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obama Tag

Last week, I wrote about the emails uncovered by Judicial Watch related to Hillary's clear knowledge, the night of the Benghazi attack, that it was a terror attack unrelated to the video she publicly blamed for starting a protest. Emails involving the false video story lead directly to the White House and were a coordinated attempt to focus blame on the video rather than on Obama's failed policies. Judicial Watch reported in 2014:
Judicial Watch announced today that on April 18, 2014, it obtained 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents. They include a newly declassified email showing then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes and other Obama administration public relations officials attempting to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” President Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”  Other documents show that State Department officials initially described the incident as an “attack” and a possible kidnap attempt. The documents were released Friday as result of a June 21, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Department of State (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00951)) to gain access to documents about the controversial talking points used by then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice for a series of appearances on television Sunday news programs on September 16, 2012.  Judicial Watch had been seeking these documents since October 18, 2012.

Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) on Friday that affects American businesses and the free market (what's left of it, anyway). Obama has ordered the FCC to open up set-top cable boxes to competition, and he more broadly ordered executive agencies to search for ways that they can ensure competition among free market businesses and corporations. The set-top box order centers on the way that cable companies lease these boxes to consumers, charging a monthly fee for their use.  Harkening back to the days when people had to rent phones from the telephone company, the order intends to correct the problem as was done in telephone case. The White House writes:
That’s why today the President announced that his Administration is calling on the FCC to open up set-top cable boxes to competition. This will allow for companies to create new, innovative, higher-quality, lower-cost products. Instead of spending nearly $1,000 over four years to lease a set of behind-the-times boxes, American families will have options to own a device for much less money that will integrate everything they want — including their cable or satellite content, as well as online streaming apps — in one, easier-to-use gadget.
On its face, this doesn't seem to be a problem and may even be a good idea for those still using cable, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

About 2 weeks ago, I noted that the limp-wristed handshake with Cuba's acting dictator Raul Castro perfectly captured Obama's presidency. He nearly topped this historic effort with this week's Nuclear Policy Summit commemorative photograph. The Daily Mail reports:
Surrounded by world leaders, President Barack Obama gave the peace sign as they gathered for a 'team photo' during a two-day nuclear summit. All eyes were on Obama as 54 other presidents and prime ministers joined him in Washington, DC, for crunch talks on Iran and terrorist threats involving nuclear weapons. There was one set of eyes, however, that was particularly focused on the President - those of Prime Minister David Cameron. Relations between Cameron and Obama have been strained since the President criticized the Prime Minister for getting 'distracted' during the crisis in Libya and turning it into a 's**t show'.

Having campaigned on closing Gitmo and on his first day in office signing an executive order to close it within the year, Obama has been steadily emptying the detention center, often in dubious deals and scandalous, logic-defying swaps.  This is something that he has been determined to accomplish while in office, and with time running out, he has today proposed a new plan to close Gitmo for good. Speaking somewhat uncomfortably about American values (as he always does), Obama laid out his reasoning behind and plan for closing Gitmo within the year. CNN reports:
Obama outlined a blueprint that involves transferring the bulk of remaining detainees to other countries and moving the rest -- who can't be transferred abroad because they're deemed too dangerous -- to an as-yet-undetermined detention facility in the United States.

Last year there was some speculation that Obama was smoking again--after having quit, he says, because his wife scared him into it.   Whether he is still smoking or not, a Russian advertiser has decided to use the American president's smoking habit in his or her latest anti-smoking ad campaign. The tagline:  "Don't be like Obama." Russian antismoking ad_Obama The Hill reports:
An anti-smoking ad has popped up in Russia featuring an image of President Obama and warning "smoking kills more people than Obama." . . . .  “Smoking kills more people than Obama, although he kills lots and lots of people," the ad states, depicting Obama with a cigarette. “Don’t smoke, don’t be like Obama.”
A spokesman responsible for the mayor's department on advertisements told Russia radio RSN the advertisement would be removed, according to Newsweek.

