D.C….including President Obama.  However, let us also stipulate that they blamed Republicans more.

Third, the public is sick and tired of our broken political system.   They have basically declared a pox on both houses of both parties, and although the GOP has taken a larger hit, it isn’t by as much as many think.

So is the result of this scenario that I have drawn up?

Most importantly, it elevates an outside of the beltway executive who runs against the grain, fights the system, and is a different type of politician, who can declare that he/she is against both parties to a certain extent and will bring a new kind of politics to the White House.

Chris Christie, enter stage right.

To be sure, there are many others that could benefit from this as well.  Every reasonable GOP Governor could stake a claim on this same argument.  Rick Perry, Scott Walker, among others could make this argument.  But Christie has one added advantage:  he is not beholden to the Tea Party.  And for moderates and independents who are not beholden to the conservative base, that is a positive.

I know at this point my conservative brethren are ready to blow an aneurysm.  Christie is a Republican who basically stabbed our prior Republican nominee in the back on the eve of the 2012 election, a man who has questionable standing on some of our most basic foundations of conservatism (government spending, 2nd amendment rights, abortion, Obamacare, etc), and here I am still telling you he may triumph as the Republican nominee in 2016?

Hey, don’t blame me.  I just call them as I see them.

Conservatives (and I mean real conservatives, not just Republicans) better get their act together.  We want a chance to run a true conservative in 2016?  We better have policies that are acceptable to Americans.  We must base our campaign on policies that speak to middle America, that hit at the heart of the economic despair that ravages this country.  We better put out a face of the future, a person that can speak conservatism to the masses.  We need a new type of conservative candidate, and we have to find that person quickly.

Otherwise, enjoy Christie 2016.

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The Left’s Obamacare Debacle Denialists

Obamacare launch in 3...2...1....d'oh.

Obamacare launch in 3…2…1….d’oh.

Many of my liberal friends are apparently quite happy to live in an alternate reality.

In this reality, the Obamacare rollout is going just great; the issues are simple ‘glitches’ that can easily be remedied.  And of course, none of this will have repercussions to the larger program, nor will the public be turned off by the apparent hiccup.

Yeah, it must be nice living in that world…because the real world is not so great.

See this story from Oregon:

Is the Affordable Health Care Act making health care unaffordable for some people?

Some customers of Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of Oregon’s largest insurance providers, say that’s exactly what’s happening. They say they are finding their health care plans are dramatically changing under the Affordable Care Act.

“Policy holders are seeing almost double their monthly premiums,” said a KATU viewer named Larry in an email. He said his wife’s premium will increase by $300 under the Affordable Care Act.

Cover Oregon spokesman Michael Cox says most insurance plans that focus on lower premiums and higher deductibles will be replaced by plans with lower deductibles and higher benefits.

Or this story from Illinois:

The Tribune‘s Peter Frost found that a typical user in the system — a 33-year-old single father in this case — would see his premiums “more than double” from the current average of $233 a month. But if the single dad wants his premiums to remain in range, he’ll need to sign up for an annual deductible of $12,700. The average deductible before ObamaCare for this consumer would have been $3,500.

You will note I specifically chose states which are run by Democrats, where the states set up their own exchanges, and everything is going as Democrats planned.

If this is success, I would hate to see failure.  I would assume that ‘failure’ scenario has zombies and floods of lava involved.

Oh, but it gets worse.  In a post on the liberal blogging site the Daily Kos, a long time diarist posted his new reality…of much higher premium costs.

My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don’t go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.

Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife’s rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.

I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any $#%#^# penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

If you take a look, be sure to read the comments section.  It is riddled with hate filled rants about how this poster is idea a GOP plant, a troll, or a liar.  A few helpful commenters told others to hold back the attacks until they knew the facts…to no avail.

This is pretty common in the left-wing bubble these days.  Many liberals have convinced themselves that there is no possible way Obamacare could fail.  They simply have faith that Obama could not be that incompetent.

It is almost a religious level of fervor.

To be sure, there are a couple liberal commentators that are facing the hard truths of this big government failure. Robert Gibbs, former Communication director, had this to say:

“This was excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and for the Department of Health and Human Services.”

“This was bungled badly. This was not a server problem, like too many people came to the website. This was a website architecture problem.”

