Sunday, May 3, 2009

Best Of The Week's Commentaries Digest

One of the (few) good things about the political environment today is that more people are becoming thoughtful about the implications of governmental actions, the Tea Parties that have been held are a prime example of a large group of the electorate who normally are not involved, having become so energized by the radical changes that are being proposed and implemented, that they are literally taking to the streets.

Here's a quick summary of some of the best thoughts that I've read on the web this week.  My apology for the style and format....and for not listing the author's names with their comments (although all are linked to the original source pages).  I'll improve the format with the next post.

Thanks for your support,


The Interrogation Memos and the Law

Criminalizing legitimate policy differences will paralyze the conduct of foreign policy

The memos make the case that what is not explicitly banned is permitted. What comes to mind is the difference between tax evasion and avoidance. The former is illegal whereas the latter is not. The lawyers were making an aggressive case for the terrorism equivalent of avoidance.

The issue is whether those who argued that such techniques were not illegal -- and therefore should be available -- ought to be tried.  They should not. To begin with, prosecution of Justice Department officials would have a chilling effect on future U.S. government officials. Few would be brave or foolhardy enough to put forward daring proposals that one day could be judged illegal. Putting things down in writing is a useful intellectual exercise that is also central to good decision-making. With the threat of prosecution, serious memos on controversial matters will increasingly become the exception rather than the rule.


A Tortured Rationale

The President suggests Cheney is right

Explaining his decision to put a stop to the CIA's practice of "enhanced interrogations" of terrorist detainees, President Obama told a press conference Wednesday that "I am absolutely convinced it was the right thing to do -- not because there might not have been information that was yielded by these various detainees that were subjected to this treatment, but because we could have gotten this information in other ways." Such as?


The Banality of Preening

 What is banal is the moral preening of those who judge the way others stand up to evil, who judge those who compromise in their human fallibility to fight evil so that the rest of us can enjoy the good (and the good life). What's banal are the pundits and partisan ideologues who get their hands dirty only changing an ink cartridge but who seek revenge on others who, acting in good faith, did what they believed was right in thwarting evil. The debate is not one of good vs. evil, but of moral abstraction vs. grim reality. 

Obama Gets It Wrong on Churchill & Torture

Churchill's preference for humane treatment of German POWs under the Geneva Conventions had more to do with ensuring reciprocity from enemy armies. Al-Qaeda isn't a signatory and isn't interested in such reciprocity.  One reason Churchill might have eschewed putting the screws to detainees in 1942 is that he already knew what they could tell him about the bombings. The Allies knew where the airbases were and had cracked German codes years before.  During the war, the Brits ran an interrogation center, "the Cage," in one of London's fanciest neighborhoods, where they worked over 3,573 captured Germans, sometimes brutally. The Free French movement, headquartered in London, savagely beat detainees under the nose of British authorities. From 1945 to 1947, Colonel Stephens himself ran the Bad Nenndorf prison near Hanover, Germany, where Soviet and Nazi prisoners were treated far more brutally than those at Guantanamo Bay.   Did these shortcuts erode the character of the American and British people? If so, how? And what does it say about the "greatest generation" Barack Obama invokes relentlessly? And, again, what of the shortcuts we don't know about?  Churchill was a heroic leader. He did right as best he could in a bloody mess of a war. But he made countless horrible-but-correct decisions in the process. For instance, he refused to warn residents of Coventry that the Nazis were going to bomb, lest he betray the secret that he was listening to Nazi cable traffic. After the war, he advocated the shortcut of summary executions of Nazi officials.
It might seem otherwise, but I'm not making the case for what some people see as torture. I'm simply noting that war is always about shortcuts - all are horrible; some are necessary. If Obama doesn't understand that, let's hope he never has to learn it.
And he's not cool.  He's cold.  This is a cold, cold guy.
The jewel of his plan is the Federal Health Board:  these government experts would "help define evidence-based benefits and lower overall spending by determining which medicines, treatments, and procedures are most effective--and identifying those that do not justify their high price tags."  Ladies and gentlemen, he's talking about rationing and denying payment. But look on the bright side, America. Physicians will no longer be "burdened" by decision making. And think of all the time doctors can save when they no longer need to explain various treatment options to you or your elderly mom.  Life is so much easier when you simply don't care. Ask our cool, cool President.


Cramdown Slamdown

The power of a united minority was on beneficial display yesterday, as Senate Republicans defeated the budget bankruptcy "cramdown" bill. Credit goes to Arizona's Jon Kyl and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who kept their party together to beat destructive legislation that had easily passed the House and was one of President Obama's housing priorities. The cramdown would have allowed bankruptcy judges to rewrite contracts to reduce the amount that people owe on their mortgages. But a bipartisan majority understood that relief for today's troubled borrowers would be paid with higher rates on the next generation of homeowners, as lenders priced the added risk into mortgage contracts…. the vote "ensures that homeowners who pay their bills and follow the rules won't see an interest-rate hike at the whim of a bankruptcy judge.
The Inmates are Running the Aslyum
The Obama administration, already on treacherous political ground because of its outreach to traditional adversaries such as Iran and Cuba, has opened the door a crack to engagement with the militant group Hamas.  “The Palestinian group is designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization and under law may not receive federal aid.
“But the administration has asked Congress for minor changes in U.S. law that would permit aid to continue flowing to Palestinians in the event Hamas-backed officials become part of a unified Palestinian government.”  Get the logic here: The Obamans are saying that aid would not flow unless the Hamas members of the Palestinian regime agreed to American requirements that they recognize Israel, renounce violence and agree to follow past Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
Say what? So they’d be Hamas members of the Palestinian government, but would have to renounce fundamental Hamas principles.  This is foreign policy, Obama style. The signal it sends is the worst: Just hold on a little longer, Hamas (and your Iranian financiers), and America will cave.

