Thursday, March 31, 2011

Presidential Misspeak

This is what the president said in his “Libya Update” speech of 28 March delivered not in the Oval Office but in an auditorium filled with military officers down upon whom he could look from his platform position: “And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Qaddafi’s deadly advance.” Since then, the Libyan rebels have retreated and are in danger of losing the whole ballgame.

Qaddafi’s troops were not advancing at that point but were themselves, thanks to the mostly U.S bombers and missiles, in retreat. The prez said that NATO would take over on 30 March but that didn’t happen until 31 March. In the meantime, Qaddafi started using vehicles not easily spotted from the air as his well-trained fighters used the rebels’ own tactics (pickup trucks with machine guns, for instance) to counter-attack successfully, not even using the roads in the desert to outflank the insurgents.

Also in the meantime, NATO operations commander Admiral James Stavridis testified in a Congressional hearing that there is evidence that al Qaeda operatives are among the rebels/insurgents. Qaddafi had already asserted that the revolt was managed by al Qaeda but, of course, was pooh-poohed for saying that.

To add to the president’s disingenuousness is the fact that he said no U.S. boots would be on the ground in Libya. There are CIA operatives on the ground there now and they were likely on the ground when he made that statement. It comes to light now that he has also signed a “secret” go-ahead for possibly arming the rebels since they are in dire need of weapons. Problem: The insurgents haven’t yet been identified and have no apparent leader. So…does the president plan to send weapons to people he doesn’t know but can be certain that some if not most of them will wind up in the hands of al Qaeda.

In his speech, Obama said this: “Our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives.” He had to know that in that assemblage of military experts his words were meaningless. It’s been obvious from the get-go that the president’s objective – after he finally decided on one – is to see that the insurgents wage a war eventuating in the death or ouster of Qaddafi, although he also said that neither removal of Qaddafi nor regime change was an objective. It’s hard to imagine oxymorons of that magnitude.

During his presidential campaign, Obama said this: “The president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” The day before the “update” performance, defense secretary, Robert Gates, said that the crisis in Libya “was not a vital national interest to the United States.” In other words, Obama committed an un-Constitutional act, by his own accounting.

The president said this: “As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than keeping this country safe.” He also said this: “There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and values are.” So…which is it? Obviously, Libya has posed no threat to this country’s safety, so apparently the president has gone to war in order to protect “our values and interests.” What “values and interests” did Qaddafi threaten? None, of course! In fact, Qaddafi had been removed from the terrorist list some time ago and even turned his “nuke effort” over to the U.S.

England, France, Spain and Italy (NATO’s “big” members) import Libyan oil and it’s a leadpipe cinch that Qaddafi was extorting huge sums of money from them for the privilege. Doesn’t every dictator do that? What about the French and Saddam…or Kofi Anan’s son…in the kickbacks? So…why not just get the U.S. to finagle a stop to that? After all, to some extent (mostly slight, except perhaps for England), these countries had helped a bit in Afghanistan or Iraq. The U.S. spent $550 million in blasting Libya in the first 10 days or so of the action and continues to spend monstrous sums on the effort.

Or…is the consensus right in determining that Obama’s war was largely the result of the pressure brought by the president’s Amazons – State Secretary Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Obama’s foreign policy guru Samantha Power, whose husband, Cass Sunstein, just happens to be the prexy’s “regulation czar,” possibly the most influential voice in his regime? It would be a tragedy of immense proportions if this were the case…and it probably is. The blood and treasure of this country spent to satisfy some bureaucrats in nothing more than a civil war in a country of 6.3 million people? That would be disgusting.

During her campaign for the presidency, Secretary Clinton completely fabricated a monstrous lie and repeated it over and over regarding her running under sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996. It never happened and the mystery has to do with why she made up all that. She had to know that her lie would come to light. The president in his campaign made a statement upon which he has just perjured himself through his actions. These are the people running this country. What a shame!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Libya "Update" - Fiasco!

In his “Libya Speech” of 28 March, President Obama became the political equivalent of Pilate, washing his hands of the violence connected to his rape of Libya and turning the whole mess over to the NATO rabble for the furtherance of the crucifixion of Qaddafi. It needed ten days or so after he began the carnage for him to come to this point but he majestically proclaimed this fact with a toss of the head as he bid a fond adieu to NATO, effective 30 March, with best wishes, of course.

Obviously uptight, Obama seemed to be trying to convince himself of what he was saying and gave repetition/redundancy a new life. He could have been through in ten minutes but he belabored his subject to the point of boredom. He began, as always, with high praise for the military but had to be somewhat flustered by all the military brass before him, and none smiling. The officers recognized his floundering and had to wonder why he hadn’t at least tried to explain his actions when he instituted them and no doubt were wondering why he called his presentation an “update,” not an explanation of his actions.

