Ted Cruz Nails it at CPAC: ”IF YOU HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO IS PICKING & CHOOSING WHICH LAWS TO FOLLOW & WHICH LAWS TO IGNORE YOU NO LONGER HAVE A PRESIDENT”
Obama is really losing it. He is expanding outreach to Muslims? After telling NASA’s chief to direct his efforts to making Muslims feel good about Muslim contributions to science? After going to Cairo and making his notorious “outreach” speech on June 4, 2009, and since then indefatigably supporting every pro-Sharia Islamic supremacist uprising and regime? After putting his DoJ to work forcing non-Muslim businesses and educational institutions to comply with Sharia? What else could he possibly do now to expand outreach?
The White House has launched a new outreach initiative targeting American Arabs and Muslims hoping to nudge the normally low-profile mainstream American Arabs to a higher level of social engagement and involvement.The outreach is being headed by Rumana Ahmed of the White Office of Public Engagement. In their first newsletter email to the public, Ms. Ahmed presented an overview of services and programs American Arabs should engage, although the language often fails to distinguish between “Arab” and “Muslim,” a common challenge facing American Arabs.
Nonetheless, the outreach is unique and welcome.
The Office of Public Engagement is the embodiment of the President’s goal of making government inclusive, transparent, accountable and responsible.The head of the office and Director of Public Engagement, Valerie Jarrett, has a deep understanding of Middle Eastern issues and the American Arab and Muslim community. Jarrett is a longtime former aide to Chicago Mayor’s Harold Washington and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. She was hired as a senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Jarrett was born in Iran and her husband is William Jarrett, the son of veteran African American journalist and columnist Vernon Jarrett who embraced social activism in the 1970s and 1980s leading to Washington’s election.
Rumana Ahmed is an executive assistant to Jarrett.
Here is the latest newsletter sent out by the office targeting American Arabs and Muslims:
March 7-9 will be National Muslim American Enrollment Weekend! We are working with various organizations and community leaders across the U.S. to make sure members in their community learn more about health care enrollment and the upcoming March 31st deadline. We are calling on you as community leaders to also take part in this national effort of “Muslim American Enrollment Weekend” on March 7- 9th to make it a success or plan an event before March 31st!
Since October 1, more than 4 million people have enrolled. No one is invincible to injuries or sickness and no one should be denied coverage for their gender or for preexisting conditions, which is why it is so important that every American gets covered.
We are asking that you make sure members of the people at least understand how they are affected by the health care law, and know their options and how to enroll. You can do this simply by committing to organizing an enrollment event before March 31st.
Muslim health organizations are working with others to centralize all commitments and plans for events around Muslim American Enrollment Weekend (March 7-9) and before March 31st. For more information on how to take part in this national effort, plan an event and materials you need please email FN-WHO-Arab&MuslimOutreach@who.eop.gov.
Thank you for your leadership and all of your efforts in your communities.
Raising the Minimum Wage through Executive Order
In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama affirmed that this would be “a year of action” to help ensure opportunity for all Americans.
He announced his intention to move forward using his own authority and raise the minimum wage for workers on new and replacement federal service, construction, or concessions contracts to $10.10 an hour. As the President said, “If you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.” On February 12, the President signed an Executive Order making this vision a reality.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the importance of raising the federal minimum wage for all workers, during an event in the in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Farm Bill Improves Access to Halal and Kosher Foods
The recently enacted Farm Bill improves access to kosher and halal foods through the Emergency Food Assistance Program. The bill also refocuses the Commodity Supplemental Food Program to better target assistance to seniors and improves access to tribal, kosher and halal foods through the Food Distribution on an Indian Reservation, National School Lunch and the Emergency Food Assistance Programs.
Community Leader Engagement
In the State of the Union address on January 28th, the President laid out his plan for domestic and foreign policy issues, including immigration reform, health care, and conflicts in the Middle East. Ever since, the Office of Public Engagement has been working with other departments, agencies, and leaders in the Muslim and Arab communities to address many of the issues the President has highlighted.
Earlier this month, the Office of Public Engagement hosted community leaders, innovators, scholars, health professionals and entrepreneurs from the Iranian-American community to discuss domestic policies and initiatives. They heard from and shared their thoughts with White House staffers on immigration reform, healthcare, civic engagement, and the role that the Iranian-American community can play in shaping policy. Representatives from the State Department also joined White House staff to speak on human rights concerns in Iran and on U.S.-Iran foreign policy.
The Office of Public Engagement gathered Arab, Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim American youth leaders from across the country at the White House this month to share the work of their organizations. These young leaders discussed the importance of their roles in this process and ways to organize in support of the current negotiations process and a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel.
Youth Leaders discuss the work of their organizations and ideas for collaboration with State and White House staff. (PHOTO BY: Office of Public Engagement)
Also earlier this year, Secretary Kerry joined a luncheon with Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith leaders at Georgetown university, coordinated by the Office of Public Engagement, State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, and the new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives. Imam Yahya Hendi, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Rabbi Sharon Brous came together to give opening prayers on the shared responsibility of people of all faiths in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Every now and then, I read a story that just makes me shake my head in disgust.
The group American Atheists is suing the 9/11 Memorial Museum, asking the Federal Court to remove a cross made out of steel beams that was found in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
The group is arguing that since the private museum is leasing the land from the Federal government, it should be barred from displaying religious imagery. The Atheist group claims now that the first amendment applies not only to the government, but also to private organizations!
This couldn’t be farther from the truth!
The first amendment reads that Congress (or more loosely, the government) shall make no law that establishes a State religion. The American Atheists argue that displaying an artifact found in the rubble of the World Trade Center that resembles a cross is unconstitutional because it gives preferential treatment to one religion.
Instead of standing behind the museum and protecting the monument that brought solace to so many first responders, the American Atheists are trying to tear it down!
The more you dive into the Atheists’ lawsuit, the more ridiculous it becomes. In addition to arguing that the cross violates their first amendment rights, the American Atheists also argue that the mere sight of a cross is making their plaintiffs physically sick.
“The plaintiffs, and each of them, are suffering, and will continue to suffer damages, both physical and emotional, from the existence of the challenged cross,” the lawsuit American Atheists v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey explains. “Named plaintiffs have suffered …. dyspepsia [aka indigestion], symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack.”
Let me get this straight… The group of people that deny God, religion, or the religious significance of the Cross have suddenly fallen ill simply from looking at the monument? That sounds pretty ironic, doesn’t it?
The truth is that this actually represents a recent development in the way first amendment cases are fought. Instead of arguing that they were “offended” by the cross, which they certainly were, the American Atheists are claiming to have suffered mental and bodily injury as well.
The American Atheists, like so many liberal groups around the country, are trying to fundamentally redefine the first amendment. Instead of offering the people the freedom of religion, the American Atheists argue that the constitution should provide people with freedom from religion.
For some reason, many Americans have been conditioned to believe that they have a right to go through life without ever being offended. At the center of this movement is the push to ban all religious symbolism on the basis that it “offends” non-believers. Well, actually, the American Atheists contend that an inanimate object is causing them physical pain and mental anguish as well…
When will this stop? Do the American Atheists realize what they are protesting? Do they realize that they are suing the memorial museum that honors the sacrifice of the 9/11 victims and first responders?
When Frank Silecchian found the 20-foot tall piece of steel in the rubble of the World Trade Center, he didn’t find a religious shrine. He found a symbol of hope amidst hopelessness and a symbol of life surrounded by death and seemingly endless suffering. Not only is the cross a physical piece of the World Trade Center, which alone warrants its inclusion in the museum and should put a stop to this frivolous lawsuit, but it is a memorial to the resolve and the determination of all of the first responders who worked day after day at Ground Zero.
The Ground Zero Cross is a piece of history. It tells the story of the response to the worst terrorist attack in world history. The fact that the American Atheists and other non-Christian religious organizations are actively fighting to have the cross removed is an abomination.
Last year, a Federal District judge found in favor of the museum, ruling that the cross “demonstrates how those at Ground Zero coped with the devastation they witnessed and did not constitute a government endorsement of one particular religion.”
The American Atheists appealed the ruling and now the case is before the Liberal 2nd Circuit Court in New York. I would like to believe that the 2nd Circuit would respect the rights of the victims’ families and understand the true meaning of the bill of rights, but this is the same court that ruled it was constitutional for New York City to charge residents $340 just to be able to purchase a pistol…
We cannot afford to hope that the Courts realize the historical significance of this 9/11 relic. If people are allowed to claim to receive headaches and indigestion from “offensive” religious images, when will the lawsuits stop?
It is long overdue for Congress to affirm that the First Amendment does not provide a freedom from religion. Otherwise, we will continue to see these frivolous attacks that attempt to redefine our history and our culture!
I am tired of walking on egg shells, afraid to offend the delicate sensibilities of people who disagree with us! I am tired of worrying about any liability for voicing my belief and practicing my faith. Congress must pass legislation to protect Americans from these frivolous lawsuits trying to silence speech and prevent the free practice of religion!
Back during the 2008 presidential election, Hillary Clinton and John McCain were both prone to criticizing Barack Obama’s lack of experience by saying that the presidency isn’t a position that lends itself to learning on the job. More than five years later, that’s the least of our concerns. Learning on the job would be a huge improvement for Obama.
Education, however, is not a priority for someone who thinks he already knows everything, which seems to be the default disposition of this president. When Obama came to office talking of a “reset” with Russia, a “new beginning” with the “Muslim world” and the receding of the “tides of war,” old Washington hands would knowingly smirk and say to themselves, “He’ll learn soon enough.” All of the disappointment they predicted has come to fruition — and yet the president hasn’t learned a damn thing.
The root of Obama’s foreign policy mishaps — whether failing to respond to the 2009 uprising in Iran, misreading the Arab Spring, failing to deter the use of chemical weapons in Syria or getting repeatedly rolled by Vladimir Putin, most recently with the Russian invasion of Ukraine — all have a common source: a fundamental misconception of what motivates authoritarian regimes and their leaders.
The entire basis of Obama’s foreign policy — not to mention Hillary Clinton’s so-called “smart diplomacy” (a term that, like most marketing exercises, was devoid of any real content) — has been an emphasis on international collegiality. From the days when candidate Obama pledged to meet, without preconditions, with the leaders of regimes such as Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea, the implicit assumption of this administration has been that most of our international difficulties can be resolved through talking.
That’s a reasonable position if tensions result from misunderstanding or wounded pride. If the hostility is engendered by fundamentally antagonistic goals and beliefs, however, it’s not going to get you anywhere. Seriously, ask anyone who’s ever gone through divorce proceedings.
Thus, when Obama told authoritarian regimes, in his first inaugural address, “that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist,” he left a hugely important question unanswered: What if they don’t want to unclench their fist?
