Obama on Afghanistan: “Resolve unwavering”…to pull out in 18 months or something

Lead Story

Obama on Afghanistan: “Resolve unwavering”…to pull out in 18 months or something

By Michelle Malkin  •  December 1, 2009 10:02 PM

The full transcript of President Obama’s long-delayed speech on Afghanistan is here. You can watch it in full here.

Bush-bashing? Check.

Noxious complaining about the cost of fighting a necessary war? Check.

Disingenuous denial that he dithered? Check.

“Let me be clear”s/”clear”s = 9.

Self-congratulations for sticking to Gitmo closure policy = 1.

Self-referential “As your Commander-in-Chief”s = 2.

References to global jihad = 0.

Charles Krauthammer tonight called the speech “strange,” “defensive,” “hedging,” and full of “uncertainty compounding uncertainty.”

Way to restore America’s standing in the world, eh?

***

Pray for our troops tonight and every night. They need ‘em now more than every.

***

Andrew Ferguson has a different take on the speech:

Obama is the first Democratic president in forty years to call for a significant deployment of American troops in the national security interest of his country. This is very big news. His predecessor, President Clinton, could give a stirring address dispatching bombers over Bosnia and be confident of the support of his fellow Democrats, because the show of power was purely humanitarian and had nothing to do with keeping us safe from our enemies. With great courage, Obama is trying something that hasn’t been tried within the living memory of most of the members of his party. He may even recall the era when liberal Democratic presidents — Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson — could lead a fight because it was in the interest of the country to fight.

This is a historical moment, and one we should be grateful for. It’s worth an extra twenty minutes of presidential gassing off. It’s even worth a lot of guff about beginning to pull the troops out by a date certain, no matter what. (I’ll believe it when I see it.) If this is what he needs to mollify his political supporters, let him talk and talk and talk.

Alas, Obama’s “gassing off” is not so much a matter of spouting “essential platitudes” as it is a down payment on future pandering to the Left that will not be in the national security interest of our country.

Paul Mirengoff is dead-on:

Earlier today I wondered whether President Obama’s speech about Afghanistan would sound more like a description of a war plan or a structured settlement of a legal dispute. What I heard tonight tilted decidedly in the latter direction. To be precise, the speech sounded to me like a slick lawyer trying to sell a dubious settlement to a skeptical client or, in this case, set of clients.

Consistent with slick salesmanship – as well as the president’s character – the speech was quite self-referential. Providing a potted history of our military efforts in the war on terrorism, Obama took shots at his predecessor and attempted to cast himself as the hero throughout. Thus, he patted himself on the back for opposing the war in Iraq, on which he blamed the current difficulties in Afghanistan.

Obama also patted himself on the back for bringing the war in Iraq to a “responsible end.” But he failed to mention the surge in Iraq, which was instrumental in turning the tide to the point that it became possible to speak of a responsible end.

The omission was odd inasmuch as Obama was pitching a similar surge in Afghanistan. This meant that the Iraq surge was more relevant to tonight’s speech than any other element of Obama’s potted history. Yet he was too partisan, and too embarrassed by his own opposition to the surge, to mention this vital decision.

It was therefore rank hypocrisy for Obama latter to decry the partisanship that has plagued the war on terrorism.

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Bonus emetic: Chris Matthews referring to West Point as the “enemy camp.” But we already knew which side he was on. Vid via Allahpundit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTbJcixsLq8&feature=player_embedded

That’s right. Matthews smeared the cadets for behaving properly and not showing overt political preferences for Obama. He wanted to see more “warmth” — e.g., twitching legs, tears of joy, and fainting a la the Obamedia.

Oh, and yes, MSNBC was still as monochromatic tonight as it is monodogmatic.

***

If West Point is the “enemy camp,” what does Chris Matthews call Gitmo?

An Important Statement from Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed – by Tom Trento

An Important Statement from Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed – by Tom Trento

 

khalid

BLOOMIE, OBAMA…

I’m on my way back to Ground Zero … make sure I get this stuff:

1. Only fresh Halal food …no frozen crap.

2. A brand new Holy Qur’an …untouched by infidel pigs

3. No Jews anywhere near me

4. ACLU attorney’s …4 or 5 or 6! (they can be Jews)

5. My own column in the NY Times.

6. No Jews anywhere near me

7. All my trial expenses paid by American taxpayer dogs

8. My personal copy of the US Constitution …signed by Pelosi

9. Immediate approval for my Green Card

10. No Jews anywhere near me.

trento

JOIN ME AND MANY OTHERS AS WE SUPPORT THE 911 FAMILIES AT A RALLY IN LOWER MANHATTAN

SATURDAY DECEMBER 5 – NOON

RALLY IN FOLEY SQUARE: STOP THE TERROR TRIAL IN NYC!

