Friday, March 27, 2015

Obamaville March 27 - Our Middle East policy - no more good guys, or bad guys - are we at war with ourselves?


It used to be we needed a scorecard to figure out what the Obama Administration was doing in the Middle East, as the policy seemed to be all over the place.

Obama milestones

We pulled out of Iraq

We sent troops back to Iraq - at least 10,000

We start massive bombing of ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria

We want Syrian President Assad overthrown

We help Assad fight ISIS terrorists

Iran is biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world

We negotiate with Iran to restrain their nuclear program

We help overthrow Libyan dictator

Libya destabilized thanks to us

Terrorists kill Americans in Libya

Jordan troops attack rebels in Libya

We pulled out of Afghanistan

More troops will remain in Afghanistan

We like Israel

We are reassessing our relationship with Israel

We might send arms to the Kurds fighting the ISIS terrorists

Iran sends troops to help fight ISIS in Iraq

We bomb ISIS targets around Iranian troops in Iraq

Coalition troops in Iraq refuse to fight if US continues to bomb Iraq

Obama likes our position in Yemen

Yemen throws out the US from Yemen

Saudi Arabia announces war with Yemen rebels

100 fighter jets and 150,000 troops committed by Saudis

Sunni and Shi'a sects under Islam bitter enemies throughout Middle East

Russia holds key to working with Iran

Obama condemns Russia and imposes sanctions

Up to 10% of Arab population is Christian Arab

US does nothing to help Christian Arabs

Israel is only real ally of US in Middle East

Israeli PM Netanyahu travels to China and Russia to hedge bets

In politics, there is an old saying that we will double cross that bridge when we get to it.  Our current foreign policy in the Middle East has mastered the theory of double-crossing our opponents and allies alike.

Now it seems we have gotten to the point that our strange alliances and initiatives have pushed us into a war with ourselves in our efforts to appease every faction in the Middle East.

Beyond that, is there anyone on earth who trusts the word of the Obama Administration or believes we will stand behind what we say?

Sometimes the bizarre foreign policy of the Obama Administration seems to have come from an Ouija board gone mad.

Will it ever end?

Is this really the legacy we should leave the world?

We should be ashamed!

Can Anybody Stop the Kentucky Wildcat's Juggernaut in March Madness?


In the Bluegrass State known for thoroughbred
champions, UK has that championship "pedigree"

Thirty-seven teams have tried to stop the Kentucky Wildcats from making NCAA basketball history and none succeeded.  In fact, since UK won their conference, then won their conference tournament, they have been getting stronger and stronger.

In three rounds of the NCAA tourney as only the strong survive from round to round, the amazing Kentucky Cats have won by a combined 75 points, an unheard of average victory of 25 points per game.

Well, to set the record straight, Kentucky already has the longest unbeaten streak in tournament history.  Indiana was the last unbeaten national champion thirty-nine years ago, in 1976, and they were the team tied for the most wins in history with a 32-0 record.

UCLA had four unbeaten teams during the John Wooden era from 1964-1973 when they won ten national titles, but they were 30-0 each time.  Only two other teams in NCAA history finished unbeaten, North Carolina in 1957 (32-0) and San Francisco in 1956 (29-0) finished unbeaten.

Kentucky has never finished unbeaten, even during the eight years they won they national championship.  However, in their 113 years of NCAA basketball they have the best record of all college teams with 2,214 victories and 672 losses in 2,886 games.

In the jargon of the Bluegrass State known for thoroughbred champions, the UK Wildcats have the "pedigree" to pull off the impossible, finish off winning the national title with a 40-0 record.

Coach John Calipari should have been named NCAA coach of the year, even his chief rival Rick Pitino from Louisville agrees.  However, there is an anti-Kentucky bias because of his "one and done" policy of recruiting and starting freshmen, recognizing they would jump to the NBA at the earliest possible moment.

