August 2009 Archives

Finally, George Will has had it with the poseur in the White House. Likening Obama to Huey Long, one of the nation's most corrupt politicians, is breathtaking. "A rabble rouser with a better tailor." And still three years plus to suffer through.


An Ivy League Huey Long

Washington is seriously unserious.

By George F. Will | NEWSWEEK

Published Aug 29, 2009

From the magazine issue dated Sep 7, 2009

In August our ubiquitous president became the nation's elevator music, always out and about, heard but not really listened to, like audible wallpaper. And now, as Congress returns to resume wrestling with health care reform, we shall see if he continues his August project of proving that the idea of an Ivy League Huey Long is not oxymoronic.

Barack Obama in August became a Huey for today, a rabble rouser with a better tailor, an unrumpled and modulated tribune of downtrodden Americans, telling them that opponents of his reform plan--which actually does not yet exist--are fearmongers employing scare tactics. He also told Americans to be afraid, very afraid of health-insurance providers because they are dishonest (and will remain so until there is a "public option" to make them "honest"). And to be afraid, very afraid of pediatricians who unnecessarily extract children's tonsils for monetary rather than medical reasons. And to be afraid, very afraid of doctors generally because so many of them are so rapacious that they prefer lopping off limbs of diabetes patients rather than engaging in lifestyle counseling that for "a pittance" could prevent diabetes.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, the Maine Republican whom Democrats hope will lend a patina of bipartisanship to their health legislation whenever it gets written, says that one thing we learned from the cacophonous town halls of August is "that there are many people who are satisfied with their health insurance." Actually, long before this debate began we knew that a large majority of Americans have insurance, and a large majority of that majority are content with their care. That is why the president has become shrill: There is no underlying discontent commensurate with the scale of the changes he is trying to propel.

Another reason that reasonable people are wary of any government plan for a grandiose rearrangement of the health-care sector's 17 percent of the economy is that, regarding grandiosity, the president, after less than eight months in office, is a recidivist. His health-care crusade comes after a $787 billion stimulus (which has effectively made the Energy Department into the nation's largest venture-capital firm, scattering scores of billions of dollars to speculative energy investments) and the semi-nationalization of two car companies. August ended with the unembarrassable administration uttering a $2 trillion "Oops!" by estimating that the 10-year budget-deficit projection is about $9 trillion rather than $7.1 trillion. The supposed means of paying for the president's $1 trillion health-care plan include substantial Medicare cuts that will never happen, and the auction of carbon-emission permits that, instead, would be given away by the Waxman--Markey cap-and-trade legislation the House has sent to the Senate.

That legislation is a particularly lurid illustration of why no serious person nowadays takes seriously Washington's increasingly infantile bandying of numbers. The point of cap-and-trade is to impose a ceiling on the nation's greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions--primarily carbon dioxide. The legislation endorses the goal of holding the global carbon--dioxide level to a maximum of 450 parts per million by 2050. That. Will. Not. Happen.

Steven Hayward and Kenneth Green of the American Enterprise Institute do the math. The 450 level is less than the 2030 projected level for all countries other than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's 30 developed nations. Which means the global goal would be unreachable even if in 2030 those 30 disappear--if they have zero emissions. Waxman--Markey endorses the goal of reducing all of this nation's GHG emissions 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. In 2005, the United States' carbon-dioxide emissions were 6 billion tons, so an 83 percent -reduction would permit about 1 billion tons--what America's emissions were in 1910, when the population was 92 million and the economy was one twenty-fifth of today's. But by 2050, the population probably will be about 420 million, so per capita carbon-dioxide emissions would have to be 2.4 tons--one quarter of 1910's per capita emissions.

Hayward and Green say that historical data indicate that the last time emissions were that low was 1875. And even before that, before widespread use of fossil fuels, wood burning by Americans may have produced more than 2.4 tons per capita. Today France, which generates approximately 80 percent of its electricity by nuclear power, and Switzerland, which generates most of its electricity by nuclear or hydropower, have per capita emissions of 6.59 and 6.13 tons, respectively.

Obviously Hayward and Green are correct that meeting the 2.4-ton goal "is not going to be seriously attempted." So why do the same politicians who want to radically expand government's control of health care pretend otherwise? Because they are not serious people. Which is why so many Americans are seriously alarmed.

SEXUAL FREEDOM AS LEADING INDICATOR

Sexual freedom in the west. Mark Steyn wonders, "What happens to other freedoms?"

Do you notice anything shrivelling?

Aug 27, 2009

by Mark Steyn in MacLeans

The other day CTV reported the astonishing statistic that in the whole of Canada there are just 33 sperm donors. That seems awfully low for a nation of 30 million people. Three sperm donors per province plus one per territory? Surely we can do better than that. All hands on deck!

Ah, but it's not as simple as that. Apparently, the 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act makes it illegal to pay donors for sperm. I mean, it wasn't even the usual Canadian Wheat Board-type racket whereby you'd only be able to sell your seed to the Canadian Sperm Board at a price agreed upon by representatives of the federal-provincial Semen Commissions. Instead, they just nixed the whole deal, and, once Johnny Canuck found out he wasn't going to be remunerated, virtually the entire supply dried up.

As a result, this once proud Dominion now has to import sperm. According to CTV, 80 per cent of Canadian women who conceive through donor sperm are getting it from the United States, mainly from men in Georgia and northern Florida. Canada's future is now in American hands.
You know how it is: you wait ages for a good sperm story and then they all come at once. It seems there's also a shortage of the stuff in Sweden. But, in contrast to Canada, this is caused not by government intervention in supply but by a surge in demand, from Swedish lesbian couples anxious to conceive. Inga and Britta had been trying for a child for ages but nothing seemed to work. Then it occurred to them this might be because they're both women. So they headed off to the sperm clinic, whereupon the Sapphic demand ran into the problem of male inability to satisfy it. There appear to be higher than usual levels of non-functioning sperm.

Don't worry, I'm not being Swedophobic in mocking the watery emissions of Nordic manhood. It's a widespread problem: "Concern As Sperm Count Falls By A Third In UK Men" (the Daily Mail, 2004). Don't ask me why: I'd blame Tony Blair's cozying up to Bush were it not for "Sperm Count Drops 25 Per Cent In Younger Men" (the Independent, 1996), so maybe it was John Major pulling out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. Still, even for a demographic doom-monger such as myself, you could hardly ask for a more poignant fin de civilisation image than a stampede of broody lesbians stymied only by defective semen, like some strange dystopian collaboration between Robert Heinlein and Russ Meyer set in a world divided into muff divers and duff donors.

I wouldn't want to overly extrapolate from two minor news items, and I'd be quite happy to do cheap lesbo-seminal gags to the foot of the page, but the thought does occur that a visitor from the day before yesterday--say, the mid-20th century--would be befuddled by the problems we face in the dawn of the new millennium. The other day the Toronto Star, ever on the cutting edge in the hunt for new bigotries, turned in a fascinating report on the problems of air travel and . . . Go on, take a wild guess. Racial profiling? Ha! You piker! We're talking about gender profiling--in the sense that most of these squaresville Homeland Security types think there are men and there are women and that's pretty much it. As a result, many pre-operative transsexuals run into difficulties south of the border or when flying trans Atlantically, and that's before the introduction of "Whole Body Imaging" scanners where you may show up naked on the security screen packing a few too many extras. "Travelling for transpeople is always fraught with uncertainty," Ontario lawyer Nicole Nussbaum told the Star. "The current system doesn't match up with transpeople's lives."

Of course, no "system" could. I see that what I quaintly thought of as the Toronto Gay Pride Parade was officially billed this year as a parade to celebrate "the LGBTTIQQ2S communities."
LGBTTIQQ2S? Oh, come on. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgendered, Intersexual, Queer, Questioning and 2-Spirited. Where ya bin? 2-Spirited doesn't mean too spirited, as in Anne of Green Gables, but is supposedly some First Nations thing. Anyway, you can see why the "current system" of airport security has a hard time keeping up. Any day now, they'll introduce Intergendered and Transspirited, and by the time Mayor Miller has stumbled through the acronym in his official proclamation, the parade'll be over. So, when a Bigendering person shows up at the frontier, don't be surprised if the border guard comes over all 2-Questioning. Travel, explains the Star's Julia Steinecke, is "complicated for those who live in the grey area between genders."

Indeed. Flying is no place for "those who live in the grey area." Everything's black and white: Business or coach? Chicken or beef? "If you don't fit into a gender box," says "award-winning Canadian writer" Ivan E Coyote, "all of a sudden, you're a target." Mr./Ms. Coyote prefers to be addressed as he/she and self-identifies as a "very masculine reading estrogen-based organism." And the hicks at U.S. Customs and Border Protection don't have a check box for that. Mr./Ms. Coyote was recently detained at Ottawa Airport along with a friend who'd flown in from America, "a tall, feminine woman with a heavy moustache."

Well, that's her choice. His choice. Whatever. A few years ago, Kenneth Minogue of the London School of Economics wrote that ours is the age of "the new Epicureans" in which the "freedom to choose" trumps all. A childless couple can choose to conceive. A female couple can choose to conceive. A male couple--Barrie and Tony from Chelmsford, England--can choose to conceive and both be registered as the biological fathers of their children not so much on the technical grounds that they had "co-mingled" their sperm before shipping it out to their Fallopian time-share in California but out of a more basic sympathy that this is how Barrie and Tony "self-identify" and it would be cruel to deny them. A woman in Bend, Ore., can choose to become a man, and then a "pregnant man." A man can choose to become a woman. A man can choose to get halfway to becoming a woman, and then decide it's more fun to "live in the grey area." Biologically, Barrie or Tony, but not both, is the sole father of their child; the "pregnant man" is pregnant but not a man; the he/she living in "the grey area" is in reality black or white--at least according to what we used to call "the facts of life." But issuers of passports, drivers' licences, even birth certificates and no doubt one day U.S. Department of Homeland Security visas now defer to the principle of "self-identification."

In terms of sexual identity, we're freer than almost any society in human history, at least in terms of official validation of our choice to "redefine" ourselves in defiance of biological and physiological reality. And yet, if you accept that infertile couples and gay couples should be free to "have" babies by means of technology, why should you not be free to sell them the semen that enables them to do it? If you suggest that, say, "partial-birth abortion" (which is actually partial-birth infanticide) ought to be illegal, feminists will be out in the street chanting, "Keep your laws off my body!" and "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!" But, when the government tells you you can't sell your own bodily fluid, which is, after all, about as basic a personal property as anything, there are no outraged progressives to chant "Keep your legislation off my ejaculation!"

At some point we will come to see that the developed world's massive expansion of personal sexual liberty has provided a useful cover for the shrivelling of almost every other kind. Free speech, property rights, economic liberty and the right to self-defence are under continuous assault by Big Government. But who cares when Big Government lets you shag anything that moves and every city in North America hosts a grand parade to celebrate your right to do so?

It's an oddly reductive notion of individual liberty. The noisier grow the novelties of our ever more banal individualism, the more the overall societal aesthetic seems drearily homogenized--like closing time in a karaoke bar with the last sad drunks bellowing off the prompter "I did it My Way!"

And in the end even the sex doesn't do it. In the Netherlands, the most progressive nation in Europe, the land where whatever's your bag is cool, where naked women beckon from storefront windows, a certain ennui is palpable. Last week, the ANP news agency released a poll showing that the Dutch now derive more pleasure from going to the bathroom than from sex. It wasn't a close-run thing: eighty per cent identified a trip to the toilet as the activity "they enjoy the most"--or, as the South African newspaper the Witness put it, "The Bog's Better Than Bonking." To modify Eliot, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a flush.

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One who commented (apparently a woman) got it exactly right:
Bang on, Mark! Ever since the ascent of the boomer generation, I have come to the conclusion that "it's all about f***ing". As long as people have that freedom, they'll give away any and every other freedom.

Another:
Mark Steyn is the sharpest, funniest observer of our less than brave new world, where we're being transformed, like the Europeans, into libertines without liberty. The government will soon control all the things that really matter -- what we can think and say, what work we can do, how much we're allowed to keep of what we earn, what we're allowed to buy, and how we raise our children, if any, but we'll be able do whatever we choose sexually and pharmacologically. We'll remain emotional adolescents until we're too old to play and then we'll be humanely euthanized. Life will have no meaning, but few will notice. The Netherlands offers a good peek at where we're headed.

And a third:
The really disturbing thing about all this - even more than the real, hormone-induced via our diet shrivelling that I alluded to earlier - is that the decadence that has seized western civilisation is also condemned by the medieval Mullahs of the Middle East. That may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but on that particular point the pot is right - western civilisation is in a terrible state. If the only two futures we have are either more decadence or retrogression to medieval, middle eastern desert barbarism, it is very depressing.

"SOMETHING UGLY ABOUT KENNEDY THE MAN"

Mark Steyn delivers our last word on the life of Ted Kennedy.


Airbrushing out Mary Jo Kopechne
Only a Kennedy could get away with it.

