Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Quick Hits - May 2, 2012

Mixing campaigning with official duties, President Obama travelled to Afghanistan for the day to sign a new strategic partnership agreement with Afghani President Karzai and deliver a campaign speech to the American people.

The Investor's Business Daily notes that President Obama travelled 14,000 miles for the above - and in his brief remarks regarding the War in Afghanistan, failed to use one crucial word...
In fact, Tuesday night's speech from Kabul emphasizing withdrawal was his first substantive statement in eleven (11!) months. Nothing to the nation from its leader on an ongoing war for nearly one year, while finding time for 124 campaign fundraiser speeches, more golf games and vacations.

Those poll numbers were still pretty persuasive for a president who struggles to reach 50% approval in an election year. As a result, contrary to the recommendations of generals, Obama launched a significant withdrawal last year, which continues this year and has all combat troops out by the end of next year.

One little-noticed provision of the agreement Obama and Karzai signed Tuesday, however, is that American troops will remain in Afghanistan for not one, not two, not even three more years. They will be there for 12 more years, until 2024, helping. So, John McCain was correct after all about lengthy U.S. troop stationings.

In his speech last night the president noted the more than a half-million Americans who've served in Afghanistan. But in remarks that Obama wanted focused on an optimistic end to the conflict, he failed to mention the 1,957 Americans who've died there since 2001, 68% of them during his presidency. And 93 in the last 122 days.

Nor, as it turns out, could the politically-inclined president of the United States find room anywhere among his 1,556 words for the seven letters that could make his surges and all those sacrifices seem more worthwhile: "victory."

Victory. Never mentioned once in the President's address.

The mission to Afghanistan wasn't about obtaining victory.  It was a campaign stop and speech - focusing not only on 'spiking the football' on the anniversary of the SpecOps mission that killed Osama Bin Laden, but on trying to deliver a modern day version of Neville Chamberlain's 'Peace in Our Time' and declare the mission in Afghanistan, if not fully accomplished, accomplished enough for President Obama.

The details for the 'Strategic Partnership Agreement' with Afghanistan are lacking - but it confirms the artificial timeline for the withdrawal of the vast majority of US (and NATO) military units from the country as well as paying Afghanistan untold billions through 2024.  But as noted in Powerline, this is the President's 'Long Goodbye' to Afghanistan regardless of actual conditions on the ground within the country.  The President basically redefined the mission and told our enemies the timeline...
As we move forward, some people will ask why we need a firm timeline. The answer is clear: our goal is not to build a country in America’s image, or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban. These objectives would require many more years, many more dollars, and many more American lives. Our goal is to destroy al Qaeda, and we are on a path to do exactly that. Afghans want to fully assert their sovereignty and build a lasting peace. That requires a clear timeline to wind down the war.
A key part of this clear timeline?  A negotiated peace.
Fourth, we are pursuing a negotiated peace. In coordination with the Afghan government, my Administration has been in direct discussions with the Taliban. We have made it clear that they can be a part of this future if they break with al Qaeda, renounce violence, and abide by Afghan laws. Many members of the Taliban – from foot soldiers to leaders – have indicated an interest in reconciliation. A path to peace is now set before them. Those who refuse to walk it will face strong Afghan Security Forces, backed by the United States and our allies…
First thing that came to my mind from this point of the speech was Neville Chamberlain's comments about 'Peace in our time' when he returned to England from selling out Czechoslovakia to Hitler at Munich in 1938.

The Taliban has no interest in reconciliation.  They seek only a return to power and the reestablishment of Afghanistan as a fundamentalist Islamic republic - under Shari'a law - and back to executing women in the Kabul soccer stadium.  President Obama is looking for a way out - and to do so where he can use it for personal political gain - even if that includes sending billions in 'bribes' to not only the Taliban, but the corrupt Afghani government under Karzai, as well as towards Pakistan.

What about Pakistan's split loyalties and playing both sides?  They fund and protect not only the Taliban and the Haqqani network which promote Islamic jihad, but also al Qaeda.  We're supposed to believe that Osama Bin Laden lived for over 6 years in one of the military centers of the country without someone at the ISI, the Pakistani Intelligence organization, knowing about it?