“When they get this fixed, I hope they fire some people…”

A glowing endorsement, indeed.

Ezra Klein, Washington Post blogger and longtime Obamacare aficionado, was even more harsh; and even better, it is while he was on MSNBC:

“The way this I.P. is going is a disaster, I really don’t think people should soft pedal what a bad launch this is. They’ve done a terrible job on this website,” Klein said on Monday’s Morning Joe.“We’re a couple of weeks in and people can’t sign up, people have tried 20, 30, 40 times, I mean it’s one thing for that to be true the first three or four days, it’s another thing for it to be true two or three weeks in.”

Klein went on to say this in his blog:

So far, the Affordable Care Act’s launch has been a failure. Not “troubled.” Not “glitchy.” A failure. But “so far” only encompasses 14 days. The hard question is whether the launch will still be floundering on day 30, and on day 45.

Kudos to Klein and Gibbs for…facing glaringly obvious reality.

This is fundamentally the problem when you create a big government solution to a large-scale problem.  When you create such a program, facts be damned; success is about political victory, not necessarily making the lives of Americans better. And if facts get in the way of that, ignore the facts.  It is frightening how many otherwise rational liberals have totally deluded themselves into believe that Obamacare is a guaranteed success, when nothing can be farther from the truth.

Furthermore, there is no culpability in big government.  In most private ventures, a failure of a $600 million program to meet its most basic goals would result in a demand for and ultimately receipt of a resignation.  What are the chances of Obama demanding HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius to resign, and her submitting her resignation?  Slim to none.  Because in government, you can do no wrong.

Today, most Democrats are oblivious to the realities that Gibbs and Klein are stating.  They still believe Obamacare is the bait-and-switch sale job that Obama sold to them in 2010.  They are still under the illusion this is a plan that will cover everyone (it will not), will reduce the debt (the CBO and GAO say that those cuts are less and less likely), and that it will cut the average American family’s premiums by $2,500 (always a joke, now proven to be a joke).

But self-delusion is a powerful thing.  And although a majority of Americans now see Obamacare as damaging to their well-being, liberals appear to be willing to go down fighting, to defend a reality that simply doesn’t exist.

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Government Shutdown: An Economic and Policy Analysis: Google Hangout

With Washington entering the 16th day of the government shutdown, the economic and social impacts continue to grow. What will it take for the government to open its doors? What is the best solution on the table? How does the fiscal cliff play into this? Do you think the proposed solution will pass through Congress & how will it impact society?

Join political media strategist James Kotecki as he moderates a discussion with policy & economic experts about the shutdown. He’ll be joined by Stan Veuger (American Enterprise Institute), Pradheep Shanker (Conservative Union Community on Google+), and CJ Guest (Sensible Politics Community on Google+).

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Get The Focus Back On Obamacare

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OK, now that we are arriving at the end game for the government shutdown, we need to once again find our bearings.

Many conservative commentators want to point fingers, say this person or that did or did not do damage to the GOP cause, etc. etc..

What a complete waste of time and effort.

I find the blame game to be worthwhile only in teaching us what we can do better next time.  And in that line of thought, I personally do my blaming behind closed doors.  Airing our dirty laundry for others to later use against us is a level of stupidity I simply cannot understand.  Yes, mistakes were made.  Yes, we could have done better and should do better.  But bad talking our own team in the public does none of us any good.

In the weeks to come, I am sure the media and Democrats will try to maintain the public focus on the government shutdown.  This, despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans barely knew there was a shutdown, nor really cared that much.  The polling that the media likes to repeat over and over again showing poor support for the GOP strategy also consistently shows the public largely didn’t think this episode was all that relevant to their daily lives.  Surprise, surprise.

The biggest drawback to the timing of the defunding maneuver and government shutdown was it took the media spotlight off the debacle of the Obamacare exchange website rollout.  Our entire focus should be on that issue for the next few months.

Our job is to get the focus back on the issues that matter.  In the short-term, that is the Obamacare rollout.

Obama will do what he always does:  he will try to distract. Maybe it will be gun control, maybe some abortion issue, I have no idea.  But he usually flashes some shiny object at conservatives, and we jump at it.

We need to keep our eye on the ball.  No shiny objects, no ‘SQUIRREL!’ moments.

