Why Is the Left Defending the Swap of 5 Terrorists for a Deserter?

Posted on June 4th, 2014

WAIMH Red ArrowBy Rick Moran

I am shaking my head in wonder this morning at the manner in which some on the left seem determined to defend the administration’s swap of 5 Gitmo terrorists – who shortly will be back killing Americans – for an admitted America hater and deserter.

In order to carry water for President Obama, the left has had to ignore the obvious and raise strawmen regarding Bergdahl’s status, while positing fanciful theories about why the terrorists would have been freed anyway.

First, Michael Tomasky writing in the Daily Beast:

Buckle up: The right is going to try to turn the Taliban prisoner swap for ‘deserter’ Bowe Bergdahl into a Willie Horton moment for the president—and they’ll ride it to January 2017.

Why the scare quotes around the word “deserter”? The evidence is overwhelming that Sgt. Bergdahl went over the wall. Whether he defected or not is in question. Whether he collaborated with the enemy is also unknown at this point. But there is evidence galore – from Bergdahl himself – that he left his post without authorization.

Tomasky then sets up the strawman argument that we really shouldn’t pay attention to criticism of the deal because the right is only using the matter to score political points against Obama:

So let’s imagine that on Saturday night, the news had emerged not that Bowe Bergdahl was being freed but that he’d been murdered by his Taliban captors. What do you suppose we’d be hearing from Republican legislators? You know exactly what: Barack Obama is the weakest president ever, this is unconscionable. Which, of course, is exactly what we’re hearing from them now that the U.S. Army sergeant, held by the Taliban since 2009, has been freed. And it’s going to get worse. I’m even tempted to say forget Benghazi—Bergdahl may well end up being the flimsy excuse for the impeachment hearings they’ve been dreaming of before all this is over.

The Republicans’ audacity here is a bit beyond the usual. Let’s face it: There is no question that if President George W. Bush or a President McCain or President Romney had secured Bergdahl’s release in exchange for five Taliban prisoners at Gitmo, Republicans would be defending the move all the way. That business about notifying Congress? They’d have a dozen excuses for it. We got our prisoner of war home, they’d all be saying. That’s what matters.

This is actually amusing. The question isn’t what the reaction on the right would have been if a Republican president had been this stupid. The question is whether McCain, Romney, or Bush would have even entertained the notion of a 5 terrorist for one deserter swap in the first place. The military is outraged over the swap – something a GOP Commander in Chief would have known almost instinctively.

And no, the reaction among many Republicans – far more than the number of Democrats today who are speaking against the deal – would have been equally harsh. Tomasky doesn’t know jack about conservatives if he thinks a sizable number of them would have let a President Romney skate on this deal.

Then there’s the canard that the 5 terrorists were going to be released anyway so we might as well have gotten something for them.

Think Progress:

When wars end, prisoners taken custody must be released. These five Guantanamo detainees were almost all members of the Taliban, according to the biographies of the five detainees that the Afghan Analysts Network compiled in 2012. None were facing charges in either military or civilian courts for their actions. It remains an open question whether the end of U.S. involvement in the armed conflict in Afghanistan requires that all Guantanamo detainees must be released. But there is no doubt that Taliban detainees captured in Afghanistan must be released because the armed conflict against the Taliban will be over.

Sgt. Bergdahl was a U.S. soldier captured in an active zone of combat. The circumstances of his capture make him a Prisoner of War, not a hostage as some have erroneously claimed. In traditional conflicts, both sides would release their prisoners at the conclusion of hostilities. This is not a traditional conflict, however, and the Obama administration rightly had no expectation that Sgt. Bergdahl would have been released when U.S. forces redeployed out of Afghanistan. As that date neared, any leverage the United States possessed would have been severely undermined.

Conservative critics, however, are stuck fighting the political fights of the last decade and refuse to appreciate the cunning maneuvers that secured the release of the lone American soldier taken prisoner in Afghanistan at little risk to the security of the United States.

Cunning? Yes, I’m sure the administration negotiators are legends in their own minds.

