Is Obama’s realignment of US foreign policy so astonishing that it leaves Congress too stunned to act?
Has there ever before been such a clear case of high crimes and misdemeanors as now with the action of this president – selling out the country’s interests to its worst enemy?
Why have impeachment proceedings not begun?
Shawn Mitchell writes today, March 30, 2015, at Townhall:
Ponder the dire significance of the extraordinary story from MSNBC(!) last Friday, reporting on US “incoherence” in the Middle East, the exploding chaos there, and the shocking news Arab states like Egypt, the Saudis, and UAE are withholding intelligence and launching attacks without consulting the US. Why? Because they don’t trust Obama not to leak information to Iran. In seeking closer ties with Iran, Obama is threatening every other strategic US relationship in the region and candidly committing alliance-cide against America’s closest ally there, Israel.
The president, as chief executive and commander in chief may be the captain of foreign policy, but the Senate, representing the American public, has a Constitutional role, which Obama is deliberately evading.
What is happening is historically unprecedented. … Obama is pursuing a one-man foreign policy of realigning the US in the Middle East, ending our friendship with Israel, forging ties with Iran, and facilitating, or at least benignly accepting, the expansion of Iran’s interests, influence, and agents throughout the region.
Facilitating. Not “benignly accepting”.
This profound agenda is not one he ran on. It is not disclosed to, or understood by, the American people. It is not vetted or discussed in high circles of military and security leadership. It is contrary to long and widely held understandings of US security interests. It is a covert one man revolution.
In playing his chess pieces, Obama unsuccessfully pressed Egypt to submit to the Muslim Brotherhood; stiff-armed President al-Sisi who wants to move Egypt closer to America, keep peace with Israel, and move Islam closer to modernity; launched unprovoked missiles against Libya’s Qaddafi, lighting that nation on fire, delivering it to chaos and Iran-backed rebels; played patsy with Iran’s client Assad while Assad scorned Obama’s red lines and gassed civilians; and manufactured an escalating series of confrontations and crises with Israel, most recently exposing top secret details of its previously unacknowledged nuclear program. After Yemen fell to Iran backed rebels, the White House continues to insist its approach there is a “model of effective counterterrorism”.
… It’s becoming apparent the trade of five Taliban field leaders for one US deserter was not a “bad deal” but a head fake. Bergdahl was just cover for Obama to hand back five Jihadi leaders and move closer to his goal of closing Gitmo.
Did he swap the Taliban leaders for Bergdahl because he wants to close Gitmo, or is his spoken intention to close Gitmo an excuse for silently strengthening the Taliban? That one can even ask the question, that the suggestion is not implausible, shows how extraordinary are the circumstances in which it arises.
Recent reports of the surreal “negotiations” with Iran would make for farce if they weren’t terrifyingly real. Alone among the P5 + 1 world powers, the US is desperate to sweeten the pot to offer Iran whatever it takes. Obama originally set a redline of 500 high-speed centrifuges; we now shrug at 6,000. We’re good with Iran continuing operations at its reinforced, underground lab. It doesn’t have to reveal its ongoing research with military dimensions until after the world lifts sanctions … wink. Surprise inspections will be rare to never. Last week, the Associated Press astonishingly reported a final agreement may not even be in writing. Spokesman Josh Earnest failed to deny that unfathomable idea after three direct queries.
We recently witnessed the spectacle of France trying to put the brakes on this runaway concession train, complaining it’s a weak, bad, unenforceable deal and the US is still conceding. That’s something … the French accusing Americans of being burger eating surrender monkeys.
The president’s defenders might call his upheaval a matter of high stakes, high risk strategy to improve US standing in the Middle East by aligning it with the region’s strongest power. Other commentators might call it wrongheaded, reckless, and dangerous. And others, seeing what’s right in front of their face, might call it hostile to America’s interests and security, treacherous to America’s allies, and of great aid and comfort to America’s enemies.
Under a different Iranian regime, maybe a secular one, or a reformist product of the Green Revolution that Obama strangely spurned, it might make sense to support Iran as a stabilizing force. It’s the Mullacracy with its radical, bloody vision that makes Obama’s policy deranged. His defenders and critics alike speculate Obama is betting the regime can be enticed to make nice and join the community of nations during the limited lifespan of the agreement. But that surmise is incoherent. If Obama wanted a reformed Iran, he would have spoken up for millions of brave protesters who confronted the Mullahs and pled for his support. He stood mute as they were brutally crushed.
It’s an unresolved question if, or where, there is a redline that a president’s policies abroad become Constitutionally actionable. He leads in foreign policy. But, he also took an oath to protect American peace and security. If, for an extreme hypothetical, videotape emerged showing a president handing over US nuclear codes to Vladimir Putin, presumably, he would be dealt with as a treasonous traitor, his foreign policy authority notwithstanding.
Obama’s actions in the Middle East raise troubling questions about how fundamentally a president can contradict deeply rooted US understandings, policies, and alliances before he enters a danger zone. Cutting off the Senate’s voice adds to the gravity. To conclude any position a president holds, no matter how radical, must be the position of the US, is akin to embracing Louis XIV’s declaration: “”L’État, c’est moi” or Richard Nixon’s more recent formulation: “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
Twenty months remain in this presidency. About a day is left till Obama’s contrived deadline to reach a deal with Iran. It may be one of the only lines he means to respect. Few imagined after the 2012 election how fast events would unfold in the Middle East and how fast Obama’s hand would emerge into view. It is going to be a dangerous and scary ride.
Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s unofficial co-president, was born in Iran. Does she have a sentimental attachment to it? With this administration that could be enough “reason” – silly as it is – for Obama to put its interests and ambitions above the interests of the United States.
Can anyone think of any other possible reason?
Ah, yes. If Iran is allowed to become nuclear armed, there is a high likelihood that it will destroy Israel. That’s a consummation the Muslim world devoutly wishes. And where the Muslim world leads, can Obama be far behind?
This is the second of three posts quoting serious articles that argue the case for impeaching President Obama.
From an article by (retired) Admiral James Lyons published March 25, 2015, by Breitbart:
The current Kabuki dance ongoing in Geneva between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jamad Zarif regarding an agreement on Iran’s nuclear weapons program is a sham. Its outcome was pre-ordained many years ago by President Obama in his secret communications with the Iranian mullahs in 2008 – at least according to one report.
These secret communications were exposed in a August 29, 2014 article written by Michael Ledeen in PJ Media and drew little attention then, but now must be addressed. According to Ledeen, shortly after Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination for president on June 3, 2008, he also opened a secret communication channel to the Iranian mullahs. The message was that they should not sign any nuclear agreement with the Bush administration on preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon capability. He informed them that he would be much easier to deal with once he assumed the presidency. He further assured the mullahs that he was a “friend” of the Iranian theocracy and that they would be very happy with his policies.
Today, Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism that has been “at war” with the United States since the 1979 takeover of our Tehran U.S. Embassy. Since then, Iran has directed many “acts of war” against the United States that have cost the loss of thousands of American lives. Most importantly, Iran provided the key material and training support to the 9/11 hijackers, which cost the lives of 3,000 innocent Americans.
The secret channel was conducted through Ambassador William G. Miller, who previously served in Iran during the Shah’s reign. The Ambassador confirmed to Ledeen the aforementioned communications he personally held with the Iranian mullahs on behalf of candidate Obama during the 2008 campaign. The Iranian mullahs apparently believed the message since on July 20, 2oo8, the New York Times reported “Nuclear Talks with Iran End on a Deadlock.” The main reason was that Iran would not address the “international demands that it stop enriching uranium.” What a surprise!
The shocking fact is that candidate Obama secretly told the Iranian mullahs not to make a deal until he assumed the presidency, according to Ledeen’s report. They would then be able to make a much better agreement with him – and that’s exactly what’s happening. Some would consider what candidate Obama did was treason.
President Obama abandoned the requirement that Iran stop enriching uranium. The result has been that Iran’s nuclear program has been greatly expanded with more secret underground facilities and expanded capability during the course of the long, drawn out negotiations. When the interim agreement, called the “Joint Plan of Action,” was announced in late 2013, the Iranian president openly bragged that the West had finally acknowledged Iran’s right to its uranium enrichment program.
Iran’s chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Zarif, furthermore bragged that Iran “did not agree to dismantle anything; not its centrifuges; not its ballistic missile program; not its nuclear programs.” It also did not give up its role as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. By his cooperation with Iran in combatting the Islamic State, [Obama] is actually sanctioning de facto Iranian hegemony throughout the Persian Gulf region.
Andy McCarthy, in his book Faithless Execution, lays out a very detailed and logical case for President Obama’s impeachment. Even Liberal law professors are now talking about Obama’s many abuses of power, too many to list here. A summary of President Obama’s extensive violations of law and dereliction of duty are covered on pages 11-26 of Faithless Execution. President Obama’s use and abuse of power is clearly out of control. We are in a Constitutional crisis.
The Constitution vests in the House of Representatives “the sole power of impeachment”. With a Republican controlled House of Representatives, a simple House Majority can vote out articles of impeachment. However, successfully impeaching a president means removing him from office. Removal requires the president’s conviction on articles of impeachment by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. Even with a Republican controlled Senate, this will require much work.
Clearly the Speaker of the House of Representatives must start the process. If the current Speaker is unable to find the courage to start the impeachment proceedings, then he should resign. The House members should elect a new Speaker who is prepared to live up to his Oath of Office and protect the Constitution. The survival of America as we know it, as the shining city on the hill, must come first before any party politics.
And this is more from the 2014 article by Michael Ledeen at PJ Media:
They do have a strategy, but they prefer to appear indecisive. That’s because the strategy would likely provoke even greater criticism than the false confession of endless dithering.
The actual strategy is detente first, and then a full alliance with Iran throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It has been on display since before the beginning of the Obama administration. During his first presidential campaign in 2008, Mr. Obama used a secret back channel to Tehran to assure the mullahs that he was a friend of the Islamic Republic, and that they would be very happy with his policies. The secret channel was Ambassador William G. Miller, who served in Iran during the shah’s rule, as chief of staff for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and as ambassador to Ukraine. Ambassador Miller has confirmed to me his conversations with Iranian leaders during the 2008 campaign.
Ever since, President Obama’s quest for an alliance with Iran has been conducted through at least four channels: Iraq, Switzerland (the official U.S. representative to Tehran), Oman, and a variety of American intermediaries, the most notable of whom is probably Valerie Jarrett, his closest adviser. In recent months, Middle Eastern leaders reported personal visits from Ms. Jarrett, who briefed them on her efforts to manage the Iranian relationship. This was confirmed to me by a former high-ranking American official who says he was so informed by several Middle Eastern leaders.
The central theme in Obama’s outreach to Iran is his conviction that the United States has historically played a wicked role in the Middle East, and that the best things he can do for that part of the world is to limit and withdraw American military might and empower our self-declared enemies, whose hostility to traditional American policies he largely shares.
