Thursday, April 9, 2009
Now, as the first leg of the World Apology Tour has come to its end and Obama must once again endure the tedium of the White House, I thought I'd take up the torch and deliver a few apologies that Obama seems to have forgotten:
- I'm sorry, Israel, that our president has seen fit to throw the oldest and most stable democracy in the Middle East under the bus. From his first call as president to Mahmoud Abbas to his funding of millions to Gaza victims, to his New Year's video address to Iran to his reaching out to the Taliban to cut a deal - not to mention his willingness to adopt the Saudi "peace" plan - Barack Obama has made it clear that the fate of a nation the size of New Jersey, surrounded by enemies that want to drive her people into the sea, is no longer a top priority. So much for standing up for the little guy.
- I'm sorry, Poland and Czech Republic, that our president seems to be ready to renege on a deal made by President Bush to create a defense missile shield that would protect those nations from the aggression of Russia. Supposedly, in return for this concession, Russia will lend its assistance in talking Iran out of continuing its nuclear weapons program. As Obama rolls over for Putin's lapdog Medvedev, it's the former Soviet satellite nations that may well end up playing dead - for keeps.
- I'm sorry, Britain, that Obama cared so little about our historic alliance that he treated Gordon Brown like a poor relation on Brown's first visit to the White House under the Obama administration. I'm also sorry that we have a leader who, rather than help pull your nation back from the abyss of kowtowing to radical Islam and other liberal PC claptrap, seems ready to drag us down with you.
Even the Old Europe nations (France, Germany, etc.) with the most to gain from an Obama presidency are finding out that the glamorous rock star isn't all he's cracked up to be. Seems Obama is intent on sticking his nose in their business when it comes to who is allowed in the European Union and who is not, which has a few other noses bent out of joint.
Apparently George Bush held the same views, but managed to say it in a way that didn't upset anyone. Yet he was the most embarrassing president of all time, no?
After a week spent assuring the world that he is the antithesis of his widely despised predecessor, President Barack Obama ended his first presidential overseas trip by doing a George W. Bush. In style, substance and photo ops, Obama's unannounced stopover in Baghdad was straight out of the Bush playbook.
Even the rhetoric was familiar, with Obama saluting U.S. troops for their "extraordinary achievement" in Iraq, warning that the next 18 months will be a "critical period" and urging Iraqis to "take responsibility for their country."
Being far too sophisticated to subscribe to pedestrian notions of good and evil, they reflexively resist the proposition that on balance, the United States has been the greatest (temporal) force for good in the history of the planet.
Believing that if only we could talk more with the likes of Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad all would be right in the world, they are uncomfortable with using the military except as a provider of their on-demand private air travel.
Indeed, notwithstanding their deep skepticism, serious people should support the president by insisting that he call terrorism and the many related threats to our current and future security by their proper names, and relentlessly focus on eliminating them where possible, and mitigating them when total destruction cannot be achieved.
As with his predecessor, if President Obama succeeds in this, much else can be forgiven, or at least eventually repaired.
The best and most effective way to keep transnational terrorism from becoming a backyard war is to stop terrorist attacks before they start.—and do it in a way that lets our free society remain free. There is no need to erect barricades, ban assault weapons, or strip-search everyone entering Washington. Not if we focus on uncovering terrorist plots and thwarting them before they get underway.
No matter what the method—be it car bombs or dirty bombs, ground assaults or air attacks—most terrorist attacks share many features in common. All require financing, planning, recruiting, training, equipping, organizing, reconnoitering, rehearsing, and transporting people and material to the point of attack. These are the tell-tale signs to focus on. And the best way to find them is through effective intelligence gathering and investigations.
Many of the tools most needed to thwart terrorist attacks were authorized by the USA Patriot Act passed by Congress after the 9/11 attacks. Congress stipulated that these powers would expire unless reauthorized by law. In 2006, Congress extended the authorities, but some are coming up for renewal again this year...
[Recommended > ]
When it comes to domestic policy, President Obama has been repeatedly and legitimately criticized for focusing on the wrong issues. Even as the financial industry has gone into a meltdown, threatening the entire economy, he has devoted most of his energy and political capital to programs, such as expanding health-care coverage, that have nothing to do with the crisis at hand.
The same may now be said of foreign policy...
Last Friday, a Fox New panel kicked around the matter of President Obama's remarks at the G-20 meeting where he had characterized the U.S. attitude toward Europe as "arrogant," dismissive," and "derisive." The United States, its President had said, was guilty of a "failure to appreciate Europe's leading role," in world affairs.
This was too much for Charles Krauthammer. In what he described as "a turn of phrase I'm sure I will regret," Krauthammer said impatiently that Europe had been "sucking on the American teat for 60 years."