And if the war was going to end soon anyway and all those Taliban released, why negotiate at all? The fact is, the administration has trumped up some health issues for Sgt. Bergdahl to defend the indefensible; their refusal to inform Congress as required by law that the release of five terrorists from Guantanamo was being effected. The supposed bad health of Bergdahl is also being cited as a reason for the haste in concluding the negotiations. Seemingly desperate to remove Bergdahl from the clutches of the Taliban because his life was in imminent danger, the exchange of 5 dangerous terrorists who are being celebrated in Pakistan as heroes and where Taliban spokesman has said they will rejoin the battle soon., was justified by “exigent” circumstances.

Baloney. As is the claim by Susan Rice that Bergdahl served with ” honor and distinction.” Or that his service was “honorable,” as Jay Carney claims. Freeing an American from thte clutches of terrorists is fine. We should support the notion that Bergdahl has to come home, deserter or not. But is this really the best deal we could have gotten? Really?

Finally, the next president of the United States – as declared by the media – Hillary Clinton, weighs in:

“This young man, whatever the circumstances, was an American citizen — is an American citizen — was serving in our military,” Clinton said in response to a question about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, whose release was announced Saturday.

The idea that you really care for your own citizens and particularly those in uniform, I think is a very noble one.”

It certainly is, Hillary. Another noble idea is that the Commander in Chief is responsible for all US soldiers and that releasing these 5 cold blooded killers puts other American military personnel in danger. It is also noble that at least 6 soldiers died trying to find and rescue someone who may or may not have wanted to be rescued at the time. But if you read the left’s straw man arguments, excuses, and attacks on the right, you note that the six dead soldiers are mentioned in passing – or not at all.

Finally, I include this passage from Tomasky’s screed only because it demonstrates an obliviousness to the facts that only someone besotted with partisanship would write:

He wandered away from his unit. A Fox News commentator called him a “deserter.” He is officially in good standing in the Army and has even received the promotions due him during his time in captivity, but some consider him a deserter and traitor. Get ready to start hearing more of that.

“He wandered away from his unit” but he may not be a deserter? What does Tomasky think he was at the point he wandered away? A tourist?

Tomasky is right about one thing. He and his friends on the left are going to be hearing a lot more about this apparently illegal prisoner exchange. And the American people will make their own judgment about it.    (my emphasis)

By Rick Moran for American Thinker

By permission American Thinker



President Obama’s Rather Alarming Productive Week

Posted on June 3rd, 2014

White House blows CIA cover by John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune

By Jeannie DeAngelis

In the midst of America grappling with the reality that veterans are safer on the battlefield than on a VA hospital waiting list, on Memorial Day, Barack Obama, lover of all things military, flew to Kabul to surprise our U.S. servicemen and women.

After Obama arrived at the troop rally at Bagram air base, Afghani President Hamid Karzai, who in 2008 pinned a medal on George W. Bush’s chest at the presidential palace in Kabul, sent word that because it was such short notice he would not be meeting with the U.S. president.

Looking spiffy in a brown bomber jacket festooned with American flags, the guy who effectively barred veterans from entering the WWII Memorial during the sequester promised the troops that their well-being was of the utmost concern:  “We’re going to stay strong by taking care of our wounded warriors and our veterans. Because helping our wounded warriors and veterans heal isn’t just a promise, it’s a sacred obligation.”

To announce the impromptu drop-in, a press aide with the Obama administration — with exactly the level of competence you would expect — somehow forgot to remove the name of the top CIA operative in Afghanistan from the list of attendees provided to the media, putting the station chief’s life at risk.

So while Obama dazzled our servicemen and women with his awesomeness, his administration simultaneously ‘damaged intelligence operations’ and identified the person working undercover to thwart the Taliban’s plans to resume training al Qaeda.

A few days later Obama shared his vision to withdraw all 9,800 troops from Afghanistan and get those guys and gals home and onto a VA waiting list by the end of 2014, as well as by 2016 drawing down every service member remaining in the soon-to-be Taliban-repossessed country.

