Brian Williams should replace Secretary Kerry


Although it would be hypocritical for NBC to fire Mr. Williams for mis- speaking  lying, it would enhance his chances of becoming our next Secretary of State. Like Hillary Clinton, Williams sorta told some truth when he admitted to lying for a dozen years. Hillary became Obama’s Secretary of State in 2009. Williams, also a very good liar, deserves no less this year. After that? Perhaps “our” next President.

brian_williams_airwolf_2-5-15-1

Here is a timeline of the progression of Williams’ tall tales, based on a Stars and Stripes article:

In late March 2003, the New York Daily News reported that “the one (helicopter) carrying Williams and (Retired General and current NBC consultant Wayne) Downing landed” after another chopper ahead of them had been hit by “a rocket-fired grenade.” Even this early report appears to have been exaggerated. Larry O’Connor at Truth Revolt, reacting to Williams’ on-air statement Wednesday night, noted that Williams was really “in an aircraft that followed the one hit by RPG fire by an entire hour.”

Several days later, USA Today reported that Williams “was stranded in the Iraqi desert for three days.” That hardly appears to be the case. In a comment at an NBC Facebook page, a clearly frustrated Lance Reynolds, the flight engineer on the helicopter that was hit, wrote: “I remember you guys taking back off in a different flight of Chinooks from another unit and heading to Kuwait to report your ‘war story’ to the Nightly News.”

By 2007, the helicopter that was hit was, according to a Williams blog entry, “the chopper flying in front of ours.” A University of Notre Dame press release in 2010, the year he gave the commencement address there, referred to how “the lead helicopter was shot down.”

In March 2013, Williams told Alec Baldwin of “being in a helicopter I had no business being in in Iraq with rounds coming into the airframe,” and, after prompting, said that he “briefly” thought he would die.

Later that month, Williams crossed the fairy-tale Rubicon, telling David Letterman that “two of the four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in,” and that after that, the problem was how “we figure out how to land.” We?

Finally, on January 30, Williams, applying even more mustard, told the nation on Nightly News that “the helicopter we were travelling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG.”

The indispensable Kristinn Taylor at Gateway Pundit has found that “speech promotional bios touted Williams’ bravery in returning to Iraq after he claimed being under fire.”

Here’s a video of Williams’ 2013 love feast with David Letterman. His Iraq narrative begins at 2:50.

According to Sharyl Attkisson, Presidential Candidate Clinton [like Brian Williams],

never fully explained how she could have made such a mistake as saying she had ducked sniper fire when there hadn’t been a sniper in sight. Initially, she stated “I was sleep deprived and I misspoke.”

But as my report below (“Clinton Doubles Down”) shows, Clinton told varieties of the embellishment over a long period of time, not just when she was sleep deprived.

Had Clinton somehow convinced herself that it had all really happened? Or did she knowingly advance a false story?

“So I made a mistake,” Clinton also stated at one point. “It proves I’m human, which you know, for some people, is a revelation.”

Whoops.

Clinton1web_2831249b

In the next video, Mr. Williams and a guest from NBC discuss Clinton’s Bosnia adventures, Senator Obama’s candidacy and their anticipated consequences for her 2008 Democrat presidential nomination. Note the apparent puzzlement about why Clinton confessed to having “misspoken.”

Clinton didn’t get the Democrat presidential nomination in 2008 but was confirmed as Obama’s Secretary of State in 2009. Doesn’t Williams deserve a promotion comparable to what Clinton got (from failed Presidential Candidate to SecState)? Shouldn’t he be held to the same standard?

Williams had seen what happened to Clinton just weeks earlier, yet kept telling his own fish tale. To paraphrase one of his own NBC colleagues, this isn’t Little League, it’s a nightly news anchor with an audience of millions. Will he be held to the same standards to which NBC and the rest of the media held Clinton?

What standards were those then and, of more importance, what have they been since? She still “deserves” to become “our” next President.

Tom Brokaw, also of NBC, contends that Williams should go. Perhaps, however, NBC will forgive and forget.

The Los Angeles Times, quoting anonymous NBC News execs, reported that Williams’s on-air apology has been accepted internally and that he’s expected to face no disciplinary action for his serious journalistic lapse, which included showing video of a combat-damaged helicopter and representing it wrongly as the Chinook on which Williams had been a passenger.

As noted by Howard Kurtz at Fox News,

When it comes to the NBC franchise, Brian Williams is too big to fail. He’s the face of the network, he hosts the top-rated network newscast, he guest-hosts “Saturday Night Live.” He’s a bankable asset. And in fairness, Williams has a pretty unblemished track record.

Oh well.

Reality is often unpleasant and hard to deal with, so we need a creative Secretary of State who will continue to reject reality, base policy on fantasy and do so with impunity for a decade or more.

Clinton, a likely Presidential Candidate for 2016, did her “best.”

Obama does what Obama does and gets away with it. According to an article at Breitbart, the seven Muslims at a recent White House meeting on domestic and foreign policy issues have been named.

According to a White House statement on the President’s meeting, the domestic issues discussed were the “Affordable Care Act, anti-Muslim violence and discrimination, the 21st Century Policing Task Force, and the upcoming White House Summit on Countering Violence Extremism.” On the foreign policy front, “the President discussed the need to continue countering ISIL and other groups that commit horrific acts of violence, purportedly in the name of Islam,” while also congratulating Muslims on their “remarkable contributions” to America. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

Comedian and left-wing pundit Dean Obeidallah revealed that he was one of the fifteen Muslim-American “leaders” brought to the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

“The No.1 issue raised: The alarming rise in anti-Muslim bigotry in America,” Obeidallah said of the meeting with the President. Their chief collective concern was not the rise of the Sunni Islamic State, nor the expansion of the Caliphatist Shiite Iranian regime and its messianic drive towards nuclear weapons, but instead, “anti-Muslim bigotry in America.” [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

The Detroit Free Press also revealed that senior Obama advisers Valerie Jarrett and Ben Rhodes were present in the Muslim leaders’ meeting. [Emphasis added.]

Dean Obeidallah also revealed that Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, was behind the effort to get Muslim leaders to the White House.

Muslim Advocates reveals on its website that its three main objectives are to “end profiling,” “strengthen [Muslim] charities,” and “counter hate.” Its Press Center section is filled with posts demanding intelligence organizations, such as the New York Police Department and federal agencies, end their “Muslim Suspicionless Spying Program,” while also dictating to the media that it should “Report Accurately on Muslims.” Another post reads, “What You Need to Know About the New Federal Racial Profiling Policy.” Review of Muslim Advocates’ press releases reveals that the only foreign policy issue with which the group has concerned itself over the past year was urging Sec. of State John Kerry to ensureMuslim “Americans are able to safely perform the annual religious Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.” [Emphasis added.]

Keep up the good work, Big Guy, Insha’Allah.

Fantasy Island Obama

Kerry has bravely continued the march.

Williams, who should be rehabilitated as quickly as was Senator Clinton, could not be worse and might even be better than Kerry. Then, his path to the presidency should be clear even if he (unlike Obama) is candid in public on rare occasions.

Hey, Grandpa! I need some of that stuff.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Benghazi, Bill Whittle, Brian Williams, Democracy, Elections, Estblishment, Fantasy, Foreign policy, Freedom, Hillary Clinton, Humor, Iraq, Israel, John Kerry, Leftists, Media, Military, NBC, Obama, Obama Nation, Politics, Reality, Snark | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to deal with enemies, foreign and domestic


Editor’s note: This is a post by my (imaginary) guest author, the Very Honorable Ima Librul, Senator from the great State of Confusion Utopia. He is a founding member of CCCEB (Climate Change Causes Everything Bad), a charter member of President Obama’s Go For it Team, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Meretricious Relations Subcommittee. He is also justly proud of his expertise in the care and breeding of unicorns, for which his Save the Unicorns Foundation has received substantial Federal grants. We are honored to have a post of this caliber by a quintessential Librul such as the Senator. Without further delay, here is the Senator’s article.

