Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Obama, Like George W. Bush, Now Tries to Blame Bad Intelligence For His Bad Decisions.

George W. Bush tried to blame the intelligence community for a lack of actionable intelligence for the 911 attacks. Except the intelligence community gave him so much specific actionable and urgent intelligence, specifically that the U.S. was going to be hit with an imminent "spectacular" terrorist attack  and the method of attack would involve  the hijacking of U.S. airliners (all without the meta data program) that there isn't a cab driver in New York city who couldn't have prevented 911 with the information that Bush dismissed. Bush did the same when no WMD was found in Iraq, the rationale Bush used  for invading, and then tried to blame "faulty" intelligence as the culprit.

Now Obama is trying to do the same and use the same excuse, citing the possibility that some intelligence reports on Isis may have been altered to present a more optimistic picture about his strategy than was the case which in turn affected his decision making.

This is preposterous and shows the depths Obama is willing to go to escape responsibility for bad decisions. And it's hardly the first time as anyone who is honest and has paid attention to what Obama says well knows.

While Obama says he is looking into the possibility that intelligence reports were intentionally altered to make it look like his strategy was working, just about everyone from outside experts and analysts, members of congress and vacuum cleaner salesmen knew it wasn't. And they didn't need intelligent briefings to figure it out.

This comes from the politician who has a life long well documented history of lying, misrepresenting the truth and fabricating a false reality out of whole cloth for political reasons, more Nixonian in his own way than Nixon but without the 5 o'clock shadow.

Everyone has known Obama's strategy or non-strategy in Syria and against Isis has never been successful. Former Secretary  of Defense and former CIA Director Leon Panetta  spent 10 minutes on CNN talking about Obama's failures with Isis.    Its been criticized as weak, tepid, timid, and half baked. Because it is. So for Obama to blame potentially doctored  intelligence on his decision making is pulling a Bush/Cheney.

Three years ago 3 Secretaries of Defense,a former Secretary of State and CIA Director all advised Obama to arm the moderate Syrian rebels against Isis. He refused and referred to Isis as " the junior varsity". There was no " overly optimistic doctored intelligence" at the time affecting Obama's decision.

A year ago Obama himself admitted in a slip that he didn't have a strategy. That wasn't the result of overly optimistic intelligence estimates either.

And sweetening intelligence estimates for political purposes can cut both ways as intelligence experts have pointed out. It could just as easily come from the White House to let people know what the president wants to hear as being motivated for unknown reasons by an analyst. Either way as a number of intelligence analysts and Panetta pointed out , there has never been any intelligence estimate that justified Obama calling Isis the " junior varsity" 3 years ago . Or that Isis was " contained".

Michael Flynn the former Director of Defense Intelligence all but called Obama a liar in the documentary Blindsided when Obama tried to claim after the rise of Isis that he didn't have adequate intelligence. Flynn pointed out that Obama  was given specific intelligence assessments before he made his infamous and inane " junior varsity " comment that Isis was a  serious  and growing threat that needed to be dealt with. Flynn said," Obama's comment disappointed me". 

The Friday morning before the Paris attacks, but after Isis had carried out a bombing in Beirut which killed more than 40 and then downed a Russian airliner killing 224 with a bomb, Obama made the statement that Isis had been contained.

Then came Friday night in Paris.

And Obama's weak, tepid and much criticized comments after the Paris attack . And no his excuse making and lying about doctored intelligence. 

There could be no conceivable reason for anyone to doctor intelligence estimates of success against Isis and it's unlikely anyone did. 

The military has been known to do it in the past but their motives was always to use it to lobby for more resources. Because the military always wants more resources. And in those cases tried to use claimed successes as a way to get them.

But against Isis its been the opposite. The military never made optimistic claims of success.  In fact it was the opposite.

It was only a year ago, in Sept and November of 2014 that then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee that the air strikes weren't going to destroy Isis and that the only way to actually destroy Isis was to deploy ground forces and he was prepared to recommend the use of ground troops to Obama.

Dempsey even had Pentagon planners develop a plan of attack and what it would take to do it.  Dempsey testified that it would take 80,000 troops on the ground to destroy the 30,000 Isis fighters.

Dempsey didn't make that assessment because he had faulty doctored intelligence that Obama's strategy was succeeding.

Everyone  has known for three years that what Obama was doing wasn't working.   If he was getting doctored intelligence that claimed success he would've been the only in America who believed them.

