Saturday, September 28, 2013

So wrong on so many levels...


Obama Administration Commits $320 Million for Bankrupt Detroit
Newsmax

With $320 million of federal, state and private aid in hand, top White House officials came to Detroit and vowed to help the bankrupt city fight crime, improve mass transport and eradicate blight.

The money is mostly grants from federal or state programs for which the city is qualified, or for which it needed red tape cut to speed access. Some is expected from private businesses and philanthropy groups. President Barack Obama also has appointed Don Graves deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, to oversee Detroit’s recovery, said Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council.

“We only have one goal, and that is to have all of Detroit working together for one Detroit, with the Obama administration as a key partner,” Sperling said today.

The city, once an auto-manufacturing powerhouse, declared the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy in history on July 18 after years of decline in which its population fell by more than half, to 700,000 from 1.8 million. The city has more than $18 billion in long-term obligations and is plagued by unreliable buses, broken street lights and long waits for police and ambulances.

Sperling led a delegation that included Attorney General Eric Holder, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. They met for more than two hours privately with about 70 city and state officials, as well as community leaders who included Mayor Dave Bing, a Democrat; emergency manager Kevyn Orr and Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who appointed Orr in March.

Civic Singularity

Asked at a press conference why it took so long for the federal government to intervene in a city that has declined for decades, Sperling replied, “With bankruptcy, this is an exceptional thing that requires exceptional effort.”

The actions underscore the fine line the administration and state officials must walk, tapping existing programs and unused or underutilized funds, while not asking Congress for federal dollars. Top lawmakers and administration officials have said there is no pathway for a federal bailout of the city.

Donovan said it doesn’t matter whether the aid to Detroit is considered new or redirected money.

“A family living next to a blighted house, they don’t care whether it’s new money or old money they never would have seen,” Donovan said. “It’s money that will make a difference in their view.”

Heavy Lift

Sperling said another meeting is planned this year to discuss education and job training.

“We don’t expect this to be easy, but we expect this to be successful,” he said

Bing said Detroiters will see positive change in two or three years.

Some city debt rallied today. General-obligation bonds maturing in April 2028 traded at about 94 cents on the dollar, the highest since July 18, when the city filed for bankruptcy. The yield on the securities, backed by Assured Guaranty Corp., is 2.23 percentage points more than top-rated bonds, the smallest gap since July 15.

The White House will commit $150 million for demolition of blighted properties and neighborhood redevelopment, in federal and other funds.

Empty City

Grants of $65 million and $25.4 million from public and private sources will be used to tear down and refurbish buildings. Detroit has almost 70,000 empty and abandoned homes and 80,000 empty lots, amounting to 20 square miles of vacant land, about the size of Manhattan, according to a Detroit Future City report.

The demolition money is welcome, though with a typical cost of $10,000 to tear down each forsaken structure, much more is needed, said John George, founder of Motor City Blight Busters Inc. His group is working to secure and remove empty structures primarily on the northwest side.

“We’ll take what we can get,” George said in an interview. “Blight is like a cancer: If you don’t nip it in the bud, it spreads and kills everything. You’ve got to start chemotherapy, if you will, especially in the neighborhoods.”

The Obama administration also announced $3 million from the Justice Department for additional police officers, establishing a bike patrol and supporting youth anti-violence programs. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will expedite access to $25 million to hire 150 firefighters and to buy equipment.

First Step

Police take an average of 58 minutes to respond to priority calls, compared with a national average of 11 minutes, Orr said in a June report. The department’s roster has shrunk by 40 percent since 2003, he said.

“The only way to rebuild the city is to provide a safe environment for residents and businesses,” said Mark Diaz, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association. “We need a lot of work. It’s going to take more than one gesture, but we’re excited about the recognition by the White House.”

The Obama administration will deploy almost $140 million in transit funding, by ensuring access to more than $100 million in Transportation Department grants, including $24 million for bus repairs and security cameras, according to the announcement. Another $25 million in grants will be made available to help a streetcar project.