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As the anointed leader of my Librul kingdom, countless methods for dealing with “enemies” are at my disposal. I, along with my loyal Secretary of Slyness (SOS) Sir Ketchup, bring happiness to all. Many “enemies” of my kingdom have yielded to my wisdom without even knowing that they have. I owe everything to my dear leader Obama, my rock of ages in the past and hope for years to come.

Ketchup Kerry

Example One

When my kingdom was threatened by wolves and foxes, which intended to eat all of my free range chickens, I bravely sent Sir Ketchup to deal with the problem. At my direction, he immediately put half of my chickens into secure coops and invited the invaders to do as they desired with the rest. That satisfied them only briefly, so he dispatched half of my remaining chickens to be eaten. The process continued until I had only one chicken left.

Here’s why I can humbly wear the label “The Won,” along with my dear leader Obama. The invaders, stuffed pleasantly full of chicken and amazed at my brilliance, resolved not to attack my kingdom again until my chicken population had been restored and it was once again worthwhile to invade. Unfortunately for them, a single chicken cannot reproduce, so they will never again have any reason to return.

chicken

Example Two

A few weeks later, my kingdom was again invaded by “wild and vicious” packs of wolves and foxes. They divided their attentions between slaughtering each other and slaughtering and eating my sheep. I solved the problem by giving ample sheep to both packs and explaining to them that they were neither wild nor vicious, but simply misguided in attacking each other. Their mistake lay in believing that the traditions of their ancestors mandated such activities, even though it is not true. As a widely acknowledged expert on the traditions of wolves and foxes, I understand these matters far better than they do. Hence, I was able to convince them that with reality-based understanding such as I possess, they too would seek the beauties and benefits of unity permitting them to slaughter and eat my sheep peacefully and together.

Some who do not fully understand the inherent beauty and fairness of multiculturalism might contend that my actions were unfair to the sheep. They would be wrong. Sheep are gentle creatures and have been good to me; I have always ensured that they have plenty to eat and I have fleeced them only to provide for their well-being. We are as one and, to the extent that I am able, these benign practices will continue.

However, it is far more important to bring happiness and unity to creatures which have suffered for ages because of their erroneous but stereotypical characterization as evil. There is no evil and there is no good; all is relative. Who are we to declare that sheep are good and that wolves and foxes are evil? Don’t we also kill sheep and eat mutton? Wolves and foxes are neither better nor worse than human carnivores and it is prudent to act only on the basis of what is best for all.

My plan was successful. Happy with their full bellies, the wolves and foxes departed my kingdom in peace, promising to return together and in harmony only when they need my sheep. In the interim, they will devote their attentions to visiting neighboring farms in hopes that the owners will see the justice in my methods and adopt them. I promised to help my neighbors to adopt my enlightened multicultural views and to accord wolves and foxes every courtesy. As wolves and foxes come to understand the beauty and benefits of true multiculturalism, they will cease to be significant threats to anyone. That is a hope for change we can — and must — believe in.

Sheep

In fairness, I must acknowledge that my dear leader Obama demonstrated the efficacy of this solution several years ago when, with remarkable success, He persuaded diverse groups of Muslims to unite against America to force her to reject her old ways of dealing with what she wrongly characterized, not only as enemies, but even as evil enemies. Since then, we have made great progress in defeating the Non Islamic Islamic State (NIIS) and others allegedly intent upon endangering our national security. The world be a far better place now if President Roosevelt had fully accepted Nazi Germany, not as an evil enemy or even as an enemy, but as a friend and a humanitarian force for peace and enlightenment of civilization. Had my dear leader then been our President, that would have happened and there would have been no more war.

Example Three

This year, representatives of the Non-Islamic Taliban (NIT) sought to use several acres of my kingdom for an insurgent training camp. They explained that since my dear leader Obama has declared that they are not foreign terrorists, I should have no objection. On that basis, I saw no problem in dealing with them. They offered to pay me $5,000 per acre per week and I accepted, subject to the requirement that they wear Girl Scout costumes rather than their traditional attire so that none of my Islamophobic neighbors would be offended irrationally. The deal was struck.

Since they had not stated which part of my kingdom they wanted to use, I provided land on which my free range unicorns frolic. I assumed that they would not notice, and they didn’t. Only truly superior beings, like our own glorious dear leader Obama, myself and unicorns can communicate with unicorns; the NIT members couldn’t even see them.

obama-unicorn

I promptly advised my dear leader of my findings, and He stated that He will soon dispatch brigades of well trained unicorns, under the command of Brevet General Bowe Bergdahl, to do battle with both NIT insurgents and NIIS terrorists. When the unicorn brigades triumph, dear leader Obama will be able to proclaim yet another grand mission accomplished and demonstrate, once again, that we stand firmly, shoulder to shoulder, behind our gallant friends and allies who have been harmed by our dastardly non-Islamic enemies. No longer will we be viewed as impotent.

It may be true that, until now,

Nothing in all that standing together has been potent enough to stop these barbaric, brutal, heinous beheadings of American and British and Japanese citizens.

Brevet General Bergdahl and his brigades of unicorns will change that!

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I have many more inspiring stories to tell, but must leave immediately to chair a meeting of my Meretricious Relations Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Former President Clinton, the principal speaker on “How to lie with impunity,” will be accompanied by his lovely wife and confidant, Saint Hillarion, also a long recognized expert on that topic as well as concerning infamous right-wing conspiracy theories.

Their talents, like those of our current dear leader Obama, are much needed in dealing with our domestic enemies, evil right-wing terrorists all!

I look forward to serving under Saint Hillarion when she becomes our next dear leader, just as I have served under dear leader Obama.

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Editor’s comments

Senator Librul words of wisdom will be of great assistance to Obama in His war on non-Islamic terror and insurgency. Ideas such as the Senator’s are badly needed because in the aggregate they are far better, and hence far more likely to bring success, than what Obama has tried thus far.

Booze

If the spirits shine brightly and in copious quantities upon us, we may be able to believe that even before Obama’s son Trayvon II becomes our President, our enemies will have ceased to be our enemies and unicorns will again be able to frolic in peace throughout the entire world, Insha’Allah.

Posted in Afghanistan, al Qaeda, Appeasement, Bergdahl, Chickens, Fantasy, Foreign policy, Girl Scouts, Hillary Clinton, Humor, Islam, Islamic State, John Kerry, Leftists, Libruls, Military, Obama, Pigs, Politics, Satire, Unicorns, Wolves | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Obama, His Attorney General nominee and the Congress


Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar, constitutionalist and liberal in the old fashioned sense, considers Obama the most anti-Constitution President in recent memory. Excerpts from his prepared testimony on Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, are provided below.

Note that at the conclusion of his prepared testimony, Mr. Turley argues that in considering a nominee, the Senate should solicit the nominee’s views on the department’s past behavior and seek firm commitments to reform what needs to be reformed. Based on what I have read of the confirmation hearings, the present nominee’s answers have been less than forthcoming and her commitments have been, at best, evasive. If she does not satisfy the Senate that she will be diligent and effective in changing the path taken by the Holder Justice Department, she should not be confirmed.

That Ms. Lynch would be our first Black female attorney general should be a ground for neither confirmation nor non-confirmation. Unfortunately, I suspect that it will be seen as a compelling basis for confirmation, on both sides of the aisle.

