Tag Archives: Barack Obama

President Obama’s Prison Visit & the Folly of the Left

Today President Obama became the first American President to visit a prison while in office. The core of his visit was to promote his newest campaign, reforming the criminal justice system. Now this is an issue many conservatives can actually get behind with prominent GOP members such as Rand Paul questioning the logic and wisdom of the current sentencing system. But as Barack Obama has done so many times before he takes an issue where bipartisan progress could be made and turns it into a leftist wet dream. In this case he is advocating increased spending on early childhood education. What? Anyway…

President Obama Visits Federal Prison

President Obama Visits Federal Prison

Buried inside his long wordy statement was a tremendously insightful glimpse into the leftist mind. The President said we should all look at the conditions in prison and be grateful that there but for the grace of god go we. WRONG. The president, like the institutional left, seems to think each of us is equally bad and but for luck we could have ended up in prison. WRONG. The vast majority of Americans are not in prison because they decided to NOT COMMIT CRIMES! Those who are there decided to break the law or hang around with those who did. They are not there because they learned to count watching Sesame Street and not in Pre-K, but because they lacked the self control to obey the law. Life isn’t easy for most people. Almost everyone has been in a bad place at one time or another where there was an easy way out that was not legal. The difference is the vast majority of people chose not to commit a crime. Many of us on the right would agree life in prison for a first offense drug dealer and 20 years for a bank robber is not fair and sentencing needs to be re-balanced. But the left has fundamentally believes there are no bad people and nobody is responsible for their own action.

The solution to crime is not more unionized teachers babysitting Pre-K or hot school lunches for all. Crime reduction will only be achieved when parents as well as the community teach people right from wrong, good from bad and to accept personal responsibility for your actions. America is a nation where the quality of an individual should not be judged by the size of one’s wallet and where we believe in second chances and redemption. But there are consequences to actions and while second chances are noble, repeat felons are not “unfortunate”, they are just bad and should be treated very humanly in prison. Sorry Mister President, your prison photo-op was a flop, but rather insightful.

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Filed under Barack Obama, crime, justice, Leftist Myths, Liberals

Nuclear Agreement with Iran; A Historical Disaster

An Agreement in the Fine European Tradition of Appeasement

In a rush to chalk up some diplomatic achievement in the waning days of a presidency characterized by foreign policy naivete, confusion and failure, President Obama trumpeted the deal reached today with Iran. This agreement confirms international recognition of Iran as a nuclear power while allowing Iran to continue weapons research while impeding production during its term. In exchange Iran grants inspection rights to the United Nations while simply ignoring the question of access to all military facility. Most notably the international sanctions placed on Iran, one of the worlds foremost terrorist nations come to an end. After the 15 year term of the agreement restrictions on and access to Iran’s nuclear facilities come to an abrupt end. Welcome the Islamic Bomb. Neville Chamberlin would be proud of this uniquely European deal which has as its center peace appeasement.

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry Champion Appeasement in Nuclear Deal with Terrorist Iran

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry Champion Appeasement in Nuclear Deal with Terrorist Iran

The central failure of this agreement involves its failure to restrict Iran’s research and the development of capability. Assuming it is honored by Iran, a very big assumption, it allows Iran to maintain 2% of its enriched uranium. Simplistically this sounds good as they must dispose of 98%. However all enriched uranium is not equal and weapons grade material requires considerable research and refinement. This is most important if a nation wants to not simply produce a crude bomb which can be delivered in the back of a truck. Iran has an aggressive ballistic missile development program not affected by this deal in any way. A warhead size bomb requires a very sophisticated design and Iran has just been given a green light to continue its work towards a nuclear ballistic missile capability.

Proponents are pointing to a two thirds reduction in centrifuges, however we again run into the question of technological quality; all centrifuges are not created equal. Only a small number of centrifuges are required to continue full scale research. At the end of the agreement, of at any point during its term if Iran chooses to violate, they can simply commission a large number of new centrifuges, a process which would take months if not weeks.