The reason, of course, was the fact that he had no clear plan from the get-go in order to present one, simply mentioning (or maybe it was State Secretary Clinton, certainly not the military) that he would start the operation – just establishing a “no-fly” zone – and then, apparently without consulting the alliance, that NATO would take over. His primary reason for the action seemed to be that Qaddafi was attacking his people but didn’t mention that his people had taken to the streets first.

This is no brief for Qaddafi, a cruel man, but no different from the other Muslim dictators that brutalize their people….like Assad in Syria or Saleh in Yemen currently. Regimes generally change on the point of the sword in the Middle East so the Libya issue was sort of just normal – civil war among the tribes with the strongest and/or meanest taking over, or the current despot winning reelection the mid-east way, with blood in the streets. Nothing new!

Obama was sure to mention Iraq – the great mistake – sort of in the vein of Jimmy Carter, never one to pass up an opportunity to slam Bush 43, even – or especially – while on foreign soil. Obama chose a “foreign” theater with a huge captive audience, ironically, of the military, to speechify formally (complete with teleprompter) to his people instead of in the Oval Office, which is where he should have been alone, not making a speech but simply explaining his actions personally. This was the way of both Bushes and Reagan, as well as Clinton…same day stuff, not an “update” after a five-day vacation in Latin America plus the weekend NCAA earth-shaking dribble-derby. He even compared Libya to the Bosnia actions (apples to oranges), extolling the speed of his maneuvering (actually his bumbling) while obviously denigrating that of Clinton.

Whether as simply disingenuous or plainly stupid, Obama apparently didn’t realize in slamming Bush again that he had done just what he said he was against in 2002-03 – invading another country without cause, though he failed to mention that Bush had gone to the Congress and secured approval, whereas he hadn’t bothered. The military brass must have winced when he said that non-military means would be employed from now on to bring Qadaffi to his knees, thus giving away the game and encouraging the dictator to sweat out the rebels.

The president said, “Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Qaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him.” Defense Secretary Gates, sitting before him, had stated days ago that this was not true, meaning that Gates was either stupid or a liar…or that Obama was. The citizen can make the call. Libya’s entire population is 2 million people less than that of New York City. Qaddafi’s troops number 76,000, compared to the total military of the U.S. – 3.3 million, counting the Reserves and National Guard, with 1.4 million on active duty. Should Americans shudder at the magnitude of Qadaffi’s “strategic” threat? Obama has been on the stump lately ranting against “bullying,” and gave an exact example of it in Libya.

If little Libya was of strategic interest, just think of the strategic interest of Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria and Iran vis-à-vis the current Libya-like repression in those countries. It’s a lead-pipe cinch that Obama has learned in Libya (or has he?) that he needs to stick to giving odds on the NCAA and never again attempt to plan military operations (either when or how), especially as designed by State Secretary Clinton, as apparently in this case. She’s off to Europe to make the case but should only resign. As for Obama, impeachment would be too nice. The patients are running the Washington asylum.

But it’s like Obama said in his best “in-your-face-America” posture concerning his prerogatives…We won!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Imperial Presidency?

In November 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama introduced (actually introduced by Sen. Reid in Obama’s name) a Senate resolution stating that President Bush did not have Congressional authorization to use military force against Iran: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that nothing in the... resolution [amendment] previously adopted, or any other provision of law.. shall be construed to authorize, encourage, or in any way address the use of the Armed Forces of the United States against Iran.

Obama was busy campaigning, presumably, for the election in November 2009 (two years is such a short time-frame) that he had to have Reid to be his proxy for this vitally important document. Iran posed no direct threat to the U.S., so Bush might have needed to pay attention to Obama’s intellect…except for the fact, of course (war powers act?), that the Iranians were extremely well-documented as providing the IEDs that were used to kill U.S. soldiers 24/7 in Iraq. The devices and/or other devices were actually stamped as Iranian in origin. Bush, as he had done before, would have consulted Congress anyway since that made more sense than to just start bombing another country.

Whoa! On the basis of his own resolution, how did Obama get authorization to just start bombing Libya one night, announcing that war-act in Brasilia, Brazil, and then continuing to be AWOL for five days while U.S. Bombers and missiles slammed the bejesus out of Libya, population 6.3 million, 2 million less than New York City?

Was Libya furnishing military materiel in Iraq or Afghanistan? Well…no. Had Qaddafi flown planes into the Empire State Building? Well…no. Did he have WMD secluded somewhere in the desert? Well…no. In fact, hadn’t Libya coughed up its WMD to the U.S. years ago? Well…yes.

Obama precisely emulated Emperor Hirohito vis-à-vis 07 December 1941, when Japan almost took out Pearl Harbor, killing nearly 3,000 GIs and brought America into WWII. He plans to speak to the nation on 28 March to explain his incredible attack on a soveriegn nation that posed no threat to this country but he might be much better served at this point to keep his mouth shut. How can he explain away something as bizarre and obviously illegal as that?

