Measuring the true stimulus

Unconventional oil and gas production added the equivalent of $1,200 to real household disposable income on in 2012. Since the poor spend relatively more on energy, this is clearly one of the best anti-poverty program going.

The industry raised GDP by by $283 billion last year and was responsible for $74 billion in federal and state tax payments.

What a great program. It not only pays its own way but also pumps revenue into the treasury, more than $200 million a day. Revenue is expected to rise to $138 billion a year by 2025.

Fracking has been as close to a gift from God as I have ever seen. Imagine the trouble we would be in w/o it. It has been the single most important stimulus after what the Fed has been doing. And it keeps on coming, year after year.

I am not a big believer in one or two things "saving" the economy. But clearly the unexpected bonus from fracking helped lift us from recession and will do a lot to get the economy finally back on track. Revenue from fracking can pay for a lot of mistakes, such as Solyndra.

Let's just not let them screw it up.

On a related item, I was learning from a UC Santa Barbara study that energy exploration has REDUCED natural oil seepage into the ocean by about half. An article starts, "Next time you step on a glob of tar on a beach in Santa Barbara County, you can thank the oil companies that it isn't a bigger glob."

Posted by Christine & John at September 9, 2013 9:04 PM
Comments
Comment #370436

A little off topic but not totally considering the unconventional gas discussion.

Good news on the Syrian issue this morning. It appears that a deal discussed between Obama and Putin at the G-20 conference for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to international control may become a reality. Assad signaled his agreement in the Charley Rose interview when he said that he would what is necessary to avoid a regional conflict when Rose asked if he would give up the chemical weapons.

Congress should now pass a resolution supporting the deal with additional authorization for the President to act militarily if Syria refuses to finalize the agreement or fails to abide by the agreement.

If this agreement can be finalized, we should then take the opportunity to push for a negotiated agreement on ending the conflict. That might be more difficult but if we can achieve some degree of international cooperation on the chemical weapons issue, it may lead to some partnerships that might resolve the overall conflict. Probably wishful thinking. But, the chemical weapons incident(s) has brought front and center the dangers of allowing this conflict to spiral out of control. It is all interests to achieve some compromise solution in Syria.

Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2013 9:17 AM
Comment #370437

Rich,
Great news, indeed. The outlines of a solution to what seemed like an impossible problem are taking shape. It is a tribute to the judgment, competence, and leadership of Obama. It looks like we will achieve our foreign policy objectives and make the world a better place, while strengthening relationships with friends and allies, and improving relationships with… well, what should we call the Russians? Acquaintences?

This could turn out to be one of Obama’s finest moments. He could have ignored the attack. He could have played it safe. Instead, he went all in, and did the right thing, and amazingly, it worked.

And for those who hate Obama, it couldn’t be worse. Once again, everything they have said has turned out to be wrong. It is particularly shameful for Senator Inhofe and some House Republicans, who advocated bombing Syria, and then, when Obama came out threatening to do so, those conservatives turned around and opposed it! Shameful.

Way to go, Obama! Don’t stop now!

Posted by: phx8 at September 10, 2013 11:58 AM
Comment #370438
It is a tribute to the judgment, competence, and leadership of Obama.

Or it means he just got punked by Putin. Time will tell but any deal that Putin puts on the table and Assad immediately accepts might fall into the world of “wishful thinking.”

I support the President and his foreign policy, if this is the right deal than so be it, but he doesn’t need you or Axlerod out there giving him heaping praise.

Posted by: George in SC at September 10, 2013 1:01 PM
Comment #370439

Obama has taken away the Syrian chemical weapon arsenal without a shot.

To put it into perspective, compare this example of using power and diplomacy with the performance of the previous administration in Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at September 10, 2013 2:49 PM
Comment #370443

I hope this does work.

But we have managed only to get the guy to claim to give up chemical weapons, AFTER he has killed 100,000 people and AFTER he has essentially secured his continued power. In the bargain, we have conceded leadership in the region to Russia and Iran.

It almost seems like a plan. Assad uses WMD in increasingly large amounts until we finally officially notice. This provokes a loud, but essentially impotent response. After this, Assad agrees to give up WMD in return we recognize his victory and accept that the Russians and Iranians will call the shots from now on.

I have had mixed feelings about this Syria thing. I feel a little immoral that I can ignore the deaths of 100,000 people. I worry about empowering Russian and Iran. But like President Obama, I am a little afraid to get sucked in the Muslim world again. I guess I can recognize that it is problem, but maybe not our problem. Our growing energy independence, my original topic, makes it more and more possible to tell the despots of the Middle East to go F themselves. But I still feel bad for doing nothing much to help those hundreds of thousands that were and will be murdered by those despots.

Posted by: CJ at September 10, 2013 4:42 PM
Comment #370447

What we are seeing is a circus. The diehard liberals are trying their best to spin a Kerry gaff into an Obama victory. This is a joke and Putin and Assad will ram it up Obama’s rear end before it’s all over.

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 10, 2013 5:16 PM
Comment #370448

You do realize that everything that is going on in the middle east is a fulfillment of bible prophecy? Even to the names of the countries and cities. Mother Jones had an interesting article a few days ago about the prophecies regarding Syria. Do you know that Hal Lindsey and Joel Rosenberg have been called in by politicians to explain these prophecies.

Posted by: Jake at September 10, 2013 5:21 PM
Comment #370449

“After this, Assad agrees to give up WMD in return we recognize his victory..”

I wouldn’t be so quick to concede victory to Assad, C&J. The French, who probably know more about Syria and its complexity than most, think that the war has actually not been going so well for Assad as many claim. His momentum has recently stalled with particular difficulty in the Damascus area. They interpret his use of a coordinated chemical attack with infantry follow-up as more a sign of desperation rather than confidence. Consider also that Assad’s window of opportunity was closing with the recent authorizations for US forces and other NATO forces to train and equip additional moderate rebel forces.

As for this being some grand plot to neuter the US, please! If so, it would most definitely be a sign of desperation on Assad’s part and that of Russia and Iran. Would Assad risk the loss of his airfields (the reported targets by CNN) on the gamble that the US would not respond? It could cost him the war. By the way, I doubt that Iran would ever agree to a plan using chemical weapons after what happened to them in the Iran-Iraq war. It is still a very fresh and painful experience in the minds of Iranians.

All in all, I would give good marks to Obama for calling the gambit. On this issue, he appears to have been going it alone except for the French who know Syria intimately. So far, I see it as a very courageous act. With virtually no support at home and little international support, he stood up against a brazen violation of the international laws of war.

Congress now needs to back him up and give him authorization to use military force if Syria does not cooperate.

The next steps may be more difficult. But, lets pray that this agreement holds. It is a first step in reducing the atrocities of that war which were only escalating.

Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2013 5:55 PM
Comment #370450

“The diehard liberals are trying their best to spin a Kerry gaff into an Obama victory.”

I doubt that this was a Kerry gaff. It has been reported that Obama and Putin discussed the option at the G-20 conference. In addition, Charley Rose asked Assad about whether he would give up the chemical weapons as an option. Assad said that he would do what was necessary to avoid a regional conflict. This obvious option has been discussed by the parties before the Kerry comment. Agreement to the option may have been more difficult though.

Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2013 6:04 PM
Comment #370452

C&J,

I was somewhat puzzled by the assertion in your post that this seals an Assad victory in Syria. It didn’t seem very logical to me. How would disarming Syria of its chemical weapons assure an Assad victory. But, I just got my answer from FOX News commentators. Its simply their opinion. No factual support or even any logic to it. Just a bald assertion.

Since the start of this incident, I have been struck at the lack of thoughtful analysis on the right. It is just vicious partisanship.

First, it was Obama should have done something a long time ago. But, that was followed by we don’t want to support the rebels, though. Well, maybe Obama had the same concerns until the regime brazenly employed chemical weapons.

Second, that he was not a strong leader. I don’t know about you but standing up against an atrocity when all others shrink from the task seems to me to evidence of strength not weakness.

Third, he should consult with Congress. When he did, he shouldn’t have.

Fourth, Obama is not capable of planning a punishing attack. Well, CNN has reported that the targets were his airfields and air power. An excellent target list guaranteed to put a chill up the spines of Assad’s military. Air power is their lifeblood. Little civilian collateral damage also.

Fifth, Obama is all muddled on his strategic plan. Well, hell, it is a complex and rapidly changing situation involving negotiations with major unfriendly countries. In addition, Congress doesn’t have any answers except that it doesn’t want another war. That’s helpful.

