Thursday, March 31, 2011

Obama displays slogans and gimmicks while decrying slogans and gimmicks

From Obama's remarks at Georgetown University today:

But here's the thing – we've been down this road before. Remember, it was just three years ago that gas prices topped $4 a gallon. Working folks haven't forgotten that. It hit a lot of people pretty hard. But it was also the height of political season, so you had a lot of slogans and gimmicks and outraged politicians waving three-point-plans for two-dollar gas – when none of it would really do anything to solve the problem. Imagine that in Washington.

The truth is, of course, was that all these gimmicks didn't make a bit of difference. When gas prices finally fell, it was mostly because the global recession led to less demand for oil. Now that the economy is recovering, demand is back up. Add the turmoil in the Middle East, and it's not surprising oil prices are higher. And every time the price of a barrel of oil on the world market rises by $10, a gallon of gas goes up by about 25 cents.

Here's a picture of him making the speech:

Speaking of "slogans and gimmicks," what's that in the background?

This guy is beyond parody.


Re: You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it

History is indeed simple: leasons can be learned from behavior that works, and behavior that does not work.
Capitalism mostly works, if let be free. Socialism always fails.
So you support Obama and The Democrat's solution: shared misery?
According to them: Let's bring everybody down so we are all miserable: shared misery, that's social justice for you - ha!
According to me and the Republican Conservatives: Let's bring everyone up!
Without jobs there is no bringing people up.
Without economic freedom there are no jobs.
Without huge cuts in government spending there is no economic freedom (taxes will have to be increased, which kills capitalism).
Socialism is shared misery.
Capitalism is shared prosperity.

On Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:12 AM, dude wrote:
typical R rhetoric....emotively-loaded words and expressions to describe simple differences. At least the losing Republican for the 2012 election will know that unsupported ultra-conservative politi-babble will not answer the woes of the country, though it may address the needs of those who are not in need. The battle is between care for the country as a collection of individuals with needs and NOT the mindless government sponsored protection and support of right-wing initiatives.

From D:

This is a great article! Well worth the read.
Whosoever doesn't understand the difference between liberty and tyranny, accepts tyranny dressed as liberty like a wolf in sheep's skin.
Patricia Harrison and the 2012 Republican Divide

By Jeffrey Lord on 3.29.11 @ 6:09AM

"They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time…. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings.… It is the same spirit that says, 'You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes… it is the same tyrannical principle….[This is] where the struggle really is… [and we must] get rid of the fog which obscures the real question."
-- Abraham Lincoln in the Seventh Lincoln-Douglas Debate, October 15, 1858, Alton, Illinois

Freshmen House members to Harry Reid: 'your record on spending in the Senate is one of failure

Freshman House GOP members will send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday ratcheting up the pressure to pass a continuing resolution for the remainder of the fiscal year that "makes reasonable, responsible spending cuts"— and promise to protest daily until he does.

"Mr. Reid, your record on spending in the Senate is one of failure," says the letter, written by Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford, a former radio broadcaster. "You have failed to pass a budget, failed to restrain spending, and failed to put our country on sound fiscal footing. We do not accept your failure as our own. The American people did not send us here to fail."

Chuck Schumer Caught on Tape Coaching Fellow Dems on Propaganda--Networks Ignore It

Chuck Schumer Caught on Tape Coaching Fellow Dems on Propaganda--Networks Ignore It: NewsBusters

Ohio House panel limits workers' bargaining power

Speaking of union benefits, Ohio is following Wisconsin: Ohio House panel limits workers' bargaining power

  A legislative committee approved a measure Tuesday that would limit collective bargaining rights for 350,000 Ohio government workers, a key hurdle as the state moves closer to Wisconsin-style restrictions on public employee unions.

  The Republican-controlled House Commerce and Labor Committee voted 9-6 along party lines to recommend the bill after making more than a dozen substantive changes to the legislation that was approved by the Senate.

  ...The Ohio measure would apply to public workers across the state, such as police, firefighters, teachers and state employees. They could negotiate wages and certain work conditions but not health care, sick time or pension benefits. The measure would do away with automatic pay raises and would base future wage increases on merit.

Why is that such a bad thing to some? 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Obama in 2002: Toppling Brutal Dictator a ‘Dumb War’

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama pauses during his speech on America's energy security, in this photo taken Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at McDonough at Gymnasium Georgetown University in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

( – President Barack Obama, as an Illinois state senator in 2002, said that using military force to topple a murderous dictator amounted to a "dumb war" and should be opposed.

The "dumb war" Obama was criticizing was the planned invasion of Iraq and the murderous dictator was its leader, Saddam Hussein. Obama, speaking at an anti-war rally in Chicago on Oct. 2, 2002 said that while Saddam was a brutal tyrant, that was not enough to justify using military force to remove him from power.

"Now, let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein," said Obama in his speech. "He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied U.N. resolutions, thwarted U.N. inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him."

"... After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again," said Obama. "I don't oppose all wars.  ... What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne."