Even The Hill notes that the President's speech was nothing more than another campaign speech from a President who is fighting for reelection...
The president also sought to portray the end of a conflict in Afghanistan as necessary so that the U.S. could focus on struggles at home, something that also puts him in line with public opinion polls.
“As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it is time to renew America,” Obama said. “An America where our children live free from fear and have the skills to claim their dreams. A united America of grit and resilience, where sunlight glistens off soaring new tours in downtown Manhattan, and we build our future as one people, as one nation.”
James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation writes this about the President's speech...
“If Lincoln had spent the entire Gettysburg Address talking about himself, it wouldn’t have been quite that crass.” And last night, the president made a campaign stop in Afghanistan where he delivered a speech remarking that the “dark cloud of war” is breaking way to “the light of a new day on the horizon” as U.S. troops continue to be withdrawn from the country. “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end,” he declared.

Unfortunately, under this Administration, the military is facing significant cuts that severely undermine America’s ability to defend itself and stand ready to combat the threats that lie around the corner.

Those threats could very well emerge from Afghanistan if the Taliban are allowed to return to power, creating a breeding ground for al-Qaeda. In his speech last night, President Obama announced the signing of a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan, making clear that the United States will retain a force presence in the country long after 2014. That is a sliver of good news, but Heritage’s Lisa Curtis explains, “that does not erase the mistakes the Obama Administration has made in setting arbitrary timelines for withdrawal of combat forces and failing to explain the stakes for the U.S. in Afghanistan to the American people for so long.”

The threat in Afghanistan remains, and the mission to protect America must continue. The president spoke last night of pursuing talks with the Taliban, yet hours later Taliban forces attacked a private compound with a car bomb, followed by gun fire, killing seven people and injuring 17 others. Clearly, the prospects for a political settlement with the Taliban remain remote.

The United States must recognize that it cannot wish away threats or retreat into retreat into its fortress. There are no castle walls high enough to prevent another 9/11, and turning away from enemies abroad will not make them go away.

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Buck McKeon also addresses a similar view in his official remarks on the President's visit...
House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R–CA) wryly noted that the visit came “[a]fter nearly a year of not speaking about the war and 17 months of not visiting the war zone.”

Obama’s remarks from “an undisclosed location” at Bagram Air Base included a few zingers that leave one wondering if all the speechwriters have left to join the campaign staff.

The biggest “I can’t believe he said that” moment had to be “We can see the light of a new day on the horizon.” Okay, so at least he didn’t declare it was “a light at the end of the tunnel.” Different metaphor—but it still had that used car salesman feel.

What the President did not discuss is how he has made a muddle of the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan since day one. After dawdling for months before making his “decisive” decision, Obama promptly gave the commanders on the ground about half the troops they requested, and he gave them about half the time they said they needed before he started drawing down the troops. In his speech tonight, the President declared that the U.S. needs “a clear timeline to wind down the war.” Coincidentally, like his surprise trip to Kabul, the timeline just happened to fit with his reelection campaign.

As noted in Carafano's quote, the Taliban had their own direct response to the message of President Obama. Two hours after the President departed Afghanistan, a Taliban suicide bomber struck a heavily guarded residential compound where foreigners stay in Kabul - killing 7.

Moronic MSNBC anchor, Chris Matthews has gotten that 'thrill' back in his leg. In his commentary after the President's speech from Bagram Air Base, he raved uncontrollably over President Obama...
Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball," raved about a speech President Obama made to American troops during his surprise visit to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

"I imagine being a soldier over there -- this is what you want to hear," Matthews said, as if he was wearing military fatigues.

Matthews also likened the leadership of President Obama to that of Henry V of England.

"It was right out of Henry V actually, a touch of Barry, in this case, in the night for those soldiers risking their lives over there," Matthews said.

"Well that's great stuff. I was so proud of the President there, I must say. This has nothing to do with partisanship; this is the Commander-in-Chief meeting with the troops," Chris Matthews gushed on his program today.