This a dangerous and complex problem. Its about time that some drop their partisan hate of this President and come up with either strong support or an alternative plan. I fear that the last four years have put the US in some sort of juvenile standoff.

Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2013 7:32 PM
Comment #370453

I listened to a retired US general saying, it is the first time in my career that we have a policy to go to war with the goal being to do as little damage as possible.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 10, 2013 7:53 PM
Comment #370454

It is perfectly reasonable to expect Assad to simply move most of his chemical supply to other friendly terrorists and sequester just a small amount to appease the UN. That’s what I would do in his position.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 10, 2013 7:55 PM
Comment #370455

Rich,
Well said.

It is a tough time to be a “die-hard liberal” or a libertarian or an Obama hater. All have advocated the ‘do nothing’ strategy, and now all appear to be weak and ineffectual.

Let me repeat that.

Weak and ineffectual.

Being effective and strong does not mean behaving like a Neocon. We saw what happened with that approach in Iraq. Instead, Obama and Kerry instituted a careful and well-coordinated response. We will achieve US goals without bloodshed. Through the judicious use of power and diplomacy, the Assad regime will give up its chemical weapons without our firing a shot.

Amazing!

For those who advocated ‘doing nothing’- and there are a lot of those people on this site- I am sorry you proved yourselves to be weak, and ineffectual. Better luck next time.

Weak.

Ineffectual.

The deal with strengthen the reputation of the US, strengthen the reputation of the Russians as dealmakers, and allow them to maintain influence by keeping their major client state in the Middle East. Syria will give up their chemical weapons, but… so what? At this point, the weapons are useless. Any further use will certainly result in disastrous retaliation. The Syrians gain a lot. Assad gets the chance to stay in power. As part of a back-channel deal, I suspect the US will call off not-so-covert support for the rebels. Given the dubious nature of the rebels, everyone will be happy about that, too. The UN will gain in prestige and influence as a resource for resolving international conflict.

A lot of people in State and the Executive Branch participated in this effort. They deserve a standing ovation.

I caught a few minutes of Limbaugh this morning. Terrible stuff. He is absolutely furious that American and Obama might succeed. It is all supposed to be a matter of incompetence. Doubt even the most die-hard listeners will buy into his hatred, but who knows?

Posted by: phx8 at September 10, 2013 8:16 PM
Comment #370456

I listened to Rush Limbaugh today too, and I heard nothing of what phx8 heard.

Posted by: Jake at September 10, 2013 8:35 PM
Comment #370457

Rich

For Assad, chemical weapons are a means to an end. He want to maintain himself in power; he wants to avoid having the west tell him what to do and his Russian and Iranian allies want a freer hand in the region. This is pretty much what it looks like will come to pass.

I was reading a book called “Rendezvous with Destiny” re FDR. You could argue that if we had just stayed out of the trouble and let Hitler do as he wanted, we could have avoided the war and all the associated problems.

This is what seems to be happening in Syria, albeit in a much smaller scale.

I feel like the isolationists of the 1930s. I am a little ashamed that I am willing to avoid involvement even though I am pretty sure more people will die. I don’t know that President Obama feels this. Perhaps he is beyond it. His deal would avoid military conflict at the expense of capitulation. But maybe we just don’t give a shit about it anymore.

I am not trying to be provocative here. Do we really care? We would look behind and find nobody following us and lots of people bitching. It would be like Iraq. We can do right or we can do wrong but either way we are screwed.

Posted by: CJ at September 10, 2013 8:52 PM
Comment #370461
I doubt that this was a Kerry gaff. It has been reported that Obama and Putin discussed the option at the G-20 conference. In addition, Charley Rose asked Assad about whether he would give up the chemical weapons as an option. Assad said that he would do what was necessary to avoid a regional conflict. This obvious option has been discussed by the parties before the Kerry comment. Agreement to the option may have been more difficult though. Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2013 6:04 PM

Why would you doubt it was a Kerry gaff:

Monday’s drama began when Kerry, after a meeting with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, was asked by a reporter how military strikes on Syria might be averted.

Kerry said that Assad “could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done.”

To which the State Department immediately came out and said Kerry’s comment was rhetorical. But when the “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seized upon the idea, issuing a proposal for putting Syria’s chemical stockpile under international control”, Obama then came out and said
he had talked to Putin about this very idea. This is a lie; if Obama had been talking to Putin about Syria turning over their WMD’s, why did Kerry comment that it would never happen and the State Department call it a rhetorical question?

When Rose asked Assad questions about WMD’s, Assad said the use of WMD’s was not off the table. Assad does not care that this would escalate into a regional conflict; in fact he would like to see a regional conflict. It would mean the Russia and Iran would come to his aid. You have no proof that this option was discussed by anyone prior to Kerry’s comments.

Obama is trying to use the events to cover his own ass and his failure at leadership. He does not have the support of the American people, the Senate, or the Congress to go against Syria.

In fact, dumbo is speaking now…

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 10, 2013 9:02 PM
Comment #370462

C&J are correct; the American people are tired of spending their own money to police the world. There is nothing we can do to change the mindset of these Muslim extremist. They cannot comprehend a democratic society. Democracy is based first upon this premise, the Freedom of Religion and the Freedom of Speech. The Muslim religion cannot and will not allow these basic rights; therefore democracy will never take place.

The left has fought tooth and nail against any form of military intervention in any nation; and yet the left of the left are in full support of Obama doing the very thing they despise. Why is that? For no other reason than to defend and protect Obama. Here is a perfect example from a Democratic Congresswoman:

Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said Tuesday that at the current time, the only reason she would vote in favor of an attack on Syria was out of loyalty to Barack Obama.

Appearing on radio’s Bill Press Show, the non-voting delegate from the District of Columbia also said if the President actually gets the votes he needs, “it’ll be because of loyalty of Democrats. They just don’t want to see him shamed and humiliated on the national stage”

This is exactly why the left of WB protect Obama. They would put America servicemen in harms way, and possibly kill Syrian civilians for the sole purpose of not shamming or humiliating Obama.

Obama has humiliated himself.

Krauthammer’s response following Dumbo’s speech; sounded good, but will have zero effect on getting American’s on board with the attack.

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 10, 2013 9:20 PM
Comment #370464

Let’s see now; Russia gave Syria WMD’s, Russia takes away WMD’s, and then Russia gives WMD’s back. Okay, Obummer has convinced me to trust Putin and Assad, yeah right!!!

Posted by: Jake at September 10, 2013 9:32 PM
Comment #370465

I know that you won’t believe it, PH but take the time to look over this article: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_world_/2013/09/09/obama_on_syria_russia_chemical_weapons_deal_was_it_in_the_works_before_today.html

Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2013 9:41 PM
Comment #370467

Peggy Noonan has prophetically nailed the Obama speech earlier in the day; and Obama did exactly as she said he would. Tugging at the heart string of the American people with the deaths of children:

He will attempt to be morally compelling and rhetorically memorable. He will probably, like Susan Rice yesterday, attempt to paint a graphic portrait of what chemical weapons do—the children in their shrouds, the suffering parents, what such deaths look like and are. This is not meaningless: the world must be reminded what weapons of mass destruction are, and what the indifference of the world foretells.

He will claim the moral high ground. He will temporarily reserve the use of force and welcome recent diplomatic efforts. He will suggest it was his threat of force that forced a possible diplomatic solution. His people will be all over the airwaves saying it was his deft leadership and steely-eyed threat to use force that allowed for a diplomatic break.

The real purpose of the speech will be to lay the predicate for a retrospective judgment of journalists and, later, historians. He was the president who warned the world and almost went—but didn’t go—to war to make a point that needed making.

Before or after the speech there will be some quiet leaking to the press that yes, frankly, the president, with so many difficult domestic issues facing him and Congress in the fall, wanted, sympathetically, to let lawmakers off the hook. They never wanted to vote on this.

Once that was true, they didn’t. But now, having seen the polls and heard from their constituents, a lot of them are raring to go, especially Republicans. It is Democrats who were caught in the crosshairs between an antiwar base and a suddenly hawkish president. But again, a Democratic White House can’t admit it put its people in a fix like that.

In any case it’s good for America that we’ve dodged either bad outcome: Congress votes no and the president moves anyway, or Congress votes no and he doesn’t. Both possibilities contained dangers for future presidents.