The Real Danger of Global Warming

… many people nowadays in Europe, the United States and elsewhere have come to support policies underpinned by hysteria over global warming, particularly cap-and-trade legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and subsidies for "green" energy sources.
I am convinced that this is a misguided strategy -- not only because of the uncertainty about the dangers that global warming might pose, but also because of the certainty of the damage that these proposed policies aimed at mitigation will impose.   It is claimed that the government, working together with business, will create "a new energy economy," that the businesses involved will profit and that everyone will be better off.
This is a fantasy. Cap-and-trade can only work by raising energy prices. Consumers who are forced to pay higher prices for energy will have less money to spend on other things. While the individual companies that provide the higher-priced "green" energy may do well, the net economic effect will be negative.

Welcome To Buffalo Jump U.S.A.

During a buffalo jump stampede, one terrified buffalo turned to another and asked, "What says conventional wisdom?"  The other buffalo responded, "Conventional wisdom says we are headed in the right direction."  According to a recent AP poll, more Americans than not say the United States is headed in the right direction.  Welcome to Buffalo Jump U.S.A.

Australia does due diligence on Global Warming

With Australia's resource-based economy rocked by recession, large swathes of the public are for the first time asking themselves if the job losses and economic dislocations that would come of reducing carbon dioxide emissions are really necessary. At the same time, the Australian Senate Select Committee on Climate Policy is hearing testimony on the wisdom of an Emissions Trading Scheme. Not only have the politicians running the proceedings decided to allow climate sceptics to express themselves, much of the press has decided to report their views fairly.

Obama wins a battle in the war on corporate jets

Cessna has announced that it is suspending development of a midsize corporate jet, the Citation Columbus, closing the factory in Bend, OR where the plane was being created. The company will return $50 million in deposits already received from willing customers. Cessna's Citation jets generally are among the smaller models on offer, but the company was hoping to expand into a more lucrative segment of the market, until flying a corporate jet became politically unfashionable. The company hopes to resume development at some point in the future.*   Additionally, the company is sending layoff notices to 1,600 employees "at every level" including 700 salaried employees.  Our sympathy goes out to the workers who are discovering what "change you can believe in" means for them.

The Great Liberal Pandemonium Machine

The Mexican swine flu pandemic? Oh, that's soooo yesterday. Global Warming? All those confident "scientific" predictions are falling apart around the world, even as greedy politicians still try to squeeze the last little drops of power and money out of them. Human flesh-eating bacteria? SARS? Ozone holes? Mad Cow? The Curse of the Killer Tomatoes? Water torture? CO2? Bee Colony Collapse? It never ends. As long as scare stories sell, as long as millions of indoctrinated suckers fall for them they will never end. They've got you on a rat-running wheel, running scared every day, like rats scrambling to get away from electrical shocks that never actually come.   
The Left rules by constant fear, but none of its predicted catastrophes come true. Ever notice that? Instead, we do have real things to worry about, all right -- but half of them are the results of the Media Pandemonium Machine itself.  There is an element of sadistic cruelty in the Leftist Pandemonium Machine. "Pandemonium" is the imaginary Hell of devils, and there is something truly demonic about the torrent of media madness we have to tolerate every day.  The Great Liberal Pandemonium Machine is spreading disease, all right, but it's a psychiatric disease -- of unjustified fear, depression, and despair. The acid-dropping hippies of the Sixties had a name for it: Mind-fxxxing. When the Left took over America, it also imposed an endless mind-fxxx on a victimized population. It is their road to power. They are still doing it.

Solar Energy Meets Greenies and Big Labor

It was a squirrel, a labor group and an environmental group along with California's tough environmental regulations, which helped kill a hybrid solar power plant project for a Mojave Desert city.  The first problem was the squirrel, or more specifically, the Mohave ground squirrel, which is considered to be threatened.   Next was the labor union group called CURE, which is an acronym for California Unions for Reliable Energy. CURE is supported by various construction unions. It has a history of fighting new projects in California unless the applicant agrees to use union labor for the project.  Then the Natural Resources Defense Council gets involved. The City tried to purchase pollution credits from the Los Angeles air basin for the natural gas portion of the plant since there were not enough local credits for purchase. But the NRDC filed suit against the purchase and prevailed. The NRDC bills itself at "The Earth's Best Defense".   Without these green projects, California may eventually face more blackouts. If it happens, the blame will fall squarely on the green lobby which advocates out of both sides of their collective mouths. They say they want green energy, but they will not support green energy.  The Main Stream Media are also complicit since they have been silent about the Victorville fiasco and similar projects. The only news coverage is in the local newspaper and in trade journals.

