4/30/2009

Smartest Man Ever Makes a Mistake?*

"I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day talking about the fact that the British during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, 'We don't torture,' when the entire British -- all of the British people were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat."
President Barack Obama
April, 2009

"The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. The brutality did not end with the war, moreover: a number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948."
The Guardian
November, 2005

*sarcasm alert

4/29/2009

No More Warm Weather For Me


As a life long Mid-Westerner, I have always been envious of those who live in the South. This is mostly because of the weather. As an avid golfer, it’s difficult to play a regulation 18 hole round of golf in Chicago in January. I’ve often told my wife that I’m a warm weather person caught in a cold weather person’s life. However, thanks to the Obama Administration, I no longer feel this way because I don’t want to live among the racists in our society. According to the Obama Justice Department, the South is still run by a bunch of white supremacists.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act which requires many Southern states and their political sub-divisions to get approval from the Justice Department before making any changes in their election rules. Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal referred to Section 5 as “a landmark achievement” that deters schemes to violate the rights of minorities.

Evidently, Mr. Katyal believes that there are gangs of politicians south of the Mason-Dixon Line, meeting in secret rooms, looking for ways to disenfranchise minority voters. But, he doesn’t think that this could be happening anywhere else in the country. If you’re a white politician from Wisconsin, no problem, you’re not a racist. But, if you’re a white politician from Florida, watch out, you have nothing better to do than to prevent black voters from reaching the polls on election day. If you will recall, this was exactly the baseless claim made by Democrats in the aftermath of the 2000 Presidential election. After extensive investigation by the Justice Department, not a single such incident was shown to have occurred.

Chief Justice Roberts asked today if Southerners are more likely to discriminate than Northerners. He then noted that Massachusetts had a lower rate of registering Latino voters than Texas. Surprisingly, Justice Kennedy asked if the sovereignty of Georgia is entitled to less respect than the sovereign dignity of Ohio. So little time these days is spent discussing one of the founding principals of our republic - states' rights. If you look at the 10th amendment, it's clear that this issue is not just for "rightwing" militia members.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley filed a brief in which he noted that 73% of both blacks and whites are registered to vote in Alabama. Gov. Riley then stated that the make up of the state’s legislature was 25% black, the same as the population of the state.

Since the evidence no longer shows that the South is anymore racist than the North, the questions becomes why are the Administration and its allies fighting so hard to retain a law that is a vestige of a long ago unfortunate past? The answer is that those on the left gain for fostering a sense of victimhood and identity politics.

If the government can get people to believe that they are members of an aggrieved group, only government can provide a remedy for their grievance. Look no further than the bill passed today by the House of Representatives expanding the federal hate crimes law. Do Members of Congress really believe that the states are incapable of prosecuting violent crimes that happen inside their borders? Only the wisdom and piety of the Federal Government is capable of handling such a job? (I’ve always wondered about “hate crimes”. If I were to kill someone because I didn’t like the color of his tie, isn’t he just as dead as if I killed him because he was from a foreign country?)

With the increased need for government intervention in order to redress those who are among the aggrieved classes, the power and the size of the federal government will increase. The government will use its power to intervene in private businesses that are allegedly perpetuating these ills. It will use its power to inject itself into schools to teach children to be “sensitive” and politically correct. It will manipulate local governments in order shape their policies to match those of the federal government.

Also, there is a huge industry centered around the business of grievances and racial/ethnic politics. If the government were to admit that things really are better today than they were in 1955, we would have a lot of people unemployed who had previously worked for the Anti-Defamation League, National Action Network, ACORN, CAIR, Operation PUSH and the NAACP, just to name a few.

The Obama Administration, just like the Clinton Administration before it, believes that it needs to bring a new consciousness to the nation, one where no one feels “marginalized” and “diversity” reigns supreme. This is not the role of the federal government. The Justice Department’s time would be better spent on real threats to the American people, like thinking about what to do with the Islamists that they plan to release from Guantanamo Bay.

HCSI: America

Get ready for a new tide of "hate crime" victims across America.

(REUTERS) The current law, enacted four decades ago, limits federal jurisdiction over hate crimes to assaults based on race, color, religion or national origin. The (2009) bill would lift a requirement that a victim had to be attacked while engaged in a federally protected activity, like attending school, for it to be a federal hate crime.

If the bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today actually becomes law (as B. Hussein Obama intends), playground banter between kids at school, for example, could become subject to closer "scrutiny", shall we say. Do not send your child to summer camp without trailing legal counsel.

Or, let's imagine you are a passenger on a commercial flight and become frustrated by the demeanor and attitude of a flight attendant (a scenario requiring no imagination, whatsoever). You let her know about it. Today, they call it air rage. Tomorrow, it's a hate crime, Mister!

Your waiter drops dinner all over your lap and you, the customer, suggest he is an idiot. Hate crime.

You attend a school board meeting and publicly challenge the competence of a board member. Hate crime.

Any hint by an employer that an extremely obese person is incapable of performing his job. Hate crime.

Bloggers, in fact, likely will face accusations of being hate criminals each time a new post appears.

The expanding Victim Class will be lining up around the block to file its claims. Where will it end?

It won't.

Tough Day for Egyptian Pigs

Earlier this week I posted about Howard Dean's proposals for curing a fake controversy he personally stoked. In addition, the good Dr. proposed federal expenditures on a detection and prevention regime. Of course the main benefit to the then-Presidential aspirant was that those who heard his proposals thought him wise and civic-minded, with no knowledge that his ideas were more or less already in place and had caught the non-problem. Oh well, politics as usual. No harm, no foul.

But at least he didn't recommend this!

4/28/2009

RINO No More


Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has spent 28 years in the United States Senate as a Republican, until today. As of today, he has decided to switch and become a Democrat.


During his time in office, in an effort to keep his seat, Mr. Specter has accepted help and money from Republicans across the country. Most notably in 2004 when President Bush and his political apparatus helped Sen. Specter defeat a strong primary challenger, Pat Toomey. This was despite the fact that Mr. Toomey was more philosophically in line with President Bush than Sen. Specter. Evidently, Arlen's feelings on this type of thing is what have you done for me lately.

It is clear that Mr. Specter has switched parties solely to remain in the Senate. Pat Toomey has already announced that he is running for the Senate and the polls out of Pennsylvania show that he would defeat Sen. Specter in the primary. In order to avoid losing his seat, Arlen has done what politicians do best, take care of himself.

At this point, the honorable thing to do is what Sen. Phil Graham of Texas had done. Upon announcing his switch to the Republican Party, Sen. Graham resigned his seat and ran for election as a Republican. If Mr. Specter is so sure of his success as a Democrat, he should face the electorate and let them judge.

Sen. Specter was never a reliable vote for the Republicans, as evidenced by his vote for the so called stimulus package earlier this year. It was one of a long line of votes that got him the RINO (Republican in name only) label.
Sen. Specter's switch at this time is critical because it will give the Democrats 60 votes in the Senate (assuming that Al Franken defeats Norm Coleman, which appears to be the case). With the magical 60 votes, the Democrats can now stop any attempted Republican filibuster. There will not be any check on Capitol Hill of the Democratic agenda. In speaking with a close friend who is a Democrat, he agreed that this is not good for the country. He pointed out that one party rule, by either party, is not in the best interests of the republic. The political pendulum often swings too far and that certainly seems to be the case today.

4/27/2009

Air Force 1, New York 0

In the months and years after Hurricane Katrina, Americans weary of the media’s unrelenting disparagement of President Bush would greet any unsettling news development by forecasting the obvious. “Of course, they’ll blame Bush.”

