Posts Tagged ‘obama’

President and Attorney General subvert FBI interrogation of Chechen terrorist

April 25, 2013

The Obama administration was provided with two alternative routes to grilling the Boston Marathon terrorist, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, without reading him his Miranda rights. The first route, rejected outright by Barack Obama and Eric Holder, was to treat the suspect as an enemy combatant and to interrogate him and try him by military tribunal. The second route was to rely on the public safety exception clause to allow the FBI to interrogate him for up to 48 hours prior to issuing a Miranda warning.

The FBI secured the hospital ward and began its interrogation of Tsarnaev with spectacular early results during the first 16 hours. No doubt panicking lest the FBI completely wrapped up the case, and identified a wider network of U.S. Islamic cells, Obama and Holder then authorized a federal magistrate to pierce the FBI shield and to issue the Miranda warning after only 16 hours of interrogation.

Not surprisingly, the suspect immediately clammed up, and the opportunity evaporated. Such a political intervention can be explained only in terms of extreme incompetence on the part of President and Attorney General or in terms of their covert desire to protect Islamic terrorist cells within the United States from exposure and eradication.

Take your pick!

Unhealthy crony-capitalism: the tie between Obama and Comcast

February 25, 2013

“If Dwight Eisenhower had General Motors and George W Bush had Halliburton, Barrack Obama arguably has Comcast. US presidents are often linked to one or two corporations that donate a lot of money to them and then benefit from their actions. Comcast, which is America’s largest cable television and internet provider and is a near monopolist in most of its large cities, is no exception.” Edward Luce, ‘The corporate tie that binds America to a slow internet”, Financial Times, February 25, 2013

Let us review the evidence concerning the crony-capitalist ties between Obama and Comcast. Comcast’s most influential employee is David Cohen, its senior vice-president and one of President Obama’s largest fund-raisers. Mr Cohen raised several million dollars for Obama in 2012. But Comcast’s relationship with Barack Obama goes much deeper than that. This month, the Federal Communications Commission waived through Comcast’s $16.7 billion purchase of the 49 per cent of NBCUniversal that it did not already own. One of its assets is MSNBC, the liberal mouthpiece for the Obama administration.Two weeks ago, MSNBC hired David Axelrod, Obama’s former chief strategist, and Robert Gibbs, Obama’s former spokesman, as contributors. Jay Leno recently joked: ‘The economy is so bad MSNBC had to lay off 300 Obama spokesmen”.

Why is the strong tie between Obama and Comcast so weak for the nation? Because the rise of Comcast over the past decade parallels the relative decline in internet service in the United States.

In the late 1990′s the US had the fastest speeds and widest market penetration across the globe. Today the US comes in 16th, with an average of 27 megabites per second, compared with up to quadruple that in countries such as Japan and the Netherlands.

In terms of price, the comparison is equally unflattering. The average US cost of 1 Mbps is $1.10 compared with $0.42 in the UK and $0.34 in France. South Koreans joke that when they visit the US, they are taking an internet vacation. Countries such as Estonia, Portugal and Hungary provide a significantly superior internet service. Note that this internet gap did not merit a mention either in Obama’s Inaugural or in his State of the Union address. Surely not, with all those Comcast dollars spilling out of his trouser pockets.

“Countries such as Japan and France have embraced competition to push the rapid adoption of high-speed internet. The US is happy to tolerate duopoly (Comcast is one of two fixed-wire internet providers in 22 of America’s largest 25 cities). As a result, only 7 per cent of American homes are served by fibreoptic wire compared with more than half in South Korea and Japan. It is the difference between a steam train and a bullet train. Yet there is little outcry in Washington.” Edward Luce, ibid.

Obama, Reid and Boehner should hole up for Christmas at The Willard Hotel

December 22, 2012

Obama, Reid and Boehner are highly paid representatives of the American  People. They are servants, not masters of the People. So far, they have made a mess of post-election bargaining over a resolution to the  so-called fiscal cliff.

I have suggested repeatedly in this column that the fiscal cliff offers more of a solution to America’s debt crisis than anything so far on the negotiating table. The fiscal cliff offers a 3 per cent reduction in the government deficit for 2013. Small though that is, it is larger than any reduction currently under negotiation.

