It's Time to Decide

Following an interview British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, last week, the New York Times, of all papers, displayed a headline reading “Britain Resolves, US Wavers”. For Americans to look to a European country for determination, then things in Washington must becoming unhinged.

Earlier this summer, President Obama called Afghanistan a war of necessity. Since then, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal (the general personally selected by the President to take charge of this war), has requested at least 40,000 additional troops was needed for a surge in order for the NATO mission in that country to succeed. Of course, as the commander-in-chief, Mr. Obama is not bound by the recommendations of his generals. However, he is duty bound to make a decision.

When Gen. McChrystal made the recommendation two months ago, he stated that the United States on had about twelve months to stabilize the situation in country and then win the war. Two of those twelve short months have now passed and the President of the United States has yet to make a decision. While President Obama has said to our soldiers, “I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm’s way”, there is a difference between deliberation and, as Vice President Cheney has said, dithering.

The President’s indecision is another sign of his weakness. All the while we are waiting for a decision, the Taliban continues to terrorize Afghanistan and its people. On Wednesday, for example, a Taliban cell breached the United Nations compound in Kabul, while dressed as Afghan police officers, and killed six of the UN staff. The Taliban, like Al-Qaeda, don’t carry out attacks at random. They pick their targets with the intent of controlling events.

As Senator John McCain has said, “The President of the United States needs to make this decision and soon. Our allies are nervous and our military leadership is becoming frustrated.” And, as Her Majesty’s Foreign Secretary has indicated, our closest ally, the United Kingdom, is ready to take action and participate in a surge. I’m sure that our English friends just don’t want to be hung out to dry by the inaction of the Obama Administration.

Also, the morale of our soldiers and Marines is always an important factor in any military campaign. Indecision from the top does not help morale. The troops need to know that they have the support of the commander-in-chief. The lack of a defined military strategy from the White House doesn’t shout out support for our men and women in uniform.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 63% of American voters do not believe that Mr. Obama has a clear plan for Afghanistan. The President’s continued indecision does nothing to dissuade this notion. This is very unfortunate because, as I said previously, President Obama, at least at one point, believed that this was a war of necessity.

As the surge in Iraq has shown, decisive action can make a substantial positive difference. This is in spite of the violence this week, which is still relatively rare when compared to pre-surge levels. Just like what is currently happening in Afghanistan, the dithering prior to the surge shows what can happen without decisive action.

For the sake of success in a war of necessity, the President should follow the recommendation of his hand picked commander. Gen. McChrystal - supported by the hero of the Iraq war, General David Petraeus – knows the prescription for victory in Afghanistan. It’s now up to Mr. Obama to let them win it.

What We All Want to Say

Read this letter from Gov. Schwarzenegger to the California Assembly. Then look at the first letter of each line in the second and third paragraphs.

Could that be the Gov's real message?

GoodFellas Motors

There's a great scene in GoodFellas when a bar owner asks local mob boss Paulie Cicero to be his partner, if only to protect the bar from Paulie's goons. Paulie claims to know nothing about the bar business, but what the hell, it might be fun. So, Paulie takes a piece of the bar and, um, we know what happens next.

Paulie's crew guts it from the inside.

They steal inventory, they use the place as a front, they force the original owner to borrow money against the bar, which they also steal. And when there's no money or product left to steal, Paulie's boys torch the place to collect the insurance. And no one can stop them because they're the mob and they make the rules.

Courtesy of the WSJ's intrepid reporters, what RSP and many others predicted has now been documented. Congress is feasting on GM because it can. Welcome to the new GM, better known as GoodFellas Motors.

Before Anonymous has a hissy fit, I know the analogy isn't perfect. Congress isn't doing anything illegal, there are no threats of violence, they're not literally going to burn GM down for the insurance, but the theory is similar enough. Congress makes the rules, Congress put up the money, so individual members demand GM serve the needs of their individual constituents. GM is now merely a conduit, through which public money flows to this or that politically powerful stakeholder. Of course, the MoC will pretend there was no undue pressure, that the sought after outcome was only the result of "a constructive dialogue" with the company. Just like the mob, you don't have "a constructive dialogue" with a Senator. You do what you're "asked" to do or the next call is from the IRS, or oversight committee counsel or the Paymaster Czar's office.

