Monday, January 30, 2012

Iran sends congratulatory letter to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

The speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, on Wednesday, sent a congratulatory letter to senior Muslim Brotherhood member, Saad al-Katatni, on his ascension to the post of parliamentary speaker of the new Egyptian government and on the inauguration of the new parliament.

Larijani noted in the letter that the inauguration of the new parliament, in which the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Islamic al-Nour party, the country's two main Islamic parties, secured over three quarters of the 498 seats, was an important step toward the establishment of a regime based on Islamic tenets.

So far, no word as to whether President Obama had sent a similar letter of congratulations to Mr. Katatni. However, it is worth noting that Mr. Obama's outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood extends all the way back to the early days of his Presidency.

In June of 2009, Arab news sources reported that, under pressure from the the Obama administration, the Secretariat-General of the lower house of the Egyptian Parliament invited ten members of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc to attend Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo.

Similarly, The Atlantic, at the time, cited various Middle Eastern news sources who reported that the Obama administration insisted that at least 10 members of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood be allowed to attend his speech in Cairo.

Additionally, in April of 2009, an Egyptian newspaper reported that President Obama [in February of '09] had met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood.The newspaper reported that Obama met the group's members, who reside in the U.S. and Europe, in Washington, and that the members requested that news of the meeting not be publicized.

It is also worth noting that some of the current leaders of the Muslim brotherhood were ardent disciples of the notorious Sayyid Qutb, who, as the Long War Journal noted, was "the leading Islamic theologian of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and '60s who advocated armed struggle to impose Islamic law." The Long War Journal noted that Qutb "is widely, and correctly, described as the intellectual forefather of al Qaeda, which still references his writings to this day... The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood openly sided with Khomeini's revolutionaries as they overthrew the Shah of Iran."

In his letter to Mr. Katatni, Mr. Larijani said he hoped that brotherly ties between Iran and Egypt would grow stronger.

The aforementioned letter comes on the heels of a recent letter that President Obama had sent to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in which he called for direct talks with the Iranian regime and, according to senior Iranian officials, pledged that the U.S. will not take any hostile action against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to Iranian officials, President Obama sent a message to Iran via three different channels, including US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Swiss Ambassador to Iran Livia Leu Agosti.

The President has been known to rely heavily on his trusted blackberry to send out text messages and emails etc., however, when it comes to conveying friendly greetings to amiable heads of state, it seems the old methods of messaging - via pen, paper and emissaries - are the preferred methods of choice for Mr. Obama, and for Mr. Larijani as well.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Video: Occupy Oakland protesters burn American Flag - Frank Marshall Davis would be proud














As I noted in a previous post, a mob of Occupy Oakland protesters, on Saturday, hurled improvised explosive devices, metal pipes, bottles, rocks, burning flares and other objects at Oakland police officers, who confronted the unruly mob as it proceeded to destroy construction equipment and fencing around the Kaiser Convention Center.

Later in the day, protesters broke into City Hall, stole an American flag from the council chamber and set it afire.

The protesters also blocked traffic at major intersections and attacked a KTVU television truck, breaking its windows and damaging the truck.

Video of the flag burning celebration - below.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Occupy Oakland Thugs burn American flag, hurl explosive devices, metal pipes at police
















More than 100 [Obama-endorsed] Occupy Oakland protesters were arrested Saturday after they hurled improvised explosive devices, metal pipes, bottles, rocks, burning flares and other objects at Oakland police, who confronted the unruly mob as it proceeded to destroy construction equipment and fencing around the Kaiser Convention Center.

Later in the day, protesters broke into City Hall, stole an American flag from the council chamber and set it afire, before departing ahead of advancing police officers.

The 'Occupy' thugs also blocked traffic at major intersections and attacked a KTVU television truck, breaking its windows and damaging the truck.

Friday, January 27, 2012

McCain: Obama reveals his "prickley personality" during testy exchanges with Jan Brewer, Bobby Jindal

Sen. John McCain said Thursday that President Obama's testy exchange with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday over her criticisms of him in her recent book on immigration, and an angry exchange that the President had with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal during the 2010 BP oil spill, is indicative of the President's "prickly personality". Details in the video below.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flashback - Biden in '08: The Taliban attacked us on 9/11!

Vice President Joe Biden asserted, in a recent interview, that the Taliban is not an enemy of the United States. But, ironically, in 2008, Mr. Biden had a completely different view of the Taliban than the one he currently espouses. In fact, in 2008, Biden made the claim that both Al Qaeda and the Taliban had attacked us on 9/11.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Egypt: Tahrir Square mobs celebrate anniversary of revolution with a spree of sexual assaults

An Arab American woman and her two roommates were sexually assaulted by an unruly mob in Egypt’s Tahrir Square Wednesday as thousands of Egyptians took to the square to mark the one-year anniversary of the uprising that unseated President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian news sources reported.

The Arab-American, who currently resides in Cairo, arrived at Tahrir square with two roommates - European natives.

The mob attacked the three women, pulled their pants off, groped their bodies and continued with their sexual assault.

The three were finally pulled away and taken to safety.

The Arab-American arrived back at her apartment without her pants.

In a separate incident, another woman, who’s identity and nationality is still unknown, was rushed away in an ambulance after being sexually assaulted during the Tahrir Square celebrations.

There were additional reports of women being grabbed and groped during the Tahrir Square celebrations on Wednesday.

The Arab-American assault victim said that she was told not to talk about the incident for fear it would tarnish the image of the revolution, but she insisted that people need to know what is happening.

During last year's Tahrir Square celebrations, CBS foreign affairs correspondent, Lara Logan, was sexually assaulted by a brutal, blood-thirsty mob.

Logan told the New York Daily News Sunday that she is currently suffering from 'post-traumatic stress disorder'.

The mob tried to rip off chunks of Logan's scalp, the Daily News reported.

“I was in no doubt in my mind that I was in the process of dying,” she said.

CBS News chairman, Jeff Fager, says he feared for Logan’s life.

“She, really, in many ways should not have survived that attack,” he said.

In February of 2011, President Obama praised the Egyptian uprising.

"The people of Egypt have spoken," he said. "Their voices have been heard. And Egypt will never be the same."

"Most people have discovered in the last few days… that they are worth something," Obama said, "and this cannot be taken away from them anymore, ever."

"This is the power of human dignity," he added, "and it can never be denied......"

State of the Union Hypocrisy: Obama extols sense of 'unity" among Navy Seals, Troops

During the State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama praised American service members for their sense of unity and their penchant to look out for one another, and 'have each other's backs'. Mr. Obama asserted, in typical, hypocritical fashion that Washington "can learn a thing or two" from these selfless individuals.

"Those of us who've been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn't matter if you're black or white; Asian, Latino, Native American; conservative, liberal.... When you're marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you're in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind."

The President went on to say that the mission to take out Bin Laden "only succeeded because every member of that [Navy Seal Team 6] trusted each other -- because you can't charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there's somebody behind you, watching your back."

"So it is with America," added the President. "This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each other's backs...."

What the President failed to mention, however, is that, when it comes to watching the backs of U.S military personnel, not only has he been an abject failure, but he has also been a detriment to the safety and security of our military personnel, as the video below illustrates.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Obama deseves credit for the Iraq "surge"!

No doubt about it, President Obama deseves credit for the Iraq "surge".

The AP reported on Tuesday that, "Attacks in Iraq have 'surged' since the U.S. troops left. [Because Obama refused to leave a residual force of U.S. troops in Iraq.] More than 160 people have been killed since the beginning of the year."

Clearly, Obama deseves credit for the "surge" in Iraq.....

Monday, January 23, 2012

Russia to deliver combat jets to Syria

In yet another sign that President Obama has successfully reset US, Russian relations, a Russian newspaper reported on Monday that Syria has signed a $550-million contract to purchase 36 Yak-130 combat jets from Russia.
If confirmed, the deal would cement Russian opposition to international efforts to put pressure on [Bashar] Assad's regime over its attempts to snuff out the country's uprising...

The Yak-130 is a twin-engined combat trainer jet that can also be used to attack ground targets...

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week that Moscow doesn't consider it necessary to offer an explanation or excuses over suspicions that a Russian ship had delivered munitions to Syria despite an EU arms embargo.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that if the report is accurate "it would be quite concerning"...

