Michael S is a trusted commenter Wappingers Falls, NY 1 hour ago
It’s been a long times since Obama’s tough talk has calmed anyone. We all know he is all talk and no action. Now his botched handling of Syria has come home to roost as the apotheosis of the his failed Middle East policies – the nail in the coffin of the failed Obama presidency.
[Chuck Hagel] in an interview with Foreign Policy’s Dan De Luce, Obama’s former defense secretary let loose on a White House that micromanaged the Pentagon while “deferring the tough decisions.”
Hagel criticizes Obama’s inadequate response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; contends that the refusal to enforce the chemical weapon red line in Syria “hurt the credibility of the president’s word”; and complains of getting “the hell beat out of me” for refusing to expedite the release of dangerous Guantanamo Bay detainees.
This might be dismissed as sour grapes from a Republican who believes that the White House was eventually out to “destroy” him — if it were not part of a bumper crop of grievance.
Obama’s former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta describes a president who “avoids the battle, complains and misses opportunities.” Panetta is particularly critical of the administration’s eager retreat from Iraq: “I think when we stepped out of Iraq, in many ways, we created this vacuum in which not a lot of attention was paid to what was happening in Iraq, or what was happening in Syria, with the extremists who were developing a base of operations there.”
Another former defense secretary, Robert Gates, judges the Obama White House “by far the most centralizing and controlling in national security of any I have seen since Richard Nixon.” He consistently found “suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials — including the president and vice president.”
When the decision was made in 2010 to surge the number of American troops in Afghanistan, Gates recalls thinking that “the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand (Afghan President Hamid) Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.
The U.S. has allowed just 34 Christians to enter as refugees from Syria since the civil war broke out there more than four years ago, according to the State Department’s most recent available data.
That accounts for just 2 percent of the roughly 2,100 Syrian refugees the U.S. has accepted — disproportionately smaller than the 10 percent of Syrians who are Christian.
Taken together, all of this gets us closer to understanding why Obama refuses to call Islamic terrorists what they are, and that his use of ISIL could be a strong indication that he supports reestablishing Muslim rule and Sharia Law throughout the Levant, and good riddance to Israel.
The somewhat murky and contradictory understanding of which religious tenets Obama truly follows has caused some thorny questions to arise.
If he was a Muslim, when did he turn his back on Islam (his biological father’s and stepfather’s faith) and become a Christian? The answer may lie in a story appearing on the WashingtonTimes.com website and on TheDailyCaller.com.
The Washington Times reports, “Several people who know Barack Obama well perceive him as Muslim. Most remarkably, his half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, has stated: ‘My whole family was Muslim.’ Her whole family, obviously includes her half-brother, Barack.” The same article highlights some doubts about Obama’s “Christian” conversion. His spiritual advisor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, was asked about how he helped Obama renounce Islam. Stunningly, however, Wright claims he’s not sure he actually did convert from Islam. That, of course, is not proof he isn’t a Christian, but it certainly raises eyebrows.
Edward Klein, who authored The Amateur, a book about Obama, told the Daily Caller that he interviewed Wright (and has him quoted on tape), who told Klein that he (Wright) “made it comfortable” for Obama to accept Christianity without having to renounce his “Islamic background.”
Long before President Obama killed the Keystone pipeline project, he made a number of dubious claims about it, including that the pipeline would have no benefit for American producers at all. But the crude oil would have traveled to the Gulf Coast, where it would be refined into products such as motor gasoline and diesel fuel; the State Department said odds were low that all would be exported. Also, about 12 percent of the pipeline’s capacity had been set aside for crude from North Dakota and Montana.
“The simple answer is that they keep coming because they know they will be allowed to stay. Nothing has changed in their homelands that could be driving it; it’s all about the pull of Obama administration policies.”
Why Obama Spared ISIS Oil
By Dick Morris on December 2, 2015
Last week, on the “Charlie Rose” show, former Obama CIA Director Mike Morell dropped a bombshell that was little noticed by the media. He said that the reason President Obama did not bomb the oil fields now controlled by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was that he did not want to cause environmental damage.
Morell said that “we didn’t go after oil wells, actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls, because we didn’t want to do environmental damage and we didn’t want to destroy that infrastructure.”
If ever a statement by a former administration official offered a glimpse into the looney priorities of the Obama administration, this is it! We did not bomb the oil fields upon which ISIS depends for the bulk of its revenue because of our concerns about adding to the carbon emissions that promote global warming (in the desert).
So we let ISIS rake in millions of dollars every day, selling about 100,000 barrels of oil at an average of about $20/barrel (discounted) for a take of $2 million every day. ISIS may be led by radical, crazy jihadists, but the rank and file of the ISIS military is reported to be paid soldiers fighting for money. Cut off the money and you cut off the army.
But Obama put the minor, incremental damage of destroying the oil fields ahead of the need to stop ISIS from rampaging through the Western world, killing people at random. He apparently worried that the effects of destroying the oil wells could be severe.
This kind of environmental fantasizing was in vogue during the Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein’s destruction of all of Kuwait’s oil fields was thought to be likely to cause huge damage. Paul Crutzen, a noted atmospheric scientist, predicted that a “nuclear winter” might ensue with a cloud of smoke covering half the Northern Hemisphere for at least 100 days. Carl Sagan argued that the effects of the destruction of Kuwaiti oil fields could be comparable to the explosion of the volcano Tambora in 1815, which produced “a year without summer.”
It never happened.
