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Failure – the one word description of Barack Obama’s foreign policy

Hat tip to Q and O reader Eric who sends along the link (in a comment) to the piece I’m referencing today.  It is an extremely well written dissection of Barack Obamas dismal foreign policy record – a record that can only be described in one word – failure.

If I wanted to add an adjective to the description, I might choose “hideous”, since it is the worst foreign policy we’ve suffered under since King George.  Kevin Ortin writes the piece and he uses an interview Obama did with Jeffrey Goldberg as the basis of his article.

Ortin points this out as the key graf in that interview:

[Obama] went on to say that the Saudis need to “share” the Middle East with their Iranian foes. “The competition between the Saudis and the Iranians—which has helped to feed proxy wars and chaos in Syria and Iraq and Yemen—requires us to say to our friends as well as to the Iranians that they need to find an effective way to share the neighborhood and institute some sort of cold peace,” he said. “An approach that said to our friends ‘You are right, Iran is the source of all problems, and we will support you in dealing with Iran’ would essentially mean that as these sectarian conflicts continue to rage and our Gulf partners, our traditional friends, do not have the ability to put out the flames on their own or decisively win on their own, and would mean that we have to start coming in and using our military power to settle scores. And that would be in the interest neither of the United States nor of the Middle East.”

Says Ortin:

Some of us have long argued that, despite what the President says in public, his actual policy as executed is the pursuit of détente with the Islamic Republic of Iran, usingthe nuclear agreement as a facilitator. The President came in with one overwhelming goal: to draw down U.S. resources in the region. By deputizing Iran to protect core U.S. interests, such as this malign fantasy that the U.S. and Tehran share an interest in defeating the Islamic State (IS), while creating an “equilibrium” that protects Iranian “equities,” it would allow an order to take shape that did not require the U.S. to police it. By definition this meant empowering Iran against its neighbours, notably the Gulf States, since Iran had heretofore been contained. Here Obama confirms virtually every point of that argument.

One could hardly imagine a more naive and absurd policy if they tried.  But Ortin is correct, that’s precisely what Obama imagined and tried to implement – mostly by himself.  Empowering Iran with the belief that they would then be the “equalizer” and stabilize the Middle East is to ignore all of Iran’s actions and rhetoric to date.  Iran has no interest whatsoever in stabilizing anything and has, for years, using the unrest in the region to further the theocracy’s goals.

That’s simply indisputable.

The vision fails because any notion of “balance” between the Iranian revolution and its neighbours is a mirage. The clerical regime does not intend to take the U.S. offer to “share” in bringing order to the region; Tehran intends to upend the entire U.S.-underwritten structure and replace it with Iranian hegemony—a project in which it is now receiving Russian help. Thus, “balance” is ceding the region to Iran under another name. On paper the Gulf States have military prowess that dwarfs Iran’s. In reality, Iran has asymmetric structures like the Quds Force, the expeditionary wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps led by Qassem Suleimani, which the Gulf States do not, capable of terrorism and subversion in a way the Gulf States cannot match. Indeed both Obama and John Kerry have lamented that the Arabs do not have a Quds Force or a Suleimani, something and someone who can get things done.

This is perhaps the largest problem of all for Obama’s vision: Iran simply cannot do what he wants it to—namely bring order to the region. Iran does not want order, of course: the IS threat is very helpful in keeping Iran’s client governments in Baghdad and Damascus pliable and in inducing concessions from the Americans, plus IS’s caliphate covers areas in western Iraq and eastern Syria dominated by Sunni tribes that Iran knows it could not rule even if it wanted to. And if Iran tried to move into the Sunni Arab zones, as it has done in parts of Iraq, through its rabidly sectarian Shi’i jihadist militias, the result is terrible destruction, demographic engineering, and the setting of the stage for long-term instability.

Read the whole thing.  As I mentioned, it is very well done and it is about as damning as anything I can imagine.  There was an article somewhere this week in which the author claimed that Barack Obama was just too smart for us and we had no way to really appreciate what he’s done.

I’m sorry but a syphilitic idiot with no foreign policy experience could have done better than Mr. Obama.  And that’s fairly evident to even the most uninformed among us.  Obama has been a foreign policy disaster and that is taking understatement to its limit.

Ortin closes:

It seems that Obama has finally decided, with less than a year left in office left, to come clean and make the case for his legacy. The President has now laid out the parameters on which he wants to be judged; it would be churlish to refuse. The academic and media criticism might be the least of it, however. There are many predatory regimes watching and calibrating when to make their move.

His “legacy” is weakness, miscalculation, naiveté, indecision and blame shifting.  Pretty much a description of all aspects of his presidency.  But Ortin is right – the predators are licking their chops and only waiting to see which of the abysmal choices we have we’ll put in the Oval Office in January.  Meanwhile, Obama’s Titanic of a foreign policy is actually aiming for the iceberg.


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Tell me again why we “need” gun control legislation?