 Now Democrats like Dianne Feinstein are revolting and admitting Obama's strategy isn't working, is ineffective and a new approach is needed. Which may be  why Obama is trying to lay the groundwork for  a change in course and do it in Obama fashion by denying he ever made a bad decision or was wrong  by blaming it on  " doctored intelligence".

But, like with George W. Bush, the only intelligence failures in the Obama administration occurred at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue.  In the Oval Office. And with it and Obama's inadequacy, the same kind of lies. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

After Paris, Obama, Like Nixon and Bush, Lies About His Failed Policies and His Critics.

At the Antalya Summit in Turkey, in the wake of the Paris attacks and the 500 causalities and loss of life, Obama hit new lows in defending his policies by brazenly lying again in answer to questions related to the critics of his failed Isis policies including his refusal to send ground troops to fight Isis which everyone agrees is the only way Isis can be destroyed.

First, that Obama's policies have failed and failed from the very beginning is not in dispute by anyone, Democrat or Republican or the U.S. military. The only one who doesn't claim its failed is Obama. Which shows both how deeply in denial he is and how his ego always comes first.

Then he invoked what many on the Tea Party Left invoke when it comes to using the military for the purpose for which it exists -- protecting American citizens, their safety, their well being and way of life from a foreign enemy. They yell "Vietnam!" and "Iraq!", the constant neurotic paralysis, stupidity and ignorance every time the use of military force comes up seemingly not able to tell the difference between two wars the country was lied into and the legitimate use of military force to destroy an enemy intent on inflicting as many casualties on us and the Europeans as they can.

In defense of his not using ground troops to destroy Isis, Obama, along with invoking Vietnam and Iraq as mistakes  said at the press conference that no one ever presented a plan of what they would do militarily. Not true. But something he was clearly trying to use as an excuse for not using ground troops. 

Obama said "not a single one of my top military advisors ever advocated for ground troops to fight Isis. Not one." As you will see also not true. 

He then went on to contemptuously suggest that anyone who thinks we should send ground troops doesn't know what they are talking about because they couldn't have the intelligence he does to make these decisions. In other words, to paraphrase past Obama wisdom, he claims that those who criticize his policy are the junior varsity.

Obama's problem is he ignored Woody Allen's line that when you tell the truth all the time you never have to remember anything.

Obama always hopes that journalists and others are either too weak or intimidated to call him out when he clearly lies or if one wants to soften it, his intentional self serving misrepresentations.  Obama claimed  that "not one of my top military advisors ever advocated ground troops to fight Isis. Not one".  Not one. How about maybe General Martin Dempsey, Obama's former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Do a Google search on "General Dempsey ground troops Isis". This is the first thing that what will come up but there is more. 

Nov.13, 2014 -" General Dempsey open to ground troops in Iraq to retake territories  lost to Isis in Iraq. (the italics because of Obama's dismissal of retaking territory lost to Isil as important when he said at the press conference "sure we can retake territories and hold it but so what"?) Dempsey at the time said 80,000 troops would be necessary to be effective."

Dempsey didn't pull that figure out of a hat. Obviously military planners at the Pentagon at Dempsey's direction took months to devise a plan of attack using ground troops to destroy Isis and had concluded the number that would be needed was 80,000 troops "to be effective".  So much for Obama's claim that not one military commander ever recommended or considered ground forces to defeat Isis.

Obama also lied when he said in the press conference that he meets with his military leaders all the time and that they said ground forces "would be a mistake". That the Pentagon did a study and worked out a plan at the behest of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff proves Obama was lying.  But there is more.

General Dempsy actually testified before congress that he believed ground forces would be needed to destroy Isis. 

NBC News - Nov. 13, 2014
 Dempsey testifies in front of  congressional committee that he is considering recommending sending ground troops to Iraq to fight against Isis,

THE HILL -- Sept 17,2014.
Top Army General:  ground troops needed to fight Isis militants.

THE NEW YORK TIMES -  Sept 16, 2014
U.S. General Open  to Ground Forces in Fight Against Isis in Iraq

CNN -  Nov 13, 2014
Dempsey Leaves Door Open for U.S. Ground Troops.

THE GUARDIAN - Nov 13, 2014
U.S. military considers  sending combat troops to battle Isis forces.

FOX NEWS - Nov. 13, 2014
Dempsey: U.S. troops could fight along side Iraqi forces in war against Isis, Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee. "We are at war against Isil" Dempsey said.