"Any country that is still trading in weapons and armaments with Syria really needs to think twice...; those weapons can be used against innocents and have been," Nuland said.

Igor Korotchenko, head of the Center of Analysis of the Global Arms trade, an independent think-tank, said the jet deal apparently reflected Moscow's belief that Assad would stay at the helm.

"With this contract, Russia is expressing confidence that President Assad would manage to retain control of the situation, because such deals aren't signed with a government whose hold on power raises doubts," said Korotchenko. "It's another gesture by Moscow underlining its confidence that Damascus will remain its strategic partner and ally in the Middle East."
It should also be noted that the Russian Interfax news agency reported in December that Moscow had delivered 72 supersonic Yakhont SS-N-26 anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria.

Ironically, during the 2007 and 2008 Presidential campaign, Barack Obama stated that the Syrian regime would have an important role to play in helping to stabilize Iraq and the surrounding region, despite the fact that Syria had supported the Iraqi insurgency. Nevertheless, according to Obama's 2007, 2008 premise, Syria desperately needs Russian manufactured warplanes and anti-ship cruise missiles so that it can use these weapons to help stabilize the region - which is why Russia's arms shipments to Syria is so vital and why Obama's successful reset of the U.S., Russian relationship was so crucial....

Boston Bruins Goalie, Tim Thomas, skips White House ceremony

Boston Bruins goaltender, Tim Thomas, was a no-show Monday at a White House reception for the 2011 Stanley Cup champions.

The Stanley Cup MVP chose to say home reportedly due to political and ideological differences with the Obama administration.

Thomas is one of two Americans from last year's roster. A third American member of the team, who joined the Bruins this season, Joe Corvo, also did not take part in the ceremonies - which left the President with a roomful of mostly foreign players - which perhaps was to Obama's liking....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Obama to Iran regime: 'We recognize your nuclear rights' - 'I didn't want to impose sanctions on your central bank'

During a meeting with senior Iranian officials several days ago, the Swiss ambassador to Iran, Livia Leu Agosti, delivered a letter from President Obama and quoted the latter as saying that the U.S. recognizes Iran's nuclear rights.

Hossein Ebrahimi,the deputy head of Iran's parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, said Saturday that, "The Swiss ambassador to Tehran quoted the US president as saying 'we recognize your nuclear rights'."

Mr. Ebrahimi also said Saturday that the Swiss ambassador had relayed a message from Obama saying: "I didn't want to impose sanctions on your central bank but I had no options but to approve it since a Congress majority had approved the decision."

Iranian officials said Wednesday that President Obama had called for direct talks with the Iranian regime, in a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The White House refused to comment specifically on the letter, but denied the President had made such an offer.

But Iranian lawmakers insisted that Obama, in his letter, had "mentioned cooperation and negotiation" with Iran and declared "[the US] will not take any hostile action against the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Mr. Ebrahimi also said Wednesday that, "This is not the first time that Obama has sent a message and letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also noted that Obama "has repeatedly spoken in a soft tone about the Islamic Republic of Iran."

“Obama’s letter indicates that the United States has become afraid of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s might..., and therefore, he has softened his tone when speaking about the Islamic Republic of Iran," Ebrahimi said.

“The important issue," added Ebrahimi, "is that without the Islamic Republic of Iran’s permission, no country can benefit from the Persian Gulf.”

According to Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, President Obama sent a message to Iran via three different channels, including US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, Swiss Ambassador to Iran Livia Leu Agosti, and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Of course, this is not the first time that Obama has sent messages and letters to the Iranian regime.

In June of 2009, the Washington Times revealed that, prior to the disputed Presidential election in Iran, Obama had "sent a letter to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali khamenei, calling for an improvement in relations." However, an Iranian lawmaker said Saturday that the latest missive from Obama is actually the third letter he has sent to Iran's supreme leader declaring his readiness to both commence talks and improve relations with the blood-thirsty, monstrous and hideous regime.

On Wednesday, I chronicled, at length, the President's obsessive outreach to the Iranian & Syrian regimes, Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.

Ironically, while Obama continues to express a spirit of bipartisanship, and friendship, toward the Iranian regime and other similar hideous foreign elements, he seems unable to express the same kind of sentiment towards Republican lawmakers in the U.S. congress.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Obama gives Religious-affiliated groups, in U.S, 1 year to heed mandate, gives Iran....

Most healthcare plans will be required to cover birth control without charging co-pays or deductibles starting Aug. 1, the Obama administration announced Friday... Religious-affiliated hospitals and universities only get a one-year delay and must comply by Aug. 1, 2013.

So far, President Obama has given the Iranians at least 3 years - since he took office - to comply with international mandates with regards to its nuclear weapons program. And, no doubt, he'll give them plenty of more time to stall. However, religious-affiliated hospitals and universities are not on par with the illustrious Iranian regime, hence, they've only got one year to comply with Sheriff Obama's mandate, or else.

Only a strong President with steel resolve, the likes of Obama, has the guts to stand up to the theocratic and despotic leaders who run these rogue, religious-affiliated institutions, right here in the U.S., in our very own backyard.

Bravo, Mr. President!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Peace-Loving Taliban kill 20, including 2 children, near airfield used by U.S.-led coalition

From McClatchy:
At least 20 people have been killed in suicide attacks in southern Afghanistan, authorities said Thursday, including seven civilians who died when a bomber blew himself up near an airport used by the U.S.-led coalition.... The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The [peace-seeking] insurgents said the target was a convoy of foreign nationals who were leaving the airfield, which is one of the largest bases used by the NATO coalition. Many civilians use the busy entrance as well, however. An additional eight civilians, including a woman and two children, were reported wounded... The attack came a day after a blast in neighboring Helmand province targeted a bazaar in the Kajaki district, killing and wounding dozens of civilians. [There were actually 2 attacks on Wednesday.]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

General Allen, please tell me, 'why?'

From the AFP:
Two attacks just hours apart killed 16 people and wounded more than 20 others on Wednesday in the insurgency-wracked southern Afghan province of Helmand, officials said.

A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed 10 civilians and two policemen in the first attack at a bazaar...

Two hours later, a local intelligence official, two bodyguards and a civilian were killed... when a remote-controlled mine exploded in Nad Ali district...

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the second attack, while the first also bore the hallmarks of the Islamist movement.

General John Allen, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said in a statement that ISAF personnel were among the wounded in what he called a "brutal" suicide attack.

"These attacks against the people of Afghanistan have no effect on the progress we are together making here with our Afghan partners and will only further isolate the Taliban from the process of peace negotiations," he said... [whatever that's supposed to mean...]

"Mullah Omar (Taliban leader) has lost all control over Taliban insurgents, otherwise he would immediately denounce these attacks and order his 'forces' to stop attacking innocent Afghan civilians," Allen said...

"This latest act of violence further confirms that the insurgency has declared outright war on the people of Afghanistan and will stop at nothing to continue to use terrorism and intimidation to advance their own malign and selfish ends."
Pardon me, General Allen, but in your efforts to prop up President Obama, the failed Commander-in-Chief, you're being extremely disingenuous. For surely you are aware that Mullah Omar is not interested in peace. And surely you are cognizant of the fact that while the Obama administration was in the midst of conducting purported peace negotiations with a group of Taliban representatives that included an emissary of Mullah Omar, Mr. Omar was creating "a new alliance to battle US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and was essentially strengthening his resolve to kill even more U.S. troops.

Hence, the questions arise, General Allen: Why are you feigning ignorance and declaring that Mullah Omar has lost all control over Taliban insurgents, when, in fact, Mr. Omar is colluding with his fellow henchmen in these vicious attacks? Why are you willing to forfeit your integrity, your commitment to the troops and to the American people simply to bolster Barack Obama's failed Presidency?

I'd really like to know: Please tell me, 'why?'

Chronicling Obama's obsessive outreach to the Iranian & Syrian regimes, Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.

Iranian officials said Wednesday that President Obama called for direct talks with the Iranian regime, in a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The White House refused to comment specifically on the letter, but denied the President had offered to conduct bilateral talks with Iran.

However, this is not the first time that Obama has sent letters to Khamenei [and the likes of Khamenei], nor is it the first time that he has reached out to despicable, murderous thugs. More on that subject later on in this post, but first, Obama's latest outreach.