Ironically, in this his sixth year at UK, so many freshmen returned he incorporate a platoon system to give the top ten players equal playing time, an act requiring the athletes to forgo personal statistics for the good of the team.  In this day and age teaching college basketball stars to be humble, team oriented and unselfish is rare indeed.

A "players-first" coach with a penchant for helping people reach their dreams, John Calipari has guided five teams to the Final Four, led one to a national championship and helped 31 players make it to the NBA during his 22-year college coaching career.

Calipari reached the mountaintop in his third year in Lexington, guiding Kentucky to its eighth national championship and his first national title. He is one of only two coaches to lead three different schools to a Final Four (UMass-1996; Memphis-2008; Kentucky-2011, 2012, 2014).

The Wildcats rode the trademark hard-nosed Calipari defense to the 2012 title, finishing the season as the nation's top-ranked team in field-goal percentage defense and blocked shots.

Following a 3.4 grade-point average in the 2013 spring semester -- the highest in Coach Cal's tenure at UK -- the Wildcats' scholarship players posted a 3.11 GPA for the second consecutive semester in the 2014 fall semester. It marked the seventh time in the last eight semesters Coach Cal's team earned a 3.0 or better.

As someone who prides himself on helping young men reach their dreams, he has placed 31 players in the NBA during his college coaching career, including 19 over his first five seasons at Kentucky. The 19 picks over that five-season span is the most of any coach.

So here we are, UK may be playing for the national title for the third time in three years, if only they can win three more games.  I say history awaits the Kentucky Wildcats and that no one will stop the Kentucky juggernaut.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Obamaville March 24, 2015 - Obama Blasts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel for Campaign Promises


In a further sign of the deterioration of relations between the Obama Administration and Israel, the President took the unusual step of blasting the Israeli Prime Minister in news conferences for statements the PM made on the eve of the Israeli elections.

The stunning and decisive victory by Netanyahu seemed to fuel the attacks by Obama who is still outraged that the PM addressed the United States Congress without the approval of the president.

Obama called the promises by Netanyahu "cynical" and 19 times in one news conference, said they would lead to a reassessment by the United States of our relationship with Israel.

Now something is very wrong with the righteous attack by Obama.  This is the same Obama, who made 508 promises in his own 2008 campaign for president and only managed to fulfill 38% of them, and then added more in 2012 he is yet to fulfill.

Therefore, Obama can fail to deliver 62% of the time himself but thinks an election campaign in another country should be free of any campaign promises, and only deal in campaign facts.

Get real Mr. President, it seems all politicians are foot loose and fancy free when it comes to delivering campaign promises.

We do not need to encourage the terrorist world by alienating our only true friend in the Middle East over nonsense such as campaign promises.

For those of you suffering from memory loss, the following are two articles by left-leaning news outlets detailing the failure of Obama to deliver on his own campaign promises.

Do Promises Matter Anymore? Countdown Day 36

Posted: 10/01/2012 7:55 pm EDT Updated: 12/01/2012 5:12 am EST
Howard Fineman, Editorial director, Huffington Post Media Group

WASHINGTON -- In the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama was full of promise -- 508 of them to be precise. He was the harbinger of hope in the last dark months of the George W. Bush years.

But with just six weeks to go until Election Day 2012, President Obama has made few new promises and is not repeating many of the original ones. By PolitiFact's accounting, he has delivered on 38 percent of them -- a lousy shooting percentage in the NBA.

Instead, Obama is selling himself based on what he isn't: Mitt Romney. And rather than trying to convince voters that great days surely lie ahead -- a tough sell to a skeptical electorate -- he often offers a litany of reduced expectations, grim economic realism and rueful lamentations about the gridlock in Washington that he, in his innocence, did not expect. His slogan, "Forward," can sound less like an invitation to a glorious Elysium and more like a military command on a bloody battlefield.

The candidate who won on the high-octane power of optimism is now running on the cautious notion that the future ain't what it used to be.