And if that weren’t enough action for one week, without notifying Congress and eager to get a soldier with a shady past released, the Obama administration suddenly thought it was a great time to make a ‘share the wealth’ exchange. America got back  U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, rumored to have spent five years teaching the Taliban bomb-making techniques and infantry tactics, and the Taliban got back five senior leaders from Guantanamo Bay.

Meanwhile, Iranian/American pastor Saeed Abedini sits in an Iranian prison where he’s being intermittently beaten for wanting to establish a Christian orphanage and Marine Reservist Andrew Tahmooressi remains shackled to a bed in Mexico after making a wrong turn into Tijuana with lawful guns in his truck.

Clearly, in Barack Obama’s “sacred obligation” economy, when it comes to exchanging prisoners, the value of Bowe Bergdahl outweighs the value of two men falsely imprisoned, one a Christian pastor, father, and husband, the other a dedicated veteran of two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama has not yet called Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to appeal for Tahmooressi’s release. That’s likely because the president has been so focused on freeing Taliban terrorists and bringing home a purported Taliban sympathizer that he just can’t spare the time.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-CA) and ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee James M. Inhofe (R-OK) issued a joint statement pointing out that because of the 5-for-1 trade-off, “Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk.”

Oh well!

Then, to add still more intrigue to the week of exciting events, Robert Bergdahl, Bowe’s dad, who enjoys passing along pro-Taliban anti-American “invader” tweets for Taliban spokesperson Abdulqahar Balkhi and whose Twitter feed is an odd mix of anti-American and anti-war sentiments, Bible verses, strange quotes, and hippie-dippy tree-hugging weirdness, took it upon himself to celebrate his son’s release by sending a Tweet to the spokesman for his son’s captors.

The Tweet read: “@ABalkhi I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, Ameen [sic].” The Tweet was quickly deleted, but not before being captured on the Twitchy feed.

Bergdahl the elder’s correspondence with the Taliban’s spokesperson certainly coincides with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s alleged sentiments prior to his ‘capture.’ According to emails quoted in Rolling Stone magazine, Bowe told his parents he was “ashamed to even be American,” and that he was disgusted with the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and with the Army.

And all this drama happened the very same week Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki stepped down and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney decided to pass the baton to a more energetic lackey.

So there goes Obama, breaking the law — again — by refusing to give Congress the required 30-day notice before rescuing the soldier son of a man who appears to be Taliban-sympathetic — a soldier son who said, “The horror that is America is disgusting” and dreamt of walking to Pakistan.

To wrap up this extremely productive week, Barack Obama managed to see to it that America-hating Bowe Bergdahl was exchanged for some of the most dangerous Taliban commanders in U.S. custody. Thanks to the president, the Gitmo Five are now free to make their way west, where they can board a Greyhound bus from Mexico to Arizona, illegally join the U.S. military, or even make history next September 11th.    (my emphasis)

By Jeannie DeAngelis for American Thinker

By permission American Thinker



The Bergdahl Backlash

Posted on June 3rd, 2014

USA PFC BoweBergdahl ACU By Ben Smith

In a surprise Rose Garden announcement, President Obama announced the exchange of five Taliban Guantanamo Bay prisoners in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, the only soldier captured during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Bergdahl had been held for five years by radical Islamists in Afghanistan. But while he’s on his way home, several questions have emerged surrounding his disappearance, the exchange, and the Bergdahl family.

As reports came in, several soldiers claiming to be in his platoon immediately spoke out about what happened the night Bergdahl went missing. As Jake Tapper reported in an extensive piece, many of them criticized Bergdahl and claimed he was not captured, but that he deserted and went looking for the Taliban. In addition several people were killed in the effort to find Bergdahl. Being the only missing solider, the Taliban and other extremists knew that resources were being diverted looking for him, leaving other bases less secure. This led to a rise in attacks.

