Thursday, 24 March 2011

TOM RAUM ON THE LIBYA MESS

Ken Berwitz

Tom Raum, veteran writer for the Associated Press (which is hardly an Obama-bashing enterprise) has written a thoughtful, thought-provoking analysis of the Libya mess. 

Here is an excerpt.  But please click on this link and read it all:

WASHINGTON President Barack Obama said he was setting clear and unmistakable terms for the U.S. role in Libya: It would be limited, lasting days, not weeks, and its purpose was to protect Libyan citizens.

But that's not the way it's turned out. Less than a week later, the mission has been clouded by confusion and questions about who's in charge and who's doing what all while the killing of civilians is going on.

The Pentagon claims success in establishing an effective no-fly zone over much of Libya that has grounded Col. Moammar Gadhafi's aging air force. But Gadhafi's tanks and troops are still targeting civilians on the ground.

"It could still all come around very quickly in our favor. But if that's to happen, we will have to apply much more intensive military power in an effort to make this succeed," said Aaron David Miller, a former top State Department Mideast negotiator in Republican and Democratic administrations.

"But it doesn't appear to me, given the constraints acting upon us and our own reservations, that we're prepared to do that," said Miller, now with the Woodrow Wilson Center, a foreign-policy think tank. "Right now, it appears to be settling into a stalemate which isn't terribly hurting on the Gadhafi side."

Raum goes on to detail what is wrong with the Obama administration's strategy and actions.  He is just about completely spot-on.

But, then again, what should we have expected?  We elected a Chicago machine politician with absolutely no qualifications for the presidency, and he installed a Secretary of State whose major qualification was that she went on trips with her husband. 

Years ago, I used to play cards with a guy from the neighborhood who described worthless, nonproductive activity by saying "from shit you don't make omelets". 

I don't see any omelets here.  Do you?

Zeke .... .... ... .The Libya Expedition has been turned over to General Larry, Admiral Moe and Lieutenant Curly. .... ...... ...... At least there is now better leadership. ..... ..... (03/24/11)


A SQUEEZABLY SOFT PROPOSAL FOR WIPING OUT DEBT

Ken Berwitz

According to the following excerpt from an article in the Omaha World-Herald, here is the way Mayor Jim Suttle proposes to wipe out part of the city's debt:

Mayor Jim Suttle went to Washington Tuesday flush with ideas for how federal officials could help cities like Omaha pay for multibillion-dollar sewer projects.

Among the items on his brainstorming list: a proposal for a 10-cent federal tax on every roll of toilet paper you buy.

Based on the four-pack price for Charmin double rolls Tuesday at a midtown Hy-Vee, such a tax would add more than 10 percent to the per-roll price, pushing it over a buck.

The idea came from a failed 2009 House measure by an Oregon congressman to help cities and the environment.

I heard about it and said, Well, this is simple. Let's put it on the table,' said Suttle. It doesn't mean I endorse it.

The mayor says Omaha needs help with the metro area's $1.7 billion bill for federally mandated sewer improvements. The work must be done by 2024.

Personally, I'm surprised by the mayor making such a bold proposal; it's so....un-Suttle.

Then again, you have to admire his courage.  Do you realize how badly he is going to be smeared for this idea?

And his critics have a point, since all he's talking about is paper profits.

But the mayor does have strong support.....from the bidet industry. 

Ok, enough sh*tty jokes.  Then next one is yours.

thebardofmurdock Mayor Suttle’s VAT We tax your land and tax your home, All you possess, from crypt to dome. We tax three ways the daily wage Of young and old and middle age. We tax your cigarettes, and more, We tax the alcohol you pour. Your restaurant has a special rate As does your bygone dad’s estate. We tax your car and we impose A tax on household goods and clothes. Your haircuts, pedicures and nails Are taxed as services or sales. But still the budget comes up short And now we’ve hit the last resort. A dime a roll – a trifling fee – For those who want to use T.P. Our Democratic mayor sees He’s got the people on their knees. And so he adds upon their backs This little Value Added Tax! thebardofmurdock.blogspot.com (03/24/11)

bobw our idiot ex-governor from NJ tried the same tax years ago- Jim Florio- all it got him was in deep in doo-doo (03/24/11)


THE LIBYA MESS (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

What did we get ourselves into? 

