Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Next President to Inherit Obama’s Failed Russia Policy

Like I said earlier, there are some real issues out there that are being intentionally ignored during this election. Remember that it was Clinton who was Obama’s Secretary of State during the “reset” with Russia. Well, it worked. We’ve reset it to about 1961.

The next U.S. president will inherit an increasingly fraught relationship with Russia in which Washington’s attempts to deter Putin have mostly failed. Moscow’s decision this month to pull out of a landmark agreement on disposing tons of weapons-grade plutonium, coupled with reports last week that Russia deployed new nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, underscore how Putin is flexing Russia’s power in new and often unpredictable ways.

U.S. and European officials are increasingly alarmed over Putin’s willingness to risk military confrontation and threaten to use his country’s nuclear arsenal over issues the West sees as unrelated and separate. That makes it devilishly difficult for the United States and its European allies to find an effective response to Putin’s audacious tactics that in recent years range from Russia’s annexation of Crimea, to its air war in support of the Syrian regime, to Moscow’s suspected hacking of America’s presidential election.

“It very much feels like we are entering a very troubled and dangerous phase in this bilateral relationship,“ said Julianne Smith, a former senior Pentagon official who oversaw NATO policy and a former senior advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. “The next president will face some big strategic choices,” said Smith, who now advises Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Europe and Russia.

President Barack Obama’s successor will have to choose from a range of unpleasant and risky options when it comes to handling a resurgent Russia, current and former officials said. A more conciliatory stance, aimed at cutting a grand bargain with Russia focused on Ukraine, would defuse tensions in the short term but at the cost of ultimately emboldening Putin. A more hawkish line — like the one championed by Clinton, who is leading nationwide polls — would risk escalation, with the chance of a military showdown in Syria or the Baltics.

 

Obama Signs Bill Mandating Changing Stations in Men’s Bathrooms

He does seem a bit obsessed with our bathroom business in his final year in office, doesn’t he?

This month, President Barack Obama signed the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, or the BABIES Act, which requires diaper-changing facilities in male and female restrooms in public federal buildings, such as Social Security offices, courthouses and post offices. If these restrooms do not have changing tables, hallway signs must direct parents to the nearest facilities, the act states.
The law doesn’t cover restrooms that aren’t in public buildings, such as restaurants or retailers, and those in buildings that can’t safely support changing facilities.
Mounting more changing tables in restrooms seems like a small task, but the policy suggests a step forward in gender equality, enabling all parents to take part in child care.
Wait a minute… if gender-specific bathrooms are now taboo and it is perfectly acceptable for men to go in the ladies’ room and vice versa, why do we need a changing table in each bathroom? Wouldn’t it be OK for men to go into the ladies’ room to change their kid’s diaper?
Honestly though, I changed a lot of diapers with my kids and I don’t recall this ever being an issue.

Race Relations Worse Under Obama

This is indisputable, isn’t it?

Overall, 54% say relations between blacks and whites have gotten worse since Obama became president, including 57% of whites and 40% of blacks. That’s up sharply compared with last June, when 43% said things had gotten worse shortly after a racially motivated shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Obama Faces First Veto Override

agree with Obama here.

Defying a seemingly united Congress and risking a public backlash, President Obama will veto legislation allowing relatives of the 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts, the White House confirmed on Monday. Obama’s rejection of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act will trigger what seems likely to be the first-ever successful congressional vote to override his veto.

“The president feels strongly about this, and I do anticipate that the president will veto the legislation when it’s presented to him,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily briefing.

The legislation never explicitly mentions Saudi Arabia, which was home to most of the 9/11 hijackers, but that American ally is widely understood to be the main target. The bill would change federal law to allow lawsuits against foreign states or officials for injuries, death or damages stemming from an act of international terrorism. Current law recognizes “sovereign immunity,” which protects governments and government officials from civil cases.