It's probably no coincidence that Dempsey, who held those views in spite of Obama's policies, ultimately quit as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs joining three previous Secretaries of Defense who quit when Obama rebuffed their advice to destroy Isis in the beginning by arming the moderate Syrian rebels 3 years ago. Which led to Obama's now famous comment and shining example of his judgement by dismissing Isis as "the junior varsity".

It's one thing to disagree and attempt to present a cogent argument that supports your position . Its another thing to repeatedly and blatantly lie about your policies that has cost lives and created the Syrian refugee crisis because you don't have a cogent argument to make and you have no facts to back you up.  

It was only the Friday morning before the Paris attacks but after Isis attacked in Beruit then bombed a Russian airliner killing 224 that Obama said Isis had been contained.

It is probable that the biggest reason Obama won't send ground forces now to destroy Isis is because he knows he could have destroyed them three years ago in their infancy by arming the moderate Syrian rebels. Which means sending U.S. ground forces now would mean every U.S. casualty would be paying for his mistake. And he doesn't want to deal with that.

The irony is America has paid a steep price because leaders have lied to them about matters of war and peace.  General Westmoreland lied to Lyndon Johnson repeatedly about Vietnam. Nixon lied about Vietnam. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney with help from the New York Times, lied the country into a dishonest and disastrous and unnecessary war in Iraq. And now Obama is lying to the country and the world about using military power to destroy Isis but for the opposite reason --  so he doesn't have to make a decision to fight a war it's obvious we have to win. Which, until we do, will continue to cost innocent lives. The only question is whose and how many. 

When political neurotics on the far Left like those at MoveOn and ThinkProgress cry " Vietnam" and " Iraq"  to defend their argument, they miss the point that the real problem from the beginning was the lie. The consequences of the lie and the price we paid came later.

When Obama says none of his military commanders ever recommended or considered ground troops to destroy Isis, when he says that every one of his military commanders said using ground troops would be a mistake, he is lying. Period. The decision to not use ground troops has been solely his in spite of recommendations by his military commanders. It has been Obama's lack of resolve or commitment to destroy Isis that has led to his typical half way ineffective measures. And, like Bush did after Iraq, Obama tries to put the onus on others for his decisions instead of admitting they are his and his alone.

Whether it's Obama's well justified lack of confidence in his own decision making where doing nothing is safer than doing something that might not work, an approach that has defined his entire 18 years in elected office, he has placed the rationale for his own decision making dishonestly on to his military when its been his own refusal to act that is the real issue as we and the world saw with his reneging on his pledge to use a missile strike against Assad if he used chemical weapons.

It's really about only one thing -- is there a real commitment to destroy the 30,000 Isis fighters in Iraq and Syria or not? 

Dempsey said it would take 80,000 U.S. troops. It doesnt have to after the Paris attacks.  If  the United States actually had a leader there could be a coalition of allies contributing 100,000 or more ground troops, 25,000 each from the U.S., France, Russia,the UK with an additional force from Canada who has indicated they are willing to join the fight, and just go in to take them out. Jim Acosta at CNN asked why we don't do exactly that at the press conference in Turkey which led to Obama's misrepresentations of the truth in trying to defend his own failures and failings. 

For now, it doesn't matter whether you think ground troops are necessary or you don't. It doesn't matter whether you think you know what you're talking about and know the right thing to do or you don't. What matters is the reality that every time America has been lied to regarding the use of military force one way or the other it was a  big mistake and we paid a big price. And no matter what side of the argument you are on, there is no doubt  Obama has lied and continues to lie about relevant and important facts.

Nixon and Bush lied about why they were sending troops to fight a war. Obama is lying about why he's not.

There are hypocrites like those on the Tea Party Left like MoveOn and ThinkProgress  who railed over past Nixon, Bush and Cheney lies about war but have no problem with Obama's lies because he lies about something they approve of which is to do nothing. 

But in the end it's really about one unmistakable conclusion. Obama can't be trusted. Not trusted to tell the truth . And not trusted to make the right decision based of the facts. Which is why it's going to take Democrats in congress to take control and force his hand. Because no matter what the lie is now or the lies were then, always doing the opposite of the lie is going to be the right thing to do.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Obama, Cameron and Hollande to blame for Paris Attacks.

It started three years ago with Obama dismissing Isis as "the junior varsity" and rebuffing the recommendations of three Secretaries of Defense who all finally quit, a CIA Director and his then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to arm the moderate Syrian rebels against Isis when they were in their infancy. Others saw the threat coming. Obama didn't. 

