Tag Archive | "Bush"

Afghanistan is Bush’s Fault


President Obama has blamed President George W. Bush for everything under the Sun, including the Sun rising in the east.  He has not (yet) blamed Bush for the situation in Afghanistan, yet it really is Bush’s and Donald Rumsfeld’s faults.

In hindsight, America’s objectives in going into Afghanistan after 9-11 should have been: 1) destroying the Taliban’s and al-Qaeda’s training bases and making it much more difficult for them to strike the United States, and 2) killing Osama bin Laden. Period.

The first was achieved fairly quickly.  The second took much longer and ultimately did not require extensive ground forces.

In 2000, George W. Bush campaigned on being against “nation building” and that America could not be the world’s police force.  Yet, America ended up bogged down in Afghanistan as it tried to use it military for nation building and as a policing force.

Afghanistan has never been a nation in our American understanding of nation.  Americans do not understand the tribal nature of countries such as Afghanistan.  No matter how large an America military presence or the nature of the mission, America is never going to be able to “secure” the countryside or insure the safety of the people of Afghanistan.  America will never be able to facilitate an effective central government in Afghanistan.  The countryside has never been secure, the people never safe, and there has never been a central government that exercised control over the nation.

The war in Afghanistan is President Obama’s “good war”. Yet, the Taliban and al-Qaeda were defeated before Obama took office.  The “good war” was over.  Except for killing Osama bin Laden (and it is a major exception) all America has done for the past several years is pursue the mirage of a safe and stable Afghanistan.

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Accuracy in Media’s Daily Links for March 1, 2012


Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)

Top Story

Andrew Breitbart—New Media Champion – Yes, he was a fearless fighter and a serious media watchdog. That is why we at Accuracy in Media held him in such high regard.

Press Release

AIM Statement on Andrew Breitbart’s Passing – Accuracy in Media released the following statement after learning of Andrew Breitbart’s passing.

AIM Blogs

Newspaper Ad Revenues are Falling Over a Cliff – While it has been widely reported that ad revenues, which are the lifeblood of every newspaper, have been falling for years, a new chart from the Newspaper Association of America shows just how much those revenues have fallen, portending an even bleaker future for the industry.

From the Newswire

Conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart dies in LA at 43 – (As mentioned on Rush today) Conservative media publisher and activist Andrew Breitbart, who was behind investigations that led to the resignations of former Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York and former U.S. Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, has died in Los Angeles. He was 43.

Arizona sheriff Arpaio probes Obama’s birth certificate – Arpaio scheduled a news conference Thursday to unveil preliminary results of an investigation, conducted by members of his volunteer cold-case posse, into the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, a controversy that has been widely debunked but which remains alive in the eyes of some conservatives.

Guest Post

BLAME BUSH FOR EVERTHING! Obama Administration Refuses to Man-Up About Afghanistan – Even for the most self-aggrandizing administration in American history, Monday saw a new low: White House spokes-child Jay Carney made the breathtaking claim that George W. Bush is responsible for the current mommy-he-touched-my-Koran violence in Afghanistan.

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Why We’re Not Going to War with Iran


tweetmeme_screen_name = ‘jeffemanuel’;

U.S. Ponders Ways to Use Force on Iran

Here’s How the U.S. Could Invade Iran

U.S. Said Set to Attack Iran

Does [the U.S. President] Plan to Invade Iran?

Saudis Deny U.S. Planned to Attack Iranian Oilfields

U.S. May Attack Iran Missiles: White House Mulls Ways to Protect Gulf

[U.S.] Navy Denies Plan to Attack Iranian Ships in Persian Gulf

U.S., Allies Setting Stage to Attack Iran, Says Paper

Chavez Warns Against U.S. Attack on Iran

Iran’s Top Leader Warns of U.S. Attack

Iran: U.S. Attack May Mean ‘Slaughterhouse’

Sharon on the Warpath: Is Israel Planning to Attack Iran?

Israel Has Plans to Attack Iran, Says London Times

U.S. Planning Nuclear Strike on Iran

The Coming War with Iran

Report: Israel Asks for ‘Air Corridor’ to Attack Iran

News from Israel: [U.S. President] Wants to Attack Iran Soon

Iran in U.S. Crosshairs

Do those headlines sound familiar? Judging by the recent deluge of print, web, television, and radio reports and discussions, America and Israel have responded to a growing “drumbeat for war,” as some have put it, and are on the brink of launching an overt military attack on Iran. As the real newspaper and web headlines cited above clearly show, the U.S. and its ally in the Levant have failed to learn the proverbial dangers of a land war in Asia, and are furiously building toward another engagement with another Islamic country.

But wait. The dates on those headlines are, respectively, November 1979, December 1979, August 1980, August 1980, June 1984, June 1987, March 1988, November 1992, November 1993, December 1996, June 1997, August 2004, March 2005, April 2006, July 2006, February 2007, May 2008, and February 2009.

That’s right: the claim that America or Israel is on the cusp of attacking Iran is as old as the Islamic Republic itself. Such assertions have peppered media reports, op-eds, and other commentary for three decades and change at this point – a fact which should give folks pause about taking such claims any more seriously now than at any point in recent history.

Yes, Iran is hostile to the U.S. and its interests, and yes, it is almost certainly working as quickly as it can on the development of a nuclear weapon. However, despite growing hysteria on the part of media and analysts, and despite public debates like that being hosted by Foreign Affairs (the best piece among which is this one by Colin Kahl, former head of Middle East policy at the Pentagon), a western-initiated war with Iran is little more likely now than at any point in the last three decades, if not altogether less so.

HOW MANY LINES IN THE SAND?

This isn’t to minimize Iran’s nuclearization effort as an issue.  President Obama clearly has a decision to make when it comes to dealing with Iran’s apparently inexorable march toward becoming a nuclear weapons state, as will the next president should Obama be defeated in this year’s election. Thus far, the administration has issued firm statements while consistently moving its “red line” of acceptable nuclear progress backward in response to each Iranian action. As Pepe Escobar noted at CBSNews Online:

Let’s start with red lines. Here it is, Washington’s ultimate red line, straight from the lion’s mouth. Only last week Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said of the Iranians, ‘Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.’

How strange, the way those red lines continue to retreat. Once upon a time, the red line for Washington was “enrichment” of uranium [Auth. note: As Olli Heinonen has recently noted, the Fordow plant is currently producing 20% enriched uranium – an important step in producing weapons-grade uranium] . Now, it’s evidently an actual nuclear weapon that can be brandished. Keep in mind that, since 2005, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has stressed that his country is not seeking to build a nuclear weapon. The most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran from the U.S. Intelligence Community has similarly stressed that Iran is not, in fact, developing a nuclear weapon (as opposed to the breakout capacity to build one someday).

Why does the standard U.S. response to Iran’s advancement past each impassable  line-in-the-sand ultimatum appear to be to shrug, take ten more paces backward, draw a new line, and demand that Iran not cross that one?  The two-fold answer to that is as simple as it is frustrating for those who prioritize non-proliferation (particularly to state supporters of terror like Iran) very highly.

WHY AN ATTACK WON’T HAPPEN: REASON I

First, it is highly unlikely that an aerial campaign would be able to successfully eliminate Iran’s nuclear program, which is made up of deeply buried, hardened targets spread across multiple sites (though Matthew Kroenig has argued in Foreign Affairs that the majority of sites that serve as the most critical targets are within reach of conventional airborne munitions).  Further, attempting to strike these sites would have a net negative effect on the U.S.’s interests; as President Bush’s Director of Central Intelligence Michael Hayden reiterated just this week,“When we talked about this in the government, the consensus was that [attacking Iran] would guarantee that which we are trying to prevent — an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon and that would build it in secret.”  A certain effect of eliminating the program (even if that were possible) but leaving the regime intact would be to double their resolve to establish a nuclear weapons capability, in no small part because success in that pursuit would provide it the security of deterrence (and the freedom to continue its effort to be a bully in the region and beyond), as North Korea has repeatedly demonstrated.