Obama argued that deposing Saddam militarily was not necessary, because Iraq posed no "direct threat" to the United States. Obama also cited Iraq's weakened economy and the fact that it was still possible to contain Saddam's aggression, repudiating the Bush administration's rationale that Saddam posed too great a threat to American interests and his own people to be left in power.

"But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military is a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history," said Sen. Obama.

However, as president of the United States, Obama has discounted those same arguments he once made against using military force against brutal dictators.

In his March 28, 2011 speech justifying his decision to attack the government of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Obama cited Gadhafi's record of brutality, saying that allowing Gadhafi to continue his brutality was not an option.

"Qaddafi declared he would show 'no mercy' to his own people," said President Obama.  "He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day.

"Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city," Obama said. "We knew that if we waited, if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."

Gadhafi, apparently unlike Saddam, needed to be stopped because he would kill his own people to maintain his own power, an act that this time posed a threat to America's "interests and values," Obama said.

"But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act," said Obama. "That's what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks."

Obama, in his 2002 speech, said that instead of deposing Saddam through force, America should "fight" for democratic reforms in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, stronger international nuclear safeguards, and energy independence.

"Those are the battles that we need to fight," Obama said in 2002. "Those are the battles that we willingly join – the battles against ignorance and intolerance, corruption and greed. Poverty and despair."

By 2011, however, Obama had come to endorse the use of military power to enforce America's "responsibility as a [global] leader" arguing that the United States was "different" and therefore had no other choice but to attack Libya.

"To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and, more profoundly, our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are," he said. "Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different."

You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it

This is a great article! Well worth the read.
Whosoever doesn't understand the difference between liberty and tyranny, accepts tyranny dressed as liberty like a wolf in sheep's skin.
Patricia Harrison and the 2012 Republican Divide

By Jeffrey Lord on 3.29.11 @ 6:09AM

"They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time…. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings.… It is the same spirit that says, 'You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes… it is the same tyrannical principle….[This is] where the struggle really is… [and we must] get rid of the fog which obscures the real question."
-- Abraham Lincoln in the Seventh Lincoln-Douglas Debate, October 15, 1858, Alton, Illinois

Let's talk about Republicans and 2012.

What does the NPR kerfuffle really mean in terms of the 2012 battle for the GOP presidential nomination?

Who is Patricia de Stacy Harrison? And what does her support of NPR really have to do with that 2012 fight?

Say what? Beyond the minor Shakespearean skirmish over National Public Radio ("to fund or not to fund, that is the question") what in the world does NPR have to do with the looming fight for the GOP presidential nomination? And what does it have to do with a GOP victory -- whether in 2012, 2016 or for that matter, anytime?

A lot.

First, Ms. Harrison.

Patricia de Stacy Harrison is the president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the "parent" of the public TV and radio siblings PBS and NPR. NPR, as the world knows, has been hard upon troubled times lately. First because of the firing of commentator Juan Williams. Then the mishandling of the firing of Juan Williams. This was followed in short order by the James O'Keefe Muslim-fundraising videotape and the abrupt departures of the un-related but seemingly identical thinking NPR Schillers, Ron and Vivian. As a result, the very liberal NPR has found itself targeted by conservatives for an end to its federal funding.

Enter Ms. Harrison, who has come quickly to NPR's defense.

Issuing a formal statement in her role as CPB president and CEO on the day the GOP-controlled House cut off NPR's funding, Harrison said in part that NPR decidedly was in need of "federal support" and that "rather than penalize public broadcasting, the debate should focus on strengthening and supporting this valuable national asset." At the end of her statement was an apparently standard description of CPB that said in its first sentence the organization is the "steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting."


What makes this important is not that Harrison is the CPB President and CEO. No, what makes this plea for federal funding significant is that she is a former co-chair of the Republican National Committee and a Bush appointee to head the CPB.

In other words, as we head into the fight for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Patricia Harrison's stance on NPR signals that this is exactly the right time to begin understanding the very real philosophical differences among those in the Republican presidential field. Discerning -- not to put too fine a point on it -- who among these would-be Republican presidents really and truly understand in their bones what the party of Lincoln (not to mention Reagan!!) is all about. Do they get what Republican Party founder Abraham Lincoln was talking about in, say, his famous debates with Stephen A. Douglas in 1858? When he said, for example, that the "real question" in politics was all too frequently obscured by "fog." That principle, cherished if almost never openly acknowledged by the left is, again according to Lincoln: "You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it."

In Liberty and Tyranny our friend Mark Levin took the very title of his considerable bestseller from Lincoln saying this again years later -- in 1864 -- as president. Then, Lincoln summed up the point by saying that the difference between each man doing "as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor" -- or not -- is "called by two different and incompatible names -- liberty and tyranny." Levin revitalizes an old and accurate term for those who would take the results of someone else's work and toil to satisfy what Levin calls their "endless rationalizations for seizing ever more governmental authority" in service of the "supremacy of the state."