The website disaster is only the tip of the iceberg.  The website itself will likely not be fully functional for months, if then.  Then, early in 2014, the deadlines for IRS penalties come quickly, as everyone must have proof of insurance by February 14th.  How this is going to occur with the current website dysfunction, nobody in the administration can answer.

Then, to compound matters, the sticker shock is starting to resonate.  Average Americans are seeing extraordinary premium costs, on top of decreased access and higher deductibles . To be sure, some people are seeing lower costs, primarily from the large subsidies the Federal Government is providing.  But these are not the people who matter; most of these people are actually going to end up in the Medicaid system.

The people who really matter, that the CBO and others state MUST buy insurance to make this system work, are young people, with young families.  Their insurance rates on average are going to be significantly higher than before.  These are the people who the GOP must listen to, hear their cries for help, and then allow their message to resonate to the rest of America.

So let whatever deal is going to happen on the shutdown come sooner rather than later.  And then, we can focus on the grand incompetence that is the Affordable Care Act.

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A Happy Conservative’s Thoughts On The Shutdown

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A few random pontifications on the government shutdown.

  • I for one think politically speaking, this is going much better than I could have predicted. I was supportive of the defund strategy, but thought it would all fall  apart in the first few minutes of a actual shutdown.  Give credit where credit is due:  Ted Cruz et al may have started this, but John Boehner is the one keeping the caucus together, against moderate threats like Peter King.
  • Where do we go from here?  I think it is pretty clear it will take another cliff to get both sides together, for a simple reason:  the government shutdown has not been very painful.  There is no motivation for either side to compromise right now.  Sure, the polls show a slightly larger portion of the population blames the GOP, but nowhere near the numbers of the 1995 shutdown. That is bad news for Obama. However, Obama is still under the illusion that this is a repeat of 1995, as are his West Wing advisors.  Until that view changes, we are on lockdown.
  • The next bump in the road:  the debt ceiling.  I think for all sides, that is far more important than this shutdown.  Default clearly would cause more repercussions than anything occurring today.
  • Be prepared for an unsatisfying end to this.  There is no way the GOP wins on all its points.  However, even a partial win by the GOP should be considered an achievement, considering the make up of D.C. today.  If we can get the medical device tax repealed, or something along the lines of the Vitter amendment, along with some other cost savings, I would be content.
  • The one negative of the shutdown?  The diluted news coverage of the debacle that has been the Obamacare startup.  The Feds are searching frantically for good news, and the best they can come up with is web hits.  Sorry, but that is about as useless a barometer as I can imagine.  Now, show me number of people who actually signed up for insurance, and then we can talk.  The most successful exchanges have signed up a few thousand customers; some have not signed up a single person yet, two days into this process.
  • So far, the Obama people have failed in finding any victims to point to in order to villify Republicans, but they did a pretty good job in creating victims to villify Obama.  The silliness at the World War II Memorial was about as stupid a political move as one can imagine.  And don’t doubt for a second that some political appointee reading Alinsky Rules didn’t make this decision.  No such barricades were placed during the Clinton-Gingrich shutdown, for example.  No, this was calculated, and it blew up in their collective faces.
  • Harry Reid compounded the Democrat debacle yesterday, when asked why the Senate wouldn’t try to help “one child who has cancer” by approving a mini-spending bill, he shot back: “Why would we want to do that?”  Reid spent the rest of the day trying to explain why this didn’t imply he wanted kids to die.  The House has twice passed funding bills to keep NIH and other essential services open.  If the media was actually nonpartisan, this would have a political impact.  We will see how much this story plays out.
  • As for tactics:  First, understand thy enemy.  Liberals are basically in the ‘Kermit the Frog hand flailing’ mode now.  Why?  I have had many conservatives ask this, and I thought it was blatantly obvious:  for liberals, shutdown of the Federal government is like taking away their oxygen.  You must understand that for many of them, their core ideological belief is that the government is the end all, be all of human existence. Life without a large, bureaucratic government overseeing their daily lives is unthinkable.
  • I suggest conservatives try to show sympathy for the furloughed government workers and others suffering from the shutdown.  I understand the hatred for big government, but many of these people are simply caught up in this, and are paying a price for the stupidity of our political leadership.  Be neighborly; help out any friends that are struggling. I have had friends that are Veterans, and some of their benefits have been cut.  Conservatives care about these things, and we should be the first to help and aid these people, and not revel in any of their misery.  This sympathy for fellow Americans does not mean inherently mean we should change our strategy; short term pain is one thing, long term good of the country is another.
  • Conservatives on the other hand need to react to these angry liberals in one, simple fashion:  Don’t worry, be happy.  Look, this is our ideal!  We have a government that is funding defense, and little other extraneous spending.  Doesn’t mean we support the level of spending that is occurring right now, but we can’t complain much about it either.  Be the happy warriors that Reagan used to talk about. We have little to lose, and a lot to win.  And unfortunately, many of these spending programs will be starting up sooner than we would like anyway.
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Obama’s ‘ALL IS WELL!’ World View

