In his Chicago days, President Obama spent a great deal of time working with Marxist, Saul Alinsky-disciples Bill Ayers and Gerald Kellman. It should come as no surprise then, that he employs many of the tactics found in Alinsky's Rules for Radicals in his handling of the BP oil spill.
Here are a few examples:
“Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.”
President Obama has spent little time focusing on the specifics of what caused the disaster. Such specifics include the ineptitude of the government inspectors. And he never acknowledged that his administration gave the faulty rig a safety award. Instead, the President has misdirected attention by talking about such things as “green reform.”
“Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”
On the occasion of Michael Bromich's appointment as head of the Mineral Management Service, President Obama said, "For a decade or more, the cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency (Mineral Management Service) was allowed to go unchecked. That allowed drilling permits to be issued in exchange not for safety plans, but assurances of safety from oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore."
“Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself.” “We will keep a boot on the throat of BP," said Robert Gibbs during a press conference in May.
“Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, “Okay, what would you do?”
This rule of Alinsky’s was paraphrased by the President’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” The President has used the oil spill crisis as an excuse to spew green rhetoric and promote his cap-and-trade bill.
“Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.”
Alinsky’s most useful tactic involves creating a good versus evil scenario. It is not about fixing the problem, it is about blaming someone—in this case BP and their Chief Executive officer Tony Hayward. On June 12, President Obama told British Prime Minister Cameron that BP would have to put $20 billion into an account to pay for “environmental and economic damages” caused from their spill. Less than a week later, Texas Rep. Joe Barton, of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, blasted President Obama for forcing a private business to be the victim of a “$20 billion shakedown." Barton went on to say, “There is no question that BP is liable for the damages, but we have a due process system." Barton raises a good point but “due process” certainly would not have stopped Saul Alinsky and it will probably not stop President Obama.
Publicado: 06-26-2010 12:25 PM
The Unengaged President
Obama’s lack of interest in the world is evident in his handling of the oil spill and the Afghan War.
What do General McChrystal and British Petroleum have in common? Aside from the fact that they’re both Democratic-party supporters.
Or they were. Stanley McChrystal is a liberal who voted for Obama and banned Fox News from his HQ TV. Which may at least partly explain how he became the first U.S. general to be lost in combat while giving an interview to Rolling Stone: They’ll be studying that one in war colleges around the world for decades.
The executives of BP were unable to vote for Obama, being, as we now know, the most sinister duplicitous bunch of shifty Brits to pitch up offshore since the War of 1812. But, in their “Beyond Petroleum” marketing and beyond, they signed on to every modish nostrum of the eco-Left. Their recently retired chairman, Lord Browne, was one of the most prominent promoters of cap-and-trade. BP was the Democrats’ favorite oil company. They were to Obama what Total Fina Elf was to Saddam.
But what do McChrystal’s and BP’s defenestration tell us about the president of the United States? Barack Obama is a thin-skinned man and, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph, White House aides indicated that what angered the president most about the Rolling Stone piece was “a McChrystal aide saying that McChrystal had thought that Obama was not engaged when they first met last year.” If finding Obama “not engaged” is now a firing offense, who among us is safe?
Only the other day, Sen. George Lemieux of Florida attempted to rouse the president to jump-start America’s overpaid, over-manned, and oversleeping federal bureaucracy and get it to do something on the oil debacle. There are 2,000 oil skimmers in the United States: Weeks after the spill, only 20 of them are off the coast of Florida.
Seventeen friendly nations with great expertise in the field have offered their own skimmers; the Dutch volunteered their “super-skimmers”: Obama turned them all down. Raising the problem, Senator Lemieux found the president unengaged and uninformed. “He doesn’t seem to know the situation about foreign skimmers and domestic skimmers,” reported the senator.
He doesn’t seem to know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t care. “It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all,” wrote Richard Cohen in the Washington Post last week. “For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. . . . The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.
“This, of course, is the Obama enigma: Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?”
Gee, if only your newspaper had thought to ask those fascinating questions oh, say, a month before the Iowa caucuses.
And even today Cohen is still giving President Who-Is-This-Guy a pass. After all, whatever he feels about “China’s appalling human rights record” or “continued repression in Russia,” Obama is not directly responsible for it. Whereas the U.S. and allied deaths in Afghanistan are happening on his watch — and the border villagers killed by unmanned drones are being killed at his behest. Cohen calls the president “above all, a pragmatist,” but with the best will in the world you can’t stretch the definition of “pragmatism” to mean “lack of interest.”
