The Politics of Meaningless Distractions

Alaska's Arctic Wildlife RefugeFor some time the President and his allies have been practicing the politics of meaningless distractions. They pick a meaningless issue that the Republicans will react to and introduce it to the public using executive orders or similar approaches.

They’ve done it with EPA regulations, immigration reform and now they’re trying it with Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. All of these policies were seeking to inflame their opposition and deflect them from meaningful issues.

Part of the Republican’s problem is that with so many members they’re bound to have a number who will react to any given issue. In many cases the Republicans are simply undisciplined. In other cases they’re spoiling for a fight.

The President and his staff knows exactly what buttons to push in order to get a reaction.And they do it every time.

Obama recently announced that more than 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would be named as a wilderness area. This will cut off any and all opportunities to explore the resource-rich area for oil and gas.

Obama’s action drew an immediate response from Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), the new chair of the Senate Energy Committee.

Obama said in his statement:

Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge is an incredible place — pristine, undisturbed. It supports caribou and polar bears, all manner of marine life, countless species of birds and fish, and for centuries it supported many Alaska Native communities. But it’s very fragile.

To really get the ire of Republicans, the Interior Department announced that this just the first in a series of announcements that will affect the state’s oil and gas production.

The department will also put part of the Arctic Ocean off limits to drilling as part of a five-year leasing plan it will issue this week and is considering whether to impose additional limits on oil and gas production in parts of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Modern drilling techniques have very little impact on the land so these announcement are simply a way of goading the Republicans into some sort of meaningless fight.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said in a statement.

What’s coming is a stunning attack on our sovereignty and our ability to develop a strong economy that allows us, our children and our grandchildren to thrive,”  “It’s clear this administration does not care about us, and sees us as nothing but a territory. . . . I cannot understand why this administration is willing to negotiate with Iran, but not Alaska. But we will not be run over like this. We will fight back with every resource at our disposal..

Members of the administration responded in a measured way to Senator Murkowski’s outburst. John Podesta said:

I was hoping that a more balanced reaction would be forthcoming from some of the people who have commented on this.

So we hope that we can find cooperation so that that wilderness designation ultimately can go through in the Congress. But we don’t think that the reaction that particularly Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) had to this announcement was warranted.

You can expect more of this type of behavior from an administration that no longer has much control in the halls of Congress.

 

Is the White House right to protest Congress’ invitation to Netanyahu?

netanyahu-boehnerThe House of Representatives recently invited the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address a joint session of Congress. Seems simple enough. Israel is our long-time and faithful ally in the Middle East. How better to honor them by inviting their leader to talk to Congress on the issues of the day?

The Obama White House immediately reacted by positing that the Congressional invitation was a slap in the face to the White House and the Department of State. They also said that it was a violation of protocol. Their position was quite simply this: all power to interact with foreign leaders, friend or foe, is vested in the Executive Branch.

Didn’t the Founders frame the Constitution in the light of an over-bearing chief executive, namely the King of England and his ministers?

Have we come full circle and returned to pre-1787 with the legislative and judicial branches mere appendages of the executive?

This unfortunate slide into the imperial President has been accelerating over the past 100 years starting with the Woodrow Wilson administration. Along the way there have been a number of clashes between the Executive and Legislative Branches.

Perhaps the primary attempts to slow the growth of the unbridled power of the Presidency have been associated with the War Powers Resolution of 1973. It is a federal law intended to check the president’s power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of Congress.

It was a reaction to the commitment of large numbers of troops to the fighting during the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, most president’s have objected to the curtailment of their powers to commit troops around the world at a moment’s notice.

In passing the resolution, Congress specifically cites the Necessary and Proper Clause for its authority. Under this clause, it is specifically provided that the Congress shall have the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution, not only its own powers but also all other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

But despite all of this does the Congress have to right and power to take independent actions? Nowhere in the Constitution is the Congress precluded from discussing foreign policy with foreign leaders.

Isn’t it part of Congress’ responsibility to gain information about the governance of the United States? Where does it say that all power in the country is vested in Executive Branch?