What if the mullahs in Iran would rather have the prestige and heightened defense — against the West, Israel and the Sunni countries of the Middle East — that comes with nuclear weapons than the goodwill of the United States? What if radical Islam is motivated more by a desire to bring the West to its knees than to find an accommodation with it? What if Vladimir Putin would rather reconstitute as much of the old Soviet Union as he can rather than get to host the G-8 Summit? These are thoughts Obama never seems to have entertained.
Just as bad, the president’s assumption of goodwill has repeatedly led him to take the fool’s end of the bargain, tolerating misbehavior today so as not to ruin future deals that inevitably fail to materialize.
Obama ignored the 2009 uprisings in Iran because he held out hopes for making diplomatic inroads with the regime in Tehran. Half a decade later, the mullahs are still embarrassing him on the world stage on a regular basis.
Not wanting to act on the commitment he made to intervene in Syria if chemical weapons were used, the president agreed to a deal in which the Assad regime in Damascus agreed to dispose of the weapons — never considering, apparently, that leaders willing to gas their own people couldn’t be counted on to keep their promises.
Today, he continues to dither on Russia’s aggression partially because he believes Putin will be essential in reaching an accommodation with Iran. There’s no limit to the abuse this president will take if told that you will gladly pay him Tuesday for a hamburger today.
Despite all those disappointments, however, Obama has never wised up. The president is Charlie Brown, and, no matter how many times Lucy pulls the football away, he just keeps on kicking.
His advisors vainly deflect criticism of their failures by insisting that their boss is playing “the long game.” One can be forgiven for asking “exactly how long?” At a certain point, the difference between playing possum and actually being dead becomes imperceptible.
On Tuesday, Obama was widely mocked when he delivered what was supposed to be a speech getting tough on Russia from an elementary school in Washington D.C., standing atop a brightly colored children’s carpet with the alphabet on it. It was equal parts embarrassing and appropriate. This is a president whose foreign policy continues to be characterized by grade school mistakes. The setting only underscored that point.
In the most anticipated speech of the 2nd day of CPAC 2014, Senator Rand Paul did not disappoint! In a speech that was very well received with several standing ovations, Senator Paul hammered the Obama administration for what he sees as its many illegal and anti-Constitutional activities.
Several other speakers at CPAC have made reference to Senator Paul’s foreign policy beliefs (Amb. Bolton and Sen. Rubio) but Senator Paul chose not to answer them today – instead focusing on President Obama’s many overreaches. He attacked on the assassination of American citizens with trial, on the NSA domestic spying program, and so many abuses of the Fourth Amendment.
Senator Paul warned about what would happen if we did not take a stand for our rights. He derided the naysayers who constantly tell us to choose the “lesser of two evils,” reminding us that we are still voting for evil. No, instead of condescending to choose the best of two bad candidates, we should choose the candidate who loves and will defend our liberty.
Rand Paul was masterful today. If the speeches at CPAC 2014 are any indication, the 2016 Republican Presidential field is beginning to shape up, and we will have some real diversity of choices.
“Government unrestrained by law is nothing short of tyranny.”
“Our rights are INHERENT they are inseparable from our person. Our rights are innate they come from our Creator and no government can take them from us… Mr. President we will not let you SHRED our constitution!”
The Democrats should fear the lineup of Republicans who will be jostling for the Presidential nomination – for the first time in years, they will be a formidable group.
If you’d like the government to change something about Obamacare, give the White House a ring. They’re in a flexible mood.
President Obama this week approved yet another delay to provisions in the Affordable Care Act, giving insurers until 2016 to sell a type of insurance policy that’s supposed to be banned under the health-reform law. The ban, which was supposed to begin this year, would prevent insurers from selling bare-bones plans that might be affordable but don’t abide by 10 “essential service rules” required under the new law.
When insurers began canceling such coverage last year, however, several million Americans were forced off plans they had chosen, with most alternatives being more expensive. That undermined Obama’s frequent claim that “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it,” and turned into one of the most controversial elements of a law that hardly lacks detractors.
In November, Obama announced a one-year delay in the ban on “substandard” plans, as he used to call them. Now, extending the delay to 2016 will “provide consumers with choices so they can decide what is best,” the government says. Yet these limbo plans — temporarily allowed but bound to vanish at some point — defy the whole intent of Obamacare, as if the president is losing faith in his own plan. “This is a political move to minimize the impact of this as an argument against Democratic candidates,” says Sean Nicholson, a management professor at Cornell University.
Obama and his fellow Democrats certainly need some political cover as the November midterm elections approach. Support for the ACA has never risen above 45% and it actually weakened as the law went into effect. A recent Gallup poll shows 23% of Americans say they’ve been hurt by the law, while only 10% say they’ve been helped. That may overstate the ACA’s actual impact — since 16% of people said the ACA harmed them a year before it even went into effect — yet the negative impression alone is a big problem for Democrats who voted for the law and now must defend it as they run for reelection.
People with bare-bones insurance plans tend to be healthy enough to feel comfortable skimping on coverage. Yet it’s critical to get such people to enroll in the new federal program, so the premiums they pay will help offset the cost of older, sicker enrollees. If the ACA exempted everybody who wanted a cheap, limited plan, it could thwart the whole program, since it would include too many costly patients and premiums would be prohibitively high.
Obama now seems to be backing off one of the key planks of the whole reform effort. Yet many of the people “allowed” to keep a substandard plan will be forced to enroll in Obamacare anyway. The pressure, however, comes from three sources other than the federal government:
States. Insurance commissioners in each state must explicitly allow insurers to offer the limbo policies, and only about half of the states have said they will. So people in many states won’t be able to get a limbo plan even though Obama has said they can.
Insurers. Insurance companies spent three years preparing for the onset of Obamacare, including the ban on bare-bones plans. While reinstating old policies might earn them a few extra bucks, it’s also a hassle to cancel policies, then reinstate them only to cancel them again in a couple of years. “I would expect insurers that have already decided not to offer these are not going to change their minds in great numbers,” says Tim Jost, an expert on health law at Washington & Lee University law school.
Healthcare consumers. Bare-bones plans are the type consumers drop most frequently, as they get new jobs that offer better coverage, go onto a spouse’s plan or simply drop their insurance. Since insurers are only allowed to carry over plans that were offered in 2013 — not offer new ones — turnover alone should quickly reduce the number of people who have such plans, diminishing the importance of limbo plans.
The change means Democrats will be able to say Obamacare really does let you keep your insurance plan (wink, wink). But Jost says even that strategy carries risks. “By delaying it until 2016, that means some people might get cancellation notices right before the next presidential election,” he says. “That doesn’t seem very smart.”
Of course, Obama could always extend the deadline.
Rick Newman’s latest book is Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback To Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.
Streaming from Caracas, Venezuela, the site of confrontation with Venezuelan National Guard and students and people of Venezuela fighting for freedom.
Coverage will stop in the evening, but you can watch previous coverage below.
Previous live coverage from Venezuela:
Best of CPAC 2014, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, LtCol. Oliver North and others.
Upon the strong repression imposed by the Venezuelan regime and the media block out that followed, civilians are left with no more than hope—a hope lead by the desire of democracy, freedom and a better future. But as young students battle to be heard, they are instead hurt, abused and in many cases killed by their country’s security forces.
That is why I decided to do what I know best: report the truth through the eyes of a lens. It is my duty as a Venezuelan journalist to fight for the freedom of expression in my homeland, a right that has been the core of my carrier. Thanks to the thousands of images shared by civilians, Venezuelans around the world are more present than ever, myself included. We seek to inform the globe with the same strong images that have shocked and frustrated us since the national march that took place on February 12—the same images that show serious human right violations that have gone unpunished and overlooked by Venezuela’s regime.
Video by Arianne Alcorta
KIEV, Ukraine, (UPI) — Ukrainian Naval Chief Cmdr. Denys Berezovsky was fired Sunday for telling soldiers in the Crimea to hand over their weapons to Russian forces.The move came as Ukranian forces began mobilizing for a possible confrontation with Russia and world leaders cautioned Russia to withdraw troops it sent to the Crimea.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Kiev Tuesday, the State Department said.
Viktoria Siumar, deputy secretary of Security and Defense Council announced Berezovsky’s firing at a news briefing, KvyvPost reported.
Siumar added Berezovsky is being investigated on suspicion on treason and “Rear Adm. Sergiy Haiduk has been appointed on his place.”
Meanwhile, the Luhansk Oblast Council, which governs Ukraine’s easternmost Luhansk province, said it doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of Ukraine’s new government, KvyvPost said.
The regional council “considers illegitimate all central executive branches of power because they were formed with violation of laws,” a statement from the council said.
The council further called on the Ukrainian Parliament “to declare the Russian language a second state language in Ukraine, to take immediate measures to disarm all illegal armed groups and to cease politically motivated prosecutions of police and Berkut riot-control police units,” the statement said.
Ukrainian leaders Sunday accused Russia of declaring war, and began mobilizing troops and calling up reservists.
The action came after Russian troops moved into the Crimea, ostensibly to protect Russian ethnics. Vladislav Seleznyov, spokesman for the Crimean Media Center of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, told CNN Russian troops had blocked three bases and were demanding Ukranian soldiers surrender their arms although there had not yet been any “open confrontation.”
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk urged Russia to pull back its military, calling Moscow’s actions “a declaration of war to my country.”
“This is a red alert. This is not a threat. This is actually a declaration of war to my country,” Yatsenyuk said.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen demanded Russia stop moving troops into the Crimea, saying the deployment “violates the principles of the United Nations Charter. It threatens peace and security in Europe.”
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin obtained parliamentary approval to send Russian forces to Ukraine Saturday, Russian troops have spread out in the Crimea, the Washington Post reported.
Moscow’s decision to send troops to Ukraine was made after Crimea Premier Sergei Aksenov asked Russia for help deterring anti-government protesters. A large majority of residents in Crimea are ethnic Russians.
“This is actually a declaration of war to my country,” Yatseniuk said. “If he wants to be the president who started the war between two neighboring and friendly countries, he is within just a few inches of his target. We are on the brink of disaster.”
Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Moscow Sunday to protest military intervention in Ukraine, KvyvPost reported.
“You achieved historical victory over tyranny,” said writer Bernar Anri-Levi, who addressed the rally. “You are the best Europeans, it’s the first time in history that people died holding EU flags. But today another force is standing in front of you, the force that is trying to destroy Ukraine. Europe has to help you to gain victory over Putin. You have to sign the association agreement tomorrow, literally tomorrow, and it will be a protection for you.”
Russian media reported 265 protesters were arrested in Moscow, while 20 were arrested in St. Petersburg.
A number of foreign officials have spoken out against Russia’s actions, including U.S. President Barack Obama, who conducted a 90 minute phone call with Putin Saturday night, Voice of America reported.