Iranian lawmaker Ali Motahhari said Wednesday that President Obama, in his recent letter to Khamenei, "announced readiness for negotiation" and talked about facilitating friendship with the Iranian regime.

Iranian lawmaker Hojjatoleslam Hossein Ebrahimi said that Obama, in his letter, "mentioned cooperation and negotiation based on the interests of the two countries."

Ebrahimi also noted that, “[Obama] has stated in the letter that [the US] will not take any hostile action against the Islamic Republic of Iran."

"This is not the first time that Obama has sent a message and letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran," said Ebrahimi. He also noted that Obama "has repeatedly spoken in a soft tone about the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Ebrahimi asserted that, “Obama’s letter indicates that the United States has become afraid of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s might..., and therefore, he has softened his tone when speaking about the Islamic Republic of Iran."

“The important issue," said Ebrahimi, "is that without the Islamic Republic of Iran’s permission, no country can benefit from the Persian Gulf.”

In June of 2009, the Washington Times revealed that, prior to the disputed Presidential election in Iran, Obama had "sent a letter to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali khamenei, calling for an improvement in relations." The letter was sent between May 4 and May 10 and laid out the prospect of “cooperation in regional and bilateral relations." A senior Obama administration official at the time, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, would not confirm or deny that a letter had been sent to Ayatollah Khamenei.

The Boston Globe via the Seattle Times, reported on May 10, prior to the Washington Times revelation, as follows:
The Obama administration is leaning toward making a major diplomatic overture to Iran before the country's presidential elections in June, possibly in the form of a letter from President Obama to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to two senior European diplomats who have met in recent weeks with key State Department officials.

The letter would be aimed at initiating talks over the Iranian nuclear program and Iran's role in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity...
'Iran's role in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan,' heh....
State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood told reporters: "We have offered our hand to the government of Iran, and we hope to be able to engage this government on a whole range of issues...."

But some European officials have long warned that a major gesture toward Iran before the June presidential election risks influencing its outcome, perhaps improving the chances of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, running for re-election.

US officials have already begun testing the waters of engagement. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that Iran would be invited to an upcoming multinational conference on Afghanistan, and Iranian officials have reportedly signaled that they will consider attending.
And, indeed they did attend the October 2010 conference [which was held in Rome].

The New York Times reported that Mahmoud Ali Qanezadeh, a high-ranking Iranian diplomat, "even attended an in-depth briefing... by the American military commander, Gen. David H. Petraeus, on NATO’s strategy for transition in Afghanistan."

A senior U.S. official defended the Obama administration's decision to hook up with the Iranians saying: Tehran "has a role to play in the peaceful settlement of the situation" and that "for the United States today there's no problem with their presence."

Heh. Tehran "has a role to play in the peaceful settlement of the situation"? "There's no problem" in having an Iranian official in attendance at an in-depth briefing conducted by an American military commander?

Hamas:

In May 0f 2010, the Guardian-UK reported:
The United States is sending a succession of envoys to engage with Hamas..., its leader, Khaled Meshal [Meshaal], said in an interview with the Guardian.

"The Americans contact us, but are not brave enough to do so openly," said Meshal.
In May of 2009, Time Magazine reported that there had been unofficial talks between Hamas and Barack Obama's Middle East special envoy, George Mitchell.

Similarly, an Arab news media outlet confirmed that a meeting in Geneva between two senior Hamas officials and former undersecretary of state Thomas R. Pickering, in 2009, was coordinated and promoted by the US State Department, despite the Obama administration's claims to the contrary.

Likewise, in November of 2008, Hamas spokesman Ahmed Yousef said that the Hamas leadership had been in regular contact with the Obama team [over a period of several months].

"We were in contact with a number of Obama's aides through the Internet, and later met with some of them in Gaza," Ahmed Yousef [a Political adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniya] was quoted as saying, "but they advised us not to come out with any statements, as that may have had a negative effect on his election campaign and be used by Republican candidate John McCain."

During the presidential campaign, Robert Malley - at the time, Obama’s Middle East policy adviser - disclosed that he had held meetings with Hamas, which prompted Obama to [supposedly] sever all links with him. However, the divorce didn't last too long, for shortly after that firing, it was reported that Obama had sent Robert Malley to Egypt and Syria to outline his policies on the Middle East.

And what were Obama's policies towards the Syrian regime?

Enerpub reported in August of 2009:
In July, according to Agence France Presse, Middle East "peace process" envoy George Mitchell told Assad he would work to speed up the process of obtaining exemptions to anti-Syrian sanctions. At the end of July, the United States announced a decision to ease sanctions on spare aircraft parts, information-technology products and telecommunications equipment.

A second delegation from Central Command arrived in August accompanied by an aide to Sen. Mitchell. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the talks were focused on Syria's "ongoing efforts to help stabilize the situation in Iraq."

Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, expressed pleasure at the changed American posture in a Wall Street Journal interview. "We received assurances that the relations between the two countries should resume on the basis of mutual interests and most importantly on the basis of mutual respect. We really welcome such a new approach...”
Syria's "ongoing efforts to help stabilize the situation in Iraq"? Heh...

The AFP reported in October of 2009:
Lieutenant General Ali Ghaidan Majeed, commander of Iraqi ground forces said "what really bothers" Iraq's military brass was security along the country's borders with Iran and Syria, which he said were helping train and equip insurgents infiltrating Iraq.

"Interference from the outside, from neighboring countries, is what is creating terrorism (in Iraq) -- terrorism came to us from the outside, it was imported," he said.

"It is pretty clear to us, and we have lots of evidence coming from those we are arresting -- the trainees are coming from camps in Syria and Iran.

"The people that we arrested, that is what they told us, that is where they were trained..."
Likewise, in August of 2009, a Saudi Al Qaeda militant, Mohammed Hassan Al Shemari, accused Syrian intelligence agents of training foreign fighters like himself in a camp before sending them to participate in operations aimed to destabilize Iraq.

Al Shemari said when he arrived in Syria from Saudi Arabia, he was met by a militant who took him to a training camp in Syria. The head of the camp was a Syrian intelligence agent called Abu Al Qaqaa, he said.

Reuters noted at the time that Al Shemari's claim "could worsen a row between Iraq and Syria over accusations that Syria supports Islamist militants responsible for attacks in Iraq."

"Iraq and Syria recalled their ambassadors... after Baghdad demanded Damascus hand over two alleged masterminds of bombings in Baghdad that killed almost 100 people, mainly at two government ministries..."

In February of 2009, while Sen. John Kerry was visiting the Gaza Strip, a UN official handed him a letter from Hamas to deliver to President Obama. A spokesman for Sen. Kerry told Fox News that "the Democratic senator was not aware that the letter was from Hamas when he accepted it from the UN official." However, a Palestinian daily reported at the time that the American delegation that visited Gaza brought with it a letter from President Obama to Hamas, and that the Hamas movement had authorized one of its ministers in Gaza to receive the letter and to respond.

The Obama administration has also reached out to Hezbollah:

In June of 2009, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General, Sheikh Naim Qassem said that US officials close to the Obama administration had reached out to Hezbollah and had sought to initiate a dialog with the terrorist organization.

"Several US officials at different levels and more or less close to the administration have asked to speak with [us], but we have refused," said Qassem.

On May 18, Reuters reported as follows:
John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism, met with Lebanese leaders during a recent visit.

"Hezbollah is a very interesting organization," Brennan told a Washington conference, citing its evolution from "purely a terrorist organization" to a militia to an organization that now has members within the parliament and the cabinet.
During a press conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, in 2009, John Brennan offered similar words of praise for Hezbollah:

"Hezbollah started out as purely a terrorist organization back in the early ’80s and has evolved significantly over time," he said. "And now it has members of parliament, in the cabinet; there are lawyers, doctors, others who are part of the Hezbollah organization."

Muslim Brotherhood:

In June of 2009, an Arab news media outlet reported that, under pressure from the United States, the Secretariat-General of the lower house of the Egyptian Parliament invited ten members of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc to attend Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo.

One reporter speculated that Brotherhood members would be invited to a special meeting that Obama was to hold with writers, politicians and members of Egyptian civil society.

