Libya: Just how pathetic is Barack Obama?


**Posted by Phineas

The British have dispatched the Royal Navy and their SAS –their elite Special Air Service— to evacuate their citizens from Libya:

The SAS was ordered into Libya on Thursday to oversee the evacuation of hundreds of British nationals after the Government’s response to the crisis came in for widespread criticism.

Nearly 500 Britons were successfully repatriated throughout the day after three RAF Hercules transport aircraft and a Royal Navy frigate were pressed into action.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that special forces were on the ground in Tripoli to ensure the evacuation of all British nationals went smoothly.

SAS officers offered support and advice to private security firms drafted in to rescue more than 170 oil workers stranded in remote desert compounds.

Last night the frigate HMS Cumberland set sail from Benghazi with 200 passengers on board, many of them British.

Rescue efforts were still under way last night but the Government insisted that it was close to getting everybody out.

That is how the government of a world power is supposed to take care of its people!

So, what did President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama, Commander in Chief of the mightiest military the world has ever seen, do? Dispatch a carrier battle group with Marines to rescue our people? Drop in Special Forces to secure an evacuation zone? Declare a no-fly zone and crack a few sonic booms over Tripoli as a warning to Qaddafi?

Nope. The 45th President of the United States, successor in office to Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, TR, FDR, Reagan, and all the rest… rented a ferry:

Right now, in Libya, there are hundreds of Americans waiting for evacuation … by ferry.

Seriously. The State Department has chartered a ferry to take the hundreds of waiting Americans to Malta. But rough seas have delayed the ferry’s departure until Friday.

A ferry. We have the biggest navy in the world and all that wimp can do is rent a ferry, as if this were some excursion in the bay instead of an evacuation in the middle of a civil war.

Others offered earlier the reasonable argument that Obama wasn’t doing more because he didn’t want to do something that might set Qaddafi off to take revenge on Americans. But that obviously isn’t a concern if the Brits feel they can send in the SAS…

Yet we rent a ferry.


Mr. President… Barry… Stop it. Just stop. You’re embarrassing us.

UPDATE: After three days, the ferry has finally left the dock in Tripoli and the Americans are out. Maybe next time we should ask London to do it for us.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Thursday Open Thread


Been battling desktop computer issues here at the housefor the last 2+ hours.  Did the same thing last night.  I think/hope/pray I’ve got the issue fixed now – we’ll see what happens when I log in in the a.m.  Wish me luck :)

Taking the rest of the night off.  May Tweet from the phone on and off depending on if I’m awake or not.  Catch y’all later.

ICE agent murdered in Mexico “by mistake”


**Posted by Phineas

Makes all the difference in the world, you see? They didn’t mean to ambush and gun down two American officials: it was a case of mistaken identity:

Mexican soldiers arrested six men Wednesday who they say carried out last week’s ambush murder of U.S. Special Agent Jaime Zapata.

The suspects told authorities they believed Zapata and his partner Victor Avila — who was wounded in the attack – to be members of a rival gang because of the vehicle they were driving. Those arrested belong to a cell of the Zetas, the violent criminal gang headquartered in the cities bordering south Texas.

Officials identified the group’s leader as Julian Zapata Espinoza, alias “El Piolin,” or “Tweety Bird,” who they said directed a Zeta assassination cell in the state of San Luis Potosi, where Zapata was killed Feb. 15.


Zapata, 32, an ICE special agent, was fatally shot when at least eight armed men in two vehicles ran his official embassy car off the Pan American highway about 500 miles south of the Texas border at Laredo. Avila was shot but survived the assault.

“They [the alleged shooters] said this was due to a case of misunderstanding because the car they were driving was the type used by a rival band,” Trevilla, the military spokesman, said of the suspects.

The agents’ car had official diplomatic plates, and they had identified themselves as diplomats to their assailants.

I’m sure their families will understand. Nothing personal, you know.

This isn’t the first time Los Zetas have said “Ooops! Our bad!

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Obama admin’s “no ties to lobbyists” lies continue to stack up


I wish I could say I was surprised by this but I’m not.  More on that in a minute. First, the story – via Politico:

Caught between their boss’ anti-lobbyist rhetoric and the reality of governing, President Barack Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds — and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident.