During the phone call, Obama expressed concern about Russia’s military intervention, calling it a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and international law.
Kerry appeared on the CBS program “Face the Nation” and called Russia’s actions an “incredible act of aggression” and threatened “very serious repercussions” from the United States.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recalled its ambassador to Moscow, the government said in a statement.
U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain would pull out from preparatory Group of Eight talks, the BBC said.
“The sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine has been violated and this cannot be the way to conduct international affairs,” Hague said. “And so in addition to calling yesterday’s emergency meeting of the U.N. security council, the United Kingdom will join other G8 countries this week in suspending our cooperation under the G8 which Russia chairs.”
France and the United States have also pulled out of the G8 prep meetings.
An important work. It is something I knew about for years; however, this is the most cogent piece on the subject I have ever seen.
A young Jewish woman of valor reveals the toxic mutation that has been baked
into the genes of The New York Times from its very start.
There are no worse anti-Semites than those who are Jews.
The sad part is the power that this one ugly “Jew” Arthur Hayes Sulzberger
and his entire family wield as his rag, The New York Times, leads our
“free” “socialist”..main street media (that’s a joke itself).
If you watch nothing else about Jewish anti-Semitism, view the attached
video. If you do watch it, send it on to others. It puts the anti-Semitism
of the present day New York Times in perfect perspective. A classic example
of how history ultimately gets the real truth out.
This is the ONE VIDEO you MUST WATCH.
It is a painful exploration of why Jews should despise the NY Times and
forever remember how a Jew, the owner of the Times, turned his back on
fellow Jews during the darkest days of ww2. The young woman in the video
deserves a position of high honor among our people for making this
historically accurate video public. Please watch it and tell your friends about it.
The economy is still in the doldrums and job creation is very weak. The unemployment rate moved up to 6.7 percent in February, but the real situation is much worse as millions of Americans have become despondent and left the workforce.
The President’s signature program, ObamaCare, is a disaster that continues to unfold. In a new survey of uninsured people, we learned that only 10 percent will sign up for a private plan available under the new marketplaces. This low number is a clear indication that ObamaCare, which was billed as a way to reduce the number of uninsured in the country, is failing.
In the Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is strengthening his grip on Crimea, despite the President’s warnings. Compared to Putin, Obama looks weak and indecisive. Whether the issue is Syria, missile defense or the Ukrainian crisis, Putin seems to outmaneuver the President each time.
After such a tough week, it was no surprise that the President wanted to relax and forget about his troubles last night. He hosted a White House celebration for the legendary women of soul music. Unfortunately, during his introduction of Aretha Franklin, the President misspelled the word “respect.”
He said, “When Aretha first told us what “R-S-P-E-C-T” meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans and women.” Despite howls of laughter, the President continued with his remarks without correcting his mistake. He either does not know how to spell “respect” or does not care that people think he is a bad speller.
This is worse than Dan Quayle misspelling ‘potato,” but of course the media will give Barack Obama a pass because they support his liberal policies. The media labeled George W. Bush as an idiot, but he released his college and graduate school transcripts. We are still waiting for Barack Obama to release his grades, leading some to wonder what he is hiding.
Many in the liberal media lampooned Bush and Quayle, but protect President Obama. In fact, some historians and liberal commentators refer to the President as a “genius” without providing any evidence to buttress their claims.
One Obama supporter, historian Michael Beschloss, even made the ridiculous assertion that Barack Obama had an “IQ off the charts.” He laughably claimed that Obama is “probably the smartest guy ever to become President.”
The President is so smart he does not have to bother with spelling. In addition, he does not worry about basic accounting or understand that the government cannot spend money which it does not have.
Excursion to Key Largo
His upcoming Florida vacation shows how reckless President Obama can be with public funds. This excursion to Key Largo will be the President’s third vacation this year. The Obama family will escape the cold and enjoy golf, fine dining, the beaches and the warm weather of South Florida.
While millions of Americans are struggling, the President and his family continue to charge taxpayers millions of dollars for extravagant vacations. Earlier in the year, the Obama family vacationed in Hawaii and Southern California. Last year, they enjoyed South Africa, Ireland, Martha’s Vineyard and a $2 million Hollywood trip so the President could appear on “The Tonight Show” and raise funds with liberal mega donors.
For Barack Obama, it must be nice to be treated like a king, just don’t ask him to spell the word.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at Ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Oregon Obamacare exchange failure shifted nearly 4,000 applicants for a state program that provides pregnancy services to illegal immigrants into the state’s expanded Medicaid program, the Oregonian reports.
The Oregon Health Plan serves as the state’s version of Medicaid for low-income residents. Two-thirds of the Obamacare exchange’s enrollments have been for the expanded Medicaid program, adding over 70,000 Oregonians to the plan.
But state officials have been manually sending the information incorrectly and incompletely for months, and thousands of applicants to the Citizen/Alien Waived Emergent Medical program, which provides services to low-income individuals without a legal immigration status, were given full coverage under Medicaid instead.
“It never works perfectly the first time out,” Oregon Health Authority manager Kathleen Paul said Friday. “We were just getting people into the services.”
Cover Oregon has been battling it out with Maryland’s Obamacare exchange for having the most glitch-ridden Obamacare rollout in the country, despite both deep-blue states immediately adopting and implementing Obamacare, supplied with millions of early innovator grants courtesy of federal taxpayers.
The state’s health department, the Oregon Health Authority, which tracks Oregon Health Plan members, was supposed to communicate electronically with the Obamacare exchange. But the electronic interface was one of the many parts that didn’t work on the exchange.
Until several weeks ago, state officials have been sending information incorrectly and incompletely for months, Paul said. State officials are fixing the enrollment glitch manually on a case-by-case basis.
Russian ships early Wednesday pulled the anti-submarine vessel Ochakov out of a naval junkyard and sunk it in Donuzlav Lake, near the city of Novoozerne on the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Alexei Mazepa told the Los Angeles Times.
The Soviet-era ship was filled with water at the entrance of the lake, blocking Ukraine’s warships from leaving through a narrow channel, according to the maritime industry news website gCaptain.
Earlier this week, Adm. Alexander Vitko, the commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, reportedly visited Ukraine’s South Base.
“He asked me to invite all the officers and suggested that we collectively take up the Russian military allegiance oath and become part of the Black Sea fleet … promising good pay and a bright future,” Capt. Viktor Shmiganovsky told the Los Angeles Times. “He insisted we do that to help protect Ukraine from extremist gangs.”
Vitko left the base “in a rage” after the base commander said, “Comrade admiral, we didn’t see any extremist gangs here until you came with your men,” Shmiganovsky added.
Russia leases ports in locations around the Crimean Peninsula, which serve as the headquarters of its Black Sea Fleet.
Russia may have sunk two ships – not one.
D’Souza’s new movie, America, produced by Oscar winner Gerald Molen and John Sullivan, will debut in July.
D’Souza was indicted for violating federal election laws in January by the Department of Justice. Many saw the move as pure political payback against an outspoken critic of President Obama. On Tuesday, D’Souza appeared in court with his attorney in New York City, who signaled his client was prepared to go to trial.
D’Souza’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told World magazine, “My guess is we’ll see you at the trial… There is not a scintilla of evidence that this was a corrupt endeavor by Mr. D’Souza.” The federal indictment was filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, “an Obama donor who was appointed by the President.”
D’Souza did not appear to be intimidated by his legal battle. ”We are in a moment in America where we are facing a crisis of leadership,” D’Souza told the crowd. He added that “we need right now a Washington, a Lincoln, a Reagan. Well we don’t have them but we do have us.”
An immigrant to America from India, D’Souza recalled, “I was seventeen years old when I first set eyes on America… Even then I knew I could be the architect of my own destiny.”
“We are living in the American era, an era that began at the end of World War II, but this moment is very fragile,” D’Souza said, noting that America is facing challenges internationally in the rise of Islamic terrorism and Russian attempts to reconstruct its former empire.
“The remarkable thing is not what’s going on over there, but the response here,” D’Souza stated, claiming that President Obama is intentionally working to diminish America’s role in the world.
“It’s a great mistake to understand Obama as a mere amateur… The point about Obama is he is somebody who wants to shrink America’s footprint in the world,” D’Souza claimed. He added that “he [Obama] is a creature of ideology.”
Of his new documentary, D’Souza said “it’s a spectacular film… Underlying it is taking on the central argument of progressivism… This argument at its core is a moral indictment of America and the free market system… We make the moral case [in our movie] for America, for free markets, in a fresh way you haven’t heard before.”
D’Souza concluded his remarks by encouraging his audience to “resolve right here right now that liberty is our choice.”
Thursday was a very bad day — perhaps even the worst possible day, in fact — for President Obama to say the following about his signature healthcare overhaul: “At this point I think, actually, it is working the way it should.” Here he is advancing that assessment, in living color:
Obama’s statement would sound wildly out-of-touch based solely on the recent announcement of his administration’s 30th (!) politically-motivated Obamacare delay — the repercussions of which expert Bob Laszewski discusses here. Adding insult to injury many of these on-the-fly changes have occurred after White House officials pledged the delay parade was over. But it gets worse. A lot worse. The Washington Post has published an absolutely devastating report about the administration’s progress, or lack thereof, in signing up previously uninsured Americans under Obamacare. Which, you may recall, was the primary stated purpose of this $2 trillion law. This is what abject failure looks like:
The new health insurance marketplaces appear to be making little headway so far in signing up Americans who lack health insurance, the Affordable Care Act’s central goal. A pair of surveys released on Thursday suggest that just one in 10 uninsured people who qualify for private health plans through the new marketplace have signed up for one — and that about half of uninsured adults has looked for information on the online exchanges or plans to look. Taken together, the snapshots shown by the surveys provide preliminary answers to what has been one of the biggest mysteries since HealthCare.gov and separate state marketplaces opened last fall: Are they attracting their prime audience? One of the surveys, by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., shows that, of people who had signed up for coverage through the marketplaces by last month, just one-fourth described themselves as having been without insurance for most of the past year…The McKinsey survey also found, as it had during the previous few months, that, of people who are uninsured and do not intend to get a health plan through the marketplaces, the biggest factor is that they believe they could not afford one.