Similarly, The Atlantic cited various Middle Eastern news sources who reported that the Obama administration insisted that at least 10 members of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood be allowed to attend Obama's speech in Cairo.

Scott Wheeler, director of the National Republican Trust PAC, at the time, criticized the administration for allowing the Muslim Brotherhood into the event.

"The American people did not vote for President Barack Hussein Obama to make peace with Muslim terrorists," he said in a statement.

Commentators noted at the time that President Obama never mentioned the word "terrorism" or "terror" in his speech.

In March of 2009, Hillary Clinton confirmed that the Obama administration had dropped the phrase 'war on terror' from its lexicon. The Muslim Brotherhood, however, continues to remain a crucial component of Obama's lexicon.

In April of 2009, an Egyptian news media outlet reported that President Obama [in February of '09] had met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The newspaper reported that Obama met the group's members, who reside in the U.S. and Europe, in Washington, and that the members requested that news of the meeting not be publicized.

Some of the current leaders of the Muslim brotherhood were ardent disciples of the notorious Sayyid Qutb, who, as the Long War Journal noted, was "the leading Islamic theologian of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and '60s who advocated armed struggle to impose Islamic law." The Long War Journal noted that Qutb "is widely, and correctly, described as the intellectual forefather of al Qaeda, which still references his writings to this day... The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood openly sided with Khomeini's revolutionaries as they overthrew the Shah of Iran."

President Obama appears to be highly complacent, extremely comfortable and exceedingly at ease reaching out to the rogue elements of the world. His pen pal relationship with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is just a small sampling of that cozy relationship.

Nevertheless, the President's recent letter to Iran's Supreme Leader apparently hit the mark, and facilitated the desired effect: Iran responded in kind by sending the President a toy drone.....

Related Post: Obama & the Gaddafi regime, a friendship gone awry

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Anti-Taliban Afghan tribal leader shot dead; Voice of America journalist shot dead by Taliban; Suicide car bomber slams into NATO military base

From the AP:
Assailants gunned down a prominent anti-Taliban tribal leader as he was praying in a mosque Tuesday in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, authorities said, the latest in a steady campaign of assassinations of pro-government officials.

Armed insurgents entered the mosque Tuesday morning and shot Mohammad Nahim Agha Mama... A Pashtun tribal leader and local council member of the province's Dand district, Nahim was well known in the province for urging his followers not to join the Taliban.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Taliban have killed hundreds of Afghan government officials and pro-government tribal leaders in recent years as part of wave of assassinations seeking to weaken confidence in President Hamid Karzai's administration.

The campaign has also targeted senior figures, including former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was killed in September by a suicide attacker with a bomb hidden in his turban.
Reuters reported on Rabban's assassination in September:
A Taliban suicide bomber on Tuesday killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, former Afghan president and head of a council tasked with trying to negotiate a political end to the war, in what analysts called a blow to [so-called] peace efforts...

"A Taliban member who went to Rabbani's house (in the heavily guarded diplomatic enclave) for peace talks detonated a bomb hidden in his turban," a statement by the Kabul police chief's office said...

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility, saying that the killer had gone to Rabbani's home for talks.

"As soon as Rabbani came three steps forward to hug Mohammad Masoom, he triggered his explosive-filled jacket killing Rabbani...," Mujahid said.
Regarding the latest assassination of Mohammad Nahim Agha Mama, the governor's office [said] in a statement that [Nahim] "was doing his best to bring peace and stability, and that's why the enemies are killing those people."

Also Tuesday, the AP reported that 'a suicide car bomber slammed into the entrance of a military base jointly run by NATO and Afghan troops in eastern Afghanistan, wounding three Afghan private security guards.'

In a related development, a Voice of America journalist was shot dead by the Taliban on Tuesday:
Islamist militants on Tuesday killed a Pakistan journalist who was working for an American government funded broadcasting service, according to police, a militant spokesman and a colleague.

Mukarram Khan Atif was shot in the head while praying in a mosque close to the city of Peshawar...

Atif was a reporter for Voice of America's Pashtu language Deewa radio station...

A spokesman for the Taliban called an Associated Press reporter to claim responsibility for the killing.

The spokesman said that militants had warned Atif a "number of times to stop anti-Taliban reporting, but he didn't do so. He finally met his fate."
Reporters working for VOA's Deewa and Mashaal services say the Pakistani Taliban have publicly threatened them for working for an American organization.

Iran to heed Obama's directive, will send toy model of captured drone to the White House

During a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last month, President Obama said that the United States had asked Iran to return an American surveillance drone that the Iranians captured on Dec. 4.

"We have asked for it back." Obama told reporters. "We'll see how the Iranians respond."

Apparently, the President's no-nonsense approach, and his stern demeanor, had the Iranians shaking in their boots.

An Iranian company announced Tuesday that it will send President Obama a toy replica of the drone, 1/80th the size of the real thing. Toy copies of the drone, bearing the inscription "We will trample the U.S," will be sold in Iranian stores for 4 or 5 dollars.

According to one report, a group of Iranian youths decided to produce and begin selling the toy.

No doubt the White House will respond in kind with a heartfelt 'Thank You' letter.

The letter, I assume, will read as follows:
The President has received your gift and is deeply appreciative of this most gracious and benevolent gesture.

Mr. Obama had requested the return of the drone, but you went one better and exceeded all expectations with this wonderful gift. Thank you.

Enclosed you will find an assortment of Commemorative Baby Dolls of Mr. Obama that captures the "Yes, We Can" spirit of our 44th President. It is a gift from the President to you and to your beneficent regime.

Wishing you and the regime continued success.

The White House.


Related Post - December 13, 2011: Second drone goes down; Iran demands apology from the Apologizer-in-Chief

Gun-toting Iranians, Navy boats, harass U.S. Ships - Obama administration says 'No big deal'

Iranian Navy speed boats harassed two U.S. ships earlier this month, and ignored repeated calls to back off, according to U.S. military officials.

Both incidents occurred on the same day - January 6.

In the first incident, the USS New Orleans, a U.S. Navy amphibious transport ship, was heading through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf. Three Iranian Navy speed boats approached within 500 yards of the ship and, in a blatant defiance of standard maritime protocols, refused to heed the calls from the U.S. crew to back off.

Also, on the same day, Iranian Navy boats harassed the US Coast Guard cutter Adak, which was operating off the Kuwaiti coast. U.S. personnel on the cutter said Iranian crew members were armed with AK-47 rifles. A machine-gun was mounted on the bow of one of the Iranian boats and was pointed directly at the Coast Guard crew.[Actually, from the video footage, it appears as if there was more than one machine gun mounted on the (three) boats. Perhaps even 3 machine guns.]

"I can confirm there was some harassment," said a senior official.

Nevertheless, some U.S. [Pentagon] officials - presumably Obama and Panetta cronies - said that the occurrences were "routine" and that the Iranians' actions were not hostile...

Heh...

Par for the course.......

The 'Obama' course....... Heh.......

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Michelle Obama's gripe with Richard Daley is devoid of all reality

For accuracy's sake, I've decided to revise an earlier post I had written about a passage in the newly released book, The Obamas, concerning a gripe that Michelle Obama had with former Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley. The intent of this revised post is two-fold: 1) To ensure that the First Lady's sentiments are portrayed both accurately and fairly. 2) To add some additional insights which strongly suggest that Michelle Obama's gripe with Richard Daley is totally devoid of reality.

Let's begin with the aforementioned passage from the new book:
In 1991, Michelle left Sidley [law firm] to work as an aide to Chicago's mayor, Richard M. Daley, the new and still unproven heir to his father's machine. She and Barack were nervous about the job. Daley senior had opposed the desegregation of schools and presided over an ethically challenged political operation, and the new mayor's first run for the job had ended in ugly racial divisions.

"Having grown up in a proud African American family, she wasn't sure if there was a conflict between her values and his," said Valerie Jarrett, the mayoral aide who recruited Michelle and became a mentor to both Obamas. Jarrett, young, elegant, and educated at top schools, was an example of how the younger Daley intended to be different. She was from one of the best-established African American families in Hyde Park, a generally anti-Daley neighborhood, but she believed in gaining power to change things from above....

