The longer we listen to the President and his minions, the more we see a demonic, lying, deceiving, dictatorial scum bag. If those words are too strong, sorry those are our feelings. This Administration has never been honest with the American people depending rather on name calling, deceit and deception. He proposes sequester then denies it. He tells us that he wants to meet with Republicans and then spends 7 minutes. Disingenuous at best. Conservative Tom Here is more on the article.
This week the Supreme Court heard two cases on gay issues. Both are detailed in the following article.
We believe that Justice Roberts has been co-opted and will vote for the Administration on both of these cases, even though most Conservatives (and we always thought that we was one) do not believe in gay marriage as a right. We believe that they should be able to name beneficiaries to their insurance, wills and retirement accounts; and that they can have their loved ones attend to them in the hospital. However, marriage is defined as a man and a woman and that right should be restricted to those two sexes.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will throw its support behind a broad claim for marriage equality, urging the Supreme Court to rule that voters in California were not entitled to ban same-sex marriage there, according to an administration official.
The federal government is not a party to the case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144, and was not required to take a position in it. But the lawyers who filed the challenge, Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, along with gay rights groups, lobbied hard for the brief, saying the administration could not stay silent on the issue.
The administration is expected to file the brief Thursday.
The broad outlines of the administration’s position were not a surprise, given that it filed a brief last week in a same-sex marriage case in which it is a party, United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307. But that case presents only the narrower question of the constitutionality of part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman for the purposes of more than 1,000 federal laws and regulations.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act case will at most decide whether the federal government can discriminate against same-sex couples even if they married in states that allow such unions. Nine states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.
The case from California presents the broader question of whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in the states that do not allow it, which is why the new brief is significant. It is hardly certain, however, that the Supreme Court will end up deciding that broad question. The court may well avoid the issue on technical grounds or rule in a way that applies only to California.
Until not long ago, the administration was thought likely to stay out of the California case, partly as a matter of historical practice and partly to be true to President Obama’s public position on same-sex marriage.
The federal government took no position in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia, the case in which the Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage, or in 2003 in the last major gay rights case, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state laws making gay sex a crime.
Moreover, when Mr. Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, he said the matter was for the states to decide.
“I continue to believe,” he told Robin Roberts of ABC News, “that this is an issue that is going to be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what’s recognized as a marriage.”
That statement is not hard to reconcile with the administration’s position in the case concerning the 1996 federal law. As Mr. Obama said in May, the law “tried to federalize what has historically been state law.” But the views Mr. Obama expressed in May are in tension with the position taken by his lawyers in the new brief, which calls for federal intervention to override a state law.
(A second part of the 1996 law, which says states need not recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, is not before the Supreme Court.)
On the other hand, Mr. Obama has long opposed Proposition 8, the 2008 California voter initiative that amended the state’s Constitution to overturn a State Supreme Court decision establishing a right to same-sex marriage.
“I am not in favor of gay marriage,” Mr. Obama told MTV News in 2008. “But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don’t contract them.”
More recently, Mr. Obama has embraced a more sweeping view of marriage equality.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” he said in January in his Inaugural Address, “for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.”
The new brief argues that courts should subject laws making distinctions between straight and gay people to “heightened scrutiny,” requiring a showing that such laws are “substantially related to an important government objective.” The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether sexual orientation should require such review, but the federal appeals court in New York, in the Windsor case, said that it did.
The administration argues that the factors that led courts to require heightened scrutiny for laws concerning gender and illegitimacy should also require it for those addressing sexual orientation. Gay men and lesbians, the brief said, have suffered a history of discrimination, have distinguishing characteristics and lack political power.
The California case is scheduled to be argued on March 26 and the one concerning the federal law on March 27. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. will probably present the federal government’s position in both cases, and he is likely to be questioned closely about changes and possible inconsistencies in the administration’s position.