Normally businesses only succeed when they serve customers. Those days are long gone at GoodFellas Motors.


The Dim Reaper

Liberal Florida Congressman Alan Grayson is an ideological terrorist. He is now using the deceased as pawns in his quest to impose government monopolized health care reform on our citizens.

His pathetic web initiative, Names of the Dead, exploits people who have died. He claims they are deceased because we -- the collective "we" -- did not pay for their health care. What a load of unsubstantiated crap. Where were the family members of these people? Friends? Fellow churchgoers? Did we all let them down? Or were they neglected by their own? Grayson's site can not back up its claims. It is a joke.

Acclaimed columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin agrees. She writes that Names of the Dead is based on a flawed, out of date study by single payer health care advocates that concludes around 44,000 people die every year solely due to lack of access to care.

"(The study) attributed deaths to lack of health insurance for all the participants who initially self-reported that they had no insurance and then died for any reason over the 12-year tracking period," Malkin writes. "At no time did the original researchers or the single-payer activists who piggy-backed off their data ever verify whether the supposed casualties of America's callous health care system had insurance or not."

I pledge to launch a new site in 2010, Names of the Politically Brain Dead. Grayson will be its poster boy. But he will be among a sea of discredited names.

This disgusting excuse for a public servant needs to be returned to the rock from under which he crawled, and the people who voted for him should be institutionalized. That would be true health care "reform". Put the mentally deranged away for good. Start with Pelosi, Reid and "Swamp Thing" (Grayson). And their supporters.


Enemies List

It now appears that the White House is not only maintaining an enemies list, but is also acting to punish those who appear on it. This is not something that we have seen since the Nixon Administration. I’m sure our friends on the left find this distasteful for two reasons. First, a Nixonian political strategy cannot possibly be consistent with liberal principals. Second, as someone who ran on a platform of bringing the country together (the “purple states” strategy), maintaining an enemies list by President Obama is hardly the foundation of national unification.

The Obama Administration is systematically working to marginalize not only the Republican Party, but any other organization that opposes its left wing agenda. Top White House officials; including the chief of staff, the senior political advisor and the communications director, have been sent out to undermine anyone and anything that opposes the President’s initiatives.

Let’s take a look at some whom the President and his minions have set out to destroy:

1. Rush Limbaugh – in the opening days of the Obama Presidency, White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said that Rush was the leader of the Republican Party. White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, actually spent time at the White House press room podium mocking Rush. Evidently, Mr. Gibbs didn’t feel that there is anything more news worthy than Rush Limbaugh is a conservative to speak of.

2. Humana Insurance Company – When Humana sent a mailing to its policy holders that health care reform would increase the cost of health insurance to them, the White House went crazy and issued a cease and desists order against the company. It didn’t matter to the White House that the Humana may be right or that it had a right to say these things.

3. The health insurance industry in general – When the health insurance industry issued its report that the current congressional health care reform proposals would not control costs and would, in fact, result in increased costs, the White House first said that it felt blindsided and then went on to make an ad hominem attack against the industry without giving any data or evidence as to why the report was incorrect. The White House’s reaction presupposes that they are entitled to advanced copies of any materials that are critical of their policies. Also, we have seen Congressional Democrats threatening to remove the industry's anti-trust exemption.

4. PriceWaterhouse Coopers – They were the authors of the insurance industry’s report. This firm is one of the oldest and most widely respected accounting and consulting firms in the world. However, if you are critical of President Obama, your conclusion are not worth the paper they are printed on, even if the President can’t provide evidence to rebut the criticism.

5. Fox News – Over the past two weeks, top Obama advisers, Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrad and Anita Dunn have all claimed that Fox News is not a legitimate news organization and have tried to isolate Fox New from the rest of the so called mainstream media by admonishing other news organizations not to follow up on stories that are originated by Fox. Of the other networks, only ABC White House correspondent, Jake Tapper, has questioned this strategy. After being confronted by Mr. Tapper, Robert Gibbs’ final response was to give the great intellectually honest answer of, “That’s our opinion”. In any event, everyone should take the statements of Anita Dunn with a healthy dose of skepticism considering her admiration for Moa Tse-Tung, one of the greatest mass murders of the 20th century.

