In Other News . . .

With the high-profile stories of amnesty via executive order and riots in Ferguson, other events have gone less noticed than they might have under normal circumstances.

For instance, Chuck Hagel is on his way out as secretary of defense. Although the administration tried to put a positive spin on it, nearly every news organization has sources within the administration that have made it clear Hagel was fired, regardless of the photo ops.

Mutual Decision

I won’t try to defend Hagel; he was kind of a turkey. However, we still have another problem: John Kerry remains as secretary of state. He just announced that the “talks” with Iran (which are going nowhere) will be extended another seven months. Another red line that has been erased. Stiffer sanctions not reimposed. Iran getting away with the development of its nuclear capability with no penalties.

Final Warning

Foreign policy is a mess. Our military is being downsized in a time of grave threats. One failure after another.

So maybe we can turn from politics and see what’s happening in the world of celebrities? Like Bill Cosby?

What a disappointment. The man who created the image of Cliff Huxtable, the dad everyone would like to have, is now accused by seventeen (!) women of either rape or unwanted sexual contact. He was in the middle of a TV comeback, which has now been canceled.

These Women

I”m sad it has turned out this way, and I know a person is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, but when there are seventeen separate accusations, it’s hard to maintain an air of neutrality on what the truth might be.

It’s instructive, though, to compare how this Bill is being treated with how another Bill is viewed:

Clinton-Cosby

In case you may have forgotten, there is a woman by the name of  Juanita Broaddrick who has a claim against the other Bill. She says she was raped by him. But no charges were ever brought. He has been a serial adulterer, but hasn’t paid any real penalty for that either. As the graphic notes, he gets paid millions just to show up and mouth a few platitudes.

Yes, there is a tremendous double standard. No, I don’t have Clinton nostalgia. I have a memory.

Obama & the Terrorist Threat

If you were one of those who believed all the hype about Barack Obama when he first ran for president in 2008, you were probably expecting the smartest man in American history was about to take the helm. Obama was so educated, so concerned about you, and was the one who would rise above all petty divisions in the country and unite us all, particularly healing any breach between black and white.

If you’re someone who has paid attention since then, you have been sorely disappointed.

The Obama reign has brought greater division, as he seems to want to inflame racial resentment, it has seen a government takeover of the healthcare system—a botched takeover at that—, a parade of neverending scandals, an aloofness and arrogance that never seeks to bridge the political gap, and the retreat of American leadership in the world, as evidenced by the growing Islamic terrorist threat.

Don't Test Well

The rise of ISIS in the Middle East is the latest threat we face. In a Pentagon briefing yesterday, Secretary of Defense Hagel warned that ISIS is “beyond just a terrorist group” and that this organization is well funded and “beyond anything that we’ve seen.” ISIS is now considered more dangerous than Al Qaeda at its peak. Yet this is the group that Obama called the “junior varsity” not too long ago.

This is the group that now boasts it will fly it flag over the White House. Empty boast? Well, in the literal sense, probably, but what’s to stop ISIS operatives from crossing over our leaky border? Perhaps they have done so already. I’m one who sees the threat coming to our shores, not just relegated to the Middle East. And what confidence do we have in our president’s leadership, given his track record of threats and warnings that have never come to fruition?

Draw Red Line

By the way, where is our president at this critical time? Vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, of course. But don’t worry, he can get back to the White House and be in charge of the Situation Room if something really urgent needs his attention:

Urgent Matters

Even the beheading of American journalist James Foley, one of the most barbaric and disgusting actions put on YouTube for the whole world to see, merited only a statement of outrage and more empty threats from the presumed leader of the free world. Ten minutes after delivering his statement, he was off again to take care of his more urgent business:

Drop Me Off

One wonders what it will take to get him really upset:

Obama's Attention

If you were a soldier under orders from this commander-in-chief, would you be inspired by his leadership?

Credibility

What, specifically, is the Obama administration now going to do about the ISIS terrorists who murdered Foley? Incredibly, the DOJ, under the ever-steady hand of Eric Holder, is now planning to file criminal charges against them, complete with a courtroom drama that provides those who carried out this deed—if indeed they can be located and captured—with all the constitutional protections of American citizens when charged with a crime. This is how the Clinton administration tried to handle terrorism as well. It’s a return to the foolishness of affording “rights” to those who make war on our nation.

Caught

This is a recipe for disaster and Barack Obama is the chief chef cooking it. Unfortunately, we are the ones who are being force fed a concoction that will poison us all.

These Are Our Leaders?

Chuck Hagel was confirmed as the new Secretary of Defense yesterday. Forty-one Republicans voted against the appointment; four joined with all the Democrats to put the vote well over the top. Republicans who earlier voted for cloture and broke the filibuster are, in my mind, just as much to blame for this successful nomination as those who openly supported Hagel.

This is the same man who fell on his face verbally in his confirmation hearings, stumbling badly before sharp questioning. This is the man who has said the Iranian regime is a legitimately elected regime despite all the evidence of corruption and intimidation of opponents. This is the man who can’t understand why the Iranians shouldn’t have nuclear capability. And this is also the man who has made rather strong statements against our only ally in the region—Israel.

In fact, the radical anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, is now praising Hagel. He’s pleased that Hagel stands up to the “Jewish Lobby.” Who, in their right minds, would want Louis Farrakhan saying nice things about them? Somehow Hagel has accomplished that. But keep in mind that Hagel will not be making policy; he’ll simply be carrying out the policies of his boss, President Obama, another politician who has little good to say about Israel, and who feels far more comfortable in the Islamist world.

