Kim Jong-il Strikes Again

In the past week, North Korea has detonated a nuclear devise and launch 5 ballistic missiles. All of these actions are in direct defiance of the United Nations’ Security Councils “strongly worded” presidential statement of April 5. In response to the news of this “strongly worded” presidential statement, I said on April 7 that the UN is not effective in dealing with madmen who are heads of state. I also asked the question “how many times does the United Nations have to fail to act before the Obama Administration will realize that it is nothing more than a failed anti-American organization?” Apparently, the answer is more than twice, because that’s how many times North Korea has defied the UN since President Obama took office.

If the Western allies, and, unfortunately, by extension, the UN fails to take strong and decisive actions against North Korea for it’s most recent round of belligerent behavior, the message to all Third World dictators who aspire to obtain nuclear weapons will be clear – “Go ahead and get them. We will do nothing!”

It is imperative for the security of the world that, at minimum, strong and effective sanctions be imposed on North Korea. China and Russia must be active participants. Both of those countries must abide by the sanctions and must use their militaries to enforce them. We can no longer accept a wink and a nod from the Chinese as they promise to veto sanction regime after sanction regime. Especially because North Korea is extremely vulnerable to sanctions. The North Koreans import almost all of their energy and they cannot produce enough food to feed their citizens.

The question becomes how do we force the Chinese to finally agree to punish their communist ally. This is not easy. The Chinese are extremely worried that an effective sanctions regime will cause a flood of North Korean refugees across its borders. Beijing also is known to have a soft spot for other Asian communist dictatorships.

The single greatest pressure point to use against China is it’s historic rival, Japan. If the Chinese fail to cause the North Koreans to cease their nuclear program and their ballistic missile development, the United States must assist Japan in obtaining nuclear weapons. It is not unheard of for the United States to assist an ally with its nuclear program. We have been doing that with the United Kingdom since 1958. This will require Japan to change its constitution and defense posture, but it may very well be the only thing that will force China to act.

China wants nothing less than a nuclear armed Japan. If the Chinese leadership believes that the Japanese are serious in their desires to counter the North Korean nuclear threat by arming themselves with nuclear weapons, China may very well take actions against North Korea just to avoid the prospect of a Japanese nuclear program.

Since Kim Jong-il has once again proven that “strongly worded” statements from the United Nations have no effect on his behavior, it is time that we move on to something else. The time for saying “Stop or I’ll say ‘stop’ again” is over. The time for President Obama’s UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, telling the Today Show that “we really mean business this time” has come and gone. President Obama spent Memorial Day looking like a deer in the headlights as he said that the UN would take up the issue of North Korea very soon. As I’ve been saying since January, the President must stop showing weakness to those who would kill us. Strong and decisive action is need now.

It is unfortunate that an arms race in Asia may be the only thing that can stop a nuclear armed madman. But, it may just be the thing needed to show China and North Korea that we mean business. If not, maybe President Obama should rethink his cuts in our missile defense system.

From Change to Chance?

As your unwavering Conservative Soldier, I am not afforded the comfort or security of living in a bastion of American values and patriots. I come to you week after week from the front lines, from the place that spawned and nurtured Barack Hussein Obama, from an ethical, moral and economic wasteland clinging tenuously to its heritage as The Land of Lincoln. It is today, in stark contrast to Lincoln’s legacy, the land that produced the rocks that Obama, Sens. Dick Durbin and Roland Burris, Rod Blagojevich, et al, crawled out from under.

Today I realized that I am done with the tired logic by the Kool-Aid swillers that goes something like this: President Obama “inherited” myriad problems. We have to give him a chance to show that he has proposed the right solutions going forward. Just give the man a chance.

How did we get from Change to Chance so fast?

This is what people say when a football team hires an unknown coach. This is what PTO moms tell themselves over coffee after the school board brings in an avant garde principal. This is what we tell our kids when they’re frustrated by an activity they can’t seem to master.

Give it a chance. Don’t give up so fast.

This is very good advice for our children. But do we, at the same time, tell them, “Sure, play with the matches. You are not likely to get burned, let alone set the house ablaze”?

If we are willing to chance the demise of the America we have known, the America so beloved by the millions of people around the world, the America that is a beacon of liberty and that embodies the best of mankind, then we are by extension willing to give Socialism a chance, nationalization a chance, Fascism a chance. And on it goes. Where does it end? Do we then give Islamic radicalism a chance?

There is a jarring quotation, around for decades, by the author Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged), jarring in that it sends shivers through every fiber of anyone reasonably alive:

“We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.”

Should Americans turn away from this looming dark period, returning to daily routines, Dancing With The Stars debates and other frivolity, all the while determined to “give Obama a chance”, I am convinced it will be at our peril.

To the extent there is a honeymoon between any U.S. President and the people he serves, please, for the love of God, let us declare this one over. Done. No one deserves a chance to strip us of our liberties or impede the march of freedom.

No one deserves a chance to stack the Supreme Court with racist radicals. No one deserves a chance to subvert the rule of law. No one deserves a chance to bankrupt our nation and our futures. No one deserves a chance to appease tyrants.

The only chance that we can cling to now is the chance that American voters will rise up in 2010 and 2012, determined to avert our rapid descent into one of the “darkest periods of human history.”


Courts, Jesters and the Constitution

She is not about interpreting the law; she’s about making policy from an extreme radical left-wing position. (Obama) just wants one of his own on the court to do his dirty work from the highest court in the land, and she fits the bill.” - Rush Limbaugh, on the air, May 26, 2009
The Conservative Soldier loves humor, respects a sense of humor and does not trust those lacking same. But as much as I want to laugh at the clowns running our country, I always yield to despair just at the moment when the unrehearsed (Joe Biden) and well rehearsed (Barack Hussein Obama) begin their daily stand up routines. As Memorial Day reminds us, freedom is not something with which to trifle. And yet …

On the very day that it took mere hours for Clown Prince Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee to become quickly diminished by her feminist, anti-white Anglo-Saxon, Constitutionally marginal, and very well documented, viewpoints, Obama headed off to Las Vegas (where else?) to headline a fundraiser for none other than Nevada Sen. Harry “War Is Lost” Reid. Obama demands an empathetic court nominee but still jets off hours later to make an appearance for the man who once bemoaned the odors of D.C. tourists descending on the Capitol.

It is not clear which destination Obama would prefer to shut down first, Guantanamo Bay or the Vegas Strip, but we’re fairly certain he would sit down to chat up Iran’s dangerous Ahmadinejad more readily than he would confront Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons. In fact, Gibbons’ request to meet with Obama on this trip was denied by the White House. Obamatrons know Gibbons and Vegas resort owners are still fuming that the President threw the gilded convention city under the bus during a rant about “excess”. Come to think of it, now that Obama owns General Motors, he could have thrown Gibbons under a giant Hummer with monster truck wheels, or a tricked out Escalade.

Despite Latina roots and a so-called slam dunk c.v., Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor might yet become another Tom Daschle, Nancy Killefer, Bill Richardson, Timothy Geithner, et al. The Obamatrons are always the last ones to recognize the little inconvenient details that make nominees either toxic or, at the very least, controversial and thus weakened from the start (Geithner).