Excerpted from an article from Germany's Der Spiegel:

'Gadhafi Is Facing a Coalition of the Unwilling'

NATO is split over whether it should take over command of the coalition military operation against Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. German commentators warn that the alliance could be playing into the despot's hands with its dithering.

 

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The coalition military operation against Moammar Gadhafi has made good progress toward its goals of destroying the Libyan dictator's air defenses and establishing a no-fly zone over the country. But that, it seems, was the easy part. Far more difficult are the questions of who should now lead the mission and what the operation's ultimate objectives should be.

 

The US government, wary of getting stuck in another war in a Muslim country, would like to hand control of the mission over to NATO, but the alliance is divided. At a meeting on Monday, NATO ambassadors failed to agree on whether the alliance should take control of the mission. NATO involvement would require approval by all 28 members.

 

France has opposed handing control to NATO because of Arab skepticism about the alliance, which is perceived as being dominated by the US. Paris would prefer the current coalition of France, Britain and the US to keep political control of the mission, with operational support from NATO, according to sources quoted by Reuters. Turkey, an alliance member which sees itself as a bridge to the Muslim world, is opposing NATO control of the operation. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the United Nations should be in charge of an entirely humanitarian operation in Libya.

 

Britain and Italy want the alliance to be in charge of the operation, however. Rome has threatened to restrict access to its air bases, which are crucial to the mission, if NATO does not take over control. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has suggested that Britain or France could also take control of the mission, but some NATO officials doubt if either country could handle the operation by itself, according to Reuters.

 

Other allies even reportedly questioned at Monday's meeting whether the no-fly zone was still needed, arguing that the air strikes had already inflicted substantial damage on Gadhafi's forces. Operation Odyssey Dawn began on Saturday following last week's UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Gadhafi's regime.

How could President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have bungled Libya so completely?

How could they have allowed the USA to devolve into just "one of the guys" - especially when our military - as per usual - is performing the lion's share of activity (113 of the first 175 bombing missions)?  Did they not know that, without our lead, not only do we lose relevance and credibility in the world, but we wind up in a hopeless debating situation instead of a decisive action with defined objectives.  Didn't their mommies ever tell them that too many cooks spoil the broth? 

The idea of our action in Libya is very noble.  We want Libya to be free of moammar qaddafi.  But how are we going about it?

-First, we wait until qaddafi has largely decimated his opposition before doing anything at all;

-Then we let France, that great military power of the planet, take the lead over us - which makes the USA look like a ridiculous, second-tier shell of its former self;

-Eventually we jump in with bombing raids.  But we assure qaddafi (and Mr. Obama's hard-left masters) that we won't send in ground troops, which means qaddafi cannot lose land to our actions.  And, oh, by the way, we're not really trying to depose him.  Plus, we promise we'll only bomb a few more days. 

That is how a left wing think-tank dreamer or an MSNBC host or a New York Times editorial writer might see a war.  Not a commander in chief.

The result?  qaddafi has suffered major military losses - inevitable when a number of militarily superior countries are bombing it.  But he is still there.  He is still defiant.  He is still going on Libya state TV to thumb his nose at the west. 

And, since no one seems to have any idea of how to pursue this action beyond bombing raids (which qaddafi is positioning as  "us against them", which is likely to gain, rather than lose popular support for him), it is hard to find a way that this can have a successful conclusion.

Even if  "the rebels" were somehow to take over, what do we know about them?  I agree that it is unlikely they would be worse than the deranged, murderous lunatic qaddafi.  But they might be worse, or just as bad.  Would a rebel takeover enmesh Libya in a hopeless, bloody tribal war, like Rwanda? 

Max Boot, writing in a New York Times op-ed on Monday, suggested - seriously, not sarcastically - that post-qaddafi Libya would probably need an international peacekeeping force.  

Does that sound promising to you?  I didn't think so.

