Sunday, March 29, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Possible New Vacation Spot?
As for Iraqi news, I stopped watching it and reading about it. Ever since I saw the result of the elections which were so predictable, I gave up. I dislike the govt, and will never change my mind. But a new phenomena is taking place due to the improved security.
Many Iraqis from all over the world, who havent been to Iraq yet, have started this strange exodus back. I don’t mean moving back there, but just going and visiting. A few relatives of mine have gone back and thought Baghdad was just amazing. They loved every minute of their 2 week stay. A woman who lived in California for almost all her life visited Najaf and called it the Paris of the Middle east. Umm, not sure how can Najaf one of the holiest cities in the world be compared to Paris, but those were her own words. How can women in abbayas be compared to women in mini joup? Maybe too much excitement just disillusioned her.~~~
On a final note, do you guys remember the “vibrator” girl I once wrote about? (Sorry have to find the link of that post) Well, she has been in the States for over a year now after getting her special immigration visa. I got an email from a frined of mine that said : Hey guys...remember L??? She has joined the Army and will be going back to Iraq as an interpreter. I heard she graduated from Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Jackson, SC and was awarded as "The Best All Around Soldier."
Wow, isn’t that great news? She used to be one of those lost souls who just couldn’t feel free in her own country. Was harassed by her countrymen and threatened by the militia. Her family boycotted her because she was working in the GZ, yet harassed her with phonecalls to pay them money. Ughhh. Im so happy for her. Here’s to L, L, The Best All Around Soldier!
Talk a Mile in Obama's Shoes
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
DeSantis Hits Back!
Dear A.I.G., I Quit!
DEAR Mr. Liddy,
It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:
I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.
After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.
I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.
You and I have never met or spoken to each other, so I’d like to tell you about myself. I was raised by schoolteachers working multiple jobs in a world of closing steel mills. My hard work earned me acceptance to M.I.T., and the institute’s generous financial aid enabled me to attend. I had fulfilled my American dream.
I started at this company in 1998 as an equity trader, became the head of equity and commodity trading and, a couple of years before A.I.G.’s meltdown last September, was named the head of business development for commodities. Over this period the equity and commodity units were consistently profitable — in most years generating net profits of well over $100 million. Most recently, during the dismantling of A.I.G.-F.P., I was an integral player in the pending sale of its well-regarded commodity index business to UBS. As you know, business unit sales like this are crucial to A.I.G.’s effort to repay the American taxpayer.
The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.
I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.
But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.
My guess is that in October, when you learned of these retention contracts, you realized that the employees of the financial products unit needed some incentive to stay and that the contracts, being both ethical and useful, should be left to stand. That’s probably why A.I.G. management assured us on three occasions during that month that the company would “live up to its commitment” to honor the contract guarantees.
That may be why you decided to accelerate by three months more than a quarter of the amounts due under the contracts. That action signified to us your support, and was hardly something that one would do if he truly found the contracts “distasteful.”
That may also be why you authorized the balance of the payments on March 13.
At no time during the past six months that you have been leading A.I.G. did you ask us to revise, renegotiate or break these contracts — until several hours before your appearance last week before Congress.
I think your initial decision to honor the contracts was both ethical and financially astute, but it seems to have been politically unwise. It’s now apparent that you either misunderstood the agreements that you had made — tacit or otherwise — with the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, various members of Congress and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York, or were not strong enough to withstand the shifting political winds.
You’ve now asked the current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion about how we should respond to this breach of trust.
As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.
Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.
The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.
So what am I to do? There’s no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn’t disagree.
That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.’s or the federal government’s budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need.
On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G. amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate may be less — in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients.
This choice is right for me. I wish others at A.I.G.-F.P. luck finding peace with their difficult decision, and only hope their judgment is not clouded by fear.
Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of the company’s diverse businesses — especially those remaining credit default swaps. I’ll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped, but after what’s happened this past week I can’t remain much longer — there is too much bad blood. I’m not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I’ll leave under my own power and will not need to be “shoved out the door.”
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Bush 'n Boots
Special Olympian with a Smackdown Challenge to President Obama
This is so 2003-2006....
Thursday, March 19, 2009
José González - Heartbeats
Oh well....it's the thought that counts...
You Go, Granny!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Feigned Outrage Over the $165 million Executive
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Bush's Real Mission Accomplished
Over the weekend, Curt posted a litany of successes going on over in Iraq within just the past week alone.