In exchange for relatively minor concessions from Iran President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have given up the store. The sanctions which brought the Iranians to the table will be gone. Make no mistake our appeasement friendly allies in Europe will quickly move to commercially profit from this and once gone will never return. The Iranians showed up for these negotiations with a weak hand and leave with the candy store near fully stocked. Not bad for the leading terrorist state in the world.

President Obama today reminded us that while congress has the right to review and vote on this his veto pen stands ready to stop any congressional “interference”. Well done President Obama; by classifying this as an agreement not a treaty you seem to have dodged the Treaty Clause of the Constitution. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution grants to the President the ability to negotiate and sign treaty but then requires the advice and consent represented by a 2/3 vote of the Senate for the treaty to be ratified. Constitutional government is an inconvenient thing to leaders who seek to exercise unilateral power. Foreign parties should be fully aware that this agreement is not binding on the Government of the United States of America but only on the Obama Administration. At 12:01pm EDT on January 20, 2017 there will be a new administration in power. One only hopes they have a different view of appeasing terrorist states.

Desperation in diplomacy is never a good thing. To be sure the Iranian nuclear threat may be the most complicated and serious foreign policy dilemma since the fall of Soviet Communism. There are no good military options and the use of diplomacy is itself a positive thing. But bad deals are just bad deals and they help nobody in the long run. President Obama in advancing this agreement has imposed a terrible price of the future of the United States, one his successors will have to clean up, simply to get a hideous agreement he can put on a display wall at his soon to be built presidential museum and claim it as an accomplishment.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Foreign Policy, Iran, John Kerry, Terrorism

The Face of Evil: ISIS Demonstrates the Inhumanity of Islamofascism

Today we were all saddened with the formal news we had all feared, the death of Kayla Mueller at the hands of her ISIS captors. This was a young woman who went to Syria because she wanted to aid in relieving the suffering of the Syrian people at the hands of their corrupt leaders. Today we saw statements form Kayla’s friends and family and their pain was hard to watch. All America stands with her family in their grief and mourns the loss of a very special life far too soon. This comes just over a week after the posting of ISIS Burning captured Jordanian Pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh was announced by the Islamofascist group. Moral relativists would tell you we need to understand why ISIS would be led to perform such atrocities. The truth is much simpler; ISIS and its Islamofascist philosophy are the face of pure evil in the world today.

Jordanian Pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh Murdered by ISIS

After much thought a screen capture from that video of the insane slaughter of the pilot has been included with this post as it is important to see what ISIS has done. In performing such acts the killings of Kayla and Moaz the Islamofascists have surrendered any claim to humanity they had. They are a cancerous growth on humanity and like any malignancy, they must be eliminated. The reality is we will see more such acts, and given ISIS’s progression towards increasingly sadistic acts, the worst is yet to come.

What is equally starling are the differences in our two nation’s responses. King Abdullah II of Jordan pledged to wage war and wipe the ISIS infestation off the face of the planet.  Spending much of his time since the execution became public with his troops, he has said ‘The only problem we’re going to have is running out of fuel and bullets.’ True leaders lead and can come from any nation great or small. Jordan is fortunate to be lead by a courageous leader and his time in history is now.

Contrast that with comments made by President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast when he compared the atrocities of Islamofascists with the acts of Christian crusaders more than 500 years ago. The Democrat administration continues to use the minimum amount of force needed to keep the American people and their representatives in congress from removing the decision from his failed Presidency. The world should have no misunderstanding; Barack Obama does not speak for the majority of the American people. He has abdicated that responsibility.

Barack Obama and King Abdullah II of Jordan WH Photo

We are past the point of taking legal or legislative action against President Obama; he is a lame duck and will be on the stage for less than 2 years. Yet if left unchecked by Western Democracies ISIS will morph during that period into something even more depraved than it is today. One act the Congress could take is to drop all discussions on Approval of Force resolutions and instead pass an unambiguous Declaration of War against ISIS and any state or group providing support. Even will all his arrogance, I suspect Barack Obama would realize vetoing the Declaration of War would be political suicide, assuming the Declaration was passed by less than a veto proof majority.