In addition, the exchange itself is flat-out illegal. According to federal statute as stated in the New York Times:

There was a potential legal obstacle: Congress has imposed statutory restrictions on the transfer of detainees from Guantánamo Bay. The statutes say the secretary of defense must determine that a transfer is in the interest of national security, that steps have been taken to substantially mitigate a future threat by a released detainee, and that the secretary notify Congress 30 days before any transfer of his determination.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in the article, goes on to claim that in the interest of national security, the administration did not notify Congress because it was deemed that Bergdahl’s health was at risk, despite reports indicating he was otherwise drinking tea and playing badminton with his handlers.

Furthermore, the five prisoners exchanged for Bergdahl are high-ranking Taliban members; one of them was “deputy chief intelligence officer” for the Taliban. The most embarrassing legal point of this exchange is the weak one-year timeout in Qatar, where the prisoners have been mandated to stay. The deal says nothing about preventing the released prisoners from returning to the frontlines after that year.

Adding to an already bizarre disappearance and exchange are the actions of Bergdahl’s father, Bob Bergdahl, during his son’s captivity. In now a famously deleted tweet, Bob Bergdahl pushed to free detainees from Gitmo. After a bizarre press conference in which he compared Idaho to Afghanistan, Bergdahl continued to push for the release of more dangerous detainees.

With so much controversy surrounding the disappearance, the hasty exchange, and the odd behavior on Bob Bergdahl’s Twitter account, the White House and the Bergdahls have many questions left unanswered. The Obama Doctrine, as noted by the Daily Caller, is currently “don’t do stupid sh*t.” Well, without the proper vetting of the situation, it looks like the administration once again stepped in it.     (my emphasis)

By Ben Smith for The American Spectator

By permission The American Spectator



The High Price of Bowe Bergdahl’s Freedom

Posted on June 2nd, 2014

WAIMH Red ArrowBy Thomas Lifson

President Obama got a feel-good moment from the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, dominating the weekend news with a positive story:

“On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal,” President Obama said in a statement. The president rightly noted: “Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.”

But America paid a very high price indeed for the release of Bergdahl. While all Americans must share the joy of his liberation, the question must be asked: did President Obama’s need for a good news story, an achievement of some sort, outweigh the larger security interests of the United States?

The five Taliban commanders given their freedom from Gitmo are the worst of the worst. Eli Lake writes in the Daily Beast:

The five Guantanamo detainees released by the Obama administration in exchange for America’s last prisoner of war in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, are bad guys. They are top Taliban commanders the group has tried to free for more than a decade.

According to a 2008 Pentagon dossier on Guantanamo Bay inmates, all five men released were considered to be a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated. The exchange shows that the Obama administration was willing to pay a steep price, indeed, for Bergdahl’s freedom. The administration says they will be transferred to Qatar, which played a key role in the negotiations. [emphasis added]

Thomas Joscelyn in The Weekly Standard amplifies this concern:

There are good reasons why the Taliban has long wanted the five freed from Gitmo. All five are among the Taliban’s top commanders in U.S. custody and are still revered in jihadist circles. 

Two of the five have been wanted by the UN for war crimes. And because of their prowess, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) deemed all five of them “high” risks to the U.S. and its allies.

But there are other, possibly much worse dimensions to this exchange, than just creating further danger, and strengthening the radical elements in the Taliban. We have given up other strategic goals. Joscelyn again:

The Obama administration wants to convince the Taliban to abandon its longstanding alliance with al Qaeda. But these men contributed to the formation of that relationship in the first place. All five had close ties to al Qaeda well before the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, it is difficult to see how their freedom would help the Obama administration achieve one of its principal goals for the hoped-for talks.

My reading of the deal is that Obama’s inner council, Valerie Jarrett, Michelle, and one or two others, perhaps, decided that he needed to look like a winner, after weeks of appearing incompetent. There is nothing like a returned “hero” (see Rick Moran’s blog on who Sgt. Bergdahl really is) to make the nation feel good about what their leader has accomplished. This would not be the first time that long term consequences paid by others mattered less to Obama than short term poltiical gains.     (my emphasis)