AMERICANS TO ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER:
“WE WILL FIGHT YOU ALL THE WAY!”

Listen America – if you cannot find your voice on this absolute craziness (KSM, the mastermind of 911 who brags about beheading Daniel Pearl, having his trial in New York) then you have no voice left in that spineless body.

Yeah, there are two sides to this battle, the one side that says scum terrorists like KSM will NEVER enjoy US Constitutional rights, and the other side, favored by President Obama and Attorney General Holder, which says that their political futures are more important than American principles.

Which side are you on?

See you in New York

The Unmasking of Barack Obama

The Unmasking of Barack Obama

December 1st, 2009

By PETER WEHNER, Commentary Magazine

Obama’s Ineptitude is being revealed

The overseas reviews for President Obama’s foreign policy are starting to pour in — and they’re not favorable. Bob Ainsworth, the British defense secretary, has blamed Obama for the decline in British public support for the war in Afghanistan. According to the Telegraph:

Mr. Ainsworth took the unprecedented step of publicly criticizing the U.S. President and his delays in sending more troops to bolster the mission against the Taliban. A “period of hiatus” in Washington — and a lack of clear direction — had made it harder for ministers to persuade the British public to go on backing the Afghan mission in the face of a rising death toll, he said. Senior British Government sources have become increasingly frustrated with Mr. Obama’s “dithering” on Afghanistan, the Daily Telegraph disclosed earlier this month, with several former British defense chiefs echoing the concerns.

The President is “Obama the Impotent,” according to Steven Hill of the Guardian. The Economist calls Obama the “Pacific (and pussyfooting) president.” The Financial Times refers to “relations between the U.S. and Europe, which started the year of talks as allies, near breakdown.” The German magazine Der Spiegel accuses the president of being “dishonest with Europe” on the subject of climate change. Another withering piece in Der Spiegel, titled “Obama’s Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage,” lists the instances in which Obama is being rolled. The Jerusalem Post puts it this way: “Everybody is saying no to the American president these days. And it’s not just that they’re saying no, it’s also the way they’re saying no.” “He talks too much,” a Saudi academic who had once been smitten with Barack Obama tells the Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami. The Saudi “has wearied of Mr. Obama and now does not bother with the Obama oratory,” according to Ajami. But “he is hardly alone, this academic. In the endless chatter of this region, and in the commentaries offered by the press, the theme is one of disappointment. In the Arab-Islamic world, Barack Obama has come down to earth.”

Read More:

Iran’s Latest Nuclear Plan Tests Limits of Obama’s Wait-and-See Approach

Iran’s Latest Nuclear Plan Tests Limits of Obama’s Wait-and-See Approach

December 1st, 2009

FOXNews

 Obama’s approach has yielded no results

The Obama administration on Monday said Iran’s plan to build 10 more nuclear enrichment  facilities and expand to a half-million centrifuges was “unacceptable” — but once again, in the face of yet another deadline, it offered no specific response beyond wait-and-see.

On at least four occasions this year, President Obama has set deadlines for Iran to comply with international demands that it demonstrate transparency and cooperation on nuclear developments. 

But the Islamic Republic has blatantly ignored all deadlines set by Obama and the United Nations to freeze its uranium enrichment program, prompting critics to say that another “deadline” will have little, if any, impact.

Iran announced ambitious plans Sunday to construct another 10 nuclear facilities after the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, called on it to halt work on a uranium enrichment plant.

Read More:

Eric Holder, ACORN, and Cloward Piven justice

Eric Holder, ACORN, and Cloward Piven justice

By James Simpson

Current law prohibits the community organization ACORN and its associated groups from receiving any federal funds from any federal law currently on the books, (P.L 111-68 Sec. 163). However, the Eric Holder Justice Department has interpreted the law’s phraseology in such a way that permits federal agencies to pay ACORN for “binding contractual obligations” the government made before the current prohibition was enacted. This interpretation may go a long way toward effectively neutralizing ACORN’s funding prohibition, and it is a questionable interpretation at best.

