“The province of the Court is solely to decide on the rights of individuals. … Questions, in their nature political or which are, by the Constitution and laws, submitted to the Executive, can never be made in this court.” –John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, 1803
From the Captain Renault Files, we’re shocked – shocked – that one of the “Taliban Five” Gitmo terrorists Barack Obama released in exchange for Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl, now wants to rejoin Taliban terrorists. (Yes, they are terrorists despite the Obama administration’s insistencethey are not.) The Taliban Five were supposed to be under Qatar supervision, but even Obama conceded last June, “Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely.” On the other hand, Hillary Clinton downplayed the threatdeclaring, “These five guys are not a threat to the United States.” But as Mark Alexander has argued since the administration started releasing terrorists, “Eventually, when it is determined that some of those terrorists returned to the killing fields – and that time will come – their victims, particularly any American or allied deaths, will be hung around Obama’s neck.” In his State of the Union, Obama said, “[W]e’ve worked responsibly to cut the population of Gitmo in half. Now it is time to finish the job. And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down.” The price of this “responsible cut” will be heavy. More…
The president so adept at capitalizing on every crisis has called the “Republican” sequestration a “manufactured crisis” – a crisis, by the way, that was his idea. Barack Obama will present his proposed budget to Congress Monday. In it, he attempts to undo the gains made in cutting spending growth. Yet in a Huffington Post blog entry, the president wrote, “I’m proud that since I took office, we’ve experienced the fastest period of sustained deficit reduction since the end of World War II. … Of course, to make these common-sense investments in our future without adding to our deficits, we need to turn the page on the manufactured crises that have defined the debates over our budget in recent years.” As usual, Obama doesn’t tell the complete truth. The deficit quadrupled during Obama’s first months in office and he has spent six years paring it down. Even now, the deficit is higher than pre-Obama levels. And that’s just enough for Obama to create a manufactured breakthrough. More…
House Speaker John Boehner announced another vote to repeal ObamaCare. Obviously, this will go nowhere beyond the House – it will likely die in the Senate despite Republican control – but, as Boehner explained, “We have 47 new members of Congress on the Republican side who have never had the chance to cast their vote to repeal ObamaCare.” House Republicans, he added, are also working on alternatives: “Three committee chairmen who have jurisdiction over the health care policy in our country … are working together to craft what we believe would be a better approach with regard to health care for the American people than ObamaCare. … There will be an alternative, and you’ll get to see it.” The three chairmen are Fred Upton (Energy and Commerce), Paul Ryan (Ways and Means) and John Kline (Education and the Workforce). Details remain to be seen, but Republicans also know an alternative won’t become law as long as Barack Obama occupies the Oval Office.
In a 62-36 vote, the Senate sent a bill authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline to the House. Nine Democrats voted for the pipeline, but that still leaves the legislation five votes shy of overriding a promised presidential veto. The bill came with amendments benefitting the Left, including one in which 98 senators declared climate change is happening. “I’d like to congratulate Sen. [Mitch] McConnell for passing this bill in an open, inclusive and bipartisan way,” House Speaker John Boehner said. “After dropping his scheme to tax middle-class college savings, we hope President Obama will now drop his threat to veto this common-sense bill that would strengthen our energy security and create thousands and thousands of new, good-paying American jobs.” But the White House will unlikely do so. As political analyst George Will wryly observed, “America built the Empire State Building, then the world’s tallest office building, in 410 days during the Depression. We built the Pentagon, still the world’s largest low-rise office building, in 16 months while waging a war across two oceans. Keystone has been studied for more than six years. And Obama considers this insufficient?” More…
Barack Obama said he won’t meet with Benjamin Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister visits Washington in March because it will be too close to the Israeli elections. It would be “inappropriate,” he explained. As Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor for the Jerusalem Post,wrote, “Obama … believes in protocol and propriety which is why he won’t get involved. No, he’s not getting involved at all. He’s just sending his 2012 field campaign manager to Israel to run a campaign to defeat Netanyahu. That’s all. No interference whatsoever.” That’s right: Jeremy Bird, the man who served as Obama’s national campaign director, and who leveraged social media and big data to send Obama to the White House, was hired by a group called OneVoice to inject U.S. campaign influence into the Israeli election. This is the Obama of the perpetual campaign. Not only have he and his meddlesome, anti-Israel goons taken campaigns to the international level, they are using this politicking to unseat a tough, terror-fighting world leader whom Obama despises. More…
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Eric Schultz opened up a can of worms when answering a question from ABC’s Jonathan Karl at Wednesday’s White House press briefing. Schultz, the White House deputy press secretary, gave a meandering answer on Jordan’s willingness to trade a convicted terrorist to ISIL for one of its captured pilots, noting that the United States doesn’t pay ransom to or negotiate with terrorists. Except when Barack Obama wants to.
Karl then asked, “[Y]ou say the United States government does not give in to demands [and] does not pay ransom. But how is what the Jordanians are talking about doing any different than what the United States did to get the release of [Bowe] Bergdahl – the releasing prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay to the Taliban, which is clearly a terrorist organization?”
Schultz stammered, “As you know, this was highly discussed at the time. And prisoner swaps are a traditional, end-of-conflict interaction that happens. As the war in Afghanistan wound down, we felt like it was the appropriate thing to do. The president’s bedrock commitment as commander in chief is to leave no man or woman behind.” (Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Ty Woods were unavailable for comment.)
Pressed for clarification, Schultz added, “I’d also point out that the Taliban is an armed insurgency; ISIL is a terrorist group. So we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups.”
The Taliban must be wondering what it has to do to earn the “terrorist” label. Apparently, the massacre of more than 130 school children in Pakistan last month wasn’t enough to impress the Obama administration. Nor was the Taliban’s role in killing three American contractors in Kabul this week.