If we look at the current crisis through an Iranian lens, our apparent indecisiveness is easier to understand, for it systematically favors Iran’s interests. Tehran’s closest ally is Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. If Assad were to be overthrown by opposition forces hostile to Iran, it would be a devastating blow to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has committed tens of thousands of fighters (from Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij) to shore up the Damascus regime. Everything Iran does in the region revolves around the necessity of preserving Assad’s tyranny.
Obama surely understands this. It therefore made no sense to bomb Syria in the otherwise baffling about-face on the “red line” a year ago. In like manner, the refusal to take decisive action today against the Islamic State caters to Iranian and Syrian concerns. Remember that ISIS was supported by Iran and Syria as a weapon against anti-Assad and anti-Iranian forces (from the Kurds to the FSA), none of whom is receiving serious American support.
It is exceedingly unlikely that Obama will do anything that would threaten Assad’s rule or Iran’s power. To do so would be tantamount to abandoning his core strategy of creating a U.S.-Iranian alliance that would make Tehran the major regional power …
We have a high regard for Sarah Palin. She is well-informed, politically astute, and personally impressive. The Left, especially Feminists, fear her so much they sink to ever new depths of malice in abusing her, and that alone would recommend her to us. (As we always have to do with politicians, we politely overlook her – extra absurd – religious beliefs.)
This is the first of three posts on the case for impeaching Obama. Sarah Palin’s fact-packed opinion was expressed on July 11, 2014, on Fox News:
No serious person who is paying attention can deny that Obama and his administration have abused and violated the public trust and disregarded the Constitution. Let me count the ways.
Without notifying Congress as required by law, he set free terrorist prisoners at a time of war when they can return to the battlefield to kill our troops.
In violation of our Constitution, he regularly ignores court orders, changes laws by executive fiat, and refuses to enforce laws he doesn’t like, including our immigration laws.
When Congress declined to pass amnesty for illegal immigrants’ offspring, he unilaterally enacted his own version of it, which created the current crisis on our border as illegal youth pour into our country to receive what he illegally promised them.
He committed fraud on the American people when he promised that if we liked our health care plan we could keep it.
He got us into a war in Libya without Congressional approval. When our ambassador begged for security at the consulate in Benghazi, he was ignored and then murdered when the consulate was attacked as predicted. Americans were left behind to die, as the president did nothing to rescue our people there. Afterwards, he helped spread the lie that a spontaneous protest over a YouTube video was to blame for this highly organized, premeditated terrorist attack.
Obama’s IRS targeted his political opponents for harassment. Then the agency lied to and stonewalled Congress and likely destroyed subpoenaed evidence, while Obama falsely declared there’s no corruption there, not even a smidgen.
From the VA scandal to his unconstitutional recess appointments, to his DOJ wiretapping reporters and giving guns to Mexican drug cartels, to violating religious freedom exercised by businesses and ignoring in-house illegal fundraising, the list of abuse goes on and on.
Barack Obama’s administration is proving itself a festering boil of scandal. The Constitution is rock solid in holding the president responsible for the executive branch. He can’t just vote “present” while shrugging and feigning ignorance about all these abuses of the public trust, any more than a mob boss can claim innocence because he didn’t personally do the hit. The buck stops with the guy at the top.
Impeachment is the ultimate check on an out-of-control executive branch. It is serious, not to be used for petty partisan purposes; and it is imperative that it becomes a matter of legitimate discussion before the American people lose all trust in our federal government.
Impeachment requires moral courage to advance what is right, and it requires political will. A complacent or disheartened electorate may silently endure these abuses from the administration, the permanent political class is only too happy to maintain the status quo, and the mainstream media is not a fair watchdog. So, the nation’s last line of defense is for We the People to rise up and say, “enough is enough”.
Obama’s lawless encouragement of illegal immigration should be the tipping point for that political will because it impacts all Americans – native-born and legal immigrants of all backgrounds who followed the rules and now watch rewards go to rule breakers while they’re forced to compete for limited jobs and resources. It’s the tipping point because the forgotten working class is hurt most by this lawlessness …
Some are arguing for cautious inaction and dismiss even a discussion of impeachment. With Obama’s poll numbers in the tank and his liberal policies exposed as failures, why rock the boat? But that argument misses the point.
The president is radically changing the way the executive branch does business. He is setting a dangerous precedent that will fundamentally change us. With his “pen and phone,” he’s abrogating Congressional authority in violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers. He’s making himself a ruler, not a president. We had a revolution back in 1776 because we don’t like kings.
Some argue we should wait for midterm elections and hope a big victory by Republicans in both Houses of Congress will rein in Obama. Been there, done that in 2010.
If Congress refuses to use the power the Constitution gives it, Barack Obama will continue to rule however he wants.
Some argue that at best the House might vote for articles of impeachment, but the Senate is unlikely to convict. But that is no argument against holding a president accountable and sending the people’s message to all successors.
Obama can keep laughing and say, “so sue me” to the House’s tepid lawsuit threat. Let’s hear him laugh off impeachment. At the very least, despite his mocking the Constitution, this Constitutional process will put him on notice.
The only thing necessary to transform America into something unrecognizable is for good men to do nothing! If not these violations and the president’s promise to continue to “go it alone” in ignoring the separation of powers and rule of law, what will it take for you to take a stand? How bad does it have to get?