By Thomas Lifson for American Thinker

By permission American Thinker



Obama’s West Point Speech Signals a Presidency in Deep Trouble

Posted on May 30th, 2014

Obama’s view by Gary McCoy, Cagle Cartoons

By Thomas Lifson

Wednesday’s speech to the graduating class of West Point by President Obama may be remembered as the signal that his presidency has entered a crisis of confidence, much as Jimmy Carter’s infamous “malaise” speech has gone down in history  as marking a failed presidency.  Not only was the content of the speech delusional (calling Russia “isolated” in the wake of a massive and historic gas deal with China that marks a major rapprochement between two powers hostile to the United States; claiming Ukraine as an example of the success of his coalition strategy), the delivery was wooden, as if Obama were wishing he were on a golf course or basketball court, and felt a hostile vibe. And the visible reception was embarrassingly icy, with only a few people applauding at key lines, and a standing ovation in which the vast majority remained seated and unmoved, suggesting the commander in chief is held in contempt by the next generation of military leadership.

Writing at Powerline, Scott Johnson titled his quick reaction to the speech, “More mush from the wimp.” This is an allusion to an infamous Boston Globe op-ed critical of a Jimmy Carter speech written by the late Globe op-ed page editor Kirk Scharfenberg. As a joke among the newsroom staff, Scharfenberg wrote “More mush form the wimp” on the piece, which was supposed to bear the headline “All must share the burden.” But his sarcastic barb was printed in 161,000 copies of the paper before being corrected.

The comparison is apt. Carter was a disaster who has been exceeded by Obama. As Carter fostered the rise of Iran’s mullahs and emboldened the Soviets, Obama has allowed Al Qaeda to spread and grow, all the while claiming it was “on the run.” As Carter’s economic policies gave rise to the neologism “stagflation,” Obama has managed to shrink the work force, hide inflation by keeping food and gasoline costs of the CPI, and make the title “recovery” a joke, as the nation remains mired in stagnation throughout his presidency.

The big difference is that Obama has enjoyed the enthusiastic support of most of the media, and their willing complicity in papering over his scandals and failures. But as of recent days, I think the limit has been reached, and his media supporters demoralized to the point of ineffectiveness.

There was something visually striking about his speech at West Point. For the first time I can remember, his teleprompter screens were visible in a good portion of the media coverage. And because of the lighting, they stood out very clearly as dark shapes. He looked absolutely pathetic, going back and forth between the two of them, in his trademark tennis match style of delivering a speech. When the prompters are invisible, it is an annoying tic, but justifiable on the presumption that he is addressing the entire audience. But when the screens are visible to viewers, the fakery leaps out, making him look like some sort of puppet whose master knows only a few moves.

Fox News showed the throughout his speech.

Obama Deliverying Address to Cadets at West Point


But as this brief clip below from Reuters, showing the cool reception he received, demonstrates, the awful truth was visible elsewhere. Needless to say, the Official White House version was a tight shot, keeping the prompters outside the field of vision.

While as an opponent of the president, I am glad that the truth of his incompetence is becoming more visible, as an American I am alarmed that we have two and half more years of him to survive. The villains of the world who run entire countries (and they are legion) see a man floundering and know how much time they have left to take advantage of our weakness. We are still paying the price for Carter’s incompetence. The ultimate toll of the Obama presidency could be far, far worse.    (my emphasis)

By Thomas Lifson for American Thinker

By permission American Thinker



The Fourth Branch of Government: Obama’s Reliance upon the Media for His Information

Posted on May 29th, 2014

Broken record Obama

By George Neumayr

Preferring to look ignorant rather than irresponsible, President Obama said last week that he only recently learned of scandals at the Department of Veteran Affairs through news reports. He spoke of the problems at the department as if they had blindsided him, despite the fact that as a candidate in 2008 he railed against the “the broken bureaucracy of the V.A.” and decried outrageous delays in treatment for veterans.

He didn’t need news reports to inform him of the depth of the department’s flaws; he could have reviewed his own campaign speeches. His long familiarity with the department’s problems gave his press conference last week an air of adding insult to injury. Somehow he was at once aware of the department’s deplorable condition and unaware of it.

