Saturday, September 20, 2014

WHITE HOUSE LIMITS PRESS

While the liberal media portrays Democrats and the Obama administration in a positive light, at the same time the Obama administration has limited the information it allows the media to have.  The AP Washington Bureau Chief describes eight ways the Obama administration has done this.  The administration is even intimidating some reporters.

Politico also covers the censorship.  Intimidation of reporters is occurring.

REVENGE IN WISCONSIN

A Democrat district attorney and the media go after a person who leaked a story that was unfavorable to the Democrat D.A. as he pursued a vendetta against the Republican governor.

We all know that politics isn’t softball, but surely this is crossing a very bright red line. It also exposes the rather dirty nature of liberal Wisconsin politics and the media there who seem to be not only their willing surrogates, but their foot soldiers in the field.

PUTIN THREATENS EASTERN EUROPE

In a discussion with the Ukrainian President Putin said:

"If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest," Mr Putin allegedly told President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, reported Süddeustche Zeitung, a German newspaper.

ISIS & THE WASHINGTON ELITE

Angel Codevilla argues that the Washington crowd is fooling itself in this fight with ISIS.

This indulgence so overwhelms our ruling class’s perception of reality that the recipes put forth by its several wings, little different from one another, are identical in the one essential respect: none of them involve any plans which, if carried out, would destroy the Islamic State, kill large numbers of the cut-throats, and discourage others from following in their footsteps. Hence, like the George W. Bush’s “war on terror” and for the same reasons, this exercise of our ruling class’s wisdom in foreign affairs will decrease respect for us while invigorating our enemies.

The quote by Representative Duncan Hunter (R, CA) is right on:  “We need to crush ISIS and not work on arming more Islamic radicals. Just what would arming these people accomplish?”

Evidently the CIA doesn't think the Obama ISIS policy has a chance.

He added that, as the CIA sees it, the ramped-up backing of rebels is an expansion of a strategy that is already not working. “The CIA also believes that its previous assignment to accomplish this was basically a fool’s errand, and they are well aware of the fact that many of the arms that they provided ended up in the wrong hands,” the congressman said, echoing intelligence sources.


Also troubling is that the ambassador handling ISIS policy, Anne Patterson, was a supporter of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  She is not well-liked in Egypt as a result.  Also she was very optimistic about US policy in Libya--Libya is in shambles (not to mention the Benghazi affair).

The country seems to be in the very best of hands.


But the founder of Blackwater says he could take care of the job, but the Obama administration put this controversial private contractor out-of-business. 


“It’s a shame the [Obama] administration crushed my old business, because as a private organization, we could’ve solved the boots-on-the-ground issue, we could have had contracts from people that want to go there as contractors; you don’t have the argument of U.S. active duty going back in there,” Prince said in an on-stage discussion featuring retired four-star Gen. James Conway. “[They could have] gone in there and done it, and be done, and not have a long, protracted political mess that I predict will ensue.”

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

CONSERVATIVES AND LIBERALS

Megan McArdle discusses the liberals as the new authoritarians.

Jonathan Haidt, one of my favorite social scientists, studies morality by presenting people with scenarios and asking whether what happened was wrong. Conservatives and liberals give strikingly different answers, with extreme liberals claiming to place virtually no value at all on things like group loyalty or sexual purity.

Jeremy Frimer, the author of the piece, noticed that socialists seemed unable to tolerate even mild questioning of Che Guevara’s eminently questionable legacy. Frimer is a researcher at the University of Winnipeg, and he decided to investigate. What he found is that liberals are actually very comfortable with authority and obedience -- as long as the authorities are liberals (“should you obey an environmentalist?”). And that conservatives then became much less willing to go along with “the man in charge.”

Monday, September 01, 2014

OBAMA CREDITS BUSH-CHENEY?

From The Weekly Standard.

President Barack Obama said last night at a Democratic fundraiser in Rhode Island that the terrorism from ISIS "doesn’t immediately threaten the homeland." The reason? The security measures taken by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to Obama.

First the president said the situation in the Middle East is "scary," according to a transcript of the event released by the White House.

"I don’t have to tell you, anybody who has been watching TV this summer, it seems like it is just wave after wave ofupheaval, most of it surrounding the Middle East. You’re seeing a change in the order in the Middle East. But the old order is having a tough time holding together and the new order has yet to be born, and in the interim, it’s scary."