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Mr. Turley’s blog of January 29th provides a link to his prepared testimony before the Senate, which is considering Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch as the replacement for Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States. Mr. Turley approves of some of Obama’s policies, but deplores the unconstitutional means He has chosen to implement them. Mr. Turley also considers General Holder to be a terrible attorney general, who has done more than any other attorney general in recent memory to elevate the power of the Executive over both the Legislative and Judicial branches of Government as established by the Constitution. Here are a few excerpts. All bold print emphases are mine, and I have omitted the lengthy footnotes. All twenty-six pages, single spaced and in PDF format are well worth reading.

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Mr. Turley’s prepared remarks:

As my writings indicate, I have been concerned about the erosion of the lines of separation in our system (and specifically the erosion of legislative authority) for many years. However, this concern has grown to alarm in the last few years under President Obama, someone whom I voted for and someone with whom I agree on many policy issues. We are watching a fundamental change in our constitutional system in the rise of a dominant Chief Executive, a type “uber presidency” that has evaded the limitations imposed by the Framers in our system. It certainly did not begin with President Obama, and I was previously critical of the action of President George W. Bush with regards to the loss of legislative authority. However, it has reached a dangerous constitutional tipping point under the current Administration. That aggrandizement of authority could not have occurred without the active support and catalytic role of the United States Justice Department.

The Justice Department, as an institution, has poorly served not just institutional but constitutional interests in the last decade through its consistent effort to expand executive authority. These policies often appear inherently hostile to fundamental principles contained within our constitutional systems from the separation of powers to federalism, privacy, due process, press freedom, free speech, and international law.

The implications of this trend are obviously chilling. However, the most serious threat is found in the controversies over the inherent power and limitations applicable to the presidency. Some of these conflicts are the manifestation of policies that can be undone, but the more fundamental attacks on separation principles threaten to change the very system under which our rights (and our future) are guaranteed. In my view, Attorney General Holder often appeared untethered by the constitutional moorings in the Vesting Clauses. As a result, he steered the Justice Department far outside of the navigational beacons in Article II. The question is whether Ms. Lynch will (or can) tack back to calmer constitutional waters to the benefit of not only the integrity of our Constitution but the Department itself.

. . . .

Our government requires consent and compromise to function. It goes without saying that when we are politically divided as a nation, less tends to get done. However, such division is no license to “go it alone” as the President has suggested. You have only two choices in our system when facing political adversaries: you can either seek to convince them or to replace them. This is obviously frustrating for presidents (and their supporters) who want to see real changes and to transcend gridlock. However, there is nothing noble in circumventing the Constitution. The claim of any one person that they can “get the job done” unilaterally is the very Siren’s Call that our Framers warned us to resist. It is certainly true that the Framers expected much from us, but no more than they demanded from themselves. Regrettably, we have failed that test in recent years as evidenced by the growing imbalance in our tripartite system of government.

. . . .

[The Bergdahl exchange, pp 4 – 6]

The position of the Obama Administration in violating the law showed a distinct lack of good faith or even a credible denial. While some argued that President Obama was now claiming that the law was never valid due to his inherent power as Commander in Chief, the defense of the swap came not from the Justice Department but from the National Security Council spokesperson, Caitlin Hayden. She explained that “[b]ecause such interference would significantly alter the balance between Congress and the President, and could even raise constitutional concerns, we believe it is fair to conclude that Congress did not intend that the Administration would be barred from taking the action it did in these circumstances.” The argument was rather bizarre on its face. Congress allowed for no waivers under the notice requirement—unlike other provisions under the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. As both Democratic and Republican leaders indicated in the aftermath of the swap, such a reading of the law is facially absurd to the point of being insulting. Notably, even if the President were acting under his inherent authority, Section 1035 does not, itself, prevent the transfer of prisoners but rather requires disclosure of such transfers. Likewise, the very touchstone of congressional authority is the power of the purse. Section 8111 exercised that authority in barring the use of funds for a purpose deemed by Congress inimical to the national interest. The President’s claim that he could simply disregard the law and then spend money expressly prohibited by federal law captures the new reality of our constitutional order. Admittedly, there are arguments that these laws did intrude upon Executive Authority and some academics consider the rise of a dominant president as not just an inevitable but also a positive development. However, President Obama was effectively claiming both the right to ignore a disclosure provision as well as an appropriations limitation. Such a position could effectively negate a host of environmental, labor, and other laws by the same logic. The signature of a president or enactment of a law could no longer be viewed as an assurance that federal law would be recognized or enforced.

[Federal agencies and departments, the “Fourth Branch,” pp 6 – 8]

Many scholars have described with approval the emergence of the “Age of Regulation” in the system of federal agencies. As I have previously written, these agencies now exercise sweeping discretion and authority in the regulation of every aspect of American life. The sheer size of these agencies puts the vast majority of their activities under self-regulation rather than direct congressional oversight. The degree of the range of inherent authority now claimed by agencies is evident in the well-known controversies over health care and immigration.

. . . .

The rise of both a dominant president and the Fourth Branch has shifted the center of gravity of our system—much at a cost to legislative power. That is a particularly dangerous change because it is in Congress that the disparate factional disputes are ideally transformed into majoritarian compromises. The pressure to compromise is only present in the system if the legislative system remains the sole course for bringing substantial change to federal laws and programs. If there is an alternative in unilateral executive action, the legislative process becomes purely optional and discretionary. The real meaning of a president claiming discretion to negate or change federal law is the discretion to use or ignore the legislative process. No actor in the Madisonian system is given such discretion. All three branches are meant to be locked in a type of constitutional synchronous orbit – held stable by their countervailing gravitational pull. If one of those bodies shifts, the stability of the system is lost.

[The Holder Justice Department, pp 8 – 20]

The Justice Department has played a key role in facilitating the erosion of legislative authority and the rise of executive power over the years. This is particularly the case under Attorney General Eric Holder, who can accurately be described as leaving one of the most damaging legacies in terms of separation principles. Indeed, General Holder has opposed some of the most fundamental exercises of congressional authority and litigated what are some of the most radical claims in federal court. While prior Attorneys General avoided court challenges in areas like executive powers and privilege, Holder has litigated with comparative abandon. In so doing, Holder has racked up serious losses in federal court in advancing extreme claims of unilateral executive power. The role of the Justice Department, however, goes beyond its direct confrontations with Congress. Many of the most controversial agency actions are filtered through the Justice Department in anticipation of litigation. The Justice Department works behind the scenes of many controversies in anticipating potential litigation and serving as a gatekeeper in the release of policies that could implicate constitutional powers.

The Department has advanced a comprehensive attack on separation principles that is unprecedented in its scope. While presidents such as Richard Nixon were known to advocate an “Imperial Presidency” model, no Administration has been nearly as active in the pursuit of such unilateral authority as the Obama Administration. The number of such disputes would be difficult to present in a testimonial format. However, they can be divided into two categories of separation violations: the obstruction of legislative authority and the usurpation of legislative authority.

. . . .

[Fast and Furious]

The reason that Fast and Furious is particularly illustrative is for a couple of salient factors. First, no one (not even General Holder) defends the Fast and Furious operation, which proved as lethal as it was moronic. It is a prototypical example of a program that is legitimately a focus of congressional oversight authority. A federal agency was responsible for facilitating the acquisition of powerful weapons by criminal gangs, including weapons later used to kill United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010. Congress has investigated not only the “gunwalking” operation, but also what it saw as concealment and obstruction, by the Administration, in its efforts to investigate the operation. Second, Congress had ample reason to expand its investigation after the Justice Department sent a letter on February 4, 2011 stating categorically that no gunwalking had taken place. It was not until December 2011 that Attorney General Holder informed Congress that it had been given false information and the letter was formally withdrawn. Congress responded by expanding the investigation into the false information given to it by the Executive Branch and the months of delay before Congress was informed of the misrepresentation of the facts underlying Fast and Furious. Finally, the position of the Justice Department on withholding documents has, in my view, been facially invalid and lacking in any credible good-faith interpretation of the executive privilege.

