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 on: March 25, 2015, 06:07:07 PM 
Started by Quijote - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Obama Snubs NATO Chief as Crisis Rages
Josh Rogin
1408 Mar 24, 2015 7:20 PM EDT
By Josh Rogin


President Barack Obama has yet to meet with the new head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and won't see Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week, even though he is in Washington for three days.  Stoltenberg’s office requested a meeting with Obama well in advance of the visit, but never heard anything from the White House, two sources close to the NATO chief told me.

The leaders of almost all the other 28 NATO member countries have made time for Stoltenberg since he took over the world's largest military alliance in October. Stoltenberg, twice the prime minister of Norway, met Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa to discuss the threat of the Islamic State and the crisis in Ukraine, two issues near the top of Obama's agenda.

Kurt Volker, who served as the U.S. permanent representative to NATO under both President George W. Bush and Obama, said the president broke a long tradition.  “The Bush administration held a firm line that if the NATO secretary general came to town, he would be seen by the president ... so as not to diminish his stature or authority,” he told me.

America's commitment to defend its NATO allies is its biggest treaty obligation, said Volker, adding that European security is at its most perilous moment since the Cold War. Russia has moved troops and weapons into eastern Ukraine, annexed Crimea, placed nuclear-capable missiles in striking distance of NATO allies, flown strategic-bomber mock runs in the North Atlantic, practiced attack approaches on the U.K. and Sweden, and this week threatened to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark’s warships.

“It is hard for me to believe that the president of the United States has not found the time to meet with the current secretary general of NATO given the magnitude of what this implies, and the responsibilities of his office,” Volker said.

Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, declined to say why Obama didn’t respond to Stoltenberg’s request. “We don’t have any meetings to announce at this time,” she told me in a statement. Sources told me that Stoltenberg was able to arrange a last-minute meeting with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

According to White House press releases, Obama didn’t exactly have a packed schedule. On Tuesday, he held important meetings and a press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House (Ghani will meet with Stoltenberg while they are both in town). But the only event on Obama’s public schedule for Wednesday is a short speech to kick off a meeting related to the Affordable Care Act. On Thursday, he will head to Alabama to give a speech about the economy.

Stoltenberg is in town primarily for the NATO Transformation Seminar, a once-a-year strategic brainstorming session that brings together NATO’s leadership with experts and top officials from the host country. The event is organized by the Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Atlantic Council.

“The focus of this year’s seminar is to think through how best to update NATO’s strategy given real threats in the east and the south, against the backdrop of a dramatically changing world,” said Damon Wilson, a former NSC senior director for Europe who is now with the Atlantic Council. “The practical focus is to begin developing the road map to the next NATO summit, which will take place in Warsaw in July 2016, a summit which will presumably be the capstone and last summit for the Obama administration.”

Last year, the seminar was hosted in Paris, and then-NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen got a separate bilateral meeting with President Francois Hollande of France.

Last Friday, at the German Marshall Fund Brussels Forum, Stoltenberg talked about the importance of close coordination inside NATO in order to first confront Russian aggression and then eventually move toward a stable relationship with Moscow.

“The only way we can have the confidence to engage with Russia,” he said, “is to have the confidence and the strength which is provided by strong collective defense, the NATO alliance.”

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski told the Brussels Forum that there has been a worrisome lag between NATO’s promises of more defensive equipment for Poland and what has actually arrived, a blow to the alliance's credibility. “It’s very important and necessary for everyone to have the conviction, including the potential aggressor to have this conviction, that NATO is truly determined to execute contingency plans,” he said.

The White House missed a perfect opportunity to reinforce that message this week in snubbing Stoltenberg. It fits into a narrative pushed by Obama critics that he would rather meet with problematic leaders such as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who will get an Oval Office meeting next month, than firm allies. The message Russian President Vladimir Putin will take away is that the White House-NATO relationship is rocky, and he will be right.

