Free Markets, Free People

Obama Administration

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Forget the extremes on the Syrian refugee crisis

On the one extreme:

“We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic,” [Obama] said. “We don’t make good decisions if they’re based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”

There you have it, folks: If you doubt any portion of our current refugee policy, you’re “hysterical.” Never mind that a recent poll showed 13 percent of Syrian refugees declaring a “positive” or “somewhat positive” view of ISIS, or that at least one of the Paris attackers apparently arrived in France posing as a refugee. Never mind the 26 charges of terrorism brought up against foreign-born individuals in the U.S. in the past year, as Sen. Jeff Sessions documented this week, or the fact that in October, FBI Director James Comey testified that our current system likely can’t effectively vet Syrian refugees.

More importantly, never mind the fact that opposition to current refugee protocols doesn’t necessarily translate into opposition to helping refugees altogether; had Obama led with an acknowledgment of the system’s weaknesses and showed genuine concern towards fixing them, we might be in a different situation today.  As it is, a new Bloomberg poll shows 53 percent of Americans opposing the current settlement plan.

Yes, that’s right, our President is on extreme.  And of course he considers the GOP to be the real extreme, characterizing them as wanting no refugees from Syria at all.  Granted there are certainly those who do indeed want that.  But broad brushes are a little, well, broad.

In effect, no one is saying turn away “widows and 3 year old orphans”, as some on the left have characterized the attitude on the right.

What is concerning everyone is the number and percentage of young, military age men in this mix.  Are they jihadists that ISIS is trying to smuggle into the US. Despite their claims, the administration has no idea.  That’s a national security issue and the safety of the citizens of the US take priority over a bunch of refugees.  Of course that’s how the job description of President goes, but apparently, Obama is trying to rewrite that.  Risk is a matter of opinion, and a good leader would develop a process that would be transparent and assure the public of its safety.  But then, we have Obama …

And what most want is a “pause” before wholesale importing of refugees, to review the vetting process and tighten it up if necessary.  In the meantime, I’m sure, if the US asked nicely, these refugees could be placed in a neutral middle Eastern country until that process is complete. That would assure their safety.

But to hear Obama and his supporters, it is as if the right is just so damned racist and xenophobic that they can’t tolerate the thought of helping any foreign refugees by placing them here (of course, history tells a different story).

Tell you what.  To show your good faith Mr. Obama, let’s first start by giving refugee and immigration status to our Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who are at daily risk for helping us and many on the right have been trying to get here for years.  That’s been a hill the left just doesn’t seem to have been able to climb.

Then they can again assume their superior attitude and lecture the rest of us on our “responsibility” to others.

Seem fair?


Liberals in Wonderland

As exemplified by Margaret Carlson on “Morning Joe”:

Carlson said of assimilating immigrants, “we do know how to do it. Europe doesn’t know how to do it. France especially doesn’t know how to do it. England not very good at it. And so, we have less of a problem. You know, those people who have snuck in, that, I don’t know if they’ve snuck in, but maybe they become Americanized, maybe the anger goes away. Maybe what they snuck in to do they’re not going to do, because we do have an acceptance of these people, as Congressman [Keith] Ellison (D-MN) said. They’re more patriotic because they’re here and they work harder.”

Because that’s why jihadists came here – to assimilate, get jobs, work harder.

Remember when we were told that all the members of ISIS needed were jobs?  If we’d provide that, well, they’d just settle down and quit trying to impose a 7th Century caliphate on the world.  And then there’s Mohammed Atta, who basically came here, hung around, tasted the “good life”, learned to fly and shopped at Walmart and ate at Pizza Hut the day before he flew a hijacked plane into one of the twin towers.  He “assimilated” quite well didn’t he, Margaret?

The fact that the left will not admit to or recognize the fact that this is a war of ideologies and the radical Islamist ideology isn’t about “assimilation”, any more than was the Nazi ideology, is dangerous.  They also apparently  can’t admit that there is evil in the world and in this case, it is epitomized in ISIS, and one must confront evil head on.  If they did any of that they’d have to admit their “tolerance” and “multicultural” arguments are nonsense. Admitting all of that would also demand they take action.

None of that is going to happen with this crowd.  Just look at the man in the White House.  He’s all about pretending.  He’s pretended for quite some time that ISIS isn’t really a threat.  His failure to admit, recognize and confront the evil that is radical Islam has helped lead us to this point.  And he still won’t take action.  But he’s not going to.  In a recent speech, he as much as said that:

But what we do not do, what I do not do is to take actions either because it is going to work politically or it is going to somehow, in the abstract, make America look tough, or make me look tough. And maybe part of the reason is because every few months I go to Walter Reed, and I see a 25-year-old kid who’s paralyzed or has lost his limbs, and some of those are people I’ve ordered into battle. And so I can’t afford to play some of the political games that others may.

