Sunday, September 22, 2013

Washingtopn Post Editorial Board Once Again Fails to Point the Finger-of-Blame at Obama

The Washington Post ran the editorial Social Security Disability Insurance needs major reform on September 21, 2013. There are two fundamental issues with this editorial.

One this editorial, in isolation, may not seem like much of a story; but it is one of many such stories.  As one example, the growth in food stamps.  USA Today reports: "In 2001, the program served 17 million people at a cost of just over $15 billion. By 2012, there were 46 million people enrolled in the program at a cost of a little under $75 billion."  Another example: Ever-increasing tax breaks for U.S. families eclipse benefits for special interests.

Secondly, Obama was elected to manage the government. Since Obama won the election it becomes his responsibility to fix issues, especially those that indicate rising corruption. Instead of explicitly pointing-the-finger of blame at Obama, the Washington Post Editorial Board lamely points to abstract concepts such as: "They found that technical and demographic factors such as those cited by defenders of SSDI explained no more than 56 percent of the program’s growth, suggesting that a substantial portion — at least 44 percent — is because of the kind of structural defects and perverse incentives that critics have cited." Well, it is the responsibility of Obama who happens to be President to be acting on this corruption. Obama has been in charge for five (5) years now.  The Post Editorial Board should be lambasting Obama for failing to take the initiative to solve the overgrowing Nanny State.

Yes a safety-net is needed.  But the Obama administration has apparently refused to take on the issue of defining appropriate levels of "entitlement".  It easier just to give more money, even though the US is running massive budget deficits. From the conspiracy angle, these are part of the "free" gifts that Obama is tossing-out the electorate to solicit votes. All that Obama sells is populism. Why else would the various entitlement programs be allowed to "explode" without appropriate oversight.

Fox News Interviews Bashar Al Assad, President of Syria

On September 18, 2013, Fox News interviewed Bashar Al Assad, the President of Syria.  Click here to access the YouTube video: Bashar Al Assad Fox News FULL Interview 9/18/2013.

Alternatively, the video can be accessed through this New York Times article: "Syria Releases Video of Fox News Interview With Assad".

The positive news is that a Western news station actually took the effort to seek out the the viewpoint of the Syrian government. Every story has two sides, unfortunately, most of the Western media seems to be comfortable with regurgitating propaganda as released by the US Government instead of independently verifying who is telling the truth.

A disappointment with the interview is that even-though the interviewers acknowledged that there is no proof that the Assad regime used the chemical weapons, nearly every question was asked within the context that it was the Assad regime that used the chemical weapons. A very unfair interview approach.

Who is telling the truth?  I don't know, but the US has had a history of not telling the truth itself. Most recently, others have questioned Kerry's death toll figures, which appear inflated. Previously, Collin Powell infamously claimed that Weapons of Mass Destruction existed in Iraq before the UN on February 5, 2013. Then there was the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Given these prior lapses in truthfulness, the interviewers should never have pushed questions on Assad based on supposed "facts" provided by the US Government. Maybe, someday, we will learn who used the chemical weapons.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Alan Grayson: ‘They have no smoking gun that the attack was ordered by Assad’

The above article was published in the Washington Post. My comment on this interview is that it overlooked an important concept. That we have a (misleading) public narrative based on an apparently false premise.  The (misleading) public discussion put forth by the media, politicians, and pundits is that Assad needs to be punished. 

But there is a critical step that we need to complete before getting to the punishment step. Mr. Grayson points out there is NO smoking gun. The public discussion should be on verifying who used the chemical weapons, not bombing Assad into oblivion for something that he may not have done.

Kerry's Tainted Syria Evidence

Today the Washington Post ran this article: "EU agrees that all indications on Syria chemical attack points to Assad". This article is yet another example of propaganda pushing the concept that Assad is to blame, even if proof cannot be found or manufactured. Consequently the media, politicians, and pundits focus on how the US should respond rather than the question of the who used the chemical weapons.  

What I consider critically important with this article, are the last two paragraphs:
"The U.S. blames Assad’s regime for the chemical attack and, citing intelligence reports, says sarin gas was used. The U.S. says 1,429 people died, including 426 children.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collects information from a network of anti-regime activists, says it has only been able to confirm 502 dead."
Supporting the findings of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Nation previously reported: 
"Days later and we still have no idea where Secretary of State John Kerry got that amazingly precise number of 1,429 killed in the alleged Syria chemical agent attack. He hasn’t cited full sourcing for it or taken questions on that. He merely claims he can’t say because it would “compromise” intelligence, which sounds like utter bull. President Obama also cited the death toll as fact in public statements beating the drums for war.

And all other sources put the number a little or a lot lower. Why does this matter in the current debate? Obviously the higher number, particularly with the also unproven claim of more than 400 dead kids, is meant to sell a US military attack to the American people—and that’s why it’s a key claim. That 1,400 number makes the latest attack seem so much worse than earlier alleged Assad chem attacks, which we did not find horrible enough to claim they crossed the “red line.”
Should the data of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights be correct. Kerry clearly lied. Assuming that Kerry lied, the Obama administration’s claims become tainted and need to be verified.

