Patterico's Pontifications

7/11/2008

Truthing Obamafuscations: Part 4 of a Continuing Series Through November — ABC News Puts The 16 Month Iraq Withdrawal Under The Microscope

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:00 pm



Posted by WLS:

Last week Obama suffered a little dustup with the press and the leftwingnutroots over the suggestion that after visiting Iraq and consulting with the combat commanders, he might find cause to “refine” his position on the pace of troop withdrawals that he has pledged both on the stump and in writing on his campaign website:

Bringing Our Troops Home

Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

As reported by politico.com, in a hastily called second news conference last Thursday Obama repeated this pledge after he said his comments earlier in the day on the subject were being misinterpreted:

“When I go to Iraq and I have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies,” he said, according to CBS News. “I have been consistent, throughout this process, that I believe the war in Iraq was a mistake.”

Obama later said at a second news conference he still intends to stick to the timeline.

At the second meeting with reporters, Obama said: “We’re going to try this again. Apparently I wasn’t clear enough this morning on my position with respect to the war in Iraq. … I have said throughout this campaign that … I would bring our troops home at a pace of one to two brigades per month and at that pace we would have our combat troops out in 16 months. That position has not changed. I have not equivocated on that position. I am not searching for maneuvering room with respect to that position.

But, Martha Raddatz of ABC News, about as anti-Iraq War as they come in the press contingent covering the war from the beginning, had a pretty devastating piece on Good Morning America earlier today, and it is bound to be repeated later today and through the weekend on various news programs. Raddatz has several senior military leaders in Iraq, including Major General Hammond, Commander of US Forces Baghdad, and Lt. General Austin, Commander US Forces Iraq, saying that a withdrawal plan such as the one advocated by Obama is dangerous and not feasible — though none reference Obama’s plan specifically.

General Hammond states that it would be very dangerous to have any form of “time-based” withdrawal plan, rather than a “conditions-based” withdrawal plan. General Austin says he’s focused on helping the Iraqi government achieve “sustainable security.”

But, more significantly, Raddatz says that off-camera, the officers she spoke with said it would be logistically impossible to remove 1-2 combat brigades per month as Obama has pledged he would do since his campaign began.

Why? Because rotating combat brigades in and out of Iraq — a rotation that happens by just removing the troops themselves but leaving their equipment behind to be used by their replacements — is completely different from actually removing a combat brigade and all their equipment from a warzone.

One of two things about this issue is true:

1) Obama is fully aware that his plan is not logistically feasible but has no compunction about continuing to make disingenuous campaign pledges that have no basis in reality — hence his initial efforts to hedge his position last week, which will bloom in full after his first visit to Iraq which will cause him to “refine” his plan; or

2) Obama is a sitting US Senator, with assignments on both the Foreign Relations and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, who has cast votes on troop deployments and funding of operations, but has NO CLUE about the amount of men and material that constitute a single combat brigade, nor about the logistical difficulties in moving that amount of men and material out of a warzone taking into consideration the existing airlift and shipping capabilities of the US military — yet thinks he’s qualified to be Commander in Chief.

I’m not sure which would be more venal.

Money Quote:

Raddatz: “So, could the military manage the pace that Barack Obama has suggested? Several commanders we talked to off-camera said “No way.”

6/4/2008

Truthing Obamafuscations: Part Three of a Continuing Series Through November

Filed under: General — WLS @ 3:53 pm



Posted by WLS:

 I’ve passed so far on the opportunity to whack Obama for his “evolving” mash of positions on talking with Iran and other US adversaries as he suggested he would during the YouTube debate last year.

But the latest Obamafuscation of this issue today in his speech to AIPAC, and the spinning of his latest change in position as no change at all simply makes it impossible to give him a further pass.

Here’s what he said in the YouTube debate that started this whole controversy:

QUESTION: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?

OBAMA: “I would. And the reason is this: the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them–which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous. Ronald Reagan constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when he called them an evil empire. He understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward. And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.”

This answer has gone through several modifications over the last several months as his camp has sought to walk him back from a very narrow limb, made all the more precarious by the continued nutball threats made by

Its latest iteration was given today by Obama in his speech before AIPAC:

“As president of the United States, I would be willing to lead tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Iranian leader at a time and place of my choosing — if, and only if — it can advance the interests of the United States.”