The White House has argued that eroding the legal principle of sovereign immunity could lead other countries to change their laws to permit their courts to try cases against the U.S. government or its diplomats and military personnel.

With all of the House and a third of the Senate on the ballot in November, it’s not surprising that all of them support a bill packed full of so many emotions, but it is bad law. Just think of all of the millions of people in other countries who argue that Americans engage in terrorism every time one of our highly-sophisticated precision weapons misses and kills a bunch of innocent folks. Do we want those nations suing our military personnel or our nation? Sure, they can do it now, but we can rightly cling to international law. We lose that grip if we do it ourselves.

Failed Mission

Yep.

Today’s news that Afghan forces trying to hold a provincial capital have been surrounded by the Taliban brings to mind an astounding fact: President Obama has been in power eight years, and he has failed in that time to win the two wars he was handed. To the contrary, Iraq, which was basically peaceful, became a war again and expanded into Syria, Libya and elsewhere as the opposition morphed into ISIS under Obama’s watch.

Afghanistan, which was supposed to be the good war in Obama’s opinion, remains besieged, we remain involved, and the war will simply be handed to Trump or Clinton.

The Taliban attack on the provincial capital “has exposed how thinly stretched Afghan security forces have become as they try to contain Islamist insurgents in other areas of the country,” according to Reuters.

China’s Tarmac Diplomacy

Did you know that our government had such a thing as a “Twitter operative?”

However, a Twitter operative of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) – a secretive spy unit within the defence department that advises on intentions and capabilities of foreign nations and entities – appears to have made things worse, the Wall St Journal reported.

The “Classy as always China” tweet linked through to a New York Times article on the protocol incident, it said.

The DIA felt compelled to issue a speedy apology, saying the posting did “not represent the views of the DIA. We apologize.”

Here’s what it was about:

When President Barack Obama arrived in Hangzhou there was no red carpet and he had to leave by a different plane exit.

There was also a row on the tarmac when a Chinese official shouted “This is our country!” as reporters and US officials tried to bypass a cordon.

[…]

More tensions between the two sides broke out at the West Lake State House, where Mr Obama met President Xi Jinping.

White House aides, protocol officers and Secret Service agents became embroiled in a row with Chinese officials as to how many Americans should be allowed into the building before Mr Obama’s arrival. At one point there were fears the confrontation could become physical, the New York Times reported.

The Chinese have done stuff like this since the emperors elaborately staged diplomatic visits right on to Mao’s legendary use of time and space to manipulate visits from foreign dignitaries. They do it to influence and control the visits themselves as well as for use in internal propaganda. And here they have done it again at the expense of our President. Don’t think for a minute that this wasn’t an intentional slight on the part of the Chinese government.

Unfortunately, Obama has brought this upon himself. His willingness to endure any slight from a foreign government – particularly one hostile to America –  in the name of “diplomacy” invites such treatment. But that doesn’t make it any less infuriating. As an American, it angers me to see my president treated this way. I wish he had just sat in his office on Air Force One until the Chinese treated him as a President of the United States should be treated.

Iran Granted Exemptions In Nuclear Deal

This deal was bad even before we knew of all of the secret provisos. The more we learn about it, the worse it gets.

The report says “most of the conditions” laid out in the agreement “were met by Iran” but it also claims Iran would have not been in compliance by January 16, 2016, the deal’s so-called Implementation Day, without the exemptions to the requirement that Iran limit its stockpile of low enriched uranium to under 300-kilograms. The exemptions supposedly pertained to uranium in “waste form,” according to the report, but the authors noted that that waste was potentially recoverable.
The report’s authors, David Albright and Andrea Stricker, went on to blast President Barack Obama’s administration for keeping these exemptions secret.
“Any rationale for keeping these exemptions secret appears unjustified,” the report said.
Albright told CNN that the additional low enriched uranium could reduce the amount of time needed for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb if it decided to break the accord.
The report said another exemption allowed Iran to operate 19 “hot cells” larger than specified in the accords, larger hot cells could be used to produce plutonium, which can also be used to produce a nuclear weapon.
Obama was so intent on getting this deal done to build his legacy that he has put the U.S. and the world in more danger.