It is worth noting that the Administration in litigation over these claims presented the most extreme possible claims: not only refusing documents to investigatory committees in violation of legitimate legislative authority but contesting that a court can even rule on such a conflict in rejection of judicial authority.

. . .

The Administration in the case gave full voice to a vision of an imperial presidency where the Chief Executive was accountable to literally no one in such disputes. Indeed, in what is strikingly poor judgment in litigation management, the Justice Department has continued to make this extreme argument despite previously establishing precedent against itself in prior years.

After its admission of giving false information to Congress, the Justice Department’s position has been conflicted and, in my view, incoherent from a constitutional standpoint. After the House issued a subpoena for documents generated before and after February 4, 2011 only a partial production of documents was made by the Justice Department. Rather than recognizing the added burden of disclosure following its admitted false statement to Congress, the Department refused to produce clearly relevant documents. Then, in a June 20, 2012 letter, Deputy Attorney General, James M. Cole, informed Congress that the President had asserted executive privilege over documents dated after February 4, 2011. The stated rationale was that their disclosure would reveal the agency’s deliberative processes. That position was clearly overbroad and unsupportable given the scope of documents withheld. Giving false information to Congress runs to the core of oversight duties. Whatever the definition of deliberation may be for a court, lying to Congress and then knowingly withholding unprivileged documents is not within any reasonable definition of that term. Indeed, the Justice Department seemed hopelessly or intentionally unclear as to the scope of deliberative privilege, particularly in the distinction between this exception under FOIA and the common law versus its meaning under constitutional law. Moreover, the invocation of executive privilege on the day of the hearing over the contempt of Congress deepened the confusion.

. . . .

This confusion deepened further when the Department later admitted that virtually all of the documents withheld for months were unprivileged. On November 15, 2013, the Attorney General stated in court filings that he was withholding documents responsive to the Holder Subpoena that “do not . . . contain material that would be considered deliberative under common law or statutory standards.” Congress has a legitimate question of why the documents were withheld when they clearly were not privileged. The notion of a deliberative process privilege claim over non-deliberative documents was also made in the letter of General Holder to President Obama seeking a sweeping claim of executive privilege: “[b]ecause the documents at issue were generated in the course of the deliberative process concerning the Department’s responses to congressional and related media inquiries into Fast and Furious, the need to maintain their confidentiality is heightened. Compelled disclosure of such material, regardless of whether a given document contains deliberative content, would raise ‘significant separation of powers concerns.’

. . . .

Blocking Contempt Prosecution. One of the most troubling aspects of the Fast and Furious investigation was not just the withholding of non-privileged material but the later refusal of the Justice Department to submit the alleged violation to a grand jury— despite a historic vote of the House of Representatives finding General Holder in contempt. The decision to block any prosecution was a violation of a long-standing agreement between the branches and represents a serious affront to the institutional authority of this body.

. . . .

[T]he Administration (with the guidance of the Justice Department) first invokes overbroad executive privilege claims and then, when Congress seeks contempt prosecution, it cites its own overbroad executive privilege claims as the basis for refusing to give the matter to a grand jury. I have had criminal defense clients who would only envy such an ability to cite the basis for a criminal charge as the defense to a criminal charge. What is particularly breathtaking is that the Administration itself would confirm the non-privileged status of documents wrongly withheld from Congress but still insist that no grand jury could find such conduct the basis for a contempt charge. The current status of contempt powers in Congress is clearly untenable. To put it simply, the Justice Department has created a constructive immunity from congressional contempt through its expansive privilege claims. Indeed, it has taken roughly 200 years since Anderson v. Dunn, but the Justice Department has achieved in statutory criminal contempt what the Court feared with regard to inherent contempt: “the total annihilation of the power of the House of Representatives to guard itself from contempts, and leave . . . it exposed to every indignity and interruption that rudeness, caprice, or even conspiracy, may mediate against it.”

. . . .

Usurpation of Legislation Authority.

Where the controversies over subpoenas and contempt involved the resistance of legislative authority to investigate the Executive Branch, other controversies involve the intrusion into legislative authority. Once again, the Justice Department has played a critical role in such expansion in areas ranging from online gambling to educational waivers to immigration deportations to health care decisions.

Health Care

Once again, I support national health care and the goals of President Obama. There have been dozens of changes in deadlines and other provisions under the ACA. Again, I happen to agree with some of these changes but that does not change the fact that they are in direct conflict with legislative text. For example, Congress originally mandated that non-compliant policies could not be sold after October 1, 2014. That provision was unpopular with certain groups and the Obama Administration unilaterally ordered a two-year extension that allowed insurance companies to sell non-compliant, and thus unlawful, policies until October 2016. Another such change occurred with regard to the deadline for private employers with more than 50 full-time employees. This deadline was viewed by some as a critical element of the law and was arrived at after considerable debate. The Act expressly states that these provisions would become active on January 1, 2014. However, the Administration moved unilaterally to set its own deadline and thereby suspend annual penalties that would have brought in huge revenues in sanctions to the extent that businesses did not comply. It simply stated that the employer mandate and its reporting obligation “will not apply for 2014.” That change cost the government an estimated $10 billion in annual revenue. Then on February 10, 2014, the Administration again altered the statute by exempting employers with between fifty and ninety-nine full-time employees from all aspects of the employee coverage requirements until 2016.

In the resulting litigation, the Justice Department has advanced the same extreme interpretations of executive authority in defending the changes to the ACA. I would like to focus on one such controversy that is currently before the United States Supreme Court in King v. Burwell and before the D.C. Circuit en banc in Halbig v. Burwell. The focus of these cases is the interpretation of portion of the ACA governing state and federal exchanges. Congress established the authority of states to create their own exchanges under Section 1311. If states failed to do so, federal exchanges could be established under Section 1321 of the Act. However, in Section 1401, Congress established Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code to authorize tax credits to help qualifying individuals purchase health insurance. In Section 1401 expressly links tax credits to qualifying insurance plans purchased “through an Exchange established by the State under 1311.” The language that the qualifying exchange is “established by the State” seems quite clear, but the Administration faced a serious threat to the viability of the Act when thirty-four states opted not to create exchanges. The Administration responded with an interpretation that mandates that any exchange—state or federal— would now be a basis for tax credits. In adopting this statutory construction, the Administration committed potentially billions in tax credits that were not approved by Congress. The size of this financial commitment without congressional approval also strikes at the essence of congressional control over appropriation and budgetary matters.

THE ROLE OF CONFIRMATION HEARINGS IN RESOLVING INTERBRANCH CONFLICTS

Confirmation hearings necessarily raise not just the credentials but also the policies to be pursued by a nominee, particularly when there is an impasse with Congress and the agency. Indeed, such hearings often force commitments for changes or policies to assure the Senate that a candidate is prepared to respect the basic conditions of interbranch relations and privileges under the Constitution. Recently, I read with some interest the statement of former Solicitor General Charles Fried who noted that he was expressly asked for assurances on his future actions in offices and felt duty bound to fulfill those promises. Confirmation hearings allow Senators to confirm new commitments and direction for departments. In so doing, past conflicts can be reduced or, in the very least, directly addressed between the branches.

. . . .