Obama has proven beyond doubt that he’s reckless, arrogant and insensitive to the putting of U.S. GIs in harm’s way for no reason at all with regard to the national interest, which is all that’s supposed to concern him. In his campaign, he threatened to take military action in Pakistan if elected if the Pakistanis didn’t try harder to take out the Taliban. Imagine what would happen if he decided the time had come now, what with Pakistan having atomic bombs here and there.

Wait, some slack, please! The dear leader got his authorization from the United Nations. That’s all that was necessary – not that stuffy, slow Congress that Constitutionally has to declare war – because the world is just one great international community and he was just listening to his “gang-of-three” Amazons reminding him that mean people have to be wasted so the little people can be protected.

So…he dropped some bombs on Qaddafi’s house…and apparently missed. But he’s still trying, so his heart’s in the right place. It would be hard to make all this up…but there it is. And…puhleeze, don’t mention Reagan’s dropping bombs on Qaddafi’s house back in the 80s. He had well-documented cause and explained it quite clearly and immediately (the same day)…and it had nothing to do with authorization from the UN, which ought to either be disassembled entirely or marooned on some island on the Equator. Oh yes…Reagan announced that event in the Oval Office, not in some foreign capital.

Former president Clinton was impeached for perjury, telling a lie under oath. His lie didn’t hurt anyone and the Senate didn’t convict him and expel him from office. Obama, without any authorization or valid reason regarding the national interest, has done something that has caused the deaths of no telling how many Libyans who happened to just be in the wrong country at the wrong time. Should one assume he was just ignorant of the proper protocols for attacking another country? If so, should he just perhaps resign. After all, President Nixon didn’t cause profound death and grief, but he resigned simply because he tried a cover-up, which also didn’t hurt anybody.

Then, there’s the policy angle. Obama said Qaddafi had to go but that his bombing was not meant to cause him to go and/or effect regime-change. What, then, was it for – actually called kinetic military action or something like that? Who knows? Oh yes…to protect Libyans from Qaddafi. That’s weird since the president, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has joined Qaddafi in the killing.

This is what Qaddafi said in his famous (infamous) speech at the UN in 2009, “We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as president of the United States.” Oh yeah?

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Military Method - "On-the-Fly"

Defense Secretary Gates introduced a new facet of the president’s “Obama Doctrine” in Russia the other day, namely, the “on-the-fly” approach to waging…well, whatever Obama is waging in Libya these days. It can’t be called war – far too sanguinary. Besides, if it were war, he might be expected to present his plans for it to Congress.

That’s where waging war “on-the-fly” comes in – no actual plans, just haul out the bombers, missiles, and whatever else is handy and “bring it on.” So…since there are no plans for waging anything, Congress doesn’t need to be in the loop. The big deal is to save Libyan civilians from Qaddafi, so the solution is to bomb the bejesus out of Tripoli and elsewhere and kill other Libyans in order to save Libyans. Sound crazy? Of course not! Super-intellectual Obama would never do anything crazy. Obama has said Qaddafi is not a target, but his compound has been bombed more than once. That’s real intellect in action.

The big news of the twenty-third is that Syrian forces wasted six…you guessed it…Syrians in one day. They were protesting, like those squirrelly Libyans, so they had to go. The word was bandied about that they had their weapons and whatever else stored in the…yep, the mosque. Sound familiar? They just closed one of those warmongering mosques in Berlin recently…but in Syria, whose strongman Assad is a “brother” of the first order to Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Assad’s gang killed six Muslims in their mosque. Never mind killing them in the street.

If the Obama Doctrine is to be followed in Syria, it can be expected that some sort of action “on-the-fly” will be necessary since there isn’t time to get a plan ready. After all, a plan for Libya couldn’t be conceived in nearly a month, necessitating pulling off last week’s strictly “on-the-fly,” with the added advantage of not having to present it to the Congress. In fact, Obama started the action and immediately left the country for a few days living it up south of the border, so he was unavailable anyway.

Then, of course, there’s Yemen (fighting in the streets) and Saudi Arabia (protesters all over the place), meaning that innocent people have to be protected throughout the Middle East. These things have been going on for quite a while but Obama’s folks have no plans ready so maybe there will be more stuff done “on-the-fly,” the better to save Muslims from Muslims by killing Muslims.

Of course, Defense Secretary Gates and his crowd over at the Pentagon didn’t want to do anything concerning Libya, already in deep do-do in Iraq and Afghanistan and understanding that killing one group of Libyans in order to save another group of Libyans doesn’t make a lot of sense. Military minds can be so technical!

