Obama – Defense Cuts a Fiscal Strategy, or Core Belief? – Reason #76

Only 79 Days Remaining!

Defense: Strategy Based Budget or Budget Based Strategy?

Speaking at a press conference on June 29, 2011, President Obama said he was ready to cut more than $400 billion from the Defense budget.

“…We’ve identified what defense cuts are possible…”

“…I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to have difficult conversations with the Pentagon saying, you know what, there’s fat here; we’re going to have to trim it out. And Bob Gates has already done a good job identifying $400 billion in cuts, but we’re going to do more. And I promise you the preference of the Pentagon would not [be] to cut any more, because they feel like they’ve already given.” [i]

On July 31, 2011,  the White House released a Fact Sheet on the debt limit increase, reflecting an agreement to reduce the base Defense budget by $350 billion and to tie a potential cut of $500 billion more to the failure of a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Committee to reduce the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion.[ii]

Press Secretary Jay Carney conducted a Press Briefing on January 3, 2012, in which he indicated that:

“…I think it’s important to point out that the cuts in defense spending that we’ve discussed around which the defense strategic review is being written about now were agreed to on a broadly bipartisan basis — roughly $489 billion over 10 years.

“And the important part of this process is that the strategy come first and the reductions come — are driven by the strategy.”[iii] (Emphasis)

Two days later, on January 5, 2012, the President conducted his own Press Conference at which he repeated Carney’s claim that:

“…spending over the coming decade — because the size and the structure of our military and defense budgets – have to be driven by a strategy, not the other way around.”[iv]

He went on to double down, saying that the resulting Defense budget would be announced in the coming weeks.  These statements may sound logical and they would be, if they were believable.  The budget should always be driven by the strategy and the strategy driven by the threat and projections of future threats.

But the administration’s statements are not believable.  They are an absurdity and a contradiction on their face.  The Administration announced a possible $400 billion in Defense cuts in June, 2011 and an actual $350 billion cut from the Defense base budget in July, 2011.  Five months later, Carney briefs that they are writing a “Defense Strategic Review” around a bipartisan agreement to reduce Defense spending by $489 billion and then both Carney and the President, without so much as a red face, tell us that Defense cuts will be “…driven by strategy, not the other way around.”

Where is the inquiring mainstream media?  The Administration tossed them a ground ball and still made a homerun!  If this was a true strategic review, why wasn’t it done earlier as we prepared to leave Iraq?  Why wasn’t it accomplished (or was it) as we prepared for the surge in Afghanistan?  What would have happened if the “Strategic Review” reflected increased threats to the U.S.?  Would Obama have increased the Defense budget?


[i] President Barack Obama, (June 29, 2011), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Press Conference by the President, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/29/press-conference-president

[ii] White House Fact Sheet (July 31, 2011) White House web-site, Statements & Releases, Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/07/31/fact-sheet-bipartisan-debt-deal-win-economy-and-budget-discipline

[iii] Jay Carney (Jan. 3, 2012), White House web-site, Press Briefings, Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 1/3/2012, retrieved January 6, 2012, from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/03/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-132012

[iv] President Barack Obama, (Jan. 5, 2012), White House web-site, Remarks by the President on the Defense Strategic Review, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2012/01/05/president-obama-speaks-defense-strategic-review#transcript

Obama: “I will Negotiate with Russia…” – Reason #75

Only 80 Days Remaining!

Obama to Slow Development of Combat Systems

Obama has sometimes proven as good as his word.  While on the campaign trail in 2007, he shared a few of his Presidential plans for the national defense.  While some may sound normal and prudent, a few of these plans could easily be construed as short sighted, naïve – even treasonous.  Worst of all, some of his aims remain unknown.  What was he promising when he was caught with an open mic, telling Russian President Dimitri Medvedev that the would have more flexibility after the election?  What was he planning when he asked for recommendations on the reduction of our nuclear arsenal?  Here’s what he told us in 2007.  Was anybody listening?