It all began when the Bush White House was blamed for decades of negligence by Louisiana and New Orleans officials, negligence exposed by the aftermath of the deadly hurricane in 2005. And the chorus never stopped.

Gas prices up? Bush did it.

Drought in the southeastern U.S.? Bush strikes again.

Town square bombing in Baghdad. Blood on Bush’s hands, of course.

American Idol ratings slide. Has to be Bush!

Now, in these heady 100 days under Dear Leader Maobama, or as writer Michelle Malkin rails, the Obamessiah, the list of items to which Obama legitimately could be held to account is spreading faster than germs in Mexico.

Of course, the growing list is dismissed as extreme right wing racist hate speech.

Let’s see: The blown attempt to recite the Oath of Office on January 20. The white tie for the Inaugural balls, when only black tie was appropriate. The Special Olympics quip on The Tonight Show. Naming a tax-evading Treasury Secretary. The DVD gift set for the British Prime Minister. The “Obama’s Greatest Hits” iPod presented to the Queen of England. Bowing to the Saudi King. Backslapping with the openly racist President of Brazil. Appointing a Homeland Security chief who thought the 9/11 terrorists entered the U.S. through Canada.

I mean, ladies and gentlemen, these are just off the top of the head. No research team needed. It’s too easy. All little things, Obamatrons will argue. Just nit-picking by angry, rich, under-taxed white people.

But, I ask you, when do the little things add up to an enormous problem, a building threat to the dignity, perhaps even the security, of these United States?

We saw one example today in the blue skies above New York City. Read the news item to follow and think, for just a moment, what would have been said about George W. Bush had this incident happened, say, on April 27, 2008? Can you imagine the mass media outrage, the certainty that this, once and for all, proved the utter incompetence of the Bush White House?

“A jumbo jetliner that serves as Air Force One, escorted by a military jet, flew over Lower Manhattan Monday morning, frightening office workers and causing evacuations in what turned out to be a publicity operation approved by a unit of the U.S. Air Force.”

Seems the mid-air photo-op involving the “United States of America” 747 and a trailing military fighter jet was approved by one Louis Caldera, director of something called the White House military office.

This startling episode, heralded by one headline as evidence that “New York is Obama’s World, You’re Just Living in It”, is alarming on so many levels. (In a New York Daily News online poll, 89% said it was a big mistake).

I thought liberals were obsessed with this carbon footprint thing? How do you for one instant justify firing up Air Force One for a Manhattan fly-around to capture publicity photos? We’re assuming the jumbo was occupied by a cockpit crew only.

I thought B. Hussein Obama was all about transparency. Yet the Mayor of New York City didn’t know the big bird was coming to town. The White House tipped off the NYPD but ordered the force to keep the planned operation under wraps. After all, why would New Yorkers be rattled by a low-flying jumbo jet streaking across a tranquil morning skyline? Gee, why would a disabled person cringe upon hearing the Leader of the Free World using “Special Olympics” to describe his lack of bowling prowess?

Did it not occur to The Great One, or some of his Lesser Greats (or the Teleprompter), that the scene just might conjure images of 9/11? Does it not threaten to make the U.S. Air Force vulnerable to baseless criticism for seeking to engage in a photo shoot that felt more like a reenactment of a tragic day than a reaffirmation of the majesty of Air Force One in flight?

Or, if the conspiratorial mind is set loose, maybe that’s the whole point. Obama’s unrelenting quest to re-visit post-9/11 interrogation of savage murderers and “apologize” to the world for stopping inevitable future attacks, in a sickening sense, seems to go hand and hand with his indifference toward Americans, at work in office towers on a sunny Manhattan morning, who do not want history to repeat.

Forget about blame. Just think about this: a President of the U.S. who dishonors the sacrifice of citizens who died on 9/11, some 3,000 of them (by insisting we should have taken it easy on the perpetrators), and who now is, apparently, dismissive of the fears of those who lived through that awful day and went to work on Monday morning.

There are days when I am convinced the Obama White House is sinister. There are days when I believe it is destructive. And there are days, like today, when the logical conclusion is that they’re all stuck on stupid. It is one thing to be cast as stupid by a liberal media (W), quite another to demonstrate, with cameras rolling, said intelligence gaps every few days (O).

Economy No Longer Free Falling. Stimulus Package Isn't A Reason.

Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Larry Summers said the economy's "unremitting freefall" has ended. That strikes me as a reasonable statement as equity, credit and volatility markets concur or, more accurately, have responded accordingly.

What, then, of the vaunted stimulus plan, which unpassed would lead to irreversible declines in the national economy?

So far, 1.8% of it has been spent. For the mathematically disinclined, not spending 98.2% of the stimulus didn't result in an irreversible decline.

Obama would never sell fear. Or would he?

On Swine Flu, Mad Cow and Other Wastes of Time

In late 2003 there wasn't a U.S. mad cow disease epidemic. There wasn't an incident of human contraction of mad cow disease in the U.S. No spinal cord material from an infected cow entered the U.S. human food supply. There was, however, discovery of an infected cow, after which 10,000 lbs of meat from the infected cow's originating slaughterhouse were recalled. Nothing bad happened to anyone, anywhere except the inconvenienced beef producers, the slaughterhouse and, well, the cow.

Howard Dean, then running in the Democratic primaries, naturally, didn't see it that way. He thought a situation where the USDA responded quickly and appropriately to prevent a non-threat from morphing into a hint of something larger was an example of a failure by the Bush Administration (conspiring with its industry friends, of course) requiring substantial federal funding to ensure the problem that didn't happen never didn't happen again no more times.

Fellow RSPer Steven L. Baerson and I felt, even without Howard Dean's advanced medical training, there was absolutely no danger from beef that didn't:
  1. Have the necessary ingredient (spinal tissue) to result in human mad cow disease.
  2. Get in the food supply.
We felt it would be like fearing a hijacking of an airplane containing 100 armed FBI agents and the infant son of an Al-Qaida operative. In fact, we believed Dean's pretend controversy exposed beef producers to far greater economic jeopardy than it addressed a genuine public health problem.

So we went for a delicious Italian beef sandwich to support the beef producers impugned by Dr. Dean. And to this day we live to tell the story.

4/24/2009

Obamateur Hour


Andrew McCarthy has written a great article on National Review Online about the interrogation memo fiasco.

Among the many hypocrisies of this mess are the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder stated back in 2002 that enemy combatants in the War on Terror were not subject to the Geneva Convention:

"It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohamed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not."

Further, last week Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair wrote a memo to his staff in which he stated the following: "High-value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country....I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past, but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given." These comments, however, were redacted from the version of the memo that was released to the media.

In an effort to placate the Hard Left, Obama has raised a firestorm that will not subside soon. Does he continue this charade and engage in, as Andrew McCarthy describes it, a banana republic like investigation of his political rivals? Or will he show the fortitude to stand up to Patrick Leahy, George Soros, Moveon.Org, et. al. and choose the honorable alternative?

4/23/2009

I Normally Don't Watch, But...


I am not a fan of Bill Maher, but I will be watching his HBO show tomorrow night, April 24. Noted journalist and my close personal friend, Bethany McLean, will be one of his guests. She should serve as a nice counter-weight to his leftist views.

Bad Business


Our friends at GE are all for "free speech" when they are bashing conservatives (especially former President George W. Bush and former Vice-President Dick Chaney). However, they evidently don't like it at their shareholders' meeting. Any objective observer knows that NBC News in general, and MSNBC in particular, are no longer reporting the news, but are instead spreading leftwing propaganda, which is certainly their right.