However, that reduction will be achieved crudely, with spending cuts applied not to entitlement programs but to regular government spending. Since the entitlement programs drive the long-term debt crisis, it is better to impose cuts there now than later, when the cuts will be devastating. So the ten days to January 1, 2013 should be utilized effectively by leading political representatives.

I suggest that Barack Obama, Harry Reid and John Boehner should sacrifice this Christmas with their families and hole up in The Willard Hotel. That hotel is the appropriate location, since the misuse of its lobby for rent-seeking purposes  by President Ulysses S. Grant and those seeking favors from his corrupt administration gave rise to the term ‘lobbying’ . Now is the time to reverse that image and to ban all lobbyists, political  staffers and other misfits  from negotiations designed to benefit the nation as a whole by seriously confronting the problem of the national debt.

 

Obama helps to create failed state in Libya

September 13, 2012

By reflexively intervening to tear down Colonel Gaddafi, an ally of the United States capable of holding together a diverse population,  President Barack Obama played a major role in creating a failed state in Libya.  He is now reaping what he has sowed – a self-created anti-United States presence in an increasingly volatile Middle East.

The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 was entirely predictable. The fact that the compound was so badly under-protected demonstrates just how far from reality the Clinton-directed Department of State has drifted since January 2009.

For two months since Libya’s parliamentary elections on July 7, 2012, security across the country has collapsed.  Ignored by the pro-Arab- Spring Western media, a series of car bombs, rocket attacks against police headquarters, and assassinations of Gaddafi-era officials has afflicted the city of Benghazi.  Hillary Clinton presumably simply ignored this mounting evidence of security collapse.

The failure of the Libyan state is rooted in the nature of the rebellion against Colonel Gadaffi, which would easily have been put down save for outside intervention.  The rebels were deeply divided among themselves, most especially as between the secular, the moderate Islamic, and the fundamentalist Islamic factions.  Many of those opposed to Colonel Gaddafi had their greedy eyes more on his oil revenues than on individual freedom for the population at large.

To a considerable extent, the failed state syndrome is a direct product of the weak- to- zero legitimacy of the National Transitional Council.  During the transitional period, many militias refused to demobilize or disarm until a government favorable to their particular demands was established in Tripoli. Meanwhile, the national army and police, much of which is tainted by association with the former regime, remained under-funded and ill-equipped.

So Libya’s transitional authorities cut deals with the militias – the so-called revolutionary brigades that had fought against Colonel Gaddafi.  One of these militias – the Ansar al-sharia – with branches in Darnah and Benghazi – is hard-line Salafi  fundamentalist Islamic and is directly implicated in the consulate attack.

“In the eastern towns of Benghazi, Darnah and Baida, militias have attacked the Red Cross and desecrated the shrines and graves of Libya’s Sufis,  followers of a variant of Islam that the Salafis regard as idolatrous.  More recently these attacks have spread to western cities.  There have been signs that several attacks were sanctioned or tolerated by the provisional security forces, the Supreme Security Committee, formed hastily after the revolution as a way to harness the zeal of the rebels.  Fred Wehrey, ‘A desperate Salafi attack in a weak Libyan state’, Financial Times,  September 13, 2012

It is beyond belief that Secretary of State Clinton was unaware of this situation and the threat that it posed to United States personnel and property in Benghazi. We know that President Obama no longer attends intelligence meetings in the White House. Indeed, the day following the Benghazi attack, Obama was out on the campaign trail, sleeves rolled up, both hands held out to those who came to worship him, a broad smile on his face. Here was a man with no apparent troubles in his world!

‘Put not your trust in princes’, Mr Stevens.  Princes take care exclusively of themselves, not of their faithful servants  who put their lives at risk in furtherance of  foolish international adventures.

Israel likely to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2012

March 6, 2012

Despite the better atmosphere between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama at yesterday’s meeting than has been evident during two previous encounters, my prediction is that Israel will launch a pre-emptive military strike against Iran during the late summer or early fall of 2012.

Iran is well aware that a pre-emptive strike by the United States during an election year will terminate President Obama’s chances of re-election, alienating the left wing of the Democratic Party when it is most desperately needed to shore up a leader who has failed to deliver on significant first term promises, at a tipping point in his campaign for a second chance.  Iran is also well aware that once it has advanced to membership of the nuclear club, there is no chance of  outside military intervention. North Korea is convincing enough evidence of that political reality.