“I’m the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning.  And as President, I will end it.  Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending.  I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems.  I will not weaponize space.  I will slow our development of future combat systems and I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary spending.  Third, I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons.  To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons. I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair trigger alert and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals.”[i] (Emphasis added)

Recall Obama’s decision to scrap our missile shield system in Eastern Europe,[ii] his later intention of sharing classified missile defense system specs with the Russians[iii] and his change of focus in the space program.[iv]In noting Obama’s plan to “slow our development of future combat systems,” I couldn’t help being reminded also, of the words of the late Albert E. DuBois, a good friend and a 1940 graduate of the FBI National Academy.  Mr. DuBois once told me of a NAZI methodology of slowing U.S. war production.  The example he gave was the infiltration of fifth columnists to work in ancillary factories, such as those manufacturing ball bearings for use in military aircraft.  These workers were trained to slow production and, when possible, to shut down operations by causing labor strife.  Since the ball bearings were such a minor part of aircraft production, the link between these slowdowns and the war effort was often successfully hidden.

In retrospect however, there is nothing clandestine about Obama’s plan.  He simply and arrogantly announces his plan – calls it “Transparency” – mesmerizes the mainstream media and continues to “Fundamentally Transform” our country.


[i] Senator Barack Obama (October, 2007) in a recorded message to the liberal group Caucus 4 Priorities, quoted in Andrew Walden (June 10, 2008), American Thinker Blog, Obama’s War, retrieved January 10, 2012 from http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/06/obamas_war.html

[ii] MSNBC (Sep 17, 2009), MSNBC web-site, Obama scraps Bush-era Europe missile shield, retrieved January 10, 2012 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32889934/ns/politics-white_house/t/obama-scraps-bush-era-europe-missile-shield/

[iii] Bill Gertz (Jan. 4, 2012), Washington Times web-site, Inside the Ring, Pentagon Shifts East, retrieved January 5, 2012 from http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/4/inside-the-ring-215329133/?page=all#pagebreak

[iv] Gene Cernan, (Dec. 30, 2011), Fox Nation web-site, Interview with Megyn Kelly, Last American to Walk on Moon Tears Obama Apart Over Weak U.S. Space Program, retrieved December 31, 2011 from http://nation.foxnews.com/president-obama/2011/12/30/last-american-walk-moon-tears-obama-apart-over-weak-us-space-program

No Socialists? Really???… – Reason #74

Only 81 Days Remaining!

“This Liberal would be all about socializing…”

During a 2008 Congressional hearing, a Shell Oil executive stated that he could “guarantee because of the inaction of the United States Congress…” that $5 [for a gallon of gas] would look like a low price in the years to come “unless the demand comes down” and if they [oil companies] are prohibited from exploring for “…new reserves and new opportunities to increase supplies.”[i]  In turn, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), pointing her finger, responded excitedly:

“And guess what this Liberal would be all about.  This Liberal would be all about “socializing”…uh…uh (silence) would be about basically, taking over and the government running all of your companies.” [ii]

Thankfully, that has not come to pass.  Yet, during his first two years in office, Obama overtly marginalized and demonized big business.  The auto and bank bailouts as well as the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have interlaced government and big business, creating the same controlling relationship over business as with the states – complete with the appointment of someone to tell us how much corporate executives should be paid.

As of January 14, 2011, the U.S. Government still held a 33% ownership share in GM,[iii]9% in Chrysler[iv] and 92% in AIG. [v]  Through the second quarter of 2010, U.S. taxpayers were put on the hook for approximately $148 billion in return for a 79.9% ownership share in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac[vi] -two mega-entities owning or insuring approximately $5.7 trillion of the mortgage market[vii]– which the IMF has recommended should be “either privatized or converted to public utilities.”[viii]


[i] John Hofmeister, Shell Oil President, (May, 2008), originally broadcast on The Fox Report, posted on YouTube.com on May 23, 2008, by “ElephantOwnersDotCom,” Maxine Waters wants to “Socialize” Oil Companies, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niJAkR_6tKQ

[ii] Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), (May, 2008), originally broadcast on The Fox Report, posted on YouTube.com on May 23, 2008, by “ElephantOwnersDotCom,” Maxine Waters wants to “Socialize” Oil Companies, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niJAkR_6tKQ