Should your read this post, request that your elected representatives investigate who actually used the chemical weapons before they vote concerning a US response.

The Fundamental Flaw in Obama's Proposal to Conduct a Military Strike on Syria

There is NO smoking gun documenting that Assad used chemical weapons. Of course that does not mean that he did not use them. Due process requires that this issue be investigated by an independent third party.  The Syrian rebels may well have been the ones who discharged the chemical weapons.

The resolution of this question is critical as the news media, politicians, and pundits comment and offer advice based on the unproven assumption that it was Assad who used the chemical weapons. Consequently, those who support a military strike against Syria claim that we must blindly stand behind our President and that we have a moral obligation to teach Assad a "lesson".

If Assad did not use chemical weapons, these concerns evaporate. In fact, why should we follow a President based on faulty evidence and shouldn't we then teach the rebels a "lesson" if they were the ones to use the chemical weapons?

When the opportunity arises; request the politicians, media, and pundits to pursue an investigation as to who actually used the chemical weapons.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Syria - A US Foreign Policy Disgrace

I urge all of our Congress people to vote NO concerning a military strike on Syria.

There is currently no smoking-gun that documents that Assad actually used chemical weapons.  Sure, the Obama administration has dug-up selective “facts” that they cite to assert that Assad used the chemical weapons. But based on other un-truths, why should we believe the Obama administration?  

For example, Kerry in making the case for US military involvement claimed that at least 1,429 people died.  The Nation, however found this figure to be suspect. The Nation wrote: "Days later and we still have no idea where Secretary of State John Kerry got that amazingly precise number of 1,429 killed in the alleged Syria chemical agent attack. He hasn’t cited full sourcing for it or taken questions on that. He merely claims he can’t say because it would “compromise” intelligence, which sounds like utter bull." believes that the actual death toll is much lower: "Interviews with people in Damascus and Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital, where the humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders said at least 355 people had died last week from what it believed to be a neurotoxic agent, appear to indicate as much.".

Moreover, an internet search will disclose that the rebels may have been the ones who used the chemical weapons.  According to (May 31, 2013) Turkey found sarin gas in the homes of suspected Syrian Islamists.  writes: "Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia."

How truthful the above sites are, I do not know, but they do raise credible doubt concerning the Obama administration’s claims.  These claims must be investigated before taking any military action.  Even Putin called for further investigations.  The US, as of now, is making a rash and premature decision.

The Obama administration cites that over 100,000 people have died.  That figure may well be true, but the Obama administration ignores that this is a brutal civil-war.  Both sides are doing the killing.  The rebels are not simply standing in front of Assad's troops with flowers.

The Obama administration with much fervour points to Assad's atrocities.  Again the Obama administration purposely suppresses from the public the fact that the rebels also commit atrocities that are just as horrendous.  The New York Times on September 5, 2013 finally got around to publicly exposing rebel atrocities, in the article “Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West”.  Unfortunately, this article neglected to delve into the issue that the rebels have been targeting Christians.  According to (September 5, 2013) Syrian rebels attacked the Christian village of Maaloula and beheaded a Christian priest.  Clearly, if Obama seeks to punish Assad, Obama should also be explicitly condemning the rebels for their atrocities.  It is quite disingenuous of Obama to publicly assert that one person is “bad” and then to ignore the “bad” behaviour of others.  So who should the US bomb?

The Washington Post on September 5, 2013 wrote: “Obama and top administration officials have argued forcefully that a U.S.-led military strike is needed to enforce an international ban on the use of chemical weapons ...”. What's wrong with that statement? No one appointed Obama as the UN Secretary-General with the authority to enforce international law.  In fact, the real UN Secretary-General Ki-Moon was quoted by Reuters as stating: "U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that the use of force is only legal when it is in self-defense or with Security Council authorization, remarks that appear to question the legality of U.S. plans to strike Syria without U.N. Backing."  Based on Mr. Ki-moon's statement, Obama is mistakenly asserting authority that he does not have.  Obama is making a mockery of due process.

The Obama administration has been “selling” the proposed attack on Syria as a simple limited, no boots on the ground, slap on the wrist to teach Assad a lesson.  Well, an attack on Syria, even if limited, is an act of war.  Assad would have a right to defend himself and may even strike-back.  The Obama administration apparently has not contemplated the fact that Assad, in defending Syria, could sink one of our warships and/or shoot down the cruise missiles.  What happens then?  Escalation?

What happens should the Syrian rebels win?  Will Syria become an Islamic theocratic state systematically practicing genocide on the few remaining Christians and murdering the Alawites?  Will Syria become unstable like Iraq and Egypt?  Simply getting rid of one tyrant will not mean that democracy will bloom or that another tyrant won't reemerge.  How will the Obama administration handle Syria then?