Saturday, December 19, 2015


The media was mildly surprised (disappointed?) that no disturbances materialized in Baltimore after a mistrial was declared in the case of officer William Porter who was charged in the death of a man named Freddie Gray while Gray was in police custody. There should've been no surprise. Officer Porter is black. Had he been white the city would now be in flames. This case is really not about the death of Freddie Gray, it's about the perceived mistreatment of blacks by white cops. If a black cop mistreats a black suspect that doesn't stoke the anger of the African American community, but if a white cop did the same thing and the jury failed to reach a verdict it would be explosive. The media would be dumping gas on the fire by pointing out at every opportunity the race of the cop (it was often never mentioned in the Porter case), and all but declaring that the whole system is racist. In other words, white cops are held to a higher standard than are black cops. Isn't that itself racist?

Bernie Sanders is rightly upset that the Democrat National Committee (DNC) has chosen to hold their presidential primary debate tonight, a Saturday night during peak shopping season when it's guaranteed that hardly anyone will be watching television. Of course, the DNC doesn't actually want anyone to watch the debate since the more exposure Hillary gets the lower her ratings fall, and the DNC wants her as their candidate. So, the DNC's chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has chosen to hide her from public view as much as possible. The DNC has also blocked the Sanders campaign from accessing a voter database, a move which Sanders is interpreting as yet another attempt to sabotage his campaign. Perhaps Sanders should consider exacting the ultimate revenge against the Democrats by running in the general election as an independent candidate. He's already an Independent senator and he has every reason to think he's been treated unfairly by the Democrats, so why not? Run, Bernie, Run!

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has added his name to the growing list of ex-SecDefs who've expressed their dismay with the manner in which the Obama administration conducts its foreign policy. Hagel gives the impression that the president and his team are flying by the seat of their pants:
Jet-lagged from a long overseas trip, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had just sat down with his wife for a quiet dinner at an upscale Italian restaurant in northern Virginia when his phone rang. It was the White House on the line. President Barack Obama wanted to speak with him.

It was Aug. 30, 2013, and the U.S. military was poised for war. Obama had publicly warned Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad that his regime would face consequences if it crossed a “red line” by employing chemical weapons against its own people. Assad did it anyway, and Hagel had spent the day approving final plans for a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missile strikes against Damascus. U.S. naval destroyers were in the Mediterranean, awaiting orders to fire.

Instead, Obama told a stunned Hagel to stand down. Assad’s Aug. 21 chemical attack in a Damascus suburb had killed hundreds of civilians, but the president said the United States wasn’t going to take any military action against the Syrian government. The president had decided to ignore his own red line — a decision, Hagel believes, that dealt a severe blow to the credibility of both Obama and the United States.

In the days and months afterward, Hagel’s counterparts around the world told him their confidence in Washington had been shaken over Obama’s sudden about-face. And the former defense secretary said he still hears complaints to this day from foreign leaders.

“A president’s word is a big thing, and when the president says things, that’s a big deal,” he said.
Hagel's complaint leads us to wonder why the options for our response to the contingency that Assad would cross Mr. Obama's "red line" not all planned out and agreed upon in advance. Isn't that how a competent White House would operate?