The president will assert that as a lover of peace he welcomes the Russian move and reports of the positive Syrian reaction, that he will closely monitor the situation, set deadlines. He will speak of how he understands the American people, after the past 12 years, after previous and painful mistakes by their leaders, would feel so reluctant for any military engagement. He not only understands this reluctance, he shares it. He knows he was elected, in part, because he would not think of war as the first, or even second or third, option. But he has a higher responsibility now, and it is to attempt to warn the world of the moral disaster of the use of weapons of mass destruction. If we don’t move in the firmest opposition our children will face a darker future.

http://blogs.wsj.com/peggynoonan/2013/09/10/making-sense-of-syria/

We have lost all credibility in the Middle-East. Putin has stolen the spotlight from Obama. And nothing will be accomplished in Syria.

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 10, 2013 9:46 PM
Comment #370468

Just listened to President Obama’s adress. I am still conflicted regarding using military force in the Syrian conflict but assured that he can use what he deems necessary. This brings the Syrian/Russian contributories to a decidedly insightful response. What would that be? A demand that any use of force be rescinded, a less than ensuastic participation by Syrian authorities, a stalemate that resolves nothing. I am confident that our President is thinking in our best interests.

Posted by: Speak4all at September 10, 2013 9:47 PM
Comment #370470

Rich, I read the article in your link and here is the concluding thoughts of the writer:

Given the way U.S. officials—including Kerry himself—have reacted since this morning’s comments were made, I have a hard time believing this was all part of some grand design. This certainly still looks like a policy being designed on the fly. But maybe there was more going on in St. Petersburg than we realized.

So even the writer did not believe his own report. The title of his article was “Was a Syria-Russia Deal in the Works Before Kerry’s Gaffe?”

And he answered the question by saying he doubted that Obama was telling the truth. You are basing your conclusion on the fact that Obama is telling the truth; but we all know, when Obama’s lips are moving, he is lying.

I might also ask you, when did Syria get nuclear weapons?

In an interview with CNN tonight, President Obama called a Russian-proposed deal for Syria to give up its nuclear weapons a “potentially positive” development and while he expressed some skepticism, suggested it was a possible diplomatic breakthrough:

“I am confident that our President is thinking in our best interests.”

Unlike speaks4himself, I am confident that Obama is in full time CYA mode, with NO thought of what is best for anyone else.

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 10, 2013 10:00 PM
Comment #370471

C&J,

Well, at least you are honest about your shame. That was harsh. You actually are expressing weariness over the long battle to uphold US values in a world that all too frequently refuses to act in the face of evil. Your musing about FDR’s fight to overcome isolationism in the US during the early stages of WWII is telling. In fact, I suspect that you are secretly hoping that the President holds his ground on this issue.

Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2013 10:07 PM
Comment #370474

OK, PH, you didn’t like that article. How about this one: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/10/john-kerry-syria-solution_n_3901863.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

Why should I bother. Obama is a liar.

Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2013 10:14 PM
Comment #370475

Jake,
I only caught the first few minutes of Limbaugh, and a few more minutes about two hours into the show. He called Obama and Kerry “keystone cops,” he suggested what was happening was merely the result of a gaffe rather than successful diplomacy, that it was so bad it was “unbelievable,” that Putin and Assad were playing Obama, and that Obama was incompetent.

An enemy of the United States would have to look no further than Limbaugh’s show to find fodder for opposing the interests of America. Truly disgraceful. There has been some terrible stuff from the left on Daily Kos, and there has been some terrible stuff on the right from Limbaugh. It is simply shameful, and I would hope people would resoundingly reject his efforts to spread despair and defeatism. It is not based on principle. It is based on reflexive hatred.

Personally, I have no problem with people disagreeing on the basis of principle. Some people are pacifists. Some are isolationists. Many liberals oppose action in Syria, and the same goes for libertarians. I respect that.

But disagreement based on principle comes with consequences. And it is fair to say that calling it like it is, is not disrespectful. The consequences of “doing nothing” are owning the results: the appearance of weakness, the appearance of being ineffectual, the appearance of being unable to deal with the world.

Posted by: phx8 at September 10, 2013 10:53 PM
Comment #370476

Rich, you share a link from the Huffpo and try to act as if it is proof. Huffpo is doing the same thing you are trying to do…prove that Kerry’s comments were some sort of slip that Obama had been working with Putin. Obama and Putin can’t stand each other, and you want us to believe they are working together? Your article at Huffpo does not explain why the State Department came out immediately after Kerry’s gaffe to claim it was a rhetorical question. Huffpo provides no proof and your link to it is an insult to people’s intelligence. And yes, you are correct, Obama is a liar. His speech tonight provided no reason to attack Syria with logic; it was meant to tug at the heart strings with the death of “children” and base the support of an attack on emotion.

The consequences of “doing nothing” are owning the results: the appearance of weakness, the appearance of being ineffectual, the appearance of being unable to deal with the world.

phx8, I will ask again the same question I have answer before, where do you draw the line at “doing nothing”; it’s okay to attack Syria for violating human rights, but what about the rest of the nations that violate human rights? What about China, what about Vietnam, what about N. Korea??? These and many more nations slaughter off their populations. In Egypt we find Coptic Christians being slaughtered off…in Africa we find rape and hacking people to death with machetes…do you want to go there too? NO, of course not, Obama didn’t draw a red line there. This whole fiasco is a joke; Obama used personal pronouns to describe the red line and then tries to shift the red line to Congress and the world. Don’t you guys ever get tired of covering for Obama’s excuses. He is the president, and the buck stops at his desk and yet for 4 1/2 years all we have heard is “it’s someone else’s fault”.

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 10, 2013 11:16 PM
Comment #370477

OK, PH, if you don’t like Obama drawing a line in the sand, what would you do?

Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2013 11:31 PM
Comment #370478

PH,
China, Vietnam, and North Korea have not used chemical weapons against their neighbors or their own people. Civil wars are terrible, but not a reason for the US to intervene.

The “red line” is the existing international law. Obama has been willing to go through Congress and the UN in order to enforce this line, this law.

This entire issue could not more clearly illustrate Obama’s willingness to take responsibility for an unpopular stand, simply because that stand is the right thing to do. He put his prestige and reputation on the line, and rolled sevens. Too bad a lot of people didn’t realize the dice were loaded in his favor, thanks to some great work at State and in the Executive Branch. To use another metaphor, we held a strong hand, and the Syrians held a weak one, and everyone in both parties knew it.

Posted by: phx8 at September 10, 2013 11:42 PM
Comment #370480

Rich

“Congress now needs to back him up and give him authorization to use military force if Syria does not cooperate.”


I agree.

Re the rest of the story - if Assad merely gives up chemical weapons under the auspices of Russia, the world is left with Assad. Russia and Iran are stronger.

I was talking to C about this yesterday and she found me uncharacteristically passive. I think we lost this one and I am willing to give up. Putin and Assad outplayed us. It looks like Obama’s recent moves are good, but we are closing the barn door after the horses have gone.

IMO we should have and could have negotiated an agreement to keep some forces in Iraq, especially in the middle of the desert at Al Asad, where they would be out of the way. Even a small force there would have changed the situation in Syria. Assad would be out of power by now and we would have done, and had to do, “nothing” much but routine activities.

But this is finished. We can wish to be in a different situation, but we are where we are. Fine words are great in domestic policy, but when dealing with tough guys like Assad, Putin and the Iranians, what counts in blood and steel. We are unwilling to use neither and are not in a position where they will achieve our goals anyway. The bad guys know. We know that they know and they know that we know it. So we play the talking game.

Re president holding ground - I don’t think he has much ground to hold and I don’t trust him to hold it. We lost this one. Best we can do is learn the lesson.

Re weariness - I volunteered to go to Iraq in 2007 because I thought I could be useful. I went to what was at the time the most nasty part because that was were I could do the most. I was lucky that it was not as bad as I thought, but people died and stuff was destroyed. I particularly recall one young man, about the age of my son at the time, killed by a bullet through the head as he bent down to stretch his legs. I won’t forget his name. We won in Anbar, defeated AQI and established a kind of peace. And then we went home and the bad guys came out like rot gas in a swamp.

Sometimes things just suck, but you cannot make them better with the means you have at your disposal or the amount of will power you can apply. I would like to quote noble Romans or say that I am prepared to pay any price, but I am not. I feel beaten on this and I think our country is too. It does not mean we are out of the game, but this particular play is all finished except for the shouting. The rest of the world will not stand with us on this. We have a “coalition” we can count on our fingers. Shit, man.