To contact the author on this story:
Josh Rogin at

 on: March 25, 2015, 05:33:42 PM 
Started by ccp - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Dick gets back in his lane and is the better for it:  cheesy

Who Is Jeb's Main Rival?


Published on on March 24, 2015

Though the GOP nominating process for 2016 is just beginning, CNN/ORC issued a poll
this week that sheds light on how it is unfolding. The survey tested the GOP
candidates in a head-to-head match-up, and with only 14 percent undecided, it shows
the beginning of the makeup of the Republican field.

Jeb Bush garnered 16 percent in the poll, leading the field, with Scott Walker (13
percent) and Rand Paul (12 percent) following closely behind. Mike Huckabee came in
next with 10 percent, and Ben Carson won 9 percent. Chris Christie and Marco Rubio
tied at 7 percent support and were followed by Ted Cruz and Rick Perry, both at 4
percent. Bringing up the rear were John Kasich (2 percent), Rick Santorum (1
percent) and Bobby Jindal (1 percent).

To understand what's going on, you need to put yourself in the place of the typical
Republican primary voter. And the first thing you need to do is decide if you are
for or against Bush.

The former Florida governor been anointed by the media as the front-runner -- he is
the best-known and has the most money. The most notable fact is that Bush is only at
16 percent of the vote in this poll. His name, resources, Florida base and broad
appeal should put him much higher. Among GOP donors and elites, he likely runs much
better. But 84 percent of the primary electorate isn't buying him right now and
wants an alternative. While Bush has not declared, there is no doubt that he is
running. And even though he has not projected his credentials and ideas nationally,
his lack of appeal, despite full name recognition, should be troublesome for his

Next, you look down the list of candidates and see if there is anyone else you would
vote for -- or, on the other hand, can't support. Paul stands out. You either
support the Kentucky senator's novel brand of economic libertarianism, social
liberalism and neo-isolationism or you don't. Because Paul isn't likely to change
his views or persuade national security or evangelical voters to change theirs, he
is not likely to move up.

Huckabee faces a similar problem. The former Arkansas governor is trapped in an
ecclesiastical ghetto -- he beats the hell (or heck) out of Santorum, but to grow,
he needs to wage a secular campaign on issues like income inequality, Wall Street
deceit and other topics that grow out of his spirituality. He might just do that,
but hasn't done it yet.

Christie, the embattled New Jersey governor, needs Bush to fall for him to gain. Not
very likely.

Setting aside the poll's stragglers, we have to view the candidacies of Walker,
Rubio, Carson and Cruz as a unit, together getting 33 percent of the vote. Some
voters may prefer one or the other, but their support is, at the moment, likely
interchangeable. The winner of this four-way contest will emerge to challenge Bush
-- and the former Florida governor is vulnerable.

Which candidate that will be requires a more subtle calculation.

Walker has a big lead in financial support, seeming to be the favorite of Charles
and David Koch and their allies. But the Wisconsin governor has not yet shown the
depth and grasp of issues necessary for the national stage.

Rubio has a positive image but has flip-flopped on immigration and hasn't motivated
anyone to storm the barricades ... yet. The Florida senator's public appearances
have been too milquetoast and too biographic. He needs to use issues to win.

Cruz turned people off with his stridency on the Senate floor in October of 2013 but
may be capable to motivating the greatest positive passion among the bunch. He's
probably the brightest and best informed. The Texas senator knows how to use issues,
and is currently is the darling of the Tea Party.

Carson is a first-time candidate in an era in which, after our experience with
Barack Obama, we distrust ingenues. He still has to prove himself.