At work, Michelle always seemed crisp and professional, but she could be harshly critical of the mayor's administration behind closed doors. She disapproved of how closely Daley held power, surrounding himself with three or four people who seemed to let few outsiders in... At work, Michelle always seemed crisp and professional, but she could be harshly critical of the mayor's administration behind closed doors.

She particularly resented the way power in Illinois was locked up generation after generation by a small group of families, all white Irish Catholic -- the Daleys of Chicago, the Hyneses and Madigans statewide. "Someone doesn't have the right to be elected because of whose womb they came out of," she would say a few years later to Dan Shomon, her husband's political adviser. "You shouldn't have a better chance if you're a Kennedy than if you're an Obama. Why is it that they have the right to this?"...

She lasted only two years before moving on to a job leading a program that spoke volumes about her conclusions. It was called Public Allies, and its aim was to train a new generation of urban leaders from more diverse backgrounds -- an alternative to the established power structure.

Two years later, in 1995, Valerie Jarrett was unceremoniously dumped from her post [as head of the Department of Planning and Development]: she was standing in the way of powerful developers, who convinced the mayor to let her go, and even though Jarrett and the mayor were close, he never spoke to her about the decision. The Obamas were horrified, their worst suspicions about that world confirmed.
Now, as I noted previously, Richard Daley did not fire Valerie Jarrett; she resigned.

Jarrett said that, although Daley had asked her to stay, she decided to leave her post and to assume an executive position with a real estate development and management company. Nevertheless, within days of Jarrett's resignation, Daley appointed her commissioner of the Chicago Transit Board. [She held two positions simultaneously - on the Chicago Transit Board and with the aforementioned real estate development company.]

Jarrett held three consecutive posts in the Daley administration: 1) Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor, 2) Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development, 3) Commissioner of the Chicago Transit Board.

And Jarrett recruited Michelle Obama to work with her during each of those tenures.

Obama assisted Jarret while the latter was working in the Mayor's office as Deputy Chief of Staff. When Jarrett was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development, Obama became the Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development. And, after the Mayor appointed Jarrett as Commissioner of the Chicago Transit Board, Jarrett recruited Michelle Obama to the transit agency's citizen advisory committee.

Hence, it appears as if Richard Daley treated Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama quite well. But ultimately, he was still unable to satisfy Michelle Obama because, well, because he's a very, very bad man......

Nevertheless, although Valerie Jarrett had tendered her resignation [as head of the Department of Planning and Development], Michelle Obama insists that Jarrett "was unceremoniously dumped from" the job, because "she was standing in the way of powerful developers, who convinced the mayor to let her go."

"Standing in the way of powerful developers"?

Difficult to believe, considering that Jarrett and her pal, Barack Obama, worked hand in hand with powerful real estate developers at the expense of poor, low-income families:

As a state senator in Illinois and as a Presidential candidate, Barack Obama endorsed public [tax-payer-funded] subsidies for private companies to build and manage affordable housing for low-income families. Obama advocated public-private partnerships as an alternative to public housing. And, as a state senator, Obama cosponsored legislation that increased state subsidies for private developers. Many of these properties were mismanaged and ultimately fell into disrepair. Thousands of apartments in the city of Chicago became uninhabitable, including several hundred apartments in then-state senator Obama's district - leaving many of the low-income tenants homeless.

Several of these failed projects were developed and mismanaged by Obama's close friends, campaign contributers and fund-raisers, the likes of Tony Rezko, Allison Davis, Cecil Butler and Valerie Jarrett. [Jarrett raised at least $100,000 for Obama's campaign.]

Jarrett, at the time, was chief executive of the Habitat Company, a real estate development and management company which managed Grove Parc Plaza, an apartment complex that fell into utter disrepair and became uninhabitable. Another large apartment complex, co-managed by the Habitat Company, was seized by the federal government in 2006 after widespread problems were discovered there; inspectors found more than 1,800 code violations.

Allison Davis, who donated at least $21000 to Barack Obama's campaigns, was a participant in the mismanaged and failed Grove Parc Plaza development. [Incidentally, when the City of Chicago sued a real estate investment Company, founded by Davis, for failing to adequately heat one of its apartment complexes, it was [attorney] Obama who represented the company in court.]

Tony Rezko, who raised roughly $250,000 for Obama's political campaigns, received federal subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,000 apartments, many of them located in and around Obama's district. A number of these apartments deteriorated to the point where they were no longer inhabitable.

But it was Obama who wrote to state and city officials urging them to provide huge subsidies to help Davis and Rezko develop many of these low-income properties.

According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch from the Illinois Secretary of State in 2008, "Valerie Jarrett served as a board member for several organizations that provided funding and support for Chicago housing projects operated by Tony Rezko and Allison Davis."

Judicial Watch noted that "Jarrett was a member of the Board of Directors for the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corporation along with several Davis and Rezko associates, as well as the Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization, an organization that worked with Rezko and Davis."

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton opined at the time, "Like Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett is a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine. And it is no stretch to say that she was a slumlord"

"We have real concerns about Jarrett’s ethics," said Fitton. "Washington already has plenty of corruption. We don’t need to import more of it from Chicago."

Clearly, Valerie Jarrett and Barack Obama favored the powerful real estate developers over the low-income families, which is why the two were eager to scratch the backs of these developers at the expense of the low-income families. Hence, Michelle Obama's contention that Valerie Jarrett was "unceremoniously dumped from her post [as head of the Department of Planning and Development]" because "she was standing in the way of powerful developers" is extremely difficult, and nearly impossible, to believe.

But we're not finished yet:

From the Chicago Tribune - July 6, 2008:
Valerie Jarrett, a close adviser to Barack Obama, stands at the center of Chicago's controversial efforts to redevelop public housing.

Jarrett has pushed to integrate new developments by limiting the number of residents, mostly poor and black, who can live in the new communities. From the beginning, that stance clashed with efforts by residents and housing advocates to ensure the number of units set aside for the poor was as large as possible...

Since 1995, Jarrett has been a high ranking executive at Habitat Co., a real estate firm tasked by a federal judge to ensure the CHA ends segregation in public housing...

Habitat argues that to integrate public housing it must attract middle-class families, who will not buy into a development that includes too many poor people.

"We looked for a balance, with the goal being a healthy community, and we were extremely cognizant and mindful of not wanting to recreate horizontally what we had torn down vertically," said Jarrett, a former top official in Mayor Richard Daley's administration.

Under the Plan for Transformation, the city has lost more than 13,000 housing units for the poor at a time when low-income families face one of the worse housing crises in recent history. After years of neglect and abandonment, many residents doubt that Jarrett and CHA officials have their interests at heart.

"They was going to do what they was going to do," said Carmen Hart, who moved to Stateway Gardens in 1960 and has been waiting three years to go back.

Habitat has earned $6.8 million in fees and $10.8 million in administrative expenses since the plan started in 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The company also earns millions as a property manager for the CHA...

Instead of attempting to build public housing in more affluent white neighborhoods, the city [tried] to attract wealthier people to old public housing sites and thereby integrate the communities.

Habitat quickly developed guidelines that limited the proportion of public housing to roughly a third of the total.

"If you had more than a third, the sky would fall. Heaven and earth would not move them from that position," said Richard Wheelock, an attorney for the Legal Assistance Foundation, winning a consent decree that guides the redevelopment of [public housing for low-income families] on the North Side.

The fight is far from over, however.

Battles lines are being redrawn over Lathrop Homes, a public housing development in Logan Square, where market-rate condos abound.

Habitat and the CHA want to create a new development at Lathrop that would follow the same model as other mixed-income sites...

But community organizers say that the neighborhood needs more affordable and public housing -- not more upscale homes.
Case closed!

A couple of additional points:

As I noted in the earlier version of this post, Valerie Jarrett, while serving as commissioner of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development, was involved in what the Chicago Tribune described as "perhaps the most embarrassing episode of [Richard] Daley's mayoral tenure-the $5 million loan to construct a West Side movie studio project earmarked for investors with ties to mob boss Sam Carlisi. The loan was canceled virtually at the last minute."

"The deal was arranged through Jarrett's department."

That in itself might have been cause for Jarrett to feel it was time to resign in order to protect her boss from further embarrassment.