It’s difficult to overstate the scope of this failure. Fully 90 percent of uninsured Americans who are eligible for plans under Obamacare have declined to sign up for one. About half of those people simply haven’t bothered looking. Four out of every five who have browsed their options elected to take a pass. And if you’re waiting for a statistical rebuttal from the White House, don’t hold your breath:
CMS’ Cohen, asked how many uninsured signing up for ACA: “That’s not a data point we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way”
— Sam Baker (@sam_baker) March 6, 2014
Among uninsured Americans who’ve said ‘no thanks’ to Obamacare, the number one factor (by far) cited is lack of affordability, even after all of the taxpayer subsidies are calculated:
CHART: McKinsey survey shows 50% who shopped exchanges and did not purchase cited affordability as the reason. pic.twitter.com/SqJMvqciL3
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) March 6, 2014
According to a review by eHealthInsurance.com, average unsubsidized individual premiums have increased 39 percent for individuals and 56 percent for families compared to pre-Obamacare levels. The former finding aligns closely with the Manhattan Institute’s research. So the overwhelming majority of “new” Obamacare enrollees are people who already had coverage before the law was passed. Millions of those people were uprooted from their preferred coverage (a major broken promise) and forced into new plans, for which many are paying more. Disaster. And again, it gets worse: Of those few previously-uninsured Americans who have “selected plans” under Obamacare (thus fitting the administration’s loose definition of “enrolled”), nearly half haven’t paid their premiums. Those people are not covered:
CHART: McKinsey survey shows 50% who shopped exchanges and did not purchase cited affordability as the reason. pic.twitter.com/SqJMvqciL3
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) March 6, 2014
And as a final indignity, Gallup is out with new polling on Obamacare. Fox News’ national survey released last night showed Obama’s approval rating on healthcare underwater by 23 points, with 57 percent of Americans saying that his administration has failed to improve America’s healthcare system. Gallup asks different questions, but the results are just as ugly. Approval of Obamacare remains terrible (40/55) with more than twice as many Americans saying the law has hurt their family’s situation (23 percent) than helped it (10 percent). And this speaks for itself:
Obamacare is failing to insure the uninsured, driving Americans’ healthcare costs up, and hurting twice as many people as it’s helping. How many voters would agree with the president’s assessment that this law is “working the way it should”?
The Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council, composed of representatives from all 35 countries in the Americas, scheduled a closed meeting on Thursday in Washington, D.C., at the request of Panama to discuss the Venezuelan crisis. At least 18 people have died in protests against President Nicolas Maduro and the country’s rampant crime, inflation, and shortages.
Maduro attributed the announcement of the OAS meeting to “moves by the United States government in accord with a lackey government of a right-wing president” and reacted angrily by breaking off diplomatic and economic ties to Panama. The meeting was already postponed a week after pressure from the Venezuelan government.
Maduro warned the OAS and Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza not to “intervene in Venezuelan home affairs.”
Roger Noriega, former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs and U.S. ambassador to the OAS in the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview that the OAS meeting is a “first snap” that is unlikely to yield any concrete actions from the body.
“At this current point the Venezuelan government can be expected to block any real involvement by the OAS—let alone intervention,” he said.
Noriega said about 10 core countries in the bloc would like to become more involved in Venezuela by sending an emissary to help mediate talks between Maduro and the opposition. However, Maduro’s obstinacy and internal dynamics at the OAS will likely prevent a swift response.
“These things play out over a period of months and years,” Noriega said. “After they’ve eliminated all the other alternatives they’ll do the right thing.”
Both the OAS and its members have been subject to withering criticism in recent weeks for not taking a tougher stance against Maduro’s crackdown on the opposition.
While countries such as Colombia have expressed concern about the situation and urged dialogue between the government and the protesters, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said last month that the country “is silent on the internal status of any [other] country.” Insulza has also stressed that the OAS “cannot intervene” without the Venezuelan government’s consent.
OAS representatives will get a sense on Thursday of whether countries such as Brazil will block any action on Venezuela or let others move on without them, Noriega said.
Rep. Matt Salmon (R., Ariz.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon that the OAS must seize the opportunity to condemn the state-abetted violence in Venezuela.
“It is an act of moral cowardice that as protesters in Venezuela began dying at the hands of government agents, the Organization of American States, along with many regional leaders, remained silent and unwilling to condemn the government of Venezuela for its violence and repression,” he said.
“The OAS must demand a thorough and independent investigation into allegations of human rights violations and the harassment of the independent press,” he added. “Moreover, I call on President Obama to impose similar actions against those undermining democratic processes and institutions in Venezuela as he announced this morning on the situation in Ukraine.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) is circulating a letter among lawmakers that urges Obama to impose sanctions on Maduro and Venezuelan officials involved in human rights abuses, including U.S. visa bans, asset freezes, and prohibitions on financial transactions.
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment by press time. A senior White House official previously told the Free Beacon that the administration has “had good communication with Congress on recent developments in Venezuela” and is focused “on encouraging the start of a meaningful dialogue between the Venezuelan government and its people.”
Critics accuse the OAS of caving to pressure from Venezuela and failing to uphold its mandate to “promote and defend” democracy and the rule of law, according to its Inter-American Democratic Charter. They also say members have intervened in countries before when it suited their interests.
Insulza, a member of Chile’s Socialist Party, has previously backed leftist leaders in Honduras and Paraguay who were ousted after generating widespread public discontent. Former Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya was removed from power in 2009 after proposing a referendum that would have included the elimination of presidential term limits.
Noriega said Insulza has “become a body guard for dictators” at times.
“He has zero credibility,” Noriega said. “[The OAS] will have to act without his leadership” on Venezuela.
Rousseff, a member of Brazil’s left-leaning Workers’ Party, also supported punitive actions against Honduras and Paraguay after they deposed their leaders.
Maduro and former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have long used their country’s sizable oil and natural gas reserves to exert influence in the region. However, Venezuela’s overall production levels and exports have declined in the last decade.
Maduro has struggled to address soaring crime rates and a scarcity of more than one in four basic goods since he was elected in a contested election last April. The largely middle and upper class protests have begun to draw support in working class and poor neighborhoods, traditional strongholds for Maduro.
Russia is paying public affairs experts and lobbyists to push the Russian government’s line in the United States, NBC News reports.
Public relations firm Ketchum, for example, has received more than $4.5 million in the most recent six-month reporting period for the work it has done on behalf of Russia. That work includes preparing and disseminating the website ModernRussia.com, managing one of Russia’s Twitter accounts, and representing the interests of Gazprom Export, a Russian natural gas exporting subsidy, which is controlled by the Russian government.
Ketchum hires subcontractors to work on its Russian account.
Bob Jones, a partner at Alston & Bird, was revealed to be representing Russian interests in a letter between Alston & Bird and Ketchum. Jones is paid $15,000 per month for the law firm. Alston & Bird received $100,000 from the Russian Federation over a six-month period in 2013.
Ketchum also hired law and lobbying firm Venable to work on the Gazprom Export account. A letter revealed that Venable expected $28,000 per month not including travel expenses for its work on behalf of Gazprom.
NBC News reports:
Ketchum appears to have brought other consultants as well. A document shows the firm paid more than $138,000 to Maslansky Luntz & Partners over a six-month period in 2013.
Ketchum’s work on behalf of the Russian government has stirred controversy in the past. In 2012, ProPublica reported that Ketchum had been responsible for placing op-eds from Russia-friendly experts on American media websites, including that of CNBC. ProPublica said that Ketchum had received almost $23 million in fees from the Russian government from 2006 until 2012, as well as $17 million on the Gazprom account. A Ketchum spokeswoman was quoted in the piece as saying that when the firm corresponds with experts or the media on behalf of Russia, “consistent with Ketchum’s policies and industry standards, we clearly state that we represent the Russian Federation.”
In September, the website BuzzFeed reported that Ketchum was responsible for placing an op-ed by Putin in The New York Times. There was no response in the BuzzFeed article from Ketchum.
The op-ed was entitled “A Plea for Caution from Russia,” and argued against a possible U.S. military strike in Syria. “It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance,” the op-ed said. “We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.” It is not uncommon for public relations firms to pitch op-eds or commentaries to media firms.
Video: Governor Who Signed Gun Registration Bill in Conn. Mentions the Constitution at Town Hall, Gets Called Out Perfectly by Heckler
While speaking at a town hall meeting in Milford, Conn., on Wednesday, Gov. Dannel Malloy was interrupted by a heckler who advised him to read the Constitution sometime.
The comment came when Gov. Malloy, a Democrat, was answering a question from a small business owner who said he is at a disadvantage to businesses in adjacent states that have a lower wage structure.
“I think that’s not only a state issue, but we’ve got this thing called the Constitution, so it makes it a little difficult to do some of the things you suggest,” Malloy replied with a smile.
Suddenly a woman’s voice is heard shouting: “Why don’t you read it sometime!”
A few snickers followed, but the governor just blew past the remark.
Watch the video below:
Gov. Malloy has faced intense criticism over his support of Connecticut’s new gun registration bill, which many believe is unconstitutional.
The bill has technically turned gun owners who legally purchased semiautomatic rifles into felons overnight after many have refused to register their guns and high-capacity magazines.
The state has yet to announce how or if they plan on enforcing the new law with criminal charges and arrests. According to some estimates, as many as 100,000 gun owners are in violation of the new gun control law.
In an informal survey of former Mitt Romney donors, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post found that every Romney donor he spoke with named Jeb Bush as the top Republican candidate. While name recognition and the all-important “electability” were listed as important candidate qualities for Romney donors, Lowery also discovered:
The donors said that – like Romney – Bush’s time as governor proved he can be an effective leader and manager. His willingness to tackle (or attempt to, at least) tough policy initiatives such as education and criminal justice reform remind them of Romney’s work on health care at the state level.
However, as Anthony Zurcher wrote for the BBC, it may be Bush’s work on education policy – and, specifically, his support of the highly controversial Common Core standards – that could doom his chances as the Republican nominee.
Bush has been an unwavering supporter of the nationalized academic standards that his fellow Republican, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, recently referred to as “toxic” even as he urged the creators of the Common Core to simply “rebrand” them to the American people.
In an op-ed for National Review last year, Bush wrote that the nation needs high standards as a foundation for education reform:
Recognizing this need, state leaders have worked together to develop a set of rigorous academic standards in math and English language arts. These standards, known as the Common Core State Standards, set an ambitious and voluntary goal line. The states develop their own content or game plans to get into the end zone. State and local leaders call the plays.
“This is not the establishment of a national curriculum,” Bush claimed.
The problem for Bush is that just about everything he says about the standards is untrue. Common Core is a federally promoted, not state-led, initiative introduced in the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus bill through a competitive grant program called Race to the Top (RTTT). Common Core is a set of unproven and untested uniform standards and aligned curricula and testing that allows for a greater role of government in education, higher levels of social engineering, student data collection, and teacher evaluations based on student performance on assessments.
The National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and nonprofit progressive education think tank Achieve, Inc. were mainly responsible for the initiative, and both the NGA and the CCSSO are the publishers of the Common Core State Standards. The standards themselves were written by individuals who never even taught math or English. None of these private groups are accountable to parents, students, or teachers.