Obama’s Ransom Payment to Iran Unprecedented

Well, yeah… that’s because past presidents didn’t pay massive ransoms to terrorist-supporting regimes.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A $400 million cash delivery to Iran to repay a decades-old arbitration claim may be unprecedented in recent U.S. history, according to legal experts and diplomatic historians, raising further questions about a payment timed to help free four American prisoners in Iran.

The money was sent to Iran on Jan. 17, the same day Tehran agreed to release the prisoners. The Obama administration claimed for months the events were separate, but recently acknowledged the cash was used as leverage until the Americans were allowed to leave Iran. Only then, did the U.S. allow a plane with euros, Swiss francs and other foreign currency loaded on pallets to take off in the other direction for Tehran.

“There’s actually not anything particularly unusual about the mechanism for this transaction,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week of the initial cash payment.

But diplomatic historians and lawyers with expertise in international arbitration struggled to find any similar examples.

Asked to recall a similar payment of the U.S. using cash or hard money to settle an international dispute, the office of the State Department historian couldn’t provide an example.

Obama Welched on Donation

Typical.

As President Barack Obama tried to console the parents of Kayla Mueller after she was killed in ISIScaptivity last year, they say he offered to make a contribution to a foundation they had established in her name.

But he has yet to do so, the parents say, 17 months after he made his promise to them on March 13, 2015.

“I’m still waiting for that donation, Mr. President,” Carl Mueller said in an ABC News interview broadcast this morning on Good Morning America, as part of an hour long investigation to be aired tonight on 20/20.

The White House acknowledges that he promised a donation and that he hasn’t done it after over a year. It’s pretty simple, he made an empty promise and welched on it. He might make good on it now, but only because he was called on it.

Obama Bribed Iran

As I said in my column 9 days ago:

We have all heard the idiom, “If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” That certainly seems to be the case regarding the hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of cash the Obama administration sent to Iran before the nation released American prisoners. Despite their vehement protestations, it sure looks like the Obama administration sent a massive ransom to a terrorist-supporting nation to free American hostages in violation of American law and policy.

And now we learn:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says a $400 million cash payment to Iran was contingent on the release of American prisoners.

Spokesman John Kirby says negotiations over the United States’ returning Iranian money from a decades-old account was conducted separately from the prisoner talks. But he says the U.S. withheld delivery of the cash as leverage until the U.S. citizens had left Iran.

Both events occurred Jan. 17.

Yes. That is a ransom. There are very good reasons that American doesn’t pay ransom demands. And in this case, Obama paid a ransom to a regime that hates America and actively funds terrorist organizations all over the world. What a disgrace.

Obama Abuses Office… Again

There was a time when an outgoing president would rise above the partisan fray and understand that it is unseemly for him to use the power of his office to disparage the potential choice of the citizens. That time has passed.

Washington (CNN)It’s one more historic barrier President Barack Obama has shattered.

His vehement warnings that GOP nominee Donald Trump is temperamentally and intellectually unfit for the Oval Office leave Obama standing apart from almost all of his 43 predecessors in the extent to which he has publicly expressed a hostile attitude to a potential successor.
During yet another turbulent week in a convention-busting election campaign, Obama cloaked himself in the symbolism-laden settings of the Pentagon and an appearance with a foreign dignitary in the White House to denounce Trump as “unfit” for the Oval Office.
His intent was not merely to stage a political intervention to improve the election chances of fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton and with it the likelihood of securing his legacy.

Obama creates path for a nuclear Iran

My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here it is:

While political pundits and talking heads posing as serious people passionately debated whether or not Ted Cruz should have endorsed Donald Trump last week, we learned that the deal our current president made with Iran had secret provisions that made a dangerous deal even more perilous.