The term: Statists. Or, if you prefer, "neo-Statists." The latter Levin's Lincoln-like designation of "some who claim the mantle of conservatism but are, in truth, neo-Statists, who would have the Conservative abandon the high ground of the founding principles for the quicksand of a soft tyranny."
As Ms. Harrison's statement on NPR -- indeed her very presence at CPB itself -- makes clear, those who believe in the supremacy of the state are not just running the Statist Obama Administration or plotting Statist strategy with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. They are inside the gates of the GOP itself.

Ms. Harrison is doubtless a good person. This is not a personal criticism. It is, rather an opportunity to take note of her approach as a Republican to the central issue of the role of government. A role, which, in her case, she sees as Congress taking your tax dollars to give to her and her colleagues so they can run a government media company. (A snapshot of how this game works comes from South Carolina Senator Jim De Mint's recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal: "According to CPB's 2009 tax forms, President and CEO Patricia de Stacy Harrison received $298,884 in reportable compensation and another $70,630 in other compensation from the organization and related organizations that year.")

Harrison, with her various compensations and vigorous defense of NPR -- and for that matter the very existence of CPB, PBS, and NPR as tax-funded institutions -- is the very embodiment of Lincoln's succinct summation of the attitude of elites towards working Americans in the private sector: "You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it." It is the Americanized version of what Lincoln scorned as those choosing the "divine right of kings" over "the common right of humanity."

This battle against Statism -- played out against the backdrop of a dramatic, nation-threatening $14 trillion debt -- is at the very heart of the 2012 battle that is now being fought inside the GOP.

WHERE HAS THIS Conservative-Statist fight already shown itself with recent struggles inside the Republican Party? A party where everybody swears up and down so help them God, cross their hearts and hope to die -- they believe in the idea of "limited government." Really. Honest.

• Energy: Republican support for Statism was at work when President Bush 43 signed the "Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007," which will ban 100 watt bulbs beginning in January of 2012 (among a whole list of government-mandated changes to the way you choose to light your own home).

• Budget: Massachusetts GOP Senator Scott Brown brushed aside Lincoln's principle by voting to give your tax dollars to Planned Parenthood. In wonderfully Statist language Brown, replete with the neo-Statist qualifier (emphasis supplied), said this: "Given our severe budget problems, I don't believe any area of the budget is completely immune from cuts. However, the proposal to eliminate all funding for family planning goes too far." The King speaks.

• Jobs: Statists have multiplied their ranks in the federal government with a 7% increase in federal jobs in the Obama era (that's 144,000 more jobs). And the Republican Statists? Yup. That would be an increase of 11.7% -- a stunning 230,000 jobs since the beginning of the 2007 recession. In the Republican Bush era.

• Same-Sex Marriage: Statism versus Conservatism was on display when longtime conservative Theodore Olson, the Bush Solicitor General and a potential Attorney General in a GOP administration, suddenly insisted it's not the American people (in this case the people of California) who will decide state law on same-sex marriage but rather un-elected liberal federal judges. In essence, Olson suddenly revealed his Statist streak when he took the modern version of the Statist belief Lincoln challenged when discussing the infamous Statist Supreme Court Dred Scott decision in his "House Divided" speech. Lincoln made clear that his party opposed the idea that "the government will not prohibit slavery within them [the U.S. territories of the day], nor allow the people to prohibit" slavery. The Statists of Lincoln's day insisted on the age-old Statist remedy. That the government -- "the divine right of kings" -- would decide the issue of where slaves would and would not be allowed. Period.

• Health Care: Already Massachusetts' ex-governor Mitt Romney is stumbling badly as he tries to explain his decidedly Statist mandate of health care in his term as governor. Romney is to this moment unable or unwilling to simply admit he was either wrong on principle or is in fact the believer in Statist doctrine his "Romneycare" solution indicates that he is.

• Environment: News accounts have former Utah Republican Governor Jon Huntsman gearing up to join the 2012 presidential race. Startlingly, Huntsman, freshly returned from a stint as the Statist Obama Administration's Ambassador to China, is apparently set to make his presidential campaign as a full-fledged Statist. Among other things, he has been a staunch supporter of the Statist global warming approach. Huntsman's Statist attractions were made plain in this story from Time magazine when he was quoted thusly:

  Indeed, Huntsman was a vocal booster of the Western Climate Initiative, which promoted the possibility of a carbon cap-and-trade program. "Until we put a value on carbon, we are never going to be able to get serious about dealing with Climate Change long term," Huntsman said back in 2008. "Now putting a value on carbon either suggests you get a carbon tax or you get a cap-and-trade system underway."

