Saturday, June 29, 2013

President Obama's Foreign Policy Legacy

The main stream press is not reporting much of this, but the Arab spring of last year has turned into civil war and turmoil in both Libya and Egypt. Libya has now become the main base of the terror group in the region (al Queda), heightening the instability of what is already a volatile country. The al Qaeda Headquarters in Lybia and Egypt is embroiled in another civil war in an attempt to oust the Muslim Brotherhood that took over after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak. Anti-government protesters say that now that the Muslim Brotherhood has its hands on the levers of power, it's using them to enforce its version of Islam on society. In particular they say the constitution, forced through by Morsi, needs rewriting.
Egypt Teeters On The Brink Of The Future
And of course the attempt by the US to undermine the Bashar al-Assad in Syria has led the US to arm al Qaeda, created tensions between the US and Russia on the lack of proof that the Assad used chemical weapons, and has turned in to a Shite/Sunni holy war with the inclusion of Hezbollah. Regardless of the facts of who is using the sarin gas, we clearly have a proxy war building in Syria, with the US , al Qaeda and the Sunnis on one side and Russia, Assad, Hezbollah, and the Shiites on the other. Is Obama Going Down The Same Path of G. Bush and WMDs? .

Probably the most laughable moment in the President Obama's foreign policy (laughable in a very overtly propaganda sense) is Director of National Intelligence James Clapper telling congress that the Muslin Brotherhood in Egypt is "largely secular". Obama Administration Corrects Clapper's Claim That Muslim Brotherhood Is 'Secular . Of course the reality was once the Muslim Brotherhood took power is was business as usual for the (now?) non-secular Muslim Brotherhood. As a result, the Constitution was not inclusive and it did not consecrate the values of citizenship, freedom and human rights. Rather, the Constitution limited freedoms and human rights, and canceled the equality between men and women
Muslim Brotherhood’s Unilateralism Harmed the Egyptian Revolution

This appears to be the legacy of President Obama; the over throwing (or attempt) of the sovereign states of Egypt, Libya and now Syria and handing the countries over the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood. As in Iraq, the removal of a strong man/ dictator has resulted in sectarian violence and civil war. While the Presidential rhetoric has always been the need for Democracy in these countries, the reality is the citizenry in these Arab states are simply ignorant when it comes to the responsibilities of a Democracy and the end result always turns to Islam and Sharia law. One has to wonder why the President of the United States, the Land of Liberty is so apologetic towards Eastern Islam (ie the Muslim Brotherhood), which is violently misogynic, vehement anti-gay and anti-education and overtly antidemocratic; as the saying goes, an Arab democracy means 1 man, one vote, 1 time.

Update: in a story the American Media has refused to run, a Catholic Priest was beheaded by Syrian freedom fighters linked to al Queda. Catholic Priest Beheaded in Syria by Al-Qaeda-Linked Rebels as Men and Children Take Pictures and Cheer These are the rebels the US is arming to take down the "murderous" al-Assad Syrian rebels accept help from US,pledge loyalty to al-Qaida If nothing else it shows that the Obama Administration once again views itself above the law, the providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations 18 USC § 2339B

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Obama's Greatest Political Blunder; Being Truthful About His Agenda

For the first time President Obama, in campaigning for the NSA's  communications monitoring programs, he is not only attaching himself to a policy, but to the end results as well;  this has resulted in his popularity falling  9% in one month and 17% with the under 30 voters that expected their emails and facebook would be private from the government. Even some media voices such as Gloria Borger from CNN, says the President needs to lead the conversation on the NSA, while also separating himself from these unpopular government policies.  “He (President Obama) didn’t expect to have these problems on his hands,” Borger added. “I mean, who would have thought that the constitutional scholar, the man who came in against the war, would have to be dealing with the question of arming the rebels in Syria, drones, NSA surveillance, leaks, and all these kinds of issues". The problem with this is all of these issues are of the President's own making; while promising one thing he is delivering another and with the NSA scandal he has dropped his populist rhetoric completely and is leading the conversation contrary to the will of even his past followers. Borger explains this with her comment "I think they're (voters) starting to link the president and their lack of trust in him to the government." So instead of viewing the President independently campaigning from the outside, voters are beginning to realize that the President is actually part of the government they don't trust.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Is Obama Going Down The Same Path of G. Bush and WMDs?

The Obama Administration has said it is ready to provide Syrian rebels with military support after evidence that Bashar Assad's regime has used chemical weapons; sarin in particular. The reasoning is Assad is known to have a large stock of chemical weapons, which it has said it would never be used on their own people. The White House has said they have confirmed that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against opposition targets, which is in contradiction to the UN investigation that has shown it was the rebels that have used the sarin gas, which makes much more sense and I'll explain why. First it is well known that President Obama has said that if the Assad regime were to use chemical weapons it would be a "game changer" and a "red line" that must not be crossed. The simple fact is the use of chemical weapons in Syria has been extremely limited and have had no military effect what so ever;  while there have been no reports of rebels deaths by chemical weapons, the highest casually incident killed 15 Syrian soldiers. We know that one of the major factions within the The Free Syrian Army are al Qaeda associated forces (ie Jabhat al-Nusrah), does it not seem highly likely that al Qaeda would use chemical weapons for the purpose of blaming the Assaud regime, as it guarantees the US will intervene. Further, as the US  has clearly positioned it self as anti-Syrian, it has taken a predisposition that  it is Assad's forces that have used chemical weapons.

 Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who met with the rebels last month and has been a vocal critic of the president's Syria policy said in a joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: "We appreciate the President's finding that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on several occasions. We also agree with the President that this fact must affect U.S. policy toward Syria. The President's red line has been crossed. U.S. credibility is on the line. Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions...A decision to provide lethal assistance, especially ammunition and heavy weapons, to opposition forces in Syria is long overdue." Syria Used Chemical Weapons Crossing Red Line

This predisposition of the US looking for any reason to increase it's presence in the Syrian conflict is not lost on Syria or it's ally Russia.

Both the administration of US President Obama and other representatives of the anti-Syrian alliance have repeatedly warned against the use of chemical weapons, called it a “game changer” and have repeatedly accused the Syrian government and military for using chemical weapons so as to justify a military aggression against Syria. Russia and Syria have repeatedly demanded full, independent investigations into every single case of chemical weapons use by expert commissions.

The US administration and members of the anti-Syrian alliance continue using chemical weapons threats to position the Syrian government and military as war criminals. A UN investigation as well as other, mounting evidence strongly suggests that it is the foreign backed opposition, first and foremost the strongest of the fighting forces with al Qaeda association, such as Jabhat al-Nusrah, which are using chemical weapons including sarin Syrian Military Seizes Sarin Gas From Rebels

Another interesting development is addition to Russia siding with Assad you now have the appearance of  Hezbollah.

 The claims of a Hezbollah presence in Syria’s north follow a pledge by its leader, Hasan Nasrallah, to back Assad to victory and indicate that the movement could be used as a guerrilla force wherever required. A long-standing ally of Syria and Iran, its decision to knuckle into the fight raises the specter of a regional conflagration spilling over Syria’s borders, pitting Sunni against Shiite. Underscoring that point, Syrian rebels and Hezbollah fighters engaged Sunday in their first serious clashes on Lebanese soil. Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria draws retaliation by Syrian rebels against Lebanese

Regardless of the facts of who is using the sarin gas, we clearly have a proxy war building in Syria, with the US , al Qaeda and the Sunnis on one side and Russia, Assad, Hezbollah, and  the Shiites on the other. The inclusion now of Hezbollah in this Syrian  proxy war is quickly disintegrating into Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict that could easily spread though out the middle east.  Further there is no way one could guarantee that the weapons the US will be feeding the non al Qaeda rebels will not end up in the arms of al Qaeda.

"The Syrian state is disintegrating in much of the country, leaving vast ungoverned spaces that are being filled by extremists, many aligned with al Qaeda," McCain told the Brookings Institution think-tank. "They are the best armed, best funded, and most experienced fighters. And every day this conflict grinds on, these extremists are marginalizing moderate leaders like the commanders I met last week."The Free Syrian Army and its commanders seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad were in desperate need of "ammunition and weapons to counter Assad's tanks, artillery, and air power," he said. Arm Syrian Rebels Or Risk Rise Of Extremism

The comparison between the Bush Administration intelligence showing  WMD  in Iraq and the Obama Administration claiming  use of sarin gas was not from the rebels, as a provocation to invade Syria, is not lost with the Russians.

Officials from Russia, which along with Iran is Mr. Assad's most prominent foreign ally, said the evidence on chemical weapons isn't rock solid."We had a meeting with American representatives in which Americans tried to present information to us about the regime's use of chemical weapons, but frankly speaking, the evidence Americans set out looks unconvincing," Yuri Ushakov, the Kremlin's top foreign-policy aide, said Friday, according to Russian news agencies.
Mr. Ushakov cited the flawed intelligence assessment from the administration of former President George W. Bush about weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the Iraq war but said he didn't want to "draw any parallels."Other Russian officials were more direct. "The data on Assad's use of chemical weapons is fabricated just like the lies about weapons of [Saddam] Hussein's weapons of mass destruction," read a tweet on the feed of Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the Russian parliament's international relations committee. "Obama is going down the path of G. Bush." Russia Hits Back at U.S. Over Syria

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Wost Kept Secret

The fact that the NSA has been collecting telecommunications data from law abiding American citizens has to be the worst kept secret of the last 10-15 years. Wireless wire taps of foreign communications was a point of contention with the Patriot Act and FISA. The only revelations by Snowden is the President and Congress have signed off on the NSA violating the 4th Amendment; under the Patriot Act FISA only allows for the collection of foreign communications without warrants, not these types of Domestic fishing expeditions added by Obama *. The NSA  can no more hide behind national security, then the President can hide behind Executive Privilege to shied their illegal acts.

But that hasn't stopped the likes of the "Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for deceiving the public about the extent of the NSA's data gathering. Both Sides Can Agree Americas Top Spy Lied About Data Mining It all goes back to an exchange at a Senate hearing back on March 12 when Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, asked Clapper (the man charged with overseeing America's entire national security apparatus) straight up, under oath, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper said, "No sir … not wittingly." In politics this is called giving "an answer that was the "least untruthful", but to those that don't live in the Toon Town, that is Washington, it is a bald face lie.

