American Elephants


All About the Tsars, Czars, Whatever. by The Elephant's Child
June 11, 2009, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Law, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: ,

I have been wondering about the Tsars Czars that Obama is so busily appointing without confirmation or consultation by Congress.  I could not keep track.  Now Rory Cooper, Director of Strategic Communications at the Heritage Foundation, has kindly listed them for me.

Mr. Cooper says:

We are living in scary times, when a few people with oligarchic intentions can so easily take control over the fundamentals of capitalism.

Well, President Obama just said that he was going to “create or save” (now there’s a mushy phrase) 600,000 jobs this summer at a cost of merely $787 billion.  (Do the math on that one!).  And here’s where part of them are coming from.  Up until the 1950s, the President had nine cabinet officers.  Now we have nearly 50 people, each directing their own sectors of the government.  Even the Romanovs who ruled Russia for three centuries had only seventeen tsars.

Mr. Cooper lists:

President Obama has a Pay Czar, Border Czar, Energy Czar, Urban Czar, Tech Czar, Faith Based Czar, Health Reform Czar, TARP Czar, Drug Czar, Stimulus Accountability Czar, Non-Proliferation Czar, Terrorism Czar, Regulatory Czar, Guantanamo Closure Czar, AIDS Czar, Weather Czar, Intelligence Czar, Economic Czar, Green Jobs Czar and Cybersecurity Czar.

All of these people report directly to the President, and most of the new positions expand government’s reach into the American daily life to a troubling extent.

Or perhaps Obama  just has this collection so that he has plenty of time to do more important things.  The only sector of  the American employment picture that is growing is — government.  And these Czars are blithely appointed with calm promises of “restraint,” and disinterest in government control.  Uh huh.

The Czars are clearly not watching out for ordinary voters.  They take no oath as far as I know.  Cabinet Secretaries have to be confirmed by the Senate and they get pretty thoroughly questioned in the process.  If the Energy Czar outranks the Energy Secretary and the Director of the EPA, then what’s going on here?

The President is supposed to be our servant.  Even George Washington turned down any royal trappings or titles when the people wanted to honor him.  But then, Obama is not, as he has claimed to be, a student of history.

ADDENDUM: — July 15, Representative Kingston (R-GA) has posted a list of the Czars to date.  There are now 28 domestic Czars with 2 posts not filled yet, and 6 “special envoy” Czars, doing whatever it is that they do, in addition to the State Department and our Ambassadors.  The list is here.  If you have any understanding of what they are all about, please help.  Other than the fact that Obama has no respect for the Constitution, I just don’t get it.



What Should We Learn From 9/11? by The Elephant's Child

Janet Napolitano, Secretary of  Homeland Security, famously referred to terrorism with “nuance” as “a man-caused disaster.” If that wasn’t enough, she didn’t know how the 9/11 terrorists got into the country — she thought they came in from Canada, and Immigration is part of her department.  She added that crossing the border illegally is not a crime, which it is, and then approved an absolutely moronic intelligence assessment that warned of increased “radical right-wing extremism” including the recruitment of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Conservatives were justifiably insulted.

The “unbiased” media is now claiming that Secretary Napolitano was right.  Why just look at the past two weeks:

In the past two weeks, the country has seen the bombing of a Starbucks coffee shop in New York City, the arrest of four men for allegedly plotting to blow up synagogues and shoot down planes, the shooting of two soldiers at an Army recruitment center in Arkansas, the assassination of a doctor inside a Kansas church, and the shooting at the Holocaust Museum…. Although these are not all cases of right-wing extremism, each is an example of domestic terrorism.

What a grouping of odd people.  You have domestic Islamist jihadists,  a crackpot who murdered an abortion provider, and an 88 year old “9/11 Truther,” a neo-Nazi, who hates Bush, Cheney, the Neo-Cons and is a violent anti-Semite, and this is the fault of radical Right-Wing extremists?  The only connection is that many conservatives are opposed to abortion.  How crass of  Liberals to instantly think of how they can exploit these events to score cheap political points.

We have been confronting an international terrorist threat domestically for over 20 years when the World Trade Center bombers began training in the New York area in 1998.  This latest example of domestic jihadism is hardly the only domestic plot that has been exposed and prevented.

Democrats, for political purposes, have chosen to claim that there really never has been a terrorist threat, that it was only the actions of the evil BushCheneyRumsfeld that drove otherwise innocent young Muslim men into the arms and training camps of Osama bin Laden.  If these terrible men had not tried to scare you into voting Republican by threatening you with terrorism, then, well the terrorists would just vanish— poof!  Madrid, London, Bali?  The Cole?  The embassies?  Never mind.

