THE REVIEWS ARE IN FOR BARRY O'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS.
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE GAVE HIM A THUMBS DOWN BY MAKING THIS THE LEAST WATCHED STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS IN 14 YEARS.
THE REVIEWS HAVE BEEN EQUALLY AS HARSH.
THE ECONOMIST OFFERS:
IN AN hour of speech two things stood out and neither had anything to do with politics. Barack Obama’s state-of-the-union speech on January 28th was largely a cut-and-paste job from his previous reports to Congress, a series of bullet-points that never joined together to form a picture. The president seemed rather bouncy, but his audience only became animated when he got to the subject of hoped-for triumphs at the winter Olympics, at which point chants of “USA!” filled the chamber.
THE COMMON ILLS OFFERED:
Tonight, US President Barack Obama again wasted everyone's time with a dopey speech that meandered and challenged the listener to remain awake. The State of the Union Address was carried live on ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS -- no doubt creating a windfall for The CW's Supernatural -- a show Ava and I once described as "like really bad gay porn where the leads forget to take their clothes off."
What Barack forgot in his marathon speech was foreign policy. As Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) observes, "A rambling, 80+ minute State of the Union Address tonight gave President Obama an opportunity to lay out his foreign policy positions, but 60 minutes into the talk he hadn’t touched the matter at all."
Here's his full remarks on Iraq:
When I took office, nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, all our troops are out of Iraq.
Two sentences and Baby Barack -- so coddled and fawned over -- couldn't even tell the truth.
And I think what we have to do is continue to work with the Iraqi Army and others to insure they understand the basic techniques of counterinsurgency. And so I think we continue to do that. We have a very small element on the ground that works in the embassy that has some expertise that can continue to help in these areas. And I think it’s important that we do that.
"And I think . . ." That's US General Ray Odierno speaking January 7th at the National Press Club. "A very small element on the ground that works in the embassy . . ."
All are out?
No, they're not. And there's two children in the last 14 days who've noted on Twitter that their fathers are going to Iraq. To serve in Iraq. Not sure whether those children are refer to openly serving in Iraq or to Special-Ops, we haven't included them in the snapshots. What we have noted (repeatedly) from a September 2012 report by Tim Arango (New York Times) is this:
Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.
Yet Barack declared what?
US President Barack Obama: When I took office, nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, all our troops are out of Iraq.
Is he that stupid or just lying?
He's the commander in chief of the military.
Let's hope he's lying and not so stupid that he doesn't know troops are in Iraq.
Another speech, another lie. Richard Nixon lives on in the body of Barack Obama. In fact, the Democratic Party might want to consider staging an exorcism.
BRUCE A. DIXON (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) OFFERS:
Barack Obama campaigned in 2007 and 2008 saying he would pass legislation raising the minimum wage and making it easier to organize unions so people could stand up for their own rights in the workplace. The president apparently lied. Once in office with a thumping majority in both houses of Congress the president promptly froze the wages of federal workers, and made no move to protect union organizing or to raise the minimum wage. Four and five years later, with the House of Representatives safely under Republican control, the president has begun to make noises about how “America deserves a raise” and has finally declared that federal contract workers will soon have to be paid a minimum of $10.10 per hour.
Although Barack Obama's career, and those of the entire black political class are founded on the notion that they and the Democratic party somehow “represent” the aspirations and political power of African Americans, the policy concerns of black America were nowhere to be found in last night's state of the union. The speech contained no mention of the persistent gap between black and white unemployment, or the widening gaps between black and white wealth, and reaffirmed his commitment to “Race To The Top” an initiative to privatize public education in poorer communities across the country.
And of course, no cluster of issues impact black America more savagely and disproportionately than police practices, the drug war and the prison state. African Americans are one eighth the US population, but more than 40% of its prisons and jails. Together with Latinos, who are another eighth and make up nearly 30% of US prisoners, people of color are a quarter of the US population and more than 70% of the locked down. No cluster of issues would benefit more from a few presidential initiatives and well placed strokes of the pen than police practices, the drug war and the prison state.
JOSEPH KISHORE (WSWS) OFFERED:
Obama made as brief a reference as possible to the fact that at the end of last year, due to the actions of Democrats and Republicans, 1.6 million people were cut off of extended unemployment benefits. At the same time, he called for “reforming unemployment insurance so that it’s more effective in today’s economy,” which could only mean introducing greater restrictions on eligibility.