Scientist Patrick K. Dowling wrote, in his study “The Meteorological Effects of the Kuwaiti Oil Fires,” that the smoke only affected the weather pattern throughout the Persian Gulf and surrounding region during the periods that the fires were burning in 1991. A 1992 study found that emissions of carbon dioxide were only 2 percent of global emissions. Big deal.
Remember that Kuwait produced about 2 million barrels per day before the Gulf War — at least 10 times as much as the ISIS oil wells generate. The Kuwaiti fires dwarf anything destroying the ISIS oil wells would produce when it comes to any harmful environmental effects.
Why isn’t Obama using our air power to attack tankers carrying ISIS oil to refineries in Turkey? Again, we wanted to fight the world’s first green war. As Morell put it, “There seemed to have been a judgment that, look, we don’t want to destroy these oil tankers because that’s infrastructure that’s going to be necessary to support the people when ISIS isn’t there anymore and it’s going to create environmental damage.”
Once again, Obama wants to fight terrorism, but everything else comes first.
Morell noted that the administration didn’t even want to hit oil trucks carrying fuel from ISIS oil fields.
To enter the mind of Barack Obama and see the low priority he accords fighting terrorism is to see a nightmare unfolding. How can we trust him to keep us safe and to keep out ISIS terrorists who have so thoroughly infiltrated the ranks of Syrian refugees?
With Obama, protecting Americans from terror comes in last in his list of priorities.
Under Obama, those opportunities have been disappearing for Americans at the bottom of our economy. While he talks a good game about inequality, the poor have gotten poorer while the rich have gotten richer on Obama’s watch. During the Obama recovery, Americans in the top 5 percent of households (those with average incomes of more than $320,000) were the only group in the United States to see incomes rise from 2009 to 2013. Meanwhile, those worst hit were in the bottom 20 percent, who saw their real incomes fall by 7 percent on average. As American Enterprise Institute President Arthur C. Brooks explains, “Our putatively progressive president has inadvertently executed a plutocratic tour de force.”
Almost seven years after creating the famous Barack Obama ‘Hope’ poster, Shepard Fairey believes the president hasn’t come close to living up to his expectations
Shepard Fairey on the Future of Political Art and Whether Obama Lived Up to His ‘Hope’ Poster
heymac 5h ago
And, reality hits the fan.Politics is the business of compromise. Obama has had the cards stacked against him from day one. Mitch McConnell also said from his day one: My goal is to make sure this president is not successful. To hell with the country, Obama cannot go into the history books as successful. And all the pink republicans & their twisted cousins the T-Bags agreed. “We need to take our country back.” Code for, Get that black MoFo out of our White house.So dude, post you posters. You got lucky, you got fame, so thank your lucky stars.As the old folks say: Every dog has his day.You had yours.
Michael Joshua Sanchez heymac 4h ago
Well, that’s funny, considering that a black man is polling at the top with a hispanic and white guy for the Republican nomination. But keep plugging your ears and yelling, “Racism!” I’m sure that’s a good coping strategy for your lack of intellectual prowess.
Buggerianpaisley heymac 2h ago
The job requires leadership. Leaders need to have a clue. Not sure Obama could lead his own dog to the butcher shop.
ID9492736 5h ago
“I’ve met Obama a few times, and I think Obama’s a quality human being”
Yep. Fantastic dude, he. He merely killed a handful of thousands of innocent Pakistanis, Afghans and Somalis via drone bombing, helped shell Yemen into stone age, instigated the invasion of Libya and Bahrain, oversaw uncontrollable growth of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, managed the genocide in Syria, cozied up with the Saudi headcutters, bankrolled the fascist putsch in Ukraine, pushed NATO eastward to the brink of the World War III, presided one of the worst neoliberal neoconservative neocronyist regimes on Earth, abdicated the political system of the United States to the Wall Street lock, stock and barrel, presided over the only police state in the Western Hemisphere that makes Venezuela look like a vacation in Disneyland, managed the lone concentration camp operating anywhere outside of North Korea and supervised the worst and most egregious system of mass-surveillance and mind control in the history of the human race, but – hey! – otherwise he is a great human being and a jolly good fellow. Tells funny jokes (kinda-sorta), too.
Michael Joshua Sanchez ID9492736 4h ago
LOL. That’s hilarious. Implying that Yemen wasn’t already in the stone age. Made me chuckle.
Buggerianpaisley Michael Joshua Sanchez 2h ago
Obama claimed Yemen as a success story.
Projunior Tulsa 34 minutes ago
One in every three manufacturing jobs we had in 2000, nearly 6 million, vanished. Some 55,000 American factories shuttered.Since Jan. 1, 2000, U.S. trade deficits with China have totaled an astronomical $3.3 trillion. Last month, the U.S. trade deficit with China reached $31.2 billion, the largest in history between two nations.In 2011 the United States signed a free-trade agreement with South Korea. Since then, U.S. exports to Korea have fallen, U.S. imports have risen 80 percent, and we ran a $25 billion trade deficit in 2014. Peter Morici, chief economist in the early Clinton years at the U.S. International Trade Commission, says the Korean deal alone, and the import surge that followed, cost America 100,000 jobs.What sane person believes TPP will not make things worse? This is economic terrorism, as unleashed by corporate oligarchs and their lapdogs in Washington, on middle class and working class America.
