Saturday, December 31, 2011

Taliban Ringtones, a real Lifesaver!

From the Daily Mail:
Afghans face death if they do not have mobile phones playing defiant Taliban ringtones and messages, it emerged today.

They are being forced to show their loyalty to the insurgents at clandestine checkpoints by producing the chants romantising the war with the West.

Taliban ringtones include the titles 'Teenager', 'Doomsday' and 'Suicide Bomber'. Lyrics for Doomsday include, 'Its Judgment Day for the Satan of the West ... the evening is blazing, blazing ...'

The prevalence of checkpoints... has forced many Afghans to cleanse their mobiles of all apparent Western songs and influence.

The have reported how offenders have been forced to eat SIM cards and have had phones broken on their heads..

Travelers often pop out their real SIM cards and replace them with ones containing insurgent-produced jingles...

Shopkeepers are doing a roaring trade in rebel ringtones at $2 an upload...

Kabul grocer Haji Mohammad Khan said: 'If they [the Taliban] search your phone and see their videos and songs, they will think you are their sympathiser.

'On occasion, it can save your life...

Today, the Taliban is mass texting gruesome videos to Afghans’ cellphones to spread the same message.

The insurgency’s media committee produces video glorifying suicide bombers and posts them on Taliban websites.

After watching one of them, a Paktia resident told Radio Free Europe: 'I could not even sleep because I was just thinking of this scary video in which Taliban were slaying young men.'
The Wall Street Journal notes:
The growing popularity of Taliban-safe phones highlights the increasing sense of insecurity across Afghanistan—and in particular in Kabul—as the U.S. is withdrawing one-third of its forces by September.

United Nations officials, private security analysts and veteran aid workers in Afghanistan have all warned that it is becoming more dangerous to travel outside the Afghan capital. The U.S.-led coalition acknowledges increasing insurgent activity in provinces bordering Kabul.
Hopefully, as part of the ongoing peace negotiations with the Taliban, the White House will strike a profit sharing deal with the local shopkeepers and the Taliban: For every Taliban ringtone that is downloaded, the Obama administration would receive a percentage of the profits and use it to help pay off the President's current, and future, spending initiatives....

Obama's phony ID & fake voter registrations, and the South Carolina voter ID law

During a 2009 White House reception for the recipients of the annual Kennedy Center Honor Awards, President Obama recounted an interesting exchange he had with one of the honorees, film legend, Mel Brooks.

"I was telling [Mel Brooks] that I went to see Blazing Saddles when I was ten. He pointed out that, I think, according to the ratings I should not have been allowed in the theater. That's true," Obama said, adding, "I think I had a fake ID. [pause] But the statute of limitations has passed."

A childish prank, perhaps, but in truth, Mr. Obama, even in his adult life, has benefited from similar schemes, via fake petition signatures and phony voter registrations.

Indeed, it has recently been discovered that Barack Obama's 2008 Democratic presidential primary petition in the state of Indiana contained many forged signatures.

An Indiana woman told Fox News that "she was troubled by the fact that someone had forged both her signature and that of her husband..., and listed personal details such as their address and birthdays.

In October of 2008, ACORN was accused of creating fake voter registration forms throughout the US that included the likes of Mickey Mouse and the starting line-up of the Dallas Cowboys football team.

During the 2010 midterm election season, the names of deceased individuals were found on voter rolls throughout the country.

And yet, in spite of all this fraud, Eric Holder's Justice Department on Friday blocked a new South Carolina law that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls.

The Justice Department's decision drew strong criticism from Republican Presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich.

During a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Saturday, the former House Speaker questioned why Mr. Holder is "so determined not to identify if people are not eligible to vote"

"You have to ask, why is it that they are desperate to retain the ability to steal elections and I think that's what it comes down to," said Gingrich.

Ultimately, Mr. Obama's past experiences - in the 2008 Presidential election, the midterm elections and, as a child, in a movie theatre, trying to pass himself off as an adult - should be a lesson to us all that stricter voter ID laws are necessary in order to prevent the fraudsters of the world, the Mickey Mouses of the world and the ACORNs of the world from determining the outcomes of our Presidential elections.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Obama administration mulls tranfer of 'high-risk' Taliban prisoners, with strong ties to Al Qaeda

Hoping to improve prospects of a peace deal with the Taliban, the Obama administration is considering transfering five detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison to Afghan custody, including top Taliban commander, Mohammed Fazl, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The proposed transfer had been reported by Reuters earlier this month, but only now did the news agency learn that Mr. Fazl was among the five detainees under discussion.

However, it should be noted that all five of the detainees may actually be Taliban commanders - with strong ties to Al Qaeda.

Earlier this month, the Long War Journal reported that the Afghan High Peace Council had previously lobbied for the release of four top Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo:
The four Taliban leaders are: Abdul Haq Wasiq (former Taliban deputy minister of intelligence), Mullah Norullah Noori (a former Taliban governor and military commander), Mullah Mohammed Fazl (the Taliban army's chief of staff), and Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa (the former Taliban governor of Herat province).

It is not known if the Obama administration is considering transferring any of the four... [Editors Note: From today's Reuters report, it seems very likely that this is indeed the case.]

All four were deemed "high" risks by US military intelligence officials, according to leaked JTF-GTMO memos. In addition, JTF-GTMO recommended that all four remain in the Defense Department's custody, as opposed to being transferred to the Afghan government...

All four had extensive ties to al Qaeda prior to their capture.
The Long War Journal has the rundown on all four of these murderous thugs. Here's an excerpt from Mr. Fazl's profile:
Mullah Mohammad Fazl was one of the Taliban's most experienced commanders prior to his capture in November 2001... Fazl is "wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites." Fazl "was associated with terrorist groups currently opposing U.S. and Coalition forces including al Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), and an Anti-Coalition Militia group known as Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami."

Fazl had "operational associations with significant al Qaeda and other extremist personnel," according to JTF-GTMO. One of the high-ranking al Qaeda commanders Fazl long cooperated with was Abdel Hadi al Iraqi, who led Osama bin Laden's Arab 055 Brigade in the Taliban's Afghanistan. The 055 Brigade was bin Laden's chief fighting force and served alongside Taliban units.

Immediately "following the assassination of Northern Alliance commander Ahmad Shah Massoud in September 2001," al Iraqi explained to US officials, "the Northern Alliance was demoralized" and [he] met with Fazl to "coordinate an attack with the Taliban against the Northern Alliance."...
Reuters also notes that Mr. Fazl had surrendered to the the Northern Alliance in 2001 and was on the scene of a November 2001 prison riot that killed CIA operative Johnny Micheal Spann, the first American who died in combat in the Afghan war, although there is no clear evidence that Fazl played a direct role in Spann's death.

And, here's a small excerpt from Mr. Khairkhwa's profile:
According to a JTF-GTMO file, Khairkhwa "was directly associated" with both Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar.

"Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks," the leaked JTF-GTMO file reads, Khairkhwa "represented the Taliban during meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support hostilities against U.S. and Coalition Forces."...

Khairkhwa... oversaw one of Osama bin Laden's training facilities in Herat, too. One US government memo notes that only Khairkhwa or bin Laden himself "could authorize entrance" to the facility, which was one of bin Laden's "most important bases..."

One-Percenter eats high class dinner at Alan Wong's restaurant

Addressing a crowd at a Town Hall meeting in Atkinson, Illinois, this past Summer, President Obama stated as follows:
There have been times in my life [when] things were a little tight, when [Michelle and I] were just starting a family and had all these new expenses, and we had to make some choices. We didn’t say to ourselves, well, we’re not going to put any money into the college fund so we can keep on eating fancy dinners anytime we want...
Well, Obama's financial situation is no longer "tight". In fact, the President can now count himself among the lucky 1%, who can afford the luxury of eating fancy dinners, at fancy restaraunts, anytime they want. And that's precisely what Mr. Obama - the One-Percenter - did Wednesday evening.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama, and friends spent about three hours at Alan Wong's, a restaurant in Honolulu. The press pool van had reportedly been "peeled off early" – a few blocks from the restaurant - while the President's motorcade continued on to Mr. Wong’s restaurant.

