Sunday, 21 June 2009

IRAN: THE OBAMA ABDICATION

Ken Berwitz

Yes I still have very limited use of a computer, and this will continue for up to one more week.  But I got my hands on one now, and wanted to talk about Iran.

Here is a pretty decent look on what is happening in Tehran, from three different sources over the past few days:

One is from Reuters:

Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:09pm IST
 
By Parisa Hafezi and Fredrik Dahl

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian authorities on Sunday blamed "terrorists" for clashes in which at least 10 people were killed and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the West to stay out of unrest sparked by his disputed re-election.

In a sign of increased opposition among clerics to the Islamic Republic's leadership, Mohammad Khatami, a moderate former president, warned that banning protests in support of defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi was a dangerous move.

"Preventing people from expressing their demands through civil ways will have dangerous consequences (for the country)," Khatami, a Mousavi ally, said in a statement, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Iran state television said 10 people were killed and more than 100 others injured in protests held in Tehran on Saturday in defiance of a stern warning by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A separate report put the number of deaths at 13.

State television said the violence included the torching of a mosque, which it blamed on "rioters".

Another is from Andrea Tantaros, writing for Fox News:

ANDREA TANTAROS: Obamas Red Phone Is Ringing and Its Going Straight to Voicemail

By Andrea Tantaros
Conservative Political Commentator/FOXNews.com Contributor

President Obama is feeling the heat lately for his limp foreign policy postures, showcased now more than ever with the increasing violence and chaos following Irans presidential election. Surprisingly, the critique is stemming from both sides of the aisle and is beginning to crescendo. Since the announcement of Ahmadenejads victory, Obamas response has been more than unimpressive, its been plain impotent. If Iran is the ringing red phone, Obama is putting the call straight to voicemail.

Were now the Mr. Rogers of foreign relations. Even Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are urging Obama to toughen up.

Apparently in this administration, forceful, timely responses have been reserved for houseflies instead of our most threatening enemies.

The president believes that we shouldnt meddle when it comes to Iran (or anyone else for that matter). Obama doesnt want to appear like he is directing the protests; but even so, the Iranian government has already accused America of interventionist statements. Remind me again why democracy promotion is such a bad thing?

President Obama: you arent the leader of some insignificant Caribbean territory. You are the leader of the free world.

The world expects you, like your predecessors, to lead. But the global community is quickly learning not to hold its breath. In mere months, Obama has transformed the United States of America from the worlds policeman to the worlds cheerleader. Were now the Mr. Rogers of foreign relations. Even Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are urging Obama to toughen up.

How can someone so quick to meddle in private domestic enterprises from insurance to banking to the auto industry remain so hands off when it comes to our national security?

Iran needs some major meddling. The same goes for North Korea. In fact, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, North Korea is seen as a bigger threat than Iran, China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan surpassing Iran by a more than two-to-one margin on voters worry list.

The scariest part about both is that the two countries are intrinsically linked. Though the administration insists its keeping an eye on Iran, Iran is watching North Korea and how we deal with them. We deal with them through the Chinese. Problem is, our leverage with China is limited considering that they hold the bulk of our ballooning debt. Plainly put: if the North Koreans decide to sell a nuclear weapon the likely customer will be from Tehran. That is why sitting on our hands and spending our nation into an economic choke-hold will result in unprecedented American vulnerability.

This is one holy crap moment that photo ops and late night talk show appearances cant fix. Its time for the Obama administration to swat down stubborn, rogue regimes and anyone who seeks to threaten our safety. Thats what I call real pest control.

 

Finally, we have this from Stephen Hayes and Bill Kristol at Weekly Standard:

Resolutely Irresolute
Obama dithers while Tehran burns.
by Stephen F. Hayes & William Kristol
06/29/2009


The events of the past week in Iran, following the June 12 presidential election there, have been remarkable and hopeful. It's been a moment when one would like a president of the United States--who has, in such moments, a supporting but not an inconsequential role--to rise to the occasion. Barack Obama hasn't. We are therefore put in the position of hoping that the words of an American president are being mostly ignored, that his weakness won't matter, and that the forces of reform or revolution will be able to prevail--as they may--with the support of many in America, if not the president.

The day after the election, as hundreds of thousands of Iranians gathered in the streets to protest election fraud, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration was "monitoring" the situation. The next day, Sunday, as the extent of the fraud became clear to anyone willing to see it, Vice President Joe Biden said that while there were "doubts" about the outcome, "I don't think we're in a position to say" that the election wasn't free and fair. Obama played golf.

On Monday, Obama finally had something to say: "I think it would be wrong for me to be silent about what we've seen on the television over the last few days." He said he was "deeply troubled" by the violence but noted, "We respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran." Eight people were killed that day.

On Tuesday, Obama acknowledged the "amazing ferment" inside Iran. But, as the forces of change rallied behind Mir-Hussein Mousavi, and as Mousavi, heretofore a cautious apparatchik, was carried along Yeltsin-like to a position of virtual opposition to the regime, Obama seemed to try to take the steam out of the protest, declaring, "The difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised." Meanwhile Gibbs said that while Obama "deplored the violence"--disembodied violence, whose perpetrators went unnamed--he was nonetheless encouraged by the "vigorous debate inside of Iran by Iranians."

On Wednesday, Gibbs repeated those words verbatim and reported that the president would continue to "ensure that we're not meddling." And on Thursday, Gibbs once again said the president "deplored unnecessary killing." Senator John Kerry, defending Obama, said, "We can't escape the reality that for reformers in Tehran to have any hope for success, Iran's election must be about Iran--not America."