This is, of course, decidedly Statist language. Who exactly is the "we" who will "put a value" or a "carbon tax"…yada yada yada? Why, a Statist government, of course. And Huntsman, amazingly enough, is apparently prepared to take his Statist views to GOP presidential primary voters -- with former John McCain adviser John Weaver guiding the way. Weaver, of course, played a role over the years in reinforcing McCain's own Statist inclinations (can you say "McCain-Feingold"?) as a sure-fire way not only to govern but to win the presidency. Weaver, in fact, is a wonderful example of the Statist mindset at work in the world of Republican political consultants. Here's this story from Politico back in February of 2008 when McCain was fighting for the GOP nomination, with this key paragraph that describes the Weaver mindset:

  In early 2002, Weaver left the GOP and registered as a Democrat in Manhattan. By May, he was consulting for the House Democrats' campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, plotting strategies to defeat Republicans. The DCCC's then-executive director was Howard Wolfson, now chief spokesman for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

At some point Weaver decided to bring his Statist ideals back to the GOP. In a disagreement with a client GOP candidate in Massachusetts Weaver said "we're in this business because we care about governing." No doubt. There's little question John Weaver is an honorable guy -- who truly believes in governing with Statist principles.

And campaigning on them too. Here is Weaver's view (as reported in 2009 by Byron York over at the Washington Examiner) in which he insists that the GOP must stick with Statism or neo-Statism because if "our party is defined by Palin and Limbaugh and Cheney, then we're headed for a blowout…. That's just the truth." In other words, Limbaugh is a Reaganite and unless Republicans stop listening to him and start campaigning on the Statist principles that elected Presidents Dewey, Ford, Dole and McCain and re-elected President Bush 41 in 1992 the GOP is headed to certain defeat.

Thus… Jon Huntsman, Statist GOP candidate selects the perfect Statist consultant.

• Internal Party Nomination Fights: The Conservative-Statist fight in 2010 dominated the news when the Delaware Republican Party and its Statist candidate for the Senate, Congressman Mike Castle, battled against the Conservative Christine O'Donnell. Versions of the same battle were seen in Senate GOP primary races in Kentucky, Nevada, Utah, Alaska, and Florida. Frequently choosing the Statist side of the argument was the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and its chair, Senator John Cornyn of Texas. Opposing it -- and raising money to oppose Statist GOP candidates -- was South Carolina Senator Jim De Mint.

And so on. And on.

Limited government? From Patricia Harrison to President Bush 43 to Senator John McCain to Senator Scott Brown to Governor Romney and Governor Huntsman and ex-Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and political consultant John Weaver…all are believers in it. Sort of. Kind of. Unless, of course, we're talking about the government's right to decide the wattage of your light bulbs, take your tax money and give it to a favored special interest group (Planned Parenthood in this case), insist that more tax money be used to fund NPR, remove your ability under the law to decide the definition of marriage, mandate that if you live in Massachusetts you must buy health insurance, or believe that the government should be taxing you for the latest global warming fad.

Again, these aren't bad people. Surely to the contrary. But they simply cannot find it in themselves to sign on with the seriously real idea of what "limited government" really entails. Which is precisely why there are so many Republican fingerprints on that telltale $14 trillion deficit some 8 decades in the making.

SO WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN for Republicans and conservatives in 2012?

Let's assume what is most probably the case, based on past history. There will be another Republican in the White House. At a certain point, simple incumbency problems overtake the Ins, and that's before one's name becomes synonymous with being a political disaster as president -- Hoover or a Carter or, conservatives would argue today, Obama. Whether a he or she manages this Republican victory in 2012 -- or later -- happen it will. And when it does, then what?

Is the new president a GOP Statist or neo-Statist prepared to fill his or her administration with appointees like Patricia Harrison -- appointees always on the lookout for ways to expand the role of the federal government and the funding that goes along with it? Will he or she take advice from Statists like John Weaver and just shrug as did President Bush when signing on to the newest version of McCain-Feingold or banning of 100-watt light bulbs?

The other day an attorney named Kent Masterson Brown had a remarkable piece in the New York Post that illustrates the problem. It seems Brown was the lead plaintiff attorney in a case that had a federal judge allowing Social Security Administration bureaucrats to institute "three internal rules …that make receipt of Social Security retirement benefits contingent upon enrollment in Medicare. Plus, a person who withdraws from Medicare would not only have to give up Social Security benefits, but repay all benefits previously received." (Emphasis added.) The latter would be, of course, the benefit program that you have already paid into for the duration of your working life.

Now what happens if a Statist Republican sits in the White House when this issue comes to a head? What would be the response here? And what kind of federal judges would that president be appointing?

Upon learning of Mr. Brown's revelation, would he or she demand, say, the firing of the Social Security Administrator? Issue stiff instructions to the Republican Secretary of Health and Human Services to eliminate these rules post-haste?

Based on the Statist views on display with Republicans from Patricia Harrison to Ted Olson to Scott Brown to Mitt Romney to Jon Huntsman to John Weaver -- unlikely. Case in point?

Who is it that appointed the federal judge Mr. Brown is writing about here? The federal judge whom Mr. Brown describes as allowing "unelected bureaucrats to make up their own laws" by issuing a ruling that "would allow the 'health reform' law to become even more Orwellian than it already is, without any action from Congress"?

That's right.

This Statist decision came from Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, who was appointed to the federal bench by -- President George W. Bush in 2003.