Arlen Specter, Castro's Dupe

Sen. Arlen Specter has visited Cuba and met with Fidel Castro three times in the past 9 years, and seems quite proud of the record. His second visit was shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attack, where Specter made a big show of presenting Fidel Castro with a FDNY cap.  “It wasn't until January, 1992, in a meeting chaired by Castro in Havana, Cuba,” writes former Sec.of Defense Robert Mc Namara, “that I learned 162 nuclear warheads, including 90 tactical warheads, were on the island at the time of this critical moment of the Missile crisis.” (it took the U.S. Sec. of Defense 30 years to learn something known in Oct. 1962 to every dishwasher and grocery bag clerk in Miami.)

“I couldn't believe what I was hearing,” continues Mc Namara. (So he asked his Cuban host point-blank) “This is totally new to me, I'm not sure I got the translation right...So Mr President (Castro) I have three questions to you. Number one: did you know the nuclear warheads were there? Number two: if you did, would you have recommended to Khrushchev in the face of an U.S. attack that he use them? Number three: if he had used them, what would have happened to Cuba?"

Castro responded: "Number one, I knew they were there. Number two, I did recommend to Khrushchev that they be fired. Number three, of course Cuba would have been totally destroyed." Castro neglected to add that after his “recommendation” failed, he tried to trick Khruzchev into pressing the buttons, and when that failed, he had briefly ordered Cuban military units to wrest the missile sites from the Soviets.

Foiled in October 1962 by Khruzhchev's prudence, the very next month Castro's agents again tried to call the FDNY to action, while employing more conventional means. Five-hundred kilos of TNT were slated to explode in Manhattan's most crowded settings during their most crowded stage. Macy's, Gimbel's, Bloomingdale's and Grand Central Terminal were the targets, and the day after Thanksgiving 1962 was when the 12 detonators would explode.

In the nick of time J. Edgar Hoover's FBI uncovered the plot, arrested the Castroite plotters (Fair Play for Cuba Committee operatives working in cahoots with UN Cuban “diplomats”) and thus nixed the incineration and entombment of thousands of New York holiday shoppers. …..Castro had been facilitating Cabrera's Colombian cocaine shipments through Cuba, for a nice cut. The details turned up during Cabrera's trial. During his trial Cabrera was eager to sing, to divulge all the juicy details of his Castro drug smuggling connection in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Yet nothing came of this evidence and prosecution -- because the Clinton administration was every bit as eager for “engagement” with Cuba as is Obama's.

This is Not Working

We have learned a few things from this presidential campaign season and Barack Obama's first 100 days in office.  
First, and to our untold horror, we have discovered that Barack Obama can in fact successfully hide who he is and his vision for our country.  Prior to the election, any person of good judgment could readily understand who this man was and where he would likely take this country.  The signs were all there.  Now in power, he enacts his socialist policies in plain sight with little concern that the American public will strenuously object.  So why is it that so many people fail to see who Barack Obama really is and recognize the danger he represents to our republic?
Our goal should be to undermine support for the socialist policies the administration is attempting to implement.  Remember, it was the constant drumbeat of negative media driven stories of anti-war demonstrations, highly publicized suicide bombings, death counts, and stories about American atrocities that gave Democrat politicians cover to go on the attack.  Slowly but surely, these actions drove down Bush's approval numbers.  This should be our goal with Barack Obama.  Driving down his approval numbers is key.  The way to do it is with demonstrations and similar events that highlight just how radical and controversial his policies are. 

The Most Conservative Show On Television

America is facing a self-esteem crisis.  There’s too damn much of it.  The American people are hungry for the kind of conservative values like hard work, discipline and healthy competition that “Idol” rewards.  The show is a huge hit and Simon is its (pardon the expression) heart.  At the risk of inflating his ego further, Simon Cowell is clearly the most important British contribution to Anglo-American civilization since the Magna Carta.

The Fight for Free Speech is On!

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas provided a definitive statement about how the court might view restoration of the Fairness Doctrine.  Accordng to WorldNetDaily, Justice Thomas called the policy “problematic” and a “deep intrusion into the First Amendment rights of broadcasters.”  He is right.  That’s why Democrats are going through the FCC backdoor to regulate broadcasters in a stealth manner with measures that would accomplish their goals of snuffing out conservative talk and thus conservative values in America.  They are smart enough to know the “old” Fairness Doctrine wouldn’t stand up in court.  So, the first step in the process begins May 7th when the FCC will start conducting hearings to “redistribute media ownership” in America.  The theme of redistributing wealth continues. 

Frank talks with Tom Lauria, who represents a group of lenders that object to the Chrysler sale

Obama swore to uphold the Constitution…not abrogate it and the rule of law. Tom Lauria, bankruptcy attorney at White & Case, who represents a group of lenders that object to the Chrysler sale. 
If ever you needed further proof of the "person of color" America really needs in charge right now, I urge you to watch this fabulous YouTube footage of the magnificent Condoleezza Rice being ambushed by left-liberal students at Stanford University with a series of "difficult" questions about torture, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and US foreign policy under George W Bush. (Hat tip: Andrew Hamilton.) Her coolness under fire is magnificent, but more impressive still is her refusal to duck the issues. "Sorry we have to leave", an official can be heard saying off camera, but Condi isn't going to take the easy way out: she wants to stand up for her principles and put the pantywaists in their place.  Condoleezza  Video!

