The Emperor has No Spine

In this political season, newly released books and films are taking an extraordinary look behind the scenes at President Obama’s decision making process. In his book, “Leading from Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors who Decide for Him,” Richard Miniter writes that the President cancelled the ‘kill’ mission on Osama Bin Laden three times on the advice of Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett has the wordy job description of: senior advisor to the president and chief liaison to the business community, state and local governments and the political left. The President openly admits that he runs every decision by Valerie Jarrett, who has been a close family friend and confidante since Barrack Obama first entered politics. It’s been reported that both the President and Michelle Obama seek advice from Jarrett several times a day. Miniter, a two time New York Times bestselling author, cites an anonymous source in the Joint Special Operations Command who says Obama cancelled the bin Laden mission in January 2011, February, and then again in March, on advice from Jarrett, before finally giving the go-ahead. After knocking heads with Jarrett, two Chiefs of Staff, Emanuel and Daley, left the Whitehouse. One unnamed advisor says in a recent New York Times article, “He’s got a real mess in the West Wing…Valerie is effectively the Chief of Staff, and he knows but he doesn’t know. She’s almost like Nancy Reagan was with President Reagan but more powerful.” One of Valerie Jarrett’s personal pet projects was Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. It turns out that the property that was supposed to house Olympic buildings was a squalid slum, which Jarrett controlled and wanted to tear down. She advised the President to fly to Copenhagen to make a personal appeal to the Olympic Committee. The whole thing was a dismal failure costing taxpayers millions in jet fuel and entourage bills. Chicago never made it past the first round of voting by the committee. Lots of egg on the walls of the Oval Office! Said to be, “the other side of Barrack Obama’s brain,” in 2008 by CBS news, the New York Times now calls Valerie Jarrett, “The Other Power in the West Wing.” The bankrupt, ‘green project,’ Solyndra, costing taxpayers more than $500 million, was another Jarrett hobby horse. The book, “No Easy Day: The First Hand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden” written under the pseudonym Mark Owen, a Navy SEAL Team Six member who was on the mission, contradicts the story leaked from the Whitehouse. Owen has said that he wrote the book, in part, because he objected to the security leaks. While Pentagon officials are publically huffing and puffing over Owen’s book, and benching active duty SEAL Team Six members, they conveniently forget that the Whitehouse has given two filmmakers classified information on the raid. The filmmakers, director Kathryn Bigelow and screen writer, Mark Boal were given access to the Operator and Commander of SEAL Team six, Whitehouse top officials, CIA and Pentagon officials. Transcripts obtained by the group, Judicial Watch, which were released under the Freedom of Information Act; show that Michael Vickers, the Pentagon intelligence chief disclosed the identity of one of the SEAL members to the filmmakers. Writer, Boal and director, Bigelow met with National Security Council official, Denis McDonough and counter terrorism advisor, John Brennan.  The filmmakers were invited to the Whitehouse’s supposed secret ceremony validating the SEALs after the Bin Laden raid. They were also granted access to, “the vault,” where CIA planning for the raid took place. The film was first scheduled to air before the elections to help make Obama appear, “gusty,” by calling for the Bin Laden raid. The release has reportedly been put off until December to avoid seeming political. Authors, of the book, “Counterstrike, the Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda,” Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt, said all their top secret information was leaked directly from the Whitehouse. Another film, “2016: Obama’s America,” by Dinesh D’Souza, is a conservative documentary, exploring Obama’s anti-colonial and socialist roots, his sad childhood where he was abandoned by both parents, and what the country will look like if Barrack Obama is elected for a second term. While Liberal pundits pan the film, made for $2.5 million, it has grossed over $9 million to date and gone from opening in a handful of theatres to over a thousand showing it now. The policies of the President of the United States have apparently been vetted, approved and possibly even written by Valerie Continue reading

