Editor’s Note – Traditionally, the moment a candidate receives and accepts the nomination from a major party, the current administration ensures that the candidate begins to receive daily security briefings. The reason being, that the person may be the next President of the United States, and during the campaign needs to know what is on tap worldwide so that person can make sure they do not infringe on the safety of America as they campaign.
How is it then, that the briefings start only now, two weeks after they were announced and more than a month since the nomination process was completed? On September 13th, it was announced that Romney would get briefings, after the recent events of 9.11.12 in Benghazi. However, they did not begin until this week for Ryan, Romney was briefed on the 17th, after the subsequent misleading statements, and now the official admission that the Libya event was an act of teror, and now the cover-up and media void/lapses, one must question with great verve, why the delays?
Politics as practiced by the “say or do anything to get re-elected” group strikes again. The only question is, why did we hear about it just now? Also, when we know Obama did not even attend most of his own, the important question is, why is security taking a back seat to campaigning? Is there something to hide? We should ask Clinton and Obama…
It is safe to assume, these briefings will be increasingly more important, and skipping a briefing is never acceptable. Taking a print version and reading it without professional and experienced explanation is like getting X-Rays and interpreting them without a physician explaining what they mean.
Paul Ryan Receives First Intelligence Briefing; Romney Visits CIA Building
ABC News has learned that GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan has received intelligence briefings from the U.S. government. Ryan spokesperson Michael Steel confirmed the briefing took place.
The campaign would provide no other details, such as timing. Presidential candidates and their running mates traditionally receive classified briefings from the intelligence community in the run up to an election.
On September 13, the Romney campaign announced that both Ryan and Mitt Romney would start receiving intelligence briefings.
“For the last several weeks, the Romney campaign has been in touch with the intelligence community to arrange intelligence briefings for Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan, consistent with tradition,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said at the time.
Romney received his second intelligence briefing from President Barack Obama’s administration Thursday morning at a CIA office building at the Dulles Discovery Center in Dulles, Va. The briefing lasted about two hours.
His first came on September 17 in Los Angeles.
Republicans have sought to open a line of political attack against President Obama for not attending daily intelligence briefings like those instituted by former President George W. Bush.
Update at 12:56 p.m. ET:
Following his briefing Romney today spoke to veterans at American Legion Post 176 in Springfield, Virginia. Without referencing specifically his briefing nor the details of the classified briefing he had just moments before, Romney warned about the dangers lurking throughout the world.
“The world is not a safe place, it remains dangerous,” Romney said. “Look in North Korea. They continue to develop and promote nuclear capability on their own part, and to export it to others. Syria, 20, 30,000 people killed in Syria. Iran, closer and closer to having nuclear capability. Egypt, now with a Muslim Brotherhood president. Pakistan, highly, um, tumultuous. Afghanistan, our men and women still in Afghanistan. You keep going around the world, it is still a troubled and dangerous world.”
Editor’s Note – This election season is being called the most hate filled, divisive, and negative campaign – EVER! We still have almost 90 more days to go and the trend seems primed for even worse tactics and discourse – if you can call it that. Two things emerge above all the foam on the surface of this septic tank of rancor – “they all do it”, and “hypocrisy”.
The left accuse the right, and the right accuses the left – but on close inspection, “they all do it” fails under close scrutiny of scope, depth, and quantity, or as puts it, “Fair and Balanced” reporting. If you watch any segment on the so-called fair and balanced network, where someone from each camp emerges with their talking points – its unfair, and totally disingehuous to say they do things “equally.”
Segment after segment, the commentator treats both equally – as to say they’re arguments are equally valid – utterly straining credulity. Just once, it would be nice for someone like John Scott to say: “sir or madam, that is totally untrue, and you know it.” Then to allow the constant changing of the subject and/or bringing in some ancillary issue must stop, or they are guilty of aiding and abetting the propaganda and intentionally mis-leading the public. We dare anyone to prove that wrong – and guess which side we refer to?
Victor Davis Hanson once again nails part of the other cesspool denizen – hypocrisy:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently said of the Chick-fil-A fast-food franchise that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values.” Why? Because Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy is on record as being opposed to gay marriage — as is close to half the U.S. population, according to polls. The mayors of Boston and San Francisco also suggested that the company isn’t welcome in their cities.
Oddly, none of these public officials have lectured President Obama to keep clear of their cities. Yet until recently, Obama was likewise on record as opposing gay marriage. Why the exemption?
Nor have the mayors in question disinvited any black churches from their cities. Yet some pastors in churches with black congregations have been quite loud in their denunciations of gay marriage. Fundamentalist Islamic mosques routinely disparage homosexuals, often publicly so in their literature. Is there something about white Christian males that makes their opposition to gay marriage different from that of their black or Muslim counterparts?