By Mark Steyn
August 29, 2009
National Review Online

We are enjoined not to speak ill of the dead. But, when an entire nation -- or, at any rate, its "mainstream" media culture -- declines to speak the truth about the dead, we are certainly entitled to speak ill of such false eulogists. In its coverage of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's passing, America's TV networks are creepily reminiscent of those plays Sam Shepard used to write about some dysfunctional inbred hardscrabble Appalachian household where there's a baby buried in the backyard but everyone agreed years ago never to mention it.

In this case, the unmentionable corpse is Mary Jo Kopechne, 1940-1969. If you have to bring up the, ah, circumstances of that year of decease, keep it general, keep it vague. As Kennedy flack Ted Sorensen put it in Time magazine: "Both a plane crash in Massachusetts in 1964 and the ugly automobile accident on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969 almost cost him his life."

That's the way to do it! An "accident," "ugly" in some unspecified way, just happened to happen -- and only to him, nobody else. Ted's the star, and there's no room to namecheck the bit players. What befell him was . . . a thing, a place. As Joan Vennochi wrote in the Boston Globe: "Like all figures in history -- and like those in the Bible, for that matter -- Kennedy came with flaws. Moses had a temper. Peter betrayed Jesus. Kennedy had Chappaquiddick, a moment of tremendous moral collapse."

Actually, Peter denied Jesus, rather than "betrayed" him, but close enough for Catholic-lite Massachusetts. And if Moses having a temper never led him to leave some gal at the bottom of the Red Sea, well, let's face it, he doesn't have Ted's tremendous legislative legacy, does he? Perhaps it's kinder simply to airbrush out of the record the name of the unfortunate complicating factor on the receiving end of that moment of "tremendous moral collapse." When Kennedy cheerleaders do get around to mentioning her, it's usually to add insult to fatal injury. As Teddy's biographer Adam Clymer wrote, Edward Kennedy's "achievements as a senator have towered over his time, changing the lives of far more Americans than remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne."

You can't make an omelette without breaking chicks, right? I don't know how many lives the senator changed -- he certainly changed Mary Jo's -- but you're struck less by the precise arithmetic than by the basic equation: How many changed lives justify leaving a human being struggling for breath for up to five hours pressed up against the window in a small, shrinking air pocket in Teddy's Oldsmobile? If the senator had managed to change the lives of even more Americans, would it have been okay to leave a couple more broads down there? Hey, why not? At the Huffington Post, Melissa Lafsky mused on what Mary Jo "would have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history . . . Who knows -- maybe she'd feel it was worth it." What true-believing liberal lass wouldn't be honored to be dispatched by that death panel?

We are all flawed, and most of us are weak, and in hellish moments, at a split-second's notice, confronting the choice that will define us ever after, many of us will fail the test. Perhaps Mary Jo could have been saved; perhaps she would have died anyway. What is true is that Edward Kennedy made her death a certainty. When a man (if you'll forgive the expression) confronts the truth of what he has done, what does honor require? Six years before Chappaquiddick, in the wake of Britain's comparatively very minor "Profumo scandal," the eponymous John Profumo, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for War, resigned from the House of Commons and the Queen's Privy Council, and disappeared amid the tenements of the East End to do good works washing dishes and helping with children's playgroups, in anonymity, for the last 40 years of his life. With the exception of one newspaper article to mark the centenary of his charitable mission, he never uttered another word in public again.

Ted Kennedy went a different route. He got kitted out with a neck brace and went on TV and announced the invention of the "Kennedy curse," a concept that yoked him to his murdered brothers as a fellow victim -- and not, as Mary Jo perhaps realized in those final hours, the perpetrator. He dared us to call his bluff, and, when we didn't, he made all of us complicit in what he'd done. We are all prey to human frailty, but few of us get to inflict ours on an entire nation.

His defenders would argue that he redeemed himself with his "progressive" agenda, up to and including health-care "reform." It was an odd kind of "redemption": In a cooing paean to the senator on a cringe-makingly obsequious edition of NPR's Diane Rehm Show, Edward Klein of Newsweek fondly recalled that one of Ted's "favorite topics of humor was, indeed, Chappaquiddick itself. He would ask people, 'Have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?'"

Terrific! Who was that lady I saw you with last night?

Beats me!

Why did the Last Lion cross the road?

To sleep it off!

What do you call 200 Kennedy sycophants at the bottom of a Chappaquiddick pond? A great start, but bad news for NPR guest-bookers! "He was a guy's guy," chortled Edward Klein. Which is one way of putting it.

When a man is capable of what Ted Kennedy did that night in 1969 and in the weeks afterwards, what else is he capable of? An NPR listener said the senator's passing marked "the end of civility in the U.S. Congress." Yes, indeed. Who among us does not mourn the lost "civility" of the 1987 Supreme Court hearings? Considering the nomination of Judge Bork, Ted Kennedy rose on the Senate floor and announced that "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit down at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution . . . "

Whoa! "Liberals" (in the debased contemporary American sense of the term) would have reason to find Borkian jurisprudence uncongenial, but to suggest the judge and former solicitor-general favored re-segregation of lunch counters is a slander not merely vile but so preposterous that, like his explanation for Chappaquiddick, only a Kennedy could get away with it. If you had to identify a single speech that marked "the end of civility" in American politics, that's a shoo-in.

If a towering giant cares so much about humanity in general, why get hung up on his carelessness with humans in particular? For Kennedy's comrades, the cost was worth it. For the rest of us, it was a high price to pay. And, for Ted himself, who knows? He buried three brothers, and as many nephews, and as the years took their toll, it looked sometimes as if the only Kennedy son to grow old had had to grow old for all of them. Did he truly believe, as surely as Melissa Lafsky and Co., that his indispensability to the republic trumped all else? That Camelot -- that "fleeting wisp of glory," that "one brief shining moment" -- must run forever, even if "How to Handle a Woman" gets dropped from the score. The senator's actions in the hours and days after emerging from that pond tell us something ugly about Kennedy the man. That he got away with it tells us something ugly about American public life.


-- Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone.


There are one or two commentators in Boston who never viewed Ted Kennedy as a lion of anything. Howie Carr watched Senator Kennedy throughout his public career and did not like what he saw.

Kennedy's abandonment of his pro-life stance stands in stark contrast to the efforts of his recently deceased sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver on behalf of the unborn, though she is better known for founding the Special Olympics to benefit those with intellectual disabilities.

While he bears responsibility for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, consider also the millions of deaths to which he has contributed by switching to support of abortion for political expediency in his failed run for the presidency in 1980. Until then, his postion in the Senate since 1962 had been that abortion "was not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life."

The Vatican newspaper's front page rightly criticized Kennedy's anti-life stance while noting his passing. That he will have a Catholic burial hopefully signfies a death bed confession of that grave sin against humanity and Christian morality.

Is it too much to hope he has left a statement to be made public expressing sorrow and repentance for his betrayal of the unborn? What a profound effect such a message might have on mealy-mouthed Catholic hypocrites like Senator John Kerry, who have adopted the formula first enunciated by Mario Cuomo, at Notre Dame, no less: "While I'm personally opposed to abortion, I won't impose my religious beliefs on others."

What Catholic priest would have the backbone to demand or even suggest it? Certainly not one the Kennedys would call in for last rites.

We won't hold our breath waiting.

Ted Kennedy's legacy not as heroic as some might think

By Howie Carr New York Post
August 27, 2009

I never voted for Ted Kennedy, not once, and neither did maybe a quarter to one-third of the Massachusetts electorate, although you'd never know that from the echo chamber of the mainstream media since his death in Hyannisport late Tuesday night.

While offering condolences to the Kennedy family at this sad moment, it is important to note that his life was not as simple, nor heroic, as is now being portrayed. On the cable channels yesterday, his fellow Senate graybeards, of both parties, were lamenting the passing of what was invariably described as Ted Kennedy's "collegial" Senate - where voices were seldom raised, and partisan bickering ended when the gavel came down to end the session.

All of which would have come as a surprise to Robert Bork, the Supreme Court nominee of whom the collegial Ted said in 1986:

"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters . . ."

So much for collegiality. Of course, Kennedy is now endlessly lauded for his support of "women's rights," i.e. abortion. But into the 1970s, before the Roman Catholic Church's influence began to wane, Kennedy was a traditional pro-life New England Democrat.

Here was his take on abortion in 1971:

"Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized - the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old."

There's a story, perhaps apocryphal, that in his first Senate campaign in 1962, Kennedy was shaking hands at a factory-gate during a shift change. A haggard worker began berating him about how he'd never worked a day in his life. According to the legend, at that point another salt-of-the-earth blue-collar type leaned in and told Kennedy, "Never worked a day in your life, kid? You ain't missed a thing."

But in fact he had. Yesterday the tributes kept mentioning his commitment to the "working class." He fought for, as President Obama said on Martha's Vineyard of all places, "an America that is more equal and more just."

But more equal and more just for some people than for others. When it came to the white ethnic working class from which his father came, Kennedy just plain didn't get it. Whether it was court-ordered busing in Boston in the 1970s, or the affirmative action policies that stymied the careers of so many of his family's traditional voters, Kennedy never grasped the depth of the blue-collar frustration as he veered left. And what infuriated them even more was that so many of them had grown up in homes where on one side of the mantel was a faded photo of the martyred JFK, and on the other the pope, with a dried-up palm frond given out at Mass on Palm Sunday between them.

Chappaquiddick, of course, never went away. But sometimes Kennedy could seem oblivious even to that ultimate blemish on his career. In 1974, when President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for his Watergate crimes, Kennedy issued this thundering statement:

"Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law? Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty?"

On issue after issue he was wrong - the nuclear freeze, the Reagan tax cuts, the Immigration Reform Act of 1965, which he assured his Senate colleagues would not lead to a "flood" of immigrants into America's cities. With a Tele-Promp-Ter, he could be articulate, but when he wasn't using his glasses to read a prepared statement, he was often an oratorical mess. In 2005, at the National Press Club, he referred to the current president as "Osama bin La-uh, Osama Obama, uh Obama."

And yet he was always protected by most of the media, who shared his views on just about everything. In 1962, at the behest of President Kennedy, the Boston Globe played the story of his expulsion from Harvard below the fold on the front page. To the very end the Globe did its best to shield him - last week the struggling Times-owned broadsheet broke the story of his deathbed attempt to change the Massachusetts law on Senate succession, without mentioning that he himself had lobbied in 2004 to enact the law he was now denouncing as undemocratic. Only then, he was for stripping the governor of his right to fill a Senate vacancy, because, you see, that governor was a Republican.

The Globe reported that Kennedy was extremely concerned that the people of Massachusetts would have no representation in the Senate for five months until the special election. The fact that he had already missed 97 percent of the Senate roll-call votes in 2009 was not noted until the next day - in a different newspaper.

The hagiography will continue throughout the weekend. We all agree that Ted Kennedy should rest in peace. But let's not forget that there was more, much more, to his "legacy" than is being reported on MSNBC.

Though not mentioned by Carr, Kennedy's vicious mendacity in attacking Judge Bork during his confirmation hearing to be a Supreme Court Justice should not be forgotten. It has poisoned the judicial confirmation process ever since.

Obama and his attorney general EricHolder are acting like enemies of the American people. They are disabling this nation's ability to defend itself against those who are fighting to destroy us.

Sooner or later, Americans will die because of what they are doing. Hamstringing the CIA is just one thing. Allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons is another. Instructing all U.S. agencies not to even use terms such as "war on terror" or "Islamic terrorism" is another. So is setting Islamic terrorists captured on the battlefield free in foreign countries, in some cases paying millions of dollars to bribe them to take the terrorIsts. So is cutting defense spending. So is cutting the production of the world's best airplane the F-22.

The writer of the article below is sadly resigned to these actions so damaging to the security of this country. The public will only rise up when terrorists or an Islamic nation such as Iran breaks through our weakened defenses to horrible effect.


AUGUST 26, 2009

The War on Terror Is Over
Lawyers are about to smother the war on terror.

By DANIEL HENNINGER Wall Street Journal Opinion

Shakespeare wrote, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." As we know, that didn't happen. Four hundred years later, they're killing us with the smothering pillow of hyper-proceduralism. Now the lawyers are about to smother the war on terror.

This Monday, the same day that Attorney General Eric Holder named a special prosecutor to investigate persons who conducted the CIA's interrogations in the war on terror, Scotland's Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill stood before his parliament and gave this defense for releasing convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi:

"It was not based on political, diplomatic or economic considerations. . . . My decision was made following due process, and according to the law of Scotland. I stand by the law and values of Scotland."

Faced with a similarly fastidious assertion of the law's triumphal self-regard in "Oliver Twist," Mr. Bumble replied: "If the law supposed that, the law is a ass--a idiot." Mr. Bumble added something acutely relevant to what is happening to the war on terror: "The worst I wish the law," said Mr. Bumble, "is that his eye may be opened by experience--by experience."

The experience of a world beset by terror eludes the eyes of a Kenny MacAskill, Eric Holder and others in the Obama administration. The rest of us may suffer for it.

In a May speech at the National Archives, President Obama, mirroring Kenny MacAskill's remarks, said we had to "update our institutions" to deal with terrorism but "do so with an abiding confidence in the rule of law and due process."