Given these limitations and first-order effects,  would be to carry out an operation that simultaneously eliminated Teheran’s nuclear sites and deposed the regime.  This is akin to what FPI’s Jamie Fly and AEI’s Gary Schmitt have suggested, with one major difference: Fly and Schmitt appear to be calling for an solely aerial campaign (augmented, almost certainly, by other conventional standoff weaponry), but with a target list that is expanded beyond sites that are directly related to the nuclear program. They write:

A limited strike against nuclear facilities would not lead to regime change. But a broader operation might. It would not even need to be a ground invasion aimed specifically at toppling the government. The United States would basically need to expand its list of targets beyond the nuclear program to key command and control elements of the Republican Guard and the intelligence ministry, and facilities associated with other key government officials. The goal would be to compromise severely the government’s ability to control the Iranian population. This would require an extended campaign, but since even a limited strike would take days and Iran would strike back, it would be far better to design a military operation that has a greater chance of producing a satisfactory outcome.

With all due respect to Fly and Schmitt, it’s  a very good thing that this suggestion will never come to fruition, in large part because it is one of the worst suggestions that has been put forth to date for dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue.  If simply bombing those sites which can be identified and reached with conventional weapons is an ineffective way of dealing with Iran’s program, then attacking those sites and striking Teheran’s “key command and control elements” from 30,000 feet AGL or from up to 1,000 nautical miles away, then leaving the resulting chaotic mess for the Iranian people (and those still remaining in the military-governmental complex) to clean up and rebuild from is an exponentially more ineffective way of ensuring that whatever does emerge from the rubble will not in any way be positively disposed to the U.S. and its interests.  In other words, the idea that the best possible option on Iran would be to fly in, break everything (in hopes of prompting regime collapse), and then immediately leave is, quite simply, mind-boggling.

WHY AN ATTACK WON’T HAPPEN: REASON II

This brings us to the second reason why an attack on Iran is as unlikely now as it has been at any time in recent history, if not more: the fact that the only option to truly ensure that the existing program is done away with, and to create the most favorable odds that Iran’s efforts at nuclearization would not be reconstituted in greater secrecy at the earliest possible moment, would be to mount an air-and-ground invasion that deposed the regime; disbanded the Revolutionary Guard; and manually searched for; reported, and destroyed all weapons of mass destruction and WMD production facilities that it found; and trusted that freeing the people from the tyranny of their government and the punishment it had brought, and meted out, upon them would immediately win them to America’s side and its cause.

Does that sound familiar? If not, then George Santayana would like to have a quick word with you, because I’ve just basically described the 2003 coalition invasion of Iraq, and that is precisely why no such invasion of Iran is in the offing at any time in the near future.  Had America not had the experience of “breaking” Iraq, and learning the hard way just how difficult it is to put such a Humpty Dumpty together again, then a campaign against Iran might not be such a far-fetched idea.  However, with Iraq planted firmly in our short-term memory (despite the withdrawal of uniformed troops this December, that effort is still far from over), and with Afghanistan still so unstable that the coalition is once again stepping up peace and power-sharing talks with the Taliban, the simple and unavoidable fact is that there will not be even a fraction of the public, expert, or official governmental support for an invasion of Iran that there was for the action taken against Afghanistan and Iraq last decade.  Additionally, Iran’s geographic location virtually guarantees that militants will stream into the Persian state from every direction in massive numbers, augmenting an organic insurgency and waging a low- and medium-intensity conflict and domestic terror campaign that could well make both  Afghanistan and Iraq seem relatively tame in comparison.

These facts argue very convincingly for the risk of an attack on Iran being as low as it has been for the preceding decades, despite the constant media speculation and hype about a supposedly impending attack that has been a feature of reports and analyses across that period.

WHAT ELSE CAN BE DONE?

This isn’t to say that nothing can or should be done to hinder Iran’s efforts.   As General Hayden recently reinforced, the Bush administration recognized the folly of waging war on Iran (despite the decrepit Seymour Hersh’s repeated – and breathless – claims to the contrary), and moved to focus its overt efforts at counterproliferation on Iran’s economy in hopes of convincing the government to change course and fomenting civil unrest. Though the current president missed an opportunity to side with a budding revolution against Teheran in 2009, this Congress, the Obama administration, and the EU have only strengthened the sanctions on Iran, at grave economic cost to the Islamic Republic (though the effort to prevent Iranian oil from being purchased abroad is being short-circuited by China to its own end, as it is reportedly using the distress sanctions have caused in Iran’s oil market to negotiate a lower price for themselves on Iranian crude).

Sanctions, too, have potential downside.  They can cause a targeted people to become more galvanized or a targeted regime to further tighten its grip on its subject population (just to name two), and to date they certainly haven’t convinced Teheran to give up its nuclear ambitions.  However, between sanctions and a military attack that simply cannot have any guarantee of mission success or positive outcome, but which is almost certain to carry with it massively negative effects (of the first order, as well as second-, third-, and beyond) , the former has to be the preferred option, at least for the time being.  Those sanctions will continue to be augmented by covert operations wherever and whenever possible, but there is almost zero chance that overt military action will also be  added to the mix – again, despite the almost constant media claims to the contrary.

Where we go from here is a very big, very important question.  As Kenneth Pollack put it, “if the Obama administration’s forward progress is clear enough when it comes to its Iran policy, its ultimate destination is not.”  The best outcome, as Hayden and the Bush administration recognized last decade, is regime change within Iran.  “It’s not so much that we don’t want Iran to have a nuclear capacity,” Hayden said, as it is “that we don’t want this Iran to have it … Slow it down long enough and maybe the character [of the Iranian government] changes.”  While sanctions and covert actions have managed to slow Iran’s nuclear progress, short of war only a positive regime change (which is no guarantee) are likely make a real difference in the status quo.

Given the wide-ranging support for the coalition invasion of Iraq leading up to the 2003 start of that war, it is telling that the current debate over Iran includes hawkish voices as well as calls for the U.S. to accept the inevitability of a nuclear Islamic Republic, and to prepare its containment strategy accordingly.  Because of the uncertainty of military success (and the extremely high likelihood that the cost of overt military action would be very steep), and because of the length and general messiness (for lack of a better term) of America’s recent experience with military-led regime change and counter-WMD efforts in Iraq, striking Iran simply will not be considered  an acceptable option by policymakers or the general public.  Sanctions and other non-military efforts will continue, but the likelihood that Iran will become a nuclear weapons state in the not-too-distant future should dictate that the current administration, and the next if the current president only serves one term, develops the most comprehensive possible plan for containment, deterrence, and fomenting positive regime change at the earliest possible opportunity.

While that is a grave future concern, though, the massive guaranteed cost of attacking Iran not only means that such action is not the “least-worst option” that we have for dealing with Teheran’s nuclear ambitions, but tit also means that it remains highly unlikely that such action will be taken – again, media hype notwithstanding.

 

 

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

Why We’re Not Going to War with Iran


tweetmeme_screen_name = ‘jeffemanuel’;

U.S. Ponders Ways to Use Force on Iran

Here’s How the U.S. Could Invade Iran

U.S. Said Set to Attack Iran

Does [the U.S. President] Plan to Invade Iran?