Obama's decision making and judgement was made to look even worse and more foolish when Obama claimed the Friday morning of the Paris attacks  after a Kurd victory in Iraq  that "Isis has been contained". 

Michael Weiss an anti-terrorism expert and expert on Isis who has interviewed former Isis members was just as incredulous at Obama's statement of 
"containment" especially after Isis had just carried out coordinated bombings in Beruit and had blown up a Russian passenger jet. 

It was unfortunately typical of what has to be called the biggest most prolific do nothing politician in modern political history, a president who in 11 years of elective office before running for president, accomplished absolutely nothing other than to win his next election. Doing nothing and getting to the next step has been Obama's personal road to political success from the beginning, thinking that all any problem needs is for him to make an empty vacuous speech and he's home free. He still thinks so as his comments after the Paris attack shows. But it has been disastrous for the United States, and especially liberals and Democratic voters because of his failures in domestic policy and disastrous for the world in his foreign policy, the results of which get worse every day.

If the world was looking for America to lead, for the last 14 years, from the inept and unqualified George W. Bush to the inept and weak and distinctly unaccomplished and aversion to act meaningfully Barrack Obama, America has been the wrong place to look.

The Paris  terrorist attacks carried out by Isis, the worst terrorist attack Europe has ever seen is an outgrowth of Obama's lack of resolve and that of Cameron and Hollande and their inability or failure to define the problem that Isis has really posed.  Along with their political fear and aversion to what is commonly referred to as putting boots on the ground by assembling the type of united allied coalition that won both WWII and the first Gulf War when what has been needed is committing whatever it takes militarily to destroy Isis completely.

Now finally, after the attacks in Paris, Hollande has finally called the Isis attacks what they should have been called a long time ago -- an act of war.

Isis has declared war on civilization and the response of civilization's leaders like many in congress and  those who make up the Tea Party Left in the United States like MoveOn, ThinkProgress and Daily Kos,  have answered the call  by recoiling at any concerted military act to destroy Isis with , "  but that would be war."

It was MoveOn and other Tea Party Left groups who lobbied against Obama making good on his threat to punish Assad with a missile strike if Assad used chemical weapons against civilians by calling it "war" (as if any of them actually knew what war really was) and that the U.S. had to avoid "war" in the Middle East at all cost.

The cost was apparent in Paris. The cost was also apparent by the exodus of refugees from Syria to escape  Isis and Assad's barrel bombs which would have been significantly degraded by Obama's promised but never delivered missile strike.

What to do about Isis was clear from the beginning and it was simple. The only evaluation that had to be made was this: ask military and civilian intelligence a single question - if Isis is left to its own devices, if we did nothing (not Obama's ineffective half baked air strikes)  does Isis pose a real and serious threat to Americans here at home. If the answer is "no" then there should be no U.S. combat involvement. If the answer is "yes" then whatever ground troops and military force is necessary to destroy Isis where they are in Syria and Iraq is what was needed then, and what is needed now.

In spite of the usual knee jerk responses from those who react to every need for military force by yelling  "Viet Nam" and "Iraq" as if those mistakes and the weakness and lousy judgement of those who were responsible somehow justifies doing nothing in the face of a real global threat, if Isis had been recognized as the global threat it was, and effective military action was taken from the beginning, what happened in Paris could have been avoided.

There is no one, not a single military commander or intelligence expert, not one, who hasn't said  that destroying Isis is going to take ground forces and cannot be done without deploying ground forces.    Up till now, with Obama, Cameron and  Hollande refusing to commit ground forces to destroy Isis, the world has decided to let the Kurds and  moderate Syrian rebels do their fighting for them. It hasn't been enough.

Since the estimate is that in both Syria and Iraq there are about 30,000 Isis fighters, and we know where they are  conventional military wisdom and strategy and what was called the Powell Doctrine,  says that there should be a coalition, led by America of 100,000 combat troops, perhaps 25,000 each committed by the U.S., the UK, France and Russia,  and whatever air power is necessary to support them to do one thing -- destroy Isis and their ability to make war and carry out acts of terrorism as surely as the Allies destroyed the Nazis, Japan, and Saddam Hussein.

The immediate belief is the attacks in Paris were carried out by those who went to Syria,were trained, and then came back to France. It's something every country in Europe and the U. S. is concerned about though there have been far more in Europe than in the U.S.  And now there is talk of how better to defend against those coming back to commit acts of terror. But the best way to insure against French or British or American citizens traveling back to their home countries to commit acts of terrorism, is to make sure there isnt anyone left to come back. And that means taking the fight to Isis wherever they are in Iraq and Syria.