It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view — and out of Secret Service logs kept on visitors to the White House and later released to the public.

“They’re doing it on the side. It’s better than nothing,” said immigration reform lobbyist Tamar Jacoby, who has attended meetings at the nearby Jackson Place complex and believes the undisclosed gatherings are better than none.

The White House scoffs at the notion of an ulterior motive for scheduling meetings in what are, after all, meeting rooms. But at least four lobbyists who’ve been to the conference rooms just off Lafayette Square tell POLITICO they had the distinct impression they were being shunted off to Jackson Place — and off the books — so their visits wouldn’t later be made public.

Obama’s administration has touted its release of White House visitors logs as a breakthrough in transparency, as the first White House team to reveal the comings and goings around the West Wing and the Old Executive Office Building.

The Jackson Place townhouses are a different story.

There are no records of meetings at the row houses just off Lafayette Square that house the White House Conference Center and the Council on Environmental Quality, home to two of the busiest meeting spaces. The White House can’t say who attended meetings there, or how often. The Secret Service doesn’t log in visitors or require a background check the way it does at the main gates of the White House.

The White House says the additional meeting space is used when the White House is filled or when there’s no time to clear participants through the security screening. And to be sure, a few lobbyists contacted by POLITICO said they didn’t see any hidden motive for the White House staff’s decision to hold a meeting there.


 But that’s not how it feels to some of the lobbyists who’ve been there.

They say the White House is generally happy to meet with them and their clients once or twice but get leery when an issue requires multiple visits. These lobbyists say it is then that phone calls or meetings seem to be pushed outside the White House gates.

“Without question, I think that there’s a lot of concern about being seen meeting with the same lobbyists or particular lobbyists over and over again,” said one business lobbyist, who has been to Jackson Place meetings.

It’s not only Jackson Place. Another favorite off-campus meeting spot is a nearby Caribou Coffee, which, according to The New York Times, has hosted hundreds of meetings among lobbyists and White House staffers since Obama took office.

And administration officials recently asked some lobbyists and others who met with them to sign confidentiality agreements barring them from disclosing what was discussed at meetings with administration officials, in that case a rental policy working group.

The administration has defended the practice as a way to “maintain the integrity of our decision-making process.” But it has come under fire from lobbyists and a top House Republican, who have criticized the demand that participants sign a “gag order” before being allowed into meetings. The White House has not responded to repeated requests for comment on its nondisclosure agreement policy.

Sigh. This is the same old song and dance we got from candidate Obama regarding lobbyists and special interests back in 2007 and 2008. The Washington Post, surprisingly enough, was on the case as well and wrote in October 2007 how Obama (and other Democrat candidates for President at the time) could get away with the “no ties to lobbyists/not beholden to special interests” claim:

Exhibit A in the drive by both Obama and Edwards to “clean up” Washington is their refusal to accept “a dime” from “Washington lobbyists.” It distinguishes them clearly from their chief Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, who has raked in more than $500,000 from the lobbying industry this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (website is But it turns out that both Edwards and Obama have adopted a narrow definition of the word lobbyist, which raises questions about the effectiveness of their campaign.

  • They still take money from state lobbyists.
  • They make no attempt to distinguish between lobbyists for big corporations and lobbyists for small non-profits. They treat a lobbyist for Haliburton in the same way as a lobbyist for child poverty or cancer research.
  • They accept money from former lobbyists and future lobbyists.
  • As Clinton has pointed out, her rivals have no problem taking money from the people who pay the lobbyists, and give them their “marching orders.” (ABC News debate, August 19, 2007.)
  • They have no problem about taking money from people representing other “special interests,” e.g. trial lawyers and the hedge fund industry.


Obama has emphasized that he does not take money from PhRMA, the powerful lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry. On the other hand, he does not seem to mind taking money from senior employees of PhRMA members, such as Pfizer and Eli Lilly. Campaign finance records show that he has raised about $250,000 in pharmaceutical-related contributions this year. (Clinton collected $269,000.) He has also not been averse to helping out Illinois-based pharmaceutical companies with “tariff suspensions.”

