A world without America – GAFFNEY

Obama Cabinet nominees want to manage U.S. decline

By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. – Washington Times

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly declared that “a world without America is not only desirable, it is achievable.” While that sentiment won’t be embraced in President Obama’s inaugural address next week, all other things being equal, it seems likely to be the practical effect of his second term.

Of course, Iran’s regime seeks a world literally without America. More to the point, Mr. Ahmadinejad and the mullahs in Tehran are working tirelessly to secure the means by which to accomplish that goal. Specifically, they have or are developing the ability to engage in devastating electromagnetic pulse attacks, biological warfare and other asymmetric terrorist strikes.

For his part, President Obama seems to have in mind bringing about a world without America in a geostrategic sense. As Mark Steyn notes in a characteristically brilliant essay in National Review Online, that would be “Obamacare’s other shoe.” It would amount to a “fundamental transformation” of America’s place in the world, evidently intended to be the president’s second-act counterpart to the socialist transformation of this country that dominated his first term.

This agenda is strongly evident in Mr. Obama’s choices for key national security positions: John F. Kerry at the State DepartmentChuck Hagel at Defense and John O. Brennan at the CIA. The three are, like the president, imbued with a post-American, post-sovereignty, post-constitutional, transnationalist outlook. In his administration, it would appear that their mission would be, as the American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka puts it, to manage the United States’ decline.

Having addressed previously in this space the serious problems with the judgment, records and policy proclivities of Mr. Hagel and Mr. Kerry, let’s consider those of John Brennan to further illustrate the syndrome.

Mr. Brennan is a textbook example of a U.S. official who has “gone native.” He speaks Arabic and was formerly the top CIA officer in Saudi Arabia. He has shown himself to be deeply sympathetic to Islamists — for example, excusing and dissembling about their commitment to jihad and the necessity of not offending them.

After President Obama himself, Mr. Brennan is, arguably, the single most important enabler of the Islamic supremacists’ agenda in government today. In his role as homeland security adviser to the president — a position that does not require Senate confirmation and that he was given as a consolation prize when it became clear that he might not be confirmable as CIA director back in 2009 — Mr. Brennan has helped legitimate, empower, fund, arm and embolden them abroad, and embraced and appeased them here at home.

Of particular concern is the fact that Mr. Brennan has presided over the policy of engaging the Muslim Brotherhood, which has consequently been portrayed by a politicized intelligence community as “largely secular” and “eschewing violence”; the shredding of training briefings and the proscribing of trainers that might upset Muslims by telling the truth about Shariah and the jihad it commands; the penetration of U.S. agencies by Muslim Brotherhood-associated individuals as employees or senior advisers; and misrepresentations to Congress about the true, jihadist character of the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi this past Sept. 11.

Also of great concern is the prospect that Mr. Obama’s second-term team will, if confirmed, be even more insistent than its predecessors on engaging Iran. Make no mistake about it: The practical effect will be to buy the regime in Tehran the last few months it evidently needs to achieve what it has sought for decades: the means to have the world not only bereft of America’s leadership and stabilizing force, but to neutralize and perhaps eliminate the United States as a 21st century society.

Ordinarily, a president should be given wide latitude by the Senate to appoint those he wants to staff his administration. This is no ordinary time, though, and this is no ordinary president or administration. The circumstances are such that a Team Obama that is pursuing so dangerous a policy course must be challenged and impeded, not encouraged and abetted.

The Senate’s constitutional responsibility to confirm senior executive branch appointees is one of the few it hasn’t compromised or allowed the president to expropriate. It must exercise its authority to assure “quality control” with respect to his picks for top national security Cabinet posts.

Indeed, the fact that Mr. Obama seeks not one or two but three individuals who share his determination to achieve the radical and dangerous national security transformation he seeks in his second term demands that senators defy him. After all, should the Senate fail to object to this trajectory by rigorously debating and defeating any — and preferably all — of these problematic choices, its members risk not only allowing but becoming party to the realization of a world without America.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.

Mark Steyn – Hilarious look at recent Federal events

Editor’s Note – Though the news of all these federal employee scandals shows us exactly how bad things are, and how bad they spend money, our friend Mark Steyn offers us a most humorous look at the issues. If you don’t laugh at the irony here, you must be a disgruntled federal employee who did not get the invite so many others did.

