Posted tagged ‘Obama’s final days as president’

Obama Appoints Anti-Israel Adviser to Holocaust Museum Council

January 18, 2017

Obama Appoints Anti-Israel Adviser to Holocaust Museum Council, The Jewish PressDavid Israel, January 18, 2017

(Don’t be alarmed. It could be worse. Obama could, for example, have appointed his former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. — DM)

ben-rhodes-and-president-obama-on-board-air-force-oneBen Rhodes and President Obama on board Air Force One
Photo Credit: Pete Souza – White House, via Wikimedia

Rhodes recently raised many eyebrows when he enlightened reporters about the “tens of thousands” of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria: “Again, I think the question is going to be when history looks at these types of decisions, when people look back and they say, you saw tens of thousands of settlements being constructed, you saw as was addressed in the resolution, incitement to violence on the Palestinian side.”

And so, in his characteristic manner, President Obama appointed a man with serious integrity issues to be on the board of an institution that deals daily with attacks on its veracity by forces looking to denigrate and deny the memory of the Holocaust.

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President Barack Obama appointed White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes to a post on the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s council, the White House Reported Tuesday. Rhodes was probed by Congress over revelations that he served in his sensitive position as the president’s most trusted advisor despite the fact that he had not qualified for security clearances based on FBI background checks in 2008.

Rhodes, the son of an Episcopalian father from Texas and a Jewish mother, has been attacked by Jewish groups and media outlets over his role in selling the Iran nuclear to the American public. Rhodes admitted to misleading reporters regarding the actual timeline of US negotiations with Iran, saying he used young, inexperienced reporters to create an “echo chamber” in order to sway public opinion (and Democrats on the Hill) in favor of the deal.

Rhodes recently raised many eyebrows when he enlightened reporters about the “tens of thousands” of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria: “Again, I think the question is going to be when history looks at these types of decisions, when people look back and they say, you saw tens of thousands of settlements being constructed, you saw as was addressed in the resolution, incitement to violence on the Palestinian side.”

And so, in his characteristic manner, President Obama appointed a man with serious integrity issues to be on the board of an institution that deals daily with attacks on it veracity by forces looking to denigrate and deny the memory of the Holocaust.

Rhodes’ appointment to the Holocaust museum’s council could raise eyebrows in the Jewish community, which has clashed with Rhodes and the White House over the administration’s outreach to Iran and push to secure the contested nuclear agreement.

Or, as Obama put it in a statement: “I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles. I know they will serve the American people well.” He was referring, besides Rhodes, to Valerie Jarrett and Susan Rice whom the president pawned off on the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Board of Trustees.

Off Topic? | Obama Blocks Cubans Fleeing Regime, Scraps Defectors Program

January 13, 2017

Obama Blocks Cubans Fleeing Regime, Scraps Defectors Program, PJ Media, Bridget Johnson, January 12, 2017

(Obama welcomes Islamists who hate America and all for which she stands, while rejecting Cubans fleeing a Communist dictatorship in hopes of living and prospering in a free country.  Please see also, Obama Feeds Cuba’s Firing Squads — DM)

cubanrefugeesA group of men from Cuba hug after coming ashore in Key West, Fla., in June 2016. (Mike Hentz, Key West Citizen via AP)

Menendez said the eliminated policies “reflect our commitment to the values of liberty and democracy.”

“We should never deny a Cuban refugee fleeing a brutal regime entry into the United States. We must remind ourselves every day of the continued oppression and human suffering that is happening – not only halfway around the world, but just 90 miles off our shores. The ongoing repressive behavior of the Cuban regime still haunts our hemisphere today,” the New Jersey Dem said. “The fact is the recent ill-conceived changes in American policy towards Cuba have rewarded the regime with an economic lifeline while leaving everyday Cubans less hopeful about their futures under a brutal totalitarian dictatorship.”

“And while more needs to be done to prevent the small universe arriving from Cuba who may seek to exploit the privileges and freedoms that come with the ‘wet-foot/dry-foot’ policy, those few actors should not destroy our efforts to protect the many who are forced to flee persecution.”

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WASHINGTON — President Obama today revoked the “wet-foot/dry-foot” policy that has provided refuge for Cubans escaping the communist island since the mid-1990s, prompting Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to accuse the administration of turning its back on people fleeing persecution.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), whose family fled Cuba when she was 7 years old, declared that Obama eliminated the refugee policy, and the Cuban Medical Professional Parole program that encouraged defections of doctors and nurses working abroad, “because that’s what the Cuban dictatorship wanted and the White House caved to what Castro wants.”

“Castro uses refugees as pawns to get more concessions from Washington so there is no reason to do away with the Cuban medical doctor program, which is a foolhardy concession to a regime that sends its doctors to foreign nations in a modern-day indentured servitude,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

The Department of Homeland Security said the programs were scrapped for the sake of “ongoing normalization of relations between the governments of the United States and Cuba” and “a commitment to have a broader immigration policy in which we treat people from different countries consistently.”

“The United States will now treat Cuban migrants in a manner consistent with how it treats others; unauthorized migrants can expect to be removed unless they qualify for humanitarian relief under our laws,” DHS said in a statement, adding that the Cuban government “has agreed to begin to accept the return of Cuban nationals who have been ordered removed.”

“Cuba and the United States will work to further discourage unlawful migration to the United States and promote bilateral cooperation to prevent and prosecute alien smuggling and other crimes related to illegal migration.”

Obama said the policies were “designed for a different era” and the elimination of the medical parole program was for the benefit of Cubans. “By providing preferential treatment to Cuban medical personnel, the medical parole program contradicts those efforts, and risks harming the Cuban people,” he said. “Cuban medical personnel will now be eligible to apply for asylum at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, consistent with the procedures for all foreign nationals.”

