Will Afghanistan be Vietnam all over again?
Vietnam was a casualty of American politics, not a loss by the troops in the field
Most Americans don’t realize how far President Obama has bowed down to the Taliban – and that he is potentially setting them up to rule Afghanistan.
While the fact that we are negotiating with the Taliban has been fleetingly covered here in America, a search of Lexis-Nexis shows that the rest of the story about the concessions we have offered them has been virtually blacked out by the mainstream media in the US. Things are so bad that we now aren’t even requiring that they renounce their ties to al-Qaida before we negotiate with them.
You’d have to read British newspapers to learn that, and about how they have humiliated our president and British Prime Minister David Cameron on the national stage in negotiation.
The Obama administration is so desperate to appease the Islamist savages and cut a peace deal with them that US negotiators no longer require preconditions of Taliban fighters we negotiate with -- like that they halt the killing of innocent civilians and our troops or break with al Qaida, The Telegraph of London reports.
Apparently, terrorist attacks on US soil aren’t off limits either. Incredibly, these “negotiations” with the Taliban began last fall, just five months after the attempted Times Square bombing attack by Faisal Shahzad, which was funded by the Taliban.
US negotiators and their British counterparts aren’t even requiring that the Taliban embrace the Afghan constitution our troops and many Afghans paid for with blood. Worse yet, they are aiming to turn control of the county at least partly over to the Taliban in a “shared power” deal, essentially throwing the Afghan people to the wolves.
Meanwhile our troops continue to die fighting for what the Obama administration is giving away at the negotiating table as they take bullets enforcing the Afghan constitution. The Taliban killed four US soldiers and 42 innocent civilians in bombings at hospital and construction sites this month, and were recently caught attempting to smuggle suicide bombers as young as nine years old into the country.
If the American public got the full story on this, they’d be outraged. The Taliban, meanwhile, are so emboldened that they have even demanded we release 20 prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay holding facility as part of negotiations, one of the few details of these negotiations that have actually been reported by the US press.
Then last week the Taliban humiliated Obama and Cameron during their European summit on Afghanistan. Despite our over- the-top concessions, upper level Taliban leaders refused to show up to highly publicized “peace” talks in Germany after deciding they didn’t want to well, talk. (Talks thus far talks had been with mid- level leaders.) News that the Taliban jilted Obama at the negotiating table filled European papers just as Obama’s entourage hit the continent.
They way the Taliban see it, The Telegraph reports, “they can simply sit it out and wait for victory in 2014,” when troops are scheduled to exit.
An aide to Taliban leader Mullah Omar explained the group’s position in November.
“All of these reports of peace talks are nonsense,” Mullah Aminullah told NBC News. “This is just propaganda by the U.S. and its NATO allies to hide their defeat on the battlefield. We are winning, why should we negotiate?”
The Taliban have been laughing since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton first proposed negotiating with the “moderate” members of the Taliban in 2009.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid called this a “lunatic idea,” insisting that there were no moderate Taliban. “They have to go and find the moderate Taliban, their leader, and speak to them,” he told Reuters.
It’s baffling as well to many British observers why we would want or need a make a deal with the Taliban at all as part of exiting Afghanistan. "British and US strategy should be about containing terrorism, not brokering a final peace,” Tory MP Rory Stewart told the paper.
Still Obama and Cameron plow ahead, pushing for what the British papers call a “political solution.” By that they mean one that will make Obama look great … to America’s enemies.
Obama is borrowing and printing money like there is no tomorrow
Responsible government finance has vanished
The U.S. has already defaulted on its debts. We’re just all politely pretending that we haven’t. But we have.
According to Pimco, last year, the Federal Reserve — a central bank printing press — bought 70 percent of Treasury debt. The year before, it bought 80 percent. Where did the money come from? Out of thin air.
This is the “pretended payment” on sovereign debt that economist Adam Smith warned against, which he wrote in The Wealth of Nations “has gradually enfeebled every state which has adopted it.” To him, increasing the money supply to pay the debt was substantively no different than a public bankruptcy.