Saudis Deny U.S. Planned to Attack Iranian Oilfields

U.S. May Attack Iran Missiles: White House Mulls Ways to Protect Gulf

[U.S.] Navy Denies Plan to Attack Iranian Ships in Persian Gulf

U.S., Allies Setting Stage to Attack Iran, Says Paper

Chavez Warns Against U.S. Attack on Iran

Iran’s Top Leader Warns of U.S. Attack

Iran: U.S. Attack May Mean ‘Slaughterhouse’

Sharon on the Warpath: Is Israel Planning to Attack Iran?

Israel Has Plans to Attack Iran, Says London Times

U.S. Planning Nuclear Strike on Iran

The Coming War with Iran

Report: Israel Asks for ‘Air Corridor’ to Attack Iran

News from Israel: [U.S. President] Wants to Attack Iran Soon

Iran in U.S. Crosshairs

Do those headlines sound familiar? Judging by the recent deluge of print, web, television, and radio reports and discussions, America and Israel have responded to a growing “drumbeat for war,” as some have put it, and are on the brink of launching an overt military attack on Iran. As the real newspaper and web headlines cited above clearly show, the U.S. and its ally in the Levant have failed to learn the proverbial dangers of a land war in Asia, and are furiously building toward another engagement with another Islamic country.

But wait. The dates on those headlines are, respectively, November 1979, December 1979, August 1980, August 1980, June 1984, June 1987, March 1988, November 1992, November 1993, December 1996, June 1997, August 2004, March 2005, April 2006, July 2006, February 2007, May 2008, and February 2009.

That’s right: the claim that America or Israel is on the cusp of attacking Iran is as old as the Islamic Republic itself. Such assertions have peppered media reports, op-eds, and other commentary for three decades and change at this point – a fact which should give folks pause about taking such claims any more seriously now than at any point in recent history.

Yes, Iran is hostile to the U.S. and its interests, and yes, it is almost certainly working as quickly as it can on the development of a nuclear weapon. However, despite growing hysteria on the part of media and analysts, and despite public debates like that being hosted by Foreign Affairs (the best piece among which is this one by Colin Kahl, former head of Middle East policy at the Pentagon), a western-initiated war with Iran is little more likely now than at any point in the last three decades, if not altogether less so.

HOW MANY LINES IN THE SAND?

This isn’t to minimize Iran’s nuclearization effort as an issue.  President Obama clearly has a decision to make when it comes to dealing with Iran’s apparently inexorable march toward becoming a nuclear weapons state, as will the next president should Obama be defeated in this year’s election. Thus far, the administration has issued firm statements while consistently moving its “red line” of acceptable nuclear progress backward in response to each Iranian action. As Pepe Escobar noted at CBSNews Online:

Let’s start with red lines. Here it is, Washington’s ultimate red line, straight from the lion’s mouth. Only last week Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said of the Iranians, ‘Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.’

How strange, the way those red lines continue to retreat. Once upon a time, the red line for Washington was “enrichment” of uranium [Auth. note: As Olli Heinonen has recently noted, the Fordow plant is currently producing 20% enriched uranium – an important step in producing weapons-grade uranium] . Now, it’s evidently an actual nuclear weapon that can be brandished. Keep in mind that, since 2005, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has stressed that his country is not seeking to build a nuclear weapon. The most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran from the U.S. Intelligence Community has similarly stressed that Iran is not, in fact, developing a nuclear weapon (as opposed to the breakout capacity to build one someday).

Why does the standard U.S. response to Iran’s advancement past each impassable  line-in-the-sand ultimatum appear to be to shrug, take ten more paces backward, draw a new line, and demand that Iran not cross that one?  The two-fold answer to that is as simple as it is frustrating for those who prioritize non-proliferation (particularly to state supporters of terror like Iran) very highly.

WHY AN ATTACK WON’T HAPPEN: REASON I

First, it is highly unlikely that an aerial campaign would be able to successfully eliminate Iran’s nuclear program, which is made up of deeply buried, hardened targets spread across multiple sites (though Matthew Kroenig has argued in Foreign Affairs that the majority of sites that serve as the most critical targets are within reach of conventional airborne munitions).  Further, attempting to strike these sites would have a net negative effect on the U.S.’s interests; as President Bush’s Director of Central Intelligence Michael Hayden reiterated just this week,“When we talked about this in the government, the consensus was that [attacking Iran] would guarantee that which we are trying to prevent — an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon and that would build it in secret.”  A certain effect of eliminating the program (even if that were possible) but leaving the regime intact would be to double their resolve to establish a nuclear weapons capability, in no small part because success in that pursuit would provide it the security of deterrence (and the freedom to continue its effort to be a bully in the region and beyond), as North Korea has repeatedly demonstrated.

Given these limitations and first-order effects,  would be to carry out an operation that simultaneously eliminated Teheran’s nuclear sites and deposed the regime.  This is akin to what FPI’s Jamie Fly and AEI’s Gary Schmitt have suggested, with one major difference: Fly and Schmitt appear to be calling for an solely aerial campaign (augmented, almost certainly, by other conventional standoff weaponry), but with a target list that is expanded beyond sites that are directly related to the nuclear program. They write:

A limited strike against nuclear facilities would not lead to regime change. But a broader operation might. It would not even need to be a ground invasion aimed specifically at toppling the government. The United States would basically need to expand its list of targets beyond the nuclear program to key command and control elements of the Republican Guard and the intelligence ministry, and facilities associated with other key government officials. The goal would be to compromise severely the government’s ability to control the Iranian population. This would require an extended campaign, but since even a limited strike would take days and Iran would strike back, it would be far better to design a military operation that has a greater chance of producing a satisfactory outcome.

With all due respect to Fly and Schmitt, it’s  a very good thing that this suggestion will never come to fruition, in large part because it is one of the worst suggestions that has been put forth to date for dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue.  If simply bombing those sites which can be identified and reached with conventional weapons is an ineffective way of dealing with Iran’s program, then attacking those sites and striking Teheran’s “key command and control elements” from 30,000 feet AGL or from up to 1,000 nautical miles away, then leaving the resulting chaotic mess for the Iranian people (and those still remaining in the military-governmental complex) to clean up and rebuild from is an exponentially more ineffective way of ensuring that whatever does emerge from the rubble will not in any way be positively disposed to the U.S. and its interests.  In other words, the idea that the best possible option on Iran would be to fly in, break everything (in hopes of prompting regime collapse), and then immediately leave is, quite simply, mind-boggling.

WHY AN ATTACK WON’T HAPPEN: REASON II

This brings us to the second reason why an attack on Iran is as unlikely now as it has been at any time in recent history, if not more: the fact that the only option to truly ensure that the existing program is done away with, and to create the most favorable odds that Iran’s efforts at nuclearization would not be reconstituted in greater secrecy at the earliest possible moment, would be to mount an air-and-ground invasion that deposed the regime; disbanded the Revolutionary Guard; and manually searched for; reported, and destroyed all weapons of mass destruction and WMD production facilities that it found; and trusted that freeing the people from the tyranny of their government and the punishment it had brought, and meted out, upon them would immediately win them to America’s side and its cause.

Does that sound familiar? If not, then George Santayana would like to have a quick word with you, because I’ve just basically described the 2003 coalition invasion of Iraq, and that is precisely why no such invasion of Iran is in the offing at any time in the near future.  Had America not had the experience of “breaking” Iraq, and learning the hard way just how difficult it is to put such a Humpty Dumpty together again, then a campaign against Iran might not be such a far-fetched idea.  However, with Iraq planted firmly in our short-term memory (despite the withdrawal of uniformed troops this December, that effort is still far from over), and with Afghanistan still so unstable that the coalition is once again stepping up peace and power-sharing talks with the Taliban, the simple and unavoidable fact is that there will not be even a fraction of the public, expert, or official governmental support for an invasion of Iran that there was for the action taken against Afghanistan and Iraq last decade.  Additionally, Iran’s geographic location virtually guarantees that militants will stream into the Persian state from every direction in massive numbers, augmenting an organic insurgency and waging a low- and medium-intensity conflict and domestic terror campaign that could well make both  Afghanistan and Iraq seem relatively tame in comparison.