However, this doesn't seem to be working, from a business perspective. MSNBC has poor ratings and, more importantly, GE's stock price has fallen from $40.00 per share on September 7, 2001, the date that Jeffrey Immelt became Chairman, to $11.80 as of the close yesterday. That's a 70.5% drop in shareholder value. How does Mr. Immelt still have a job? I'm glad I'm not one of his shareholders!

4/22/2009

Gee, Congressional Leaders Knew About Important Stuff AT THE TIME?

Among the many ridiculous left-wing tropes about W., the most ridiculous was that he was a dictator, or worse a reincarnation of. . . .the "H" word (for the record, calling BHO a socialist or a communist is just as stupid). If you can call the leader a dictator with exactly zero possibility of official reprisal, the leader can't possibly be a dictator.

Well, here's another little bit of water to toss on the flamethrowing left. It turns out Congressional leadership was, in rough concurrence, informed by intelligence officials of an alleged domestic wiretap on a fellow member of Congress. No word if then-Minority Leader Pelosi objected, but if she did it's not reported in the story (I'm confident it's something a CYA expert like Pelosi would mention).

No word on Olbermann's apology.

4/21/2009

Criminalization of Policy


Unfortunately, today marks a sad new chapter in the history of our nation. By not ruling out the criminal prosecution of the Bush Administration attorneys who drafted the memos presenting the legal basis for the use of coercive interrogation against Islamist terrorists, President Obama has legitimized the criminal investigation of every Presidential Administration by its successor. When asked about whether or not Bush Administration officials should be prosecuted for drafting these memos, the President responded by saying that this, “is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws and I don't want to prejudge that…"

The consequences of succeeding administrations investigating their predecessors should give every American pause for several reasons. First, it will prevent the current occupant of the Oval Office, whomever he happens to be, from receiving frank and open advice from his advisers and attorneys. Staff members will not be willing to engage in a free exchange of ideas with administration colleagues if they believe that they will be subject to criminal prosecution for their analyses at some indeterminate time in the future. Essentially, Mr. Obama has left open the possibility of criminal prosecution because one lawyer has a different legal analysis than another. Having given off the record legal advise to several government officials during my career as a lawyer, I will be very concerned if this is the new legal standard for criminal prosecution.

Next, it becomes difficult to recruit qualified people to work in the government. Why would anyone want to give up a lucrative career in the private sector to enter public service if the results of that work culminate in a jail sentence? The relatively small salary of a public official, combined with an overly intrusive vetting process already make a career in a Presidential administration less than ideal. The threat of criminal prosecution may be the final straw that prevents qualified individuals from serving their nation.

Also, Mr. Obama’s statement opens the possibility of the criminalization of policy differences between Administrations. Clearly, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, President Bush was presented with circumstances that are different than those facing President Obama today. President Bush made the decision to allow for coercive interrogations (and, I believe correctly) based upon the world as it existed at that time. Mr. Bush put in place policies that some may find objectionable. President Obama, as Mr. Bush’s successor, is free to make the determination that Mr. Bush’s policies were incorrect, inappropriate and/or no longer necessary. However, criminalizing the policy decisions of his predecessor establishes an incredibly poor precedent for all of Mr. Obama’s successors.

Before President Obama allows Attorney General Eric Holder to bring charges against Bush Administration officials, he should engage in a thought experiment. Let’s assume that in his role as Commander-in-Chief, President Obama gives the order to kill three foreign nationals who have taken hostage the captain of a US flagged merchant ship. Let’s also assume that the ages of those kidnappers are unknown, but there is a good amount of evidence that these perpetrators are minors. Also, let’s assume that some believe that those kidnappers were part of a militia that played a legitimate rule in the defense of their nation. Finally, let’s assume that the captain was not really in any imminent danger at the moment that the kidnappers were killed by US Navy Seals.

Now let’s fast forward four years and Mr. Obama is retired back to the South Side of Chicago. His successor believes that there is never justification for the killing of minors and that any such act is a crime and should be prosecuted, unless the circumstances at the time are proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, to have shown that the captain was in imminent danger at the exact moment the order to kill was given. Would President Obama be subject to criminal prosecution for his order to kill those kidnappers? It seems to me that this is not outside the realm of possibility. And, if you say that the scenario that I have presented is not plausible, think again. The leftwing blogosphere in this nation is ripe with chatter over all of the issues that I described.

Remember, Mr. President, what goes around comes around. I hate the thought of the image of you wearing the orange jump suit, picking up trash along the side of the highway. That’s no way for a distinguished public servant to end his career.

.003% Redux

Turns out Obama is taking it on the chin a bit in the press for his Cabinet level austerity program, which I've titled The Family of Four Earning $72,000/Year Can Save Their Way to Prosperity by Drinking One Less Latte Act of 2009.

I stand corrected.

4/20/2009

Beauty and the Beast


We are reminded of two true-isms coming out of Sunday's Miss USA event.

1. Pin-ups are Americans, too. Carrie Prejean is a heroine. We know she is beautiful on the outside. But she is equally beautiful on the inside. Breathtaking, I'd say. Imagine the courage it took to face down this bitter, bating pageant judge. And bathe yourself in the clarity and authenticity of her words. Carrie would not throw her values under the bus. She could have weasled her way out of it. It would have been so easy. But she stood up.

"When asked by judge Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, whether she believed in gay marriage, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, said, 'We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised.' "

2. Pinheads are still pinheads, and a good many of them reside in California. This one is "personally saddened" by the dynamic that makes humanity possible.

Keith Lewis, who runs the Miss California competition, tells FOXNews.com that he was "saddened" by Prejean's statement.

"As co-director of the Miss California USA, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss California believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman," said Lewis in a statement. "I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit. I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family."

.003%

Imagine for a moment if W. had preened about his commitment to fiscal discipline by proposing to shave .003% of the federal budget. Or if he announced a troop drawdown of five soldiers from Iraq (and that's rounding up). Think he'd be ridiculed mercilessly in the press? Is Obama?

Just a thought.

4/19/2009

The First 100 Days - A Foreign Policy Review


Last week began with the mainstream media announcing that President Obama had passed his first test in regard to a foreign crisis, that being the killing of the three Somali pirates who were holding Capt. Richard Phillips hostage. Of course, the good captain was hold for four days and the Navy’s rules of engagement only allowed for them to use deadly force if the captain’s life was in imminent danger. The President has still refused to allow the United States Military to take care of the pirate situation once and for all. As reported in the New York Post and mentioned at RSP on April 12, the US Special Forces Command has just a plan that can be accomplished in just three days.

What was the result of Mr. Obama’s failure to take decisive action against the pirates in the immediate aftermath of the Maersk Alabama incident - within 24 hours of Capt. Phillips’ rescue, another US flagged merchant ship came under attack of Somali pirates. Only this time, the pirates used rocket propelled grenades and heavy machine guns in their unsuccessful attempt. In a further show of weakness, on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced her solution to the piracy problem, US foreign aid to Somalia. Sounds like the pirates have something to worry about now.

Meanwhile, North Korea launches a ballistic missile and the Obama Administration runs to the United Nations. There, members of the Security Council announce in advance of the meetings that they will not agree to sanctions. About a week later, they agree to the release of a “Presidential Statement” that offers nothing in the way a solution to prevent them from putting a nuclear bomb on the top of the next missile that is launched.

While Mr. Obama is worshipping at the alter of the United Nations, our neighbor to the South, Mexico, is in the midst of a narco-insurgency that’s made some of its major cities ungovernable. Some of the narco-violence has already spilled across our Southern border and into the United States. The President’s solution, blame the United States for the gun violence down there by using a static of the number of guns being imported to Mexico from the US that is completely and provably false.