GOP Party Identification Slips Nationwide and in Pennsylvania
Dem’s shouldn’t feel too good about polls.  So far in 2009, 35% of adults nationwide identify as Democrats, about the same as in 2008 (36%). While GOP identification has fallen seven points since 2004, the Democrats have gained only two points over that period. Instead, a growing number of Americans describe themselves as independents, 36% in 2009 compared with just 32% in 2008 and 30% in 2004.  MY question is how much of the delta was caused by Republicans switching to vote for Hillary in the Primaries…..?

Amtraking Automakers

Making the UAW Chrysler's majority owner is putting one of the problems in charge of finding a solution.  A union's first obligation is to its members.  Yes, the UAW made concessions in wages and benefits to help engineer its takeover, but how much further is it willing to go to gain economies or reforms that benefit the company at the expense of its rank and file?  Union bosses aren't likely to approve additional cuts that threaten a revolt among dues paying members.   This brings us to Amtrak.  Amtrak may just be the future business model -- if you can call it that -- for Chrysler and General Motors.  Amtrak is highly subsidized, underutilized and poorly performing.      
Since its inception thirty-nine years ago, Amtrak has been a losing proposition.  It survives only because of generous annual federal subsidies.  That number was $1.3 billion in taxpayer money in 2008.  On its own in the free market, Amtrak would have gone the way of the Ford Edsel years ago.  But it lives on because East Coast politicians gain votes from a small population of commuters who use the system.  And Amtrak employees.     An earlier generation would term Amtrak a "boondoggle."  Today, it's just a public service investment.  

War Ain't Beanbag

Without most Americans convinced that it is a real war, the ruthless tactics necessary to wage a real war will never be fully accepted either morally or even pragmatically.   "Horace Walpole had once lamented that, ‘no great country was ever saved by good men because good men will not go to the length that may be necessary.' By May 1940 Britain was less interested in whether her saviours were good than whether they were tough and single-minded. Plenty of people had criticized Lloyd George's moral character before he got to Number 10 in the crisis of 1916 but cheerfully accepted him once he was there, only getting around to attacking him once the victory was safely won. Similarly Churchill's ruthlessness, once thought to be an incubus by ‘good men' of the Respectable Tendency in British politics, was now considered a benefit...   "It might be doubtful whether good men such as Baldwin and Chamberlain would have been ready to consider going to such lengths as laying down gas across Britain's south coast in the event of a German invasion, or invading southern Ireland, or even dropping a nuclear bomb on Japanese civilians, but Churchill was willing at least to contemplate that, and much more." 
Wars are not won solely on the battlefield. Churchill knew this better than most. Wars are won in minds of the leaders first, who are willing to deploy brutality and destruction, deceit and psychological intimidation even indiscriminately, despite the occasional moral ambiguities. Intelligence gathered about the intent of the enemy is a precursor to battlefield victories. Sometimes timely and prescient intelligence can avoid battles altogether or at least assure victory sooner minimizing the death and collateral dismemberment.
Churchill would scoff at today's liberal Democrat claims that the harsh interrogation techniques, even waterboarding, are considered torture. But it would be no laughing matter for him to think that America would foreclose such techniques while facing an enemy capable and willing to wantonly destroy a 72 story office building in downtown Los Angeles.

Obama and Russia

….despite famously proclaiming a desire to "reset" relations, not once has he been asked a question about Russia and only once, at the first conference, has he himself chosen to discuss Russia, pleading for its assistance in dealing with the issue of nuclear proliferation in response to a question about Pakistan.   It's clear that America's journalists are asleep at the switch.   His silence is particularly odd since by assertively standing up for American values he could separate himself dramatically from his predecessor and confirm that his campaign rhetoric was something more than smoke and mirrors, all at one go.  Perhaps Obama's excuse is that he emulating JFK, and wants to wait until Russia again tries to base ICMBs in Cuba (or Venezuela) before taking decisive action.  For more than a year now, Russian nuclear bombers have been resuming the Soviet-era practice of buzzing NATO countries, forcing them to scramble fighter jets to ward off the provocation even though NATO has never once done such a thing to Russian targets. Russia has been providing money, weapons and diplomatic support to rogue American enemies like Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and Venezuela.  It is only because of Russia that Americans must worry about Iran having a nuclear device.  Russia has even obstructed the application of sanctions to North Korea.  Russia's ruler, Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly blamed the United States for causing the world financial crisis. Russian troops have marched into Georgia, an applicant for NATO membership, murdering civilians with the use of illegal cluster munitions, and Russia has repeatedly applied blackmail tactics against Ukraine, threatening to cut of energy supplies if Ukraine dares to move towards NATO.  Russia launched a virulent campaign of cyber warfare against Estonia when the tiny nation dared to thumb its nose at the Kremlin.  In short, it threatens to rebuild the iron curtain.  Yet, Obama seems totally unwilling to stand up for the values he supposedly lives by where Russia is concerned.  What's particularly frustrating about this attitude -- it can only be called cowardice or ignorance -- is that right now America has a position of pure dominance over Russia that gives it a golden opportunity to use leverage to force Russia away from its neo-Soviet path. 
The time has come for Mr. Obama to speak up, and for the Republicans who oppose him to speak up even louder.  History will judge them both cruelly if they do not.