The phrase, actually, was entirely apt. But Krauthammer was short by almost 32 years...
[Highly Recommended > ]
President Obama is sacrificing our sovereignty and safety with a radical foreign policy which leaves American troops carrying all the risks in overseas combat, while lowering our defenses at the same time that dangerous regimes are developing their means of mass destruction. It also subjects American companies to foreign socialistic control, as European leaders speak about a new, secular global order no longer led by the United States.
President Obama pledged the U.S. to participate in a global financial control system that would be dominated by Europe. This means European-style overregulation reflecting their socialist policies. These policies historically have led to 10% or 12% permanent unemployment, paltry economic growth and massive government control of private businesses.
All this took place as foreign leaders rejoiced over what they saw as the end of American dominance. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke of a world that moves past American leadership, while former British Prime Minister Tony Blair positions himself to become the first president of the European Union, which will undermine American sovereignty as a "new global architecture" is created.
All this while French President Nicholas Sarkozy spoke of the world rejecting American capitalism, as other European leaders reviled free markets and insisted on government-managed economies to support permanent welfare states.
Such global economic and security arrangements undermine American values. These systems are incompatible with American ideals of individual liberty, rugged individualism, economic opportunity, and powerful military defenses.
They also undermine our culture and spiritual heritage. These countries are largely secular, some militantly so, and ceding such vast power to become beholden to them will lead to the same suppression of religious practice and belief that characterize many of these countries. This secularism also refuses to make moral judgments, leading to relativistic societies with destructive personal behavior.
All this in just one trip overseas. President Obama has shown that he supports a foreign policy that the radical left has wanted since the 1960s...
And now Barack Obama’s aid plan for Pakistan falls flat:
U.S. envoys met with Pakistani leaders on Tuesday to ensure that the $7.5 billion that President Obama plans to send their way over the next five years will be used to achieve common goals in the fight against extremism.
But according to a Pakistani newspaper, regional envoy Richard Holbrooke and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen came up empty-handed and received a “rude shock” when a proposal for joint operations against al Qaeda and Taliban forces in the volatile tribal regions was rejected.
It’s a clean sweep. Obama’s proposals have been turned down by every foreign government and international body he’s approached — from Pyongyang to Brussels, and assorted points in between.
The U.S. is out of the superpower business. It didn’t happen because we callously stretched our imperium until it snapped. And we weren’t forced out by the ingenuity of rising challengers.
We [he] just called it a day...
[Meanwhile, in the MSM...]
Assessing President Barrack Obama's overseas trip, ABC's George Stephanopoulos proposed it was “a real test for the President” and, no surprise, decided “he passed it pretty easily” since “he was confident, he had a sense of command in his personal and his public diplomacy, forged strong relationships with his European counterparts...”
The host of ABC's This Week wrapped up with how the White House is pleased with the trip -- as if it were possible they wouldn't be: “They feel this trip went exactly as they planned. They couldn't be happier.”
Hard to imagine how they could be any happier with the media's reverential coverage.
Will the prolonging of the federal estate tax really help American recover from recession and reduce our growing deficits? In order to assess the pros and cons of the estate tax, we should focus on its impact on those who bequeath wealth, not those who receive it, says Arthur Laffer, co-author of "The End of Prosperity: How Higher Taxes Will Doom the Economy -- If We Let It Happen."
Advocates argue that the estate tax will reduce the concentrations of wealth in a few families, but there is little evidence to suggest that the tax has much, if any, impact on the distribution of wealth. In fact, studies find that it significantly reduces the size of estates and, as an added consequence, reduces the nation's capital stock and income, says Laffer:
- The costs of sheltering estates are actually as high as the total tax revenues collected from the estate tax.
- Less than half of the estates that must go through the burden of complying with the paperwork and reporting requirements of the tax actually pay even a nickel of the tax.
- The largest estates that actually do pay taxes generally pay lower marginal tax rates than smaller estates because of tax shelters.
- This makes the estate tax one of the least efficient taxes; the total monies collected in any one year account for only about 1 percent of federal tax receipts.
For all of these reasons, the estate tax needs to go, along with the step-up basis at death of capital gains, says Laffer.
[All of which is completely besides the point: it's immoral, abolish it.]
Forty-five percent (45%) of American adults say it’s time to stop all bailout funding for the financial industry. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 34% disagree while 21% are not sure.
As with other topics concerning bailouts, there is a huge gap between the Political Class and Mainstream America on this issue. By a 76% to nine percent (9%) margin, the Political Class believes the bailout should continue.