Obama doesn’t mind appearing as the hapless spectator on the sidelines of his government if that saves him from the charge of dereliction of duty about a known problem. Yet the plight of veterans at the hands of indifferent bureaucrats clearly lost its urgency for him once the 2008 campaign ended and only now resumes urgency for him as an annoying political problem.

He said last week that he won’t “tolerate” mistreatment of veterans but he managed to tolerate it easily enough since he gave those speeches over five years ago. His aides claim he is “madder than hell” about the scandal, but at last week’s press conference he implied that his anger was provisional. He is still not sure if the “allegations” of mistreatment are true and needs to wait for more investigations in order to determine whether or not “accountability” is required.

Learning about problems in his own government through random news reports has become one of Obama’s common refrains. Last year he said that he learned of the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups through glancing at the newspaper and he made a similar claim about his knowledge of various Justice Department scandals. Historians, looking for a simple snapshot of his administration’s fecklessness, can cite the frequency of Obama’s admission.

Obama also learns of non-events through news reports, as evident in his administration’s reliance upon fragments of reporting from the foreign press to claim that the Benghazi terrorist attack was a demonstration over an Internet video that turned violent. Former Obama administration spokesman Tommy Vietor commented to Fox News, “What I’ve seen is, in a number of outlets, reporters talked to people on the scene that night… who said they were there because they were upset about this video.” Vietor suggested that “guys quoted in newspapers saying that’s why they were there” was the reason for the bogus storyline.

All of this contributes to a picture of an administration that is hopelessly superficial, dishonest, and incompetent. It also exposes Obama’s ideology as false: the federal government is clearly too big to know and too dysfunctional to control if he can only keep up to date on its failures through news accounts.

The admission, however, is typical of an administration that addresses problems not according to their intrinsic seriousness but according to the extent to which the media notices them. If CNN hadn’t covered the scandal at the V.A., all those internal government reports upon which the coverage drew would cease to matter to Obama.

Obama sees himself as the progressive trailblazer too busy making “history” to descend into the mundane details of his own government. Reforming the V.A. was too unglamorous a task for him, so he set it aside as he busied himself with matters he considered far more important, such as eliminating the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. He also had new health care bureaucracies to create for the American people, which he found far more exciting than fixing existing ones.

The V.A. scandal, it is said, foreshadows life under Obamacare. But Obamacare may manage to treat people even worse. If veterans can’t get decent coverage after their heroic service, how much less effort will be spent by the federal government on non-veterans? Rationing could be even more brutal for them. When that day comes, when the de facto death panels are in operation, a safely retired Obama can read about it all in news accounts.    (my emphasis)

By George Neumayr for The American Spectator

By permission The American Spectator



Scandal Exhaustion

Posted on May 27th, 2014

Not Even A Smidgen of Corruption

By Alan Caruba

Listening to President Obama respond on May 21 to the latest scandal regarding something about which he knew and did nothing—the mess at the Veterans Administration—was such a familiar event that I have reached a point of exhaustion trying to keep up with everything that has been so wrong about his six years in office. As he always does, he said was really angry about it.

Writing in the May 20 Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin said, “Forget ideology for a moment. Whether you are liberal or conservative, the Obama presidency’s parade of miscues is jaw-dropping.”

Stacked against the list of Obama scandals and failures, Rubin could only cite the Bush administration’s 2005 handling of Hurricane Katrina, the seventh most intense ever, and, as anyone familiar with that event will tell you, the failure of FEMA’s response was matched by the failures of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and the New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Bush had declared a national emergency two days before it hit the Gulf coast.

Rubin concluded that the Obama administration scandals reflect the most widespread failure of executive leadership since the Harding administration”, adding “The presidency is an executive job. We hire neophytes at our peril. When there is an atmosphere in which accountability is not stressed you get more scandals and fiascos.” 

Obama spent his entire first term blaming all such things on his predecessor, George W. Bush, until it became a joke.

One has to wonder about the effect of the endless succession of scandals and fiascos have had on Americans as individuals and the nation as a whole.

While it is easier to lay all the blame on Obama, the fact is that much of the blame is the result of a federal government that is so big no President could possibly know about the countless programs being undertaken within its departments and agencies, and all the Presidents dating back to Teddy Roosevelt’s progressive initiatives have played a role in growing the government.