Reply 24 Recommend
Bill Gilwood is a trusted commenter San Dimas, CA 29 minutes ago
The mask is off (mostly), this is the real Barack Obama I sensed back in 2007/8. Looks like he has a bright lucrative future on the corporate speech giving and board sitting circuit.
Dan in NY 12:16 AM EDT [Edited]
Obama…[Bushie] The worst president in United States history, bar none. His foreign policy has been a catastrophe. Our racial divide is greater than any in my lifetime. Our real unemployment is twice what Labor is publishing, and what jobs there are, have gone almost entirely to immigrants. And we are drowning in debt. And reading as the Post twists itself into a pretzel, trying not to point out the total collapse of this proposed “Summit” (the most important Gulf leaders aren’t attending) is no longer embarrassing. We’ve grown accustomed to the American media’s desperate attempt to hide all of Obama’s failures from the people.
If Obama loses on trade, blame should go to the twin pillars of detachment that have underpinned his presidency: insularity and secrecy.
The president’s long-standing disdain for his former colleagues on Capitol Hill now haunts him. After years of reluctance to lobby Congress, the White House made a big push for the trade legislation but found little goodwill among Democrats. And the push already seems to have exhausted Obama. After his contemptuous remarks about Democratic critics on trade, Obama went to play golf on Saturday — not with lawmakers but with old friends and staffers.
Apologists for their pseudo-Messiah can slice and dice facts as they please but can not confuse those who discern the truth: Barack Obama seeks the highest good for non-Americans more than Americans, black or white.
“My greatest fear,” General Raymond Odierno, the then commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq, told me in early 2010, “is that we stabilize Iraq, then hand it over to the Iranians in our rush to the exit.”
A forthcoming book by former foreign policy aide Vali Nasr paints the above portrait, describing a president whose decisions “from start to finish were guided by politics.”
In desperate search of a legacy, Obama fumbles on Iran
Why would the Obama administration claim victory in the middle of a sensitive negotiation? Maybe for the same reason that the swap of five Taliban commanders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was declared a national triumph and Bergdahl himself, now charged by the Army with desertion, was praised for serving with “honor and distinction.” On occasion, the administration seems so anxious to score political points that it is incapable of acting with restraint.
More Democrats Are Going Their Own Way, and That’s Away From Obama
President Obama, who is used to wrestling with Speaker John A. Boehner of the House, left, and Senator Mitch McConnell, second from right, has encountered more resistance from his own party. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
For far too long, this president has surrounded himself with yes men, living in a self-congratulatory world of affirmation. It’s late in his presidency, but it’s not too late to be administered a dose of reality.
“Negotiations . . . to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability . . .”
By Henry Kissinger And George P. Shultz
Obama’s Iran deal falls far short of his own goals
THE “KEY parameters” for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program released Thursday fall well short of the goals originally set by the Obama administration. None of Iran’s nuclear facilities — including the Fordow center buried under a mountain — will be closed. Not one of the country’s 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled. Tehran’s existing stockpile of enriched uranium will be “reduced” but not necessarily shipped out of the country. In effect, Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, though some of it will be mothballed for 10 years. When the accord lapses, the Islamic republic will instantly become a threshold nuclear state.
11:19 PM EDT
The WP editorial staff has been hawkish for decades. The orchestrated the lies that led us into Iraq and have never admitted it. This deal is a very good one, better than anyone expected—and yet they rush into print opposing even the idea of agreement. I really don’t understand conservatives thinking the WP is part of the liberal establishment. Do they read it?
10:54 PM EDT
Yay! “Peace in our time!” Of course Obama will be long gone and golfing in Hawaii full time when Iran performs its first nuclear test (or strike.)
President Obama is campaigning for a deal, while Khamenei is unmoved. That imbalance explains why Western negotiators had to give away so many of their original demands. The United States had originally insisted upon an end to Iran’s nuclear program, a suspension of its enrichment of uranium, but that was conceded to keep Iran at the table…we learned that the ayatollah is demanding total trust from us while offering maximum contempt in return. Khamenei communicated a smug and self-righteous sense of superiority toward the West throughout his remarks. He haughtily repeated his demand that the West permanently end all sanctions on the very day the deal is signed. He insisted that no inspectors could visit Iranian military facilities. This would make a hash of verification and enforcement…there is no congruence of interests between us and Iran. We envision a region of stable nation-states. They see a revolutionary anti-Western order.
In his jubilatory remarks in the Rose Garden Thursday, Obama tried to sell the Americans a bill of goods.
He made three outrageous claims.
The first was that when he became president Iran had “ thousands of centrifuges” which would now be cut down to around 6,000. In fact, in 2008, Iran had only 800 centrifuges. It was on Obama’s watch and because of his perceived weakness that Iran speeded up its nuclear program.
The second claim was that thanks to the scheme he is peddling “all of Iran’s paths” to developing a nuclear arsenal would be blocked. And, yet, in the same remarks he admitted that even if the claimed deal is fully implemented, Iran would still be able to build a bomb in just a year, presumably jumping over the “blocked paths.”
Obama’s worst claim was that the only alternative to his attempts at surrendering to the obnoxious Khomeinist regime would be US involvement in “another ground war in the Middle East.”
He ignores the fact that forcing Iran through diplomatic action, sanctions and proximity pressures to abide by six UN resolutions could also be regarded as an alternative. In other words, preemptive surrender is not the only alternative to war.
Obama is playing a bizarre game that could endanger regional peace and threaten the national security of the US and its allies. He insisted that Kerry secure “something, anything” before April 14 to forestall the US Congress’ planned moves on Iran.