Given the fact that virtually every foreign policy initiative by President Barack Obama has ended in disaster (Libya, ISIS, Iraq, Russia, Ukraine, Boko Haram, etc.), he set out to solve one of our nation’s most enduring and difficult foreign policy problems: Iran. For years, America has sought to curb the nuclear ambitions of terrorist-supporting Iran by isolating it through sanctions and pressure through international organizations.

Obama told us there was a better way. He engaged Iran in talks and ended up with an agreement he said would protect the world from a nuclear Iran for generations to come. He was wrong at the time and the recent revelations show he might have actually accelerated Iran’s nuclear program.

Up until last year, Iran was on the proverbial ropes. International sanctions drastically limited its ability to sell its primary export, oil, on the world market and the collapse in the price of oil was further hurting its economy. This drastically limited the influx of hard currency into Iran and made it tough for it to fund its nuclear ambitions. Obama changed all of that. In exchange for Iran’s promise to cut back the number of centrifuges to a few older models, ship some of its enriched uranium out of the country and allow international inspectors, Obama lifted the sanctions to allow billions of dollars to flow into Iran and released millions more in Iranian funds that were frozen since Iran tookAmerican hostages.

Obama soothed Americans by promising, “We have now cut off every single path that Iran could have used to build a bomb.” That was a lie before we knew of the secret side deal.

The core problem with the deal is it requires that Iran will live up to its promises despite decades of provocations, funding of terrorists, creating fake companies to get around sanctions, stonewalling inspectors and lying about its nuclear program. Indeed, in the few months since the deal was signed, Iran has stonewalled more inspectors and been implicated in cyber attacks on American infrastructure.

But even if one lives in Obama’s fantasy world where Iran can be trusted, he cut a side deal, giving Iran a faster path to a nuclear weapon. According to a report by the Associated Press, the secret side deal allows Iran to begin replacing its old, less-efficient centrifuges with far more advanced centrifuges after 10 years. While Iran will still have fewer centrifuges than it does now, the newer models will allow it to enrich uranium at more than twice the rate that it can do now. This would reduce its breakout time — the time it would take to create enough enriched uranium to make a bomb — from the current estimate of a year to less than six months.

This means that Obama’s deal with Iran lifts sanctions allowing Iran to bring in billions of dollars to fund its nuclear ambitions for the next decade, and then use the money to buy equipment that can create a nuclear weapon faster than it can now. And that assumes Iran abides by the agreement and does not start installing more-advanced centrifuges even sooner.

Despite Obama’s assurances he has “cut off every single path that Iran could have used to build a bomb,” he has made America and the world less safe by actually allowing Iran access to the money and equipment necessary to enter the nuclear club even sooner.

Secret Addendum to Iran Deal Allows Faster Path to Nuke

Yes, there was some secret fine print that allowed President Obama to lie to the American people about the strength of the deal.

Details published earlier outline most restraints on Iran’s nuclear program meant to reduce the threat that Tehran will turn nuclear activities it says are peaceful to making weapons.

But although some of the constraints extend for 15 years, documents in the public domain are short on details of what happens with Iran’s most proliferation-prone nuclear activity – its uranium enrichment – beyond the first 10 years of the agreement.

The document obtained by the AP fills in the gap. It says that as of January 2027 – 11 years after the deal was implemented – Iran will start replacing its mainstay centrifuges with thousands of advanced machines.

Centrifuges churn out uranium to levels that can range from use as reactor fuel and for medical and research purposes to much higher levels for the core of a nuclear warhead. From year 11 to 13, says the document, Iran will install centrifuges up to five times as efficient as the 5,060 machines it is now restricted to using.

Those new models will number less than those being used now, ranging between 2,500 and 3,500, depending on their efficiency, according to the document. But because they are more effective, they will allow Iran to enrich at more than twice the rate it is doing now.