That "update" is upon us. The smothering pillows have arrived.

Attorney General Holder named Connecticut prosecutor John Durham to conduct an investigation into whether interrogations by CIA employees warrant a criminal inquiry. It has been shown repeatedly the past 25 years that an office of independent counsel or special prosecutor nearly always puts in motion an Inspector Javert-like hunt for an indictable defendant.

Mr. Holder's justification, that his own reading of the "available facts" gave him no choice, is close to a preordained conclusion that Mr. Durham will cite one of these CIA guys for criminal prosecution.

The day of Mr. Holder's announcement, CIA Director Leon Panetta said his agency received "multiple written assurances its methods were lawful." It's now clear that even playing by the rules cannot stop erosion by legal challenge.

That day also brought the release of CIA Inspector General John Helgerson's 2004 report on the agency's detention and interrogation of terror suspects. Both sides to this argument say the report supports their view of the CIA. No matter. What the release of the Helgerson report mainly does is open the dams on detainee lawsuits.

This litigation nightmare, together with the chilling effect of the special prosecutor's potential indictments, has as its goal making the price of aggressive interrogation too high under any circumstance, including a one-hour-bomb scenario.

To supervise future interrogations, the administration is creating something called a High Value Detainee Interrogation Group. Interrogation techniques will be limited to those in the Army Field Manual or that are "noncoercive," which suggests more constrained than a big-city police department. Authority is being moved from the CIA to the FBI.

This means that the class of person who blows up skyscrapers, American embassies or the USS Cole would spend less time under a bare light bulb than a domestic robbery suspect. The Los Angeles Times reported in May that the goal of a proposed administration "global justice initiative" would be to get all terror suspects into a U.S. or foreign court.

Eric Holder cited the Justice Department's Office of Legal Responsibility as influencing his decision to proceed with a CIA special prosecutor. This is the legal office that is expected to release its long-awaited report on whether former Bush Justice lawyers John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury should be cited for misconduct for providing the CIA with legal opinions about these interrogations. If, as expected, the OPR cites the lawyers, legal groups will try to disbar them. After that, no lawyer will go near the war on terror.

Individually, some of this may be arguable. In toto, it's a death sentence for an effective war on terror. It makes what's left of the war--telephone wiretaps or monitoring money transfers--vulnerable to a steady stream of congressional and legal objection. That lets the Obama administration evade political responsibility by letting others wind down the war on terror.

The message of Scotland's release and the Holder decision is that the will born in the wake of 9/11 is waning. The war on terror is being downgraded to not much more than tough talk. Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Iranians, not yet converts to the West's caricature of its own legal traditions, will take note. In time, they will be back. The second war on terror is in the future.


Daniel Henniger was not alone today in his fears for the safety of fellow Americans.

President Obama's terror strategy puts America at risk
Wednesday, August 26th 2009, 4:00 AM
Michael Goodwin New York Daily News

Pull together the loose threads of recent events and President Obama's vision for fighting the war on terror becomes one very scary picture. Scary, that is, for innocent Americans.

From interrogation to adjudication, the White House plan offers more legal protections to terror suspects and less to our nation. It's a kinder, gentler tilt that favors bad guys and raises the risk of attack at home because it compromises national security to promote other concerns and values.

One thread is Attorney General Eric Holder's misguided decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether CIA agents broke the law in aggressive questioning of suspects captured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Holder, who shamelessly gave Bill Clinton the legal okay to pardon megacriminal Marc Rich, has little mercy for the agents who risked their lives to protect America.

Knowing Holder stands ready to second-guess its every move is reportedly sending chills through the spook agency.

Another scary thread is the plan to take the job of terror questioning away from the CIA and move it to a new group in the FBI. The move is part of an effort to treat terror as just another law enforcement problem, a downgrade that led the White House to drop the words "war on terror."

As the new unit's rules show, the downgrade is more than just semantics. The unit will be limited to noncoercive techniques, meaning even sleep deprivation is out.

More aggressive techniques are controversial, but former CIA leaders and ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, among others, insist they yielded valuable information that allowed authorities to disrupt terror plots and save lives.

A just-released 2004 report by the CIA inspector general also seems to reach the same conclusion, saying several top terror suspects became more useful and compliant after aggressive techniques were used.

Scary thread No. 3 is the plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and move some of the worst terrorists to American prisons and give some detainees trials in civilian courts. Playing by the legal rule book raises the chance mad killers will walk free because of the vast defendant protections built into our criminal justice system.

All those threads come together with the insane decision of Scotland to release the Libyan agent convicted in the attack that blew up Pan Am Flight 103, killing 270 people, most of them Americans. Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill defended his decision on humanitarian grounds because the agent, who served only eight years of a 27-year minimum sentence, is dying of prostate cancer.

Completely lacking, of course, was any compassion for the victims and their families. The outrage was compounded when Libya gave the agent a hero's welcome on his return home, a sickening scene that can serve only to inspire future terrorists.

Amid strong evidence the release was part of a deal to get British companies oil and gas contracts, Prime Minister Gordon Brown finally broke his silence yesterday to say he was "repulsed" by the Libyan welcome. But he has failed to give a convincing denial to a comment by Seif al-Islam el-Khadafy, a son of Libya's leader, that the agent's release was "always on the negotiating table" when oil and gas deals were discussed.

The case raises the specter of American judges and politicians one day releasing terrorists for similarly loopy reasons. Indeed, once national security is compromised by raising other issues to equal stature, like compassion for killers and lucrative business deals, appeasement of terror inevitably results.

Obama often insists that keeping Americans safe is his most important duty, yet his actions and those of Holder say otherwise. By tying our nation's hands against an enemy that knows no rules or boundaries, the President is adding to the already considerable chance we will suffer a national catastrophe.

GOD HELP AMERICA IN OUR HOUR OF NEED

Every day President Obama in one way or another indicates that he knows better than anyone else about everything. It is the mark of a true narcissist. Not only does he know better, he wants to substitute his judgment for yours. He wants his way, not your way. He wants your freedom in his hands, indeed your life.

You like your health plan; he's going to give you one you'll REALLY like. You like your SUV and cheap gasoline; no, you can't have that.

You want to honor and thank those who kept us safe for all these years since 9/11. Obama wants to humiliate them, make them penniless from defending themselves and send them to prison.

You want thugs who intimidate voters at the polls to be prosecuted, but, perhaps because they're black and former Black Panthers, as was his financial angel for Harvard Law School, he excuses them and sends them on their way.

He cancels his appearance at the National Day of Prayer, a long-standing Judeo-Christian celebration, but records a video message to Muslims for the start of Ramadan.

You want your president to praise America, he just wants to apologize for how bad it's been.

Even the media thinks he's God. He knows he's god.

He's weakening our national security and our capitalist economy. He plans to destroy the best medical treatment system in the world. He's out to prove that those men who fashioned the U.S. Constitution had it all wrong. He knows better.

Do you want him to succeed?


August 24, 2009
A New Push to Play God from Washington

By Thomas Sowell Syndicated columnist

The serious, and sometimes chilling, provisions of the medical care legislation that President Obama has been trying to rush through Congress are important enough for all of us to stop and think, even though his political strategy from the outset has been to prevent us from having time to stop and think about it.

What we also should stop to think about is the mindset behind this legislation, which is very consistent with the mindset behind other policies of this administration, whether the particular issue is bailing out General Motors, telling banks who to lend to or appointing "czars" to tell all sorts of people in many walks of life what they can and cannot do.

The idea that government officials can play God from Washington is not a new idea, but it is an idea that is being pushed with new audacity.

What they are trying to do is to create an America very unlike the America that has existed for centuries-- the America that people have been attracted to by the millions from every part of the world, the America that many generations of Americans have fought and died for.

This is the America for which Michelle Obama expressed her resentment before it became politically expedient to keep quiet.

It is the America that Reverend Jeremiah Wright denounced in his sermons during the 20 years when Barack Obama was a parishioner, before political expediency required Obama to withdraw and distance himself.

The thing most associated with America-- freedom-- is precisely what must be destroyed if this is to be turned into a fundamentally different country to suit Obama's vision of the country and of himself. But do not expect a savvy politician like Barack Obama to express what he is doing in terms of limiting our freedom.

He may not even think of it in those terms. He may think of it in terms of promoting "social justice" or making better decisions than ordinary people are capable of making for themselves, whether about medical care or housing or many other things. Throughout history, egalitarians have been among the most arrogant people.

Obama has surrounded himself with people who also think it is their job to make other people's decisions for them. Not just Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, his health care advisor who complains of Americans' "over-utilization" of medical care, but also Professor Cass Sunstein, who has written a whole book on how third parties should use government power to "nudge" people into making better decisions in general.

Then there are a whole array of Obama administration officials who take it as their job to pick winners and losers in the economy and tell companies how much they can and cannot pay their executives.

Just as magicians know that the secret of some of their tricks is to distract the audience, so politicians know that the secret of many political tricks is to distract the public with scapegoats.

No one is more of a political magician than Barack Obama. At the beginning of 2008, no one expected a shrewd and experienced politician like Hillary Clinton to be beaten for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States by someone completely new to the national political scene. But Obama worked his political magic, with the help of the media, which he still has.

Barack Obama's escapes from his own past words, deeds and associations have been escapes worthy of Houdini.

Like other magicians, Obama has chosen his distractions well. The insurance industry is currently his favorite distraction as scapegoats, after he has tried to demonize doctors without much success.

Saints are no more common in the insurance industry than in politics or even among paragons of virtue like economists. So there will always be horror stories, even if these are less numerous or less horrible than what is likely to happen if Obamacare gets passed into law.

Obama even gets away with saying things like having a system to "keep insurance companies honest"-- and many people may not see the painful irony in politicians trying to keep other people honest. Certainly most of the media are unlikely to point out this irony.

The following story made headlines in British papers this morning. In our inbox the email from The London Telegraph featured the item, but a clickthrough showed that the story had been yanked from the Telegraph's site. So much for the bravery of the once leading conservative newspaper. This rendition of the story is from the London Daily Mail.


Author Sebastian Faulks risks Muslim fury by describing the Koran as the 'depressing rantings of a schizophrenic'

By Sophie Freeman
Last updated at 2:42 PM on 24th August 2009

Research: Author Sebastian Faulks turned to the Koran while writing his latest novel. He described the Islamic holy scripture as 'barren'

Best-selling novelist Sebastian Faulks has risked incurring the wrath of Muslims by dismissing the Koran as just 'the depressive rantings of a schizophrenic' with 'no ethical dimension'.

The author of Birdsong and Engleby also claimed that, compared to the Bible, the Islamic holy scripture is 'barren'.

Faulks, who turned to the Koran while researching his latest novel, said: 'It's a depressing book. It really is. It's just the rantings of a schizophrenic. It's very one-dimensional, and people talk about the beauty of the Arabic and so on, but the English translation I read was, from a literary point of view, very disappointing.

'There is also the barrenness of the message,' he told The Sunday Times. 'I mean, there are some bits about diet, you know, the equivalent of the Old Testament, which is also crazy.

'But the great thing about the Old Testament is that it does have these incredible stories. Of the 100 greatest stories ever told, 99 are probably in the Old Testament and the other is in Homer.

'With the Koran there are no stories. And it has no ethical dimension like the New Testament, no new plan for life. It says 'the Jews and the Christians were along the right tracks, but actually, they were wrong and I'm right, and if you don't believe me, tough -- you'll burn for ever'. That's basically the message of the book.'

Faulks read the Koran to help him write A Week in December, which will be published next month.

The novel, which is set in present-day London, has a cast of characters including the wife of Britain's youngest MP, a female Tube train driver, a hedge fund manager and a Glasgow-born Islamic terrorist recruit.

Ajmal Masroor, an imam and spokesman for the Islamic Society of Britain said Faulk's statements ran the risk of stirring religious hatred against Muslims.

'Attacks on Islam are nothing new, but the danger is this will have a 'drip, drip' effect.

'People don't seem to understand the consequences of saying things like this could be quite severe. History tells us it can encourage hatred.'

In 1989, a fatwa was issued for the author Salman Rushdie, after the publication of his book The Satanic Verses the previous year. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iran at the time, said the book was 'blasphemous against Islam, and called for Rushdie to be executed.

UPDATE: Predictably, the author caved as the threats mounted. His craven apology appeared in the press a few days after publication of his honest remarks.

Where do Canadians get medical treatment when they REALLY need it?


President Obama in the past has said he favors a single-payer (government only) health care system. He has also said he knows it would be difficult to get that in one giant step. So he knows he has to proceed incrementally, as now, with a "public option," which in short order can be manipulated to undercut all private systems. Before long, the world's best medical treatment system is destroyed.

Without question, Texas governor Rick Perry is the most successful governor in the United States. While most other states such as Illinois and California are swimming in red ink, Texas is running a surplus. People and businesses may be abandoning high tax states like California, but they're moving into Texas. Unemployment is 2% lower than the national average. Local taxes are among the lowest in the country, no income tax, no capital gains tax. In 2008 Texas created more new jobs than all of the other 49 states combined.