It is, however, the President who selects the cabinet members responsible to manage the departments as well as those appointed to manage the various agencies. Kathleen Sebelius, the recently resigned former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, responsible for the implementation of Obamacare, comes to mind. She had solicited donations—against the law—from the companies HHS regulates to help her sign up uninsured Americans for Obamacare and signed off on the millions spent on HealthCare.gov and other expenses leading up to its start.

There are lists of the Obama scandals you can Google. One that continues to fester is the attack on September 11, 2012—the anniversary of 9/11—that killed an American ambassador and three security personnel in Benghazi, Libya. It has been and continues to be investigated, mostly because of the lies told by Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of “What difference at this point does it make?” fame. Clinton was asked what she had accomplished in her four years as Secretary and was unable to name anything.

Eric Holder, our Attorney General, continues in office despite having been held in contempt of Congress, professing that he knew nothing about “Fast and Furious”, the earliest scandal involving a gun-running scheme to Mexican drug cartels by the ATF presumably to track them, but they lost track and many were used in crimes including the killing of a Border Patrol agent.

Holder also told Congress that he was not associated with the “potential prosecution” of a journalist even though he had signed the affidavit that named Fox News reporter, James Rosen. as a potential criminal. Holder was also in charge when the Justice Department culled the phone records of Associated Press reporters to find out who they deemed was leaking information.

Keeping track of the solar power and other “renewable” and “Green” energy companies like Solyndra that received millions in grants and then rather swiftly went bankrupt became a fulltime effort and, of course, there was the “stimulus” that wasted billions without generating any “shovel ready jobs” qualifies as a fiasco.

In the midst of the recession that was triggered by the 2008 financial crisis various elements of the Obama administration continued to spend money in ways that suggested their indifference. In 2010 the General Services Administration held a $823,000 training conference in Las Vegas, complete with a clown and mind readers.

An Agriculture Department program to compensate black farmers who allegedly had been discriminated against by the agency turned into a gravy train that delivered several billion dollars to thousands of recipients, some of whom probably had not encountered discrimination.

The Veterans Affairs agency made news when it spent more than $6 million on two conferences in Orlando, Florida, and is back in the news for revelations about alleged falsified records concerning the waiting times veterans faced amidst assertions that many died while waiting for treatment surfaced. This was a problem of which the then-Senator Obama was already aware, but six years into his presidency it still existed despite his early promises to fix it.

Obama has been the biggest of Big Government Presidents since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, and Obamacare put the federal government in control of one sixth of the nation’s economy while putting the government in charge of the care Americans expect to receive. Obamacare will dwarf the problems associated with the Veterans agency.

Meanwhile, we have been living with a President who is so indifferent to working with Congress that he has gained fame for his use of executive orders such as the decision to not deport illegal immigrants. His aides have promised more executive orders.

All this over the course of the last six years has left Americans exhausted by the incompetence and wastefulness of an administration that now presides over the highest national debt in the history of the nation and the first ever downgrade of our credit rating.

It has also left them angry if they were conservatives and disillusioned if they were Obama supporters. The Veterans Administration scandal is likely a tipping point for the independent voters and even for longtime Democrats who will want a change.

It is increasingly likely that the November midterm elections give the Republican Party control over the Senate as well as the House and then to hope that it will begin to rein in the spending and save the nation from a financial collapse that will rival the one in 2008.     (my emphasis)

By Alan Caruba for Facts Not Fantasy

By permission Alan Caruba

Alan Caruba writes a daily post at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Democrats Turning on Obama in (Semi) Private

Posted on May 27th, 2014

Obama’s Putin by Gary McCoy, Cagle Cartoons

By Thomas Lifson

Wow, it’s finally happening. Democrats are catching on and turning on President Obama, at the moment off-the-record, but that won’t last for long if another midterm “shellacking” takes place in early November. Daniel Halper reports in The Weekly Standard.

CNN’s John King reports that Democrats are privately calling President Obama “detached,” “flat footed,” and “incompetent.”