If not for alternative media and non-mainstream sources, you'd be hard-pressed to hear anything about the continued positive trend in Iraq. It's not that the information isn't there and isn't being covered and reported on by MSM (note the polls cited below are by ABC, BBC, and NHK); it's just that they aren't telegraphed as front-page newsworthy items, worth repeating over and over again until it gets hammered into people's subconscious.....like "Iraq is a failure" and "Iraq is in a civil war" mantras were repeated over and over...
The good news on Iraq IS a big deal. It IS important that it gets talked about and that the positive stories are repeated over and over and over again.
Investor's Business Daily:
A poll of average Iraqis conducted by ABC News, the BBC and Japan's NHK shows significant progress on virtually all fronts. Yet, we've heard nary a peep about it from anyone. Some 85% of respondents said their neighborhood security was "good," vs. 62% a year ago and just 43% in August of 2007. And 52% said security had gotten better in the last year — during the Bush-Petraeus "surge," which was widely ridiculed at the time as an unnecessary escalation of the Iraq War. Support for democracy jumped to 64%, a 21-percentage-point gain since 2007, according to a report on CNSNews.com. As for how Iraqis felt about the general state of affairs in Iraq, 58% called it "very good" or "quite good," up significantly from 43% last year and 22% in 2007. When asked what their concerns are today, Iraqis sound a lot like Americans: Jobs and prices are at the top of their list — not war, not security, not terrorism. In short, it sounds like we not only won the war, but the peace as well. And for those who cast a skeptical eye on the idea that any Islamic country could ever be democratized, it turns out the former President Bush is winning that debate too.Read more »
Monday, March 16, 2009
Which is it, Mr. President?
Obama Team Adopts McCain's Optimism on Economy
Barack Obama lambasted John McCain during the presidential campaign for saying the fundamentals of the economy are "strong." Now the president's adviser says the fundamentals of the economy are obviously "sound."
"Out of touch."
"Incapable of understanding" the economic crisis.
That's how Barack Obama and his presidential campaign team described John McCain last year when the Republican candidate famously said "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."
But now President Obama and his advisers are adopting similar rhetoric as they try to build public confidence in an economic turnaround.
"Of course the fundamentals are sound," Obama economic adviser Christina Romer said Sunday.
The administration is now keeping the focus on "all the fundamentally sound aspects of our economy," Obama said Friday.
Romer explained on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the country is in a temporary "mess," but that the president is focusing on fixing up those fundamentals, which she defined as "the American workers."
That's the same line McCain used last September -- before the worst of the economic crisis emerged -- to explain his confidence.
The rhetorical shift is just the latest in which Obama has shown strains of the views and policies of the man he defeated in November, even though in some cases he once criticized those views.
"Senator McCain, what economy are you talking about?" Obama asked in Colorado last September after McCain expressed his economic optimism.
So what's changed? Obama has pushed through a $787 billion economic stimulus plan and announced new help for homeowners and the financial system -- but the Dow is down about 35 percent since mid-September.
"We're not in an election, so, of course, Democrats can flip-flop," Republican strategist Andrea Tantaros said.
In the case of the economy, analysts note that Obama is trying hard to tamp down the gloom-and-doom rhetoric he used in the weeks following Inauguration Day.
But Obama also seemed to weave in some of McCain's wait-and-see approach to winding down the Iraq war when he announced his troop withdrawal plan last month.
Under the plan, Obama would not only retain the flexibility to slow down or reverse the withdrawals if conditions deteriorate, but he also will keep up to 50,000 troops as a residual force in Iraq after the deadline of August 2010. Obama extended his 16-month withdrawal timetable to a 19-month timetable as well.
The administration says combat brigades will be gone by that time and the forces that remain will be in an "advisory and assistance" capacity. The White House says the remaining troops will still conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions and protect the civilian and military efforts in the country.
Though some congressional Democrats were surprised by the size of the residual force, McCain praised Obama's withdrawal plan last month. He even told The Huffington Post that he would have implemented a very similar plan.
"I'm sure, because that's what our military and civilian leadership has recommended," McCain said.
Last year, Obama mocked McCain for pushing tax cuts for corporations, accusing him of cozying up to Wall Street and leaving out average taxpayers.
But in remarks last week at a business roundtable, Obama said his interest "over time" is in "potentially lowering corporate rates" in exchange for closing loopholes in the tax system.
"That's a very appealing conversation to me, and I'd like to pursue it," Obama said, though he acknowledged his budget proposal, which raises taxes on the wealthy, does not reflect that position.
Obama also announced an earmark reform package last week that, in theory, was the kind of thing McCain talked about on the campaign trail last year. However, as Obama announced the package on the same day he signed a $410 billion spending bill filled with thousands of earmarks, McCain charged that Obama was offering empty words.