Perry is a conservative with a heart. When Katrina struck New Orleans, it was Perry who offered Texas as a place for the suddenly homeless. Texas took in more hurricane refugees than any other state, fed them, clothed them, educated the children and wound up giving many of them incentives to go out and find jobs.

He's running for an unprecedented (for Texas) third term in 2010. He isn't interested in going to Washington, but he keeps his eyes on what's happening there.

And when it comes to the Obama administration, Mr. Perry doesn't mince words: "To me, this is one of the great Frankenstein experimentations in American history. We've seen that movie before. It was from 1932 to 1940."

As for the health care bill, he calls it "scary"and notes that it was the seniors who figured it out first.

[T]he aspect of this [bill] that has to do with end-of-life decisions . . . are pretty cold-hearted in my opinion. You're a little too old to be spending money on, so we're just going to put you over here in the 'gonna die' category. 'Bye.' That's pretty gruesome and scary to people that are my mom and dad's age."

Another important reason Mr. Perry believes the bill is flawed is because it ignores tort reform. "To talk about health-care reform and not talk about tort reform is like whistling past the cemetery. . . . In this administration's case, it's because they're bought and sold by the trial lawyers." The governor puts his cap back on, adding, "I'll be the pope before we get tort reform with this administration."

By contrast, Perry credits a tort reform measure which he engineered for bringing a lot of new business into Texas -- and doctors.

Perry believes the Republican Party, which lost its way spending like Democrats in Washington, can find its way back with its conservative principles. And he knows a leader he likes:

The political divide, the governor insists, is between "mushy, middle of the road" Republicans and clear, devoted fiscal and social conservatives, like himself and Sarah Palin.


On that last point, he states emphatically, "I love Sarah Palin, I love her positions, I think she was a good governor. . . . I want her to be engaged in this rebuilding of the Republican Party. . . . She is substantially more the face of this country than some other people who might want to be the face of the Republican Party. To me she's the face of America. I mean she's a hard worker, she didn't come from money, she didn't come from privilege, she just worked hard. . . . I have not seen another person who invigorated the Republican base [like she did] with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan in 1976--the speech he made at the Republican Convention. People were looking around and saying, 'we nominated the wrong dude.'"

He intends to stay in Texas. He believes states are the place for innovation and experimentation, not Washington, and he wants to contInue to be part of that.

Read Fiscal Conservatism and the Soul of the GOP, this weekend's Wall Street Journal featured interview.

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Pollster Rasmussen runs a unique tracking poll on presidential approval: He finds those who "strongly approve" and those who "strongly disapprove" President Obama's performance. The rating is the difference between the two.

The latest poll has Obama at his all-time low. He's been in negative terrority for quite awhile now, but this reading represents a sharp tilt down.

As the Obama plan to dictate to Americans how HE wants them to live their lives becomes clearer, more and more are saying, "No, thanks, I'll make my own decisions. And keep your hands off grandma."

Americans are beginning to undertand that it is Obama's intention to change America from the land of the free into one in which he and his government decide what's "fair" for all.

As Andrew Klavan so aptly said in an Wall Street Journal opinion piece recently cited on this site,

To get rid of the unfairness among individuals, you have to exercise power over them. The more fairness you want, the more power you need. Thus, all dreams of fairness become dreams of tyranny in the end.

In Obama's quest for power to decide "what's fair," we hope -- we pray -- he fails.

obama_index_august_23_2009-thumb-410x307.jpg

PALIN TOP "TECHIE" POLITICAL LEADER?

Citizen Sarah Palin is emerging as a leading conservative voice by speaking directly to the people. Her accurate description of the "death panels" implicit in the Obama "health reform" legislation alerted seniors and parents of the handicapped of the danger of government bureaucrats having yes or no power over peoples' lives. She has now challenged the president why there is no tort reform, no reining in of the trial lawyers in his "reform" plan? Who's he for -- the trial lawyers or the patients?

In both instances Palin's words were immediately picked up around the nation and the world by citizens, cable shows and the rest of the media. Yet her platform was not Meet the Press or the New York Times, but her own website on facebook, where "friends" are signing up in amazing numbers. Check out this graph showing Palin's facebook presence compared to other leading politicians.

SPfacebook_supporters.gif

Not bad for the supposedly uneducated, ill-informed hick from Alaska.

WHEN SARAH SPEAKS, PEOPLE LISTEN

After Sarah Palin posted her facebook comment asking why the president hasn't talked about tort reform in connection with health reform when it could save billions of dollars, her words sped around the world, hit the news wires and the cable shows in a few hours.

A blogger on a popular site complained that he had been talking tort reform for years, and how come Sarah Palin gets all the attention?. Another blogger had it right:

So how come when I mention Tort Reform, 5 times daily for the past 2 years, nobody on hotair says, "All Hail kirkill?" Oh, I didn't use Facebook...darn. ;-)

kirkill on August 21, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Hey, don't feel bad...Rush has mentioned tort reform for a long time. So has Hannity. So has Levin and Laura Ingraham. But the libs did a stupid thing when they made Sarah the butt of their slander, criticism and jokes, because they made even libs want to know what she says. She is now the most powerful voice in the conservative movement, writing face book pages from her living room in Wasilla. When Sarah speaks/writes, people listen. And what of the greek-column, logo making, teleprompting orator of the century? She's making him all wee-weed up.

Christian Conservative on August 21, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Just as she highlighted the central danger of Obama's health care push -- government control over peoples' lives -- she now puts the question squarely: Who are you for, the trial lawyers or the people?

As we saw throughout the campaign and now the first part of his presidency, Obama has a full deck of race cards, which he plays with abandon and gusto. Disagree with the master, you're a racist.

Jonah Goldberg has it right:

Two weeks ago, town hallers were supposed to be members of the Brooks Brothers brigade, Astroturf division. Now they're well-armed anti-government militias. At this rate, they'll soon be android ninjas with laser vision. Wait, strike that. They'll be really racist android ninjas with laser vision.

Suddenly, if conservatives want to transcend race, we have to agree to massive increases in the size of government and socialized medicine.

That's not transcending race, it's using Obama's race to bully the opposition into acquiescence. Actually transcending race would require treating Obama like any other president. Which is pretty much exactly what conservatives have been doing. Seriously, if Hillary Clinton were president, would conservatives really be rolling over for the same health-care plan because she's white.

It is getting quite old, but racism has been so effective (after all, it bought him the presidency) it's hard if not impossible to give up.

August 21, 2009, 0:00 a.m.

A Deck Stacked with Race Cards
The great irony of the Obama presidency.

By Jonah Goldberg

What if America transcended race, and Barack Obama wasn't invited?

Continue reading. . .

While Obama has been talking about health care reform as the vehicle for his real purpose, which is running of the lives of all Americans, he hasn't ever mentioned the reform needed the most: Tort reform.

Sarah Palin reminds him of that today:

Why no legal reform? Why continue to encourage defensive medicine that wastes billions of dollars and does nothing for the patients? Do you want health care reform to benefit trial attorneys or patients?
Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, points out that Obama is counting on his belief that the American public is really stupid and if he, Goebbels-like, keeps repeating his lies about what his health care plan will do, at the end of the day he will be believed and get the control of American lives that he wants.

Both Lowry and Obama may be right.

So the battle against Obama's war against freedom must not ease up.

Read Stupid Nation

And, as for being calm and not using inflammatory terms such as "death panels,' nuts to that. What Obama wants is the power of life and death over all. It's his narcissistic craving that drives him for dominion over our lives. Andrew McCarthy explains why the arguments of his editors at the National Review and Krauthammer for quiet "civility" are mistaken.

Obama wants our freedom:

His purpose is revolutionary change in an American society he grew up understanding to be fundamentally unjust, racist, materialist, imperialist, and the agent of global misery. He is in Washington to transform the nation from the top down. Nationalized health care is key for him. If he gets it, sovereignty shifts from the citizen to the state. By law, government will be empowered to manage minute details of our lives. Over time -- when, as the American Thinker's Joseph Ashby observes, a "1,000-page health-care law explodes into many thousands of pages of regulatory codes" -- that is precisely what government will do.

Even though it appears that Obama is losing the battle, McCarthy fears we can "still blow this thing." We cannot forget the Democrats control all the levers of power and can push this bill through. As McCarthy observes, only a handful of wavering Democrats have the votes to kill it. What will make the difference, he asks?

The ardor of public opposition will determine whether this battle is won or lost.

We must not let up.

OBAMA'S DEATH SQUAD

It is astonishing how far out of the mainstream of America President Obama has been and is. Throughout his life (that is, as much as he has allowed us to know about) he has sought out as associates, colleagues and mentors people who hate America, its free markets and its dedication to individual freedom. Frank Marshall Davis, member of the American Communist Party, black power activists and Marxists during college years, followers of Marxist Saul Alinksky during his community organizer days, ACORN, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Rashid Khalidi,Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright, Edward Said, Michael Pflegher,

Along the way he developed a desire for control of other peoples' lives, the kind that a totalitarian collectivist government exercises, because he believes he knows how to run peoples' lives better than they do for the good of society. This desire for power to control life has evidenced itself most strikingly in the extreme positions he advocates on killing babies, including forcing U.S. taxpayer funding of abortions worldwide. It is notable that every high-level Catholic he has appointed is a supporter of abortion. He has pledged to Planned Parenthood he will wipe out every restriction on abortion. Even his desired health care bill has the government getting involved in facilitating end-of-life decisons. And two of his top "science" advisors have written extensively about the practicality of government choosing who will live and who will die, as this editorial describes. One of them has even opined that a child really doesn't become entitled to be considered a person until several years after birth.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

EDITORIAL: Obama's mad science adviser
THE WASHINGTON TIMES


When it comes to having past views that should frighten every American citizen, Ezekiel Emanuel (see above editorial) has nothing on the president's "chief science adviser," John P. Holdren. The combination of Mr. Holdren with Dr. Emanuel should make the public seriously concerned with this administration's moral compass concerning care for the old and weak.

Earlier this month, Mr. Holdren served as co-chairman when the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology met for the first time. It's a disgrace that Mr. Holdren is even on the council. In "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," a book he co-authored in 1977 with noted doomsayers Paul R. and Anne H. Erlich, Mr. Holdren wrote: "Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society."

In case compulsory abortion wasn't enough to diffuse his imaginary population bomb, Mr. Holdren and the Erlichs considered other extremist measures. "A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child, despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men," they wrote. "The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control."

It gets worse. The Holdren-Erlich book also promotes "Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods." After noting that, well, yes, there were "very difficult political, legal and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems," Mr. Holdren and his co-authors express hope that their idea may still be viable. "To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements," they wrote. "It must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets or livestock."

Most Americans can be forgiven for thinking that mass sterilization through drinking water is never acceptable and that someone who supported such horrors should have no place on a prestigious White House council. The question naturally arises why President Obama chooses to surround himself with extremists like Mr. Holdren or Dr. Emanuel. No matter how much they claim their views have "evolved," health and science under Obamacare would be a frightening prospect with people like this advising the president.

Professor Thomas Sowell captures well the President's desire to control life and death and the role of these advisers in his plans:

[President Obama] said, "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out there." He added: "It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. That is why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance."

But when you select people like Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel to give "independent" guidance, you have already chosen a policy through your choice of advisors, who simply provide political cover. The net result can be exactly the same as if those providing that guidance were openly called "death panels."


OBAMA FRIGHTENING AMERICANS, POLLS SINK

Victor Davis Hanson tells why Obama has sunk so fast. He sold the voters a bill of good and they have now found out the truth.


Piling up debt, gaffes, and hypocrisy, Obama & Co. are sinking.

By Victor Davis Hanson in National Review Online

We are witnessing one of the more rapid turnabouts in recent American political history. President Obama's popularity has plummeted to 50 percent and lower in some polls, while the public expresses even less confidence in the Democratic-led Congress and the direction of the country at large. Yet, just eight months ago, liberals were talking in Rovian style about a new generation to come of progressive politics -- and the end of both the Republican party and the legacy of Reaganism itself. Barack Obama was to be the new FDR and his radical agenda an even better New Deal.

What happened, other than the usual hubris of the party in power?

First, voters had legitimate worries about health care, global warming, immigration, energy, and inefficient government. But it turns out that they are more anxious about the new radical remedies than the old nagging problems. They wanted federal support for wind and solar, but not at the expense of neglecting new sources of gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power. They were worried about high-cost health care, the uninsured, redundant procedures, and tort reform, but not ready for socialized medicine. They wanted better government, not bigger, DMV-style government. There is a growing realization that Obama enticed voters last summer with the flashy lure of discontent. But now that they are hooked, he is reeling them in to an entirely different -- and, for many a frightening -- agenda. Nothing is worse for a president than a growing belief among the public that it has been had.

Second, Americans were at first merely scared about the growing collective debt. But by June they became outraged that Obama has quadrupled the annual deficit in proposing all sorts of new federal programs at a time when most finally had acknowledged that the U.S. has lived beyond its means for years. They elected Obama, in part, out of anger at George W. Bush for multi-billion dollar shortfalls -- and yet as a remedy for that red ink got Obama's novel multi-trillion-dollar deficits.