So, while the Fed dresses up its actions as targeting unemployment or maintaining its balance sheet, the real reason for QE2 has been to prop up the U.S. Treasury from a catastrophic default, just as the European Central Bank (ECB) has been propping up Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.
And as the bank assures the American people it will not be engaging in QE3, its treasuries holdings will continue to rise from their current $1.5 trillion level after QE2 ends in June. It’s already the world’s largest lender to the U.S. government, more than China or Japan. So how can it become an even larger sovereign lender?
It still has $922 billion of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) left over from its $1.25 trillion bailout to financial institutions all over the world. It has been slowly selling them off, and replacing them with more treasuries purchases. So, we should continue to expect more of that over the next year. The Fed will continue monetizing the debt — i.e. printing money to pay principal and interest owed on the $14.3 trillion national debt.
Obama rewrites history in pursuit of making Muslim friends
Barack Obama is clearly obsessed with currying favor with the Muslim world. This obsession prompts Obama to periodically insult Israel (the only democracy in the Middle East and America's only real ally there) and, more egregiously, misrepresents America's history with the Muslim world. This reduces America's standing abroad and weakens our security.
Obama's misrepresentation of America's history with Muslims is best exemplified by his first television interview as president in January 2009 and his June 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt.
Obama's first television interview as president was with the Saudi-funded Arabic network Al Arabiya. During this interview, Obama told the Muslim world that America is not their enemy, America has made mistakes, America has not been perfect, and that America needs to re-establish the respect and partnership that it had with the Muslim world 20 or 30 years ago.
Obama ignored that our history with the Muslim world since 1979 is replete with Islamic terrorist attacks on America, including:
1979 - Iranian terrorists held American diplomats hostage in Tehran, the government of Iran was (and still is) a state sponsor of terrorism, Iran's leader Ayatollah Khomeini declared war on the United States, and thousands of Iranians paraded through Tehran shouting "Death to America."
1983 - Hezbollah bombed the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine Headquarters in Beirut, killing 257 Americans and 58 French soldiers.
1993 - al Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center, killing six.
1998 - al Qaeda bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa, killing 224.
2001 - the September 11 attacks by al Qaeda killed 2,977.
Conversely, over the last 30 years America has repeatedly come to the aid of threatened Muslims. Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan are some examples.
Why didn't Obama ever mention this?
In his Cairo speech, Obama called for a new beginning in relations between America and the Muslim world. Obama then said that Western democratic colonialism was the root cause of the problems with Islamic countries in the Middle East.
Actually, Islamic authoritarianism and corruption are the real root causes of the problems that have plagued the Middle East for centuries.
Even more egregious was Obama's misrepresentation of the conflict between Islam and the West. Obama said that Islam has a tradition of tolerance and used the conduct of Muslims in Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition to illustrate this point. However, Obama ignored that both cities were governed by Christians during the Inquisition, not Muslims, and Islam was the aggressor during the Middle Ages, not Christianity. It is often overlooked that the much-criticized Crusades were a Christian self-defense effort.
Obama also claimed, "In the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That's why I'm committed to working with American-Muslims to ensure they can fulfill zakat."
Obama is wrong for two reasons.
First, there are no American laws that make it harder for Muslims to give to charity. America has laws against material support of terrorism - against using charities as fronts to channel money to jihadists. Those laws are not directed at Muslims. They apply to everyone but are applied most often to Muslims - because Muslims carry out most anti-American terrorism.
Second, Obama's claim that the religious obligation of zakat is the equivalent of "charitable giving" is incorrect. Zakat is every Muslim's obligation to contribute to the fortification of the ummah, the theoretical worldwide Islamic nation - which includes the funding of violent jihad against non-Muslims.
So what has the misrepresentation of America's history with the Muslim world produced? Nothing.
