Monday, November 24, 2014

Hagel resignation yet another policy slap in the face as Obama tries to save face.

Chuck Hagel has become the third Secretary of Defense during Obama's presidency to quit. And the political spin machine inside a White House that has lied about so much, most notably about healthcare,  in trying to save Obama's face,  put out from the shadows and not for attribution, the  preposterous story that Hagel was forced out. 

Just about everyone knows that Hagel quit because he, like former  Defense Secretaries  Gates and Panetta before him and like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were fed up with Obama's incompetence and lack of leadership in dealing with Syria, Isis ( whom Obama had scoffed at a year ago by calling them "the junior varsity"), Ukraine in selling out their sovereignty because he couldn't stand up to Putin and allowing Crimea to be annexed, and Assad with his phony red line over chemical weapons not to mention the going nowhere nuclear talks with Iran which has passed the predetermined deadline with no agreement and are now trying to be extended.

No one with two functioning brain cells (which seems to eliminate everyone at CNN who, like trained seals swallows the fish thrown at them by the White House - not just this White House, any White House - and just reports it)  believes that Hagel wasn't leaving because he had reached the end of his rope with Obama, his inability to formulate or approve a strategy on anything, and his failed way of doing things. That became obvious when a few weeks ago, memos Hagel had written to the White House which were blunt and said as much, criticizing Obama for his lack of a coherent policy and strategy became public. These things never become public by accident. And they laid the groundwork for Hagel quitting.

Hagel follows in the footsteps of Robert Gates, and Leon Panetta as Obama's third secretary of defense who has resigned because they clearly had enough and wanted no more  of the incompetence in the White House or to carry out Obama policies or non policies which they had no confidence in and which  in the past resulted in predictable failure.

 Hillary Clinton did the same after 4 years as Secretary of State, tired of Obama's foreign policy bungling and his refusal to take the recommendations of people far smarter than he is.

It was three years ago when both Clinton and Panetta recommended that the U.S. arm the moderate Syrian rebels both in their fight against Assad but also because of what they warned would be the rise of Isis. Obama dismissed their concerns and their recommendation and joked about Isis as being "the junior varsity".

Everyone who works for any president whether Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State or any cabinet official,  does so at the president's pleasure and has only one job function -- to carry out and execute the policies of the president. When you can no longer in good conscience do that, you resign.  Which is why Clinton, Gates, Panetta and now Hagel have all left.

If you don't believe in the policies, or  worse, if you are convinced they will fail and the president even after his own repeated failures refuses to take your recommendations, then quitting is the only honorable thing to do.

And that's  what Hagel did. And to try to avoid another embarrassment and save face, Obama had his cronies in the White House put out the story attributed to "sources" , that it was Obama who forced Hagel out and not the other way around. Which  is like the loser boyfriend claiming he  broke off  the relationship, not her.When everyone knows she was the one who packed her bags and said good riddance. Which shows that Obama, even now,  is still more concerned about saving his face than the things that are really worth saving. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Palestinians commemorating Arafat's death is the same as celebrating not having a state.

If there was any evidence to support the irrationality of Palestinians throughout 60+ years of futility in making demands they cannot get, have no right to,  and have no means to enforce while refusing to accept anything less than those demands in creation of a Palestinian state, (which is why the only state they have is the state they are in) its the recent commemoration of the death of Yasser Arrafat, father of Palestinian terrorism and maybe the single biggest reason Palestinians have no state.

Commemorating the death of Yassar Arafat as a hero is the same as Palestininans commemorating and celebrating that they have no state.

In 2000, in a last ditch attempt to forge an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians to create a Palestinian state before the end of his term, president Bill Clinton and his envoy Dennis Ross twisted the arm of prime minister Ehud Barak and convinced him to destroy his political career and become a willing target of contempt by many Israeli citizens, by agreeing to compromises with the Palestinians in a peace agreement to create a Palestinians state and make concessions that no prime minister before or since had been willing to make. This included the all important and most contentious issue of Barak agreeing to partition part of East Jerusalem as the capitol for a Palestinian state.

Clinton convinced Barak that for the sake  of peace, and to make an agreement that years from now Israelis and Palestinians alike would praise him for, if not at the moment, to accept Clinton's proposals.  He did. Arafat didn't.

When these unprecedented concessions were presented to Arafat he rejected all of them. Instead of accepting them and creating the longed for Palestinian state, Arafat not only rejected them including the partioning of East Jerusalem as the capitol of a Palestinian state because he wanted all of it, he launched the Infitada, a sustained terrorist attack against Israel that killed hundreds on both sides and lasted years. 