Given the discretion afforded agencies (which are protected in the judicial system under such decisions as Chevron, Dominion, and Lane), the confirmation of agency and sub-agency heads is one of the most direct ways for Congress to try to influence or curtail decisions of the government. Congress’ direct hold over agency and sub-agency heads is limited to the critical decision of confirmation. While Congress may engage in informal consultation, it does not have a formal voice in the selection of a nominee and retention of a confirmed official. As Alexander Hamilton noted in the Federalist Papers, “[t]here will, of course, be no exertion of choice on the part of the Senate. . . . [T]hey can only ratify or reject the choice [the President] may have made.” Obviously, Senators are free to vote on any basis for the confirmation or the rejection of a nominee. They can vote for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. However, Senators in the past have demanded assurances on how a Department will perform its duties going forward as a condition for confirmation. For example, the past obstruction of oversight committees and failure to defend federal laws can be viewed as fundamental breaches in interbranch relations that demand resolution before confirmation.

More than any other department, the Justice Department has played a key role in facilitating the attack on congressional authority. The confirmation of an Attorney General necessarily raises the question of not just whether she will lead a federal department but what department she will lead. The Justice Department was once viewed as an apolitical institution that rose above political infighting and maintained a principled approach to the interpretation of the Constitution, particularly in deference to the separation of powers. In recent years, it has become both overly antagonistic and litigious with regard to the exercise of well-established legislative powers.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Congress, Constitution, Department of Justice, Eric Holder, Executive Decree, Federal Agencies, Federal budget, Freedom, Ideology, Immigration, Jonathan Turley, Law and Order, Leftists, Legislation, Limitation on Authority, Loretta Lynch, Obama, Obama Nation, ObamaCare, Politics, Sgt. Bergdahl | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Obama and cognitive dissonance


It has been argued that Obama’s cognitive dissonance is demonstrated by His dealings with Iran and His other disruptive efforts in the Middle East.  Perhaps the contrary is more accurate.

Basis of His foreign policies?

Basis of His foreign policies?

An article at Front Page Magazine by Bruce Thorton is titled The Dangers of Obama’s cognitive dissonance. It argues that Obama mistakenly believes that Iran and “we” want many of the same things and that He acts on that belief.

The heart of this mistake is the belief that whatever their professed beliefs, all peoples everywhere are just like us and want the same things we want. Since our highest goods are peace and prosperity, we think other nations’ privilege the same things. If peoples behave differently, it’s because they are warped by poverty or bad governments or religious superstitions, and just need to be shown that they can achieve those boons in rational, peaceful ways, especially by adopting liberal democracy and free-market economies. Once they achieve freedom and start to enjoy the higher living standards economic development brings, they will see the error of their traditional ways and abandon aggression and violence, and resolve conflicts with the diplomacy and negotiation we prefer. [Emphasis added.]

The Islamic Republic of Iran most likely does want peace and prosperity, but on its own terms.

Iran hangings by crane

Iran wants Islamic “peace” — the peace of universal submission to (a Shiite?) Allah — and at least sufficient prosperity to force its will on others who do not want “peace” of that sort. If Iran gets (or gets to keep) nuclear weapons, along with increasingly longer range missiles, it will be in an increasingly improved position to do that.

Obama may well have very similar goals for Iran. His demands that the P5+1 process continue despite Iran’s persistent refusals to make significant concessions, even as it continues to enhance its nuclear war machine, and His disposition to give Iran whatever concessions it wants, suggest that His and Iran’s objectives are similar. There is support for an alternative, that Obama is simply delusional. However, unless His closest, most trusted and therefore most important advisors are at least equally delusional, that alternative makes little sense. Although she appears to be a despicable person, Valerie Jarrett seems quite competent at what she does on His behalf. Others fall on their swords, fall into line and salute or leave.

Obama’s “extraordinary disconnect” in foreign policy was recently highlighted on CBS’ Face the Nation.

John Bolton said much the same.

Is it more likely that Obama merely fails to understand what’s happening, or that He understands and likes it? His State of Union address was full of foreign policy nonsense, much of it about Iran. However, it seems to have worked quite well with the large segment of the American public which neither understands nor cares about foreign affairs (except amusing affairs of a salacious nature) and believes that He strives mightily to give them the “free stiff” they believe they want, without understanding the economic hardships it has brought and will bring to them. If members of the public who already worship Him (and that includes most of the “legitimate news” media) continue to do so, it may well make little if any difference to Him or to His closest advisors whether those who disagree with Him still like, or continue to like, Him.

Leftist beliefs

After all, as we learned at the Democrat National Convention that nominated Obama for a second term, “we all belong to the Government,” it’s “one big happy family” and Obama is the head of “our family.”

In the final analysis, it may make little difference whether Obama is incompetent and delusional or is competent, understands His plans for Iran and the rest of the world far better than the rest of us and has perverse conceptions of evil and good.

Both theories are worth considering because both can help us to understand what He does, why He does it and what He intends to accomplish. However, delusional actions and intentions are difficult for those who are not delusional to understand and therefore to challenge. Actions and intentions that are, instead, based on a rational thought process — but one that views evil as good and good as evil — are easier to understand and therefore to challenge.

As I have watched Obama and His accomplishments over the years, I have come to lean toward the notion that He is competent, evil, understands what He is trying to achieve and likes it.

 

Posted in Ambassador Bolton, Chamberlain, Executive Decree, Fantasy, Foreign policy, Freedom, Government reliance, Iran, Iran scam, Islam, Islamic Caliphate, Leftists, Media, Middle East, Muslim supremacy, Nanny state, Nuclear weapons, Obama, Obama Nation, Politics, Sharia law, SOTU Address | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Obama’s perverse view of the presidency


During His State of the Union address, Obama clearly stated His view of the purpose of His presidency.

to follow the Constitution.  It's to old and too slow.

to follow the Constitution. It’s too old and too slow.

Here it is: “to do what I believe is best for America.” He presumably means an America as she would be after His radical transformation has been completed. He constantly tries to transform her in His own image.

Obama-State of Me

Following the Constitution — not trying to evade Article II limitations on the Executive Branch and not trying to diminish the Article I role of Congress — is best for America. A dictator would feel otherwise. The Constitution was designed to prevent the rise of dictatorships in America. Obama’s efforts to diminish the constitutional framework of governance are indicative of His dictatorial aspirations.

Power Line‘s Steven Hayward, in an article titled The tyrant and the statesman, made the point quite well:

Remember when Obama remarked that “it turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.It turns out? He just figured that out when he got to the White House? What closet did Valerie Jarrett stuff the hapless fellow who broke the news? [Emphasis added.]

Obama’s impatience with the Constitution—a document that went unmentioned in last night’s State of the Union address—was on full display. Ken Masugi notes over at the LibertyLawSite:

Evidently no one heard Obama declare,  “My only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one I’ve had since the day I swore an oath on the steps of this Capitol — to do what I believe is best for America.” No, he swore an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” What he feels “is best for America” may well differ from faithful execution of his office and guardianship of the Constitution. So Obama admits he is a law unto himself. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

By contrast, take in these two paragraphs from the 1987 SOTU of Ronaldus Magnus:

Over the years—I won’t count if you don’t—nothing has been so heartwarming to me as speaking to America’s young, and the little ones especially, so fresh-faced and so eager to know. Well, from time to time I’ve been with them—they will ask about our Constitution. And I hope you Members of Congress will not deem this a breach of protocol if you’ll permit me to share these thoughts again with the young people who might be listening or watching this evening. I’ve read the constitutions of a number of countries, including the Soviet Union’s. Now, some people are surprised to hear that they have a constitution, and it even supposedly grants a number of freedoms to its people. Many countries have written into their constitution provisions for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Well, if this is true, why is the Constitution of the United States so exceptional? [Emphasis added.]