“With this change we will continue to welcome Cubans as we welcome immigrants from other nations, consistent with our laws,” the president added. “During my administration, we worked to improve the lives of the Cuban people – inside of Cuba – by providing them with greater access to resources, information and connectivity to the wider world. Sustaining that approach is the best way to ensure that Cubans can enjoy prosperity, pursue reforms, and determine their own destiny.”

On a White House call with reporters this evening, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said there has been “a continued uptick in Cuban migrants coming to the United States” since the administration’s policies to deepen relations with the regime have gone into effect, and officials “did not want to speculate publicly about the likelihood of this change for fear of inviting even greater migration flows.”

“There’s obviously an enormous number of — there’s a very large Cuban American population, and many Cuban migrants are already here. It was going to be too complicated, frankly, to significantly return people who are already here,” Rhodes said. “We wanted to get things right going forward.”

Rhodes added that “the best way” for Cubans to have opportunity “is for them to be able to pursue it at home through an economy that has continued to pursue market-based reforms.”

Menendez said Congress “was not consulted prior to this abrupt policy announcement with just nine days left in this administration.”

“The Obama administration seeks to pursue engagement with the Castro regime at the cost of ignoring the present state of torture and oppression, and its systematic curtailment of freedom,” the senator said.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said on the White House call that “the discussions leading up to this were very sensitive,” and that’s why Congress was left in the dark.

“The policy that we’re announcing today is effective immediately. We did not want for there to be a mass exodus from Cuba in anticipation of a change in policy,” Johnson said.

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Cubans line up on Mexican border. Stopped from entering US. “I got here two hours late,” said Carlos

15 Cubans are lined up on Mexican side of border at Laredo border station blocked from entering. “Help us. Help us.”

White House official said they hoped Congress would repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act, the 1966 law allowing migration of Cubans able to escape. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) acknowledged that the law needs reform, but said “the Obama administration’s characterization of this change as part of the ongoing normalization with the Castro regime is absurd.”

“We must work to ensure that Cubans who arrive here to escape political persecution are not summarily returned to the regime, and they are given a fair opportunity to apply for and receive political asylum,” Rubio said.

He called on the incoming Trump administration to reverse the part of the executive order eliminating the medical parole program and “allow these doctors to seek asylum at U.S. embassies or consulates in other countries.”

Menendez said the eliminated policies “reflect our commitment to the values of liberty and democracy.”

“We should never deny a Cuban refugee fleeing a brutal regime entry into the United States. We must remind ourselves every day of the continued oppression and human suffering that is happening – not only halfway around the world, but just 90 miles off our shores. The ongoing repressive behavior of the Cuban regime still haunts our hemisphere today,” the New Jersey Dem said. “The fact is the recent ill-conceived changes in American policy towards Cuba have rewarded the regime with an economic lifeline while leaving everyday Cubans less hopeful about their futures under a brutal totalitarian dictatorship.”

“And while more needs to be done to prevent the small universe arriving from Cuba who may seek to exploit the privileges and freedoms that come with the ‘wet-foot/dry-foot’ policy, those few actors should not destroy our efforts to protect the many who are forced to flee persecution.”

Humor | Obama issues ‘farewell’ Presidential drone strikes

January 5, 2017

Obama issues ‘farewell’ Presidential drone strikes, Duffel Blog, January 5, 2017

obamadronesonPHOTO CREDIT: WHITE HOUSE

In a fulfillment of his campaign promise, Obama added that the strikes would be perfectly constitutional, for reasons which were immediately classified by the Central Intelligence Agency.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — With less than 20 days left in office, a nostalgic and misty-eyed President Barack Obama today put his signature on his administration’s last batch of “farewell” drone strikes.

“When we’ve been told that we don’t have enough intelligence, there will be heavy civilian casualties, we’ll severely destabilize our allies, or we’ll wind up killing Americans without a trial, all I can say, is ‘Yes we did!’ and ‘Yes we can!’” Obama told a small group of CIA employees who were on hand to witness the event.

CIA Director John Brennan joked, “Uncle Sam has his own naughty list, and if you’re on it you get more than a lump of coal in your stocking,” as the President added to uproarious laughter, “Try one hundred pounds of Hellfire and a Happy New Year.”

Brennan has already dubbed the upcoming strike package — set to be carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia — Operation REAPER HARVEST, though CIA employees still in the holiday spirit have nicknamed it “Operation Slay Ride.”

Likely farewell targets include ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, and the entire incoming Trump administration.

Obama has also debated carrying out strikes on former frenemies like Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a few “signature strikes” against individuals displaying suspicious behavior, such as being a military-age male or living in Yemen.

However, the vast majority of targets will be unnamed insurgents, as well as their immediate family, friends, and anyone who happens to be standing within a few meters of their house.

While Obama was outwardly enthusiastic, he was also quite nostalgic.

“It seems like just yesterday I was ordering my very first drone strike,” he told reporters. “We were so young and naive: we actually stayed up all night debating whether there was a senior Taliban commander present, then after we launched the attack it turned out there were no enemy present and we had just killed nine civilians. Whoops!”

While the Obama Administration has been notoriously tight-lipped on details of the planned strikes, senior officials privately admitted that the roughly 20 strikes the president authorized today would bring the administration’s eight-year total of drone strikes to around 21.

In a fulfillment of his campaign promise, Obama added that the strikes would be perfectly constitutional, for reasons which were immediately classified by the Central Intelligence Agency.

See Also: Reaper Drone Found Not Guilty in Death of American Teenager