So, besides Senators McCain, Lieberman, Graham and Kerry (about as weird a combination as possible), who has instigated this absolutely essential “on-the-fly” operation in order to save Libyans from Libyans? Could it be the Amazons – State Secretary Clinton, UN Ambassador Rice, and Obama’s foreign policy guru Power?

These gals must be on to something…they got the Security Council to go for a Libyan operation, although they probably didn’t mention that it would be done “on-the-fly,” i.e., with virtually no planning at all. The distaff side of government can be rough and tough, although the boots on the ground and in the air are 99.9% male. And the Congresspersons can just…well, they aren’t doing much now anyhow. Apparently, the feminine approach is to save the “people in the streets” no matter how many lives that costs.

Of course, the gals got hoodwinked…but that isn’t said pejoratively. They got the (drum roll, please) ARAB LEAGUE to throw in with them. The Arab League was instituted back in the late 40s and its first expression of goodwill was a war on Israel. That didn’t work, obviously, so now the League has decided all these years later to try its luck on Muslim Qaddafi, whom its members don’t like anyway.

The Amazons were simply naïve. They didn’t realize that the mark of an astute Muslim is the power to outwit his adversary, in this case Obama and the Amazons (sounds like a rock band). The League promised to deliver both airpower and troops in the fight against Libya. Instead, the League has been whining that the U.S., Britain and France have gone too far – Libyans have been (gasp) killed. Count the League out. It was smart enough to get the westerners to do the dirty work, while the League puffs on its collective hookah and laughs at the Amazons, whom it thinks should be kept in the kitchen, pregnant and barefoot anyway.

Obama mistakenly assumed and said publicly that NATO would take over the task from the USA or act in support…something like that. That won’t happen (the NATO honchos in a fierce argument) and it appears that the Brits and Frenchies will continue the important work of killing Libyans to save Libyans.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Libya...Whose War?

This is the last paragraph of a Reuters account of 22 March: “On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said the mission should be limited to creating a no-fly zone and that Italian planes taking part would not open fire.” If Italian planes won’t open fire, why would they even be in the air? This account is quoted here just to point to the fact that NATO members are nowhere near any decision/consensus concerning which country does what, when, and where, as well as who will run the whole shooting match, apparently dividing it into military and political components.

It’s probable that NATO members would just as soon not get caught up in an obvious violation of another nation’s sovereignty, just as has been the attitude of U.S. Defense Secretary Gates for the other reason that pouncing on Libya presents a bloody mess when this nation doesn’t need another war. To show his concern, he has been in Russia. To show his concern, Obama, disregarding the position of his own military leadership, has been out of the country since he directed the military to lower the boom on Qaddafi. What was/is he thinking?

The NATO members are squabbling apparently to an extent that will make the alliance fairly useless, especially since Qaddafi won’t put up any planes for them to shoot down and no one wants to put an army on the ground. The UN is supposed to regiment peace-keepers, not armies of aggression, but has passed a resolution for Libyan action (setting up a no-fly zone) and obviously leaving it up to NATO or any other entity so inclined to do the dirty work, another way of fingering Uncle Sam for that privilege. Obama has been suckered.

According to Reuters, Obama, trying to avoid getting bogged down in a war in another Muslim country, said on Monday that Washington would cede control of operations within days and NATO would have a coordinating role, but NATO ambassadors are arguing about that. Has NATO ever conducted a no-fly zone? Not likely. Peace-keepers are ground troops, not fighter/bomber pilots.

What right did Obama think he had to simply implicate NATO, in the first place? After all, Turkey, 99.8% Muslim, is a key member of NATO and might not appreciate NATO bombing Libya, which is 97% Muslim. NATO-member Albania is 70% Muslim. It’s one thing for Muslims to kill Muslims, which they do routinely, but quite another thing for other folks to kill Muslims.

Security Council members China and Russia did not approve, but also did not veto, the UN sanction of the no-fly zone. Now, however, China is calling for an immediate cease-fire, according to Voice of America. Cease-fire of what? The no-fly zone? The Libyans? The Arab League approved the UN action but now has “reservations,” after offering no help. What reservations? Obviously, the Libyans will continue to fight each other, notwithstanding anything called-for by China, the Arab League or any other entity.

With the president AWOL in Latin America and the Defense Secretary schmoozing with the Russkies in the midst of all this action, the message should be clear that, especially since Obama has already telegraphed that no American foot will touch Libyan soil, another way of announcing that no foot of any other nation is likely to land in Libya, Qaddafi will probably have to be killed as the only solution. Obama has already said he had to go but that the USA is not interested in regime-change. This is the penultimate oxymoron and indicates the total lack of leadership (or brains?) in Washington.

