Obama – Middle East Policy Secret Doc on Policy

Editor’s Note – Middle East Foreign Policy under Obama – the core goals have been under question for years, yet, its only now that we see why in factual terms. Researchers, writers, and political mavens have opined at length, especially folks like Representative Michelle Bachmann, Andrew C. McCarthy, Clare Lopez and others who were assailed for their analysis. Now we see why!

The Secret Document That Set Obama’s Middle East Policy

Posted By Barry Rubin – PJ Media

“We have to confront violent extremism in all of its forms.… America is not — and never will be — at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security — because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as president to protect the American people.” –President Barack Obama, Cairo, June 2009

“The United States is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise….Resistance is the only solution. [Today the United States] is withdrawing from Iraq, defeated and wounded, and it is also on the verge of withdrawing from Afghanistan. [All] its warplanes, missiles and modern military technology were defeated by the will of the peoples, as long as [these peoples] insisted on resistance.” –Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad al-Badi, Cairo, September 2010

What did the president know and when did he know it? That’s a question made classical by the Watergate scandal. Now it is possible to trace precisely what Obama knew and when he knew it. And it proves that the installment of the Muslim Brotherhood in power was a conscious and deliberate strategy of the Obama Administration developed before the “Arab Spring” began.

In February 2011 the New York Times ran an extremely complimentary article on President Obama by Mark Landler, who some observers say is the biggest apologist for Obama on the newspaper. That’s quite an achievement. Landler praised Obama for having tremendous foresight, in effect, predicting the “Arab Spring.” According to Landler,

“President Obama ordered his advisers last August [2010] to produce a secret report on unrest in the Arab world, which concluded that without sweeping political changes, countries from Bahrain to Yemen were ripe for popular revolt, administration officials said Wednesday.”

Which advisors? The then counter-terrorism advisor and now designated CIA chief, John Brennan? National Security Council senior staffer Samantha Power? If it was done by Obama’s own staff, rather than State and Defense, it’s likely that these people or at least one of them was the key author.

So should U.S. policy help allies avoid such sweeping change by standing firm or by helping them make adjustments? No, explained the report, it should get on the side of history and wield a broom to do the sweeping. The article continued:

“Mr. Obama’s order, known as a Presidential Study Directive, identified likely flashpoints, most notably Egypt, and solicited proposals for how the administration could push for political change in countries with autocratic rulers who are also valuable allies of the United States, [emphasis added] these officials said.

“The 18-page classified report, they said, grapples with a problem that has bedeviled the White House’s approach toward Egypt and other countries in recent days: how to balance American strategic interests and the desire to avert broader instability against the democratic demands of the protesters.”

As I noted, the article was quite explicitly complimentary (and that’s an understatement) about how Obama knew what was likely to happen and was well prepared for it.

But that’s precisely the problem. It wasn’t trying to deal with change but was pushing for it; it wasn’t asserting U.S. interests but balancing them off against other factors. In the process, U.S. interests were forgotten.

If Landler was right then Obama did have a sense of what was going to happen and prepared for it. It cannot be said that he was caught unawares. This view would suggest, then, that he thought American strategic interests could be protected and broader instability avoided by overthrowing U.S. allies as fast as possible and by showing the oppositions that he was on their side. Presumably the paper pointed out the strength of Islamist forces and the Muslim Brotherhood factor and then discounted any dangers from this quarter. One could have imagined how other U.S. governments would have dealt with this situation. Here is my imagined passage from a high-level government document:

In light of the likelihood of sweeping political changes, with countries from Bahrain to Yemen ripe for popular revolt, U.S. policy should either help friendly governments retain control or encourage them to make reforms that would increase the scope of freedom in a way that would satisfy popular desires without endangering U.S. interests and long-term stability. In the event that the fall of any given regime seemed likely, U.S. policy should work both publicly and behind the scenes to try to ensure the triumph of moderate, pro-democratic forces that would be able to prevent the formation of radical Islamist dictatorships inimical to U.S. interests, regional peace, and the well-being of the local population. [Note: that is my reconstruction and NOT a quote from the document]

Such an approach would have been easy and in line with historic U.S. policy. We have every reason to believe that the State Department and the Defense Department favored such an approach.