Components other than centrifuge numbers and efficiency also go into the mix of how quickly a nation can make a nuclear weapon. They include how much enriched uranium it has to work with, and restrictions on Iran’s stockpile extend until the end of the deal, crimping its full enrichment program.

But a comparison of outputs between the old and newer machines shows the newer ones work at double the enrichment rate. That means they would reduce the time Iran could make enough weapons grade uranium to six months or less from present estimates of one year.

And that time frame could shrink even more. While the document doesn’t say what happens with centrifuge numbers and types past year 13, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told The AP that Iran will be free to install any number of advanced centrifuges beyond that point, even though the nuclear deal extends two additional years..

Remember these heady assurances?

Whereas Iran was steadily expanding its nuclear program, we have now cut off every single path that Iran could have used to build a bomb.  Whereas it would have taken Iran two to three months to break out with enough material to rush to a bomb, we’ve now extended that breakout time to a year

Except there will be a path to a bomb and the breakout time will be much less than a year. But other than that…

Obama Endorses Clinton

As I said weeks ago, the fix is in for Clinton. She won’t be indicted. Obama wouldn’t have endorsed her if she was going to be.

President Obama has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party presidential nominee.

His endorsement came after meeting Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who has been battling Mrs Clinton for the nomination.

Speaking in a video tweeted out by Mrs Clinton, Mr Obama said she may be the most qualified person “ever” for the role of president.

What a (not-so) shockingly ignorant statement by Obama. Just to get started… Washington, Adams (both of them), Jackson, Polk, Cleveland, T. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush 41… were all more qualified than Hillary Clinton. Even her husband was more qualified than she is. At least he ran a state as a chief executive.

Obama’s Dangerous Naivete

Yep.

History doesn’t teach that waiting for humans to ascend to some moral plane that the Obamas of the world think they inhabit is a good way to grapple with danger. Obama has bet our future on the notion that the Iranians will cast aside their religious fanaticism and, with it, the nuclear weapons that he has permitted them to have. That won’t happen. Like George W. Bush before him, Obama thinks others want the same things we want. They don’t.

By failing to take forceful action against Iran – yes, even through war as a last resort – to prevent the Mullahbomb, Obama has placed future generations of Americans in mortal danger. These fanatics will build their weapons, and their missiles, and one day either use them or give them to someone else who will. Feel-good moments in Hiroshima notwithstanding.

Obama Lifts Arms Embargo on Vietnam

Once again, Obama acts unilaterally.

Yet it’s just bizarre that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry seem to think that our embargo was more of a problem than the Communism itself. Even if Red China is itching for a war in the South China Sea.

Arms to Vietnam have a certain logic. It’s like Winston Churchill saying, when the Nazis entered Stalin’s Russia, that if Hitler invaded Hell he’d at least make a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.

In Southeast Asia the theory is that the Communists in China are more of a threat to American interests than the Communists in Vietnam, China’s traditional foe. Yet Obama is denying that the end of the arms embargo is linked to China.

It was, he insisted, based on “our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with Vietnam.” But he has brushed aside all sorts of red flags about the nature of the regime.

Human Rights Watch sent him a letter nearly a month ago, warning of what he was dealing with in Vietnam’s Communist camarilla. It called Vietnam’s government “one of the most repressive in the world.”

Here’s the thing… I support the selling of arms to Vietnam, but not for the reasons Obama states. As the column above mentions, China has been aggressively expanding into the South China Sea. They are creating islands and placing military bases on them in order to exert control over one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. They have threatened the United States and other nations who venture into their new “territorial waters.” China is clearly a large geopolitical threat that is emerging into a superpower at the expense of America.

Allowing the Vietnamese, who have historically opposed China, access to advanced American weaponry makes sense as a counterweight in the region. Of course, doing so is to accept the likelihood that the Vietnamese government will continue to do what it it does – oppress the Vietnamese people.