Whether or not he goes to Walter Reed, this is just an excuse leveraged off of the military.  My first thought was if he’s not able to make the hard decisions that will keep the American people safe, he needs to resign from the job. The second thing I thought was, just as I did, these young men and women were willing to pay the price necessary to keep this country safe, and he’s just made that effort worthless.  It has been all OJT for him anyway, and he has failed miserably.  As to playing “political games”, that’s all the man does. This play on wounded military is just that.

We’ll do what’s required to keep the American people safe. And I think it’s entirely appropriate in a democracy to have a serious debate about these issues. If folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan. If they think that somehow their advisors are better than the Chairman of my Joint Chiefs of Staff and the folks who are actually on the ground, I want to meet them. And we can have that debate. But what I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning, or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people, and to protect people in the region who are getting killed, and to protect our allies and people like France. I’m too busy for that.

Of course the CJCS have presented numerous proposals that he wouldn’t even entertain, much less approve and none of which included the dreaded “boots on the ground”.  He’s simply not going to do anything serious.  The above is politics.  He no more wants to meet and debate than he wants to strike ISIS.  He’s “too busy” being arrogant and inept and leaving a huge mess for whomever it is that has to fill the vacancy we’ve actually had for 7, going on 8, years. As for doing “what’s required to keep the American people safe”, apparently importing possible jihadis from a hot bed of them how this is done.

This is the legacy of liberalism

Beautiful, ain’t it?



France, the Democrats and reality

One of the three in the title doesn’t belong there:

I watched, incredulously, as all three contenders in Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate — Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley — refused to say the slaughter was the work of “Muslim” extremists.

Clinton blamed “jihadis.” But despite prodding, she would not speak of the Islamic elephant in the room.

Sanders stood by his earlier claim that climate change, not creatures in suicide vests, presents the biggest threat to this planet because it makes poor people into terrorists by interfering with their crops or something.

At that point, I switched to the Syfy channel to get a bigger dose of reality.

And probably got much more of a dose of reality than the Democratic debate.

Imagine claiming “climate change” was the “biggest threat to the planet” when terrorists are blowing up people in France.  Or the simple fact that the climate really hasn’t shown any change in over a decade.

Who are “jihadis” and what religion do they represent, Ms. Clinton?

And who’s two memes, “ISIS is the jayvee” and “other civilized countries don’t have this sort of problem (referring to mass killings), were utterly destroyed?  Not to mention watching the French president show what leadership means by hitting ISIS immediately, repeatedly and hard?

Oh, that would be our Commander-in-Chief, the semi-retired and totally disconnected Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, the importation of 10,000 Syrian refugees will continue as planned.

Yup, Syfy would seem to deal in reality much more than our President and the Democrats.


Another Obama administration foreign policy “triumph”

In another “foreign policy triumph” for the US, Afghanistan, a client nation of the US for over a decade, is apparently turning to an old patron:

Afghanistan, battered by worsening security, is reaching out to an old ally and patron—Russia—just as the Kremlin is seeking to reassert its position as a heavyweight on the world stage.

President Ashraf Ghani has asked Moscow for artillery, small arms and Mi-35 helicopter gunships for his country’s struggling military, Afghan and Russian officials say, after the U.S. and its allies pulled most of their troops from Afghanistan and reduced financial aid.

“Russia is seizing the opportunity,” a U.S. official said.

Certainly, there are plenty who are aware of the old saw, “the graveyard of empires” and will shrug this off as good riddance. Let Russia deal with it.

Of course the point is that Afghanistan is turning to Russia mainly because it doesn’t have any confidence in the US anymore. We all understand that Afghanistan is both tribal and corrupt. But that goes with the territory, literally and figuratively. Russia is unlikely to worry to much about that.

It also demonstrates on a micro level what we are seeing on a more macro level. With the decline of US influence in the area, Russia is taking the opportunity to assert its own. Whether you care one whit about Afghanistan, this is a disturbing trend. And, just as obvious, our “leaders” haven’t a clue on how to stop the trend. Obviously Afghanistan feels that their worsening security is inextricably linked to US decisions. The country appears to have no confidence in the US.