But let’s look at precisely how the White House described the U.S. policy it wanted:

“…how the administration could push for political change in countries with autocratic rulers who are also valuable allies of the United States,”

In other words, a popular revolt was going to happen (I’ve seen the cables from the U.S. embassy in Tunisia that accurately predicted an upheaval) but would it succeed or fail? The Obama Administration concluded that the revolt should succeed and set out to help make sure that it did so. As for who won, it favored not just moderate Islamic forces–which hardly existed as such–but moderate Islamist forces, which didn’t exist at all.

Anyone who says that the United States did not have a lot of influence in these crises doesn’t know what they are talking about. Of course, the U.S. government didn’t control the outcome, its leverage was limited. But there’s a big difference between telling the Egyptian army to stay in control, dump Mubarak, and make a mild transition—and we, the United States, will back you—or telling them that Washington wanted the generals to stand aside, let Mubarak be overthrown, and have a thoroughgoing regime change, a fundamental transformation, to coin a phrase.

So the Obama Administration did not stand beside friendly regimes or help to manage a limited transition with more democracy and reforms. No, it actively pushed to bring down at least four governments—Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen.

It did not push for the overthrow of two anti-American regimes—Iran and Syria—but on the contrary was still striving for good relations with those two dictatorships. Equally, it did not push for the fall of radical anti-American governments in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. No, it only pushed for the fall of “valuable allies.” There was no increase in support for dissidents in Iran despite, as we will see in a moment, internal administration predictions of unrest there, too. As for Syria, strong administration support for the dictatorship there continued for months until it was clear that the regime was in serious trouble. It seems reasonable to say that the paper did not predict the Syrian civil war.

Want more evidence about the internal administration document? Here’s another article from the time which explains:

“The White House had been debating the likelihood of a domino effect since youth-driven revolts had toppled President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, even though the American intelligence community and Israel’s intelligence services had estimated that the risk to President Mubarak was low — less than 20 percent, some officials said.

“According to senior officials who participated in Mr. Obama’s policy debates, the president took a different view. He made the point early on, a senior official said, that `this was a trend’ that could spread to other authoritarian governments in the region, including in Iran. By the end of the 18-day uprising, by a White House count, there were 38 meetings with the president about Egypt. Mr. Obama said that this was a chance to create an alternative to “the Al Qaeda narrative” of Western interference.”

Notice that while this suggests the debate began after the unrest started, full credit is given to Obama personally, not to U.S. intelligence agencies, for grasping the truth. This is like the appropriation by the White House of all the credit for getting Usama bin Ladin, sort of a cult of personality thing. We know for a fact that the State Department predicted significant problems arising in Tunisia (from the Wikileaks documents) and perhaps that is true for other countries as well. But if Obama wants to take personal credit for the new U.S. policy that means he also has to take personal blame for the damage it does.

Now I assume what I’m about to say isn’t going to be too popular but I’ll also bet that history will prove it correct: The revolution in Egypt was not inevitable and Obama’s position was a self-fulfilling prophecy. And judging from what happened at the time, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agrees with me. The idea of an “alternative to `the al-Qaida narrative”‘of Western interference is straight Brennan. What Obama was really saying was: Ha! So al-Qaida claims we interfere to put reactionary pro-Western dictators in power just because they’re siding with us? We’ll show them that we can put popular Islamist dictators in power even though they are against us!

If I’m writing this somewhat facetiously I mean it very seriously.

And here’s more proof from the Washington Post in March 2011 which seems to report on the implementation of the White House paper’s recommendations:

“The administration is already taking steps to distinguish between various movements in the region that promote Islamic law in government. An internal assessment, ordered by the White House last month, identified large ideological differences between such movements as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and al-Qaeda that will guide the U.S. approach to the region.” That says it all, doesn’t it? The implication is that the U.S. government knew that the Brotherhood would take power and thought this was a good thing.

It continued:

“`If our policy can’t distinguish between al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, we won’t be able to adapt to this change,’” the senior administration official said. “`We’re also not going to allow ourselves to be driven by fear.”‘

Might that be then counterterrorism advisor and now CIA director John Brennan? I’d bet on it.

What did Obama and his advisors think would happen? Why that out of gratitude for America stopping its (alleged) bullying and imperialistic ways and getting on the (alleged) side of history the new regimes would be friendly. The Muslim Brotherhood in particular would conclude that America was not its enemy. You know, one Brotherhood leader would supposedly say to another, all of these years we thought the United States was against us but now we see that they are really our friends. Remember Obama’s Cairo speech? He really gets us!