John Boehner and his allies simply asked a friendly foreign leader to address a joint session of the Congress in order for the Congress to understand the issues of the day from our allies’ point of view.

In this case it appears that the White House is simply responding in a fit of pique because quite honestly they personally don’t like the Israeli Prime Minister. They see him as a roadblock to their vision of peace in Middle East.

But their vision seems to be an isolated strain that is not held by a majority of the Congress nor more importantly by the Israelis who are most impacted by it. It seems to be driven by a personal dislike between Obama and Netanyahu.

President Obama doesn’t seem to understand that foreign policy is not based on his personal preferences but on the bedrock beliefs of the United States.

But Barack Obama believes that his current vision of the United States as a nation of men rather than a nation of laws. This is the root of our current gridlock in Washington. Revert to a nation of laws and we may see less gridlock and more cooperation.

 

One Man’s Opinion: Health Care in the United States

UVa Medical CenterTo all my friends and readers:

Over the last several weeks I have not published any posts. The main reason was that I had an almost three-week stay at the University of Virginia Medical Center. On New Year’s Eve I had a Left Ventricular Assist Device that helps my heart function more efficiently. Because of my stay I am able to make many valid observations about the state of the American health care industry.

I expect to make these observations both here and on my personal blog at http://bfinfosystems.com. I hope that you will take the time to read my posts at both sites.

Let me start by saying that without the support and urging of my cardiologist, Dr. Jaime Kennedy, one of the top heart doctors in central Virginia. Let me tell you a little bit about Jaime.

How many doctors do you know who will call you at home on a Saturday? Well, Jaime did. She called me to tell me to stop taking a particular drug that was causing damage to my kidneys.

How many doctors do you know who will look you in the eye and tell you that you need to have this operation? Her reason: because if I didn’t I would be around in a year and that would bother her and my family.

My wife and I agreed and after my defibrillator/pacemaker shocked me into moving the operation up by two weeks.

On New Year’s day I was admitted to the hospital and the following day The operation took place. My surgeons, anesthesiologists and nursing staff were in top form. When I told the surgeon to do a good job, she answered by saying that they always do.

Six hours later I was in the recovery room with round-the-clock nursing care. UVa has a number of wards that have varying levels of care. In the Thoracic Cardio Vascular Post Operative ICU nurses only care for two patients. 

After the operation I was pretty much out of it. I didn’t even know my own name. After a day or so I had recovered my mental faculties. After several days I was moved to a less intensive ward where nurses and support staff care for several more patients.

As much as I wanted to go home I understood that they weren’t going to allow me to leave until I was fully recovered. Dr. James Bergin, Dr. Sula Mazimba and Dr. Mohammed Abuannadi all cared for me during my stay.

Each and every doctor whether they be attending physicians, residents or nurses was more than will to take the time to explain my progress. Believe me, as a near-helpless patient lying in an uncomfortable bed, It was much appreciated by me to understand my progress.

After nearly three weeks I was discharge for home recovery. My recovery is only just beginning and will probably take several months. Meanwhile, we’re waiting for the phone call that a heart transplant might be available.

Finally, I would like to say that my health was uppermost in the minds of the personnel at the University of Virginia.Trust me that is more important to me and other patients than any other bureaucratic nitpicking.

 

 

Obama’s Foreign Policy of ‘It’s the Right Thing to Do’

Havana StreetscapeThose who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” So said a number of writers, politicians and philosophers. Apparently Barack Obama has never seen the quote. In fact, based on his almost six years in the Oval Office it seems that he has avoided learning from the past.

He began his first term on the wrong foot with a worldwide apology tour. His goal was to apologize for every perceived wrong that the United States perpetrated on the world.

Forget the blood and treasure that this country spent in the defense of human freedom. Obama and those of his ilk like to blame our country for every Problem that the world has seen in the past century or more.

As far as he is concerned it’s always America’s fault. Poverty: our fault. Famine: our fault. War: our fault. He has explained almost every foreign policy decision as ‘it’s the right thing to do’.

His latest pronouncement in the long line of ‘it’s the right thing to do’ is the unilateral opening of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba.