However, a CNN reporter, who happened to be dining at the restaraunt when the President arrived, passed on the following report to the the press pool:
The Obama party had a special 5-course tasting menu for $75 a person, $105 per person with wine pairings for each course... Diners have been trying to takes pictures of POTUS, only to be chased off by advance staffers.
Of course, President Obama and the First Lady, when attending various fundraisers, have offered to pose for pictures with their campaign donors. And, for the right price, some Obama supporters have even had the honor of dining with the President. But these particular diners - the ones who were eating at the restaraunt when the President made his surprise entrance - did not write out any checks to Obama, hence - as would be expected - they were given the shaft....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

White House careful to avoid photos of the President having too much fun

The President is clearly having a lot of fun on his Hawaiian vacation, but he doesn't want anyone to know about it:
With Americans suffering through difficult economic times, the White House has been careful to avoid photos of the president having too much fun [in Hawaii].

He has been photographed greeting troops at a nearby Marine base, but not hitting a putt on a manicured green. Journalists were permitted to see him holding his daughters' hands in a visit to a sea park, but not driving a golf cart.
Likewise, Reuters reported back in August:
Critics have slammed [President] Obama for vacationing for the third consecutive summer on Martha's Vineyard, an upscale island off the Massachusetts coast... They say vacationing at the scenic island, a stomping ground for movie stars and other wealthy Democratic Party backers in August, shows Obama is out of touch while 14 million Americans are out of work. The White House says the country does not begrudge Obama some time with his family, but it has been careful to allow no pictures so far of him at play on the golf course.
The Boston Globe noted at the time that, during one of Obama's Golf outings, when he approached "the eighth tee in a golf cart with friend and frequent golfing buddy Eric Whitaker," he "noticed three TV cameras and a Globe photographer across the street. Rather than stop and be photographed teeing off, the president skipped the hole."

On the following day the Boston Globe reported:
Perhaps because it poses difficulties for the media horde trying to get pictures of him, Obama returned to Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown [a private club], where he played Friday and had largely managed to avoid the cameras. And yesterday, he did skip some holes in an effort to bypass photographers.
I noted at the time:
While the White House has been releasing photos showing the vacationing President in a serious frame of mind - like the photograph it released..., showing a solemn-faced Obama in discussion with his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan - it is doing all it can to keep the President's Golf excursions out of the public eye.
Likewise, now, during the President's Hawaiian vacation, the White House released photos showing him greeting the troops at a nearby Marine base, but it "has been careful to avoid photos of" him "having too much fun...."

Weapons Sales to Iraq Move Ahead Despite Concerns

From the New York Times:
The Obama administration is moving ahead with the sale of nearly $11 billion worth of arms and training for the Iraqi military despite concerns that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is seeking to consolidate authority, create a one-party Shiite-dominated state and abandon the American-backed power-sharing government...

The sales of the weapons — some of which have already been delivered — are moving ahead even though Mr. Maliki has failed to carry out an agreement that would have limited his ability to marginalize the Sunnis and turn the military into a sectarian force... The move could [also] backfire if the Baghdad government ultimately aligns more closely with the Shiite theocracy in Tehran than with Washington...

There is also growing concern that Mr. Maliki’s apparent efforts to marginalize the country’s Sunni minority could set off a civil war...

Despite pronouncements from American and Iraqi officials that the Iraqi military is a nonsectarian force, they said, it had evolved into a hodgepodge of Shiite militias more interested in marginalizing the Sunnis than in protecting the country’s sovereignty. Across the country, they said, Shiite flags — not Iraq’s national flag — fluttered from tanks and military vehicles, evidence, many said, of the troops’ sectarian allegiances.

“It is very risky to arm a sectarian army,” said Rafe al-Essawi, the country’s finance minister and a leading Sunni politician. “It is very risky with all the sacrifices we’ve made, with all the budget to be spent, with all the support of America — at the end of the day, the result will be a formal militia army.”...

A spokesman for the United States Embassy declined to comment, as did the National Security Council in Washington...
The President's foreign policy is a disaster; his leadership is nowhere to be found [he is either unable or unwilling to remedy the situation]; and as long as he is running the show, Maliki can do whatever he likes...

Mitt Romney: Mr. President, you've had your moment, we have seen the results

Speaking to supporters in Davenport Iowa on Tuesday, Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney stated as follows:
Four years ago this week, Barack Obama visited Davenport. He gave a speech down the street, and like most of his campaign speeches, it was long on promises.

He promised to bring people together. He promised to change the broken system in Washington. He promised to do away with gridlock. He promised to repair the nation.

Across the nation, he promised to put Americans back to work.

He closed with these words: "this is our moment, this is our time."

Well Mr. President, you've had your moment. We've seen the results. And now, Mr. President, it is our time.

Mr. Romney went on to say:
[Mr. President], you have failed to deliver on the promises you made here in Davenport.

Where you once challenged us to reach for our dreams, you now ask us to settle for less.

Nearly 25 million Americans are still out of work or struggling to find work. The national debt stands at a stratospheric $15 trillion. The median income has dropped 10% in four years. Soldiers returning from war have a tough time finding a decent job.

Gone is the “hope and change” candidate of Davenport. Gone is the candidate who would heal the nation. Instead, the campaigner in chief divides Americans, engages in class warfare and resorts to distortion and demagoguery...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Obama administration refuses to label China a 'currency manipulator', hopes China will embrace the "Change" slogan

From Reuters:
The U.S. Treasury again shied away from labeling China a currency manipulator on Tuesday...

Some U.S. politicians have argued that China has gained an unfair competitive edge in global markets by keeping the yuan artificially low to boost exports, and pressure has mounted in Congress for President Barack Obama to punish China. But the administration prefers to tread softly and use diplomacy to effect change.

The U.S. Treasury, in a semi-annual report, as usual said that statutes covering a designation of currency manipulator "have not been met with respect to China."...

At the heart of the friction between the two countries is a U.S. trade deficit with China that swelled in 2010 to a record $273.1 billion from about $226.9 billion in 2009. The cumulative Jan-Oct deficit with China is on track to top that this year, running at around $245.5 billion...

President Obama at the November APEC meetings, in his toughest words yet, told President Hu Jintao that China must play by global trade rules and act like "a grown-up."


But U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said the law on the FX report, which requires the administration to determine whether U.S. trade partners are deliberately undervaluing their currencies, is a poor tool to push Beijing on the yuan.

Instead, the United States prefers to argue for change at its regular closed-door meetings with Chinese officials...
"Hope and Change", heh.....
Some U.S. manufacturers, which have been hit hardest by competition from China and other emerging economies, would still prefer the U.S. government to take a harder line.

"China's currency is still enormously undervalued," said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, an industry lobby for hard-hit textile, steel and labor groups.

"I'm disappointed that President Obama has now formally refused six times to cite China for its currency manipulation, a practice which has contributed to the loss of hundreds of thousands of American manufacturing jobs."

Democrats Lag in Voter Registration as enthusiasm for Obama dwindles

From the Wall Street Journal:
Catalist, [a progressive voter database company], whose clients include liberal and civic groups as well as Democratic candidates, uses a system that considers commercial and other political data, as well as partisan registration where it exists, to analyze the leanings of voters. It found that in North Carolina, half of all people who registered to vote in 2008 were oriented toward the Democrats, and about 20% were oriented toward Republicans, a 30-percentage-point advantage for Democrats.

Since then, that advantage has been erased. Republican-oriented voters have run slightly ahead of presumed Democratic voters in new registrations in North Carolina throughout 2010 and 2011.

The picture is similar among new registrations nationally. Democrats had a 2-to-1 advantage in 2008, but in the most recent quarter, Republicans were slightly ahead...

For his part, Mr. Obama's problems include a sluggish economy and the fact that he's no longer a fresh face but a sitting president...

Golfer-in-Chief sets personal Golf record; 'Keeps the ball rolling'

From the The White House Dossier via the USA Today:
After golfing at a Marine Corps base [in Hawaii on] Monday, Obama has so far totaled 32 golf outings this year, topping the totals in each of the first two years of his presidency.
The White House Dossier notes that Obama has "gone golfing 90 times in less than three years as president. That’s about three months of golf, given that the excursions generally take about five hours – much of the useful portion of the day."

One of Obama's supporters noted shortly after the 2008 Presidential election that "change only comes if we keep the ball rolling."

Commenting on Obama's 2010 State of the Union address, the Communist Party USA website wrote: "Last night the president got the ball rolling, but he didn't roll it far enough."

Well, Obama is a persistent man who refuses to give up, which is why he'll continue to play golf, non-stop, until he is able to get that ball rolling "far enough" and until he succeeds in sinking the entire country down a bottomless hole........

Obama & Pelosi: Pricey Hawaii vacations helps them feel the pain of the middle class

Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi have been doling out their bountiful supplies of cash, and the hordes of cash they've siphoned off from the tax payers, to pay for their luxurious Christmas vacations in Hawaii. But, no doubt they still feel the pain and suffering of the struggling Middle Class.

