Secretary of State Kerry feels President Putin’s “19th century” behavior is not up to G-8 elite standards.
This isn’t Putin’s first rodeo when it comes to dropping in uninvited on his neighbors. He invaded Georgia on President Bush’s watch in August 2008. Like the current Crimea crises, Bush didn’t do much to stop it.
Then came Hillary’s “Reset”, or Overcharge.
Michael Gerson in the Washington Post thinks the reset may have contributed to Putins feelings of grandeur:
President Obama’s “reset” with Russia was designed to end the economic, political and military isolation of Putin’s Russia after the invasion of Georgia in 2008. The Kremlin did not keep the terms of the cease-fire ending that conflict. But Obama was determined to unfreeze the post-Georgia relationship, particularly since cooperation was needed on issues of mutual concern such as Iran and Syria.
Pressuring Putin over Ukraine is tricky. It’s a tough sell to squeeze the Russian economy because much of Europe depends on Putin for fuel. But what about American dependency on Russia for a way back to earth?
Russian Rocket Rides
Ever since NASA put the Space Shuttle up on blocks in 2011, with no replacement, the U.S. has paid 70 million a pop for Russian rocket rides.
The big story on Fox New Sunday was that IRS kingpin Lois Lerner would waive her 5th amendment rights and testify before Daryl Issa’s House Oversight committee. At least that’s what Issa told Chris Wallace on Sunday. On Wednesday Lerner pled the fifth again.
Issa Cummings Committee Chaos
Angered by Lerner’s continued silence, Issa ruled the the hearing adjourned. He then silenced the leading committee Democrat, Ellijah Cummings, by cutting off his mic. The room erupted in chaos with Cummings shouting “I’m a U.S. Congressman” and fellow Dems chanting “shame”. Let’s go rinkside to Dana Milbank:
Issa told Wallace on Sunday that Lerner’s “attorney indicates now that she will testify” after refusing to do so at a hearing last year. The lawyer denied this, and Lerner did not testify Wednesday — and that would have been the news, if not for Issa’s sound-system antics.
Indeed. Issa keeps stepping on his own punchline. The news might have been about why Lerner doesn’t want to talk about these emails:
“Tea Party Matter very dangerous… Counsel and Judy Kindell need to be in on this one… Cincy should probably NOT have these cases,” Lerner said in a February 2011 email.
“Cincinnati wasn’t publicly ‘thrown under the bus’ (but) instead was hit by a convoy of Mack trucks,” wrote Cindy Thomas, former director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Cincinnati, in a May 10, 2013 email to Lerner.
It looks like the IRS intimidated conservative groups and the Tea Party was relatively quiet in the 2012 election. Was there corruption? So far Republicans haven’t come up with a smidgen of proof.
President Obama whispered in Dmitri Medvedev’s ear that, after the 2012 election, he could be flexible.
In the final 2012 presidential debate Mitt Romney called Russia our greatest geopolitical threat. Obama mocked him by saying “the 1980′s is calling for its foreign policy back because, you know, the cold war’s been over for 20 years”. Looks like the 1800′s are on line 2. John Kerry’s response to Putin’s invasion of Crimea was that it was a “19th century act in the 21st century”. Light Brigade, report for duty.
The Washington Post editorial page thinks President Obama has lost his marbles. It says his “foreign policy is based on fantasy”:
FOR FIVE YEARS, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which “the tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces.
Speaking of how he thinks the world should operate, Obama commended the Ukrainian government for its “restraint” during the current unpleasantness. To which Bret Stephens responded in the WSJ:
The Ukrainian government isn’t showing restraint; it is merely tragically impotent in the face of blunt aggression.. It used to be that defiance, not restraint, was considered the appropriate response to a foreign invasion”.
Stephens thinks Obama invited Putin’s behavior by not seeing a connection to his capitulation to Putin on Syria. Then there’s also the failed Reset and abandoned missile defense for Poland and the Czech Republic.
This is all a little much for Dana Milbank, also in the Post. He wants to know how Obama can be such a power grabbing, constitution shredding tyrant at home and a flexible weakling on the international stage.
I think he has a point. I should have drawn the Flexible One wearing his crown.
In America we’re innocent until proven guilty. Thanks to the fifth amendment we aren’t required to testify against ourselves. That would be the same fifth amendment IRS boss Lois Lerner invoked to avoid testifying about IRS harassment of conservative groups.
As it happens, the one area where we don’t have fifth amendment protection is when it comes to reporting our obligations to the IRS.
In order to bestow on the federal government the power to force us to buy health insurance, Chief Justice Roberts deemed the penalty for not buying insurance to be a tax. That’s because while the U.S. Constitution overlooked insurance sales, it does give Congress the power to tax.
Being a tax, we are required to prove to the IRS that we don’t owe it.
To soften the blow the IRS isn’t calling this tax the Individual Mandate to Violate of Our Constitutional Rights. They are calling it your Shared Responsibility Payment. Kind of has a ring to it – the Affordable Care Act’s Shared Responsibility Payment.
Where the hell are we?
Just for the fun of it if you want to hear Obama insist again to George Stephanopoulos that the mandate isn’t a tax Click here. (You’ll have to watch a short commercial but it’s worth it.)