Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blackman on a White Horse

This week a quartet of New York Times leading liberal pundits, in concert, signaled dismay over Obama's inability to command in a crises; they were Dowd, Krugman, Friedman and Rich.

About the only one of these who I read with any avidness is Maureen Dowd who has a delightfully wicked way driving her points home. The Krugman-Friedmans remind me of spoiled children: always looking for attention and who will say or write anything to get it. They are seldom right, but are furiously loquacious; perhaps like that stopped clock, are right predictably twice in a 24 hour period.

Frank Rich has one intellect that counterbalances the other three collectively on the brain scale. He comes to political punditry from the colorful world of theatrical criticism. So, from time his thoughts become entangled in the baroque under brush of too much knowledge. He is more a theorist than a propagandist; certainly not man of the streets, especially when you wander off those of NY, NY.

By now, much to the dismay of many who elected Obama, they find that the new president is suffering from the same economic and national security demons that drove GW Bush over the edge. It is as if the US Presidency is an empty charade of power with inaugurations, black limo parades and glowing White House scenes; all with the clutter of pomp and circumstance. It is a media creation. If this is the case, then where is the locus of power since it is obviously not in Mr Obama's grasp?

The new President's problems began the moment he made decisions for his personal White House Staff and transition team. Apart from a few campaign loyalists like Axelrod, he moved full force to the Clintonista camp, accepting all its dreadful baggage with its failed morality.

His choice of Emanuel as chief of staff was his first major mistake as it brought the immediate Israel penetration to his administration; further, Emanuel unwittingly ensnared Obama in the Blagojevich affair that brought US attorney Fitzgerald riding to the President's rescue. This odious affair will return to the Obama doorstep as Chicago corruption issues come to trial.

Soon Obama bought into the Bush Iraq War plan. He decided to send 17,000 troops to Afghanistan; it still is unknown how this augmentation fits into a war strategic plan. His national security plan smacks of GW Bush on steroids. His national tab in Iraq is still 10 billion USD a month. Even the Turks offered to let him withdraw through Turkey to get him out of Iraq quicker.

Obama's economic team was almost seamlessly transfered from Bush Inc. – sans Paulson; it has the same Wall street players, bankers, back door deals, sweet heart contacts with those with whom the Republicans were previously imbedded. Bailout money for bonuses was paid to those who squandered the money to include a high percent of foreigners. All this was done with the approval of Democratic congressional and Obama's White House leadership.

There does not seem to be much difference from the Obama and Bush regimes for the average American. On one hand the Americans looked to a bumbling Texas Redneck to follow or, for now, a mixed racial urban super-fly politician. For Americans the national elections are a flip of a coin, but it is tails you lose and heads you fail to win.

With the advent of Obama, it is already obvious that power lies outside the two-party system, and is found in a conglomerate of military-industrial government bureaucracy, state capitalism, big business and bankers. Otherwise how can the spasmodic pursuit of war in Iraq and Afghanistan be explained? How can Obama’s impulsive acceptance of the Bush bailout and stimulus packages, which protected failed business and rewarded incompetence, be explained? Even more surprising is Obama’s failure to pursue war crimes of the past administration, even as former VEEP Cheney madly rubs his nose in the Bush torture regimes.

This one-world globalization, super national, modus operandi is beginning to frazzle as Mexican drug cartels invade our western border states. The Chinese are now determinedly asking about a new world currency to replace the dollar. Throughout this deteriorating situation, fund managers rake in billions of dollars.

Not only are Obama's liberal pals at the NYT disappointed, but the country in general is beginning to wonder where he intends to ride the White Horse of Change that was mandated to him. Even worse, some wonder whether he knows how to ride that horse at all.

Obama's last appeal, his ace in the hole, is to remind the American people just how big a jerk Mr. GW Bush was as president. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obama Transformative? Not Quite

GW Bush was such a stupendous failure, that almost any non-Republican president who followed him could be called transformative. The fact that Obama was a mulatto, a mixed race president, had many leap to the conclusion that he would be transformative because of his color. So far he has given little transformation; on the contrary, he reflects status quo. If the good times were rolling that political condition would be welcomed, but times are bad economically and politically, especially internationally. So the magic word is CHANGE, hopefully for the better.