He also wanted to stick it to Netanyahu, settle scores with Republicans, and please his faction within the Democratic Party; in other words, taking strategic risks with national security and international peace in the pursuit of dubious partisan gains.
It was but a year and a half ago that Barack Obama endorsed the objective of abolition when he said that Iran’s heavily fortified Fordow nuclear facility, its plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor and its advanced centrifuges were all unnecessary for a civilian nuclear program. The logic was clear: Since Iran was claiming to be pursuing an exclusively civilian program, these would have to go.
Yet under the deal Obama is now trying to sell, not one of these is to be dismantled. Indeed, Iran’s entire nuclear infrastructure is kept intact, just frozen or repurposed for the length of the deal (about a decade). Thus Fordow’s centrifuges will keep spinning. They will now be fed xenon, zinc and germanium instead of uranium. But that means they remain ready at any time to revert from the world’s most heavily (indeed comically) fortified medical isotope facility to a bomb-making factory.
And upon the expiration of the deal, conceded Obama Monday on NPR, Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear bomb will be “almost down to zero,” i.e., it will be able to produce nuclear weapons at will and without delay.
And then there’s cheating. Not to worry, says Obama. We have guarantees of compliance: “unprecedented inspections” and “snapback” sanctions.
The inspection promises are a farce. We haven’t even held the Iranians to their current obligation to come clean with the International Atomic Energy Agency on their previous nuclear activities. The IAEA charges Iran with stonewalling on 11 of 12 issues.
As veteran nuclear expert David Albright points out, that makes future verification impossible — how can you determine what’s been illegally changed or added if you have no baseline? Worse, there’s been no mention of the only verification regime with real teeth — at-will, unannounced visits to any facility, declared or undeclared. The joint European-Iranian statement spoke only of “enhanced access through agreed procedures,” which doesn’t remotely suggest anywhere/anytime inspections. And on Thursday, Iran’s supreme leader ruled out any “extraordinary supervision measures.”
1:42 AM EST
Charles is not always rational. On this subject, he is. Especially in light of what Iranian leaders (president and ayatollah) are telling their people about the deal, vastly different than what Kerry and Obama have represented. I tend to doubt that Kerry and Obama are misrepresenting the deal, I think Irans leaders are laying the groundwork for telling the people that American lies and deceptions are the reason for failure. As for specifics, snapback sanctions will not snapback. Once money is in place, no one is going to forfeit it. Sort of the equivalent of asking a Congressman to close a base in their district. And Charles is correct when he talks about the lack of trust in the region for Iran and its leaders. The IAEA has been blunt about the significant limitations on what is has been allowed to do. There are no easy solutions here, anyone who think otherwise is foolish. Obama isn’t so naive as to think this deal guarantees anything, he sees it as the best choice, which is why he keeps asking what the alternatives are.
The weakest point in President Obama’s defense of his deal with Iran is his claim that “it is a good deal even if Iran doesn’t change at all.”
Let’s consider that scenario. An Iran that does not change will reap hundreds of billions of dollars in fresh revenue from the lifting of sanctions, and it will surely use much of that to fund its ongoing military adventures in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. It will supply more weapons to Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups, and invest more in its long-range missiles, cyberweapons and other military technologies not covered by the agreement. It will continue developing advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment and after a decade will begin installing them.
…Obama may deny that this transformation is baked into the terms he agreed to. But it’s well known that his belief that “engagement” with rogue regimes leads to peaceful and positive change is the distinguishing foreign policy idea of his presidency, one that he has applied to Burma and Cuba, as well as to Iran. It explains why he would agree to temporarily restrain, rather than eliminate, Iran’s capacity to build a bomb. There’s no point in simply buying time unless you expect something to change.
8:33 PM EST [Edited]
“Iran has repeatedly emphasized its commitment to a peaceful program” But of course they did. On the other hand, Iran also has built an infrastructure to build a bomb in two to three month. All in violation of every agreement and UN resolutions. The proposed deal simply gives legitimacy to all previous Iranian violations of the agreements and does not prevent further violations. A good deal indeed. It is telling that no one involved in these negotiations provides any answers to a set of critical questions posed by Henry Kissinger ans George Shultz in a recent WSJ article. Instead, we are fed gibberish about “drastic” reduction of the number of centrifuges (none destroyed, just promised to be mothballed), a promise not to produce weapons-grade plutonium (no reason to produce plutonium at all other than for a weapon), etc., etc. Oh, and by the way, no specific actions if Iran breaks all the promises except that sanctions will be “snapped back”. Yeah, right. It’s not the first time that scientists like Dr. Moniz are duped by politicians. But to be duped by US politicians who are duped by Iranian politicians – that’s a historic achievement.
January 11, 2015 9:03 p.m.
Why History Will Eviscerate Obama
By Christopher Caldwell
Democrats nominated Barack Obama in 2008 to extract America from George W. Bush’s Iraq misadventure and to spread more fairly the proceeds of a quarter-century-old boom for which they credited Bill Clinton. The Election Eve collapse of Lehman Brothers changed things. It showed that there had been no boom at all, only a multitrillion-dollar real-estate debauch that Clinton’s and Bush’s affordable-housing mandates had set in motion. It also showed how fast historians’ likely rankings of presidents can shift: Clinton went from above average to below average, Bush from low to rock bottom.