Third, many voters really believed in the "no more red/blue state America" healing rhetoric. Instead, polls show they got the most polarizing president in recent history -- both in his radical programs and in the manner in which he has demonized the opposition to ram them through without bipartisan support. "Punch back harder" has replaced "Yes, we can."

Fourth, Americans wanted a new brand -- youthful, postracial, mesmerizing abroad. At first they got that, too. But after eight months, their president has proven not so postracial, but instead hyper-racially conscious. Compare the Holder "cowards" outburst, the Sotomayor riff on innate racial and gender judicial superiority, and the president's Cambridge police comments. All that sounds more like Jesse Jackson than Martin Luther King Jr. Demagogues, not healers, trash their predecessors at the beginning of every speech. When a once-eloquent president now goes off teleprompter, the question is not whether he will say something that is either untruthful or silly, but simply how many times he might do so at one outing. Some once worried that George W. Bush could not articulate our goals in Iraq; far more now sense that Obama is even less able to outline his own health-care reform.

Fifth, even skeptics are surprised at the partisan cynicism. A year ago, Democratic leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama praised organizing, dissidents, and protest. Today they have become near-Nixonian in demonizing popular resistance to their collectivized health-care plans as mob-like, inauthentic, scripted, Nazi-like, and un-American. There are still ex-lobbyists in the government. High officials still cheat on their taxes. Hacks in the Congress still profit from their office. The public is sensing not only that Obama has failed to run the most ethically clean government, as promised, but indeed that he is not running as ethically clean a government as the predecessor whom he so assiduously ridiculed.

Sixth, there is a growing fear that Obamism is becoming cult-like and Orwellian. Almost on script, Hollywood ceased all its Rendition/Redacted-style films. Iraq -- once the new Vietnam -- is out of the news. Afghanistan is "problematic," not a "blunder." Tribunals, renditions, the Patriot Act, and Predators are no longer proof of a Seven Days in May coup, but legitimate tools to keep us safe. Words change meanings as acts of terror become "man-caused disasters." Hunting down jihadists is really an "overseas contingency operation." Media sycophants do not merely parrot Obama, but now proclaim him a "god." New York Times columnists who once assured us that Bush's dastardly behavior was proof of American pathology now sound like Pravda apologists in explaining the "real" Obama is not what he is beginning to seem like.

Seventh, the Obama cabinet is sounding downright uncouth and boorish. The tax-challenged Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, unleashed a profanity-laced diatribe against bank regulators. Hillary Clinton's recent outburst in the Congo, captured on YouTube, was something out of Days of Our Lives. Joe Biden cannot speak extemporaneously without causing an incident with the Russians or misleading the public about swine flu. Attorney General Holder sounds like a tired scold, only to be overshadowed by the president's off-the-cuff cuts about the Special Olympics, Las Vegas, and the Cambridge police. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs makes Scott McClellan sound like a Cicero by comparison.

Eighth, we were all appalled by Wall Street greed and the notion that an individual could take $100 million rather than one or two million as a bonus. But the Obama remedy for that obscenity was to conflate Goldman Sachs or AIG with the family orthodontist or local asphalt contractor whose 80-hour weeks might result in an annual $250,000 income. Worse still, the public impression is that while small entrepreneurs may pay up to 65 percent of their income in new state and federal income taxes, payroll taxes, and surcharges, those on Wall Street have been bailed out and have cut various deals with upscale liberals in government.

Ninth, Democratic populism turned out to be largely aristocratic elitism. Obama spends more money on himself than did Bush. The liberal Congress has a strange fondness for pricy private jets. Those environmentalists and racialists who lecture us about our ecological and ethical shortcomings prefer Martha's Vineyard and country estates to Dayton and Bakersfield. Offering left-wing populist sermonizing for others while enjoying the high life oneself is never a winning combination.

Tenth, Americans no longer believe this is our moment when the seas stop rising and the planet ceases warming. Instead, there is a growing hopelessness that despite all the new proposed income taxes, payroll taxes, and surtaxes, the deficit will skyrocket, not shrink. There is foreboding that while apologies abroad are nice in the short term, they will soon earn a reckoning. And while the productive classes pay more of their income, and while government grows and entitlement expands, there is a sense that what follows will not be thanks for either taxes paid or benefits received, but even more anger that neither is enough and that much more is owed.

Obama's popularity might rebound with a natural upturn in the economy, continued low energy prices, and good will for our first multiracial president. But then again, it could get even worse if the recovery turns into stagflation, gas prices soar, and the identity-politics lectures amplify. The next six months should be interesting.

-- NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

THE GOVERNMENT WILL "TAKE CARE OF" YOU

Seldom do you find a piece of writing that absolutely captures the essence of a proposal or an event.

This Wall Street Journal scenario does that.

It shows what this president's cultish fixation on achieving the power of life and death over all Americans, indeed, all humans, can lead to.

Promoting abortion without limits is not enough, taxpayer funding of abortions in Africa is not enough, taxpayer funding of abortions in America is not enough. Power over the infirm, the handicapped, the aged must follow.

He wouldn't pull the plug on his grandma, he chuckled. But what about yours?

OPINION AUGUST 17, 2009, 11:04 P.M ET

Wall Street Journal

The Panel

What death by bureaucratic fiat might look like.

By ANDREW KLAVAN

It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that's part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance.
--President Barack Obama in a New York Times interview on how costly medical decisions should be made.

The people behind the long table do not know what they've become. The drug of power has been sugared over in their mouths with a flavoring of righteousness. Someone has to make these decisions, they tell their friends at dinner parties. It's all very difficult for us. But you can see it in their eyes: It isn't really difficult at all. It feels good to them to be the ones who decide.

"Well, we have your doctor's recommendation," says the chairwoman in a friendly tone. She peers over the top of her glasses as she pages through your file.

You have to clear your throat before you can answer. "He says the operation is my only chance."

"But not really very much of a chance, is it?" she says sympathetically. Over time, she's become expert at sounding sympathetic.

"Seventy percent!" you object.

"Seventy percent chance of survival for five years--five years at the outside--and even that only amounts to about 18 months in QALYs: quality-adjusted life years."

"But without this procedure, I'll be dead before Christmas."

You try to keep the anger out of your voice. The last thing you want to do is offend them. But the politicians promised you--they promised everyone--there would never be panels like this. They made fun of anyone who said there would. "What do they think we're going to do? Pull the plug on grandma?" they chuckled. The media ran news stories calling all rumors of such things "false" or "misleading." But of course by then the media had become apologists for the state rather than watchdogs for the people.

In fact, the logic of this moment was inevitable. Once government got its fingers on the health-care system, it was only a matter of time before it took it over completely. Now there's one limited pool of dollars while the costs are endless.

"You have the luxury of thinking only of yourself, but we have to think about everyone," says the professor of ethics. He's a celebrity and waxes eloquent every Tuesday and Thursday on Bill Maher Tonight. "This isn't the free market, after all. We can't just leave fairness to chance. We have to use reason. Is it better for society as a whole that we allocate limited resources for your operation when we might use the same dollars to bring many more high quality years to someone, say, younger?"

"I'm only 62."

He smiles politely.

"Look, it's not just about me," you argue desperately. "My daughter's engaged to get married next year. She'll be heartbroken if I'm not there for it."

"Maybe you should have thought of that before you put on so much weight," says the medical officer. "I mean, you people have been told time and again . . ."

But the chairwoman is uncomfortable with his censorious tone and cuts him off, saying more gently, "Perhaps your daughter could move the wedding up a little."

The member in charge of "stakeholder" exceptions shakes her head sadly as she studies your file. "If only you could have checked off one of the boxes. It would be awful if you were penalized just because of a clerical oversight."

It begins to occur to you that this is how you are going to die: by the fiat of fatuous ideologues--that is to say, by the considered judgment of a government committee. They are going to snuff you out and never lose a minute's sleep over it, because it's only fair, after all.

That logic is implacable too. Free people can treat each other justly, but they can't make life fair. To get rid of the unfairness among individuals, you have to exercise power over them. The more fairness you want, the more power you need. Thus, all dreams of fairness become dreams of tyranny in the end.

You know you should keep your mouth shut. Be humble--they like that. But you speak before you can stop yourself.

"What you're doing here is evil," you cry out. "You're trying to take the place of God!"

"Sir, this is a government building!" says the chairwoman, shocked. "There's no God here."

Mr. Klavan is a contributing editor to City Journal. His latest novel is "Empire of Lies" (Harcourt, 2008).

THE WHITE HOUSE DEATH CULT

Death cultist Obama has surrounded himself with other death cultists, most prominently Ezekiel Emanuel and John Holdren, Obama's chief "science" advisors. Obama has already authorized spending taxpayer dollars to facilitate abortions in Africa and elsewhere in pre-emerging economies. He wants taxpayer money to fund abortion mills like Planned Parenthood, as he promised to them he would do. Holdren has been long-known as an advocate of compulsory abortion and sterilization. Ezekiel doesn't think a baby is entiled to as much health care as someone in the 15 to 40 age group, who is more productive. The seeming disregard not only of the unborn, but for the very young and disabled as well as those at the tag end of life, is emblematic of those who are indiffent to the sanctity of human life.

Holdren's past is detailed in this Washington Times editorial:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

EDITORIAL: Obama's mad science adviser

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

When it comes to having past views that should frighten every American citizen, Ezekiel Emanuel (see above editorial) has nothing on the president's "chief science adviser," John P. Holdren. The combination of Mr. Holdren with Dr. Emanuel should make the public seriously concerned with this administration's moral compass concerning care for the old and weak.

Earlier this month, Mr. Holdren served as co-chairman when the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology met for the first time. It's a disgrace that Mr. Holdren is even on the council. In "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," a book he co-authored in 1977 with noted doomsayers Paul R. and Anne H. Erlich, Mr. Holdren wrote: "Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society."

In case compulsory abortion wasn't enough to diffuse his imaginary population bomb, Mr. Holdren and the Erlichs considered other extremist measures. "A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child, despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men," they wrote. "The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control."

It gets worse. The Holdren-Erlich book also promotes "Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods." After noting that, well, yes, there were "very difficult political, legal and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems," Mr. Holdren and his co-authors express hope that their idea may still be viable. "To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements," they wrote. "It must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets or livestock."

Most Americans can be forgiven for thinking that mass sterilization through drinking water is never acceptable and that someone who supported such horrors should have no place on a prestigious White House council. The question naturally arises why President Obama chooses to surround himself with extremists like Mr. Holdren or Dr. Emanuel. No matter how much they claim their views have "evolved," health and science under Obamacare would be a frightening prospect with people like this advising the president.

A victory for sound thinking in Australia and the government's cap and trade economy-destroying bill is defeated.

August 17, 2009

'A Tax on Thin Air'

By Robert Tracinski and Tom Minchin

In a potential preview for America, the Australian Senate has just defeated that country's version of cap-and-trade by a vote of 42-30. Most of the overseas coverage of this event, however, has missed the most interesting feature of the defeat. The BBC report, for example, claims that the bill was blocked because "opposition senators...feared the legislation would harm the country's mining sector."

In fact, the bill was defeated because there is now serious disagreement in Australia on the very existence of human-caused global warming. That's the backbone behind the collapse of what was supposed to be bipartisan agreement. As Senator Nick Minchin put it in a blistering speech opposing the bill, "this whole extraordinary scheme, which would do so much damage to Australia, is based on the as yet unproven assertion that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are the main driver of global warming.... The Rudd government arrogantly refuses to acknowledge that there remains a very lively scientific debate about the extent of and the main causes of climate change, with thousands of highly reputable scientists around the world of the view that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are not and cannot be the main driver of the small degree of global warming that occurred in the last 30 years of the 20th century."

In a previous article, we have already described this "intellectual climate change" in Australia's global warming debate, and arguably no one is more responsible for the shift in opinion than University of Adelaide geologist Ian Plimer, whose new book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science is an authoritative scientific refutation of the claims of human-caused global warming.

The influence of Plimer's book is particularly interesting because it is not a light introduction to the topic. It is a thick book, chock full of science. Plimer's prose is spirited, but there's so much detail it can be a lot take in. Yet that is part of the point of the book. If the book is comprehensive in its scope, that is because everything science has discovered about "history, archaeology, geology, astronomy, ocean sciences, atmospheric sciences, and the life sciences"-Plimer's list-refutes the global warming dogma.

What has Plimer been telling his Australian readers-including Australia's top journalists and politicians? Below are excerpts from Professor Plimer's responses in our interview with him, published last week in TIA Daily.

"The past is the key to the present. Previous rapid and large climate changes were not related to carbon dioxide.

"This has occurred on all scales of time. This century temperature has been decreasing, yet CO2 has been increasing. Over the last 150 years, temperature has increased (1860-1880, 1910-1940, 1976-1998) and decreased (1880-1910, 1940-1976, and 2002 to the present), yet CO2 has been increasing. If CO2 has been increasing, how can CO2-driven warming have driven cooling? Over historical times, there were the Minoan, Roman, and Medieval warmings, when temperature was a few degrees higher than at present. Sea level did not change. Over archaeological time, ice cores show that temperature peaks some 800 years before CO2 peaks, hence CO2 could not have driven temperature rise.