Obama has not been innovative yet on social schemes. As a matter of fact, except on merit pay for teachers he goes along with the Democratic Party's nostrums on education, his welfare policy remains firm, he keeps raising the net on unemployment and makes earnest noises on national healthcare. He has yet to pamper the gay community.

His Attorney General Holder, also of mixed race, got over enthused on race issues and scolded the white Americans because they do not socially entertain sufficient number of black people. This was Holder's first major speech since his confirmation. Obama, embarrassed, quickly squelched Holder's speech; otherwise the speech might have been used by the Klan to spark THE REBIRTH OF A NATION. I am not certain where Obama finds his appointees. Lucky for the Nation, OJ’s Johnnie Cochran was not around or might have appointed him for the job.

The President’s economic team is composed of the same losers who participated in the economic debacle. If you do not think they are still soul mates of big business and Wall Street watch how they tolerate the plunder of TARP funds for executive bonuses. Poor things claim they cannot do anything about it. Do not believe them – they can claw back every cent if there was motivation. And Obama is our elected motivator.

Not only do we have the same ineptitude managing our economic heights, but our military establishment is still run by the same people who could not catch or kill bin Laden or stabilize Iraq enough so we can end the occupation – in both the economic and military cases, these people have a vested interest in failure. The US military chiefs now appear to be fighting to remain in Iraq. Where is Obama's leadership?

Strategic and tactical intelligence still remains key to diplomatic success and military victory. Obama’s pick to head CIA, Leon Panetta was so lame that it smacked of a gong show choice. Panetta has never collected and analyzed raw information, disseminated intelligence or run high risk black operations. He has read classified info when in the White House and in Congress – that is all – his main concern is political. HOW CAN WE PROTECT THE PRESIDENT ON THIS ONE? We had that nonsense from the CIA for the last 8 years under GW Bush and it is a major reason we are losing two wars. Is Obama looking for plausible denial? IF so, Panetta better find him an Ahmed Chalibi fast.

Perhaps the biggest indication most recently to deflate hope that Obama would be transformative came as almost a side-show issue. With the advent of 9/11 Bush and Congress thought they could reassure the American public that a surprise attack could be averted by more bureaucratic intelligence organization, so a new level of National level intelligence was created to over see the intelligence community.

In the case of Iraq, it was never a question of poor organization, just weak-willed intelligence directors who were afraid to not be team player by opposing the White House march to war. On 9/11, Bush did receive warning and chose to ignore it. No organizational structure apparently can overcome the bureaucratic axiom, IGNORE THE PROBLEM UNLESS YOU HAVE A SOLUTION and that is what GW Bush did on 9/11.

Under this post 9/11 regime, Obama appointed Ambassador Charles W Freeman Jr. as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman dutifully shed his commercial ties with China and Saudi Arabia to take the job; he is exceptionally qualified both as a China hand and Mideast expert. He was Nixon's interpreter in China and former ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He had the support of 17 former US ambassadors for the job. Freeman is not a Jew.

The Likud Right Wing Jewish lobby lead by Israel/America Senators Leiberman and Schumer, in a play to Israeli/American Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff, forced Freeman to withdraw. Freeman went public with his disgust on CNN last Sunday. He in no uncertain terms attacked the insidious influence of the Israeli Lobby in the US.

My conclusion is that since the Israeli American Jews could not control Freeman, they destroyed him. Likud American Jews are still smarting over American National Intelligence estimates that do not consider Iran as great a threat as do sky-is-falling, fanatic Israelis.