The President continues to attempt to “engage” Iran. The longer the Iranian regime can play footsie with the West, the greater their chances of developing a nuclear weapon. Time is on the side of Iran, not those who hope to prevent the development of and Iran nuclear weapon. Talk is cheap, Mr. President, especially when time is on the side of the enemy.

In the Palestinian territories, Mr. Obama has rewarded the terrorists with $900,000,000 in aid. How much of this will be captured by Hamas and used to fund the killing of Israelis? My guess is that it will be substantial.

The War on Terror continues, I guess, although we don't call it the War on Terror anymore. The closing of Guantanamo Bay without a plan makes me wonder if this administration has an overall plan for the War formerly known as the War on Terror. The release of the so called "Torture Memos" this past week does not help our prosecution of this war. It both exposes our enemies to our methods and tactics while hurting the moral of the brave men and women engaged in this war. (And, it is a canard to say that since all of this information has been reported in the press for years, no harm has been done. By this logic, any classified information that was ever reported in the press would immediately be declassified and fully made available for public viewing. The official release of declassified information has a much different effect than press accounts. The fact that Administration officials fail to realize this is more than troubling.)
While President Obama is on foreign trips blaming the United States for all of the world’s ills, he has yet to take any action that will make us safer – which, by the way, is his principal responsibility as Commander-in-Chief. The President can open up dialog with any country that he wishes and he can blame America for anything he wants. However, he will be judged, in large part, on whether or not he can keep the homeland safe. Time will tell. But remember, President Reagan effectively used the strategy of “Peace Through Strength” to end the Cold War. Thus far, I don’t see any strength in the Obama foreign policy.

4/17/2009

Unionization for Thee, Not For Me Pt. 2

EFCA keeps popping up in the news now and again (WSJ for subscribers, Politico, Google News search). A little reading will give you the guts of the topic but its most contentious point is the use of signed cards instead of secret ballots under certain circumstances to recognize a union.

Once in my life I was a scab. I worked for one summer for my family's distribution company on a delivery truck when the drivers struck. Their jobs, sweaty and difficult, required a high school diploma, no nights, no weekends, no meetings and paid between $65,000 and $120,000/year + health insurance and pensions (in 1989). I don't recall their specific demands but I imagine they wanted, in the words of Samuel Gompers, "more." Well, their union said strike so they struck. I don't remember all the when's and how's but I do know none of them ever came back to work again.

Before you start thinking my fat-cat family just waited out the working stiffs, lounging by a pool, know that the business peaked about ten years before the strike and was sold for about 1/2 its peak value a couple years after the strike. The peak value was a nice number but was hardly enough to endow the founder's great-grandchildren with a life of Paris Hilton ease. Even if it was, the business belonged to my stepfather's family so I was never destined to hang pantyless with Paris and Britney. While the strike by itself didn't kill the business, partnership with changing tastes and bad decisions eventually did.

The job was fun, exhausting and paid pretty well. Only five people knew who I was: my stepfather, his father, the general manager, the warehouse manager and me. We had some bad ass security guards on the trucks with us and in case I was ever outed, the baddest bad ass security guard was assigned to my truck. He was an off-duty CPD beat cop named Acky who told me, and I believed him then and now, if anyone hassled me he would fire a few warning shots into the perp's leg.

Though a non-teabagging, free market trader, I have nothing particularly against unions. Unions serve as a necessary check against egregious employers. I believe workers have every right to organize and companies with bad union relationships deserve what they get. Unions, however, also have a documented history of malfeasance and corruption, so they're no angels themselves. Unions were dominant in a period of extraordinary American economic hegemony. Without unionization workers would have gotten the shaft. But when there's not enough to go around their legalized stranglehold on labor supply can help destroy a business. To see the havoc public sector employee unions can wreak, when conspiring with elected officials they organize to elect, dig into either San Diego or New York.

What's this got to do with EFCA? Only this: if secret ballots are so damn important in Mexico, why aren't they in the United States? Could it be. . . .wait for it. . . .politics?

4/16/2009

Capt. Anonymous Strikes

From today's NYT:

NSA's intercepts exceed limits set by Congress
Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional.The legal and operational problems surrounding the N.S.A.’s surveillance activities have come under scrutiny from the Obama administration, Congressional intelligence committees and a secret national security court, said the intelligence officials, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because N.S.A. activities are classified (emphasis mine).
Good thing classified information can be trusted in the hands of sources who obviously can't be trusted. Fortunately, the leaker's identity is safe. I was worried*.



*sarcasm alert.

4/14/2009

Criminalization of Conservatism


A member of the RSP staff has a son who has served this country admirably as a United States Marine during his two combat tours in Iraq. I have had the pleasure of meeting this young man and was very impressed with him. As a matter of fact, I was so impressed that I made a point to introduce him to my 6 and 7 year old children because I believe that he is a patriot and a role model for all young children. The Marine graduated from one of America’s top high schools and instead of going off to some high priced private institution of higher education (like I did), he chose to selflessly serve his country in the military at a time when he know that he would be sent off to war.

However, this afternoon, I find out that, courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security, my analysis of this brave man was totally incorrect. Earlier today, DHS issued a report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”. In this report, the author warns law enforcement officials about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity”, saying that the economic recession, the election of the first black President and the return of disgruntled war veterans COULD (emphasis added) swell the ranks of white-power militias. The report continues by saying that “rightwing extremist groups will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.”

So, now if my friend’s son is unhappy about something, he’s a rightwing extremist who endangers US national security. Or, it suggests, he does not possess the intelligence to overcome exploitation by those who are crazy. To say that this is an insult to all of our men and women in uniform is an understatement!

But this report doesn’t stop there. Nope, it also insults those who oppose abortion, those who want to stop illegal immigration and anyone who believes that we are a nation of fifty sovereign states. Evidently, based on his support of resolution in favor of the states’ rights under the 10th Amendment, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is a rightwing operative who needs to be under the surveillance of the federal government, much like Osama Bin Laden.

Never mind that the report acknowledges that the federal government has no specific information that domestic rightwing groups are planning acts of violence. Also, it claims that that fringe organizations are gaining recruits without offering any evidence of this increase. DHS simply is taking the word of the notorously leftwing Southern Poverty Law Center. In other words, the Obama Administration is trying to criminalize and demonize those who oppose its policies on abortion, immigration and the expansive power of the Federal Government. Seems to me that that would include many members of the House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and several former occupants of the Oval Office in the past 30 years.

The left in this country, including President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, often speak fondly of the progressive movement of the early 20th century. What they fail to tell you about this time in American history is that President Woodrow Wilson used fascist tactics against his political opponents. President Wilson often wrote how he had no use for the Constitution. Under the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918, Wilson's administration shut down newspapers and magazines that opposed his policies. President Wilson sanctioned the American Protective League. The APL operatives, which at their height numbered 250,000 members, carried government-issued badges and beat dissidents and protesters and conducted warrantless searches and interrogations. Wilson even held political prisoners.

This report is just another in a long line of actions taken by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to politicize this department. First, she ended immigration raids that seek to detain and deport illegal aliens. She has refused to refer to terrorists acts and instead calls them "man made disasters". Now, she allows the issuance of a report that tries to criminalize the political philosophy of nearly 50% of the population of this country. If the unfortunate occurs and there is another "man made disaster" caused by Islamist terrorists, every American will realize that this report is nothing more than a political stunt.