Had Arafat accepted the best deal the Palestinians will probably ever see, they would be in the 14th year of their own Palestinian state with part of East Jerusalem as their capitol. Instead they have what they have always had for decades, wars, many of which were started by Hamas in Gaza, the closing of borders in response to waves of Palestinians suicide attacks which in the end  strangled the Palestinian economy since 40% of Palestinians had jobs in Israel they could no longer go to, and thousands of Palestinians  killed in wars started by Arafat and Hamas which also destroyed billions of dollars worth of infrastructure.

The one thing Abbas and the Palestinians ignore in their commemoration of Arafat's death, is that it was widely reported that on his death bed Arafat admitted that he made a mistake by not accepting the Clinton deal in 2000. 

Which for Palestinians who want their own state,  has to make some people wonder what it is they are commemorating. And whether that commemoration of a policy and decision that  hurt the Palestinians and kept them from having their own state means a continuation of all the things Palestinians and their leaders have done and will do that will keep them from having that state .

It will be up to them and their leaders to decide which Arafat they want to commemorate; the one who rejected the 2000 peace deal and instead launched the Infitdada that left them with the consequences they have now or the one who later admitted he  made a mistake.

NOTE: The Palestinian terrorist ax attack that killed four rabbis and a policeman in a synagogue on Nov.18 can be directly traced to their celebration of Arafat, the worlds leading terrorist when he was alive, by Abbas and the Palestinians. It is the same as celebrating the Infitada which at the time  guaranteed the Palestinians  they would have no state any time in the near future.  And they haven't. 

The Palestinians who carried out the attack and the thousands of Palestinians of all ages dancing in the streets, handing out candy, carrying axes in solidarity,  celebrating the attacks  and grisly murders were doing nothing more than finding another way to celebrate their own self inflicted futility in not having a state and doing what they can to insure for themselves that nothing  in the future  is going to change for them. And answers the question of which Arafat they want to celebrate. And guarantees that what  they will get in return are the same things  Arafat brought them. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gwen Graham's victory in Florida is proof of what Democrats could have done to win.

In a night when Democrats took a real beating across the country especially in the senate where Democratic incumbents lost 6 seats and will probably lose a 7th after the Louisiana runoff, and lost more seats in the House, a beating that was entirely predictable for anyone watching the inept approach and campaigns by Democratic candidates , their strategists and the DNC who refused to be honest about the failures of Democratic leadership by Obama, Pelosi and Reid,  Gwen Graham, a Democrat running against a 2 term Republican incumbent in Florida's 2nd district, a Republican district that went for Romney in 2012, beat him in a night that was an otherwise disaster for most Democratic candidates. 

And she did it by doing what Democrats all over the country should have and could have and still won -- by being brutally honest about the Obama presidency and failures of leadership of Obama, Pelosi and Harry Reid. And not being afraid to say so. 

In one debate, Graham refused to endorse Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader and now, after winning, giving Obama a lesson on how to make a statement and actually stick to it, she has come out saying she will not vote for Pelosi as minority leader. A recognition of Pelosi's failures and the real need for Democrats to clean house. And she made it clear when she said ," I am not President Obama, I'm not Nancy Pelosi and I'm not Harry Reid".  That statement didn't inspire and bring out Republican voters to vote for her, it brought out Democratic voters. 

In a year when Republican challengers beat Democratic incumbents across the country, in big enough numbers to gain seats in the House and take control of the senate, Graham was a Democratic challenger who beat a 2 term Republican incumbent in a Republican district.

If Grahams' victory over a Republican incumbent on a night when Republicans crushed Democrats doesn't make clear what Democrats should have done to win and will have to do to win in 2016, then they are too  inept to deserve to be in the majority.  And if Hillary Clinton has presidential aspirations for 2016 she needs to stop doing what she did in Iowa last month and stop talking about "Obama's leadership".

Graham won because she did something too many Democratic candidates refused to do, and what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and their surrogates at MoveOn, People For the American Way, Daily Kos and others refused to do -- she told the truth about Obama, Pelosi and Reid while at the same time affirming Democratic polices and beliefs, the same beliefs betrayed by Obama, Pelosi and Reid repeatedly which is what brought down the Democrats in 2010 and has again in 2014.

Graham stood up for Democratic party ideals, policies and convictions while standing up against Obama, Pelosi and Reid showing she is someone who will think for herself, now and in the future. And that is what led to her victory and where Democrats lost to Republican challengers. 

That it was a failure of leadership for Democrats from the top down that cost them the election is evident that in 5 of the 6 states where Republican challengers defeated Democratic incumbents, those same states approved ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage and approved them by margins that can only be called an avalanche, some by as many as 40 points. Raising the minimum wage is a Democratic  initiative, a Democratic Party principle and that policy and principle not only won but won big in states where Democratic candidates lost big. You can say "go figure" but its not hard to figure.