We keep hearing from political leaders whether its Obama or Kerry or Cameron or other world leaders that no matter what the danger or threat it represents, "there is no military solution" to the problem. It doesn't matter what the problem is, there is no military solution.

That same philosophy was used by Neville Chamberlin in the peace deal he made with Hitler which he called "peace in our time", right before Hitler invaded Poland.  It's the same thinking that went into supporting the nuclear deal with Iran which is already unraveling. That deal avoided the certainty of what MoveOn, ThinkProgress and Daily Kos said would be war, within days if the U. S. rejected Iranian demands on the nuclear deal.

Obama's statement on the attacks in Paris as usual carried all the weight and gravitas of a sack of feathers.  Obama calling the attacks " outrageous" and " heart breaking" is the usual Obama approach of stating the obvious with no solutions, no pledge of action, and doing what he has always done throughout his political career better than any politician whoever lived --  doing nothing and thinking empty words are enough.

"We stand prepared to provide whatever assistance the French need to respond." Then more from the politicians book of cliches  about "standing shoulder to shoulder with France." (except when world leaders met in Paris to literally stand shoulder to shoulder in a march of defiance and to show solidarity after the Charlie Hedbo murders,  Obama's shoulders were noticeably missing)  then Obama went on to say, " those who think they can terrorize the people of France are wrong".

What Obama added was telling when it comes to his approach to dealing with a difficult problem. Denial.  Obama called the Paris attacks, " an outrageous attempt (italics mine)  to terrorize innocent civilians".  It was, as everyone saw,  no attempt. It succeeded in killing and terrorizing innocent civilians. Had it been stopped or thwarted Obama could have called it an "attempt". But it was no attempt. It was carried out.

The only attempt was the attempt by Obama to deny reality and try to  minimize what actually happened by calling it an "attempt" so he doesn't have to actually act and do something. What happened in Paris was no attempt at terrorizing innocent civilians.  This was an act that did in fact murder 128 innocent civilians and wound  more than 300, many severely.

Naturally the gratuitous Wolf Blitzer who puts finding favor with everyone first and foremost,  characterized Obama's statement as " the president mincing no words" when all Obama did was mince words.

More Blitzer: " its, its,  its a definite situation there" reminding us again how painful it is to have the current crop of incompetent journalists, especially the news anchors at CNN, every one of whom was sent to Paris to do what CNN always does, milk a tragedy for all it's worth, bringing us the news in a major crisis. Like having to endure the question by Poppy Harlow to the friend of a girl who was shot in thr concert hall in the leg and arm:  "Does she feel lucky that she survived"?

Reaction to the attacks on TV news has been predictable,  with commentators, analysts and experts saying we have to "beef up security" and increase our intelligence. Security and intelligence are fine and neccessary but they are purely and solely defensive. What needs to be added is going on the offensive, and that means committing whatever military resources it takes to destroy Isis, something Obama didn't have the stomach to do when he promised to "contain them" then "degrade them",  then "defeat them" using  every "D"  word in the English language except  the word "destroy"until he was virtually forced into saying " okay, destroy".

Hillary Clinton's response was unfortunately no better.  She talked about "standing with France", which also comes out of the Politicians Book of Cliches, "in the struggle against Isis". First, if words matter, the use of the word "struggle" had to make Isis smile, since a "struggle" means you are not succeeding, you're on the defensive and are having a hard time. Certainly not winning and not sure what to do next.   Second, presidential candidates craft their words carefully and Clinton's use of the words "struggle against Isis" was meant to carefully avoid using the word "war", when war is what it is.

Clinton could not have been more wrong at the Democratic debate when she said the fight against Isis " was not our  fight". She sounded like the right wing isolationists before Pearl Harbor who said exactly the same thing about Hitler and the war in Europe.

The attacks have awakened Hollande who called the Paris attacks "an act of war" and its clear he is not going to wait around to see who agrees with him. He sounded like someone who is going to commit France militarily to destroying Isis. Whether the U.S. or the UK or Russia will join remains to be seen. For Obama its going to be first and foremost a political calculation designed to avoid criticism or opposition which is always the case with Obama.  But military commitment is the only way to destroy Isis.