Pelosi is currently staying at the exotic Four Seasons Resort in Kona on the island of Hawaii. She spent the last two Christmas holidays at the same hotel in an elaborate suite that rents for $10,000 a night. Local taxpayers shelled out $34,000 to pay for Pelosi's police escort.

Last year, President Obama payed between $2500 to $3500 per day for his Hawaiian vacation rental. This year the President is staying at a different house located on the same street. The Obamas are the first group to ever rent the house, and the realtor said that when the President and his family return to Washington, he plans to list the house for sale at a cost of $7.9 million.

And while the Obamas are paying for their own beach front rental, taxpayers are picking up the rest of the tab, at an estimated cost of $4,113,038. That includes $3,629,622 for SEPARATE travel for the president and his family, $151,200 for housing for security, $72,216 for staff to stay in one of Hawaii's most luxurious resorts, the Moana Surf-rider in Waikiki, and local police protection and ambulance detail for $260,000.

Bradley A. Blakeman, who served as a member of President George W.Bush’s senior staff from 2001-2004, told Newsmax that President Bush only brought a “skeleton crew” to his ranch in Crawford, Texas — and they stayed in trailers.“They weren’t staying in five-star hotels on the beach,” he said. “The most extravagant thing that they did was probably go out for barbecue...”

However, unlike Mr. Bush, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi are clearly deserving of all these luxurious perks because they feel the pain of the Middle Class....

Moreover, the President's vacation, in the hot and scorching Hawaiian sun, is, in essence, a self-inflicted misery and an effort on his part to share in the pain and suffering of the Middle Class.

Case in point: In 2010, while addressing a small audience in Fairfax, VA., Mr. Obama announced that he would join the crowd and stand in the sun so that they would know "he feels their pain."

And, undoubtedly this is the motive behind Obama and Pelosi's luxurious, high-end Hawaiian vacations: They are doling out hordes of cash to soak up the hot, torturous Hawaiian sun because the self-inflicted pain helps them feel the pain and suffering of the struggling Middle Class......

Monday, December 26, 2011

News Tidbits

Obama plays golf with pal who was arrested for prostitute solicitation:

On his first full day of vacation on the Hawaiian island of Oahu on Sunday, President Obama sang Christmas carols with his family, attended church services and then played a round of golf with several of his friends, including longtime pal, Bobby Titcomb, who was arrested in April [of 2011] in a prostitution solicitation sting.

The President also played golf with Mr. Titcomb last month while attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii and during his previous Hawaiian vacations.

On Dec. 30, 2010, the President, and his family, spent the day at Titcomb’s beachfront home in Mokuleia, where they ate barbecue, played volleyball and hung out on the beach.

So far, no solicitation of prostitutes has been reported at any of the Titcomb/Obama outings.

Obama's longtime pal was also previously arrested for driving under the influence and for criminal contempt of court.

Suicide attacker kills 7 at Baghdad checkpoint, raising concerns about Iraq's future/Obama's foreign policy:

At least seven people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack outside the Iraqi Interior Ministry on Monday. Over 30 people were wounded.

The attack followed a series of of explosions last week that killed at least 72 people, raisng fears [and concerns] about Iraq's future after U.S. troops withdrew this month. President Obama opted against leaving behind even a residual force of U.S. troops in Iraq, and lo and behold, all hell is breaking out

Iranian commander congratulates Iraq on US troop withdrawal:

The Chief of Staff of Iran's armed forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi, on Sunday, sent a message of congratulations to his Iraqi counterpart, Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari, and to Iraq's defense minister, Saadun al-Dulaimi, upon the recently completed withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and added that Iran stands ready to bolster its military, defense, and security cooperation with Iraq.

Last month, Mr. Zebari called for the expansion of military ties between Tehran and Baghdad during a meeting with the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards' ground forces, Gen. Mohammad Pakpouron.

Likewise, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, after meeting with Mr. Zebari last month, said that "we can have great cooperation against the common enemies of Iran and Iraq in the region and outside the region. This cooperation can be in the fields of security, training, joint maneuver and sharing experiences."

Jafari said that several memorandums of understanding had been inked between Iraq and the Revolutionary Guards.

Related Post: Iraqi General, Babaker Zebari, sought extended US military presence, now forced to befriend Iran

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Romney tells Talk Radio host: President's uncle, Onyango Obama, must heed deportation order

Boston talk radio host, Howie Carr, asked Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, on Wednesday, whether he believes President Obama's Kenyan-born uncle, Onyango Obama, who was arrested earlier this year on DUI charges, and who previously defied deportation orders to return to his native country, Kenya, should be deported back to Kenya.

"If the laws of the United States say he should be deported, and I presume they do, then of course we should follow those laws. And the answer is 'yes'," Romney responded.

Shortly after his arrest on DUI charges, Onyango Obama was asked whether he wanted to make a telephone call to arrange for bail.

"I think I will call the White House," he replied.

However, he was later detained without bail by Federal immigration officials for defying an earlier deportation order to return to his native country, Kenya.

But, a little more than two weeks after his arrest, he was quietly released from prison.

Federal immigration officials refused to divulge whether he posted bail, whether they were keeping track of his whereabouts, or whether they were still seeking his deportation........

And, I suppose we'll never know whether he made that call to the White House or not......

Straight-Talker, Newt Gingrich, vs Flip-Flopper, Obama, on same-sex, gay marriage

During a campaign event in Iowa Tuesday, a Democratic voter, who is Gay, approached Republican Presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich and asked him how he would garner the support of Gay Americans who may agree with him on most issues, but disagree with him on what may be the most important issue to them: Same-Sex Marriage.

Gingrich replied in a straightforward, non-roundabout fashion, that he expects to win the support of Gay Americans who view job creation, national security etc. as the most important issues in their lives. But, he said that those who view same-sex marriage as the most important issue in their lives should support Barack Obama.

Contrast Gingrich's response to Barack Obama's ever-changing views on gay-marriage. Obama keeps altering his position according to the electoral needs of the moment.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Man Sustains Life Threatening Injuries after assault at Occupy Eugene encampment

Eugene [Oregon] Police [say] it was a very active night. Officers were called out on reports of four or five fights in a five hour period.

From KEZI 9 News:
Eugene Police swarmed the occupy encampment overnight after a police officer on patrol found a man, unresponsive.

KEZI 9 News has confirmed officers found the victim, a white male, 54, at the Washington Jefferson Park.

Police say he sustained life threatening injuries. It's unclear at this point if a weapon was involved.

"There has been some sort of altercation that's resulted in a man being taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. A patrol officer found him and he wasn't breathing, so he administered CPR and they got the medics here," said Melinda McLaughlin, EPD Spokeswoman.

Medics took the victim to Sacred Heart Medical Center, University District. There is no word on his condition at this hour.

Eugene Police tell us it was a very active night. Officers were called out on reports of four or five fights in a five hour period.

Jay Carney agrees with Biden: Taliban is not a U.S. enemy

In an interview with Newsweek Magazine last week, Vice President Biden asserted that the Taliban isn't an enemy of the U.S., and said he is supportive of a reconciliation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

"Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy," said Biden. "There is not a single statement that the President has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy, because it threatens U.S. interests."

During a Press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, agreed with the Vice President's sentiment, and went on to defend his position.

Mr. Obama has actually flip flopped on this issue in the past [as illustrated in the video below, toward the end], but that is to be expected.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Obama: I'm the fourth best president in American history

"I would put by our legislative and foreign poilicy accomplishments in our first two years against any President, with the possible exceptions of Johnson FDR and Lincoln."
President Obama on 60 Minutes Overtime - December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Protesters attempt to occupy Church property

More than 50 protesters were arrested on Saturday after they tried to break through a chain-link fence surrounding a church parking lot in lower Manhattan, in an effort to establish a new encampment.

The fence protected an area of Duarte Park that is owned by the Trinity Episcopalian Church. Officials from the Episcopal Church, which overseas Trinity, asked protesters not to trespass on the property and warned it could result in "legal and police action."

The protesters - who ignored the "No Trespassing" signs - scaled the fence - snuck under the fence and tried to break through the fence. Police tried to prevent the unruly crowd from breaching the fence and entering the property, but to no avail. More than 50 protesters were arrested for trespassing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Al-Amiri & Maliki vs Panetta on Iran, Iraq ties; White House guest, an Iranian agent

Hadi Farhan al-Amiri - a former leader of the Badr Corps, the military wing of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and currently transportation minister in the Iraqi government - accompanied Iraqi Prime Minister , Nouri al-Maliki, at a White House meeting Monday as part of the Iraqi delegation that met with President Obama.