Well, the difference is so small that it almost escapes you, but it’s so great it tells you the whole story in just three words: We the people. In those other constitutions, the Government tells the people of those countries what they’re allowed to do. In our Constitution, we the people tell the Government what it can do, and it can do only those things listed in that document and no others. Virtually every other revolution in history has just exchanged one set of rulers for another set of rulers. Our revolution is the first to say the people are the masters and government is their servant. And you young people out there, don’t ever forget that. Someday you could be in this room, but wherever you are, America is depending on you to reach your highest and be your best—because here in America, we the people are in charge. [Emphasis added.]

Notice several striking wholesale differences from Obama, starting with the polite deference to Congress before he offers his instruction on the Constitution. But above all there is the reminder that the “We” in constitutional government should always be followed by “the people,” whereas when Obama says “we” (or “I”), he means our betters in Washington, who are our masters rather than our servants as Reagan made them out. [Emphasis added.]

Another substantial, albeit diminishing, difference between the U.S. Constitution and those of many other nations — Venezuela, for example — is that while their constitutions have fine phrases about multiple freedoms and constitutional governance, they ignore them in practice. How far will we follow their paths to dictatorship?

Some of the blame lies with the Congress, and Obama has gone well beyond taking full advantage. Legislation such as ObamaScare tends to be lengthy, with numerous  opportunities granted to multiple Federal agencies, commissions and departments to expand upon it, without regard to congressional intent, or even clear statutory language, when following it would foil their own inconsistent objectives. Phrases such as “and such other *** as the Administrator shall decide” are common. The judiciary then compounds the problem by giving undue deference to agency interpretations, findings of fact and alleged expertise.

Congress could do much to avoid future executive branch interference by writing clearer legislation with fewer opportunities for executive branch revisions. It is doubtful that it will, because that would require substantially more work, thereby interfering with what many Congress critters appear to consider their most important functions, fund raising and getting reelected to continue to suck on golden teats.

Ted Cruz got many points right in the following video of a recent extemporaneous speech to a bunch of “tea party terrorists.” We need a constitutional conservative as President, not a “Progressive” in Republican clothing.

Can we do it? Will we do it?

Posted in 2016, Abuse of Power, Administrative law, Campaign contributions, Chavez, Congress, Conservatives, Constitution, Democracy, Democrats, Domestic policies, Elections, Executive action, Executive Order, Federal Agencies, Foreign policy, Freedom, Illegal immigration, Justice, Leftists, Legislation, Limitation on Authority, Nanny state, Obama, Obama Nation, Politics, Power Line, Republican establishment, TEA Groups, Ted Cruz, the Basics, Venezuela | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts on the Anniversary of General Robert E. Lee’s Birth


This is a re-post of an article I wrote last year to celebrate the anniversary of General Lee’s birth on January 19, 1807. My concerns for the future remain about the same, although the current threats to freedom of speech and of religion from Islam and its advocates are now higher.

Robert E Lee1

We have changed as a nation, often not for the better.

We, as a nation, seem to have done with heroes of his type. Yet he inspired a fledgling nation, the Confederate States of America — young, old, rich and poor alike. Those who reminisce about him do so mainly because of his devotion to duty, honor and integrity as well as his compassion and wisdom. He had those qualities in rare abundance.

General Lee was not “hip” as Victor Davis Hanson uses the term to describe most of our modern leaders and heroes. Hipness rejects all but caricatures of devotion to duty, honor, integrity, compassion and wisdom.

America has always been a country of self-invention. Yet there used to be some correlation between the life that one lived and the life that one professed. It was hard to be a phony in the grimy reality of the coal mine, the steel mill, the south 40 acres, or atop a girder over Manhattan. (Emphasis added.)

No longer in our post-modern, post-industrial, metrosexual fantasyland. The nexus of big government, big money, and globalization has created a new creed of squaring the circle of being both liberal and yet elitist, egalitarian-talking but rich-acting, talking like a 99 percenter and living like a 1 percenter. And the rub is not that the two poles are contradictory, but that they are, in fact, necessary for each other: talking about the people means it is OK to live unlike the people.

Hip is like “cool”, whose power I wrote about not long ago: a general sense of tapping into the popular youth culture of music, fashion, food, electronics, easy left-wing politics, and adolescent habit. Hipness is a tool designed to justify enjoying the riches and leisure produced by the American brand of Western market capitalism by poking fun at it, teasing it some, dressing it up a bit to suggest ambivalence over its benefits without ever seriously either understanding their source or, much less, losing them. We feel hip at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but not so much in the organic section of Safeway.

Hip also plays out as professed caring — worrying in the abstract about all sorts of endangered species, starving peoples, or degraded environments. It is being loudly angry at retrograde forces — white males, the rich, gun owners, Christians, family types, and suburbanites, the sorts who ostensibly crafted the toxicity of Western civilization that you are forced to use and enjoy. Yet embrace hip, and all things become possible. A Martian would see the modern university as an elitist enclave, where life-long tenured professors make lots of money overseen by hordes of even better-paid administrators, that together cause tuition for cash-strapped and indebted students to rise faster than the rate of inflation without any promises that their eventual certifications will result in commensurate good jobs. A non-Martian would instead appreciate the hip nexus of diversity, eco-caring, and gender-neutral inclusivity.

Hip is a sort of Neanderthal mentality that is terrified of serious thinking, and thus substitutes the superfluous for the profound. (Emphasis added.)

When I read what passes for “news” about our CongressCritters of both parties, our President and his administration — and indeed about our now popular role models — I scratch my head and wonder where the decidedly non-hip qualities of General Lee and others of his generation went. Are they now dead to America or only hibernating? If not dead, will they be reawakened by anything less traumatic than another Civil War? Someday?

I hope so. However, there is substantial interest today in the causes of our first Civil War which, as I argue at the following link, was precipitated on the Southern side by concern over Federal emasculation of the Constitution. That article, posted on December 27, 2011, continues to be the most popular ever on my little blog. It has had 26, 406 views, 18,728 of them in 2012 and 7,636 so far this month. Most came via Google and other search engines, suggesting broader interest than only in the “violent far-right” conservative blogsphere. [Update: the article has now had 44,360 views.]

Might reports such as a recent one by a West Point think tank create even more interest in the Civil War? Entitled Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right, it “lumps limited government activists with three movements it identifies as ‘a racist/white supremacy movement, an anti-federalist movement and a fundamentalist movement.'” Here’s a bit more about how it

paints a broad brush of people it considers “far right.”

It says anti-federalists “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. Finally, they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government. Extremists in the anti-federalist movement direct most their violence against the federal government and its proxies in law enforcement.”

The report also draws a link between the mainstream conservative movement and the violent “far right,” and describes liberals as “future oriented” and conservatives as living in the past. (Emphasis added.)

“While liberal worldviews are future- or progressive -oriented, conservative perspectives are more past-oriented, and in general, are interested in preserving the status quo.” the report says. “The far right represents a more extreme version of conservatism, as its political vision is usually justified by the aspiration to restore or preserve values and practices that are part of the idealized historical heritage of the nation or ethnic community.” (Emphasis added.)

The report adds: “While far-right groups’ ideology is designed to exclude minorities and foreigners, the liberal-democratic system is designed to emphasize civil rights, minority rights and the balance of power.”

The report says there were 350 “attacks initiated by far-right groups/individuals” in 2011.

The report “was written by Arie Perliger, who directs the center’s terrorism studies and teaches social sciences at West Point.” I don’t understand why even “far right” domestic conservatives need be a concern at West Point or how they could be relevant to what young Army officers of the future are being trained for. But gee whiz, there’s probably no need for worry. I hope wish.

Back to General Lee

The present article is to some extent based on Rod Cragg’s Robert E. Lee,  A Commitment to Valor. Otherwise unattributed quotations and other material generally come from it.

General Lee’s father, “Light-Horse Harry Lee,” had distinguished himself as a cavalry commander in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He later served in the United States Congress and eventually as Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. On the death of President Washington, under whom he had served during the Revolutionary War, he was asked by the Congress to deliver a tribute:

First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen…second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life.

