Here We Go Again, Who’s Got The White Flag?

The Afghan government and the Taliban are holding not so secret secret talks and this time both Mullah Omar and Obama approve. The central question is, who’s trying to surrender to whom? I’ll bet it’s not Mullah Omar.

Mullah Omar backs Taliban talks with Karzai: report

Taliban leader Mullah Omar has, for the first time, backed secret high-level talks with the Afghan government to negotiate an end to the nine-year war, the Washington Post said Wednesday.

“They are very, very serious about finding a way out,” a source close to the talks told the Post, referring to the Taliban.

The Post cited unnamed Afghan and Arab sources as saying the talks were believed to involve representatives authorized by the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban group based in Pakistan, and Omar.

White House voices support for talks with Taliban

President Barack Obama supports recent attempts by the Afghan government to open peace talks with Taliban leaders, but still wants the insurgents to renounce violence and their support of al-Qaida, the White House said Wednesday.

However, press secretary Robert Gibbs said the United States was not taking part in any such talks. “This is about Afghanistan,” he said. “It has to be done by the Afghans.”

See also:
Taliban in talks with Karzai government
Taliban’s high command in secret talks to end war in Afghanistan
Taliban in high-level talks with Karzai govt
Taliban in ‘secret peace talks’ with Karzai
Could a deal with the Taliban end the war in Afghanistan?
Mulla Omar, US back Taliban talks with Karzai
Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar ready for peace talks with the US
West losing war in Afghanistan: Mullah Omar
Taliban Leader: Victory Over US-NATO Imminent
U.S. `Supportive’ of Talks Between Taliban, Afghan Government, Gibbs Says
Obama aide: We support Afghan-Taliban talks, but aren’t participating
Afghan, Pakistan Talks Focus on Taliban Joining Peace Process, WSJ Says
Key players in the Afghan peace process
Peace Is Hell

Remember this? “This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity”. What a difference a year makes. At this point, it’s painfully obvious that Obama is willing to sacrifice anything, everything, and anybody to lose the war as quickly as possible and throw Afghanistan under the bus, regardless of the future consequences and negative implications for U.S. national security. “I want an exit strategy” . . . “I can’t let this be a war without end, and I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”

/it’s inevitably only a matter of time now before we tuck tail and run, Karzai bails with his U.S. taxpayer funded multi-billion dollar golden parachute, and the Taliban are back in Kabul, executing women in soccer stadiums, just like the last ten years never even happened

Should Be Dead Man Still Walking And Talking

Why is Julian Assange still even alive at this point, let alone walking around free and giving interviews?

Pentagon pleads with Wikileaks not to release more files

The Pentagon is trying to persuade the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks to abandon its planned release of 15,000 more classified files on the Afghan war.

Intelligence analysts have now identified which files are involved and Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell says their release will be even more damaging to national security and the war effort than the thousands already published.

“We are concerned the additional documents they have may cause even greater risks than the ones they released previously,” said Mr Morrell.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned that the release will put American and allied soldiers at risk with “potentially very severe” consequences.

He says that the documents “convey a huge amount of information about our tactics, techniques and procedures” and may be of great help to both the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Last month WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – a former computer hacker – released 76,000 secret military files that the US government claims threaten the lives of Afghan civilians who have co-operated with US and Nato forces.

Joining a growing chorus of condemnation, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that any new release of files would help the enemy.

A new poll shows that 61 per cent of Americans consider the release to be an act of treason.

Reporters Without Borders – guardians of international press freedom – have accused Mr Assange of “incredible irresponsibility.”

Clothilde Le Coz, the group’s spokesperson, said Mr Assange and WikiLeaks were “going way too far” and putting lives in danger.