Posted by: CJ at September 11, 2013 6:05 AM
Comment #370481

C&J,

This mantra from conservatives of defeat is sickening. In order to bring down this President, they are willing to sacrifice the interests of the US in pursuit of that partisan goal.

I very much doubt that Assad, Putin and the Iranians felt like winners when facing the prospects of a US strike after the chemical attack, particularly when new US aid was in the pipeline for the rebels. Now, having accepted an alternative disarmament of chemical weapons, they are hailed as heroes by many. Go figure!

It seems clear to me that the key issue in this crisis is the avoidance of a precipitous fall of Assad. The prospects of a chaotic power vacuum in Syria gave pause to the world and the US. We want you to die, Assad, but not too quickly.

The US now has reasonable leverage in this crisis. It is time to coalesce around that plan. Force Russia and Syria to put up on disarmament or face the prospects of not only a US strike on valuable assets of the regime but also renewed support for the moderate rebels.

The major players have each blinked. Now lets see if the world has the guts to follow up with a negotiated settlement.

Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2013 8:11 AM
Comment #370482

Oh GOD.

Look at the situation: Pressure applied, A face saving way out given, Russia and Syria jump at it, even though it means destroying the weapons.

Okay, what’s the problem, if we avoid a war?

This is actually how it should work. This is the rational way to use the threat of force.

As for America being the World Cop? Look, folks, this was our solution to great power geopolitics. Instead of letting big old rivals build up their armed forces to deal with their sphere of influence, we made ourselves the peacekeepers, taking everybody in under our big tent.

Of course, that’s expensive as hell. But if we want to avoid future wars or trade disruptions, we got to be careful about who we leave to be the major spheres of influence in our wake.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 11, 2013 8:49 AM
Comment #370484
OK, PH, if you don’t like Obama drawing a line in the sand, what would you do? Posted by: Rich at September 10, 2013 11:31 PM

Obama drew the red line in the sand; he made his boast of what he would do if Assad crossed that line; Obama’s red line was nothing more than flatulence, hot air, hollow words. When Assad (or whoever used the WMD’s) took Obama to task; Obama caved. He actually stood in front of the American people and said “I didn’t draw a red line…the world did…the American people did…the Congress did”; this was a blatant lie. Obama drew the red line. Everyone in America knows what Obama said; and Obama did not have the backbone to back up his bluster. He knew the American people were against attacking Syria, he had NO support from other nations; so he sends it to the Congress. He had no support from the Congress (Democrats or Republicans). Obama’s sole purpose for lobbing a few missiles into Syria is to make himself look relevant. This sums up the attempt of Obama to sound presidential:

The good news is we’re not at war. The bad news is … almost everything else about President Obama’s handling of Syria – the fumbling and flip-flopping and marble-mouthing – undercut his credibility, and possibly with it his ability to lead the nation and world.

Or perhaps this:

At 9 p.m. Tuesday, President Obama, in his address to the nation, said that he had “asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force.”

This contradicted what his secretary of state, John Kerry, had said in testimony to Congress just 11 hours earlier. “We’re not asking Congress not to vote,” Kerry told the House Armed Services Committee. “I’m not asking [for] delay,” he added later.

Kerry can be forgiven for being at odds with the president. The president, in the space of his 16-minute address, was often at odds with himself. He spent the first 12 minutes arguing for the merits of striking Syria — and then delivered the news that he was putting military action on hold.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-kerrys-not-so-clear-sailing-on-syria/2013/09/10/142fe5da-1a52-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html

Perhaps the most revealing article is found in the AP:

THE FACTS: The Obama administration has not laid out proof Assad was behind the attack.

What would I do Rich…it doesn’t matter…I’m not the president. I didn’t stand before the American people and tell them I was qualified to lead the nation. It’s not about what I would do or what you would do. Obama is in the hot seat and he has failed to present the case to America. The American people do not support him on this one; but you die hards continue to defend Obama’s screw ups, don’t you?

The “red line” is the existing international law. Obama has been willing to go through Congress and the UN in order to enforce this line, this law.

This entire issue could not more clearly illustrate Obama’s willingness to take responsibility for an unpopular stand, simply because that stand is the right thing to do. He put his prestige and reputation on the line, and rolled sevens. Too bad a lot of people didn’t realize the dice were loaded in his favor, thanks to some great work at State and in the Executive Branch. To use another metaphor, we held a strong hand, and the Syrians held a weak one, and everyone in both parties knew it.

Posted by: phx8 at September 10, 2013 11:42 PM

If the “Red Line” is international law, and since the left blasted Bush for going after Saddam Hussein unilaterally (even though he had 50+ countries), please explain how you can support Obama who wants to attack Syria even though he has no international support? If it is a violation of international law, then why hasn’t the UN voted to do something? Obama was only willing to go to the Congress when he realized he had no support and if it all went bad…he would be blamed. From the beginning, the WH argued that Obama did not need Congressional approval. My guess is, he thought Democrats would support him and Republicans would block any attack. This would once again give Obama the opportunity to blame Republicans for blocking his plans. But, the shit hit the fan with the American people and they, with a loud voice, did not support Obama.

Re/Obama taking responsibility; you are joking ….right? Since when has Obama ever taken responsibility for anything? He never takes responsibility. He has no prestige and his reputation is in the crapper.

You guys on the left (on WB) continue to try to protect and defend Obama; even at a time when your own Democratic politicians and the beautiful people of Hollywood have bailed on him. It must be terrible to be in such a quandary; to hate the military and war so much…and yet be forced to support a president who wants to go to war.

This comment continues to sum up the ignorance of Stephen Daugherty:

Look at the situation: Pressure applied, A face saving way out given, Russia and Syria jump at it, even though it means destroying the weapons.

Russia gave Syria the WMD’s to begin with, and Mr. Daugherty believes they will destroy these weapons. Nothing that Obama has proposed in Syria would change the “sphere of influence” in the world. This all boils down to Obama wanting to look relevant.

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 11, 2013 9:48 AM
Comment #370485

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ApvV9AQ0cU

Posted by: DSP2195 at September 11, 2013 10:02 AM
Comment #370486

When Alan Combs (one of the most liberal men in America) was asked about Obama’s speech and what his doctrine was; Combs said “I don’t know and neither do the American people”. Combs is against attacking Syria and he said if we attack Syria, “what about Darfur and any other place where children and women are being slaughtered?” Combs said the reason Obama is dropping in the polls is because the American people do not understand what his doctrine is. At last…a liberal who s willing to be truthful about Obama’s lack of ability to lead. Now, if only the leftist on WB could be as truthful.

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 11, 2013 10:24 AM
Comment #370487

Alan Combs is a Faux shill, he is less a liberal/progressive and more of money monger willing to say anything to cash his Faux check. Ridiculous that Faux viewers think that he is any authority on anything liberal/progressive. Shows the level of naivete we have to deal with when it comes to someone quoting Faux sources. I know of no one who was, is or maybe an Obama supporter that doesn’t realize the limitations that are put upon him by our recalcitrant opposition of anything Obama. You righties/rightists/RWNJ’s just don’t get it. We for a long time tried to reason with you regarding President Obama but after years of bristling to your remarks about him, we now just take pleasure in knowing that you guys got nothing but hatred and unreasonable demands when it comes to evaluating his accomplishments and actions. It’s fun to watch but can’t be very fulfilling for you all.

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 11:49 AM
Comment #370489

Alan Combs is a flaming liberal and there is no one who believes he is anything other than a full blown liberal. He’s a political commentator on Fox News and appears on such shows as Bill O’Reilly, he has a liberal radio show, during the last election he mimicked the Democrat attacks on conservative candidates, he is a protector of Obama, and he stands for every socialist program being supported by the Democrats. For you to say he is a shill and money monger simply shows the depths the left will go to eat their own offspring. He makes comments questioning Obama’s motives and he is attacked by the likes of you. Alan Combs is simply one of many liberal Democrats who are questioning Obama’s motives. I would venture to say that every liberal Democrat who openly questioned Obama’s motives would be attacked by the left on WB as something less than a REAL liberal.

We for a long time tried to reason with you regarding President Obama but after years of bristling to your remarks about him, we now just take pleasure in knowing that you guys got nothing but hatred and unreasonable demands when it comes to evaluating his accomplishments and actions. It’s fun to watch but can’t be very fulfilling for you all.