Robert E. Lee secured an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and was graduated in 1829. He eventually rose to the rank of Colonel as Commander of the U.S. Army’s Texas Department in 1860. Although he considered slavery a “moral and political evil,” he declined a field command of U.S. forces when Virginia seceded and resigned from the U.S. Army to take command of Virginia’s military forces. Compelled by his sense of honor, he felt that it was his duty to do so. “I did only what my duty demanded; I could have taken no other course without dishonor.” On April 20, 1861, he wrote to the Secretary of War:

Sir, I have the honor to tender my resignation of my command as colonel of the First Regiment of Cavalry.

Very respectfully your obedient servant,

R.E. Lee, Colonel First Cavalry

In a letter to General Winfield Scott, Commanding, United States Army, Lee wrote on April 20, 1861:

General: Since my interview with you on the 18th instant, I have felt that I ought not longer retain my commission in the army. I therefore tender my resignation, which I request you will recommend for acceptance. It would have been presented at once but for the struggle it has caused me to separate myself from a service to which I have devoted the best years of my life, and all the ability I possessed.

During the whole of that time — more than a quarter of a century– I have experienced nothing but kindness from my superiors, and the most cordial friendship from my comrades. To no one, General, have I been as much indebted as to yourself, for uniform kindness and consideration, and it has always been my ardent desire to merit your approbation. I shall carry to the grave the most grateful recollections of your kind consideration, and your name and fame will always be dear to me.

Save in defence of my native state, I never desire again to draw my sword. Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the continuance of your happiness and prosperity, and believe me, most truly yours, (Emphasis added.)

R.E. Lee.

Lee had served as a captain on General Scott’s staff during the Mexican War.

Here are some insights into the views of General Lee and his brother Sydney Smith Lee:

Neither Smith nor Robert wanted to see Virginia join the Confederacy. They agreed, nevertheless, to make their decision jointly if Virginia chose to leave the Union. On April 18, 1861, Smith and Robert met with their cousin Samuel Phillips Lee to discuss what to do if Virginia seceded. Phillips Lee, a naval officer, made it clear he would stay with the Union, and Smith promised to blow him out of the water by placing a battery on the Virginia shore. Phillips was the son-in-law of Francis Preston Blair Jr., one of the most influential figures in the United States, with a father and brother then serving in Lincoln’s Cabinet. He later attempted to obtain the U.S. Army commanding general’s position for Robert and an equally important position for Smith, but it was in vain, as both brothers refused to desert their native state.

When substantial numbers of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy left to join their States and the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the war, a retreat ceremony at which Dixie was played in their honor is said to have been held at West Point. Accurate? I don’t know but it is a pleasant story whether true or fictional. Here is a scene from a motion picture version:

Captain Fitzhugh Lee, as portrayed in the movie, was probably intended to represent a nephew of General Lee. “In May 1860, he was appointed instructor of cavalry tactics at West Point, but resigned his commission upon the secession of Virginia. [3]

Following many military successes and some defeats, Lee was promoted to General-in-Chief of all Confederate armies in early 1865.

His depleted army could not maintain its defensive line at Petersburg, however, and he was forced to abandon Richmond and make the retreat that ended in his surrender at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1965.

Colonel Ives, an officer who served on General Lee’s staff, wrote

His name might be audacity. He will take more desperate chances, and take them quicker than any other general in this country, North or South.

Another wrote, “His soldiers reverenced him and had unbounded confidence in him, for he shared all their privations.”

General Lee was compelled to surrender to General Grant at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865.

Richard Bales’ Confederacy also includes a recitation of General Lee’s farewell address. I heard that recording back in 1958 or ’59 when Mr. Bales visited one of our high school (then St. Stephen’s School for Boys) history classes. I vaguely recall a comment by Mr. Bales that one of General Lee’s descendants, an Episcopalian clergyman from Virginia, had read the farewell address for his Confederacy production. The soundtrack in the YouTube video sounds as I recall the recitation in Mr. Bales’ Confederacy. More than half a century later, the once familiar south-western Virginia accent seems strange, more similar perhaps to proper English than to what is often heard now in the United States.

A Northern officer who observed General Lee at Appomattox wrote, “In manner, [Lee was] grave and dignified . . . which gave him the air of a man who kept his pride to the last.” A private soldier who had served with General Lee throughout the war wrote,

As Lee came riding alone into Richmond [after his surrender], his old followers immediately recognized him and followed him to his home where, with uncovered heads, they saw him to his door. Then they silently dispersed.

And another:

“Howdy do, my man.” Lee – responding to a “feeble-minded” soldier who ignored military protocol and greeted him with “Howdy do, dad.”

And another:

General Lee reproving a youthful courier for neglecting his winded mount: Young man, you should have some feeling for your horse, dismount and rest him.

And another:

In the rush of this age, a character so simply meek and so proudly, grandly strong is scarce comprehensible” — An elderly Confederate veteran, reflecting on Lee in the early twentieth century.

Shortly after surrendering, General Lee wrote in reply to an English correspondent who had offered a place to escape the destruction of Virginia following the war: “I cannot desert my native State in the hour of her adversity. I must abide by her fortunes, and share her fate.”

Robert E. Lee,  A Commitment to Valor, contains many other quotations from General Lee. Here are two of my favorites:

Duty . . . is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. . . . You cannot do more — you should never wish to do less. (From a prewar letter to one of his sons.)

Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one; the man who requires you to do is dearly purchased at a sacrifice. (From a letter to one of his sons.)

How might General Lee fit in with the United States of today?

Would he fit the description of a dangerous far-right conservative from the West Point think tank report quoted above?

believing it [the Federal Government] to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. Finally, they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government.

Would he be favorably disposed toward this apparently successful advertisement from the Obama-Biden campaign?

What, for that matter, would General Lee think of President Obama and his administration in general? Their foreign and domestic policies? President Obama’s penchant for Executive Decrees Orders?

General Lee may have been unique to his time and to a world vastly different from ours. Then, the individual States were seen as sovereign entities, more important for most domestic purposes than the Federal Government. Now? Apparently not by our betters in Washington or by the heads of many States.

We could perhaps benefit from a moment or two spent in reflecting on General Lee’s character while also evaluating those who are now our State and national leaders as well as those whom we might want to replace them. January 19th would seem an appropriate time for such reflections.

Perhaps inspiration may be found in this old Scots ballad.

General Lee’s Commonwealth of Virginia still has blue mountains, far away from Northern Virginia and the Seat of Government in Washington, D.C. Perhaps there are still at least a few people there and in other States who recall General Lee’s memory fondly and cherish his old fashioned, un-“hip,” notions of what States are for. Perhaps they also cherish his now quaint ideas of duty, honor, integrity, compassion and wisdom. I hope so.

Did I mention that there seems to be renewed interest in the Second Amendment as it may be fading into official obscurity? Oddly and doubtless merely a coincidence, a Guns Across America “protest against ANY and ALL future gun legislation” is scheduled for January 19th. The event may necessitate an addendum to Arie Perliger’s treatise on far right fundamentalists.

Posted in Robert E. Lee | Tagged | 5 Comments

Islam and the destruction of our culture: Obama and collective insanity


If “the collective we” were sane, we would exclude those who want to kill us and destroy our culture of freedom.

Basis of His foreign policies?

The basis of His foreign and some domestic policies

Geert Wilders explained the problem, quite well, to the Dutch parliament.

Where is our Geert Wilders? Why are those who want to eliminate, or even limit,  immigration by those who reject our cultural values deemed racist and/or “Islamophobic”? “Islamophobia” is the irrational fear of Islam, but the term is used to encompass all whose fear or dislike of Islam is rational. Are “the collective we” insane?