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On Tuesday, Obama spoke to the United Nations General Assembly, and made some of the following comments:

“The world is more stable now than it was five years ago.”

“Just as we reviewed how we deploy our extraordinary military capabilities in a way that lives up to our ideals, we’ve begun to review the way that we gather intelligence so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share,” he said.

“As a result of this work and cooperation with allies and partners, the world is more stable than it was five years ago,” he added.

Obama did note, however, that “dangers remain.”

“Even a glance at today’s headlines indicates that dangers remain,” Obama said. “In Kenya we’ve seen terrorists target innocent civilians in a crowded shopping mall, and our hearts go out to the families of those who have been affected. In Pakistan nearly 100 people were recently killed by suicide bombers outside a church. In Iraq killings and car bombs continue to be a terrible part of life.”

“Meanwhile, al-Qaida has splintered into regional networks and militias which doesn’t give them the capacity at this point to carry out attacks like 9/11, but it does pose serious threats to governments and diplomats, businesses and civilians all across the globe.”

Now, he did acknowledge there are dangers.  Bully for him.  But the rest of this world vision simply is a level of self-delusion that is not just amusing for his opponents and our enemies on the world stage, but is in fact quite dangerous.

Let us take a case by case look at the world, shall we?

Afghanistan:  Almost twice as many American military personnel have died in that country under Barack Obama’s 4+ years than during Bush’s 7 years of  over seeing that war.  The government has largely distanced itself from its American counterparts, and to varying degrees has aligned itself with Iran and Pakistan.  The Taliban is resurgent, and simply are waiting for the inevitable Obama announcement for exiting the war all together.

Pakistan:  This critical nation is more destabilized now than ever.  The political situation is tenuous, and our relations with them continue to reach all-time new lows.

Iran:  Iran inches toward nuclear weapons, a clear goal if there ever was one.  We missed an opportunity during the Green revolution in 2009, and such a chance will be unlikely to come again.

Iraq:  The country for which Obama has the least historical responsibility, but things are not going well here.  Violence has escalated, almost close to the levels of the civil war of 2006.  And because we withdrew from the Bush-era force agreement, we have no leverage there, as Iraq, like Syria before it, starts to become a proxy state for the Iranians.

Syria:  The biggest, most glaring hole in Obama’s claim.  100,000 Syrians have died during the two-year civil war, and tens of thousands more will die before the war is over.

Israel/Palestine:  The peace process has been dead as a doornail, with neither side even approaching the negotiation table.

Egypt:  After Syria, maybe the next most glaring example of failure.  Violence has been rampant all year, as the Muslim Brotherhood was pushed out of the democratic process.  Ever since Obama helped displace Mubarak from the leadership, Egypt has been in a slow death spiral.  Now, ironically, it looks like only the Egyptian military, from which Mubarak himself originated, can save the country.

Libya:  We helped oust Qadhafi, and ever since, it has been a failed state.  The central government controls less than 1/3 of the nation. Islamists control the rest. Many of the weapons we sent to the rebels has been used in other Islamist conflicts through out Africa, the most prominent being the Mali civil war.

Russia: Outside of the Middle East, the biggest diplomatic failure.  We are closer to a new Cold War than we have been since 1991.  Putin has no respect or love for Obama, and opposes him at every turn.

Al Qaeda/Islamic terrorists;  Probably deserves its own category.  Whether you are discussing Yemen, Kenya, or elsewhere, the death of Osama Bin Laden has done little if anything to stop the generational war that Islamists continue to fight, whether we admit it or not.