We live in an America where the NSA spies on our communications, the IRS targets us because of our political beliefs, the border is overrun by foreign nationals, terrorist leaders are released to the battlefield, our health care is taken from us and we’re forced to buy a plan we don’t want and can’t afford …
If you’re comfortable with all that, then by all means sit back and hope for the best. Those concerned about America want change. That comes with healing the injuries done to society by an unchecked president; that starts with impeachment.
The Left likes to believe – as Obama and Harry Reid often iterate – that it is “on the side of history”.
Is history then stuck with those stale and failed ideas of a Marxian stamp propagated by the likes of Kenneth Galbraith, John Maynard Keynes, or the bone-headed strategies of Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Priven?
Or tending back to the Dark Ages with a resurgence of Islam?
Surely not. A civilization that has put a man on the moon; has invented the computer, the internet, the driverless car; that watches the expansion of the universe; that can replace a faulty human heart with a new one; that has used liberty to become rich, knowledgable, and ever more inventive, is not going to go back to communism or the law of the seventh century desert?
Quo vadis then?
The maliciously lefty and deeply nasty New York Times notices a rise in libertarian opinion in America.
Libertarianism has been touted as the wave of America’s political future for many years, generally with more enthusiasm than evidence. But there are some tangible signs that Americans’ attitudes are in fact moving in that direction.
The NYT goes on to substantiate its claim with figures and a chart.
It defines a libertarian, fairly enough, as “someone who believes that the government is best when it governs least”.
There have been visible shifts in public opinion on a number of issues, ranging from increasing tolerance for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization on the one hand, to the skepticism over stimulus packages and the health-care overhaul on the other hand, that can be interpreted as a move toward more libertarian views.
The Tea Party movement also has some lineage in libertarian thinking. Although polls suggest that many people who participate in the Tea Party movement have quite socially conservative views, the movement spends little time emphasizing those positions, as compared with economic issues.
The perception that the Tea Party – whose chief issue is the need for fiscal responsibility – has “some lineage in libertarian thinking” is remarkable for that newspaper. It seldom removes its red blindfold long enough to replace it for a short time with blinders. For it to see something that is actually there but not obvious is a lucky moment of illumination worth a cheer or two. The author of the article is Nate Silver. Perhaps he found some cunning way to let that uncongenial revelation slip past editorial oversight.
Or perhaps he and his editors think that libertarian thinking is bad anyway. If we didn’t know that to be the case already, there’s a hint of it in what comes later.
The libertarian opinions, revealed by a CNN poll and quoted in the article, are these:
Some 63 percent of respondents said government was doing too much — up from 61 percent in 2010 and 52 percent in 2008 — while 50 percent said government should not favor any particular set of values, up from 44 percent in 2010 and 41 percent in 2008.
The author, apparently not happy to accept what the poll reveals, comments:
Whether people are as libertarian-minded in practice as they might believe themselves to be when they answer survey questions is another matter. Still, there have been visible shifts in public opinion on a number of issues, ranging from increasing tolerance for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization on the one hand …”
So a tolerance with which he has sympathy …
… to the skepticism over stimulus packages and the health-care overhaul on the other hand …
So a skepticism he condemns …
… that can be interpreted as a move toward more libertarian views.
How confusing for Nate Silver! Libertarians like some of the things he likes. But they also dislike things that he holds dear.
Well, actually, that is the case with us too.
We welcome the spread of libertarian sentiment.
We too see no reason why marijuana should be illegal.
As for same-sex marriage, we think it is an hilarious farce, but would on no account oppose it. A 12-year old boy once defined marriage for us as “a legal union between two or more things”. Why not more than two? Why not things or beasts as well as humans? If – as the argument goes – they love each other? (Well, we said it’s a farce.)
Where we are strongly with libertarians is on the issue of economic freedom. As our contributing commenter Don L often recommends: accept that the Austrian School is right and allow no government interference whatsoever in economic activity – and abolish the Fed. We also advocate keeping taxes (flat-rated) very low. So low that they cannot sustain a government that does much more than it absolutely has to do – protect the liberty of the people, from outside enemies, and domestic criminals. And enforce the law of contract.
But we too have some quarrels with libertarians.
There are those among them who outrageously condone the corruption of children, even the use of them for pornography “as long as they are willing and are paid for their services”!*
Quite a large number of libertarians are historical revisionists, and some who ridiculously and with evil intent deny that the Holocaust ever happened.**
And most libertarians want America to take no notice of what’s going on in the world beyond its borders, except for trade and vacations. As if ignorance is a protection from a world full of expansionist tyrannies and ideologies.
No. None of that.
But a libertarianism that holds individual freedom as the highest value, and knows that it is only possible under the rule of law; and at the same time is committed to preserving the best of everything America has achieved in the past, is a libertarianism that we can – and do – embrace.
* We cannot link to articles that discuss this. Access to them is “forbidden”.
**Although the article we link to here does endorse what we say that some libertarians deny the Holocaust, it goes too far in criticizing Reason and its sponsors.
The suspicion crossed our well-primed minds immediately: Was Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the Airbus who crashed the plane in the French Alps, a convert to Islam?
The following is our own version of a report published yesterday by a German journalist, Michael Mannheimer, and rather badly translated by Gateway Pundit. We don’t know yet if it is true.
Evidence has been found that Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who deliberately crashed an Airbus in the French alps killing 150 people, converted to Islam during a six-months break in his training as a pilot with Germanwings. This was learnt from his Facebook page. A radical mosque in Bremen which the convert frequented is at the center of the investigation. But you can bet that the apologists (media, politicians, “Islamic scholars”) will call him “mentally unstable”, and again the mantra of “peaceful Islam” will be intoned. And the attacks by the left on those who have always warned against Islam will be even fiercer.