"In geological time, there have been six major ice ages. During five of these six, the CO2 content [of the atmosphere] was higher than now, and for two of these six, the CO2 content has been up to 1,000 times higher than now. If high atmospheric CO2 drives warming, then how could there be an ice age during times of high CO2? Furthermore, two of these six ice ages were at sea level at the equator.

"Over the history of time, climate changes have been driven by galactic, solar, orbital, tidal, and tectonic processes, and there has been no climate change in the past driven by CO2. The [current] rate of sea level change, CO2 release, and temperature rise and fall are well within variability, hence modern times are little different from past times....

"Geologists use integrated interdisciplinary science and look at planetary cycles over the history of time. Anything catastrophic that can happen has happened over the last 4,567 million years, and such events are preserved in the geological record. It is only if time is ignored that we can conclude that humans change climate by CO2 emissions...

"Climatology suffers from the same fads, fashions, dictators, and fraud that other fields of endeavor enjoy. In order to be funded well, climatology needs to be fashionable, and it is. The fundamental causes have been known for a long time, but predictions are only based on computer models that have very incomplete input. The IPCC models of 1990 and 1995 did not predict the 1998 El Nino nor the 21st-century cooling. So how can we use these to predict climate a century in advance?... The models have been spectacularly wrong, yet they are still used with no humility....

"The difficulty for politicians is that science is now politicized in the bureaucracy, universities, and research institutes and in many ways is forced to arrive at a predestined conclusion.... Most scientists are dependent upon governments for research funding, most universities have a large proportion of funding for climate research, and to challenge the popular paradigm is to guarantee [career] suicide. It is really only retired scientists or those few like me who are fearlessly independent who dare to question the popular paradigm [and] put up with the incessant ad hominem attacks....

"Environmentalism has many of the hallmarks of failed European socialism and Western (failed) Christianity. It has a holy book which few have read (IPCC reports), has prophets (Gore) who cannot be challenged, relies on dogma, ignores contrary evidence, has armies of wide-eyed missionaries...; imposes guilt, has a catastrophist view of the planet, and seeks indulgences."

When asked for his advice to politicians who are asked to make judgments on the science of global warming, he urges them "to understand that all science is contentious, where there is one theory there is a competing theory, and that as a legislator one must look to keeping maximum gainful employment of the electorate."

As for his advice to those who don't buy the global warming hysteria, he urges them to "Continually pester your politicians...write letters to the editor and start a groundswell of opinion. This needs to start like a guerilla war in rural, smokestack, and mining areas and to be brought into the cities, where there are queues lining up to make a fortune on cap-and-trade activities."

He concludes: "A tax on thin air is what we are being asked to approve."

Today, thanks in part to Professor Plimer, the people of Australia did not approve it.

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Robert Tracinski writes daily commentary at TIADaily.com. He is the editor of The Intellectual Activist and TIADaily.com. Tom Minchin is a writer, researcher, and businessman in Melbourne, Australia.

While top Obama officials are erasing from their vocabularies such terms as Islamic terrorism, jihad, jihadism, radical Islam, war on terror and Islamic war of world conquest, the Islamic war of world conquest goes on.

It's going on in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Russia, the United Kingdom, Somalia, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, the United States, Canada, Australia and India, to name just a few places. It's also fanning out from the Islamic terrorist strongholds in Algeria down into the almost ungovernable states of Niger, Mali and Mauritania.

What's unusual about this report in the Wall Street Journal is that, unlike reports carried in the New York Times, other mainstream media and Associated Press and Reuters newswires the reporter actually uses correct descriptives in telling what's happening.

The Koran commands all Muslims to engage in worldwide jihad until Islam is universal and all infidels are killed or enslaved. Almost all Muslims learn this from birth and many decide the way to glory and Paradise is to take up arms, kidnap, rape, kill and seize the property of others (booty, as Mohammad called it). You can get rich and have fun in the process once you get used to the blood.


Islamic Rebels Gain Strength in the Sahara

Moving South From Algeria, al Qaeda-Affiliated Insurgents Find Support Among Locals in Mauritania, Mali and Niger

By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania -- Al Qaeda-affiliated rebels are spreading far beyond their original battleground in Algeria and increasingly threatening Africa's Sahara belt, scaring away investors and tourists as they undercut the region's fragile economies.

SaharaIslam.gif

Click to enlarge.

Dozens of security personnel, as well as an American aid worker and a British tourist, were killed by militants in several attacks in the region this summer alone. The attacks -- which prompted this year's lucrative Paris-Dakar car race to relocate to South America -- have become more frequent and brazen. Recent hits occurred not just in the remote desert but also in Mali's tourist magnet Timbuktu and in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, where a suicide bomber attacked the French Embassy last weekend.


Though still dominated by the veterans of Algeria's civil war, this Saharan insurgency has grown deep local roots. Armed bands roaming the desert include hundreds of recruits from Mauritania, Mali and Niger -- vast and impoverished countries that straddle the Arab world and black West Africa, and that relied on the now-collapsed tourism industry as the key source of foreign exchange.

"What had started out as an Algerian problem is now engulfing Mali and Mauritania. They are the weak link," says Zakaria Ould Ahmed Salem, a specialist on political Islam at the University of Nouakchott.

An Islamist insurgency that cost 200,000 lives erupted in Algeria 18 years ago, after that country's secular regime annulled the second round of elections that the Islamists were poised to win. But it is only in the past few years, as Algerian security forces contained the violence at home, that the rebels -- who seek to create an Islamic state encompassing North Africa -- began mounting operations in neighboring Saharan countries that had been unscathed by international terrorism.

Underlining its wider ambitions, the main Algerian insurgent movement, the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, re-branded itself in 2007 as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM. Actual operational links between AQIM militants in the Sahara and traditional al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan or Afghanistan are tenuous, if they exist at all, Western officials say.

But the group's new name has made it easier to find money and recruits for the cause outside Algeria. "Someone like Bin Laden is considered a hero here," explains Mohamed Fall Ould Oumere, publisher of La Tribune newsweekly in Nouakchott.

Mauritania, where most people speak Arabic and watch satellite TV chains like Al-Jazeera, is a particularly fertile ground for AQIM's growth, and accounts for a growing share of the movement's cadres, Western diplomats say. In Mali, Niger and Chad, the bulk of AQIM recruits also come from Arab-speaking communities, which in these countries are outnumbered by black African majorities.

AQIM is trying to spread south, "aiming to attract the young Muslims of the region -- white ones and black ones," says Isselmou Ould Moustafa, a specialist on AQIM who interviewed many of the group's members for his Mauritanian publication, Tahalil Hebdo.

Security officials in Nigeria recently claimed that AQIM trained in Algeria some members of Boko Haram, the Islamist sect whose armed uprising cost several hundred lives in northern Nigeria last month. According to some experts on AQIM, there is also evidence of contacts between the Saharan insurgents and the Shabaab, the radical Islamist militia controlling a chunk of Somalia. "It's an arc of fire," says Mr. Oumere.

All the governments in the region say they are fighting back. But the area's political instability and frequent bickering between neighboring countries have long made it easy for Islamist rebels to roam the Sahara, obtaining sanctuary and help from local tribes. Mali and Mauritania both have strained relations with Algeria. Planned regional summits to tackle the cross-border terrorism problem have been repeatedly postponed.

A military coup in Mauritania last year complicated the situation: The U.S. reacted to the overthrowing of Mauritania's democratically elected president by reducing military cooperation with the country and pulling out a reconnaissance plane that flew regular sorties over the Sahara to search for insurgents. Cooperation is likely to be restored now that Mauritania has held a democratic election last month.

Government officials here say that, without outside help, Saharan countries have little chance of defeating AQIM. "This is a zone that can't be controlled. We don't know who's out there in the vast desert and what are they doing," says Mohamed Ould Rzeizim, who served until this week as Mauritania's minister of interior.

To finance its campaign, AQIM is smuggling Europe-bound cigarettes, drugs and illegal immigrants through the desert, Mauritanian and Western officials say. Depots of untaxed cigarettes, often brought in by ship from South America, dot the desert along Mauritania's porous northern borders.

An equally important source of revenue for AQIM is ransom money -- estimated at tens of millions of dollars -- paid by European governments for the freedom of European tourists kidnapped in separate attacks in Algeria, Tunisia, Mali and Niger. The hostages were usually transported across the Sahara to AQIM's bases in lawless northern Mali, where local officials helped negotiate the ransom collection and the tourists' release.

Mali's role as a sanctuary for AQIM has long infuriated Algeria and the U.S. The country appears to be taking a harder line after the Islamist rebels -- who refrained from killing their hostages in the past -- announced in June that they executed their British captive, Edwin Dyer.

A few days after the killing of Mr. Dyer, suspected militants also gunned down in Timbuktu the regional chief of Malian intelligence, Lt. Col. Lamina Ould Bou. The colonel, an ethnic Arab and former Islamist rebel, had played a crucial role in Mali's efforts against AQIM. According to Malian government accounts and al Qaeda Internet postings, armed clashes in the region in following weeks killed dozens of Malian troops and Islamist guerrillas.

"We are now engaged in a total struggle against al Qaeda," Mali's President Amadou Toumani Touré declared last month.

The Saharan rebels have so far targeted only foreigners and security forces, sparing civilian targets like restaurants and hotels. In Algeria, Pakistan and Iraq, by contrast, al Qaeda-affiliated militants showed no concern about killing large numbers of Muslim civilians.

"These youngsters are not yet ready to carry out blind attacks and to explode car bombs, Algerian-style. They have not yet completely broken with the Mauritanian society," says Mr. Moustafa, the AQIM expert. But, he cautions, bloodier attacks are likely to happen soon: "They have bad teachers. Their future targets will be Mauritanian."

HOT STUFF

It all depends on how you look at things.

Jonah Goldberg exposes Obama's false promise with a simple example:

Under the plan discussed at President Obama's infomercial-esqe town halls, America would cut costs and expand coverage while avoiding rationing. Apparently, it's paranoid to think that's too good to be true.


Imagine you're in charge of bringing pie to a company picnic. You're planning to provide dessert for 100 people. Then, your boss says you need to hand out pie to 150. Fine, you say, I'll make more pies. But -- oh no! -- you can't, because you've also been told costs must go down. Okay, then you can cut slices of the existing pies smaller so everyone can have a piece. Wait! You can't do that either, because you're not allowed to ration (i.e., give less to more).

But, as Jonah points out, it's more than healthcare that's at stake, it's personal freedom:

When it comes to civil liberties, liberals are often distrustful of government power. But, for reasons that baffle me, they are quite comfortable with Uncle Sam getting into the business of deciding, or providing "guidance" on, which lives are more valuable than others. A government charged with extending life expectancy must meddle not just with our health care, but with what we eat, how we drive, how we live. A government determined to cut costs must meddle not just with how we live, but how we die.


That sounds scary and un-American to me. And if that makes me paranoid and unpatriotic, then I am what I am.

Some would call Obamacare totalitarian socialism.

Do read all of what Jonah has to say on the Obama plan to "meddle" in every aspect of your life.

Will taxpayers be funding abortions under Obamacare? Yes.

Even though 90% of abortions are elective, why should abortion be in a taxpayer-paid health program? Is it because Obama is the most pro-abortion president in American history and the most pro-abortion official in the United States and has promised Planned Parenthood that he would work to have taxpayers pay for abortions for all without restrictions?

Obama is fixated on the power of life and death. Obamacare would give the Obama government life and death power over all Americans.

Say no. Report yourself to flag@whitehouse.gov as being opposed to Obamacare. Hands off my healthcare!


Poll: 86 Percent of U.S. Wants Abortion Restrictions
Friday, July 10, 2009 1:45 PM

The American people continue to move to the pro-life perspective on abortion according to the latest Moral Compass survey by the Knights of Columbus and Marist Poll.

The poll mirrored findings of other recent surveys, showing that more Americans identify as pro-life than as pro-choice, and that the vast majority of Americans favor restricting abortion.

Among the key findings:

86% of Americans would significantly restrict abortion.


60% of Americans would limit abortion to cases of rape, incest or to save the life of a mother - or would not allow it at all.


53% of Americans believe abortion does more harm than good to a woman in the long term.


79% of Americans support conscience exemptions on abortion for health care workers. This includes 64% of those who identify as strongly pro-choice.


69% of Americans think that it is appropriate for religious leaders to speak out on abortion.


59% say religious leaders have a key role to play in the abortion debate.


80% of Americans believe that laws can protect both the health of the woman and the life of the unborn. This includes 68% of those who identified as strongly pro-choice.


Additionally, the data showed that since October nearly every demographic sub-group had moved toward the pro-life position except for non-practicing Catholics and men under 45 years of age.


Independents and liberals showed the greatest shift to the pro-life position since October, while Democrats were slightly less likely to be pro-life now than they were in October.


"The data shows that the American people are placing an ever increasing value on human life," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. "Far from the great divide that most people think exists when it comes to the abortion debate, there is actually a great deal of common ground. Most Americans are unhappy with the unrestricted access to abortion that is the legacy of Roe

vs. Wade, and pundits and elected leaders should take note of the fact that agreement on abortion need not be limited to the fringes of the debate and issues like adoption or pre-natal care. The American people have reached a basic consensus, and that consensus is at odds with the unrestricted access to abortion that is the legacy of Roe."