See also:
WikiLeaks says it won’t be threatened by Pentagon
Wikleaks will release 15,000 more secret documents about war in Afghanistan, despite Pentagon orders
WikiLeaks Says More Afghan War Documents To Be Released Soon
WikiLeaks: Rest of war documents to be released in a few weeks
Pentagon: Undisclosed Wikileaks documents ‘potentially more explosive’
Support for WikiLeaks Evaporates as New Release of War Documents Looms
Time for Obama to shut down WikiLeaks’ Assange
Reporters Without Borders: WikiLeaks Was Reckless
Reporters Without Borders Blasts Wikileaks
WikiLeaks to Publish More Secrets With Some Data Removed
Wikileaks
Wikileaks

Are you seriously telling me that all the combined resources of the United States military and intelligence services can’t hunt down Julian Assange and his co-conspirators, recover the stolen information, and shut down their internet presence?

/Assange has clearly demonstrated that he’s an enemy of the United States with fresh blood on his hands, he has the right to be disappeared and remain permanently silent

The Incredible Ineptitude Of “Smart Diplomacy”

The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again, but the United States keeps getting fooled time after time after time. Once again, the Iranians have run diplomatic circles around the Obama Administration’s comical and ineffective “smart diplomacy”. If this was a little league softball game, they’d have to invoke the ten run rule.

Iran’s nuclear move may derail U.S. efforts on sanctions

An agreement by Iran to send much of its nuclear fuel abroad clouded prospects for U.S.-led plans to impose further economic sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear development program.

The proposal, brokered by leaders of Brazil and Turkey during an 18-hour session in Tehran and announced late Sunday, drew a reaction of cautious skepticism from the United States and its Western allies, who questioned whether it goes far enough to address longstanding concerns over the goal of the Iranian nuclear program. Iran says its effort is for civilian energy purposes only, but Western powers believe Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

U.S., French, German and Russian officials all raised questions about the announcement, noting that Iran would still keep more than a ton of its nuclear stockpile and would continue enriching uranium in its centrifuges. But Western leaders also called for further study of the plan, saying it should not be dismissed out of hand.

The agreement appeared to sap some of the momentum for a new round of United Nations Security Council sanctions, which looked to include restrictions on Iranian government financial transactions. Officials from Turkey and Brazil said the deal removed any need for further U.N. sanctions. The two countries currently sit on the 15-member Security Council, though neither has the power to veto a sanctions resolution.

It remains to be seen whether Tehran was merely trying to avert imminent sanctions or whether the pact could form the basis of a wider accord. In making the uranium transfer abroad, Iran would drop its previous insistence that any swaps should take place on Iranian soil.

U.S. officials face a choice of rejecting the deal and appearing intransigent, or accepting it, potentially allowing Iran to defuse mounting international pressures through an indefinite delay.

The plan calls for Iran to ship 2,640 pounds of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey under the supervision of both Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, in Vienna. In return, Iran would receive 265 pounds of uranium from France and Russia within a year for use in a small nuclear reactor that produces medical isotopes to treat the ill.

Talked Into A Trap

Nuclear Iran: President Obama’s “direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions” has, not surprisingly, led us down a blind alley. Now China and Russia are about to mug us with Turkey’s phony uranium deal.

The White House is learning that its “tough diplomacy” is a boomerang that may soon leave America nursing a very sore lump on its head.

The deal Iran triumphantly announced with Turkey and Brazil on Monday is exactly the kind of development that can give Moscow and Beijing the excuse not to agree to more sanctions. Which would mean that President Obama is left painted into a corner about what to do next to prevent a terrorist regime in the Middle East from getting nukes.

It was all smiles in Tehran as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan patted themselves on the back as peacemakers, and clasped hands with the world’s most powerful hater of Jews, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His shady re-election nearly a year ago sparked mass demonstrations and the killing of protesters by the Islamofascist regime.

In a regurgitation of last fall’s Geneva agreement that Iran ultimately backed out of, the new “fuel swap” deal would require Tehran to send some enriched uranium to Turkey. After a year, Iran would get some non-weapons-grade uranium back from Russia and France.

But Tehran says it will continue its own uranium enrichment activities, which means that when all is said and done nothing has changed.