Even as Emanuel warned Cathy that his company did not reflect “Chicago values,” his own city remains among the most murderous in the world. This year, Chicago youth have killed more Americans than have the Taliban in Afghanistan. Unable to stop the carnage, a desperate Emanuel welcomed in Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan to help quell the mostly black-on-black violence, even though the latter has a long record of racist and anti-Semitic tirades. Is the Chick-fil-A CEO a greater danger to Chicago than gun-toting gangs, or more illiberal than the racist Farrakhan?
Politics — not just race or religion — is also a key to the paradoxical double standard. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) just slandered Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Bill Magwood, an African-American, as “one of the most unethical, prevaricating, incompetent people I’ve dealt with.” Reid, furious with Magwood because of his support for the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository in Reid’s state, also called Magwood a “treacherous, miserable liar,” “a first-class rat” and a “sh-t stirrer.”
In 2008, Reid condescendingly attributed presidential candidate Barack Obama’s success to the fact that he was “light-skinned” and spoke “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
More recently, the crude Reid, in McCarthyesque fashion, claimed that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had not paid income taxes for 10 years — based on a rumor that an anonymous source supposedly had passed on to him. “His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said of the late George Romney, Mitt’s father.
Reid has demonstrated that he is both vulgar and illiberal, but there are no calls for him to vacate his post. That exemption was not extended to an earlier counterpart, Sen. Trent Lott (D-Miss.). Lott, in similarly illiberal and crass fashion, said at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party in 2002 that America would have avoided “all these problems over all these years” if Thurmond had been elected president in 1948. Lott was pressured by both the Republican Party and the media to step down, and he did so in shame.
There is a common theme here. Our self-appointed priests of fairness from time to time freely commit sins of intolerance. But don’t dare hold them to the same sort of accountability to which they hold other, less progressive Americans, whose similarly dumb remarks are not gaffes but rather windows into their prejudicial souls.
We must make allowances for the supposed Biblical conservatism of some black pastors in a way we cannot for the white, Christian CEO of Chick-fil-A. Farrakhan’s hatred cannot possibly earn him ostracism. We cannot extend the anger at evangelical Christians for their incorrect attitudes toward feminism and homosexuality to the Muslims who often share similar views.
Such selectivity is untenable. Classical Western liberalism was predicated on judging people as individuals — and on their merit and performance — rather than collectively as identity groups identified by gender, race and religion. Using illiberal means to advance supposedly liberal ends results not just in hypocrisy and cynicism, but in the current disaster of “Chicago values.”
Politically correct exemption is doomed, because who can sort out the conflicting agendas of various identity groups? Who certifies who’s really black, brown or white in a multiracial, intermarried America — Barack Obama or Elizabeth Warren? Who deserves how much compensation for which particular past oppression?
Can black pastors who oppose gay marriage be judged prejudicial? Is the Asian-American who opposes illegal immigration subject to the same charge of nativism leveled at so-called whites? Can Harry Reid be judged a bigot and McCarthyite if he claims he’s liberal?
A simple antidote to multiculturalism and political correctness is to evaluate all Americans on their actual behavior, regardless of their politics, race, gender or religion — in other words, a return to the ancient liberal idea that one common culture treats all sorts of different people absolutely the same.
Editor’s Note – Once again the Obama administration is circumventing Congress and the American people. The ‘king’ keeps adding to his power, and if not for leaks, we may never have known. The Executive Branch grows again…
WASHINGTON — A critical document from President Barack Obama’s free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, contradicting prior promises.
The leaked document has been posted on the website of Public Citizen, a long-time critic of the administration’s trade objectives. The new leak follows substantial controversy surrounding the secrecy of the talks, in which some members of Congress have complained they are not being given the same access to trade documents that corporate officials receive.
“The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of [trade] negotiations,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch in a written statement.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has been so incensed by the lack of access as to introduce legislation requiring further disclosure. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has gone so far as to leak a separate document from the talks on his website. Other Senators are considering writing a letter to Ron Kirk, the top trade negotiator under Obama, demanding more disclosure.
The newly leaked document is one of the most controversial of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. It addresses a broad sweep of regulations governing international investment and reveals the Obama administration’s advocacy for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws.
Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings.
“We will not negotiate bilateral trade agreements that stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors; require the privatization of our vital public services; or prevent developing country governments from adopting humanitarian licensing policies to improve access to life-saving medications,” reads the campaign document.
Yet nearly all of those vows are violated by the leaked Trans-Pacific document. The one that is not contravened in the present document — regarding access to life-saving medication — is in conflict with a previously leaked document on intellectual property (IP) standards.