If King is hearing about it, then it isn’t completely private. Maybe “off the record” and “not for attribution,” but not private when a journalist gets wind of it.

Forget for a moment that Republican outrage,” said King on his CNN show this morning. “More and more Democrats in key 2014 races are calling for the president to get a spine, they say, and fire his Veterans Affairs secretary. And what more and more Democrats are saying privately is scathing, calling the president and his team detached, flat footed, even incompetent.

“Maggie Haberman,” said King turning to a panelist, “that’s what strikes me, what democrats are saying privately in the wakes of the healthcare.gov problems, they see a president who doesn’t want to take command, doesn’t want to act fast. Raising the competence question. Some Democrats, who believe in government, [are saying] this White House doesn’t appear to have its hand on the lever.”

You can watch the entire segment here:

This is going to get very tricky for Democrats, since their black voter base, which accounts for roughly a quarter of their national vote, remains loyal to Obama. They may well see Democrats as stabbing the First Black President in the back if they criticize him too loudly. But with Obama dragging down the party with the rest of the electorate, failure to distance themselves also has a great cost.   (my emphasis)

By Thomas Lifson for American Thinker

By permission American Thinker



Obama’s VA Death Panels = Your Future Under Obamacare

Posted on May 23rd, 2014

VA Memorial Day by Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

By Matthew Vadum

Old soldiers don’t fade away; they perish, ignored, on government waiting lists.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has done the American people a great service by becoming the public face of the heartless, overwhelmed, incompetent bureaucracy who gets to decide who lives and who dies.

Shinseki is the Supreme Justice of the VA death panel system. President Obama claims to support Shinseki in his current position but the writing is on the wall. Shinseki is going under the bus.

Shinseki’s impending martyrdom serves the public interest. He has made possible the exposure of the long-running Veterans Administration health care scandal, as I have written at FrontPage magazine.

Saint Shinseki’s sacrifice is a wakeup call. Now Americans have a real-life example of the horrors that await them if the Obamacare train is not soon derailed.

VA health care and the health care delivery regime under the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) are fundamentally the same. They are both so-called single-payer systems, and so, sclerotic and Soviet.

The VA system is outdated and doomed. It cannot work. Like Obamacare, it is based on the insane notion that medical services can be provided effectively outside of markets.

History shows pretty conclusively that governments are very, very bad at providing health care services. This is not an arguable point.

The Veterans Administration itself has a long, inglorious history of patient abuse and neglect that has stretched out over decades.

Yet VA health care is held up by the establishment Left as the model for the future.

VA health care is a “huge policy success story, which offers important lessons for future health reform,” says Paul Krugman, the alleged economist. Expanding VA health care is “one of my favorite ideas,” says JournoList propagandist-in-chief Ezra Klein.

If you want to know what kind of health care is in your future under Obamacare, all you need to do is follow the ongoing VA hospital scandal.

You will learn all you need to know.   (my emphasis)

By Matthew Vadum for The American Spectator

By permission The American Spectator



Thoughts on Obama’s VA Press Conference

Posted on May 22nd, 2014

Killing Veterans by Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

By Aaron Goldstein

President Obama has proclaimed he won’t tolerate mismanagement at VA hospitals.

Who is he kidding? Obama has tolerated the mismanagement of VA hospitals since he took office. All of which has resulted in lengthy waiting lists and 40 deaths. Further study of the matter only reinforces Obama’s toleration of the status quo.

When Obama says he does not tolerate mismanagement of VA hospitals, we must remember that this is the same man who said the IRS scandal was “outrageous” but then six months later said it was “faux outrage.” Does anyone doubt Obama will change his tune about the VA scandal in six months time?

It is worth noting that when Obama said he was outraged by the IRS scandal, the acting director of the IRS fell on his sword. But today, Obama not only didn’t announce VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation, he basically gave him a “heckuva job” pat on the back.

I wonder if Obama was indignant during his news conference because it kept him from his real business of the day — meeting with the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.    (my emphasis)

By Aaron Goldstein for The American Spectator

By permission The American Spectator



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