Obama may wind up the most consequential of the three baby-boom presidents. He expanded certain Bush policies — Detroit bailouts, internet surveillance, drone strikes — and cleaned up after others. We will not know for years whether Obama’s big deficits risked a future depression to avoid a present one, or whether the respite he offered from “humanitarian invasions” made the country safer. Right now, both look like significant achievements. Yet there is a reason the president’s approval ratings have fallen, in much of the country, to Nixonian lows. Even his best-functioning policies have come at a steep price in damaged institutions, leaving the country less united, less democratic, and less free.
Health-care reform and gay marriage are often spoken of as the core of Obama’s legacy. That is a mistake. Policies are not always legacies, even if they endure, and there is reason to believe these will not. The more people learn about Obamacare, the less they like it — its popularity is still falling, to a record low of 37 percent in November. Thirty states have voted to ban gay marriage, and almost everywhere it survives by judicial diktat.
These are, however, typical Obama achievements. They are triumphs of tactics, not consensus-building. Obamacare involved quid pro quos (the “Cornhusker Kickback,” the “Louisiana Purchase,” etc.) that passed into Capitol Hill lore, accounting and parliamentary tricks to render the bill unfilibusterable, and a pure party-line vote in the Senate. You can call it normal politics, but Medicare did not pass that way. Gay marriage has meant Cultural Revolution–style bullying of dissenters (notoriously, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty and the Mozilla founder Brendan Eich). You can call this normal politics, too, but the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not pass that way.
Obama’s legacy is one of means, not ends. He has laid the groundwork for a political order less answerable to voters. His delay of the Obamacare employer mandate by fiat, his provision of working papers to immigrants by executive order — these are not applications of old tricks but dangerous constitutional innovations. After last fall’s electoral rout, the president claimed to have “heard” (presumably to speak on behalf of) the two-thirds of people who didn’t vote. And he has forged a partnership with the country’s rich — not the high-earning professionals calumniated in populist oratory (including his own) but the really existing Silicon Valley and Wall Street plutocracy.
For a generation, there has been too much private wealth in politics; Obama’s innovation has been to bring private wealth into government. He has (with others’ help, certainly) begun to emancipate the presidency from Congress’s control of the budget. In 2013, JPMorgan Chase, Obama’s most important early contributor, paid the Justice Department about $20 billion in fines (involving no high-level prosecutions), all of it redeployable by the administration. Federal stimulus funds incentivized states to approve Bill Gates’s Common Core curriculum. Michael Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative, a private endeavor, has been adopted with modifications by the White House.
Under the nation’s first black president, race relations regressed. At times maladroit (insulting a police officer for arresting his friend Henry Louis Gates, unaware the cop was an expert on racial profiling), at times unlucky (calling anger over the non-indictment of Darren Wilson “understandable” as rioters torched Ferguson, Missouri, on split screen), at times ethnocentric (Eric Holder’s arguments on behalf of “my people”), the administration alienated sympathetic whites. Mitt Romney won three of five white votes in 2012, and exit polls from 2014 show this to be a floor rather than a ceiling. Obama may be remembered the way Republican California governor Pete Wilson was after he backed the anti-immigration Proposition 187 in 1994—as one who benefited personally from ethnic polarization but cost his party and his country dearly by it.
Obama’s reputation will also have something in common with that of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, who believed history and technology have a direction and that his job was to align his country with it, no matter how illogical or undesirable it might appear to his countrymen. Like Gorbachev, Obama will be esteemed in certain quarters a generation from now, but probably more by foreigners than fellow citizens, and more by his country’s enemies than its friends.
The Obama administration seems to believe that the wonder-working power of their words can get everyone to stop believing their lying eyes and ears. It’s tempting to ask, “How stupid do they think we are?” But the more relevant question is, “How stupid do they think the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are?” Whatever appeal the Islamic State may or may not have in the larger Muslim world, Barack Obama insisting “it is not Islamic” surely makes no difference whatsoever. And as for the jihadists, it’s not like his words speak louder than his drone strikes.
It’s true that the Obama administration has had remarkable success playing word games. They “ created or saved” millions of jobs — as if that was a real economic metric. (For what it’s worth, I do or save 500 pushups every morning.) They decimated “core al-Qaida,” with the tautological definition of “core al-Qaida” being “the parts of al-Qaida that we have decimated.”
But this is different. Those distortions were political buzz phrases intended for domestic consumption and a re-election campaign. This is a much bigger deal. The threat of Islamic extremism transcends Obama’s theological hubris and lexicological shenanigans. All Obama’s insipid rhetorical gamesmanship does is send the signal to friend and foe alike that he can’t or won’t see the problem for what it is.
Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast
2/13/2015 3:00 PM EST
There is nothing wrong with pointing out the hypocrisy of Christians; the problem is the venue with which he choose to do it. Even in view of the shortcomings of humans, there has always been a remnant of true believers in Christ that have maintained the gospel Light throughout the centuries, despite those who live only for a “from” of Christianity, as the religious leaders did in the time of Christ. To compare Christianity with Islam, which extols jihad is inappropriate to say the least — that error in itself is the opposite of the Messianic intent. So, before we reach the judgement of human actions; let’s compare the rudiments of the source of their beliefs. The real problem is, the malevolence of ISIS is conveniently taking the spot light off Islam in general, which promotes this sort of murderous insensitivity. Islam’s goal is to subdue the world, by the sword if necessary; and it’s doing it by insidious infiltration — never loosing sight of the prize. There is no way that a serious Bible student could ever suggest that the president is a Christian. And that’s fine, if that’s what he wants. But many people who do not know of the tenants of Judeo-Christianity, may believe that he is; and that’s where his modus operandi becomes even more dangerous. However, not to worry — all these things must take place in this world, and it will have its due conclusion.