More likely he’d be saying: We don’t understand precisely what the Americans are up to but they are obviously weak, cowardly, and in decline! In fact, that’s what they did say. Remember that President Jimmy Carter’s attempts to make friends with the new Islamist regime in Iran in 1979 fed a combination of Iranian suspicion and arrogance which led to the hostage crisis and Tehran daring to take on the United States single-handed. America, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini at the time, can’t do a damned thing against us.

Incidentally, everyone except the American public—which means people in the Middle East—knows that Obama cut the funding for real democratic groups. His Cairo speech was important not for the points so often discussed (Israel, for example) but because it heralded the age of political Islamism being dominant in the region. Indeed, Obama practically told those people that they should identify not as Arabs but as Muslims.

In broader terms, what does Obama’s behavior remind me of? President Jimmy Carter pushing Iran’s shah for human rights and other reforms in 1977 and then standing aloof as the revolution unrolled—and went increasingly in the direction of radical Islamists—in 1978.

As noted above, that didn’t work out too well.

Incidentally, the State Department quite visibly did not support Obama’s policy in 2011. It wanted to stand with its traditional clients in the threatened Arab governments, just as presumably there were many in the Defense Department who wanted to help the imperiled militaries with whom they had cooperated for years. And that, by the way, includes the Turkish army which was being visibly dismantled by the Islamist regime in Ankara.

While the State Department backed down on Egypt it drew the line on Bahrain. Yes, there is a very unfair system there in which a small Sunni minority dominates a large Shia majority and yes, too, some of the Shia opposition is moderate but the assessment was that a revolution would probably bring to power an Iranian satellite government.

But the idea that they’re going to be overthrown any way so let’s give them a push did not apply to Iran or Syria or Hamas-government Gaza or Hizballah-governed Lebanon and not at all to Islamist-governed Turkey.

It makes sense that this basic thinking also applied to Libya, where dictator Muammar al-Qadhafi was hardly a friend of the United States but had been on better behavior lately. As for Syria, the U.S. government indifference to who actually wins leadership of the new regime seems to carry over from the earlier crises.

Credit should be given to the U.S. government in two specific cases. Once the decision to overthrow Qadhafi was made, the result was a relatively favorable regime in Libya. That was a gain. The problem is that this same philosophy and the fragility of the regime helped produce the Benghazi incident. The other relatively positive situation was Iraq’s post-Saddam government, to which most of the credit goes to Obama’s predecessor but some to his administration. Still, Iraq seems to be sliding–in terms of its regional strategic stance, not domestically–closer toward Iran.

At any rate, the evidence both public and behind the scenes seems to indicate that the Obama Administration decided on two principles in early 2011.

First, let’s help overthrow our friends before someone else does so and somehow we will benefit from being on the right side.

Second, it doesn’t really matter too much who takes power because somehow they will be better than their predecessors, somehow we will be more popular with them, and somehow U.S. interests will be preserved.

Landler definitely thought he was making Obama look good. Instead, I think, he was really showing us that the bad thinking and disastrous policy was planned and purposeful.

 

'Sequestration' Hypocrisy – Gov Still Hiring as Services are Cut

Editor’s Note – The height of hypocrisy is on full display by the Obama White House as tours are closed, FAA personnel and towers are cut, Blue Angels training is postponed, soldier tuition assistance is cut, and the list just keeps getting longer, all cited as cuts due to ‘sequestration’, yet many departments are hiring.

Not only that, but so much waste, duplicity, fraud, and abuse still goes on, despite Obama’s pledge to go line by line over the budget to cut such egregious spending. But, “we have to keep releasing illegal aliens…!”

Government Advertises for Nearly 2,600 New Jobs Since Sequestration

This includes 107 new positions at the Department of Homeland Security, which has freed illegal immigrants citing budgetary constraints.

By Bridget Johnson – PJ Media

With Office of Management and Budget fact sheets in hand, President Obama warned of dire cutbacks and consequences should sequestration go into effect March 1. The cuts happened, White House tours have been halted, and the administration swears it’s not overreacting to the bare-bones budget directive.

But in the days since the hammer of sequestration fell, the federal government is hiring anew. A search tonight of the USA Jobs federal employment website, filtered to positions in the United States and posted over the past 10 days, yielded 2,596 results.

This includes 107 positions at the Department of Homeland Security, which has claimed cutbacks have resulted in everything from a more taxing security line at airports to the need to free illegal immigrant detainees.

Jobs included transportation security officers in rural areas, a library technician in Baltimore, a recreational boating safety specialist in Cleveland, natural hazards program specialists in Denton, Texas, and various program analyst positions in the D.C. area. Various six-figure supervisory jobs are also open.