“The ugly truth,” wrote Thomas Friedman in the New York Times, “is that no one in the Obama White House wanted this Afghan surge. The only reason they proceeded was because no one knew how to get out of it.”
Well, that’s certainly ugly, but is it the truth? Afghanistan, you’ll recall, was supposed to be the Democrats’ war, the one they supported, the one the neocons’ Iraq adventure was an unnecessary distraction from. Granted the Dems’ usual shell game — to avoid looking soft on national security, it helps to be in favor of some war other than the one you’re opposing — Candidate Obama was an especially ripe promoter. In one of the livelier moments of his campaign, he chugged down half a bottle of Geopolitical Viagra and claimed he was hot for invading Pakistan.
Then he found himself in the Oval Office, and the dime-store opportunism was no longer helpful. But, as Friedman puts it, “no one knew how to get out of it.” The “pragmatist” settled for “nuance”: He announced a semi-surge plus a date for withdrawal of troops to begin. It’s not “victory,” it’s not “defeat,” but rather a more sophisticated mélange of these two outmoded absolutes: If you need a word, “quagmire” would seem to cover it.
Hamid Karzai, the Taliban, and the Pakistanis, on the one hand, and Britain and the other American allies heading for the check-out, on the other, all seem to have grasped the essentials of the message, even if Friedman and the other media Obammyboppers never quite did.
Karzai is now talking to Islamabad about an accommodation that would see the most viscerally anti-American elements of the Taliban back in Kabul as part of a power-sharing regime. At the height of the shrillest shrieking about the Iraqi “quagmire,” was there ever any talk of hard-core Saddamite Baathists returning to government in Baghdad?
To return to Cohen’s question: “Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?” Well, he’s a guy who was wafted ever upward from the Harvard Law Review to state legislator to United States senator without ever lingering long enough to accomplish anything. “Who is this guy?” Well, when a guy becomes a credible presidential candidate by his mid-forties with no accomplishments other than a couple of memoirs, he evidently has an extraordinary talent for self-promotion, if nothing else.
“What are his core beliefs?” It would seem likely that his core belief is in himself. It’s the “nothing else” that the likes of Cohen are belatedly noticing.
Wasn’t he kind of unengaged by the health-care debate? That’s why, for all his speeches, he could never quite articulate a rationale for it. In the end, he was happy to leave it to the Democrat Congress and, when his powers of persuasion failed, let them ram it down the throats of the American people through sheer parliamentary muscle.
Likewise, on Afghanistan, his attitude seems to be “I don’t want to hear about it.” Unmanned drones take care of a lot of that, for a while. So do his courtiers in the media: Did all those hopey-changers realize that Obama’s war would be run by Bush’s defense secretary and Bush’s general?
Hey, never mind: Moveon.org have quietly disappeared their celebrated “General Betray Us” ad from their website. Cindy Sheehan, the supposed conscience of the nation when she was railing against Bush from the front pages, is an irrelevant kook unworthy of coverage when she protests Obama. Why, a cynic might almost think the “anti-war” movement was really an anti-Bush movement, and that they really don’t care about dead foreigners after all. Plus ça change you can believe in, plus c’est la même chose.
Except in one respect. There is a big hole where our strategy should be.
It’s hard to fight a war without war aims, and in the end they can come only from the top. It took the oil spill to alert Americans to the unengaged president. From Moscow to Tehran to the caves of Waziristan, our enemies got the message a lot earlier — and long ago figured out the rules of unengagement.
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone.
Publicado: 06-27-2010 09:38 PM
LA HIPOCRECIA DE LOS DEMOCRATAS Y EL NOMBRAMIENTO DEL GEN. PETRAEUS
The Hypocrisy of the Left
by Michael Reagan
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who until last week was the leader of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has resigned in the wake of derogatory comments made by the general and his staff during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
One can only guess at this point why the general chose to publicly disclose his feelings on an array of topics in an on-the-record capacity to a journalist associated with this particular magazine, not one generally associated with thought-provoking foreign policy pieces. The President chose wisely in quickly replacing Gen. McChrystal with someone with impeccable credentials and a record of accomplishing military objectives that at first glance may seem to be unobtainable.
You may remember this man as Gen. David Petraeus, the former commander of forces in Iraq who crafted, implemented and led the famous surge that ultimately saved countless American and Iraqi lives.
