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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Good News if True

Barham Salih, the former head of the Kurdish region in Iraq, tweeted today the news that the peshmerga (the Kurdish militia) had retaken MalaAbdulla, a strategic location south of Kirkuk, from ISIS forces.  Once again, the Kurds have shown that they have the only ground force that is willing and able to stand up to the ISIS terrorists.

The strange thing, of course, is that although it is the Kurds who are actually fighting ISIS, all of America's aid to Iraq goes to the government forces that do essentially nothing.  The Kurds could use weapons to great advantage, but president Obama won't give them the offensive weapons that they need in sufficient quantity to really turn the tide of battle against ISIS.

Let's not get caught up right now in discussion of Obama's many mistakes in the Middle East.  Let's focus instead on the disaster that has befallen ISIS over the last few weeks thanks to the bravery and the tenacity of the Kurds.  First, the ISIS fighters were ousted from Kobani in Syria after a six month battle.  ISIS had poured a great deal of resources into this fight and the loss is a major embarrassment for the terrorists group.  The loss of an ISIS stronghold at MalaAbdulla in Iraq to the Kurds in addition makes clear that ISIS's days as an unstoppable force in the region are over.  The ISIS mystique has been broken by the bravery of the peshmerga.

The world owes a great debt to the Kurds for their valiant struggle against the evil of ISIS.  Even if Obama and his dodoes don't get that, the rest of us should.


Great Moments in Media History

Guess what happens on Monday?  President Obama sends his budget proposal to Congress.  Wow!  That's really big news, don't you think?  So far today, I have seen four different articles discussing that budget and Obama's strategy for increasing spending.  Supposedly, by offering to spend more on the military, the president is going to get the GOP to agree to end Sequestration, the process which has kept federal spending from rising as quickly as it did in the first few years of Obama's time in office.

It is amazing that the media even bothers to care what Obama proposes as a budget.  Congress certainly won't care.  Over the last six years, Obama has rarely proposed a coherent spending plan for any department or agency, let alone the entire government.  We already know that Obama's proposal will be to jump spending back up again.  After all, Obama has been touting the "rapid" growth of the economy and the "soaring" recovery.  Those claims, however, were based on the good growth numbers from the third quarter of 2014.  Now that we have the fourth quarter numbers, we can all see that the third quarter figures were just a one time thing.  Both the year 2014 and the fourth quarter came in right about two and a half percent growth.  That is hardly the basis for a new spending spree.

So why bother to write so much about something that will end up in the trash receptacles all across the Capitol?  My best guess is that Obama himself has never read the proposals in "his" budget and he never will.  Congress will ignore it as the fantasy that it is.  I bet the reporters who wrote the articles about the budget haven't read the document either.  So why tell us about it?

Maybe today is just a really slow news day.


Why Now?

The Washington Post has a large article today detailing the killing of Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s international operations chief, in 2008.  According to the Post, Mughniyah was killed in a joint CIA-Mossad operation in Syria.  Mughniyah had the blood of hundreds of Americans on his hands; he was involved in or ran the attacks as diverse as the bombing of the barracks of American marines in Beirut as peacekeepers in 1983 to attacks on US embassies a decade and a half later.  Mughniyah had also run attacks on Israelis and Jewish targets around the world (such as in Buenos Aires).  There is no surprise that both the USA and Israel wanted him dead.

The key question about the article, however, is not how the killing took place or why it happened.  No, the key question is why is this article about a seven year old event being published now.  For seven years, the USA and Israel have not acknowledged responsibility for killing this terrorist murderer.  Now, suddenly, the story of the death of Mughniyah is splashed across the pages of the Washington Post, one of the two favorite places for leaks from the White House (the other being the New York Times).  Was this leaked to the media by the Obama White House?  Was it leaked to the media by Mossad in a way that would make it look like a leak from the White House?  We don't know for sure.

We can be pretty certain that this story was intentionally leaked, however.  There was no reason for the news organizations to suddenly revisit a 2008 event absent an intentional leak that provided the story to the Post.  The detail had been kept secret for years.