Zeke .... .... A War run by Committee .... ..... ...... If we win, that would be the very first time in history that command structure did not produce defeat. .... .... (03/24/11)

free` I read somewhere the other day that alqueda supports the Libyan rebels. Yes, the same rebels we are now supporting. Can I get an allahu-akbar from the crowd??? (03/24/11)


FREEDOMLESS INFORMATION INACTIVITY

Ken Berwitz

Funny, isn't it, how the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) becomes a sometimes thing, based on who is doing the asking and who is expected to provide the information.

Steve Gilbert of sweetness-light.com has written a terrific blog about this, which I am excerpting below.  I am probably posting too much of it but Steve has done such a stellar job that I want to be sure you see for yourself.  Do yourself a favor, though, and use the link I have provided and read Steve's entire piece:

First we have this bit of background on Crossroads GPS, via the Politico:

Crossroads GPS launches FOIA site

By Mike Allen
March 23, 2011

Crossroads GPS, the cash-flush Republican advocacy group, is launching a new initiative and website Thursday, Wikicountability.org, which is designed to crowdsource FOIA files from organizations, individuals and journalists who have sought, and who have received, public information from the Obama administration. Thousands of pages of information from the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services have been uploaded to the site, and Crossroads is encouraging other groups and individuals to upload their own FOIA reports as well.

The horror!

The site is also designed to spotlight what it suggests is the administrations poor record of compliance with FOIA with a special section devoted to unfulfilled FOIA requests.

The launch of Wikicountability.org will reveal:

- The Andy Griffith ad promoting Obamacare last year cost taxpayers $3.66 million including $404,000 in production according to records obtained from HHS in a FOIA request earlier this year.

- Labor Secretary Hilda Solis met with union bosses or attended their events on more than 40 separate occasions from February 2009-January 2010.

- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Elizabeth Warren made time for dinner with liberal journalists including American Prospects Bob Kuttner, Mother Joness David Corn and DailyKos.coms Markos Moulitsas.

- Among dozens of unfulfilled FOIA requests by the Obama administration: The Department of Education has yet to offer any response to a February 2010 FOIA request for Education Secretary Arne Duncans schedule and travel vouchers.

Crossroads is doing what our news media would be doing, if we had a free press.

After all, the very same labor unions that put Mr. Obama into office, and who helped him force through Obama-care, and who are now getting waivers exempting them from the mandates of Obama-care. You would think that some journalists would be interested in such an obvious scandal. But you would be wrong, because there we have no journalists worthy of the name.

Instead we have the lickspittle minions of the Democrat party, who call themselves reporters. And they have already leaped into action to do whatever they can to keep any of this information from coming out.

Exactly right, Steve.  Thank you for saying it so well.

And, yes, these are the same "journalists" who squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased. 


THE LIBYA MESS: PUBLIC SUPPORT (OR LACK THEREOF)

Ken Berwitz

Here, from Gallup, is the support level for our current foray into Libya - along with the support levels at the start of most other conflicts over the past 28 years:

Approval of Prior U.S. Military Actions

If these data are accurate, the Libya mess is generating a remarkably low level of support, right from the git-go. 

And if you think the numbers are bad now, wait until we hand off control to NATO, and officers from Europe or maybe an Arab country or two are commanding our troops.  

Does it give me any satisfaction to see that so many people apparently share my pessimism about what the Obama administration is doing?  The answer is no.  I do not want to be right about this.

What I want is for the Libya action to work out perfectly.  I would be in seventh heaven if qaddafi is deposed (preferably decomposed), democracy-oriented "rebels" are in control of a joyous, free country, and our troops walk away with few if any casualties. 

But the harsh truth is that I have no hope of it happening. 

Instead, I am cringing at the likelihood that this will be an ugly, bloody, nonproductive, probably counterproductive, fiasco. 

If ever there were a time I would like to be apologizing to the Obama administration and admitting I was wrong, this is it.  Let's all hope that such an apology becomes necessary in the very, very near future.


THE TEXAS VOTER ID LEGISLATION

Ken Berwitz

The Texas House of Representatives has just passed an eminently logical law - that, in order to vote, a valid ID must be shown.

And Democrats are having an excrement hemorrhage over it.