How many troops were at that 4am local time speech again, Chris? But even that's not the most idiotic comment. That honor goes to comparing Obama's speech to the famous speech from Henry V - the St. Crispin's Day speech given prior to the Battle of Agincourt where King Henry rallies the outnumbered British to face the French.

You decide...

or the President's speech...

Well, campaign events do have that effect on Chris Matthews....

After all, it's better to try to create a fiction around the President than to address the economic reality that the President's policies have delivered.  The latest in bad news comes from the ADP report released today on April's job numbers - which could be a bell weather for Friday's report on jobs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

ADP is reporting that private sector jobs in the US for April increased by only 119,000 - far lower than the 175,000 which was the median expectations of economists.  This protrends a continuation of the rapid slowdown in new job creation that we saw in March when only 120,000 new jobs were created according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More bad news came from the Commerce Department as they indicated that domestic manufacturing activity in March experienced its biggest decline since January 2009 - another sign of a stagnating economy.  As Zerohedge notes - not only were manufacturing jobs down a net 5,000, but that the miss between the actual and expected was the largest seen in 11 months.

Yesterday's May Day / General Strike - Day of Action by the OccupyWallStreet protesters was not the huge 'Day of Action' that they promised. 

The New York Post reported that the OWS activity in NYC was largely a 'fizzle' - with low turnouts and limited disruptions.  There was some violence, about 30 arrests in NYC, and most notably, a rash of envelopes being sent to 'enemy organizations' that contained a mysterious white powder (corn starch?) intended to emulate an anthrax attack.  Most New Yorkers laughed at the protesters and derided their message.

Elsewhere in the US, domestic terrorist and Obama friend Bill Ayers participated with the Occupy protests in Chicago, the Seattle Police Department seized about 70 make-shift weapons from Occupy protesters, and OccupySeattle protesters also broke windows and several assaulted a Seattle TV photographer.  A joint SEIU and OccupyLA protest briefly disrupted Los Angeles International Airport - but they decided in San Francisco to not shut down the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza after union workers objected to the action.

Photo from last fall's OWS Protests in NYC

The protesters remain largely members of the hard left - supporters of communism / socialism, union members, and anarchists advocating a hard left political solution. 

Lee Stranahan, of, gives the Occupy movement a report card for their May Day - Day of Action...
Attendance : D+
For an event literally months in the making, the crowd turnout was weak coast to coast. I’m being a fair standard here; compared to other Occupy events from last fall, the numbers everywhere were smaller. Compared to other leftist events such as Wisconsin, the numbers were smaller.

Leftist Thuggery: A
While their numbers were small, the level of violent, crazy Black Bloc behavior got pretty intense. Especially in liberal west coast cities like Seattle and Oakland, the wanna-be ninja squads broke windows, spray painted and generally made a mess. They harassed cops with gusto, too -- throwing bottles, screaming obscenities and taunting the police to try and encourage a violent reaction from law enforcement.

Nationwide Strike : F
Occupy has claimed that this would be the first nationwide strike in the country’s history -- no school, no work, no shopping. You missed it too, right? A nation of over 300 million paid zero attention to the supposed spokespeople for the 99%.

Media Exposure : D
Look at headlines around the country and Occupy’s May Day barely registered. The broken glass to media coverage link was shockingly small. Big fail for the tattered remnants of the Occupy media team, who were trumped by the Black Bloc’s now predicable rage against the machine.

Big Symbolic Events : D
No Golden Gate shutdown; the unions nixed it. They managed to make commuter traffic bad in New York late in the evening but that’s not exactly unusual. I give them points for effectively shutting down LAX, another move guaranteed to win them no fans. In San Francisco they caused the ferries to shut down but there was no visceral moment from that.

Political Impact : F
Those salad days of being praised by President Obama and Nancy Pelosi seem to be over. Of course, they would criticize the mob violence but you didn’t hear a peep from the Democratic establishment yesterday. Even at liberal nutjob paradise DailyKos, the Kos Kommunity was eerily quiet about May Day.