As the Sarkozy government in France warns, the Turkey deal does “nothing to settle the problem posed by the Iranian nuclear program.” The new British government says it will continue to push for sanctions; an unimpressed Germany says what matters is Iran’s domestic enrichment.

Even the White House admits the deal resolves nothing. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ reaction was to point out that “the words and the deeds of the Iranian leadership rarely coincide.”

But China and Russia, which both have economic and geopolitical reasons to stay cozy with their trading partner, can use this deal to say in answer to President Obama’s charisma offensive designed to get them on board new sanctions: “Problem solved! Give Iran some slack.”

In the coming months, as Tehran continues to block inspection of nuclear facilities, and Moscow and Beijing refuse to approve new sanctions, what does the president do?

Reject what he was willing to accept last fall (because since then Iran has been busy enriching lots more uranium, and that makes it a different ballgame today)?

See also:
Iran’s Nuclear Coup
Iran nuclear fuel swap: how Turkey is complicating US aims
Nuclear swap deal helps prevent sanctions on Iran: Brazilian VP
Israel fears Iran nuclear deal will delay UN sanctions
Iran and Turkey reach unexpected accord on enriched uranium
Iran’s unanswered questions
West not convinced of Iran uranium deal
U.S., allies critical of new deal on Iran’s nuclear program
White House Keeps Sanctions on Table After Iran Announces Nuclear Fuel Deal
Lucy Says: C’mon, Kick The Football Charlie Brown

So, let’s recap, Iran gets to keep working on their nuclear weapons program, full speed ahead, without the threat of any meaningful sanctions and, at the same time, Iran makes the Obama administration out to be an international laughingstock.

/it’s a twofer

Pinocchiobama’s Nose Grows Again!

Remember that emphatic promise? Well, as with most of Pinocchiobama’s promises, it turns out that this promise was just so much bull[expletive deleted] too. Never mind that most of the existing taxes will be increasing at the start of 2011, Pinocchiobama’s got a brand new tax in mind to relive taxpayers of their hard earned income, so he can spend even more money the government doesn’t have.

Obama Floats a VAT: ‘It’s Something That Would Be Novel for the United States’

President Obama made it official today: He is open to the imposition of a Value-Added Tax (VAT) on the American people. A VAT would violate Obama’s central campaign promise – a “firm pledge” that no family making less than $250,000 per year would see “any form of tax increase“.

Obama’s admission came during an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood. Asked if he could see the potential for a VAT, the President said:

“I know that there’s been a lot of talk around town lately about the value-added tax. That is something that has worked for some countries. It’s something that would be novel for the United States. And before, you know, I start saying ‘this makes sense or that makes sense,’ I want to get a better picture of what our options are.”

Obama’s VAT admission may explain his recent attempts to alter the terms of his central campaign promise.

Twice in the past two weeks, Obama has claimed his middle class tax pledge only applied to income taxes rather than “any form of taxes”.

In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:

“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000. That’s another promise we’ve kept.”

In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:

“And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year — another promise that we kept.”

The two recent statements stand in stark contrast to Obama’s original promise:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” (Dover, NH) [Transcript] [Video]

The Obama VAT admission also comes the day after White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee refused six consecutive opportunities to permanently close the door on a VAT and two days after White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said a VAT “is not something the President has proposed nor is it under consideration.”

See also:
Obama suggests value-added tax may be an option
Barack Obama Leaves The Door WIDE Open For A VAT Tax
Obama suggests value-added tax may be an option
Obama: Value-Added Tax A “Novel” Idea
Key Player on Debt Commission Says VAT in the Mix
Will the VAT Lady Sing?
The VAT Is Obama’s License to Spend
Will They Take ‘No’ As Answer To VAT?
Sales-tax idea meets with a bipartisan no
Value added tax (VAT)

So, there it is America, yet another big Pinocchiobama lie that’s going to cost you your hard earned money. You can’t trust anything that comes out of Pinocchiobama’s mouth anymore, he can’t even spell the word truth.

/you might try nailing your wallet to the kitchen table, but voting Republican this fall is probably the only thing that’ll keep Pinocchiobama from stealing it

All Aboard!