Lucy psych

Obama does seem to be insane, but not because of any irrational fear of Islam. Perhaps He suffers from “freedomphobia” or “realityphobia.” He claims that Islamic terror is not Islamic, while recognizing that Islamic terrorists are Islamic. An article at American Thinker suggested that He is psychotic. It points out a few of the ways in which Obama has treated violent terrorists as Islamic, while maintaining that they are not.

Osama bin-Laden

The body of Osama bin-Laden, leader of al-Qaeda belatedly killed at Obama’s direction, was disposed of at Obama’s direction according to Islamic teachings:

If Obama didn’t consider Osama a faithful Muslim, why did he order the U.S. Navy to bury him at sea within 24 hours, according to Islamic law?

Why didn’t Obama order the Navy to unceremoniously slip bin Laden’s body into the water from the ship’s deck as some sort of generic extremist?

The administration actually hyped its considerable efforts to make sure that bin Laden’s burial complied with Islamic law. Obama’s White House counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, claimed that bin Laden’s remains were buried “in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices.” Brennan said the administration consulted “appropriate specialists and experts” before making the decision,” according to the Washington Post. [Emphasis added.]

Then White House press secretary Jay Carney confirmed bin Laden’s Islamic burial during a press briefing on May 4, 2011:

“The efforts that were made to give Osama bin Laden an appropriate burial, following Islamic precepts and traditions, were considerable.”

GITMO

Why hasn’t Obama ordered the Marine commandant at Guantanamo Bay to stop providing an Islamic diet, prayer beads, prayer rugs, and Korans to prisoners affiliated with al Qaeda, ISIL and other terrorist groups if they’re not Islamic? This includes Khalid Shaikh Mohammed who admittedly decapitated American journalist Daniel Pearl and masterminded the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

The New York Post on June 30, 2013, published photos of the many choices of Halal foods offered to Gitmo inmates and quoted an unidentified official at Gitmo:

The official called Gitmo detainees ‘some of the most pampered prisoners on the planet.’ He said they get as many as four choices of halal meals and have access to a new $750,000 soccer field. Islamic prayer beads and rugs are now “standard issue.” They get their choice of more than 10,000 Islamic books and videos stocked by a Muslim librarian, who also records soccer and Arabic TV for them. They even have their own clerics to preach to them in Arabic.

Everyone gets a Koran, paperback or hardback, along with little hammocks to keep their holy book from touching the ground when not in use. Guards are prohibited from handling the books. The Muslim librarian is ‘the only one that’s allowed to touch the Korans anymore, per detainee request,’ the official said. ‘If I went into the Koran room and started rifling through a Koran, I could be fired.’ But no one gets a Bible, because the Bible could ‘incite’ the terrorists.

USA Today published a similar article, “Muslim Holy Period to Be Celebrated at Guantanamo,” on Aug. 7, 2013:

The military planned to serve lamb, bread, dates and honey as the last daylight fasting period of Ramadan ends, followed by three traditional holiday dinners on Thursday, said a spokesman for the prison, Navy Capt. Robert Durand. There will also be a special hour-long prayer for the holiday known as Eid al-Fitr in addition to the five daily prayers.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation

If, as Obama continues to tell us, the Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups are “not Islamic,” how about the Islamic nations we recognize and/or negotiate with, including Saudi Arabia and Iran? Their efforts to eliminate all critical examination of Islam — by Muslims as well as by non-Muslims — along with their human rights records in general, fit quite well with those of “non-Islamic” Islamic terror groups.

Washington Post opinion piece titled Meet the honor brigade, an organized campaign to silence debate on Islam argues, correctly in my view, that Islam as now practiced poses existential dangers to and otherwise inhibits the few actually moderate Muslims who are working for gradual change. In republishing the article at Warsclerotic, I added this parenthetical comment:

(It’s encouraging to read that a few actually moderate Muslims are slowly bringing modest changes to a few who practice the Religion of the Perpetually Offended and Violent. However, much more and a long time will be needed before significant numbers of “moderate” and “non-extremist” Muslims begin to accept freedoms for themselves and for others and to reject Sharia law in its present and historic form.  Until then?– DM)

The author’s proposed changes, for example in the ways that women are treated in mosques, have been condemned. She contends broadly that

we need a new interpretation of Islamic law in order to change the culture. This would require rejecting the eight schools of religious thought that dominate the Sunni and Shiite Muslim world. I propose naming a new one after ijtihad, the concept of critical thinking, and elevating self-examination over toxic shame-based discourse, laws and rules. [Emphasis added.]

What would be left of Islam were that to happen?

She and many others have been deemed “Islamophobes,” and an “honor brigade” has been formed to combat “Islamophobia.”

The official and unofficial channels work in tandem, harassing, threatening and battling introspective Muslims and non-Muslims everywhere. They bank on an important truth: Islam, as practiced from Malaysia to Morocco, is a shame-based, patriarchal culture that values honor and face-saving from the family to the public square. Which is why the bullying often works to silence critics of Islamic extremism. [Emphasis added.]

“Honor brigades are wound collectors. They are couch jihadis,” Joe Navarro, a former supervisory special agent in the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit, tells me. “They sit around and collect the wounds and injustices inflicted against them to justify what they are doing. Tragedy unites for the moment, but hatred unites for longer.”

. . . .

The campaign began, at least in its modern form, 10 years ago in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, when the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a mini-United Nations comprising the world’s 56 countries with large Muslim populations, plus the Palestinian Authority — tasked then-Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu with combating Islamophobia and projecting the “true values of Islam.” During the past decade, a loose honor brigade has sprung up, in part funded and supported by the OIC through annual conferences, reports and communiques. It’s made up of politicians, diplomats, writers, academics, bloggers and activists. [Emphasis added.]

In 2007, as part of this playbook, the OIC launched the Islamophobia Observatory, a watchdog group based in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, with the goal of documenting slights against the faith. Its first report, released the following year, complained that the artists and publishers of controversial Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad were defiling “sacred symbols of Islam . . . in an insulting, offensive and contemptuous manner.” The honor brigade began calling out academics, writers and others, including former New York police commissioner Ray Kelly and administrators at a Catholic school in Britain that turned away a mother who wouldn’t remove her face veil.

“The OIC invented the anti-‘Islamophobia’ movement,” says Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a frequent target of the honor brigade. “These countries . . . think they own the Muslim community and all interpretations of Islam.”

Alongside the honor brigade’s official channel, a community of self-styled blasphemy police — from anonymous blogs such as LoonWatch.com and Ikhras.com to a large and disparate cast of social-media activists — arose and began trying to control the debate on Islam. This wider corps throws the label of “Islamophobe” on pundits, journalists and others who dare to talk about extremist ideology in the religion. Their targets are as large as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and as small as me.

The official and unofficial channels work in tandem, harassing, threatening and battling introspective Muslims and non-Muslims everywhere. They bank on an important truth: Islam, as practiced from Malaysia to Morocco, is a shame-based, patriarchal culture that values honor and face-saving from the family to the public square. Which is why the bullying often works to silence critics of Islamic extremism. [Emphasis added.]

Is Obama an honorary member of the OIC  and/or a “honor brigade”? He might as well be. Please see my articles, Obama plans to restrain media offensiveness to Islam and A thought experiment about Islam.

Conclusions

Geert Wilders, whose fears and concerns about Islam are manifestly rational, is no “Islamophobe.” He is one of the few politicians who recognize the dangers of Islam to the lives and freedoms of all who are not Muslim, as well as of some who are. If and until Islam some fine day becomes moderate and non-extremist — as Obama et al tell us it now is — we need many more like Mr. Wilders.

ADDENDUM

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