We await confirmation or denial.
The Obama-Jarrett gang in the White House have not been able to stop the US Army from charging Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and misbehaving before the enemy.
Bergdahl could be sentenced to life in prison.
Mark Steyn writes:
Bowe Bergdahl is to be charged with desertion. This is not exactly a surprising development. As I said when he was released, Bergdahl is “a deserter at best and at worst enemy collaborator”. I incline to the latter view myself, but, be that as it may, there are innumerable instances throughout human history of soldiers who abandon their comrades and attempt to aid the enemy.
What makes this case unique is the behavior of Bergdahl’s commander-in-chief. …
Barack Obama decided to honor this man in the Rose Garden, and to embrace his parents. In front of the President and the world, Bergdahl’s father sent greetings to his son in Arabic and Pashto, and began with the words, “In the name of Allah the most gracious and most merciful …” …
When others objected, the White House dispatched the National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, to tell the American people that Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction”. She surely knew, as did the President, that that was a lie.
Given the background checks an ordinary law-abiding citizen requires these days merely to be permitted to be in the presence of the President, the White House must also have known that the man Obama embraced in the Rose Garden that day – Bergdahl’s father – was a Taliban sympathizer. …
The fact is Bowe Bergdahl walked out and he left America behind … and he did it, by the way, on the advice of his father. He wrote to his father saying, ‘I hate America, it’s a horror, I want to renounce my citizenship.’ And his father emails back, ‘Follow your conscience …’
I don’t think this point has been emphasized enough. … What’s the father’s excuse? He gets communications from his son indicating he’s about to crack. He knows that out there, beyond their vulnerable encampment, is a primitive tribal society where pretty much everyone would either ransom his boy or cut to the chase and saw his head off to make a blockbuster jihadist snuff video for the bazaars of Jalalabad. Surely any responsible parent would say, “Look, I know it can’t be easy for you out there. But there are people who wish to do you harm beyond the fence. Stick with it, talk to your platoon leader … You’re serving honorably in a worthy cause …” You don’t encourage him to take a one-way ticket into the badlands of Afghanistan.
And just to underline that: the justification for Bergdahl Snr’s wacky behavior – the Taliban beard, the invocations of Allah, the Arabic and Pushtu, the pledge that the death of every Afghan child will be avenged – the justification for all this is that, well, he’s also been under a lot of strain. He hasn’t seen his kid for half-a-decade. That could unhinge anyone. Give the guy a break …
But the point is he was pulling this strange stuff before his son was kidnapped.
Which makes that Rose Garden ceremony even more bizarre in its weird optics – the President of the United States embracing a Taliban sympathizer at the White House. There was no need to hold such an intimate photo-op. Yet Obama chose to do it. Why?
That’s still the most important question of l’affaire Bergdahl. Obama didn’t just trade five high-value Taliban leaders-cum-war criminals for one American deserter, but he chose to honor that deserter as an American hero. And, in so honoring him, dishonored all the comrades he deserted.
As for those five Taliban A-listers, as of June 1st they’ll be out of their nominal emirate-probation in Qatar and free to roam the world killing infidels once more. …
That’s the point to remember about this debacle: There is no deal. None. Washington gave away five war criminals who are already pledging to get back to killing – and the superpower got nothing in return. The deserter and his kooky dad are merely the cover for the fact that the United States entered into an end-of-war prisoner exchange without ending the war. …
Here’s the history of America’s longest war in two anti-American losers, John Walker Lindh and Bowe Bergdahl, confused young men with a gaping hole at the heart of where their sense of identity should be, stumbling through the Hindu Kush trying to “find themselves”.
In the fall of 2001, the first confused anti-American loser trying to find himself, John Walker Lindh was on the enemy’s side – and was tried, convicted and jailed for 20 years.
By the spring of 2014, the last confused anti-American loser of the Afghan war, Bowe Bergdahl, was on our side – and was honored by the President with a family photo-op in the Rose Garden and declared by the laughably misnamed “National Security Advisor” to have “served the United States with honor and distinction”.
To reprise my current line on “the leader of the free world”:
If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?
We cannot find any precedent in history for the leader of a nation betraying his country to its enemy.
On March 23, 2015, Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s Prime Minister from 1959 t0 1990 and leader to his last day, died at the age of 91. The city-state he founded is in its 50th year of independence, a prosperous model of economic freedom to all the world.
Singapore was under British sovereignty from 1826 to 1963 (but was occupied by the Japanese during the Second World War). In 1959 it became self-governing, and Lee Kuan Yew, leader of the People’s Action Party (PAP), became prime minister. After decolonization in 1963, Singapore joined with other newly independent territories – Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak – to form the Federation of Malaysia. Political disputes led to its expulsion from the Federation in 1965.
From Lee’s obituary in Malay Mail Online:
When Singapore was expelled from Malaysia in 1965, two years after the federation was formed, Lee was left with a tiny city-state of migrants without a common language, culture or destiny, with no natural resources, surrounded by powerful neighbours like Indonesia and China. …
At the helm of a nation-state in its infancy, Lee built Singapore after his own image – stern, disciplined and no-nonsense. He brooked no dissent and did not tolerate corruption. He focused on running an efficient, pragmatic and meritocratic administration. Corporal punishment was used for even minor infractions like vandalism.