Obama watched silently as this Freeman saga unfolded. During the process, he lost a patriot in Freeman who had the fortitude to hew to the truth. Instead, he will get a toady to American Israeli policy. The corrosive Israeli lobby beat goes on. Obama has no claim so far as being transformative. Just because he is black will not hack it. He has not one scintilla of Scipio Africanus or Toussaint l'Overture. As he weakly burrows into status quo, he has to be careful or he will go down as Uncle Tom. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Republicans on the Way to Perdition

Republicans, soundly defeated by the election of Obama in 2008, plus their major loss in both houses of congress, provided enough grief for their demigod spirit Ronald Reagan to exclaim more than just a polite, AW SHUCKS. You would expect a Party stung by defeat to ruthlessly prune its ranks of losers and and recast its bungled ideology into a new, energizing winning cris de guerre. This is not the case. Instead, fiercely true to arch-conservative doctrine, they dementedly reverted to their almost prenatal past mantra: CUT TAXES and SMALL GOVERNMENT.

This conservative parade has past, led by their goofy drum major GW Bush, marching to the music played by Wall Street and Big Business. The problem was not that the Republicans opened the doors to ravaging the nation's wealth, but the fact they were so incompetent that they wrecked the country in the process. They also may well have infected the global economy led by foreign bankers who foolishly misjudged the competency of the US at their peril.

These new facts on the ground have had the effect of ratcheting the US economic system into a new era of government intervention into private business. The congressional Republican weasels are accusing Obama of Socialism. They are correct of course, but their stooge, GW Bush, set the country on this road with his TARP bailout; foolish wars of uncontrolled spending; no fiscal regulations nor energy policy; and, a tax plan that failed to cover expenditures. There will be no return to the pre Bush economic status.

Even profligate gangster bosses usually are clever enough to leave money on the streets for the minor crooks. Under the GW Bush regime, this did not happen, so a starting point for economic recovery is more elusive. It is a brave, new, frightening economic world out there now. Based on the their actions to date, the Republicans will not provide the new masters of an unbalanced universe they inadvertently created.

After a public cat fight, the Republicans picked Michael Steele as Chairman of the Republican Party (RNC). Mike is under a the cloud of a public election financial scandal from an election he just lost as a senator from Maryland. Mike was probably elected at the RNC because he is black and can possibly attract minority voters. He has done just the opposite with his jive talk; he has pissed off blacks as well as whites. He attacked the untethered, sacred, Republican blimp Limbaugh as just an entertainer and later embarrassed himself by apologizing to him for telling this truth.

For whatever reason, Limbaugh was given about an hour and half air time by CNN for his address at a conservative convention. I have only heard Limbaugh in three minute catty partisan snippets, so I listened to him for nearly his whole address, and he was underwhelming. He repeated recycled anti-liberal diatribes that were passe in the fifties. At least Bill Buckley did it then with elegance and did not bounce around like a basketball as he spoke. It is understood why his approval rate is 17%, of which 70% of it is almost all male squirrel hunters.

Limbaugh may be the Mr. Pickwick, but the conservative female Goldilocks is Ann Coulter who resembles an underfed Afghan hound. She is also attracted to recycled anti-liberalism. She is unlike some of the attractive, right wing blond ladies at FOX News, who with the sound turned down, are at least pleasant to to view. Coulter even scares scarecrows.

Both Limbaugh and Coulter seem to appeal to the religious right wing of the the Republican Party who will believe what they are told without question by the shepherds of their flock. With this audience, these two can get as high as a 33% approval rating by the American public if this group switches the dial from religious programs to them.

Republican congressional representatives are led by Senators Bomb Bomb McCain and Mitch McConnel in the upper house and Congressmen Cantor and Boenher in the lower house. All of them still cannot believed Republicans were crushed in the last election. The senators still have a role and make an impact in the senate; but the Republican house members are at best ducks that cannot fly. Cantor's role is probably as the Zionist Rep in congress and Boenher is a walking ad for MAN TAN – if he does not stop oiling himself up, he will soon be darker than Obama.

The Republicans are trying to push Governor Jindal from Louisiana as a new light in its political firmament; based on his recent TV reply to Obama, Jindal is a very rough work in progress... Governor from Mississippi, H. Barbour, is the most qualified of the Republican governors, but the longer he remains buried in that state, the heavier his accent develops. Soon he will need an interpreter to speak to the rest of the nation.