Did we mention that one of the Taliban Five is seeking to return to the battlefield?
Leaving aside the legal questions about the five-for-one swap for a deserter, few believe Schultz’s hair-splitting contrast between the Taliban and ISIL. And, by the way, it’s no mean feat for ISIL to be promoted from the junior varsity to a terrorist group with whom we’re not willing to negotiate – yet.
When Schultz’s boss, Press Secretary Josh Earnest, tried to clarify the remarks, they became even muddier. It was the groups' scope of effort, explained Earnest, because “the Taliban’s objectives are focused specifically on Afghanistan” while ISIL and al-Qaida have a much larger agenda. That’s small consolation for the American families who lost loved ones fighting the Taliban’s terrorist regime in Afghanistan, particularly as Obama negotiates his foolish withdrawal from that country. The assertion also contradicts the Treasury Department’s consideration of the Taliban as terrorists for the purpose of economic sanctions.
In either case, we’d venture to guess that soon the Taliban will make peace with and provide safe haven for their ISIL brethren, regardless of what the White House press office wants to call it.
The problem with Obama’s foreign policy is that everything is a domestic political calculation. And, therefore, the fruit of Obama’s meandering foreign policy is quite rotten.
Cuban dictator Raul Castro announced an extensive list of demands this week in order to re-establish diplomatic relations with the United States. Under normal circumstances this would constitute a deal breaker for the American government. Unfortunately, circumstances are far from normal with Barack Obama at the helm of American foreign policy.
Castro ticked off a whole grocery list of items at a Community of Latin American and Caribbean States meeting Wednesday that he claims are necessary for normalized relations. This list includes a complete lifting of the economic embargo, compensation for economic damage caused by the decades-long embargo, an end to U.S. support of Cuban dissidents, Cuba’s removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, an end to anti-Castro radio and television broadcast transmissions, and the return of Guantanamo Bay to the Cuban government.
As for what the U.S. is supposed to receive in return for all this, well, that would be basically nothing. But Obama would get to claim that he opened Cuba, a hollow victory that would nevertheless occupy an entire wing in his future presidential library.
Obama announced his intention to re-establish diplomatic relations with the Communist regime on Dec. 17. His motivations were two-fold, both equally self-serving. First, he was eager to wash away the embarrassment of the complete rejection of his agenda in the midterms, and second, he wanted something, anything that historians could point to as a major accomplishment of his time in the Oval Office.
In the context of this ongoing dialogue, Castro’s recent demands would supposedly constitute the next step toward normalization. But Raul, like his older brother Fidel, who surfaced long enough to give his blessing to the talks while expressing distrust of the U.S., recognizes that Obama is motivated by love of self far more than he is by love of country. And the Castro brothers will play that to their advantage.
It’s likely why Castro floated such a bold list of demands. He has already stated that he will take whatever the U.S. gives him, but there are no plans whatsoever to change Cuba’s current system of government.
Let’s set aside the fact that Obama cannot make good on many of Castro’s demands without congressional approval. (Though his presidency is littered with examples of his lack of concern for Congress or constitutional process.) There are a number of reasons he should not honor a single one of Castro’s demands. However, these demands fit nicely into Obama’s plans for his own legacy. Take for instance his long-stated goal of closing the terrorist holding facility at Guantanamo Bay. No doubt he can’t wait to use relations with Cuba as another excuse for abandoning the territory.
But the naval station at Guantanamo isn’t just a holdout of American territory from a bygone era. It’s a strategic point of operations the U.S. military has used since the Spanish-American War. It has served as a base of operations for U.S. military action against terrorists in the Western Hemisphere. And it held strategic importance on many occasions throughout the Cold War, particularly during the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which the Castro regime was complicit in nearly starting a nuclear war on its own soil.
Obama chooses not to remember any of that. He also chooses to ignore that his offer of normalized relations between the U.S. and Cuba comes with no obligations or sacrifice on the part of the Castro government. Obama is chasing legacy, come what may.
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General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964): “The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle – the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other.”
Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “By artificially keeping oil prices low, the Saudis get to deal a powerful blow to the energy revolution in the U.S. (They also get to deliver a severe economic blow to their enemies the Iranians, which is nice.) In exchange, Obama gets an unearned political windfall and can claim vindication for his ineffectual economic policies. Obama is paying back the Saudis by permanently taking the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve’s billions of barrels of oil off the table for all time. By doing so, he also puts the entire Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System (TAPS) on a starvation diet. … Saudi Arabia’s short-term economic hit is an investment in future dependence on Saudi oil. Of course, there need not be a conspiracy, just a convergence of economic and political interests. But the fact remains that Obama could never have gotten away with restricting energy development in ANWR before an election or when gas prices were high. This is Obama’s window, and it appears the Saudis are holding it open for him for as long as he needs.”
Columnist Charles Krauthammer: “The Iranian bomb is a national security issue, an alliance issue and a regional Middle East issue. But it is also a uniquely Jewish issue because of Israel’s situation as the only state on earth overtly threatened with extinction, facing a potential nuclear power overtly threatening that extinction. On the 70th anniversary of Auschwitz, mourning dead Jews is easy. And, forgive me, cheap. Want to truly honor the dead? Show solidarity with the living – Israel and its 6 million Jews. Make ‘never again’ more than an empty phrase. It took Nazi Germany seven years to kill 6 million Jews. It would take a nuclear Iran one day.”
Comedian Argus Hamilton: “NASA reported that an asteroid a third of a mile wide passed close by the earth Monday, coming to within a relative whisker of direct impact with our planet. The asteroid just missed hitting the earth by seven hundred thousand miles. Michael Moore noted the near-miss and called the universe a coward.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
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