Sotomayor implied, amid her own nervous laughter, in 2005 that she and fellow Court of Appeals judges are lawmakers, rather than law umpires as intended by the Founding Fathers.

The “Court of Appeals is where policy is made. And I know this is on tape, and I should never say that, because we don’t ‘make law’, I know (laughter). I know. I’m not promoting it, I’m not advocating it, you know (more laughter). OK … .”

And in 2002, in a speech (so we know it was premeditated), Sotomayor went out of her way to make a point that she can not and, more alarmingly, will not separate her ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background from how she thinks and rules from the bench.

“Justice (Sandra Day) O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases,” Sotomayor said in a Cal-Berkeley speech. “I am not so sure Justice O’Connor is the author of that line since (another scholar) attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. … First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

As her racially charged words were ricocheting across cyberspace (she said what?), Obama boarded Air Force One, ironically, to fly west to speak at a fundraiser for one extremely white male, the Senate Majority Leader.

What conclusion(s) do we draw this day after Memorial Day? Frankly, I am at a loss as I contemplate a Left Wing Poster Bigot being measured for a Supreme Court robe.

When Lying To Bush Implies Lying For Bush

CNN.com story
Former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik was indicted on charges of making false statements to White House officials. . . .
Kerik did not serve in the Bush Administration. He was nominated to serve. Moreover, he's accused of lying to the administration, not for the administration. CNN's headline misses that "nuance," and in fact implies much worse.

Vast left-wing/media conspiracy? I doubt it. Sloppy fact checking combined with editorial bias against Bush/Republicans/conservatism?

You betcha.


Israel, Obama and Iran

On his recent unannounced trip to Israel, CIA Director Leon Panetta apparently told the new Israeli government that it must not attack Iran in order to stop the Iranian nuclear program. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration seems resigned to a nuclear armed Iran. The thought that Iran will behave itself if the Israelis stand down is beyond ridiculous. It endangers every man and woman in the Western World.

President Obama’s December deadline for talks with Iran aimed at stopping its nuclear program cannot possibly work. It is diplomacy without the threat of any credible consequence. Much like with North Korea, it’s “Stop or I’ll say ‘stop’ again!” Third world dictators are notorious for not stopping rogue behavior without the threat of military force. So far, nothing that the Iranian’s have done seems to indicate that they are succumbing to international diplomatic pressure.

Based upon Washington’s total unwillingness to act to stop Iran, the danger to Israel is great. Linking the settling of the Palestinian problem to the termination of the Iranian nuclear program is naive (and, quite frankly, Jimmy Carter like). If Iran is able to deploy a nuclear weapon, it will use it to destroy the Jewish State. Maybe not by direct action by the Iranian military, but by having one of its surrogates do their dirty work. In either event, the outcome to the Israelis is unacceptable.

Unlike during the Cold War, the notion of mutually assured destruction will not work against religious zealots. The mullahs believe that the outcome is preordained so, therefore, they have nothing to lose by launching the first strike. I saw Benjamin Netanyahu speak many years ago and he made this point back then. Back in the days of the USSR, the ruling class had a vested interest in preserving the status quo for themselves and their families. Hence, the notion of MADD worked to keep the Soviets in check. For the Islamists, the killing of the infidels is the end game in and of itself. As such, the threat of an all out retaliation is useless.

Considering President Obama’s lack of commitment to the security of Israel, it is odd that so many American Jews voted for him in the 2008 election. When you contrast the current administration’s sentiments towards Israel with that of its predecessor, every American who believes that a free and strong Israel is critical to our own national security should be giving thanks to George W. Bush.

Fortunately, Prime Minister Netanyahu has reserved for Israel the right to act independently of the United States in regard to Israeli security. In the not very distant future, Mr. Netanyahu will have to decide for himself and his people whether to allow a nuclear armed Iran. I am hopefully that he will come to the conclusion that such a situation is unacceptable and that Israel must act to defend herself. The consequence will be severe, but they will be less than that of a nuclear detonation in the middle of Tel Aviv.

We must remember that Iran has no incentive to stop its aberrant behavior. They are the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. The successful termination of the Iranian nuclear should be one of the major objectives of the Global War on Terror. The Iranian regime is inseparable from many of the world’s major terrorist organizations. Therefore, the Obama Administration has a vested interest in acting to stop the Mullahs. Let’s hope that they will. If not, the Israelis are our last, best hope!

Another Thought Experiment

Today PBO nominated federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill Justice David Souter's seat on the Supreme Court. CNN posts a short item about the Republicans' strategy for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, described as "tough, but fair." Let's pretend for a moment there are no hidden politics in the Republican strategy. Let's pretend they sincerely hope to lead by example so one day confirmation hearings can be thoughtful examinations of a nominee's experience, intellect and professional accomplishment instead of the identity politics/code word/question avoidance/score settlers they've become since at least, and including, the Bork nomination.

In tit-for-tat game theory, deescalation in rhetoric and tactics by Republicans ought to be met, over time, with proportionate deescalation by Democrats. But in reality, Supreme Court nominations are a combination of domination and chicken. In other words, hard core activists will insist that any altruism shown by the other side be pocketed, not reciprocated.

If you were a fervent believer in using the Supreme Court to expand privacy rights or gun ownership rights and the other side gave your preferred nominee an easy pass, you're incented to interpret that as weakness and push harder for your cause. There's no easy way to test this, but I suspect Senate Republicans' attempt, sincere or not (and likely not), to lead by example will prove fruitless the next time a Republican president makes a Supreme Court nomination (I also believe if the Senate makeup was the exact converse, Republicans would use this nomination as payback for Bork).

They're not having discussions in the White House's Supreme Court war room about how to bring statesmanship back to hearings. They are having meetings about how to convert current advantages into permanent ones.

Just like Kim Jong-Il.


Obama Equals Bush? - Sort of

President Obama tries to be all things to all people. That’s not a surprise. He’s a politician. The latest example of this is his speech yesterday at the National Archives where he once again belittled the office of the Presidency by leveling criticism at the Bush Administration for its conduct of the War on Terror. While the President went out of his way to explain the horrors committed by his predecessor, he continues to implement a large number of George W. Bush’s polices to fight terrorism.

Just this past week, Mr. Obama reversed himself and restored the use of military tribunals for some terrorists. During the presidential campaign, then candidate Obama referred to these proceedings as “enormous failures”. And, as we all know, suspended them as one of his first actions as Commander-in-Chief. The President needs to explain to the American people how these tribunals went from enormous failures to proper administration of justice in just four months.

President Obama also continues to vindicate Mr. Bush by continue some of prior administration’s major terrorists interdiction programs. Among them are wiretaps, a “surge” in Afghanistan, and Predator drone attacks along the Pakistan – Afghanistan border.

There are two other examples of President Obama following the lead of President Bush that are, in my view, of particular importance. First, as Victor Davis Hanson points out in the National Review, the President has made no attempt to repeal any significant portion of the Patriot Act. If, as the left has been claiming for the past seven years, that the Patriot Act is an assault on the constitutional rights of every American citizen, why didn’t Mr. Obama immediately move to repeal it? Maybe because it’s an extremely effective tool in the fight against Islamist terror.