Were a Statist Republican elected in 2012 or anywhere else down the road, Americans outraged about this case would presumably find themselves dealing with a President, Secretary of HHS, and Social Security Administrator who, in the fashion of GOP Statists or neo-Statists, would utter some soothing words and make some cosmetic changes for the sake of PR -- then let the rules stand except perhaps just a little less so. And as the outrage subsided and people looked the other way, the Statist GOP president and his Statist Justice Department would keep on appointing Statist Republican judges like Judge Collyer to the bench.

A potential President Romney has already defended his use of a Statist mandate in health care -- defending his actions still. And a would-be President Huntsman has worked to further the Statist agenda for global warming Statism. Hit the right issue -- same-sex marriage -- and a potential Attorney General Ted Olson would be defending the Statist side in court. And Senator Brown would be shrugging at the notion of defunding the whole thing because, of course, he supports fiscal restraint…however. Etc. Etc. Etc.

The problem for Statists?

After eighty-plus years of doing it their way, Statist chickens, to borrow from the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, are coming home to roost: $14 trillion worth of them. And through a fluke -- the firing of Juan Williams at NPR, which in turn launched a serious NPR defunding effort -- Patricia Harrison has become the perfect symbol of the power Statists have quietly accrued within the Republican Party itself.

This is the real battle in 2012.

It is decidedly not Obama versus The Republican Nominee.

No, the real battle will be very, very simple. And every bit as important. In Lincoln's simple formulation of this battle it is over this proposition:

  You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it.

Will the next Republican President of the United States be a Statist?

Or a Conservative? 

The time is here to hold certain feet to that fire.

AP FACT CHECK: How Obama's Libya claims fit the facts

Wow, when the AP (The state run media) turns on Obama, you know things are bad...

FACT CHECK: How Obama's Libya claims fit the facts

 Email this Story

Mar 28, 9:14 PM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) - There may be less than meets the eye to President Barack Obama's statements Monday night that NATO is taking over from the U.S. in Libya and that U.S. action is limited to defending people under attack there by Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

In transferring command and control to NATO, the U.S. is turning the reins over to an organization dominated by the U.S., both militarily and politically. In essence, the U.S. runs the show that is taking over running the show.

And the rapid advance of rebels in recent days strongly suggests they are not merely benefiting from military aid in a defensive crouch, but rather using the multinational force in some fashion - coordinated or not - to advance an offensive.

Here is a look at some of Obama's assertions in his address to the nation Monday, and how they compare with the facts:


OBAMA: "Our most effective alliance, NATO, has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and no-fly zone. ... Going forward, the lead in enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and I am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on Gadhafi's remaining forces. In that effort, the United States will play a supporting role."

THE FACTS: As by far the pre-eminent player in NATO, and a nation historically reluctant to put its forces under operational foreign command, the United States will not be taking a back seat in the campaign even as its profile diminishes for public consumption.

NATO partners are bringing more into the fight. But the same "unique capabilities" that made the U.S. the inevitable leader out of the gate will continue to be in demand. They include a range of attack aircraft, refueling tankers that can keep aircraft airborne for lengthy periods, surveillance aircraft that can detect when Libyans even try to get a plane airborne, and, as Obama said, planes loaded with electronic gear that can gather intelligence or jam enemy communications and radars.

The United States supplies 22 percent of NATO's budget, almost as much as the next largest contributors - Britain and France - combined. A Canadian three-star general was selected to be in charge of all NATO operations in Libya. His boss, the commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command Naples, is an American admiral, and the admiral's boss is the supreme allied commander Europe, a post always held by an American.


OBAMA: "Our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives."

THE FACTS: Even as the U.S. steps back as the nominal leader, reduces some assets and fires a declining number of cruise missiles, the scope of the mission appears to be expanding and the end game remains unclear.

Despite insistences that the operation is only to protect civilians, the airstrikes now are undeniably helping the rebels to advance. U.S. officials acknowledge that the effect of air attacks on Gadhafi's forces - and on the supply and communications links that support them - is useful if not crucial to the rebels. "Clearly they're achieving a benefit from the actions that we're taking," Navy Vice Adm. William Gortney, staff director for the Joint Chiefs, said Monday.

The Pentagon has been turning to air power of a kind more useful than high-flying bombers in engaging Libyan ground forces. So far these have included low-flying Air Force AC-130 and A-10 attack aircraft, and the Pentagon is considering adding armed drones and helicopters.

Obama said "we continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people," but spoke of achieving that through diplomacy and political pressure, not force of U.S. arms.


OBAMA: Seeking to justify military intervention, the president said the U.S. has "an important strategic interest in preventing Gadhafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya's borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful - yet fragile - transitions in Egypt and Tunisia." He added: "I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America."

THE FACTS: Obama did not wait to make that case to Congress, despite his past statements that presidents should get congressional authorization before taking the country to war, absent a threat to the nation that cannot wait.

"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," he told The Boston Globe in 2007 in his presidential campaign. "History has shown us time and again ... that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch."