Simply put, no rational analysis of the world situation can result in thinking the world is more stable today than five years ago.  We can argue whether this is Obama’s fault or not, whether this is a historical trend we are swimming against, whether this all the fault of George W. Bush, or maybe the fault of Aliens.  But in short…Obama’s view is simply delusional.  There is no other way to describe it.

 

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John McCain: Goodbye, And Thanks For All The Fish

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I own a shirt very much like the one above.  Yes, I campaigned for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008.  I blogged and worked hard for his election, even knowing that the reality made it highly unlikely.  I defended all of his past mistakes and bad behavior, and in the end…we got pummeled.

Now, I don’t mind getting pummeled.  The litany of campaigns that I could name that were hopeless causes runs a mile.  I can live with picking a candidate, fighting, and losing proudly.

But I am honestly ashamed of my voting for John McCain.  I am sure many of you feel the same way.  Pretty sure the entire state of Arizona is feeling somewhat like that as well, this morning.

McCain had long ago jumped the shark, and after than, he nuked the fridge, and yesterday, he he nuked the shark with a fridge or something.  In comments following Sen. Ted Cruz’s 21 hour Senate floor speech, McCain could only revert to being his smarmy, irritating, old codger self.  No, he couldn’t hand out any praise, or even simply keep his mouth shut.  No, the old crotchety Cold War warrior had to make his normally stupid remarks.

McCain also recalled the 2009-2010 debate over Obamacare — before Cruz was elected to the Senate — saying “the people spoke” on the issue when they reelected President Barack Obama in 2012. McCain said lawmakers shouldn’t “give up our efforts to repair Obamacare” but said it wasn’t worth shutting down the government.

“We fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost,” McCain said. “One of the reasons was because we were in the minority, and in democracies, almost always the majority governs and passes legislation.”

This is classic, ‘Maverick’ McCain.  The McCain the left and the media adores.

Why?  Because this McCain is basically a shill, a Democrat, a man worthless to the Republican Party and to conservatives everywhere.

Oh, I don’t mind that he disagrees with Cruz.  I don’t mind if he doesn’t like the defunding strategy.  But to say ‘We lost!’ and that is it…completely misunderstands his place within the minority party in America.  He also misunderstands the ‘public’ debate.  Obamacare was passed with minority support…from the public.  It never won the hearts and minds of Americans.  Just because Democrats were able to ram the ill-conceived law, no matter what debate did or did not occur, belies the point that simply accepting it is a moronic political policy.

At this point, I hope he leaves the party, pulls a ‘Arlen Specter’ and becomes a Democrat.  He has long wanted to anyway.  He would do less damage to Republicans by simply converting than his idiotic tirades on a weekly basis is already doing.

McCain is a war hero, and for that, he will forever deserve our thanks.  I am not sure that anything he has done after that point has really helped America though.  One way or another, he needs to be seen to the door, and metaphorically placed on a ship and sent to parts unknown.

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9/11…Never forget.

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Never forget.

Freedom_is_not_free

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Syria: What Now?

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So, I have spent much of the last two weeks contemplating the logic of war, what should determine if we send troops into the field and kill and destroy people of a far off land.  I think, and I hope, I took a fair look at the decision-making involved.  You can see my prior posts here.

That said, where does that leave us?

I believe wholeheartedly that Barack Obama made the right decision in 2012 when he refused to get involved directly in the Syrian Civil War.  None of the arguments I have heard, to this day, make me believe that anything we could have done would have dramatically altered the landscape in such a way to benefit us in any significant way.

That doesn’t mean we couldn’t have had an effect.

First and foremost, we could have pushed a diplomatic solution long ago. Yes, it would have required agreement by Russia and China…but isn’t that what diplomacy is always about?  And don’t tell me it was impossible.  Today, with the deal the Syrians are making with the Russians, we are seeing how impossible such a path was.  Simply put, our diplomatic forces failed miserably.

Additionally, if we wished it, we quite easily could have pushed Assad out of power.  But to what end?  To allow a host of rebel groups, most of whom are to one degree or another Islamists, and many who have direct ties to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, to take control of a key piece of real estate in the Middle East?  There was no western-style democracy to be had in Damascus.  Every alternative was a bad one.