This “team” is rounded out by the new Secretary of State, John Kerry. He’s now on his first overseas assignment, visiting supposedly key allies, but curiously omitting some of the staunchest—no Israel or Poland on the itinerary. Kerry didn’t get off on the right foot when he stopped in the country of Kyrgyzstan; he invented a new name for the country—Kyrzakhstan. Shouldn’t the Secretary of State know how to pronounce the names of allies?

On top of that embarrassment, Kerry went to Germany to speak to students there. What did he decide to focus on? He told them that in America, even neo-Nazis have the right of free speech, and that is a good thing. Whatever one thinks of the limits of free speech, upholding Nazi free-speech rights in Germany is at least odd, probably stupid. Germany has banned the Nazi Party, and for good reasons. Germany is not America, and the history of Nazi Germany is anathema to modern Germans.  Jonah Goldberg of National Review responded to Kerry’s choice of subject rather superbly, I think, when he said,

I am all in favor of democracy promotion and singing the praises of free expression. But getting the Germans to be more tolerant of Nazi propagandizing is low on my list of priorities. Really, really, really low. Let’s see if he’s willing to give a similar talk about religious freedom and tolerance in Saudi Arabia. My hunch is that he’d be much quicker to respect the cultural distinctiveness of Saudi attitudes.

These are our political leaders. Pray that we survive their leadership.

Senate Confirmation Hearings

More often than not, presidential nominees to important cabinet positions sail through the confirmation process in the Senate, much the same way as nominees for the Supreme Court do. The standard has been to let a president have the people he wants around him. However, that should never be a blank check for any president. The reason the Constitution gave the Senate confirmation authority was to provide a check on any presidential appointments that are not, in the senators’ view, in the best interests of the nation. Therefore, the Senate has a serious responsibility to judge carefully all nominees.

This past week, the Senate approved John Kerry’s nomination to be Secretary of State, which is perhaps the most prominent cabinet-level job in the government. He is now the face of the United States in dealings with other nations. This is the man who, back during the Vietnam War, accused his fellow soldiers of committing genocide. He then threw his medals over the fence at the White House. Political disagreement is protected speech. Those who served with him also have the identical free speech privilege. When Kerry ran for president in 2004, many of those fellow soldiers took him to task for distorting their service, and they effectively countered his views.

Now he has this high-level position. We are supposed to trust him. I trust him just as much as I trust President Obama. I believe they are cut from the same cloth, and their similar worldviews may do considerable damage to the nation. I’m trying to remember when Kerry was ever on the right side of a foreign policy issue, at least from my perspective. I’m drawing a blank. Does he really understand the threats we face?

There is good reason to be concerned.

Then there’s former senator Chuck Hagel being put forward for Secretary of Defense. This is a man who has made derogatory comments about Israel and has opposed almost every effort to combat terrorism. He even said the Iranian government is legitimate despite the obvious fraud in its previous elections. In his confirmation hearings last week, he embarrassed himself with his lack of knowledge and his constant walkback on previous comments. Even Democrats are finding it hard to say positive things about him after his dismal performance.

 

One shouldn’t be surprised, though. He’s actually a very fine representative of the man who nominated him.

Why do I keep wanting to end my posts with comments like “We’re in big trouble”?

Another Long Four Years

Whenever a president begins a second term, we see a slew of resignations and new appointments to Cabinet positions. It’s happening again, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a sorry slate of appointees waiting to be confirmed by the Senate.

The first to jump ship was Timothy Geithner, who has held the post of Treasury Secretary for the last four years.

I would wonder if Geithner decided to bail out now because of the shipwreck looming ahead, but being a chief architect of that shipwreck, it’s obvious he is clueless about the steep waterfall. To replace him, Obama has chosen one of his chief advisors, Jack Lew, who went before Congress and swore that Obama’s policies were not adding one dime to the national debt. Of course, that whopper came straight from the top:

Tapped to take Hillary Clinton’s place at the State Department is the man who wanted to be president, John Kerry. When he was the Democrat nominee in 2004, Kerry attempted to showcase his military service in Vietnam. The big problem, though, was he came back from Vietnam as a high-profile protester who accused his fellow soldiers of being genocidal maniacs. That didn’t go over well with those had served with him, so they mounted a campaign to counter his charges. The Swift Boat Veterans, as they were called, were quite effective in curtailing Kerry’s grandiose claims of stellar military service and refuting his accusations. Now we’re supposed to accept him as the American face on all foreign policy. It’s amazing that any Vietnam vets would support him, but it is possible to find some who would back him up as Secretary of Defense, if he were chosen for that job rather than State:

He can do just as much damage as Secretary of State as he could as Secretary of Defense. For that latter position, Obama has picked his most controversial nominee to date, former Republican senator Chuck Hagel. That sounds good, as if he’s reaching across the political divide to show bipartisanship. The reality is something else. Hagel is lockstep with Obama on the Middle East. He has been critical of Israel and what he calls the Jewish Lobby, and he opposed sanctions on Iran. This is the man who’s going to be responsible for our national defense? What could be worse?

Overall, these picks don’t inspire confidence, but what would one expect? Any Obama nominee will be in agreement with his policies. They are merely extensions of him.

Get ready for another long four years.