One hundred and fifteen jobs have been posted since sequestration began for the Agriculture Department, which warned of Americans falling ill from tainted food due to short staffing should sequestration go into effect.

Jobs posted included soil technicians, a recreation forestry technician in Sedona, Ariz., a dairy grader in Winnsboro, Texas, an archaeologist in McCall, Idaho, and a social science analyst.

The highest number of job postings since sequestration went into effect is at the Department of Veterans Affairs, with 909 new openings at the time of publication. The OMB painted a grim picture of tens of thousands of homeless vets being returned to the streets due to the budget cuts.

As the OMB warned Indian tribes would lose nearly $130 million in funding from the Interior Department, 115 new jobs have been posted in the sequestration era including multiple park guides to stock up for the summer, a museum aide, plant technicians, and more.

And while the White House warned of hundreds of furloughed federal prosecutors and a thousand fewer criminal cases being brought to court each year, the Justice Department has 46 new job postings including a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Attorneys, a law librarian, a trial attorney, and a deputy chief for the civil rights division.

New job postings at random agencies include a six-figure IT specialist at the Railroad Retirement Board, an exhibition aid for the National Gallery of Art, an Albanian-language broadcaster, and a space-assignment technician at the National Archives.

The office of the president is advertising for a management analyst, with a salary of $51,630 to $97,333 per year, to provide “assistance, research, advice and consultation on a full scope of administrative, managerial and financial projects in support of the Office of Administration.” Relocation assistance is not included.

If anyone does want to complain about sequestration job losses, though, the Office of Personnel Management is hiring a customer service specialist for its call center.

Last week, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) wrote to Acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients, noting that many nonessential federal job postings were still going up despite pressure on the office to warn agencies that hiring activity should be scrutinized in the face of sequestration.

On the first business day after sequestration, 606 new jobs were posted on the USA Jobs site.

“While some of these positions may be essential to the mission of the agency, others plainly are not,” Coburn wrote. “…According to OMB, the average annual salary for a government employee is around $76,000. This means that the average new hire equates to a one week furlough for 52 current government employees.”

Jobs found by Coburn on March 4 and highlighted in the letter to Zients included 23 openings that included “recreation” in the title and a historian for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“While the Air Force may need leadership for its museums and history programs, and the USDA may need to keep its literature in order, those needs should take a back seat to the dire threat to public health and safety that some have claimed will result from sequestration,” Coburn wrote. “Canceling the opening for the librarian position at USDA could offset one week of furloughs for as many as 104 to 156 food inspectors.”

Cal Gun Register – Seizures Underway on ‘Ineligible’

Editor’s Note – “California is the only state that tracks and disarms people with legally registered guns who have lost the right to own them…,” and seizing them they are! This is what gun registration means – you fall into one or two categories, deserved or not, and they come and seize your weapons.

Not only do they seize yours, but if you reside with someone or are married to a gun owner, they lose theirs too, why? Because you are not allowed to have access to guns, forever, even if they are registered to someone else but are kept in the house you live in!

Imagine a national data base, and like one of those mentioned in the story below, you are hospitalized and some nurse writes erroneous or incorrect notes about your mental health; you are deemed ineligible – forever, that is, until you prove your innocence or mental stability. How American is that?

California Seizes Guns as Owners Lose Right to Keep Arms

By Michael B. Marois & James Nash – Bloomberg

Wearing bulletproof vests and carrying 40-caliber Glock pistols, nine California Justice Department agents assembled outside a ranch-style house in a suburb east of Los Angeles. They were looking for a gun owner who’d recently spent two days in a mental hospital.

They knocked on the door and asked to come in. About 45 minutes later, they came away peacefully with three firearms.

California is the only state that tracks and disarms people with legally registered guns who have lost the right to own them, according to Attorney General Kamala Harris. Almost 20,000 gun owners in the state are prohibited from possessing firearms, including convicted felons, those under a domestic violence restraining order or deemed mentally unstable.

“What do we do about the guns that are already in the hands of persons who, by law, are considered too dangerous to possess them?” Harris said in a letter to Vice President Joe Biden after a Connecticut school shooting in December left 26 dead. She recommended that Biden, heading a White House review of gun policy, consider California as a national model.

As many as 200,000 people nationwide may no longer be qualified to own firearms, according to Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at theUniversity of California, Davis. Other states may lack confiscation programs because they don’t track purchases as closely as California, which requires most weapons sales go through a licensed dealer and be reported.