The 45 state boards of education, most of them unelected, that signed onto the unproven Common Core standards did so with little, if any, public or media scrutiny prior to even seeing the standards themselves.
The implementation of Common Core has been privately funded primarily by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, underscoring the alliance of big government political elites and corporatists in this academic initiative.
Perhaps one of the most ironic aspects of Bush’s avid support for the Common Core is the fact that he has also always been associated with the school choice movement in the United States. The problem for Bush, then, is not so much “electability” as it is “credibility”; supporting both Common Core and school choice is like rooting for both the Yankees and the Red Sox.
As Ben Velderman writes at EAG News, “Over the years, Bush has courageously thrown his support behind various school voucher plans and parent trigger laws – both as governor of Florida and as a private citizen – all with the goal of helping families escape the K-12 public school monopoly.”
In addition, Bush has been a strong champion for more rigorous teacher evaluations and merit pay plans to ensure high quality staff in traditional public schools.
As Velderman says, however, “Bush is jeopardizing 20 years’ worth of hard-won school choice successes by stubbornly promoting and defending the Common Core math and English learning standards.”
“He doesn’t seem to realize that the one-size-fits-all standards are likely to have the practical effect of making instruction in all types of schools – public, public charter, private and even home schools – depressingly similar and mediocre,” he wrote.
Because college entrance tests and, ultimately, college curricula themselves will all be aligned with the K-12 Common Core standards, all students, regardless of their choice of elementary and high school education, will eventually be compelled to use Common Core-aligned curricula if they choose to go on to college.
What makes the question of Bush’s credibility even more pronounced is his insistence of the “rigor” of the Common Core standards when many astute educators who have worked at developing standards themselves and have reviewed Common Core predict the initiative will only serve to “dumb down” America’s students.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Hillsdale College Professor Terrence Moore described how the Common Core standards will put a nail in the coffin of an already suffering progressive education system.
Moore said the English Language Arts standards are serving to remove classical literature from schools and replace it with “informational texts.”
“It’s not till you start asking questions about what’s not in the standards that you realize the bias,” Moore said. “The texts from the standards are superficial, politically biased, and embarrassingly dumb.”
Similarly, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who was asked to be a member of the Common Core Validation Committee but refused to sign off on the standards, is herself credited with developing the Massachusetts K-12 standards – one of the country’s strongest set of academic standards.
“Everyone was willing to believe that the Common Core standards are ‘rigorous,’ ‘competitive,’ ‘internationally benchmarked,’ and ‘research-based,’” Stotsky told Breitbart News. “They are not.”
Of course, it’s possible that Bush and the Romney donors are counting on the fact that there are still many Americans who don’t know what Common Core is. Given what Bush has stood for in the past regarding education policy, however, why would he, or any Republican, support the Common Core standards?
One of the major reasons why moms are vigorously opposing schools adopting the much-ballyhooed Common Core standards is that they are tied to the gathering and storing of in-depth personal data about every child. The files are called longitudinal, which means they include information from birth and track the kids all through school and college.
This longitudinal system reminds us of the ominous practice of the Chinese Communists who, in pre-Internet days, stored every child’s personal information (academic, medical, behavioral and home situation) in a manila folder that was ultimately turned over to employers upon the child finishing school.
The New York Times published a famous picture of a Chinese warehouse filled with a dangan (archival record) for millions of Chinese individuals. The collection and retention of voluminous personal information (academic from pre-K through university, behavioral, political and appraisals by others) is the way a totalitarian state keeps control of its people.
Federal law is supposed to prevent collection of this sort of personal information and the building of a national database on students, but the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act regulations have been amended to weaken privacy restrictions. Databases on students can be collected by states and then exchanged with other agencies and states, which effectively achieves a national student database.
Only the English and math Common Core standards have so far been released. The math standards are based on an unproven theory called constructivism, which means the kids are not drilled on basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction and multiplication), but instead are taught to “construct” their own way of figuring out the answers.
English literature selections are not read for the joy of reading and learning, but so they can be analyzed and critiqued by students using left-wing norms. That’s called “new criticism literary analysis,” another unproved theory of education.
A bill just introduced in the Florida state Senate (SB 1316) shows more reasons why parents are upset about Common Core. The bill would require that, before adopting Common Core, at least one hearing to receive public testimony must be held in each congressional district, attended by at least one state school board member.
The Florida bill requires a fiscal report on the projected cost of implementation of Common Core standards before they are adopted. The bill would also prohibit the state board of education from entering into any agreement that cedes to an outside entity control over curricular standards or assessments.
Common Core replaces traditional local control of education with a privately copyrighted document that must be used as written and not altered in any way. Schools and teachers are complaining about the high cost of teacher training, plus buying all new materials, books, workbooks, iPads and computers for every student.
Common Core has created a tremendous moneymaking opportunity for private companies that advertise their products as “aligned” with Common Core, and “aligned” has become the magic word to promote sales. California has allocated $1.25 billion in the current school year for adopting Common Core.
For example, now available for purchase is a set of nearly 500-page books called “SpringBoard — Consumable Student Edition,” which is advertised on the cover to be “The College Board’s official Pre-AP program.” There is a book for each middle-school and high-school level that includes large spaces where students can write their answers or comments.
The selected readings in one of these middle-school books are a curious lot. Two of the longest readings are the complete United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child and the complete United Nations Millennium Declaration.
Global diversity appears to be the rationale for reading selections, which include articles about head scarves on Muslims in France, the punishment of an American teenager in Singapore, an arranged marriage in India, learning the Japanese language, an African novel, and three articles promoting belief in global warming.
The very few pages devoted to American culture include the problem of a kid trying to avoid parental punishment for arriving home after his curfew deadline, Halloween and a controversy over sea lions in Oregon.
The advertising for these books specifies, “The SpringBoard program is well aligned with the Common Core standards” and “The strength of the SpringBoard program continues to be the development of critical thinking and close reading skills through scaffolded instruction.”
If you are mystified, so am I, and so are the teachers. But be assured: David Coleman, the person credited with developing the Common Core standards, is the new head of the College Board and says he is now rewriting the SAT tests. The tests are the mechanism of national control over curriculum.
Crimea’s parliament formally asked to become part of the Russian Federation. If the request is granted, they will hold a referendum on March 16th.
The Crimean parliament resolved “to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation”.In a statement on its website, parliament said it had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin “to start the procedure” of formally allowing Crimea to join the Russian Federation.
On March 16th, the Crimean people will be asked these two questions:
Are you in favor of reuniting Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?Are you in favor of retaining the status of Crimea as part of Ukraine?
In November, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who was backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, turned down a $15 billion bailout from the European Union in favor of a $15 billion bailout from Russia. The people in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, immediately descended on Independence Square to protest Yanukovych’s decision. At the same time, Crimea quietly took steps to protect their Russian interests. Crimea is an autonomous republic of Ukraine, but 58.5% of the population are ethnic Russians and Russia’s Black Sea Fleet have a base in the peninsula.
When Yanukovych was deposed, protesters gathered in Sevastopol to protest the new government in Kiev, declared allegiance to Russia, and announced plans to secede. On February 25th, the port city kicked out their Kiev-elected officials and appointed a pro-Russian mayor to take over. After Kiev’s parliament elected a new cabinet, Crimea’s parliament dissolved their government and elected Sergey Aksyonov, Crimea’s Russian Unity Party Leader, as their new chairman until the new elections.
Gunmen and men wearing Russian Navy ensigns seized government buildings in Crimea and the international airport just hours after Crimea installed their new government. Russia confirmed they moved more troops into Crimea, and Aksyonov made a very public plea to Putin to send more troops for security against Ukraine.
On March 2nd, gunmen and Russian soldiers surrounded two Ukraine military bases, which forced Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk to order full military mobilization for war. The international community told Putin to pull back his forces in Crimea, but he refused.
Ukraine’s Navy Head, Denys Berezovsky who was only appointed on March 1st, defected in Crimea on March 2nd. Later that night, a US official announced Russia was in full control of Crimea, and the next morning Russian soldiers took over a ferry terminal in Kerch, which is only 12 miles by boat to Russia.
Ukraine’s parliament said it would be unconstitutional for Crimea to join Russia. This proposal will likely increase tensions between the West and Russia, especially if Putin accepts it. NATO is already examining any NATO-Russian agreements, and President Obama said his administration is looking into economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia.
With the Obama administration grappling with a crisis in Ukraine, former United Nations ambassador John Bolton took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday and declared that the country’s “biggest national-security problem is Barack Obama.”
Bolton honed in on the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, which he described as paradigm of President Obama’s foreign-policy failures because the president “has done nothing to avenge Chris Stevens’s death.”
“That is a terrible lesson for our adversaries,” Bolton said. “Under Barack Obama you can murder his personal representative and get away scot-free.”
He also warned that the matter will come back to haunt Hillary Clinton if, as most suspect, she launches a presidential bid in 2016. “We will be happy to tell Hillary Clinton in unmistakable terms, ‘We know what difference it makes, even if you don’t,’” he said.
Bolton, who has established a political-action committee to support hawkish House and Senate candidates, bristled at the reluctance of Republican politicians in recent years to back foreign interventions and characterized the shift as a “resurgence of isolationism.”
“Ignoring our national security is the Obama doctrine,” he told the crowd.
JERUSALEM, Israel — While the Ukrainian crisis pits the United States, Europe, and the West against Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East are also watching closely.
A number of observers here in Israel believe that U.S. actions for the past several years, particularly in the Middle East, set the stage for the current crisis in Ukraine.
“There’s no doubt that severe erosion in the U.S. posture of deterrence and the U.S. power projection throughout the world has triggered a much more audacious and emboldened Russia,” former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Congress Yoram Ettinger told CBN News.
Ettinger said perceived weakness in U.S. foreign policy has sent a message to the enemies of Israel and the United States.
“The chief trigger of a more emboldened Russia and more emboldened Iran, China, North Korea, and Venezuela has been the recent engagement by the U.S. with Iran,” he explained. “Rogue regimes throughout the world notice the U.S. literally appeasing Iran.”
Ettinger believes the world needs a strong United States of America.
“For world sanity, we need a very exceptional U.S.A. We need a very deterring U.S.A. A less exceptional U.S.A., a non-deterring U.S.A., only exacerbates the already [prevalent] insanity in the world,” he said.
As the crisis in the Ukraine unfolds, U.S. foreign policy will be put to the test if it can stand up to the new threats in the 21st century.
He has shown the world that President Obama is feckless, cowardly, indecisive, undependable and delusional…that he does not have the intellect or the character to meet the demands of his office…that he does not have the intellect or the character to be the leader of the free world…that he has no substance and is an empty vessel.
The world should certainly have known this before the debacle in Ukraine, but if it didn’t it definitely does now.
