Selective Transparency with the CIA “Torture” Memos

2009 April 21

When Muslim extremists capture a non-Muslim, the result is sometimes a gruesome beheading which is videotaped and disseminated to the media. By contrast, when U.S. military personnel capture an enemy combatant, they occasionally employ interrogation techniques such as sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and confinement in a small space with a harmless caterpillar. Yet critics of America have characterized these tactics as “torture,” while having little or nothing to say about Islamist beheadings, stonings, or acid attacks.

Last week, the Obama Administration released a number of “torture” memos detailing the use of Bush-era interrogation techniques that were aimed at gaining valuable information from suspected terrorists. On Sunday, a former head of the CIA, Michael Hayden, slammed Obama for having made the memos public, stating that the disclosure of such interrogation methods would simply “embolden terrorist groups” and would give them foreknowledge about what to expect if captured.

Conspicuously absent from the documents that Obama made public was vital evidence showing just how effective these interrogation techniques had been. Last night, former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on FOX News’ Hannity program to discuss the matter.

“One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure,” Cheney said, “is they put out the legal memos … but they didn’t put out the memos that showed the success of the effort.” Cheney went on to discuss how many of the policies enacted by the Bush Administration to keep the U.S safe from terrorism are currently being dismantled by the Obama Administration.

President Obama has been careful to point out, on numerous occasions, his professed dedication to running a “transparent” government. But it seems that in this instance, “transparency” extends only to matters that will discredit the Bush Administration.

Friends in Low Places

2009 April 20

Move over, domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and America-hating preacher Jeremiah Wright. Now that Barack Obama is President, he has acquired a whole new cadre of low-life friends.

At the Summit of the Americas this past weekend, for instance, Obama enjoyed some quality time with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, exchanging handshakes and pats on the back with the Communist strongman. “I have a lot to learn,” said Obama, “and I very much look forward to listening and figuring out how we can work together more effectively.”

Casually dismissing the concerns of American lawmakers who have decried his overture to Chavez, Obama contends that the U.S. can afford to extend such “courtesy” in an effort to improve our country’s global image, and that the U.S. has nothing to fear from Chavez.

Nothing to fear? Let’s take a quick look at the man running the show in Venezuela: Chavez has candidly and repeatedly expressed his eagerness to help bring about America’s ultimate demise. In 2006 he told reporters, “The United States empire is on its way down and it will be finished in the near future, inshallah (Arabic for ‘God willing’).”

This wasn’t hollow rhetoric. In addition to supporting terrorists groups (like the notorious FARC) in South America, Chavez has also reached out to Islamic terror outfits like al-Qaeda. In January 2003, for example, it was reported that Chavez had commissioned one of his military officers to deliver $1 million to the Taliban, which in turn funneled the cash to al Qaeda.

Judicial Watch, a non-partisan public interest legal organization, later filed a lawsuit against Chavez on behalf of a victim and a survivor of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Said Judicial Watch President Larry Klayman, “Chavez, as President of Venezuela, and in furtherance of his radical terrorist agenda, initiated a plan to assist, aid, and abet bin Laden and al-Qaeda to relocate and train terrorists for future attacks on the United States.”

Notwithstanding the friendly byplay between Obama and Chavez at the Summit of the Americas, just last month Chavez referred to Obama as an “ignoramus.” Perhaps he was right.

Obama's Latest Gaffe about the Handicapped

2009 March 23

During an appearance on Jay Leno‘s “Tonight Show” last week, President Barack Obama jokingly likened his poor bowling skills to those that one might expect to see on display in the Special Olympics. As you may recall, this wasn’t the first time that a member of the Obama Administration had made an ill-conceived remark involving handicapped people.

Just before the 2008 presidential election, at a campaign rally in Columbia, Missouri, the gaffe-prone VP candidate Joe Biden asked wheelchair-bound paraplegic State Senator Chuck Graham to “stand up” and be recognized. It was an honest mistake, as I’m sure was Obama’s “Special Olympics” gaffe. What wasn’t a mistake was an Obama campaign ad that poked fun at John McCain for his lack of computer skills.