This is the same David Petraeus who faced the wrath of the uber-progressive MoveOn.org during that same timeframe. MoveOn launched a controversial ad entitled “Petraeus Betray Us,” which drew the wrath of a majority of Americans who felt it wholly inappropriate to attack a United States general who was in the field leading American personnel into battle. At the time, 72 sitting United States senators agreed.
On September 20, 2007, Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) offered Senate Amendment 2934, which set out to: “express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.” The measure passed overwhelmingly with 72 “yeas” to 25 “nays” and 3 not voting.
It will not surprise many of you to see the likes of Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer or Harry Reid voting against a measure that supported the leader of our armed forces engaged in battle in favor of a progressive grassroots organization. But what should concern many of us is that then-Sen. Obama decided to seek political refuge by not casting a vote. Then-Sen. Joe Biden did the same.
Gen. McChrystal, despite his proud military record, exercised extremely poor judgment in allowing such dismissing comments about the Obama Administration to be aired in a public forum. The President’s choice to replace him is an understandable decision.
Less understandable is how President Obama can demand a respect he has been inconsistent in offering to others. In 2007, he was unwilling to stand up to the liberal elements of his party in defense of Gen. Petraeus. As he now calls on that same general to rescue him from the political firestorm flowing today and continue the surge in Afghanistan, I express only the greatest admiration for the honor and integrity of David Petraeus.
The war in Afghanistan stands at a crucial point as more American forces pour into the region. While I have nothing but confidence in Gen. Petraeus, the resignation of Gen. McChrystal is an unfortunate loss, and one symptomatic of the tension between the civilian and military dimensions of this effort. As President Obama and Gen. Petraeus move foward in this conflict, I hope the President will begin to take proactive steps to reconcile this divide, listen to the counsel of generals in the field, and increase coordination between all aspects of the fight in Afghanistan. That country, and ours, can afford no less.
Mike Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is heard on 130 radio stations nationally as part of American Family Radio. Look for Mike’s newest book “Twice Adopted” (Broadman & Holman Publishers) and “The City on a Hill,” other info at www.Reagan.com.
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It’s not hypocrisy that compels the Left; it’s political expediency. Just as it was politically expedient to make the General and his surge strategy a prime target of the Democrats’ anti-war campaign, it is now politically expedient to hail him as part of the genius war strategy of Barack Obama (although that “genius war strategy” was actually borrowed from George Bush). The same General who was called a liar by Hillary Clinton and whose public humiliation by MoveOn.org was dismissed by Barack Obama is now the political tool they’ve chosen to fix the mess they’ve made of Afghanistan with their diplomatic and military bungling. And it was very savvy to choose General Petraeus to win a losing war because if things don’t improve, he was George Bush’s General after all.
Jun 28, 2010 @ 05:46 AM
Michael, hypocrisy is the modus operadi of all politicians, both the right and the left. Look at the republicans who are now expressing concern about government spending who didn’t say boo about the runaway government spending in the Bush era. It’s part of the two party system, when one party is out of office they will grab any issue to bash the other party with in order to regain power. And they can get away with this because the average American voter is so easily manipulated and misled. The average American voter basks in the glory of being able to vote for one of two candidates who will when elected look out first for the interests of the corporate lobbyists and Israel. Talk about hypocrisy, up til now the neocons championed the cause of Turkey, Turkey was our buddy and firm ally, but since relations between Turkey and Israel turned sour, now they can say nothing good about Turkey. Now I recall how the Communists were anti-Nazi until out of the blue the Russian communists signed a friendship treaty with the Nazis and the next day the communists in the US were saying good things about the Nazis. Truth is not important, what is important is having our guys in power. The ends justify the means.
Jun 28, 2010 @ 08:22 AM
Watosh, Raleigh, NC
Publicado: 06-28-2010 03:33 PM
This past week, Thomas Sowell’s column asked if we are on a slippery slope to tyranny. With Washington’s current trend, what other conclusion can we come to? Ignoring and circumventing the rule of law is the root cause of most of our problems now, and Sowell knows it.
Giving the most recent example of Obama’s demands to hold and distribute BP money, Sowell has the following to say:
With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution.
The BP money is just the latest in a string of examples, where our current administration is picking and choosing which laws to recognize and which laws it cares to enforce. Just a few that come to mind are:
- The refusal to assist Arizona and other states in enforcing immigration law, and the threat from ICE to possibly refuse to process illegal immigrants Arizona sends them.
- The government takeover of the auto industry.