Unfortunately, that ‘no confidence’ vote didn’t originate in Afghanistan. It has been echoed by other countries in the region as well … to include Israel.

The foreign policy of this administration, that of Mr. Obama, Ms. Clinton and Mr. Kerry, have seen the withdrawal of the US in the area and a diminution its prestige and power.

Some may cheer this, but the bottom line is that such actions (or lack thereof) have made the region and the world a much more dangerous place than it was in 2008.


The old “bait and switch” of solar energy

Solar energy has been touted by those who support its wide use as a completely “clean” way of producing electricity.

But reality gives lie to that claim.  Take the Ivanpah plant in the Mojave Desert for example. It sits on 5.6 square miles of mostly undisturbed public land that was home to desert tortoises, a species threatened with extinction, among other wildlife.  It fries birds in flight regularly.  Environmentalists concerns were ignored.

Why?  Because it was an Obama administration priority, whether it is important to anyone else or not.

Said Obama when it opened:

“With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.”

Except it not only doesn’t lower our “reliance on … oil”, it is a large user of fossil fuel.  Yes, that’s right – it has a huge carbon footprint.

Data from the California Energy Commission show that the plant burned enough natural gas in 2014 – its first year of operation – to emit more than 46,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

That’s nearly twice the pollution threshold for power plants or factories in California to be required to participate in the state’s cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions.

The plant, the recipient of $1.6 billion in federal loan guarantees as well as $600 million in tax credits, uses natural gas to preheat water for steam.  It is only after the water is preheated that the solar energy is applied to finally produce the steam to turn the generators.  And on cloudy days?  Yes, all natural gas and nothing but natural gas.

And the enviros?  Well, David Lamfrom, desert project manager of the National Parks Conservation Association, is pretty sure this isn’t what they signed up for.  He points out that this isn’t a solar project but instead a hybrid project which uses both solar and fossil fuel to generate electricity.

“It feels like a bait and switch,” Lamfrom said. “This project was held up as a model of innovation. We didn’t sign up for greener energy. We signed up for green energy.”

The Obama administration lied about the project?  My goodness – the next thing you’ll tell us is “if we like our health insurance we won’t be able to keep it”.

Oh, wait.


Russia’s military not as bad as reported

Apparently not. Looking at the operations in Syria, the NYT says:

Taken together, the operations reflect what officials and analysts described as a little-noticed — and still incomplete — modernization that has been underway in Russia for several years, despite strains on the country’s budget. And that, as with Russia’s intervention in neighboring Ukraine, has raised alarms in the West.

In a report this month for the European Council on Foreign Relations, Gustav Gressel argued that Mr. Putin had overseen the most rapid transformation of the country’s armed forces since the 1930s. “Russia is now a military power that could overwhelm any of its neighbors, if they were isolated from Western support,” wrote Mr. Gressel, a former officer of the Austrian military.

Of course we’ve been advised, for years, that the Russian military was only a shadow of its former self under the USSR.  And while it certainly isn’t as potent as when Russia was the USSR, it is apparently vastly more potent than we’ve been led to believe.

Another factoid from the article:

Russia’s fighter jets are, for now at least, conducting nearly as many strikes in a typical day against rebel troops opposing the government of President Bashar al-Assad as the American-led coalition targeting the Islamic State has been carrying out each month this year.

The bottom line, of course, is we still have a much more powerful military – but we’re in the middle of cutting back on it both in manpower and spending.  And, of course, that sort of power is only important if your potential enemies know you’re willing to use it.  Russia is demonstrating that willingness.

Russia is also “field testing” its equipment and it is “blooding” its troops.

Not to mention rallying “allies” to the Russian cause.  China has sent forces to Syria.  And the latest?

On Wednesday, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that Cuban paramilitary and special forces units are on the ground in Syria, citing evidence from intelligence reports. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Cuban troops may have been training in Russia and may have arrived in Syria on Russian planes.

Isn’t normalization with Cuba wonderful? Isn’t that reset with Russia working out well?  It sure has been rewarding so far.


The US in a “weak” position in Syria, notes Putin

Noting the obvious, Vladimir Putin pointed out that the US is in a very weak position concerning Syria:

Russian President Vladimir Putin continued a war of words with the U.S. over Syria, calling its policy weak and lacking in objectives as his air force carried out fresh bombing raids in support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

“I don’t really understand how the U.S. can criticize Russia’s actions in Syria if they refuse to have direct dialogue,” Putin told reporters Thursday during a visit to Astana, Kazakhstan. “The basic weakness of the American position is that they don’t have an agenda, though we’re keeping the door open” for high-level discussions with Washington, he said.