The People’s Action Party (PAP) government under Lee’s leadership industrialised Singapore, turned it into an exporter of finished goods and brought in foreign investment. A low-cost public housing programme was implemented and Lee introduced serious measures to tackle graft by creating an enforcement agency that reported directly to him, besides revising government service salaries periodically and increasing the standard of living for workers.
Lee expanded education and made English the working language in Singapore, although the majority in the multi-racial country spoke Mandarin. While he worried of the racial turmoil that could come with a monolingual policy favouring the majority Chinese community, it was his practical concerns that guided his decision since Singapore was trying to attract multinational corporations as a manufacturing hub. …
He also boosted Singapore’s defence force and implemented an Israeli model of national service, where all 18-year-old men are required to train in the programme for two years.
Singapore spends a quarter of its annual budget on defence and is the fifth-largest importer of military hardware …
Lee described himself as a street fighter. A knuckle duster who took on communists with “killer squads” and “Malay ultras” when Singapore was in Malaysia for two years. A tough and unyielding man feared by citizens.
Lee was the longest-serving head of government in Asia and remained in government even after stepping down as prime minister in 1990. Although he had resigned as prime minister in 1990, he had remained in government for another two decades: first serving as senior minister and later as minister mentor.
He only fully retired from the Cabinet in 2011 after PAP’s worst electoral showing since independence. …
Despite Singapore’s success as a “first world oasis in a third world region”, Lee believed that the country was still fighting for survival and that everything could come undone very quickly. He had a paranoid fear of nebulous threats and constantly reminded his people about the country’s vulnerabilities and to be vigilant.
“Where are we? Are we in the Caribbean? Are we next to America like the Bahamas? Are we in the Mediterranean, like Malta, next to Italy? Are we like Hong Kong, next to China and therefore, will become part of China? We are in Southeast Asia, in the midst of a turbulent, volatile, unsettled region. Singapore is a superstructure built on what? On 700 square kilometres and a lot of smart ideas that have worked so far,” Lee said in a 2007 interview with US columnist Tom Plate and new-media expert Jeffrey Cole.
The one time when the man known for his strictness and unsentimentality lost his composure in public was when Malaysia ejected Singapore.
In a press conference on August 9, 1965, where he announced Singapore’s independence and separation from the federation, a tearful Lee described it as a “moment of anguish”, his voice choked with emotion, pausing a few times as he spoke before finally asking for the [TV] recording to be stopped temporarily.
“For me, it is a moment of anguish because all my life … you see, the whole of my adult life … I have believed in Malaysian merger and the unity of these two territories. You know, it’s a people, connected by geography, economics, and ties of kinship … Would you mind if we stop for a while?” he had said. …
Lee focused on building a meritocracy in multi-racial Singapore and strove for equality to harness talent that was the city-state’s only resource. He disagreed with the way Malaysia managed its multi-cultural, Malay-majority society through affirmative action policies.
“Our Malays are English-educated, they’re no longer like the Malays in Malaysia and you can see there are some still wearing headscarves but very modern looking,” he told NYT in 2010.
Lee said Malaysians saw Malaysia as a “Malay country” and was critical of how the Bumiputeras dominated Malaysia.
“So the Sultans, the Chief Justice and judges, generals, police commissioner, the whole hierarchy is Malay. All the big contracts for Malays. Malay is the language of the schools although it does not get them into modern knowledge. So the Chinese build and find their own independent schools to teach Chinese, the Tamils create their own Tamil schools, which do not get them jobs. It’s a most unhappy situation,” he said in the 2010 New York Times interview. …
Lee’s critics have often accused him of suppressing civil liberties and using libel suits to intimidate his political opponents into not running against him. The opposition boycotted Parliament from 1966 onwards, leaving a Parliament completely dominated by the PAP until the ruling party lost a parliamentary seat in a 1981 by-election. The watershed 2011 general election later saw the opposition Workers’ Party winning six parliamentary seats.
Lee believed that democracy was secondary to discipline, development and good governance.
“What are our priorities? First, the welfare, the survival of the people. Then, democratic norms and processes which from time to time we have to suspend,” Lee said at a 1986 National Day Rally.
He shied away from Western-style democracy, saying he had to amend the British system for multi-racial Singapore.
“Supposing I’d run their system here, Malays would vote for Muslims, Indians would vote for Indians, Chinese would vote for Chinese. I would have a constant clash in my Parliament which cannot be resolved because the Chinese majority would always overrule them,” Lee told German magazine Spiegel in 2005.
He laughed off a journalist who called him a dictator, saying, with a touch of arrogance, that he did not have to be a dictator when he could win “hands down”.
“I can get a free vote and win. And there’s a long history why that is so. Because I have produced results, and the people know that I mean what I say and I have produced results,” Lee told NYT’s William Safire in 1999.
Although there were laws against homosexuality they were not enforced. He himself was “indifferent to homosexuality”, but he …
… frowned on [gay] pride parades because he wanted to maintain social order.
“China has already allowed and recognised gays, so have Hong Kong and Taiwan. It’s a matter of time. But we have a part Muslim population, another part conservative older Chinese and Indians. So, let’s go slowly. It’s a pragmatic approach to maintain social cohesion,” he said.
Lee’s cold pragmatism, in line with his ambivalence about the divine, was devoid of romanticism and ideology. …
“Ambivalence about the divine”? Lee was an agnostic. We do not regard agnosticism as “ambivalence about the divine”. (Actually, we regard agnosticism as atheism in kid gloves.) But the authors of the report do point out some contradictions in Lee’s view of religion.