“These are funds that are greatly appreciated,” said Megan Owens, executive director of Transit Riders United, a Detroit-based nonprofit organization. Typically, one of every six buses is off the road for repairs, Owens said.

“It results in extremely overcrowded buses, people left at bus stops,” she said. “In recent months it feels like it’s getting worse.”

Night Watch

India-Jammu and Kashmir State: Twelve persons, including a Lieutenant Colonel, died in two militant attacks on police and Army formations in two southern districts of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Jammu-Kathua range, Shakeel Beg told the press that four men of the J&K police, three Army personnel, including the second-in-command of 16 Cavalry Regiment, and two civilians were killed. Security forces killed the three militants in gunfights. Four helicopters and some tanks were for the first time used in the manhunt.

Indian press reported that the three unidentified militants in combat military uniforms are believed to have infiltrated from Pakistan across through the international border into the Hiranagar area on Tuesday north of Jammu city. The two gunfights happened close to the international border between India and Pakistan.

Comment: One news service reported that only two suicide attacks have occurred in the Jammu area in the past ten years. One in 2008 killed four people. The second in 2002 killed 32 people and is considered one of the most serious attacks on record in the state.

Indian analysts judge that the two attacks were aimed at disrupting the peace process between India and Pakistan. What is distinctive about the attacks is that the attackers infiltrated across the international border, far south of the normal operating areas along the Line of Control to take advantage of the laxer security conditions.

The attackers also managed to get through the extensive and in-depth fences that India has built along the border. They had to have had assistance on both sides of the international border to infiltrate undetected This attack will reinforce hardline Indian nationalists in their conviction that the Pakistanis cannot be trusted to control their side of the border.

Kenya: Update. Al-Shabaab gunmen attacked a Kenyan police compound near the Somali border and a market in the southern Kenyan town of Wajir, leaving 3 dead and 7 wounded.

Comment: Kenya analysts report that cross border attacks are common. This received attention mainly because it occurred so soon after the mall attack in Nairobi. Both shooting incidents were drive by primitive attacks.

Sudan: At least 29 people have been killed in three days of rioting in Khartoum, Omdurman and other towns. Sudan's access to the internet was almost completely cut off. Cars, shops, gas stations and banks were burned. The government called out army units to restore order on Thursday.

The rioting began on Sunday when the government began to implement its decision to end fuel subsidies as part of its austerity program. A near immediate doubling of fuel prices has led to higher prices of flour, cooking oil and food.

The riots quickly turned political, resulting in calls for the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir.

Comment: The progression from rioting over economic grievances to political challenges follows the pattern of all the states that experienced the so-called Arab spring. Riots almost always follow the lifting of subsidies. Governments that pursue austerity measures without careful planning tend to bring themselves down.

Bashir is not vulnerable to overthrow at this point. The main reasons are that the security forces remain responsive and the rioters only challenge civil order, not political authority. But that can change under severe economic stress.

Libya: Libya's south-western region, called Fezzan, has declared itself an autonomous federal province.

Nouri Mohammad al-Qouizi was named as the president of the province, according to Libyan media reports. Local tribal leaders said a military chief would later be appointed to protect the region's borders and its natural resources.

The tribal leaders said they took the decision because of the "weak performance of the General National Congress and the lack of response to the demands of the Libyan people in Fezzan."

Comment: This is the second region of Libya to declare itself an autonomous federal province. Cyrenaica, whose capital is Benghazi, did it last month. The declarations make the northwest region, known as Tripolitania, de facto an autonomous province.

Libya has fragmented, similar to but not quite as finally as Somalia. Fragmentation increases the risk that lslamic militants will be able to establish bases because large regions will be ungoverned.

End of NightWatch ###

US President Barack Obama's rapidly changing positions on Syria have produced many odd spectacles.