It may be unpopular in some circles to say this, but President George W. Bush was right in that we are engaged in a multi generational struggle that will determine the very nature of humanity in the future. The responsibility lies with each and every one of us to ensure the scourge of Islamofascism is wiped from the face of the earth.  The more we wait the more death and misery will be endured.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, Islamofascism, Politics, Terrorism

War, Peace and Political Cowards: Debating Conflict with ISIS

As a nation America is now engaged in a debate about a potential full scale war with the islamofascist group ISIS. At its face there is little debate that ISIS is a modern manifestation of evil with social media savvy which must be eliminate before it gets to the point where such elimination is either not possible or has caused damage that will make the events of 9/11 seem tame. This post is not going to debate the virtuous goal of wiping the ISIS infection from the planet but rather the political dance currently going on and the widespread political cowardness being demonstrated in Washington. Let’s be fair, there are some who have taken well thought out policy positions, at considerable political risk. Senator Rand Paul favoring very restrictive use of force to Senator Lindsey Graham who favors a virtually unlimited authority for fight the Islamofascists.  Then there are the fast majority of politicians who are desperately trying to hide from being the ones to make the decision to send America back to the Mideast in what is almost certain to end up another large ground war. No one epitomizes this more than former Secretary of State and presumptive Democrat nominee for President Hillary Clinton who seems to be using a “Grandma Strategy” to be avoiding any public statements on the largest foreign policy debate of the election cycle and which emerged in large part as a result of the policy of the State Department she led. We are not going to debate the policy positions today but rather the growing game of political hot potato being played. It’s almost spring in Washington and the Yellow Back flowers of Capital Hill and the White House are in full bloom.

Constitutional Confusion

Dating back to the administration of our first President George Washington, the Constitution has provided ample opportunity for confusion over the requisite authority needed for the United States to wage war. This is not entirely accidental as during the constitutional convention which drafted the Constitution, the delegated debated the same core issue we are today, the respective powers of the Executive Branch personified by the President and the Legislative being Congress. At the time the debate and the resultant compromise was less of an imperative as waging a war in the 18th Century was a relatively time consuming process of raising an Army and or Navy and then dispatching it into harm’s way. Short of an enemy fleet arriving on our shore without notice, an event which would clearly result in war, there was time to work the process to resolution. The founding Fathers could never have anticipated our world where wars are fought in real time. Just imaging George Washington’s reaction to a B-2 crew who after breakfast with their family near their bases in the heartland go to work, board one of the most power weapon systems ever developed, take off and several refuelings later bomb targets in the middle east and then turn around and after a few more refuelings  land back home just about a day later. This is a challenge for which the constitution was not written.

President George Washington in Uniform at Fort Cumberland Prior to the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794

First let’s understand the inherent constitutional conflict. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 clearly gives Congress the power to declare war. Additionally the same section specifically gives power to the Congress to establish, provide for and maintain a Navy and Land Forces of the United States. It actually reads rather clear. The complicating factor is Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 which makes the elected President the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (thus clearly establishing civilian control). Now in the late 18th century this kind of made sense as Congress could have lots of time to debate while the President readied his forces to execute any Declaration of War which Congress may ultimately issue. They never envisioned the military technology of today which has made war fighting real time but more importantly they never envisioned the television camera in the 24 hour news cycle. Get ready your hair care products and makeup, congress is ready to debate; well at least a few members.

Yet for all the complexity assumed to be the foundation of the modern debate, simply reading the constitution, word for word, a few times seems to indeed provide much clarity. Congress has the sole power to declare war and once declared the President has the authority to carry out that war. Now the real issue is that congress is totally unwilling to step up and declare war. The last formal declaration of war by the United States was June 5, 1942 when a declaration was passed by unanimous votes of both houses against Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. Those actions we fought since the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf War (1991), Afghanistan and Iraq as well as number of smaller conflicts have been fought with some ad hoc form of congressional resolution. Presidents, with the possible exception of the current, have been more than willing to pick up the ball congress has dropped. In 1973 congress passed the War Powers Resolution which became law over the veto of a Watergate weakened Richard Nixon. However a core element of that legislation is the ability of congress within 30 days to vote to end conflicts is the so called congressional veto. That mechanism was declared unconstitutional in 1983 (INS v Chadha) and thus most likely would not have any weight today, other than political. The result is a brain numbing debate that occurs every time we face an international threat and always results in some overly vague (think Gulf of Tonkin) congressional dribble.

