ALREADY THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION APPEARS TO BE OVERFLOWING WITH FOREIGN CAMPAIGN DONATIONS -- SUCH DONATIONS WOULD BE ILLEGAL. BUT IT GETS WORSE.
APPARENTLY HAILING FROM PATHETIC COUNTRIES, OLIVER BURKEMAN AND FAILED WRITER BUT CONSORT OF FRENCH PRESIDENT BERNARD-HENRI LEVY REFUSE TO FOCUS ON THEIR OWN RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES BUT INSTEAD OBSESSS OVER A U.S. ELECTION AS THEY EXPRESS THEIR LOVE FOR CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O.
THESE ARE NOT REPORTERS, THESE ARE FOREIGNERS ATTEMPTING TO INFLUENCE AN ELECTION AND THEY NEED TO BUTT THE HELL OUT.
IF THEY'RE SO ASHAMED OF THEIR OWN COUNTRIES -- ENGLAND AND FRANCE -- THERE'S A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP IN THE U.S. AND THEY SHOULD EXPLORE IT. BUT AS LONG AS THEY REMAIN FOREIGNERS, THEY NEED FOCUS ON THEIR OWN ELECTIONS AND STOP TRYING TO INFLUENCE ELECTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Yesterday we noted Mitt Romney, GOP presidential candidate, delivered a foreign relations speech. Today US President Barack Obama did. If you're a dope -- like Michael A. Memoli of the Los Angeles Times -- you just type it up. I'm sorry, is it only Republicans that have to be fact checked? Barack's been president for nearly four years, at what point does he stop being coddled?
And if you can figure out the lunatic ravings of his campaign site, more power to you. I couldn't. Where's the speech? I called a friend with the campaign and he told me, "Why it's at the White House."
At the White House. How many times is this adminitsration going to break the Hatch Act?
Go to the White House's Speeches and Remarks page and you'll find the following:
Speeches and Remarks
- October 09, 2012
- October 09, 2012
- October 08, 2012
- October 08, 2012
- October 08, 2012
- October 06, 2012
- October 05, 2012
- October 05, 2012
- October 04, 2012
The White House is not a campaign site. I went over the legalities with Team Barack when they had their Twitter Feed issues (they were breaking the Hatch Act, they quickly changed their policies to be in compliance with the Hatch Act). I don't feel like being nice today. Team Barack has a ton of lawyers, at least one of them should know the damn law. Campaign event speeches belong at the campaign website. They are not official White House business. They cannot be posted at the White House. This is no different than what got Al Gore in trouble -- the phone calls -- only now we're talking online.
If you're not grasping it, White House staff posts to the White House web. Right away, you've got a Hatch Act issue if White House staff is posting campaign event material to the White House website. I cannot believe how stupid Team Barack is. And I'll put my hand on the Bible and say "stupid" and not "criminal." It took two hours to explain the basics of how their Twitter feed was in violation of the Hatch Act. I don't have that kind of time, especially for a candidate I'm not campaigning for, donating to, or voting for. I expect the President of the United States to comply with the law. That is not an outlandish expectation. If Team Obama's attorneys are this stupid, that not only suggests the need for new attorneys, it goes to the man they're working for.
White House staff has now posted campaign event material to a government website. Forget that it's the White House, for a moment, to a government website. They are not in compliance with the Hatch Act and if we grown ups in the press -- which we so obviously do not (excepting the few like Jake Tapper) -- they'd be running with this story. We'd have headlines "Potential Hatch Act Violation by White House" or "Another Potential Hatch Act Violation by White House." But we have meek little general studies majors who never learned one damn thing about one damn thing and we're all victimized by their stupidity.
And today's speech where he remembers Iraq all the sudden? It's got be the one damn speech they didn't break the Hatch Act by posting.
We can't get the text of the speech (supposedly it'll be faxed to me shortly, I don't have the time to wait) so we have to depend upon the accuracy of a dunce, a village idiot, by the name of Michael Memoli. Fate has saved us. The fax just came in.
Ohio State University in Columbus was where Barack spoke this evening.
I want to use the money we're saving from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I want to use that to pay down our deficit, but also to put people back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and our schools all across America. And Governor Romney said it was "tragic" to end the war in Iraq. I disagree. I think bringing out troops home to their families was the right thing to do. If he'd gotten his way, those troops would still be there. In a speech yesterday, he doubled down on that belief. He said ending that war was a mistake. After nine years of war, more than $1 trillion in spending, extraordinary sacrficies by our men and women in uniform and their families, he said we should still have troops on the ground in Iraq. Ohio, you can't turn a page on the failed policies of the past if you're promising to repeat them. We cannot afford to go back to a foreign policy that gets us into wars with no plan to end them.
That's Barack on Iraq in Ohio today. It was not a major foreign policy speech. It was actually very disappointing to read because there was no effort to say much of anything. Did Barack think his college audience couldn't handle much more than simplistic statements. I'm not talking him presenting a new map for foreign relations, I'm talking about some uplifting phrases. This is the dullest speech in the world. Maybe attorneys aren't Team Obama's only problem?
Reading Michael A. Memoli's nonsense, it becomes clear that Barack can say whatever he wants and will not be fact checked. So let's do the work that the Los Angeles Times should have expected Memoli to do.
Barack: I want to use the money we're saving from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I want to use that to pay down our deficit, but also to put people back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and our schools all across America.
I would applaud you but you stated that repeatedly in your campaign speeches in 2008 -- and in your victory speech on election night (link is NPR, text and audio). So you had four years and the US roads and bridges remain in need of repair. You refused to do a public works project, the way FDR did to provide jobs, but we're supposed to believe you that this time you really, really mean it.
Barack: And Governor Romney said it was "tragic" to end the war in Iraq.