6. The US Chamber of Commerce – Since the Chamber of Commerce opposes health care reform and cap and trade, the White House had made the declaration that it no longer represents business in America. The administration has made Valarie Jarrett available to discuss the Chamber and has said that since several companies have dropped their membership, the Chamber is no longer a legitimate organization. That’s a huge leap, don’t you think.

I’m sure as time goes on, this list will get longer. It is perfectly acceptable for any administration to debate and counter its opponents. It is an entirely different thing for an administration to use the prestige and power of the White House to de-legitimize its opponents.

If President Obama receives any benefit from this (which does not seem likely since his approval rating continues to fall), it will only be short term. Sooner or later this type of politics of personal destruction will make the President of the United States look small, petty and thin skinned. And, once that happens, a President who campaigned on hope and change will look an awful lot like any other Chicago politician. And, I can tell you from living in Chicago, that’s not a pretty sight.


No Kidding

This is exactly what I said, admittedly with dripping sarcasm, yesterday. Dickerson is right, health care "reform" will cost much more than advertised and hard choices will not get made. Ignore any and all claims that current legislative proposals to reduce spending in the future are binding. Congress can't be bound and the COLA farce is real-time proof.


The Daily Decoder

From this morning's WaPo, (euphemisms in red, actual meaning helpfully provided in blue)
Happy Thursday! Federal employees ineligible to receive Social Security benefits would still get a one-time $250 payment next year if President Obama gets his way.

The president wants Congress to make the one-time payments (first of several) to roughly 57 million people (more than 57 million people), including roughly 1 million public sector employees (more than 1 million) ineligible for Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or veterans benefits.

“This additional assistance (vote buying) will be especially important in the coming months (as we approach mid-term elections), as countless seniors and others have seen their retirement accounts and home values decline (go lower while I'm in the Big Chair) as a result of this economic crisis (bad personal financial decisions)," Obama said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“This payment would come as a welcome relief to federal retirees and survivors at a time when most will shoulder a 12 to 15 percent health insurance premium increase in a year they will receive no cost of living adjustment (this cohort's excess demand for susidized healthcare pushes up prices),” Margaret L. Baptiste, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association said in a statement. “We commend the president for supporting a payment (giving someone else's money) to older Americans (people who vote in electorally important states) that will help them make ends meet (will be followed by additional demands) and for including government retirees who are not eligible to receive Social Security.”

Obama endorsed the idea (likes the politics), expected to cost at least (more than)$13 billion, "as the administration gropes for ways to sustain an apparent economic rebound without the kind of massive spending package that critics could label a second stimulus act (pretend he's not digging a staggering long-term hole)," colleagues Amy Goldstein and Neil Irwin report.

"In recent weeks, the White House has examined (polled) a wide range of proposals to funnel money to constituencies seen as suffering (give free stuff to people we like because we can). Administration officials have also been supportive of extending unemployment insurance benefits that were to expire (will never expire) at the end of the year and are contemplating (have decided) an extension of an $8,000 tax credit (prop up home prices at least through the mid-terms) for first-time home buyers (don't forget young voters, too!) due to expire Nov. 30."
I hope that clears things up a bit.


Robert Reich Makes Sense

Honesty is such a lonely word.


Obama's Failure on Iran

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasing clear that that none of the steps that the Western allies are taking is likely to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Recently, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton called the prospects for diplomacy “very doubtful”. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said that military action will do nothing more than delay the Iranians. And, last week, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told the Washington Post that the strategy of backing the Iranian opposition would take too long and might produce a government with the same nuclear ambitions.

Russia and China will not agree to a sanctions regime that will have any material adverse impact on the Mullahs currently running Iran. There is no hint that either Russia or China will honor a gasoline embargo, stop arms sales or end investments inside of Iran. The selling out of our Polish and Czech allies to Russia regarding our “change of heart” with respect to missile defense with bring us no benefit.

Authoritarian regimes will often allow the suffering of their people for what the rules believe is the greater good. That was the case during Saddam Hussein’s reign in Iraq. The Iranian mullahs, I am sure, will behave in the same way.