The actual ban reads as follows: “None of the funds made available from this joint resolution or any other prior Act may be provided to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries or allied organizations.” (Emphasis added.)
The Justice Department has decided that the phrase “provided to” is unclear and “has no established meaning in appropriations law.” They cite terms more frequently used, such as “obligate” and “expend,” that have widely accepted meaning in spending legislation. They go on to arduously defend their point by exhaustively listing the many definitions of “provide” given in Webster’s, Oxford and American Heritage dictionaries and even Roget’s Thesaurus. Like Bill Clinton, they probably could have found as many definitions for the word “is…”
It would be interesting to learn who provided the legislative language for this amendment. Someone on Speaker Pelosi’s staff, perhaps? It would also be interesting to know whether or not that person(s) had input from the Justice Department. Either way, it is reasonable to suspect that whoever wrote this legislation knew what they were doing, and that the key phrase “provided to” would cause problems in execution. The question is, why didn’t the Republicans foresee that it might cause problems? Outmaneuvered again
On the other hand, the Holder Justice Department could simply be flat wrong in its legal reasoning. Not too much of a stretch, considering that Holder decided to drop charges of voter intimidation against the clearly guilty Black Panthers, overruling his own legal staff in the process. It is amazing what this administration will do to protect its supporters.
The Justice Department also raised the ugly specter of opening the government up to liability for breaking “binding contracts,” adding that the decision put them on much firmer Constitutional grounds by ensuring that this prohibition would not amount to a “bill of attainder.”  ACORN is already suing the government citing the Constitutional clause (Art. 1, Sec. 9, Para. 3), which prevents the legislature from singling out an individual or group for punishment without first ascertaining guilt by trial.
At first blush, this seems to be a valid concern. If ACORN engages in legitimate activity for which it is paid directly by the government, and has already made financial commitments in anticipation of reimbursement, then perhaps those obligations already made should be honored by the government. Also, it may be bad precedent to use the legislative process to “punish” ACORN for its misdeeds, if that is in fact what Congress is doing.
However, this begs the question. If ACORN has been engaging in massive, nationwide vote registration fraud, as it has; if it has been encouraging a shopping list of illegal activity through its “housing counseling,” as every one of the O’Keefe and Giles tapes demonstrated it has, why hasn’t the Holder Justice Department launched an investigation into the group, especially in light of Congress’s extraordinary, bipartisan decision to deny  ACORN funding? Why don’t they settle the matter once and for all by ensuring ACORN’s Constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial, thereby firmly establishing its guilt or innocence?

Congress is not “punishing” ACORN here. Instead it is exercising rare good judgment in its oversight role by ensuring that it is not inadvertently spending taxpayer dollars in support of criminal activities. The prohibition against funding ACORN is perfectly legal and Constitutional for this reason, according to legal scholars.