[iii] Huffington Post, (January 14, 2011), The Huffington Post web-site, GM, Chrysler Beef Up Lobbying, Despite Government Ownership, retrieved January 28, 2011 from  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/14/gm-chrysler-lobby-strong-_n_809042.html

 

[iv] Huffington Post, (January 14, 2011), The Huffington Post web-site, GM, Chrysler Beef Up Lobbying, Despite Government Ownership, retrieved January 28, 2011 from  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/14/gm-chrysler-lobby-strong-_n_809042.html

 

[v] Peter Schroeder, (January 14, 2011), The Hill: On the Money, AIG finalizes plan to exit government ownership, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/14/gm-chrysler-lobby-strong-_n_809042.html

[vi] Jonathan R. Laing, (August 28, 2010), WSJ Digital Network, Barron’s, What’s Ahead for Fannie and Fred?, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052970204313804575451602435766686.html#articleTabs_panel_article%3D1

[vii] Jonathan R. Laing, (August 28, 2010), WSJ Digital Network, Barron’s, What’s Ahead for Fannie and Fred?, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052970204313804575451602435766686.html#articleTabs_panel_article%3D1

[viii] Associated Press, (January 25, 2011), Chicago Tribune web-site: Nation & World, IMF says US should consider privatizing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, retrieved January 28, 2011 from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-bc-af–imf-financialcrisis-us,0,7079526.story

Obama and America’s Defense

Obama and his Constant Struggle for the Low Ground! – Reason #73

Only 82 Days Remaining!

When Convictions and Campaigns Conflict

During his 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama startled America when he directed his displeasure directly at the black robed figures respectfully congregated a few yards in front of him and representing the Supreme Court of the United States and the third branch of government – the Judiciary.  Showing his ire, Obama placed the Justices on a “Hot seat” from which they were neither invited nor expected to respond:

“With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.) I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. (Applause.) They should be decided by the American people. And I’d urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.”

Obama was addressing the issue of the so-called “Super PACs.”  Later, at a 2010 Campaign rally in  Philadelphia, Obama added to and clarified his State of the Union remarks, pronouncing:

“Now that’s not just a threat to Democrats, that’s a threat to our democracy.”[i]

Here was obviously a man of conviction.  Recall that in a 2007 campaign rally, candidate Obama excoriated John Edwards for saying he was against 527s (PACs), but, then having such a group, headed by his former campaign manager, purchase $750,000 in television time.  Obama righteously went on to say at that time:

“So, you can’t say yesterday, you don’t believe in them and today, you have ¾ of a million dollars being spent for you.  You can’t just talk the talk.  The easiest thing in the world is to talk about change during an election time.  Everybody talks about change during election time.  You’ve got to look at how do they act when it’s not convenient – when it’s hard…”[ii]

Still apparently protecting Democracy and standing on his convictions – even in hard times – oops!  It seems a funny thing happened on the way to the 2012 election…Obama’s Campaign Manager – Jim Messina – stated in February, 2012, that:

“With so much at stake, we can’t allow for two sets of rules. Democrats can’t be unilaterally disarmed.” [iii]

Unilateral disarmament in this administration, is apparently restricted to nuclear warheads and national defense – not for campaigns.  And with that, the Super PACs were alive and well in the Obama campaign.  Apparently, there was more at stake than walking the talk – more at stake than Democracy.  Apparently, President Obama’s principled stand is largely contingent upon his re-election prospects.

What a surprise.


[i] President Barack Obama, quoted in My Fox Orlando web-site, (Feb. 7, 2012), Team Obama Wants Super PAC Spending… So Obama Can Stop Super PAC Spending; Romney Attacks Elevate, retrieved February 7, 2012 from http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/Team-Obama-Wants-Super-PAC-Spending-So-Obama-Can-Stop-Super-PAC-Spending-Romney-Attacks-Elevate-Santorum_67703630

[ii] FoxNation, (Feb. 9, 2012), video provided by TheRightScoop.com, Right Scoop: Obama Will Do and Say Anything to Get Reelected, retrieved February 9, 2012 from http://nation.foxnews.com/president-obama/2012/02/09/right-scoop-obama-will-do-and-say-anything-get-reelected

[iii] Jim Messina, quoted in My Fox Orlando web-site, (Feb. 7, 2012), Team Obama Wants Super PAC Spending… So Obama Can Stop Super PAC Spending; Romney Attacks Elevate, retrieved February 7, 2012 from http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/Team-Obama-Wants-Super-PAC-Spending-So-Obama-Can-Stop-Super-PAC-Spending-Romney-Attacks-Elevate-Santorum_67703630

More Justice – Obama Style! – Reason #72

Only 83 Days Remaining!