I assume you may have seen this:

The FBI’s study showed 64 “mass killing” incidents from 2000 to 2013. The gunmen in these cases murdered 418 people.

Breitbart News reports:

The 418 people who were killed over a 14-year period works out to an average of 29.8 persons a year.
To be clear, no one wants to see even one life lost to tragedy, but the mainstream media’s focus on “mass shootings” to the detriment of other news where hundreds or even thousands more lives were lost is telling.For example, the CDC bicycle-related injury report for 2010 shows that almost twice as many people died on bicycles in that one year than were killed in “mass shootings” during the 14 years studied by the FBI. Thus, while there were 418 deaths in “mass shootings” from 2000 to 2013, there were 800 deaths by bicycle in 2010 alone.
Moreover, there “were an estimated 515,000 emergency department visits” due to bicycle accidents.

And CDC death statistics for 2010 show there were 26,009 deaths from “falling” for that year alone. That’s right–26,009 deaths in one year from falls from ladders, counters, roofs, mountains, etc.

To summarize there were an average of 29.8 deaths a year for 14 years from “mass shootings” versus 800 bicycle related deaths and 515,000 bicycle related trips to the emergency room. Plus an additional 26,009 deaths from falling.

Now this isn’t news to anyone who has been following this debate for any length of time and has been interested in the facts, not the ideological take or spin.

In a nation of 300 million plus with about the same number of guns among the population, the loss of life in mass shootings is … that’s right, statistically insignificant.  That doesn’t mean we should like them or condone them or not feel grief and outrage about the deaths.  What it means is that there is no crisis, no significant problem, no reason to concern ourselves about draconian gun restrictions because of “mass shootings”.  Oh sure they give the 24 hour news channels plenty to shout about and of course it gives the politicians what they feel is an easy mark to “solve” the problem.  But just as the 26,009 deaths from falling are statistically insignificant (hey, I know, let’s outlaw falling .. or should we outlaw stairs and ladders?), so are the mass shooting statistics.

“Assault weapons” are not a problem (they’re semi-automatic weapons … period) and mass shootings, while a tragedy are certainly not a crisis that requires more laws, regulations and rights violations.  The gun control laws in place now have never stopped a mass shooter from doing his thing.  What has stopped them though are other armed and law abiding citizens.

That’s the lesson that should be taken away from these tragedies.  Not the guns. The statistics do not support any further gun control because of “mass shootings”.



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Economic Statistics for 23 Jun 16

New home sales fell -6.0% in May to a 551,000 annual rate.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell to -0.51 in May, from the previous month’s 0.10. The 3-month moving average fell to -0.36.

The PMI Manufacturing Index Flash rose from 50.5 to 51.4 in June.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators fell -0.2% in May.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index rose from -5 to 2 in June.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 18,000 to 259,000. The 4-week average fell 2,250 to 267,000. Continuing claims fell 20,000 to 2.142 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 2.1 points to 44.2 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $9.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.482 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $6.6 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $40.4 billion in the latest week.

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The administration’s ISIS problem exposed

Interesting points today from some who has “been there and suffered that”.

The Yazidi woman, Nadia Murad, who escaped captivity in 2014, testified before the Senate Homeland Security committee about the horrors of living under ISIS, CNN reported.

“The USA must act. We must terminate Daesh [Islamic State] and all such terror,” she said through a translator. “Daesh will not give up their weapons unless we force them to give up their weapons.”

Murad spoke out about the Orlando massacre that left 49 people dead, offering condolences to the victims and saying she was not surprised by the terror attack. “I knew if ISIS were not stopped, they would deliver their crimes everywhere,” she said.

She also confronted the Obama administration on its inability to act in protecting Americans as the president pays lip service to fighting ISIS but does nothing serious to eradicate the radicals.

“If a country as strong as your country cannot protect its citizens in Orlando, or in Belgium or in France,” Murad asked, “how come a small minority like us can protect ourselves while we are in the heart of the land where the radicals are?”

But the USA isn’t going to act.  It has a chief executive that can’t even bring himself to identify the problem or the enemy.  And you have to admire her question.  It’s to the point, isn’t it?

The reason we can’t – or won’t – “protect ourselves” is there is no will to do so among those charged with the duty to do so.  And, after the latest massacre, they’re intent on removing everyone else’s ability to do so by railing against guns, the NRA and whatever other ideological boogey man they can throw into the mix.  It’s election time dear – you life, the lives of Americans, the lives of anyone are not as important is realizing the Democrat’s election goals.

Oh, and this point was pretty telling too:

Calling on the Islamic community to act, Murad said “The Muslims must be the first ones to resist this.”

“We have not seen that Daesh have been labeled as an infidel group within Islam by any Muslim country,” said the woman who had six of her brothers and her mother executed by ISIS in one day, CNN reported.