Rules of Engagement

Our President appears to be intent on supplying grist for the mills of idiots, as in: journalists whose IQ’s are in line with the mentally challenged. The recent furor over Rush Limbaugh’s vulgar comments about a 30 year old female activist, purporting to be a law student, has marginalized stories about real life and death situations. While Rush apologized, and is still being condemned, Bill Maher’s constant four-letter-word diatribes against women go unheralded by the media. The pundits excuse this blatant reporting failure, saying that Maher is on HBO, and can therefore say anything he wants. President Obama comments on Rush and ignores Maher. But then, Maher donated $1 million dollars to the Obama Public Action Committee for re-election. In Afghanistan, the Rules of Engagement, forced upon the American Military by the Obama Administration, have cost lives. President Karzai has decreed, and the Whitehouse and higher ups in the U.S. Military have agreed; that no night raids can be conducted against the Taliban in villages, insurgents caught in the act of placing explosives are later to be released, no air support can be called in unless the troops are imminent danger and civilians are not in danger, U.S. troops cannot fire unless they are fired upon first, and only female soldiers can search female Taliban suspects. Then there’s the rule of behavior for searches and handling religious books. First an Afghan soldier must be called in; any Quran found must be handled with clean white gloves or a white cloth and cannot be put on the ground. If a U.S. soldier is in any doubt while conducting a search, he must call a military Chaplin for advice. You can’t make this stuff up… President Obama’s apology for the, “accidental burning of Qurans,” at a US Military base in Afghanistan is nauseating at best, and a slap in the face to our Military at worst. The Qurans burned had notes scribbled throughout them and had been used by Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners of war to pass messages to each other. The holy books had already been desecrated by the prisoners. According to some Muslim circles, they were properly destroyed.   Instead of insisting that the military contain the protest held by a gaggle of Afghanis outside the base walls, our President seized upon the incident as a way to further his touchy-feely-appeasement agenda toward enemies of the USA. Without intervention, the protestors grew in number. I have no doubt that if Barrack Obama had lived through one tour of duty in the Middle East, his perspective would be radically different, instead of just plain radical. Any Viet Nam veteran will tell you that President Lyndon Johnson’s micro-management at the time cost lives and eventually, the war. Combat troops faced a similar situation where they actually had to ask permission to fire at the enemy. (I got that from a Marine who did two tours.) Afghanistan is apparently going the same way. We do not hear loud outcries by our media when eleven Afghan soldiers fire on NATO forces; when the food in a mess hall is poisoned by, “loyal,” Afghans, or when a British cemetery is desecrated by Libyans.   More important, the word, “Victory,” has apparently been deleted from the dictionaries of both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Whitehouse. On top of the apologies and his cow-towing to Arab kings, President Obama is now cutting pay for U.S. combat troops. As of February, according to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, soldiers who receive $225 monthly combat pay must prove they are in immediate risk of harm. An active duty Marine posted this: “So, I just got a letter from Mypay (the way we get paid in the military,) saying that I will only reason Combat Pay while deployed for the days that I take fire or am in a hostile area. Now as an Infantry Marine, I am constantly in a combat zone…it may not always be popping off, but for them to take that away from us is bullshit.” I agree. A person who puts their life on the line in combat doesn’t do it for a lousy $225 month; they do it out of a sense of duty. While it’s understandable that a President with no military experience could fail to empathize with the pressures of combat, or the sacrifices in blood and lives, he should not be denigrating active duty service men and women by cutting their meager pay. He should feel guilty that he hasn’t given them a raise!  In Continue reading

