Well, I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.
Sir Thomas More, A Man For All Seasons
On December 29 of last year in reviewing my 2012 predictions for 2013 I noted:
If Robert Gates’, former Secretary of Defense for both Bush and Obama, publisher had been a bit more prompt, that prediction would have come true. Gates’ book is absolutely damning in regard to the Obama administration. Bob Woodward at The Washington Post reviews the book:
Gates, a Republican, writes about Obama with an ambivalence that he does not resolve, praising him as “a man of personal integrity” even as he faults his leadership. Though the book simmers with disappointment in Obama, it reflects outright contempt for Vice President Biden and many of Obama’s top aides.
Biden is accused of “poisoning the well” against the military leadership. Thomas Donilon, initially Obama’s deputy national security adviser, and then-Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the White House coordinator for the wars, are described as regularly engaged in “aggressive, suspicious, and sometimes condescending and insulting questioning of our military leaders.”
“From his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world,” Hayden said. “President Obama relies on his good counsel every day.”
Gates is 70, nearly 20 years older than Obama. He has worked for every president going back to Richard Nixon, with the exception of Bill Clinton. Throughout his government career, he was known for his bipartisan detachment, the consummate team player. “Duty” is likely to provide ammunition for those who believe it is risky for a president to fill such a key Cabinet post with a holdover from the opposition party.
Gates says his instructions to the Pentagon were: “Don’t give the White House staff and [national security staff] too much information on the military options. They don’t understand it, and ‘experts’ like Samantha Power will decide when we should move militarily.” Power, then on the national security staff and now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has been a strong advocate for humanitarian intervention.
Another time, after Donilon and Biden tried to pass orders to Gates, he told the two, “The last time I checked, neither of you are in the chain of command,” and said he expected to get orders directly from Obama.
Life at the top was no picnic, Gates writes. He did little or no socializing. “Every evening I could not wait to get home, get my office homework out of the way, write condolence letters to the families of the fallen, pour a stiff drink, wolf down a frozen dinner or carry out,” since his wife, Becky, often remained at their home in Washington state.
“I got up at five every morning to run two miles around the Mall in Washington, past the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam memorials, and in front of the Lincoln Memorial. And every morning before dawn, I would ritually look up at that stunning white statue of Lincoln, say good morning, and sadly ask him, How did you do it?”
At his confirmation hearings to be Bush’s defense secretary in late 2006, Gates told the senators that he had not “come back to Washington to be a bump on a log and not say exactly what I think, and to speak candidly and, frankly, boldly to people at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue about what I believe and what I think needs to be done.”
But Gates says he did not speak his mind when the committee chairman listed the problems he would face as secretary. “I remember sitting at the witness table listening to this litany of woe and thinking, “What the hell am I doing here? I have walked right into the middle of a category-five s——-m. It was the first of many, many times I would sit at the witness table thinking something very different from what I was saying.”
At a March 3, 2011, National Security Council meeting, Gates writes, the president opened with a “blast.” Obama criticized the military for “popping off in the press” and said he would push back hard against any delay in beginning the withdrawal.
Gates continues: “I was pretty upset myself. I thought implicitly accusing” Petraeus, and perhaps Mullen and Gates himself, “of gaming him in front of thirty people in the Situation Room was inappropriate, not to mention highly disrespectful of Petraeus. As I sat there, I thought: the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.” Continue reading
Hattip to Erika Johnson at Hot Air. I think it is fitting that the increasingly impotent lame duck Obama administration has a complete buffoon like John F. Kerry as Secretary of State. He is perfect in the role as the global representative of an administration whose every foreign policy initiative has ended, or is in the process of ending, in disaster. Kerry, being unable to deal with any of the real foreign policy crises confronting this nation, is determined to nail his flag to the country responding to a fake one:
But while the public’s attention has been on his diplomacy in the Middle East, behind the scenes at the State Department Mr. Kerry has initiated a systematic, top-down push to create an agencywide focus on global warming.