These facts argue very convincingly for the risk of an attack on Iran being as low as it has been for the preceding decades, despite the constant media speculation and hype about a supposedly impending attack that has been a feature of reports and analyses across that period.

WHAT ELSE CAN BE DONE?

This isn’t to say that nothing can or should be done to hinder Iran’s efforts.   As General Hayden recently reinforced, the Bush administration recognized the folly of waging war on Iran (despite the decrepit Seymour Hersh’s repeated – and breathless – claims to the contrary), and moved to focus its overt efforts at counterproliferation on Iran’s economy in hopes of convincing the government to change course and fomenting civil unrest. Though the current president missed an opportunity to side with a budding revolution against Teheran in 2009, this Congress, the Obama administration, and the EU have only strengthened the sanctions on Iran, at grave economic cost to the Islamic Republic (though the effort to prevent Iranian oil from being purchased abroad is being short-circuited by China to its own end, as it is reportedly using the distress sanctions have caused in Iran’s oil market to negotiate a lower price for themselves on Iranian crude).

Sanctions, too, have potential downside.  They can cause a targeted people to become more galvanized or a targeted regime to further tighten its grip on its subject population (just to name two), and to date they certainly haven’t convinced Teheran to give up its nuclear ambitions.  However, between sanctions and a military attack that simply cannot have any guarantee of mission success or positive outcome, but which is almost certain to carry with it massively negative effects (of the first order, as well as second-, third-, and beyond) , the former has to be the preferred option, at least for the time being.  Those sanctions will continue to be augmented by covert operations wherever and whenever possible, but there is almost zero chance that overt military action will also be  added to the mix – again, despite the almost constant media claims to the contrary.

Where we go from here is a very big, very important question.  As Kenneth Pollack put it, “if the Obama administration’s forward progress is clear enough when it comes to its Iran policy, its ultimate destination is not.”  The best outcome, as Hayden and the Bush administration recognized last decade, is regime change within Iran.  “It’s not so much that we don’t want Iran to have a nuclear capacity,” Hayden said, as it is “that we don’t want this Iran to have it … Slow it down long enough and maybe the character [of the Iranian government] changes.”  While sanctions and covert actions have managed to slow Iran’s nuclear progress, short of war only a positive regime change (which is no guarantee) are likely make a real difference in the status quo.

Given the wide-ranging support for the coalition invasion of Iraq leading up to the 2003 start of that war, it is telling that the current debate over Iran includes hawkish voices as well as calls for the U.S. to accept the inevitability of a nuclear Islamic Republic, and to prepare its containment strategy accordingly.  Because of the uncertainty of military success (and the extremely high likelihood that the cost of overt military action would be very steep), and because of the length and general messiness (for lack of a better term) of America’s recent experience with military-led regime change and counter-WMD efforts in Iraq, striking Iran simply will not be considered  an acceptable option by policymakers or the general public.  Sanctions and other non-military efforts will continue, but the likelihood that Iran will become a nuclear weapons state in the not-too-distant future should dictate that the current administration, and the next if the current president only serves one term, develops the most comprehensive possible plan for containment, deterrence, and fomenting positive regime change at the earliest possible opportunity.

While that is a grave future concern, though, the massive guaranteed cost of attacking Iran not only means that such action is not the “least-worst option” that we have for dealing with Teheran’s nuclear ambitions, but tit also means that it remains highly unlikely that such action will be taken – again, media hype notwithstanding.

 

 

Posted in Politics, RedStateComments Off

Open Letter To RedState, Part III: Various Misunderstandings


In Part I and Part II of this open letter, we discussed two concerns at length, health care and abortion. I want to thank all who have read and commented. I value each of your thoughts, as I hope you value mine. In this third “chapter,” we will continue discussing the issues. Much of the information provided comes from WhyRomney.com, which I co-founded. Additional sources and information are available at that site.

With the recent buzz about whether or not Mitt supported John Kasich’s effort in Ohio, this seems like a good place to start. None of us can read minds, but we can certainly do detective work and try to see what happened.

Mitt came under fire for telling reporters, “I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues.” My first reaction was to consider that Sarah Palin also avoided answering reporters on her recent bus tour, and I applauded her for that at the time.

But then Politico pointed out that Mitt had already expressed support for Kasich’s laws, back in June. That fact, combined with the fact that Romney made his statement while visiting a phone bank where people were making calls in support of Kasich’s reforms, made me curious.

Then, the next day, Romney gave this explanation: “What I was referring to is I know there are other ballot questions there in Ohio and I wasn’t taking a position on those.” He added that he supports Kasich “110%.”

There are two other initiatives, making three total. If Romney’s explanation is true, then he was not refusing to take a position on the collective-bargaining measure but was only refusing to take a position on the other two initiatives.

And when we look at his original statement in context, he indeed implied he was talking about only two of the three initiatives. He said: “I’m not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives.”

Here’s more context:

“I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues. Those are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the effort of the governor to reign in the scale of government. I am not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives. But I am certainly supportive of the Republican Party’s efforts here.”

So we can see his original statement is not only consistent with his claim that he was talking about only two of the three measures, but it also shows him expressing support for “the Republican Party’s efforts here,” and “the effort of the governor to reign in the scale of government.” If that’s not expressing support for the collective-bargaining initiative, then it would be unclear what he was expressing support for.

If someone wants to argue that Romney’s explanation is a lie, I’d like to hear their evidence.

Let’s move to another issue that recently received buzz:

Romney’s Illegal Immigration Record

As most people know by now, Romney did not hire illegal immigrants. He hired a lawn-care agency. But some people are bothered that Romney told the owner of the agency he can’t have illegals on his property since he was “running for office.” However, the illegals were already gone when Romney had that heart-to-heart with the owner. The context of the discussion was the owner asking for a second chance. Romney gave him that second chance, but explained the political reality that people would try to blame him if it happened again. And they have.

Some people think Romney “waited” until his last weeks in office before authorizing state troopers to enforce federal immigration laws. But the word “wait” is misleading, because Romney was waiting for the federal permission. In June of 2006, a number of illegals were found to be working for contractors hired by the government of Massachusetts. When Romney found out, he sent a request to the federal government for permission to tell state agents to enforce federal immigration laws – since the laws in Massachusetts were insufficient and the attorney general was not cooperative. Romney ended up waiting 6 months to hear back from the feds, which is why antagonists claim Romney didn’t tell state troopers to act until a few weeks before he left office – even though he had put in the request much sooner.

Some charge that Mitt Romney supported McCain-Kennedy in 2005 and as Governor instituted sanctuary cities. The reality: sanctuary status was instituted on a city level outside Romney’s purview. With a liberal legislature, no bill outlawing sanctuary cities would have passed. Romney did not endorse McCain’s bill in 2005; in an interview with the Boston Globe he explicitly refused to endorse it. Romney did say in the same interview that the bill was “reasonable,” but the 2007 bill is very different from the 2005 bill; the provisions Romney most strongly objects to, like the z-visa, were not in the 2005 bill. Accordingly, his position did not change when he opposed the 2007 bill, but the bill itself had changed.