Next, the Obama Justice Department argued that the US Constitution and American laws do not apply to the unlawful enemy combatants that are being held in the prison at Bagram airbase. How are the goings on at Bagram any different than those at Guantanamo Bay? They, of course, are not. The President has decided to close Guantanamo Bay solely for political reasons, in spite of any national security concerns. And now, members of his own party are demanding that President Obama specify a plan for the release of the Guantanamo prisoners that doesn’t include transferring any of them to the United States. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said not a single Guantanamo prisoner should be allowed to set foot in the United States, including at an American jail. If detention without trail for an indefinite period of time is okay in Afghanistan, why is it not okay at a US Naval base in Cuba?

It is unfortunate that a man who said that he was going to change the way that business was done in Washington continues to criticize his political opponents, while at the same time co-opting their policies. If Mr. Obama was not always in perpetual campaign mode, he might take the time to thank his predecessor for developing effective policies that have kept us safe for the past eight years. It is often said that when you get to sit in the “big chair”, as President Obama now does, things look much different than they do as a candidate. Evidently, the daily intelligence reports have shown that things look a lot more like what President Bush believed than what a junior Senator from Illinois believed. We can only hope the President continues down this path, even if he won’t recognize those who paved the way, because our security depends on it.


More Words Not Needed

Actual torture


Real Time Empathy Test

Yesterday came news of a Supreme Court decision tailor made for a test of PBO's views on empathy. In a nutshell, SCOTUS decided 7-2 that women who took pregnancy leave from their employer prior to 1979 were not covered by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1979, which outlawed the practice of removing time taken during pregnancy leave when calculating a retired worker's pension benefit. More details here.

Pregnancy . . . retirement benefits . . . worker rights . . . faceless corporations . . . interest group politics . . . the Supreme Court. It's hard to imagine a more tempting stew of competing interests and identity politics to clarify, just a little, the Empathy Test.

Here's what I'd ask PBO, if I could:
  • Does the majority or the minority pass your empathy test? Why?
  • If not, how would have Justices you consider appropriately empathetic settled the matter?
  • If not, couldn't empathy be directed toward current AT&T shareholders and employees for having engaged in conduct Congress specifically, deliberately considered legal 30 years ago and every year since?
  • Let's assume for a moment some or all of the affected pensioners had substantial retirement income/assets independent of the AT&T plan. Does that affect the application of empathy?
What questions would you ask PBO?


The Audacity of Audacity

You think Nancy Pelosi has a short memory when it comes to intelligence briefings?

Have a listen to the "Present of the United States", former community organizer and partial birth abortion antagonist Barack Hussein Obama, as he stood before the 2009 graduating class at that former bedrock institution and fading bastion of Catholic (and Judeo-Christian) principles, Notre Dame. He seems to have forgotten, or forsaken, his pro-abortion days as an Illinois State Senator.

Sunday, May 17, 2009: "Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women. ... Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words."

Honoring conscience is an admirable goal. But eight years ago, state Sen. Obama was in no mood to extend "clear ethics" to previable (premature) fetuses if doing so would pose a threat to the legality of abortion. Sound science was not on the table then. Just politics.

March 30, 2001 (speaking at the Illinois State Capitol): "There was some suggestion that we might be able to craft something that might meet constitutional muster with respect to caring for fetuses or children who were delivered in this fashion. Unfortunately, this bill goes a little bit further, and so I just want to suggest, not that I think it'll make too much difference with respect to how we vote, that this is probably not going to survive constitutional scrutiny. Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a -- a child, a nine-month-old -- child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place."

The 2001 speech excerpt appears in a landmark book, The Case Against Barack Obama, by David Freddoso, who wrote: "Birth has been the law's bright line, at least since Roe v. Wade. Apparently, not for Obama. He voted 'present' on this (2001) bill."

In other words, Obama was wholly unwilling to find a place in his heart or his mind for previable fetuses because they, as "persons", might throw a dagger into the heart he most cherishes, the heart of pro-abortion logic.

Part II

Obama, speaking at Notre Dame on Sunday: "Perhaps because the church folks I worked with (as a Chicago community 'organizer') were so welcoming and understanding; perhaps because they invited me to their services and sang with me from their hymnals; perhaps because I witnessed all of the good works their faith inspired them to perform, I found myself drawn -- not just to work with the church, but to be in the church. It was through this service that I was brought to Christ."

The Case Against Barack Obama, page 156: "During those days (in the 1980s) as a community organizer, Obama recognized that his work was suffering because the pastors in Chicago generally viewed him as an outsider -- as someone willing to use their congregations for his own purposes, but whose motivations remained unclear because he did not attend church himself."

And when Obama finally figured out he needed a regular church home to be a "player", he chose Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity Church of Christ, where worship shared top billing with Wright's anti-white, anti-America rants on Sundays.

Notre Dame might have lost its way. Barack Obama is still looking for his.

Newsweek Pt. 2: Right Idea, Wrong Way to Say It

This is why journalists make bad capitalists.

From Jon Meacham, Newsweek's editor in today's WaPo (emphasis mine).
"If we can't convince a million and a half people we're worth less than a dollar a week, the market will have spoken."
Jon, you need to convince a million and half people you're worth more than a dollar a week because you charge them less than that. See, that way readers perceive value greater than price and you get to stay in business. But I commend you for almost grasping basic market economics.

FWIW, Kurtz does a good round up of Newsweek's left-of-center perspective.

Stimulus Plan Was Pointless

Courtesy of Greg Mankiw's blog.

Recall the plan was passed to address an "irreversible" decline in the economy. Just this weekend Peter Orszag, Obama's head of OMB, said "the free-fall seemed to be over." However, the stim:
  • Underperformed its own objectives.
  • Accomplished what doing nothing would have accomplished
which of course means our problems weren't irreversible and we're no better off, so far, for having passed the stim (the drafting of which was outsourced to Congressional leadership and almost no one in either house read in its entirety). I wrote before I wasn't opposed to a stim, just the one they passed. Turns out the administration could have taken more time (and there were sober voices requesting just that) and drafted a plan more stimulative and less political.

Please don't argue that the stim will eventually work as intended. That's a tough sell when a basic premise (irreversibility) has been debunked this quickly. Obama's a smart, practical guy, right? Certainly he could recognize his plan's shortcomings and rework it. He won't, but he could.

No politics as usual here.


Nancy, It's Been Nice Knowing You

Why does Nancy Pelosi’s lie to the American people matter (other than to finally expose her as the political opportunist that we at RSP all know that she is)? It matters because at the moment in 2002 when the CIA made her aware of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, her failure to object made her complicit in the practice. It is irrelevant as to whether she was told that the CIA had these practices in their quiver of arrows for future use (as the Speaker claims) or whether she had been told that the had already been used (as the CIA claims).

The enhanced interrogation techniques approved by the Bush Administration are not torture. But, for the sake of discussion, let’s assume that Nancy Pelosi’s contention that waterboarding is torture is correct. As Andrew McCarthy points out, a person who conspires to torture is subject to the same penalties as the torturer. Once Rep. Pelosi received her CIA briefing on the matter, her failure to object made her complicit with all future utilization of the EITs. As a matter of fact, if, as the Speaker claims, she was told that the techniques had not yet been used, but might be utilized in the future, that is a much better time to object than if she had been told that they had already been used. A forceful objection on the part of a high ranking member of the Intelligence Committee may have changed the CIA’s position. This has happened in the past so the Sen. Dick Durbin claim that the objections of members of Congress have no effect on Administration policies is not correct.

