Recently there have been two periods when technical difficulties with BlueHost (the platform for this site) or AT&T blocked access to RINOcracy.com. While these difficulties were wholly beyond our control, we apologize for any inconvenience they may have caused you. We hope that they will not recur in the future, but if they should we would ask your patience. This may be the place to mention that there will be a brief hiatus in publishing new blogs during a period in late August and early September while the RINO-in-Chief goes abroad on a fact-finding trip (aka vacation), but publication will resume by mid-September.
Updates: al Qaeda, Drones, Guantanamo, Leaks, Immigration and a Government Shutdown
Blog No. 5 Whither the War on Terror?
Part I. The President’s Vision, posted on June 17, discussed President Obama’s speech of May 23. The Blog expressed skepticism at the degree to which it had claimed that the capacity of al Qaeda had been diminished. The President had suggested that we were now primarily concerned with “localized threats” and no longer engaged in a “boundless global war on terror.” In recent days, however, the government has responded to credible intelligence reports by closing embassies and consulates throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and by issuing a global travel warning to Americans. The White House spokesperson, Jay Carney, declined to say whether the perceived threat extends to the United State homeland. If it appeared to the President in May that the war on terror was nearly over, and could be safely compartmentalized, that vision appears to have been seriously compromised.
Part II. Of Drones and Guantanamo, published on June 23, cited reports that, even as President Obama announced a change to United States policy with considerable fanfare, there was debate and uncertainty within the Administration as to what the change really meant and how much would actually change. It appears that the debate and uncertainty, and indeed confusion, continue. A story in The New York Times published on August 4, 2013, was headlined “Despite Administration Promises, Few Signs of Change in Drone Wars,” and the opening paragraph states:
“There were more drone strikes in Pakistan last month than any month since January. Three missile strikes were carried out in Yemen in the last week alone. And after Secretary of State John Kerry told Pakistanis on Thursday that the United States was winding down the drone wars there, officials back in Washington quickly contradicted him.”
The balance of the article documents other respects in which the government’s policy also appears unchanged.
With respect to Guantanamo, the June 23 Blog observed that the Administration had done far less than it might have to reduce the population of Guantanamo. An op-ed piece by Joe Nocera in The New York Times on July 22 emphasized the point:
As I have mentioned previously, some 86 of the 166 detainees at Guantánamo Bay have already been “cleared” by a committee made up of national security officials, meaning they could leave the prison tomorrow without any threat to national security.
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The truth is, there is one person who could get them out tomorrow — if he chose. That same person could stop the military from force- feeding the detainees. I am referring, of course, to President Obama. Yet despite decrying the Guantánamo prison, the president has refused to do anything but stand by and watch the military inflict needless pain and suffering, much of it on men who simply shouldn’t be there. Indeed, in many of the legal briefs filed on behalf of Guantánamo prisoners, the defendant is Barack Obama.
Part III. Disclosures of NSA Surveillance—The Elephant in The Room, posted on June 27, pointed out that the most serious aspect of the issues raised by the Snowden leak, was the obvious failure of the government to protect highly classified information. While this vulnerability continues to receive insufficient attention from Congress, the media, and the public, a new report in The New York Times confirms that the government is still “stumbling in its efforts to protect its secrets in the Internet age.” The article points out that a major part of the problem is the over-classification of material: “When far too much information gets classified, nothing is really classified.”
Blog No 7 Immigration Reform: Opportunity or Trap?, posted on July 26, noted that “In Congress, opposition to citizenship is firmly entrenched in the ranks of the House Republicans elected from the most staunchly conservative districts.” An analysis in the Washington Post, “House Republicans may cut off the party’s nose to spite its face,” has expanded on the point:
“The last two rounds of redistricting — 2000 and 2010 — have, largely, functioned as incumbent protection operations for both parties, meaning that there are only a handful of seats that are genuinely competitive between the two parties.
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“Because Hispanic voters have been moving more and more Democratic in recent elections, drawing safe seats for Republicans over the past two decades has meant keeping Latino voters largely off GOP members’ turf.
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“That more than eight in 10 Republicans hold districts where fewer than one in five residents are Hispanic tells you almost everything you need to know about why the issue seems a lot less pressing to the majority of House GOPers than it is to the party’s 2016 wannabes and its strategist class.”
Not all “2016 wannabes” may see it that way (Senator Cruz is a notable exception), but others, including most prominently Marco Rubio, certainly do. As statistics in the Washington Post article make clear, there is a growing imperative for the Republican Party to improve its performance with non-white voters. (“In 2012, just 11 percent of Republican voters weren’t white; 44 percent of Democratic voters were non-white.”)
The July 26 Blog also pointed out that the business community has provided strong support for immigration reform. This support was recently underscored by a July 30 letter to Republican members of Congress from more than 100 major donors urging the passage of immigration reform. (“We believe that with meaningful action on immigration reform there is opportunity for both good policy and good politics for Republicans.”)
The question is whether major donors, RINOs and others can overcome the parochialism of House Republicans and drag them kicking and screaming into being part of a national party.
Blog No 8 Another Government Shutdown? The Oozlums Are Circling, posted August 1, commented on the unwisdom of threatening a government shutdown in an effort to “defund” Obamacare. The celebrated Charles Krauthammer put it a bit more tartly in a column, “How fractured is the GOP?” also published on August 1 and worth quoting at some length::
“Led by Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, the GOP insurgents are threatening to shut down the government on Oct. 1 if the stopgap funding bill contains money for Obamacare.
“This is nuts. The president will never sign a bill defunding the singular achievement of his presidency. Especially when he has control of the Senate. Especially when, though a narrow 51 percent majority of Americans disapproves of Obamacare only 36 percent favors repeal. President Obama so knows he’ll win any shutdown showdown that he’s practically goading the Republicans into trying.
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“Those who fancy themselves tea party patriots fighting a sold-out cocktail-swilling establishment are demanding yet another cliff dive as a show of principle and manliness. But there’s no principle at stake here. This is about tactics. If I thought this would work, I would support it. But I don’t fancy suicide. It has a tendency to be fatal. As for manliness, the real question here is sanity. Nothing could better revive the fortunes of a failing, flailing, fading Democratic administration than a government shutdown where the president is portrayed as standing up to the GOP on honoring our debts and paying our soldiers in the field.
How many times must we learn the lesson? You can’t govern from one house of Congress. You need to win back the Senate and then the presidency. Shutting down the government is the worst possible way to get there. Indeed, it’s Obama’s fondest hope for a Democratic recovery.”
Krauthammer is surely no RINO, but happily he is not an Oozlum either.