“Very, very few states have an archive of firearm owners like we have,” said Wintemute, who helped set up the program.

Funding Increase

Harris, a 48-year-old Democrat, has asked California lawmakers to more than double the number of agents from the current 33. They seized about 2,000 weapons last year. Agents also took 117,000 rounds of ammunition and 11,000 high-capacity magazines, according to state data.

“We’re not contacting anybody who can legally own a gun,” said John Marsh, a supervising agent who coordinates the sometimes-contentious seizures. “I got called the Antichrist the other day. Every conspiracy theory you’ve heard of, take that times 10.”

The no-gun list is compiled by cross-referencing files on almost 1 million handgun and assault-weapon owners with databases of new criminal records and involuntary mental-health commitments. About 15 to 20 names are added each day, according to the attorney general’s office.

Probable Cause

Merely being in a database of registered gun owners and having a “disqualifying event,” such as a felony conviction or restraining order, isn’t sufficient evidence for a search warrant, Marsh said March 5 during raids in San Bernardino County. So the agents often must talk their way into a residence to look for weapons, he said.

At a house in Fontana, agents were looking for a gun owner with a criminal history of a sex offense, pimping, according to the attorney general’s office. Marsh said that while the woman appeared to be home, they got no answer at the door. Without a warrant, the agents couldn’t enter and had to leave empty- handed.

They had better luck in nearby Upland, where they seized three guns from the home of Lynette Phillips, 48, who’d been hospitalized for mental illness, and her husband, David. One gun was registered to her, two to him.

“The prohibited person can’t have access to a firearm,” regardless of who the registered owner is, said Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.

Involuntarily Held

In an interview as agents inventoried the guns, Lynette Phillips said that while she’d been held involuntarily in a mental hospital in December, the nurse who admitted her had exaggerated the magnitude of her condition.

Todd Smith, chief executive officer of Aurora Charter Oak Hospital in Covina, where documents provided by Phillips show she was treated, didn’t respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comment on the circumstances of the treatment.

Phillips said her husband used the guns for recreation. She didn’t blame the attorney general’s agents for taking the guns based on the information they had, she said.

“I do feel I have every right to purchase a gun,” Phillips said. “I’m not a threat. We’re law-abiding citizens.”

No one was arrested.

“It’s not unusual to not arrest a mental-health person because every county in the state handles those particular cases differently,” Gregory said by e-mail. “Unless there’s an extenuating need to arrest them on the spot, we refer the case” to the local district attorney’s office, she said.

Convicted Felons

Agents more often arrest convicted felons who are prohibited from buying, receiving, owning or possessing a firearm, Gregory said. Violation of the ban is itself a felony.

The state Senate agreed March 7 to expand the seizure program using $24 million in surplus funds from fees that gun dealers charge buyers for background checks.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, a gun lobby that says it has more than 4 million individuals as members, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the program.

Sam Paredes, executive director of the Folsom-based advocacy group Gun Owners of California, praised the program, though not how it is funded.

“We think that crime control instead of gun control is absolutely the way to go,” he said. “The issue we have is funding this program only from resources from law-abiding gun purchasers. This program has a benefit to the entire public and therefore the entire public should be paying through general- fund expenditures, and not just legal gun owners.”

Why so much Ammo Uncle Sam? What Me Worry?

Editor’s Note – SUA has been reporting massive government purchases of ammunition, military style vehicles, and the militarization of law enforcement for most of the Obama administration as well as promoting Obama as the number one salesman of civilian gun purchases for the past several years.

Why, because there is no mistaking it now, the Federal, State, and Local authorities are gearing up for civil strife, some say civil war. Why, because the obvious is happening – the country is falling apart at the seams and more, and we can blame the political set for our demise. But, America will not put up with it and they know it.

Record ammunition sales – why?

That is why they are purchasing bullets meant to kill by a mushrooming round deep in your body, in huge volume, and interesting styles; not just war type ammunition, but people killers, and then there are the war time vehicles and FEMA plans as well. These are people killers, that means you and your family, and these bullets are not allowed by Geneva Conventions in war, so why the massive purchases? Why do they fear Americans?

Make no mistake, these purchases are in addition to the one plus billion already ordered and delivered. Ask anyone seeking to purchase ammunition, its as valuable as gold of late. Our friends in the retail and wholesale arms business tell us the story – its never been better for them, both for civilians and the government in sales.