The Badr Corps received military and financial support from Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which played a pivotal role in the 1996 attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, in which 19 U.S. servicemen were killed.

Former FBI Director, Louis Freeh said that, "As a senior leader, [al-Amiri] would have to have known about Khobar, and he would know Gen. [Ahmad] Sherifi, who was the IRGC general that conducted the operation.".

Survivors of the Khobar Towers attack expressed outrage over the White House visit.

The participation of Al-Amiri in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government is seemingly at odds with recent statements made by the President and his Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta.

The President, during a joint press conference with the Iraqi Prime Minister earlier this week, asserted that al-Maliki was doing his utmost to steer clear of Iranian and syrian influence.

Mr. Panetta, during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month, also insisted that Mr. Maliki was rejecting Iran "and its intentions":

"The one thing I've seen time and time again," said Panetta, "is that Prime Minister Maliki in Iraq, and other countries in that region, basically reject what Iran is trying to do, view Iran as having a destabilizing influence in that part of the world [and] don't support Iran and what they do. And my view is that the region largely rejects Iran and its intentions, and I think Iraq is at the top of that list."

Last month, Iranian and Iraqi military leaders reportedly met to discuss the expansion of military ties between their respective countries, which also seems to contradict the Obama administration's claims.

Related [relevant] links:

Iranian and Iraqi military leaders discuss military cooperation; Panetta bluffs on Iraq, Iran ties

Iraqi General sought extended US military presence, now forced to befriend Iran

Video - Flashback: Panetta in '07 assails troop surge in Iraq; McCain chastises Panetta during Senate hearing

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Responsible end to the war in Iraq? Or, an Irresponsible end?

President Obama claims that he has brought the war in Iraq to a responsible end. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, it was President Bush who ended the war responsibly, in spite of then-Presidential candidate Obama who opposed the 2007 troop surge and, in the very same year, voted not to fund the troops, and who sought to end the war both prematurely and irresponsibly while Iraq was still engulfed in complete chaos.

Thankfully, Obama's politically calculated and constant tirades did not deter Mr. Bush from pursuing the task at hand. Mr. Bush showed true fortitude in forging ahead with the mission while ignoring the perilous and irresponsible rhetoric that spewed forth from Obama's mouth.

No doubt, the rants and ravings of the Left emboldened the enemy and harmed the morale of our troops, and yet, the Bush administration and the U.S. military overcame all these obstacles and brought the war to a responsible end. [And, Mr. Bush would have likely ended the war in an even more beneficial manner, were it not for the pressure emanating from the Left.]

Yes, indeed, our troops are coming home, thanks to President Bush. However, there will be no residual force remaining in Iraq, thanks to Mr. Obama, who ruled out that prospect long ago. And that means the Iranians will be waiting by the doorstep, while Obama prepares them another tantalizing dish of carrots.......

Lindsey Graham slams Obama for threatening to veto any changes to the defense sequester - Excerpts from President's speech, Fort Bragg

Senators Jon Kyl, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte announced at a joint news conference on Wednesday that they will soon unveil a new [federal] deficit reduction plan.

A bipartisan Congressional super committee, authorized by the Budget Control Act of 2011 to devise a plan to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, failed to reach an agreement by the November 23 deadline.

The Budget Control Act included an "enforcement" mechanism that would automatically slash $600 billion in defense discretionary spending, if the committee failed to reach an agreement.

The Republican senators said their new deficit reduction plan would protect the defense budget from the notorious and perilous trigger [sequester mechanism].

However, President Obama has said that he would veto any attempt to undo or alter the automatic spending cuts. Obama's veto threat drew a critical response from Sen. Graham at Wednesday's press conference.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WH holding Omnibus bill hostage in payroll tax debate - Press Briefing, Jay Carney - 12/13/11

The White House press pool on Tuesday grilled Press Secretary, Jay Carney, on a number of issues, primarily on President Obama's decision to hold the omnibus spending bill hostage for political gain: in order to gain leverage in the payroll tax debate.

The President - using his hostage ploy as leverage - is trying to force the GOP to acquiesce to his tax-hike initiatives. But by holding the omnibus bill hostage for the purpose of extracting his long-sought ransom, he could force a government shutdown - a dire prospect, indeed.

The President, in past disagreements with Republican lawmakers, has referred to them as hostage-takers. Apparently, he knows a thing or two about hostage-taking....

Second drone goes down; Iran demands apology from the Apologizer-in-Chief

A second U.S. drone crashed Tuesday morning in the Seychelles, the Indian Ocean archipelago that serves as a base for anti-piracy operations, the Washington Post reported. The crash of the MQ-9 Reaper comes roughly two weeks after a U.S. drone went down in Iran.

"The cause of the incident is unknown and currently under investigation," the Air Force said in a statement.

Fox News notes:

The latest crash comes just hours after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, the base that houses troops assigned to a unit in the horn of Africa and is home to a fleet of drones assigned to fly over the horn of Africa and some areas in the Middle East. Seychelles is located to the southeast of that base, off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.
Second drone in two weeks. A mere coincidence?

During a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, on Monday, President Obama said that the U.S. asked the Iranians to return the drone.

"We have asked for it back — we'll see how the Iranians respond," said the Diplomat par excellence.

But CNN reports that Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi says the drone no longer belongs to Washington.

"The U.S. spy plane is among the assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Vahidi told reporters Tuesday. "Our country will decide what to do with it."

And, according to CNN, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that the United States owes Iran an apology.

Truth be told, Mr. Obama is certainly no stranger to 'apologies'; in fact an argument can be made that 'apologies' are Obama's forte. Hence, Mr. Mehmanparast might be on to something!

Nevertheless, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Liberal mainstream are desparately seeking to downplay the significance of the captured drone, although Russia and China are both vying to inspect the aircraft.

"It’s a little difficult to know just frankly how much they are going to be able to get from having obtained those parts. I don’t know the condition of those parts, I don’t know exactly what state they’re in," Panetta told reporters. "So it’s a little difficult to tell what they are going to be able to derive from what they have been able to get.”

And, according to CNN, Panetta said that while nobody expected the drone would be returned, the U.S. had to ask for it.

"Obviously our request for the return of the drone is an appropriate request that they give it back to us. I don’t expect that that will happen, but I think it’s important to make that request," he said.

Indeed, it is an appropriate request for a left-wing administration that believes in handing out endless supplies of carrots to the enemy.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, said that the right response would have been "to go in immediately after" the drone had gone down "and destroy it".

Cheney said the president had three options on his desk but rejected all of them. “They involved sending somebody in to try to recover it or, if you can’t do that, and admittedly that would be a difficult operation, he certainly could have gone in and destroyed it on the ground with an air strike,” he said.

“But he didn’t take any of the options. He asked nicely for them to return it. And they aren’t going to do that,” Cheney said...

Instead of returning the drone, Cheney said the Iranians will likely “send it back in pieces after they’ve gotten all the intelligence they can out of it.”
Indeed, and Obama, in all likelihood, will reward the Iranians for that selfless act......

Obama: I want to make sure that U.S. diplomats in Iraq come home alive because they're not soldiers

During a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, on Monday, President Obama said that he plans to maintain a large number of employees in the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in order to protect U.S. diplomats who could be targeted after the U.S. military departs from Iraq.

Obama said that he wants U.S. diplomats and American civilians working in Iraq "to come home [alive], because they are not soldiers - so that makes the numbers larger than they otherwise would be..."
"With respect to the embassy, the actual size of our embassy with respect to diplomats..., there are still some special security needs inside of Iraq that make the overall number larger...

"Look, we're only a few years removed from an active war inside of Iraq. I think it's fair to say that there are still some groups... that might be tempted to target U.S. diplomats, or civilians... And as President of the United States, I want to make sure that anybody who is out in Iraq trying to help the Iraqi people is protected.

"Now, as this transition proceeds, it may turn out that the security needs for our diplomats and for our civilians gradually reduces itself... But I think the Iraqi people can understand that, as President of the United States, if I'm putting civilians in the field in order to help the Iraqi people build their economy and improve their productivity, I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY COME HOME - BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT SOLDIERS. So that makes the numbers larger than they otherwise would be..."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Obama shifts blame for subprime mortgage disaster & economic downturn; Speech, Osawatomie, Kansas

President Obama often makes the claim that he inherited the country's current economic crisis. But in truth, it was Obama and his fellow Democrats who supported, and facilitated efforts to force the banks to issue high-risk subprime mortgages to unqualified borrowers, which ultimately brought about the collapse of the U.S. economy. Hence, Mr. Obama is not the Inheritor-in-Chief that he claims to be, but rather the Bequeather-in-Chief who helped facilitate the current economic crisis.