He also practised meditation, in which he repeated a Catholic mantra “Ma Ra Na Ta” for 20 minutes, which means “Come to me oh Lord Jesus”, though he was an agnostic. …
Lee remained a fighter to the end. He didn’t care what his critics thought of him. The final verdict would not be in his obituaries, he said. …
Lee had built the foundation for a thriving Singapore from nothing and turned the country into Asia’s financial centre, a developed country in a Third World region. But he also realised that his time of fighting communists and extremists had passed and that it was a new world now. He called for a “fresh clean slate” when he retired from Cabinet in 2011.
Younger voters who grew up in Singapore’s concrete jungle now worry about the cost of living amid a widening income gap and resent the country’s liberal immigration policy that PAP had long introduced to support its flourishing economy. …
He is not above all criticism even by admirers. He did not allow freedom of the press.
Information was tightly controlled in a muzzled press. …
He liked and tried to enforce tidiness and cleanliness. He outlawed chewing-gum, probably because it makes city streets dirty. It was as if his city-state was his household.
“Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up,” Lee once said in 1988.
The report also tell us that his favourite book was Don Quixote.
A choice that fits well with his great qualities as a man as well as a leader. As does this:
When his wife Kwa Geok Choo was bedridden in 2008 from a stroke for two years before her death, he used to sit beside her and read her favourite poems to her and tell her about his day, convinced that she could hear him and understand though she could not communicate.
Finally we quote from the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom:
Singapore’s economic freedom score is 89.4, making its economy the 2nd freest in the 2015 Index. … Only 0.2 point behind Hong Kong, Singapore ranks 2nd out of 42 countries in the Asia–Pacific region. …
A highly educated and motivated workforce has added to the economy’s dynamism and resilience, reinforcing Singapore’s innovative capacity. Singaporean society has a low tolerance for corruption, and the effective rule of law strongly undergirds all aspects of economic development. …
Singapore is one of the world’s most prosperous nations. Its economy is dominated by services, but the country is also a major manufacturer of electronics and chemicals.
Singapore has traditionally been lauded for its lack of corruption. As in most countries, there are ongoing concerns over issues of transparency and the power of deeply entrenched groups. Political speech is regulated, inhibiting organized pressure for policy changes. Contracts are secure, there is no expropriation, and commercial courts function well. Singapore has one of Asia’s best intellectual property regimes. … Starting a business takes three days, and required procedures are straightforward. No minimum wage is enforced, but wage adjustments are guided by the National Wage Council.
So even in Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew, there’s been a little state interference in the economy.
The state funds housing, education, transport, and health care subsidy programs and influences other prices through regulations and state-linked enterprises. … Imports of chewing gum and “objectionable” publications are restricted, and some service industries face barriers. …
Now that Lee Kuan Yew has gone – and if he does not “get up” from his grave – what are the chances that the state will grow and regulations will multiply? That while objectionable publications will no longer be restricted (because social media will spread information anyway), and chewing-gum will become freely available, Singapore will drop from second place in the Freedom Index? We hope it will not. But we are too realistic – or pessimistic – to declare such a development unlikely.
Senator Tom Cotton explains why there should be no deal with Iran that allows its death-threatening regime to develop nuclear weapons:
Nothing could be more obvious than that Obama hates Israel. That’s probably his main reason for wanting Iran, which threatens to destroy Israel, to be armed with nuclear weapons. So it can do the job.
On March 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu won re-election.
Obama refuses to call him to congratulate him for two days. When he does, he threatens to remove American support in the international community, even as he moves to loosen sanctions and weapons embargoes on Iran.
A few days later:
The press announced that the Obama administration would fully consider abandoning Israel in international bodies like the United Nations.
This is the culmination of a longtime Obama policy of destroying the US-Israel relationship. Obama has spent his entire life surrounded by haters of Israel, from former Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman Rashid Khalidi to former Jimmy Carter, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, pro-Hamas negotiator Robert Malley, to UN Ambassador Samantha Power (who once suggested using American troops to guard Palestinians from Israelis), Jeremiah Wright (who said “Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me”) to Professor Derrick Bell (“Jewish neoconservative racists … are undermining blacks in every way they can”).
We quote from a very useful article by Ben Shapiro at Breitbart. He provides this “concise timeline”:
February 2008: Obama says while campaigning, ‘There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel.” At the time … Israel was run [not by Likud but] by the Kadima government … [which] was attempting desperately to bring the Palestinians to the table. Instead, the Palestinians launched war, as always.
June 2008: Obama tells the American Israel Public Affairs Conference that Jerusalem ought to remain undivided, attempting to woo Jewish votes. He then walks that back the next day, saying only that the capital shouldn’t be divided by barbed wire.
March 2009: The Obama administration reverses the Bush era policy of not joining the United Nations Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Clinton said, “Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy,” completely neglecting the UNHRC’s abysmally anti-Semitic record. The Washington Post reported that the administration joined the Human Rights Council even though they conceded that it “has devoted excessive attention to alleged abuses by Israel and too little to abuses in places such as Darfur, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.”
May 2009: Obama tells Netanyahu that “settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward.” Netanyahu announces a settlement freeze to comply. The Palestinians refuse to negotiate. Obama then slams Israel: “They still found it very hard to move with any bold gestures.”
June 2009: Obama tells the world in his infamous Cairo speech that Israel was only created based on Jewish suffering in the Holocaust. He then says that Palestinians have been similarly victimized by the Jews: “They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”
July 2009: Obama threatens to put “daylight” between the United States and Israel. He tells Jewish leaders, “Look at the past eight years. During those eight years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that?” Except for Israel forcibly removing thousands of Jews from the Gaza Strip, the election of Hamas, and the launch of war by the Palestinians and Hezbollah, nothing happened. Obama then lectures the Jews about the need for Israeli “self-reflection”. The same month, Obama tells CNN that the United States would “absolutely not” give Israel permission to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.
