Exclusive: Oval Office Watch – Saturday, June 27
by OVAL OFFICE WATCH
June 27, 2009
The Abandonment of Democracy
Joshua Muravchik, Commentary Magazine.com
Iranian exiles in the U.S. are receiving calls from back home asking why President Obama has “given Khamenei the green light” to crack down on the election protestors. To conspiracy-minded Middle Easterners, that is the obvious meaning of Obama’s equivocal response to the Iranian nation’s sudden and unexpected reach for freedom. How to explain that this interpretation is implausible? That the more likely reason for Obama’s behavior is that he is imprisoned in the ideology of loving your enemies and hating George W. Bush?
Whatever the reason, Obama's failure may destroy his presidency
. His betrayal of democracy and human rights through a series of pronouncements and small actions during his first months in office had been correctable until now. But the thousand daily decisions that usually make up policy are eclipsed by big-bang moments such as we are now witnessing. Failure to use the bully pulpit to give the Iranian people as much support as possible is morally reprehensible and a strategical blunder for which he will not be forgiven. Read article.
Why I dumped Obama's party
Sherman Frederick, Review Journal.com
I was on political easy street as a Democrat.
President Obama, the party head, is a political rock star in America and a near-god in Amsterdam and Cairo.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is portrayed as grown too big to fail, and he's convinced everyone who's anyone in my home city of Las Vegas to join him on the Obama freight train to socialism. Next stop: Rationed health care, union card check and $10-a-gallon gasoline. All aboard!
Democrats own Washington, D.C., as well as the Nevada Legislature.
Meanwhile, Nevada's Republican "Luv Guv," Jim Gibbons, couldn't be on a more prolonged hard-luck streak. He's in the divorce from hell with the first lady, who for a time holed herself up in the Governor's Mansion; his staff regularly jumps ship; and rumor has it that the governor's dog has obtained a restraining order.
And, lest we forget, Nevada's most popular Republican, Sen. John Ensign, shook the party faithful by admitting to a nine-month roll in the hay with the wife of his good friend.
Nope, I don't think I could have picked a worse time to go Republican. However, because KXNT-AM radio's Alan Stock revealed my party switch last week, I feel the need to explain. Read article.
The Iranian Election and the Revolution Test
George Friedman, Stratfor.com
Successful revolutions have three phases. First, a strategically located single or limited segment of society begins vocally to express resentment, asserting itself in the streets of a major city, usually the capital. This segment is joined by other segments in the city and by segments elsewhere as the demonstration spreads to other cities and becomes more assertive, disruptive and potentially violent.
As resistance to the regime spreads, the regime deploys its military and security forces. These forces, drawn from resisting social segments and isolated from the rest of society, turn on the regime, and stop following the regime’s orders. This is what happened to the Shah of Iran in 1979; it is also what happened in Russia in 1917 or in Romania in 1989.
Revolutions fail when no one joins the initial segment, meaning the initial demonstrators are the ones who find themselves socially isolated. When the demonstrations do not spread to other cities, the demonstrations either peter out or the regime brings in the security and military forces — who remain loyal to the regime and frequently personally hostile to the demonstrators — and use force to suppress the rising to the extent necessary. This is what happened in Tiananmen Square in China: The students who rose up were not joined by others. Military forces who were not only loyal to the regime but hostile to the students were brought in, and the students were crushed.
This is also what happened in Iran this week. The global media, obsessively focused on the initial demonstrators — who were supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s opponents — failed to notice that while large, the demonstrations primarily consisted of the same type of people demonstrating. Amid the breathless reporting on the demonstrations, reporters failed to notice that the uprising was not spreading to other classes and to other areas. In constantly interviewing English-speaking demonstrators, they failed to note just how many of the demonstrators spoke English and had smartphones. The media thus did not recognize these as the signs of a failing revolution. Read article.
Hot Dog Diplomacy: Obama Says It's Up to Iranians to Accept July 4 Invitations
Iranians will have to decide whether they want to attend Fourth of July celebrations at U.S. embassies, President Obama said Tuesday, linking their attendance to the potential for warming between the two nations.
The United States and Iran don't have formal diplomatic relations but Obama said that it's up to the Iranian diplomats to decide whether to use an invitation to attend embassy festivities as an opening.
"I think that we have said that if Iran chooses a path that abides by international norms and principles, then we are interested in healing some of the wounds of 30 years in terms of U.S.-Iranian relations. But that is a choice that the Iranians are going to have to make," Obama said during a press conference in the White House briefing room.
Despite a crackdown on protesters by the Iranian government, State Department spokesman Ian Kelley on Monday reaffirmed the invitation to Iranian diplomats to attend Independence Day parties at U.S. embassies around the world next month. Read article.
How GOPers can crack the AmeriCorps scandal
Byron York, JWR.com
What's next in the budding scandal over President Obama's abrupt firing of Gerald Walpin, the inspector general of AmeriCorps?
Republican investigators on Capitol Hill know one thing very well. As minorities in both House and Senate, they have no power to compel the White House to disclose anything. And majority Democrats, at least for now, are not inclined to help the opposition uncover embarrassing facts about one of President Obama's favorite federal programs.
So Republicans are brainstorming things they can do by themselves to shake loose information from an administration that has no obligation to cooperate with them. And indeed, there are a few ways.
The first is to enlarge the scope of the AmeriCorps investigation to include the Justice Department.
A second possible step involves the candidate, still un-chosen, who will take Walpin's place as the next inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps. That person will have to be confirmed by the Senate. Republicans have significant powers to slow down and even block the nomination unless they are given the information they seek about the Walpin affair.
A third step would be to push for greater emphasis on inspectors general at the Corporation. Read article.