2/10/2015 11:36 PM EST
President Obama is right of course, and only religious zealots and idiots could possibly take issue with his remarks, which were both reasoned and accurate. So of course the right wing is having one of its typical hissy fits. No surprise there. Ignore.
2/11/2015 7:52 AM EST
E-You are absolutely ignorant in your opinion. No war is good, but the Christian Crusades happened becasue Muslims were terrorizing Christians and taking their lands from them. If you want to balme Christians for defending themselves then stupidly blame the American Indians for defending themselves when the government tried to take their lands, or stupidly blame any person or nation who has had to fight to defend themselves, Obamas insult to Christians proved he is not a Christian, he is a muslim. David Axelrod has a book out in which he states Obama deleberatly misled the nation on his anti gay marraige views, becasue he knew if he admitted was for gay marriage he would not get elected, Obama has done the same with falsely masquerading as a Christian for years. No, it isnt just a ‘religious zealot or ignorant person ” who would disagree with Obama. The Christian Crusades were not done ‘in the name of Christ” as Obama said ,They were done in the name of self defense. I guess you don’t know that at all, do you, E?”So guess whose opinion is born of ignorance/ i would say your opinion and others opinion like yours.
2/12/2015 7:53 AM EST
The President is so anti-American it is disgusting.
2/10/2015 5:13 PM EST
If the President said “ice cream is yummy,” the critics would accuse him of an un-America disrespect for apple pie. Haters gotta hate.
2/8/2015 7:58 PM EST
I am quite alarmed with President Obama’s statement. I am now sorry I voted for him & supported his ‘ agenda with contributions. To suggest anything other than isis is evil is absurd. Shame on the President.
Presned 12:17 AM EST
I am no Republican and never will be but I am in limbo till Obama is gone. Hillary, Elizabeth, anybody…..but Obama. What a mistake.
bbafce212 12:20 AM EST
I bet you’re in the same position as me. Hillary as president? Sure, after Obama why the hell not? It can’t get any worse, right?
DavidinCambridge 12:24 AM EST
Russia on the ropes. Al Qaeda on the ropes. Venezuela on the ropes. Iran on the ropes. ISIS stalled and murdering it’s own fighters. Chemical weapons gone from Syria. Maliki gone from Iraq. No US troops in Syria, Ukraine, or Libya despite the deafening calls on the right. Cuba. A lot to go on.
From the beginning, this president’s misguided approach to foreign policy has suggested something about what he sees as America’s place in the world. It goes all the way back to the 2008 campaign, when then-Sen. Obama said he would agree to meet unconditionally with America’s enemies, including the leaders of Venezuela, Iran and North Korea. This willingness to accommodate America’s traditional enemies and at times, disregard old friends, has been a nagging and persistent pattern in the administration from when he was first elected to the present day. Most recently, the president’s gift of recognition to our traditional enemy Cuba — while getting nothing in return — and his inaction as another traditional enemy, Russia, makes a mockery of peace talks and interferes in a country that wants the United States to come to its aid just add to the idea that Obama is quick to let America’s enemies have their way.
An enduring characteristic of Barack Obama’s presidency has been his determination to implement the ideological agenda with which he arrived in office without regard for conditions in the real world. He imposed timetables for “ending the wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq unlinked to military progress. He insisted on pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, even though the leaders of both sides were manifestly unwilling. He began his second term by seeking a new nuclear arms deal with Vladimir Putin, despite abundant evidence that Putin was preparing for confrontation with the West.
diggferkel • an hour ago
The definition of Sociopath from the Mayo Clinic reads like a biography of Obama:
•Disregard for right and wrong
•Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others
•Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or for sheer personal pleasure
•Intense egocentrism, sense of superiority and exhibitionism
•Recurring difficulties with the law
•Repeatedly violating the rights of others by the use of intimidation, dishonesty and misrepresentation
•Child abuse or neglect
•Hostility, significant irritability, agitation, impulsiveness, aggression or violence
•Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others
•Unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behaviors
•Poor or abusive relationships
•Irresponsible work behavior
•Failure to learn from the negative consequences of behavior
•Being subjected to verbal, physical or sexual abuse during childhood
•Unstable or chaotic family life during childhood
•Loss of parents through traumatic divorce during childhood
•History of substance abuse in parents or other family members
A drop in Ebola cases in Liberia lessened the need for treatment units such as this Defense Ministry center. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times
Empty Ebola Clinics in Liberia Are Seen as Misstep in U.S. Relief Effort
MONROVIA, Liberia — As bodies littered the streets and the sick lay dying in front of overwhelmed clinics last year, President Obama ordered the American intervention ever in a global health crisis, hoping to stem the deadliest Ebola epidemic in history.
But after spending hundreds of millions of dollars and deploying nearly 3,000 troops to build Ebola treatment centers, the United States ended up creating facilities that have largely sat empty: Only 28 Ebola patients have been treated at the 11 treatment units built by the United States military, American officials now say.
Nine centers have never had a single Ebola patient.
“My task was to convince the international organizations, ‘You don’t need any more E.T.U.s,’ ” said Dr. Hans Rosling, a Swedish public health expert who advised Liberia’s health ministry, referring to Ebola treatment units.