Then he told the Democratic donors not to worry because measures put in place by Bush and Cheney "make us ... pretty safe."

But he obviously doesn't mention Bush or Cheney in his speech.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

OBAMA DOES HAVE A STRATEGY

Michael Ledeen argues that Obama does have a plan--he is trying to establish an alliance with Iran and is using Valerie Jarrett (of Iranian descent) as a major intermediary to the ayatollahs.

The actual strategy is detente first, and then a full alliance with Iran throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It has been on display since before the beginning of the Obama administration. During his first presidential campaign in 2008, Mr. Obama used a secret back channel to Tehran to assure the mullahs that he was a friend of the Islamic Republic, and that they would be very happy with his policies. The secret channel was Ambassador William G. Miller, who served in Iran during the shah’s rule, as chief of staff for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and as ambassador to Ukraine. Ambassador Miller has confirmed to me his conversations with Iranian leaders during the 2008 campaign.

Ever since, President Obama’s quest for an alliance with Iran has been conducted through at least four channels: Iraq, Switzerland (the official U.S. representative to Tehran), Oman and a variety of American intermediaries, the most notable of whom is probably Valerie Jarrett, his closest adviser. In recent months, Middle Eastern leaders reported personal visits from Ms. Jarrett, who briefed them on her efforts to manage the Iranian relationship. This was confirmed to me by a former high-ranking American official who says he was so informed by several Middle Eastern leaders.

THE PENTAGON AS SCAPEGOAT

A pretty strong indictment of President Obama by Charles Krauthammer regarding Obama's leadership and decision-making process.


PUTIN'S LATEST MOVES INTO UKRAINE

Andrew Stuttaford at the National Review writes about the "Guns of August" which is a term used regarding the start of battles in World War I.  He quotes from an article by Anne Applebaum in Slate which discusses the new maps circulating in Russia showing the borders of Catherine the Great.

…In the past few days, Russian troops bearing the flag of a previously unknown country, Novorossiya, have marched across the border of southeastern Ukraine. The Russian Academy of Sciences recently announced it will publish a history of Novorossiya this autumn, presumably tracing its origins back to Catherine the Great. Various maps of Novorossiya are said to be circulating in Moscow. Some include Kharkov and Dnipropetrovsk, cities that are still hundreds of miles away from the fighting. Some place Novorossiya along the coast, so that it connects Russia to Crimea and eventually to Transnistria, the Russian-occupied province of Moldova. Even if it starts out as an unrecognized rump state—Abkhazia and South Ossetia, “states” that Russia carved out of Georgia, are the models here—Novorossiya can grow larger over time….

Applebaum is predicting that Putin will test NATO in the foreseeable future.  Stuttaford discusses other the comments of several other writers critical of Obama and the West's response and indicating a growing fear in Eastern Europe about Russian aggression against them.

Friday, August 29, 2014

IMPORTANCE OF HISTORY

From the Atlantic Monthly.  The author's view of the importance of history is confined by his philosophical and political biases.  And his understanding of World War I is rather limited.  I read this and wondered why would anyone want to study history after reading this.

STOPPING ISIS

Henry Kissinger has an essay on the need for a new geopolitical response to the events in the Middle East and the Ukraine.

To play a responsible role in the evolution of a 21st-century world order, the U.S. must be prepared to answer a number of questions for itself: What do we seek to prevent, no matter how it happens, and if necessary alone? What do we seek to achieve, even if not supported by any multilateral effort? What do we seek to achieve, or prevent, only if supported by an alliance? What should we not engage in, even if urged on by a multilateral group or an alliance? What is the nature of the values that we seek to advance? And how much does the application of these values depend on circumstance?

For the U.S., this will require thinking on two seemingly contradictory levels. The celebration of universal principles needs to be paired with recognition of the reality of other regions' histories, cultures and views of their security. Even as the lessons of challenging decades are examined, the affirmation of America's exceptional nature must be sustained. History offers no respite to countries that set aside their sense of identity in favor of a seemingly less arduous course. But nor does it assure success for the most elevated convictions in the absence of a comprehensive geopolitical strategy.