Obama’s response to Putin’s attack on Ukraine and annexation of the Crimea raise a number of questions for Americans and for America’s friends and allies around the world.
Here are a few for America’s friends and allies.
Question: Is there anyone Obama will protect militarily…anyone that can depend on the American military to respond to an attack on them with force, overwhelming, immediate force?
Question: Does this mean that if the Iranians follow the Russians example and attack Israel that Obama will abandon the Israelis just like he did the Ukrainians?
Question: Does this mean that if the North Koreans follow the Russians example and attack South Korea that Obama will abandon the South Koreans just like he did the Ukrainians?
Question: Does this mean that if the Chinese follow the Russians example and invade and annex Taiwan that Obama will abandon the Taiwanese just like he abandoned the Ukrainians?
Question: Does this mean that if the Russians choose not to stop with Ukraine and decide to attack other countries that they formerly controlled, that were formerly behind the Iron Curtain, in order to bring them back into their orbit that Obama will abandon them just like he abandoned the Ukrainians?
Question: Does this mean that Obama just told the despots, demagogues, dictators and religious fanatics of the world that they are free to do whatever they want to because he will not intervene militarily no matter what and they therefore have nothing to fear from him, nothing to fear from the United States?
Here are a few questions for Americans?
Can you sleep soundly in your beds knowing that America’s enemies are much more likely to attack you and your country as a result of Obama’s demonstrated weakness and fecklessness…that he might not even respond with force, immediate, overwhelming force…that they now know for certain that they face no real deterrent?
Question: What message does Obama’s response to Putin’s attack on Ukraine and annexation of the Crimea send to your enemies, send to those who would do you harm, great, great harm?
Answer:Attack us too, attack us too.
Question: Should Obama’s proposed budget cuts to the military, budget cuts that would cripple the military and totally compromise the safety and security of Americans and the national security of the United States, be allowed?
Question: As things stand now what will Obama’s legacy be?
Answer: Ruination and destruction, not only for America and Americans but for the Free World as well.
Question: Are we in deep, deep trouble because we elected him?
Question: Is there any possibility that he will change?
Answer: None whatsoever.
Question: Is there any possibility that things will get better with him in office?
Answer: None whatsoever.
Question: What are the chances of things getting worse as long as he remains in office?
Question: What can we do to get rid of him?
Answer: Rise up collectively and force his resignation or impeachment.
Questions and answers…now all that remains is…action.
Jerry Philipson is a retired grandfather who has spent many years working in non-profit social service agencies in Canada and the United States. He holds dual Canadian and American citizenship and has been passionate about politics, civil liberties, freedom and democracy for virtually his whole life. He is particularly interested in the Middle East and America and believes that it is vital for people of good heart and good conscience to speak out against tyranny and dishonesty and to stand up and defend and protect Western values, principles and institutions. He can be reached at: email@example.com]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email]
Where Lois Lerner goes, drama follows.
On Wednesday, the former IRS officer again invoked the Fifth before the House Oversight Committee. That precipitated a heated exchange between the committee’s Republican chairman, Darrell Issa, and Democratic ranking member Elijah Cummings, who called the hearings “un-American.” And that spat has become the story.
No doubt that is exactly what Cummings had in mind. Because it distracts attention from the substance of the hearings — and from the questions raised by e-mails and public remarks Lerner wrote, received or made when she was IRS director of tax exempt organizations. The Weekly Standard reminds us of the main ones:
- Why did Lerner describe the Tea Party matter as “very dangerous”?
- What made her worry that a “c4 project” (looking at how nonprofits and unions are abiding by IRS rules) could be construed as a “per se political project”?
- What was meant by an e-mail she received saying discussions about new regulations would be addressed “off-plan”?
- When she complained in public that “everyone” was “screaming” at the IRS “to fix the problem” created by the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United — which affirmed the free-speech rights of corporations — who was “everyone”? And by fixing the problem, did she mean effectively subverting the ruling?
In this context, it’s not surprising that Democrats have pooh-poohed the investigation. The record shows Democratic pols, including New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer, among the screamers insisting the IRS investigate conservative outfits.
The questions raised by Lois Lerner’s own comments and e-mails remain compelling. Before we conclude there was not even a “smidgen” of corruption, as President Obama has asserted, we’d like to hear the answers — given under oath.
State Representative Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville) Celebrates Passage of Convention of States Resolution. By a vote of 107-58, Georgia becomes first state to call for a Convention of States.
(Atlanta, GA) State Representative Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville) celebrated the passage today of Senate Resolution 736 by Senator Cecil Staton (R- Macon) in the Georgia House of Representatives. SR736 calls for an Article V Convention of States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution. The Convention of States would be restricted to the topics of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and establishing term limits for federal officials
Brockway, the resolution’s primary sponsor in the Georgia House said, “I’m proud Georgia has taken the lead on the very important work of restoring our Republic. An Article V Convention of States would provide an opportunity for the citizens of this great nation to restore the balance of power between the States and the Federal government. I urge Legislators in the other 49 states to join Georgia and call for a Convention of States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the U.S. constitution.”
By a vote of 107-58, Georgia becomes the first state in the country to pass this historic resolution which is being promoted nationwide by the Convention of States Project (“COS”), a grassroots, non-profit organization founded this past August by constitutional attorney, Dr. Michael Farris, of Virginia, and Mark Meckler, founder of the political think tank, Citizens for Self-Governance. The same resolution has been introduced into 13 different state legislatures in 2014 with more to come. COS hopes to gain passage in 34 states in time for a convention to be held in 2016.
Buzz Brockway was first elected to the State House of Representatives in November of 2010. He is a Majority Caucus Deputy Whip and serves as Vice Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee. He is also a member of the Appropriations, Economic Development, and Insurance Committees. He has been named a ‘Defender of Liberty” by the American Conservative Union for the past two years, and scored 100% on Legislative scorecards for Americans for Prosperity and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Buzz holds a B+ average from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and an A+ average from the Georgia Parents Alliance.
Buzz has been involved in local politics since the mid-1990′s and served as Chairman of the Gwinnett Republican Party from 2002 – 2005. He also served the Gwinnett Republican Party as a Precinct Captain, District Manager and 2nd Vice Chairman. Since 2005 Buzz has blogged at Peach Pundit, the State’s most popular independent political blog. He is a 1990 graduate of Georgia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Management Science and runs a small business in Lawrenceville with his wife Christa. They are the proud parents of three daughters. The Brockway’s are active members of Victory World Church at Hamilton Mill. Buzz has lived Lawrenceville since 1976.
On March 1, 2014, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. The day before, the Russian Parliament had granted the Russian dictator complete authority to use military force in response to the impeachment of the pro-Russian President Viktor F. Yanukovych of Ukraine and the turmoil that ensued. The ousted President Yanukovych had refused to sign an expected free trade and political agreements with the European Union. Russia opposed the agreements with the European Union and instead wanted Ukraine to become part of Russia’s customs union. The refusal of President Viktor F. Yanukovych to sign the agreements with the European Union and his desire to establish a closer relation with Russia were strongly opposed by the pro-Western Ukrainian people. After three months of rioting in Ukraine’s capital of Kiev and other cities and the death of approximately 100 people, on February 22, 2014, the Ukrainian Parliament voted to impeach and dismissed President Yanukovych, who then fled to Russia.
The Russian troops with masks covering their faces and without using any identifying insignia, but using military vehicles with Russian license plates, closed the airport, surrounded the Ukrainian Navy and Army bases, and took over government buildings and roads throughout Crimea. The naked aggression by Russia reminds this writer of the events prior to World War II when Adolph Hitler began annexing parts of nations and then entire nations while England and France conducted a failed appeasement policy. Weakness always invites aggression by ruthless dictators like Hitler and Putin.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ignored President Barack Obama’s warning of not intervening militarily in Ukraine. Obama stated the following: “Over the last several days, the United States has been responding to events as they unfold in Ukraine. Throughout this crisis, we have been very clear about one fundamental principle: the Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future… We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside Ukraine… It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people… The United States will stand with international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”
The Russian dictator disregarded Obama’s threats and invaded Crimea. Barack Obama condemned Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine on March 1, 2014, calling it a “clear violation and a breach of international law.” President Obama held a 90-minute telephone conversation with the Russian dictator, who refused to withdraw Russian forces from Crimea. Ukraine has 130,000 soldiers in its Armed Forces and reserves of approximately 1,000,000. However, it is no match for the Russian Armed Forces. Russia has an army of 285,000 soldiers. Ukraine has eight ships in its Navy while Russia has 50 ships. Ukraine has 230 fighter aircraft and Russia has over 1,500 aircraft. However, Ukraine is not similar to the small and defenseless country of Georgia. If war were to break out between the two countries, Russia would have a difficult time defeating Ukraine. Russia will suffer enormous casualties. Ukrainians will fight hard as they remember the millions who were starved to death by orders of Josef Stalin during the 1930s.
The approximately 2,000,000 people who live in Crimea are primarily of Russian descent and many, but not all of them, welcomed the Russian invasion. Crimea has approximately 15% Tartar as well as many Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking individuals who do not want to live under the boot of Russia. Crimea had a great deal of autonomy under Ukraine. Crimea serves as the headquarters of the Russian Navy Black Sea fleet. Russia had a long-term lease to this naval base that was signed with Ukraine.
The Russian dictator, like all tyrants who invade other countries, gave the excuse that the Russian intervention was conducted only to protect the Russian-speaking citizens. This was a blatant lie since at no time the Russian speakers were threatened. As Great Britain Prime Minister David Cameron stated “there can be no excuse for outside military intervention” in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, ordered the Armed Forces to be in full readiness and more security at nuclear power plants, airports, and all strategic places. Prime Minister Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk stated that he was sure that Russia would not intervene militarily in eastern Ukraine since it would mean war and the end of all relations with Russia.
In August 2008, the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin invaded the sovereign nation of Georgia and annexed half of its territory. As in Crimea, two areas of Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, had a majority of ethnic Russians. President George W. Bush and Republican candidate for president Senator John McCain strongly condemned this naked aggression to this small nation. Senator Obama, who was vacationing in Hawaii, did not condemn the Russian intervention and said that the two nations needed to start a dialogue and negotiations. What was there to negotiate after Georgia was completely devastated?
President Bush ordered Navy ships to move into the region and sent humanitarian aid on military aircraft to Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi. President Bush also suspended a pending civilian nuclear agreement with Russia and requested that NATO to suspend all military contacts with Russia. After the cease-fire, Russia was supposed to evacuate its military personnel, but it refused to do so.