So we have this odd situation where Obama, whose philosophy should lead him to defend the right of the oppressed, is making a decision to oppress them more. Why? Because another part of Obama’s philosophy likes Communism and hates American global dominance. Obama is making the decision to lift the arms embargo as a salve to what he views as America’s wrongs. His rationale is offensive and idiotic, but his decision is correct.

Obama’s Salary Regulation Cuts off Upward Mobility

Yep.

Scholz predicted employers will restructure, moving salaried people to hourly wages and then strictly enforcing their hours.

“The other thing is: You (as an employer) will lose your middle management,” Scholz said. As former managers’ responsibilities are spread around, “you have weakened the management of your company.”

And if those things happen, Scholz added, “You have taken away a career path,” for those who would have worked their way through lower-paid salary positions to higher ones.

Obama Sets New Overtime Regulations

Sigh

Under the new rules finalized today, those who earn a salary of less than $47,476 a year will automatically qualify for overtime pay of time-and-a-half if they work more than 40 hours a week. Previously, those who earned more than $23,660 were exempt from overtime pay. The new rules will affect 4.2 million workers in the U.S. when they go into effect starting Dec. 1.

First, here we go again with Obama enacting a fairly radical change in the national economy via executive action. Is this a good idea? I don’t think so, but we don’t even get to debate it, do we? There was no debate. No hearings. Nobody in Congress had to vote on it. This was just something that Obama and his minions did. And it’s not like they increased the threshold by 5% or 10%. They more than doubled it.

Second, on the merits of the rule change, it once again ignores the real world ramifications. Or does it? It might be that Obama is well aware of the negative consequences but figures that the positive press the he will get outweighs the consequences that other people will suffer. In any case, this introduces a significant cost increase for businesses and they can’t just print money like the federal government. It has to come from somewhere. So, here are just a few things that businesses are likely to do to employees impacted by this rule in response:

  • Increase salary to $47,477 for a few, fire a few, and work the remaining employees harder
  • Switch employees to hourly, drop benefits, and hire more to cover the workload
  • Focus purely on outcomes. Employees will be required to get their work load done in 40 hours even if it used to take them 50. If they can’t hack it, fire them and find someone who can.
  • Strip out things like PTO, training, team meetings, professional development, etc. from the schedule to allow for more direct work.
  • Outsource to either 1099 workers or overseas

But, of course, Obama gets to pat himself on the back for “helping the common man” or some such nonsense.

 

Obama Directs Schools

What?

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

A letter to school districts will go out Friday, adding to a highly charged debate over transgender rights in the middle of the administration’s legal fight with North Carolina over the issue. The declaration — signed by Justice and Education department officials — will describe what schools should do to ensure that none of their students are discriminated against.

It does not have the force of law, but it contains an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid.

First, it is simply unAmerican for the president to issue a decree to state public schools.

Second, there must be an election coming up. After all, we have liberals drumming up a divisive social issue that wasn’t an issue for generations… until today. They won the gay culture war, so now they need something new to create division and call their opponents bigots.

Soldier Sues Obama Over IS War

He has a point.

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Army captain sued President Barack Obama on Wednesday, alleging that he doesn’t have the proper congressional authority to wage war against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Capt. Nathan Michael Smith filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Washington as the president is deploying more special operations forces to the region — and a day after a Navy SEAL was killed in combat in Iraq, the third since a U.S.-led coalition launched its campaign against the Islamic State in the summer of 2014.

Smith supports the war on military and moral grounds and considers the Islamic State an “army of butchers.” But he wants the court to tell Obama that he needs to ask Congress for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

The White House did not comment on the lawsuit.

To fight IS, Obama has been relying on congressional authorizations given to President George W. Bush for the war on al-Qaida and the invasion of Iraq. Critics say the White House’s use of post-9/11 congressional authorizations is a legal stretch at best.

I suspect that the courts will be very reluctant to intervene in this separation of powers issue.