One of odder ones was the sight of hundreds of lobbyists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee fanning out on Capitol Hill to lobby members of the House and Senate to support Obama's plan to launch what Secretary of State John Kerry called "unbelievably small" air strikes against empty regime controlled buildings in Syria.

AIPAC officials claimed they were doing this because the air strikes would help Israel.

But this claim was easily undone. Obama and Kerry insisted nothing the US would do would have any impact on the outcome of the Syrian civil war. This was supposed to be the strikes' selling point.

But by launching worthless strikes, Obama was poised to wreck America's deterrent posture, transforming the world's superpower into an international joke.

In harming America's deterrent capabilities by speaking loudly and carrying an "unbelievably small" stick, Kerry and Obama also harmed Israel's deterrent posture.

Israel's deterrence relies in no small measure on its strategic alliance with the US.

Once the US is no longer feared, a key part of Israeli deterrence is removed.

Obama did not announce his intention to bomb empty buildings in Syria in order to impact the deterrent posture of either the US or Israel. He probably gave them little thought. The only one who stood to gain from those strikes - aside from Syrian President Bashar Assad who would earn bragging rights for standing down the US military - was Obama himself.

Obama wanted to launch the unbelievably small strikes to prove that he wasn't lying when he said that Syria would cross a red line if it used chemical weapons.

So if the strikes were going to harm the US and Israel, why did AIPAC dispatch its lobbyists to Capitol Hill to lobby in favor of them?

Because Obama made them.

Obama ordered AIPAC to go to Capitol Hill to lobby for the Syria strikes. He did so knowing that its involvement would weaken public support for AIPAC and Israel. Both would be widely perceived as pushing the US to send military forces into harm's way to defend Israel.

Then, with hundreds of AIPAC lobbyist racing from one Congressional office to the next, Obama left them in a lurch. He announced he was cutting a deal with Russia and had decided not to attack Syria after all.

What did AIPAC get for its self-defeating efforts on Obama's behalf?

Obama is now courting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the hopes of making a deal that Iran will use as cover for completing its nuclear weapons program. Such a deal may well involve ending sanctions on Iran's oil exports and its central bank - sanctions that AIPAC expended years of effort getting Congress to pass.

And that's not all. Monday, as Obama meets with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly in New York, Vice President Joe Biden will become the highest ranking administration official to date to address the J Street conference.

J Street was formed in order to weaken AIPAC, and force it to the left. Sending Biden to headline at the J Street conference is an act of aggression against AIPAC. It also signals that Obama remains committed to strengthening the anti-Israel voices at the margins of the American Jewish community at the expense of the pro- Israel majority.

The question is why is AIPAC cooperating with Obama as he abuses it? Why didn't they just say no?

Because they couldn't.

AIPAC is not strong enough to stand up to the president of the United States, particularly one as hostile as Obama.

Not only would it have suffered direct retaliation for its refusal, Obama would have also punished Israel for its friend's recalcitrance.

In a recent interview with The Times of Israel, Eitan Haber, late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's closest aide, made the case that Israel is powerless in the face of White House pressure. Haber claimed that only when a person becomes prime minister does he understand "to what extent the State of Israel is dependent on America. For absolutely everything... we are dependent on America."

Haber noted that the US can collapse every aspect of Israel. From this he concluded that no Israeli leader can stand up to Washington.

Haber recalled a menacing conversation Rabin had with then-US secretary of state James Baker during which Baker became angry at Rabin.

"America is right even when it is wrong," Baker admonished the Israeli leader.

Haber warned that Israel cannot stand up to the US even when the US is behaving in a manner that endangers Israel. "It's possible that they don't understand the region and that they are naïve and stupid," he said, "But they are America."

Haber was right that that the White House can destroy Israel's economy, defenses and diplomatic position any time it wishes. In the past administration threats of economic sanctions or delays in sending spare parts for weapons platforms have been sufficient to make Israeli leaders fall into line.

For the past five and a half years Obama has dangled US diplomatic support at the UN Security Council over Israel's head like the Sword of Damocles.

