In The Headlights

Friday, January 24, 2020
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Riley composes the Silly Sentinel editorials from the perspective of a dog who finds human behavior more than a little nonsensical. Being completely dependent on the support of others, he should advocate more of an accommodating view, but he doesn’t. His focus is on the silly things members of his benefactor species do and the farcical explanations they conjure to justify their actions. He will never run short of material.


The Weak That Was

Dateline: Punyville, May 17, 2015 Another weak week has just ended and what a weak it was. The lamest incident is the major blow off Arab leaders gave President Obama over what was to be an historic conference at Camp David.


Back on April 17, the White House announced a U.S. – GCC Summit in Washington on May 13 and 14. The GCC, or Gulf Cooperation Council, consists of six Persian Gulf monarchies including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.


Billed as an historic meeting, the get-together was supposed to be all hugs and kisses about how to strengthen security cooperation among the seven countries. Obama wanted to use the occasion to assure the kings that the U.S. still really has their backs against Iran’s burgeoning bullyism in their ‘hood.


The leaders of four of the six monarchs must have missed the momentous message because they decided not to attend, sending underlings instead. Widely viewed as a snub to the White House, the absences underscored the U.S.’s vanishing influence in that part of the world. This circumstance is not something that a day and one-half listening to Obama’s lectures will change.


Saudi Arabia, in particular, has been highly critical of the Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. Not only does it not deter Iran’s nuclear advancements, lifting economic sanctions will pour billions of dollars into the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.


On top of that is our Country’s general abandonment of the Middle East, which is in the midst of an Iran-Syria-ISIS bloodbath. Today, the city of Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s largest province, fell to ISIS after government forces fled. Not a great start to a new week.


The Iran wedge that is being driven between long-standing allies is another sad example of the U.S. dictating outcomes in distant lands. Obama refuses to listen to our allies in the region about how to handle Iran substituting, instead, his own judgment of what is best for them.


Despite Obama’s speeches about the intrusive failures of past U.S. foreign policy, Western colonialism is still ruining the world.




The Weak That Was

Dateline: Punyville, May 10, 2015 Another weak week has just ended and what a weak it was. The lamest of the lame is the excuse given for a fantastically false statement made by our Director of National Intelligence. But, there were other weaknesses on display, too.


Back in 2013 James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, testified before a congressional hearing that the U.S. does not gather information on American citizens. The testimony came only a couple of months before Edward Snowden spilled the beans on the NSA’s massive data collection program. Oops.


Last week, Clapper’s attorney explained his client’s big, fat slip of the lip. The Director simply forgot about the gargantuan program that records metadata on cell phone calls including the number called and the date and time of the call. The program has been widely criticized as an intrusion on fundamental liberties. But, the proponents have been just as vociferous.


Regardless of the merits of the debate, the collection effort is huge. That Clapper simply forgot about it is unbelievable. He’d do a better job justifying his testimony by claiming that the program was aimed, not at Americans, but at their cell phones.


The other especially lame happening is North Korea’s test launch of a newly developed ballistic missile into the sea off the South Korean coast. Firing test missiles toward South Korea is not a new exercise for the government of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un.


But, this one was the response given to recent diplomatic overtures from the Obama administration. Nothing says ‘no’ to peace like a missile launch.


Worse, the North has nuclear weapons, conducting its first test of them in 2006. Obama offered a diplomatic resolution in 2012 but was rebuffed the following year with the Country’s third nuclear test.


Experts predict that North Korea could have as many as 100 nuclear weapons by 2020. Since Kim Jung-Un is widely regarded as an unrestrained murderous tyrant, having all those weapons in his arsenal is a very scary proposition.


So far, our only reaction has been ineffective sanctions and those shriveled olive branches.




The Weak That Was

Dateline: Punyville, April 26, 2015 Another week has just ended and what a weak it was. The lamest of the lame are the excuses Clinton supporters are making for what should, by rights, end up being her huge cash crash.


History should report the revelations in the soon-to-be-released-but-already-heavily-reviewed The Clinton Cash book as Hillary’s last stand. Like Custer before her, she should be scalped in the fighting that is now still a skirmish.


In the book, author Peter Schweizer hammers the Clintons with a detailed account of their high-priced influence peddling and the resulting damage to American security.


Joining the investigation and connecting more of the dollars-for-favors dots are The New York Times, The Washington Post and Fox News, among others.


So far, the Clinton response has been typical. Their spokespeople are out savaging the messenger, criticizing the media and ducking tough questions.


But, claims of a vast right wing conspiracy and biased media outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post ring very hallow.


