Monday, December 31, 2012

Reckless Abandonment But Obama Builds Constitutents!

Feb 18, you have the unique opportunity of having dinner with John Fund, one of our nation's most incisive observers of the current political scene. More details to follow regarding the SIRC annual President's Day Dinner.

I urge you to mark your calendar.

E mail from a friend: 
Dear God,
My prayer for 2013 is for a fat bank account and a thin body.
Please try not to mix them up like you did last year.
Obama likely to win Fiscal Cliff debate and thus be able to drive another nail into the nation's fiscal coffin.

Money obtained  from an interim agreement will be used for more spending not deficit reduction. (See 1 below.)

At some point within the next year or so Obama's spending train will run out of steam and the issue of spending beyond a sustainable level will have to be faced.

It is only a matter of time before the market responds to economic fundamentals and less to politics because what drives stocks is economics, ie. earnings etc and politics is more theater. Many years ago I noted that if you wanted to understand Wall Street you had to pass through D.C and that is still true because government has grown from a benign force to an enormous bully but even government must eventually yield to economics. Government can delay the inevitable through reckless printing of money but when the dollar is destroyed interest rates rise the dodge game will end.

It is obvious to me Obama really has no interest in fiscal responsibility and simply wants to spend money, grow government and build dependent constituents. His management style is dangerous but against Republicans, who are in disarray, he can be effective, has been and will continue to be.

As long as the press and media continue to convince the unwashed Republicans control the economy, Obama can avoid blame and perpetuate his gamesmanship.

Painful, contentious  and unpleasant days lie ahead.
A General who was awarded the Medal of Honor states his point of view. (See 2 below.)
Who is Kerry? Does it matter?  (See 3 below.)
Happiest, Healthiest New Years to you and yours. !

1)Graham: ‘Hats Off to the President, He Won’

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that chances for a small "fiscal Cliff" deal in the next 48 hours were "exceedingly good" and that President Barack Obama had won.

"I think people don't want to go over the cliff if we can avoid it," Graham said on Fox News Sunday.

But Graham stressed that Republicans must hold firm on the debt ceiling.

"This deal won't affect the debt situation, it will be a political victory for the president and I hope we'll have the courage of our convictions when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling to fight for what we believe as Republicans, but hats off to the president, he won," Graham said. “He stood his ground. He’s going to get tax-rate increases.”

Graham’s comments represent a blunt assessment of the political environment on Capitol Hill now less than 48 hours before massive spending cuts and tax increases on most Americans go into effect on Jan. 1.

He also said that he’ll likely vote for a deal to avoid the cliff “even if I won’t like it,” stressing that GOP support for a compromise measure in the Senate will make it far easier for House Speaker John A. Boehner to rally his troops, something he was unable to do when promoting his “Plan B” solution to the fiscal cliff crisis.

As for specifics, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said she and other Democrats would be willing to compromise on the income limit for tax increases. Most Democrats, along with Obama, have in the past drawn the line at $250,000, but Feinstein and others — including the president — have bent on that figure in an effort to attract Republican support.

“What makes this government work is compromise. I could certainly live with it,” she said, also appearing on “Fox News Sunday.

Exclusive: Gen. Patrick Brady explains why president abandoned Americans in Benghazi
By Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady , U.S. Army (ret.)

Now I understand! For years, many veterans and active military have been alarmed about the idiocy of the changes in battlefield aeromedical evacuation known as ‘Dustoff’. For reasons having nothing to do with patient care, Dustoff has been removed from the control of the professionals, the medics, and put under the control of amateurs, aviation staff officers, or ASOs. This is the first such change since the Civil War.

I document the unparalleled excellence of Dustoff, and the effects of the changes, in my book, “Dead Men Flying.”; Needless to say, it was the most outstanding battlefield operating system of that war – some one million souls saved and unprecedented survival rates. No warrior of Vietnam is more revered than the Dustoff crews.

In the words of Gen. Creighton Abrams, former U.S. Army chief of staff and former supreme commander in Vietnam: “A special word about the Dustoffs … Courage above and beyond the call of duty was sort of routine to them. It was a daily thing, part of the way they lived. That’s the great part, and it meant so much to every last man who served there. Whether he ever got hurt or not, he knew Dustoff was there. It was a great thing for our people.”;

Fast forward to current battlefields. We hear horror stories about patients waiting and dying because Dustoff didn’t launch or came too late. The launch standard in my unit in Vietnam was two minutes; today it s 15 minutes! Can anyone imagine a fire truck taking 15 minutes to get under way? I could go on and on, but one has to ask, why? Why the changes to an excellent, proven system? The answer is the Obama-Panetta Doctrine. In response to the horrible abandonment of dying Americans in Benghazi , Defense Secretary Panetta said: “(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.”;

On its face, that is a remarkable, indeed incomprehensible, change from America ’s doctrine in past wars. By that standard, there would have been no Normandy or Inchon . In fact, I can’t think of a war we fought in which we didn't go into harm’s way without real-time information or to save lives – something the president refused to do in Benghazi. Dustoff would never launch in Vietnam under that doctrine.