Now from abcnews we get this: 

Obama campaign officials insists Obama has not change his position.

It’s not a precondition to say he’ll only do it to advance our interests,” said Obama foreign policy advisor Dennis McDonough.

McDonough says Obama has never promised to meet with Iran’s leaders. He’s simply said that he is willing to meet with Iran’s leaders.

And the key word there is willing. The idea that some have suggested is that he has promised a meeting. That is not the case and never was the case. He argued then as he argued today that he is willing to meet as it advances our interests,” McDonough told ABC News.

This is just too much to take.

First, his answer to the YouTube question was short and to the point:

“I would.”

His next comment explained the reasons why he would — not conditions upon which he would.

It was a gaffe and a blunder, nothing less. 

But for him to now try and sell us on the idea that his answer had a silent presupposition, i.e., that he would do so only if it was in our interests, is nothing less than duplicitous.

Frankly, Obama’s worldview is that its ALWAYS in our interest to talk to our adversaries, and that’s why he answered in the way he did.   I’m sure he was shocked to find out after the debate that not everyone has those same Hyde Park foreign policy sentiments.   Look at his last sentence in the answer for proof of that view — its a DISGRACE? that we we haven’t met with them?!?!?!?!  

Finally, the idea that Obama’s answer is really non-commital because the question in the YouTube debate included the word “willing,” is simply parsing at its Clintonian best.

I guess what Obama really meant for the debate watchers to understand from his answer was that he was willing to meet with those hostile leaders unless he wasn’t willing to meet with those hostile leaders.

Understand?  It all depends on what the meaning of is is.   

5/29/2008

Truthing Obamafuscations: Part Two of a Continuing Series Through November

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:19 pm



Posted by WLS:

A couple weeks ago I decided to start calling attention to “Obamafuscastions” of the truth through the summer and into the fall.  Part one is here.

I’ve had several opportunties over the past couple weeks to post additional parts, but they just didn’t seem juicy enough.

But this passage from the commencement speech he gave at Wesleyan College has a glaring factual untruth in it — and its about his OWN biography:

But during my first two years of college, perhaps because the values my mother had taught me –hard work, honesty, empathy – had resurfaced after a long hibernation; or perhaps because of the example of wonderful teachers and lasting friends, I began to notice a world beyond myself.  I became active in the movement to oppose the apartheid regime of South Africa.  I began following the debates in this country about poverty and health care.  So that by the time I graduated from college, I was possessed with a crazy idea – that I would work at a grassroots level to bring about change. 

I wrote letters to every organization in the country I could think of.  And one day, a small group of churches on the South Side of Chicago offered me a job to come work as a community organizer in neighborhoods that had been devastated by steel plant closings.  My mother and grandparents wanted me to go to law school.  My friends were applying to jobs on Wall Street.  Meanwhile, this organization offered me $12,000 a year plus $2,000 for an old, beat-up car.

And I said yes.   

Based on the Wikipedia entry for Obama, this is not an accurate timeline of his migration to South Side Chicago politics as a “community organizer.”  He did not go there directly out of college as he suggests here — he went two years later — after first working for two NY organizations:   Business_International_Corporation  a publishing and business consulting group, and New York Public Interest Research Group.

Business International Corporation (BI) was a publishing and advisory firm dedicated to assisting American companies in operating abroad. In 1986, Business International was acquired by The Economist Group in London, and eventually merged with The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Founded in 1953 … BI initially focused on American companies and started out with a weekly newsletter (called Business International) and a group of key corporate clients. BI eventually became the premier information source on global business with research, advisory functions, conferences and government roundtables in addition to its publications. It was headquartered in New York City, with major offices in Geneva, London, Vienna, Hong Kong and Tokyo, and a network of correspondents across the globe.

Publications included a family of newsletters (Business International, Business Europe, Business Eastern Europe, Business Latin America, Business Asia, Business China, and Business International Money Report), regularly updated reference products covering 40-50 countries (Financing Foreign Operations; Investment, Licensing and Trading Conditions Abroad), an international business and economic forecasting service, a risk assessment service, and in-depth research reports. It also conducted specialized research assignments for its clients. It was well-known for its Roundtable Conferences that brought senior business executives together with key government figures in capital cities around the globe. Its business forecasting conferences and publications were also widely used.