For 56 years the United States has imposed an embargo on the island nation. We have had no diplomatic representations in Havana. Travel has been restricted. Trade is almost non-existent. Emigration by Cubans to the United States has been severely curtailed. For all intents and purposes Cuba and the United States have existed in different dimensions.

This week Barack Obama like the emperor in a losing chess match overturned the board because it was the right thing to do. His government exchanged three Cuban spies in prison here for aid worker Alan Gross and an unnamed spy in Cuban jails.

As if that wasn’t enough he proclaimed a new era in U.S.-Cuban relations. He announced the opening of embassies in both countries. Both Countries will loosen travel and trade restrictions.

Once again Barack Obama has overstepped his bounds and is attempting to bypass codified law. The Cuban embargo is the law of the land and can not simply be overturned because ‘it’s the right thing to do’.

Once again Barack Obama is trying to bypass the Congress of the United States and ignore the separation of powers. Who needs the Constitution anyway?

At the White House on Wednesday, President Obama called the move an end to “an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests.”

In Havana, Cuban President Raúl Castro, who took over the country when his brother fell ill in 2008, welcomed the new ties to the United States while acknowledging that numerous issues remained.

Obama believes with one speech he can change the tortured history that exists between our two nations. Over 100 years ago we helped the Cubans achieve their freedom but since then we have seen the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Pay of Pigs invasion.

Obama believes that because ‘it’s the right thing to do’ he can erase our past and inaugurate a new era of feel-good diplomacy. Raúl Castro is more realistic. He tempered expectations, saying, “This in no way means that the heart of the matter has been solved.”  

The road to this new era will be sown with more than a few land mines. The administration simply can not open a new embassy with Congressional approval and money. An ambassador must pass muster with the U.S. Senate.

This one-sided deal was all in the Cuban’s favor. They can continue to repress their citizens. There were no promises of liberalization, free speech, a free press and future elections.

Instead, Cuba was tossed a lifeline by the Obama administration just when they were drowning. Their patrons, Russia and Venezuela, are being severely damaged by falling oil prices. Without that money from oil they have become unable to subsidize Cuba.Now Cuba can get hard currency from American tourism and trade.

American politicians immediately reacted. “Cuba is a dictatorship with a disastrous human rights record, and now President Obama has rewarded those dictators,” said Jeb Bush.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., a Cuban-American Democrat and the outgoing chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American Republican from Florida and a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, said he rejoiced at Gross’ release. But he condemned the rest of the deal as “the latest in a long line of failed attempts by President Obama to appease rogue regimes at all cost.”

Maybe the administration did it for the cigars since new rules were announced. “Licensed U.S. travelers to Cuba will be authorized to import $400 worth of goods from Cuba, of which no more than $100 can consist of tobacco products and alcohol combined,” said a White House statement on the new policy.

Hillary’s Letter to Santa

Hillary ClintonDear Santa:

I have only one wish this year: no primary opponents. Please, I don’t want any competition for the Democrat nomination. We all know I should be inevitable, but some people in my own party are starting to say I’m too out-of-touch, too cozy with Wall Street, too closely tied to Barack. They even say I’ve been in politics too long. Can you believe that? When you think new beginnings, you think Hillary!

I know a lot of Democrats like Elizabeth Warren more than they like me. MoveOn.org is trying to recruit her to run against me. Excuse me? MoveOn should move over. It’s my turn, but even Biden is starting to look better to some people. Biden?!

So, can you please make sure Warren doesn’t run? And Biden and O’Malley and Webb and Bernie Sanders and…well, anyone. I don’t want Democrats to think they have a choice. That didn’t work out so well for me last time. On second thought, Bernie can run. He’ll make me look moderate for the general election, and he won’t force me to answer tough questions like Warren would.

(By the way, I have always regretted not writing you before that campaign. I’m a believer now. Did Barack write you before ’08? I mean, how else would someone so inexperienced beat me?)