Obama's first year in office was a busy one as he worked tirelessly to hinder the government's ability to identify, locate, track, or make common sense connections between Islamists and terrorism. In April of 2009, the DHS released a now-infamous report entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" and in which conservatives were labeled potential terrorists not because they are radical militants but because they are pro-life, support the Tenth Amendment, or are veterans. Michelle Malkin wrote at that time:
It is no coincidence that this report echoes Tea Party-bashing left-wing blogs (check this one out comparing the Tea Party movement to the Weather Underground!) and demonizes the very Americans who will be protesting in the thousands on Wednesday for the nationwide Tax Day Tea Party. From the report, p.2: Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

In his last year in office, Obama promised to be more bold (reckless?) in pushing his agenda, and one thing that has long irritated him about our great country is our consumption of oil. To address this pet peeve of his, Obama has released a budget in which he proposes a $10 per barrel tax hike on oil; the money, he says, will go to boost the failed "green" energy economy for which he's long pined.  Never mind his embarrassing and costly past plans to boost the green energy sector. The Hill reports:
President Obama will propose a $10-per-barrel fee on oil production to fund a new green transportation plan, the White House announced Thursday.

Only a year ago, Obama was berating Russian president Vladimir Putin for his "KGB mentality" and "old expansionist ideas."  Now, however, Obama wants to quadruple military spending in Europe. CNN reports:

President Barack Obama's administration said Tuesday it was seeking to expand U.S. military spending in Europe four-fold in a bid to reassure allies still unsettled by Russia's incursion into Ukraine.

The new spending would increase to $3.4 billion under the new plan, which is set to be formally unveiled next week as part of Obama's final presidential budget.

Tea Party groups won a major victory last week, when Judge Susan J. Dlott of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio certified a class of Tea Party organizations that allege the IRS intentionally delayed their applications for preferential tax treatment based on their political viewpoints. Winning class certification in NorCal Tea Party Patriots v. Internal Revenue Service is a big deal, because it means the Court has already made several determinations, all of which favor the class.  The Court has determined that the number of Tea Party groups effected by the IRS's alleged behavior is so numerous that they can proceed together as a class.  The Court has also determined that all of the Tea Party groups have valid legal claims against the IRS which share common legal issues; in other words, that the IRS has treated them all the same way. Having survived the hazardous class certification step, the Plaintiffs will now get substantive discovery from the IRS and from third parties.  As the Washington Times summarized:

During his State of the Union address, Obama asserted that anyone portraying the American economy as bad was "peddling fiction". Perhaps he can explain why our stock market was outperforming expectations . . . in terms of how much it dropped?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped almost 400 points Friday, falling below 16,000, as oil prices sank below $30 a barrel. The index fell to 15,988 at the closing bell, down more than 390, or 2.39%. "Oil is the root cause of today," said Dan Farley, regional investment strategist at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank. "People are uncertain, and when they're uncertain they're scared."
Because our economy is tied to the global market, it is worth noting that the Royal Bank of Scotland just issued a dire warning to its investors that can be summed up in two words: "Sell everything".
RBS urged investors to sell everything amid warnings that oil prices could fall to the lowest level in 17 years which may spark a meltdown as severe as the 2008 financial crisis.

Russia's Navy is growing and playing a greater role is Russia's aggressive foreign policy posture for the first time in two generations, and the US seems - still - unprepared and unwilling to push back. Russia's military capacity has been severely limited since the end of the Cold War.  It's most noteworthy events were two Chechen Wars in the 1990s and early 2000s that went poorly, and the 2000 disaster that sank and killed all 118 sailors aboard the nuclear submarine Kursk. Even Russia's invasion of Georgia in 2008 was poorly executed against a nominal military power. Since Georgia, Russia has done better.  The invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2009 was more or less flawless.  The Russian involvement in Ukraine today is less so, but is also hampered by having to maintain the pretense of non-involvement.

Jim Webb dropped out of the 2016 Democrat primary in October due to low polling, low fundraising, and low voter enthusiasm, but as Amy noted at the time, his team was even then making noises about an independent run. Those noises have become much more noticeable as Webb has launched direct attacks on Hillary regarding her tenure as Secretary of State and her specific mishandling of Libya (not, however, anything about #Benghazi) and the "Arab Spring" debacle. https://twitter.com/JimWebbUSA/status/680750510236897280 Writing on Facebook, Webb railed against Hillary's "inept" mismanagement and "nonsensical" comments; he even takes a shot at the lapdog media for not holding her to account.