It will be interesting to see how the next couple weeks of the Woodward-White House war of words plays out. Will we see Bob Woodward cave or see the White House realize its mistakes? Or will other reporters finally start becoming reporters again or will they also bend to the demands of the White House? Whichever way it ends, there will be blood spilled. The opening round was the White House demanding that Woodward not release the article on sequester and telling him that there would be hell to pay if he went ahead (our words, not a quote.) As one of the Watergate reporters who broke the story that brought down Nixon, one would think that this would only encourage the investigator to dig deeper. Obviously, this was not a big story, but it is becoming one. In that same vein, neither was Watergate. The break-in was something easily dismissed and could have been controlled by throwing a couple functionaries to the wolves. It grew into a real story as the President and his people tried to control an out of control situation. The cover-up is where the real story broke. Now we have the same type of very private White House telling a well known and respected reporter to mind his own business and not to report what he knows. Could this be the beginning of the end of the Obama Administration or will the press throw Woodward to the wolves and dismiss him as a has-been? Time will tell, however ff we were to predict (which we know is dangerous business), Obama will get away with this. There will be some fence mending and Woodward will admit to a memory slip. He will say something to the effect of "I did not really remember it the way the White House does and for any misunderstanding on my part, I apologize to the President." Will you be satisfied with this? Will other reporters get the message that you don't cross this White House? Or will some enterprising reporter find the real smoking gun? We have told you what we think, now it is your turn. Conservative Tom
President Barack Obama backpedaled on the sequester in a speech Tuesday.
I knew the so-called “sequester” house of cards would ultimately collapse. As Wayne Allyn Root pointed out in Sequestration Ponzi Schemeand as and Bob Livingston pointed out in When Cuts Aren’t Really Cuts, the sequester was never more than a pittance, an empty symbolic gesture by the Washington political elite made solely for the purpose of calming the low-information masses who quiver with fear until their masters pat their heads. President Barack Obama and his accomplices thought it up, only to deny their own folly and instead use their corporate media flacks to cast Obama as an innocent bystander to the Machiavellian machinations of the GOP. Fortunately for Obama, the GOP leadership has grown so jelly-spined that playing them for suckers is easier than convincing the Democrat masses that Obama’s latest course-reversal is just the President’s “evolving.”
But Obama and his cronies overplayed their hand this time around. Even casual observers recognized Obama’s poorly disguised duplicity, and the average citizens upon whom Obama’s economic cannonballs always land were too focused on basic survival amid the wreckage of Obama’s failed policies to care much about another liberal scam. And that may well be why Obama himself knocked over the shaky sequester construct.
During a speech at the Newport News, Va., naval shipyard (where they build what Obama equated with “horses and bayonets” during his final Presidential debate with Mitt Romney), Obama whined: “These cuts are wrong. They’re not smart. They’re not fair. They’re a self-inflicted wound that doesn’t have to happen.”
Just to ensure we’re all on the same page: The President of the United States, in an effort to further demonize his perceived enemies, attacked them for compromising on an idea he formulated but in which he evidently never believed, all while standing in an industrial center dedicated to building things he considers antiquated and unnecessary.
Presented with a similar knot of logical self-entanglements, I do believe the kids these days would respond simply: “Facepalm.” Nuff said.
Until Barack Obama came along, Jimmy Carter held the title “Worst President in U.S. History.” Now, Carter may have taken the title back. You would have thought he’d be satisfied with almost destroying the U.S. economy and almost breaking the spirit of our country once. But, no! Thirty-three years later, Carter is now instrumental in helping Obama finish the job he started.
As President from 1976 to 1980, Carter came close to wrecking our economy and our entire country. An ultra-liberal, politically correct do-gooder, just like Obama, Carter announced his Presidency would be dedicated to “compassion” and human rights. And, just as had happened during Obama’s tenure, the leftist gobbly-gook “feel-good philosophy” led to disaster.
The Carter nightmare included four years of crippling high unemployment, stagflation of 13.5 percent, unimaginable 21.5 percent interest rates, record gas prices, shortages and gas lines, a doubling of the deficit from $27 billion to almost $60 billion, U.S. embassy personnel in Iran held hostage, an unsuccessful hostage rescue attempt, the embarrassing decline of our military, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. America almost did not survive Carter.