Today’s Debate over ISIS

Leaving the merits of the conflict with ISIS aside for this discussion, it seems like the debate we are in, as the great 20th century philosopher Yogi Berra said “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” President Obama is showing no leadership and we are engaging in mission creep chillingly reminiscent of Vietnam. After waiting two years  and not intervening until it seemed like the Iraq government was about to fall, the President unilaterally launched an air war only with commitment to not put American boots on the ground. Within a month he authorized up to 300 advisors and targeting support personal. Within months we had up to 3,000 advisors. Here we go again. One of the core lessons we took away from Vietnam was never to go to war without a clear mission and a commitment by the people by way of the Congress to achieve that mission. Let there be no doubt young American men and women in uniform are going to die fighting ISIS. The insanely barbaric of a Jordanian pilot captured after his aircraft was shot down is just a preview. Another lesson of Vietnam is an AK47 can bring down multi-million dollar jets.  Every member of congress should be required, without cameras to play up to, to go to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington before this congressional circus goes any further. Having been to the memorial numerous times, there is something haunting about the more than 58,000 names etched in the black granite. Brave young Americans who answered their country’s call and their days cut tragically short. The one lesson congress must take from this is they need to step up and meet their constitutional responsibility.

President Obama in the White House Situation Room

Like Vietnam 50 years ago, we face a conflict where the only certainty about its future is uncertainty. We must, congress and the American people, make a decision to either engage ISIS with the full weight of American military power or walk away and let regional powers resolve the problem in some way. Life is about the choices we make; choices and their consequences. If we engage there will be a major war and American lives will be lost. Those losses will occur on the battlefield, in the air above and most likely in the homeland as ISIS will bring the fight to America in some form. If we walk away we likely will have to deal with a world with an ISIS controlled state, the size and nature of we can hardly imagine. Congress must make a choice, the President most certainly will not.

For me in this debate, as it has for the last 226 years the Constitution provided clear guidance. The Congress must either pass a clear and unrestricted Declaration of War. The President must then either sign that declaration and then fight the resulting war with vigor to victory or veto the declaration. Decisions must be made, forget politics and ignore perceived places in history. Look into the eyes of late teens and early twenty something men and women who will be called upon in one way or another to pay the price of that decision, or worse, indecision. They deserve leaders who lead, not elected cowards who hide within the Beltway. Those young men and women will show extraordinary courage if called upon just as previous generations have and continue to in Afghanistan. Congress and the President must show political courage that pales in comparison and make a choice. Just as importantly the American people much stand and be counted. Cowboy up.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Islamofascism, Politics, United States Constitution

The Supreme Court Sends Obamacare Back to the People, Where it Rightfully Belongs.

“Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war.”  William Shakespeare

Like many conservatives I had come to hope the United States Supreme Court would not only put an end to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but would also breathe life into the 10th Amendment by placing much needed limitation on the “Commerce Clause”. That hope was awkward and indeed misplaces as one who has opposed judicial activism relying on the court to overturn a legislative act was uncomfortable. It ended just after 10 am yesterday as the court essentially upheld most of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. In doing so the court put Obamacare exactly where it belonged, in the hands of the American People who will almost certainly decide its fate at the ballot box November 6, 2012.

John G. Roberts, 17th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

To be clear, I disagree strongly with Chief Justice Roberts and his majority opinion, believing Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong dissent was on firmer constitutional ground. Yet my faith in the constitution and the institutions it defines necessitates respect for the decision of the court. I suspect history will long debate the words we first read yesterday but the fate of Obamacare has now passed back to the legislative branch the people who elect their representatives.