To fully understand the doctrinal change, one has to understand President Obama. He has a dearth of understanding of our military and military matters. We hear he is uncomfortable in the presence of ranking military and seldom meets with them. He is not a person who can make decisions, and he takes an extraordinary amount of time to do so, leading to such unseemly labels for a commander in chief as “Ditherer-in-Chief.”;

President Obama may have set records for voting “present” on important issues. He cowers from crisis decisions. He is a politician who thinks only in terms of votes, and his own image. Although I was a psychology major back in the day (I’d love to hear a professional analyze risk and Obama), I won’t try to define his insides, but I believe he is risk-averse – fearful of risk – and that is the basis of the Obama-Panetta doctrine.

This aversion for risk dominates Dustoff rescue operations where, in addition to an unconscionable reaction time, risk assessment is the primary consideration for mission launch – not patient care. In two years flying Dustoff inVietnam , I never heard that term, nor did any Dust pilot I know. The ASOs, remote from the battle, have developed time-consuming algorithms to analyze risk while the patient bleeds, something that’s impossible to do by anyone other than the pilot and the ground forces at the scene.

Obama’s aversion to risk contributed to the massacre of Americans by terrorists in Benghazi . We hear that the president did not even convene the Counter-terrorism Security Group while the Benghazi terrorist massacre was visually and verbally available in real time. That is like ignoring FEMA during Hurricane Sandy. But once you bring in a group labeled anti-terrorist, you have to acknowledge terror exists, something the president is loath to do.

My veteran friends are horrified by the Obama-Panetta doctrine. At least 359 retired flag officers supported Mitt Romney – only five that I know of supported Obama. Some 150 former prisoners of war also supported Romney; I know of none who supported Obama.

America needs to listen to these veterans. They understand leadership. They know how to deal with risk in war. They would not want this man with them in combat or crisis. They never left a needy comrade behind. Obama did.

Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, retired from the U.S. Army, is a recipient of
the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.
3)Kerry's 'realism' slips into callousness
By Jeff Jacoby

When it comes to foreign policy, John F. Kerry is no John F. Kennedy.

In his 1961 inaugural address, the 35th president of the United States declared that Americans would "pay any price, bear any burden" in their ongoing defense of liberty and human rights "at home and around the world." Like other presidents before and since � Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush � JFK believed that it was America's destiny to advance freedom and democratic self-government, and oppose the world's tyrants. This is the "idealist" approach to US foreign policy.
Kerry sees America's role differently. For nearly half a century, the man poised to become the 68th secretary of state has generally frowned on the belief that American muscle should be flexed in order to promote liberal democracy. As early as 1966, Kerry wanted America to lower its profile on the international stage.
"What was an excess of isolationism has become an excess of interventionism," he said in a speech at his Yale graduation. It was one thing to defeat Nazi Germany, but that didn't mean America had to try to win the Cold War too. "The United States must, I think, bring itself to understand that the policy of intervention that was right for Western Europe does not and cannot find the same application to the rest of the world."
There have been exceptions. Kerry originally supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and last year backed a no-fly zone in Libya to prevent Moammar Qaddafi from slaughtering the civilians rising against him.
But on the whole, Kerry prizes order and stability over liberty and human rights. He prefers to accommodate and engage America's foes than to deem them enemies who must be defeated. He thought the horrors of 9/11 justified not a military war on terror, but only better "intelligence gathering, law enforcement, public diplomacy." During his run for the White House in 2004, Kerry told The Washington Post that "as president he would play down the promotion of democracy" -- not because he denied the lack of freedom in places like Pakistan, China, and Russia, but because other issues "trumped human rights concerns in those nations."
Again and again, Kerry has shown a remarkable indulgence toward the world's thugs and totalitarians. Within months of becoming a senator in 1985, he flew to Nicaragua in a show of support for Marxist strongman Daniel Ortega, a Soviet/Cuban ally; he returned to Washington talking up the Sandinistas' "good faith." More recently Kerry earned a reputation as Bashar al-Assad's best friend in Congress. Against all evidence, Kerry described himself as "very, very encouraged" by the Syrian dictator's openness to reform; he repeatedly flew to Damascus to visit Assad, describing him afterward as "my dear friend" and assuring audiences that engagement was working: "Syria will move; Syria will change as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States." By the time Kerry finally changed his tune, thousands of Syrian protesters were dead or behind bars.
Kerry's foreign policy views � like those of President Obama � are typical of the so-called "realist" school, which regards considerations of human rights or democracy as a sentimental distraction from the ruthless business of power-balancing and national self-interest. President Nixon and the first President Bush were firmly in the "realist" camp, too. "I have enormous sympathy for the foreign policy of George H.W. Bush," Obama said as a candidate in 2008. And indeed, his reluctance to speak out when pro-democracy protesters were being bloodied in the streets of Iran in 2009 was strikingly reminiscent of Bush the elder's refusal to protest China's savage crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square 20 years earlier.
Both realism and idealism have a role to play in US statecraft, but the problem with the "realist" approach is that it too easily slips into callousness. Autocratic regimes may brush off mass murder or violent repression as other countries' "internal affairs," but such coldness is unworthy of the United States.
"I am very high on John Kerry," says Brent Scowcroft, who was national security advisor to Bush 41 and remains a prominent "realist" exponent. "He is not beset by illusions or campaigns on behalf of abstract principles. His instincts are solid."
If only they were. As Kerry's prolonged willingness to defend a monster like Assad suggests, however, his "realist" instincts are all too fallible. Of course idealists make mistakes too. But the next secretary of state might bear in mind what that other JFK understood: American foreign policy is most truly realistic when it is rooted in the ideals that have made America such a beacon.

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