“I warned them, ‘The only thing you’ll show is an empty E.T.U.,’ he added. ‘Don’t do it.’ ”
The American response, it turns out, was outpaced by the fast-moving and unpredictable disease.
Facing criticism that his reaction to the devastating epidemic had been slow and inadequate, Mr. Obama announced his signature plan in mid-September, focusing on Liberia, America’s historical ally.
But even before the first treatment center built by the American military opened there, the number of Ebola cases in Liberia had fallen drastically, casting doubt on the American strategy of building facilities that took months to complete.
The emphasis on constructing treatment centers — so widely championed last year — ended up having much less impact than the inexpensive, nimble measures taken by residents to halt the outbreak, many officials say.
Obama education legacy: Pomp and fizzle?
By STEPHANIE SIMON 1/9/15 8:10 PM EST
Obama can’t wish away terrorism
By Michael Gerson Opinion writer January 19 at 7:17 PM
President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address is remembered today mainly for this bit of rhetorical irony: “America must move off a permanent war footing.”
It was the triumph of speechwriting over experience. Obama’s pledge came about three weeks after the fall of Fallujah to the Islamic State. By June, Mosul would be overrun. Global jihadism now has a cause — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s sham caliphate — around which to rally. It controls unprecedented territory and resources. It has a stream of thousands of Western recruits cycling in and out of the Middle East. And it encompasses a dangerous competition between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, in which acts of terrorism are a source of street credibility.
Obama’s reaction, as always, has been restrained. The world does much to disappoint him, but it apparently has nothing to teach him. Every signal he has recently sent — in his lack of an appropriate symbolic reaction to the Paris attacks, in his limp, equivocal performance beside a more determined British Prime Minister David Cameron — seems to be saying: I am not going to repeat George W. Bush’s overreaction to terrorism, which only feeds extremism.
So, Obama is careful to explain that terrorism is not “an existential threat.” “Intelligence and military force alone,” he says, “is not going to solve this problem.” And he urges Europeans to “not simply respond with a hammer.”
We have come a long way when an American president pompously urges the French to curb their cowboy instincts.
But the situation in Europe reveals this line of argument — that overreaction provokes terrorism — to be farcical. The French did not support the Iraq war. They did not engage in enhanced interrogation. They have been consistent supporters of the Palestinian cause. They have tried not to offend. But it didn’t matter. Some offense by Charles Martel in the 8th century would have been sufficient pretext. Western countries are not engaged in policy disagreements with violent Islamism. They are facing, in Cameron’s words, a “fanatical death cult.”
Obama is correct to distinguish that cult from the faith of Islam. Equating the two is not only substantively wrong, it is strategically insane. No president would criticize the religious beliefs of millions of his fellow citizens — particularly when their good faith is necessary to isolate violent radicalism. And any fight against terrorism depends on good relations with Muslim allies who take many of the front-line risks. Islam is not the same as Islamism. And not even all Islamism is violent Islamism. Such distinctions are essential to successfully conduct a war on terrorism.
And Obama is correct that this war requires a variety of non-military strategies: diplomacy that somehow corrals Sunni and Shiite powers into anti-terror alliances; economic development that provides opportunities for alienated youth; effective ideological campaigns (which are now badly underfunded) to counter violent extremism. We do need “all the elements of our national power.”
But even with these caveats, the task that remains is a global armed conflict of uncertain duration. It will involve maintaining a technological edge to monitor the communications of potential terrorists. It will involve arming, training and guiding (sometimes with American boots on the ground) proxies to fight battles. It will involve targeted killings with drones, bombers and special operations forces.
Particularly with the rise of the Islamic State during the past year — which occurred in a vacuum of local sovereignty and global attention — the United States has an enormously complex and difficult task ahead. It involves building up allies that have previously proved hollow and fragile; patiently reclaiming territory; preventing infiltration by jihadist veterans and attacks by homegrown sympathizers; helping re-establish some semblance of legitimate government in Iraq (challenging) and in Syria (pretty near impossible).
It is not sufficient to describe this — or dismiss this — as “counterterrorism.” Even the effort that Obama currently describes requires the end of a terrorist regime holding large portions of two countries in the Middle East. Americans need to be prepared for years of conflict — and for the strong possibility of terrorist escalations such as we saw in Paris. Or worse. And American allies need to be led and encouraged in this effort, not ignored or lectured.
President Obama has variously tried to declare victory against terrorism (“al-Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated”) or to claim that the United States has turned a corner past war. But his wishes do not make it so. Displaying his own core of leadership — if only to justify his stated strategy of regime elimination — has never been more needed.
As senator, he voted against big trade deals. As president, he is touting an Asia pact opposed by many in his own party and supported by Republicans who know trade is an issue that could divide Democrats in an election year.
Victor Davis Hanson commentary: Obama now benefiting from oil policies he once ridiculed
Friday January 2, 2015 5:34 AM
Gasoline prices nationally are on the verge of crashing down to below $2 a gallon. The price of oil may dip below $50 a barrel.
Even with renewed demand from a global economic resurgence, energy prices continue to fall. The U.S. has suddenly become the world’s largest combined producer of oil and natural gas.
That fact — along with a desire to weaken hostile Iran and Russia — has prompted the oil-rich Gulf sheikdoms to keep pumping oil even as the price falls. In their game of petro-chicken, the desperate sheiks hope that either their poorer enemies will run out of cash, or that fracking in the U.S. will become unprofitable and cease.
Everyone seems to have forgotten about “peak oil” — the catchphrase of the new millennium.