We Don’t Need Obama’s Big-Bang Health-Care Plan
Larry Kudlow, NRO.com
It looks like President Obama’s big-bang health-care reform is going down to defeat. This is good. But my question is why do we need it at all? According to a recent ABC News/USA Today/Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 89 percent of Americans are satisfied with their health care. That could mean up to 250 million people are happy. So why is it that we need Obama’s big-bang health-care overhaul in the first place?
There’s more. According the U.S. Census Bureau, we don’t have 47 million folks who are truly uninsured. When you take college kids plus those earning $75,000 or more who chose not to sign up, that removes roughly 20 million people. Then take out about 10 million more who are not U.S. citizens, and 11 million who are eligible for SCHIP and Medicaid but have not signed up for some reason.
So that really leaves only 10 million to 15 million people who are truly long-term uninsured.
Yes, they need help. And yes, I would like to give it to them. But not with mandatory coverage, or new government-backed insurance plans, or massive tax increases. And certainly not with the Canadian-European-style nationalization that has always been the true goal of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats.
Instead, we can give the truly uninsured vouchers or debit cards that will allow for choice and coverage, and even health savings accounts for retirement wealth. According to expert Betsy McCaughey, instead of several trillion dollars and socialized medicine, this voucher approach would cost only about $25 billion a year.
But the Democratic agenda has never really been about just the uninsured. Read article.
Obama Regulatory Reform Plan Officially Establishes Banking Dictatorship In United States
Paul Joseph Watson & Steve Watson, Prison Planet.com
President Obama’s plan to give the privately-owned and unaccountable Federal Reserve complete regulatory oversight across the entire U.S. economy, which is likely to be enacted before the end of the year, will officially herald the beginning of a new form of government in the United States - an ultra-powerful banking dictatorship controlled by a small gaggle of shadowy and corrupt elitists.
The new rules would see the Fed given the authority to “regulate” any company whose activity it believes could threaten the economy and the markets.
This goes a step further than the centrally planned economies of the Soviet Union or Communist China, in that the Federal Reserve is not even accountable to the U.S. government, it is a private entity that according to former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, is accountable to nobody but the banking families that own it.
Obama’s regulatory “reform” plan is nothing less than a green light for the complete and total takeover of the United States by a private banking cartel. Read article.
Health Care Will End Obama's Honeymoon
Andrea Tarantos, FoxNews.com
The politician who has been billed as "untouchable" will soon be revealed for what he is: an amateur who lacks the credible answers and the ability to really lead.
In the last two weeks we've seen President Obama endure treatment that he isn't exactly accustomed to: harsh criticism from his own party, a significant slip in the polls, and unfavorable headlines instead of glowing, inflated puff pieces. It seems that biting off more than he can chew when it comes to health care, government intervention into the private sector, and ballooning deficits have left him choking in what might be the first major sea change as his policy positions have started to eclipse his personal popularity.
Reality is creeping onto front pages everywhere. The Wall Street Journal recently reported "Rising Doubts Threaten to Overshadow Obama's Agenda;" Politico's above the fold headline trumpeted "Obama Health Care Plan Imperiled;" and the CBS News/New York Times poll inspired this headline in the paper: "Poll Finds Unease with Obama on Key Issues."
The Times specifically found "a distinct gulf between Mr. Obama's overall standing and how some of his key initiatives are viewed, with fewer than half of Americans saying they approve of how he has handled health care and the effort to save General Motors and Chrysler. A majority of people said his policies have had either no effect yet on improving the economy or had made it worse, underscoring how his political strength still rests on faith in his leadership rather than concrete results."
Jewish Leader: Obama May Be 'Most Hostile President to Israel’
Ronald Kessler, NewsMax.com
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, says leaders of Jewish organizations are rethinking their support of Obama in light of his attitude toward Israel.
“There are many leaders in the organized Jewish world who have privately discussed this issue with me, and say they are deeply concerned about Obama’s actions and policies toward Israel, and now they’re rethinking their support for Obama during the campaign and the election,” says Klein, whose organization of 30,000 members is the oldest pro-Israel group in the country.
Based on the president’s speech in Cairo on June 4 and many of his foreign policy appointments, Klein thinks Obama “may become the most hostile president to Israel ever.”
Obama’s speech was “inimical to Israel and supportive of the stream of false Palestinian Arab claims concerning Israel,” Klein says. “He is relentlessly pressuring Israel while applying virtually almost no pressure on the Palestinian Authority to fulfill its written obligations.”
As a child of survivors of the Holocaust, Klein says he was particularly offended by Obama’s comparison of the suffering of Palestinians with the Nazis’ murder of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.
“I found this to be an abominable, odious, and ridiculously false analogy,” he says.
While Klein’s parents’ survived, his father lost his eight brothers and sisters and all his aunts and uncles in Nazi concentration camps. Klein’s mother lost half her family. Read article.
Obama Unable to Bully Israel - For Now
Joel Mowbray, Townhall.com
Following a surprising speech in which he uttered the words “Palestinian state” for the first time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strengthened his standing at home and abroad, far exceeding expectations from all quarters.
Though last week’s address received only modest coverage in the United States, it has already shifted the dynamics of the inevitable “peace talks.” Contrary to the media’s conventional wisdom, however, Israel’s stronger negotiating position actually increases the odds of genuine, measurable progress for the Palestinians in the near term.
Emphasizing that positive steps could be taken almost immediately, a high-ranking Knesset staffer used a football analogy to explain that the Obama administration now has important question to answer: “Do they want to go for a Hail Mary pass, or will they be happy moving the ball forward?”
No amount of bromides and wishful thinking can change the reality that a “permanent” agreement has never been within reach. Read article.