Moreover, Jarrett had failed to procure a suitable location for a large catalog company which had operated warehouses in Chicago for 88 years. Her best offer was a parcel of land filled with 20 to 30 feet of water. The company was forced to relocate its distribution center to a different city.

Jarret's ineptness resulted in the loss of roughly two thousand jobs [including many African Americans who were left without jobs], and robbed the city’s economy of up to $510 million annually. But Jarrett insisted she he had given it her best effort.

"I will sleep well," she said.

A Chicago Sun Times editorial opined at the time: 'How can Mayor Daley’s commissioner of planning and development say she’s sleeping well at night when the best relocation option Chicago offered was filled with up to 30 feet of water?'

No wonder she resigned.

But nevertheless, within days of her resignation, Richard Daley appointed her Commissioner of the Chicago Transit Board. Michelle Obama was recruited to the transit agency's citizen advisory committee. And the inseparable pair were reunited once again under the auspices of the very bad, and evil man, Richard Daley.

And Valerie Jarrett, through her work at the Habitat Corporation [which came to an end when she joined the Obama administration] and as a board member with the Woodlawn Corp., was able to continue to pursue her life's passion: screwing the low-income families and scratching the backs of crooked developers, the Tony Rezkos of the world......

Warren Buffett, left-wing phony

Billionaire investor and left-wing phony, Warren Buffet, says he would donate $1 to paying down the national debt for every dollar donated by a Republican in Congress.
The only exception is Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell - for whom Buffett said he would go $3-to-$1.

The idea stems from a New York Times opinion piece Buffett wrote last August in which he said the rich ought to pay more taxes. It sparked an instant controversy, with some Washington conservatives calling on the 81-year-old "Oracle of Omaha" to voluntarily pay extra.

McConnell said at the time that if Buffett felt "guilty" about paying too low a tax rate, he should "send in a check."...

"It restores my faith in human nature to think that there are people who have been around Washington all this time and are not yet so cynical as to think that can't be solved by voluntary contributions," said Buffett, [the left-wing hack.]

However, an aide to McConnell suggested that the Berkshire Hathaway CEO should expand his matching offer to President Barack Obama and his Democrats.

"Senator McConnell says that Washington should be smaller, rather than taxes getting bigger. And since some, like President Obama and Mr. Buffett want to pay higher taxes, Congress made it possible for them to call their own bluff and send in a check," said Don Stewart, McConnell's deputy chief of staff.

"So I look forward to Mr. Buffett matching a healthy batch of checks from those who actually want to pay higher taxes, including Congressional Democrats, the President and the Democratic National Committee," he added...

Buffett, who has raised money for President Barack Obama recently, also [took] swings at Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt
Gingrich...
However, as others have noted previously, "while Warren Buffett complains that the rich aren’t paying their fair share, his own company has been fighting tooth and nail to avoid paying a larger share."
Buffett’s own company, Berkshire Hathaway, has had every opportunity to pay more taxes over the last decade. Instead, it’s been mired in a protracted legal battle with the Internal Revenue Service over a bill that one analyst estimates may total $1 billion.

Yes, that’s right: while Warren Buffett complains that the rich aren’t paying their fair share his own company has been fighting tooth and nail to avoid paying a larger share.

According to Berkshire Hathaway’s own annual report, the company is embroiled in an ongoing standoff over its tax bills.

That report, in turn, was cited in an editorial in The New York Post.

“Obvious question: If Buffett really thinks he and his 'mega-rich friends' should pay higher taxes, why doesn’t his firm fork over what it already owes under current rates?” the Post opined.

“Likely answer: He cares more about shilling for President Obama... than about kicking in more himself.”
Warren Buffett is a complete phony; the perfect spokesman for President Obama.

Birds of a feather, flock together...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Newt, say it ain't so...

Newt Gingrich's tendency to eschew the traditional political rhetoric and speak the straight-talk is, without doubt, an endearing trait. However, while Mr. Gingrich's candid and forthright style is indeed an admirable asset, his latest strategy in which he appears to be borrowing the typical left-wing, anti-capitalist talking points to attack Mitt Romney, describing the former Massachusetts governor as a greedy, profit-driven CEO, is depressing, to say the least.

And, while Newt may feel as if his back is pressed against the wall, due to the negative attack ads that the Romney campaign has used against him - borrowing the typical, anti-capitalist talking points from the likes of Barack Obama is not befitting an individual of Mr. Gingrich's stature. It's disheartening. What else can I say?

Poll: Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama's Reelection

From the US News & World Report:
When it comes to how Americans view President Obama going into the new year, there appears to be very little spirit of Auld Lang Syne [the good ol' days]. Instead, according to the new Washington Whispers poll, many voters aren't forgetting what they dislike about Obama and want him out of office.

In our New Year's poll, when asked what news event they fear most about 2012, Americans by a margin of two-to-one said Obama's reelection. Only 16 percent said they fear the Democrat won't win a second term, while 33 percent said they fear four more years.

Next to Obama's reelection, 31 percent of Americans said they feared higher taxes...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Afghan Opposition urges caution in Taliban talks; Administration responds with typical hypocrisy

From the AP:
Three prominent Afghan opposition leaders on Monday warned against trusting the Taliban in peace talks, saying they are "not honest."

Former Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum and two other members of the Afghan National Front said it would be "naive" to exclude the possibility that the Taliban are using negotiations to assuage the United States government while troops are being withdrawn, while planning to "resurge" after they are gone at the end of 2014.

The comments come a week after the Taliban announced plans to open a political office in Qatar to hold talks with the U.S.

The Afghans met with a group of four members of the U.S. House of Representatives in a follow-up to a December conference in Bonn for private talks not sanctioned by the U.S. State Department.

Asked about the meeting, the State Department said it had suggested to the members of Congress they should meet Afghan representatives in Afghanistan and not in Germany.
Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, used the same argument when he initially objected to the US/Taliban negotiations, saying the Taliban should open their political office in Afghanistan, not Qatar. Heh. Why not; if you're going to surrender to the Taliban anyway, why not do it in their home turf?
"We also believe it's always best when our members of Congress can see a broad cross section of Afghan political leaders, not just a slice," [State Dept. spokeswoman] Victoria Nuland said. "But it's within their right to meet with whomever they'd like."
Hmmm, the Afghan opposition leaders made a similar argument when voicing their displeasure with the Obama/Taliban peace talks.

The opposition leaders argued that the talks were flawed because they exclude anti-Taliban Afghans, and risk betraying those Afghans who fought to remove the Taliban from power a decade ago, Reuters reported.

Typical hypocrisy from the Obama administration, but par for the course....

Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher said he and three fellow congress members joined the talks [with the Afghan opposition leaders] because they fear the United States government might be about to make unacceptable compromises, Reuters reported.

But sadly, nothing is "unacceptable" for this administration - which is why all options remain on the table, including ludicrous, perilous, unimaginable and all unacceptable options.

William Daley: I can't defend the indefensible

President Obama announced the resignation of White House Chief of Staff, William Daley, on Monday.

The Daily Caller reported in June: During a meeting with the National Association of Manufacturers, frustrated business leaders peppered Mr. Daley with questions about the administration's excessive regulatory expansions.

“Sometimes you can’t defend the indefensible,” Daley replied.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Panetta said Bush living "in another world"?

Iran has begun to enrich uranium at its Fordo production facility, an underground site well protected from possible air strikes, an Iranian daily reported on Sunday.

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said Saturday that the Fordo production plant would be operational in the "near future" [in February]. But, apparently, according to the latest report, uranium enrichment has already begun at the aforementioned facility.

Western intelligence sources first revealed the existence of the Fordo facility in September of 2009. According to an IAEA report, issued in November of 2009, satellite photos showed construction on the Fordo facility began in 2002.

In November of 2011, the Washington Post reported that the Iranian government had mastered the critical steps needed to build a nuclear weapon after receiving assistance from foreign scientists.

The Post went on to say:
An intelligence update will be circulated among International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] members... It is expected to focus on Iran's alleged efforts towards putting radioactive material in a warhead and developing missiles...
Julian Borger of the Guardian-UK reported in November of 2009:
The UN's nuclear watchdog has asked Iran to explain evidence suggesting that Iranian scientists have experimented with an advanced nuclear warhead design...

The development was described by nuclear experts as "breathtaking"...