Realistically the Republican party is a Southern regional party – with a nudge from radical Democrats, it could turn Dixiecrat over night. Limbaugh-Palin-Joe the Plumber is some trinity to worship.

For the record, I have put the Republicans firmly and hopelessly on the road to perdition. This does not mean that Obama and his Klezmer band of Bernarke, Summers, Emanuel, Geithner, and Orszag have managed to play a tune that will make the US economy dance – as a matter of fact, their tunes are discordant. So far so bad. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.

* Photograph: Etching by Käthe Kollwitz

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Now Obama Goes to War

The day Obama played his Get Out Of Iraq Card, it was reported that the US GNP fell over a record six percent. Not that this declining economic indicator was caused by Obama's Iraq War plan, but it illustrated how low the tolerance exists for any policy, war or peace, that augers for continued spending without more job creation or an expanding economy.

By now, let us hope that Obama reads the conditions in the country correctly. If he does not understand how the US got into trouble, there is little hope he will fix it. Apart from legalized looting by the banks, mortgage brokers, financial rating organizations, all without oversight, GW Bush's two wars aided in the bankruptcy of the nation. Obama's recent stimulus and bailout policies are at best a shot in the dark. Most experts agree, even with this enormous dollar deluge, chances of recovery are at best even.

Despite Administration spin to the opposite, Obama blinked on Iraq. Is it a case of the job making the man? Before he moved into the White House, he thought straight on the Iraq war. GET OUT SOONEST AND SAFEST. Now he has a muddled plan that is essentially conditions-driven; it has as many as 50,000 troops remaining in country to secure American contractors and train Iraqi forces. Who is kidding whom? To make Obama's stance even more awkward, his Secretary of Defense Gates now publicly envisions US troops in Iraq beyond ending the occupation in 2012.

Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, adds to the fog of departure from Iraq by indicating that the US troops are positioned in Baghdad to have the Iraqis take control. Mullen further indicated that he does not think in terms of victory or defeat in Iraq. If that is the case, he better get out sooner than later since the results in the end will be the same: an end result between low or high grade chaos. If Mullen thinks this is realistic – i.e.: war without victory – he does not deserve to be of flag rank. The ground forces generals are not much better as they blame political factors for their failure to hold and win decisively in the field. Perhaps Mullen should arrange to have the slogan BORN TO LOSE chiseled into the limestone facade of the Pentagon River entrance.

Building reliable Iraqi security forces smacks of pie in the sky. US command has annually reported for several years great strides in the readiness of these forces. Yet, when it comes to their test under fire, these local forces usually flop, unless there is a backbone of US forces that can call in American combat air and fire support. This explains why US commanders are so reluctant to withdraw; to end the occupation. Iraqi force development is a work in progress without serious progress.

Right now Obama is girding for a budget battle in the US. Concurrently, the Iraqis are doing the same. Basically a one resource oil economy, Iraq is projecting a budget based on income at 50 USD a barrel, but few expect this price; it is realistically more between 40 - 45 USD a barrel. This shortfall will slow and stagnate Iraq reconstruction and the equipping of security forces.

Back in Washington, US Defense officials are biting their fingernails over having their budget seriously slashed by the Obama and lisping Congressman Barney Frank. So there will not be much help from the US Defense Department for Iraqi projects and programs. As pet US defense weapons development comes under threat, it will be every service and military aid-seeking country for itself.

Democratic Alpha dogs Speaker of the House Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid are barking their dissatisfaction at Obama's Iraqi withdrawal plan; bravo dogs MSNBC liberal pundits Olbermann and Maddow are publicly distraught over the plan. But conservative lap dog, Bomb Bomb McCain is wagging his tail with joy over Obama's plan..... The President is not dancing with those who brung him. He will pay a price for this betrayal of his signature issue. Colonel Robert E. Bartos USA Ret