“Bush was better than Obama on this,” said Judit Rius, U.S. manager of Doctors Without Borders Access to Medicines Campaign, referring to the medication rules. “It’s pathetic, but it is what it is. The world’s upside-down.”
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative insists that while broad standards require many medical patents and IP rules that would increase the price of medications, the U.S. intends to work with countries involved in the Trans-Pacific talks to ensure that the agreement does not restrict access to life-saving drugs.
USTR was not immediately available to comment on the newly leaked investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific deal, and has previously stated that it cannot comment on the terms of an allegedly leaked document.
That statement is belied somewhat by recent American efforts in other international negotiations to establish controversial medical patents that grant companies long-term monopolies on life-saving medications. Those monopolies increase drug prices, which impede access to medications, particularly in developing nations. The World Health Organization and dozens of nonprofit public health groups have objected to the standards sought by the Obama administration. Two United Nations groups recently urged global governments not to agree to trade terms currently being advocated by the Obama administration, on the grounds that such rules would hurt public health.
Such foreign investment standards have also come under fire at home, from both conservative sovereignty purists and progressive activists for the potential to hamper domestic priorities implemented by democratically elected leaders. The North American Free Trade Agreement, passed by Congress in 1993, and a host of subsequent trade pacts granted corporations new powers that had previously been reserved for sovereign nations and that have allowed companies to sue nations directly over issues.
While the current trade deal could pose a challenge to American sovereignty, large corporations headquartered in the U.S. could potentially benefit from it by using the same terms to oppose the laws of foreign governments. If one of the eight Pacific nations involved in the talks passes a new rule to which an American firm objects, that U.S. company could take the country to court directly in international tribunals.
Public Citizen challenged the independence of these international tribunals, noting that “The tribunals would be staffed by private sector lawyers that rotate between acting as ‘judges’ and as advocates for the investors suing the governments,” according to the text of the agreement.
In early June, a tribunal at the World Bank agreed to hear a case involving similar foreign investment standards, in which El Salvador banned cyanide-based gold mining on the basis of objections from the Catholic Church and environmental activists. If the World Bank rules against El Salvador, it could overturn the nation’s domestic laws at the behest of a foreign corporation.
Speaking to the environmental concerns raised by the leaked document, Margrete Strand Rangnes, Labor and Trade Director for the Sierra Club, an environmental group said, “Our worst fears about the investment chapter have been confirmed by this leaked text … This investment chapter would severely undermine attempts to strengthen environmental law and policy.”
Basic public health and land-use rules would be subject to challenge before an international tribunal, as would bank regulations at capital levels that might be used to stymie bank runs or financial crises. The IMF has advocated the use of such capital controls, which would be prohibited under the current version of the leaked trade pact. Although several countries have proposed exceptions that would allow them to regulate speculative financial bets, the U.S. has resisted those proposals, according to Public Citizen.
Trans-Pacific negotiations have been taking place throughout the Obama presidency. The deal is strongly supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the top lobbying group for American corporations. Obama’s Republican opponent in the 2012 presidential elections, Mitt Romney, has urged the U.S. to finalize the deal as soon as possible.
This post has been updated to include comment from the Sierra Club.
Editor’s Note – Once again, a campaign maneuver is blowing up in the face of the Obama 2012 Campaign. The “war on women”, the “war on student loans”, and now the “Gutsy-Call” Ad, to name but a few. Politicizing everything…a must when you have a negative record that eclipses all former Presidents.
When your sole, positive accomplishment in office is achieving what America had been working on, since long before you made the “gutsy call”, we can understand it becoming a campaign slogan.
Do we condone it? Hell NO! And neither do the people who actually performed the act so well, and dutifully.
Why do we not hear more about the man who made the real “Gutsy Call”, Adm. McRaven? Pay special attention in the article below about the amount of time elapsed from when intelligence was found on his location, and the actual event. (High-lighted below)
It is a small person with a giant ego, a narcissist, that does such things. Then to watch Hollywood elites paraded into the situation room, along with television media on the first anniversary of the most famous assassination is unconscionable.
Then there was yesterday’s speech with the Japan’s Prime Minister where Obama answered questions about the campaign usage of the anniversary of bin Laden’s death.
Completely off topic, and in our opinion, a poor way to treat the visit of a fellow national leader, Obama said:
“I hardly think that you’ve seen any excessive celebration taking place here,” Obama said at a joint White House press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, pushing back at the idea he’s overplayed the marking of the event. “I think that the American people, rightly, remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 citizens.”
Obama continued with a Romney jab: “I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. That’s been at least my practice,” he said. “I said that I would go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did. if there are others who said one thing and now suggest they would do something else, I’d go ahead and let them explain.” (Read the rest here.)