Vladimir Putin perceives Obama to be indecisive and weak
After Obama came to power in January 2009, the isolation of Russia ended quickly. Obama tried to improve relations with Russia and NATO resumed military contacts with that nation in 2009. A superpower cannot impose short-lived costs and quickly end the isolation quickly of a large nation that invades and commits aggression to a small nation. Russia understood that its aggression to Georgia went unpunished by our nation. Putin stated that the disintegration of the Soviet Union was the worst thing that happen during the 20th century. His dream and goal are to bring back under Russian control the former parts of the Soviet Union that became independent nations. Barack Obama never understood Russia’s intention. This is why an editorial by the Washington Post stated that Barack Obama’s foreign policy is a “fantasy.”
The United States under President Obama entered into an agreement with Russia to reduce the nuclear arsenal of both nations. Obama stated that he wanted to abolish eventually all nuclear weapons in the United States. This statement was perceived by both China and Russia as extreme weakness. Moreover, the enormous reduction of the budget of the Pentagon under President Obama has emboldened both China and Russia. While the U.S. is reducing the size of its Armed Forces, both China and Russia are increasing their defense spending, increasing the size of their Armed Forces, and modernizing their weapons. Obama’s disarmament has seriously endangered our national security. This writer has been pointing this out for the last two years in a series of articles and in his most recent book, America in Decline (2014).
President Obama, soon after being sworn into office, gave in to Russia’s pressure to remove the antimissile missiles that President Bush had negotiated with the Czech Republic and Poland. Both Eastern European countries felt betrayed. Even worse, Obama did not ask for a “quid pro quo” or something in return. This was a major mistake since a superpower never gives up an advantage over a potential enemy without asking for something in return. In essence, Obama abandoned all of Eastern Europe to Russia. The Russian dictator realized he could get away with pushing around the former republics of the Soviet Union and that the United States would do nothing to protect them.
Herszenhorn wrote an article entitled “Russia Putting a Strong Arm of Neighbors” in The New York Times on October 23, 2013. The reporter explained that Russia is bullying some of the countries that were formerly included in the Soviet Union in an effort to force them to join Russia’s customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus. In November 2013, the European Union planned to offer political and trade accords to several ex-Soviet republics. To prevent that from happening, Russia is putting strong pressure on its neighboring countries. Dmitry O. Rogozin, the deputy prime minister of Russia, warned Moldova, a landlocked nation of 3.6 million people between Romania and Ukraine and the poorest country in Europe, that it would be a “great mistake” to seek closer ties with Europe. At the conclusion of a visit to Moldova, Rogozin said, “We hope that you will not freeze.” Moldova, like most of the European countries, depend on Russian gas for heat.
The reporter pointed out that the strong pressure being placed on the former Soviet republics is not directed at Moldova alone. In August 2013, Russia suddenly stopped all Ukrainian imports at the border for closer customs inspections. A Russian official said that import restrictions from this country could become permanent if Ukraine, as expected, signs agreements with the European Union. The Russian official said that such a move would be “suicidal.”
The immense pressure put on Armenia by Russia was effective. In September 2013, Armenia declared that it would join Russia’s customs union, even though it had worked for years toward various agreements with the European Union. Russia is also putting pressure on Lithuania, a country that had already joined the European Union. In October 2013, Russia banned milk and other dairy imports from this small Baltic country. A couple of years ago, Russia stopped sending gas for a few days in the middle of the winter to Ukraine and other European countries in an effort to show its power over all of Europe.
Recently, the Russian Duma, or legislature, approved a budget to increase spending on nuclear weapons by 50% over the next three years. Russia is also increasing the size of its armed forces and improving and modernizing its weapons. The Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, who has stated that the worst thing that happened in the 20th century was the disintegration of the Soviet Union, has been trying to bring back the former Soviet republics into its fold.
On August 1, 2013, Russia defied the United States and granted asylum to Edward Snowden, the NSA´s leaker and spy. Putin ignored Obama´s repeated requests to return Snowden to our nation to stand trial for stealing many important secrets, which has damaged our national security, as explained by present and retired government officials. Many U.S. allies have been incensed about the spying by NSA of their nations and even the telephone calls of the head of states in Europe and Latin America. Some of them are working with the United Nations to stop the NSA’s spying on their nations.
As explained earlier, Obama’s request to Dmitry Medvedev, while meeting with him in South Korea, to ask Putin to give him “flexibility” and “space” until reelected was most troubling. After his reelection, the president announced that he would enter into an unconstitutional informal agreement with Russia to further cut our nuclear arsenal. Obama desires to completely eliminate our nuclear arsenal while reducing drastically the Pentagon’s budget. His own former Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, stated several times that those severe cuts would endanger our national security. Before he retired, Panetta stated “that the United States would be left with a force that suffers low morale, poor readiness and is unable to keep with potential adversaries. It would invite aggression.” Panetta was right. Russia and China believe that we are unable or unwilling to stand up to potential adversaries. Our allies are terrified of the lack of resolve that they see in Barack Obama and so are many patriots in our nation.
Since sequestration became effective at the beginning of March 2013, $55 billion was cut from the Pentagon annually for the next 10 years. This massive cut represents 10% of the entire Pentagon´s budget. The U.S. Navy would be reduced from 286 to 230 ships, leaving our Navy the size it was in 1915! The U.S. Army would be reduced from 569,000 to 420,000 soldiers, the size it was in 1939. The 1,990 fighter aircraft of the U.S. Air Force would be reduced to 1,512. The size of U.S. Marine Corps would also be cut. Millions would lose their employment in defense-related industries and this will increase unemployment in the nation. In February 2014, additional cuts were proposed by the Obama administration to the Pentagon, again sending a message of weakness to Russia, China, and other enemy nations. Our enemies are delighted with how Obama is chopping to pieces our Armed Forces! Additionally, President Obama has lowered the morale of our military by declaring war against religion and Christianity in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution that guarantees the freedom of religion
Obama has conducted a purge at the Pentagon
The following senior officers were fired and thus weakling our Armed Forces :
General John R. Allen- U.S. Marines
Major General Ralph Baker- U.S. Army Commander
Major General Michael Carey- U.S. Air Force Commander of the 20th US Air Force in charge of 9,600 people and 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles
Colonel James Christmas- U.S. Marines Commander 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit & Commander Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground
Major General Peter Fuller- U.S. Army Commander in Afghanistan (May 2011)
Major General Charles M.M. Gurganus- U.S. Marine Corps Regional Commander of SW and I Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan (Oct 2013)
General Carter F. Ham- U.S. Army African Command (Oct 2013)
Lieutenant General David H. Huntoon, Jr.- U.S. Army 58th Superintendent of the US Military Academy at West Point , NY (2013)
Command Sergeant Major Don B Jordan- U.S. Army 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command (suspended Oct 2013)
General James Mattis- U.S. Marines Chief of CentCom (May 2013)
Colonel Daren Margolin- U.S. Marine in charge of Quantico’s Security Battalion (Oct 2013)
General Stanley McChrystal- U.S. Army Commander Afghanistan (June 2010)
General David D. McKiernan- U.S. Army Commander Afghanistan (2009)
General David Petraeus-Director of CIA from September 2011 to November 2012 & U.S. Army Commander International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] and Commander U.S. Forces Afghanistan [USFOR-A] (Nov 2012)
Brigadier General Bryan Roberts- U.S. Army Commander 2nd Brigade (May 2013)
Major General Gregg A. Sturdevant- U.S. Marine Corps Director of Strategic Planning and Policy for the U.S. Pacific Command & Commander of Aviation Wing at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan (Sept 2013)
Colonel Eric Tilley- U.S. Army Commander of Garrison Japan (Nov 2013)
Brigadier General Bryan Wampler- U.S. Army Commanding Genera
Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette- U.S. Navy Commander John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group Three (Oct 2012)
Vice Admiral Tim Giardina (3 Star, demoted to 2 Star)- U.S. Navy Deputy Commander of the US Strategic Command, Commander of the Submarine Group Trident, Submarine Group 9 and Submarine Group 10 (Oct 2013)
Since Barack Obama has been in the White House, high ranking military officers have been removed from their positions at a rate that is absolutely unprecedented. Things have gotten so bad that a number of retired generals are publicly speaking out about the purge of the U.S. military that they believe is taking place. Dozens of highly decorated military leaders have been dismissed from their positions over the past few years. So why is this happening? Is there a deliberate attempt to reshape the military and remove those who don’t adhere to the proper ‘viewpoints’ ? Does someone out there feel a need to get officers that won’t cooperate out of the way?
Retired Army Major General Paul Vallely stated the following: “The White House protects their own. That’s why they stalled on the investigation into Fast and Furious, Benghazi and Obamacare. He’s intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged” Retired Army Major General Patrick Brady said “There is no doubt he (Obama) is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him”. Retired Army Lt. General William G. Jerry Boykin: Over the past three years, it is unprecedented for the number of four-star generals to be relieved of duty, and not necessarily relieved for cause. Retired Navy Captain Joseph John said ” I believe there are more than 137 officers who have been forced out or given bad evaluation reports so they will never make Flag (officer), because of their failure to comply to certain views.”
A Pentagon official who asked to remain nameless because they were not authorized to speak on the matter said even young officers, down through the ranks have been told not to talk about Obama or the politics of the White House. They are purging everyone and if youwant to keep your job just keep your mouth shut. Now this trend appears to be accelerating.
General Vallely stated the following ; “Absolutely every communist regime on the planet did this as soon as they got in power. I am surprised this communist traitor with his feet up on our furniture in the white house hasn’t done this until now!”
Obama has also allowed the purging of any criticism of Islam from the training manuals used by the military. Moreover, he has appointed members of the Muslim Brotherhood to review the manuals used by our armed forces, the FBI, the CIA, and the Department of Homeland Security. All of these actions taken by the president put at risk our national security by not allowing government officials to describe clearly the threat that the United States faces from the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic terrorist organizations at home and around the world. The president has allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to impose information suppression on many agencies in his government, which is their first step to conquer our nation. Again, Obama sends another message of weakness with his refusal to act firmly with the danger that the Muslim Brotherhood represents.
Governor Mitt Romney stated during his presidential campaign that he was planning to increase defense spending by $150 billion a year in order to make our armed forces stronger and more capable of protecting us from our enemies. China and Russia are drastically increasing their defense spending and modernizing their armed forces. Iran continues to enrich uranium in order to build nuclear bombs. North Korea continues to build nuclear weapons and improve its missiles. Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups continue to get stronger. Obviously, this is not the time to cut the Pentagon’s budget and disarm unilaterally.