Words

“It’s only Words, And words are all I have to take your heart away.” Remember that song? It was my anthem when I was studying English Literature in college. I marvel at the skill of the greats like Shakespeare, Byron, Frost, T.S. Eliot, and Hemmingway, to name a few, who chose their words with such precision that the images they created never die. Over the holidays, I spent time in Morro Bay, California, playing on a special beach for dogs and their owners. It was a warm day with a gentle breeze blowing off the water when I participated in a, “Dog-Social,” where humans threw sticks and balls into the surf for dogs to fetch. There were no fights, no fears, just happy, wet dogs and smiling people for miles up and down a sandy beach. My daughter threw a stick for Monty and Bagel, our two yellow Labs, while Ziggy Rottweiler and I walked along the shore, admiring the vast Pacific Ocean. (Ziggy doesn’t chase sticks; he reserves his great strength and preternatural talents for sniffing out bad guys.) Watching the waves roll onto the shore, and thinking about the mess that politicians and banksters have made of our world, a verse from Lord Byron’s, “The Ocean,” ran through my mind:                                        “Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean, roll! Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain; Man marks the earth with ruin; his control Stops with the shore; upon the watery plain, The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain, A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own, When for a moment, like a drop of rain, He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, Without a grave, unknelled, unconfined, and unknown.” Politicians and Presidential hopefuls would do well to remember that losers in the War of Words, which is now being fought on an ocean of information in 30 TV second spots, newspaper stories, and Internet blogs, will simply sink into the depths, “like a drop of rain.” In my opinion, the Republican debates have been more like reality TV shows of “Gotcha,” moments that are scripted entirely for the talking heads to dissect, and babble on about incessantly, all under the guise of getting to know the candidates. It appears that the candidates have forgotten that David Axelrod, President Obama’s, “Wordsmith-in-charge,” is an expert at taking people’s hearts away with key words. Remember all those voters who fell in love with “Hope and Change?” I have no doubt that Axelrod is watching the debates with glee, scribbling down the answers, analyzing every response with an eye toward using the candidates’ own words to pit the eventual Republican nominee against Obama. Meanwhile, one of the top stories of recent weeks is being gleefully ignored by both the debate organizers and the candidates. Scott J. Paltrow of Reuters wrote a superb article explaining the lack of Federal prosecution of banksters who falsified documents in foreclosure cases after selling thousands, if not millions, of faulty home loans to investors world-wide. He writes that the Attorney General, Eric Holder, and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, came from the law firm of Covington and Burling, where they were partners when the firm represented Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan chase and Citi-group. Covington and Burling’s website is said to list 22 former Justice Department employees—a very well-oiled revolving door. The article goes on to say that Covington also represented Freddie Mac, one of the nation’s largest mortgage holders, during enforcement investigations by financial regulators. (Why would Freddie Mac, a quasi-government agency, need lawyers to represent them against Federal regulators?) The firm also represented Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, (MERS) a company under fire in the courts for claiming to own a majority of mortgages in the US, (60 million as of 2010) and which has filed allegedly false documents in foreclosures across the country. Paltrow says that John O’Brien Jr., Registrar of Deeds for Salem, Massachusetts, sent 31,897 fraudulent foreclosure-related documents to Attorney General Holder. Nobody’s been indicted yet.   The story quotes Raymond Brescia, a visiting professor from Yale Law School, “I think it’s difficult to find a fraud of this size on the U.S. court system in U.S. history.” Add to that, Presidential candidate Newt Gringrich’s employment history of working for Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist; and we’ve got another fine mess wherein I fear the political back scratchers are trying to baffle us with bull shit yet again. Somebody’s got to sit down Continue reading

Discombobulated

I know, discombobulated isn’t a real word, but it’s been my adjective for feeling weird for years. I’m told there’s something in the ether, some cloud of chaotic emotion that is effecting people across the globe. It’s been a strange couple of weeks. Osama bin Laden’s protegee, now called The Underwear Bomber, gets caught on Christmas day trying to blow up a plane with explosives in his shorts. President Obama is MIA for 72 hours, letting his staffers who are handling the incident make him look like an idiot, before he gets his butt on TV and comments. Pelosi and Reid are locked in a room designing a health care Bill that will affect all of us, refusing to go public, even though other elected officials, Democrats and Republican alike, are getting ready to break down the door. It’s been so cold in parts of the country that Al Gore is being ridiculed by both environmentalists and conservatives. Brit  Hume, usually a low key newsman, goes rabid and tells Tiger Woods on national television to convert from Buddhism to Christianity to get saved. On the home front, I find that  two of the top selling real estate agents in my office are now promoting a multi-level marketing plan of green products because they’re worried they won’t be able to retire this century. I discovered that my boss isn’t paying the company phone and internet bills on time and the guy that fixes the copy machine won’t come back. Not to mention that I adopted a little dog who’s decided that she owns everything chewable in the house, or that the horse went walk-about the other day to visit a mare a mile away, and my 110 pound German Shepherd almost got through the fence to eat the guy next door. Having said all that, I feel like a spoiled brat when I read about my new friend in China daring to post on facebook even though it could land her in jail, or how a writer friend has to wash everything in his house with beach over and over because he’s taken in boys with Aids who haven’t got any immunity to flu or colds. As the saying goes, life is what you make it. I don’t think I’m making mine very well right now. My outside doesn’t match my inside, as above is not as below. Whatever Zen I had going is gone. I have this  little sign. It says, “I can handle 38 assholes a month. DO NOT be the 39th!” Bowing to my potential for spiritual enlightenment, I withhold my temper until I get to 39 each month. Well, due to Christmas and New Years, I only had about 20 assholes in my life last month and I haven’t got more than 4 this month so far. There’s nobody to yell at except myself. Do you ever getting that feeling that something’s about to give? Knowing that things I write have about as much influence as a mouse fart in a hurricane, I’m writing this for myself. I feel better now. If you’re reading, I commend your bravery.