Whether the secretary of state can have that kind of influence remains an open question, and Mr. Kerry, despite two decades of attention to climate policy, has few concrete accomplishments on the issue. The climate bills he sponsored as a senator failed. At the United Nations climate summit meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, Mr. Kerry, then a senator from Massachusetts, labored behind the scenes to help President Obama broker a treaty that yielded pledges from countries to cut their emissions but failed to produce legally binding commitments. …
Shortly after Mr. Kerry was sworn in last February, he issued a directive that all meetings between senior American diplomats and top foreign officials include a discussion of climate change. He put top climate policy specialists on his State Department personal staff. And he is pursuing smaller climate deals in forums like the Group of 20, the countries that make up the world’s largest economies. …
Not only must he handle difficult negotiations with China — the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases — for the 2015 treaty, but the pact must be ratified by a Senate that has a long record of rejecting climate change legislation. “In all candor, I don’t care where he is, nothing is going to happen in the Senate for a long time,” Mr. McCain said. Continue reading
The madness and silliness that is the Obama administration continues apace. Father Z gives us the details:
From FNC (where there is also video):
Boys and girls at Grace Academy in Prosper, Tex., spent most of last Friday making homemade Christmas cards for bedridden veterans at the VA hospital in Dallas. Fourth-grader Gracie Brown was especially proud of her card, hoping it would “make their day because their family might live far away, and they might not have somebody to celebrate Christmas with.” “I’d like them to know they’ve not been forgotten and somebody wanted to say thank you,” Gracie told Gracie’s card read, “Merry Christmas. Thank you for your service.” It also included an American flag. But the bedridden veterans at the VA hospital will never get to see Gracie’s card. Nor will they see the cards made by 51 other students. [Get this...] That’s because the Christmas cards violated VA policy. “It really didn’t occur to me there would be a problem with distributing Christmas cards,” said Susan Chapman, a math teacher at the academy. [Nor would most normal people think that children's cards for Christmas were double-plus-ungood in the eyes of the Obama Administration.] She’s married to a veteran and volunteers with the American Legion and other veterans’ organizations. On Monday morning the boys and girls were planning on hand delivering the cards to the wounded veterans. [I'll be the vets would have liked that.] Chapman called the hospital to make final arrangements and that’s when she learned there was a problem. “I told him my students made cards, we’d like to bring them down for the veterans,” Chapman told the television station. “And he said, ‘That’s great. We’re thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can’t accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘God bless you’ or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.’” [VA: GOD NOT ALLOWED.] A VA official quoted the policy which is in the Veterans Health Administration handbook: “In order to be respectful of our veterans’ religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding.” Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute, said it was a new low “even for the Scrooges and Grinches at the VA.” “Targeting the benevolent work of little children for censorship is disgusting,” Sasser told me. “Do the Grinches in the administration of the VA really believe our bravest warriors need protection from the heartfelt well wishes of small children saying Merry Christmas?” [No, its the Obama mandarins who cannot bear that any views smacking of religion be permitted in the public square. This is all of a piece.] Andrea Brown, Gracie’s mom, was dumbfounded by the news. “This wasn’t the country I grew up in, when you couldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas,’ you couldn’t say ‘God bless you’ or reference any scripture,” she told MyFoxDFW.com. She told the television station the boys and girls were heartbroken that the military personnel would not be able to receive their cards. “They couldn’t believe the people that these people they wanted to honor weren’t going to get the chance to see what they had done,” she said. The cards will not be thrown away — they are being shipped to Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio and to a private facility for veterans in Louisiana. Sasser said at some point, “does the VA have no shame?” “Mr. Potter from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ wouldn’t even ban little children from wishing our veterans Merry Christmas,” Sasser said. [But this is Mr. Obama's VA.] Continue reading
Since Nixon’s “I am not a crook ” speech during a news conference, the fortieth anniversary of which will be this Sunday, I have never seen a more bizarre Presidential performance than that given by Obama yesterday. In response to overwhelming alarm by Democrats in Congress to the fact that millions of Americans are seeing their insurance policies being cancelled due to ObamaCare, Obama at a news conference on November 14 announced the following:
Already people who have plans that pre-date the Affordable Care Act can keep those plans if they haven’t changed. That was already in the law. That’s what’s called a grandfather clause that was included in the law. Today we’re going to extend that principle both to people whose plans have changed since the law too effect and to people who bought plans since the law took effect.
So state insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can’t be sold in their states, but the bottom line is insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be cancelled into 2014. And Americans whose plans have been cancelled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan.
We’re also requiring insurers to extend current plans to inform their customers about two things: One, that protections — what protections these renewed plans don’t include. Number two, that the marketplace offers new options with better coverage and tax credits that might help you bring down the cost.