Many manufacturers and sales to states and law enforcement where gun laws have become anti-constitutional have tripled to over 44 companies. (Also see more here, what a list!)

Its about time main stream publications are noticing now. Here are some of our older posts about this ongoing issue:

The sad and alarming thing is that they are up arming everything and arming the most interesting federal agencies like our Park Rangers, USDA agents, EPA agents and every other law enforcement division including all Inspectors General. Then there are the drones – thanks goes to Senator Rand Paul who is helping elevate this discourse. It truly is time to reign in the Federal Government – tyranny abounds if you do not share your voice.

Why so much Ammo Uncle Sam? What, me worry? Yes, it is time to worry!

1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It’s Time For A National Conversation

By Ralph Benko, Contributor – Forbes.com

The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice.  It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.  As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month.  Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years.  In America.

Add to this perplexing outré purchase of ammo, DHS now is showing off its acquisition of heavily armored personnel carriers, repatriated from the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation.  As observed by “paramilblogger” Ken Jorgustin last September:

[T]he Department of Homeland Security is apparently taking delivery (apparently through the  Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico VA, via the manufacturer – Navistar Defense LLC) of an undetermined number of the recently retrofitted 2,717 ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ MaxxPro MRAP vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.”

These MRAP’s ARE BEING SEEN ON U.S. STREETS all across America by verified observers with photos, videos, and descriptions.”

Regardless of the exact number of MRAP’s being delivered to DHS (and evidently some to POLICE via DHS, as has been observed), why would they need such over-the-top vehicles on U.S. streets to withstand IEDs, mine blasts, and 50 caliber hits to bullet-proof glass? In a war zone… yes, definitely. Let’s protect our men and women. On the streets of America… ?”

“They all have gun ports… Gun Ports? In the theater of war, yes. On the streets of America…?

Seriously, why would DHS need such a vehicle on our streets?”

Why indeed?  It is utterly inconceivable that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is planning a coup d’etat against President Obama, and the Congress, to install herself as Supreme Ruler of the United States of America.  There, however, are real signs that the Department bureaucrats are running amok.  About 20 years ago this columnist worked, for two years, in the U.S. Department of Energy’s general counsel’s office in its procurement and finance division.  And is wise to the ways.   The answer to “why would DHS need such a vehicle?” almost certainly is this:  it’s a cool toy and these (reportedly) million dollar toys are being recycled, without much of a impact on the DHS budget.  So… why not?

Why, indeed, should the federal government not be deploying armored personnel carriers and stockpiling enough ammo for a 20-year war in the homeland?  Because it’s wrong in every way.  President Obama has an opportunity, now, to live up to some of his rhetoric by helping the federal government set a noble example in a matter very close to his heart (and that of his Progressive base), one not inimical to the Bill of Rights: gun control.  The federal government can (for a nice change) begin practicing what it preaches by controlling itself.

Remember the Sequester?  The president is claiming its budget cuts will inconvenience travelers by squeezing essential services provided by the (opulently armed and stylishly uniformed) DHS.  Quality ammunition is not cheap.  (Of course, news reports that DHS is about to spend $50 million on new uniforms suggests a certain cavalier attitude toward government frugality.)

Spending money this way is beyond absurd well into perverse.  According to the AP story a DHS spokesperson justifies this acquisition to “help the government get a low price for a big purchase.” Peggy Dixon, spokeswoman for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center:  “The training center and others like it run by the Homeland Security Department use as many as 15 million rounds every year, mostly on shooting ranges and in training exercises.”

At 15 million rounds (which, in itself, is pretty extraordinary and sounds more like fun target-shooting-at-taxpayer-expense than a sensible training exercise) … that’s a stockpile that would last DHS over a century.  To claim that it’s to “get a low price” for a ridiculously wasteful amount is an argument that could only fool a career civil servant.

Meanwhile, Senator Diane Feinstein, with the support of President Obama, is attempting to ban 100 capacity magazine clips.  Doing a little apples-to-oranges comparison, here, 1.6 billion rounds is … 16 million times more objectionable.

Mr. Obama has a long history of disdain toward gun ownership.  According to Prof. John Lott, in Debacle, a book he co-authored with iconic conservative strategist Grover Norquist,

“When I was first introduced to Obama (when both worked at the University of ChicagoLaw School, where Lott was famous for his analysis of firearms possession), he said, ‘Oh, you’re the gun guy.’

I responded: ‘Yes, I guess so.’

’I don’t believe that people should own guns,’ Obama replied.