Well think about that … why haven’t we seen so-called “moderate Islamic countries” label or declare ISIS an “infidel group”.  Well it’s fairly simple I would assume – they’re more afraid of ISIS than the US and the US has likely brought no pressure to bear on them to do so. Either that or they have no problem with what “Daesh” is doing.

This woman came through hell to sit in front of the US Senate and tell her story.  Her confusion about why a nation as “strong” as this one does nothing and can’t even manage to identify the enemy or utter its name are understandable.

Weakness.  Fear.  Lack of leadership.



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Economic Statistics for 22 Jun 16

A slow week for economic data begins with Redbook’s weekly retail sales report, which shows year-on-year, same-store sales up slightly better, but still weak at 0.9%, compared to last week’s 0.7%.

Existing home sales rose 1.8% in May, to a 5.530 million annual rate. Sales are up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis.

The FHFA House Price Index rose a smaller than expected 0.2% in April, though the idea is up 5.9% from a year ago.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 2.9% last week, with purchases down -2.0%, but refis up 7.0%.

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The tantrum in the House

Sigh.  I guess the old maxim “you get the government your deserve” certainly rings true today.  House Democrats are staging a sit in because the Speaker of the House won’t call a bill to the floor that violates the Constitution and denies due process to people who are placed on its secret no-fly and terrorism lists.

They’d like you to believe it is a “gun control” bill.  In fact, it is a “due process denial” bill, and we ought to refer to it that way.  Their claim is expanding government’s authority to defy the guarantees of the Constitution will help curb gun violence.

Really?  How?  Will it stop someone who ends up on the list and still wants to buy a gun from getting one?  Certainly not as just about any criminal can tell you (and as study I linked a few posts back revealed).  Again, that “Human Nature 101” thing seems to stump these deep thinkers.

And the irony is that one of those leading the charge for violating the Constitution and denying due process – civil rights icon John Lewis (okay, it’s a bit of double irony) – was once placed on a no-fly list without due process.

So what has been the result of not getting their way and denying you due process protection?  They’ve been reduced to throwing a collective tantrum and harkening back to the good old days when they were protesting Vietnam or whatever.  They even come up with a clever chant – “No Bill. No Break”.  You see they’re supposed to take a legislative break and now, apparently, the desire to deny you your rights is so strong they feel called to pretend they are Social Justice Warriors and act accordingly.

Where’s “Black Lives Matter” when you need them.  Now here is a perfect protest for them to hijack and they’re nowhere in sight.


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I can’t wait until we can “omit” this administration



Not that I necessarily believe there’s anything better coming along behind it, but this one is just blatant with its disregard for both the law and our traditions.

To say I was aghast at the decision to censor the 911 call from the Orlando murderer (even though what was said was widely known) would be an understatement.

I immediately asked “why”?  Now, I’m not a conspiracy theorist at all so I don’t subscribe to much of what some are saying out there.  To me it speaks of three things, in this order – 1) politics, 2) fear and 3) arrogance.

One … If they acknowledge that fact that this was a terrorist attack by a representative of a sworn enemy that the administration (and by extension, the leading Democratic contender for President) has badly mismanaged to the point that they are regularly striking random targets here – well, that reflects pretty badly on the “home” team.  So let’s pretend it’s something else and let’s divert attention to things like guns, Christians and the NRA.

Two … They’re afraid of ISIS and what ISIS can and will do.  So they handle that fear by ignoring it and pretending it doesn’t exist and hoping it will go away, or at least leave us alone.  If they call it’s name (i.e. Islamic terrorism) and acknowledge its existence, they’ll be called upon to do something.  They haven’t a clue about how to do that.  So again they divert.  The US Attorney General, in attempting excuse the “omitting” of parts of the transcript of the 911 call talked about her ‘greatest fear’ – and it ain’t ISIS or attacks on Americans:

Speaking to the audience at the Muslim Advocates’ 10th anniversary dinner Thursday, Lynch said her “greatest fear” is the “incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric” in America and vowed to prosecute any guilty of what she deemed violence-inspiring speech.

“The fear that you have just mentioned is in fact my greatest fear as a prosecutor, as someone who is sworn to the protection of all of the American people, which is that the rhetoric will be accompanied by acts of violence,”she said.

Three … pure arrogance.  While other examples of censored releases were blamed on “glitches” (French President’s remarks, State Department briefing), they didn’t even try on this one.  It’s rather hard to blame “glitches” when actual words are replaced with the word “omitted” or actual words are changed to other words (Allah/God). The administration isn’t even playing the game anymore. No more blaming it on glitches, just pure and plain censorship because the words said by the killer don’t help support the narrative this fearful administration has been trying to push on the people for almost 8 years.

And now, the Attorney General of the United States says her greatest fear is “rhetoric” against Muslims?  Really?


Speaking of rhetoric, “the most transparent administration” ever has forever made it clear that transparency is campaign rhetoric for consumption of the rubes in flyover country only.  They won – they’re your rulers.  They can do whatever they want.

Suck it up, buttercup.


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