The presidential campaigns are abuzz over a new campaign strategy by President Obama, who is playing up his decisiveness in the military operation that killed Osama bin Laden — and suggesting that his Republican opponent Mitt Romney wouldn’t have done the same. That’s the theme rolled out recently by campaign pit bull (and Vice President) Joe Biden, and it’s the topic of a new Obama ad that blogpreneur Arianna Huffington thinks is “despicable.” (Read the rest here.)
SEALs slam Obama for using them as ‘ammunition’ in bid to take credit for bin Laden killing during election campaign
Serving and former US Navy SEALs have slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as ‘ammunition’ for his re-election campaign.
The SEALs spoke out to MailOnline after the Obama campaign released an ad entitled ‘One Chance’.
In it President Bill Clinton is featured saying that Mr Obama took ‘the harder and the more honourable path’ in ordering that bin Laden be killed. The words ‘Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?’ are then displayed.
Besides the ad, the White House is marking the first anniversary of the SEAL Team Six raid that killed bin Laden inside his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan with a series of briefings and an NBC interview in the Situation Room designed to highlight the ‘gutsy call’ made by the President.
Mr Obama used a news conference today to trumpet his personal role and imply that his Republican opponent Mr Romney, who in 2008 expressed reservations about the wisdom of sending troops into Pakistan, would have let bin Laden live.
‘I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did,’ Mr Obama said. ‘If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it.’
Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call.
‘I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice – it was a broader team effort.’
Mr Zinke, who is now a Republican state senator in Montana, added that MR Obama was exploiting bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid. ‘The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable.’
Mr Obama has faced criticism even from allies about his decision to make a campaign ad about the bin Laden raid. Arianna Huffington, an outspoken liberal who runs the left-leaning Huffington Post website, roundly condemned it.
She told CBS: ‘We should celebrate the fact that they did such a great job. It’s one thing to have an NBC special from the Situation Room… all that to me is perfectly legitimate, but to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.’
Campaigning in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mr Romney responded to a shouted question by a reporter by saying: ‘Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.’
A serving SEAL Team member said: ‘Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart.
‘But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.’
Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: ‘The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it.
‘But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot.
‘In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.’
Senior military figures have said that Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL who was then head of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the decision to take bin Laden out. Tactical decisions were delegated even further down the chain of command.
Mr Kyle added: ‘He’s trying to say that Romney wouldn’t have made the same call? Anyone who is patriotic to this country would have made that exact call, Democrat or Republican. Obama is taking more credit than he is due but it’s going to get him some pretty good mileage.’
A former intelligence official who was serving in the US government when bin Laden was killed said that the Obama administration knew about the al-Qaeda leader’s whereabouts in October 2010 but delayed taking action and risked letting him escape.
‘In the end, Obama was forced to make a decision and do it. He knew that if he didn’t do it the political risks in not taking action were huge. Mitt Romney would have made the call but he would have made it earlier – as would George W. Bush.’
Brandon Webb, a former SEAL who spent 13 years on active duty and served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: ‘Bush should get partial credit for putting the system in place.
‘Obama inherited a very robust package with regards to special ops and the intelligence community. But Obama deserves credit because he got bin Laden – you can’t take that away from him.
‘My friends that work in Special Operations Command (SOCOM) that have been on video teleconferences with Obama on these kill or capture situations say that Obama has no issue whatsoever with making decisions and typically it’s kill. He’s hitting the kill button every time. I have a lot of respect for him for that.’
But he said that many SEALs were dismayed about the amount of publicity the Obama administration had generated about SEAL Team Six, the very existence of which is highly classified.
‘The majority of the SEALs I know are really proud of the operation but it does become “OK, enough is enough – we’re ready to get back to work and step out of the limelight.” They don’t want to be continuously paraded around a global audience like a show dog.
‘Obama has a very good relationship with the Special Operations community at large, especially the SEALs, and it’s nice to see. We had the same relationship with George W. Bush when he was president.’
It was ‘stretching a little much’ for Mr Obama to suggest only he would have made the decision. ‘I personally I don’t think Romney would have any problem making tough decisions. He got a very accomplished record of making decision as a business professional.
‘He may not have charisma but he clearly has leadership skills. I don’t think he’d have any problem taking that decision.’
Clint Bruce, who gave up the chance of an NFL career to serve as a SEAL officer before retiring as a lieutenant after nine years, said: ‘We were extremely surprised and discouraged by the publicity because it compromises the ability of those guys to operate.
‘It’s a waste of time to speculate about who would and wouldn’t have made that decision. It was a symphony of opportunity and intelligence that allowed this administration to give the green light. We want to acknowledge that they made that decision.
‘Politicians should let the public know where they stand on national security but not in the play-by-play, detailed way that has been done recently. The intricacies of national security should not become part of stump speeches.’
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