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 11:49 AM

So speak4yourself, during the YEARS of BRISTLING, where you also full of HATRED at the remarks being said about your messiah? I am taking pleasure in knowing Democrats as well as Republicans are wondering what the hell is going on n the WH. It seems a place of mass confusion; and I believe it’s “fun to watch” the ultra liberals on WB try to defend his policies. Obama and the left are in full self destruct mode and it is enjoyable to watch.

The MSM has failed to cover so much stuff; 2 million Constitution loving bikers converging on DC after being told they couldn’t have a permit, while the socialist leaders in DC were more than willing to grant a permit to a 1 million Muslim march on 9/11. How do you think the rest of normal America feels about this and who do you think they support? Or the MSM ignoring of 2 Democrat Colorado Senators being recalled for voting FOR gun control; Bloomberg’s dollars outspent conservatives in Colorado 7 to 1 and yet conservatives won.

Your comment, “It’s fun to watch but can’t be very fulfilling for you all”; is completely wrong. It is very fulfilling for conservatives to watch the left squirm. Let’s take this quote by one of the bikers in DC for example:

A 2 Million Bikers opening rally statement by “Bishop” posted Wednesday to Facebook called the day a “patriotic event.”

“This is a God event,” it stated. “I believe America has been in a 12-year funeral. But I’m a Christian man and not a Muslim. I believe in the resurrection! God bless America!”

I’m sure you are bristling at this comment, but I LOVE IT.

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 11, 2013 2:00 PM
Comment #370491

During his rambling incoherent speech the potus spoke of infants writhing on the hospital floor gasping to breath in Syria. When he was a state senator in Illinois he supported live birth abortion In the words of Hillary Rodham Clinton, “What difference does it make?” Yes what difference does it make whether it is on the hospital floor in Damascus or a baby writhing and gasping to breath at the bottom of a sink in an abortion clinic in Chicago. At least in Damascus the doctors were trying to save the babies lives. Welcome to the “Heartless Dictators Club” Mr. President.

Posted by: Joe at September 11, 2013 2:35 PM
Comment #370492

AMEN!!! Once again he is the hypocrite!!!RU486 is a chemical weapon wiping out the existence of children in the womb!Lets put up those images of our own murdered and dismembered! 3,500 a day and a 6 figure income for the head of Planned Parenthood.I can’t stand to hear him go on and on about Syria’s children while he allows Americas own to be legally mutilated and destroyed!!!! Bagged up as medical waste and burned. He even asks God to bless their destruction on our soil!!!Take out your timber from your eye Mr. President before you try to tell the world to remove their speck!

Posted by: Grace at September 11, 2013 2:38 PM
Comment #370494

Hostage
No squirming or bristling here, just having to hold my sides from laughing so hard at your gyrations. Alan Combs is a Faux shill, nothing you can say will change that by virtue of his continual Faux check cashing and going back for more. Naivete meet Hostage. I am not full of hatred or confusion, I am confident that the man I elected President will hold his own against the likes of you and your political allies as he has done so far. You have fun with your biker buddies thinking that this great country will now direct it’s attention to the crazies that don’t believe in it’s greatness but want to just have it their way. Good luck with that.

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 2:56 PM
Comment #370495

A lot of words, PH, but you didn’t answer the question. What would you do about Syria’s use of chemical WMDs?

Yeah, I know, its not your problem. It’s hard to understand how a person so critical of Obama has no idea as to what would be the correct policy. How would you know its wrong if you have no idea as to what would be correct? If you have no idea as to what the response of the US should be, please just say so. Your criticisms can therefore be evaluated in that light.

Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2013 3:04 PM
Comment #370496

Alan Coombs is nothing but an incompetent, mousy, liberal foil for FOX News. They punch him around like a pinata. The fact that he allows himself to be played a fool says a lot about him.

Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2013 3:18 PM
Comment #370497

Speak4yourself; your a troll.

Rich, I answered, but since you are not capable of understanding. I say do the same thing you did in Rwanda, Somalia, N. Korea, China, Egypt, China, Vietnam, and the rest…it’s their problem and not ours. For you to show outrage over Syria is hypocrisy, since you have no problem with the death and rapes of children and women in the other places I mentioned. The Syria situation has no bearing on the security of the US. It’s not the job of the US taxpayer to enforce international law. Why don’t you tell us of the multitude of countries who are launching missiles with the US?

Your a hypocrite, and speak4yourself is an asshole.

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 11, 2013 3:20 PM
Comment #370499

So, PH, you say ‘do nothing.’ “It’s their problem and not ours.”

Are you a pacifist, isolationist, or simply opposed to whatever Obama favors? Is there any philosophical underpinning to saying “it’s their problem and not ours,” or is it based on mere hatred?

And yes, Alan Coombs is a hapless foil, there for no other reason that to appear weak and feckless.

Joe,
Do you know what anencephaly is? Look it up. Late term abortions are rare, and done for a reason.

Grace,
If you want to comment about RU486, at least find out what it is, and how it works. You obviously have no idea whatsoever. It kind of undermines your strong, yet aimless feelings.

Joe and Grace,
A child is not the same as an embryo.

There are occasionally threads on WB about these issues. In the meantime, do some reading, and please do not confuse fundamentally different words. It just makes you look bad, and I am sure you do not want to be disrespected.

Posted by: phx8 at September 11, 2013 4:20 PM
Comment #370501

Hostage
Oh yes I’m the troll, hah! As I have told you before you are our resident expert on being an asshole so I will bow to your experience on being just that. My you are quite the wordsmith until someone confronts your crazy talk. Then you get all one or two wordy and act all butthurt. Get over yourself.

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 4:31 PM
Comment #370502

The prestige of the president of the United States is very important in world affairs. This president stands on the prestige of all those who have gone before. Unfortunately, he has squandered much of the prestige associated with his high office by his own actions.

He is thought the fool by many world leaders including our own allies. obama should simply step off the world stage for awhile and study diplomacy and successful presidential demeanor. He has many successful predecessors to emulate if he can rise above his own selfish ego.

When obama puts America first in world affairs I will once again respect him as our president.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 11, 2013 4:56 PM
Comment #370503

Royal Flush,
Name an ally who considers Obama a fool.

Posted by: phx8 at September 11, 2013 4:58 PM
Comment #370504

On a lighter note, this one from a friend tickled my funny-bone.


I KNOW MANY OF YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON.

WELL, HERE’S A LITTLE RECAP OF LAST YEAR………
Alabama beat Arkansas and Arkansas fired their coach.
Alabama beat Tennessee and Tennessee fired their coach.
Alabama beat Auburn and Auburn fired their coach.
Then Alabama beat Notre Dame, and the Pope resigned…….
Sure Wish the White House had a team that would play Alabama……

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 11, 2013 5:00 PM
Comment #370505

Royal Flush,
Name an ally who considers Obama a fool.
Posted by: phx8 at September 11, 2013 4:58 PM

Merely take a look at those countries who refuse to join obama in his war adventures. Refusal to back obama amounts to believing his actions are foolish, or…worse.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 11, 2013 5:04 PM
Comment #370506

I might add phx8, that while the left is enamored by words, the rest of us judge by actions and results. Our allies don’t have to call obama a fool when their actions say it even louder.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 11, 2013 5:07 PM
Comment #370507
So, PH, you say ‘do nothing.’ “It’s their problem and not ours.”

Are you a pacifist, isolationist, or simply opposed to whatever Obama favors? Is there any philosophical underpinning to saying “it’s their problem and not ours,” or is it based on mere hatred?

phx8, hatred of what?

Pacifist, no, or I wouldn’t have volunteered for 6 years in the military.

Isolationist, well, fast becoming a libertarian.

Philosophical underpinning, no, I jus don’t like the idea of a FOOL leading us on a FOOL’s ERAND.

Royal Flush, I will list the foreign countries that support Obama’s attack on Syria….

1. France…uh…maybe…”you start the war…we’ll be right behind you”

I trust the French about as much as I trust Obama…zilch.

The truth is, most countries find Obama to be a fool.

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 11, 2013 5:17 PM
Comment #370509

Royal
And that would be your interpretation of our President, one we have learned doesn’t seem to have the ring of truth to it. Our President did pretty well at the G20 but I am sure you see failure there. Just once would it kill you to make any concessions about the validity of our President. I always commended President Bush for his accomplishments in confronting the AIDS epidemic and he did a damn good job helping the less privileged. He also has done an admirable job after leaving office in keeping his distance in political confrontations, I hope that continues. See it’s not that hard. By the way why don’t you ask Ghaddafi and Osama bin Laden if they think our President is a fool, oh that’s right you can’t.