"The president's rhetoric is impressive, but his statement affirms we will continue to do business as usual in Washington regarding earmarks in appropriations legislation," he said in a written statement.
The New York Times also reported Sunday that the administration is receptive to the idea of taxing employee health benefits.
This is the same kind of policy Obama slammed McCain for during the presidential campaign. In October, Obama called McCain's proposal "radical" and "out of touch."
Obama's top advisers disavowed the idea on the Sunday morning talks shows, claiming the article was "overstated," the plan is not in the president's budget proposal and he does not support it.
But they would not take the idea off the table.
"He is open to all ideas," Austan Goolsbee, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on "FOX News Sunday."
Romer would not rule out the option either, though she deflected charges that the president was coming in line with McCain on the matter of the economy being "sound." She said such a reading would be "misinterpreting the president."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that there's a "definitional difference between sound and strong," and that the president is still trying to "strengthen" the sound aspects of the economy.
Democratic strategist Bob Beckel suggested those efforts put the economy in a better position for improvement than it was during the late stages of the presidential campaign.
"Every one of these things that he has proposed ... all of that has to do with getting the economy stronger and getting more jobs," Beckel said. "Over the last five days, the market has been up."
The "Holy Sh**" Report
radicals trained in Pakistan are the greatest threat to Western security.
One White House aide emerged from an intelligence briefing on Pakistan three days after Mr Obama’s inauguration to exclaim: “Holy s–t!”
Read the rest....I posted it over at Flopping Aces
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Brothers at War Opened on Friday
Brothers at War, by Jake Rademacher, opened in selected theaters last Friday. Click here to find out how to bring the movie to a local theater near you.
Here's a scene from the film:
Read more »
Ron Silver, 62, RIP
"Ron Silver died peacefully in his sleep with his family around him this morning," said Robin Bronk, executive director of the Creative Coalition, which Silver helped create.
"He had been fighting esophageal cancer for two years and his family is making arrangements for a private service."
Once a self-identified lifelong Democrat, Silver was a founding member of the liberal-leaning Creative Coalition in 1989. But he made a breathtaking political transformation, going from far left to radical right after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
He spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, enthusiastically backing a second term for President Bush.
"Twelve years ago I was here for the Democratic convention. I was on the platform committee. Zell Miller was the keynote speaker. A lot's changed since then, I can tell you," a chuckling Silver told The Washington Post.
"If you asked me on September 10, 2001, would I consider going to the Republican National Convention and speaking, I would have thought you were from another planet and didn't know who I was."
John Stossel's Special Last Friday Night
THIRD PARENT: Why are we going to let the system that’s already failed our children, educationally in this country, K through 12, why are we going to let them start with our 4-year-olds?
STOSSEL: Good question.Tuesday, even the President admitted-
PRESIDENT OBAMA: We let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us.
LEVY: Government is providing K through 12 education. And unfortunately, we are in the toilet.
STOSSEL: That’s point two. Government-run education isn’t doing very well.
LEVY: To say that they are the ones to define what quality is laughable. [Clip of Levy with kids on playground] What are you having for lunch?
STOSSEL: Nia Levy’s not only a parent. She runs six preschools. [to Levy] I’m surprised you’re against this. You would make money on this. Free government money.
LEVY: I don’t want to have to answer to the government. Our programs are so far superior, that it isn’t even funny. Now, with the economy, being what it is, you’re telling me that we’re going to devote billions of dollars that we don’t have? It’s a waste of money.
CUOMO: A lot of passion there.
STOSSEL: I agree with her. It’s a waste of money and a government conceit that they can parent better than we can.
CUOMO: So, it comes down to how do you spend that money best, to help the kids, give them the best head start?
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Photo of the Week
U.S. Army Sgt. Stephen Covell, a native of Pacific Grove, Calif., along with an Iraqi girl go down a slide at the playground during the reopening of the Al-Moutasam Kindergarten March 3, 2009, in the Rusafa district of eastern Baghdad. Covell is a medic assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad. U.S. Army photo by Georges Aboumrad
Friday, March 13, 2009
Why the Environmental/Climate Change Movement is to be taken seriously
Belinda Pratten - AFP/Getty Images
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
A Bullet-Proof Character
- A Petraeus motto
Pfc. Joshua Hutcheson, 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs staff
Everyone is familiar with the story of how General Petraeus almost lost his life when he was shot through the chest during a live-fire training exercise. Well, the most detailed account I've come across thus far can be found in Thomas E. Ricks' The Gamble.
Read more »
A Real Crisis!