Summary : FAIL
Sorry, far leftists -- Occupy has fizzled. You’re going to have to come up with some new tricks if you want to remain an even remotely relevant force in the public discourse. You had the media on your side, you had academia on your side...gosh, you had the President of the United States of America on your side -- and you blew it.

Stephen Green, Vodkapundit of PJ Media, has a very interesting post today that offers 'A Photo Essay Rebuttal to May Day' - which covers a 1984 visit he made as a student to East Berlin - which was the beneficiary of nearly 4 decades of communism leadership - the same government that OWS is advocating...
Try as we might, we could not spend 25 East German marks — 12 cents! — in a day. Food was cheap, but revolting. They couldn’t even get soft-serve ice cream right. It drooped out of the machine in a shade of pink which was probably meant to look cheerful, but instead made you think of off-brand attic insulation.

And there really wasn’t anything else to buy, other than a few stamped-tin souvenir trinkets. Everybody came back to the checkpoint still carrying tiny, worthless bills, and coins which weren’t much more substantial in your hand than the trinkets. The man at the desk relented and let us bring home his country’s worthless Monopoly money as our only souvenirs of the trip.

Later, Doc Kalmar — our German teacher and tour guide — told us all something very simple and very profound. “That was the wealthiest city in the wealthiest communist country in the world.”

East Berlin was the height of Communist achievement. That was their shining city on a hill — a place where a bunch of rowdy teenage boys were hard-pressed to spend a dime each. And every other communist city in the world was even worse off. Typically, much worse.

Now go look through Koppelkamm’s entire photo essay with that in mind. Remember, too, just how quickly capitalism was able to repair decades of communist mismanagement. These photos weren’t taken decades apart. Some of them showed the difference less than ten years could make. Just ten years to lift 17 million people out of 40 years of grinding poverty.

The photo essay is available through the above link.  This is the real history of the end result of the hard left policies - and today, in Detroit, and other major cities under decades of progressive leadership, we aren't too much different from old East Berlin.  If only more poeple would make the correlation between cause and effect.

One of the challenges we face with facing the realities of cause and effect is that reality, or truth, is something that cannot be addressed.  Take our 'Liar in Chief'
Barack Obama never lets truth get in the way of political advantage. Nothing new about that; mendacity has been a consistent theme of his 3 1/2 years in office. But it seems that more media outlets are willing to call the president on his falsehoods these days. Like, for example, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, who yesterday assigned Obama four Pinocchios–”whopper,” the worst possible designation–for his lies about infrastructure projects.

To earn four Pinocchios from the Washington Post....that's quite a 'whopper'. 

"Forward" - because we don't want you to look back at our record.

This Day in History

1863 - Confederate General Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson administers a devastating defeat to the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia.  In the evening, after scouting Union positions, General Jackson was shot by his own troops and wounded while returning to Confederate lines.  He would lose his left arm to amputation the next morning, but would never recover - dying 8 days later and costing Robert E. Lee one of his best subordinates.

1939 - NY Yankee first baseman, Lou Gehrig, benches himself over his poor play - ending his consecutive game streak at 2,130 games.  Nicknamed the 'Iron Horse' for the streak, Gehrig was suffering from ALS.  He would never play again - dying from the disease in June 1941.

1945 - 1 million German soldiers in Italy unconditionally surrender to the Allies; The Red Army accepts the surrender of Berlin after nearly two weeks of house to house fighting - capturing 134,000 German soldiers.

1972 - J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI for nearly five decades, dies at the age of 77.

1982 - The Argentinian light crusier, General Belgrano, which was formerly the USS Phoenix (CL-46) and earned 9 battle stars during World War 2, was sunk by the HMS Conqueror, a British nuclear submarine during the Falklands War.  323 Argentinians were killed.

2011 - A US SpecOps force raids a residential compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad - north of Pakistan's capital of Islamabad and a major military center.  23 Navy SEALs enter the compound and kill al Qaeda founder and leader Osama Bin Laden.

No comments:

Post a Comment