All week, the Obama administration bent over backwards to avoid questioning the legitimacy of the Iranian regime. In this, Obama became a de facto ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Although Obama finally spoke about the protesters--"the whole world is watching," he said--he never expressed real support for them.

Obama supporters defended his silence. Anything he said to endorse the protests, they argued, would taint the protesters' message and damage their cause.

The events of the past week in Iran, following the June 12 presidential election there, have been remarkable and hopeful. It's been a moment when one would like a president of the United States--who has, in such moments, a supporting but not an inconsequential role--to rise to the occasion. Barack Obama hasn't. We are therefore put in the position of hoping that the words of an American president are being mostly ignored, that his weakness won't matter, and that the forces of reform or revolution will be able to prevail--as they may--with the support of many in America, if not the president.

The day after the election, as hundreds of thousands of Iranians gathered in the streets to protest election fraud, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration was "monitoring" the situation. The next day, Sunday, as the extent of the fraud became clear to anyone willing to see it, Vice President Joe Biden said that while there were "doubts" about the outcome, "I don't think we're in a position to say" that the election wasn't free and fair. Obama played golf.

On Monday, Obama finally had something to say: "I think it would be wrong for me to be silent about what we've seen on the television over the last few days." He said he was "deeply troubled" by the violence but noted, "We respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran." Eight people were killed that day.

On Tuesday, Obama acknowledged the "amazing ferment" inside Iran. But, as the forces of change rallied behind Mir-Hussein Mousavi, and as Mousavi, heretofore a cautious apparatchik, was carried along Yeltsin-like to a position of virtual opposition to the regime, Obama seemed to try to take the steam out of the protest, declaring, "The difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised." Meanwhile Gibbs said that while Obama "deplored the violence"--disembodied violence, whose perpetrators went unnamed--he was nonetheless encouraged by the "vigorous debate inside of Iran by Iranians."

On Wednesday, Gibbs repeated those words verbatim and reported that the president would continue to "ensure that we're not meddling." And on Thursday, Gibbs once again said the president "deplored unnecessary killing." Senator John Kerry, defending Obama, said, "We can't escape the reality that for reformers in Tehran to have any hope for success, Iran's election must be about Iran--not America."

All week, the Obama administration bent over backwards to avoid questioning the legitimacy of the Iranian regime. In this, Obama became a de facto ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Although Obama finally spoke about the protesters--"the whole world is watching," he said--he never expressed real support for them.

Obama supporters defended his silence. Anything he said to endorse the protests, they argued, would taint the protesters' message and damage their cause.

The bottom line?  Iran is in turmoil, moving headlong toward overt revolution.  The revolution it is moving toward, while hardly a 100% turnaround from the lunacy of khamenei and ahmadinejad, is a dramatic change in favor of the west.

And Barack Obama is nowhere to be found.  Nowhere.

But his supporters are desperately trying to convince you that he is doing the protestors a favor by not having a good word to say about them.

You would have to be brain dead to believe this BS.   That's what this sorry bunch is counting on. 

Boy do I hope they're wrong.


OBAMA AND SECRECY

Ken Berwitz

From Michael Isikoff of Newsweek, who isn't what you would call an Obama detractor:

Obama Closes Doors on Openness

As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding "secret energy meetings" with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama's "clean coal" policies. One reason: the disclosure of such records might impinge on privileged "presidential communications." The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig's office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclosure. Since Obama pledged on his first day in office to usher in a "new era" of openness, "nothing has changed," says David -Sobel, a lawyer who litigates FOIA cases. "For a president who said he was going to bring unprecedented transparency to government, you would certainly expect more than the recycling of old Bush secrecy policies."

The hard line appears to be no accident. After Obama's much-publicized Jan. 21 "transparency" memo, administration lawyers crafted a key directive implementing the new policy that contained a major loophole, according to FOIA experts. The directive, signed by Attorney General Eric Holder, instructed federal agencies to adopt a "presumption" of disclosure for FOIA requests. This reversal of Bush policy was intended to restore a standard set by President Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno. But in a little-noticed passage, the Holder memo also said the new standard applies "if practicable" for cases involving "pending litigation." Dan Metcalfe, the former longtime chief of FOIA policy at Justice, says the passage and other "lawyerly hedges" means the Holder memo is now "astonishingly weaker" than the Reno policy. (The visitor-log request falls in this category because of a pending Bush-era lawsuit for such records.)

Administration officials say the Holder memo was drafted by senior Justice lawyers in consultation with Craig's office. The separate standard for "pending" lawsuits was inserted because of the "burden" it would impose on officials to go "backward" and reprocess hundreds of old cases, says Melanie Ann Pustay, who now heads the FOIA office. White House spokesman Ben LaBolt says Obama "has backed up his promise" with actions including the broadcast of White House meetings on the Web. (Others cite the release of the so-called torture memos.) As for the visitor logs, LaBolt says the policy is now "under review."

Can anyone still believe a word this man says?  Can anyone doubt any more that Barack Obama is a slickly packaged Chicago machine politician who won an election on clever slogans and imagery but little else? 

Gallup is now showing Mr. Obama at 58% approval, its lowest level since he was elected

Rassmussen shows his approval at just 53%, with 32% strongly approving of him and 34% strongly disapproving.  On January 20, the day Mr. Obama was elected, the strongly approve was 44% and strongly disapprove was 16%.

Finally, at long last, people are catching on.  And I have to believe that instance after instance in which he goes back on what he promised us is a key reason for it happening.

Too bad it is a half year too late.....


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