By the way, I do want to say “thank you” for what you got me last year: the lucrative speaker’s gigs. Even cash-strapped public universities shelled out a quarter million dollars to hear me speak about nothing in particular! On top of the speaker’s fees, people give into all my demands—from the private planes to the crudités backstage. I know you had something to do with it: no one in their right mind would throw away that kind of money for speeches in which I don’t even take positions on important issues.

That reminds me. There’s one more thing on my list. Can you help me get away with not taking positions on issues like Keystone and the CIA report for at least another year? That would be a big help. I find people like me more when they don’t remember what I stand for.

I’m ready for…Santa!

Sincerely,

Hillary

P.S. Is Bill still on the naughty list?

Thanks to the Republican National Committee for this skillful piece of writing.

The End of Democrat Control of the Senate

Harry Reid at the podiumYesterday, the United States Senate mercifully adjourned and Democrat control of the venerable institution ended for at least two years. Harry Reid’s dictatorship has ended with a whimper. Perhaps, it’s time for the Republicans to be wary of Democrats bearing gifts.

The media is calling this Congress the least-productive in modern memory. With each chamber being firmly controlled by a party there was little chance of any achievements in the current hyper-partisan atmosphere.

Immigration reform was a dead issue. The Senate came up with a bill that was fraught with problems for all Republicans. It went nowhere in the House which promised a series of bills rather than one massive bill like Obamacare.

Nothing was achieved on the economy and jobs with the House proposing a number of measures that die in Harry Reid’s inbox.

Republicans complained that the economy was in the dumps while the White House and its Democrat allies tried to convince the American people that everything was moving in the right direction.

Meanwhile the Real Clear Politics average shows that 64.8% think that we’re on the wrong track while only 27.5% think that the country is on the right track. Either the American people are right or the Democrats are. I’m betting on the American people being right.

Across the board the American people have very little regard for our government institutions.

The President is constantly lying about issues that he can be contradicted on. Obamacare with its constant changes and misrepresentations is constantly under fire from its opponents. Now Democrats like Tom Harkin and Chuck Schumer have turned against it.

Both houses of Congress have extremely low ratings in polls. Overall Congressional job approval is in the teens or even lower.

The Republicans promised their supporters a lot of things but so far in the lame duck session allowed the Democrats one last series of victories. Almost 90 new judges and other officials were allowed to move through because Ted Cruz and his crew allowed the Senate to stay in session longer than necessary.

Come January the Senate and the House will be controlled by the Republicans. Now, it’s time to play hardball with Obama and his allies. During his six years of unobstructed control he has had his way because of his party’s control of the Congress.

It’s time for the Republicans to rein in this constitutionally-challenged Chief Executive. They need to push the courts on Obamacare and immigration. A federal judge in Pennsylvania has already called his executive actions unconstitutional.

The opinion filed Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab, in Pennsylvania, marks the first court opinion to tackle Obama’s immigration announcement. He said Obama’s immigration actions are invalid and effectively count as “legislation” from the Executive Branch.

“President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional.”

The opinion, though, is unique in that it did not come in response to a challenge to Obama’s immigration policy announcement. It is unclear what impact, if any, the opinion might have other than to rally critics and fuel momentum behind other lawsuits.

The Republicans have to press Obama on all fronts: immigration reform, the Keystone XL pipeline, oil and gas drilling on federal lands, Obamacare and EPA regulations that are strangling the economy.

Next with control of both houses the Republicans can get to the bottom of the many scandals of the Obama administration with the use of Joint Committees to investigate these transgressions.

The Republicans better rest up over the holidays and come back to Washington with a new determination to take back the country.

 

Unmasking the Democrats on Enhanced Interrogation

Enhanced Interrogation TechniquesLast week, the Democrat majority on the Senate Intelligence Committee released their long-awaited report on interrogating terrorists. Their conclusions spread over almost 6,500 pages of the executive summary and the complete classified report were stark.

Their conclusions were blunt and to the point. First, every action taken by the CIA with regards to prisoner interrogation was torture. And no actionable intelligence was garnered from the interrogations.

Almost immediately the Republicans responded. President Bush unapologetic saying:

“Whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base. I knew the directors, I knew the deputy directors, I knew a lot of the operators — these are good people, really good people. And we’re lucky as a nation to have them.”  