Obama's defense secretary, Robert Gates, said Sunday that the crisis in Libya "was not a vital national interest to the United States, but it was an interest."


OBAMA: "And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Gadhafi's deadly advance."

THE FACTS: The weeklong international barrage has disabled Libya's air defenses, communications networks and supply chains. But Gadhafi's ground forces remain a potent threat to the rebels and civilians, according to U.S. military officials.

Army Gen. Carter Ham, the top American officer overseeing the mission, told The New York Times on Monday that "the regime still overmatches opposition forces militarily. The regime possesses the capability to roll them back very quickly. Coalition air power is the major reason that has not happened."

Only small numbers of Gadhafi's troops have defected to the opposition, Ham said.

At the Pentagon, Vice Adm. William Gortney, staff director for the Joint Chiefs, said the rebels are not well organized. "It is not a very robust organization," he said. "So any gain that they make is tenuous based on that."


OBAMA: "Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action."

THE FACTS: Mass violence against civilians has also been escalating elsewhere, without any U.S. military intervention anticipated.

More than 1 million people have fled the Ivory Coast, where the U.N. says forces loyal to the incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo, have used heavy weapons against the population and more than 460 killings have been confirmed of supporters of the internationally recognized president, Alassane Ouattara.

The Obama administration says Gbagbo and Gadhafi have both lost their legitimacy to rule. But only one is under attack from the U.S.

Presidents typically pick their fights according to the crisis and circumstances at hand, not any consistent doctrine about when to use force in one place and not another. They have been criticized for doing so - by Obama himself.

In his pre-presidential book "The Audacity of Hope," Obama said the U.S. will lack international legitimacy if it intervenes militarily "without a well-articulated strategy that the public supports and the world understands."

He questioned: "Why invade Iraq and not North Korea or Burma? Why intervene in Bosnia and not Darfur?"

Now, such questions are coming at him.


Associated Press writers Jim Drinkard and Robert Burns contributed to this report. 

Friday, March 25, 2011


I wonder if either of you knew that Jefferson was our first war monger president, other than Washington of course.
And of course Bush Jr., and yes, now Obama!

In March 1785, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to London to negotiate with Tripoli's envoy, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman (or Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja). Upon inquiring "concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury", the ambassador replied:

It was written in their Qu'ran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every Muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once. [12]

Jefferson reported the conversation to Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay, who submitted the Ambassador's comments and offer to Congress. Jefferson argued that paying tribute would encourage more attacks. Although John Adams agreed with Jefferson, he believed that circumstances forced the U.S. to pay tribute until an adequate navy could be built. The U.S. had just fought an exhausting war, which put the nation deep in debt. Federalist and Anti-Federalist forces argued over the needs of the country and the burden of taxation. Jefferson's own Democratic-Republicans and anti-navalists believed that the future of the country lay in westward expansion, with Atlantic trade threatening to siphon money and energy away from the new nation on useless wars in the Old World.[13] The U.S. paid Algiers the ransom, and continued to pay up to $1 million per year over the next 15 years for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages. Payments in ransom and tribute to the privateering states amounted to 20% of the U.S. government's annual revenues in 1800.[citation needed]

Jefferson continued to argue for cessation of the tribute, with rising support from George Washington and others. With the recommissioning of the American navy in 1794 and the resulting increased firepower on the seas, it became increasingly possible for America to refuse paying tribute, although by now the long-standing habit was hard to overturn.

[edit]Declaration of war and naval blockade

"Immediately prior to Jefferson's inauguration in 1801, Congress passed naval legislation that, among other things, provided for six frigates that 'shall be officered and manned as the President of the United States may direct.' . . . In the event of a declaration of war on the United States by the Barbary powers, these ships were to 'protect our commerce & chastise their insolence — by sinking, burning or destroying their ships & Vessels wherever you shall find them.'"[14] On Jefferson's inauguration as president in 1801, Yusuf Karamanli, the Pasha (or Bashaw) of Tripoli, demanded $225,000 from the new administration. (In 1800, Federal revenues totaled a little over $10 million.) Putting his long-held beliefs into practice, Jefferson refused the demand. Consequently, in May 1801, the Pasha declared war on the U.S., not through any formal written documents but in the customary Barbary manner of cutting down the flagstaff in front of the U.S. Consulate. Algiers and Tunis did not follow their ally in Tripoli.

In response, "Jefferson sent a small force to the area to protect American ships and citizens against potential aggression, but insisted that he was 'unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defense.'"[14] He told Congress: "I communicate [to you] all material information on this subject, that in the exercise of this important function confided by the Constitution to the Legislature exclusively their judgment may form itself on a knowledge and consideration of every circumstance of weight.'"[14] Although Congress never voted on a formal declaration of war, they did authorize the President to instruct the commanders of armed American vessels to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli "and also to cause to be done all such other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war will justify."

Enterprise capturing Tripoli

The schooner USS Enterprise defeated the 14-gun Tripolitan corsair Tripoli after a fierce but one-sided battleon August 1, 1801.