Sad, yes, funny, oh my lord yes…please read…grab a hankie first…not for the sad tears, but the fun ones.

WARNING – Obama supporters…please sit down first, you may need some support!

Secret Service Agents Apply Fiscal Prudence In Colombia

Investors.com – By Mark Steyn

Unlike the Government of the United States, I can’t claim any hands-on experience with Colombian hookers. But I was impressed by the rates charged by Miss Dania Suarez, and even more impressed by the U.S. Secret Service’s response to them.

Cartagena’s most famous “escort” costs $800. For purposes of comparison, you can book Elliot Spitzer’s “escort” for $300. Yet, on the cold grey fiscally conservative morning after the wild socially liberal night before, Dania’s Secret Service agent offered her a mere $28.

Miss Dania Suarez

Twenty-eight bucks! What a remarkably precise sum. Thirty dollars less a federal handling fee? Why isn’t this guy Obama’s Treasury Secretary or Budget Director? Or, at the very least, the head honcho of the General Services Administration, whose previous director has sadly had to step down after the agency’s taxpayer-funded public-servants-gone-wild Bacchanal in Vegas.

All over this dying republic, you couldn’t find a single solitary $28 item that doesn’t wind up costing at least 800 bucks by the time it’s been sluiced through the federal budgeting process. Yet, in one plucky little corner of the Secret Service, supervisor David Chaney, dog-handler Greg Stokes or one of the other nine agents managed to turn the principles of government procurement on its head.

Didn’t Know?

If the same fiscal prudence were applied to the 2011 Obama budget, the $3.598 trillion splurge would have cost just shy of $126 billion. The feds’ half-a-billion to Solyndra would have been a mere $18 million. The $823-grand GSA conference on government efficiency at the M Resort Spa & Casino would have come in at $28,805.

Chaney-Stokes 2012! Grope … and Change! Red lights, not red ink.

Alas, young Miss Suarez, just 24 and with a 9-year-old son and a ravenous pimp to feed, didn’t care for the cut of her Secret Service man’s jib. He made the fairly basic mistake — for an expensively-trained government operative — of attempting to pay a prostitute in the hotel corridor, and Dania caused an altercation whose fallout has brought the Secret Service to its knees. Which isn’t how these encounters usually go.

What we know so far is this: All 11 Secret Service men and all 10 U.S. military personnel staying at the Hotel Caribe are alleged to have had “escorts” in their rooms that night. All of them. The entire team.

Twenty-one U.S. public servants. Twenty-one Colombian whores. Unless a couple of the senior guys splashed out for the two-girl special. “Some of them were saying they didn’t know they were prostitutes,” explained Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “Some are saying they were women at the bar.”

Amazing to hear government agents channeling Dudley Moore in Arthur: “You’re a hooker? I thought I was doing so well.”

It turns out U.S. Secret Service agents are the only men who can walk into a Colombian nightclub and not spot the professionals. Are they really the guys you want protecting the president?

Nothing Else To Do

Congress is not happy about this. “It was totally wrong to take a foreign national back to a hotel when the president is about to arrive,” said Rep. King.

It’s wrong to take a “foreign national” up to the room, but it would have been okay if she’d been from Des Moines? We’re all in favor of outsourcing, but in compliance with Section 27(e)viii of the Patriot Act this is the one job Americans will do?

With respect to the congressman, sometimes it helps to step back and consider the bigger picture. Why were 21 officials of the United States government able to enjoy a night of pleasure with 21 prostitutes, whether “foreign nationals” or all-American?

The answer isn’t difficult. Indeed, one retired agent spelled it out: “They just didn’t have anything to do.” So they did Dania Suarez and her friends instead.

The 21 dedicated public servants jetted in on the so-called “car-planes,” the big transports flying in the tinted-windowed black Suburbans for the presidential motorcade. The “car-plane” guys show up a few days in advance, but usually two weeks or so after the really advanced advance team has hit the ground. And there was nothing for them to do. There is no reason for them to be there.

So instead they went to the Pleyclub.

As I understand it, the 21 public servants did not technically bill U.S. taxpayers for their “escorts.” But you suckers paid for them to fly to Cartagena, and they were enjoying those women on your time. On foreign trips, aside from the 40 or so armored limousines, there are usually 200 Secret Service agents plus a couple dozen sniffer dogs. Did the latter take any Colombian bitches back to their kennels? Or are they just the entrée for Obama’s embassy banquet?