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who many on the left have characterized as the ‘Dark Lord’ was even more emphatic.On NBC’s Meet the Press Cheney said:

“It worked, it absolutely worked. I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective, and our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11.”

Cheney told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd:

“Torture to me, Chuck, is an American citizen on his cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11.”

Cheney also called the report “full of crap,” and a “terrible piece of work” that was “deeply flawed.”

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden confirmed, “Enhanced interrogation contributed to the wealth of knowledge that we needed to [get to bin Laden].” Without such techniques, Obama would not have been able to walk to that microphone and say “we got him.”

Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., a 31-year veteran of the CIA, likewise noted that interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed resulted in more than 2,000 intelligence reports, including contributing information leading to Osama bin Laden.

And for the record, former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, along with deputy directors John McLaughlin, Albert Calland and Stephen Kappes, recount in The Wall Street Journal many of the CIA’s other numerous successes, as well as criticizing Senate Democrats’ profound errors in producing this one-sided, incomplete and out-of-context report.

The Democrats one-sided report did not include testimony from a single CIA witness because Attorney General Eric Holder refused to coordinate those interviews on the basis that the Justice Department had its own ongoing investigation.

However the DOJ investigation was completed in 2012 which gave the committee investigators two years to collect information from any CIA witnesses. They never did, perhaps because their narrative was already completed.

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, questioned the timing of the report’s release:

“We have U.S. personnel, both intelligence officials and military special operators, in harm’s way. Why would we release [this report] now? What did we have to gain? All of this has been debated. All of this has been settled. … Clearly the administration knew it was going to cause trouble as they sent out warnings all across the world.”

Finally, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat House Minority leader, denied having been briefed on waterboarding in 2011. She has told a number of convoluted stories in the last several years. “We were not — I repeat — were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used.”

She later changed her story, telling reporters, “We were told explicitly that waterboarding was not being used.”

She claimed she learned about the use of waterboarding the following year, only after other lawmakers were told by the CIA.I wasn’t briefed, I was informed that somebody else had been briefed about it,” she said.

“We were not — I repeat — were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used.”

In his new book, Hard Measures,” Jose Rodriguez reveals that he led a CIA briefing of Pelosi, where the techniques being used in the interrogation of senior al-Qaeda facilitator Abu Zubaida (Zubaydah) were described in detail. Her claim that she was not told about waterboarding at that briefing, he writes, “is untrue.”

“We explained that as a result of the techniques, Abu Zubaydah was compliant and providing good intelligence. We made crystal clear that authorized techniques, including waterboarding, had by then been used on Zubaydah.” Rodriguez writes that he told Pelosi everything, adding, “We held back nothing.”

How did she respond when presented with this information? Rodriguez writes that neither Pelosi nor anyone else in the briefing objected to the techniques being used. Indeed, he notes, when one member of his team described another technique that had been considered but not authorized or used, “Pelosi piped up immediately and said that in her view, use of that technique (which I will not describe) would have been ‘wrong.’ ”

She raised no such concern about waterboarding, he writes. “Since she felt free to label one considered-and-rejected technique as wrong,” Rodriguez adds, “we went away with the clear impression that she harbored no such feelings about the ten tactics [including waterboarding] that we told her were in use.”

To this day, Pelosi denies all knowledge of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.

 

When is a shutdown not a shutdown

Sorry We're ClosedOnce again the American media is characterizing a no vote on the budget bill is a vote for a government shutdown. Don’t you believe it. In the last so-called shutdown only about 17% of the government was shutdown.

Social Security checks still went out, as did all of the other checks that the government sends out every month. Instead the so-called Washington Monument Syndrome was put in place.

The tourist locations were all closed: the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial and other high profile locations in and around the nation’s capital. Out in the hinterlands most Americans only knew about the ‘shutdown’ from media reports.

You see, the American media is Washington and New York-centric. Their belief is that if doesn’t happen in these two cities it hasn’t happened. Watch the stories that they report. Most of the evening news reports concern events in these two cities.