The last time that point was made here some time ago  chastising Obama for calling Isis the "junior varsity" and not being more aggressive against Isis in Syria and Iraq militarily, a typically ignorant Tea Party Left "progressive"  left a comment that opposed U.S. involvement and  said "send your kid", which was perhaps an unintended insult to the American parents who actually have their  "kids" in Iraq carrying out air strikes against Isis, making it sound like what they were doing wasn't worth the time. Now with the attacks in Paris there are French parents and family members of 128 murdered victims who, unlike the commentor, wish they had a kid to send. 

Hollande sounds like this time he will. And whether Obama and Cameron and Putin for that matter, join the fight or whether they are simply willing to hold the coats of the French and "stand with them"  remains to be seen.  Saturday morning John Kerry offered "indignation and sadness" over the attacks, neither of which will accomplish a thing.

MoveOn's response to the massacre was both predictably and typically  pathetic and useless.  In their mass emailing they called for "A Vigil For Peace". Their email stated  " there is no 'right way' to react to the (Paris) attack (no?) but that a good place to start is with compassion". They didn't say "compassion" for who. Maybe they didn't know.  But yes, nothing like compassion to stop the Isis threat. It's what makes these Tea Party Left progressive groups as worthless and ignorant as their climate change denier counterparts on the Tea Party Right. 

Bernard-Henri Levy, the French author and philosopher said it best after the attacks: No boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq will mean more blood on the ground in Paris, London and New York. And he added,  that it is something Obama is going to have to understand.  

It's something French president Hollande seems to have already learned.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Who Needs Trump On SNL ? The Immigration Problem Solved By Our Leaders of Tomorrow.

No, these are not the editors and writers at MoveOn, ThinkProgress and Daily Kos. But what the video proves is that Tea  Party Left so called  "progressives" (as opposed to reality driven solution oriented liberals)  have bigger problems than Donald Trump.  It also proves that Republicans cutting funds for public education doesn't necessarily mean more Republican voters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Former Clinton Envoy in Syria Destroys Obama on Syrian Policy.

Frederic Hof was a State Department advisor to Hillary Clinton on political affairs in Syria and was Deputy Special Envoy to George Mitchell for Middle East affairs.  In a long overdue stinging rebuke of Obama and his policies in Syria,  and from someone within the Obama administration, Hof  pulls no punches about Obama's personal failures  in Syria and not just of policy but character.
In an article on Politico.com Hof gives a long overdue and honest assault on Obama and his Syrian policy,  this from someone part of a Democratic administration not Republicans, who saw everything he tried to work for in Syria unravel between Isis, the group Obama ignored as " the junior varsity",  the resulting  refugee crisis and Putin doing for his interests what Obama wouldn't do for U.S. interests.
In a harsh but accurate indictment of Obama, Hof states that back in 2012 when the dimensions of the catastrophe in Syria were becoming clear, Obama  had "little appetite for protecting civilians".  This almost dissassociative response from Obama, some might even call it callous but certainly indifferent, might explain Obama's easy reneging on his pledge and threat to punish Assad with a missile strike if he used chemical weapons. 