Obama's Litmus Test

In Obama’s words:
“The bottom line is this: I will be voting against John Roberts’ nomination. I do so with considerable reticence. I hope that I am wrong. I hope that this reticence on my part proves unjustified and that Judge Roberts will show himself to not only be an outstanding legal thinker but also someone who upholds the Court’s historic role as a check on the majoritarian impulses of the executive branch and the legislative branch.” [Emphasis added.]

Kind of takes your breath away doesn’t it?  Anyone want to bet that Obama will be using this same litmus test in his upcoming nomination?


Saturday Tales From 57 States: His Obamaness and The Chrysler

Lee Cary
So many and varied were the powers of His Obamaness that with tongue alone He could change the meaning of words, as happened one day in the Realm of 57 States.

Once upon a time, His Obamaness, POTUS in the ninth year of the third millennium, spoke to the Realm and said, 

“Bankruptcy is not a sign of weakness for [TheChrysler, but rather a sign of strength.”  
Now, of the three ox cart makers in the Realm, The Chrysler was the one most vexed by the challenge of cart-making. Although its carts were often beautiful to behold, the people of the Realm did not always look with great favor upon them as a way to carry their soccer balls, dogs, and vegetables. 

So few people were surprised when The Chrysler had no more coins of the Realm with which to buy wheels and wood, or to pay the workers of the Guild of Cart Makers as much as they had been accustomed to receiving.

Seeing this, His Obamaness told His Exchequer, Sir Tiny Tim of Geithner, to place many coins insideThe Chrysler’s bank. Now it should be known that the Cart Makers gave His Obamaness much support during His race to become POTUS. He owed them.

But, as the gods of fate would dictate, all the Realm’s money and all the Realm’s men couldn’t putThe Chrysler together again.

So, in His benevolent wisdom, His Obamaness gave The Chrysler one moon to find a better way to make carts.

After that moon passed, The Chrysler came before His Obamaness to display its new cart-making talents. But He was neither impressed, nor pleased. Why exactly is not known. It may have been thatThe Chrysler did not abide by the great cart-making goal His Obamaness had earlier announced to the people.
“The [Realm of 57 States] will lead the world in building the next generation of clean [carts].”

It was at this time that His plan to remake The Chrysler in His own clean image emerged: The cart-maker that would make clean ox carts would be largely owned by Hisownself and the Guild of Cart Makers.

All went well with this plan, right up until the day the Evil Speculators spoke.

Now, the Evil Speculators represented people who had loaned The Chrysler many coins of the Realm with the promise that if Chrysler’s ox carts were not favored, they would be near the head of the line to receive their coins back when The Chrysler’s bank ruptured.

The time came for all the parties involved to sign an agreement. With His power over language, His Obamaness had persuaded all those who stood with The Chrysler to take less than they were owed. That is, all except the Evil Speculators. 

“[His Obamaness] said Chrysler LLC lenders who turned down his buyout offers are a ‘small group of speculators’ who forced the [cart maker] into bankruptcy.
‘A group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout,’ [His Obamaness] said today in Washington before Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection.” 
Now, upon hearing themselves much maligned by His Obamaness, and facing a ruptured bank magistrate who would rule on their cause, the Evil Speculators scribed a document for the people to consider. It told how they, too, represented retirees and pension funds. And how, according to Chapter 11 of the Law Book of the Realm, they were entitled to favored treatment beyond His Obamaness’ offer to get back 29 of every 100 coins they had placed into The Chrysler’s bank.

In the street language of the day, the Evil Speculators felt they were getting screwed, hosed, the shaft, and dumped on -- all at the same time.

But, alas, little heed was given to the Evil Speculators since the Guild of Town Criers favored His Obamaness and the Guild of Cart Makers over the Evil Speculators. In those days, the Criers controlled most of what the people of the Realm knew, and much of what they thought.       

It was while all this was happening that His Obamaness uttered the words that brought a great gasp from the people in wonderment over His power to change the meaning of words.

For on that day “bankruptcy,” once spoken aloud in the Land of Fiat as banca rupta (bank broken, or ruptured), experienced a Change and took on a new meaning of Hope.

Once a sign of weakness, bankruptcy now meant Strength.

And from that day forward small children would say, when asked by adults what they wanted to do when they grew up:

“Someday I want to build a strong company of my own, and drive it into bankruptcy.” 
(Obama claimed to have visited 57 States:

Another part of global warming theory 'topples'

When data are unexpected, they reveal flaws in the models being used by scientists. The models touted by Al Gore, the investor betting big bucks on carbon regulation and trading, don't begin to capture the complexity of global climate.
 Today there is yet another story of a NATO ship, this time from Portugal, catching pirates, now armed with explosives, and releasing them. The reason the officers of the NATO ships are releasing "enemies of humanity" is their concern over being prosecuted for crimes against humanity under the UN  Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), a treaty the United States did not sign.   Just as with "Global Warming", our nation had the good sense to reject European groupthink.   The best defense is a good offense, and they don't come any better than the US Navy & Marine Corps!
But President BHO isn't man enough to act! That's the greatest flaw in his OODA ((Orient, Observe,Decide, Act) loop. He can't decide

'Republicans want to kill you'

This deceitful, ignorant editorial in today's New York Times is remarkable not only because they have the facts wrong about the GOP cutting monies from the stimulus bill for flu preparedness, but also because the person and party responsible for removing the measure was none other than New York's senior Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer!   Here's Schumer talking about flu money in the stim bill: 

"All those little porky things that the House put in, the money for the [National] Mall or the sexually transmitted diseases or the flu pandemic, they're all out," Schumer said. 