In that ad, McCain was mocked as a computer illiterate who was out-of-touch with the modern techno-savvy generation. “1982, John McCain goes to Washington,” a voiceover stated. “Things have changed in the last 26 years, but McCain hasn’t… He admits he still doesn’t know how to use a computer… After one president who was out of touch, we just can’t afford more of the same.”

This ad was the very personification of insensitivity — which, according to the Left, is supposedly the exclusive domain of conservatives. McCain’s inability to type on a keyboard, of course, can be traced to the same source that rendered him unable to do other relatively simple physical tasks such as combing his hair or tying his shoes: He suffered severe and permanently debilitating injuries as a result of the torture that was inflicted on him during his 5-plus years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton.

You’d think that by now, a president as allegedly “brilliant” as Barack Obama would have learned to actually think before he speaks on the subject of people with disabilities.

What’s particularly noteworthy about Obama and his allies is that they are quick to pass judgment on others who also say dumb things. In 2007, for instance, Obama opined that controversial radio host Don Imus should lose his job for insensitive remarks he had made about some black players on the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Should Obama, too, lose his job? Probably, but for other reasons.

The Gaffes Keep Coming!

2009 March 20

Socialist-in-Chief Barack Obama‘s almost complete dependence on a teleprompter has been a topic of discussion since the Democratic Party Primaries, but never more so than this past week, when he learned the hard way that the teleprompter is a harsh and unforgiving mistress.

On Saint Patty’s Day, as Ireland’s head of government Brian Cowen began his teleprompter-assisted speech at a White House dinner party, he quickly realized that he was inadvertently reading from the same speech that President Obama had delivered only a few minutes prior. Cowen then turned to Obama and said, “That’s your speech.”

At that point, a laughing Obama returned to the podium and began reading. But it seems that in the brief interval during which he had walked back to the the podium, the text of Cowen’s remarks had been located and loaded onto the teleprompter. Thus Obama ended up thanking himself: “First, I’d like to say thank you to President Obama!” the President read enthusiastically.

Embarrassing? Yes. But at least he could blame the foible on some lowly technician.

Obama’s gaffe was a natural consequence of the fact that the President, more than any of his predecessors in the White House, relies on teleprompters to tell him exactly what to say and when to say it. When he speaks without the aid of a teleprompter, he is quite prone to making embarrassing gaffes. Consider, for instance, what happened Thursday night.

Obama was in Burbank, California to tape an appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. Specifically there to express his utter astonishment and deep sense of betrayal that taxpayer money had been used to pay employee bonuses at insurance giant AIG, Obama decided to lighten the mood with some witty banter about his ever-improving bowling game:

President Obama: “I’ve been practicing bowling… I bowled a 129.”

Jay Leno: “That’s very good, Mr. President.”

President Obama: “It’s like — it was like Special Olympics, or something.”

He said what? In damage-control mode, following the show’s taping and before its airing, Obama called Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver to issue an apology. In the end, there was no love lost; Shriver is of course a Kennedy. The conversation ended with the President inviting Shriver and some Special Olympics competitors over to the White House for an evening of basketball or bowling. You can’t buy good will like that!

Of course this wasn’t the first time Obama had blundered or said something foolish sans teleprompter. A few examples, among many:

  • On May 9, 2008 then-Senator Obama claimed to have visited “57 states” during his campaign tour, to the dismay of geography teachers around the country.
  • In August 2007, Obama disparaged the service and commitment of U.S. military personnel when he claimed troops in Afghanistan were “just air raiding villages and killing civilians.”
  • Just after the November 2008 election, Obama told reporters that he had spoken to the living presidents following his victory, but that he “didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any séances.”
  • On March 29, 2008, Obama said he didn’t want his daughters to engage in any untimely sexual activity and consequently be “punished with a baby.”