Of course, the administration had an answer:

“We’ve said that we’re not interested in doing that as long as Russia is not willing to make a constructive contribution to our counter-ISIL effort,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday, using an acronym for Islamic State. “Russia has their own agenda and it’s an agenda right now that they’re pursuing on their own.”

I suppose that’s so … but so does the US and it is apparent there really isn’t any desire for “dialogue” unless the US can have its way.  And it is a basic understanding in negotiations that the weaker party doesn’t have as many choices (if any) than the stronger party.  The US is certainly in the weaker position having ceded control of the Syrian conflict to Russia.  Also, don’t forget that the US withheld military aid to Iraq until Iraq made political changes it wanted to see happen.  What did Iraq do?  Well, it bought its fighter aircraft from Russia instead (likely with US money).

As for the possibility of talks.  Well, it seems that NATO partner Turkey has figured out a way to have them:

Russia and NATO member Turkey are establishing “lines of communication between our militaries in connection with events taking place in Syria” amid tensions over violations of Turkish airspace, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksey Meshkov told a conference in Moscow on Thursday, Interfax reported. Turkey and Russia can find consensus on Syria, Umit Yardim, the Turkish ambassador to Moscow, said at the same meeting.

Interesting and telling.

Foreign affairs, for this administration, is a disaster.  And they seem determined to make it worse instead of better.


Bottom line in the Middle East

And it is fairly obvious from here:

Maybe Putin will save Assad, maybe he won’t. But people and governments in the Middle East will long remember that Obama’s definition of leadership meant abandoning our allies in Baghdad, showing the back of his hand to our friends in Jerusalem, cozying up to the liars and killers in Tehran, waging an effete air campaign against ISIS, and dithering while Syria descended into an almost unimaginable humanitarian crisis.

In the broader region, Obama’s leadership left Libya in ruins and wide open to ISIS penetration, alienated Egypt, decreased our leverage in Pakistan, and accomplished almost nothing in Afghanistan except to turn it into a safe haven for pederasts.

Obama’s disastrous failure to lead in the Middle East has helped to flood Europe with refugees and potential terrorists, encouraging the rise of Putin-like far-right parties throughout NATO and the EU. Meanwhile, Moscow appears set to flagrantly violate Obama’s New START agreement, building up its arsenal of deployed nuclear warheads above the impending caps. Our own arsenal continues to shrink, already well under the 2018 limits.

However, the president does see an opportunity coming soon to turn all this around, telling Kroft that “my definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we’ll get in Paris.”

Obama fiddled with the thermostat while the world burned.

So I’m off the grid for a few days (enjoyably so) and find not much has changed.

And, given that, now we’re in the middle of “reaping the whirlwind”.

Meanwhile, the dope in the White House is all about fighting “climate change” which apparently doesn’t deal with whirlwinds.  His Secretary of State reminds us he’s “concerned” about the Russians and the Middle East, which, you know, is pretty proactive for this administration.

And our erstwhile or, perhaps “former” allies in the region?

They’re shopping for a new patron.


Arrogance, ignorance, incompetence and narcissism all in one package … lucky us

And I bet you don’t even have to guess about whom I am talking:

David Petraeus testified last month to the Senate Armed Services Committee on U.S. policy in the Middle East. Regarding Syria, the former general and CIA director urged a credible threat to destroy Bashar Assad’s air force if it continues to bomb its own people. He also recommended “the establishment of enclaves in Syria protected by coalition air power, where a moderate Sunni force could be supported and where additional forces could be trained, internally displaced persons could find refuge, and the Syrian opposition could organize.”

But Barack Obama does not agree. At his Friday press conference, the president described such views as “mumbo-jumbo,” “half-baked ideas,” “as-if” solutions, a willful effort to “downplay the challenges involved in the situation.” He says the critics have no answers to the questions of “what exactly would you do and how would you fund it and how would you sustain it.”

America’s greatest living general might as well have been testifying to his shower drain for all the difference his views are going to make in this administration.

Exactly right – because, you know, ‘smartest man in the room’ and don’t you forget it.  Anyone who champions actual, practical and doable solutions is, well, “downplaying the challenges” of the situation.

Really?  Seems to me that Petraeus addressed them specifically and offered solutions.

One problem.  They would actually mean Obama would have to get off his duff and actually DO something.


