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Belmont Club

The Ostrich of Pennsylvania Avenue

January 6th, 2014 - 3:00 pm

Although much has been written about the collapse of the administration’s foreign policy, of equal importance has been the parallel collapse of the foreign policy consensus in Washington. Per David Rohde:

Our political elite was so deeply divided in 2013 that we could not define a common enemy. We turned a blind eye to the revival of Mideast authoritarianism. And we fashioned no plans for how to respond to Syria becoming a new Afghanistan.

Washington is drifting like the Flying Dutchman. The year 2014 threatens to be a disastrous one for the administration, and it cannot make port. Its woes will get worse not only domestically, as it becomes evident that taxes — and premiums — must be raised to support Obamacare; they are everywhere on the defense. Democrat Mary Landrieu is campaigning on reforming Obamacare. The Washington Post predicts it will be a year of  ”shrunken ambitions” on both sides of the aisle.

But it is overseas, as the consequences of failures in Afghanistan and the Middle East begin to directly affect the first world, where the headline-grabbers lurk. Already the tide of trouble is lapping at European shores: the Italian navy plucked 1,000 refugees from the sea in a single day as swarms of people fled from the benefits of the Arab Spring and Geneva 2, many to drown in the Mediterranean:

The Italian navy rescued more than 1,000 migrants in the 24 hours to Friday from boats trying to reach Europe, authorities said, as an immigration crisis that killed hundreds in the last year showed no signs of easing.

Navy helicopters spotted four overcrowded boats struggling to stay afloat south of Sicily on Thursday and ships were sent to save them, the navy said in a statement.

The 823 men, women and children aboard the four vessels were from countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq and Tunisia.

The navy rescued 233 migrants from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia, Mali and Pakistan in a separate operation and took them to a port near Syracuse on Sicily’s eastern coast.

Also, some months ago:

Deep sea divers “unpacked a wall of people” [mostly Africans] from the hull of a smuggler’s trawler on the sea floor near this Italian island on Monday, gingerly untangling the dead would-be migrants in the latest and most painstaking phase of a recovery operation following their ship’s fiery capsizing.

Things are likely to get worse. Knowing this, the administration is planning to lean against the ropes and blame the Republicans. Salena Zito writes that the class warfare which has worked wonders in the past for Obama is being redeployed again in 2014 as the cornerstone of his strategy:

As we head into the 2014 midterm elections, one thing is certain: Class warfare will be the campaign stage again — it is the only way this president knows how to win, by dividing and conquering — with the tea party, Main Street and businesses large and small cast as the villains.

Democrats and the media have done an effective job of demonizing the “tea party” brand and detaching its followers from their original aspirations.

The logic of class warfare is simple. It relies on convincing the public that even if the the administration has screwed up, the “teabaggers” will do worse.  If the administration can demonize their rivals sufficiently, voters will stay home and desist from kicking them out. Here’s how it worked in the past:

The lifelong Democrat, who runs a five-man machine shop, regrets not voting for president in 2012.

He admits President Barack Obama’s assault on Mitt Romney’s character cast just enough doubt in his mind that he believed the Republican nominee would favor Wall Street over Main Street, put Washington into political deadlock and keep the economy stubbornly at a standstill.

He also believed he could keep his health-care plan — the one he liked — under Obama.

“For me, the class-warfare slogans were just enough to keep me at home,” he explained, adding that he’ll never do that again.

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Top Rated Comments   
And SCREW the Republicans. They are not the answer to any question of any importance. I am more pissed at the Republicans than I am the Democrats. At least the Democrats don't pretend to be on your side and then stab you in the back. - JFSanders

I've written before about how things in history go bumping along, and most of the time, nothing much comes of it. The U.S. Civil War of 1860-1865 was not necessarily fait accompli in 1859. The seeds of that war had existed since the founding of the Republic, with tensions growing and receding throughout the decades between 1790 and 1860. It took a certain series of events, a catalyst to propel the nation to war. That war might not have happened without it.

Likewise, politically, for all of the talk that 3rd parties have no place in American politics, that the current GOP/Democrat political divide cannot be changed, the right catalyst at the right moment could change this within a single election cycle. I believe that both the Democrats and establishment Republicans has so discredited their parties that the time is ripe for a new majority conservative party.

One could conjecture what the final straw might be. Obama will bring the Democrats to ruin, that is almost certain, but for the GOP, I think it was the attack against the Tea Party that was the final nail in the GOP political coffin. One could maintain that the Republican's failure to respond Constitutionally to Obama's violations of the law and his oath would be that final straw, i.e. much like nations sacrifice Sovereignty when they fail to militarily defend their territory or people, the GOP has sacrificed it's legitimacy as a valid and competent political opposition by it's lack of response to Obama's lawlessness. However, the Tea Party was the people's reaction to Washington and mostly Progressive corruption, and siding against the American people will destroy the Republicans utterly. THAT is the straw that broke the GOP camel's back.