Hopefully, the issuance of this report today is not the first step toward the Obama Administration’s return to the good old days of American progressivism as taught by Professor Woodrow Wilson. If President Obama is so sure of himself and his policies, he does not need to silence his critics on the right. If he does, it will signal a return to a dark time in our past. Clearly, this is not what my friend’s son fought for as a member of the United States military.

The New Piracy


Congratulations to the Navy Seals and their skilled snipers for doing what should always be done to dangerous terrorists.

We are incredibly fortunate that the strength and courage of the American military is still a force for good in the world, even at a time when the Obama Administration is hell bent on shrinking America’s global stature.

I can’t imagine the backache Barack Hussein will have after the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Trinidad. By my count, there will be 33 heads of state before whom to bow later this week.

While I applaud Obama’s apparent zero-tolerance policy regarding brazen Somali Pirates, here at home we’re no less under siege. We have entered the age of The New Piracy We Can’t Believe In.

The traditional definition of piracy is an act committed by a non-state actor but the Somalis have made that obsolete, as no one believes they are true pirates, acting alone or without training. Here in the U.S., there are multitudes of state actors littering the looting and pillaging landscape:

Tax pirates on Capitol Hill and inside the White House.

Salary/bonus pirates on Congressional subcommittees.

Free-market pirates, most of them holed up in Larry Summers’ office at the White House.

Education pirates, a.k.a., lawmakers who’d rather stay cozy with teachers’ unions than open doors to educational opportunities in abysmal urban school systems.

First Amendment pirates, led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed, who still think folks don’t get the twisted irony of something called “The Fairness Doctrine” that targets Conservative talk radio.

Family pirates, judges mostly, popping up in state after state, zealously targeting the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman with bench rulings that legalize gay unions. The pirates are still nursing rum hangovers in Iowa and Vermont.

Peace pirates, empowered by the President, who apparently believes that a little love sent Iran’s way will pay big diplomatic dividends down the road. Where’s the harm in a little unabashed uranium enrichment by Iranian “technicians”?

(Iran’s a small nation, like North Korea, remember? The junior Senator from Illinois said so last year when seeking the Piracy, ah, Presidency. They’re just a bunch of happy-go-lucky Johnny Depps, charming the ladies and dabbling in petty crimes).

Finally, we learned just today about the Freedom Pirates lurking inside the Department of Homeland Security. Seems they’ve issued an “assessment” that warns “rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.”

The report compares present trends to a climate that spawned the various anti-government military militias of the 1990s (translation: during the last reign by a liberal Democrat President). There is no mention of what if any activities these extremists were suspected of in the past decade, as if there were no hidden factions that loathed George Bush. They existed, but they would mainly fall under the heading, “leftwing extremists”, and would thus have been of little concern to the DHS and beyond the scope, as they say, of this report.

The DHS further advises that, while there are righties who are “hate-oriented” (the militia types), the feds are also keeping an eye on “those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.” Imagine that? A failure to embrace big, smothering government control of … um … well … everything.

Let us not misunderstand the underlying message of this “assessment” (which is being discussed across the land tonight) and the intent of its publication. American citizens who are not pro-Obama are members of society who pose a “threat”. The DHS knows this because of its analysis of “rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet”. (Such as the post you are reading here).

You are not a Conservative if you oppose Obama’s radical vision, his Socialist agenda, or his apologies for America when he stands on foreign soil. You are not a Patriot if you believe in the Constitution as our enduring foundation, or if you would fight to preserve the First and Second Amendments.

What are you? You are a Rightwing Extremist Threat. It says so in the DHS “assessment”. It says “the historic election of an African American president and the prospect of policy changes” are stirring the right. It says our chatter focuses on “the perceived loss of U.S. jobs” (yes, it actually says “perceived”). It says the winds of extremism are blowing because you are “antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of (social) issues.”

Oh, and this. You are on the DHS radar because your “rightwing extremist views bemoan the decline of U.S. stature.” Shall we assume that a leftwing extremist bemoans the expansion of U.S. stature?

I think we know the answer. We hear it every time the White House teleprompter rolls.

Monday is Patriots’ Day. But at the DHS, every day since Jan. 20, 2009, has been Rightwing Extremist Alert Day. Get used to it.

4/13/2009

I Love the Smell of Perverse Effects of Good Intentions in the Morning. . . .

Yes, Rightsideproject is linking to a story from The Nation. Wonders will never cease.

The short version: legislation passed in 2005 to encourage the use of alternative fuels has perversely resulted in expanding the use of traditional fuels while providing a tax subsidy to the paper industry. Paper companies realized they could get a $.50/gallon subsidy by adding diesel fuel to a byproduct of paper production that doesn't require it. Read the linked article for the gory details.

Call paper companies greedy bastards all you want, but businesses and individuals seek to minimize costs, including taxes, all day every day by any available legal means. Certainly one player by itself can choose to ignore the subsidy but as a group the industry will inevitably ferret out these goodies. If International Paper doesn't its competitor will, putting IP at a comparative disadvantage (if you plan to argue W. and the Republicans intentionally orchestrated this tax gaming, please call a therapist and avoid sharp instruments). And just like any subsidy where the benefit is concentrated and the cost is diffused, the beneficiary (particularly one with rooms full of lawyers, consultants and accountants) will scour the tax code like mad to find it and fight like hell to keep it.

I love the smell of perverse effects of good intentions in the morning. Smells like. . . .victory.

4/12/2009

Arrrrrr, Matey. What to Do Next?


I applaud President Obama’s decision to order US Navy Seals to rescue Capt. Richard Phillips from his Somali pirate captures. After spending the first several days of Capt. Phillips’ ordeal not commenting on the situation and having his administration call it a distraction, the President should strength in allowing the military to do its job - rescue an American who was in grave and imminent danger.

The next question to ask is what will President Obama do for an encore. Hopefully, he will continue to take aggressive action against the threat that the pirates cause to international commerce. There was a time, of course, when Americans captured and killed pirates. Unfortunately, this may no longer be the case. When asked last week whether those involved in this incident would be brought to justice, Attorney General Eric Holder declined to make such a commitment. He said, “I’m not sure exactly what would happen next.” Coming from our nation’s top law enforcement office, this doesn’t exactly instill confidence.

Additionally, the military has already prepared battle plans for ending the problem of piracy off the cost of Somalia once and for all. Ambassador Robert Oakley, who was the US special envoy to Somalia in the 1990s, said that US special operations forces have drawn up detailed plans to attack the pirates, but were awaiting orders from the President to implement this plan. Oakley says that if given the order, our special operations forces “could take care of the pirates in 72 hours.” By giving the order, Mr. Obama could take eliminate the piracy scourge and help restore the perception of American strength and resolve that has been eroded in the past two and a half months.

Most view the problem of international piracy on the high seas off the coast of Somalia as a series of isolated incidents in an area of the world that is far away. Unfortunately, this is not the case. As Mark Steyn points out, a lot of the world’s lawless areas were not lawless that long ago.

Somalia was a colony of Britain and Italy. Iran, under the reign of the Shah, was a Middle Eastern country that educated its population, including women, and was not a state sponsor of terrorism. It was, in fact, an ally of the West. Now, however, Iranian surrogates run Gaza and Lebanon, in addition to funding, training and arming Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists around the world. Prior to the Korean War, what is now North Korea was not a murderous dictatorship that kidnapped Japanese citizens and exported its nuclear technology to other state sponsors of terrorism like Iran and Syria.

Most Western nations lack the ability to defend themselves. And, unfortunately, most that do have this ability lack the will to do so. The once mighty Royal Navy, which has done more over the years than anyone to rid the world of piracy on the high seas, has been advised that under the European Human rights Act, any pirate taken into custody will be entitled to claim refugee status in Her Majesty’s realm. Talk about the enemy within.