Barack keeps repeating that lie. FactCheck.org from September 7, 2012:
Making the case that Romney lacks foreign policy chops, Obama twisted Romney's words, claiming, "My opponent said it was 'tragic' to end the war in Iraq."
But that's not quite what Romney said. He was speaking of the speed with which Obama was withdrawing troops, not to ending the war in general.
During a veterans roundtable in South Carolina on Nov. 11, 2011, Romney criticized Obama's plan to remove troops from Iraq by the end of that year. Here's the fuller context of his comments, as reported by the New York Times:
Romney, Nov. 11, 2011: It is my view that the withdrawal of all of our troops from Iraq by the end of this year is an enormous mistake, and failing by the Obama administration. The precipitous withdrawal is unfortunate — it's more than unfortunate, I think it's tragic. It puts at risk many of the victories that were hard won by the men and women who served there.
A month earlier, when Obama formally announced the withdrawal of tens of thousands of troops from Iraq by year's end, Romney released a similar statement:
Romney, Oct. 21, 2011: President Obama's astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women. The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government. The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq.
In December, Romney argued that Obama "has pulled our troops out in a precipitous way" and that he ought to have left a residual force of "10-, 20-, 30-thousand personnel there to help transition to the Iraqi's own military capabilities."
Criticizing the "precipitous" pace of withdrawal and the president's failure to leave a residual force in Iraq is a far cry from calling the end of the war in Iraq "tragic."
"Obama twisted Romney's words" -- yes and continues to do so after being called out on it which makes it a lie.
Barack: I disagree. I think bringing out troops home to their families was the right thing to do.
If you had actually done that, Barack. I could probably vote in this presidential election and could vote for you. If you had done that, if you had brought the troops home from Iraq. I probably could ignore your assaults on whistle blowers, find some way to justify your persecution of Bradley Manning and other things. Because Iraq really matters to me. So I could probably find a way to lie to myself, write you a big check, go out and campaign for you and vote for you. I might hold my nose, but I probably could have if you'd just done that.
But you didn't bring US troops home. Some of them, over 15,000, you moved across the Iraqi border into Kuwait. And there's no plans to bring that number down to zero. In fact, June 19, 2012, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released [PDF format warning] "The Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership With The Gulf Co-Operation Council."
Kuwait is especially keen to maintain a significant U.S. military presence. In fact, the Kuwaiti public perception of the United States is more positive than any other Gulf country, dating back to the U.S.-led liberation of Kuwait in 1991. Kuwait paid over $16 billion to compensate coalition efforts for costs incurred during Desert Shield and Desert Storm and $350 million for Operation Southern Watch. In 2004, the Bush Administration designated Kuwait a major non-NATO ally.
* U.S. Military Presence: A U.S.-Kuwaiti defense agreement signed in 1991 and extended in 2001 provides a framework that guards the legal rights of American troops and promotes military cooperation. When U.S. troops departed Iraq at the end of 2011, Kuwait welcomed a more enduring American footprint. Currently, there are approximately 15,000 U.S. forces in Kuwait, but the number is likely to decrease to 13,500. Kuwaiti bases such as Camp Arifjan, Ali Al Salem Air Field, and Camp Buehring offer the United States major staging hubs, training rages, and logistical support for regional operations. U.S. forces also operate Patriot missile batteries in Kuwait, which are vital to theater missile defense.
The report goes on to recommend that the troops stay there for years. (Individuals would rotate out but approximately 13,000 US troops would be stationed in Kuwait for years.)
In addition, Special Ops remained in Iraq. They never left. 'Trainers' remained in Iraq (also US military). And not only did Special Ops remain but Barack just sent more Special Ops into Iraq. Tim Arango (New York Times) reported September 26th, "At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."
Barack: If he'd gotten his way, those troops would still be there.
Barack, "these troops" still are there. And if Barack had gotten his way, even more would be there. As Yaroslav Trofimov and Nathan Hodge (Wall St. Journal) remind today, "In Iraq, Washington's ability to influence the government in Baghdad was greatly diminished by December's pullout of American forces, ordered by President Barack Obama after Baghdad refused to accept the U.S. demand that remaining U.S. troops be immune from Iraqi jurisdiction." I would love to hear Senator John McCain respond to this speech by Barack. In November of last year, we defended Barack here from McCain's charge that Barack was misleading (lying) and intended to tank negotiations between the US and Iraq for US troops to remain in Iraq in large numbers. And we even brought it up in the 2011 year-in-review:
Another reason offered for the refusal by the Iraqis to extend the SOFA or come to a new agreement came from US Senator John McCain. McAin's hypothesis is that Barack purposely tanked the talks (see the November 15th Iraq snapshot and Kat's report on the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing). Were that true (I personally don't buy that proposal), then the administration should be paraded before Congress due to the fact that, when the country was in three overseas wars (Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya), plus drone attacks of Pakistan and in an ever increasing economic mess, for Barack to have wasted some of the administration's most valuable players on negotiations that were intended to fail would be criminal negligence. Far more likely is that, as with his attempts to land the 2016 Olympics (for Chicago) which included traveling all the way to Denmark only to see the Committee rebuff him and select Rio instead. Barack's embarrassing failure was lampooned in Isaiah's 2009 "Dream Team Take Two" which found the players (Barack, Michelle, Oprah and Valerie Jarrett) attempting to bring the Mary Kay Convention to Chicago.
I think McCain would look at that single sentence ("If he'd gotten his way, those troops would still be there.") and say that Barack can't have it both ways -- either he would have kept troops there but couldn't get a treaty passed or else he intentionally tanked a treaty because he didn't want troops there.
In addition, Tim Arango (New York Times) reported September 26th, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions." Troops would still be there? But it's the White House right now that's negotiating to send more troops back into Iraq.
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