Governor Mitt Romney stated during his presidential campaign that he was planning to increase defense spending by $150 billion a year in order to make our armed forces stronger and more capable of protecting us from our enemies. China and Russia are drastically increasing their defense spending and modernizing their armed forces, Iran continues to enrich uranium in order to build nuclear bombs, North Korea continues to build nuclear weapons and improve its missiles, and al-Qaida and other terrorist groups continue to get stronger, obviously, this is not the time to cut the Pentagon’s budget and disarm unilaterally
President Obama, after he was sworn into office in January 2009, could have worked closely with our European allies and incorporated into NATO both Georgia and Ukraine, as well as other independent nations that were once a part of the old Soviet Union. If that had happened, Vladimir Putin would not have dared to invade the Crimean Peninsula since that would have meant a state of war with the United States and the NATO members. He had five years to do that but he failed to act for fear of annoying Russia.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Governor Sarah Palin stated that Russia someday might invade Ukraine. Four years later, Governor Mitt Romney, during the 2012 presidential campaign, stated that Russia is a geopolitical enemy of the United States. President Barack Obama, demonstrating his incompetence and lack of understanding of national security, made fun of Mitt Romney’s remark and ridiculed him, following the tactics of his extreme radical spiritual mentor Saul Alinsky. Obama said we were no longer in a Cold War. The pro-Obama established media also made fun of the 2012 Republican Party candidate for president. Both Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney were correct and Obama was wrong.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin considers Barack Obama to be very weak, especially when Obama sent him a message from South Korea asking for space and promising flexibility after his reelection. Putin was delighted that Barack Obama was reelected president in 2012 as was the Communist Party in the United States.
Both Russia and China have noticed that Barack Obama has never complained about the large Cuban Occupation Army in Venezuela. He has not asked for sanctions against Cuba for giving MiG planes and other weapons to North Korea in violation of the United Nations Security Council’s resolution of an arm embargo against North Korea. These two nations have also noticed that even though Cuba holds a U.S. citizen hostage and has increased oppression and violence against peaceful members of the opposition, Obama reduced travel sanctions and tolerated more trips to Cuba. Moreover, Obama wants to reestablish relations with Cuba and end the embargo. The bloody dictator of Cuba, Raúl Castro, realized that he has a free hand in Venezuela and that Cuban thugs can shoot students and tortured them in Venezuela without impunity.
Russia has now sent a spy ship to Cuba and is negotiating military and naval bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Obviously, Russia feels that the United States has become under Obama a superpower in rapid retreat. Will Obama allow Putin to build military and naval bases in Cuba? Most likely, yes!
Both Russia and China have noticed that Barack Obama has never complained about the large Cuban Occupation Army in Venezuela. He has not asked for sanctions against Cuba for giving MiGs planes and other weapons to North Korea in violation of the United Nations Security Council’s resolution of an arm embargo against North Korea. These two nations have also noticed that even though Cuba holds a U.S. citizen hostage and has increased oppression and violence against peaceful members of the opposition, Obama reduced travel sanctions and tolerated more trips to Cuba. Moreover, Obama wants to reestablish relations with Cuba and end the embargo. The bloody dictator of Cuba Raúl Castro realized that he has a free hand in Venezuela and that Cuban thugs can shoot students and tortured them in Venezuela without impunity.
As this writer has written in articles and in his latest book, America in Decline (2014), a world superpower needs to be respected by its allies and feared by its enemies. Sadly, we are neither. It is no accident that both Russia and China are exercising imperialism against their neighbors. Our allies are terrified of the weakness coming from the White House which has emboldened China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea.
Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona, says Vladimir Putin has no respect for Barack Obama
On March 4, 2014, Senator John McCain, former Republican presidential candidate in 2008, told Greta Van Susteren on “On the Record” television program in Fox News channel that Obama “totally misread” Vladimir Putin. Senator McCain stated the following: “President Barack Obama said 20 years ago the Cold War ended and later told former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, tell Vladimir when I am reelected I will be more flexible. A gross misreading of the nature and the ambitions of Vladimir Putin and we are paying a very, very heavy price for it.” The senator from Arizona also said that Barack Obama has underestimated the Russian dictator’s Cold War-like tactics.
Senator McCain said that unless we understand that Vladimir Putin is an old KGB coronel apparatchik who wants to restore the Russian Empire, we are in trouble. He criticized Obama for ridiculing Mitt Romney in their debate when Romney said that Russia was a mayor geopolitical foe. Senator McCain stated the following: “You saw the picture of those two (Obama and Putin) sitting next to each other, you have seen the attitude that Putin have towards the president of the United States. He doesn’t respect him.”
The United States and six other allied nations respond to Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine
On March 2, 2014, Russia sent 16,000 troops to the Crimean Peninsula. There is great fear that Russia would seize more Ukrainian territory on the east where large concentration of ethnic Russians live. The United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement condemning Russia’s “clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” The seven nations stated that they would not attend the G-8 summit scheduled in June 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
The Russian occupation of Crimea has challenged President Obama as no other foreign-policy crisis during the five years that he has been in office. The world is looking at President Obama and wondering whether he is sufficiently strong to deal with the former KGB director in the Kremlin. Obama’s foreign policy debacle in Syria made the Russian dictator the strongman in the Middle East and terrified our allies in that part of the world.
Peter Baker wrote an article entitled “Pressure Rising as Obama Works to Rein in Russia,” which was published in the New York Times on March 2, 2014. The reporter wrote that R. Nicholas Burns, former Undersecretary of State in the George W. Bush administration, stated the following: “It is the most important, most difficult foreign policy test of his presidency. The stakes are very high for the president because he is the NATO leader. There is no one in Europe who can approach him in power. He is going to have to lead.”
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that the United States needs to create “a democratic noose around Putin’s Russia.” Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida suggested to “revisit the missile defense shield”. Republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan, who is the chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, recommended to “cancel Sochi.” Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois recommended that Russia be expelled from the G-8 group.
The United States sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Kiev on March 3, 2014 to show support for Ukraine. Fox News reported that a senior U.S. official, who came with Secretary Kerry, said “we still have a very real concern that the Russians had other plans in the Ukraine; they may be planning other moves.” Officials are aware that Russian fighter aircraft are trespassing Ukrainian airspace and that Ukrainian jets are scrambling to repel them.
The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the United Nations Security Council on March 2, 2014 that “it is a fact” that Russian jets entered Ukrainian airspace. U.S. officials are concerned that a Ukrainian and Russian forces have each been moving on opposite sides of the isthmus that connect Ukraine to Crimea, a development that “raises the prospect” that the Kremlin may be preparing to extend its invasion to the mainland.
The Obama White House has already rejected a great idea proposed by Republicans, the installation of the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. It is most unfortunate because this would really punish Russia. Secretary Kerry announced in Kiev a $1 billion loan guarantee for the new government and separate financial deal with the International Monetary Fund.
The day before the United States began to prepare sanctions on high-level Russian officials who were involved in the invasion of Crimea. It would also freeze assets of selected Russian officials as well as state-run financial institutions. The crisis brought down the price of the Russian ruble and drove up energy prices.
Some European countries resisted placing strong economic sanctions against Russia, demonstrating the lack of support that Obama has with our allies in Europe. Obviously, without European support, the United States economic sanctions would not carry enough weight to pursue the Russian dictator to withdraw from the Crimean Peninsula.
The United States needs to respond strongly to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine
While no one is recommending a United States military intervention in Ukraine, there are many things that our nation can do to respond to Russia’s naked aggression in Ukraine. This writer recommends the following:
- Freeze assets of selected Russian officials as well as state-run financial institutions.
- Sent U.S. and NATO troops to Poland and move them close to the border with Russia.
- Sent quickly military weapons and supplies as well as economic aid to Ukraine.
- Imposed severe economic sanctions including banking sanctions against Russia.
- Suspend entry visas to the United States of members of the Russian oligarchy which supports Putin.
- Explain to Russia’s business people that they will not be allowed to do business with the United States and cease all Americans investment in that country.
- Install the missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland.
- Increase significantly the budget of the Pentagon.
- Impose severe economic sanctions to the Venezuelan government, including suspension of entry visas to our nation to government officials and a reduction in the import of oil from that nation.
- Support the students and other members of the opposition to bring down the bloody dictator Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.
- Impose severe sanctions to the Cuban government for its violation of the United Nations Security Council’s resolution by sending weapons to North Korea.
- Denounce Cuba’s intervention in Venezuela and suspend travel to Cuba and remittances from the United States until that country withdrawals every single soldier from Venezuela.
- Stop any negotiations to lift the embargo or recognizing Cuba diplomatically.
- Approve immediately the Keystone oil pipe and open our oceans and federal lands for gas and oil drilling in order to make the United States energy independent as soon as possible.
- Isolate economically and diplomatically Russia indefinitely until it withdraw its soldiers from Crimea.
Unless President Obama changes his course quickly and start being stronger with our enemies with more assertive foreign and national security policy, our country will continue to be a world superpower in retreat. We could expect more aggression from Russia, China, and other enemy nations over the three year left of the disastrous presidency of Barack Obama. When aggression is not challenged with firmness, it invite more aggression. Just look at how the appeasement policy of France and Great Britain invited more aggression from Nazi Germany and led to World War II. How sad that our beloved country does not have a Reagan-like president in the White House!
Colonel Harry Riley, U.S. Army (Ret.) Calls for a march to Washington on May 16
Hugo Chávez died one year ago today and the firebrand leader’s legacy — “21st Century Socialism” as he called it — is now driving Venezuela toward basket-case status. Widespread protests by college students over declining living standards, corruption, and out-of-control crime have roiled Venezuela since last month. Hundreds of people have been injured and at least 18 killed, most victims of Venezuela’s repressive security forces.
Yet today, even as those often bloody protests continue, Chávez’s hand-picked successor Nicholas Maduro plans to lead extravagant ceremonies to celebrate the memory of Hugo Chávez. The former Army paratrooper and coup leader died on March 5th, one year ago, after 14 years in office. In Venezuela, local media outlets report that two of Latin America’s high-profile leftist leaders will attend the ceremonies — Bolivian leader Evo Morales and Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega.
There will be a military parade and civic ceremonies to honor Chávez, who nationalized large swaths of Venezuela’s economy, traded in anti-Americanism, and brought in many Cuban advisers to remake Venezuela along Stalinist Cuban lines. Maduro, a 51-year-old former bus driver and union leader, has doubled down on “El Comandante’s” authoritarianism, populism, and statism that included draconian currency exchange and price controls. Predictably, oil-rich Venezuela has started to look more and more like Cuba, suffering shortages of basic goods such as toilet paper and milk. It’s also become one of the world’s most violent countries, with soaring numbers of murders, kidnappings, and robberies.
Capping off the day, Venezuelans will be treated to Hollywood director Oliver Stone’s pro-Chávez documentary, “Mi Amigo Hugo.” The 50-minute documentary will be aired on Venezuela’s government-funded Telesur news network.
No word yet on whether useful idiot Stone will be attending the ceremonies. But if they dislike the smell of tear gas, perhaps it would be advisable to stay away.