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 5:23 PM
Comment #370510

Rich

I would never sacrifice U.S. interests for partisan gain. I defended liberals when they attacked the Bush policies on what they thought were moral grounds. I expect the same sort of respect. Unlike many people here, I have seen the effects of war in the Middle East. I think Obama squandered the gains we made. But I have mostly held off the criticism.

What I see now is that this game is up. Assad will remain in power; Russia and Iran will be strengthened. Assad can “give up” his WMD after killing 100,000 of his people and securing his position. We can call it victory that we have forced a concession, but the bad guys will still be in possession of the field.

I just cannot see much American interest striking. Our credibility is already gone. After the fight is done, lobbing in the odd angry shot won’t restore our position.

What we need now is the president to double down and contain Syria. This will require a long term exercise of strength w/o the grandstanding. It means actions, sometimes quiet ones, rather than words.

You ask if the world has the guts. The world does not. The will power of the free world starts and stops in the Oval Office. I hope that Obama has what it takes. I pray that he has the restraint to work behind the scenes and let others get the credit for “his” victory.

We are in a bad situation brought about by neglect and bad decisions by Obama and Hilary. It is not hopeless, but now we need Obama to behave more like a leader and less like a talker. I have more confidence in Kerry than I did in Hilary. I hope for success.

Posted by: CJ at September 11, 2013 5:30 PM
Comment #370512

“Our President did pretty well at the G20 but I am sure you see failure there.”

Please explain.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 11, 2013 5:52 PM
Comment #370514

I have been on WB for some time and I do not remember Speak4all until a few moths ago. Yet Speak4all makes this comment which I find very confusing:

“I always commended President Bush for his accomplishments in confronting the AIDS epidemic and he did a damn good job helping the less privileged.”

Is Speak4all saying he was commenting on WB when Bush was president? If he was, then he must have been commenting under an alias, then or now.

This honestly sounds like Stephen Daugherty. He is the only one I know that begs for conservatives to say something nice about Obama.

“Just once would it kill you to make any concessions about the validity of our President.”

Posted by: DSP2195 at September 11, 2013 6:10 PM
Comment #370516

C&J,

I apologize if you interpreted my remarks as an accusation that you were sacrificing US interests for partisan gain. I happen to think that true, though, for many critics. I will say, however, that by your own admission, you find yourself going against your normal instincts in this affair. Did you not say that C found you “uncharacteristically passive” with regard to the Syrian crisis?

Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2013 6:24 PM
Comment #370517

BREAKING: ‘2 Million Bikers’ Arrive In D.C. - ‘Million Muslim March’ A Total Bust

Since I also ride, I have to say the bikers in DC makes me proud.

Still waiting on phx8 to tell me “hatred of what”? This is going to be good. Come on phx8, you can say it…

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 11, 2013 6:28 PM
Comment #370518

“I just cannot see much American interest striking.”

Well, the only strike threatened now is if Syria or Russia refuses to cooperate in securing the chemical weapons. Such a strike would be absolutely necessary. It would not be an odd, angry shot. A double cross could not be tolerated.

By the way, all this defeatist talk (they won) is utter bullshit! Assad got called on the use of chemical weapons. He not only has admitted that he had them but has agreed to turn them over to international control. Yes, he survives but his immediate demise was not the objective of the US threatened strikes. It was punishment and deterrence. He now loses his weapons (punishment) and the deterrence is implicit.

One more observation. Many conservatives (not necessarily you, C&J) have expressed admiration for the Israeli determination to punish and deter their neighbors. Red lines and an iron fist. Well, Israel has struck Syria’s chemical and advanced weapons facility four times this year. Not a peep out of conservatives. No retaliation. Now, when Obama proposes striking for clear violations of international law and the atrocity of gas warfare on populated areas, these same conservatives get all weak kneed. Go figure!

Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2013 6:46 PM
Comment #370519

Rich

It is very hard. I want to support my president and I will always support him against foreign enemies. But I don’t trust the judgement in this case.


I don’t think that Obama will act. It took too long. It will be like smacking your dog a few days after he crapped on the rug. We will accept Assad as defacto victor and strengthen the Russians. Obama knows this. That is why he vacillated so long.

In my judgement, we lost this round. When I say “we”, I mean Obama, but since he is our leader we are all in that boat with him.

Re going against my instincts - I learned some lessons from Iraq. There are limits to our power. I guess I am also angry at some of our “friends” in the Muslim world, who screwed us after we bailed them out. We did the fighting; they should have at least paid the bills. Instead, we paid top dollar for supplies and oil from these same guys whose resources we were safeguarding. The same would go in Syria. We would be out there all alone, risking American lives and expending American treasure and even if we prevailed we would get nothing but crap.

There are lots of people who have a lot more at stake than we do. They are content to sit on the sidelines and give us a hard time for anything we do. I am sick of protecting these guys and getting nothing but scorn and hatred in return.

Posted by: CJ at September 11, 2013 6:47 PM
Comment #370520

C&J,

I share your opinion that Obama should have taken out one of Assad’s airfields shortly after clear confirmation of the gas attack without dithering with Congress. But, lets be honest, you were advocating that he consult Congress at the time. So, your current opinion is a bit of revisionist thinking.

Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2013 7:07 PM
Comment #370522

Rich

I am happy that I am not president.

Posted by: CJ at September 11, 2013 7:24 PM
Comment #370524

PH,
Hatred of Obama. Partisan hatred. Reflexive opposition to all things liberal or Democratic, or having to do with the Obama administration. Feel free to cite something you have written that disproves it. Should be easy to cut and paste from your own comments if what I am saying is untrue.

Royal Flush,
Instead of naming one country, you followed up a blanket assertion- that other countries view Obama as a fool- with an even broader blanket assertion.

There’s no need to make things up. Name a country. Let’s look at specifics and see if there is anything to it.

C&J,
What do you think is going on behind the scenes right now? A deal is being cut, if it hasn’t already been done. Assad stays in power. He gives up his chemical arsenal. The US calls off the dogs, and stops funding the Syrian opposition. Russia gets to keep a client state, protects it from being bombed, and enhances its reputation as a peacemaker.

You know, we don’t have to use the military to strike. We can ramp up support of the opposition on a huge scale, all the while pretending it is not even happening. Everyone knows what is going on, and how this will end. Everyone knows the score.

The Saudis, UAE, and other Sunni Arab states want Assad out, and they would be more than happy to funnel resources to the rebels.

Our power, whether it is overt or covert, is something to be feared. Opponents know it. The Syrians, Russians, Iranians, and Hezbollah are playing a weak hand. Have some confidence in our abilities. The opposition crossed a red line, and there is nothing left but for them to make the best of an offered exit strategy.

Posted by: phx8 at September 11, 2013 8:05 PM
Comment #370525

Picture a map of Syria. It is literally encircled by enemies. They are in a completely untenable position.

Posted by: phx8 at September 11, 2013 8:07 PM
Comment #370526

phx8

“What do you think is going on behind the scenes right now? A deal is being cut, if it hasn’t already been done. Assad stays in power. He gives up his chemical arsenal. The US calls off the dogs, and stops funding the Syrian opposition. Russia gets to keep a client state, protects it from being bombed, and enhances its reputation as a peacemaker.”

This is exactly what I think is being done. That is what I wrote in #370443 above The victory of Russia and Iran is being consolidated. It is interesting that you seem to think this is a good thing. I have accepted this as a fait accompli, but I am sad that we have been beaten and Putin has snookered Obama. I regret that America’s influence and credibility has been diminished.

Posted by: CJ at September 11, 2013 8:15 PM
Comment #370527

C&J,

So am I. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It takes a thick skin.

I have always been impressed by what appears to be genuine respect between former presidents and they with current presidents, regardless of party. There is a bond born from their experience in that office and an appreciation for difficult decisions that transcend politics. We should be pleased that they see the office in that way.

Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2013 8:25 PM
Comment #370529
I am sad that we have been beaten and Putin has snookered Obama.

Were you sad when the same happened in the fall of 1962? The result of the Cuban missile crisis was a consolidation of Castro’s rule as well as the removal of American Missiles in Turkey & Italy. In that sense Kruschev “snookered” Kennedy just the same as Putin & Obama.

Posted by: Warren Porter at September 11, 2013 8:53 PM
Comment #370530

They should change the name of this side to just “Christine and John”.

Posted by: henryjones000 at September 11, 2013 8:55 PM
Comment #370532

DSPwhatever
Oh good god, get a grip. I am 40 years older than Stephen but I do admire his tenacity in putting up with your ilk. Why do conservative/republican/RWNJ’s always see a conspiracy? Screwball.