Nevertheless, during a speech Tuesday at a High School in Osawatomie, Kansas, the President, rather than concede that he and his fellow Democrats supported efforts to force the banks to issue high-risk loans, blamed the banks for making these loans.

Audacity on the President's part, I suppose; but clearly not The Audacity of Hope......

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mitt vs Mitt? Obama is the King of flip flops!: Response to DNC Romney ad

Video response to the DNC Romney ad [video]: "Mitt vs Mitt: The story of two men trapped in one body":

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Knife-wielding, iPhone robber seen fleeing to 'Occupy Seattle camp'; Seattle bank vandalized in the name of 'Occupy Oakland'

From KOMO News:
Seattle Police are investigating an armed robbery on Broadway Ave early [Sunday] morning.

Police say around 4:20 a.m. one of their officers was flagged down by a man near 1700Broadway who said he’d been robbed of his iPhone at knifepoint.

The man reportedly told police he knew the other man with the knife and after robbing him that man fled into the Occupy Seattle camp at Seattle Central Community College...

Last week Seattle Central Community College's board of trustees voted unanimously for an emergency camping ban on campus. The ban effectively means the Occupy Seattle campers will need to vacate the campus where they pitched their tents after leaving Westlake Park several weeks ago.

SCCC said they would work with the Occupy Seattle campers as they look for another site and would not ask them to leave the campus property immediately.

Some students, SCCC employees and neighbors have complained that the Occupy Seattle camp has become a health and safety concern. Some parents who's children attend a daycare at SCCC have raised concerns about reported drug use and criminal activity at the camp.
In a related development:
A Seattle U.S. Bank branch was vandalized early Saturday morning, causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage.

Seattle police reported Saturday that vandals broke out nearly all the windows and the ATM screen of the North Seattle bank branch located on Northeast 63rd Street.

"Revenge for Occupy Oakland" was spray painted on the building's southwest wall.

On October 25, hundreds of police raided the Occupy Oakland encampment, arresting dozens. In mid-November, police evicted protesters from Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza...

Since the protests began in mid-September, over 4,000 have been arrested nationwide for a variety of crimes including rape, assault, vandalism and arson.

According to a PDF file at OWS Exposed, Occupy Wall Street has caused over $10 million in property damage.

Nevertheless, Democratic lawmakers [and President Obama] continue to support the Communist Party-backed movement.

No doubt, Occupy Wall Street protesters will say the vandals were just exercising their First Amendment right of free speech.
Related News item - From November 2, 2011: Oakland Occupy smashes windows, throws rocks, attacks Whole Foods, defaces property

Saturday, November 26, 2011

BBC execs bought off to promote Climate change

From the Daily Mail:
Britain’s leading green activist research centre spent £15,000 on seminars for top BBC executives in an apparent bid to block climate change sceptics from the airwaves, a vast new cache of leaked ‘Climategate’ emails has revealed.

The emails – part of a trove of more than 5,200 messages that appear to have been stolen from computers at the University of East Anglia – shed light for the first time on an incestuous web of interlocking relationships between BBC journalists and the university’s scientists, which goes back more than a decade.

They show that University staff vetted BBC scripts, used their contacts at the Corporation to stop sceptics being interviewed and were consulted about how the broadcaster should alter its programme output...

BBC insiders say the close links between the Corporation and the UEA’s two climate science departments, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, have had a significant impact on its coverage.

‘Following their lead has meant the whole thrust and tone of BBC reporting has been that the science is settled, and that there is no need for debate,’ one journalist said. ‘If you disagree, you’re branded a loony.’...
Read the full article

Friday, November 25, 2011

Taxpayer Dollars used to push Pro-Abortion language in Kenya constitution

From the House Committee on Foreign affairs website - November 22, 2011:

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today on a newly-released report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showing that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to an organization which lobbied to include pro-abortion language in Kenya’s constitution. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“For the last 30 years, U.S. law has been clear: taxpayer dollars may not be used to lobby for or against abortion overseas. [This is known as the Siljander Amendment] But, as a GAO investigation recently uncovered, the Administration gave taxpayer dollars to an international organization which lobbied for pro-abortion language to be included in Kenya’s new constitution during Kenya’s recent constitutional reform process.

“When Kenya’s Committee of Experts produced a first draft of the constitution stating that ‘every person has the right to life,’ the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) pushed to insert unprecedented pro-abortion language that a fetus lacks constitutional standing and that personhood begins only at birth. The U.S. Agency for International Development gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to the IDLO to provide ‘technical assistance’ in the drafting of Kenya’s new constitution.

“Kenya’s own Parliamentary Select Committee proposed that, consistent with Kenyan law, the new constitution should specify that life begins at conception and that abortion is illegal except when the life of the mother is in danger. IDLO opposed that language.

“It is indefensible that U.S. tax dollars were used to turn a constitutional process aimed at curbing violence in Kenya into an opportunity to push a pro-abortion agenda.

“After Congress raised these concerns last year, how did the Administration punish IDLO for violating the abortion lobbying ban? By giving them a new, million-dollar grant to help implement the constitution they worked to distort. This report raises grave questions about the illegal misuse of taxpayer funds to promote a pro-abortion agenda overseas, which requires further Congressional attention.”

NOTE: The GAO report found that IDLO “advised that the [Committee of Experts] might consider adding language to make clear that the fetus lacks constitutional standing, and that the rights of women under these articles therefore take priority.” IDLO further recommended a modification to one constitutional draft “to make clear that a person is a human being who has been born [only after birth].”
More from Rep. Chris Smith's website:

The investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, also reveals that a key Obama official stonewalled investigators and refused to cooperate with the GAO in its investigation of the activities initiated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department during the 2010 constitutional referendum in Kenya...

“That a high-ranking official in the Obama Administration, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, chose not to cooperate with the GAO as they uncovered procedural and funding problems begs for further investigation and review,” Smith said. “What else might they be hiding?”...

“The IDLO communications to the Kenyans introduced the abortion issue into the constitutional debate, ‘advised’ the Kenyans to include language in the constitution that clearly supported the legalization of abortion, and expressed opposition to later proposed language that would have restricted access to abortion,” Smith explained. “If this isn’t lobbying, what is?”

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Occupy Christmas"?

The Occupy Wall Street movement - a left-wing anarchist organization, an outgrowth of President Obama's anti-capitalist rhetoric, a movement which has been enthusiastically endorsed, and embraced, by Obama, the renowned Community Organizer - is now planning to Occupy Christmas:
Occupy Wall Street protesters are training their sights on a new target: holiday shopping.

From Seattle to Long Island, New York, activists are planning a host of actions during the Black Friday shopping weekend -- from marching on Wal-Mart Stores Inc. supercenters and organizing sit-ins at malls to cutting up credit cards and running faux stores to exchange used items and avoid consumerism.

Though the activities are set to begin Friday -- the traditional start to the holiday season that kicks off early in the morning with a blizzard of discounts -- they are part of a larger protest known as OccupyXmas that will continue through Dec. 25.

"Consumer overconsumption has gotten us into this mess and the economic crisis to begin with," said Dana Balitki, a spokeswoman for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. "The work we're trying to do is to get people to care about the country, to get us focused on how we can take care of each other, redirect our resources and learn how to better connect with each other."

In Washington, Occupy protesters from Seattle, Tacoma, Bellingham and Everett plan to gather at a Wal-Mart in the city of Renton, south of Seattle, Friday afternoon. A similar protest is scheduled at the Valley Stream, N.Y., Wal-Mart...

Other groups are planning more subtle actions. Activists in Idaho plan to dress up as "consumer zombies" and wander around shopping centers to protest what they see as the numbing effect of conspicuous consumption...
Zombies, indeed.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Weapons Found During Zuccotti Park Cleanup

From Fox News:
A number of weapons were discovered in New York’s Zuccotti Park after Occupy Wall Street protesters were evicted by the Police Department last week, law enforcement sources tell Fox News.

Gardeners employed by the park owners, Brookfield Properties, to clean up the mess made by occupiers during their two-month stay discovered various knives, including a large kitchen knife and other potential instruments of violence in flower beds throughout the public space, according to officials.

“We (NYPD) aren't taking the weapons, building security is,” said a high-ranking [police] officer... “Security at the Brookfield building across from Zuccotti. They have all the weapons.”...