Some claim Romney changed his position on illegal immigrants, since he once said that some illegal immigrants should begin a process toward application for citizenship. However, Romney was not proposing that any illegal immigrants should receive a special pathway to citizenship which is not available to people waiting in line in their home countries. Instead, Romney was proposing that some illegal immigrants, because of criminal history or other circumstances, should be barred from applying for citizenship, while those who are paying taxes and not receiving any government benefits should be allowed to get in line along with people in their home countries. Romney clarified, “I am going to tell them to go home, but they start by beginning the process of applying for citizenship. But I do not believe — or applying for permanent residency. They’re not going to be barred from doing that, but they do not get any advantage by having come here illegally.”

Fees

Some people believe Romney’s increases in fees are identical to taxes. On the contrary, Romney saved millions of tax dollars by ending the taxpayer subsidizing of fees. A fee covers the cost for a special good or service provided to an individual by the government; when a fee is not high enough to cover the cost of the service provided, taxpayers end up subsidizing. Romney shifted the burden from the community onto the individual who benefits from the service provided.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, for instance, has accurately stated that he has not raised taxes. He has however raised fees by several billion dollars.  Every state raises fees to keep up with the cost of service. In MA, some fees had not been raised in a very long time.

Some fee-related concerns people have expressed are addressed as follows:

Fuel fee. Romney updated an already existing per-gallon gasoline fee to offset state costs in managing underground fuel storage leaks. At the time, Romney faced a backlog of cleanup claims for the underfunded state program. It is true that in the years since this increase, the fee has generated more revenue than Romney had anticipated. The initial costs, caused by the backlog of claims, were not representative of future costs, due to improved storage tank quality. So that was a mistake, however I think the important thing is that Romney did not spend the surplus but tried to return it to the people. Romney turned a 3 Billion dollar budget deficit crisis into a surplus. He put the surplus in a rainy day fund and tried to give back to the taxpayers most of the 240 million which he estimated had been raised by fees, starting as soon as he began to turn around the economy, prompting the liberal Boston Globe to complain after Romney’s first year in office, “The first signs of life appear in the Massachusetts economy and the governor calls for a $225 million tax cut” (“Romney’s Real Agenda.” The Boston Globe 11 May 2004).

Parking fee at state parks. The taxpayer was paying for the parking space. One parking space costs over 20,000 dollars, not including upkeep, re-pavement, snow removal, security etc. Facing a budget crisis, Romney realized the state could no longer subsidize public leisure. To provide the service, the cost shifted from the taxpayer to the individual who chooses to use the service.

Gun permits. First, when Romney did his update it only raised the fee to $75. The legislature later brought it to $100, which Romney partially compensated for by ordering that people not be charged for replacing of lost or stolen permits, and signing a law allowing permits to expire after 6 years instead of 3. The reason for the fee increase was the MA gun control act of 1998 which declared that the licensing authority is only allowed to keep half of the fee, and the rest goes into a new record-keeping fund. The act also institutes a number of other changes which raise overhead and impacted costs. The people are ultimately responsible for this new fund and all the new regulations and overhead, since they elected their representatives. Thus, the people collectively chose the cost of providing the service, before Romney was Governor. Inflation was also relevant, but unlike most of the fees Romney updated, inflation was only a secondary factor for the increased gun permit costs.

Tax Loopholes

You might be asking, “When Romney closed business tax loopholes, did it not have the same effect as raising taxes?” No, level competition ensures maximum value for the consumer. The law as originally written did not intend for the tax “breaks” in question to be legal. They were oversights. So closing the loopholes does not have the effect of raising taxes but has the effect of applying tax rates evenly, which is a fundamental principle of capitalism. If one business is paying less in taxes because of a loophole, the state is giving them an unfair advantage over their competitors. Because of this unfair advantage they do not need to offer as high of a quality of product or service in order to compete, which means the state is interfering in free market competition, and capitalism suffers. Romney repeatedly proposed tax cuts in MA, but the legislature wouldn’t go along with it. Lower tax rates are good, but applying tax rates evenly – without loopholes – is also good.

Ronald Reagan explained that tax loopholes “should be corrected”:

Mr. Weisman. But in addition to that, you’re also talking about loopholes, tax breaks, whatever you want to call it.

The President. I hesitate, I won’t answer that now, as to what all will be in the study. We are, as I said before, in our present proposal, we are changing some that we believe, while they were undoubtedly well-intentioned, they have led to some taking an, getting an advantage that is denied to others. Where that is true, then that should be corrected, whether you have a deficit or have a tax reform or not.

Taxes

Some have claimed the total tax burden in MA went up under Romney. This falsely implies that Romney raised taxes. In truth, some communities in MA chose to raise property taxes at the local level which Romney had no control over. Romney did reduce state aid to local communities, but conservatives understand that raising taxes is never necessary.

Some people assert that Romney raised capital gains tax rates. In truth, the tax increase was enacted before Romney was elected governor but took effect during Romney’s term after having been tied up in court for several years. Critics are unable to point to any tax increases from Romney. Moreover, they fail to note that Romney repeatedly proposed tax cuts, which were shot down by the Democratic MA legislature, starting as soon as he began to turn around the economy, prompting the liberal Boston Globe to complain after Romney’s first year in office, “The first signs of life appear in the Massachusetts economy and the governor calls for a $225 million tax cut.”

Global Warming

Here’s a sample of what Romney said, in his hardcover, pages 227-230:

“I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control. I do not support radical feel-good policies … Of course, there are also reasons for skepticism. The earth may be getting warmer, but there have been numerous times in the earth’s history when temperatures have been warmer than they are now … If developing nations won’t curb emissions, even extreme mitigation measures taken by the United States and other developed nations will have no appreciable effect on slowing the rate of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Clearly, Romney opposes cap-and-trade and any other economically harmful actions. He favors expanding natural gas and nuclear power, and other actions to make us energy independent.

Some may have jumped to a false conclusion about Romney’s position because Romney acknowledges that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and therefore contributes “some” to warming, but he says he doesn’t know how much. See more details here. http://www.whyromney.com/qanda.php#globalwarming Everyone seems to acknowledge that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, including Rush and Glenn Beck.

At the Reagan Library debate, Rick Perry also implied that mankind has some impact and he does not know how much:

Perry said, at the Reagan Library debate:

“The fact of the matter is, the science is not settled on whether or not the climate change is being impacted by man to the point where we’re going to put America’s economics in jeopardy.”

On this issue, Mitt uses more “honey” than “vinegar” in his rhetoric, but the substance of his position is solidly conservative.

Gun Control

Too many misconceptions exist on this issue to cover here, but I highly suggest this page for information.

On that page you will find, among a great deal of other sourced information, praise for Romney from the NRA and other pro-gun groups, including praise for his so-called “assault weapons ban” which was actually a downgrade to the previous Massachusetts law.

The clip on Youtube everyone has seen is actually in the context of Romney answering a question about a MA gun law he opposed, so despite the phraseology he used in the answer, he wasn’t expressing support for all Massachusetts gun laws. He is guilty of couching his support for the right to own guns in “hunting” language, though not exclusively, so you could accuse him of waffling by omission by not revealing the extent of his pro-gun views which earned him so much praise when he actually governed.

Panelist: “Massachusetts recently passed what was advertised as the most restrictive gun-ownership law in the country. If a repeal of the 1998 gun law was to reach your desk, as governor would you sign it or veto it?”

Romney: “Well, I likewise did not support that legislation, and likewise felt that having individuals that previously had been convicted of felonies have the right to purchase firearms was not a good idea. I likewise support the right of law abiding citizens to be able to purchase firearms for hunting purposes and target practice and so forth. We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won’t chip away at them. I believe they help protect us and provide for our safety, but I want our law abiding citizens likewise to have the right to purchase and use a weapon for hunting and other purposes.”