In 1802, in response to Jefferson's request for authority to deal with the pirates, Congress passed "An act for the Protection of Commerce and seamen of the United States against the Tripolitan cruisers", authorizing the President to "... employ such of the armed vessels of the United States as may be judged requisite ... for protecting effectually the commerce and seamen thereof on the Atlantic ocean, the Mediterranean and adjoining seas."[15] "The statute authorized American ships to seize vessels belonging to the Bey of Tripoli, with the captured property distributed to those who brought the vessels into port."[14]

The U.S Navy went unchallenged on the sea, but still the question remained undecided. Jefferson pressed the issue the following year, with an increase in military force and deployment of many of the Navy's best ships to the region throughout 1802. TheUSS ArgusChesapeakeConstellationConstitutionEnterpriseIntrepidPhiladelphia and Syren all saw service during the war under the overall command of Commodore Edward Preble. Throughout 1803, Preble set up and maintained a blockade of the Barbary ports and executed a campaign of raids and attacks against the cities' fleets.


Philadelphia aground off Tripoli, in 1803.

In October 1803, Tripoli's fleet was able to capture USS Philadelphia intact after the frigate ran aground while patrolling Tripoli harbor. Efforts by the Americans to float the ship while under fire from shore batteries and Tripolitan naval units failed. The ship, its captain, William Bainbridge, and all officers and crew were taken ashore and held as hostages. Philadelphia was turned against the Americans and anchored in the harbor as a gun battery.

On the night of February 16, 1804, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a small contingent of the U.S.'s first Marines in the captured Tripolitan ketch rechristened USS Intrepid, to deceive the guards on board Philadelphia and float close enough to board the captured ship. Decatur's men stormed the vessel and overpowered the Tripolitan sailors standing guard. With support from American ships, the Marines set fire to Philadelphia, denying her use to the enemy. The bravery in action of Lieutenant Stephen Decatur made him one of the first American military heroes since the Revolutionary War. The British Admiral Horatio Nelson, himself known as a man of action and bravery, is said to have called this "the most bold and daring act of the age.[16]"

Preble attacked Tripoli outright on July 14, 1804, in a series of inconclusive battles, including a courageous but unsuccessful attack by the fire ship USSIntrepid under Captain Richard SomersIntrepid, packed with explosives, was to enter Tripoli harbor and destroy itself and the enemy fleet; it was destroyed, perhaps by enemy guns, before achieving that goal, killing Somers and his crew.[citation needed]

The turning point in the war came with the Battle of Derna (April–May 1805). Ex-consul William Eaton, who went by the rank of general, and US MarineFirst Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon led a mixed force of eight United States Marines[17] and 500 GreekArab, and Berber mercenaries on a march across the desert from AlexandriaEgypt to assault and to capture the Tripolitan city of Derna. This was the first time in history that the United States flag was raised in victory on foreign soil. This action was memorialized in a line from the Marines' Hymn—"the shores of Tripoli." [18]

[edit]Peace treaty and legacy

Wearied of the blockade and raids, and now under threat of a continued advance on Tripoli proper and a scheme to restore his deposed older brother Hamet Karamanli as ruler, Yussif Karamanli signed a treaty ending hostilities on June 4, 1805. Article 2 of the Treaty reads:

The Bashaw of Tripoli shall deliver up to the American Squadron now off Tripoli, all the Americans in his possession; and all the Subjects of the Bashaw of Tripoli now in the power of the United States of America shall be delivered up to him; and as the number of Americans in possession of the Bashaw of Tripoli amounts to Three Hundred Persons, more or less; and the number of Tripolino Subjects in the power of the Americans to about, One Hundred more or less; The Bashaw of Tripoli shall receive from the United States of America, the sum of Sixty Thousand Dollars, as a payment for the difference between the Prisoners herein mentioned.

In agreeing to pay a ransom of $60,000 for the American prisoners, the Jefferson administration drew a distinction between paying tribute and payingransom. At the time, some argued that buying sailors out of slavery was a fair exchange to end the war. William Eaton, however, remained bitter for the rest of his life about the treaty, feeling that his efforts had been squandered by the State Department diplomat Tobias Lear. Eaton and others felt that the capture of Derne should have been used as a bargaining chip to obtain the release of all American prisoners without having to pay ransom. Furthermore, Eaton believed the honor of the United States had been compromised when it abandoned Hamet Karamanli after promising to restore him as leader of Tripoli. Eaton's complaints generally fell on deaf ears, especially as attention turned to the strained international relations which would ultimately lead to the War of 1812.[citation needed]

The First Barbary War was beneficial to the military reputation of the U.S. America's military command and war mechanism had been up to that time relatively untested. The First Barbary War showed that America could execute a war far from home, and that American forces had the cohesion to fight together as Americans rather than separately as Georgians or New Yorkers. The United States Navy and Marines became a permanent part of the American government and American history, and Decatur returned to the U.S. as its first post-Revolutionary war hero.[citation needed]

However, the more immediate problem of Muslim Barbary piracy was not fully settled. By 1807, Algiers had gone back to taking American ships and seamen hostage. Distracted by the preludes to the War of 1812, the U.S. was unable to respond to the provocation until 1815, with the Second Barbary War, in which naval victories by Commodores William Bainbridge and Stephen Decatur led to treaties ending all tribute payments by the U.S.[19]

Lamestream Media: Reload or White Flag?