So, the time is ripe for it, and I'm expecting that catalyst to occur and may have already occurred. A significant minority of the conservative GOP leaders will have to jump ship to propel the new party, i.e. Palin, Cruz, and others, but once this happens, the new party will grow exponentially. It will be a factor in elections within two years of the catalyst event.

The argument against a new 3rd party has been that a divided and diminished GOP would cede the field to a defacto unified party, the Democrats. It was "unthinkable" that a divided GOP could allow far left Democrat President, or a Democrat dominated Senate and Congress, but alas, the unthinkable not only happened but was set in concrete at Obama's reelection.

There is really no argument for preserving the GOP, reforming it, or rescuing it from itself, in view of the political history of 2006-2013. In my own mind, if any of these conservative leaders mean what they say, they must abandon the GOP and form a new party, to reestablish credibility for conservative ideas. The GOP as now configured is mere vanity, a lie that does more to empower the Democrat machine that it does to provide American voters an alternative voice.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Earlier this month, the president decided to approach the Islamists at the center of the Syrian revolution. … the White House had prepared three specific talking points for the U.S. representative to deliver to the Islamic Front. First, she was to encourage the Islamists to attend what’s known as the Geneva 2 conference in January, an effort to bring the U.S., Russia, the Syrian regime, and the opposition together to negotiate a transition to a new government in Syria. …"

The US representative Obama sent was a SHE? WTF? These are people who set the bar when it comes to Misogyny and Obama is sending a female [!] to open negotiations with them?

From their POV, he insulted them...big time, no wonder they called the meeting off. So, no one in a position of authority thought to say, 'hey guys, sending a woman will piss off religious, fanatical misogynists...'?

As explanation, take your pick; utter cluelessness or intentional offense.

But what are the odds of such consistent cluelessness? Maybe that's just a bit too good to be true?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I have said before, if you want to know who is in charge of the country, it's those black women you see on TV, waving their Obamaphones and standing in line to get their share of the money from Obama's "stash." They are who the White House pays attention to.

When those kind of people start stamping around, waving their Obamaphones and demanding something be done about the Administration's failed Mideast Policy, then that's when Obama will take notice. Not before then. No wonder he is focusing on "Wealth Inequality." The real problem is brain inequality.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (65)
All Comments   (65)
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itellu3times,

Turns out the Dodo bird was very tasty. For centuries, sailors crossing the Indian Ocean would stop by an island off Madagascar and fill their larders, easily taking maybe 40 of these turkey-sized birds with clubs. They were ground dwelling, flightless and very susceptible to predation. Yet they thrived for centuries on this island, til either two, or one pregnant Macaque escaped from a passing ship. Unfortunately for the birds, these were egg-eating monkeys and over the next hundred years exterminated the defenseless Dodo. Beautifully told in the "Song of the Dodo" by David Quamman.

And Happy New Year to all.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is no way to understand how the world works unless you understand the money flows.

Catherine Austin Fitts is a former managing director and member of the board of directors of Dillon Read & Co, Inc, a former Assistant Secretary of Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner in the first Bush Administration, and the former President of The Hamilton Securities Group, Inc. She is the President of Solari, Inc.

http://solari.com/old-articles/scoop_narco_dummies.htm

40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
What ostrich? The peacock?

He's so vain. I'm sure he thinks this comment is about him.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
This was all inevitable. This was also a choice - the choice of the American people. And that is what is so frightening. Well, more deadening than frightening. The aspirations have reduced to cubes of minimalism. There are no more expectations, only bemused fatality and self-absorption in the face of the cratering of civilization.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The choice is the brand of statism. Some choice.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
OldSaltUSN:

About San Francisco, I partly agree and partly disagree.

The ideas that come out of San Francisco are scary, but the sheer goofiness of San Francisco tempers its message. San Francisco, long known for its fanatical seriousness, comes across as more of a caricature than a threat. It's rather like listening to Mein Kampf from a paperclip.

The problem comes when ideas from San Francisco get accepted by ultra-conformist Los Angeles. If people decide to turn themselves into freaks in San Francisco, it's amusing. If the giant megaphone of Hollywood tells everybody to turn themselves into freaks, that becomes a very different matter. Los Angeles can make things happen. It is big, heavy, and powerful. The principal monument of San Francisco is the Gold Gate Bridge; the principal monument of Los Angeles is its system of aqueducts.

As horrifying as the visions of San Francisco, Berkeley, and Silicon Valley may be, the Bay Area's reputation as an asylum for weirdos limits its power. It is the ability of Los Angeles to impose those visions upon the rest of America that is worrying. The power of Los Angeles to shape popular culture, particularly generation after generation of America's youth culture, means that its leftism comes across as more dangerous than the buffoonery of San Francisco.