Sowell’s column continued with the following:
If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don’t believe in constitutional government.
And, without constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a “crisis” — which, as the president’s chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to “go to waste” as an opportunity to expand the government’s power.
Despite our anger with BP, banks, car manufacturers or anyone else, we can’t change our laws to suit individual situations. The laws and the Constitution, despite some current progressive thought, are not “evolving” and open to their personal interpretation or whims.
Conservatives need to fight this as a priority over individual issues, as allowing our government to dismiss our laws and “evolve” the Constitution to match their agenda effects everything else and will be our undoing.
Publicado: 06-29-2010 10:03 AM
President Obama is being hailed for toughness in his firing of Gen. McChrystal and brilliance in his replacing him as Afghan field commander with Gen. David Petraeus, who managed the George W. Bush "surge" in Iraq that saved this nation from an ignominious defeat.
Herewith, a dissent.
By firing a fighting general, beloved of his troops, Obama just took upon himself full responsibility for the McChrystal Plan. The general is off the hook.
Should we be in this same bloody stalemate in December, Obama will be blamed for having fired his field commander who devised his battle plan, and was carrying it out, over some stupid insults from staff officers to some counterculture magazine.
More critically, Obama just made himself hostage to a savvy general who is said to dream of one day holding Obama's office.
Consider the box Obama just put himself in.
In 2008, he sacked Gen. David McKiernan and replaced him with his own man, Gen. McChrystal. Now, he has sacked McChrystal and replaced him with Petraeus.
The former community organizer and acolyte of Saul Alinsky cannot now possibly fire the most popular and successful general in the U.S. Army, who accepted a demotion to take command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, without a firestorm that would consume his presidency.
If Obama has not noticed, the neocons, who want a "long war" in the Islamic world and a new war with Iran, are celebrating the Petraeus appointment with far greater unanimity than Obama's own staff.
Why is the War Party celebrating? Petraeus is one of them.
And the untouchable general's demands have begun to come in.
Clearly, Obama has been told he must back away from his declared deadline of July 31, 2011, for beginning withdrawals of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. And Obama is already moving to do so.
Vice President Joe Biden's statement in Jonathan Alter's "The Promise" that, "in July of 2011, you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out, bet on it," has already been challenged by Defense's Robert Gates.
No such decision has yet been made, said Gates.
Look to Obama, soon, to walk back that July 2011 date and declare that any withdrawal of U.S. troops will be "conditions-based" -- another way of saying that if we are not winning the war in July 2011, we are not coming home.
Here is the likely scenario.
At the December review of the Afghan war, Petraeus will argue that, while progress is being made, we cannot meet our goals by July 2011. Years more of combat will be required to win the war.
Petraeus will ask the president for more time, perhaps years more, and perhaps ask for more troops, 20,000 or 30,000, to complete the mission and ensure Afghanistan is not again a sanctuary for al-Qaida.
Thus, in December 2010, Obama becomes LBJ in December 1967, when Gen. William Westmoreland, with 500,000 troops in Vietnam, came to the White House to ask for 200,000 more. LBJ said no.
And as the Republican right hammered him for not bombing Hanoi and blockading Haiphong, Sens. Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy entered the primaries against him from the left.
Richard Nixon, saying five years of unsuccessful prosecution of a war called out for new leadership, was marching to the nomination of a party he had helped reunite after the Barry Goldwater disaster.
The outlook bleak, his party splintering, LBJ declared on March 31, 1968, that he would not run again.
If Obama repudiates his July 2011 date for first withdrawals of U.S. troops, if he agrees to any new Petraeus troop request, his party will split and he will face a primary challenge from the antiwar left.
But if he stands with Biden and says the July 2011 date holds, and the troops start home in July, Petraeus would likely put out word that his hands are being tied and he will not fight a no-win war.
Should Petraeus resign his command under such circumstances, he would become a Douglas MacArthur-like hero to the GOP, and could wind up as No. 2 on the ticket. And that could send Barack Obama home to Chicago.
Obama should have left McChrystal to succeed or fail with the McChrystal Plan. Had he succeeded, Obama also would have succeeded. Had he failed, Obama would have been free to relieve him and tell the nation: "We gave it our best shot, with our best general, with all the resources he requested. Regrettably, we did not succeed. Now we are coming home."
That option was closed when he fired McChrystal and made himself the political prisoner of Gen. David Petraeus.
Publicado: 06-29-2010 01:38 PM