There is no legitimate reason for the Obama Justice Department not to investigate this clearly corrupt organization. But so far, they have refused to. The result is the unprecedented spectacle of a private citizen, Andrew Breitbart, demanding the Justice Department investigate ACORN, and threatening to expose even more damaging revelations about the group if they don’t!
Furthermore, what legitimate business is ACORN conducting that requires binding prior commitments the government need reimburse? Is ACORN in the aircraft carrier building business or something?
Who knows? With this group and its 360 odd identified affiliates, it seems like almost anything is possible. Perhaps ACORN has been selected to manufacture the 2012 Pelosi GTxi SS/RT hybrid vehicle. (Okay, so we needed a little comic relief here.)
According to the Cato Institute, from 2003 to 2007 ACORN received almost $16 million from the government. This was broken down as follows:
  • Housing counseling assistance – 62%
  • Self-Help Homeownership – 7%
  • Rural Housing and Economic Development – 2%
  • Fair Housing Initiatives – 4%
  • Community Development Block Grants – 26%
Sixty-two percent of payments go to “housing counseling assistance,” while block grants provided 26 percent. “Housing counseling assistance” would come under the heading of continuing operations, requiring no commitments other than for normal operating costs. Block grants are awarded based on applications that grantees make for future plans, or for ongoing operations that may or may not be reimbursed depending upon whether or not they get the grant. I don’t even know what “fair housing initiatives” and “self-help homeownership” are. And if by “economic development,” they mean commitments to actual building projects, perhaps reimbursement could be justified, if this referred to a tangible fixed asset already under construction. But even if it does, this only represents two percent of government payments to ACORN. I suspect Justice was hoping to let them keep a lot more.
The larger question is this: should the government be obligated to spend money it has good reason to believe will be used for illegal purposes? If, for example, the U.S. Marshal’s Service discovered that it was providing Witness Protection Program funds for “informant relocation” to a private contractor secretly working for the Mafia, wouldn’t it stop immediately and move to shut down the entire organization? Wouldn’t Congress demand funds be cut off immediately, instead of paying out “existing contracts” and worrying about “bills of attainder?” Of course it would.
The Congress is not “punishing” ACORN here. Instead it is exercising rare good judgment in its oversight role by ensuring that it is not inadvertently spending taxpayer dollars in support of criminal activities.
ACORN, as has been discussed many times before, is a key player in the Cloward-Piven Strategy of Manufactured Crisis. As such its legitimate activities — to the extent that it even engages in legitimate activities — are used to facilitate and/or mask its destructive ones. In this regard it is similar to a Mafia organization.
The Mafia runs legitimate businesses to mask illegal ones and launder money. The fact that it owns legitimate businesses that have made “prior financial commitments” doesn’t stop the FBI from shutting them down. Federal law enforcement regularly seizes Mafia business assets, legitimate and otherwise, under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statutes. The same should be true for ACORN.  
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform published a paper last summer that both documented ACORN’s widespread criminal activities, and determined that appropriate legal remedies for this criminal organization include applying the RICO statutes to seize their assets. Some of the illegal activities uncovered and listed in this report include:
  • ACORN has evaded taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in self dealing, and aided and abetted a cover-up of the $948.607.50 embezzlement by Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. (Editor’s note: Louisiana’s Attorney General says the actual figure may be closer to $5 million.)
  • ACORN has committed investment fraud, deprived the public of its right to honest services, and engaged in a racketeering enterprise affecting interstate commerce.
  • ACORN has committed a conspiracy to defraud the United States by using taxpayer funds for partisan political activities.
  • ACORN has submitted false filings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor, in addition to violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
  • ACORN falsified and concealed facts concerning an illegal transaction between related parties in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
Meanwhile, the person who commissioned that ACORN report, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) , has blasted the administration for ruling that ACORN could continue to receive funding. He said that Congress’s intent was clear, calling Holder’s decision “old-fashioned cronyism.”
So why should the government be paying ACORN at all? It is an organization devoted to the systematic destruction of America. If anything, ACORN needs to be permanently dissolved, its principals arrested and sentenced to long jail terms. Its assets need to be seized and surrendered to the Asset Forfeiture Fund. This organization needs to be unmercifully trounced into the dirt.
So what the Holder Justice Department has essentially done is present us with a Constitutional crisis. If the Constitution demands that an individual or organization be adjudicated guilty or innocent in a court of law before Congress can strip it of funding, then it is incumbent upon the Justice Department to investigate said organization and resolve the question. Yet Obama’s Justice Department, under the incompetent, if not criminal, leadership of Eric Holder refuses to do so. 
This is all consistent with the Manufactured Crisis Strategy, from giving foreign terrorists the legal protections of U.S. citizens, and trying them in a city where they are almost certain to get a mistrial, to demanding criminal investigations of CIA officers who believed they were operating under the force of law. From exonerating Black Panther thugs who engaged in voter intimidation, to protecting an organization devoted to the corruption of our voting system.
Congress must demand the FBI investigate the continuing criminal enterprise we all know by the acronym ACORN. While they are at it, they might request an investigation of political corruption within the Holder Justice Department. If Holder wants a Constitutional showdown to protect Obama’s diseased, corrupt political allies, have at it.
Meanwhile, there is no legitimate reason for ACORN to continue receiving federal funds.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/eric_holder_acorn_and_cloward_1.html at December 01, 2009 – 08:25:08 AM EST

7 stories Barack Obama doesn’t want told

7 stories Barack Obama doesn’t want told

December 1st, 2009

By JOHN F. HARRIS, Politico

Certain storylines are taking shape about Obama: 1 is that he’s playing with monopoly money

Presidential politics is about storytelling. Presented with a vivid storyline, voters naturally tend to fit every new event or piece of information into a picture that is already neatly framed in their minds.

No one understands this better than Barack Obama and his team, who won the 2008 election in part because they were better storytellers than the opposition. The pro-Obama narrative featured an almost mystically talented young idealist who stood for change in a disciplined and thoughtful way. This easily outpowered the anti-Obama narrative, featuring an opportunistic Chicago pol with dubious relationships who was more liberal than he was letting on.

A year into his presidency, however, Obama’s gift for controlling his image shows signs of faltering. As Washington returns to work from the Thanksgiving holiday, there are several anti-Obama storylines gaining momentum.