So if your received one of these letters I’d encourage you to take a look at the marketplace. Even if the website isn’t working as smoothly as it should be for everybody yet, the plan comparison tool that lets you browse cost for new plans near you is working just fine.
Well, what is wrong with this? The glib answer is everything:
First, it is by no means clear that he has the power to do any of this. The requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) allow for none of this and Obama’s job title is President not Emperor.
Second, some state insurance commissioners will not allow this to be done. The state insurance commissioner in Washington has already spoken up and said Obama’s policy would lead to great instability in the insurance markets of Washington and Obama’s suggestion is a dead letter in Washington.
Third, the insurance companies have responded and stated that it is impossible for them to comply with the time lines of the Affordable Care Act and do what Obama has said.
Fourth, it is only for one year, so people facing cancellation of insurance policies they like, even if their insurance company offers the same policy, would be facing the same dilemma in a year. Continue reading
If we needed any further proof that the Obama Administration has nothing but contempt for religious liberty, Father Z provides this story. His comments are in red:
Military Chaplains Sue Over Harassment, Attack on Christian Faith by Bethany Monk
Those who serve our country often greet reveilles before the sunrise. They don the uniform. They represent our country, and they continue to make sacrifice after sacrifice. With the onslaught of government intrusion on religious freedom, some of them are dealing with egregious attacks on their personal faith.
A legal group on Friday filed suit on behalf of two military chaplains. According to the suit, a supervisor with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mocked their Christian faith, repeatedly, during a chaplain training program. [?!?]
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Steven Firtko and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dan Klender began the Clinical Pastoral Education Center program at a San Diego VA last year. Shortly after, they say the program’s supervisor, Nancy Dietsch, began harassing their beliefs.
According to the suit, she told them they could not pray in Jesus’s name, and she shouted: “Do not quote Scripture in this class!” while pounding her fists on her desk.
“Not only was the treatment these men received inappropriate, it was also a violation of federal law and the religious freedom guarantees of the First Amendment,” said retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. J.B. Wells, executive director of Military-Veterans Advocacy (M-VA).
M-VA is representing the Conservative Baptist Association of America, the endorsing agent for the two chaplains.
According to court documents, Dietsch also insisted that God could be a man or a woman and stated that evolution is a fact. The suit says she stated three times that: “There is no room in this program for those who believe they are right and everybody else is wrong.”
“This is what happens when your actions as Commander-in-Chief say that morals and values don’t matter anymore in the military,” [Ohhhh.... they do matter. But they have to be twisted.] said retired Air Force Col. Bill Spencer, a national representative of family policy councils for Focus on the Family. “And then you have all of these other people out there who will interpret that commander’s intent in extreme ways.” [Or exactly according to the intent of the CinC.]
Klender withdrew from the program in February because of the harassment, according to the lawsuit. Firtko, who was placed on probation by Dietsch, received a letter — dated Feb. 15 — from the VA notifying him that he would be dismissed from the program on March 1.
“No American choosing to serve in the armed forces should be openly ridiculed for his Christian faith,” Wells explained. “That is most obviously true for chaplains participating in a chaplain training program.” [Indeed, no. These are exactly the people you want to attack. Drive chaplains out of the military and the battle is half won.] Continue reading
The Obama administration, in its never-ending quest to embarrass itself and America, has insulted one of the pivotal figures in ending Communism in Europe, Lech Walesa:
According to the Wall Street Journal, Polish officials requested that Walesa accept the Medal of Freedom on behalf of Jan Karski, a member of the Polish Underground during World War II who was being honored posthumously this week. The request makes sense. Walesa and Karski shared a burning desire to rid Poland of tyrannical subjugation. But President Obama said no.
Administration officials told the Journal that Walesa is too “political.” A man who was arrested by Soviet officials for dissenting against the government for being “political” is being shunned by the United States of America for the same reason 30 years later.
Meanwhile, one of the recipients of the Medal was Dolores Huerta, the honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. So socialist politics are acceptable, but not the politics of a man who stood up and fought socialism.
The White House’s flippant response to the uproar caused the Polish president and prime minister to demand more thoughtful and personal reactions. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the president has no plans to reach out to his Polish counterparts and has shrugged off the outrage in Poland. Continue reading