Royal
So you want some help in understanding why I thought our President did pretty good at the G20? Well I will tell you what my Republican friend and co-worker likes to say about that. “Sure I’ll help you out, which way did you come in?” But seriously I have a sneaking suspicion that you really just want something to tear down and at the same time use that to ridicule our President. Tell you what, you seem to be somwhat of a poker player if your handle is any indication. I’ll raise you with a request to tell us something you admire about our President and I will tell you why I thought he did pretty well at the G20. Surely there can be something you admire in a fellow human being. Sarcasm does not count. Whatcha got?

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 9:09 PM
Comment #370534

DSPwhatever
Oh good god, get a grip. I am 40 years older than Stephen but I do admire his tenacity in putting up with your ilk. Why do conservative/republican/RWNJ’s always see a conspiracy? Screwball.

Royal
So you want some help in understanding why I thought our President did pretty good at the G20? Well I will tell you what my Republican friend and co-worker likes to say about that. “Sure I’ll help you out, which way did you come in?” But seriously I have a sneaking suspicion that you really just want something to tear down and at the same time use that to ridicule our President. Tell you what, you seem to be somwhat of a poker player if your handle is any indication. I’ll raise you with a request to tell us something you admire about our President and I will tell you why I thought he did pretty well at the G20. Surely there can be something you admire in a fellow human being. Sarcasm does not count. Whatcha got?

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 9:16 PM
Comment #370535

DSPwhatever
Oh good god, get a grip. I am 40 years older than Stephen but I do admire his tenacity in putting up with your ilk. Why do conservative/republican/RWNJ’s always see a conspiracy? Screwball.

Royal
So you want some help in understanding why I thought our President did pretty good at the G20? Well I will tell you what my Republican friend and co-worker likes to say about that. “Sure I’ll help you out, which way did you come in?” But seriously I have a sneaking suspicion that you really just want something to tear down and at the same time use that to ridicule our President. Tell you what, you seem to be somwhat of a poker player if your handle is any indication. I’ll raise you with a request to tell us something you admire about our President and I will tell you why I thought he did pretty well at the G20. Surely there can be something you admire in a fellow human being. Sarcasm does not count. Whatcha got?

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 9:18 PM
Comment #370536

DSPwhatever
Oh good god, get a grip. I am 40 years older than Stephen but I do admire his tenacity in putting up with your ilk. Why do conservative/republican/RWNJ’s always see a conspiracy? Screwball.

Royal
So you want some help in understanding why I thought our President did pretty good at the G20? Well I will tell you what my Republican friend and co-worker likes to say about that. “Sure I’ll help you out, which way did you come in?” But seriously I have a sneaking suspicion that you really just want something to tear down and at the same time use that to ridicule our President. Tell you what, you seem to be somwhat of a poker player if your handle is any indication. I’ll raise you with a request to tell us something you admire about our President and I will tell you why I thought he did pretty well at the G20. Surely there can be something you admire in a fellow human being. Sarcasm does not count. Whatcha got?

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 9:20 PM
Comment #370537

C&J,
What happens in concrete terms? Syria gives up its chemical weapons. We may not have to fire a shot. That’s pretty good credibility in my book.

Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and Syria may keep up the status quo. In concrete terms, that is not a great way to advance interests.

No one has said much about the change in the GOP. Isolationism seems to be taking control of the party. That’s pretty remarkable, and it is receiving almost no attention. Some may attribute it to a reflexive GOP opposition to Obama, where anything he favors, they oppose, even when it is something they would normally support. We have all seen this before. But I think it runs deeper.

No one wants to talk about the effect the Bush administration and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had on the country’s psyche. I wonder if it has fundamentally damaged our confidence. A lot of people on both the left and the right were willing to give credence to stories that the Syrian opposition launched the 8/21 chemical weapons attack, although even a cursory review of the evidence makes it obvious that was not the case. I saw in on Daily Kos. I heard Rush Limbaugh advance those conspiracy theories and push Russian and Syrian propaganda. Terrible stuff. Disgraceful.

Have we reached a point where we can no longer stand up for international law and human rights? As one person on WB said, “it is their problem not ours.” Is that the new isolationist strain that will take control of the GOP? That not only are we not exceptional, but that we are going to erect walls around the country, build a fortress America, and insist on 2nd Amendment rights by waving guns at each other.


Posted by: phx8 at September 11, 2013 9:22 PM
Comment #370539

Warren

The Soviets challenged Kennedy in Cuba because he had shown weakness when the built the Berlin Wall. Kennedy acquitted himself very well during the Cuban missile crisis, but perhaps that was a crisis that could have been avoided entirely if he had done better earlier.

In any case, Obama is no Jack Kennedy. I hope that this crisis makes a man of Obama, as his crisis did for Kennedy, but it doesn’t look good so far.

Posted by: CJ at September 11, 2013 9:27 PM
Comment #370540

Warren,

Good analogy with the exception that Castro’s power had already been consolidated after the failure of the Bay of Pigs. There was no civil war or threat of one within Cuba at the time of the missile crisis.

In this case, there is no guarantee that Assad’s power will be assured in the long run. It does take the possibility of a precipitous toppling off the table, something that I believe weighed very heavily on the minds of the administration in considering a strike on Syria. De-stabilizing Syria further was not something that the administration sought. But, it was a real possibility with a strike other than a pin prick.

Assuming for argument that phx8 is correct and that the US will abandon the recent Congressional authorizations for equipping and training moderate rebels as part of the concession for bringing the chemical weapons under control, I think that there may be a big sigh of relief on the part of the administration. The administration knew that the new McCain type mission was very dicey and from a number of reports, they were dragging their heels on it. Who could guarantee that only moderate rebels would get the weapons? Who could guarantee that the radical religious “head choppers” wouldn’t ultimately prevail?

The administration has sought Assad’s ouster but has not sought to do so by arms. Probably for good reason. For the reasons not only that others have cited in these posts but for the simple reason that a chaotic and de-stable Syria would be a danger to the region.

If this agreement could be achieved, it may also open the possibility of some form of negotiated political settlement in Syria. It may be difficult but most observers think that it is the only solution. It may be the silver lining in this wacky crisis.


Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2013 9:30 PM
Comment #370541

phx8

We DID learn from Iraq. We learned that even in a just cause, we cannot expect much help. And even if we win, the gains will be lost if we cannot or will not follow up. If we act in Syria, we will be standing out front with nobody backing us up and lots of people complaining.

As FDR said, “It’s a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead-and find no one there.”

Posted by: CJ at September 11, 2013 9:34 PM
Comment #370542
PH, Hatred of Obama. Partisan hatred. Reflexive opposition to all things liberal or Democratic, or having to do with the Obama administration. Feel free to cite something you have written that disproves it. Should be easy to cut and paste from your own comments if what I am saying is untrue.

phx8, I figured you would say I hated him because he was black. I was waiting for the race card.

However, nothing has to be cut and pasted. I will readily agree I have no love for Obama, the left, the Democrats, or Obama’s administration. I consider all to be enemies of the Constitution and the freedom of America.

The left’s idea of patriotism, the Constitution, and freedom are completely foreign to conservatives.

But, conservatism is once again gaining a foothold in America. I am beginning to have hope for the country. Yesterdays votes in Colorado are proof that there are still Americans who say “enough” to meddling socialists.

I am even beginning to believe morality still exists among Democrats by the rejection of the Weiner and Spitzer. Will miracles never cease.

Regarding Obama losing influence in the Middle-East; the middle-eastern mind does not work like the western. Indecision is a sign of weakness, failure to strike back is a sign of weakness. Obama is weak in the eyes of the Islamic terrorists.

Many conservatives (not necessarily you, C&J) have expressed admiration for the Israeli determination to punish and deter their neighbors. Red lines and an iron fist. Well, Israel has struck Syria’s chemical and advanced weapons facility four times this year. Not a peep out of conservatives. No retaliation. Now, when Obama proposes striking for clear violations of international law and the atrocity of gas warfare on populated areas, these same conservatives get all weak kneed. Go figure!


Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2013 6:46 PM

Tell me Rich, are you trying to be funny or are you just plain stupid? Israel’s neighbor is Syria, it is populated by Muslims, and Muslims hate Israel…therefore Israel has all rights to attack an enemy. However, Syria is not our neighbor; but if Mexico had WMD’s and was willing to use them on their own people and on us, I’m sure the American people would have no problem attacking Mexico.