It’s not enough for him to stake and defend his positions. He wants you to know that he thinks deeper, sees further, knows better, operates from a purer motive. His preferred method for dealing with disagreement is denigration. If Republicans want a tougher line in Syria, they’re warmongers. If Hillary Clinton thinks a no-fly zone is a good idea, she’s playing politics: “There is obviously a difference,” the president tut-tutted about his former secretary of state’s position, “between running for president and being president.”

You can interpret that jab as a sign Mr. Obama is urging Joe Biden to run. It’s also a reminder that Mr. Obama believes his Syria policy—the one that did nothing as 250,000 people were murdered; the one that did nothing as his own red lines were crossed; the one that allowed ISIS to flourish; the one that has created the greatest refugee crisis of the 21st century; the one currently being exploited by Russia and Iran for geopolitical advantage—is a success.

No kidding.  And the arrogant look he has for those who disagree is simply the bomb.  He, and I don’t know how else to describe this, ignorantly and arrogantly thinks he’s doing the right thing and actually succeeding.  Either that or he is indeed the smartest man in the room only when the room is empty of everyone else.

For instance, the Petraeus recommendations are not only good, they’re backed by experience and a good outcome:

As for what a serious Syria policy might look like, the U.S. proved it was capable of creating safe havens and enforcing no-fly zones in 1991 with Operation Provide Comfort, which stopped Saddam Hussein from massacring Kurds in northern Iraq the way he had butchered Shiites in southern Iraq.

Remember that?

And what has President Dither done?  Well, certainly nothing that could be conceivably considered a coherent policy by anyone but a sycophant. In fact, unless you consider doing nothing a “policy”, well, he’s done nothing.

But he knows best, because “there’s a difference” between “running for President and being President.”

In terms of this Presidency, I fail to see the difference.


Pact with Iraq, Syria, Russia and Iran announced prior to UN talks with Putin

If ever there was proof of Russia’s intentions in the Middle East, it can be seen in a just announced 4 nation pact there:

Iraq joined Russia, Iran and Syria in a new agreement to strengthen cooperation against extremist group Islamic State, extending the Kremlin’s reach in the Middle East as it rivals Washington for influence.


Iraq’s Defense Ministry said Sunday that the country had signed an intelligence and security cooperation pact with Russia, Iran and Syria, pledging to cooperate in collecting information about Islamic State. The deal effectively formalizes years of military collaboration among the four nations, which have intermittently been allies since the 1980s.

Wonderful.  And who, pray, is on the outside looking in and surprised by the pact?

U.S. officials appeared to be taken by surprise by the announcement of the four-nation security pact and said they were still struggling to understand Mr. Putin’s long-term strategy for the region. Mr. Kerry, they said, kept open the possibility that the White House and Kremlin could coordinate, if not cooperate, in fighting Islamic State.

“We’re just at the beginning of trying to understand what the Russians’ intentions are in Syria, in Iraq, and to try to see if there are mutually beneficial ways forward here,” said a senior U.S. official who attended the Kerry-Lavrov meeting. “We’ve got a long way to go in that conversation.”

“Just in the beginning of trying to understand”?  Translation: “we’ve been caught flat-footed and hadn’t a clue that high-level talks between Russia and Iraq were happening”.  While Kerry may feel they have a “long way to go in that conversation,” Russia has obviously moved beyond the talking stage and is in the “taking action” stage.  The intent seems to be obvious to everyone but our State Department.

ISIS is the catalyst, or at least the excuse, for this alliance.  And most experts agree ISIS is mostly a result of the poor Iraq policy followed by the US after the Obama administration took over.  What Iraq is signaling here is no confidence in the US and with the pact, seems satisfied to let the US remain outside, looking in.  Why?  Well, take for example the fact that Russia sold fighter aircraft to Iraq last year to boost its ability to fight ISIS.  Where was the US?  It had delayed a promised shipment over political considerations.  Iraq is now negotiating with Moscow to buy more advanced weaponry.

Additionally, the Obama administration and the Russians and Iranians are at cross-purposes when it comes to Syria.  Both Russia and Iran have been very clear they support the Assad regime and hope to strengthen it.  The Obama administration has repeatedly said that Assad has to go.

What basis there are for talks between Russia and the US (at the UN this week) remain a mystery.  But what is very clear with the announcement of this pact just prior to those talks is the US enters them with an incredibly weak hand.  It has very little to use for leverage to get its way.  But one thing that can be determined for sure –  this administration’s past actions, or lack thereof, have put the US in this weak and unenviable diplomatic position.

Outfoxed again.  How “surprising”.


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