Obama forced Netanyahu to make concession after concession to secure his veto of the PLO's request that the UN Security Council accept "Palestine" as a member state two years ago. Netanyahu's sudden support for Palestinian statehood and his 10- month long freeze on Jewish property rights in Judea and Samaria were the most public concessions he was forced to cough up.

The timing of the EU announcement that it was barring EU entities from forging ties with Israelis that operate beyond the 1949 armistice lines was revealing in this context. The EU announced its economic sanctions the day Kerry announced the start of negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

The message to Israel was absolutely clear: Do what we order you to or you will face economic sanctions far more damaging.

Obama won't negotiate with terrorists: talks with Iran's President Rouhani, snubs Republicans

From Jihad watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

After all, who are the real terrorists, as far as Barack Obama is concerned?

"It's a three-decade first: Presidents of U.S., Iran talk directly, if only by phone," by Chelsea J. Carter for CNN, September 27:
(CNN) -- U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by telephone Friday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani -- the first direct conversation between leaders in Washington and Tehran since 1979 -- raising the possibility a deal can be reached over Iran's controversial nuclear program. 
Describing the conversation as a starting point, Obama said he believes an agreement is possible regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions that could lead to better relations.
"While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution," Obama told reporters during a White House briefing.
Western leaders have expressed cautious optimism about Iran's more moderate tone under Rouhani, whose recent comments have raised hopes that a deal could be struckover the Middle Eastern nation's nuclear program.
Obama said he reiterated to Rouhani statements he made earlier in the week during the United Nations General Assembly, where he signaled the United States was open to negotiations with Iran provided real action is taken.
"So the test will be meaningful, transparent, and verifiable actions, which can also bring relief from the comprehensive international sanctions that are currently in place," he said Friday.
The conversation between the two men came at the end of the General Assembly, where conjecture abounded over whether Obama and Rouhani would meet in person and what that might mean for U.S.-Iranian relations.
Rouhani told reporters Friday that there wasn't enough time to plan such a face-to-face meeting.
The last time a U.S. president spoke with an Iranian leader was in 1979, when Jimmy Carter talked by telephone with Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi before Pahlavi was overthrown.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that the administration was contacted by the Iranian delegation.
"Today, somewhat surprisingly, we were contacted by them to say that President Rouhani would like to speak to President Obama on the telephone on his way out of town, and we were able to make that call come together and it was a constructive conversation," she said.
The call lasted about 15 minutes, with translation, Rice said.
Rice characterized the call as "cordial and constructive."...

Op-ed:
A train wreck of a law upheld by 23 RINOS
By: Diane Sori 

Thank you Senator Ted Cruz for helping we true Conservative Republicans in our efforts to weed out the RINOS in both the House and Senate.

Yesterday, after last week’s 21-hour ‘non-filibuster’ filibuster by Texas Senator Ted Cruz…with a little help from his friends Senators Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul…the Senate reached a vote on the Republicans efforts to avoid a shutdown of the government and to defund the dreaded monstrosity known as ObamaCare.

Sadly, our side lost as 23 RINOS sided with the Democrats, and in a vote of 79 to 19 invoked cloture and formally ended debate on H.J. Res 59 (Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014), and helped put into place the funding mechanism to destroy America’s health care system, America’s jobs market, and according to leading economists...one-sixth of the American economy.

Requiring 60 votes for passage, even a straight party line vote would have Republicans still losing in the Democratic controlled Senate, but at least it would have shown a united front. Instead only 19 true Conservative Republican Senators stood strong… Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Tex.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Charles Grassley (Iowa), Dean Heller (Nev.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), James Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), and David Vitter (La.).

And we thank them for that.

As Senator Marco Rubio said after the vote, “Today, we had an important opportunity to stand with America’s working class and defund ObamaCare before it continues to hurt people even more. That did not happen. I will continue to fight to stop ObamaCare in its entirety and replace it with an alternative that truly gives Americans more affordable high-quality health care options without hurting their jobs, incomes and current health plans they are happy with."