While Obama is looking for a strategy, Angelo Codevilla, writes about his proposals to end the ISIS threat at The Federalist.  The physical destruction of ISIS is one thing but it is the spirit of ISIS that must be destroyed.  He also advocates pressuring Qatar and Turkey who are giving ISIS support.

Killing the IS requires neither more nor less than waging war—not as the former administration waged its “war on terror,” nor by the current administration’s pinpricks, nor according to the too-clever-by-half stratagems taught in today’s politically correct military war colleges, but rather by war in the dictionary meaning of the word. To make war is to kill the spirit as well as the body of the enemy, so terribly as to make sure that it will not rise again, and that nobody will want to imitate it.
A captured Dell computer reveals Isis plans, including the use of biological warfare.

The laptop also includes a 26-page fatwa, or Islamic ruling, on the usage of weapons of mass destruction. "If Muslims cannot defeat the kafir[unbelievers] in a different way, it is permissible to use weapons of mass destruction," states the fatwa by Saudi jihadi cleric Nasir al-Fahd, who is currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. "Even if it kills all of them and wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth."

ISIS has another recruit, the Fort Hood shooter.  I thought the government and the media said this guy wasn't a terrorist lurking in the military?  

And the government and media do not seem concerned about terrorists crossing the Mexican border. On ABC Nightly News this Friday there was no mention of this possibility.

Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

Chechens trained ISIS fighters.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

RUSSIAN FORCES MOVING INTO UKRAINE

Headline in WAPO column written by Jennifer Rubin:  "Russia Invades, Obama Expresses 'Concern'". "Concern" is a rather low-key response to a major step in Russian involvement in the Ukraine.  It is a rather tepid word and I am sure Putin is not particularly alarmed.  Putin is going to keep pushing since there is no resistance from Washington or Europe.

“These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway in Donetsk and Luhansk. Clearly, that is of deep concern to us,” a State Department spokeswoman said yesterday. She could not have been more inoffensive. Oh, the administration is also “concerned by the Russian Government’s unwillingness to tell the truth even as its soldiers are found 30 miles inside Ukraine. Russia is sending its young men into Ukraine but are telling – are not telling them where they’re going or telling their parents what they’re doing.” The spokeswoman further indicated that we wouldn’t change our policy of refusing to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

NEWS COVERAGE OF ISRAEL

Matt Friedman, a former AP reporter, writes about how the American media covers Israel, Gaza, and the Middle East.  Instead of reporting news, the major news outlets have established the scenario they wish to report and assume that exist.  They are so focused on Jews and Israel that they neglect or intentionally fail to cover what is happening in the Arab world from Gaza to Iraq and Syria.

The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. 

Israel is over-covered: Staffing is the best measure of the importance of a story to a particular news organization. When I was a correspondent at the AP, the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel and the Palestinian territories. That was significantly more news staff than the AP had in China, Russia, or India, or in all of the 50 countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. It was higher than the total number of news-gathering employees in all the countries where the uprisings of the “Arab Spring” eventually erupted.

Some examples of inadequate news coverage:

If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government. Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate. The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact, though anyone who has spent time with actual Palestinians understands that things are (understandably, in my opinion) more complicated. Who they are and what they want is not important: The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of the party that matters.

There has been much discussion recently of Hamas attempts to intimidate reporters. Any veteran of the press corps here knows the intimidation is real, and I saw it in action myself as an editor on the AP news desk. During the 2008-2009 Gaza fighting I personally erased a key detail—that Hamas fighters were dressed as civilians and being counted as civilians in the death toll—because of a threat to our reporter in Gaza. (The policy was then, and remains, not to inform readers that the story is censored unless the censorship is Israeli. Earlier this month, the AP’s Jerusalem news editor reported and submitted a story on Hamas intimidation; the story was shunted into deep freeze by his superiors and has not been published.)

In early 2009, for example, two colleagues of mine obtained information that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had made a significant peace offer to the Palestinian Authority several months earlier, and that the Palestinians had deemed it insufficient. This had not been reported yet and it was—or should have been—one of the biggest stories of the year. The reporters obtained confirmation from both sides and one even saw a map, but the top editors at the bureau decided that they would not publish the story.


All of this means is that Americans are not reading or seeing the real story, not just about Israel, but about the hopes and dreams of Palestinians who often live in fear of Hamas and other radicals.