Beyond the Cusp

May 16, 2013

The Turning of President Obama

I will admit right up front that President Obama would never likely be my first choice for President or any other elected office. On the other hand, the candidates put up against him by the Republican Party did not offer much of an alternative leaving no real different choice in the past two elections. When President Obama won election and took the oath of office for his first term I hoped that he would at least minimally fulfill some of my hopes and not necessarily make some of the changes I most feared. I have attempted to satisfy myself by believing it could have been far worse. The passage of Obama’s healthcare reforms has instilled in me a trepidation which goes very deep. The biggest trouble I perceived was the fact that the main enforcement agency for the Affordable Health Care Act is the Internal Revenue Service. This little fact makes it appear that the healthcare bill will be more aligned as a revenue enhancement system which by default supplies healthcare while its primary mission is to collect funds. The evidence implies that the government will take whatever measures possible to minimize the costs of healthcare even if the cost saving measures result in denial of care as the general rule for any costly measures such as surgeries, experimental procedures, highly priced new drugs, extended physical therapies, and other costly procedures. But at least we did not see such items in legislation such as a carbon tax and some of the socialist causes which are counter to a free market economy that candidate Obama claimed he would enact.

 

I do not pretend to understand why it almost always seems to be that Presidents become entangled in conspiracies or other legally questionable events soon after beginning their second term. Such has definitely struck President Obama with the first scandal began during the final leg of the campaign and election cycle in which President Obama still managed to be reelected. The scandal concerned the events around the murder by a terrorist attack of our Libyan Ambassador Scott Stevens and three support personnel in Benghazi. As if this was not causing sufficient problems for the Obama Administration officials, now there are another pair of predicaments that have struck the Administration with the IRS conducting politically motivated audits and special treatment of applicants for tax-free classifications and the Justice Department snooping into Associated Press phone records and tapping their reporter’s phones in order to uncover the identities of any whistleblowers. Each of these tribulations would be sufficient to trouble a President sufficiently to add a dozen years to his appearance and President Obama has definitely begun to show the signs of stress of a man under siege. He even joked about such affects during 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner when he said, “I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.”

 

While Benghazi is about more than just President Obama, he is still the leader and must be held to answer for the actions or lack of actions for those within his Administration. From what has transpired resulting from the catastrophic events of that fateful day of September 11, 2012, President Obama has appeared to have dodged much of the blame until these other two items hit the news cycle. The entire Benghazi troubles had appeared to begin to wind down and might have passed into the darkness of history after very short hearings held last week but for some reason it appears to be resurrecting itself back into the mix. The apparent tie in has been the lack of personal involvement by the President in these disparate scandals which gives the appearance that either President Obama is not truly in control of his subordinates or is simply uninterested in performing the requirements of his position and has relegated the running of the country to others while he simply reads his teleprompter and otherwise enjoys the privileges of the office. Such suspicions make for a serious problem for the President as if he now takes complete and total ownership of these issues he will face possibly serious charges and if he allows his actions to be interpreted as his being disengaged and uninvolved he risks being seen to be complacent and diminished. The other possible difficulty which could come out of the disaster in Benghazi is what might follow if Benghazi ends up being tied to Syria and the movement of weapons and manpower from Libya into Syria as some of the rebels in Syria are aligned with the same organizations as rebels forces which fought in Libya, namely al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Such assistance to some of the rebel forces in Syria would also serve the desired results sought by Turkey and Prime Minister Erdogan, a close Obama friend and ally.

 

The common element connecting the Internal Revenue Service scandal with the Associated Press phone tapping and records outrage is the evidence of an Administration out of control taking vindictive retribution against all opponents and utilizing every possible office and force that government can bring to bear. This is exactly the manner of overreach and abuse of political and governmental power which most angers a plurality if not an outright majority of American voters. In addition there are all the untruths, obfuscations, invasions of privacy, exchanging sensitive information, illegal use of confidential information, and any denials or cover-ups that will be the eventual downfall if anything develops and has lasting effects. The obvious targeting and investigating of conservative political groups, small government organizations, anti-tax political action groups and Pro-Israel Jewish groups on the grounds of potential support for terrorism because terror groups exist all around Israel are blatant politically motivated witch-hunts which go way beyond the cusp and into the valley of underhanded deceits and dirty tricks. President Nixon was charged with similar activities leading to his impeachment hearings, especially those currently being committed by the Internal Revenue Service at the presumed behest of the Obama Administration. If nothing else, all of these potential investigations which some may even birth other areas to investigate will have one extremely positive result, Congress will have something to fill their days and thus might just be sufficient to keep them from inventing more problems for which they will then proceed to solve by causing even more problems.