The president was also silent on the Democrats and Republicans having just agreed to slash $8.7 billion from food stamps, only the second cut in the program since it was founded (the first coming just a few months ago). He touted a right-wing immigration reform and his health care overhaul, an opening shot against all the social programs introduced in the 1930s and 1960s.
The headline proposal from Obama, intended as a sop to the trade unions and the administration’s liberal and pseudo-left supporters, was an executive order to require federal contractors to pay a minimum wage of $10.10. This requirement will only apply to new or renewed contracts, not existing ones.
REACHED FOR COMMENT, VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN EXCITEDLY RESPONDED, "DID YOU SEE? I WAS EXPLODING ON TWITTER!" BUT ABOUT THE SPEECH? "EH, WELL PEOPLE ARE TALKING, AREN'T THEY?"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
The Apache helicopter deal went through, despite the Leahy Amendment, why? Your-Story argues, "One important aspect to consider is the intricate oil infrastructure that should definitely be protected, due to massive energy potential it carries." Yet again, it's all about oil.
And so we move back to the topic of vile Americans: Michael O'Hanlon. The Brookings Institution guy is very sensitive and doesn't like being called names. But what do call someone -- at a worksafe site -- who feels civilian deaths are okay? I think calling O'Hanlon merely "vile" is showing remarkable restraint on my part. The Voice of Russia speaks with O'Hanlon about the 24 Apache helicopters Barack is supplying Iraq with:
[Voice of Russia:] How high is the risk of American weapons and technology causing civilian deaths among Iraqis? Especially considering the fact that it would be inexperienced newly trained Iraqi pilots flying the helicopters.
[Michael O'Hanlon:] Well, I certainly think that risk is valid, but I also don’t want to overstate my concern. I mean Iraq is pretty violent even without Apache helicopters being part of the problem and I am not sure they would make it any worse. There is a chance they could make it better. A combination of the Apache helicopters and maybe a better strategy by Prime Minister Malaki could perhaps turn things around. I am not predicting a big success, but it could have partial improvement. And even if an Apache or two made an arial shot and tragically killed civilians, it still might have an overall net effect that was positive for the conflict. So I am not really against the Apache sale, I am just lowering the expectation on how much a difference it will make.
He's lowering his expectations.
Because he couldn't lower his ethics -- he's already gone as low as he can there.
He has no ethical standing and should be rejected by all rational players. He has just stated that the "risk is valid" for civilian deaths by supplying Nouri with Apache helicopters but he's okay with "tragically killed civilians" because it "might have an overall net effect." Might.
Civilian deaths will be War Crimes.
He disgraces himself and everyone else at Brookings with those comments.
Mad Maddie Albright, asked by CBS News' Lesley Stahl in 1996 on 60 Minutes about how the sanctions against Iraq had killed a half million Iraqi children, replied, "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."
She cannot live that down. Seventeen years later and she can't live it down. Confronted on it in July 2004 at the Democratic Party's convention in Boston, she declared:
I have said 5,000 times that I regret it. It was a stupid statement. I never should have made it and if everybody else that has ever made a statement they regret, would stand up, there would be a lot of people standing. I have many, many times said it and I wish that people would report that I have said it. I wrote it in my book that it was a stupid statement.
She cannot live it down.
If that's just due to her gender will quickly see. If Michael O'Hanlon's remarks are not strung around his ankle like a ball and chain for the next seventeen years, then the attacks on Mad Maddie were based on gender. Mad Maddie voiced support for sanctions that led to deaths, Mad Mikey voiced support for civilians being killed instantly by attack helicopters.
UK's The Platform notes:
In the past few weeks, the U.S. administration has stepped up its delivery of surveillance drones and missiles to Iraq in response to the Fallujah stand-off, and is one rebellious senator short of selling Iraq dozens of Apache helicopters.
U.S. foreign policy is at risk of propping up a bad leader and irresponsible government because of an irrational fear that al-Qaeda could take over Iraq.
Al-Maliki’s administration is continuously emboldened by U.S. funding as Saddam Hussein once was.
That "rebellious senator" was Senator Robert Menendez who joined with the rest to supply tyrant Nouri with weapons to use against the Iraqi people. World Tribune reports, "Congress has until Feb. 10 to try to block the proposed sale, which included intensive lobbying by Boeing. Officials said the program would return hundreds of U.S. military personnel for a training program in Iraq."
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