Monday night the imaginary president of the show 24- or rather, the actress who plays her- lectured viewers on how 24 deals with fictional crises, whereas we people living in the real world face a real life crisis of our own: that of global warming.
Yup. Terrorism = fake.
Man-made global warming = real.
The Obama administration repeatedly implements policies that are in direct contradiction to its benign rhetoric, which is what I mean by "Orwellian." Consider its fiscal recklessness accompanied by promises of fiscal responsibility, including its staggering denial that it is promoting earmarks. Or its boasts of bipartisanship while shutting Republicans out of the legislative process. Or calling its plan to chill an employee's choice to opt out of union membership the "Employee Free Choice Act."So now after signing the Stimulus Bill and today signing the Omnibus Bill, he's now renewing his lie about no more earmarks?
What about his campaign pledge of transparency, regarding "sunlight before signing"?
- Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.
- Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending: Obama's Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.
Note his EOs on Guantanamo and Ensuring Lawful Interrogations that only gives the appearance of actually doing anything significant. The EO on interrogations says much the same thing as the '07 Bush EO that it revoked; and the irony of the closing Guantanamo EO is that it suspended trying detainees in court, thereby prolonging the "holding without charge or trial" criticism levelled at the previous Administration.
Then there's his shell game in regards to drawing down a couple of brigades from Iraq. Go on. Click the link.
Labels: Barack Obama
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Politics and Ideology Over Science
Don't you love how President Obama sets up strawmen arguments and distorts reality? [/sarcasm] The only transparent thing said thus far was when Rahm Emmanuel said "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."
Now we have our illustrious president of Hope and (Radical) Change characterizing yesterday's EO as "for" science over politics and ideology. WtF? The science thus far shows more promise in adult stem cell research. And his side isn't using politics and ideology?!?! And when are liberals going to stop mischaracterizing what President Bush did on his watch? There was no "ban" on stem cell research!
Great article in today's WSJ:
By ROBERT P. GEORGE and ERIC COHEN
Yesterday President Barack Obama issued an executive order that authorizes expanded federal funding for research using stem cells produced by destroying human embryos. The announcement was classic Obama: advancing radical policies while seeming calm and moderate, and preaching the gospel of civility while accusing those who disagree with the policies of being "divisive" and even "politicizing science."
Mr. Obama's executive order overturned an attempt by President George W. Bush in 2001 to do justice to both the promise of stem-cell science and the demands of ethics. The Bush policy was to allow the government to fund research on existing embryonic stem-cell lines, where the embryos in question had already been destroyed. But it would not fund, or in any way incentivize, the ongoing destruction of human embryos.
For years, this policy was attacked by advocates of embryo-destructive research. Mr. Bush and the "religious right" were depicted as antiscience villains and embryonic stem-cell scientists and their allies were seen as the beleaguered saviors of the sick. In reality, Mr. Bush's policy was one of moderation. It did not ban new embryo-destructive research (the president had no power to do that), and it did not fund new embryo-destructive research.
"Moderate" Mr. Obama's policy is not. It will promote a whole new industry of embryo creation and destruction, including the creation of human embryos by cloning for research in which they are destroyed. It forces American taxpayers, including those who see the deliberate taking of human life in the embryonic stage as profoundly unjust, to be complicit in this practice.
Mr. Obama made a big point in his speech of claiming to bring integrity back to science policy, and his desire to remove the previous administration's ideological agenda from scientific decision-making. This claim of taking science out of politics is false and misguided on two counts.
First, the Obama policy is itself blatantly political. It is red meat to his Bush-hating base, yet pays no more than lip service to recent scientific breakthroughs that make possible the production of cells that are biologically equivalent to embryonic stem cells without the need to create or kill human embryos. Inexplicably -- apart from political motivations -- Mr. Obama revoked not only the Bush restrictions on embryo destructive research funding, but also the 2007 executive order that encourages the National Institutes of Health to explore non-embryo-destructive sources of stem cells.
Second and more fundamentally, the claim about taking politics out of science is in the deepest sense antidemocratic. The question of whether to destroy human embryos for research purposes is not fundamentally a scientific question; it is a moral and civic question about the proper uses, ambitions and limits of science. It is a question about how we will treat members of the human family at the very dawn of life; about our willingness to seek alternative paths to medical progress that respect human dignity.
For those who believe in the highest ideals of deliberative democracy, and those who believe we mistreat the most vulnerable human lives at our own moral peril, Mr. Obama's claim of "taking politics out of science" should be lamented, not celebrated.