You really have to be a political village idiot not to understand the lesson of Graham's victory against a Republican incumbent in a Republican district and a core Democratic policy winning in states where Democratic candidates lost.

 It was one preached here for months because it was easy to see coming, unless you were a Democratic strategist more interested in cashing your pay check and going along to get along,  rather than accomplishing your goals or an Obama sycophant with your head in the sand. And it was  based on three simple unavoidable  facts of life -- truth, consequences,  and reality. 

 The reality of the issues at the heart of the election and the Obama presidency was ignored by the DCCC and the DSCC and their surrogates who spent all their time groveling for campaign contributions thinking the only thing that mattered was money. Which also ignored David Bratt's Republican primary victory over Eric Cantor,who was not only Boehner's right hand man in the House but who outspent Brat 26-1. And lost.

There were many issues and failures of the Obama presidency that Democrats ignored not the least of which was health care reform and Obamacare. In spite of the mind bending distortions and flat out lies of the White House and the sycophancy of Pelosi, Obamacare was and is an unmitigated failure. Of the 50 million uninsured Americans before the implementation of Obamacare, most of whom are probably  Democratic constituents, one year after Obamacare, 48 million are still uninsured because the health insurance offered by the insurance company written Obamacare law was still much too expensive. Making Pelosi's mantra about Obamacare, "affordable, affordable,affordable" a joke to the 48 million who couldn't afford it.

 One doesnt have to be a political scientist to figure out how many of those people felt they had nothing to vote for and didnt even show up to vote and what a difference they might have made if Obamacare was 1/10th the success Democrats tried to claim. Or if Democrats were honest about it and pledged to do something better. Like bring back the public option.

And keep in mind Obama is still lying about the numbers. In a post election press conference he tried to claim that Obamacare enrolled 10 million people. Even that number would have represented failure since 98% of enrollments were by people who previsouly had insurance. But the actual number is a little over half that -- about 5.5 million who actually enrolled with only about 1.2 million of those people who were previously uninsured.

If this election doesn't make clear that Democrats need to not just clean house but to throw open the windows and air the place out, they will lose again in 2016 and nothing will prevent it.

They can start by learning a lesson from  Gwen Graham's victory and what it means to tell the truth, be your own person  and deal with reality even if that truth goes against the frayed idea of party loyalty when no loyalty is deserved. And at least, by replacing their leadership Democrats will begin to show the American people and rank and file Democrats, many of whom who stayed home in 2010 and 2014, that they mean business.  And that real hope and change are coming.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Obama weakness, dishonesty, failures and ineptitude buries Democrats.

Back in 2008 when Barrack Obama was elected along with a Democratic party sweep in the House and senate giving Obama and the Democrats the biggest congressional majority any president had in 60 years, one of the first things he said as the newly elected president who's party had just won a landslide victory over the opposition across the board was, " I want Republican ideas".

Which not only goes down in history as the single dumbest comment ever made by a newly elected president, it was a harbringer of things to come and should have revealed to any Democrat that it was going to be a bumpy ride because of  who and what he was: not a Republican, not a  Democratic president who favored Republican ideas, or even a Democrat who favored Democratic party ideas, but a truly empty politician with no real convictions or principles and no intention of fullfilling the promises and pledges he made (which was evident during the 2008 primaries). It all proved to be true.

Seemingly it never occurred to Obama in 2008 that if the country had wanted Republican ideas after 8 years of George W. Bush and a Republican congress and the catastrophes they caused, they wouldn't have elected him president and the Democrats to congress with the biggest majority of any party in 60 years, a majority Obama wasted his first two years. Now that seems like a long time ago.

Over the next 6 years, time and again Obama caved in to Republican opposition. Not that he gave them what they wanted. He just didn't give the country, the Democratic party or his Democratic supporters and the people who voted for him what they wanted and expected based on all the pledges and promises he made, every one of which he either reneged on or broke in one way or another.

And through it all, Democrats, hand picked sycophants in the Democratic party leadership and people who call themselves progressives at various Democratic and progressive groups around the country like MoveOn, Daily Kos, or PFAW, set new standards in lying to themselves about the Obama presidency.

For decades reality has proved that Democratic party ideas, initiatives, and policies have worked and benefited the country in major ways while Republican policies, when in a position to be implemented have been an unmitigated disaster for the country from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush, and for the most part have never worked.

Yet , with the exception of the Clinton years,  Democrats do not seem to have a political strategist worth 2c who has been able to formulate a strategy, message or  design political campaigns that know how to use substance and facts against Republican policies to give people a good reason to vote for Democrats.