Along came a true patriot and American hero, Ronald Reagan, who turned Carter’s malaise and misery and the worst economy since the Great Depression into the greatest economic turnaround and expansion in world history. Reagan showed the world that America was indeed the “shining beacon on the hill.” Reagan made us great again and, by doing so, exposed Carter as an incompetent, ultra-liberal laughingstock. To make matters worse for Carter’s legacy, the U.S. hostages in Iran were released on Reagan’s Inauguration Day. Carter never forgave Reagan or America for leaving his reputation in tatters.
Carter wandered the wilderness for the past 33 years, growing more angry and bitter with each passing year. He took out his anger by embarrassing the United States and meddling in foreign affairs. He spent the past 33 years denouncing Israel, praising nations that supported Muslim terrorists, defying the U.S. travel ban to Cuba and praising tyrants like Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Yugoslavian dictator Josip Broz Tito and North Korean despot Kim Il Sung. He oversaw election fraud and corruption in Venezuela and Haiti and declared everything fair and square. The man has spent 33 bitter, disgraceful years venting his hatred for America.
Now, Carter has finally gotten his revenge. Angry at America’s success since Reagan, including those 40 million new jobs created since the early 1980s, Carter might be the man most responsible for Obama’s re-election, allowing him to continue the destruction Carter began all those years ago in 1976.
How did Carter help re-elect Obama? Mitt Romney was poised to do to Obama exactly what Reagan did to Carter. A brilliant businessman and turnaround specialist, Romney was the perfect man to again save America. He would have turned around this Obamageddon economy in two years with low taxes, reduced spending and smaller government — exactly how Reagan saved us from Carter. But along came that secret tape where Romney discussed “the 47 percent” of Americans who want government to give them checks and will vote for the politician who keeps the checks coming. The release of that tape was the beginning of the end for Romney. His reputation, likeability ratings and Presidential campaign never recovered.
Well guess who released that damaging tape? It was Carter’s grandson, Democratic operativeJimmy Carter IV, getting sweet revenge for Grandpa.
Carter’s grandson said: ”I’ve been hearing all my life people making fun of my grandfather, or saying that he was a bad president, or things like that, and I’ve just gotten used to it. And it’s nice to be able to hit back.”
Upon seeing the tape of Romney’s remarks, the former President said in an email to his grandson: ”James: This is extraordinary. Congratulations! Papa.”
It may not have been the only reason Romney lost, but it certainly did more damage to his campaign than anything Obama said in months of campaigning. And so, with the help of Carter’s grandson, history was changed. Instead of a modern-day Reagan, we got stuck with a second, disastrous term of a modern-day Carter. If Carter had been re-elected back in 1980, there very likely would never have been 40 million new jobs over the next 25 years. America’s military and economy probably never would have recovered, and we’d have a lower standard of living and gasoline prices of $8 per gallon — just like in the European socialist countries both Carter and Obama want America to emulate.
But thanks to Carter’s grandson, it’s Groundhog Day. Carter gets a do-over. We’re about to see what would have happened if we’d never elected Reagan and had given Carter a chance to finish the job of destroying America. We’re about to see if Obama can finish the job of destroying the U.S. economy in a second term — all in the name of tax and spend, compassion, fairness, social justice, and human rights.
Once Obama is done using Carter’s ultra-left policies to gain retribution and redistribution, I can imagine only that America will be a shell of its former self. America’s military will decline, the U.S. economy will continue in misery and malaise, inflation will return to unimaginable heights, debt will continue to rise, and gas lines and rationing will once again be part of our lives. America will be anything but exceptional.
Congratulations, Carter. It took 33 years and your grandson’s help, but you’ve finally gotten your revenge on the American people and American exceptionalism.
Sadly, just like a second term of Carter, I can promise you, this will not end well.
I’m Wayne Allyn Root for PersonalLiberty.com. See you next week. Same time, same place. That’s when I’ll present to you the solution, the perfect model to save America and the U.S. economy. Carter and Obama won’t like it. But it is proven to work. See you next week. God bless America
We will see what he does, but do not expect Lew to be a good negotiator. He will be the biggest Obama promoter, the most vocal supporter of the President's positions and the least willing to make any changes. It is not good news for anyone thinking there should be negotiated solutions in Washington.