In the years ahead, the stem-cell debate will surely continue -- raising as it does big questions about the meaning of human equality at the edges of human life, about the relationship between science and politics, and about how we govern ourselves when it comes to morally charged issues of public policy on which reasonable people happen to disagree. We can only hope, in the years ahead, that scientific creativity will make embryo destruction unnecessary and that as a society we will not pave the way to the brave new world with the best medical intentions.
Mr. George is professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton and co-author of "Embryo: A Defense of Human Life" (Doubleday, 2008). Mr. Cohen is editor-at-large of The New Atlantis and author of "In the Shadow of Progress: Being Human in the Age of Technology" (Encounter, 2008).
Life Gets Better, Even as People Feel Worse....
Check out The Progress Paradox.
Did you know that according to the latest Human Security Report, armed conflicts around the world have actually been on the decline? And is the global trend of Islamic Jihad on the decline? And according to Joel Rosenberg, millions of Muslims are converting to Christianity.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Saturday, March 07, 2009
'Zo and Skye at CPAC
A Cereal Killer of a Portrait
Thursday, March 05, 2009
President Obama's Camp Lejeune Speech was About How to Stay; Not When We'd Leave
Barack Obama's campaign pledge, as written on his campaign website:
Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: ending the war.
George W. Bush esentially beat him to it. What he really means is, how can I bring the troops home, responsibly from Iraq?
"Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end." -President Obama, February 27, 2009
Could this be a "read my lips" moment, for President Obama? Or a "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" moment:
"And under the Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government, I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011"
Notice the wiggle-room provided in the choice of a single word?
Last Friday, President Obama delivered a speech at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, declaring- not victory- but an end to combat operations in Iraq (ABC News link borrowed from Scott's post):
President Barack Obama consigned the Iraq war to history Friday, declaring he will end combat operations within 18 months and open a new era of diplomacy in the Middle East.
"Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," Obama told Marines who are about to deploy by the thousands to the other war front, Afghanistan.
Even so, Obama will leave the bulk of troops in place this year, contrary to hopes of Democratic leaders for a speedier pullout. And after combat forces withdraw, 35,000 to 50,000 will stay behind for an additional year and half of support and counterterrorism duties.
Just six weeks into office, Obama used blunt terms and a cast-in-stone promise to write the last chapter of a war that began six years ago.
The "last chapter"?!? "Cast-in-stone promise"??....? As Iraq War critic Thomas Ricks concludes in his new book, The Gamble, "the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered probably have not yet happened."
And as Ricks writes in his post:
The more I consider it, the more I think President Obama's Camp Lejeune speech last Friday was about how to stay in Iraq for a while, not about how to get out.
Read more »
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
"Messiah" is spelled M....E....S....S.....
Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was.Oh, Brooks, Brooks, Brooks.....didn't you know it? And to those from the political left who are just waking up: He's just not that into you.
Labels: Barack Obama
Monday, March 02, 2009
Is Obama Cutting Back on One Federal Department?
The danger is that Mr. Obama may be signaling a return to the defense mistakes of the 1990s. Bill Clinton slashed defense spending to 3% of GDP in 2000, from 4.8% in 1992. We learned on 9/11 that 3% isn't nearly enough to maintain our commitments and fight a war on terror --
The Obama defense budget is neither the disastrous downturn that most analysts predicted, nor the boost the administration claims. What it is, though, is plenty worrisome. The president is fond of saying that we need to make long-term "investments" in worthy national goals. Well, his defense budget is no such investment in our national defense.While the administration is certainly funding short-term military needs, it appears willing to sacrifice long-term U.S. military superiority.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
SSNP vs. CH
Apparently, about a week ago in Beirut, Christopher Hitchens could not help but be who he is, and stand on principle: Seeing a sign from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party with the swirling swastika logo hanging on Hamra Street, Hitchens promptly began defacing it.
Christopher wanted to pull down their marker, but couldn’t. He stuck to his principles, though, and before I could stop him he scribbled “No, no, F*** the SSNP” in the bottom-right corner with a black felt-tipped pen.Read more »
I blinked several times. Was he really insulting the Syrian Social Nationalist Party while they might be watching? Neither Christopher nor Jonathan seemed to sense what was coming, but my own danger signals went haywire.
An angry young man shot across Hamra Street as though he’d been fired out of a cannon. “Hey!” he yelled as he pointed with one hand and speed-dialed for backup on his phone with the other.
“We need to get out of here now,” I said.
But the young man latched onto Christopher’s arm and wouldn’t let go. “Come with me!” he said and jabbed a finger toward Christopher's face. They were the only words I heard him say in English.
Christopher tried to shake off his assailant, but couldn’t.