Middle income Americans, those earning $40,000 to $100,000 a year, want the bailouts to stop by a 52% to 31% margin. Those who earn less than $40,000 or more than $100,000 are evenly divided on the question.
A scientist who tracks levels of ice and snow in the Arctic Ocean told CNSNews.com Monday that there is a “correlation” between the receding ice in the Arctic Sea and man-made global warming caused by the greenhouse effect.
But a veteran climatologist told CNSNes.com that NSIDC'’s own data refute Meier’s claim – and point to “solar activity” as a prime cause for the melting ice pack.
Dr. Joe D’Aleo, executive director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project [ICECAP], said the depletion of sea ice in the Arctic is part of the Earth’s cycles – and “solar activity”
“The Arctic temperatures undergo a cyclical change every 60 to 70 years tied to cycles on the sun and in the oceans,” said D’Aleo, who was the first director of meteorology at The Weather Channel.
“You can see very warm temperatures in the 1930s then cooling and another warming in the last few decades in close correlation with solar activity,” he added, “but with a poor correlation with CO2"...
Over the past several years, it appeared that our society was doomed to succumb to what Weather Channel founder John Coleman has described as "the greatest scam in history": anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW). For two decades there has been an incessant drumbeat of propaganda attributing every weather-related event to an increase in carbon dioxide caused by the burning of fossil fuels. With the election of a president who is solidly in the global-warming-alarmist camp — and with many high-level appointees who are bona fide climate-change alarmists — coupled with a Democratic legislature anxious to please their environmentalist and media benefactors, the passage of legislation causing some form of economy-crippling energy taxation seemed to be a foregone conclusion.
But then came the unexpected: a recession brought on and exacerbated by the heavy hand of government, and a second consecutive severe winter. Indeed, we may look back and see that our current financial crisis and Mother Nature were the saviors of free-market capitalism. They may have slowed the statist steamroller long enough for the proponents of climate realism to make such socialistic schemes as "cap and trade" understood for what they are and what they are not. They are not about anything to do with global warming or climate change. They are instead a massive transfer of wealth from the productive to those who will not adopt free markets.
While the primary promoters of the warming hoax have not "broken and run" yet, there is much evidence that there is an increasing tide of defectors and that climate catastrophists have completely run out of dry powder...
[Yeah, that's what I thought in '07 - but I don't think it will make a difference, TV still blacks-out all realism on this issue and almost half the country still gets their news from the boob tube. Add to that that our current government doesn't really seem to care what us little folk think about any topic and that it simply represents too much money and power to give up, and we will get saddled with this unless there's a tidal wave of protest.]
The president's new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth's air.
John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a 'last resort'...
Another geoengineering option he mentioned was the use of so-called artificial trees to suck carbon dioxide—the chief human-caused greenhouse gas—out of the air and store it. At first that seemed prohibitively expensive, but a re-examination of the approach shows it might be less costly...
[This in nothing more than plan-B should they fail at ramming through their carbon-control agenda: threaten the populace with even more expensive 'fixes' that make their original proposals seem reasonable by comparison.
We're talking hundreds of trillions of dollars and all the control that goes with it - they're not going to give any of it up without a fight.]
"The Obama administration is calling for greater protection of the earth's polar regions, including limits on tourism," Williams said. "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the proposals at a global summit in Washington. Coincidentally, it comes two days after a crucial ice bridge collapsed at the South Pole, effectively changing the map of that part of the world."
Then chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson pointed out in keeping with the tradition of her one-sided climate change alarmist reporting, this could affect the weather for everyone all over the planet. Thompson agreed and blamed man for shifts in climate saying, "A situation made worse by manmade global warming that now needs a manmade solution." Her report didn't include any voice of dissent, though many exist.
A report recently updated by the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee includes more than 700 international scientists that dispute Thompson's claim - that global warming is a manmade phenomenon.
The NHS produces some of the worst health outcomes in the industrialised world. Britain is the Western state where you'd least want to have cancer or a stroke or heart disease. Ours is now a country where thousands of people are killed in hospitals for reasons unrelated to their original condition. If this is our "greatest creation", Heaven help us.
As for the second slogan, which Prezza renders as "need and not ability to pay", there is no health system in Europe or North America that leaves the indigent untended. What is at issue is not whether we force poor people to pay, but whether we prevent wealthier people from doing so. The British system treats everyone equally, it's true: we queue equally, we wait weeks for operations equally, we are expected to be equally grateful for any attention we get
Let me put it like this. Imagine that, in 1945, we had created a National Food Service. Suppose that, in the name of "fairness" and "need and not ability to pay", sustenance had been rationed by the state. Conjecture that every citizen had been allocated one butcher, one baker, one café and so on. We all know where that would have led: to bureaucracy, to duplication, to surpluses in one field and scarcity in another, to racketeering, to hunger.