Nor does refusing to accept money from federal lobbyists prevent the Obama and Edwards campaigns from accepting in-kind contributions from registered lobbyists in the form of volunteer work. See this Roll Call article. My colleague, Matt Mosk, recently reported that the Obama campaign is hiring a top lobbyist, Moses Mercado, as a senior adviser. Mercado’s accounts with the Ogilvy Government Relations lobbyist group included Pfizer, United Health Group, and the Blackstone Group, which paid millions of dollars to Ogilvy to defeat proposals for doubling taxes paid by private equity managers. Mercado has said he will take a “leave of absence” from Ogilvy in order to work for Obama.

This deception on the issue of lobbyists and special interests has carried over from the campaign to his administration as well.   Obama’s right hand man David Axelrod is a lobbyist, for crying out loud.

Make no mistake.  Lobbyists are alive, kicking, and meeting with Obama administration officials frequently – often involving multiple visits.  As is standard operating procedure with this administration, they’ll look you straight in the eyes and claim one thing, while doing another when they think you’re not looking.  They’ll slam “the other side” for partaking in a practice they do as well, and when called out on it, they’re quick to claim “well technically, they weren’t federal registered lobbyists …”  It’s stupid.  It’s hypocritical and the mainstream media needs to call out the administration’s lobbyist/special interest double standards more aggressively than they have over the last two years because the American people deserve the truth about this administration’s rampant duplicity.

“Transparency” you can believe in? I don’t think so.

I have written about the issue of Obama’s phony claims regarding ties to lobbyists and special interests extensively – see the below links for much more:

Why the Democratic Party-Union relationship is corrupt


**Posted by Phineas

Michael Barone nails it — it’s a kickback scheme:

Public unions force taxpayers to fund Democrats

Everyone has priorities. During the past week Barack Obama has found no time to condemn the attacks that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has launched on the Libyan people.

But he did find time to be interviewed by a Wisconsin television station and weigh in on the dispute between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s public employee unions. Walker was staging “an assault on unions,” he said, and added that “public employee unions make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens.”

Enormous contributions, yes — to the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign. Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle.

Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say. The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.

So, just as the president complained in his 2010 State of the Union address about a Supreme Court decision that he feared would increase the flow of money to Republicans, he also found time to complain about a proposed state law that could reduce the flow of money to Democrats.

Emphases added. How is this any different in any real sense from a supplier winning an order from a business and then kicking back a portion to the manager who awarded the contract? In the real world, this kind of garbage would land both parties in court.

Barone makes a couple of other points worth noting: the first is that Wisconsin (and now Ohio and Indiana) is not the opening battlefield of this fight. In 2005, with California already facing serious budget problems, the Governator had four propositions placed on the ballot for a special election. Three of them, as I recall, dealt with some aspect of union/pension reform. The unions, particularly the teachers union (sound familiar?) and the leftist nurses union, spent $100 million dollars in a successful effort to defeat all four measures. Oh, and that money was all supplied by taxpayers in the form of dues, regardless of their own preference.

(For the record, it was the 2005 special election that, in my opinion, broke Schwarzenegger’s governorship. He never recovered the influence and initiative he had at that point, and increasingly “went along to get along” with our progressive legislature. It wasn’t until 2009-2010 that he recovered enough political strength to take on pensions again, scoring a significant victory that went largely unnoticed. See Tim Cavamaugh’s “Farewell, My Lovely.”)

Barone also takes on the argument Obama made that unions have made “enormous contributions” to our economy and society by asking pointedly, “what contributions?” What studies show the benefits of strong public unions compared to states without them? Indeed, as he points out:

Their incentives are to increase the cost of government and reduce down toward zero the accountability of public employees — both contrary to the interests of taxpaying citizens.

Which is why the corrupt mutual-patronage scheme the Democrats and the public employee unions have going has to end. For the good of all taxpayers and the fiscal health of our municipalities, states, and nation, let’s hope Governor Walker is more successful than Governor Schwarzenegger.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)