The message, rarely overtly expressed, is that we are facing a tough grind (in terms of tax increases, slow job growth and entitlement cutbacks), and it's better to have a compassionate, user-friendly communitarian in the Oval Office than a wealthy, spreadsheet-and-shredder CEO who was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

The president now leads in this war of attrition and lowered sights.

Despite what the polls say, though, it is not clear the Obama strategy will hold up all the way to Election Day. There are three inherent risks: Voters prefer campaigns of dreams to those of realism. A chance, admittedly slight, remains that Romney will find his voice and a message at the last minute. And voters may yet choose to take one last look at the details of the president's record.

What they will find is that the Obama that is often isn't the Obama that wanted to be. This is not an observation confined to the Rush Limbaugh right; many on the progressive left have said the same thing.

That's where the past promises come in -- and the question of whether they mean much in our promiscuously promissory age.

Only once in any direct and sharp way has the president been confronted with tough questions about a failed promise. When Univision news anchors asked him why he had not won comprehensive immigration reform, or even pushed for it, Obama seemed both surprised and confused that he had been pressed on such an obvious point. The answer he gave -- that the pressures in Congress were just too daunting -- was less than convincing.

The president has kept promises No. 1 and No. 2: He calmly led the fight to bring the United States back from the brink of economic catastrophe (including a workable bailout of the auto industry), and he got a version of a national health care system passed and, as it turned out, sanctioned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

But he hasn't come close to reducing unemployment to the levels his aides envisioned and predicted, poverty is at an all-time high, and the annual deficit has certainly not been cut in half.
Here's a short list of other, more specific promises compiled by PolitiFact:

• Establish a mortgage foreclosure prevention fund. (Deemed a "colossal failure" by a special inspector general.)

• Close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. (Punted.)

• Create a cap-and-trade system with interim goals to reduce global warming. (Punted.)

• Sign the Employee Free Choice Act, making it easier to unionize. (Couldn't get a must-pass bill through a Democratic Congress.)

• Allow importation of prescription drugs. (Bargained away to big pharma.)

• Sign the Freedom of Choice Act, guaranteeing abortion rights against state legislative encroachments. (Never pushed it.)

• Include a "public option" in the health care plan. (Punted.)

• Bring in the dawn of a new bipartisan era. (Not.)

To that list, I would add one more failure: Public schools in general are not noticeably improving the education of students.

Perhaps lists such as these don't matter anymore. After all, most focus on expansions of federal power that the president was not able to achieve -- failures that Romney has no standing to criticize, given his conversion to Tea Party libertarianism.

It is true that Republicans have opposed the president at every turn, even though their truculence also exposed Obama's lack of deal-making skills.

As for Romney, he isn't making many specific promises, and the ones he is making tend to be of the negative variety: abolishing Obamacare, abolishing the Dodd-Frank bank regulation law, cutting tax rates, abolishing unspecified tax loopholes. His "promise" to "create 12 million jobs" is a laughable non-event, since that is the number of jobs the economy is predicted to produce over the next four years regardless of who is president.

But maybe voters, as cynical as they are these days, have just given up on expecting elected leaders to deliver on their promises. If that is so, how will voters decide whether a president deserves reelection -- or a challenger deserves to replace him?

It's not a promising development.

What Obama Promises To Do Next

Posted: 11/07/2012 1:44 pm EST Updated: 11/07/2012 4:11 pm EST

WASHINGTON -- Now President Barack Obama has some promises to keep.

His 2012 campaign wasn't nearly as full of measurable commitments as his first one in 2008, but there were still plenty -- some of which are due in a matter of weeks, not months or years.

The most immediate deliverable -- and the one for which he has the clearest mandate -- is a tax hike for the rich.
Obama can deliver that fairly easily because the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year. Without doing anything, he can restore the top marginal tax rate to 39.6 percent, up from 35 percent, restore the estate tax, and raise the capital gains tax cap from 15 percent to 20 percent.