Defense Secretary Gates made it abundantly clear in a recent Congressional hearing that instituting a no-fly zone meant knocking out ground anti-aircraft installations on the ground first, clearly implying that Libyans would be killed, an act of war. As it turns out, the planes also strafed/bombed Libyan army units such as tanks, totally illegal as a no-fly requirement and certain to cause civilian deaths/injuries, as well. In other words, the mission itself was violated. Why kill Libyans when they are perfectly capable of killing each other?

The whole world is watching one of the most botched-up international actions imaginable. The insurgent Libyans have no leader and no identity. Qaddafi has said that al Qaeda is his real nemesis. He may be right. No one seems to know who is being helped…just a group known as “the people.” Muslim-dominated countries change leadership the old-fashioned way – through coups of one kind or another. The West simply can’t understand this and, absent any self-defense threats, go merrily along trying to make democracies out of un-democratic people.

More’s the pity in this country, with leadership apparently having no understanding of history…or even of the present.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, March 21, 2011

The U.S. & Civil War

The U.S. went to battle in Afghanistan and Iraq for reasons of national interest – 9/11 and the determination by the top international intelligence agencies that Saddam had WMD, which he probably transferred to Syria from Sept 2001 through January 2002. These were not civil wars, as was not the UN-approved Kuwait dustup in 1991.

Abe Lincoln and the North aided and abetted by Jefferson Davis and the South conducted a civil war (Americans fighting Americans), with the Confederacy recognized by no other power as a government, though the South longed for Britain as an ally and fired the first shot at the North. No other country came to the aid officially of either side, though trade continued by individuals. There might have been allies except that no one could figure how the war would turn out and couldn’t afford to take a chance on being on the wrong side.

This is the same setup in Libya – a civil war, with Libya (Qaddafi) desperately needing and not getting allies. Obama, without consulting Congress, committed the U.S. to help the rebels, who have no leader and no identity, and thus no accountability responsibility. In effect, he attacked a sovereign nation that posed absolutely no threat to this country, never mind the angst a lot of people here and abroad have toward Qaddafi. This was an act of war. In both the Afghan and Iraq affairs the president not only consulted Congress but sought and acquired approval.

Obama, who wouldn’t know an M-16 from a Chevy tie-rod, seeks to govern by executive order and through the courts. After giving his “war on Libya” order, he conveniently left the country for a few days. The command center for the operation has been on a U.S. destroyer, though Obama has declared that no ground troops will be used, something no military man would ever divulge, and American planes and missiles have been used to kill civilians.

The Defense Department fought with the State Department over the issue, with Obama/Hillary (after weeks of position-changing) winning out over the military experts, who wanted no part of this new and probably endless conflict – at least until Qaddafi is killed, with the latest effort to get him apparently a failure. The conditions in Yemen and Bahrain and to a lesser extent in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria are exactly like those in Libya and likewise no threat to this country. What will Obama do about them? He has said he intends to “handoff” the Libya matter to the Europeans and the Arab League after he’s done the dirty work. That won’t happen because they lack what it takes.

As for the Arab League, fuggeddaboutit. The only thing Muslims enjoy more than killing Americans/ Jews is killing other Muslims. After the League got in bed with Obama and the Europeans and the bombing started, however, the League decided that the whole thing was too violent and that their new “friends of the Evil West” had simply gone too far and were (GASP!!!) actually killing Muslims, apparently never realizing that bombs/missiles don’t always hit the intended targets, never mind that Muslim homicide/suicide bombers dispatch Muslims all the time…on purpose…just routine stuff!

So…will any Arab country actually contribute any effort in the Libyan matter? After all, the word is that the Europeans and Obama/Hillary wouldn’t lift a hand if the Arab league didn’t agree to the carnage. Now that the carnage has started (and no one seems to know what this country’s plan is), don’t look for much if any help from Jordan, Egypt or even the Saudis. In the first place, they don’t have much to offer, and in the second place, why bother as long as they can dupe the guilt-ridden westerners into doing ALL the dirty work.

An interesting if not morbidly hilarious aside has to do with Nany Pelosi’s sojourn in Italy, ostensibly to hold talks with Italian officials, including the defense minister, according to The Blaze of 21 March. Probably no one in this country would have known about this little vacation, except that she had to spend a brief time in a hospital, and the word got out. The U.S. Embassy in Rome declined comment.

Maybe Obama thought his reelection prospects needed a war of his own on his resume. One can only hope for his removal in 2012. His presidency is an anomaly without peer. Civil wars belong to the countries in which they are waged. If Qadaffi goes down, al Qaeda will have a new training-ground much closer to the U.S. than located farther to the east.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Time to Speak...and Not to Speak

An important component of leadership is not in just knowing what to say but also in knowing when and when not to say anything. President Obama has seemed unaware of this in recent days, not only in his performance in foreign affairs but in domestic matters, as well.

On the domestic front, this is from the Washington Post of 17 February: Obama accused Scott Walker, the state's new Republican governor, of unleashing an "assault" on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers.