"Let's keep pivoting around media bias, and not get distracted with the vulgar personal shots. Call out lies and set the record straight, but always keep the ball moving. No one ever won a game only playing defense."

Upon my return from an outstanding and productive trip to India and Israel, I've been inundated with requests to respond to petty comments made in the media the past few days, including one little fella's comment which decent people would find degrading. (I won't bother responding to it though, because it was made by he who reminds me of an annoying little mosquito found zipped up in your tent; he can't do any harm, but buzzes around annoyingly until it's time to give him the proverbial slap.)

I've given this a lot of thought, and I'd like to share my thoughts on the never-ending issue of media bias.

When it comes to responding to the media, the standard warning is: Don't pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel because calling out the media and holding them accountable is a risky endeavor. Too often the first instinct is to ignore blatant media bias, crudeness, and outright lies, and just hope the media instigator will grow up and provide fairer coverage if you bite your tongue and not challenge the false reporting of an openly hostile press. But I've never bought into that. That's waving the white flag. I just can't do it because I have too much respect for the importance of a free press as a cornerstone of our democracy, and I have great respect for the men and women in uniform who sacrifice so much to defend that First Amendment right. Media, with freedom comes responsibility.

Friends, too often conservatives or Republicans in general come across as having the fighting instinct of sheep. I don't. I was raised to believe that you don't retreat when you're on solid ground; so even though it often seems like I'm armed with just a few stones and a sling against a media giant, I'll use those small resources to do what I can to set the record straight. The truth is always worth fighting for. Doing so isn't whining or "playing the victim card"; it's defending the truth in fairness to those who seek accurate information. I'll keep attempting to correct misinformation and falsehoods about myself and my record, and I will certainly never shy from defending others who are unfairly attacked. This is in the name of justice.

But two decades in politics have taught me that when it comes to picking battles, often it's best to ignore the truly petty, ugly personal media shots because engaging in a counter argument with disreputable, intolerant people doesn't vindicate me; it merely gives those people the attention they seek. It wastes my time and it distracts from what we should focus on.

We must always remember the big picture. The media has always been biased. Conservatives – and especially conservative women – have always been held to a different standard and attacked. This is nothing new. Lincoln was mocked and ridiculed. Reagan was called an amiable dunce, a dangerous warmonger, a rightwing fanatic, and the insult list goes on and on. (But somehow Reagan still managed to win two major electoral landslides, and this was in the days before the internet and talk radio when all he had were three biased network news channels spinning reports on him. If he could do so much with so little and still be such an optimistic and positive leader, then surely we can succeed with the new media tools at our disposal.)

Let's just acknowledge that commonsense conservatives must be stronger and work that much harder because of the obvious bias. And let's be encouraged with a sense of poetic justice by knowing that the "mainstream" media isn't mainstream anymore. That's why I call it "lamestream," and the LSM is becoming quite irrelevant, as it is no longer the sole gatekeeper of information.

Let's keep pivoting around media bias, and not get distracted with the vulgar personal shots. Even with limited time we can try to call out lies and set the record straight, but always keep the ball moving. No one ever won a game only playing defense.

I'll keep correcting false reporting, and I'll defend others to the hilt; but I won't spend any more precious, limited time responding to personal, vulgar, sexist venom spewed my way.

Today, our country is faced with seemingly overwhelming challenges. We have an unsustainable and immoral $14 trillion debt problem which, combined with a self-inflicted energy crisis, could bring America to her knees. The President of the United States is manipulating an energy supply by refusing to develop our U.S. energy resources. Shouldn't that be the media's focus today? Wouldn't you like more information on the deficit that for last month alone was the highest in our history at $223 billion? That single month's deficit was more than the entire deficit for the year 2007! We still have a 16% real unemployment rate. We had 2.9 million home foreclosures last year alone, with this year predicted to be even worse. Americans who are struggling to make ends meet are now hit by rising food and energy prices – exacerbated by the Fed's decision to drop that $600 billion money bomb known as QE2 on us. Gas has already hit $4 per gallon in some areas. And let's not forget that our men and women in uniform are deployed far from home today. From Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, to who-knows-where tomorrow under a clouded, confused Obama Doctrine, our armed forces are in harm's way, defending our interests and protecting our freedoms.

Now these are the real concerns to Americans. These are times when real leadership is needed. We must never be distracted from these real concerns.

Petty comments from the small-minded are used to distract. Stay focused, America. Don't wave any white flag. Simply put, let's spend our precious time on causes that are worthy.

- Sarah Palin