It matters not at all what the author’s motivations may have been. The question is whether his detailed accounts are accurate. And of course the media should investigate. Drilling down on who our presidential candidates really are is one of their highest callings.


Meanwhile, the Clinton Foundation last week admitted making “accounting mistakes” that masked donations from foreign governments in Foundation reporting documents.


No wonder Secretary of State Clinton kept all of her email on a server in her own basement and recently deleted 33,000 ‘personal’ messages. She’s right. It certainly was in her personal interest to eradicate all evidence of her involvement in unlawful activity.




The Weak That Was

Dateline: Punyville, April 19, 2015 It’s been a weak week on many fronts. Three of the lamest deserve special mention.


First, and probably least significant among the weak, is Hillary’s performance on the campaign trail. Her entourage wound its way into Iowa where she spoke in favor of “undocumented workers”.


To emphasize the contribution of immigrants, Hillary proudly proclaimed that “all my grandparents” immigrated to this Country. That would be true if she had a single grandparent. But, alas, she had four of them, which makes the pronouncement a big, fat, lame fib.


The official excuse was that Hillary’s grandparents talked so much about the “immigrant experience” that she was confused about their actual status. If she’s this easily flummoxed, even a map and compass won’t her get to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


And then there was Clinton’s attempt to show kinship with “ordinary” people. She cozied up to as many as possible on her Iowa stops, especially in small town gathering places like ice cream stores and coffee shops.


But, it turns out that too many of those ordinary people were plants. Handpicked in advance and coached on how to act, they did their fawning best to make the candidate look just like one of us. Can a pretender to the Presidency get there by just pretending?


Second, DEA Administrator, Michele Leonhart, was scorched during her appearance before the House Oversight Committee. The head of the DEA claimed she could do nothing about dozens of DEA agents who broke the law and compromised criminal investigations.


For a period of several years, DEA agents were treated to “sex parties” and prostitutes in Cartagena, Columbia by the drug cartels they were investigating. Leonhart said that civil service rules limited her role to writing memos about how unacceptable the conduct was.


Evidently, the memos fell on blind eyes, because the “deciding officials” only suspended the agents for a few days rather than terminating them.


Which underscores the problem at the DEA. The head of the Agency is so ineffective that her direct reports ignore the obvious import of her memos and choose to embarrass her instead. She’s an incompetent who needs to be terminated herself.


Third, and worst, is the response of the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the imminent fall of Ramadi to ISIS. General George Dempsey said that the loss of City “is not symbolic in any way.”


Really? Ramadi is the capital of the expansive Anbar province, site of the bloodiest fighting of the Iraq war. More American died in Anbar than in any other province.


Dempsey’s dismissal of the City’s importance makes him Obama’s Whore of War. He’ll role-play any fantasy to satisfy his do-nothing Presidential patron. Meanwhile, the mother of the first Navy Seal killed in Ramadi is waiting for an apology from Dempsey for trivializing her son’s death. She may wait for a very long time.




The Weak That Was

Dateline: Punyville, April 12, 2015 On Saturday, Barack Obama met with Raul Castro in what was billed as a ‘historic’ meeting. Not really. Obama has a history of foreign policy mistakes. This was just another one.


The meeting yesterday followed an interview on Thursday with EFE, the Spanish international news agency. In the interview, Obama claimed that his policy shift toward Cuba was “already showing results.”


The President has an absurd habit of falsely attributing great outcomes to his actions. His assertion of results flowing from his Cuba reversal is one of them. By way of explanation, he offered only “increased contacts” between the people of our two countries and “enthusiasm” on the part of Cubans. In other words, nothing of substance.


What is substantial is the fact that Cuba, one of the most persistent human rights violators in modern history, remains unchanged from Obama’s efforts. Why not? He makes no concession demands, not even the tiniest of movements in the direction of tolerance.


Instead, Obama is merely turning on the financial spigot for the island country. No wonder the Cubans are enthusiastic. Hooray for them.


Raul Castro did absolve Obama of responsibility for U.S. imperialism and other acts of aggression. Hooray for him.


Not all was lost, however. Obama revealed something important, but so far largely overlooked, in a statement on Saturday before the Castro meeting. He finally defined his overarching foreign policy guideline.


He put it this way, “I’m not interested in having battles frankly that started before I was born.”


His declaration does explain the U.S. withdrawal from everywhere since the battles of today are the battles of decades, centuries and even millennia ago. Muslim vs Muslim. Muslim vs. Jew. Muslim vs. Christian. Christian vs. Christian. Democracies vs. autocrats. Everyone else vs. terrorism. And on and on.


Withdrawal has left a leadership vacuum and created a mess of the planet. Not exactly hooray for us.