This is from Fox News of 25 February: When candidate Obama was campaigning in South Carolina in 2007, he said he was proud to wear the “union label” and that if workers were denied rights to organize or collectively bargain when he was elected, “I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I'll will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America.”

It seems from the former quote that the president recognized the necessity, according to his philosophy, of doing what he promised in the second quote. Either he misspoke (politicians never lie) in one or both of those quotes, or he simply didn’t mean what he said, actually misspeaking (but not lying, of course). In any case, he was not seen, whether in comfortable shoes or not, walking a picket/protester line in Wisconsin. Words have a way of coming back to haunt.

Obviously, Obama should have said absolutely nothing with respect to the Wisconsin affair. In South Carolina, he clearly was pandering, often called campaigning, wherein the truth is actually not expected in presidential politics. However, a lie is a lie is a lie.

In foreign affairs, the president would have done well to say nothing recently. He decided that Egyptian President Mubarak should leave office, called him on the phone to tell him so, and then sent an emissary to make sure Mubarak understood Obama’s edict. The emissary disgreed publicly with the president after he had arrived on the scene and observed the actual facts.

Mubarak did leave office eventually (not just when the prez told him to) but not because of Obama’s edict; rather, he got out of Dodge because his army would not be expected to fire on fellow Egyptians. Egypt now is in turmoil, with the latest fad being a monstrous effort to drive Christians from the country. There’s no significant governmental structure and chaos will prevail. Obama would have been better off to keep his mouth shut. Ditto for State Secretary (rubber stamp) Clinton, both of whom tried to run another country’s government.

Or…take the case of Libya. It took a while as people died in the streets (was Obama on a lengthy learning curve?) but finally Obama told Libyan strongman Qadaffi to make haste and take a powder. Qaddafi demurred, knowing that in his rule the army and hired mercenaries WOULD fire on Libyans, thus making Obama’s edict worthless and a subject of ridicule throughout the world.

This would not necessarily be the case if President Obama had done anything to back up his edict to Qaddafi. There was much talk of a no-fly-zone and this was even approved by the Arab League, amounting to making war on Libya. Obama certainly was not prepared to do that and so sanctions have been put in place instead, as if they mean anything.

The president hasn’t been as feckless as the French government, which recognized officially an opposition “government,” knowing full well that it wouldn’t lift a finger to help that group of insurgents. The fact remains, however, that he has talked the walk but will not walk the walk, not least because this country will not stand for another Middle East dustup. Obviously, he should have kept his mouth shut.

The president’s words about unionists and collective bargaining meant nothing. His words concerning both Mubarak and Qaddafi meant nothing. In none of these cases was he prepared to actually DO anything. Talk is cheap. But the greater truth is simply that there are times when there should be no talk at all, such as when no action is planned…or, when action IS planned. Most often, silence is golden.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, March 14, 2011

Legislators & Unions

The “Wisconsin Affair” held and holds some valuable lessons. Perhaps the most astounding one happened last November when the voters managed to place the legislature (both houses) and governorship in the hands of republicans. They even sent the first republican in 18 years to the U.S. Senate, replacing ultra-liberal Russ Feingold, about as far-left an operator as there is.

The state, like most states and the U.S government, as well, is deep into deficit problems, needing more than $3 billion to break even. The voters obviously were tired of the “same old same old,” so they threw the bums out. This meant that the majority expected some drastic measures to be taken since only drastic measures, such as significant cuts in spending and government costs, could save the day.

As expected, the Wisconsin lower house passed and sent to the Wisconsin Senate legislation that involved fiscal matters among other things but was unpalatable to the Senate democrats, a considerable minority of just 14. Instead of contending for their side in the Senate, the democrats simply left the state, bivouacing in neighboring Illinois, never mind that they were deserting the jobs to which they had been elected. This is another lesson – legislating by nullification since any bill involving money could not be passed without a member of the opposing party being present.

One wonders how long the democrat senators expected to hold out, thus tying up all budgetary legislation. Sooner or later, they would be compelled to participate but seemed too dense to understand this…thus another lesson, to wit, that idiots can be elected to public office.

Labor Unions are the darling of the Democrat Party and with both huge amounts of money and sweat equity routinely buy the legislators and legislation needed to make them happy. The instant legislation gutted most of the collective bargaining under which the state and unions had done business (and monkey-business) for decades, thus losing for the unions the golden goose that had propelled their members to far greater wages and perks even dreamed of by workers in the private sector.

Elections are held in order to effect what the voters want. In November, the voters spoke but the unionists couldn’t believe anyone would touch their sacred cow – collective bargaining, though not all states have it. Under this system, employees can strike if they don’t get their way, thus shutting down any part of government they wish. Most Wisconsin workers are not unionized and apparently saw they had become the golden goose, supporting what amounted to a legislative oligarchy and preferred class.