EPA Threatens Couple with $75,000 per day fine

President Obama has been very clear about “inheriting” problems from the Bush Administration and has been very vocal about undoing Bush policies with which he disagrees.  When it comes to the EPA however, it appears that the Obama Administration has in some cases, put their stamp of approval on existing EPA authority, regulations and policies, or – in other cases – doubled down to give it a life of its own.

In 2007, the EPA issued a “Compliance Order” to Chantell and Michael Sackett.  This became one of the cases which the Obama Administration decided to press.

Mr. and Mrs. Sackett reportedly purchased a residential lot in a residential subdivision, where other homes were being built.  They started grading the property, when suddenly they were confronted by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, advising them they were building on a “wetland” and with a “Compliance Order,” telling them they “…must stop all building…restore the land to its natural state…replace and plant trees…place a fence around the land and maintain the property in a pristine condition.”[i] “The Department of Justice, on behalf of the EPA, argues that under the law there is no right to challenge “compliance orders” until they are enforced.” [ii]

As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the case in January, 2012, Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. recapped the situation, noting that the Sackett “…lot was ‘found to have a little drainage problem,’”[iii] that they were told “you have wetlands.”  “You have to let us on your premises,” “You face $75,000 in penalties” each day, you cannot challenge this in court and that if a court case does become necessary, it will not occur “until we choose.”  Justice Alito reportedly observed that the scenario described by the EPA Attorney (U.S. Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart) was something that would be viewed by most American homeowners as “…something that ‘can’t happen in the United States.’” [iv]

But, as we now know, anything can happen in a country where the rules are being made and enforced by the Obama Administration.   Does this provide a little peek into the future with Agenda 21?


[i] Peter Bella, (Jan. 9, 2012), The Washington Times Communities web-site, Sackett v. EPA : Supreme Court will decide property rights case, retrieved January 11, 2012 from http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/middle-class-guy/2012/jan/9/sackett-v-epa/

[ii] Ibid

[iii] Lyle Denniston, (Jan. 9, 2012), SCOTUS Blog, A Weak Defense of EPA, retrieved January 11, 2012 from http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/01/a-weak-defense-of-epa/

[iv] Ibid

 

Justice Department? (LOL) – Reason #71

Only 84 Days Remaining!

Holder Ducks Responsibility for “Fast and Furious”

On December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in Nogales, Arizona.  Found at the crime scene were two assault rifles linked to an ATF operation in which gun dealers along the Southwest Border were encouraged by ATF agents to sell quantities of firearms “to suspected traffickers for Mexican Drug Cartels.”  The operation – called “Fast and Furious” – had begun in September, 2009, continued over the concern of agents and at least one gun dealer,[i] and had resulted in the delivery of at least 2,000 firearms to Mexican drug cartels.[ii]  A Congressional investigation into “Fast and Furious” was launched by Senator Grassley (R-IA) in Jan., 2011 and on March 3, 2011, ATF agent John Dodson exposed the operation to CBS News, saying “Now you have a name on it. You have a face to put with it.  Here I am.  Someone now tell me it didn’t happen.”[iii]

In a March 27, 2011 response on Univision, President Obama denied that he, or Attorney General Eric Holder had any knowledge of the operation.  He went on to say that:

“There may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made and if that’s the case then we’ll find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable.” [iv]

On May 3, 2011, Attorney General Holder told Congress that he had only heard about the gun walking operation “over the last few weeks.”  But, on Oct. 3, 2011, CBS news reported on Justice Department memos to Holder mentioning the operation as early as July, 2010 – 5 months prior to the killing of Agent Terry.  While Holder did not admit this, he amended his earlier testimony during a Nov. 8, 2011 appearance on the Hill. [v]

Holder indicated during the Nov. 8 hearing that a letter from the Justice Dept. sent to Congress in February, 2011 and denying that “Fast and Furious” was a gun walking operation was inaccurate.  He also admitted that his initial testimony in May, that he had only known about the operation “over the last few weeks,” was erroneous and that he “probably could have said ‘a couple of months.’”  He was quick to add however, that trying to pinpoint the timeframe was a “distraction.”  “Distraction” is a term that has been used several times  by Obama to ward off uncomfortable questions.