I then replied that it might be fun to have lunch and talk about that statement some time.

He simply grimaced and turned away. …

Unlike other liberal academics who usually enjoyed discussing opposing ideas, Obama showed disdain.”

Mr. Obama?  Where’s the disdain now?  Cancelling, or at minimum, drastically scaling back — by 90% or even 99%, the DHS order for ammo, and its receipt and deployment of armored personnel carriers, would be a “fourfer.”

  • The federal government would set an example of restraint in the matter of weaponry.
  • It would reduce the deficit without squeezing essential services.
  • It would do both in a way that was palatable to liberals and conservatives, slightly depolarizing America.
  • It would somewhat defuse, by the government making itself less armed-to-the-teeth, the anxiety of those who mistrust the benevolence of the federales.

If Obama doesn’t show any leadership on this matter it’s an opportunity for Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, to summon Secretary Napolitano over for a little national conversation. Madame Secretary?  Buying 1.6 billion rounds of ammo and deploying armored personnel carriers runs contrary, in every way, to what “homeland security” really means.  Discuss.

The 'filiblizzard' – GOP New vs. Old, Constitution vs. President

Editor’s Note – Senator Rand Paul, now famous for his almost 13-hour triumphant filibuster for the Constitution and against the usurpation of power by the Executive seemed to set the world on its ear yesterday and late into today. Since the end of his marathon, new questions emerge.

Who is the lifeblood now of the GOP? Is it the likes of dissenters Lindsay Graham (SC) and John McCain (AZ), or is it the new studs, Marco Rubio (FL), Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), and Gomert (TX) to name but a few quickly making names for themselves.

The second question regards President Obama’s stature, especially when he challenges the Constitution so often in his many end-runs around it. Last but not least, has America awoken? When many liberals ‘Tweeted’ support and even one Democrat Senator stood in support, has interest in what is happening and what is wrong finally becoming popular. Probably for the first time in its history, CSPAN2 was popular.

For almost 13 hours, Kentucky Senator filibusters John O. Brennan’s nomination to be CIA Director over the administration’s legal interpretation of using deadly force on American citizens on Americans soil when there is no imminent danger – a big win for the GOP, Conservatives and Constitutionalists

To see the entire transcript of the event, one that surely made history click the links below or download them here:

What did Rand Paul accomplish last night?

By Timothy P. Carney – Washington Examiner

So, did Paul accomplish anything besides “blowing up Twitter,” as his cohort Ted Cruz put it? He certainly did. How much he accomplished will be determined, but here are some places to look:

  • He got the major media talking, for almost the first time, about the government’s ability to kill U.S. citizens, without trial, even when they’re not posing an imminent threat, on U.S. soil. Also, more broadly, about our government using drones to execute people that maybe we should be trying to capture and try.
  • He got many Republicans to express objections to extrajudicial drone killings. Republicans, as a party, haven’t been very worried about U.S. overreaches in the “Global War on Terror.” Paul was something of a loner on this front when he was running in 2010. But Paul’s filibuster captured the attention of the media, and the heart of conservatives and libertarians around the country. Twitter provided such instant feedback, that it was pretty easy for Republican politicians to see there is a real demand for these sorts of civil liberties concerns on the Right. It may even be that some conservatives who rushed to “Stand to Rand” were really coming out of the closet, emboldened by Paul. Probably, most politicians coming to Paul’s side were being opportunistic. Certainly many conservatives in the Twitterverse and Blogosphere were motivated a bit by partisanship — knocking Obama’s hypocrisy on due process and civil liberties.

But still, even when politicians move for opportunistic or partisan reasons, they move, and the bounds of permissible dissent move with them. It’s now easier for any future Republican politician or conservative commentator to push back on military overreach.

  • Paul made a conservative case for limiting war powers. I’ll sound an even more hopeful note here: Paul may have made some conservatives watching on C-Span — or even some GOP lawmakers watching from the floor — more skeptical about executive power in the sprawling “war on terror.”

Paul spent hours yesterday setting the case against extrajudicial drone killings in various conservative contexts. He made pro-life arguments. He made Edmund Burke-sounding arguments. He mostly made constitutional arguments. He drew the lines from conservative principles to his more libertarian foreign policy conclusions.

  • Paul made a libertarian outreach to the anti-war Left. Much of Paul’s arguments last night involved the need for constraints on power, even constraints on the majority. He often hinted towards the Ronald Reagan line that a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to kill you while sitting at cafe.