The media loves to use short, pithy descriptions for their viewers. Instead of explaining to the American public what is actually happening they prefer to give us easily understood expressions.

This won’t be a shutdown. A shutdown is when everything stops dead. The doors close. All of the workers go home. And the government goes dark.

Instead, we’ll have a partial shutdown in which the non-essential parts of the government actually shut down. And who decides what is essential? Why the bureaucrats decide. Are you surprised when the inmates decide that only 17% of the government is non-essential?

Instead of coming up with a bad bill, the Congress needs to take a deep breath and pass a 3-month continuing resolution. Then, they can examine each appropriation closely.

They can resolve the immigration funding. They can look at the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding. Instead, they’re going to pass one massive 1,600-page bill that is filled with some really objectionable spending.

When partisans from the right and the left line up with objections you know that the bill will have a tough time.

Midnight today is the witching hour and members of Congress have had very little time to review the bill. Instead, they’re worried about what’s in the bill. This all sounds familiar. Didn’t the passage of Obamacare go this way and look what we have now?

Let’s be clear about one thing. If there is a partial shutdown it will be the fault of the Democrats. The media may try to blame the Republicans but this will bear the fingerprints of the Democrats.

 

 

 

The Democrats’ scorched earth exit

Dianne FeinsteinThe Congressional Democrats (especially in the Senate) are going to prove today that they have little concern about the country. It seems they are only worried about partisan political gain.

The report has allegations that agents and contract-workers with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are guilty of torturing and mistreating those suspected terrorists captured by U.S. law enforcement or the U.S. military during the Bush Administration

Today, they plan to release a 480-page executive summary of a summary of a still-classified 6,000 page study about this alleged torture despite calls that the release will have dire consequences. The report has been in the works for some time and cost $40 million.

Defenders of the CIA refer to their techniques as ‘enhanced interrogation’ which they claim resulted in actionable intelligence. The Democrats say otherwise.

Of course, torture is in the eye of the beholder. This report was written by the majority Democrat staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee with almost no input from their Republican colleagues. Their view is that torture ranges from loud music to waterboarding.

But that’s just a minor detail in the eyes of Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and the other Democrats on the committee. What is more important to them is that this report is released before they are no longer masters of the Senate.

However, there are many politicians in both political parties, intelligence officials, civilian and military Pentagon staff, and law enforcement officers who believe the release of the report will result in blowback by the Islamic world that will see Americans overseas killed and wounded by angry jihadists.

There seems to be nothing that can stop the Democrats. House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) said America’s allies are predicting “this will cause violence and deaths.” He said U.S. intelligence agencies and foreign governments have said privately that the release of the Senate intelligence panel report on CIA interrogations a decade ago will be used by extremists to incite violence that is likely to cost lives.

One police official, who worked on an anti-terrorism task force during George W. Bush’s presidency, said that Feinstein and the Senate Democrats are angry over the last election and losing their majority especially Feinstein, who lorded over the intelligence committee with her band of liberals.

“This is a scorched earth policy. I believe it. They are angry at being kicked out of power and they want to punish Americans. These are petty, sociopaths who are actually becoming suddenly transparent when it will result in Americans being hurt,” said former police captain Jerry Hewlett, who headed the intelligence section of the task force.

“Where was the Democrats need for transparency when they lied and shoved a rotten healthcare program on the American people? Where was Feinstein’s transparency during the Benghazi investigation in which she and her fellow Democrats helped Obama and Hillary Clinton avoid culpability? This is the liberal-left’s hissy fit over being tossed out. It’s a scorched earth exit,” Hewlett said.

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jim Risch, R-Idaho said “We are concerned that this release could endanger the lives of Americans overseas, jeopardize U.S. relations with foreign partners, potentially incite violence, create political problems for our allies, and be used as a recruitment tool for our enemies. Simply put, this release is reckless and irresponsible.”

Democrats contention is that the techniques used by the CIA produced no actionable intelligence. However, one CIA was quoted as saying that once accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s will was broken, he generated more than 2,000 intelligence reports.

Three former CIA officers from the program said that they believe the Senate report seeks to minimize intelligence that led the U.S. to Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, Usama bin Laden’s trusted courier.