Excerpted from an article by Aman Batheja for the Austin Star-Telegram -- and please pay special attention to the paragraph I have put in bold print:

AUSTIN -- After more than 11 hours of debate, the Texas House voted 101-48 late Wednesday for a bill requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls, increasing the likelihood that the measure will take effect in time for the 2012 elections.

 

House Republicans achieved a long-sought political goal by passing the bill. Now they will have to iron out differences with the version the Senate passed in January. Gov. Rick Perry had declared that the bill was one of a handful of emergency items. Republicans say their constituents demand the change to ensure election integrity.

 

"I have Democrats, Republicans and independents in my district who think people ought to show ID before being allowed to vote," said Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton.

 

All votes against the bill were by Democrats. They said the measure would disenfranchise poor and minority voters and is targeting a problem -- in-person voter fraud -- that doesn't exist. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, said the bill would effectively return Texas to the days of Jim Crow.

 

"I think it's horrible," Veasey said. "I think it discriminates against people. I think we'll look back in shame."

 

Several kinds of government-issued photo identification would be accepted, including a driver's license, a U.S. military ID card and a U.S. passport.

Bluntly stated, every argument raised by the 48 Democrats who voted against this legislation is a lie. 

-The legislation has no relevance to income.  It doesn't ask people's income; it only asks that they prove their identity;

-The legislation has no relevance to minority status.  It doesn't ask people's color, race or religion; it only asks that they prove their identity;

-The legislation has no relevance to Jim Crow laws, which were created to prevent Black people from voting.  It doesn't ask people's skin color; it only asks that they prove their identity;

-But the legislation has great relevance to in-person voter fraud, because it makes unlawful voting much harder to "successfully" accomplish.  And it is impossible for Rep. Marc Veasey to know how much voter fraud currently takes place because, without an ID check, it is impossible to identify who is and is not a legitimate voter.

Why are Democrats so strongly against this legislation?  Why are they so strongly against voters being asked to produce nothing more than the same kind of ID they need to get into an R Rated movie, or cash a $5 check at the supermarket, or to perform countless other mundane events in their everyday lives?

I can't prove it for certain, but the one and only reason I can come up with that makes any sense, is that they believe there are illegal voters who mostly vote for Democrats, therefore it will cost them votes they have no business getting.

If you can show me any reason that producing a valid ID discriminates against poor people or minorities, I urge you to post it in the "comments" section below.  I promise to address each reason individually. 

But, somehow, I doubt that anyone will be able to do so.


THE WEINER WAIVER

Ken Berwitz

Man oh man, would Anthony Weiner have a fit on the floor of the house over this amazing hypocrisy....if it weren't for the fact that he happens to be the hypocrite.

Excerpted from Kate Nocera's article at politico.com:

Rep. Anthony Weiner said Wednesday he was looking into how a health law waiver might work for New York City.

Weiner, who is likely to run for mayor of New York, said that because of the citys special health care infrastructure, his office was looking into alternatives that might make more sense. Weiner is one of the health care laws biggest supporters; during the debate leading up to reform, he was one of the last holdouts in Congress for the public option.

The president said, If you have better ideas that can accomplish the same thing, go for it, said Weiner. Im in the process now of trying to see if we can take [President Barack Obama] up on it in the city of New York, and Im taking a look at all of the money we spend in Medicaid and Medicare and maybe New York City can come up with a better plan.

You've got to be kidding.

Anthony Weiner, who, in his aggressive, angry, rumpelstilstskinesque way, led the fight to force ObamaCare down our throats, wants a waiver for it?????  So that the people in his congressional district - and all the rest of New York City - do not have to suffer its consequences?????

If there is a hall of fame for hypocrites, they better start building a wing for this guy.  Right next to the rubber-padded room they should be building for his next holy fit.


HAPLESS HARRY STRIKES AGAIN

Ken Berwitz

This is the first paragraph of Chris Moody's latest blog at dailycaller.com.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took a swipe at billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch in a fund-raising email on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Thursday, even though the DSCC accepted $30,000 from Koch Industries just last year.

Any questions?


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