This comes just two years after the Royal Navy’s embarrassment by Iran in the Persian Gulf. At the time that of the kidnapping of the 15 British Sailors and Royal Marines, the British Navy was operating under rules of engagement called “de-escalation”. Evidently, this meant no confrontation at all. Instead, the 15 British subjects were paraded out on TV and used as pawns in an international game of chicken.

With bold, swift and decisive action, President Obama has the ability to show the world that the United States has both the ability and the will to defend herself. To put this in maritime terms, such action would be a shot across the bow of those who stand to profit from lawlessness across the globe. Let’s hope that the President makes this choice and that he strikes, literally, while the iron is hot.

4/10/2009

TARP Worked

Let's assume for a moment this Time.com article is correct and TARP, as politically and economically messy as it was, worked largely as intended. The banking system did not irreversibly collapse, credit is flowing again (as a creek, not as a river) and the world, while different than pre-September 2008, survives largely intact. Think of it like Tom Hagen telling Don Corleone, when the Don returns home from the hospital, the family's working to bring Michael back...things have started to loosen up. Will the stimulus package be altered or clawed back?

Of course not.

Will its original, purely political purpose, be revised from creating a recovery (it didn't) to supporting a recovery (it won't).

Of course it will.

This may make my conservative brethren yell "Elizabeth, this is the big one!" but I ask these questions as a supporter of a stimulus plan, just not the one Obama outsourced to Congress. I think conservatives made too many silly criticisms about the government levering up while the rest of the world de-levered. That's the whole point of emergency deficit spending. But, because Congress isn't interested in temporary spending it came up with a bevy permanent entitlements (COBRA, payroll tax credit) instead of massive, and I do mean massive, public and military infrastructure improvements. Obama, like all politicians, took the easy political route of getting it done quickly instead of standing up to Congress and demanding genuine public investments instead of interest group payoffs.

Given Obama repeatedly tells us he inherited a mess, will he ever acknowledge he also inherited the cleaning crew?

Of course not.

4/09/2009

Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead

May 18, 1908 American businessman Ion Perdicaris (later found to have traded his American passport for a Greek one) was kidnapped by Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli in Morocco. President Teddy Roosevelt sends American warships and Marine companies towards Morocco with an assignment: Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead. See this link for more details (Wikipedia entry is consistent with Edmund's Theodore Rex). In his time, Roosevelt was loved for this muscular act of gunboat diplomacy.

Roughly analogous, today Capt. Richard Phillips sits hostage aboard the Maersk Alabama. Would President Obama issue such a naked threat and then back it up? Would the HopeyChangeys appreciate public bravado? Democrats love Teddy Roosevelt (trust-busting, national parks), but do they know, care, he was a racist imperialist?

4/08/2009

President O-bow-ma

Barack Hussein Obama, SPOTUS (So-called President of the United States), who bows before Saudi royalty, Nancy Pelosi and Jeremiah Wright, dropped in on our military heroes in Iraq this week.

Some of them might just have entered basic training when O-bow-ma, then a junior Senator from Illinois, said this about their mission 28 months ago, back when it was cool among the liberals to doubt our military’s capabilities:

“We cannot impose a military solution on what has effectively become a civil war. And until we acknowledge that reality, we can send 15,000 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops. I don’t know any expert on the region, or any military officer that I’ve spoken to, privately, that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground.”

But, in the warm afterglow of overwhelming U.S. military success in Iraq fueled by George Bush’s unwavering commitment to victory, O-bow-ma swaggered into Baghdad, the new sheriff, ready to make nice.

Upon arrival he said, “It was wonderful to see the troops out there. I’m so grateful, they put their heart and souls into it.”

(In November 2007, BHO said the “overall strategy is failed because we have not seen any change in behavior among Iraq’s political leaders …”)

Surrounded by the very patriots whose mission he has repeatedly denounced for political gain, B. Hussein on Tuesday gushed, “You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement.”

The 10 men and women to whom O-bow-ma presented Medals of Valor in Iraq deserve a re-do. They should be presented those medals in a proper ceremony, by a decorated U.S. military officer, an individual committed to the defense of America — someone who might accord tacit acknowledgment of, but certainly never would bow before, the King of Saudi Arabia.

4/07/2009

Proliferation

A few thoughts on why peaceful nuclear anti-proliferation is so damn hard (no matter who's in the White House):
  • All countries that have sought a nuclear weapon have eventually developed one.
  • Only one country has voluntarily given up its nuclear arsenal (South Africa).
  • Sanctions eventually fail. Any government can avail itself of a thousand different ways to bathe itself in material comfort while its population suffers.
  • Illiberal governments know their counterparts eventually lose their stomach for sanctions as images of suffering children circle the globe. In fact, they count on it.
  • They are also fully aware of our electoral process and internal disagreements. Liberal societies and their governments almost never speak with one voice on anything (and when they do it doesn't last long).
  • Even an impoverished country like North Korea has something of value to sell to someone somewhere with hard currency.
  • Moral suasion appeals to the press and Berkeley/Georgetown/Cambridge axis of afternoon teas. The only countries disarmament efforts disarm are the ones interested in disarmament.
  • The UN is easily divided and conquered by illiberal states that become clients of a veto-wielding Security Council member.

Talk is Cheap


Once again the United Nations has proven to be a useless institution for international security. Following North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile on Sunday, the UN Security Council convened for over three hours in a closed door session. The result of the meeting – you guessed it, nothing! The 15 members of the Security Council were unable to come to an agreement about what actions to take against the North Korean regime. Even prior to the meeting, China and Russia both made clear that they would use their veto power to block any resolution imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang, in part because they were not convinced that the missile launch violated prior Security Council resolutions.

In fact, the meeting of the Security Council was useless to the point that upon issuing the statement as the current president of the Security Council, Mexico’s UN Ambassador, Claude Heller, was prevented from using the phrase “express concern”. The only thing he was allowed to say was that Council members “agreed to continue consultations on the appropriate reaction by the Council…” I bet that Kim Jong-il, and dictators around the world for that matter, is quaking in his high heeled boots.

President Obama persists in his policy of running to the United Nations anytime there is an action by a rogue regime that threatens the security of the United States. The facts are that the UN is not effective in dealing with madmen who are heads of state. And yet, Obama’s UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, is still calling for the UN to make a “clear and firm response.” How many times does the United Nations have to fail to act before this administration will realize that it is nothing more than a failed anti-American organization?

The international community that the President often speaks of is a fiction. It has no influence. It doesn’t exist. It doesn’t do anything.

By launching this missile on the day that President Obama gave a grandiose speech in the Czech Republic about ridding the world of nuclear weapons, the North Koreans were sending him a message. That message is that there is no enforcement mechanism by which the President can fulfill this dream. It’s as if Mr. Obama believes that the moral authority of the United States will influence the two remaining members of the Axis of Evil to abandon their nuclear programs.

Of course, this will not happen. All nations act in their own self interests. The way to influence crazy dictators is with pressure. Not only diplomatic pressure, but, more importantly, economic pressure and military pressure. So far, there has been no economic pressure or military pressure against North Korea.

Unfortunately, it now appears that Kim Join-il is stronger than ever. According to Koh Yu-hwan, a Dongguk University professor of North Korea studies “Pride among North Koreans stemming from what they believe to be a successful launch would help keep his regime intact…” Mr. Koh believes that this launch creates a better atmosphere for Kim to hand over power to his chosen successor.