And hopefully, he will get all our support in that.

So back to the House the bill now goes and there will be a fight…a BIG fight…as Republican lawmakers in the House must pass a bill…any bill…and send it back to the Senate.  However, they have said time and time again that ObamaCare is a disaster for the middle class, and that they will NOT pass any bill that funds it…and remember that funding comes from the House. So by vowing to reject the restoration of funding, the Republicans may instead decide to send the bill back to the Senate again with more changes. But with a government shutdown hanging in the balance House leaders have NOT yet decided exactly how they will proceed.

But as our hero Senator Ted Cruz said, when the bill returns to the Senate, “I hope that all 46 Republicans are united against ObamaCare and standing with the American people.”

Unfortunately for 'We the People' with the now exposed for all to see RINOS in the Senate...led by the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham...that will probably NOT happen.

And at the heart of yesterday’s vote...of yesterday's betrayal...is the procedure known as ‘cloture’… the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill, thereby overcoming a filibuster and forcing a vote.  However, that only works in the Senate NOT for the House and some in the House have already hinted about a filibuster when the bill comes back to them.

But with that comes Barack HUSSEIN Obama's threat that if the House does NOT pass the Senate bill as is that the government will shut down early next week. In a televised statement from the White House after the Senate vote, Obama accused the Republicans of “political grandstanding” and said the GOP-controlled House now has the fate of a potential government shutdown in its hands.

Oh how that man loves to blame everybody but where the true blame belongs…with himself.

Bloviating that he will NOT negotiate with Republicans (but he will negotiate with Iranian terrorists) over the debt ceiling increase because he’s heard that a few Republicans have alluded that they might now tie the defunding of ObamaCare to the debt ceiling debate, Obama acts once again like a spoiled child stamping his feet as he whined, “My message to Congress is this: do not shut down the government, do not shut down the economy, pay our bills on time.”

Do NOT do this…do NOT do that…Obama does NOT understand that NO one takes his threats seriously…NOT after his ‘red lines’ fiasco, and Vladimir Putin proving himself to be more of a leader than he is.

And NO matter his bloviations Obama does NOT get that we could pay our bills on time if he had bothered to learn Economics 101…do NOT spend more than you take in…if he understood that the government being shut down is NO biggie as it’s been shut down many times before…if he accepted as fact that our economy would be so much better if he had even an inkling of how to run the ‘business’ of government…if he would admit that he has NO idea how to create jobs and put Americans (legal Americans) back to work…and if he and those who orbit around him would accept the fact that one being a ‘community organizer’ does NOT make for a successful president.

So in lieu of yesterday's vote the bottom line is this…more than half (57%) of the country wants nothing to do with ObamaCare and do NOT want it forced down their throats…more than half the country says NO to raising the debt ceiling...more than half the country knows that by Congress exempting itself from ObamaCare that in and of itself is an admission of how bad it is, and that 'We the People' will be the ones footing the bill for their private health care with our taxpayer dollars and they could care less.

And the 23 RINOS who voted ‘YES’ on cloture are now exposed for all to see for they knew full well that a vote to invoke cloture was indeed a vote for ObamaCare, and they knew full well that a 'YES' vote would allow ObamaCare to grow and thrive at the expense of the middle class who are hurting enough under this miserable excuse of a president and his equally miserable administration... and they voted for cloture  anyway.

So again many thanks to America's new shining star, Senator Ted Cruz, for standing strong against 'Prince' Harry Reid who wished he would have just shut-up and gone away, and to the 19 Republican Senators who were strong of conviction and courageous enough to join him and vote the will of their constituents…to vote on behalf of ‘We the People’…to vote 'NO' on a bill that is NOTHING but a nightmare come to life...and let the 23 RINOS who did NOT know that they will hear our voices loud and clear come their re-election day…a day that can’t come soon enough for me.