Open Borders Hypocrite

2009 March 19

Speaking before a congregation of both legal and illegal Hispanic immigrants, House Speaker and Open Borders proponent Nancy Pelosi recently declared that the enforcement of current U.S. immigration laws is “un-American.” In a talk delivered recently at St. Anthony’s Church in San Francisco, Pelosi condemned raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and subsequently referred to the immigrants she was addressing as “very, very patriotic.”

“Who in this country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families?” Pelosi said. “It must be stopped…. What value system is that? I think it’s un-American.”

When I think of federal immigration agents kicking down doors in the middle of the night, one case comes quickly to mind: that of 7-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzales. As you’ll recall, in 2000 little Elian found himself at the center of a dramatic political storm between the government of the United States and the Communist regime of Cuba. In late 1999, Elian, along with his mother and twelve other Cuban nationals, boarded a small dingy and headed north in an attempt to flee dictator and murderer Fidel Castro’s oppressive regime. Elian and two other Cubans were fished out of the Atlantic; Elian’s mother and ten others drowned during the crossing.

The INS soon released Elian to his great-uncle and aunt, both of whom resided in Miami. But Elian’s father, backed by Cuban Authorities, demanded the boy be returned to Cuba. Scandal-ridden President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno agreed. Who can forget the now-Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of an armed U.S. Border agent storming Elian’s room in the middle of the night, taking the terrified child against his will?

Obviously Nancy Pelosi did. Seems odd – because she supported that action. In 2000, Pelosi was a co-sponsor of House Resolution 240: The Elian Gonzalez Bill, which expressed “the sense of Congress that Elian Gonzalez should be reunited with his father, Juan Gonzalez of Cuba.”

Americans Cling to Guns and Religion (…lately it’s mainly just guns)

2009 March 13

A story today out of the country’s heartland describes how gun shop owners are seeing a dramatic increase in gun sales, a “hoarding” of ammunition, and an extraordinary increase in concealed carry permit applications since Barack Obama took office. According to Tulsa, Oklahoma journalist Kelly Bostian, gun sales first spiked in November, coinciding with Obama’s election and with Democrats adding to their majority in Congress. Bostian notes further that gun dealers specifically cite political worries about gun rights, as well as concerns about increased crime due to the worsening economy, as the reasons for the remarkable spike in sales.

How remarkable? Jim Prall, owner of a sports shop in Tulsa, said, “We’ve sold more ammunition in the last three months than we sold last year.” State reports out of Oklahoma indicate an 87 percent increase in concealed carry permit applications for February 2009 over February 2008.

Do gun owners and buyers have a reason to be scared? If Obama’s cabinet choices are any indication, then the answer is a resounding “yes.” Hang on to your Second Amendment, people, here are some of Obama’s cabinet members’ views on gun control:

In April 2003 and again in October 2005, both Hilda Solis (Labor Secretary and longtime member of the socialist-leaning Progressive Caucus) and Rahm Emanuel (Obama’s Chief of Staff and ruthless left-wing intimidator) voted “No” on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers as punishment for violence that is committed with guns. By such reasoning, car manufactures should be held accountable for many of the 50,000 auto-related deaths that occur on American roads each year.

Secretary of State and Former First Lady Hillary Clinton ran for her Senate seat in 2000 on a gun-control platform. “We have to do more to stand up to those who refuse to believe the reality that guns do kill and that common-sense gun measures can make a difference,” she said. “I believe we need a comprehensive plan to stop gun violence, and it is one of the reasons I am running for the Senate.” Her proposals included the creation of a national gun registry and laws that required guns and ammunition to be stored in separate locations!

“Excuse me for one moment, Mr. Home Invader, my ammo is in the other closet…”

At the forefront of any anti-firearms crusade, we are likely to find Attorney General Eric Holder, best known for helping to secure presidential pardons for 16 FALN terrorists in 1999. Holder seems ready and willing to take up the anti-gun cause on behalf of the President. “As President Obama indicated during the campaign,” Holder said recently, “there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons.”

Many gun owners view this as just the beginning of the erosion of the right to bear arms, particularly in light of the fact that many anti-gun crusaders wrongly and deceitfully classify a wide range of semiautomatic firearms as “assault weapons.”