We can play “who wins the polls” all day and do nothing but waste hot air. What is clear is Obamacare has failed to secure the majority support among the American people that any major piece of social legislation (think Civil Rights which had strong majority bi-partisan support) has in modern American history. The President and the Democratic leaders in congress were hard pressed to pass the legislation despite strong majorities in both houses of congress. Indeed in all votes more Democrats voted in opposition to their own parties proposal than Republicans voting for healthcare. Then Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi famously told Democrats they had to pass the bill so the public would come to understand and support healthcare reform. Without a doubt this was the central issue in the 2010 Congressional election which resulted in significant Democratic losses in the senate and a near record loss in the House which saw control pass to the Republicans. Throughout the 112th Congress Obamacare has continued to be the focus of debate with the House passing legislation repealing and Senate democrats killing those bills without a vote. Indeed the repeal votes have been little more than political theater since with Barack Obama in the White House, no repeal can ever become law. So Republicans have had to settle for preventing key elements of Obamacare from being funded (such as IRS agents being hired to enforce the taxation elements).

Obamacare

Obamacare is the Largest Tax Increase in American History

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, the solution to this situation seems crystal clear as Obamacare now stands to be one of if not the central issue of the 2012 Presidential & Congressional elections. Indeed, it would seem that in authoring that decision, Chief Justice John Roberts may have helped the conservative cause much more than was first apparent. Clearly, the Obama fabrication that Obamacare was not a tax increase was undermined by his own Solicitor Generals oral argument and was killed in Roberts ruling. Republicans how have a clear case to present that Barack Obama has put into place the largest tax increase in American history, for the middle class and every other class. While initially less apparent but potentially of greater long term significant, Chief Justice Roberts has for the first time in modern history placed significant limits on the Commerce Clause, indeed stating that if the act had relied upon that it would have been unconstitutional. This guidance will live on for generations and many liberals may come to have considerable indigestion over this.

Mitt Romney Pledges to Repeal and Replace Obamacare as First Act Upon becoming President in the Wake of June 28th Supreme Court Decision

Thus Obamacare will be put to its most significant vote exactly where the decision should be made, by the American People. Mitt Romney was quick to say that if he is elected president and sworn in on January 20, 2013 his first act will be to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Given the GOP has a strong majority in the house and with 23 Democrats to just 10 Republicans up for election in the senate this year, a President Romney would almost certainly have majorities in both houses of congress. Obamacare would soon find a place of honor on the ash pile of history. However, if President Obama is reelected, it much less likely he would have both houses of congress, yet he would have a real mandate to move forward with Obamacare. He may well have to finally negotiate in a truly bi-partisan manner to realize the funding required to implement Obamacare, but he would have a moral mandate to move forward (even though we conservatives would like it no better). The only way Obamacare can be implemented as it now exists would be for the American People themselves to show their support by not only re-electing President Obama but giving the Pelosi-Reid Democrats a majority in both houses of Congress.

So the battle lines are drawn and the fight has been joined. Within 24 hours of the court’s decision Mitt Romney raised more than $5 million in small donor online funds and a yet unknown non-online donations. While many things have been said and debated about Barack Obama, one thing is for certain, he is the great unifier of Republicans. Mitt Romney in one day has seen significant divisions in his own base evaporate and conservatives find enthusiasm for his candidacy. Mitt Romney has become the great, if unlikely, savior of free market health care in America. Barack Obama is now clearly the advocate of socialized medicine and the massive tax increases which will be needed to affect such a program. To be certain there will be other issues in the 2012 election such as America’s role in the world, keeping American’s Safe and restoring our nation’s economic base and getting millions of Americans back to work. Yet the fate of health care in America is almost certainly to be decided in this election and the debate over it pivotal to the election itself.

Let the fight begin, it sure will not be boring.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Congress, Constitution, Free Markets, Health Care, Mitt Romney, Obama Administration, Politics, Supreme Court of the United States, Taxes, The White House, United States House of Representatives, US Senate