The Weak That Was

Dateline: Punyville, April 5, 2015 On Thursday, the parties negotiating in Switzerland announced the framework of a deal to lift sanctions and slow roll nuclear development.


Congress and several of our Middle East allies have been very vocal in their criticisms of the negotiations with Iran, fearing that the U.S.-led delegation will give away the store.


So, Obama’s bragging about the announcement was understandable. The only problem, besides the framework being basically an agreement to agree, is that no one can agree on what it says.


Rather than signing a joint summary of the broad-stroke terms, the parties issued their own versions. They vary in more than the language they are written in.


The English version claims a gradual reduction in sanctions, which will continue only as long as Iran behaves itself. It also assures that Iran will only have a limited nuclear research capability. The importance of the limitation is to lengthen the time it will take the Iranians to build a bomb whenever they get around to it.


For those who read Farsi, the sanctions will be lifted immediately and permanently. Nuclear research, including at the hardened underground Fordo facility, will be unrestrained. The facility was constructed in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty and only discovered in 2009.


The excuse the Obama administration gave for not issuing a joint summary of the terms was that it would take too long to negotiate. I guess. As soon as the Americans published their summary, the Iranian delegation leader tweeted that it was spin baloney.


Everyone does agree that the framework does not affirm Israel’s right to exist. The State Department rejected the idea saying that the agreement was only about the nuclear issue. That’s exactly Netanyahu’s point.


While the parties continue to spar publicly over the framework, several issues at home remain unresolved as well. The dispute over whether an agreement will be a treaty, which requires Senate approval, is a big bone of contention. So is the question of whether the President can end Congressional sanctions without Congressional consent.


The answers are unknown at this point. What is known today in Farsi, English and all the other languages on the planet is that the clowns have taken over the circus.


Pass the Cracker Jacks.




The Weak That Was

Dateline: Punyville, March 29, 2015 Last Tuesday, President Obama uttered words about the Middle East so weak, as in exceptionally lame, that critics figured he’d hit rock bottom. Undaunted, he’s gone down hill since then dragging the rest of us with him.


It’s really tiresome to showcase Obama’s Middle East goofs week after week. But, they just keep coming, with increasingly serious consequences following on their heels.


On Tuesday, Obama continued his unrelenting criticism of the newly re-elected Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama took him to task for promises made on the campaign trail, which Netanyahu later walked back. As if the President hasn’t done more than his share of walking backwards.


Anyway, the worst part of the tongue-lashing was Obama’s benediction promise to “evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.”


Someone should take the President out of his cellophane box and let him watch a lot more TV so he can see what’s going on. The worst chaos in a generation is raining from Yemen to Iraq through Syria. And everyone but Obama and, possibly, John Kerry, knows it.


Obama’s befuddling response to the Arab Spring has thrust us onto the precipice of the Nuclear Winter of our Discontent. As James Jeffrey, Obama’s former Ambassador to Iraq, put it last week, “We’re in a goddamn free fall here.”


We are now at the point of fighting along side Iran in Iraq and against the Iranians in Yemen. Our head-spinning side switching has former allies, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others, suspecting a growing American allegiance to the biggest threat to stability in the region.


Meanwhile, Kerry and Obama are hand wringing in desperation over the fact that a deal to eventually allow Iran nuclear weapons will fail. Kerry stiffened against critics last week claiming, in effect, that a very, very bad deal is better than no deal at all.


We can’t wait to see what this week brings.




The Weak That Was

Dateline: Punyville, March 22, 2015 – As usual, several occurrences last week competed for the title, The Biggest Weak That Was. One was so outstanding none of the others even deserve mention.


The current nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and Iran actually include a few more countries seated on our side of the table. They are the U.K., Germany, Russia, China and France.


Plenty of voices in the U.S. have blasted Obama and John Kerry for being too eager and much too weak in their dealing with Iran. But, nothing screams “bad deal” quite as convincingly as the French who have been highly critical of our negotiating team for the past two years.


Last week the French took Kerry to task publically for claiming a deal was close and that the March 31 deadline had to be met. Calling the time limit artificial, counterproductive and dangerous, France stated that our side should simply wait Teheran out to get the deal we need.


The French have taken a hard line stand on a gradual, rather than immediate, ending of U.N. sanctions against Iran. They also want tougher constraints on Iran’s nuclear research endeavors. Their statements last week dramatically underscored how weak the Obama Administration is in seeking a deal with Iran’s Supreme Leader who on Saturday called for death to America.


Why is the French criticism so telling? Until now, France has had a cowardly reputation of surrender in the face of threat. Flight is better than fight. Look the other way to live another day. Things like that. When they are the only ones in the room with a backbone, something is very, very wrong.