After Assad essentially put his thumb in Obama's eye and went ahead and used chemical weapons anyway killing 300 children and almost 1000 adult civilians with sarin gas, Obama, intead of delivering on the promised strike, backed down as soon as there seemed to be some opposition to his missile strike from some in congress , the Tea Party Left like MoveOn (who called it "war")   and pressure from Putin. Instead Obama opted to put his integrity to a vote. His integrity lost. Again. 
Hof also states that the Obama administration was actually "shocked" by Russian intervention in Syria, taken completely by surprise which Hof says should have been no surprise and that Obama had been essentially bamboozled by Putin  (the same complaint made about his capitulating and now fast unraveling nuclear deal with Iran) and that Obama didn't see what many did -- that Putin was intent on keeping Assad in power.
Remember it was Putin of all people who pressured Obama not to go ahead with the missile strike against Assad which led to Obama publicly deciding to put the missile strike to a vote in congress  to save face  -- a vote he knew he'd lose but would give him the cover he needed to back down. 
True to Obama's history of being only talk Hof as an insider revealed that the main concern at the White House as Syria began to descend into hell was, as  Hof  defines it, "a communications problem" for the White House. Their main concern wasn't what was happening in Syria or to the 200,000 who were dying, it was getting Obama "on the right side of history in terms of his public pronouncements".
Which explains why for 3 years all Obama would do is say "Assad must go" while at the 
same time doing absolutely nothing to help bring that about. 
In Hof's words, " What the United States would do never enjoyed the same policy priority as
to what the United States would say".  Which has always been the case with Obama on any issue. 
What makes it even worse for Obama in light of the weak nuclear deal with Iran is that, as  Hof points out, Iran is "fully complicit in Assad's war crimes and crimes against humanity", along with  partnering with Putin who is propping  up Assad with air strikes. This is the Iran who Tea Party Left groups like MoveOn, Democracy For America and ThinkProgress  said would soften its stance  as a result of the nuclear deal and who at the time accused those who wanted a tougher nuclear  deal with Iran as being war mongers.
Hof says that Iran and Russia could stop what he called  "the gratuitous mass murder" of
civilians but opt not to do so.
Hof also says that the United States could stop it without invading, without occupying and without ground forces in Syria and " without stretching the parameters of military science". But  according to Hof who is in a position to know, Obama "has adamantly refused to do so". Making him complicit in the mass civilian casualties in Syria and the refugee crisis it created. Also complicit are Tea Party Left groups like MoveOn who are now wringing their hands over the Syrian refugee crisis but who vocally opposed Obama making good on his threat of a missile strike against Assad which would have substantially degraded Assad's air power and ability to drop barrel bombs on civilian populations, hospitals and schools. 
Hof  believes that " the United States should neither seek nor shy away from a military confrontation with Russia in Syria." He correctly point out that if the United States -- i.e. Obama stood up to Putin and refused to allow Russian jets to have their way, Putin would be reluctant to allow Russian fighter jets to escort Assad's fighters on their missions of mass death. Instead Putin told Obama to get out of the way, to get U.S. aircraft out of Syrian skies and Obama did what he was told while muttering things like being "deeply concerned".
Hof says that if Putin seeks a military confrontation with the United States in Syria betting that Obama would back down, the U.S. needs to stand up to Putin otherwise Putin will not stop in Syria but keep going until " he hits steel".
Hof concludes by saying that in August of 2011, falsely believing Obama was more than just words, he testified before a congressional committee that the Assad regime was " a dead man walking" . He believed that when Obama delivered his ultimatum to Assad about being punished with a  missile strike if he used chemical weapons ,that if Assad did cross Obama's "red line"  he would be dealt " a debilitating body blow" which would have crippled Assad's ability to drop barrel bombs on civilians and use air power to cause mass casualties. 
On  Obama backing down on the missile strike Hof writes " I still do not understand how such a gap between (Obama's) word and deed could have been permitted. It is an error that transcends Syria".
It is an error that is who Obama is, and always has been.
Hof writes that if Obama actually did something now to stop the slaughter in Syria including standing up to Putin, it would be a "reclamation of American honor".  But based on Obama's 17 year history in elected office,his past judgements, character and decision making, or lack of, that is not likely to happen. If it were, Obama would have backed up his words with deeds a long time ago.  He never has. He never will. So it will be left to Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail to either defend or repudiate the words of her own Special Envoy to Syria and the disaster of the Obama policy he has so harshly exposed. And what she would do  differently. If anything. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

CNN Strikes Out With Democratic Debate Up Against Mets-Dodgers.

What does CNN and the '62 Mets have in common? The '62 Mets were the worst team in the history of baseball leading Casey Stengel their manager to say, "can't anyone here play this game"?

The same could be said about CNN and their often shoddy and dishonest journalism but the powers that be at CNN hit new levels of stupidity by assuring a smaller than expected audience by deciding not to change the date of the first Democratic presidential debate which is going to air opposite a crucial game 4 playoff game between the Mets and the Dodgers.

CNN knew two weeks ago when Major League Baseball released the television schedule for the playoffs that a game 4 between the Mets and Dodgers would be played in New York in prime time on October 13 (game time 8:07).

In case the geniuses at CNN forgot,  New York and Los Angeles are the two biggest markets in the country, the two most populous cities in the two most populous states in the country with the most Democratic voters in the country and only a small fraction will be watching the debate.

The fan base for the Mets and Dodgers in New York and California combined probably exceeds 20 million to be conservative given that the populations of the two states combined is about 50 million, and one can be sure that none of those 20 million will be watching the debate over the Mets-Dodgers playoff game. And that doesn't include the interest the game has for the rest of the country or casual viewers whose interest might be limited to the playoffs.

Knowing two weeks ago this was going to be the case it remains for CNN and the Democratic party, to explain why they didnt move the date so as not to conflict with the playoff game. Yes people can DVR it if they choose and maybe some will but it still doesnt explain the idiocy of not changing the date when the two most populous Democratic states in the country will be watching the Mets -Dodgers and not the Democratic presidential debate. It's also incomprehensible as to why Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Chair of the DNC didnt ask CNN to change the date by a day. Which reenforces Casey's line, "can't anyone here play this game"?