A court motion related to the clearing of the park filed by Deputy Mayor Cas Halloway last week noted that, “Makeshift items that can be used as weapons, such as cardboard tubes with metal pipes inside, had been observed among the occupiers’ possessions.”...

The motion also noted that “knives, mace and hypodermic needles were observed discarded onto the roadway,” after an Oct.1 Occupy Wall Street march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Occupy protests have cost taxpayers at least $13 Million

From the AP - [culled from two articles]:
A survey by The Associated Press shows the Occupy movement has cost local taxpayers nationwide at least $13 million since the protests began.

The data was collected from government agencies in 18 cities with active protests. The numbers reflect costs incurred through Nov. 15 [8 days ago], the day protesters were evicted from the New York City encampment...

[And] the price of the protests is rising by the day — along with taxpayer ire in some places.

Aside from policing, cleaning and repairing property at dozens of 24-hour encampments, cities have had to monitor frequent rallies and protests.

The spending comes as cash-strapped police departments have cut overtime budgets, travel and training to respond to the recession. Nonetheless, city officials say they have no choice but to bring in extra officers or hold officers past their shifts to handle gatherings and marches in a way that protects free speech rights and public safety. In some cities, officials say the spending is eating into their overtime budgets and leaving less money for other public services...

In Oakland, where protesters temporarily forced the shutdown of a major port, the city has spent more than $2.4 million responding to the protests. The cash-strapped city, which had to close a $58 million budget gap this year, was already facing an uphill battle when Occupy Oakland began Oct. 10.

"The cost of the encampments is growing and putting a strain on our already fragile resources — police, public works, and other city staff," said Mayor Jean Quan...

In New York City, the police department has spent $7 million in overtime on the protests...
But money [and property damage] is not the only issue:
In Tennessee, where protesters have been camped outside the Capitol, a State General Services spokeswoman said two cleaning crew members have spent about three hours every morning pressure-washing entrances to the building using household cleaners to deodorize them.....

Obama Pardons Turkey, Thanksgiving Spoof

From a video I posted in November of 2010:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

San Diego has spent $2.4M to police Occupy Wall Street movt

From the AP:
San Diego police say the department has spent about $2.4 million [in taxpayer dollars] so far to patrol the Occupy San Diego demonstration that began nearly seven weeks ago.

A police department statement Tuesday says the total includes nearly $144,000 in overtime costs. The remainder of the expenses stemmed from on-duty personnel reassigned from their regular duties to handle the ongoing demonstration.

Police Lt. Andra Brown estimates the average daily cost for the protest at $56,876.
Similarly, Portland police say the department has spent more than $1 million to patrol the Occupy Portland demonstrations.

It should be noted, though, that if everybody would pay their fair share of taxes, we could easily fund the Occupy Wall Street movement and have ample money left over to pay for the extra police patrols. But unless we throw the Republican bums out of office, this will never happen.....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jay Carney vs German reporter - White House Press briefing - Debt reduction

During a White House Press briefing on Monday, a reporter from the German press expressed his frustration with the way the U.S. was handling its debt crisis.

"The U.S., as far as I know, has a worse debt-to-GDP ratio than the whole euro zone," he said, "and...Congress can't get its act together. So from the European perspective, it seems that this country is in a bigger mess than Europe."

"We are not proud where we are," he added. "We know that it's slow and not bold, and so on, but at least they are doing something; they are deciding something, they're trying to pull that through. And here, nothing is happening..."

Press Secretary, Jay Carney responded [to the reporter's gripe]: "I don't think it's helpful to get into which side of the Atlantic handles its problems better or worse. I think... this country needs to act. And obviously, as I just discussed in answer to a question earlier, the Europeans need to move forward with rapid implementation of their plans. And there is an urgent need in Europe to establish an enhanced firewall and to control this crisis... "

Despite the fact that the aforementioned reporter criticized the way the U.S. was handling its debt crisis, and despite the fact that he advised the U.S. to confront its fiscal problems, he nevertheless complained that the U.S. was not in a position to give advice to Europe.

Oh, well...

Chris Matthews praises & slams Obama

No sense trying to psychoanalyze Matthews on this one; for whatever reason, he decided to momentarily shift gears and criticize Obama:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Iraqi General sought extended US military presence, now forced to befriend Iran

On Sunday, the Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Joint Forces, General Babaker Zebari, called for the expansion of military ties between Tehran and Baghdad during a meeting with the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards' ground forces, Gen. Mohammad Pakpouron.

The meeting came in the wake of President Obama's announcement, in October, that all US forces would be withdrawn from Iraq by year's end, and on the heels of the President's failure [and apparent unwillingness] to negotiate a deal with Iraq that would enable a residual US force to remain in the country to help train Iraqi troops and to ensure that Iran does not expand its influence in Iraq and in the country's military affairs.

Question: Did the President's announcement, and his failure to negotiate the aforementioned deal, compel Gen. Zebari to meet with Iranian military leaders?

Apparently, yes.

In August of 2010, the AFP reported as follows:
The Iraqi army will require American support for another decade before it is ready to handle the country's security on its own, Iraq's army chief of staff told AFP on Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari said Iraq's politicians had to find a way to "FILL THE VOID" after American troops withdraw from the country at the end of next year...

"At this point, the withdrawal (of US forces) is going well, because they are still here," Zebari said.

"But the problem will start after 2011; the politicians must find other ways to FILL THE VOID after 2011, because the army will be fully ready in 2020.

"If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the US army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020."
Gen. Zebari asserted that a continued US troop presence in Iraq [until 2020, when the Iraqi army would be fully prepared to take over] was absolutely necessary. Moreover, he contended that after 2011, when the US military presence ended, "the problem will start", and then "the politicians must find other ways to FILL THE VOID."

"Fill the void", those are the key words.

In August of 2010, the LA Times - after quoting a US military commander as saying that the Iraqi army will not be able to stand alone by the time U.S. troops go home and that there will have to be some form of continued U.S. military presence beyond 2011 - quoted [the aforementioned] Gen. Zebari as saying:
"If America withdraws its forces and one of the neighboring countries causes problems, then we're going to have a problem."
"Neighboring countries" = Iran

Additionally, Reuters reported last month that a U.S. inspector's report, released on October 30, 2011, quoted Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari as saying that the Iraqi military will not be fully ready to defend Iraq from external threats until 2020 to 2024:
Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari has repeatedly warned that Iraq's security forces, rebuilt after the 2003 invasion that ousted strongman Saddam Hussein, would not be ready for years.

"General Zebari suggested that the MOD (Ministry of Defense) will be unable to execute the full spectrum of external-defense missions until sometime between 2020 and 2024," said the report from the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).

Iraqi leaders have accused neighbors of meddling, and U.S. military officials say Iran arms Shi'ite militias in Iraq.

"While we have no enemies, we also have no real friends," the SIGIR report quoted Zebari as saying of the Iraqi government's relations with its neighbors.
Conclusion: In the wake of President Obama's announcement, last month, that no US military personnel, or residual US force, would remain in Iraq past 2011, it appears that Gen. Zebari and his superiors felt that the only way to fill the "FILL THE VOID" and to protect their country from the menacing Iranian threat was to cozy up to Iran [and its military]. Hence, the meeting on Sunday between Gen. Zebari and the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Did the President's announcement about a complete withdrawal of US troops, and his failure to negotiate a deal with Iraq that would allow a residual force to remain in the country, compel Gen. Zebari to meet with Iranian military leaders?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Iran to avoid new sanctions over nuclear work, thanks to Obama

President Obama remains adamant that the so-called "Reset button" in US/Russian relations - the one he claims [pretends] to have crafted [heh] - must stay intact. Hence Iran will continue to avoid further sanctions, despite a recent IAEA report that says Iran is nearing the threshold of nuclear capability:
The much-awaited resolution by the UN's atomic watchdog will not propose tougher sanctions against the Iranian regime – despite its report claiming that the country may be trying to acquire a nuclear arsenal.

After lengthy discussions and pressure from Russia and China, the document, due to be made public today, avoids calling for punitive measures while expressing "deep and increasing concern" over Iran's atomic work.

The 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not set a deadline for inspectors to be allowed access to the program Tehran is alleged to be carrying out in secret towards developing the bomb. And there are no plans, at present, to refer the matter to the UN Security Council for further action....
The Wall Street Journal noted on Wednesday:
A new U.S. and European-led push to censure Iran before the United Nations nuclear agency for alleged efforts to develop atomic weapons is facing resistance from Russia, China and a bloc of developing countries, which threaten to dilute any international punishment.