 

The particular items which are most likely to have the strongest legs and persist both in the congress and the media will be the phone scandal of the Justice Department snooping through the Associated Press phone records to discover the names of whistle-blowers and the excess of requirements and information gathering demanded by the Internal Revenue Service of any groups deemed problematic by the Obama Administration. I would be remiss if I did not admit that the entire debacle of Benghazi being relegated to trail off like echoes bouncing off the canyon walls until they fade beneath the winds is not an insult to the senses and patriotism of every red-blooded American as well as to the dignity and efforts put forth by our Ambassador and those who gave all in an attempt to protect him and defend the honor of the United States. There are a number of questions which I very much desire to have answered. I would like to know whether any of the Commanders of the various assets available even considered breaking orders and coming to the aid of our people under siege in Benghazi. I would have hoped that we had one Commander somewhere in theater who would act as did the Naval Commander of the Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge, Cmdr. Frank Castellano, who took action on Sunday April 12, 2009, when he determined the situation was dire and waiting for the requested clearance from the White House might come too late to save the hostages from Somali Pirates and took actions necessary and successfully rescued everyone. Beyond this I so dearly demand that the person who was responsible for the stand-down order to be identified and brought up on charges for dereliction of duty. Whoever gave such a heinous and odious order deserves the most extreme punishment which can be brought under whatever code of law is applicable be it the UCMJ or civil laws. The originator of the order which left at least two of our bravest stand against unbelievable odds where they, through miraculous personal efforts, withstood an onslaught of a combination of small arms, rocket propelled grenades, and mortar fire brought down on their defensive position by over one-hundred-fifty terrorist forces carrying out an organized assault. To allow such a cowardly act to go unpunished would serve for all time as an insult to our fighting forces who given even the most remote possibility of success would grab any opportunity to save their countrymen no matter the extremes of the odds or direness of the situation. That is the kind of operation which many of our most elite forces train long, hard and mercilessly so as to be prepared in any situation when the order comes down. Unfortunately, they feel cheated in such an instance as Benghazi where their unequalled abilities are not even given the chance to prove that to our military personnel there is no such thing as impossible, only that which will take a little while longer.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 12, 2013

The Big Three Obama Appointments

Three of the most important nominations a President makes, as the Administrative Branch of the government is primarily responsible for foreign affairs, are Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Director of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). President Obama could have made appointments which would have been uncontroversial, middle of the spectrum, and well versed in their fields and received quick Senate approval with little confrontational debate. But that was not his intent. The President cast cares aside and chose three candidates who were at best problematic.

For Secretary of State he chose Senator Kerry who originally made his name making outlandish and adversarial accusations before Congress demeaning his fellow soldiers with whom he had served side by side with in Viet Nam. He accused them of committing horrific atrocities comparing them with Genghis Kahn and the Mongol hordes. Since being elected to the Senate Kerry had castigated the State Department who served under Republican Presidents and was never really much of a defender of the state on the international stage. Still, of the three Senator Kerry was likely the least controversial and due to his relations with the members of the Senate received an easy confirmation hearing. Senator Kerry becoming Secretary of State was never in doubt and, by comparison with the other two appointees, was the least troubling.

Next is the President’s appointment for Secretary of Defense, former Senator Hagel. Senator Hagel’s hearings have had a grand display of ruffled feathers and looks to be flailing and headed to defeat. His hearings were a relief in many ways, none to Mr. Hagel’s credit. He was unprepared for answers which any competent appointee for Secretary of Defense would have known would be asked. His lack of having even a basic grasp of President Obama’s foreign policy positions was appalling and shocking. His admission after receiving corrections and admonitions from even Senators with whom he had served surprised and shocked even those who initially had supported his appointment. When even Senator McCain, who had been a friend and cosponsored legislation with Senator Hagel, appeared to lose his temper at Hagel’s’ evasions and prevarications was seen as shocking and a telling problem which evidenced the downturn of any possibility for Hagel to be approved. What may have been the final nail in the Hagel appointment coffin came when the senior committee member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, announced he planned to filibuster the appointment should it be brought before the Senate for confirmation. Seldom do we get to witness such a display of animosity shown publicly for a former Senator when brought before the Senate for confirmation. Partial proof of the deference shown by the Senate to former Senator during confirmation hearings was the easy and rapid approval given Senator Kerry just weeks prior when considered for Secretary of State.

The final appointment was the President appointing John Brennan to be the Director of the CIA. Any candidate for such a sensitive position is required to possess many varied and crucial qualifications. One of the most vital is the trust of both the employees of the CIA and the President while being able to display same before the Senate. Another would be a high sense of morality and a solid moral breadth to guide him in a position where temptations to go afield of the straight and narrow are numerous. That is where there may be some difficulty with the Brennan appointment. This was evident with his first appearance before the Senate where the hearings were disrupted repeatedly by demonstrators. What was amazing is that I have to give Code Pink credit for their consistency on this matter. Code Pink had problems with Mr. Brennan when he was instrumental in defending the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. Since then Mr. Brennan has been neck deep in President Obama’s use of drones for targeted assassinations including that of Americans overseas who have been identified of ties to terrorism. This too has troubled Code Pink and their demonstration against him as a President Obama appointee was something not often found in politics in the United States, a consistent and independent sense of morality that is applied without regards to political party. Code Pink was right on target about Mr. Brennan who has demonstrated that he has no internal morality and will simply take his orders and perform whatever he is assigned to without regards to legality or righteousness. He has uncanny ability to find justifications for any actions no matter their actual morality. That combined with Mr. Brennan’s tendency to be a simple yes man makes him problematic at best and a disaster waiting to happen at worst as Director of the CIA. Unfortunately, the Senate is very likely to allow Mr. Brennan to be confirmed as it is rare for the Senate to refuse two senior Presidential appointments so close together, but we can pray.

Beyond the Cusp

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