The sophisticated technology, once mastered, allows for the production of smaller and simpler warheads than older models. It reduces the diameter of a warhead and makes it easier to put a nuclear warhead on a missile...
However, despite all this evidence, US defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, in an interview with CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, said that Iran was not trying to develop nuclear weapons.

"Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they're trying to develop a nuclear capability," said Panetta.

Heh, nice try....

During a Senate Armed Services Committee on November 15, Mr. Panetta insisted, rather disingenuously, that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and his government, were rejecting Iranian influence, despite the fact that, just a couple of days prior to the aforementioned senate hearing, Iranian and Iraqi military leaders met to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.

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

Panetta insisted that the "troop surge" would "not succeed", and said he believed Congress would likely pass a resolution criticizing the surge and would ultimately "move to focus on the power of the purse" and vote to withhold funding for the troops in Iraq. Panetta went on to say that he believed it was unlikely President Bush and Vice President Cheney would revise their strategy and back away from the 'surge' because, "they are [living] in another world."

However, in light of Mr. Panetta's refusal to acknowledge that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, his insistence that Iraq is rejecting Iranian influence, and his assertion, in 2007, that the surge in Iraq would not succeed, it is quite clear that - while George W. Bush and Dick Cheney appear to have their feet firmly planted on Planet Earth - Panetta and Obama are living in a far off galaxy, on a strange, alien planet that has no resemblance to Planet Earth.....

Flashback: VIDEO - Panetta in '07 assails troop surge in Iraq, says Bush and Cheney are living "in another world" - McCain chastises Panetta - Senate hearing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Richard Cordray, past misconduct - Watchdog needed to monitor Obama, Cordray etc.

President Obama bypassed the normal Senate confirmation process on Wednesday and appointed Richard Cordray as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

[More on Mr. Cordray and his past misconduct later on this post.]

The White House asserted that President Obama had the authority to bypass the Senate confirmation process because the senate was in recess. But, in truth, the Senate was in pro-forma session, not recess.

During the Bush administration, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared that the constitution precluded the President from making recess appointments when the senate was in pro-forma session; Mr. Bush agreed with Sen. Reid and withheld from making appointments when the senate was in pro-forma session.

However, unlike Mr. Bush, Obama is the Messiah - which gives him the authority to bypass the constitution if necessary.

During a press briefing on Thursday, the President said the consumer protection agency would also monitor the banks to ensure that they are not issuing mortgages to borrowers who can't afford to make the monthly payments.

Ironically, it was Obama and his fellow Democrats [and ACORN] who forced the banks to make loans to high-risk borrowers - who then defaulted on their loans. This, in turn, facilitated the current economic crisis in the US. Hence, rather than appoint a consumer watchdog to monitor the banks etc., it would behoove Mr. Obama to appoint a watchdog to monitor himself and to protect borrowers, banks and businesses from himself, his fellow Democrats and Mr. Cordray.

Richard Cordray's past misconduct and alleged misconduct.

From an earlier post:
1) From the Dayton Daily News - October 5, 2008:
Less than two weeks after Democrat Richard Cordray was sworn in as Ohio treasurer, the stepdaughter of the Columbus-based salesman for Wachovia Securities donated $10,000 — the maximum allowed by law — to Cordray's campaign.

Wachovia soon grabbed 37.5 percent of the state's bond trading business, a big leap for the St. Louis-based company, which had done a little less than 1 percent of the bond trading for the treasurer's office in the prior six years under Republicans Joe Deters and Jeanette Bradley...

Lindsey Kuty, 25, the stepdaughter of Wachovia's Montford S. Will, contributed the $10,000 to Cordray's campaign. When asked if the money came from his stepdaughter or from him, Will responded, "It came from her mother. It didn't come from me."

After the Dayton Daily News informed Cordray of the contribution, Cordray said his campaign would refund the $10,000 to avoid any appearance issues. He noted that he did not know Kuty or know anything about her contribution...

The Ohio Secretary of State's Office said the scenario may be a problem on two fronts. First, it's illegal to make campaign contributions in someone else's name. Second, state contractors face stringent limits on how much they can give: the maximum had been $1,000 but a law change in April 2007 set the bar at $2,000 from a vendor or their spouse within a 24-month period...

Lee, Will, Will's son and Will's business partner gave Cordray's campaign for Franklin County treasurer a combined $19,500 between 2002 and 2004...

Ohio State University law professor Steve Huefner, an expert on election law and campaign finance, said giving in someone else's name "would completely circumvent the contribution limits" and the public wouldn't be able to figure out who is buying access and influence...

When asked if [Wachovia receiving 37.5 percent of the state's bond trading business] was an unusually high concentration for one firm, STRS Ohio Investments Director Steve Mitchell replied, "I'd say so for that firm..."
In May of 2009, the Ohio Elections Commission doled out a $95,000 fine to Montford S. Will, who finally admitted that he had violated Ohio law by cloaking the source of $121,000 in contributions since 2006 by reimbursing his wife and two adult stepchildren for donations to candidates and political parties, including then-Ohio Treasurer, Richard Cordray.

2) In 2010, two Republican organizations filed an ethics complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission accusing Mr. Cordray - then a Democratic candidate for the office of Attorney General of Ohio - of engaging in potentially illegal actions in relation to campaign finance laws. A third party candidate for the office of AG, Robert Owens, also filed a complaint against Cordray making the same accusation.

The complaint: Cordray transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to county and state Democratic Party organizations to circumvent restrictions on carrying over cash from the previous election cycle [from his previous campaign]. The party organizations then donated similar amounts to Cordray's [2010] campaign.

One news media outlet opined that Cordray's actions might have comported with the letter of the law, but certainly did not comport with the spirit of the law.

Republicans later withdrew their ethics complaints against Cordray. Ohio Democrats also withdrew a similar complaint that they had filed against a Republican candidate who was running for office. Quid pro quo? Or did the Republicans conclude they did not have a sufficiently strong case against Mr. Cordray?

3)While serving as Ohio Attorney General, Mr. Cordray used taxpayer money to pay for the legal defense of three former state employees accused of searching state databases for confidential information on Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher.
It was Cordray's office that defended the three in the lawsuit. Cordray told reporters he is obligated to defend the employees because the lawsuit claims the illegal actions were done in the course of their work for the state.

Critics charged that according to state law, Cordray didn't need to use government funds in the case or defend the three since the lawsuit involved activities that were outside the scope of official state employment.

Further, state funds were not meant to be used to defend public workers who acted with malicious purpose, in bad faith or in a wanton or reckless manner.

Former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine of Cedarville, Ohio, also a former local prosecutor, told reporters, "These people violated the privacy of an Ohio citizen and they did it, it would appear, to advance a partisan political campaign, and I think taxpayers will be shocked to find that their tax dollars are going to defend them."

Delaware County Prosecutor David Yost added, "It's an outrageous use of taxpayer money to defend the invasion of a citizen's privacy."
In light of all the above, the questions arise: Does Mr. Cordray have the integrity to be a consumer watchdog? Aren't he and Obama the ones that need to be watched?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Obama reaches out to Mullah Omar, Mullah Omar reaches out for more destruction

The AP reported last week that "U.S. officials from the State Department and White House plan to continue a series of secret meetings with Taliban representatives."

The AP report went on to say that "one member of the Taliban negotiating team has been publicly identified as Tayyab Aga [Agha], an emissary of Pakistan-based Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar."

But sadly, and ironically, while the Obama administration is desperately reaching out to Mullah Omar, Mr. Omar is strengthening his resolve to kill US troops and to wreak havoc upon Afghanistan.

From the Times of India:
Taliban militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan have formed a new grouping which has pledged to stop targeting Pakistani security forces and focus their attention on US-led Nato troops in Afghanistan at the intervention of their elusive supreme commander Mullah Omar.
Likewise, the Long War Journal reported:
One of al Qaeda's top leaders has reached out to the most powerful Taliban commanders along the Afghan-Pakistani border to create a new alliance to battle the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan...

The members of the Shura-e-Murakeba agreed to cease attacks against Pakistani security forces, refocus efforts against the US, and end kidnappings and other criminal activities in the tribal areas.