Instead they do utterly stupid things like trying to make the Koch Brothers the issue instead of giving people a substantive  reason to vote for them over Republicans. Though admittedly with Obama's failures and his capitulations which resulted in none of the Democratic agenda being implemented that would have been hard to do without repudiating Obama which was suggested here for months as a necessary truth and fact of life if Democrats didn't want to lose and lose big.

Nancy Pelosi, who along with Obama and Harry Reid were responsible in 2010 for the Democrats suffering the worst political defeat of any party in 80 years only two years into Obama's first term after gaining the biggest majority in 60 years because they went along with Obama's dropping of the public option and sell out of health care reform, this year urged congressional Democrats to run on Obamacare, chiding Democratic candidates that the first word in the Affordable Care Act was " affordable, affordable, affordable". Given that 98% of the 50 million uninsured in America are still uninsured because under Obamacare they still cant afford coverage offered by insurance companies who wrote the bill, Pelosi's Marie Antoinette act didn't go over very well with voters.

Given the disatrsous results of the 2014 elections for Democrats it would be worth remembering that, with the exception of Bill Clinton, Democrats are always running not to lose. But even in 2008 when any Democrat running for president would have beaten any Republican, even when Democrats couldn't lose they found a way.

In a year when Democrats couldn't lose the hierarchy of the Democratic party chose to rig their primary process and convention to assure Obama had the nomination with the help of some dishonest journalists instead of just letting the process play out honestly.  They did it perhaps because Democrats know they cant win any kind of national election without African American support. But by forcing the issue with  Obama, they found a way to lose in the long run and they have been paying the price ever since.

Democrats were crushed in the 2014 elections and it was a defeat largely of their own making. They stood idly by and let a weak, indecisive president with no real convictions and no commitment to the Democratic or liberal agenda sell out, capitulate and compromise every Democratic party ideal and belief,  a president who sold out healthcare reform for a watered down version written by the insurance companies and couldn't get a single piece of gun safety legislation passed in the aftermath of Sandyhook even though it was supported by 86% of the American people. In foreign policy, Isis and failures in the Middle East and being bullied by Putin and looking weak  over Ukraine and a red line over chemical weapons that disappeared when it was crossed, didn't help.

Obama caved in so many times on so many issues people working at the White House probably went to work wearing miner's helmets with little flashlights on top so they could wave and see each other amid the debris.

He fail miserably and inadequately in dealing with every unexpected issue or crisis that emerged either domestically or foreign. And congressional Democrats and Democratic political groups didn't have the backbone to stand up and say something. Or rebel. Instead they lied to themselves and in the aftermath of the election some still are.

What must be especially painful for Democrats is that with 68% of Americans saying the country is on the wrong track, it's not because Obama implemented Democratic policies, it's because he didn't. And it cost them the election.

The Democratic party needs an overhaul in leadership and it needs to start now.  The triumverate of Obama, Pelosi and Reid is what brought the Democrats down.

A close look at the election results make clear what happened. Independents didn't want to send a message to Democrats that they approved of Obama's presidency and voted Republican, and many Democrats didn't want to send a message that they approved of Obama's presidency and stayed home. And to underscore how much this election was a repudiation of Obama and not Democratic policies, five red states who elected Republican senators, voted to increase the minimum wage in their states and did it by landslide margins, in some cases by a margin of 40 points.  So it wasn't a rejection of policy. It was a rejection of a vacuum created by Obama and Democratic leadership where there was no policy. As Obama pointed out when he said publicly that he had no strategy on Isis. The result of his rejecting the advice for three years of his own Secretary of State and two Secretaries of Defense.

Democrats need new leadership starting now and they need to take that mantel away from Obama even with 2 years remaining in his term. If they don't 2016 could be a repeat of 2014. And 2010. Just as I  correctly predicted in  August of 2010 (to blow my own horn)  that if they let Obama drop the public option on healthcare they would get wiped out of congress in the November election. And as I predicted repeatedly this year warning that if Democrats didn't, not just distance themselves, but repudiate Obama's undermining of the Democratic agenda, admit  his mistakes and  his failures,  and stand up for Democratic policies instead of the stupid, inane strategy of trying to run against the Koch Brothers and their money, they would get wiped out again.

The Democrats have less than two years to clean house and get it in order.  And that means new leadership.  By somebody.  Which includes no more whiney dishonest fund raising emails by Democratic campaign committees, extolling the virtues of Obama and being so stupid as to think that is going to motivate a Democratic base that has seen Obama sell out their agenda.

Because now they have to deal with the reality that, when Obama was elected in 2008, and said " I want Republican ideas",  thanks to him and Democratic party leadership, they are going to get them , and be forced to deal with Republican ideas  for at least the next two years.