Senate, in a More Affable Mode, Backs Treasury Nominee
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday easily and, for the most part, affably confirmed President Obama’s pick for Treasurysecretary, Jacob J. Lew, a day after the president’s nominee for defense secretary narrowly survived a highly politicized confirmation vote.
Little of the acrimony that held up the nomination of Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska senator who began his first day as defense secretary on Wednesday, was present in the debate over Mr. Lew.
The final vote was 71 to 26, with 20 Republicans joining the Democratic majority in support of the nomination.
Mr. Obama expressed gratitude for the decision to confirm his former chief of staff and top budget adviser.
“Jack was by my side as we confronted our nation’s toughest challenges,” the president said in a statement. “His reputation as a master of fiscal issues who can work with leaders on both sides of the aisle has already helped him succeed in some of the toughest jobs in Washington.”
The vote meant that for the moment at least, the Senate returned to its traditional role of affording the president deference in selecting his cabinet. Historically, the Treasury secretary position has been an easy one for presidents to fill, with nominees typically receiving unanimous support from the Senate.
Mr. Obama’s previous Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, was a notable exception. After disclosures that Mr. Geithner was delinquent in paying some taxes, many Republicans objected. He was confirmed by a 60-to-34 vote.
Some Republicans who voted for Mr. Lew spoke of the need to give the president flexibility to name his own cabinet even if they ultimately disagreed with a nominee’s politics.
“My vote in favor of Mr. Lew comes with no small amount of reservation, and I don’t fault any of my colleagues for choosing to vote against him,” said Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the senior Republican on the Finance Committee. “I hope he and the president take note that I am bending over backwards to display deference.”
Though Mr. Hagel’s nomination was stymied as he faced criticism over past statements on Israel and Iran and stumbled over questions in his confirmation hearing, Mr. Lew faced few objections. Other than questions that arose from an unusual $685,000 severance payment he received after he left New York University for a job at Citigroup, the confirmation process was relatively smooth.
One particularly vocal objection on Wednesday came from one of the Senate’s most liberal members, Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont.
“We need a secretary of the Treasury who does not come from Wall Street but is prepared to stand up to the enormous power of Wall Street,” Mr. Sanders said from the Senate floor. “Do I believe that Jack Lew is that person? No, I do not.”
Still, even though the Senate approved Mr. Lew, he received far fewer votes than other Treasury secretary nominees. With the exception of Mr. Geithner, Senate records show that the last nominee to receive fewer than 92 “yes” votes was George P. Schultz, Richard Nixon’s pick in 1972.
Mr. Obama faces another possible battle over a high-level nominee in the coming days as the Senate is set to start considering John Brennan, the White House’s choice as director of central intelligence.
If we reach the following highly unpleasant conclusion, what are the implications?
The United States has taken a political turn which, at least for the next four years, will guarantee that it does not play the role of a great power mindful of and willing to protect its own true interests, to support its allies, and to combat its real foes. On the contrary, through inaction or active effort the leadership of America will take counterproductive actions that achieve the opposite result. And there are certain factors — radical ideological hegemony, a weak economy and growing debt, structural social changes, the weakness and disorganization of the opposition — that may make this situation regarding America’s international behavior and policies a long-term, partly irreversible condition. In other words, we don’t know if America is finished as the world’s leading power, but we do know that it will not have leadership and certainly not leadership in a good direction for a while and perhaps will never fully recover.
So what do those outside the United States do to face this situation? (Please note that I am speaking here only of U.S. foreign policy and just remarking on the domestic situation.)
There are those readers who would contest the accuracy of this statement. They will say that Barack Obama is a great president, or at least a decent one, and there is no big problem regarding U.S. foreign policy at all. In fact, he and his team, which now includes Secretary of State-designate John Kerry, will be just fine, or at least okay. They will make the point — valid, but irrelevant — that the United States doesn’t control everything in the world.
Of course, but what about the things it can affect? Unfortunately, American allies and clients cannot afford the luxury of clueless optimism or wishful thinking. Some will grumble publicly and scramble to limit the damage. Others will smile, praise the president, and scramble to limit the damage.
To put it another way: it doesn’t matter whether you agree with me. I’m telling you what’s actually happening.
Other readers will want to debate endlessly on the cause of the problem. Why is this happening? Is it deliberate or due to incompetence and bad ideology? Various conspiracy theories will be raised, and time wasted on them. To putthis another way: for the purposes of this particular article at least I don’t care who or what you blame or what you intend to do about it, I’m talking about what’s happening right now.
It is fortunate that in these post-Cold War times there is no candidate to replace America as world leader. Instead, we have candidates to be regional leaders: China in Asia; the European Union already playing that role in Western Europe; Russia trying to do this in Central/Eastern Europe; and Egypt, Iran, and Turkey competing for hegemony in the Middle East.
But here’s the real issue: things look bad. What does this mean specifically, and how can potential victims react? Let’s begin with a very brief survey of the world scene.
Latin America: there are now several radical regimes in the area — most notably Venezuela — alongside, of course, Cuba. America’s allies in the region are dismayed that the former group (except for Cuba) gets soft, even favorable, treatment by Washington. Fortunately, radical revolutions or major armed insurgencies don’t seem probable. So leaders in the region will worry a lot, be frustrated (why should we be nice to the United States when it doesn’t help us, and even rewards being anti-American?) but get through it. Ironically, of course, the current administration favors policies that are sure to fail in South America, so to the degree Washington has influence it will be to help sabotage the region’s economic progress.
Sub-Saharan Africa: what is truly remarkable is how the Obama administration has done nothing to change U.S. policy in the area. One might have expected that given its worldview and certain ethno-racial factors and ideas in the U.S. leadership, Obama would have wanted to make this region a showcase of how he differed from his predecessors; a model of reparations for past colonialism and racism. But no such luck for the Africans. They will continue to suffer economic and political hardship without significantly increased U.S. help. Bad, but not a change from the usual neglect. Let them eat rhetoric!
South Asia: the pro-Pakistan policy will continue; India will be mistreated. Again, bad but no big change. It will just be more watching Pakistan help conceal al-Qaeda terrorists, working for a radical Islamist Afghanistan once the U.S. forces withdraw, and sponsoring terrorism against India as Washington pays more billions in aid money. The Afghanistan issue might cause a crisis: why did hundreds of Americans die there? Someone — albeit not likely someone in the mass media — might ask this if and when Kabul is taken over by a new anti-American regime.
Also slated to be killed: Afghans who helped the Western forces. They will start seeking new protectors very soon.
East Asia: the smaller countries which want U.S. help and protection from what they perceive as an ever-stronger China won’t get it; this will make them very nervous indeed. Since I believe China doesn’t have aggressive geopolitical intentions, that situation won’t deteriorate too much in military terms. Yet in economic terms the U.S. government is ceding a great deal to China. Much or most of Asia may become a Chinese economic zone, and that will be costly to Americans since potential markets for American goods will in some cases go to China instead, further reducing opportunities for the U.S. economy. Leaders of other countries will scramble to get in the good graces with the new regional superpower, as they perceive the United States no longer matters very much. And we all better hope that North Korea doesn’t get too confident — hopefully Beijing will restrain the wacko dictatorship — and attack the South.
Western Europe: honk if you love Obama. Since European leadership is still obsessed with the EU project and seeks to varnish over rather than deal with their deep economic and social structural problems, they will have no big problems with Obama. He doesn’t attack them, just feeds their addictions.
We are familiar with the European stereotype of Americans as ignorant, irresponsible cowboys (applied to George W. Bush), but there is far less talk about the European stereotype of Americans as naive, blundering, would-be do-gooders who make a giant mess (Barack Obama). Yet there are elements of American decline that many Europeans and European leaders like. The day may come when they think otherwise. As I once remarked to a European ambassador, who agreed: they spent eight years trying to hold Bush back and now are spending four years trying to pull Obama forward.
Central/Eastern Europe: here is a potential big problem. Russian leader Vladimir Putin thinks he can do whatever he wants. He will continue to turn as much as possible of the ex-Soviet, now-independent states into a Russian zone of influence. If he ever decided he wanted to take over Belarus or Ukraine or to attack Georgia again, he knows this can be done without any problem from America. Similarly, the regional states know they cannot depend on American support. Have no doubt that people in countries like Poland and the Czech Republic think about this every day.
So we see in Latin America, Asia, and Central Europe that American allies have no reliable protector anymore. They are left potentially helpless to possibly voracious local powers that are more radical than themselves. And of course they are all hurt by the ongoing poor state of the American economy. Lesson: don’t make the bad guys angry if possible; move away, if possible, from relying on the United States.
Some, however, will benefit from policies that ensure the export of American jobs. But the Chinese — who seem on the surface to be the main beneficiaries — are horrified to find themselves holding so much American debt as a U.S. government inflates the dollar and goes ever deeper into debt. It is a very bad investment indeed.
The thing to watch for is if there’s a crisis: how well would the United States respond to wars, coups, invasions, revolutions, economic collapses? What kind of leadership would be shown in cases paralleling, say, the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait? What would Washington do if massive repression breaks out in Egypt with the massacre of Christians? Or how would Obama respond if Putin were to grab some neighbor’s territory in part or in full? You can come up with a great many scenarios that could happen, and in each case the local leaders and a lot of people both think and worry about such scenarios becoming real. At a minimum, knowing they cannot depend on the U.S. makes moderates and democrats more reluctant to fight, more willing to concede or surrender, and certain to despair.
In short, this current (voluntary, not inevitable) decline of the United States places a lot of people at risk. The question is whether there will be crises in which bad and weak American performance makes things worse.
And this brings us to the Middle East, where we know such crises will take place. I don’t want to repeat what I’ve written many times, but to put the whole thing into three sentences:
Israel, relatively moderate Arab regimes (including, yes, Saudi Arabia), and real moderate opposition movements know they cannot depend on the United States for the next four years and perhaps for much longer. To make things worse, the U.S. government is aiding their enemies. Consequently, they must act on their own to protect themselves.
For the Saudis, this can mean supporting establishment (Bahrain’s government, Lebanese Sunni Muslims) or even Salafist forces (as in the Syrian opposition) that they feel can be turned into clients. We all have good reasons for not liking the current Saudi regime but imagine the country being run and the oil money being in the hands of someone like Usama bin Ladin or the Muslim Brotherhood, dedicated to overthrowing all the other regimes in the region and forcing out U.S. influence.
For Israel, lacking a chance to build real alliances with Arab states or oppositions, it requires unilateral action.
Everyone else — including Christian minorities and women who want equality — is pretty much up the creek without a paddle. The democratic oppositions (and that includes Egypt, Tunisia, and Lebanon as well as Turkey and Iran) will have their hearts broken as they see their own countries lost to a long reign of even worse tyranny and their hopes for better days dashed. Countries as diverse as Algeria, Morocco, and Jordan will have to maneuver and use force to keep Islamists from taking over. In other words, you may be very courageous, but you will give some serious thought to running away as far as possible, to Europe, North America, or Australia.
It is very scary and even tragic for a lot of people.
Here, however, is the main point I wish to communicate: Americans can debate whether this shorter-term vacuum of responsibility and longer-term decline is happening, but much of the world already takes this outcome for granted.
Now that Senator Hagel has been approved to be the Secretary of Defense, this following article by Barry Rubin is much more powerful. We are facing a foreign affairs disaster. The author gives us a view of what the appeasement by the Obama Administration will mean. We will be posting another article from Barry Rubin in a couple minutes which was published before this article and is good background. Conservative Tom
Maybe U.S. policy will just muddle through the next four years and beyond without any disasters. Perhaps the world will be spared big crises. Possibly the fact that there isn't some single big superpower enemy seeking world domination will keep things contained.
Perhaps that is true. Yet within hours after its publication I concluded that I hadn't been too pessimistic. The cause of that reaction is the breaking story that not only will Senator John Kerry be the new secretary of state; that not only will the equally reprehensible former Senator Chuck Hagel be secretary of defense, but that John Brennan, the president’s counterterrorism advisor, will become CIA chief.
About two years ago I joked that if Kerry would become secretary of state it was time to think about heading for that fallout shelter in New Zealand. This trio in power—which along with Obama himself could be called the four horseman of the Apocalypse for U.S. foreign policy—might require an inter-stellar journey.
Let me stress that this is not really about Israel. At the end of Obama's second term, U.S.-Israel relations will probably be roughly where they are now. Palestinian strategy--both by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas--has left the United States no diplomatic or "peace process" option on that front. The problem is one of U.S. interests, especially the American position in the Middle East but also in other parts of the world.
You can read elsewhere details about these three guys. Here I will merely summarize the two basic problems:
--Their ideas and views are horrible. This is especially so on Middle Eastern issues but how good are they on anything else? True, they are all hostile to Israel but this isn’t the first time people who think that way held high office. Far worse is that they are pro-Islamist as well as being dim-witted about U.S. interests in a way no foreign policy team has been in the century since America walked onto the world stage.
Brennan is no less than the father of the pro-Islamist policy. What Obama is saying is this: My policy of backing Islamists has worked so well, including in Egypt, that we need to do even more! All those analogies to 1930s’ appeasement are an understatement. Nobody in the British leadership said, “I have a great idea. Let’s help fascist regimes take power and then they’ll be our friends and become more moderate! That’s the equivalent of what Brennan does.
--They are all stupid people. Some friends said I shouldn’t write this because it is a subjective judgment and sounds mean-spirited. But honest, it’s true. Nobody would ever say that their predecessors—Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, and David Petraeus—were not intelligent and accomplished. But these guys are simply not in that category. Smart people can make bad judgments; regular people with common sense often make bad judgments less often. But stupid, arrogant people with terrible ideas are a disaster.
Brennan’s only life accomplishment has been to propose backing radical Islamists. As a reward he isn't just being made head of intelligence for the Middle East but for the whole world! Has Brennan any proven administrative skill? Any knowledge of other parts of the world? No. All he has is a proximity to Obama and a very bad policy concept. What's especially ironic here is that by now the Islamist policy has clearly failed and a lot of people are having second thoughts. With Brennan running the CIA, though, do you think there will be critical intelligence evaluations of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizballah, or even Hamas? Is the CIA going to warn U.S. leaders about the repression against women, Christians, and moderates? Will there be warnings that Islamists are taking over Syria or reports on Islamist involvement in killing Americans in Benghazi? Can we have confidence about U.S. policy toward Iran?
To get some insight into his thinking, consider the incident in which a left-wing reporter, forgetting there were people listening, reminded Brennan that in an earlier private conversation he admitted favoring engagement not only with the Lebanese terrorist group Hizballah but also the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Ask yourself this question: when an American intelligence chief told Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood was a moderate, secular group who approved that line of argument?
Kerry, of course, was the most energetic backer of sponsoring Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad before the revolt began. Now he will be the most energetic backer of putting the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Syria. Here is a man who once generalized about American soldiers in Vietnam as being baby-killers and torturers. Such things certainly happened but Kerry made the blame collective, except for himself of course.
As for Hagel, suffice it to say that the embarrassing quotes and actions from him in the past--including his opposition to sanctions against Iran--fueled a response to his proposed nomination so strong that the administration had to back down for a while.
What would have happened if President Harry Truman turned over American defense, diplomacy, and intelligence in 1946 to those who said that Stalin wanted peace and that Communist rule in Central Europe was a good thing?
Obama has been president of the United States for four years. Yet in foreign policy, having some decent and competent people in high positions mitigated the damage. Well, the reins are now loosed; the muzzle is off.
I apologize for being so pessimistic but look at the cast of characters? When it comes to Obama Administration foreign policy’s damage on the world and on U.S. interests one can only say, like the great singer Al Jolson, folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
To get a sense of his thinking, check out Brennan’s article, “The Conundrum of Iran: Strengthening Moderates without Acquiescing to Belligerence,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 618, Terrorism: What the Next President Will Face (Jul., 2008), pp. 168-179. Here’s the conclusion:
“If the United States actually demonstrates that it will work to help advance rather than thwart Iranian interests, the course of Iranian politics as well as the future of U.S.-Iranian relations could be forever altered.”