The lesson the protesters (government workers, including school-teachers) seem not to have learned is that anything that is awarded by government can be reformed or even nullified. Collective bargaining had been in effect through legislation for decades until the greed of both legislators and union-workers made it into the tail that wagged the dog. The voters had had enough. One only has to examine the wages, retirement ages, pension plans and health benefits in probably all states to understand why.

This is from the Wall Street Journal of 25 February (Robert M. Costrell): “The average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500 [for 10 months], but with benefits the total package is $100,005, according to the manager of financial planning for Milwaukee public schools.” Mr. Costrell broke down the whole system, completely as a result of collective bargaining, and it included such things as the teacher paying nothing at all into his own retirement plan (1996 collective bargaining). The state also pays another 4.2% into the retirement plan (1982 collective bargaining). Government employees pay nothing into their health plans, and the government pays half of costs on the dental side, as well. Because of similar plans, teachers in many states retire in their fifties, take new jobs and build up more retirement benefits.

The most valuable lesson to be learned, however, has to do with the mob-mentality of the protesters. The hate-speech used was a good example of what the president has referred to in recent times as the reason for inculcating a more civil discourse. When the protesters and the bloggers called Governor Walker a nazi, they merely made themselves look stupid. When they took over the state capitol building for days, bidding fair to make it into a pig sty, they appeared coarse, crude.

This mob-mentality is scary. One wondered when its members, probably the best remunerated state workers in the whole country, would start burning cars and torch buildings. Millions of people in this country would give virtually anything to work for Wisconsin government. Labor unions are important in the private sector since they actually represent union workers, but in Wisconsin the legislature, bought fair and square by the unions, represents the union workers, and the state’s coffers are ready for legislative plunder 24/7. Everybody else can eat cake.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

DNC Memorandum #22

From the office of the chairman, 08 March 2011

***Apologies for neglecting to forward a memorandum during February! Since it was Black History Month a memorandum would have been unseemly especially since it would have pointed to the fact that African Americans support democrats, especially the president, no matter any position, though they might have a problem with his latest position, to wit, that men may marry men in holy matrimony and start their families. Most Americans, acting through their legislatures in both the Constitution and Statute areas, disapprove of this but are simply too unsophisticated to understand the president’s brilliance. However, this is a subject best left alone if possible since a redneck may ask you a stupid question such as one having to do with how two men conceive and bring forth a child. If that happens, “cloning” is an absolute no-no. Beyond that, you’re on your own BUT under no circumstances quote what the president said about marriage during his campaign. After all, some things – even convictions – have to be sacrificed when saving the country from vicious republicans, an absolute non-negotiable.

***Be advised that Jay Carney is the new spokesman for the president. Robert Glibs…er, Gibbs (little joke there, for the last time) has joined the president’s campaign team and so will continue to give credence to the term “uh” as virtually sacrosanct (“holy” for recent Harvard grads). Carney has yet to escape the same “uh” worship but, it is at least hoped, will work toward speaking in complete sentences. If you find Carney’s remarks to be unfathomable (“impossible to comprehend,” for recent Yalies, even skull-and-bones), don’t worry because as of now they are. Please check the media carefully to see what he says, what he means, and whether or not he means anything, the goal being smoke-and-mirrors very often in holding press conferences. Give Carney some slack because he is moving from the same job for Vice President Biden, where he was taxed mightily in explaining why “jobs” is a three-letter word and why “fluffernutter,” Biden’s term for everything John Edwards said in 2008, is not in the dictionary.

***With regard to same-sex marriage, the president has decided not to institute this arrangement by executive order, not that he feels he can’t overrule the Congress, Courts and state laws, but because it’s easier to simply ignore these entities. In other words, Attorney General Holder has been instructed not to represent (“defend,” for Princeton grads) the United States in any Court wherein a suit concerning this matter is brought. This will automatically make same-sex marriage legal as a federal matter by default unless and until the Court decides differently. Holder can bring suits (offense) against states that fail to authorize same-sex marriage, just as he has brought suit against Arizona for carrying out federal statutes vis-à-vis immigration. The president is also considering an executive order to set up a commission to study the viability of other types of marriage, such as including three spouses (or more…who’s counting?). He has requested that the DNC submit a red/yellow/black/white paper concerning this matter, but that marriage with a pet is definitely not to be considered, notwithstanding the position of Regulatory Czar Sunstein that pets should have access to lawyers.