 Finally, I fail to see how finally getting verification that the US Government is illegally collecting data on American citizens is treasonous as it has caused Americans or our agents to be captured or killed; that is short of a Presidential drone strike on Snowden in the near future.

*In a radio interview Obama Administration’s NSA Assurances ‘a Bunch of Bunk’ ,  Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the Patriot Act on the House floor in 2001 said "that the administration and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court have gone far beyond what the PATRIOT Act intended. Specifically, he said that Section 215 of the act “was originally drafted to prevent data mining” on the scale that’s occurred."

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Abuse of Presidental Power

 Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. President Obama's Dragnet; another truism is the bigger government grows the more corrupt it will become.

Recent conservatives have likened the Democrat's  use of the IRS to attack conservatives and the general loss of privacy due to warrantless wiretaps, detaining people,  reading people's emails and now the large scale monitoring of phone calls to a Banana Republic in the way way the leadership is using government agencies that are mandated to be apolitical, to attack it's political enemies. Added to this is the socialist the concept of the Infallibility of Government, meaning demanding a blind belief of all information and explanations by the government and the suppression of any anti-government rhetoric in the name of stability and national security; in other words it is illegal to speak up against the government and it's policies, because the government must  necessarily be always right to rule.

Is the US becoming a Banana Republic? The first clue should have been President Obama's inability to follow through with any promises made by candidate Obama. Candidate Obama's  platform wanted to protect whistleblowers and empower them as “watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance.” President Obama now engages in  self-serving leaks, and aggressive prosecution of the whistleblowers, which he determines are harmful to his administration (the Obama Administration also leads the Bush Administration 2 to 1 in turning down FIOA (Freedom of Information Act) requests; this political screening has also cropped in the IRS and who gets tax exempt status; since the Supreme Court decision on Corporate personhood  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010),  President Obama (after personally chastising the Supreme Court during his State of the Union address) and Democrats in congress have directed the IRS to scrutinize the tax free status requests of  conservative groups.* Then there was the pending Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) extension vote; "Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies." FISA also contained the "warrantless wiretaps, detaining people, and  reading people's emails, which Obama promised, "Under an Obama presidency, Americans will be able to leave behind the era of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and "wiretaps without warrants". Obama signed the FISA extension unchanged.

 * "...Max Baucus, Chairman of the Finance Committee, is leading the investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups but he is one of the Democrats who insisted they be scrutinized in the first place. He wrote a letter to then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman dated September 28, 2010 urging the IRS to investigative nonprofit conservative groups during the Tea Party-dominated 2010 midterm elections...In February 2012, Sen. Chuck Schumer D-N.Y., together with Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Sheldon Whitehouse. D-R.I., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Tom Udall D-N.M.wrote a letter to the IRS Commissioner asking for an investigation of all these “social welfare organizations. Democrats Told IRS To Scrutinize Conservative Groups

In the final analysis it seems President Obama is telling us to judge him by what he promises, not by what he does. A Banana Republic? no. The Road to Serfdom? yes (and a must read!)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Covering California Exchange Director Tries to Hide the True cost of Obamacare

On Saturday, May 29th the Santa Cruz Sentinel ran the editorial piece, "Covering Californians: Lower costs than expected on Obamacare Exchange." The data was released by  Peter Lee, the Executive Director of Covering Californian, the state’s Obamacare  exchange: "While administrative confusion over the complicated health care law is inevitable, the fears over Obamacare don't seem justified based on the prices Covered California insurers will charge for people signing up...When Covered California announced last week the prices of policies that will be offered through the exchange next year, the prices came in higher than some may like, but lower than most predictions from Obamacare opponents."

However it is now being reported by Forbes the prices were purposely deceptive and Lee was making misleading comparison(s) to hide the real costs; Lee was only quoting group plans, but if a person wants to buy an individual plan, the stated purpose and reason for Obamacare, than the increase will be 46%-125%. This especially true of those under or over their 30's where the premiums will at a minimum double.

Under Obamacare, only people under the age of 30 can participate in the slightly cheaper catastrophic plan. So if you’re 40, your cheapest option is the bronze plan. In California, the median price of a bronze plan for a 40-year-old male non-smoker will be $261.
But on eHealthInsurance, the median cost of the five cheapest plans was $121. That is, Obamacare will increase individual-market premiums by an average of 116 percent.

Does anyone remember that Obamacare was supposed to lower prices? Anyone? So at this point would the Sentinel editorial board agree that maybe the fears over Obamacare are justified?

Another issue not brought up by Lee, is that the demands of  Obamacare even on employee provided healthcare. Because Obamacare has increased the minimum amount of coverage provided by employers to a Bronze level, many minimum wage service employers that traditionally only offered a cheaper catastrophic plan, have been forced to reduce their employees hours to less than 30, so they will not be required to pay for the higher priced plans demanded by Obamacare. The end result will be the end of full time employment in the US service industry and fewer employees being covered by heath plans.