Following the talks in Geneva between the Western allies and Iran, the Iranian’s again agreed to international inspections of some of its nuclear facilities and to expatriate some of uranium that it has already enriched (However, the Associated Press has reported that a member of the Iranian delegation to the Geneva conference claims that Iran had not agreed to expatriate uranium. It is, after all, hard to believe that a regime run dictators would immediately contradict an agreement with its perceived enemies.) However, what has been lost is that the Iranians continue on with their uranium enrichment. Despite continuous international calls for them to cease this operation, the uranium enrichment continues and there is no reason to believe that it will stop.

As the “international community” talks about the details of the agreed to inspections and the uranium shipments, the clock continues to tick. Mullahs with operational nuclear weapons becomes ever closer to reality. And, these agreements give Russia and China further excuses for opposing strong action to stop the nuclear program. Had Iran been defiant, it would have been harder, but not hard enough, for these two permanent members of the Security Council to oppose new sanctions or military intervention.

President Obama has said that his administration will pursue diplomacy until the end of the year (remember, the clock continues to tick) and then , if Iran has not relinquished its nuclear ambitions, it will seek sanctions. Well, what happens is it’s New Year’s Eve and the centrifuges are still spinning and the President of the United States then requests “strong” sanctions from the UN Security Counsel. The Chinese and the Russians then veto these “strong” sanctions. The answer to the question is that the entire policy of the Obama Administration is finally revealed to be the charade that it is. In the meantime, more uranium is enriched and more ballistic missiles are made.

It has been said that the President feels that nuclear weapons in the hands of the Mullahs is a foregone conclusion and, once that is the case, he will implement a plan of containment, just like we did with the Soviets during the Cold War. What Mr. Obama fails to realize is that containment worked against the Communists because they, much like us, had a desire to live. Remember, the ruling class in the Communist countries lived very will and they had no interest in dying for the cause.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Islamists that rule Iran. They are religious zealots who are actively waiting for the coming of the Twelfth Imam. They do not value the lives of their own countrymen, let alone the lives of the infidel. When you have an enemy that does not value life, they have nothing to lose by not remaining contained.

Mr. Obama should learn one of the key lessons of the 20th century – that you should take dictators at their word. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that he wants to blow Israel off the map, he should be believed. There is nothing in his background that should make President Obama think that he doesn’t mean it. Mr. Obama should recognize the true urgency of the situation and take whatever steps are necessary to end the Iranian nuclear program once and for all.



Brilliant, just brilliant essay by Krauthammer.

He nails what serious conservative criticism should have been when Obama campaigned clearly (clearly, that is, to anyone who dared think beyond soundbites) that he intends to mute our influence abroad to finance hugely expansive social democratic ambitions at home.


A Very Exclusive Club

Congratulations to President Obama on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. While it was unexpected, it certainly is not surprising. The European elite is certainly known for fawning all over him. This is just further evidence of that. Certainly, only 9 months into his presidency, his list of achievements is not very long, unless you including the abrogation of US national security (which I'm sure is a huge plus in the deliberations of the Nobel Committee).

Now this President of the United States has joined a very exclusive club that includes among its members Le Duc Tho and Yasser Arafat. I certainly would like my name mentioned in the same sentence as those two. I wonder how manner innocent people were killed by the two of them. This is just further proof that among the “international chattering class”, including the American left, the definition of peace is the absence of war, not the absence of the need for war. Obviously, their definition of peace also does not depend upon such outdated notions as national security.

We here at RSP have long held the Nobel Committee in contempt. Their actions today do nothing to dissuade us of this feeling. It is just another corrupt international enterprise that has America in its cross hairs.


Now That's the Chicago Way

The City of Chicago, fresh off its Olympic loss to Rio, has decided to lose its mind altogether courtesty of the City Council, which is considering (and my brain hurts just thinking about this) an ordinance requiring hotels operating in Chicago to inform guests if there's a strike.

Are the police going to arrest the GM of a non-compliant, or insufficiently compliant hotel? How much are hotels going to waste trying to comply? How much is the city going to waste verifying compliance? I could go on and on questioning and complaining, but I think you get the point.

BTW, love this quote from hotel worker Ellen Maloney "There's not a scab that can cover or do the same job a professional can." Speaking as a former scab, I can say from personal experience and with great conviction there are many, many scabs who can perform at a materially higher level than the "professionals" (which of course is a euphemism for "union member").