CNN did something similar in 2012 when it scheduled the first Republican presidential debate against a long awaited NFL game on a Thursday night, a game that ended up as the highest rated  Thursday night game of the year.

At the time, Wolf Blitzer, ignoring facts as he usually does to shill for the network introduced the debates by saying " the whole world is watching".They werent. And he knew it. Most were watching the football game. And the same will be true tonight in the two biggest Democratic states with the most Democratic voters most of whom will be watching the only debate tonight that will matter to at least 20 million of them, the one between Kershaw,Matz, the Mets and the Dodgers.

NOTE: The day after the debate every news organization in the country was featuring the story that the Democratic debate set records for viewership according to Nielsen ratings, bringing in 15 million viewers. But that story which was published by every news organization in the country from the New York Times, USA Today, Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post to Variety and everyone in between were only republishing the story put out not by Neilsen but by CNN.  Not one of these organizations actually did their own reporting because as the Neilsen client, only CNN  received the actual data. So all the numbers trace back to what CNN reported. And with CNN having the reputation as being the Most Rusted Name in News, from dishonest polling numbers to biased incompetent reporting they ought not be taken at face value since they did not release the raw data from Neilsen which should come today.

The number of viewers claimed by CNN which weren't actual viewers but guesses, werent ratings at all. Neilsen puts out what are called "overnights" the day after.  Those are overnight ratings based on three cities: New York, Chicago and L.A. which are considered preliminary indications. The "Nationals" which are the actual ratings come out the following day.

CNN extrapolated the overnights to a national audience without having the real figures. Further, the number of "viewers" is always a guess. A single ratings point equals 900,000 homes. A rating of 8 means approximately 7.2 million homes with television sets were tuned into the debate. How many viewers is a guess . The 15 million number comes by  averaging 2 viewers per set but it is still a guess.

The real numbers should be out sometime today.

ADDENDUM: For the record CNN never released the final numbers for the debate making their initial claims suspect. As usual. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Pentagon Admits Obama Policy Failure in Syria; Obama to Do What He Rejected 3 Years Ago.

In what is the foreign policy Too Little Too Late award of the last 10 years considering the 200,000 civilians already killed in Syria and the millions of refugees created by both Isis and Assad, (George W. Bush will always be the all time leader for his ignoring the actionable intelligence that would have stopped the 911 attacks) Obama has now agreed to do what he rejected three years ago when it would have done the most good -- arm moderate Syrian rebel forces already fighting in Syria.

Ashton Carter in a press conference admitted that the Obama policy of trying to train new rebels as long as they agreed  not to fight against Assad was a failure. That was taking political correctness to new lows since it was not just a failure but a joke. And stupid.

The Obama administration allocated $500,000,000 to vette, train and arm  new Syrian rebels but only if they were willing to fight against Isis alone and not Assad,  a condition so absurd and a policy so inept it's hard to imagine anyone actually thinking that was a good idea.

Since most Syrian fighters want to fight against Assad and to overthrow his dictatorial regime as well as Isis,  that policy resulted in hardly anybody showing up for work which in turn, out of a hoped for number of 5400 fighters produced a grand total of 5, yes five, rebels trained and ready to fight Isis. Which would be a premise for a pretty funny movie if it  wasn't such a horror show as real White House policy.

Having no choice now but to admit a complete policy failure, with even Democrats calling it a joke and with Putin launching the kind of missile strikes against the rebels that Obama promised against Assad if he used chemical weapons before eventually backing down, Obama has now finally agreed to arm moderate Syrian rebels including the Kurds and other groups already fighting in Syria, something Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, three Secretaries of Defense (Gates, Panetta and Hagel) and a CIA Director all advised Obama to do three years ago to fight against both Assad and the rise of Isis.  Recommendations Obama rejected at the time with his now famous line about Isis being the "junior varsity" dismissing them as a threat worth his attention. This,lest anyone forget,  from the president Nancy Pelosi said was ready to be president from day one. 

The AP reported that " The U.S. is abandoning its goal of training a new force and will focus on equipping, arming and supporting established rebel groups already fighting inside Syria."

Carter referred to it as "a more strategic approach" and in a perhaps unintended but honest slap at Obama's original policy said, " I wasn't satisfied with the early efforts in that regard". Welcome to the club.