There has been no change in the Muslim world's relationship with and perception of America. The governments of Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Palestine, among others, are still openly hostile to America. Iran is openly developing nuclear weapons to use against the U.S. and Israel. Muslim extremists are attempting to take control of Egypt, Libya and other nations currently experiencing uprisings.
America does not need more outreach to the Muslim world by Obama. Instead, America needs Obama to support Israel and stand up to the Muslim world and demand that it takes action against its extremists and terrorists to stop their murderous and destructive activities against America and our allies.
Obama's Job Recession
Political advantage can be fleeting. A couple of months ago, during the winter quarter, job gains looked to be picking up, unemployment was easing lower, and President Obama’s reelection hopes looked more secure. But things sure have changed.
In recent weeks, a whole bunch of new economic stats have been pointing to a sputtering economy -- maybe even an inflation-prone, less-than-2-percent-growth recession. Stocks have dropped five straight weeks, as they look toward slower growth, jobs, and profits out to year end. And Friday’s jobs report didn’t buck these trends.
“Anemic” is the adjective being tossed around the media. According to the Labor Department, nonfarm payrolls increased a meager 54,000 in May, while private payrolls gained only 83,000. A week or two ago, Wall Street expected 200,000-plus new jobs. Didn’t happen.
Perhaps the most telling weakness in the jobs report comes from the household survey, which is made up of self-employed workers. Think of mom-and-pop owned stores and small businesses. Think of the Main Street entrepreneurial families who make up the backbone of the economy, and for the matter the country. And they vote, too.
Well, household jobs increased a paltry 105,000 in May, after falling 190,000 in April. The jobless rate is determined by the household survey, and you really need a couple hundred thousand new household jobs a month -- at least -- to lower unemployment. And you really need about 300,000 household jobs a month to put a little torque behind the Main Street economy. But with the lackluster May report, the unemployment rate edged up to 9.1 percent from last month’s 9 percent and March’s 8.8 percent.
Suddenly President Obama has gone from reelect to big trouble. The economic rug has been pulled out from underneath him.
So what changed in the last couple of months or so? Answer: A nasty oil-, gasoline-, and commodity-price shock. It’s eating away at economic growth and jobs. It’s stalling the economy. And it has cut into consumer real incomes and business profits.
Much of this problem can be traced to the failure of the Federal Reserve’s QE2 pump-priming campaign. QE2 has not produced growth, but it has produced inflation. In fact, the consumer price index over the past four or five months has been running close to 6 percent annually.
And most of that new Fed money has served merely to depreciate the dollar. And most of those cheaper dollars are on deposit at the Federal Reserve, where banks are earning 25 basis points for safety and risk aversion. In other words, the majority of that new money is not circulating throughout the economy. It’s a boneheaded Fed stimulus, and it has done more harm than good.
That said, in a larger sense, the failure to ignite small-business job creation has to be laid at the doorstep of the Obama administration, and the economic policies that threaten higher taxes and regulations virtually across the board. On Thursday this week, the president again promised House Democrats to raise taxes on successful top small-business owners. What a great new idea.
So mom and pop don’t feel like taking a risk in this environment. Higher tax-and-regulatory costs have put these entrepreneurs in survival mode. They’re playing their economic cards so close to the vest, business activity has buttoned up tight.
What you want is for people to take their suit jackets off, roll up their shirt sleeves, and go out there and build. But people are hunkering down, not building.
Bear with me for few more jobs stats.
Since the household-survey employment peak back in November 2007, 6.8 million jobs have been lost. Since the so-called end of the recession in June 2009, 199,000 jobs, on balance, have disappeared. And so far this year, household employment has increased by a total of 573,000, which is about 115,000 a month. That’s only one-third of what’s needed to bring down unemployment significantly.
The bottom line is that there hasn’t really been a jobs recovery. President Obama is going to have to own that. But the question is, both in Congress and on the campaign trail, does the GOP have a pro-growth jobs program that will get Main Street mom and pops to roll up their sleeves once again?
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