The deal was brokered by senior al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al Libi as well as by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the operational leader of the Haqqani Network, and Mullah Mansour, a senior Taliban leader who operates in eastern Afghanistan... Mullah Omar, the overall leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is said to have dispatched Siraj and Mansour to help negotiate the agreement...
Hence, while the Obama administration is desperately grasping on to straws and reaching out to Mullah Omar, Mr. Omar is creating "a new alliance to battle US and NATO forces in Afghanistan."

Ironic indeed; if it weren't so sad, I would laugh......

Some additional tidbits from the Long War Journal:
The high-level meetings between al Libi and the leaders of the various Taliban factions took place as the US halted all drone strikes in Pakistan after a clash with Pakistani forces. A US intelligence official who tracks the terror groups along the Afghan-Pakistani border told The Long War Journal that the pause in strikes gave the Taliban and al Qaeda the ability to travel and meet without fear of being hit...

This new alliance has emerged while the Pakistani government is negotiating peace agreements with elements of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.
Apparently, this new agreement was only made possible because the Obama administration halted all drone strikes inside Pakistan.

Good grief.....

The only question that remains: Did the Pakistani government, in its peace agreement with the Taliban, give the the Taliban free reign to attack US forces in Afghanistan?

Good grief.....

Related Video: Obama excoriated Pakistan over Taliban talks - in 2008



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

Panetta to present perilous vision of reduced military - defense budget cuts

From the New York Times via the Gainsville Sun:
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is set this week to reveal his strategy that will guide the Pentagon in cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from its budget, and with it the Obama administration’s vision of the military that the United States needs to meet 21st-century threats, according to senior officials...

Mr. Panetta is expected to outline plans for carefully shrinking the military — and in so doing make it clear that the Pentagon will not maintain the ability to fight two sustained ground wars at once..."

However, "there are certain risks with falling off the two-war posture,” said Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., a military expert at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “You may risk losing the confidence of some allies, and you may risk emboldening your adversaries...

The size of the military is determined not only to win wars, but also to deter adversaries from starting hostilities. That underpins the American rationale for maintaining a combat presence at overseas bases and for conducting regular air and sea patrols around the globe. With austerity looming, those, too, might be curtailed to save money.

On eve of Iowa Caucus, Obama most vulnerable president yet in Gallup polling?

From the Examiner:
The night before the January 3rd Iowa Caucus and commencement of Republican Party primary voting to determine the GOP 2012 nomination, Gallup job approval data suggests Barack Obama finished his third year in office as arguably the most vulnerable elected presidential incumbent championed by either party in fifty-five years.

Obama outscored only Jimmy Carter in November...

Gallup maintained that..., if Obama's numbers do not "increase significantly this month, he will be the first elected president in Gallup records to be below 50% in December of his third year in office.”...

The most recent data posted ahead of the Iowa Caucus showed Gallup’s December 27th – 29th three-day rolling average for Barack Obama’s job performance rating at 43% approval and 48% disapproval...

Gingrich slams Obama's unilateralist agenda

Commenting on a recent AP report that says President Obama has reached the conclusion that he no longer needs Congress to promote his political agenda and "may even benefit in his re-election campaign if lawmakers accomplish little in 2012", and has thus decided to press ahead in 2012 without congress, Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich suggested on Monday that the President should forgo his 2012 salary.

Mr. Gingrich was also perturbed by the AP's report that Obama plans to spend much of the year focusing his attention on winning a second term and keeping up a "robust domestic travel schedule and aggressive" fundraising campaign.

"For the president’s staff to announce that he’s now going to govern without congress? Well, that means he’s not going to govern," said Gingrich "He’s going to be a candidate for an entire year. He shouldn’t take his salary. He shouldn’t pretend he’s president because he’s just a candidate because he’s not doing the job of a president.”

“The comments I heard [on television] this morning were outrageously unconstitutional,” said Gingrich. “I hope the White House press core will go ask them: ‘Are they serious about this?’ As I understand it, they said they are going to try to govern without the Congress next year? That is technically impossible. This is like a kindergarten play. How are you going to pass appropriations bills? How are you going to deal with anything for 12 months? I looked at the TV this morning and thought, ‘These guys are just totally out of touch with reality.’” [source - Des Moines Register]

In June of 2009, in a post entitled, "Obama's Unilateral Foreign Policy, a far cry from Bush's Multilateral Approach", I noted via Reuters that the British government had expressed anger over the Obama administration's decision to release 4 Uighur detainees from Guantanamo bay into the Caribbean island of Bermuda, a British overseas territory - without the UK's consent.

The Guardian-UK reported that Britain's foreign secretary had an uneasy telephone conversation with the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, about why London was not told. A senior Labor MP accused the US of "riding roughshod" over British legal rights in pursuit of its own interests.

Incidentally, I noted in a different post - with regards to the 6 Uighurs that the Obama administration sent to the Island of Palau - that the White House promised to pay $85,000 for each prisoner Palau agreed to accept - all in a desperate attempt to fulfill Obama's campaign pledge to shut down the vital and much-needed Guantanamo Bay prison.

A 'Unilateralist' President, and a 'briber', indeed.

Appearing on the Daily Show in October of 2010, President Obama expressed his frustration with the prolonged health care debate that took place in congress, saying: "Look, I would love not to have a 60 vote requirement [in the senate], which is not in the constitution [and which would have allowed the President to quickly bring his health care mostrosity to fruition]... So there all kinds of things that happened during the course of these two years, in terms of process, that I'd like to see changed..."

Contrast that sentiment with an earlier statement from Obama in 2004:

"You need 60 votes to get something significant to happen," said then-Senator Obama, "which means that Democrats and Republicans have to ask the question: Do we have the will to move an American agenda forward, not a Democratic or Republican agenda forward."

In July of 2006, Obama told a crowd: "You know, one of the arguments that sometimes I get with my fellow progressives is this notion that we should function like Karl Rove, where we identify our core base, we throw them red meat [and] we get a 50 plus 1 victory...You see Karl Rove doesn't need a broad consensus because he doesn't believe in government! If we want to transform the country, though, that requires a sizable majority..."

Flip-flop.....

According to a CNN Opinion Research poll, that was conducted in March of 2010, while congress was debating Obamacare, 59 percent of American opposed the health care legislation. Just 39 percent said they favored the bill. Nevertheless, the President ignored the will of the American people and pressed forward with the legislation anyway.

A recent AP poll found approval for ObamaCare at a dismal 29% with 49% opposing it.

In truth, Obama has acted unilaterally on a host of issues, both foreign and domestic - unlike President Bush, who rarely acted alone without the consent of congress, or our allies abroad [contrary to candidate Obama's claims in 2008].

Indeed, Obama is the quintessential unilateralist, who governs unilaterally because he realizes that only he - and not his fellow countrymen [nor our allies abroad] - knows what's best, not only for the United States, but for the whole-wide-world - and the entire Universe......

Campaigner-in-Chief to begin new year campaigning

"Obama ending vacation, readying for re-election", reads the latest AP headline.

The AP reports:
"With an eye on the 2012 campaign, President Barack Obama is wrapping up a low-key Hawaiian vacation and planning to quickly get back in front of voters as he ratchets up his bid for re-election."

After more than a week out of the spotlight, Obama plans to make his presence in the campaign quickly known.

The president will host a live web chat with supporters in Iowa Tuesday night as the caucuses are unfolding...
Likewise, the AP reported on Saturday: "Absent any major policy pushes, much of the year will focus on winning a second term."

Yes, the President is ignoring his Presidential duties and focusing on his campaign. But you can't really blame him for that, because ultimately running a country is not really his thing - it's not his cup of tea. In fact, working at a full-time job is not really his thing either.

Obama is a skillful community organizer and an excellent campaigner, and rather than concentrate his efforts on his weaknesess, like his ability to lead, run a country and do the job he is being payed to do, he is focusing his time and energy on his strengths.

Bear in mind: Obama announced his bid for the Presidency in February of 2007 before he even had time to warm up his newly minted Senate seat.

Indeed, Obama is the quintessential politician, who enjoys the art of political rhetoric and relishes the opportunity to both orate and play the 'blame' game.

It's his thing.

And now that he has finished frolicking in Hawaii, he can concentrate on his real passion.

Yes, it is true, the Campaigner-in-Chief is back in his element, he's come home....