The world in general, and the United States in particular, supposedly had already burned more oil than was left under the Earth. Under President Barack Obama, gasoline prices had soared. When he entered office in January 2009, gas prices averaged around $1.60 per gallon. Four years later, by spring of 2013, gas prices had climbed beyond $3.50 a gallon.
The Obama administration never much worried about high energy costs. During the 2008 campaign, Obama promised that, “Under my plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Shutting down coal plants and using higher-priced but cleaner natural gas would pave the way for an even pricier mandated wind and solar generation.
In the vice presidential debates of 2008, Joe Biden mocked Sarah Palin for the supposedly mindless campaign mantra of “Drill, baby, drill.” Biden intoned that, “It will take 10 years for one drop of oil to come out of any of the wells that are going to be drilled.”
The energy secretary-designate, the professorial Steven Chu, in 2008 had voiced a widely held but wisely unspoken progressive belief that “somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe” — or about $9 a gallon.
Just two years ago, when up for re-election, Obama reminded Americans, “We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.”
Such easy rhetoric was backed by action — or lack of it. The Keystone XL pipeline was put on permanent hold. New fracking leases on federal lands were postponed. Huge areas of oil- and gas-rich federal lands were put off-limits. Some blue states stopped fracking. Money poured into solar schemes like Solyndra.
Decreased use of expensive energy was deemed desirable. Cash-strapped commuters would be forced to drive less, thereby advancing the noble cause of curbing supposed manmade global warming. Federal subsidies flowed for high-speed rail. Wind, solar and other alternate energies could at last become competitive. Cap-and-trade legislation looked as if it might sail through Congress.
Unfortunately for the Obama administration, the new age of sky-high oil prices proved an economic disaster. The natural cycle of recovery never quite followed the end of the recession in mid-2009, as U.S. budget and trade deficits soared.
Abroad, all the wrong countries were empowered as never before.
The late Hugo Chavez used his oil windfall in Venezuela to subsidize subversion throughout Latin America. Petrodollar-rich Russian President Vladimir Putin charted a confident anti-American foreign policy.
Iran used its growing riches to step up progress toward producing a nuclear bomb while upping subsidies to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.
Then, finally, oil and gas prices plunged due to the “drill, baby, drill,” can-do attitude of the private sector. Americans should thank the U.S. oilmen — from the drillers in the field to the engineers behind the scenes — who did the impossible. They vastly increased the supply of what was supposedly a permanently declining resource, and thereby helped to crash prices.
Almost everything Obama tried to rev the economy — from near-zero interest rates and $1 trillion annual budget deficits to Obamacare and increases in entitlements — has failed. His foreign-policy stances of resets and leading from behind led to chaos and emboldened enemies.
Yet the United States economy is slowly recovering with cheap energy. Consumers have more money. Industries are returning to U.S. Soil.
Abroad, spendthrift oil producers such as hostile Iran, Russia and Venezuela are nearly broke. Friendly rivals such as Japan and the European Union can’t compete with the U.S. energy edge.
What Obama once ridiculed is now saving him from himself — after he had championed policies that nearly destroyed him.
The Greeks had a word for it: irony.
Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
Tensions between reporters and public information officers — “hacks and flacks” in the vernacular — aren’t new, of course. Reporters have always wanted more information than government officials have been willing or able to give.
But journalists say the lid has grown tighter under the Obama administration, whose chief executive promised in 2009 to bring “an unprecedented level of openness” to the federal government.
The frustrations boiled over last summer in a letter to President Obama signed by 38 organizations representing journalists and press-freedom advocates. The letter decried “politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies” by spokesmen. “We consider these restrictions a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear,” the groups wrote.
…In fact, most federal agencies get subpar grades on one measure of openness: their responsiveness to FOIA requests, which enable reporters and ordinary citizens to collect government records. Eight of the 15 agencies that get the most FOIA requests received a D grade for their compliance, according to a review this month by the nonprofit Center for Effective Government.
Two agencies — Health and Human Services and the State Department — received failing grades.
3/30/2015 10:32 PM EST
This is the first time in a very long time we are witnessing maturity in American foreign policy in the Middle East. Finally, the Arabs and Israel are not fooling (Obama) America anymore. The Arab money that would have gone to terrorists to fly planes into our buildings, is now needed to beef up Arab national armies to fight extremists in their midst. For the first time, the Arabs are seriously talking about a pan-Arab military structure to take care of their own problems in their own backyards. This would never have happened had an anti-Obama/Netanyahu/interventionists’ approach been adopted. The wise man that he is, Obama knows that only the Arabs can best protect themselves and defeat terrorists and extremists in their midst. End of American military welfare in the Middle East. They either learn to solve their own problems without America or kill each other until they are tired of it. Same goes for Israel. Either Israel grows up and behave like a proper independent country, seeking peace with her neighbors, or America will not follow Israel/Netanyahu to the gate of stupidity. Israelis/Netanyahu, Saudis, Iranians, and the rest of them all, have got to mature and solve their own problems, preferably by talking. Foolish game over: America is no more going to fight to maintain a charade of peace in that region. Obama is earning his Nobel Peace.
3/30/2015 9:36 PM EST
Good try Eugene. It is hard to put a good spin on anything Obama is doing with our foreign policy but I know it is your job. Can you name one relationship with a foreign power that is better under this regime? I will give the two obvious one’s … Cuba and Iran. Any others?
The REAL Obama