House to Hold Crucial Health Care Vote Sunday

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to hold a crucial vote on Sunday on sweeping health care reform legislation. President Barack Obama has postponed his planned Asia-Pacific trip to Indonesia and Australia for a second time to be in Washington, D.C. as Congress votes on his top domestic priority after a year of debate and wrangling.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday that President Obama is confident that the health care reform legislation will soon be the law of the land in the United States.

“I think health care is going to pass the House on Sunday. I believe shortly it will pass the Senate, and the president will be able to sign all of it into law,” he said.

The president postponed his planned overseas trip until June to oversee the culmination of a year-long effort to pass health care reform legislation over the united opposition of every single Republican lawmaker in both the House and the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled what Democrats hope will be the last, corrected version of a $940-billion health care reform bill, which will extend health insurance coverage to some 32 million people who are currently uninsured. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released figures Thursday estimating the legislation will reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over its first 10 years.

House Speaker Pelosi, who is still trying to nail down the 216 votes she needs for the bill to pass the House, was very pleased with the CBO numbers, which may help to win over fiscally-conservative Democrats who face tough re-election battles in November.

“For the health and well-being of American people, for the fiscal soundness of America’s budget, for seniors, for our young people, for women, for small businesses and for competitiveness we will make history and we will make progress by passing this legislation,” she said.

If it passes, the massive health care overhaul will re-structure one-sixth of the U.S. economy, and for the first time will require that most Americans carry health insurance and penalize medium-sized and large companies that don’t provide health insurance coverage for their employees. It will also place restrictions on insurance companies, for example by not allowing them to exclude people because of pre-existing medical conditions.

Democrats are using a complicated legislative process to pass the bill. First, the House will have to approve a Senate bill that many of its Democratic members strongly dislike. Then both chambers will need to quickly pass a package of corrections to the bill agreed to in negotiations with the White House.

Republican lawmakers have opposed the health care bill from the outset, saying it is too big, too expensive, and that it inserts government bureaucrats into American’s medical decisions.

House Minority leader John Boehner has vowed that Republicans will “do everything that we can do to make sure this bill never, ever, ever passes”, and some Republicans in the Senate say they have been studying Senate rules to do whatever they can to block the legislation if it arrives back in the Senate next week.

H.R. 4872 – Reconciliation Act of 2010

CBO Score


See also:
Democrats Post Health Care Bill Online, Setting Up Possible Sunday Vote
US Congress Waging Fierce Final Battle over Health Care Reform
Health-care reform debate gets more intense with possible weekend vote looming
March Madness
Obama Deploys Personal Presidential Touch in Health Care Push
Holy War Erupts Among Catholics Over Abortion Language in Health Care Bill
Republicans mock ‘tweak’ to new $940 billion health care bill
Republicans Ready Strategy to Scuttle Health Bill, as Democrats Push Forward
What happens if health care reform dies?

/Michael Ramirez

The good news is that Obama and Pelosi still don’t have the 216 votes, as of the time of this posting, and there’s still time for you to act.

Stop Obamacare now!

The bad news is that this massive trillion dollar cluster[expletive deleted] of a Democrat national debt busting boondoggle is not permanently dead yet.

/God help us all if they actually manage to pass this abomination

Not Yet

/Michael Ramirez

Dem House vote-counter lacks health care votes now

The House’s chief Democratic headcounter said Sunday he hadn’t rounded up enough votes to pass President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul heading into a make-or-break week, even as the White House’s top political adviser said he was “absolutely confident” in its prospects.

The administration gave signs of retreating on demands that senators jettison special home-state deals sought by individual lawmakers that have angered the public.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs predicted House passage this week, before Obama travels to Asia, a trip he postponed to push for the bill.

“This is the week where we will have this important vote,” Gibbs said. “I do think this is the climactic week for health care reform.”