The Obama White House argues that all of these storylines are inaccurate or unfair. In some cases these anti-Obama narratives are fanned by Republicans, in some cases by reporters and commentators.

Read More:

Palin and the future

Palin and the future

By Christopher Chantrill

A generation ago liberals taught me to believe that Ronald Reagan was an extremist and a lightweight.  Then I went to a Republican caucus in 1980 as a Bush supporter and met the Reagan supporters. I realized that they were the little people, mechanics, technicians, churchgoers, folks that used to be Democrats.
Now liberals are teaching us all to believe that Sarah Palin is a flake and a lightweight.
As the old saying goes: fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.
The critics are right about Sarah Palin’s memoir, Going Rogue.  There’s a lot of score-settling, although usually the culprits are nameless.
Still, the critics will never like Palin.  It is not just her hometown gushiness that, to them, it is like scratching on a blackboard.  It is more like the cultural chasm between the Greek immigrants and the desiccated liberals in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Remember how embarrassed the heroine Toula Portokalos was about her chaotic Greek immigrant family?  But the joke was really on the nice upscale parents of her WASPy romantic interest, Ian Miller.  “Dry as toast” was the verdict of her father, Gus, on Miller’s parents.
That’s my verdict on the snooty liberals that sneer at Sarah Palin: Dry as toast!
Modern Liberals are fortunate children.  They emerged in the late 19th century, children of the wealthy.  They were ashamed of their crude fathers, up from nothing.  They wanted to be refined, unlike father.  They wanted to help the poor, but with other peoples’ money.  They wanted to give the poor an education, but with other peoples’ money.  They wanted to do creative work, and they wanted tenure.
Refined is something Sarah Palin has never been.  Tenure is something she has never had.  She worked through high school, waitressing, cleaning offices, inventorying groceries.  Then she got scholarships and worked to pay for college.  Then she joined boyfriend Todd in Bristol Bay, Alaska, salmon fishing, working slimy fish processing jobs at the canneries.  Off season Todd would work as a baggage handler and she would work at customer service and part-time reporting.
Picked by Wasilla mayor John Stein, Palin ran for city council and won in 1992.  After two terms she ran against Stein for mayor in 1996 and won.  Then she ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2002 and lost.  She upset incumbent Governor Murkowski in the primary and beat the Democrat in the general election to become Alaska’s governor in 2006.
No wonder the liberals hate her.  The whole point of public education, of business regulation, or rampant credentialism is to smother people like her before they have a chance to get anywhere.
No wonder the McCain campaign couldn’t handle her.  She’s a force of nature.  But what comes next?
We know from Palin’s book tour that she has a base.  You know who they are, because you’ve seen them in line at the book stores.  They are the aspiring white working/middle class, the same people that turned out for Reagan a generation ago: “Ray the principal, Jose the Hairdresser, Peggy the Nurse, Bob the Cop, Joe the Plumber.”  Today’s Democratic Party, once the party of the little people, has nothing to say to them.
The next question is: can Palin connect with moderates? 
Fortunately, there is a simple answer to that question.  We don’t know.  We might have an idea if she were a loyal Republican workhorse.  But she isn’t.  She’s a force of nature.
If Sarah Palin wants to lead the Republican Party in 2012 she’ll have to make her own weather.  The Republican establishment isn’t going to help her.  But that’s OK, she once ran against the Republican establishment of Alaska and won.
If Sarah Palin runs for president in 2012 she’ll be running against an incumbent, President Obama.  But that’s OK.  She ran against an incumbent mayor and won.  She ran against an incumbent governor and won.
But what about the issues? What does Sarah Palin know about economic policy or foreign policy?  Good question.  But let us put the question in context.  What does President Obama know about economic and foreign policy after a year on the job that he doesn’t need to unlearn, and fast?
If you read Sarah Palin’s book and listen to her interviews you’ll know that she is hammering away at one simple idea: commonsense conservatism.   What does it mean?  That will depend.  But Palin’s record tells us that when it’s time to run for election, she knows how to win.  When it comes time to master the details, she’s done that with Alaskan energy policy.  When it comes to selling the public on her program with speeches and town meetings, she’s been there.  When it comes to getting her agenda through the legislature, she’s done it.
If only our incumbent president could say as much.
Christopher Chantrill  is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his roadtothemiddleclass.com and usgovernmentspending.comHis Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/palin_and_the_future.html at December 01, 2009 – 08:20:06 AM EST