Back in April 2008, Obama chided many Americans for their alleged inclination to “cling to guns or religion.” Thanks to his election in November, it seems that Americans are now “clinging” to such things more than ever.

You Say You Want a Revolution?

2009 March 13

Speaking before a group of CEOs from U.S. companies yesterday, President Obama cautioned that the American economy can’t continue with “endless cycles of bubble and bust.” His solution: full-scale socialism.  This is no surprise, of course, when we consider that this same President has already appointed such key Administration officials as energy czar Carol Browner (affiliated with Socialist International) and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (an officer of the socialist-leaning Progressive Caucus who has sent representatives to events sponsored by the Socialist International and the Communist Party USA).

Obama is the same President, moreover, who has embraced the strategies of the Chicago Marxist and revolutionary Saul Alinsky, and who has actively allied himself with such luminaries as: the Marxist Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn; the racist, socialist demagogue Jeremiah Wright; and a pro-Soviet, anti-capitalist, America-hating congresswoman named Alice Palmer — to name just a few.

Are you fed up with the current Administration’s belief that it knows how to spend your money better than you do? You’re in good company. In 1773, the American colonists channeled their anger at the British government into a potent act of defiance – the Boston Tea Party. This singular event rallied support for American independence and forever changed the course of our history. Their grievance was taxation without representation. Today it’s “taxation without cessation.”

We too are in a fight for independence – independence from the rapidly approaching transformation of the U.S. into a socialist nation. On one side of this battle, we have citizens that place trust in the Constitution and believe that we have the power to attain the American Dream — not through entitlement, but through hard work and personal sacrifice. In opposition, the Obama Administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress seek to exploit these hardworking Americans through bloated stimulus packages and obscene budget plans.

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, “We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts– not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.” Our Constitution is being perverted, and it’s time to put on our boxing gloves.

The following are a few of the upcoming events being staged around the country in protest of that long and winding road to Socialism on which we’re currently sprinting:

Know of an event not mentioned? Feel free to add to the list.

“A More Perfect” Liar

2009 March 11

Today, President Obama signed the $410 billion spending package passed yesterday by Congress, despite its flaws; namely 8,570 disclosed earmarks worth $7.7 billion of taxpayers’ money. “I am signing an imperfect omnibus bill,” Obama said, “because it’s necessary for the ongoing functions of government.” These “ongoing functions,” as he describes them, include $951,500 for sustainability programs in Las Vegas cosponsored by Harry Reid, and $381,000 for Jazz music programs at Lincoln Center sponsored by the socialist-leaning congressman Jerrold Nadler.

Flashback to September 26th, 2008, when Obama declared: “We need earmark reform, and when I’m President, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”

Surprised? Why should we be? President Obama has made a political career of saying one thing, and then turning around and doing the exact opposite. Starting in 2004, following his election win as an Illinois U.S. senator, Obama adamantly ruled out running on a national ticket in 2008 due to his lack of experience. Just over two years later, Obama officially announced his candidacy for U.S. President in the 2008 election cycle. Really, who needs experience when you have celeb antiwar and environmental activist George Clooney stroking your ego via Blackberry?

During his campaign, Obama continued his trail of deceit. For example, during his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in 2008, Obama noted how he’ll “pay for every dime” of his budget “by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens.” As it stands now, the federal deficit reached $765 billion in the first five months of the budget year, a far cry from paying for every dime. And speaking of dimes, recall how, early in his presidential campaign, Obama said he would abide by the $85 million publically-funded spending limit, only to back out during the general elections so he could amass his $600 million campaign fortune and buy prime-time, half hour TV spots just prior to the November 4th vote.

Boldface lying must be a skill that many Americans view as a plus for an elected official, as Obama’s job approval ratings hover around 61 percent. According to far-left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who is a member of the socialist-leaning Progressive Caucus), a new multi-billion dollar stimulus bill is looming on the horizon. Should Obama want to see his approval ratings climb even higher, perhaps he need only to say: “there’s no way I’d sign another stimulus bill” – just before putting pen to paper and signing it.

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