The rising power of illegal immigrants within Los Angeles (which will only increase with amnesty) and their increasing power over the city's megaphone means that once small states lose what little protection they have through the Senate, much of “Flyover Country” becomes as weak as the Owens Valley. Yes, I am worried that the United States may become California writ large.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's the thing about the Pubs: QE, ZIRP, the multitude of bailouts, Obamacare, Amnesty for Illegal immigrants, and even more government regulations all benefit the Crony Capitalist Multi-national Corporations at the expense of their small business competition and the middle class.

And that is exactly why the Pubs have never moved to stop those programs of Buraq. The Pubs are in the pocket of the corrupt, Crony Capitaltist Plutocrat toadies and will never move to change the situation no matter how many Senate seats they get this year. The Pubs are bought and paid for, and intend to stay that way. Forever.

That is why a vote for a Pub is not a vote for America's interests, and for that the Pubs need to be wiped off the face of the earth.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, I was never for the anti-capitalist, class warfare rhetoric myself. Why are the "Pubs" so much worse than the Marxist-Socialist Democrats? The defense system that this country has in place was not authored by the Democrats. The USA is an economic miracle, and none of that was developed based on Democrat policies. Corporations are entities that create jobs. There's not such thing as a corrupt Corporation, only the people who run certain corporations and the shareholders who endorse the board that hires those people.

So, while I don't believe the GOP as currently exists will turn this country back to it's Constitutional roots, your caricature of the GOP and American corporations is something made of whole cloth.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The GOP is no worse than the Dems--just not much better. As long as corporatists can stave off competition via regulatory capture and tax breaks at a lower cost than R&D and capital investment they're foolish not to pursue that course. As long as the incentive structure works that way smart people will work the system to their benefit. If they don't their boards should fire them.

As far as who should be 'wiped off the face of the Earth,' I'd start with the other side of the aisle than the GOP for a legion of reasons.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can we start at the middle and work out?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
When I hear someone say "That is why a vote for a Pub is not a vote for America's interests, and for that the Pubs need to be wiped off the face of the earth." the first thing I think of is socialist false flag. I advise people to ignore this kind of poster. Anybody who posts such nonsense is either a Democratic Party plant or a dupe.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll believe that when you show me where the Pubs are definitively different from the Dems. Given what the Pubs tried last time they had the wheel (and the giant expansion of Medicare they jammed down our throats in a very Dem-esque move) I propose that they aren't even Dem LITE anymore. They're in a heated race to out-Dem the Dems.

I'm done voting for major parties. And except for the Libertarian House candidate in my district next cycle who I know personally and who I'll vote for at least once until HE shows me he doesn't mean it, I'm done with voting period most likely.

Time to head for the hills, folks, the sooner the better. Maybe this mess can be turned around, but I don't think so. I don't know when it's all going to come crashing down---I thought it would have by now so my guess isn't any better than anyone else's--but when it does I don't want to be anywhere near a population center and I'd really like to be either on a boat/island somewhere on the high seas outside of America or else on a homestead in the mountains at least 5-10 miles from the nearest town. My wife gets seasick, so....

I'll probably break down and get satellite TV/internet though so I can at least watch the proceedings.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
FWIW?

The Michael Moore-driven canard about the Heritage Foundation "sabotaging" Obamacare is getting traction. It's like a sad little version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Besides the obviously absurd assumptions about the timeline and timing of the supposed Heritage "plot," there is another BIG LIE buried in the narrative: That Hillarycare was meant to be a single-payer system. The reality is/was that Obamacare is Hillarycare Redux On Steroids, right down to the individual mandate and the the disorienting blizzard of org charts.

I bring this back to the fore because, while we may be derisive and dismissive of this amazing lie, it may actually work. Look at the 2012 election results, and tell me if "The Heritage Foundation did it!" might not fly.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Geoffrey Britain: "The US representative Obama sent was a SHE? WTF? These are people who set the bar when it comes to Misogyny and Obama is sending a female [!] to open negotiations with them?"

Astonishing, isn't it? And yet the Big Brains in the commentariat keep trying to assure us that Obumble is surrounded by the Best & Brightest, all with top credentials.

Want to bet that Barry's woman could not even say hello in Arabic?

It is said that following the Normans' successful invasion of jolly old England, the penalty for a defeated Saxon who managed to learn some French was immediate death. There was a huge advantage to the Norman conquerors in being able to communicate freely with each other in the presence of the people they had subjugated.

The English-only female academic retreads so beloved of the Soetero Administration are much closer to the position of the defeated Saxons than to that of the victorious Normans. Unfortunately, the reverse is undoubtedly true of the street-smart Al Queda operatives who might some day deign to sit across the table from the woman.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good news for Obama!

You will hear no new numbers on deaths in the Syrian Civil War!

The U.N. says it is going to stop counting.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
He could just repeat William jennings Bryan's Cross of Gold speech - everyone would say how eloquent it was and the press would swoon.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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