Unlike her nemesis, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), Ms. Pelosi never object to these techniques in writing and there is no record of any verbal objections. Pelosi also did not attempt to cut off funding for the program. As a matter of fact, according to recent comments by her then Intelligence Committee colleague, Porter Goss (R-FL), Pelosi and the other members of the House who were briefed, offered encouragement and asked if they could facilitate the program with new legislation. This certainly does not seem like the actions of someone who’s conscience was shocked by the revelation that an unlawfully enemy combatant was strapped to a wooden board and had water poured on his face (with a doctor and a psychologist waiting in the next room).

If you believe, as I do, that the briefing of selected members of Congress is a proxy for notifying the American people, the failure of the Speaker to act at the moment that she was informed of the existence of the EITs, was a vote in favor of their use. For he to claim moral indignation eight years after the fact is nothing but an attempt at political opportunism (an apparently failed attempt, at that).

In recent days, Speaker Pelosi has only made things worse for herself. She has become a political liability for the Obama Administration. This is evident by the fact that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs failed to throw her a “life line” during his daily press briefing on Friday.

At the Speaker’s much discussed Thursday press conference, she came off as dazed and confused. Her claim that the CIA lied to her and purposely and continuously mislead Congress is disputed by current CIA Director Leon Panetta (hardly an operative of the Bush Administration). The simple fact is that the Speaker of the House of Representatives must resign her position immediately. Her actions prove one of two things about her – either (1) her silence seven years ago was because she lacks the intelligence to understand the magnitude of what was being done to the terrorists in the name of American national security, or (2) she is lying now about what she knew and when she know it. (There is a third possibility as well, that both 1 and 2 are true, which is my bet.) In any case, Ms. Pelosi is unfit to be third in line to become President of the United States. The nation would be much better served if she were to return to the back bench.


Pelosi v. CIA (Update)

From Politico

CIA Director Panetta:

"Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened."

Speaker Pelosi:
"We all share great respect for the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community who are deeply committed to the safety and security of the American people. My criticism of the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe. What is important now is to be united in our commitment to ensuring the security of our country; that, and how Congress exercises its oversight responsibilities, will continue to be my focus as we move forward."
If the CIA lied then, it is lying now. Or is she substituting "Bush Administration" for CIA to deflect attention from already being on the record saying the CIA misled her in 2002? Or is lying to Congress only a problem when the accused is a Republican?


Daily Crackup

Newsweek, once a fantastic magazine and now mostly just average and partisan, like just about all of its competition, has decided to reinvent itself. Good for them. News is a commodity now and we're all a tiny bit worse off for it. If they've something new to add I hope it works. Odds are long, but it's worth a shot. I find the magazine reflexively partisan (in its reporting, that is. Opinion pieces should be just that), embracing and defending code words to the left's liking. No big whoop, they've got to sell product to keep the lights on just like everyone else and it's not like there aren't conservative voices elsewhere.

But this passage from the linked article cracked me up (emphasis mine):
We'll aim to be provocative, but not partisan. Readers will find more essays like Jon's recent cover story "The Decline and Fall of Christian America," or Evan Thomas's profile of Paul Krugman, the toughest liberal critic of President Obama.
As examples of Newsweek's nonpartisanship they highlight stories about the fall of core Republican support and an economist who scolds Obama for not being liberal enough.

If that's nonpartisan, what, then, do the editors consider partisan?

Pelosi v. CIA

The battle is now joined. The CIA lied, or is lying about what Speaker Pelosi knew and when she knew it, according to Speaker Pelosi. The CIA is now led by Pelosi ally, and Obama nominee, Leon Panetta. If it's lying now, it's her ally doing the lying.

All politicians lie. Some more than others, some with greater ease than others. The CIA lies. It's in the business of lying. But now the CIA has to defend itself, on its home turf, against a Speaker from the same party as its boss. While the CIA of five or seven years ago was led by a different person and different party, the guts of an organization and culture will change little in that time.

In the coming war of attrition and selective leaks, who would you bet on?


Speaker Pelosi Makes Funny Talk

See if you can follow the ever evolving positions of Speaker Pelosi, ordinarily a blackbelt level CYA artist. Trust me, it'll make your brain spin on its x-axis.

Square that with this quote from Thursday's NYT (emphasis mine):
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, acknowledged for the first time Thursday that she knew by early 2003 that the Central Intelligence Agency had subjected terror detainees to waterboarding but saw little recourse to challenge the practice except by achieving Democratic control of Congress and the White House.
Krauthammer helps clarify:

Never let 'em see you sweat.

Markets Win

A short post to make fun of AP and deflate Tim Geithner (but just a little) by offering evidence of markets responding ahead of regulators, again.

First, AP. See this article about Geithner's letter to congressional leaders. AP worked in the adjectives "shadowy" and "complex" to describe credit default swaps, obligatory words when trying to scare readers. Here's how complex and shadowy they are: they are puts, or insurance, on an entity's creditworthiness and are traded back and forth between banks, insurance companies, broker dealers and money managers all day every day. Unlike puts on the S&P 500, they are not traded on an exchange and unlike insurance the holder need not have a financial stake in the protected debt (for very good public policy reasons you can't buy insurance on someone else's life or home). They are shadowy in the same way your office is shadowy to me because I don't work there, but would be pretty easy to understand if I did.

On to Geithner. His proposal, in summary, is to create an exchange for CDS trading, just like the NYSE. Terms, reporting, pricing and capital requirements would be standardized and transparent to regulators and participants. It's a very good idea and I commend the administration for advancing it. Off exchange, or over-the-counter, transactions will still occur, as they do with other financial products but they'll have to compete with the very reassuring benefits exchange based trading provides.

However, markets are way ahead of Geithner. Assuredly, Geithner's vision and CME/Citadel's version differ, but in small ways interesting to the industry and few others. The point is, markets saw a need and acted long before regulators (just like in Enron, BTW and, of course, for different reasons). Private enterprise has taken quite a beating in the last year, much of it deserved. But it's this little magic, which gets much less attention and happens, oh, a few million times a day, that will cure what ails us long before the government does.

If Washington doesn't kill it first, that is.

When He's Right, He's Right

Since we spend much of our time here at RSP criticizing the Obama Administration, it is only fair when we congratulate them when they are correct. Therefore, the President should be commended for changing his mind and deciding to fight the release of the prisoner abuse photos that the had previously agreed to release. The word on the street is that the change of heart was due to extensive lobbying by the generals in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Central Command.

The next question, however, is how vigorously will he try to stop the release. He may try to fight it in court. This could include appears all the way to the Supreme Court. However, if the court challenges fail, the President has it within his power to issue an executive order to prevent the release. So far, he has not issued such an order and there has been no confirmation that he will. Let’s hope that he continues to make sound judgments regarding national security and, if necessary, he issue this executive order.