I also love Alderman Munoz's describing the ordinance, which Mayor Daley has previously opposed and the city law department believes is legally dubious, as a "consumer protection." Just like "family friendly," it's another unassailable, politically potent but braindead phrase that means whatever the speaker wants it to mean.

Really, are the big red shirts unclear?


A Good Day All Around

Rio gets Olympics.

Kanye West/Lady Gaga tour cancelled.

Fix The Bridge

Shortly after Sen. Ted Kennedy died, it was disclosed that the Commonwealth's new senior Senator, John Kerry, requested a $20 million earmark to fund the Edward Kennedy Institute on the University of Massachusetts campus. Without debating the request's propriety, or that of earmarks generally, I propose a far more fitting tribute, one that both honors an event which Sen. Kennedy himself said "haunts me every night" and, strictly coincidentally, also honors a dead young woman in this season of powerful men not giving a flying f**k how they treat innocent girls.

Rebuild Dyke Bridge so no one can ever, drunk or not, careen off the side into 15 feet of water. Rename it the Mary Jo Kopechne Memorial Bridge.


The UN Address

President Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly continues to provide us with insight as to his view of the world and America’s position in that world. Unfortunately, this view of the world does not appreciate the greatness of the United States or its proper place in the history of mankind.

Mr. Obama said that “No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed.” If you take the President at his world, this means that America and the values of her people are no better than such nations as Saudi Ruled Arabia (which subjugates women to the point where they cannot drive or be out in public unaccompanied by a male member of their family) or Somalia (where gangs controlled by warlords rule the population with fear and summary executions).

This is not the first time that President Obama fails to understand the concept of American Exceptionalism. During his first trip to Europe, when asked if he believed in American Exceptionalism, Mr. Obama said he did, just like an Englishman believed in the exceptionalism of the United Kingdom. What a far cry from President Reagan’s belief of American as the last, best hope of mankind on earth.

The President then continued by saying that “The traditional divisions between nations of the South and the North make no sense in an interconnected world; nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of the long-gone Cold War.” Of course, the United Nations is an odd venue to make this statement considering that it, in and of itself, has deep roots in the Cold War. Also, I’m sure that our European allies were thrilled to hear that NATO, as an alignment of nations rooted in the cleavages of the Cold War, makes no sense. I wonder how that statement played in Taipei, considering our treaty obligations to the Republic of China are an alignment of nations rooted in the cleavages of the Cold War. Maybe we should rethink our alliances with South Korea and Japan – both of which are alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of the Cold War.

Evidently, Mr. Obama fails to realize that our alliances during the Cold War were not simply for convenience. Rather, they were, for the most part, alliances of free nations made to oppose an ideology who’s basic premise was worldwide revolution in order to enslave people for the benefit of the state.

President Obama also made the statement that “…the interests of nations and people are shared.” This may or may not be true. Clearly, the mullahs running Iran believe that possessing nuclear weapons is in their interests. However, the Israelis do not believe, and rightfully so, that having nuclear armed mullahs is in their interests. Also, Poland and the Czech Republic believed that a ballistic missile shield was in their best interest. The Russians felt differently so the Obama Administration appeased the Russians and cancelled the missile shield. How exactly do you reconcile the fact that the interests of these four nations are shared?

Evidently, the President of the United States does not understand the first rule of international relations – sovereign nations act in their own self interests. Every American should find it troubling that the person constitutionally in charge of our foreign policy is so naive as not to understand this basic principal.

Meanwhile, as President Obama continues his worldwide apology tour, the Iranians continue to work on their nuclear bomb. At the same time that the President talks about reaching out to the “moderate” Taliban, he won’t commit more troops to Afghanistan so that we can win that war. Mr. Obama pulls the rug out from under our NATO allies on missile defense while the Russians oppose sanctions against Iran. For all of his talk about a new way of dealing with other nations, President Obama has nothing to show for it. Remember, he couldn’t even get our closest ally, the United Kingdom, to keep the murderer of over 300 Americans incarcerated. Hopefully, Mr. Obama will realize that talk is cheap, before it’s too late.