Death Penalty

Some people charge a “flip-flop” on the death penalty because, while Governor, Mitt Romney did not execute any criminals. The truth is, Massachusetts does not have the death penalty. Executions would have been illegal. Romney actively fought for a death penalty, filing before the state legislature on April 28, 2005, “An Act Reinstating Capital Punishment In The Commonwealth,” however the legislature voted against the act, House Bill 3834.

Social Security

Some accuse Romney of changing his position on social security because he is now considering reforms to social security yet in 1994 he said, “I don’t think you go back and rewrite the contract the government has with people who’ve retired.” However, not only have circumstances changed since 1994, but Romney’s positions are not contradictory. Guaranteeing promised benefits to retired seniors does not mean social security cannot be altered for those who are not retired, such as through personal accounts or changing the retirement age.

More recently, some have accused Romney of hypocrisy for criticizing Rick Perry over his social security views, because Romney allegedly called social security a “criminal enterprise.” However, it was not Romney but Perry who used those words  in describing Romney’s position.

It’s very different to attack Congress for hurting something than to attack the thing itself. Romney has consistently defended social security.

What Romney actually said:

“To put it in a nutshell, the American people have been effectively defrauded out of their social security. In 1982, the government raised social security taxes with the intention of creating a surplus that could be set aside in some fashion for the baby boomers when they retired. But for the last thirty years, the surplus has been spent, not on retirement security, but on regular budget items.

“Let’s look at what would happen if someone in the private sector did a similar thing. Suppose two grandparents created a trust fund, appointed a bank as trustee, and instructed the bank to invest the proceeds of the trust fund so as to provide for their grandchildren’s education. Suppose further that the bank used the proceeds for it’s own purposes so that when the grandchildren turned 18, there was no money for them to go to college. What would happen to the bankers responsible for misusing the money? They would go to jail. But what has happened to the people responsible for the looming bankruptcy of Social Security? They keep returning to Congress every two years.” (HC, p. 157-58)

To those who say Romney’s position of trying to save social security is not conservative, I quote Ronald Reagan:

“There is no more important domestic issue on which we have to have a national consensus than social security … I am determined that we put social security back on a sound financial footing and restore the confidence and peace of mind of the American public in its social security system … I believe in the social security system. I believe that it will survive and keep its promise to this generation of beneficiaries and those to come.”

Ronald Reagan

Some express concern over Romney’s views on Ronald Reagan, because Romney was an independent during the Reagan-Bush era and said in a 1994 debate that he was “not trying to return to Reagan-Bush,” but later became a big fan of Reagan. However, Romney, who is not a career politician, was involved in the private sector and in raising his family during the Reagan era.

Romney’s political involvement and focus on political issues came later, not unlike many Americans who do not have fully formulated political views. Ronald Reagan himself was a Democrat until the age of 50 when he switched to the Republican party. Like Romney, when Reagan was involved in the private sector he largely stayed out of politics. The more involved Reagan became in politics, the more conservative his views became. For example, Reagan changed from being prochoice to being prolife.

We might also point out that Rick Perry was not an Independent but a Democrat during Reagan’s presidency, and supported Democrats for the Presidency.

Vietnam

accuse Romney of “flip-flopping” because he said in 2007 that in “many respects” he had longed to represent his country in Vietnam, but in 1994 stated that it had not been his desire to serve in Vietnam. However, each quote was made in reference to a different context. The 2007 statement was in reference to himself in the ’60s as a single young man serving as a missionary; the 1994 statement was in reference to himself as a married man with a new child in the ’70s.

In the context of the 2007 statement, Romney was a single young man on a draft deferment for missionary service in France. In the other context, five years later, Romney was married with a new child; his deferment for mission and school had ended and Romney entered the draft lottery. When quoting Romney’s statements, critics leave out the parts of the quotes which contain the context. What Romney actually said in 2007 is: “I really don’t recall thinking about political positions when I was knocking at the door in France. I was supportive of my country. I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.”

In 1994, this is what Romney said, in context: “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft. If drafted, I would have been happy to serve, and if I didn’t get drafted I was happy to be with my wife and new child”

Note that when Romney said it had not been his desire to serve in Vietnam, he also explained, in the line critics leave out, that he would have still been “happy” to serve if drafted. In addition to the other context critics leave out, they also fail to mention that Romney’s father publicly dropped his support for the Vietnam war while Mitt was on his mission. When Mitt left on his mission, his father was an avid supporter of Vietnam. When Mitt returned home, his father avidly opposed the war, thereby lessening Mitt’s enthusiasm for serving. Of final note is that the reporter who quoted Mitt in 1994 blundered by asserting, falsely but forgivably, that Romney’s statement about his wife and child was in reference to his “missionary days.”

Bank Bailouts

They claim Mitt Romney changed his position on the bank bailouts, because in Romney’s Feb. 2009 speech at CPAC he said they were “necessary,” but in a Value Voters Summit speech in September 2009 Romney said they were “reason to be alarmed.” However, in context these statements are not contradictory even though they can be made to appear so.

When Romney said they were necessary, he had seconds earlier set up the context for why they were necessary by explaining that Washington politicians had allowed the abuses at Fannie and Freddie which led to the financial crisis, and that “in some cases they encouraged those abuses for political gain.” This is entirely consistent with his later statement that the bailouts were reason to be alarmed. Moreover, when Romney said the bailouts were “reason to be alarmed,” he was listing them as part of a trend of government actions which show the government is not learning but continuing in the wrong direction. Romney has consistently held that the bank bailouts were unfortunate but necessary and the auto bailouts should never have happened and were an abuse of the TARP money.

Minimum Wage

They accuse Romney of changing his position on the minimum wage. However, Romney’s position has been consistent. At one time Romney said the minimum wage “ought to keep pace with inflation” and at another time said that “raising the minimum wage excessively” should be avoided. These two statements are not contradictory even though they can be made to appear so.

Martin Luther King Jr.

They claim Romney fabricated seeing his father march with Martin Luther King, Jr. However, Mitt is not the only one with this impression. Others have taken it further, claiming Mitt’s father, George Romney, and King marched side by side.

Eyewitness Ashby Richardson says she was “only 15 or 20 feet from where both of them were.” Another eyewitness, Shirley Basore, recalls, “They were hand in hand.” Wilma Wood Henrickson wrote in her 1991 book “Detroit Perspectives” that “Governor George Romney and Walter Reuther were among the prominent whites marching with Reverend King.” David S. Broder wrote in his 1967 book, The Republican Establishment, that George Romney “has marched with Martin Luther King through the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb of Detroit.”

Critics claim there are no official records of the two marching together in person. However, the question is not whether Romney actually marched with King but whether King and Romney left the impression they had marched together. Clearly, they did. In addition to Romney giving outspoken support for King, and King commenting favorably on the prospect of Romney becoming president, residents had reason to make a visual association between the two because Michigan television showed both leading marches, with stock footage montaged together. Thus people “saw” them marching together, consistent with the impression expressed by Romney, who was a young teenager during the 1963 March.

Gay Marriage

They claim Romney flipped on gay marriage. The fact is, Romney has consistently opposed gay marriage. When asked in 1994, Romney said: “I line up with Gov. Weld on that … he does not feel at this time that he wishes to extend legalized marriage on a same-sex basis, and I support his position”. When asked again in 2002 if he supported gay marriage, Romney still answered “no.”