The survey of 1,223 Americans was conducted May 28 - 31 and has a margin of error of +/-3%.


FIGHT SOCIALIZED HEALTHCARE FROM HOME


Help kill the Obamacare nationalization of healthcare right from your computer.

The Obamabots want you to report anyone making -- or even thinking -- "fishy" things about the government takeover of your health care. That it will add trillions to the national debt and require crushing taxes on you and your descendants is something you aren't supposed to talk about.

Tell them to leave our healthcare alone.

Stephen Crowder has a plan.

Write to flag@whitehouse.gov and tell them you oppose the government takeover of healthcare.

President Obama tried to brush aside the "death panels" in the Democrats' health "reform" bill that former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin had warned about. The trouble for Obama is that the text of the bill (section 1233) and other commentators, even champions of the Democrats, support Palin.

Palin herself carefully cited chapter and verse in responding to the President' statement, which she called "misleading" in her posting on facebook.

One of the huge advantages of the internet and services like facebook is that information can be distributed worldwide in an instant without having to rely on the whims of major media outlets to carry the message (or not) and their power to spin the information any way they want. The New York Times can twist her statement however it wishes, but the statement itself is accessible to all as she wrote it.

It seldom happens that the media calls the president on his misstatements, mischaracterizations and downright falsehoods, but with the actual text of his remarks, the bill itself and Palin's commentary for all to see, their ability to fudge the facts is greatly diminished.

Has Palin identified what is at the heart of the Obama health plan? Indeed, she has. It's government power over life and death: It can make decisions about the relative value of the lives of the healthy and the ill, the unborn and the aged, the professor and the cop.

Nothing doing.

Concerning the "Death Panels"
Yesterday at 8:55pm (August 12, 2009)
Yesterday (a August 11, 2009) President Obama responded to my statement that Democratic health care proposals would lead to rationed care; that the sick, the elderly, and the disabled would suffer the most under such rationing; and that under such a system these "unproductive" members of society could face the prospect of government bureaucrats determining whether they deserve health care.

The President made light of these concerns. He said:

"Let me just be specific about some things that I've been hearing lately that we just need to dispose of here. The rumor that's been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we've decided that we don't, it's too expensive to let her live anymore....It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, etc. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they're ready on their own terms. It wasn't forcing anybody to do anything." [1]

The provision that President Obama refers to is Section 1233 of HR 3200, entitled "Advance Care Planning Consultation." [2] With all due respect, it's misleading for the President to describe this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients. The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that context.

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Theodore Dalrymple, a British physican and noted essayist, compares the health care of a human and a dog in Britain and concludes the dog has it better.

The one kind of reform that America should avoid is one that is imposed uniformly upon the whole country, with a vast central bureaucracy. No nation in the world is more fortunate than America in its suitability for testing various possible solutions. The federal government should concern itself very little in health care arrangements, and leave it almost entirely to the states. I don't want to provoke a new war of secession but surely this is a matter of states' rights. All judgment, said Doctor Johnson, is comparative; and while comparisons of systems as complex as those of health care are never definitive or indisputable, it is possible to make reasonable global judgments: that the French system is better than the British or Dutch, for example. Only dictators insist they know all the answers in advance of experience. Let 100--or, in the case of the U.S., 50--flowers bloom.

The reasoning that led to these conclusions by Dr. Dalrymple can be found here.

Birth rates in the developed world, particularly in Europe, have been in free fall. The U.S. is the exception, with fertility rates holding at just about replacement. A report in the Washington Post has new data showing a bit of a turnaround. European countries are still below replacement but the downward trajectory has reversed. Japan and Canada are still spiraling down.

Fertility rates are taken by some observers to be a proxy on public attitudes towards the future and self-absorption. Pessimism reigns in Russia, so it's no wonder the population is shrinking by 750,000 each year. Hedonistic lifestyles in Holland, for example, may contribute to view children as a burden interfering with the good life. (Fear for a future under Islamic law may be a reason as well.)

The chart accompanying the article is interesting.

FertilityRate.gif

REAL HEALTH CARE REFORM CAN HAPPEN

What kind of reform is need in health care?

How about some changes that benefit the people and lower costs?

Charles Krauthammer, himself trained as a physician, offers a simple, understandable, workable plan without the government bureaucratic build-up and control over who lives and dies.

[T]oday's ruling Democrats propose to fix our extremely high quality (but inefficient and therefore expensive) health care system with 1,000 pages of additional curlicued complexity -- employer mandates, individual mandates, insurance company mandates, allocation formulas, political payoffs and myriad other conjured regulations and interventions -- with the promise that this massive concoction will lower costs.

This is all quite mad. It creates a Rube Goldberg system that simply multiplies the current inefficiencies and arbitrariness, thus producing staggering deficits with less choice and lower-quality care.

Instead:

Tort reform eliminating the medical-malpractice system driven by trial lawyers.

Ending employer-paid health insurance.and let each family buy its own.

The [employer-provided] health care benefit exemption is the largest tax break in the entire U.S. budget, costing the government a quarter-trillion dollars annually. It hinders health-insurance security and portability as well as personal independence. If we additionally eliminated the prohibition on buying personal health insurance across state lines, that would inject new and powerful competition that would lower costs for everyone.

As Krauthammer says, Obamacare is the surest route to financial ruin. It's also the way to total control of peoples' lives that Obama socialism wants.

Read it all.

Protests are springing up around the country. Stunned by a pork-laden stimulus package and a kill the economy cap-ane-trade bill, average Americans cried "too much" when the government-will-care-for-you health care bill was launched. The government will save money by running health care? That's Brooklyn Bridge talk. The government will control your life-and-death decisions because it's paying the bills: People understand that and they don't want it.

A reader of a column by the New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman said this:

The display of rage in crammed healthcare town hall meetings around the Country is not necessarily attributable to healthcare alone. It's much broader than that -- our fellow countymen are at wits' end trying to maintain their heads above water. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get such a huge turnout at a town hall meeting in the middle of August? The mob is turning ugly, not because they do not want anyone to "touch their Medicaid," but because the fuse has been lit by those who have taken advantage of middle class Americans and played them for fools.

Zuckerman had said this:

Ruinous tax increases are inevitable if spending cuts remain outside the President's agenda.


Everybody is dazed and confused by all this talk of additional indebtedness in the trillions of dollars. Our soaring national debt will require cataclysmic adjustments to accomplish the restoration of a balance in our fiscal position.

Obama's hatred of capitalism and free markets has led to this debt explosion. Kill the free enterprise system and the government will step in to take care of you. People aren't buying it.

Obama never had a real job so he doesn't know how wealth is created. By choking free markets and individual initiative, he will find his socialist society has no revenues. American citizens will be the losers.

Read it all.

Mainstream media outlets in Europe are finally beginning to comment, however gingerly, about the Muslim threat to civilization. Excellent books have been written by Americans Bruce Bawer, Mark Steyn and Walter Laqueur, and now Christopher Caldwell, about the Muslim "time bomb." Leading European media from the BBC to newspapers have pursued a politically correct course of ignoring the problem or euphemistically describing it away.

The London Telegraph has finally waded in with a large survey piece with the arresting opener:

A fifth of European Union will be Muslim by 2050

Britain, Spain and Holland will have an even higher proportion of Muslims in a shorter amount of time, an investigation by The Telegraph shows.

The Telegraph survey article itself (see below) sketches the demographics of the Muslim population explosion resulting from massive immigration and high birth rates, but only alludes to Muslim self-ghettoization while leaving out altogether mention of the accompanying explosions of youth crime and welfare costs.

For example, Caldwell reports these staggering statistics on immigration in Germany, which is overwhelmingly Muslim from Turkey:

Take the example of Germany. In 1970, 82 percent of its immigrants were in the workforce, but by 1980 only 58 percent had jobs. The decline continued: By 1990, just 41 percent were in the workforce, and by 2000 only 33 percent were. Over these five decades the number of foreign residents in Germany rose from 2.7 million to 7.3 million.

Sweden has been particularly welcoming to and accepting of Muslim "culture." As a consequence, Malmo, its second largest city, is virtually under the control of Muslim street gangs who attack the weak elderly for their possessions and native girls for rape. And France has mapped and publicly identified several hundred Muslim "no-go zones" which the public and public officials are advised not to enter.

The European left, which controls the BBC and much of the media and through the Labour Party the present government, not only studiously ignores the threat, but embraces Islam -- the views of which are completely antithetical to theirs except for anti-Americanism and anti-Christianity.

A few conservative political voices are being courageously raised, such as those of Geert Wilders in Holland, but so far political leadership is far behind the public in its opposition to Muslim immigration, separatism and their favored treatment by governments, media and the elites.

Mark Steyn, an early "alarmist," notes the Telegraph piece, declares it understates the problem and the rapidity of change to be effected by Muslim population growth in the major cities of western Europe.


Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent

The EU is facing an era of vast social change, reports Adrian Michaels, and few politicians are taking notice

By Adrian Michaels
Published: 11:11AM BST 08 Aug 2009

Europe's low white birth rate, coupled with faster multiplying migrants, will change fundamentally what we take to mean by European culture and society.

Britain and the rest of the European Union are ignoring a demographic time bomb: a recent rush into the EU by migrants, including millions of Muslims, will change the continent beyond recognition over the next two decades, and almost no policy-makers are talking about it.

The numbers are startling. Only 3.2 per cent of Spain's population was foreign-born in 1998. In 2007 it was 13.4 per cent. Europe's Muslim population has more than doubled in the past 30 years and will have doubled again by 2015. In Brussels, the top seven baby boys' names recently were Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza.

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Europe's low white birth rate, coupled with faster multiplying migrants, will change fundamentally what we take to mean by European culture and society. The altered population mix has far-reaching implications for education, housing, welfare, labour, the arts and everything in between. It could have a critical impact on foreign policy: a study was submitted to the US Air Force on how America's relationship with Europe might evolve. Yet EU officials admit that these issues are not receiving the attention they deserve.

Congresssional Republicans and Democrats are showing strong support for Israel with visits to Israel this month. In stark contrast, the Obama administration is signalling it can "live with" a nuclear Iran despite the threat it poses to Israel, Arab states in the region and the world oil supply.

Obama has stacked his foreign policy clique with Arabists and long-time haters of Israel --Middle East "realists," they call themselves. Israel, they say, is a burden, not an asset and it should be left to fend for itself.

Caroline Glick recognizes the reality of Obama's preference for Muslims and the folly of his appeasement policies towards Iran, Syria, Russia and North Korea. It is up to Israel to defend itself from the existential threat that a nuclear Iran presents. With predictions from all sides converging that Iran is less than a year away from a nuclear war head for its existing long range missiles, the time for real "realism" has arrived, the time for talk has passed. With the anti-Israel stance of the Obama White House, Israel must go it alone without U.S. aid, cooperation or "permission." The priority must be to protect the people of Israel.

What will be achieved by a successful Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities?


[A] successful Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear installations will demonstrate to real rather than fake realists that a strong Israel is indispensable to regional stability and international security.

Consider:

By freeing itself, the region and the world from the threat of a nuclear armed Iran, Israel will strike a blow not only at Iran's ability to wipe it off the map, but at the threefold contentions of the false realists.


An Israeli strike would prevent a regional nuclear arms race by freeing Arab states of the need to develop their own nuclear arsenals and so prove that a strong Israel enhances regional stability.

An Israeli strike will rebuild Israel's eroded deterrent posture and put paid to the notion that Israel is no longer a military power to be reckoned with.

And the destruction of Iran's nuclear capacity will weaken its military posture throughout the region and so weaken its terror proxies from Iraq to Lebanon to Gaza to Afghanistan.

The long history of U.S. support for Israel begun by President Harry S Truman will not end with the Obama administration. Congressional and public support for Israel in America remains strong and will survive this Obama betrayal.

Read Caroline Glick's Column One: Israel and the 'realists'

MARK STEYN: OBAMA RALLIES THE THUGS

Mark Steyn chimes in on the Obama campaign to shut up dissenters to Obamacare. Union thugs from SEIU are called in to make the point, in St. Louis attacking a black conservative.

Mark hears the "mob" protesters frothing at the mouth:

But a sick, deranged, un-American mob has put an end to all that moderate and reasonable steamrollering by showing up and yelling insane, out-of-control questions like, "Awfully sorry to bother you, your Most Excellent Senatorial Eminence, but I was wondering if you could tell me why you don't read any of the laws you make before you make them into law?"

Challenging Obama plans is verboten.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mark Steyn: Conformity is now the new dissent

Community Organizer wants to organize us all.

Mark Steyn

DISSENT IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF PATRIOTI... No, wait, that bumper sticker expired January 20th. Under the stimulus bill, there's a new $1.3 trillion bills-for-bumpers program whereby, if you peel off old slogans now recognized as environmentally harmful ("QUESTION AUTHORITY"), you can trade them in for a new "CELEBRATE CONFORMITY" sticker, complete with a holographic image of President Obama that never takes his eyes off you.