September 2009: Obama tells the United Nations that “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements”. Obama’s definition of Israeli settlements, as the world soon learned, included building bathrooms in a home already owned by Jews in East Jerusalem. Obama offers no serious criticism of the Palestinians.
March 2010: Obama follows up on his threatening language about settlements by deploying Vice President Joe Biden to Israel, where Biden rips into the Israelis for building bathrooms in Jerusalem, the eternal Jewish capital. Hillary Clinton then yells at Netanyahu for nearly an hour on the phone, telling him he had “harmed the bilateral relationship”. David Axelrod calls the building plans an “insult” to the United States. When Netanyahu visits the White House a week and a half later, Obama makes him leave via a side door.
April 2010: Obama refuses to prevent the Washington summit on nuclear proliferation from becoming an Arab referendum on the evils of Israel’s nukes.
June 2010: An anonymous “US defense source” leaks to the Times of London that Israel had cut a deal with the Saudis to use their airspace to strike Iran. The deal is scuttled.
May 2011: The State Department labeled Jerusalem not a part of Israel. The same month, Obama demanded that Israel make concessions to the Palestinians based on the pre-1967 borders, which Israelis call the “Auschwitz borders” thanks to their indefensibility.
November 2011: Obama and French president Nicolas Sarkozy are caught on open mic ripping Netanyahu, with Sarkozy stating, “I can’t stand him, he’s a liar,” and Obama replying, “You’re tired of him? What about me? I have to deal with him every day.”
December 2011: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rips into the State of Israel, stating that it is moving in the “opposite direction” of democracy. …
February 2012: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta tells David Ignatius at the Washington Post that the possibility he worried about most was that Israel would strike Iran. The Post then adds, “Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June – before Iran enters what Israelis described as a ‘zone of immunity’ to commence building a nuclear bomb.” The goal: to delay any potential Israeli strike.
March 2012: NBC News somehow gains information from “senior Obama administration officials” that Israel had financed and trained the Iranian opposition group Mujahideen-e-Khalq, and adds that the Obama administration had nothing to do with hits on Iranian nuclear scientists. More daylight. More leaks. The same month, Foreign Policy … reports that a “senior administration official” has told them, “The Israelis have bought an airfield, and the airfield is Azerbaijan.” Again, a potential Israeli strike is scuttled. …
June 2012: In an attempt to shore up the Jewish vote, top members of the Obama administration, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and then-CIA director Leon Panetta were quoted by David Sanger of The New York Times talking about the President’s supposedly deep involvement in the Stuxnet plan to take out Iran’s nuclear reactors via computer virus. Until that point, it had been suspected but not confirmed that Stuxnet was an Israeli project. The Obama administration denied leaking the information. A year later, the State Department released emails showing that Sanger had corresponded regularly with all the top Obama officials, including correspondence on Stuxnet.
December 2012: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Saban Forum on US-Israel Relations, where she says that Israelis have a “lack of empathy” for Palestinians, and that the Israelis need to “demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people in their minds”.
March 2013: Obama forces Netanyahu to call Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for Israel’s actions to stop a terrorist-arming flotilla from entering the Gaza Strip to aid Hamas. Erdogan had recently labeled Zionism racism.
May 2013: Members of the Obama Pentagon leak information that Israel attacked the Damascus airport to stop a shipment of weapons to terrorist groups. Obama officials actually had to apologize for this leak, since it endangered American lives. They blamed “low-level” employees.
June 2013: The Obama administration leaks specific information regarding Israeli Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile sites. Weeks later, US sources tell CNN that Israel attacked a Syrian installation full of Russian-provided missiles. The same month, “American intelligence analysts” tell the New York Times that Israeli strikes had not been effective. All that information was classified.
June 2014: Three Jewish teenagers are kidnapped, including an American, and murdered by Hamas. The Obama administration immediately calls on Israel for restraint, and says it will continue to work with a Palestinian unity government including Hamas. … Throughout the ensuing Gaza War, in which Hamas fired rockets at Israeli civilians and tunnels were uncovered demonstrating Hamas’ intent to kidnap Israeli children, the Obama administration criticized Israel’s prosecution of the war.
August 2014: In the middle of a shooting war, Obama stopped weapons shipment to Israel. According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama found out that Israel asked the Defense Department for shipments of Hellfire missiles. Obama personally stepped in and blocked the shipments.
October 2014: Jeffrey Goldberg, court Jew for the Obama administration, releases an article in The Atlantic quoting Obama officials calling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickenshit”. Goldberg, naturally, blames Netanyahu (of course, he also wrote in 2008 that any Jew who feared Obama on Israel was an “obvious racist”).
January 2015: Obama deploys his campaign team to defeat Netanyahu in Israel. A group titled “One Voice”, funded by American donors, pays for the Obama campaign team, led by Obama 2012 field director Jeremy Bird. The announcement comes days after Speaker of the House John Boehner’s invite to Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress. Obama quickly announced he would not meet with Netanyahu, making the excuse that the meeting would come too close to the [Israeli] election.
Meeting him would be “interfering in the election”. Which in fact Obama was doing on a massive scale. Hypocrisy is one of Obama’s characteristics.
Nothing has changed. Obama is who he always was. The mask has simply been removed.