Political strategist David Axelrod said Democrats will persuade enough lawmakers to vote “yes.” The House GOP leader, Ohio Rep. John Boehner, took up the challenge, acknowledging Republicans alone can’t stop the measure, but pledging to do “everything we can to make it difficult for them, if not impossible, to pass the bill.” Republicans believe they may get help from Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns.

Axelrod said it will be a struggle, taking aim at insurance industry lobbyists who “have landed on Capitol Hill like locusts” and Republicans who see being on the losing side of the vote as a political victory.

“I am absolutely confident that we are going to be successful. I believe that there is a sense of urgency on the part of members of Congress,” given recent news about insurance plan rate increases, Axelrod said.

A dose of reality came from Rep. James Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat and main vote counter. “No, we don’t have them as of this morning, but we’ve been working this thing all weekend,” said Clyburn, D-S.C.

See also:
UPDATE 1-US House Democrat says still short on health votes
House Dem whip: We don’t have the votes yet
Health Care Bill Held Up by Uncertainty, Mistrust
Axelrod: Health Care Effort Is ‘A Struggle’
Boehner determined to kill Dem health care bill
Axelrod Says Health Bill to Pass, Boehner Skeptical (Update4)
Health Care Bill ‘Still a Jump Ball,’ White House Official Says
Thousands rally at State Capitol to kill health care bill
Why Health Bill Makes No Sense

/keep up the pressure

Iran Tells The West To [Expletive Deleted] Off (Again)!

Iran Tests New Version of Missile that Can Reach Europe, Israel

Iranian state media reported Wednesday that Tehran successfully test-fired an enhanced version of a solid-fuel medium-range missile, as U.S. and Western powers prepare to push for new economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Iran said it fired an “optimized” version of its Sajjil-2, a medium-range missile capable of hitting Israel, according to Iranian media.

Tehran first tested the weapon in May, claiming it marked a significant milestone in its missile-technology efforts. In May, Iran said the Sajjil-2 had a range of 2,000 kilometers, or about 1,200 miles. That would make it capable of reaching Israel and the Black Sea coast of European Union members Romania and Bulgaria, though that isn’t different than range capabilities claimed in previous missile launches.

Iran said, however, the missile was more sophisticated than earlier models, and propelled by a solid-fuel system, which would make it easier to deploy than liquid-fuel missiles.

Iran’s state media reported Wednesday the updated version is faster, harder to shoot down and quicker to launch.

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s defense minister, said in comments to state media the new weapon was defensive in nature. “Iran’s missile capabilities are strictly defensive and at the service of regional peace and stability,” Gen. Vahidi said. “They will never be [used] against any country.”

Iran has a history of conducting war games and unveiling what is says are military innovations during times of international pressure.

President Barack Obama has given an end-of-year deadline for progress in talks with Iran over its alleged nuclear ambitions. Washington and other capitals have ratcheted up threats of fresh sanctions as that deadline approaches.

The White House said Wednesday’s test would increase the international community’s resolve. “There’s no doubt that, given this environment, missile tests do nothing but undermine the Iranian claims” that its nuclear program has peaceful aims, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters.

See also:
Iran says it tested upgraded Sajjil-2 missile
Iran says it tested upgraded Sajjil-2 missile
Iran missile test follows sanctions talk from West
Iran tests missile, stoking tensions with the West
Iran’s missile test angers the West
U.S. condemns Iran’s missile test
US condemns Iran’s ‘provocative actions’ as regime test-fires missile
Gates ‘concerned’ over Iran missile test: Pentagon
Iran’s missile test aimed at U.S., Israel
Important Points About Iran’s Missile Test
Sajjil

Iranian missile tests like these, coupled with Iran’s uranium enrichment program and the recent discovery that Iran is working on nuclear trigger technology, in spite of the West’s economic sanctions and threats of more sanctions, are starting to point to what is the most likely inevitable conclusion. Iran will deploy a deliverable nuclear warhead and they will eventually launch it at Israel.

/theoretically, we’ll be able to shoot down any Iranian missile launch at Israel, but then the obvious question becomes, what happens next?

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