No one, not even Prescott, is suggesting that we socialise food distribution - even though food is at least as basic human need as healthcare...
"Iowa Gives Gay Marriage a Thumbs Up," trumpets the front page teaser headline on ABCNews.com. But, the subhead explains, it was "Iowa's Supreme Court" not the people via their legislature or direct referendum that opened the door to same-sex marriage by finding the state's ban on the ceremony "violates [the state] Constitution."
The accompanying photo illustration (shown at right) depicts two masculine, wedding-band-sporting left hands embracing. In the background is a long, unfurled rainbow flag, held aloft by marchers in a parade.
The story itself was filed by Amy Lorentzen of the Associated Press. Lorentzen jumped quickly into the jubilant reaction of gay marriage activists, but found no space for comment from traditional values advocates in her 18-paragraph story.
The Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom says student Julea Ward was dismissed from her graduate program in March after refusing to affirm a client's homosexual behavior prior to a counseling session, according to a press release from the group.
David French, ADF senior counsel, said the school initiated a disciplinary process against Ward despite the fact that she followed her supervising professor's advice and referred the client to a counselor who did not have a conscience issue with homosexuality.
Ward then allegedly was informed that the only way to stay in her program would be to undergo a remediation process to change her beliefs as they relate to counseling about homosexual relationships, the Defense Fund Center said. When she refused, she was given a formal review hearing, after which she was dismissed from the program. The dismissal was upheld March 26 by the dean of EMU's College of Education.
["Liberal 'tolerance'" think as we say or lose your job.]
Drought-stricken farmers in California who have been denied access to a major water supply by a judge citing the Endangered Species Act to protect a type of fish. During a story recounting the unusual level of problems facing these farmers – a recession coinciding with drought – correspondent Lisa Fletcher informed viewers:
"And for the first time ever, farmers may be completely cut off from one of their sources of water. Farmers don't have access to this water that runs right through the center of their farmland. It is being allocated to the delta smelt, a little fish protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Conservationists say the smelt are dying in the irrigation pumps, so a judge ruled they must be shut off for much of the growing season."
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the March 28 World News Saturday...
The California Energy Commission is proceeding with a proposal this summer to ban the sale of TV sets that did not meet new efficiency standards when they are turned on and displaying a picture — a measure of power consumption that is not currently regulated at all.
Poll Asks Preteens: Are You Worried Earth Won't Exist When (If) You Grow Up?
—Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center
I received a phone call just after noon on Sunday from a Princeton, New Jersey-based polling firm that asked to speak to "pre-teens" aged 6 to 11 [i.e., children] for a poll about the environment. They encouraged me to listen in. My 11-year-old daughter answered five questions that grew increasingly dire. The pollster said they are not told who the client is, so they don’t bias the survey. But the bias strongly came through in the questions.
... Then they asked which environmental happening would be the scariest: the extinction of the polar bears, global warming causing the melting of the polar icecaps leading to flooding, a severe shortage of drinking water, or increased air and water pollution. The daughter said a drinking water shortage.
Then came the question that even my daughter thought was erratic. They asked if my child ever worried that the Earth wouldn’t exist any more when she grew up. She said "no" in a very baffled tone.
The last question was the sneakiest, the one that sounded like a tattle-on-your-parents moment. They asked are you sure your parents doing everything they can to preserve the planet, like recycling and keeping down use of electricity? My daughter said yes, although she could have easily said "no." We use plastic grocery bags, don’t drive a hybrid, and not every light bulb in our house is a compact fluorescent.
They could have asked these same questions to those of us who grew up in the 1970s and we would have given dire answers, because that's what the conventional wisdom was at that time. We were told that oil reserves were about to dry up, that air pollution was dire, and that the Earth might be cooling dramatically.
Somehow, the world still exists now that we've grown up. But Eco-panic never seems to take a holiday.
Prophet Muhammad cartoon goes on sale in Denmark
Copenhagen - A Danish press freedom group said Wednesday it is selling copies of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad that caused outrage across the Muslim World. Some 1,000 printed reproductions of a drawing depicting Islam's prophet wearing a bomb-shaped turban are being sold for 1,400 kroner ($250) each...
Westergaard has been living under police protection since an alleged plot to murder him was discovered last year.
White House: No bow to Saudi
The White House is denying that the president bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at a G-20 meeting in London, a scene that drew criticism on the right and praise from some Arab outlets.
"It wasn't a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he's taller than King Abdullah," said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity...
[And we're not supposed to be insulted.]