 DHS produced a “lexicon” cataloguing the clues to detect extremists, which include Doc Martens and opposition to drivers licenses for illegal aliens — but somehow never gets around to mentioning Muslim extremists, such as the dozens of Somali immigrants in the Twin Cities who mysteriously disappeared: 
The following demographics get mentioned, but not Muslims:
·         White nationalists
·         Black nationalists
·         Mexican nationalists
·         Puerto Rican nationalists
·         Violent religious sects
·         Jewish extremism
DHS had no problem getting specific enough to mention Jews, Mexicans, blacks, and others.

Iraq bloodshed rises as US allies defect

 IRAQ is threatened by a new wave of sectarian violence as members of the “Sons of Iraq” – the Sunni Awakening militias that were paid by the US to fight Al-Qaeda – begin to rejoin the insurgency.
If the spike in violence continues, it could affect President Barack Obama’s pledge to withdraw all combat troops from Iraqi cities by the end of June.  The increase in attacks by such groups, combined with a spate of bombings blamed on Al-Qaeda, has had a chilling effect on the streets of Iraq. More than 370 Iraqi civilians and military – and 80 Iranian pilgrims – lost their lives in April, making it the bloodiest month since last September.

Criminals to face easier deportation  (in UK)

 HUMAN rights legislation that prevents ministers from deporting foreign criminals is to be overhauled under new government plans.
Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, said that, because of restrictions imposed by the courts, “my biggest fear would be if Osama Bin Laden was arrested in London and we found that we were not able to deport him”.  The 1998 Human Rights Act, which incorporated the European convention on human rights into UK law, has been used successfully by lawyers to stop foreign criminals from being deported to countries where, they claim, they might be tortured or face other threats to their lives.
The Conservatives have claimed that at least 4,000 foreign criminals convicted every year of offences such as theft, burglary, benefit fraud and drug dealing are allowed to remain in the UK after they are released from jail.
…. what should the GOP learn from Reagan’s big tent philosophy?
First, he did indeed have a big tent, especially in 1984, which allowed 59% of the electorate to vote for him, but it was a tent of Reagan’s design in which those who disagreed with him had little say about how the tent was constructed, but were welcome to stay anyway. Pro-choice women were welcomed into the tent as voters so long as they didn’t try to change the party’s position on the issue of abortion, one which Reagan held dearly enough to have written a book about while still in office. Union members were courted by Reagan, so long as they didn’t mind Reagan’s tough policies toward organizing which included his firing of striking air traffic controllers and eventually came to be known as “Reagan Democrats.” Those jittery over Reagan’s bellicose statements on foreign policy were also welcomed, provided they could live with his tough posture toward communism. And even Rockefeller Republicans were allowed to stay in the tent so long as they realized that they were joining his party and not the other way around, that while they would be horrified by the new boss’s position on social issues for instance, they’d find something to cheer about in his tax cuts.
Reagan’s big tent also included some unsavory characters on the extreme right. While disavowing any connection to the John Birch Society, accused by some of having racist tendencies, Reagan invited its members into his big tent saying that if members supported him it was in indication that he had ”persuaded them to accept my philosophy, not me accepting theirs.”
In contrast, Reagan considered members of what has derisively come to be known as “the religious right” as not a fringe group to be courted, but a foundational element of the big tent he constructed. Meeting with Christian leaders in 1980, he famously declared “You can’t endorse me, but I endorse you,” and made sure that platform committees that were to decide party policy were heavily stacked in their favor.
In Reagan’s big tent, the likes of Arlen Specter would always have been welcomed, so long as they were willing to go along with Reagan, but the moment they stood in the way, as Mary Dent Crisp did, and sought to assert their policies on his vision for the party, they were shown the door. Today, the big tent that Reagan stitched together  is in disarray, but if its leaders are to return from political oblivion, they’d do well to remember how Reagan went about constructing the tent and the philosophy that swept him, and two weak Republican successors who rode his political coattails into the White House, and build a tent which stands for key principles, yet never fails to welcome those who disagree, as honored guests.

President Obama's job approval score has been strong since he took office, historical polling data shows his popularity during his first 100 days is right in the middle of the scores other new presidents received from the public over the past 60 years

May 3rd - It's the birthday of philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, (books by this author) born in Florence (1469). He was a statesman and ambassador, but the regime he worked for was overthrown, and in 1513 he was accused of conspiring against the government. He was thrown into prison and tortured. When the government finally released him, he went into exile and wroteThe Prince (1532). In The Prince,he described how an ideal ruler should accept that he lives in an immoral world and use whatever means he can to secure order. He wrote, "Since it is difficult to join them together, it is safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking."
And, "The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous."

Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus

 Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere.” Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” Don’t confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”
EcoAmerica has been conducting research for the last several years to find new ways to frame environmental issues and so build public support for climate change legislation and other initiatives. A summary of the group’s latest findings and recommendations was accidentally sent by e-mail to a number of news organizations by someone who sat in this week on a briefing intended for government officials and environmental leaders.
“When someone thinks of global warming, they think of a politicized, polarized argument. When you say ‘global warming,’ a certain group of Americans think that’s a code word for progressive liberals, gay marriage and other such issues.”
The answer, Mr. Perkowitz said in his presentation at the briefing, is to reframe the issue using different language. “Energy efficiency” makes people think of shivering in the dark. Instead, it is more effective to speak of “saving money for a more prosperous future.” In fact, the group’s surveys and focus groups found, it is time to drop the term “the environment” and talk about “the air we breathe, the water our children drink.”
“Another key finding: remember to speak in TALKING POINTS aspirational language about shared American ideals, like freedom, prosperity, independence and self-sufficiency while avoiding jargon and details about policy, science, economics or technology,” said the e-mail account of the group’s study.  It’s the use of advertising techniques to manipulate public opinion.”  He said the approach was cynical and, worse, ineffective. “The right uses it, the left uses it, but it doesn’t engage people in a face-to-face manner,” he said, “and that’s the only way to achieve real, lasting social change.”

'Sometimes dead is better' 
 "Pet Sematary" told the story of a supernatural Indian burial ground behind the town's pet cemetery. The novel's lead character, Louis, buried his cat "Church" there only to find the reanimated cat strange and different. Meaner, smelly and "a little dead," Church hunted mice and birds only to rip them apart without eating them.  President Barack Obama would do well to remember the simple lessons of this novel as he proceeds to bury the nation's auto industry into the rocky soil of socialism. Dead companies that re-emerge zombies of the state won't behave quite right. They will be new creatures propped up by taxpayer cash, stumbling around in an American consumer system with no fear of the normal consequences of failure. Absent free-market pressures, Obama Motors will produce cars born by congressional fiat (pardon the pun). Picture the Henry Waxman and the Maxine Waters limited edition models -- won't run, but the left-turn signals work great!
It's a scary prospect.
You can already see the signs. Chrysler no longer hears the voice of the marketplace. Chrysler hears the voice of its new politically correct masters. And what do those voices whisper? Well, the mad scientists at the White House already claim Chrysler will build super-green cars, not because Americans necessarily "want" greener Chryslers, but because Americans "need" them.  And to heighten the drama, the United Auto Workers (because, as unions always say, workers and their dues have already sacrificed too much) will make sure Chrysler's cost structure in no way adjusts to the market by lowering worker costs.  So, Chrysler will build cars you don't want at a price you won't pay. But fear not. When that inevitability becomes apparent, the Obama administration will bribe consumers with increased "green" tax incentives. At that point the horror show will be complete.
If we had any sense, we'd heed the warning given the main character in "Pet Sematary" before he went mad and moved from burying his dead cat to burying his dead wife in that old Indian burial ground. The warning was simple: There are places not to "go beyond, no matter how much you feel you need to."
Chrysler's alive. It shouldn't be. Not like this.

Obama looks moderate, acts radical

President Obama's strongest talent is not his speechifying, which is frankly a bit of a snoozeroo. In Europe, he left 'em wanting less pretty much every time (headline from Britain's Daily Telegraph: "Barack Obama Really Does Go On A Bit"). That uptilted chin combined with the left-right teleprompter neck swivel you can set your watch by makes him look like an emaciated Mussolini umpiring an endless rally of high lobs on Centre Court at Wimbledon.… He has the knack of appearing moderate while acting radical, which is a lethal skill. 

But underneath the thoughtful look is a transformative domestic agenda that represents a huge annexation of American life by an ever more intrusive federal government. One cannot but admire the singleminded ruthlessness with which Obama is getting on with it, even as he hones his contemplative unhurried moderate routine on prime time news conferences.
It would seem to me that reality is more likely to intrude on the Obama project from overseas than domestically. But if he's lucky it won't intrude at all, not until it's too late. Thirty years ago this month, a grocer's daughter from the English Midlands became Britain's female prime minister – not because the electorate was interested in making (Obama-style) history, but just because nothing worked any more. The post-1945 socialist settlement – government health care, government automobile industry, government everything – had broken down: Inflation over 25 percent, marginal taxes rates over 90 percent, mass unemployment, permanent strikes. The country's union leaders were household names, mainly because they were responsible for everything your household lacked. Even moving around was hard: The nationalized rail network was invariably on strike, and you had to put your name on a waiting list months in advance for one of the "new" car models. The evening news was an endless parade of big beefy burly blokes picketing some plant for the right to continue enjoying the soft pampering workweek of the more effete Ottoman sultans.
Margaret Thatcher was a great leader, who reversed her country's decline – to the point where, two decades later, the electorate felt it was safe to vote the Labour Party back into office. And yet, in the greater scheme of things, the Thatcher interlude seems just that: a temporary respite from a remorseless descent into the abyss. In its boundless ambition, the Left understands that the character of a people can be transformed: British, Canadian and European elections are now about which party can deliver "better services," as if the nation is a hotel, and the government could use some spritelier bellhops. Socialized health care in particular changes the nature of the relationship between citizen and state into something closer to junkie and pusher.