Cartoon Tells the Future

If you can forgive some annoying ads (and recognize not everything is as it was 50 years ago), you'll find the short video below, via Founding Bloggers, incredibly prescient.


The Return of Dick Cheney

Normally, I believe that it is out of line for the former President of the United States to criticize his successors. By extension, that should apply to former Vice-Presidents as well. However, the criticism of the Bush Administration by the Obama Administration is unprecedented. From the almost daily attacks on the Bush Administration to the release of the so called “torture memos”, along with accompanying anti-Bush commentary, it is perfectly understandable why former Vice President Dick Cheney has decided to speak out in defense of his administration.

It cannot be left to stand unanswered that President George W. Bush allowed torture and that he was the Torturer–in-Chief. The honor of this man and the policies that have kept America safe for almost 8 years must be defended by those with direct knowledge of the situation. Mr. Cheney is such a person. While his actions are, in part, for the purpose of defending his own legacy, the Vice President was instrumental in developing the successful strategies in the War on Terror. Therefore, on behalf of himself, those in his administration and those who had supported (and continue to support) these effective policies, Vice President Cheney is adding an informed and useful voice to not only analyze what has transpired, but also to the debate as to how the current administration should proceed going forward.

Based upon Mr. Cheney’s statements, and those of four former Directors of the CIA and the current Director of National Intelligence, the information that was gained by using enhanced interrogation techniques was invaluable. Those who say that these techniques do not work are either lying or badly misinformed. Mr. Cheney also rebuts the canard that those such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed may have talked if the CIA had only used conventional interrogation techniques. According to the Vice President, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed did not cooperate fully in terms of interrogation until after waterboarding. Cheney goes on to say, “Once we went through that process, he produced vast quantities of invaluable information about Al Qaida.”

I am inclined to believe the former Vice President when he claims that the actions of the Bush Administration saved thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives. Some of these foiled plot have been made public (flying an airplane into a skyscraper in Los Angeles, blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge, poisoning the water supply to the US Embassy in Rome, attacking the US Embassy in Singapore, just to name a few). And, of course, the mind set in the country immediately following September 11 was that another Al Qaida attack was imminent.

As Mr. Cheney points out, the public announcement of the halting of enhanced interrogation techniques does increase the danger to the American people. Whether we these techniques or not, the belief that they may be used would stand as a deterrent for those who may be captured. Also, the closing Guantanamo Bay with no plan as to what to do with the terrorists imprisoned there not only shows weakness on the part of President Obama, but also a lack of judgment on the single most important issue relating to our national security. It is pathetic to see him begging our European allies to take these terrorists and then to have his request rejected. That is not a good example of strong American leadership.

Is our position on the War on Terror weaker today than under the previous administration? The answer is yes. Is President Obama responsible for this? The answer is, again, yes.

However, to the victor goes the spoils. President Obama has been charged with the defense of the American people. I just hope that he spends time dealing with this in a serious manner rather than sniping at his predecessor. If he does, Dick Cheney can happily retreat into retirement.

Politicizing Gitmo Demeans 9-11's Casualties

On September 11, 2001, a long planned attack was carried out successfully by fewer than two dozen soldiers of the radical jihadist forces trained and controlled by Osama bin Laden. They died while committing murderous acts against more than 3,000 innocent people that tragic morning, terrifying our nation and much of the world. But the web of support that made that horrific day come to pass is comprised of still very much alive radical terrorists, or their silent sympathizers, in countries all over the world, in safe houses and remote outposts. So when we have 241 or so suspects detained, we must keep them detained. War is hell. We did not start this war. If several innocent men and women end up detained and interrogated inadvertently, while unfortunate, we must accept that they are casualties of a war begun and engendered by radical jihadists, not President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney or other senior officials.

(This is why Cheney, to the dismay and outrage of the left wing media, over the weekend on the CBS program Face The Nation said that the U.S. under Barack Hussein Obama is more vulnerable than at any time since 9-11).

How many innocent people were blown apart in an instant on 9-11? They, too, were casualties of war. The U.S. will ignore the War on Terror at its peril. Obama refuses to utter the phrase, but that is merely a tactic of his ongoing campaign to "remake" America. What matters is whether President Obama and his advisers -- away from the bright lights of public scrutiny -- actually recognize the threat to our way of life that has not gone away since 2001. The battle is waged beneath the radar. So if Obama wants to decry "torture" and Gitmo and all the rest to appease his liberal supporters, so be it. What matters is that the U.S. intelligence community and military remain vigilant, and that detainees remain under imprisonment, whether in Gitmo or elsewhere.

Read the complete post

Pesky Reality

Helpful analysis from AP today. A couple observations about these excerpts follow (emphasis mine):
To determine whether there was a disparity in where the money would go, the AP divided the nation's counties into four groups by unemployment levels. The analysis found that, no matter how the early money is measured, communities suffering most fare the worst.
The early trend seen in the AP analysis runs counter to expectations raised by Obama, that road and infrastructure money from the historic $787 billion stimulus plan would create jobs in areas most devastated by layoffs and plant closings. Transportation money, he said, would mean paychecks for "folks looking for work" and "folks who want to work."
The rest of the AP's analysis echoes these excerpts.

This is a Democratic White House's plan with benefits for a state the President carried. Moreover, it has a Democratic Governor. Even with all those aligned stars, the White House still can't get outcomes in congruence with intentions (at least not yet). Obama's goal was to put people who need jobs to work building public projects the country needs. Unfortunately the people who need jobs aren't always proximate to the necessary projects ("need" and "necessary" are, necessarily, matters of opinion).

Is Obama corrupt and inept? If so, this is crappy evidence. Is this an argument for no stimulus plan? Also no. It's just extremely hard for centralized planning to achieve intended ends, and it gets harder and harder as goals get more complex (factorial computations come to mind). In less mathematical terms, reality always gets in the way.

It's yet another thing to keep in mind as health care reform speeds along.

Think About Housing When You Think About Health Care

Scour the web and you'll find no shortage of analysis of the Obama administration's health care plan. Since very few people have the time, intellect or inclination for rigorous scrutiny, branding matters when policy meets politics, and policy makers know it. I'd wager out here in flyover country support is ordinarily driven by whether my guy, or your guy, is for or against it.

Elected policy makers themselves are prone to it too. Nearly no one read the stimulus plan and yet it passed on almost a purely party line vote. Why? In addition to 1) ideological preference and 2) laziness, individual members of Congress have all the incentive in the world to respond as their leadership demands. Leadership controls some, all or most of committee assignments, voting schedules, floor agendas, campaign funds and information flow so Congress, like any large organization, moves mostly as its leaders want it to move.

So as we learn about President Obama's plans, do yourself a favor and forget your personal feelings about him. He'll be gone in four or eight years and someone else will be building upon, or ratcheting back, his plans. When thinking about his health care plans, forget how they will look at inception or shortly thereafter. The real cost comes later as the long, slow, steady march toward centralized influence over our economic life continues.