In Prague, Mr. Obama made the hollow promise that there will be consequences for North Korea's actions. So, while the President and his Secretary of State pound their fists and say that they type of action will not stand, the dictator taking the action grows stronger. When Mr. Obama says that North Korea has further isolated itself from the community of nations, what exactly does he mean? What is the consequence? It can’t possibly be that a closed door meeting of the Security Council in which nothing happens (and the outcome was predetermined) is a consequence in and of itself, can it? If so, President Obama’s childish dream of a world without nuclear weapons is further away than ever.

4/06/2009

The Apologizer In Chief

Barack Hussein Obama’s European adventure provides shocking proof that he has been transformed from a mostly harmless Chicago community organizer and political pawn into an incredibly dangerous President of the United States, who is ashamed of his country and awed by leaders and figureheads of lesser nations.

He is running around the world as our new Apologizer in Chief. Of course, his counterparts and, especially, his enemies are eating it up.

On the other side of the world, the little puppet dictator in North Korea who does whatever China wants him to do, Kim Jong-il, carries out a nuclear missile test launch. Clearly this provocative act was timed to coincide with Obama’s high profile European appearances.

The launch occurs as Obama is sleeping in Prague, but he did not seem to have shaken off the cobwebs later when, predictably, calling for a United Nations resolution denouncing North Korea. Yep, good one, Barry. That UN threat thing always works.

In Ankara, Turkey, today, Obama says the United States “is not and never will be at war with Islam” and goes on to praise contributions by the Islamic culture within U.S. society. When did anyone suggest we, the U.S. military, are at war with Islam? He misses the point, just as so many Europeans nations now awash if not drowning in Islamic multiculturalism miss the point.

If the United States wishes to preserve its Judeo-Christian culture, it must resist the tide of Islam because it is indeed a tide, not a ripple, not a mere bonanza for mosque builders here at home. But we also must be stringent in demanding of peaceful Islamic nations that they take full responsibility for reigning in and some day eliminating radical factions that manipulate Islam as justification for mass murder of Americans and others. We are NOT in this together. These radical killers are their people, not ours.

In Strasbourg, France, last week, Obama apologized for times when America has “shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” If this is not a wake up call for core values Americans then I guess Obama needs to write his next apologist Tele-Prompter speech across the face of a sledge hammer.

The French are the last people on earth who need to be reminded that the bravery of Americans has saved tens of millions of people from certain devastation. If our zero tolerance toward the suppression of liberty is misperceived as swaggering arrogance, so be it. But the President of the United States, at least any legitimate President, does not stand upon French soil and apologize — for anything. Once again, Obama is spitting in the faces (or on the corpses) of our military men and women, and the proud veterans, the Greatest Generation, who came before them.

By the way, check the news wires in the next few days and see which country steps in first to assist Italy in providing relief to victims of Monday’s earthquake. It won’t be France. (Oops, too late, this just in. The U.S. already has cut the first relief check).

Our humiliation knows no end. Every moment Obama is loose on foreign soil a nail is driven into the coffin, threatening America’s well deserved stature as a global superpower.

Last week at the G20 Summit in London, B. Hussein Obama, the PRESIDENT OF THE FRICKIN’ UNITED STATES BOWED TO KING OF SAUDI ARABIA. Bowed. It appears he also kissed King Abdullah’s hand while he was down there, robe sniffing. I am surprised Obama didn’t ask the King to turn around for a second bow. From whence does this instinct come? I think we know. Take away a few oil fields and King A. might as well be Mr. T.

And, finally, Obama had this to say about his Hemispheric Homey, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (who you’ll never see as an answer on Wheel of Fortune unless they dramatically expand the studio).

“I love this guy,” Obama said at the G20 event as they made like frat boys in front of cameras. “He’s the most popular politician on Earth.”

Mr. Popularity earlier in the week, however, did not score points in the diplomacy, taste and racism categories. His comments about the cause of the global economic crisis were largely downplayed by the mainstream left wingers in the mass media at the G20 Summit. Naturally.

“This crisis was caused by the irrational behavior of white people with blue eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate they know nothing,” Lula da Silva said in a press conference. (Clinging to guns and religion while batting their baby blues, he forgot to add).

Heckuva job, Silvy. Heckuva job. I just wonder how President Obama stifled a bow when he ran into you later.

Good business?

So I go to the gym on Monday, one that I have been a member of for more than 2 1/2 years. I enter, the woman behind the counter swipes my card and returns it to me. As I turn to leave, she casually mentions that my payment did not go through last month. I have automatic debit set up at the gym, so I hand over my credit card and it is quickly determined my current card has a new expiration that the gym does not have on file. The woman behind the desk amends my account and charges me $70 to make my account current.

I say, "The monthly fee is $65, did it go up $5?" 

"No," she says, "The credit card company charges us when we put through a charge that comes back, so we charge you."

I sign the charge, go work out and on my way out of the gym, I stop at the counter and say to the same woman, "Is it in my contract that I have to pay the $5? Because, if it isn't I want a refund." She calls her supervisor and after a brief conversation, tells me it is in my contract that I must pay $15, but they are only charging me $5.

I say to her "I'd like to cancel my gym membership." She picks up the phone again and this time a membership specialist comes to the front desk. She looks up my account on the computer and asks me to verify my name and I do. She then takes a piece of paper out of the drawer and asks me to sign it which I do and informs me that my membership will be terminated at the end of April.

"Great" I say. And walked out of the gym and back to work.

4/05/2009

Take a Bow, Barry


In an incredible breach of protocol, President Obama bowed before King Abdullah of Saudi Ruled Arabia upon greeting him at the G20 Summit last week. It is inappropriate for anyone who is not a subject of a monarch (especially a fellow head of state) to greet that monarch with a bow. Miss Manner Book Of Etiquette advises, “One does not bow or curtsy to a foreign monarch because the gesture symbolizes recognition of her power over her subjects.” Additionally, it is not even required that a monarch’s own subjects bow before him or her. In answering the question about the proper behavior upon meeting the Queen, subjects are told by the official website of The British Monarchy that, “The simple answer is that there are no obligatory codes of behavior – just courtesy. However, many people wish to observe the traditional forms of greeting. For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simple to shake hands in the usual way.”

For a man who prides himself on his intelligence and his preparedness, the President should have known better than to do a deep waist bow before a dictator of a repressive regime. Where was the Chief of Protocol from the White House or the State Department? Shouldn’t he have been prepared for this encounter? Even my 7 year old knows that Mr. Obama’s behavior was inappropriate. Upon seeing the attached video, he asked, “Why would Barack Obama bow to a king? That’s crazy.” And indeed it is.

The press has been absent in covering this faux pas. Remember the big deal about President Bush holding hands with the Saudi King at his Texas ranch, the press tried to spin that into President Bush being too chummy with the House of Saud. But holding hands does not show subservience. A bow from the waist does. Are we to infer from his actions, therefore, that the current occupant of the Oval Office is subservient to the hereditary ruler of a regime that subjugates women? I think not, but the President will be better served if he really is prepared for his meetings that are in full view of the world.

In addition to being another instant of bias press coverage in favor of President Obama, the reason that the deep bow is important is because it plays into the narrative (I loving using that term because it is a favorite of our friends on the left) that Mr. Obama is weak on Islamist extremists. In only just two and a half months in office, this is another in a long line of actions that lead to the conclusion that the President is weak on the War on Terror. Among them are:

o His apology for our conduct of the War on Terror during his first network TV interview to the English language Arab network, Al Arabiya;

o The prohibition of the use of the phrase “War on Terror”;

o The prohibition of the use of the phrase “Terrorist Attack” in favor of the phrase “Man made disasters (ask the families of the 9/11 victims if their loved ones died in a terrorist attack or a man made disaster – I’d bet they’d say terrorist attack);

o The closing of Guantanamo Bay;

o The freeing of the mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole;

o The announced goal of negotiating with “moderate” Taliban;

o The sending of $900,000,000 to the Palestinians;

o Continuing to insist that we should talk to the Mullahs in Iran;

o Allowing the imposition of Sharia law in the Swat Valley in Pakistan;

o Announcing a date certain for our withdrawal from Iraq; and

o Halting military tribunals for those that sane people refer to as enemy combatants.