Professor David E. Bernstein has written a great last-minute Christmas present or belated Hanukkah gift. Lawless: The Obama Administration's Unprecedented Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law is sure to ruin the holiday for whoever reads it - Republicans because it confirms President Obama has run roughshod over Congress and the Constitution, and Democrats because it confirms what they have so long denied.  Which is why everybody should read it, digest it, debate it and institute changes to prevent future presidents of any party from doing such damage again. Bernstein teaches Constitutional Law, among other things, at George Mason University School of law, and his easy facility with technical, legalistic topics makes Lawless accessible and understandable without eliding over details. The picture Bernstein paints so adroitly is of an unprecedented and unlawful consolidation of power in the executive, and a president unrestrained by his own promises, by custom, by standards of legal ethics, by statute or by the Constitution.

Back in July, Obama angered Kenyan leaders by ignoring their advice against pushing a "gay agenda."  President Kenyatta told Obama that gay rights was a "non-issue." The Miami Herald reported:
President Barack Obama nudged African nations Saturday to treat gays and lesbians equally under the law, a position that remains unpopular through much of the continent. Obama’s Kenyan counterpart responded by calling the matter a “non-issue” for his country. Obama tackled the sensitive matter on his first full day in Kenya, the country of his father’s birth. He drew on his own background as an African-American, noting the slavery and segregation of the U.S. past and saying he is “painfully aware of the history when people are treated differently under the law.”

In stark contrast to French president Francois Hollande's strong response to the Paris terror attacks, Obama gave a half-hearted address to the nation four days after the San Bernardino terror attack . . . and busied himself with gun control. According to the AP, the Obama administration is working on an executive order that would "close the gun show loophole":

President Barack Obama's advisers are finalizing a proposal that would expand background checks on gun sales without congressional approval.

White House adviser Valerie Jarrett says the president has asked his team to complete a proposal and submit it for his review "in short order." She says the recommendations will include measures to expand background checks.

Back in 2008, Obama suggested that it would be necessary to bankrupt the coal industry in his efforts to establish "green" energy alternatives—he wanted to "take coal off the table as an ideological matter." Here's the clip: The Daily Caller has a partial transcript of the above interview:
In 2008, Obama said his energy policies would “bankrupt” anyone who wants to build a coal plant. “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted,” Obama said during a 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board.

While most of us have been engrossed in the American election saga, our neighbor to the north is preparing for an Oct. 19th election that may be infused with some imported drama. As next week's election draws near, news is that conservative Stephen Harper is going to be replaced with the son a former leftist Prime Minister:
If current polling is to be believed – and recent election upsets in the UK and Israel have taught pundits to take polls with more than a pinch of salt – then Harper will not hold on to government. After languishing in third place for much of the campaign, the Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau - son of former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau - seem set to return to power. The victory will be particularly sweet here in Ajax, where four-term Liberal MP Mark Holland was routed in 2011 by Chris Alexander, formerly Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan and now a immigration minister in the Conservative government.
True to form, President Obama cannot resist trying to exert some meaningful influence. Since he is apparently unable to do so in the Middle East, where it may actually help our nation, there are reports he is attempting to sway the Canadian vote.

Gallup released an interesting poll this week showing that nearly half of all Americans view government as "an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens."  Interestingly, this is "similar to what was found in previous surveys conducted over the last five years"; however, "when this question was first asked in 2003, less than a third of Americans held this attitude." Gallup reports:
The latest results are from Gallup's Sept. 9-13 Governance poll. The lower percentage of Americans agreeing in 2003 that the federal government posed an immediate threat likely reflected the more positive attitudes about government evident after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The percentage gradually increased to 44% by 2006, and then reached the 46% to 49% range in four surveys conducted since 2010. The remarkable finding about these attitudes is how much they reflect apparent antipathy toward the party controlling the White House, rather than being a purely fundamental or fixed philosophical attitude about government.
It's no accident, for example, that when Democrats start and/or renew pushes for gun control, gun and ammo sales skyrocket. Of course, this isn't just about gun control; it encompasses everything from government surveillance to over-regulation to fundamental First Amendment rights.
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