"The right-wing extremist Republican base is back!" warns the Democratic National Committee. These right-wing extremists have been given their marching orders by their masters: They've been directed to show up at "thousands of events," told to "organize," "knock on doors" ...

No, wait. My mistake. That's the e-mail I got from Mitch Stewart, Director of "Organizing for America" at BarackObama.com. But that's the good kind of "organizing." Obama's a community organizer. We're the community. He organizes us. What part of that don't you get?

ABC's Jake Tapper excoriates Sarah Palin for calling the Obama health plan "evil" because of its bias towards shuffling the old -- and the infirm -- off the mortal coil as soon as they or their parents or guardians can be persuaded to give it up. Tapper says he read the bill (he's an exception) and says the language that concerns her doesn't lead to her "evil" conclusion about "death panels."

Well, Charles Lane writing for the Washington Post (not exactly a right-wing newspaper) agrees with Palin without saying so.

Ideally, the delicate decisions about how to manage life's end would be made in a setting that is neutral in both appearance and fact. Yes, it's good to have a doctor's perspective. But Section 1233 goes beyond facilitating doctor input to preferring it. Indeed, the measure would have an interested party -- the government -- recruit doctors to sell the elderly on living wills, hospice care and their associated providers, professions and organizations. You don't have to be a right-wing wacko to question that approach.


As it happens, I have a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. I'm glad I do. I drew them up based on publicly available medical information, in consultation with my family and a lawyer. No authority figure got paid by federal bean-counters to influence me. I have a hunch I'm not the only one who would rather do it that way.

For Obama, cutting health care costs requires "you" -- or your loved ones -- packing it in.

The Obama death cult doesn't stop with millions of abortions around the world, including late term abortions and born-alive infanticide. Even for those born alive, he wants to decide who lives and dies, even in America, Section 1233 power. Dominion over life and death is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Those who predicted the totalitarian socialist state Obama would try to create were laughed at. But that's what happening and the American people are protesting. But that's not allowed, as this report makes clear.

August 8, 2009

Dishonesty, Slander, and Idiocy

By Jonah Goldberg

The Democratic party is panicking, lashing out like a cornered animal, all because its effort to take over the health-care industry is coming apart like so much wet toilet paper.

Nancy Pelosi, who will get her own bound volume in the annals of asininity, has outdone herself. When asked by a reporter whether the protests at various town-hall meetings represented legitimate grassroots opposition or were manufactured "AstroTurf" stunts, she replied, "I think they're AstroTurf. You be the judge. They're carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care."

Now this is a pas de trois of dishonesty, slander, and idiocy. Not only is Pelosi lying when she says protesters are bringing swastikas to these town halls, not only is she suggesting that American citizens are Nazis for having the effrontery to get in the way of Obamacare, but she's also saying that the alleged swastikas are obvious proof that these protests are manufactured by slick P.R. gurus.

OBAMA ENDANGERING AMERICANS YET AGAIN

Whose side is Obama on?

Recent polls have shown that the majority of Americans do not favor spending a couple billion more dollars on the "Cash for Clunkers" program, which benefits very few.


By contrast, missile defense, a program that would benefit all Americans and our troops and allies overseas, has the support of 78% of Americans and in some polls near 90%; but funding is now being cut by $1.4 billion, with additional cuts down the road a real possibility -- unless there is substantial pushback.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist -- or even an auto mechanic -- to see that this doesn't add up. With the threat from rogue regimes such as North Korea and Iran increasing, with Pakistan swaying on a high wire, and with Russian subs cruising off our coasts, wouldn't it be nice to know we're putting in place a comprehensive, layered system (i.e. including space-based interceptors) that could stop missiles from reaching their intended victims -- including those intended victims driving shiny new cars with better gas mileage and lower carbon footprints?

OBAMA: WE CAN ACCEPT A NUCLEAR-ARMED IRAN

Where is the evidence that Obama and his cowardly cohorts have decided that the "unacceptable" fact of an Iranian nuclear weapon is now "acceptable"?

Everywhere.

As Michael Ledeen reminded us, what Churchill said to Chamberlain can now be said to Obama: "You chose dishonor, you will have war."

Anne Bayefsky details the evidence that Obama doesn't have the courage to defend the American people when the chips are down.

Waiting to See
Obama has stopped worrying and learned to accept the Iranian bomb.

By Anne Bayefsky
National Review Online
August 3, 2009

Pres. Barack Obama has decided to let Iran acquire nuclear arms. Unless Israel acts in self-defense against the president's wishes, the world's most dangerous regime will command the world's most dangerous weapon.

Notwithstanding the White House's misinformation campaign to the contrary, the evidence of the president's agenda is incontrovertible.

Number one. Obama knows that the U.N. will not prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb. In June 2003 the International Atomic Energy Agency first reported that Iran was breaching its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Six years and five minimalist Security Council resolutions later, the adoption of serious sanctions by the council remains a non-starter. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said in early July that more sanctions would be "counter-productive." The Tehran Times reported on July 28 that the Iranian nuclear plant at Bushehr -- built by Russia's nuclear-power corporation and completed in March -- will be operational by the end of September. The latest development in burgeoning Chinese-Iranian ties was an Iranian July 13 announcement that China has agreed to invest $40 billion to increase Iran's gasoline-refining capacity -- a move that would hardly be an incentive to buy into new sanctions.

America's leading expert on Iran is Michael Ledeen. For years he has warned that Iran, not Iraq, is the Middle East's greatest threat to America and the world should it gain dominance over its oil fields and delivery routes. He constantly reminds us that Iran declared war on the U.S. in 1979 and has been killing Americans ever since.

With Iran on the threshhold of acquiring nuclear weapons, the Obama administration is increasingly signalling it will do nothing to stop it. Obama is following the well-worn road of appeasement with Iran, as he is with North Korea and Russia.

Today Ledeen delivers a stark warning and condemnation of Obama and his cowardly fellow appeasers who shrink from that which must be done to protect the American people:

We can say to Obama what Churchill said to Chamberlain: you had a choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.

It's All Appeasement, All the time. Why?

Michael Ledeen August 3, 2009 PJM

I studied fascism primarily because I wanted-desperately-to understand how so many people could have appeased it. Did they-and by "they" I mean the European victims of the Holocaust and the European and American targets of the Axis-not see the evil? Did they not hear the words of the tyrants who constantly called for the destruction of the Western democracies, the enslavement of the inferior races, and the imposition of a new order? Did they not see the armies on the march, the concentration camps being built, and the ruthless campaigns against the racially unworthy, from the Jews to the gays, the gypsies and the mentally challenged?

Why did it take Pearl Harbor to bomb us into action? Why did the Soviet and European Communists-intended victims of Nazism-make a Grand Bargain with the Fuhrer? Why did the Jews, with rare exceptions, go quietly onto the cattle cars?

This has to be one of the best commentaries ever on Obama's investment in the racial politics that propelled him into the presidency.


August 3, 2009
On Race, 'No, He Can't'
By Andrew Breitbart

Well, that was pathetic. And it wasn't an accident. The fix was in from the beginning.

Last week's lackluster "Beer Summit" featuring Sgt. James Crowley, professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was orchestrated to end a national discussion on race, not begin one. That's why there were no microphones, even though each participant showed himself to be perfectly qualified, astoundingly articulate and camera-ready for an illuminating and much-needed public debate.

The problem for the White House was the more the esteemed professor talked, the more trouble he created for his friend, the president. The clever photo-op sans audio was crafted to yank the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research off the stage, lest anyone begin to question what is being taught at Harvard these days.

Conversely, the more Sgt. Crowley weighed in, and his brave black co-workers spoke out, the more obvious it became that a national discussion featuring this cast of characters may not end with the results the professor and the president wanted.

The status quo was at risk, and Mr. Obama used his extraordinary powers to protect it.

The war to impose Islamic law in Nigeria through violence has claimed at least 700 more dead in new rioting. The war has been ongoing for years, pushing south from largely Muslim northern Nigeria, but also attacking non-Muslims living in lands already under Sharia. The most recent major explosion of Islamic violence four years ago in the north resulted in many Christian deaths and churches burnt. Associated Press reports on this current blood shedding:

In a wave of violence that began Sunday, July 26, in Bauchi and quickly spread to three other northern states, including Borno, the sect, Boko Haram -- the name means "Western education is sacrilege" -- attacked police stations, churches and government buildings. The group is seeking the imposition of strict Islamic Shariah law in Nigeria, a country of several religions.

Roughly half of Nigerians are Christians, living mostly in the south. Several northern states are officially under Islamic law.

35-year-old Ibrahim Mohammed, told the AP that he and his family cowered in their house for days, terrorized by knife and sword-wielding sect members -- then later by soldiers, who, he said, would shoot anything that moved.


"It was terrible," Mr. Mohammed said as he drew an imaginary knife across his throat. "At first if you run, (the sect) will knife you, and then after you run, (soldiers) will shoot you."

He said he hid 17 Christian neighbors, including a pregnant woman, in his house during the fighting.

The term Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington coined in his famous Foreign Affairs essay in 1993 continues to be apt: "Islam has bloody borders." So it has been for 1400 years as Mohammad's imperative for Islamic world conquest plays on.

More. . .

Oh, and in Pakistan rampaging Muslims torched Christian homes and killed six, including four women and an infant.

What's the relevance of the Obama birth certificate controversy?

It is a constant reminder we know so little of this man because of what he has hidden -- and the lies he has told -- about himself.

OK, he was born in Hawaii, but what then?

Andrew McCarthy in a stunning essay demands that we know:

What is the true personal history of the man who has been sold to us based on nothing but his personal history? On that issue, Obama has demonstrated himself to be an unreliable source and, sadly, we can't trust the media to get to the bottom of it. What's wrong with saying, to a president who promised unprecedented "transparency": Give us all the raw data and we'll figure it out for ourselves?

Read it all. It's riveting stuff.

Tom Lipson calls the McCarthy piece "essential reading" and had this to say:

McCarthy then lays out the real issue: Obama's extraordinary secrecy, amounting to a scrubbing of his paper trail, combined with his demonstrated record of lying about his past. Obama is a phony, though and through. A former assistant US Attorney, McCarthy economically but methodically assembles the evidence, including sources, that Obama has presented a false story of his life. He lists a startling number of lies about his life story, with documentation.

And where was the media in all this as the lies were being told and left unexamined?

Even today, as Obama falsely describes legislation he supports or lies about what he has said on an issue in the past, the media lets him get away with it.

OBAMA'S TRUE COLORS SHOWING

This astonishing picture of our self-absorbed narcissistic president could not be more revealing. Shame.


July 31, 2009
Obama's revealing body language
Thomas Lifson in The American Thinker
This picture truly is worth at least a thousand words.


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Click to enlarge.


I am stunned that the official White House Blog published this picture and that it is in the public domain. The body language is most revealing.

Sergeant Crowley, the sole class act in this trio, helps the handicapped Professor Gates down the stairs, while Barack Obama, heedless of the infirmities of his friend and fellow victim of self-defined racial profiling, strides ahead on his own. So who is compassionate? And who is so self-involved and arrogant that he is oblivious?

In my own dealings with the wealthy and powerful, I have always found that the way to quickly capture the moral essence of a person is to watch how they treat those who are less powerful. Do they understand that the others are also human beings with feelings? Especially when they think nobody is looking.

Read more...

LIVE FREE -- OR SUCCUMB TO OBAMACARE

Mark Steyn asks:

How did the health-care debate decay to the point where we think it entirely natural for the central government to fix a collective figure for what 300 million freeborn citizens ought to be spending on something as basic to individual liberty as their own bodies?

This isn't about health care, it's a liberty issue. Obama wants a totalitarian socialist state in which left-wing elites (like himself) make decisions for all the people.

A Liberty Issue

Government health care would be wrong even if it "controlled costs."

By Mark Steyn

My conservative friends -- and even a few media liberals -- are agreed: The bloom is off the Obama rose. He's not the Obamessiah, just another 50-percent president. He tried to do too much too fast, and his numbers are sinking. The Europeanization of health care is dead. Fuhgeddabouddit.

I wouldn't be so sure. President Obama has no choice but to move fast, in part because the image he presented during the campaign -- a post-partisan, post-racial, post-anything-unpleasant-and-controversial, pragmatic centrist -- was a total crock. He has a vast transformative domestic agenda and -- because most of its elements are not terribly popular -- he has to accomplish it at speed, or he won't get it done at all.

Health-care "reform"? As we've seen this past week in the House of Representatives, put not your trust in "Blue Dog Democrats." And, as we'll no doubt see in the weeks ahead in the Senate, put not your trust in "moderate Republicans" whose urge to "reach across the aisle" is so reflexive it ought to be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The president needs to get something passed. Anything. The details don't matter. Once it's in place, health-care "reform" can be re-reformed endlessly. Indeed, you'll be surprised how little else we talk about. So, for example, public funding for abortions can be discarded now, and written in -- as it surely will be by some judge -- down the road. What matters is to ram it through, get it done, pass it now -- in whatever form.


Questions, anyone?

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