Of course, none of these defects are lethal and all can be overcome. Any of the four
could do it. (And don't count Huckabee out. He's the most likable and articulate of
them all.)

 on: March 25, 2015, 04:38:22 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

"As long as property exists, it will accumulate in individuals and families.
As long as marriage exists, knowledge, property and influence will accumulate
in families." --John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1814

 on: March 25, 2015, 01:22:23 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp

I posted on the Middle East thread that I would bet Saudis are already working on nuclear weapons.   They are proactive not reactive in general.

 on: March 25, 2015, 12:32:23 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG
In addition to our shared doubts about his electability, I would add that apparently his father is a pretty extreme character-- a lot of shiny objects there with which to disrupt Ted's campaign.

True.  Rafael (Sr.) has said things that will distract.
The Six Craziest Quotes From Ted Cruz’s Father, Rafael Cruz  (Mostly from 2012)

1) No one is going to send Obama "back to" Kenya or Indonesia.  That type of hyperbole is a distraction that no one needs. Those of us on the right wouldn't even like his governing ideas to continue in third world countries.  
2) Murder? Reasonable people actually do believe the intentional act of killing a baby who made it out of the mother alive is... well... murder.   President Barack Obama was the only member of the Illinois legislature to not support a bill to provide medical care for newborns who survived failed late-term abortions.  
3) Just like Fidel Castro? Governing by decree, by executive order?   - Check the record!
4)' Gay marriage is a government plot to destroy the family...Socialism requires that government becomes your god.  They have to destroy all loyalties except loyalty to the government'??  - It is not politically helpful to comment on your opponents bad motives.  But yes, breakdown of family was the result of liberal social policies, as warned by extremists on the right.   Dependence on the government is politically helpful to left; belief in God is not.  You don't need to impugn motives when the facts (prior to gay marriage) already make the case.  That said, it is hard to look at the amazing breakdown of marriage and family in response to liberal policies especially since the 1960s and left's ambivalence to all that and not at least ponder the idea that it is intentional.
5) Media: The U.S. has its very own “ministry of misinformation” that governments in communist countries like Cuba employ to spread their messages. That propaganda machine, he said, is the liberal media. “They just tell us what they want us to hear. They are rewriting history…because they have an agenda. And unfortunately the agenda is an evil agenda. It’s an agenda for destroying what this country is all about”.   - This is only slightly over the top.  Don't we have a thread here with 1520 posts and 256015 reads documenting something pretty close to that?  In some ways, the apparent conspiracy of our mainstream media through so many channels is worse than their ministry with one.
6) 'Our enemies control our energy.  Because of Obama’s excessive regulation, the oil industry is stifled...We are buying 40 percent of our oil from our enemies (pre-fracking)…Our enemies control the energy that we use or do not use. And they have the power to shut down the valves and bring us to our knees.'  - Liberals have continuously fought our efforts to produce our own energy.  Enemies don't control all our foreign supplies, but there is a significant element of truth in that concern.  For example, we can't seem to solve the crisis in Ukraine now or the Baltics next because of Russia's willingness to supply them with gas versus our inability or unwillingness based on restraints put on our energy industries by leftist policies here.  Russia, Iran and Venezuela could easily be considered enemies.  Saudi, Libya, etc. arguably so.  Saudi is somewhat of an ally at the moment only because of worse threats in the region.  It only takes a partial shutdown of sources to create havoc in supplies and prices.  We are less vulnerable now despite, not because of, their policies.

[Rand Paul also has a father problem; he has written as recently as this week on the Iraq situation.]

One feather of many in Cruz' cap is the DC v. Heller case, a great decision for individual liberty that was based on the merits of the arguments made by Ted Cruz, who as Solicitor General of Texas wrote the Amicus brief signed by 31 states and was Counsel of Record for the winning side, the US constitution.  In the Elk Grove case, he wrote the U.S. Supreme Court brief on behalf of all 50 states that was successful.  Cruz authored 70 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court.

The next President of the United States should appoint Ted Cruz to the US Supreme Court.

 on: March 25, 2015, 08:24:16 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: March 25, 2015, 07:01:09 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: March 25, 2015, 06:48:29 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: March 25, 2015, 06:37:21 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

 on: March 25, 2015, 12:26:34 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

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