But it’s all under control.  Jake Tapper (ABC) asked what would happen to the first terrorist to be tried in U.S. court were not found guilty?  Would he be released in the U.S.? Imprisoned anyway? Sent back to the battlefield?  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he wasn’t going to get into hypotheticals.

The administration announced that it was sending four of the Uighurs to Bermuda.  Great Britain announced that Bermuda is a British protectorate, and nobody asked them, and they want to know exactly under what conditions and safeguards these people are being sent to Bermuda.  It was noted recently that the Uighurs at Guantanamo threw a television across the room because a woman on the screen bared her arms.  There are consequences to be considered.

The rest of the Uighurs are going to Palau in exchange for $200 million.



Did Obama Learn Nothing from 9/11? by The Elephant's Child

Obama made a big deal during the campaign about Guantanamo. He thought he had an issue that would get him votes.  On his second day in office, he signed an executive order that Guantanamo would be closed within a year.  At the time, he had not visited Guantanamo, and I would venture, though I don’t know, that he has never met anyone who has visited Guantanamo.  It was simply another bold step in his campaign to defeat George W. Bush for the Presidency.

The problem was that he had no idea what to do with the detainees.  None.  The “outrage” about Guantanamo comes from the detainees, who were trained to tell anyone they could that they were abused and the guards really, really mistreated them.

Osama bin Laden is many things, but he’s not a dummy.  Even in the remote villages of Afghanistan, they know that the Americans are ever-so-sensitive to charges of abuse.  Everyone who visits (except the radical lawyers representing detainees) comments on what a model prison it is, and the honorable treatment by the staff in spite of constant provocation.  Treatment of detainees meets the standards of the Geneva Conventions, just as  George W. Bush ordered long ago.

Under the new “Global Justice” Initiative, the FBI will now have a central role in global counter-terrorism operations. The FBI seemingly doesn’t have enough on their plate with ordinary federal crime and desperately trying to track down domestic terrorists and foil their plots.  The role of the CIA and other intelligence agencies will diminish.  I mean, who knows what the evil CIA has been up to?

FBI agents will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to insure that criminal prosecutions are an option. Does no one realize that 9/11 was a failure of our reliance on the criminal justice system? And is it really a good idea for terrorists to have “the right to remain silent?”

The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement.  The Justice Department  has quietly ordered FBI agents to start giving Miranda warnings to captured alien combatant terrorists.

You’ve heard them hundreds of times on TV.  “You have the right to remain silent…”  They are doing this to insure that captured terrorists can be prosecuted in court. But this does not guarantee that they can be convicted, and if they are not convicted — what then?  Are they released into the United States? Or if not, where? Back to the battlefield to kill American soldiers?

ABC  News’ Jake Tapper asked about that.  Will the Obama administration free Ahmed Ghailani (the first terrorist brought to the US to be tried) if he is found not guilty?  He asked it several times in yesterday’s press conference, but Robert Gibbs said “he wasn’t going to get into hypotheticals about how something may or may not play out.”

This has to be embarrassing for President Obama. Candidate Obama and new President Obama scoffed at claims that he wanted foreign terrorists to get Miranda protection on capture.  You can find him saying so on YouTube.  The confusion about what are military matters and what are legal matters is forcing Obama into an awkward corner.  He wants to be sure that he appears more, um, pristine than President Bush and Darth Vader who tortured everybody, you know.  If he cannot continue to remind everyone of how evil BushCheneyRumsfeld were, then people might not hate Republicans enough to reelect him.

Minor matters like protecting the American people no longer seem so important.  With Bush out of the picture, then there won’t be any more terrorism, for surely young Muslim men flocked to bin Laden training camps only because they were radicalized by all the torture Bush did, or something like that.

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers, a former FBI special agent and U.S. Army officer says the Obama administration has not briefed Congress on the new policy. He said “The problem is you take that guy at three in the morning off of a compound right outside of Kabul where he’s building bomb materials to kill US soldiers, and read him his rights by four, and the Red Cross is saying take the lawyer — you have now created quite a confusion amongst the FBI, the CIA and the United States military.  And confusion is the last thing you want in a combat zone.”

The Democrats’ story has long been (once 9/11 began to fade) that there wasn’t really any danger from terrorism,  it was just the Republicans trying to scare us.   But they have never been much interested in consequences.




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