***It needs to be made plain in all of your Town-Hall clambakes that the president has not changed his mind about shutting down Guantanamo and trying its clients in U.S. Courts, the clear implication being that Gitmo will never be closed since trying the terrorists there will take many years and decades more keeping the guilty out of circulation, especially since few, if any, countries will accept these murderers. He blames the Congress for his problem since it refused to buy him a prison in Illinois and even made it plain to Holder that they will not be tried anywhere in the U.S. As commander-in-chief, the president can shut down Gitmo at any time but has decided against such action until 2013. The gates can then be opened and the terrorists be given their rights. Fidel Castro has made it plain to the state department that the gates on Cuba’s side will be welded shut in the meantime.

***Be advised that the president has decided to soften all criticism of coal for now. Even though the best brains in the land have agreed that manmade global warming is a hoax, the president promised in 2008 to make carbon-capping so expensive that coal-mining would be bankrupted and intends to keep his word. However, the Middle East crises might do a better job of bankrupting everybody by making gas so expensive that people will be unable to move around…translated, unable to go to work and thus dependent upon the state for everything, the aim of this administration. This amounts to a much better tax upon the people, without the hassle of fighting the Tea Partiers over coal. Rumors that the president has e-mailed Qaddafi his appreciation are untrue and Carney has informed the press that he will not do it again.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, March 05, 2011

No Libyan Responsibility

Incredibly, supposedly responsible people like Senator McCain are suggesting that the U.S. establish Libya as a no-fly zone, seemingly believing that the inculcation of such a zone would be a relatively simple matter. Defense Secretary Gates, obviously not in favor of such an action, has explained in a Congressional hearing the serious ramifications of doing this, namely, that to do so would require taking out Libya’s air-defense system on the ground, another way of affirming such as an act of war.

Other officials are suggesting the same thing, caterwauling over the fact that strongman Qaddafi’s military and mercenaries are killing insurgent Libyans. What do they expect him to do in light of the fact that he’s protecting his own skin, not to mention retaining the power he has exerted for more than 40 years? These same officials seem not to realize that Iraqis (including military/police forces) have been killing each other by the thousands for the last eight years, with the U.S. unable to do anything significant about it, though having up to 150,000 troops at a time there since 2003.

This is not to say there shouldn’t be concern over the Libyans’ situation. It is to say that the U.S. is already invested too heavily in military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan to take on what would be a fight against a nation posing no threat to the U.S. Even if the UN or NATO should approve such action (not likely), practically the whole responsibility for what would be war would devolve upon this country. Neither France, Germany, nor England would want any part of this fight.

The Libyan situation is nothing like Afghanistan or Iraq, actually clear and present threats to the world when this country entered into the current wars. Afghanistan clearly harbored the terrorists responsible for 9/11 and the best intelligence agencies in the world agreed that Saddam had WMD in Iraq in 2002. There was reason for those actions by this country, but no such similar reason applies in the case of Libya, and most certainly not as a unilateral action. This nation, hopefully, has finally learned that it is not the world’s policeman.

The president probably should have kept his mouth shut, beginning with the uprising in Tunisia and certainly with respect to Egypt. Violence is now the order of the day in both places, not surprising since any kind of governmental structure was destroyed when the dictators were overthrown. Once the president speaks, he supplies false hopes having to do with aid from this country.

Reagan helped Afghanistan kick out the Russians in the 80s and Bush 41 helped the Kuwaitis kick out Saddam in the 90s, but in both cases the dustup involved countries invaded by other countries. The Middle East flare-ups amount to civil wars and this country would be ill-served messing in any of it. When people choose up sides and start killing each other, that’s nobody else’s business, as witness the U.S. Civil War.

It’s patently clear now that the radical Muslim agenda is to take over the world. Jihad will be waged in the streets, on battlefields, and through subversion/sabotage/terrorism throughout the world for the foreseeable future. In Europe and the U.S., the fight is taking the form of terrorism, many of its purveyors homegrown. In sheer numbers, the Muslims are taking over Europe, where the birth-rate vis-à-vis Muslims and Caucasians is heavily tilted toward Islamic control. Indeed, the birth-rate among whites is too small to maintain current percentages.

Thankfully, the Muslim population in the U.S. is relatively small and should be kept that way with respect to immigration. There are converts to Islam among those who believe themselves somehow disenfranchised, and these converts pose a risk, as has already been seen here and in Europe. Fighting suicide/homicide bombers is like fighting the Japanese kamikaze pilots in WWII. Those brainwashed young Japanese, though killed by the thousands, managed to kill Americans by the thousands…all in a cause that was known by Japanese leaders to be lost…just murdering for the sake of it.

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail in Washington and keep this country from more entanglements in the Middle East. Whether right or not, Qaddafi blames al Qaeda for Libya’s problem. U.S. officials pooh-pooh this but it should be remembered that al Qaeda terrorists bombed a synagogue on the island of Djerba (only 160 miles from Tripoli), part of neighboring Tunisia, in April 2002, killing 21 people, mostly tourists from Germany and France. A word to the wise should be sufficient.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark