Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Obama: Hey, I didn’t set the red line!

Hotair ^ 

Barack Obama finds himself in Sweden today, a late change to his G-20 itinerary after deciding to snub Vladimir Putin over Edward Snowden’s asylum. Fittingly, Obama used a joint press conference in Stockholm with the Swedish Prime Minister to massage his own role in the diplomatic debacle over Syria in which Obama now finds himself.

Obama insisted that he didn’t set a “red line” for action over the use of chemical weapons, but that Congress did … and so did everyone else, except Obama, of course:

“My credibility is not on the line — the international community’s credibility is on the line,” President Barack Obama said Wednesday in Sweden regarding his desire for a military strike in response to a suspected August chemical attack in Syria.

By the way, here’s Obama from a year ago setting the red line: (video at link above)
That looks a lot like Obama setting that red line, doesn’t it? “That would change MY calculus — that would change MY equation.” There wasn’t any hint of WE or THEY in that statement.

Guess we're not broke anymore!

The awkward thing about Obama trying to fund a war against Syria...

When the Tea Party Speaks for the Majority

National Review Online ^ | September 4, 2013 | Andrew Stiles

Most Americans share its opposition to U.S. military intervention in Syria.
We are constantly being told how the Tea Party is out of touch with the American public, but when it comes to the question of whether Congress should, at President Obama’s request, authorize a military strike in Syria, tea-party lawmakers appears to be among the only ones in line with popular opinion.

As liberal icons such as Nancy Pelosi and the French Republic press for military intervention, polls show that most Americans are opposed — nearly 60 percent, including 54 percent of Democrats, according to a Washington Post/ABC News survey published Tuesday.

Meanwhile, tea-party-backed politicians, predominantly from the class of 2010, including Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) and Representatives Justin Amash (R., Mich.) and Thomas Massie (R., Ky.), have been leading the early opposition to the president’s call for action. Representative Scott Rigell (R., Va.), a member of the 2010 class, spearheaded a letter to the president demanding that he seek congressional authorization for any military action in Syria. The conservative group Heritage Action also opposes missile strikes against the Syrian regime (and hasn’t ruled out a “key vote” on force authorization), as do tea-party favorites such as Sarah Palin, who authored an acerbic Facebook post on the subject last week.

“So we’re bombing Syria because Syria is bombing Syria? And I’m the idiot?” she wrote. “As I said before, if we are dangerously uncertain of the outcome and are led into war by a Commander-in-chief who can’t recognize that this conflict is pitting Islamic extremists against an authoritarian regime with both sides shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ at each other, then let Allah sort it out.”

Tea-party lawmakers have made a number of arguments against military intervention in Syria. Many fail to see a compelling national interest requiring U.S. involvement in the conflict and are wary of intervening on the side of opposition forces with ties to Islamic extremists. “The war in Syria has no clear national security connection to the United States and victory by either side will not necessarily bring in to power people friendly to the United States,” Rand Paul said in a statement last week.

Representative Dennis Ross (R., Fla.), who attended a classified briefing on the Syria situation, expressed concern about the lack of an “exit strategy” and about the potential impact of retaliatory strikes against U.S. allies in the Middle East. “I believe that the most prudent option to resolve the conflict in Syria is to continue to work in a more concerted diplomatic manner with other countries in the region,” hesaid in a statement.

Amash has a fairly simple explanation for his position: His constituents, like most Americans, oppose intervention. The George W. Bush strand of foreign policy, he argued, is “nearly extinct” among the Republican grassroots; he suggested that GOP lawmakers who disagree “haven’t been home in a while.” Amash, who has scheduled eleven town-hall meetings with constituents this week to discuss Syria, saidhe “can’t recall an issue this lopsided.”

Representative Tim Huelskamp (R., Kan.) echoed this sentiment in a statement over the weekend. “In recent days I have hosted 14 town halls, and the unanimous opinion of Kansans has been clear: Stay out of this quagmire,” he said. “I have seen no evidence of an American national interest in this Syrian civil war.”

On Tuesday, after House speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) announced his support for a military strike following a briefing at the White House, Huelskamp wondered if President Obama could be trusted on the issue. “Since Obama still refuses to tell us the whole truth about Benghazi, why do GOP leaders trust Obama to be truthful about Syria?” he asked on Twitter.

Tennessee state representative Joe Carr (R.), who is mounting a tea-party challenge against incumbent Senator Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), also cited a lack of trust in explaining his opposition to military intervention. “This is an administration that has been cloaked in secrecy since [Obama’s] first inauguration,” he told National Review Online, before reeling off a list of administration scandals — NSA spying, IRS targeting, Fast and Furious, Benghazi. “We can’t get a straight answer out of the president. I don’t believe we’re getting accurate information out of the president now, and I don’t believe we should go to war because he drew an arbitrary red line.” The White House has yet to provide a compelling national-interest argument for intervention, which the vast majority of Tennesseans oppose, he added.

Official organizations such as Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party Express have not taken a formal position on the Syrian conflict, stressing that their focus remains primarily on fiscal and constitutional issues. Sal Russo, chief strategist for the Tea Party Express, said that while views on foreign policy within the tea-party movement are divergent, there has arisen a “strong element that is disinclined toward foreign engagement” in the form both of foreign aid and of military intervention. The issue of congressional authorization is likely to be important for a movement intent on restoring the constitutional limits on federal power.

In any case, Russo argues, the president has failed to make the case for military action. “Yes, horrendous acts took place, Assad is a vicious dictator, and we have every reason to condemn him,” he says. “But there doesn’t seem to be any clear national interest. Will lobbing some missiles into Syria achieve anything? That’s not clear either.”

— Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online.

A Map Of America's Future: Where Growth Will Be Over The Next Decade

Forbes ^ | 09/04/2013 | Joel Kotkin

The world’s biggest and most dynamic economy derives its strength and resilience from its geographic diversity. Economically, at least, America is not a single country. It is a collection of seven nations and three quasi-independent city-states, each with its own tastes, proclivities, resources and problems. These nations compete with one another–the Great Lakes loses factories to the Southeast, and talent flees the brutal winters and high taxes of the city-state New York for gentler climes–but, more important, they develop synergies, albeit unintentionally.
Wealth generated in the humid South or icy northern plains benefits the rest of the country; energy flows from the Dakotas and the Third Coast of Texas and Louisiana; and even as people leave the Northeast, the brightest American children continue to migrate to this great education mecca, as well as those of other nations.
The idea isn’t a new one–the author Joel Garreau first proposed a North America of “nine nations” 32 years ago–but it’s never been more relevant than it is today, as America’s semi-autonomous economic states continue to compete, cooperate … and thrive. Click on the thumbnail of our map to see our predictions for the job, population and GDP growth of these 10 regional blocks over the next decade, and read on below for more context.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama Re-enacts Bay of Pigs Invasion

Red State ^ | 9/4/2013 | Erick Erickson

On April 17, 1961 about 1500 Cuban exiles, trained by the CIA landed at Bahia De Cochinos, Cuba with the goal to overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro. In English Bahia De Cochinos translates as Bay of Pigs.
The Bay of Pigs was a hugely irresponsible action not only because it capitalized upon the enthusiasm of recent exiles and had zero chance of success under a best case scenario but because of the way it made our nation look ridiculous and strengthened Castro’s hand. Now we are looking at the 2013 version:
During a meeting at the White House, the president assured Senator John McCain that after months of delay the US was meeting its commitment to back moderate elements of the opposition.
Mr Obama said that a 50-man cell, believed to have been trained by US special forces in Jordan, was making its way across the border into Syria, according to the New York Times.
The deployment of the rebel unit seems to be the first tangible measure of support since Mr Obama announced in June that the US would begin providing the opposition with small arms.
Congressional opposition delayed the plan for several weeks and rebel commanders publicly complained the US was still doing nothing to match the Russian-made firepower of the Assad regime.
Fifty men. The number of men I led on my first day in the Army as a 22 year-old second lieutenant. To be sent into battle in Syria. No armor. No artillery. No air support. Even if these men have been in training since the revolt against Assad broke out they are still only fifty men. I can’t imagine what the human material involved in this exercise in futility is but I can guess. I think most of us can. A mixture of kids, former Syrian Army men, would be Simon Bolivars, al Qaeda sympathizers and Syrian Ba’athist informers.
I am skeptical, the the extent of being opposed, to the military intervention proposed by Obama. (This is distinct from the intervention John McCain, Lindsey Graham and the editors of National Review say they’ll support.) It is silly, short sighted, and fated to embarrass the nation in the eyes of friends and foes alike. If Seinfeld was a show about nothing, this is a military intervention about nothing.
Upping the ante by sending 50 men, preceded by a press release, into combat against a competent (by Arab standards) army is not embarrassing. It is humiliating and it should be criminal. Within weeks they will be chewed up by either the Syrian Army or by the al Qaeda “Syrian Coalition.” Or we will find they’ve gone over to al Qaeda en masse. They will be on television and YouTube either being beheaded, or ransomed back by the US government, or proclaiming their allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri.
What in heaven’s name is this bunch of clowns thinking? If we are not going for regime change then what possible good can inserting unsupported ground troops? John Kerry, who alleges he served in Vietnam, characterized the chemical attack on Syrian civilians that precipitated this crisis as “morally obscene.” True. But so is sending a handful of partially trained dupes to near certain death.

Professor’s Anti-Republican Classroom Tirade Caught on Video: ‘They Are a Bunch of... ^ | september 3, 2013 | Oliver Darcy

A new video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday (use link above) shows a professor at a public university slamming Republicans as old, white individuals who want to keep black people from voting.
The eight minute video, released by college news outlet Campus Reform, reveals Michigan State University Professor of Creative Writing William Penn opening the first day of class with an anti-Republican rant.
“If you go to the Republican convention in Florida, you see all of the old Republicans with the dead skin cells washing off them,” said Penn. “They are cheap. They don’t want to pay taxes because they have already raped this country and gotten everything out of it they possibly could.”
“They don’t want to pay of your tuition because, who are you? Well to me you are somebody,” he continued.
Penn then appeared to accuse the Republican party of backing voter identification laws as a plan for “getting black people not to vote.”
“This country still is full of closet racists,” he said. “What do you think is going on in South Carolina and North Carolina. Voter suppression. Its about getting black people not to vote. Why? Because black people tend to vote Democratic.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Two Luckiest People In The World? Bashar Assad And Jimmy Carter

Boston Herald ^ | September 4, 2013 | Michael Graham

Who are the two happiest people in the world this week?
Bashar Assad and Jimmy Carter.
One week ago, Assad was a war criminal awaiting certain retaliation from the most powerful military force the world has ever known; and Jimmy Carter still owned the title “Worst President Ever.”
Not anymore.
Whatever keeps a brutal dictator like Assad up at night (fear of another dinner invitation from the Kerrys, perhaps?), it’s certainly not Barack Obama. America’s commander in chief has made it abundantly clear that he won’t support any military action vigorous enough to cause a Damascus traffic jam.
The Los Angeles Times quotes a U.S. official who says President Obama wants an attack “just muscular enough not to get mocked.”
“They are looking at what is just enough to mean something, just enough to be more than symbolic.”
And there you have the Obama foreign policy reduced to a bumper sticker: “Don’t mock me, bro!”
But how can we not mock a president who says he’s “made the decision” that military action against Assad is a moral imperative and essential to U.S. security; and that he’s “made a second decision” to not make a decision but to wait for Congress to decide.
A president making these two completely contradictory statements is bad. But to make them in the same speech? No wonder Jimmy Carter is smiling.
The Twitter gag the day of Obama’s “We must attack, unless we don’t” speech was “If Sen. Obama were still in office, he’d vote ‘present’ on President Obama’s Syria plan.” But the punchline is that by passing the buck to Congress, the president has found a way to vote “present” from the Oval Office....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Weakened President ^ | September 4, 2013 | Cal Thomas

Appearing in the White House Rose Garden last Saturday, President Obama apparently experienced a revelation. He acknowledged there are constitutional limits on his power, something he has heretofore mostly ignored while issuing executive orders, bypassing Congress on appointments and deciding which parts of the Affordable Care Act to follow and which to delay or ignore.
The president will wait for Congress to reconvene on Sept. 9 and debate whether to grant him authority to attack Syria. It is uncertain whether he will get approval for what he says will be a limited -- and likely inconsequential -- strike.
His indecisiveness sends a clear message to the Middle East where dictators and mullahs respect power and consistency. They can be expected to have little fear of this president who thinks his order to Navy Seals to kill Osama bin Laden should be sufficient proof of his strength and resolve.
The trouble with an uncertain trumpet blown by a naive and weak leader is that it can get people killed. American people.
Why should any dictator or terrorist fear America? The president promised to bring to justice those who attacked the U.S. mission in Benghazi nearly a year ago, killing four Americans. He hasn't. With Syria, he has sent a message that will almost certainly invite more attacks on Americans.
You know things are bad when Russian President Vladimir Putin sounds more decisive and more credible than the American president. The day after Secretary of State John Kerry (who looked and sounded more presidential than the president) delivered a ringing justification for attacking Syria, the president undercut him by passing the buck to Congress.
Obama should have immediately recalled Congress, as British Prime Minister David Cameron reconvened Parliament. After a serious debate, a majority of MPs rejected any British military role in attacking Syria. Opposition came from all sides. Maybe that's what the president fears and why he wants time to lobby Members of Congress before a vote.
What will the president do if Congress refuses to go along, as it well may? If Congress won't authorize military force against Syria, the president will suffer a double blow from which he may not recover. Will he attack anyway and risk backlash from a public exhausted by war, or will he suspend attack plans and look emasculated as Damascus and others are already claiming he is? Either way, he and America lose.
In view of the president's disastrous foreign-policy performance, it is surreal to read the citation for his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, which in a rare moment of humility he admitted was undeserved given his short time in office. The citation said in part: "Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts..."
The Nobel committee may want to consider asking the president to return the prize.
Hillary Clinton was right when she said during her run for president in 2008 that Barack Obama lacked foreign-policy experience. Her claim resulted in a campaign commercial about which of them could better be trusted to take a 3 a.m. call to the White House.
As Foreign Policy Magazine recalls, "(Bill) Clinton also attacked Obama's lack of experience in interviews with Al Hunt and Charlie Rose in the final months of 2007, arguing that Obama was ill-equipped to handle foreign-policy issues like terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
The world is again witnessing the peril of on-the-job training. Apparently Jimmy Carter's ineptitude taught us nothing.
The late William James said, "There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision."
The same might be said for the United States and its president.