American and European officials on Wednesday said they believed they would reach an agreement with Beijing and Moscow on a resolution condemning Tehran's nuclear work, which will be presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of governors in Vienna on Thursday.

But they said this statement won’t refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council or lead to a fifth, more severe round of U.N.-backed sanctions against Tehran.
So, thanks to the President's outstanding achievement in resetting US/Russian relations, the U.S. is now ceding its foreign policy decisions to Russia.

Ah yes, the good, ol', wonderful "reset button" - Obama's crowning achievement......

Lazy Obama: A Video Tribute to the US President!

"This is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft, and we didn't have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades."
President Barack Obama, in an interview with WESH-TV Orlando - September 29, 2011

"We've been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades."
President Barack Obama - APEC CEO Business Summit, Honolulu, Hawaii - November 13, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

News from the blogs

Robert Kennedy Jr.’s “Green Energy” Company Scored $1.4 Billion Taxpayer Bailout
Sanjay Wagle was one of the principals in Kennedy’s firm who raised money for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. When Obama won the White House, Wagle was installed at the Department of Energy (DOE), advising on energy grants...
Read the full article at Big Government

Occupy LA Protester Arrested For committing sex acts in Front of Children
Five people at the Occupy L.A. encampment have been charged with separate crimes, including a man who allegedly exposed himself and commited a sex act in front of a child, officials said Tuesday.

Angele Chaidez, 21, faces one count of lewd conduct and one count of indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself and...
Read the full article at Gateway Pundit

Is this real, or a prank???: Democrats Plan Cemetery Petition Drive to Collect Names to Oust Scott Walker
Democrats are heading out to the cemeteries to collect names for their petition drive to oust Governor Scott Walker...
Read full post at Gateway Pundit

Unions Plan Pro-Obama “Bridge Action Day” – Will Shut Down Bridges & Harass US Workers on Thursday
The SEIU is planning a “Bridge Action Day” for Obama.The overpaid government union goons will shut down traffic on US bridges and harass US workers going to work on Thursday morning...
Read full article at Gateway Pundit

Panetta in '07 assails troop surge in Iraq; McCain chastises Panetta during Senate hearing

In February of 2007, Leon Panetta, then a member of the Iraq Study Group, voiced strong opposition to the U.S. troop surge in Iraq. Mr. Panetta also chastised President Bush and Vice President Cheney for authorizing the increase in troops.

During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Sen. John McCain reminded Mr. Panetta of his opposition to the surge. McCain expressed disappointment and frustration with Panetta and the Obama administration for failing to negotiate a deal with the Iraqi government that would allow for a residual U.S. force to remain in the country [past the December 2011 dealine] to help train Iraqi troops and to ensure that Iran does not expand its influence in Iraq and in the country's military affairs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Panetta bluffs on Iraq, Iran ties - Senate Armed Services Committee hearing

Despite the fact that Iranian and Iraqi military leaders met on Sunday to discuss the expansion of military ties between the two countries, and despite the fact that Iran has been steadily exerting its influence in Iraq, Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, assumed a superb poker face and insisted that the Iraqi government was rejecting Iran [Iranian influence]. Video below.

Mr. Panetta was clearly attempting to defend President Obama's failure to negotiate a deal that would leave a residual US force in Iraq beyond the scheduled date for the US troop withdrawal.

But as I noted previously, during the 2008 Presidential debates, Mr. Obama made it perfectly clear that not only did he not have any problem with the prospect of Iran ultimately expanding its influence in Iran, he actually desired the aforementioned scenario:
After boasting that he would be willing to meet, without precondition, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, Obama went on to say:

"I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them [the aforementioned leaders]. We’ve been talking about Iraq -- one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they’re going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses. They have been acting irresponsibly up until this point. But if we tell them that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force, we are in a position to say that they are going to have to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region."

Hence, according to Obama, as soon as the US military packs its bags, leaves Iraq [completely] and tells Iran "that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force" in the country, Iran will then be able to fill the vacuum and help stabilize the country.
Good grief....

Panetta: Obama's defense-cutting-trigger "Devastating" to US Defense Dept.!

It should be noted - as Sen. Jon Kyl noted on the Senate floor several months ago - it was the White House [President Obama] that proposed this "devastating" trigger. See the video below.

From the AP:
The number of U.S. ground forces would drop to levels not seen since 1940, the Navy would drop to the smallest number of ships since 1915 and the Air Force would be the smallest ever, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in warning Congress of the dire implications of deeper defense cuts.

The Pentagon chief on Monday offered a litany of drastic steps triggered by the automatic, across-the-board cuts if Congress' supercommittee fails to come up with a $1.2 trillion deficit-cutting plan by Nov. 23. If the panel stumbles, the Pentagon faces some $500 billion in reductions in projected spending over 10 years — on top of the $450 billion already under way.

"Devastating for the department," Panetta wrote in a letter to Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Senate Armed Services Committee's top Republican, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a panel member. The two lawmakers had written the Pentagon chief earlier this month seeking specifics...

Panetta's comments add pressure to the supercommittee a little more than a week before its deadline, as panel Republicans and Democrats struggle to fulfill their mandate. The Pentagon letter also stirs the recent talk in Congress about trying to nullify the automatic cuts, a step McCain and Graham have discussed. Obama said last week that he wouldn't accept any legislation that tries to undo the automatic cuts.

In a statement, McCain and Graham said the automatic cuts "would set off a swift decline of the United States as the world's leading military power. ... This is not an outcome that we can live with, and it is certainly not one that we should impose on ourselves. The sequester is a threat to the national security interests of the United States, and it should not be allowed to occur."
Read the full article

Related Video - August 2, 2011 - Kyl slams Obama over defense cutting trigger in debt ceiling bill:

Related post - August 3, 2011: Panetta: 'Trigger' Cuts "would do real damage to our security"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Obama: More speeches & more of nothing - Press Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii

Iran, Iraq military leaders pledge military cooperation, agree to fill void left by the President's US troop withdrawal debacle

Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Joint Forces, General Babaker Zebari called for the expansion of military ties between Tehran and Baghdad during a meeting Sunday with the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards' ground forces, Gen. Mohammad Pakpouron.

Zebari added: “Iran and Iraq are two friendly neighboring countries, which should have very close relations."

Mr. Pakpour responded in kind by saying that Iran would make every effort to help Iraqis build a secure and safe country.

Likewise, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, after meeting with Mr. Zebari, said that "we can have great cooperation against the common enemies of Iran and Iraq in the region and outside the region. This cooperation can be in the fields of security, training, joint maneuver and sharing experiences."

Jafari said that several memorandums of understanding were inked between Iraq and the Revolutionary Guards.

Mr. Zebari's visit, and his subsequent discussions on Iranian/Iraqi military ties, comes on the heels of President Obama's announcement last month that all US forces would be withdrawn from Iraq by year's end and the President's refusal to renegotiate a new status-of-forces agreement that would have left a residual US force in the country to train Iraqi security forces etc.

Clearly, the Iranians are filling the vacuum left in the wake of Obama's ominous and perilous foreign policy debacle.

However, as I noted last week, none of this should come as any surprise, for indeed this was Obama's plan all along.

During the 2008 Presidential debates, Mr. Obama made it perfectly clear that Iran would be tasked with the job of helping to "stabilize" Iran after the US 'occupying' forces withdrew from the country:
After boasting that he would be willing to meet, without precondition, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, Obama went on to say:

"I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them [the aforementioned leaders]. We’ve been talking about Iraq -- one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they’re going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses. They have been acting irresponsibly up until this point. But if we tell them that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force, we are in a position to say that they are going to have to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region."

Hence, according to Obama, as soon as the US military packs its bags, leaves Iraq and tells Iran "that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force" in the country, Iran will then be able to fill the vacuum and help stabilize the country.
And, in a related development, the LA Times reports:
As the last U.S. troops pack up to leave Iraq by the end of next month, Pentagon officials and senior military commanders are warning that Iran will rush to fill a power vacuum created by the American exit unless Washington limits its pullback from the region.

That broad assessment has taken on urgency in recent weeks against a backdrop of new intelligence that indicates the government in Tehran also is aggressively courting proxy forces in Yemen and, according to United Nations nuclear inspectors, is fast approaching the capability to build nuclear weapons.