I’ve written before about the U.S. government’s motorcade culture. Just last month, it cost US taxpayers half-a-million bucks to fly Obama and David Cameron to Dayton, Ohio, to pretend to enjoy a basketball game.

Disruptive Americans

I’ve attended previous “Summits of the Americas” and G7 meetings and other international confabs, and always heard the same story wearily retailed by representatives of the host nation — that the money-no-object Yanks are flying in a bigger and more disruptive presidential entourage than everybody else put together.

At this point, the local official usually rolls his eyes, and mostly, but not always, leaves the thought unspoken:

“Americans! What do you expect?” The Queen routinely turns down requests from visiting U.S. presidents to reinforce the garden walls and replace the windows of Buckingham Palace — for an overnight stay.

When the U.S. was the richest country on earth, the mad excess used to impress in a crude kind of way: If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Now it’s the Brokest Nation in History: America hasn’t got it, but still flaunts it. Which is kind of pathetic.

Does more equal better? No. All 11 Secret Service johns had their “security clearances” canceled. That still leaves over 4 million Americans (or about 2% of the adult population) with “security clearances,” and, according to the Director of National Intelligence last October, just under 1.5 million federal employees with “top secret” clearances.

Which helps explain why one army private was able single-handedly to download bazillions of (admittedly mostly worthless) “secrets” for Wikileaks. Imagine the entire population of New Zealand with security clearances, and the entire population of Philadelphia or Phoenix with “top secret” clearances.

And yet the more guys on the payroll, the less anyone does. For all the hooker-cavorting among a bored entourage with time on its hands, there was no one to proofread President Obama’s speech. So he stood up in public and attempted to pander to the Latins by referring to the sovereign British territory of the Falkland Islands by the designation of its temporary Argentine usurpers 30 years ago: “Las Malvinas.”

Staff In The Bar?

Except that his writers got it wrong. So the president of the United States called it “the Maldives,” an entirely different bit of British Commonwealth real estate half a world away in the Indian Ocean. Were the speechwriting staff also face down in the hooker bar? “Jush a minute, baby. Hic. The preshhhiduh wansh a couple rewrites. ‘I call on London to return British Columbia to Colombia.’ Thash should do it. Lesh go back to my room and I’ll show you my prompter.”

It’s not just the entitlements. Everywhere you look in the bloated federal leviathan, all is waste, all is excess. But the absurd imperial presidency is a good place to start. The next citizen-executive of this republic would be sending a right message were he to halve the motorcade, halve the security detail, halve the hookers.

Otherwise, America’s foreign creditors will start to figure out that another half-decade of U.S. spendaholism and they’re likely to wind up like Dania Suarez: You loan the U.S. government $800 billion, and come the due day the Treasury Secretary reaches in his pocket and says: “So how about we call it 28 bucks even?”

The Sun Also Sets – Mark Steyn

By Mark Steyn

National Review Online

I was in Australia earlier this month and there, as elsewhere on my recent travels, the consensus among the politicians I met (at least in private) was that Washington lacked the will for meaningful course correction, and that, therefore, the trick was to ensure that, when the behemoth goes over the cliff, you’re not dragged down with it. It is faintly surreal to be sitting in paneled offices lined by formal portraits listening to eminent persons who assume the collapse of the dominant global power is a fait accompli. “I don’t feel America is quite a First World country anymore,” a robustly pro-American Aussie told me, with a sigh of regret.

Well, what does some rinky-dink ’roo-infested didgeridoo mill on the other side of the planet know about anything? Fair enough. But Australia was the only major Western nation not to go into recession after 2008. And in the last decade the U.S. dollar has fallen by half against the Oz buck: That’s to say, in 2002, one greenback bought you a buck-ninety Down Under; now it buys you 95 cents. More of that a bit later.

I have now returned from Oz to the Emerald City, where everything is built with borrowed green. President Obama has run up more debt in three years than President Bush did in eight, and he plans to run up more still — from ten trillion in 2008 to fifteen and a half trillion now to 20 trillion and beyond. Onward and upward! The president doesn’t see this as a problem, nor do his party, and nor do at least fortysomething percent of the American people. The Democrats’ plan is to have no plan, and their budget is not to budget at all. “We don’t need to bring a budget,” said Harry Reid. Why tie yourself down? “We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution,” the treasury secretary told House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. “What we do know is we don’t like yours.”