Read this article about Washington involvement in the domestic housing market. It's been going on a long time with Congress enjoying ever growing power. Intentions were initially noble and appropriate: removing capricious, arbitrary and patently discriminatory barriers to mortgage opportunities. Political power accrued as Congress learned that policies to prevent discrimination could be repurposed to require particular mortgage lending outcomes (and for those who buy Barney Frank's view that Republicans carry the bulk of the blame, read this article from a well known right wing rag*).

The administration wants to replace an incomprehensibly complex series of human and financial relationships with a structure politically useful to them in the here and now subject to enormous, inevitable, political gaming in the future. The way our country finances health care sucks eggs and I don't believe government has no role but recognize that as politicians gain influence resources, just like with housing, will be allocated politically first and foremost.

*sarcasm alert


Why Is Robert Gibbs Such a Prick?

To Chuck Todd: Comparing household and corporate belt-tightening to government belt-tightening is dumb. The federal government has different choices than private entities and levering up to mitigate a downturn is one of them. The "feel your pain" governing philosophy, in symbol and policy, is crap.

To Robert Gibbs: Slinging sly, smarter-than-thou insults at the press is fun for you and the red-meat loving Obamabots, but try to remember you're the spokesman for the President of the United States. You don't have to bathe yourself in earnestness 24/7/365, but being a prick in public breeds the cynicism your boss argued so forcefully he'd end.

To Barack Obama: Your public spokesman is a prick. Maybe not in private, maybe not to your hardcore fans, maybe not all the time. But he cheapens your office and he's doing it with your permission.

Or maybe you like it that way. . . .


Let Freedom Rattle

Author and radio host Mark Levin said it best today. Some see this era as just that, a passing era of upheaval in our history. Others, like Levin and yours truly (and a growing throng of patriots), recognize we have arrived at a seminal crossroads for America. But when you try to engage an Obamatron in any serious analysis of what is happening around us, they dismiss you as angry, anti-Obama, and then they infer all of the tired “ists” — racist, sexist, elitist.

But I will not be deterred. I will sacrifice every (so-called) friendship. I will respond to every verbal taunt. I will not waver in my quest to chronicle and resist this seminal march toward Socialism, Progressive Secularism and Fascism. To wit:

1. The Wall Street Journal, 05/07: “The U.S. is spending hundreds of billions of dollars — including increased assistance to the unemployed — to prop up the economy, and wants Europe to follow suit. But most of Western Europe already has a strong, if costly, social safety net, so governments feel less pressure to spend their way out of trouble. The irony is that for years, Europe tried to rein in its own worker protections. … Now the U.S. is moving toward a more European system.”

Isn’t that mind boggling? The Europeans are more than happy marking time, waiting for a government check and their government’s instructions, while watching the world go by, even with the economy in the tank. Little wonder Obama loves speaking to his buddies in Berlin.

2. A Greek acquaintance posted a link on Facebook today heralding a profile by The Independent of a former UBS trader. It’s a tell-all, lamenting the excesses that, according to the reformed capitalist turned fiction author, derailed the U.S. economy. The author shamelessly embraces a “devil made me do it” defense for his greed-driven behavior. In other words, he’s a “victim”. Of course.

As we debated the merits of the trader’s account of his days on Wall Street, my Facebook friend finally became exasperated with me and fired back with a passage from the profile, quoting the ex-trader: “Give a small number of people the power to enrich themselves beyond everyone’s wildest dreams, a philosophical rationale to explain all the damage they’re causing, and they will not stop until they’ve run the world economy off a cliff.”

To which I, stunned by the insane logic, replied: “And what happens, do you suppose, when a devious federal government controlled by self-absorbed politicians, and led by a Socialist President disdainful of the U.S. Constitution, gives a large number of people (who do not pay taxes and rarely seek or maintain employment) the power to enrich themselves?”

3. Barack Hussein Obama did not engage in any formal observances today of the National Day of Prayer. Well, duh. Praying normally requires an acknowledgment of, you know, a God. Other than the false one in the mirror, that is. Don’t forget, BHO spoke at Georgetown University on the condition that all images and symbols of Jesus Christ were covered. When did we last have an atheist President? Even Nixon prayed.

4. I can’t think of a better outcome than the courageous Miss California, Carrie Prejean, being stripped of her “title” by the state’s pageant honchos. (This action is pending). It would free her of any formal connection to a state that has been stripped bare of American values by left wing radicals who loathe our country on every level imaginable. She is a patriot. She does not need the worthless Miss California sash. She can wrap herself in the Stars and Stripes and attract millions of new fans who strongly support her contention that marriage is a union between and man and a woman.

5. The old Ball game. The American values think tank known as American Vision is reporting that a Louisiana man was stopped by a police squad car in his hometown of Ball. He was asked to wait while the officer ran a background check. His offense? Apparently, the cop was alarmed by the “Don’t Tread On Me” bumper sticker adorning the man’s vehicle. The authorities wanted to make sure he was not one of those extremists our Department of Homeland Security has warned about.

So it has come to this. The dawning era of the DWP, Driving While Patriotic.

The famous Don’t Tread On Me flag was created in the pre-American Revolution days to draw attention to an ominous rattlesnake symbolizing vigilance in the face of potential enemies, in this case, enemies of American liberties.

A timeless sentiment. Let Freedom Rattle.

Alex Giannoulias Says Silly Things

Now that political investing (and its cousin, political risk) is all the rage, with elected officials using the levers of government and politics to keep dead businesses alive (autos, banks, window manufacturers) it should be entirely unremarkable that Illinois State Treasurer Alex Giannoulias considers part of his job to threaten Wells Fargo with the loss of the State's business if the bank "doesn't back off its efforts to force Chicago suit maker Hartmarx into liquidation."

Per his website his "primary responsibility is to protect and wisely invest taxpayers’ money." Since he's Illinois' treasurer, it's safe to assume he'll avail himself of the wildest mental gymnastics possible to excuse whatever needs excusing. Take this statement from Giannoulias for example: "We want to make sure that state and federal businesses invest in American companies and in American jobs." If that means leaning on Wells Fargo to do whatever he wants them to do to keep a dying business on life support JUST A LITTLE LONGER, then so be it. Maybe Hartmarx is salvageable, maybe it isn't. I haven't got any idea. Safe to say, if it is and is priced right, a bidder will emerge (or maybe one already has) and Wells Fargo won't liquidate the business gratuitously.

Just like the essay I didn't write yesterday about outsourcing, I won't take up server space with my views on when and where the Treasurer's office should be inserting itself. This will come as no surprise, but I think the State should choose vendors for the value they provide as a vendor, not for their political suppliance.

I will, however, ask this rhetorical question (dripping sarcasm intended):

WTF is a "federal business"?


The Daily Pander Presents Your Code Word of the Day: Empathy

I, XXX XXX, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as XXX under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.
Oath of Office, United States Federal Judges.

We need somebody who's got the heart—the empathy—to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old—and that's the criteria by which I'll be selecting my judges. Alright?
Sen. Barack Obama, July 17, 2007

Ground Zero

I spent the past several days in New York City. It was my first trip to the Big Apple since September 11. I was there for pleasure, to catch up with some old friends who I haven’t seen in a while. However, yesterday, the fun took a short break when I traveled to lower Manhattan to see Ground Zero.