Then, for reason unknown to this day, President Obama drew his now infamous ‘red line’.  This may go down in history as one of the most inept Presidential statements ever.  In one single sentence, Mr. Obama placed the credibility of the U.S.A., not to mention the credibility of his own Presidency, on the line if Assad or the rebels ever decided to use their chemical weapons stockpiles.

Imagine:  placing the credibility of the greatest nation on earth on the decision-making of dictators and Islamists groups, who would happily die for the greater good that they envision.

That was madness.

Everything that has occurred on this side of the pond since has largely occurred because Mr. Obama said something extremely stupid in that press conference.

To compound this initial mistake, which could have been corrected by an apology, Obama then went on to double down, as he built a case for war against Syria.

At this point, he has laid this mess on the laps of Congress, because frankly, he had no where else to go.  He couldn’t go to the public, because they are about 90:10 against the concept; heck, his own wife is not on board.  He couldn’t go to the United Nations, because his leverage there may be less than mine. He tried to go to America’s great backup plan, the United Kingdom, and David Cameron failed in epic proportions to muster the votes needed for military action.

Now, Obama stands alone.  And honestly, this is unique in his entire political career.  Obama has always made sure he had political cover for every decision he has ever made.  That is one reason he has tried to go back to Congress; he believes that their support may give him the cover he needs to take the country to war again.

So, the question remains:  what should Congress do?  This is a terrible decision all around.  First and foremost, the President already had the power to attack Syria under the War Powers Act.  I wholly believe this, although I have made much hay about Obama’s hypocrisy on the subject (he openly opposed those same powers when George W. Bush was in office).

If Congress blocks military action, the President and the country will be further diminished in the eyes of the world.  If they vote for military action, Obama could take the country on another unnecessary and possibly dangerous adventure in the Middle East…and we all know how well those have gone in the past.

In other words…damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

In a last-minute brilliant move by Vladimir Putin (brilliant for him; not so good for the United States), Putin offered a roadmap to peace.  He would allow the Syrians to give up their chemical weapons, in exchange from protection from military attacks from the West.

This is, of course, ridiculous policy after the past few weeks.  First and foremost, Assad has been accused of wars against humanity.  So all he has to do is give up the weapons for which he is accused of those crimes?  It is like allowing a murder to walk following a shooting, if only he hands over his gun.

It should be interesting how Democrats play this.  For the last several weeks, Obama supporters like John Kerry and Harry Reid have made the case that Assad is the modern Hitler.  So now, if we allow Assad to stay in power…the natural progression of their logic is Barack Obama is the modern Neville Chamberlain.

Secondly, we all know this is a delay tactic. Much like Saddam Hussein, time is on the side of the tyrant.  The longer he survives, the more time he has to wipe out his enemies, in what ever manner possible. Furthermore, if you see news reports in the German press, there is an open question to whether Assad ever was inclined to use chemical weapons in the first place.  This raises the question:  is he even in control of his weapons?  And if he isn’t, that means that he benefits from any steps the international community takes, by allowing him to consolidate his power.

Furthermore, the reality is Assad will never give up his chemical weapons.  Not really.  Even if he gave up every ounce of weapons he has today, he will forever have the capability to make more.  Chemical weapons are a low-cost entry in to the world of weapons of mass destruction.  He may talk about eliminating his stockpile; he may even let inspectors come and look at his weapons depots.  But the possibility of him handing over his trump card, including potential capabilities to produce future weapons, is next to nil.

So, the joke is on us if we even consider this proposal for a nanosecond.

On September 10th, the President plans to talk to the American people.  I have no idea what he plans to say.  At this point, I almost don’t care.  The last few weeks of foreign policy from this administration has been a comedy of errors, and sadly, none of it is funny.  As they have made their case for war, their support for war among the public has dramatically dropped; as much as 20% in a recent poll over the past week.  In other words, the more Obama makes his case, the more people are opposed to it.  So what difference will a Presidential primetime speech make?  Likely, none at all.

So, Congress is likely to shoot down Obama’s war proposal; possibly even the Senate.  That will be one of the loudest votes of no confidence in an American President in modern times.  The decision-making will then shift to the Kremlin, where Putin has outplayed Obama, and he now holds all the cards.  And where Obama goes from there, nobody knows.  But America will be weaker off for it.

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