The problem in the Western world is that governments are spending money faster than their citizenry or economies can generate it. As Gerald Ford liked to say, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." And that's true.…. That's the stage the Europeans are at: Their electorates are hooked on unsustainable levels of "services," but no longer can conceive of life without them.

Presidents Don't Prosecute Their Predecessors
 In the span of 220 years there have been 43 changes of presidents, and always this rule, never written but never broken, has prevailed: Presidents let their predecessors be judged by the merciless jury of history, not by the temporal verdicts of courts.   Commentators and historians often apply a facile shorthand to describe the fundamental principle (and surpassing greatness) of the American political system: Here the transfer of power from one party to another, or from one president to another, is accomplished by ballots, not bullets. That shorthand has an unspoken corollary: Here presidents and parties do not criminalize the policies of their predecessors……far below the surface of the noisy Washington and cable-television conversation is a quieter but very serious debate, sparked by the circulation in elite legal circles in recent days of an Internet version of a forthcoming article in the Yale Law Journal that argues that "all interrogation methods allegedly authorized since 9/11, with the possible exception of waterboarding, have been authorized before."

This article, by William Ranney Levi, is significant as much for its intellectual provenance as it is for its contents. Levi, part of one of the most distinguished legal families in the nation, exposed his argument to the rigorous review of several leading legal minds, conservative and liberal, some of whom doubtlessly disagree with him.
The meaning of all of this is not that the Bush policies were smart, prudent, moral or effective. They may not have been any of those things. The meaning, however, is that the Bush policies were legally plausible.
That almost isn't the point. The pre-eminent point here is that in the United States, sitting presidents and winning political parties don't sit in legal judgment of their predecessors. If they do not like their policies, and many times they do not, they change policies. They do not sue their predecessors nor seek to punish them legally. This custom has prevailed in times of severe crisis as much as in serene times.
If the Obama team, or the Democrats acting separately from the White House, continue down the road of legal review, they will assure that their successors do the same thing once they are out of office. If you think the politics of 2009 are rough, you will shudder when you contemplate the politics of 2013 or 2017.
The American system already has a set of checks and balances. It does not need another one. Nor does a president who has vowed a new bipartisanship need a legal inquisition to detract attention from his real priorities, which are his national-security challenges, the economic downturn, education, health care and climate change.
The greatest wisdom on this subject comes from an honorary American. "If the present tries to sit in judgment of the past," Winston Churchill wrote, "it will lose the future."
About six weeks ago George W. Bush said that he would refrain from criticizing his successor because Obama "deserves my silence." Perhaps Obama, for the good of his own presidency and for the good of the presidency itself, will return the favor.

The Same Old Equality of Result

 Rather than nitpick about Obama's envisioned brave new world, I think it wiser to see it in the larger context of age-old divides over the nature of Western democratic and liberal society. Nothing that we have seen proposed since January 20 is novel; everything is merely the promise of the past outfitted with a new snazzier veneer of hope and change.
Take his domestic policies. What overarching philosophy seems reflected in raising taxes, borrowing trillions to spend trillions more on new entitlements, creating a new health care bureaucracy, cap-and-trade, allotting trillions more for education, and the expectation of the appointment of more liberal judges?
It’s old.
In a word, it is adherence to the idea of equality of result rather than an equality of opportunity, the age-old debate that goes back to the Greeks. From Aristotle's Politicsand Plato Laws, we learn of the original dilemma: a stable city-state of roughly similar property owners, who vote as equals, and fight as comrades in the phalanx, tragically, but inevitably, soon becomes tragically unequal.
Divide the land up equally to found the polis; give everyone an similarly-size plot (klêros); and then health, luck, brains, accident, strength, ambition, character, and a myriad of other factors, some understandable, some capricious, conspire to create inequality. I agree with Aristotle; I have seen it with families and communities in which equal inheritances soon led to radically different outcomes, as one sibling on rocky ground thrives, while another in deep loam starves; one town with abundant resources goes broke, while another without natural advantages thrives.
As Aristotle saw, some lose, some expand their original homesteads, and suddenly we have Hoi beltistoi and Hoi polloi-and the rallying cry that someone's liberty to do as he pleases means that egalitarianism of the lowest common denominator becomes impossible.
The notion of freedom then butts up against equality, as if they are as often antithetical as symbiotic. (NB: note the French Revolutionary sloganeering of "fraternity" and "egalitarianism" versus the American Revolutionary emphasis on "Give me liberty, or give me death", "Don't Tread on Me!", "All men are created equal" [by opportunity rather than by result]. And note Obama's references to the French ideal.)….. The only impediment to our new polis? There are not simply enough of these entrepreneurial dinosaurs to pay the taxes to feed the new $3.6 trillion annual beast. One can take all the income of the $250,000 "them", and there won't be enough to pay down the $9 trillion in new debt.

It is time to invoke the spirit of Maggie

Thirty years ago Margaret Thatcher was elected prime minister and began making the changes necessary to lift Britain off its knees. A decade later, in that momentous year of 1989, her political career was limping to an inglorious end but her legacy was to endure. Much of the prosperity of the past 15 years is due to her assault on union power and the size of the state.  It worked. The economy, freed from the burden of too much state spending, grew faster than most western economies. Hard as it may seem to make such cuts here, savings will have to be made. Britain is at a crossroads, as it was in 1979. The risk is that we continue to head in the wrong direction.


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