Having seen this area may times on television during the past eight years, I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. The former World Trade Center site now looks like almost any other large downtown urban construction project. You can get a sense of that from the attached picture that I took in the New York City rain. The construction fencing had references to the memorial that is planned for the site, but there is currently little else that would lead you to believe that this was the site of the greatest tragedy of post World War II America. The final resting place for almost 3,000 Americans who did nothing but get up and go to work that morning.

People were walking by and entering and exiting the subway. Other than a few tourists, like myself, no one in the area was behaving like anything was wrong. Life must go on and New Yorkers cannot spend every moment of every day being consumed by the tragedy, I understand that. Being there, I remembered that day - leaving my office in the morning because there would be no afternoon trains out of downtown Chicago. I tried to contact my friend, Howie, who lived and worked in Manhattan. Calls would not go through to his office phone or his cell phone, but I finally got through with an email. Then, going to my friend, Adam’s, office in the suburbs and watching the towers collapse on his small TV. At that point, we all knew there would be few, if any, survivors.

Howie, who accompanied me, a native New Yorker, spoke of the two friends that he knew who died in the twin towers. I then told him of my friend’s brother who is a New York City fireman. This particular firefighter had just finished his probationary period and was taking a few days off following Labor Day, 2001. While he was sitting at the beach, vacationing on the Jersey Shore, his entire fire house was killed by Islamists.

As time goes on, my fear is that our collective memories of that awful fall day will fade. They fade to the point where we and our elected officials no longer recognize the threat posed by Islamists. We now desire to talk to them as opposed to destroying them. We now excuse their actions because of their so called anger at us as opposed expressing our outrage at them. Our leaders now make excuses for them as opposed to their leaders apologizing to us. We now worry about the rights of the terrorists as opposed to worrying about justice for the families of the victims.

As the Jews rightfully say about the Holocaust, “Never forget”, it is incumbent upon every American never to forget what happened to us on September 11, 2001. Our actions should be governed by the notion that we will never allow something like this to happen again. We must demand this from our politicians. The elected officials who do not understand this are not fit to hold office. The first role of the federal government is to protect its citizens. Unfortunately, on 9/11, the government failed in its mission. Now, however, they are on notice.

I urge everyone of you to take the time to go to Ground Zero. See it for yourself. Explain it to you children. Remember what happened to us that day. Remember those that had to make the decision to die by jumping out of the 100th floor window or die by being incinerated by jet fuel. Then, demand accountability from our leaders so that this cannot happen again!

A Little Reality Check From the Cheap Seats

1) Obama didn't ask for this level of engagement with GM and Chrysler. He's not blameless, having voted for the various car company loans as a Senator but he didn't seek it out.

2) Dress it up any way you want, but Obama is choosing sides based on to whom he owes political payback. Republicans would do the same damn thing if they were in charge.

3) There is a fundamental, irreconcilable difference between those who believe car companies should be run in the "national interest" and those who believe they should be run on behalf of owners. The latter means profit consistent with property rights as understood at the time risks were taken. The former means whatever those in power decide it means.

4) For those who prefer less government involvement, Obama is not the one to worry about in this scenario. Obama's decisions are driven by two important dates: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 and Tuesday, November 6, 2012. After that, his interest will wane. Presidents come and go, but Congress is forever. As government involvement in GM and Chrysler expands (and it will only expand) an ecosystem of lawyers, bankers, activists, constituents, consultants, journalists, lobbyists, local/regional/state/federal officials, legislators and more will organize to pry special benefits (financial and otherwise) for themselves out of Treasury's position in Chrysler and GM. If you buy common equity in GM or Chrysler (if it ever goes public), you're a complete fool.


What Else Could the Smartest Man Ever* Have Said?

The U.S. tax code has made it "all too easy for a...small number of individuals and companies to abuse overseas tax havens, to avoid paying any taxes at all," the president said. "And it's a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York."
Wall Street Journal (link here for subscribers)
May 5, 2009

Obama raised the specter of "India" which in populist circles is code for. . . .actually it's not code. It has no hidden meaning. It explicitly means greedy corporations employing non-unionized cheap foreign drones to screw 'merican workers. You remember, the bitter clingers. Such were they named, clutching their guns and bibles, at least when Obama was running for office. I'm confident his view of flyover country's mass unwashed has changed now that he's in office.

I could easily write an essay about the virtues of "outsourcing." You know, how all organizations that hire another have "outsourced." How hiring the best workforce one's budget allows is what profit seeking companies are supposed to do. How a business often needs to be in physical proximity to its foreign customers. How a global footprint is smart financial and operational risk management. How commercial ties strengthen and enhance diplomatic relationships. Tax avoidance is a big reason, no s&!t. But I realize those arguments mean nothing to the guy who lost his job and to that portion of the elected class inclined to stoke resentment for their crass power grabs. So I'll hold off on the essay, but will ask one question:

If Obama really is smarter and better tempered than the garden variety donkey or elephant, instead of fanning resentment's flames, why not propose lowering the tax burden on the job created in Buffalo instead of raising it on the one created in Bangalore?

*sarcasm alert


Trouble In Our Day

So weary am I, dear Conservative Patriots, of fellow Americans lacking conviction, resolve and spine that I willingly step into perilous territory, inspired by the challenge of my self-appointed task. I was going to take a pass on courageous Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) until I was reminded of the words of Thomas Paine in 1776.

In the final days of that historic year, the revolutionary Paine said, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."

Indeed, there is trouble, and it is of a magnitude rarely seen during these past 233 years. Again, to quote one wiser than myself, I was struck by the words of modern revolutionary Andrew Breitbart in today's Washington Times: "On college campuses, in newsrooms and now in the highest corridors of power, with Barack Obama in the Oval Office, the politically correct left is wielding its weaponry with the confidence that it can take down any group, anyone or anything."

Exhibit A: Perella Weinberg Partners, one of the investment banks carrying Chrysler Corp. debt.

Exhibit B: Rep. Foxx, who dared to call the premise behind a so-called hate crimes bill passed by the House last week precisely what the premise is, a hoax.

Exhibit C: Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), who wrote to constituents by email warning of automated calls circulating through her Congressional district (13th) containing falsehoods about her voting record.

In Exhibit A, a bankruptcy lawyer told ABC News that a senior Obama White House official threatened to use the "full force of the White House press corps" to "destroy (the firm's) reputation" if Perella Weinberg refused to support the White House-led Chrysler bankruptcy plan. The Obamatrons could not stomach the idea that the greedy investment bankers at this and other firms refused to forgive Chrysler's debt at 29 cents on the dollar.

By the way, that's 29 cents on a lot of dollars -- 6.8 billion with a B.

More terrifying than the White House's meddling is its absolute confidence that the press would readily comply with and be manipulated by Obama insiders passing out "tidbits" intended to the discredit the firm. But of course information consumers have come to expect no less.

It is sad to watch American media icons collapse under their financial ineptitude (yes, even the New York Times); it is alarming to see them becoming even more ethically bankrupt in their fervor to spread Obama's tentacles everywhere to ensure his "greatness" will be firmly rooted.

Seems it is perfectly OK for Obamatrons to carry a deeply held hatred of Capitalists and their profit making ways. On the other hand, Democrats in the House of Representatives went on record last week that they have zero tolerance for disdain of other varieties.