One can be absolutely certain that Mr. Netanyahu is fully cognizant of those same political realities. President Obama will huff and he will puff. But he will not blow the Iranian house down. However cogent his appeal, the Israeli Prime Minister cannot hold a selfish vote-seeking President’s toes to that political bonfire.

So Israel will strike, she will strike effectively, and she will strike without warning. And the world will be a safer place for the courage of her government in preserving Israel from annihilation in a callously indifferent world.

Papademos and Monti: participants in a masquerade ball

November 16, 2011

Greece and Italy are responding to political and economic paralysis by substituting technocrats for politicians, as Papademos replaces Papandreou and as Monti replaces Berlusconi in order to implement political reforms that their leading politicians are afraid to touch.

Whether or not the bond markets will recover as a consequence of this substitution is more problematic than at first appears.  With his customary brilliance, John Kay identifies the nature of the problem. To understand his message, it is important to know that John Kay is a superb technocrat, one of the most distinguished economists and financial analysts in the world. I know John Kay well, and I know that he is no politician.  John Kay also knows this full well:

“Some kind readers occasionally suggest that I should be prime minister.  I disagree.  I recoil from the prospect of breakfast with presidents Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Sarkozy, or feigning patience with cabinet colleagues.  I am bad at giving bland answers to unwelcome or stupid questions, or listening to the repetitive bleatings of  lobbyists.  I am not a natural mediator; preferring to sharpen issues rather than to elide them.  I find it difficult to deliver inspirational messages, especially when I have nothing particular to say.” John Kay, ‘We need a fox to see the snares and a lion to scare the wolves’, Financial Times, November 16, 2011

In politics, as in other professions, the people best at it have learned the trade.  That is one reason why President Obama is such a failure as President of the United States and why Herman Cain should sputter out like a roman candle in his bid for the Republican Party nomination in 2012.  This is an important insight because the skills of the statesman are different from – and by no means compatible with – the skills of the technocrat.

Effective governance requires a multiplicity of talents found only in teams.  Teams typically make better decisions when their members are dissimilar than when they have a common background. That is why great political leaders surround themselves with high quality technocrats who do not necessarily share their political views.  That is one explanation  why Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan performed so well and why Presidents Carter and Obama performed so abysmally as leaders of their nation. 

John Kay may not be a politician, but he is an avid student of political philosophy.  As such, he is well-acquainted with the insights of Nicolo Machiavelli as outlined in his famous monograph, The Prince.  Machiavelli, was fully conversant with the different qualities required by a statesman and his advisers:

“Machiavelli understood well that the prince and his secretary had different roles and that each needed the other.  He wrote that government requires a fox to see the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves.  Have sympathy for Messrs Papademos and Monti, foxes robed as lions in the hope of putting the wolves to flight.” John Kay, ibid.

Prior to the Enlightenment, even an ill-qualified prince might rely on the fiction of the Divine Right of Kings to ward off the wolves. Two  foxes  in lions’ clothing will not ward off the 21st century bond market wolves that currently threaten to dismantle the euro-zone. And we know for sure that there are no political lions in Greece and Italy to protect those wily foxes that must now assume the role of princes.

U.S. stock market tanks following dreadful address by President Obama

August 8, 2011

On Monday August 8, 2011, President Obama finally addressed the nation following a weekend of hard partying at Camp David.  One would have thought that, with his presidency in crisis, he would have taken out sufficient time to prepare a thoughtful, unifying speech to a fearful people. Not so!  The President focused on a ‘pass-the-blame -to others’ complaint, following which he had simply nothing to say. The President of the United States stood before the podium as helplessly out of his depth as any human being that I have ever witnessed.

I felt a tinge of sympathy for a man who should never have been elected to a position so far beyond his level of ability. I felt shame and humiliation for a nation that unthinkingly placed him in such a position. When he spoke, the Dow was 400 points down on the day, and 1600 points down from its peak two short weeks ago . Two hours later it was just short of 600 points down and headed yet further south.  A message from the Gods, one might be tempted to believe!

If President Obama has any honor left in his soul, he will resign his office and allow a new administration to attempt to  rescue the nation from the damage that his administration has wrought.


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