I also think we can rule out an Israeli leak.  At the moment, things are very tense on the border that separates Hezbollah from Israel.  In the last few days, Israeli soldiers were killed by an attack by Hezbollah and before that Hezbollah and Iranian officers were killed in an Israeli strike.  The area is very close to war, and no Israeli leader would want to stir that up further.  Indeed, if Israel wanted to go to war with Hezbollah, it would be much more likely to try to mount a surprise attack, something that would call for keeping tensions down, not stoking them with tales of stories like this one.

That leaves the likely source as the White House.  But why would it make sense to leak this story now?  What purpose does it serve?  It does put pressure on Israel.  For the first time, Israel is identified for certain as part of the group that got rid of Mughniyah.  But it also puts the USA in the middle of the story.  After all, the CIA ran the operation that killed Mughniyah.  It may be that some genius in the White House thought that since the attack took place when George Bush was still in office, Hezbollah would not hold it against the USA.  That sounds like Obama Administration type thinking, but it is a fantasy.  After an admission like the details in the Washington Post story, there will be some sort of retaliation by Hezbollah against American targets.

But why would Obama want to pressure the Israelis anyway?  Obama is angry that Israel is pushing for a deal with Iran that would actually prevent the Iranians from getting nukes.  Israel is not just going along with the latest effort by Obama to reach an agreement at all costs even if that agreement ultimately provides the basis for an Iranian nuke.  Obama is more interested in saying he got an agreement than in making sure that the agreement is a good thing for the world.  This news story could be just another way for Washington to tell Israel that it better get in line and shut up.

All of this may sound a bit farfetched, and it is only analysis, not fact.  Still, it seems pretty clear that the leak is another crazy tactic used by Obama and his people.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Celebrating 2.4%

The first results are out from the government for economic growth in 2014.  The economy grew 2.4% in 2014.  That's all; it grew just 2.4%.  After weeks and months of hearing the mainstream media tell us that America was back in full growth, we found out that the actual growth number was 2.4%.  It is a shockingly poor number.

It is also important to know that the fourth quarter of 2014 grew at an almost identical rate of 2.6%.  For those who claimed that the economy is accelerating, the USA grew at 2.6% in the last quarter of the year.  For those pundits who kept talking about the economy while playing "Happy Days Are Here Again" in the background, the economy grew at 2.6% in the fourth quarter.  That is a reduction of about two and a half percent in the rate of growth from the third quarter.  Indeed, it looks at the moment like the third quarter had some strange factors that boosted it higher and that we are now back to more normal growth.  One has to wonder if that strange "boost" to the third quarter numbers had anything to do with a hope by the Obama administration that higher growth would help the Democrats last November.  (It didn't, by the way.)

America remains mired in a slow growth or no-growth economy.  Those in the middle who struggle each day to make ends meet are getting no relief.  The policies followed by president Obama are slowly strangling million of people.

It's called reality, and it isn't pretty.


Syrian Slaughter

Three quarters of the people of Syria are Sunni Arab Moslems.  The other quarter are Alawaites (a Shiite sect), Druse, Christians, Kurds and others.  Despite the overwhelming majority of the Sunnis, for the last 45 years, the Syrian government has been under the control of the Alawaites.  The first leader was Haffez al Assad and fifteen years ago, Haffez's son Bashir al Assad took control.  Their rule of Syria has been bloody, ruthless and brutal.  Both father and son used chemical weapons on civilians thereby killing literally tens of thousands.  Both father and son ran police states in which any opposition to the government was met with imprisonment, torture and death.  Even the slightest hint of any opposition to the government was met with and iron fist that beat all opposition to death.

About three years ago, all this changed.  There were Sunnis who marched in the streets to protest conditions in the country.  Assad sent snipers to shoot random protesters dead in the streets.  In an amazing development, the shootings did not destroy the protests; instead, they increased.  Assad turned up the attacks on the protesters in response.  After a short time, the country descended into civil war.  On one side were the butchers of Assad, people who killed their opponents haphazardly with no consideration for civilian casualties.  On the other side were Syrians (mostly Sunni) who were poorly armed, poorly trained, and generally not ready for a military battle.  The rebels, however, had numbers on their side.  The Assad forces adopted extremely brutal and deadly measures to fight the rebellion.  They used starvation, mass civilian killing and even chemical weapons in an attempt to break the rebels.