Critics also point to Romney’s disagreement with a proposed constitutional amendment concerning gay marriage, House Bill 4840, which was both proposed and shot down prior to Romney becoming governor. However, Romney’s disagreement with the amendment was not over its clause which banned gay marriage, but over a separate clause, which Romney feared “would outlaw domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples.” The problem with the amendment is that it falsely implied that Massachusetts law itemized “benefits or incidents exclusive to marriage,” which the amendment prohibits in non-marital relationships. Without itemization in the law, the prohibition was without limit.

When gay marriage came before the MA Supreme Court, Romney fought against the decision which made gay marriage a right. As governor he had to enforce the ruling, which some have faulted him for doing, but critics do not apply that standard to other issues, for instance faulting Pro-Life governors for enabling abortions in their states because of court decisions legalizing abortion.

Civil Unions

They say Romney changed his position on civil unions. In truth, Romney said he opposed civil unions but “would look to protect already established rights and extend basic civil rights to domestic partnerships.” Critics who fail to distinguish legally between a “domestic partnership” and a “civil union” have falsely characterized Romney’s statement as a support of civil unions while neglecting his answer about civil unions in that same questionnaire.

The only instance in which Romney considered civil unions was as a possible downgrade from same-sex marriage as imposed by the state high court. At the time, Romney stated he would prefer to not have either one but felt it was a necessary compromise in order to prohibit gay marriage, which redefines family. In Romney’s exact words, “If the question is: “Do you support gay marriage or civil unions?” I’d say neither; if they said you have to have one or the other, that Massachusetts is going to have one or the other, then I’d rather have civil unions than gay marriage.”

Gay Rights

They claim Romney has changed his position on gay rights, citing a Romney 1994 statement supporting gay rights. However, the term “gay rights” had a different meaning in 1994 than it does today. Moreover, critics falsely paraphrase Romney’s statement, based on headlines rather than the actual quote from Romney, as a claim that he would be further to the left on the issue than Ted Kennedy.

In fact, what Romney actually said was that Kennedy would be less effective because he is viewed as too extreme: “when Ted Kennedy speaks on gay rights, he’s seen as an extremist. When Mitt Romney speaks on gay rights, he’s seen as a centrist and a moderate.” Critics also cite a letter Romney wrote to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts, claiming that Romney said he would not only match but surpass Kennedy’s “record” on gay rights, implying that Romney took the same positions as Kennedy and would take them even further.

However, critics falsely paraphrase Romney, who in reality made his statement in reference to Kennedy’s “considerable record in the area of civil rights,” speaking of civil rights in general terms, not gay rights exclusively. Only then did Romney go on to argue that part of achieving civil rights goals is to “make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern,” stating that he could do what Kennedy “cannot do,” because “the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party.” Romney said he could “be a voice in the Republican Party to foster anti-discrimination efforts,” which Kennedy clearly could not do.

Gay and Lesbian Youth Groups

They accuse Romney of instituting a Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth which funded speakers and activities for high school children. In truth, Massachusetts had the Commission long before Romney took office. While Romney had power to dissolve the Commission, the people of the state overwhelmingly wanted the Commission; dissolving it would have been a violation of their trust and would have created gridlock.

In the past, the Commission had funding as high as $1.6 million dollars, but Romney brought the funding down to $125,000, which the legislature doubled and Romney the next year settled on the $250,000. Romney explained some of what he liked about the Commission, saying, “The work that they’re doing to prevent suicide and prevent violence is important work, and we support the work which they’re doing.”

In May of 2006, MassResistance presented evidence to Governor Romney which showed that the Commission had been sponsoring inappropriate activities. Upon learning of this, Romney decided to dissolve the Commission, but after a few hours reached a compromise, saying that he would only dissolve it if they did not focus on their “original mission.” This prompted the state legislature to immediately craft a new Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth which the governor would have no power to dissolve, and inserted it into the state budget the following month. Romney vetoed that proposal, but the legislature overrode the veto.

Same-Sex Adoptions

They accuse Romney of not allowing the Catholic Church to exclude gays and lesbians from adopting children through its adoption service. However, Romney disagreed with and fought the decision which caused the imposition on Catholic Charities. After the court legalized gay marriage, Romney had no authority to unilaterally protect the Catholic Church from anti-discrimination laws. Romney had his staff draft a bill to exempt Catholic Charities, but the bill did not pass.

Some have criticized Romney for not taking action against the state Department of Social Services when they named a same-sex couple as “parents of the year” in 2006. However, after the court legalized gay marriage, the same anti-discrimination laws which prevented Romney from protecting Catholic Charities also prevented Romney from penalizing the employees who were involved in determining the “parents of the year,” or from ordering them to only consider opposite-sex candidates.

Boy Scouts

They claim Romney wanted to force the Boy Scouts of America to admit gay scouts. In fact, Romney actually said, “I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue,” but added that he personally believed “all people should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Critics claim that Romney banned the Boy Scouts from participating in the 2002 Winter Olympics because of their stance on homosexuals. In reality, Scouts were not banned, and according to a local paper, Boy Scouts received “a list of volunteer opportunities they are eligible to participate in,” although they could not serve as regular volunteers due to “the minimum age requirement of 18 years.”

Judicial Appointments

Some claim Romney is not conservative because he did not have a Republican litmus test in his selection of judicial nominees. However, almost all of Romney’s appointments, 30 out of 36, were to lower court positions where judges deal directly with criminals at the district and magistrate levels. Rather than political affiliation, Romney looked for effective prosecutorial experience and a record of being tough on crime. As Romney explained when asked about it, “people on both sides of the aisle want to put the bad guys away.”

Romney also explained that even though he had only a few chances to appoint judges to higher courts, and no chances to appoint anyone to the MA Supreme Judicial Court, in those cases the criteria changes to include “strict construction, judicial philosophy,” which he adhered to in those appointments. In all, only 12.5% of registered voters in Massachusetts are Republican and Romney’s 9 Republican nominees count for 25% of his total judicial appointments, representing Republicans twice as well as they are represented in the general voting public. But more important than political affiliation, Romney’s appointments represent the relevant conservative qualifications.

Remember, Rick Perry endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president, even though Giuliani is pro-choice. “Appointing” someone to the Presidency is far more significant than a low level court position.

Bush Tax Cuts

They accuse Romney of opposing Bush’s tax cuts. In fact, Romney never opposed the Bush tax cuts. In negotiations with a heavily Democratic legislature, Romney chose not to “weigh in on federal issues,” including the cuts.

The false claim was based on speculation in an article for the liberal Boston Globe which cited a quote from an anonymous “observer” at a private meeting but did not seek either a response or clarification from Romney with regards to that quote. Romney maintains that he has always supported the Bush tax cuts, a fact which does not contradict his decision to not distract from where his impact would be most effective, saying as governor: “I see my role as helping do a good job for the people of Massachusetts, and so I’m not going to be playing a political role outside of that.”

Romney, who evidently was never asked by Bush to endorse the tax cuts, never said he would refuse to endorse the tax cuts. The word “refuse,” used by the writer of the article, initially came from a political antagonist, liberal Democratic Representative Barney Frank from MA, whose statement, calculated to weaken Romney, is not an objective characterization.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading my open letter. I look forward to your responses.

Part I and part II

Sincerely,

Ryan Larsen

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Condoleezza Rice’s Iraq foresight dismissed by Bush’s generals


Newsweek: CANDID CONDI

The Daily Beast: Condi Rice: The Bush ‘Freedom Agenda’ Won

Condoleezza Rice is too modest in wondering if Stephen Hadley had been right to suggest that she should resign because he, Hadley, told her he would have resigned.

Least of all has Condoleezza Rice any reason to doubt the value of her continuing service to President Bush, the United States of America, the people of Iraq and of the world, of all religions and of none.