Our Secretary of State supposedly met with French representatives over the weekend to try to bridge the negotiating gulf that separates our two countries. But, it’s highly doubtful that John You’ve-Got-A-Friend Kerry can convince them of anything.


Back in November 2013, the French prime minister characterized American efforts to get an interim deal signed with Iran as “a fool’s game”. Unfortunately, the fools are still out there.


We can’t wait to see what this week brings.




The Weak That Was


Dateline: Punyville, March 1, 2015 – There were several revelations and actions in the past seven days competing for the title, the biggest weak that was. Two of them tied for the title with a third coming in second.


One of the first place prizes goes to the House of Representatives for needing to pass the seven–day DHS funding extension.


This was, possibly, the biggest instance of failed Republican leadership in the current century.


The dust up is over Obama’s executive action on immigration, which a federal judge blocked, at least temporarily, on February 17. The administration is appealing the judge’s order.


Refusing to leave the separation of powers determination to the courts where it belongs, Republicans vowed to undo it themselves through Congressional action.


But even with several months to figure out their strategy, the GOP’ers were easily out-foxed by much craftier Dems. Made to look like they were undermining the Country’s security, the Republicans took a seven-day time-out to regroup.


Maybe it’s better if these clowns take a permanent time-out.


Tied for first place is Jeh Johnson’s explanation for Obama’s refusal to use the term “radical Islam”. According to the Secretary of Homeland Security, the President is bowing to Muslim pressure.


Denying a deadly truth because it offends the sensibilities of others is the height – and depth – of dishonesty and much worse. It’s Orwell’s 1984, Stalin’s Russia and China at any time. It’s also the Obama administration in our time.


In second place all by itself is John Kerry’s claim in a Congressional hearing that “Americans have never been safer in their daily lives”. By ‘safer’, he means the risk of violent death is less.


Yet, just the next day, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, made a very different assessment. According to Clapper, 2014 was the deadliest year ever recorded for terrorism and threats to our safety have never been greater.


Kerry also thought that using a singing James Taylor (“You’ve Got A Friend”) as a substitute for an appearance at the Paris unity rally was o.k. His reality is very different than ours.


I wonder what planet he’ll be on this week.




The Weak That Was

 Dateline: Punyville, February 22, 2015
The word weak can mean a variety of things, a fair amount of them bad. Stuff like feeble, lame, spineless, muted, diluted and half-hearted.


Lame and spineless are personal favorites because examples come in so many different flavors. Today, we focus on just three that happened in the week ending yesterday.


First is the President’s Terror Summit. To begin with, the name is lame. It elevates terrorism to a new high. Then there was the content of the speeches, and a huge number of speeches there were. They focused mainly on the sociology of terrorism.


Poverty and the lack of education and opportunity grow little terrorists like weeds. Solving social issues in far away countries is how terrorism will be defeated.


So we need to set up a whole bunch of career expos – a different kind of boots on the ground.


Of course, the grown up terrorists who’ve already made their career decisions will not be fans of the expos. But, they probably will like the fresh supply of defenseless bodies running them. If only someone would think ahead because it’s difficult to think without one.


The Summit’s conclusions on terrorism were panned in opinion pieces from a very wide variety of sources – such as the World Social Web Site (“barely coherent banalities”), CNN (“nonsense”) and Fox News (“meandering, unfocused and” – our favorite – “weak”).


Their opinions of what causes terrorism were just as diverse. They range from U.S. wars of aggression (WSWS), to perverted religious ideology (CNN) to someone really cares? (Fox).


Their solutions vary widely as well – end wars of aggression, provide religious education from Islamic leaders and scholars and kill, kill, kill. You can figure out which solution came from which source.


At the end of the day, the White House prefers to lecture people to death. No wonder they say it will take years to defeat ISIS. It may actually take forever because nobody’s actually listening.


Second is the video ISIS released on February 15. It purports to depict the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians along a Mediterranean shoreline in Libya. In retaliation, Egypt bombed the most likely Libyan site.


Yesterday, we learned that the slaughter probably occurred in a sound studio, location unknown, with the background added into the video. Film editing is a great way to get friends to bomb friends.


Third is the guy who showed up at a justice of the peace office ahead of his betrothed. When pressed, the groom-to-be could not remember his soon-to-be bride’s name. Smelling something fishy, the official called immigration.


Yes, it was a sham marriage so the groom could stay in the country rather than be deported on his about-to-expire visa. Gee, let’s see. If you’re going to pull a scam, it’s best to be able to identify all the moving parts or you just might stall out – right into the slammer.


We can’t wait to see what this week brings.