Holder went on to deny seeing two memos regarding “Fast and Furious” addressed to him in July and November, 2010 – prior to Agent Terry’s murder.  He pointed out that his Dept. has more than 150,000 employees and that – at least by his standard: [vi]

“I cannot be expected to know the details of operations in the Justice Department on a day-to-day basis.” [vii]

Apparently, not even cases that involve cross border operations, international laws and treaties, intergovernmental relationships and the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent.

As a result of this apparent stone walling, Eric Holder became the first U.S. Attorney General in history to be censored by Congress and now a special investigation is underway.  Meantime, Brian Terry – one of the good guys – is still dead, and our Country’s highest law enforcement officer is still thumbing his nose at Congress and by doing so – at the American people.


[i] Sharyl Attkisson, (Dec. 7, 2011), CBS News web-site, CBS Investigates, Documents: ATF used “Fast and Furious” to make the case for gun regulations, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-57338546-10391695/documents-atf-used-fast-and-furious-to-make-the-case-for-gun-regulations/ and hyperlinked to article CBS News Staff, CBS web-site, “Gun walking” Scandal Timeline, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-31727_162-10009697.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody

[ii] Fred Lucas, (Nov. 8, 2011), CNS news web-site, No Apology: Holder Says ‘Not Fair’ to Assume Fast and Furious ‘Directly’ Led to Border Agent’s Death, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://cnsnews.com/news/article/no-apology-holder-says-not-fair-assume-fast-and-furious-directly-led-border-agent-s

[iii] Sharyl Attkisson, (Dec. 7, 2011), CBS News web-site, CBS Investigates, Documents: ATF used “Fast and Furious” to make the case for gun regulations, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-57338546-10391695/documents-atf-used-fast-and-furious-to-make-the-case-for-gun-regulations/ and hyperlinked to article CBS News Staff, CBS web-site, “Gun walking” Scandal Timeline, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-31727_162-10009697.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody

[iv] Ibid

[v] Fred Lucas, (Nov. 8, 2011), CNS news web-site, No Apology: Holder Says ‘Not Fair’ to Assume Fast and Furious ‘Directly’ Led to Border Agent’s Death, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://cnsnews.com/news/article/no-apology-holder-says-not-fair-assume-fast-and-furious-directly-led-border-agent-s

[vi] Ibid

 

[vii] Ibid

 

Obama Keeping Promise? – Reason #70

Only 85 Days Remaining!

Obama Keeps Promise to Circumvent Congress

President Obama, a man who taught the Constitution for ten years and who has clearly articulated the systems of checks and balances designed by our nation’s Founders, seems to have expanded his own view of Presidential power since taking that office.  His new line of reasoning says:

“But when Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. (Applause.) I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people.”[i]

Citing this “obligation,” President Obama effected the so-called “Recess Appointment” of Richard Cordray on January 4, 2012, as the first Director of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The reality however – according to the Heritage Foundation – was that the Senate was not in “Recess,” but in a “Pro Forma” session, as proven by the fact that during the “Pro Forma” session, they had successfully passed the President’s two month extension of the payroll tax cut.[ii]   In effect, Obama was usurping the authority of the legislative branch in order to avoid the requirement of Cordray’s Senate confirmation.

Is this activity consistent with our image of American Democracy?


[i] President Barack Obama, (Jan. 4, 2012), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President on the Economy, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/04/remarks-president-economy

[ii] Andrew Grossman (Jan. 5, 2012), Heritage web-site, The Foundry, Even Obama Agrees that the Senate was not in Recess, retrieved January 7, 2012 from http://blog.heritage.org/2012/01/05/even-obama-agrees-that-the-senate-was-not-in-recess/