U.S. intelligence officials say Iranian operatives have provided millions of dollars to leaders of the Houthi tribe, which adheres to an offshoot of Shiite Islam in Yemen's rugged north and has joined an armed uprising by disparate forces against the U.S.-backed government in Sana.In Iraq and other trouble spots, Iran is handing out money and weapons, often in secret, in an effort to expand its clout and stay ahead of the political changes sweeping the region since the start of the "Arab Spring," U.S. officials say.
Related item: "Who Lost Iraq?" by Charles Krauthammer

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Obama unlikely to impose Sanctions on Iran's energy sector for fear of jeopardizing his vaunted 'reset button'

President Obama is unlikely to impose sanctions on Iran's energy sector for fear that such a move would upset the Russian regime and harm US/Russian relations, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Mr. Obama often boasts on how he has managed to facilitate a reset in US/Russian relations, although there appears to be no evidence to support this claim. Quite the contrary, US/Russian relations appears to be on the wane:

From Reuters:
The US may impose more sanctions on Iran, possibly on commercial banks or front companies, but is unlikely to go after its oil and gas sector or central bank for now, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

The official spoke after the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA], the U.N. nuclear watchdog, completed a new report that said Iran has worked on developing an atomic bomb design and may still be conducting relevant research... The agency listed a series of activities applicable to developing nuclear weapons, such as high explosives testing and development of an atomic bomb trigger.

"I think you will see bilateral sanctions increasing," the U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

But because of Russian and Chinese opposition, chances are slim for another U.N. Security Council resolution sanctioning Iran for its nuclear program, the official said..., [which leaves] the US with few options but to tighten its own extensive sanctions and try to persuade others to follow suit...

"There is not a whole lot out there other than the oil and gas market -- and you know how sensitive that is. I don't think we are there yet," the US official said.

The United States has long barred U.S. companies from trading with or investing in Iran, including its oil and gas sector. But it also has laws permitting sanctions on non-U.S. companies that develop Iran's energy sector.

Washington has been reluctant to impose such sanctions for fear of a diplomatic backlash from countries [like Russia] whose support it needs to isolate Iran. But members of Congress have been pushing the administration to embrace such penalties.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs last week... approved legislation requiring sanctions on Iran's central bank if the president finds it is enabling terrorism or the development of nuclear arms or supporting Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps... [However, the US] official played down the chances of sanctioning Iran's central bank, which is the clearinghouse for much of its petroleum trade, the mainstay of the Iranian economy.

"That is off the table" for now, he said. "That could change, depending on what other players (think). I don't want to rule that out but it is not really currently on the table."

The official said there were limits to how much pressure the US, acting on its own, could place on Iran without targeting the petroleum industry or the central bank.

"The reality is that without being able to put additional sanctions into these key areas, we are not going to have much more of an impact than we are already having," he said.

[The US official] acknowledged it was unlikely Russia and China, which hold Security Council vetoes, would back more multilateral sanctions and said it may even be hard to persuade them to support a new IAEA board of governors resolution.

"The reality is getting further sanctions at the U.N. is probably not doable", he said.

Senator John McCain... said the US should be doing more to persuade Russia and China to crack down on Iran.

"This is clearly a rogue nation and for us to sit there and watch the Russians and Chinese veto sanctions which could affect Iranian behavior is in my view not acceptable," McCain told the Reuters Washington Summit.
Is Sen. McCain proposing that the US create a diplomatic backlash with Russia and bring about the demise of Obama's highly touted and much-vaunted "reset button"?

Would Sen. McCain be willing to jeopardize the warm relationship that Obama has established with Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev for the sole purpose of preventing Iran from setting off a few nuclear bombs?!? What's more, as long as Obama's reset button with Russia stays intact, does it really matter how many nuclear bombs Iran detonates?

If McCain were President right now, no doubt he would impose sanctions on Iran's oil and gas market, which would be deeply offensive to our Russian allies.

President Obama, on the flip side, has wisely chosen not to impose sanctions on Iran's energy sector [according to Reuters] "for fear of a diplomatic backlash from countries whose support it needs to isolate Iran," namely Iran's allies: Russia, China etc.

Sen. McCain just doesn't get it: Obama's reset button must be kept intact at all costs, even it entails Iran becoming a nuclear super power and ultimately setting off a few nuclear explosions!

Obama's reset button must be kept intact at all costs, period!

P.S. From a previous post, entitled: Obama resetting relations with Russia? - November 19, 2010:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the Caspian Sea summit on Thursday.

Medvedev issued a statement, saying "Russia seeks to improve its political, economic and even military ties with Iran."

He went on to say that "following the" adoption of the UN "sanctions resolution" certain countries "sought to intensify sanctions against Iran, to which Russia strongly opposed and took stances against it."

Medvedev also proposed that Russia and Iran adopt a joint stance in the international forums.

Ahmadinejad issued a statement saying, "The era of bullying and sanctions is over. “[We] believe that in the current global conditions, if Iran and Russia stand together, the enemies will fail in their plots against Iran, Russia and the region."

Obama & the Gaddafi regime, a friendship gone awry

In March of 2011, the once-close-knit relationship between the Obama administration and the Gaddafi regime came to an abrupt end when President Obama decided to cut off all ties with his former ally, Moammar Gaddafi.

In a speech on March 28, 2011, Obama proclaimed that, "For more than four decades the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant -- Moammar Gaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world."

Let us take a brief trip down memory lane and reminisce about the good ol' days when, despite Gaddafi's wealth exploitation, his murdering of opponents at home and abroad, and his terrorizing of innocent people around the world - he still found a trusworthy ally and caring friend in the White House.

From The Cable, March 3, 2010:
Obama administration hopes to deepen Libya ties:

Gene Cretz, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, said Tuesday that the United States is hoping to "put some flesh" on the bones of American efforts to deepen ties between these two former foes.

He outlined a number of steps the two countries might take in the coming year, including closer military-to-military relations, U.S. training of Libyan forces, a new trade agreement etc.
From the AP - March 9, 2010:
A senior State Department official said Tuesday he's sorry for a joking remark he made about Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that prompted Libya to threaten diplomatic retaliation unless he apologized.

Chief department spokesman P.J. Crowley said he regretted any offense caused by his response to a reporter's question about Gadhafi's recent call for a holy war against Switzerland. Libya said last week it might take action against American business interests there if a formal apology was not made.

"I understand that my personal comments were perceived as a personal attack," Crowley told reporters. "The comments do not reflect U.S. policy and were not intended to offend. I apologize if they were taken that way. I regret that my comments have become an obstacle to further progress in our bilateral relationship."

Crowley had already said his offhand remark questioning the "sense" of Gadhafi's speech to the U.N. General Assembly last year had not been intended as a personal attack. He met with Libya's ambassador to the U.S. late last week to try to clear the matter up, but he had not apologized until Tuesday.

He made the remark in question on Feb. 26 when he was asked what the U.S. thought of Gadhafi's appeal for "jihad" against Switzerland after the country banned construction of new mosque minarets. Crowley said he was reminded of Gadhafi's lengthy speech at the UN last September in which the Libyan leader ripped pages from the U.N. Charter.

"I saw that report and it just brought me back to a day in September, one of the more memorable sessions of the U.N. General Assembly that I can recall: lots of words and lots of papers flying all over the place, not necessarily a lot of sense," he said.

Within days, the Libyan government summoned the U.S. charge d'affaires in Tripoli, Joan Polaschik, and threatened negative repercussions if the U.S. failed to apologize...

After Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton became aware of the situation, Crowley and the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, Jeffrey Feltman, met the Libyan ambassador on Friday to explain that the Obama administration was "strongly committed" to the U.S.-Libyan relationship. But the Libyans insisted on an apology.

Crowley said Clinton had instructed Feltman to travel to Libya next week for broad discussions on bilateral ties.

State Department officials said the furor over the comments jeopardized a phone call Clinton had been planning to make to Gadhafi this week to discuss a summit of Arab leaders that Libya is hosting on March 27. The conversation would be her first with the Libyan leader.
It's a shame that this endearing relationship with Gaddafi had to end so abruptly. But, as is often the case with friendships, they can evolve into acrimony and end in heartbreak.

President Obama expained his sudden breakup with Gaddafi so eloquently in his March 2011 speech:
"For more than four decades the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant -- Moammar Gaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world."
Hence, after 40 years of grueling tyranny and excruciating terror, Obama decided it was time to end his relationship with Gaddafi.

But thankfully, things are looking up: An al Qaeda flag now flies over the courthouse in Benghazi [the provisional headquarters of the National Transitional Council], and a new relationship is currently blossoming between Obama and the new Libyan regime.

Yes, a new dawn is upon us......