The Liberal Dems want to redefine what it means to commit a hate crime in America, and to support their mission they re-visited the most extreme example they could find of bad guys doing really bad things to an innocent guy. They went back to the 1998 murder of a Wyoming resident named Matthew Shepard.

Rep. Foxx called upon the Audacity of Truth, in remarks on the floor of the House, in firmly rejecting the claim that Shepard is an authentic poster boy for hate crime legislation. He was murdered by drug-crazed punks coming off a "five-day (methamphetamine) binge," as Breitbart describes them. There is no clear evidence that the meth heads knew Shepard was gay. But the brilliant Left believes it to be the truth, so beware dissenters, beware.

While Foxx said nothing to diminish the awful circumstances of Shepard's death 11 years ago -- he was beaten to death and the guys who did it are in prison for life -- she boldly proclaimed that using this case to prove the necessity for tougher hate crime legislation represents the carrying out of a "hoax" by fellow lawmakers.

She was deriding their disingenuous agenda, and yet (can't you see this coming?) was instantly accused of calling Shepard's death a "hoax" in and of itself, which clearly it was not and never has been suspected to be. Nonetheless, Foxx decided she had to issue an apology and wander into the "what I meant to say" minefield, where only Vice President Joe (Ought to be Hidin') Biden is safe, apparently.

If the rigid hate crime definitions become part of the law of the land -- and this is where Foxx makes a legitimate objection -- you can be sure that any political, social, religious or cause-driven position that opposes gay marriage or supports something as extremist as, say, the observance of the Christmas season, to name two, will be attacked by outraged liberals as "hate speech" and accused of inciting "hate crimes". Where this leads, as Breitbart concludes, is to tortuous, Orwellian political correctness and emboldened thought police squads around every corner.

The Obama thought police apparently are after Rep. Biggert of Illinois, who in her recent email expressed a concern that she is being punished for opposing Obama's runaway spending. She is being punished, in other words, for standing firm on that principle the she will not mortgage the future of her grandchildren -- or yours -- to achieve ideological supremacy in the present.

"This past week a liberal 527 group paid for automated phone calls into my district lying about my record," Biggert wrote. "If one stands up to the D.C. Democrat Machine, then they start rattling their sabers and sending their goons after you. In fact, they are using the web to spread lies that I am retiring. Their games are not about the issues."

On one point, I disagree with Rep. Biggert. These are not games. What we see with more clarity, with every passing day, every hour, is a calculated assault on American values, a jack hammering of our bedrock principles.

If you defend Capitalism, you will be threatened in the remote corners of the corridors of power. If you embrace marriage as a legal union between a man and woman, you are stoking the embers of hatred. If you oppose massive federal spending intended to create an unsustainable Entitlement Class, you will be singled out, targeted, and maligned in your own backyard.

Take heart. We are here 233 years after Paine and his fellow founders welcomed the battles before them because Americans are not timid when staring into the face of freedom's enemies. Indeed, we know we will prevail.

Churchill and Torture

Here is a good column by Jonah Goldberg regarding President Obama's statement at last Wednesday's press conference that Winston Churchill did not resort to torture during World War II.

Dr. Specter Is In The House

Yesterday on Face The Nation, Senator (and apparently Dr.) Arlen Specter shared his medical expertise with the world, stating the following: "And one of the items that I'm working on, Bob, is funding for medical research. If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains. I think Jack Kemp would be alive today. And that research has saved or prolonged many lives, including mine."

I would ask the good doctor what country has made more progress in the battle against cancer in the last 39 years? Take a peak at this list of cancer drugs, nearly all of which have been approved since 1970. And all without the benefit of the wise council of centralized planning that Dr. Specter apparently thinks would have saved Jack Kemp's life. If Specter wants to encourage funding for medical research, he should work to avoid the dampening effect on funding that will result from nationalizing health care.

Jack Kemp Remembered

In 1986, I wrote my first, and to date only, letter to a politician. That letter was to Jack Kemp. I urged him to run for President in 1988. It’s unlikely that the letter of a then sophomore in college made him decide to run for the highest office in the land, but he was, never the less, my candidate during the primary season. And, as we all know, he was unsuccessful.

I supported Jack Kemp primarily because of his pro-growth policies of decreased taxes and less government regulation. He was after all the father of the “enterprise zones”. I viewed him as the rightful successor to President Reagan, even more so than George H. W. Bush. As a young conservative, I had my doubts that the first President Bush was a true conservative. It turned out, of course, that I was right.

Mr. Kemp was an attractive candidate on many levels. As a life long football fan, I found his time as a professional football player an intriguing back story. He was one of the founders of the AFL Players’ Association and served 5 terms as its president. A Republican who served as the president of a labor union, sounds like someone else that we all know.

During his time in the American Football League, Mr. Kemp had many friends who were black. This led him to campaign vigorously though out his career in minority neighborhoods, places where Republicans traditionally had not gone. He demanded that the Republican Party expand its base so that it would appeal to a wide cross section Americans.

Jack Kemp was also a staunch anti-communist / cold warrior. He understood the nature of the communist threat against the West. Just like Ronald Reagan, he believed in peace through strength. The strategy that ultimately brought about the demise of the Soviet Empire.

As the tributes poured in over the last couple of days, I was struck by the same comment from all those that knew him - Jack Kemp was the happy warrior. He stood for a set of principals, conservative principals, but was well liked by members of both parties. He was never a divisive figure.

Recently, when speaking before the House Republican Caucus, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard used Mr. Kemp and his policies as an example as to how these members should conduct themselves. The point was that they should all be eloquent spokesmen for their core principals. They must offer alternatives and must not be the party of “No!”. And, while sitting in opposition, these Congressman must act with smiles on their faces and not be seen as looking for a fight.

It is unfortunate that we lost Jack Kemp at this time. The country needs him now more than ever. He would have been an effective spokesman against the out of control government spending of the current administration and he would have lobbied hard against the massive tax increases that are about to come.

Jack Kemp should be able to rest in peace knowing that he was an integral part of one of the most effective revolutions in the history of the world – the Reagan Revolution. Our nation is a better place because of his service.


NYC - Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I think that we should take a poll - should I or should I not travel to New York City next week as planned. We know how Vice President Joe Biden would vote in the poll – No travel to NYC! According to the Vice President, I should stay home, huddled far away from others. No travel by airplanes or trains. I should not be out working, buying lunch and dinner, spending money in stores or walking among the masses. This is, of course, much easier when Air Force Two and Secret Service motorcades are at your disposal.

No American has died of the disease and all of the cases in the US are said to be mild. Certainly, the government needs to take the swine flu outbreak seriously. And, according to President Obama, the nation is prepared to deal with this public health issue due to the actions of the Bush Administration.

However, does taking the swine flu outbreak seriously mean that we should live as a nation of hermits? The reaction that Mr. Biden has suggested is an end to commerce. Does that benefit the country, especially at a time of recession? I think not.

It is curious that the Vice President thinks that we should all stay home and avoid travel, work and socializing, but he does not want to close the border with Mexico, the country of origin for the outbreak. Why would you suppose that is – political correctness over public health, perhaps?