Another former officer said that the CIA was encouraged by lawmakers “to do whatever it takes” to prevent another attack on the scale of Sept. 2001.  The former officer said that Hill leadership was briefed more than three dozen times before the program was shuttered.

The Obama White House is attempting to work both sides. One the one hand they are urging the release of the report. But Secretary of State John Kerry last week asked the Senate Intelligence Committee to “consider” the timing of the release.

GOP Sen. Richard Burr, the prospective new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that Kerry’s suggestion that the report be delayed didn’t jibe with White House Press SEcretary Josh Earnest’s comments.

“It’s dumbfounding they can call and ask for it to be delayed and then say they want it out. You can’t have it both ways,” Burr said.

U.S. officials have confirmed that an advisory has been sent urging U.S. personnel overseas to reassess security measures in anticipation of the release. The message directs all overseas posts, including those used by CIA personnel, to “review their security posture” for a “range of reactions that might occur.”

A similar statement was being sent to military combatant commands to assess their readiness. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Monday the combatant commands have been urged to “take appropriate force protection measures within their areas of responsibility.”

 

 

 

 

The Last Day of Peace

Pearl Harbor attackSaturday, December 6, 1941 was the last day of peace for the United States. Not only for the intervening nearly four years but for most of the 73 years since that fateful Sunday morning in Hawaii and the Philippines.

It was a day like any other Saturday for most Americans. Nothing unusual. My almost 18 year old father said that there was nothing to distinguish it from any other Saturday.

Little did Americans know that they were soon to embark on decades of war all stemming from the attacks the following day.

In Hawaii and the Philippines many sailors and soldiers were on three-day passes. In Pearl City they lined up at the bars and brothels to enjoy their time off. In Manila the same thing was true. You’ve heard the saying about spending money like a drunken sailor!

What followed after the attacks on the next day was a decades of combat. First, we fought the Nazis and the Japs. It took us three years to defeat them at the cost of millions of lives lost around the world.

Then, we had a few years off until Kim Il-sung of North Korea decided that he wanted the entire Korean Peninsula under his rule. The war lasted for three years and cost hundreds of thousands of lives. In the end the division of the Korean Peninsula was permanent and the tensions continue to today.

Then the United States embarked on the Vietnam War. The war itself lasted for 20 years with America’s involvement lasting from the early 1960s until 1975. That war cost us almost 60,000 dead and five times that in wounded. In the end Vietnam was reunited and today we are friendly with the government,

The American public were war weary and refrained from everything that had to do with all-out war. Oh, there were incidents and flashpoints but nothing prolonged or all-consuming.

That is until Saddam Hussein of Iraq decided that he wanted his neighbor Kuwait’s oil fields and attempted to take them. When the Kuwaiti appealed to us and we responded by forming a coalition against the dictator.

After a brief air campaign that featured all of the spectacular modern weaponry available the land assault was briefer and more decisive. The Iraqis lost between 20,000 and 35,000 people with over 75,000 wounded. But we didn’t finish off Saddam and we were forced to go back and finish the job.

We conducted a series of operations in the Persian Gulf, primarily to safeguard the passage of oil tankers. These low grade conflicts went on for almost 20 years and included the no-fly zone over Iraq after the First Gulf War.

On September 11, 2001 the United States was attacked and plunged into a war that continues today. We invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the extreme Taliban government. We set up a democratic government which continues to function today.

We invade Iraq and defeated Saddam Hussein’s army in 2003 but the war continued for at least 8 years as we battled Sunni extremists, al-Qaeda terrorists and rogue Iraqi military units.

In 2011 The United States and our allies conducted air operations against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in support of Libyan rebels. By October Gaddafi was dead and Libya was under new but shaky leadership.

Now we are embarked and yet another war in the Middle East, this time against ISIS, also known as ISIL and the Islamic State. We are currently supporting our Iraqi and Kurdish allies with our air power.

Since that distant day in December of 1941 the United States has been a state of near-constant war. December 6, 1941 was truly the last day of peace.

 

 

 

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