During the presidential campaign I repeatedly told some of my fellow conservatives that Barack Obama is not a secret Muslim, because he is not and that such false allegations undermined the legitimate arguments against his then candidacy. Unfortunately, however, for some reason, President Obama is not so secretly excessively solicitous to Islamist extremists.

4/04/2009

Unionization for Thee, Not For Me

NYT Editorial
December 28, 2008
The measure (EFCA) is vital legislation and should not be postponed. Even modest increases in the share of the unionized labor force push wages upward, because nonunion workplaces must keep up with unionized ones that collectively bargain for increases. By giving employees a bigger say in compensation issues, unions also help to establish corporate norms, the absence of which has contributed to unjustifiable disparities between executive pay and rank-and-file pay.

Times threatens to shut down Boston Globe
April 4, 2009
The New York Times Co. has threatened to shut down The Boston Globe unless the newspaper's unions agree to $20 million in concessions, the Globe reported on its Web site. Executives from the Times Co. and Globe met Thursday with union leaders to demand pay cuts, the end of pension contributions by the company and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees for some veteran employees, the Globe reported, citing union leaders.
Commentary unnecessary. . . .

4/02/2009

Russian Behavior is Adrift



In just over two months in office, President Obama has developed an incredibly bad habit - constant criticism of his predecessor. His almost daily cheap shots at President Bush are beneath the office that he holds. Once in office, President Reagan never did this to President Carter, despite having plenty of reason to. President Bush never did this, despite President Clinton fiddling for eight years while Rome burned (ie, Al Qaeda turning itself into an effective international terrorist organization with the means to attack the United States, while Bill Clinton ignored it).

Yesterday, however, this criticism turned from infantile behavior to factually incorrect. During his meeting with Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, President Obama said "What we've seen over the last several year is drift in the US - Russian relationship". The President said this as if the United States and Russia were equally at fault for this "drift".
The facts simply don't support this analysis. It was Russia that invaded a pro-Western democracy. At first, candidate Obama refused to condemn the Russian aggression against its democratic neighbor. It was candidate Obama who draw a moral equivalency between Russian behavior and Georgian behavior. Mr. Obama only became critical of the Russian actions after Sen. McCain made it known that he condemned the Russian invasion.

Next, it was Russia that spent the past two years threatening to cut off the natural gas supplies of its neighbors and our European allies. At a time of increasing energy uncertainty, it does not seem that such threats would have a calming affect on international relations.
Then, this past February, it was Russia that paid a two billion dollar bribe to the government of Kyrgyzstan in order for that government to deny our military the continued use of their airbase at Manas. The denial of the use of this base will significantly hamper our war effort in Afghanistan. This base was critical to our resupply of our troops in Afghanistan.

Of course, it is Russia that refuses to help us with our efforts to end the Iranian nuclear program. In fact,they have been doing just the opposite - helping Iran with its nuclear program. The Russians had been assisting the Iranians with the construction of a now completed, Russian designed, nuclear reactor.

Also, it is Russia that has increased its military activities. The Russians sent war ships to make nice with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. The Russians threatened to deploy missiles within range of our NATO allies

For the President to think that he can change Russian behavior by sending his Secretary of State to visit with Russian officials and present them with a prop "reset button" is nothing short of naive. It is not the actions of the United States that have been adrift. It is, one again, the behavior of our old Cold War foe that has caused the strain in our relationship. As the current steward of our history, it would behove Mr. Obama to understand it. Oh well, at least he didn't tell us that he looked into the eyes of Mr. Medvedev and saw his soul.

It's W.'s Fault

How long before this news is blamed on the four things that cause all problems (in the press)?
  1. George W. Bush
  2. Global Warming
  3. Corporate Greed
  4. Israel
One Hour? One Day? One Week? One Month?

Why Doesn't Governments Take Protests Serious?

I wonder. . . .

4/01/2009

Recreation at Gitmo


Evidently our friends down in Venezuela were a bit embarrassed last week when Venezuelan citizen and reigning Miss Universe, Dayana Mendoza, posted on her blog how nice things are at the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay. Ms. Mendoza was forced to remove these posts. As a vocal critic of our prosecution of the War on Terror (I will continue to use that term, even if the Obama Administration is unable to comprehend that we are engaged in a war) in general and Guantanamo Bay in particular, the Venezuelan dictator, Hugo Chavez, could not tolerate a fellow Venezuelan making observations like she "saw the jails, where they shower, how they recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books."

Somehow, Islamists attending art classes and watching movies doesn't fit the Guantanamo narrative of torture and isolation. Certainly, things would have been much better for ole' Hugo had Miss Universe posted that she had seen the inmates being sodomized and US servicemen flushing Korans down the toilet. But, once again, there was none of that.

As I've stated before, the closing of the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is bad policy and a sign of weakness by President Obama. In a rush to fulfill a campaign promise to placate the left at home and the left around the globe, he announced the closing of the prison without any clear plan about what to do with the detainees (remember, I suggested that they be freed outside of the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port - at least that's a plan).

It is ridiculous to say that the United States cannot hold these terrorists for an indefinite period of time without trial. During World War II, no one suggested that the Roosevelt Administration could not hold German and Japanese prisoners of war for the entire length of hostilities. The detainees at Guantanamo should not even be conferred the status of prisoners of war, but rather that of unlawful enemy combatants. Therefore, we should be able to hold them until the hostilities end. It is irrelevant how long that is. We did not start the War on Terror, the Islamists did. It is their fault that the war continues. They can end it at any time.

The President feels that we must close Guantanamo Bay because it has become a symbol of torture to the international community. Since were bowing to international pressure over what certain things symbolize, maybe the President would like to remove the Statute of Liberty from New York Harbor because that is a symbol of freedom and that has got to make third world dictators uncomfortable.

No Politicization of the Justice Department Here. Move Along Folks...

RightSideProject Founder and Senior Editor Steven L. Baerson was kind enough last month to post on the blatantly unconstitutional DC Voting Rights Act. His years of education and legal practice helped him conclude that since the Constitution explicitly limits membership in the House of Representatives to States and because the District of Columbia is, wait for it, not a State, it can't be a member of the House. Think of it like math: if 1 does not equal 2, then 2 does not equal 1. Simple.

So simple the Justice Department, per today's WaPo, agrees:
Justice Department lawyers concluded in an unpublished opinion earlier this year that the historic D.C. voting rights bill pending in Congress is unconstitutional, according to sources briefed on the issue.
Except of course, when Justice's boss, and his boss, disagree (again, per today's WaPo):
But Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who supports the measure, ordered up a second opinion from other lawyers in his department and determined that the legislation would pass muster. (emphasis mine)
Yep, the Attorney General of the United States ordered up a different legal conclusion from a more politically sympathetic shop inside Justice (Solicitor General vs. OLC), one consistent with his boss' preferences. Holder's spokesman denied there was a political element to Holder's decision, which of course means it's entirely political.

This certainly wouldn't be the Justice Department politicizing itself, would it? We all know only Republicans would ever do such a thing.

This is not an April Fool's joke.