The Obama Administration followed this advice during its first two years with the result being total failure. The theme of the 2008 article carries over to his view of the Muslim Brotherhood. If the United States shows it is friendly, helpful, and does not oppose their taking power then revolutionary Islamists will become moderate.
For example, he also proposes a U.S. policy, “to tolerate, and even to encourage, greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system….” This step, he suggests, will reduce “the influence of violent extremists in the organization.”
Of course, Hizballah does not need to stage terrorist attacks if it holds state power! Terrorism is only a tactic to seize control of countries. If you give revolutionaries their goal then why do they need to continue using such a tactic? Yet putting them in power does not increase stability, improve the lives of people, or benefit U.S. interests. If al-Qaeda, for example, overthrew the Iraqi or Saudi government you would see a sharp decline in terrorist attacks! If the Muslim Brotherhood rules Egypt, Tunisia, or Syria it doesn’t need to send suicide bombers into the marketplaces.
The same by the way would apply to anywhere else in the world. If Communist rebels took power in Latin American or Asian countries you wouldn’t find them hanging out in the jungles raiding isolated villages.
In Brennan’s terms, that means the problem would be solved. Instead, the correct response is parallel to Winston Churchill's point in his 1946 Fulton, Missouri, speech: "I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines."
This is what Brennan—and the Obama Administration—fails to understand regarding this point. The danger is not terrorism but a dangerous revolutionary movement that becomes even more dangerous if it controls entire states, their resources, and their military forces.
Do you live in a state that still holds high regard for the Second Amendment?
Image: Brady Campaign
The map seen above comes from the Brady Campaign, a group pushing for more stringent gun laws. Based on Brady’s scoring system, red states have the most relaxed laws when it comes to gun ownership. Green states are those with the toughest limitations for anyone hoping to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed gun rights.
The Brady group scores states on a variety of topics - things like state license requirements and background checks on all purchases. No state scores a perfect 100 with Brady, but California gets an 81, and that is before any new laws that will get put in place following the Sandy Hook massacre.
Image: Brady Campaign
At the top of Brady’s “best” (the most restrictive) states are:
Leading the “worst” list (according to Brady) are three states that might be considered the “best” states for gun owners. All three scored a ZERO on the Brady checklist. Getting a zero is probably like scoring 100 in the eyes of a firearms fan. Meet the “zeros”:
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 best states for gun ownership (based on Brady) appear to be:
If you are a gun owner, it is likely that you already know the laws in your state because you had to jump through whatever hoops required in order to secure a firearm. But what do you know about gun laws in the rest of the country?
If you have to move to another state, will you be able to bring your guns with you?
What about traveling with a gun? Can you drive across country with a weapon? (Air and train travel have specific limitations.)
If you have a concealed carry permit in one state, is it recognized in other states?
Considering concealed carry rights, unlike a drivers license, not every state respects or acknowledges the concealed carry permits from other states. If you are planning on moving or traveling to another state, and you want to bring your weapon(s) with you, it is wise to constantly look into the laws of the place you are going. At least one website is attempting to stay abreast of the changes in the laws.
The map below is all about “concealed carry” rights. The light blue colored states “shall issue” permits, the khaki-colored states are those that “may issue” ccw permits, the yellow states require that you be a resident of the state in order to get a carry permit. And the red states (there’s only one state – Illinois and the District of Columbia) are places where citizens cannot even apply for a carry permit.
Image: Handgunlaw.us website
(We do realize that the Illinois ban was overturned in December of 2012, and the state has 180 days to come up with a new plan. An appeal is expected soon.)
There’s even an iPhone and Android app called “legal heat” that you can download on your phone to carry every state’s concealed carry laws with you.
As changes to gun laws in states are constantly evolving, we recommend that you always keep up with the laws in your state and community.