Nor do some of Ryan’s fellow conservatives. Texas congressman Louie Gohmert, for whom I have a high regard, was among those representatives who appeared at the Heritage Foundation to express misgivings regarding the Ryan plan’s timidity. They’re not wrong on that: The alleged terrorizer of widows and orphans does not propose to balance the budget of the government of the United States until the year 2040. That would be 27 years after Congressman Ryan’s current term of office expires. Who knows what could throw a wrench in those numbers? Suppose Beijing decides to seize Taiwan. The U.S. is obligated to defend it militarily. But U.S. taxpayers would be funding both sides of the war — the home team, via the Pentagon budget, and the Chinese military, through the interest payments on the debt. (We’ll be bankrolling the entire People’s Liberation Army by some point this decade.) A Beijing–Taipei conflict would be, in budget terms, a U.S. civil war relocated to the Straits of Taiwan. Which is why plans for mid-century are of limited value. When the most notorious extreme callous budget-slasher of the age cannot foresee the government living within its means within the next three decades, you begin to appreciate why foreign observers doubt whether there’ll be a 2040, not for anything recognizable as “the United States.”

Yet it’s widely agreed that Ryan’s plan is about as far as you can push it while retaining minimal political viability. A second-term Obama would roar full throttle to the cliff edge, while a President Romney would be unlikely to do much more than ease off to third gear. At this point, it’s traditional for pundits to warn that if we don’t change course we’re going to wind up like Greece. Presumably they mean that, right now, our national debt, which crossed the Rubicon of 100 percent of GDP just before Christmas, is not as bad as that of Athens, although it’s worse than Britain, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, and every other European nation except Portugal, Ireland, and Italy. Or perhaps they mean that America’s current deficit-to-GDP ratio is not quite as bad as Greece’s, although it’s worse than that of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and every other European nation except Ireland.

But these comparisons tend to understate the insolvency of America, failing as they do to take into account state and municipal debts and public pension liabilities. When Morgan Stanley ran those numbers in 2009, the debt-to-revenue ratio in Greece was 312 percent; in the United States it was 358 percent. If Greece has been knocking back the ouzo, we’re face down in the vat. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute calculates that, if you take into account unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare versus their European equivalents, Greece owes 875 percent of GDP; the United States owes 911 percent — or getting on for twice as much as the second-most-insolvent Continental: France at 549 percent.

And if you’re thinking, Wow, all these percentages are making my head hurt, forget ’em: When you’re spending on the scale Washington does, what matters is the hard dollar numbers. Greece’s total debt is a few rinky-dink billions, a rounding error in the average Obama budget. Only America is spending trillions. The 2011 budget deficit, for example, is about the size of the entire Russian economy. By 2010, the Obama administration was issuing about a hundred billion dollars of treasury bonds every month — or, to put it another way, Washington is dependent on the bond markets being willing to absorb an increase of U.S. debt equivalent to the GDP of Canada or India — every year. And those numbers don’t take into account the huge levels of personal debt run up by Americans. College-debt alone is over a trillion dollars, or the equivalent of the entire South Korean economy — tied up just in one small boutique niche market of debt which barely exists in most other developed nations.

“We are headed for the most predictable economic crisis in history,” says Paul Ryan. And he’s right. But precisely because it’s so predictable the political class has already discounted it. Which is why a plan for pie now and spinach later, maybe even two decades later, is the only real menu on the table. There’s a famous exchange in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Someone asks Mike Campbell, “How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways,” he replies. “Gradually, then suddenly.” We’ve been going through the gradual phase so long, we’re kinda used to it. But it’s coming to an end, and what happens next will be the second way: sudden, and very bad.

By the way, that decline in the U.S./Australian exchange isn’t the only one. Ten years ago the U.S. dollar was worth 1.6 Canadian; now it’s at par. A decade ago, the dollar was worth over ten Swedish Kroner, now 6.7; 1.8 Singapore dollars, now 1.2. I get asked with distressing frequency by Americans where I would recommend fleeing to. The reality is, given the dollar’s decline over the last decade, that most Americans can no longer afford to flee to any place worth fleeing to. What’s left is the non-flee option: taking a stand here, stopping the spendaholism, closing federal agencies, privatizing departments, block-granting to the states — not in 2040, but now. “Suddenly” is about to show up.

— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2012 Mark Steyn