I’m not sure you understand that opposition to Obama attacking Syria transcends party lines. You speak as if it is only conservatives who oppose it; but conservatives, Republicans, and Democrats all oppose Obama. Why do you think so many politicians don’t want to have to vote on this issue?

Posted by: Political Hostage at September 11, 2013 9:37 PM
Comment #370543

Had to go get 4 grandaughters and deliver them to my wife at friends of ours who had triplets last year, the girls love to see them. Talk about a celebration of life, the three little girls were born, two under 3 lbs and the third was just barely over that, a little over a year ago. 16 lbs now and loving life. I digress, sorry.

DSPwhatever
Oh good god, get a grip. I am 40 years older than Stephen but I do admire his tenacity in putting up with your ilk. Why do conservative/republican/RWNJ’s always see a conspiracy? Screwball.

Royal
So you want some help in understanding why I thought our President did pretty good at the G20? Well I will tell you what my Republican friend and co-worker likes to say about that. “Sure I’ll help you out, which way did you come in?” But seriously I have a sneaking suspicion that you really just want something to tear down and at the same time use that to ridicule our President. Tell you what, you seem to be somwhat of a poker player if your handle is any indication. I’ll raise you with a request to tell us something you admire about our President and I will tell you why I thought he did pretty well at the G20. Surely there can be something you admire in a fellow human being. Sarcasm does not count. Whatcha got?

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 9:38 PM
Comment #370545

Had to go get 4 grandaughters and deliver them to my wife at friends of ours who had triplets last year, the girls love to see them. Talk about a celebration of life, the three little girls were born, two under 3 lbs and the third was just barely over that, a little over a year ago. 16 lbs now and loving life. I digress, sorry.

DSPwhatever
Oh good god, get a grip. I am 40 years older than Stephen but I do admire his tenacity in putting up with your ilk. Why do conservative/republican/RWNJ’s always see a conspiracy?

Royal
So you want some help in understanding why I thought our President did pretty good at the G20? Well I will tell you what my Republican friend and co-worker likes to say about that. “Sure I’ll help you out, which way did you come in?” But seriously I have a sneaking suspicion that you really just want something to tear down and at the same time use that to ridicule our President. Tell you what, you seem to be somwhat of a poker player if your handle is any indication. I’ll raise you with a request to tell us something you admire about our President and I will tell you why I thought he did pretty well at the G20. Surely there can be something you admire in a fellow human being. Sarcasm does not count. Whatcha got?

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 9:43 PM
Comment #370547

Speak4all, since you are 40 years older than Stephen Daugherty, that would put you in your 70’s. I’m surprised the rest home has allowed you to have a computer; but that being said, I’m also sorry that you are suffering Alzheimer’s. Since you seem to have forgotten you posted the same link 4 times. I think it’s time for you to take your meds.

Posted by: DSP2195 at September 11, 2013 9:45 PM
Comment #370549
Castro’s power had already been consolidated after the failure of the Bay of Pigs

Before the missile crisis, a second invasion remained on the table. After the crisis, that option was ceded.

The Soviets challenged Kennedy in Cuba because he had shown weakness when the built the Berlin Wall. Kennedy acquitted himself very well during the Cuban missile crisis, but perhaps that was a crisis that could have been avoided entirely if he had done better earlier.

In any case, Obama is no Jack Kennedy. I hope that this crisis makes a man of Obama, as his crisis did for Kennedy, but it doesn’t look good so far.


Fine, but it doesn’t mean JFK was “snookered” by Khrushchev after Cuba. Likewise, if Russia & Syria play ball with Obama as Kerry proposed, then it won’t be a case of “snookering” either.
Posted by: Warren Porter at September 11, 2013 9:52 PM
Comment #370552

Had to go get 4 grandaughters and deliver them to my wife at friends of ours who had triplets last year, the girls love to see them. Talk about a celebration of life, the three little girls were born, two under 3 lbs and the third was just barely over that, a little over a year ago. 16 lbs now and loving life. I digress, sorry.

DSPwhatever
Oh good god, get a grip. I am 40 years older than Stephen but I do admire his tenacity in putting up with your ilk. Why do conservative/republican/RWNJ’s always see a conspiracy?

Royal
So you want some help in understanding why I thought our President did pretty good at the G20? Well I will tell you what my Republican friend and co-worker likes to say about that. “Sure I’ll help you out, which way did you come in?” But seriously I have a sneaking suspicion that you really just want something to tear down and at the same time use that to ridicule our President. Tell you what, you seem to be somwhat of a poker player if your handle is any indication. I’ll raise you with a request to tell us something you admire about our President and I will tell you why I thought he did pretty well at the G20. Surely there can be something you admire in a fellow human being. Sarcasm does not count. Whatcha got?

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 10:11 PM
Comment #370553

Warren,

Castor was never seriously threatened with civil war from within Cuba at the time of the missile crisis nor after. Sure, there may have been plots to invade Cuba and start a civil war but they failed to generate local support within Cuba. The Bay of Pigs and subsequent plots were fantasies of the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations and the Cuban exiles in Miami.

Posted by: Rich at September 11, 2013 10:16 PM
Comment #370555

Sorry about the multiple postings, using my wife’s tablet and still getting used to it’s quirks. At least you all got to hear about the triplets several times. Believe me it is amazing!

Posted by: Speak4all at September 11, 2013 10:18 PM
Comment #370558

Speak4all,

Don’t worry; most newbies accidentally post multiple times. Just remember to hit the “post” button once, even if your comment doesn’t show up immediately or you have another reason to doubt that it went through. You can always save your comment’s text locally and post it later if need be.

In any case, I am sure J will clean up the mess when he visits next.

Posted by: Warren Porter at September 11, 2013 10:36 PM
Comment #370571

I save my comments in notebook before I post them because they sometimes do have a tendency to disappear. Don’t forget to take wordwrap off before you cut and paste!

It is darned frustrating when it happens. Luckily it doesn’t happen often. But the time you don’t save an epic rival to a Stephen Daugherty length comment is the time it will most likely happen. So, save often and stay happy!

Posted by: Weary Willie at September 12, 2013 9:56 AM
Comment #370572

Warren
Thanks, the Samsung tablet’s OS is something I am unfamiliar with. I have asked my wife for the manual but she can’t find that so I just have to muddle through. You are right, that is exactly what happened. I hit post and got a “Service Unavailable” message then waited a while and tried to post again and got the same message. If I knew how to copy my text and paste that to anything on the tablet I would do that but just not familiar enough with the nuances to know how to do that. Thanks for the tip, I may just not use the tablet to post though.

DSP
Look I really have no idea how old Stephen is, I guessed in his late twenties. I am 66 and fortunately have had no need for meds other that the occasional Aleve, but thanks for your concern.

Posted by: Speak4all at September 12, 2013 10:05 AM
Comment #370610

C/J
Apologies for making a mess in your thread, it won’t happen again. Also so sorry that the original intent of the thread was hijacked into something I don’t believe you intended. I don’t blame anyone for this as it just seemed to be something that needed discussion and still does probably. Thanks for putting up with that and not just saying “Hey you want to talk about things you want to talk about go get your own thread and do that”. Again sorry for both.

You can hit me on my nose with a rolled up E-Newsletter and say “Bad Speak4all, Bad!”

Posted by: Speak4all at September 13, 2013 10:13 AM
Comment #370626

Speak4

No worries. I am a boring kind of guy and not many people like to talk about what I like. I am glad this provided a forum for something you all thought important.

Posted by: CJ at September 13, 2013 2:08 PM
Comment #370629

C/J
Now that is the Jack I know and remember from long ago. You are anything but boring, of that I am certain. Thanks again for allowing the hijacking and not pitching a bitch.

Posted by: Speak4all at September 13, 2013 2:38 PM
Comment #370647

You made feel a bit guilty for starting the hijack, Speak4all. So, let me also offer my apologies to C&J. I just needed to vent about what might be one of the most complex foreign policy issues in my lifetime. A clear moral imperative but a practical nightmare.

Posted by: Rich at September 13, 2013 5:43 PM
Comment #370654

Rich and Speak4

The subjects I currently love the most are forestry, energy (especially things like shale gas) and soil & water issues. I especially like when they intersect. I indulge myself by writing about such things, but I understand that few people share my peculiar passions and anyway they tend to be uncontroversial.

This thread was more interesting for most people because of what you wrote.

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Comment #370807

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