But in that process, Obama also has repeatedly vowed to strike what is often referred to as a "grand bargain" -- a bipartisan deal that would link tax increases for the rich to budget cuts, possibly involving Social Security, in order to start along the path to long-term deficit reduction.

In his victory speech early Wednesday morning, Obama restated his biggest promises. "In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together: reducing our deficit; reforming our tax code; fixing our immigration system; freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do."

But there's no way for Obama to fulfill any of those major promises unless he gets House Republicans to go along. So he has essentially promised to deliver Republicans, starting very soon. 

Of course, he promised to do that in 2008, too.

Post inauguration, Obama's first big deliverable is comprehensive immigration reform providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In September, Obama told a Miami audience that his inaction on immigration was the "biggest failure" of his first term. In October, he told the Des Moines Register, he is confident he can deliver because he has new leverage.

"Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community," he said. But his assumption -- that the GOP will realize it can't afford to keep its hard line position on immigration any longer -- is unproven.

Obama can keep some of his promises even with an obstructionist GOP if he's willing to take bold, unilateral steps that he shrank from in his first term. For instance, Obama has talked about addressing the continued housing crisis; the obvious next step would be to allow principal reductions for troubled borrowers whose mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama is expected to start soon by firing acting Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Ed DeMarco.

Obama has promised to reduce air pollution and other environmental hazards, and a more muscular approach to agency rule-making could go a long way in that direction.

But if second-term Obama is focused on establishing a historic legacy, then he's going to have to take on the issue of climate change -- going far beyond the innovation agenda of his first term, and establishing some a carbon tax or emissions caps.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney mocked Obama for having "promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans” in 2008. Environmentalists, by contrast, are hoping the president will now act on that promise. The path to such an agreement is far from clear, however.

Similarly, it's hard to see how Obama can deliver on his most frequent campaign promises, which related to the middle class and job creation. Underlying those promises is his vow to invest in education, research, but most of all infrastructure -- and he can't do that without Congress.

In the same town hall where he discussed his failure to achieve immigration reform, Obama said "the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside.” He seemed to be suggesting that the American public help him pressure Congress.

But it's not just Congress. Progressive activists have learned the hard way that Obama himself is best at keeping his own promises when he is held to them by organized and mobilized grassroots campaigns.

Here are some of the major promises made by the Obama 2012 campaign in ads, the Democratic Party platform, Obama's major speeches, debates, and other sources.

Middle class/Taxes
·                                 Return to Clinton-era tax rates for families earning above $250,000.
·                                 Give middle-class families and folks trying to get into the middle class some relief.
·                                 98 percent of families will not see a tax increase.

Job creation/Business/Manufacturing
·                                 Close loopholes that allow companies to deduct expenses when they export jobs.
·                                 Tax breaks for companies that are investing in the United States.
·                                 97 percent of small businesses will not see a tax increase.
·                                 Reduce corporate tax rate to 25 percent, while eliminating many deductions.
·                                 Create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.
·                                 Help big factories and small businesses double their exports.
·                                 Invest in advanced manufacturing.

·                                 By the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.
·                                 Open more land for oil-and-gas exploration.
·                                 Cut oil imports in half by 2020.
·                                 Develop new sources of energy in America.
·                                 Reduce carbon pollution.

·                                 Hire 100,000 new math and science teachers.
·                                 Create 2 million more slots in our community colleges so people can get job training.
·                                 Cut tuition increases in half over 10 years.

Health care
·                                 When Obamacare is fully implemented, costs will go down.
·                                 Lower Medicare health care costs.
·                                 Improve benefits, cut payments to hospitals and other providers by $700 billion.

·                                 Put U.S. on path to cut deficits by $4 trillion over 10 years.

·                                 Pass comprehensive immigration reform.
·                                 Give young people a path to citizenship.

Foreign policy
·                                 Transition out of Afghanistan by end of 2014.
·                                 Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Gun control
·                                 Keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who are mentally ill.
·                                 Increase enforcement of current laws.
·                                 Reintroduce assault weapons ban.