Its international client base included most major American companies, as well as European, Japanese and Indian companies and corporate groups.

United States Senator Barack Obama‘s first job after graduating from Columbia University was with the company. He held a position as a research associate in its general international business information division.

The website for the New York Public Interest Research  Group, is found here.

So, why would Obama say in a commencement speech that his call to public service came from a political awakening during his first (not sure if he meant “first” two years which were at Occidental in Los Angeles, or his “final” two years which were at Columbia in NY)  two years of college led him to write letters to every orgainization in the country he could think of, resulting ultimately in an offer to work for $12,000 on the South Side of Chicago — but failed to mention that he worked for a big business outfit in New York immediately after graduation?

Inconveniently, that FACT wouldn’t fit the narrative he’s constructed of a man whose epiphany for service stirred the community organizer buried deep in his sole.

This is another example of what I called attention to yesterday — Obama’s willingness to embellish facts in order to make stories about himself seem richer in their texture.

h/t powerlineblog 

5/9/2008

Truthing Obamafuscations: Part One of a Continuing Series Through November

Posted by WLS: 

Now that there is a presumptive Dimocrit nominee for the general election, I’m going to start a recurring series of postings commenting on non-answers given by Obama to direct questions posed to him by the media and others. 

The problem I expect to see develop in the very near term is the dramatic curtailment of Obama’s availability to answer questions in a format that provides for any level of candidness.  He is clearly an effective speaker when working with a teleprompter and a script, but his impromptu responses to media questions are largely void of substance.  When they do have substance they often amount to a dodge of the issue, but sometimes they contain some nugget of information about the stealth candidate that is illuminating with respect to his real beliefs.  As these more revealing comments appear I’m going to highlight them, and the implications of those comments in future policy issues.

Yesterday Obama appeared on Wolf Blitzer’s show on CNN.  As an initial entry in this series, I present the following “answer” on a simple question about whether he might advocate an increase in the capital gains tax rate:

[Blitzer]   Because they’re arguing already that you want to increase capital gains taxes, for example, on investments, and stocks, and things like that.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: A lot of middle-class people have those kinds of accounts. If they’re…

OBAMA: If they have, — Wolf, if they have a 401(k), then they are going to see those taxes deferred, and they’re going to pay ordinary income when they finally cash out. So, that’s a phony argument. And this is something that you have seen the Republicans consistently do, is they try to make this broad- based argument about, he’s going to raise your taxes as a cover for them eliminating taxes for people like myself and you, who can afford to pay a little bit more…

Now this was a pretty straight-forward question — whether he’s suspectible to GOP claims that he will raise the capital gains tax rate, and what that means for middle class Americans.   

Rather than address the question — by saying, for example, that the capital gains tax rate it too low and should be raised, or that  it is fine where it is and will be left alone — he answers with a complete obfuscation. 

401(k) plans have nothing to do with capital gains taxes.  Contributions to 401(k) plans are made with pre-tax earnings, and the withdrawals upon eligibility are taken as ordinary income and taxed accordingly at the tax rate applicable to the retiree — including that part of the plan’s funds the constitute appreciation/ capital gains.    

Wolf Blitzer is too much of an idiot to follow-up by pointing out that Obama hadn’t answered the question, and the issue of raising the capital gains tax rate extends far beyond simply raising taxes on the “rich”.  

To suggest that American households only own stocks in their 401(k) plan — and to ignore completely the issue of capital gains taxes on investment accounts, college savings accounts, on the sale of homes, farms, or other real property —  reflects either ignorance of basic tax issues, or an unwillingness by Obama to state his positions honestly.

Frankly, I think its more of the former than the latter. 

Obama would be only the most recent example in my life of a Harvard Law School egghead who lacked a basic comprehension of day-to-day issues facing ordinary Americans.  Some of the dumbest people I’ve ever met — including some of the worst lawyers I’ve ever encountered — were graduates of elite East Coast academic institutions.   


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