To come to the question of whether Condoleezza Rice should have resigned as National Security Advisor as it seems Stephen Hadley may have suggested.

NO absolutely Condoleezza Rice should not have resigned!

Did Jesus resign?
Do angels resign?
Does God resign?

Condi CAN’T resign from being Condoleezza Rice – it is her job for life!

Condi was right not to quit even though her wisdom was overlooked at the time.

Instead, Steve Hadley should have suggested that the Generals might consider resigning so long as they continued to dismiss Condi’s advice.

Instead Steve should have given Condi full support like a truly loyal number 2 ought to have done.

Steve should not have sought to advance his own career at Condi’s expense. This was a disloyal motive perhaps.

Rice for President Yahoo Group

“Condoleezza Rice for President in 2012. Join this group of supporters from everywhere on the world wide web.”

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Another Round of Quantitative Easing, or Another Round of Phony Conservatives?


What are you more afraid of, another round of quantitative easing (QE3), or another round of phony conservatives back in the WhiteHouse again (GW3)?  Are you more concerned about the prospect of putting billions of dollars of more phony money on the streets, or putting hundreds of more phony conservatives back in power again in Washington D.C.?  What presents a bigger threat to America’s future, printing more money out of thin air, or nominating another RINO Republican to run for President, like George W. Bush’s phony conservative brother, the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush?  Should he run for President in 2016?  What do you think?

We don’t really have to wait for 2016 in order to find out if Jeb Bush wants to run.  What’s worse, we don’t have to wait for Jeb Bush to run, to be faced with the prospect of another phony conservative running for the Republican Party’s nomination for President!  We are actually faced with that exact same scenario right now in 2012!  Furthermore, Jeb Bush actually flirted with the possibility of running for the nomination in 2012, so if current aspirations are a good a predictor of future behavior, then we already know that Jeb Bush wants to run in 2016 if the opportunity arises.  A.B.A.B. stands for Anybody But Another Bush!

But we can’t afford to focus our attention on Jeb Bush now because there are plenty of other RINOs running and progressive Republican ‘Want-To-Bes’ just waiting in the wings to run.

There is Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John Huntsman, and possibly Donald Trump,  to name just a few.  There is also Chris Christie, Mike Pence, and Paul Ryan.  None of these Republicans are really conservative by any stretch of the imagination. They’re conservative bona fides are highly questionable!

So why do I mention Congressmen Paul Ryan’s name?  You probably thought that he was a real conservative.  While Congressman Ryan talked real tough about balancing the Federal Budget, reducing the deficit, and cutting spending, when push came to shove his Deficit Reduction Bill of 2011 which promised to cut between 30 billion and 60 billion dollars from the Federal Budget, actually cut only about 300 million dollars for the current fiscal year!

All of his tough talk was merely a lot of mathematical gymnastics!  In other words, Paul Ryan sold us a ‘bill of goods!’ He also voted along with the entire Republican Party establishment to raise the Federal Debt Ceiling by another 1.3 trillion dollars! So, in addition to selling us a ‘bill of goods,’ Paul Ryan sold our children down the proverbial river too! 

And with these two votes on the Budget Control Act of 2011, and the Debt Control Act of 2011, i.e. the ‘Bonehead Boehner Bill’ all of the RINO Republicans put America’s future on a not-so-slow boat to China!  That’s why I’ve mentioned Congressman Paul Ryan’s name here in this list of phony conservatives just waiting in the wings.

A couple of months ago when Donald Trump was verbally attacking Congressman Paul Ryan, and telling him to sit down and shut up, it was actually one RINO Republican attacking another RINO Republican, and both of them were just vying for public attention in different ways!

Go to www.lessgovisthebestgov.com to read more of my commentary.

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New York Times liberal cowardly attacks Bush as “fake hero” on 9/11


Paul Krugman who is a far-left liberal writing for the far-left New York Times Newspaper, called George W. Bush a “fake hero” yesterday for “cashing in” on 9/11.  I don’t agree with a lot of what Bush did, no one does (except Sean Hannity), but at the end of the day George W. Bush handled the tragedy with care, faith and true leadership.  Bush did use it to go into unnecessary wars, and instead of the minority party stopping him as republicans (that Krugman hates so much) have done to Obama, democrats cheered him on the entire way.  He made mistakes. 

I don’t agree with the entire Bush doctrine.  We have lost too many American lives and too many American freedoms — Republicans are largely responsible for that and neo-cons are paying with the tea party.  But in every other way, George W. Bush made sure that Americans were never attacked again.  Say what you will about W., but Bush kept Bin Laden off balance and Americans safe in the literal sense.  Krugman doesn’t have to care about what would have been, because he is just a newspaper columnist, not a leader, but if there is one thing Bush was not, it was a “fake hero.”

President Bush inspired us without teleprompters, that is something Paul Krugman will never be able to understand.

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Concise Statement of Causes of 2007-2009 Recession


 

Here is a quote from Johan Norberg’s book, Financial Fiasco. It is the most concise explanation for the recent economic unpleasantness I have seen. There are just three paragraphs from page 134. The book is well worth reading. Mr. Norberg addresses almost all things that contributed to make the 2007-2009 recessions unique.

“Let’s look again at the historical background of thecrises. The housing bubble was pumped up and the hunt for ever-greater risk started when the Fed, not wanting the market to set exchange rates, cut interest rates to record-low levels as the emerging economies of the world began to send capital to the U.S. economy. U.S. politicians pumped up risk taking and house prices further through deductions, tax benefits for home savings accounts and restrictions on new construction. By means of legislation, subsidies and government-sponsored enterprises, they managed to generate mortgages even for people that the market deemed uncreditworthy.

“The quasi-governmental institutions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac developed the securitization of mortgages, which Wall Street fell madly in love with once the credit-rating agencies – which had been given a legallly protected oligopoly by thegovernment – declared them to be safe investments. Government-owned banks and municipalities across the world bought mortgage backed securities like never before. International banking regulations agreed to in Basel, Switzerland, entailed that banks running classic banking operations had to pay extra, whereas those that moved such securities to special companies operating in a shadow sector get away cheap. The central position of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reinforced confidence that the [U.S.] government would intervene if the housing market ran into trouble. The Fed’s safety net and the federal government’s deposit insurance made banks dare to take big risks because they could privatize any gains but socialize any losses.

“When home prices then began to fall and the market no longer wanted mortgage-backed securities, the financial authorities stepped in and decreed that banks had to write down the value of such securities radically, giving rise to several waves of panic selling. And, when nobody wanted to finance the special companies anymore, the banks had to take them over, which put such a burden on their balance sheets that regulations forced them to pile up capital rather than make loans. President Bush and other leading policymakers whipped up a panic to push through the laws they wanted. And just as the financial markets were more worried than ever because they did not know where the big risks were, the authorities banned shorting [short sales], thus depriving the markets of liquidity and information when they needed it the most.
“If this is laissez faire, then I would like to know what government intervention looks like.”

 

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Obama Wins the “Blame” Game


Today, Rush Limbaugh pointed out that if you search Google for “Obama Blames” you’ll find MANY search results. As I write this, for example, Google returns 453,000 results for the quoted search term.

But then I wondered…How does this result compare to that of his predecessors? Are Obama’s search results significantly greater than that of previous presidents — as Rush implied — or somewhat comparable?

So I found the “blames” search results for Bush and Clinton. (I reduced the “Clinton” results by the “Hillary Clinton Blames” results.) I took the total number of years that each was a president or vice president and added one year for the initial campaign. Then I divided the first number by the second to find the approximate number of “blames” per year for each of the three names.

As the chart shows, we’ve finally found something at which President Obama excels.

Obama Wins the

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