The only check on an executive armed with flying death robots is the separation of powers and an understanding of the Constitution as a limit on government power. This has implications beyond counter-terrorism and war.

  • Paul exposed the craven partisanship of the Democrats. As I wrote last night, Democrats refused to allow Paul a vote on a non-binding resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that government can’t kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, while those citizens pose no imminent threat. There’s no way this course of action jibes with the party’s stated principles. The most likely explanation is that they didn’t want a vote that might embarrass their party’s president.
  • Paul made himself a major Republican figure. That can only be good for the GOP.

Paul Injects Life into Party with Nearly 13-Hour Filibuster

The “filiblizzard” of the Brennan nomination over Obama’s secretive drone program, joined by one Dem, outlasted the snowstorm that paralyzed D.C.

By Bridgett JohnsonPJ Media

In December 2010, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) conducted the longest talking filibuster in 27 years, speaking for 8.5 hours in opposition to President Obama’s tax deal with Republicans — a speech Sanders later turned into a book.

On Wednesday into Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) busted the “Filibernie” record — by far, at 12 hours and 54 minutes — as he demanded answers from the Obama administration on policy regarding domestic drone strikes.

“I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court,” Paul began.

“That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is an abomination. It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country,” he said. “I don’t rise to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle.”

The filibuster against the CIA director nomination began at 11:47 a.m. Wednesday, on a Hill sparsely populated because of the snowstorm outside.

Hence, Paul’s effort quickly took on the name “Filiblizzard,” with its own Twitter account. Like Sanders, Paul rapidly was honored with a site tracking his filibuster, IsRandPaulStillTalking.com.

“I will speak today until the president responds and says no, we won’t kill Americans in cafes; no, we won’t kill you at home in your bed at night; no, we won’t drop bombs on restaurants. Is that so hard?” Paul said. “It’s amazing that the president will not respond. I’ve been asking this question for a month. It’s like pulling teeth to get the president to respond to anything. And I get no answer.”

And as the #StandWithRand hashtag reigned on Twitter, and more Republicans filtered onto the Senate floor to help out Paul, it became clear that Paul didn’t just make a point on civil liberties but breathed some chutzpah into his party. Unlike historical filibusters that have included phone-book or cookbook reading to fill time, the senator stayed on topic the entire time. Supportive House members came into the upper chamber and cheered on the son of their former lower chamber colleague.

“Sending strength and prayer to @SenRandPaul for him to ‘Drone’ on and on!” tweeted Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

This monumental moment for the Senate GOP, though, was muddled by the evening absence of a dozen Republicans who enjoyed a three-hour secretive dinner at the Jefferson Hotel with President Obama: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-S.C.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

According to the White House, Obama picked up the check for the party.

Chambliss and Toomey helped Paul with his filibuster before or after the dinner. Later on the floor, Johnson said the meeting was an “excellent dinner.”

“This evening at our meeting with the president, we had an opportunity to express our views on the challenging task of getting our nation’s fiscal house in order,” Hoeven said in a statement. McCain and Coburn each flashed a thumb’s up to reporters staking out the hotel as they left.

Though eating is not allowed on the Senate floor, Paul took nibbles of snacks at points, continuing to read his notes while chewing. Mid-filibuster, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) put an apple and a thermos full of green tea on Paul’s desk in a nod to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; the Senate sergeant-at-arms later had the snack removed per the rules.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wandered onto the floor. Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) offered to hold hearings on drones, which Paul brushed off as just a standard congressional stall tactic.

And unlike Sanders, who didn’t have a bipartisan Filibernie, Paul had Democratic support — some wholehearted, some tepid.

The ACLU and Code Pink praised the Paulibuster. “Good for Sen Paul-a talking filibuster to fight for an important ideal- unlike McConnell’s partisan silent filibusters designed to paralyze,” tweeted Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a vocal critic of Obama’s drone program, was the only Democrat to join Paul on the floor.

“Sen. Paul and I agree that this nomination also provides a very important opportunity for the United States Senate to consider the government’s rules and policies on the targeted killings of Americans and that, of course, has been a central pillar of our nation’s counter-terror strategy,” Wyden said.

The lack of Democratic representation as the GOP waved the flag for due process rights didn’t sit well with some liberals off the Hill. “For gods sake where are democrats ?? ‘@democracynow: Rand Paul: Obama Admin Response Drones More Than Frightening’ http://owl.li/itdHI ,” tweeted actor John Cusack.

Read the rest here at PJ Media.