As the civil war developed, America stayed completely out of the conflict.  Indeed, it took nearly a year of murders by Assad and the death of more than 100,000 Syrians before president Obama took the step of saying that American policy was that Assad should go.  Obama did not actually do anything, but he put the USA firmly on the side of those who wanted the murderous thug Assad to be gone.

Assad, however, hung on.  He got assistance from Iran as well as from Iran's servants at Hezbollah.  Shiite Iran and Shiite Hezbollah were not prepared to watch the Sunni majority in Syria take that country out of the Shiite alliance that Iran had forged.  More and more Sunnis were killed with weapons and fighters that came from Iran and Hezbollah.  America, however, did nothing.

As the battle between Sunnis and Shiites in Syria grew ever more fierce, some of the crazies on the Sunni side came to fight.  Al Qaeda made its appearance on the rebel side in Syria.  Then ISIS made a major splash on the rebel side.  The actual Syrian Sunnis who were fighting got smashed on all sides.  They slowly lost control of the rebels to ISIS and al Qaeda.

Now, president Obama says that he wants to destroy ISIS.  As a result, Obama has repositioned the USA so that our government is now willing to accept Assad's staying in power.  This new position seems to be part of Obama's grand design to make peace with Iran.  It is just the old give and take; the USA gives and Iran takes.

There is no question that America should be against ISIS on all fronts.  There is also no question that America should be positioned against Iran and the murderer and war criminal Assad.  Obama should not be cozying up to Iran now.  We ought to be getting Assad out of office and pushing the Iranians back to their own country.

Sadly, we are all captive to the delusions that govern Obama's actions. 


Time for Less Yeldin

Yesterday NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin was on Morning Joe on MSNBC and had this to say about the late Chris Kyle who is the subject of the current film "American Sniper".

 A lot of his stories when he was back home in Texas, a lot of his own personal opinions about what he was doing in Iraq, how he viewed Iraqis. Some of what people have described as his racist tendencies towards Iraqis and Muslims when he was going on some of these, you know, killing sprees in Iraq on assignment.

It's really hard to imagine that a news correspondent for an American news organization would call the mission of a US marine sniper a "killing spree" or that derogatory comments about the terrorists that sniper was fighting make him "racist".  In fact, it is only in a fantasy world where political left wing ideology rules that a soldier following proper military orders and protecting other Americans from attack that such terminology would be even considered.

The truth is that Ayman Mohyeldin needs to go.  NBC may not dump him, but Comcast (which owns NBC) ought to do so right now.  the disgusting anti-American thoughts of this so-called reporter ought not be broadcast anymore.

Just to be clear, Mohyeldin has the right to have these views as well as the right to state them on the air.  We have the right not to buy products from companies that advertise on NBC and MSNBC.


Now That Keystone Passed, Here's the Democrats' Response

The Senate has now passed the bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  the vote was lopsided with all Republicans and nine Democrats voting in favor of the legislation.  That is not enough to overcome a threatened veto by president Obama, but it remains to be seen if he will actually carry out his veto threat.  For me, the most amazing thing about the bill's passage was the immediate response from the vast majority of Democrats who lost this fight in the Senate.  They held a news conference immediately after the vote and said that the bill was a gift by the Republicans to "special interests".  The Democrats were a little vague on just who those special interests are, but the charge was made nevertheless.

Keystone will create somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 construction and related jobs for the American people over the next three years.  These are well-paying jobs that will support tens of thousands of middle class families who have been suffering for the last six years.  So these are the special interests that the Democrats denounce?  Keystone will also allow roughly three quarters of a million barrels of oil to be added to the world supply each day once it is built.  That will put downward pressure on the world price of oil for decades to come.  That means that American who drive will see lower prices at the pump during that time.  Are American drivers and others who use oil now a special interest?  The Democrats think so.

The real truth is that there are no good reasons for Democrats to oppose Keystone other than that some extremely rich environmentalists oppose it.  These men, like Tom Steyer, gave hundreds of millions of dollars to Democrat candidates in 2014, and the Democrats in the Senate do not wish to see that money flow stop.  That, indeed, is a special interest.