January 30, 2010
Who is supposed to control whom?
Patrick Henry: The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
More and more bureaucrats.
Mark Steyn, NRO: What’s the end game here? President Obama gave it away in his student-loan “reform” proposals: If you choose to go into “public service,” any college-loan debts will be forgiven after ten years.
Because “public service” is more noble than the selfish, money-grubbing private sector. C’mon, everybody knows that. So we need to encourage more people to go into “public service.”
In the last 60 years, the size of America’s state and local workforce has increased five times faster than the general population. But the president says it’s still not enough: We have to incentivize even further the diversion of our human capital into the government machine. Like most lifelong politicians, Barack Obama has never created, manufactured, or marketed any product other than himself. So quite reasonably he sees government dependency as the natural order of things. And in his college-loan plan he’s explicitly telling you: If you start a business, invent something, provide a service, you’re a schmuck and a loser. In the America he’s building, you’ll be working 24/7 till you drop dead to fund an ever-swollen bureaucracy that takes six weeks off a year and retires at 53 on a pension you could never dream of. Obama’s proposals are bold only insofar as few men would offer such a transparent guarantee of disaster: It’s the audacity of hopelessness.
Terrorists do not deserve civilian trials.
Andy McCarthy, NRO: Reality has yet again dragged the Obama administration, kicking and screaming, toward a more sensible policy. Like the decision to close Gitmo, which was announced without regard for the imperative of detaining committed jihadists, the decision to hold civilian trials for alien enemy combatants was made without regard for security, costs, the prospect of surrendering national defense information to the enemy during wartime, or the betrayal of humanitarian law caused by rewarding the worst war criminals with gold-plated due process. Not holding the civilian trial in New York City is a good thing. Not holding a civilian trial at all would be a far better thing. Since we have not made provisions for a national-secuirty court to deal with the novel challenge of international terrorism, wartime alien enemy combatants should be tried by military commission in the safety of Guantanamo Bay — which is what it was built for, at great expense to the American taxpayer.
National security? Ha! They're too busy trying to solve college football.
Heritage: Yesterday, the White House ordered the Department of Justice  to begin considering places other than New York City to host the civilian criminal trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other terrorists. The New York Times  describes a decision to move the trials out of New York as “a retreat by the administration”  and reported that the Obama administration “was scrambling”  to find a new way forward.
This latest bit of self-inflicted national security chaos comes after Obama ally New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced  yesterday that he did not want KSM’s trial in Manhattan. And Bloomberg was not the only Obama sympathizer to plead with the President to rethink his detainee policies. Six Senators, including Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Jim Webb (D-VA), John McCain (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) all signed a letter saying of KSM and his conspirators:
You will be providing them one of the most visible platforms in the world to exalt their past acts and to rally others in support of further terrorism.
Keep the feds out of college football.
The Washington Times: The Obama administration is considering several steps that would review the legality of the controversial Bowl Championship Series, the Justice Department said in a letter Friday to a senator who had asked for an antitrust review.
In the letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch, obtained by The Associated Press, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote that the Justice Department is reviewing Hatch's request and other materials to determine whether to open an investigation into whether the BCS violates antitrust laws.
"Importantly, and in addition, the administration also is exploring other options that might be available to address concerns with the college football postseason," Weich wrote, including asking the Federal Trade Commission to review the legality of the BCS under consumer protection laws.
January 29, 2010
Blatantly ignoring Americans.
Waterbury Republican-American: Did President Obama get the point? With their ballots, the people of Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts have told him in no uncertain terms they are deeply dissatisfied with him and members of Congress.
Mr. Obama doubled-down his socialist agenda of Obamacare, the cap-and-trade/global warming bill, and job security for unionized government employees and contractors. He promoted further runaway spending, the further punitive use of the tax code and the further abuse of government powers. In calling for more cooperation in Washington, he ratcheted up the combative, partisan rhetoric. He trotted out once more the empty promises of his 2008 campaign. He struck again his pacifist/appeasement tone on national security and terrorism. And he exhibited an almost cruel tone-deafness to the severe beating the recession, high unemployment, widespread job insecurity and the putrefaction of politics have inflicted on the American psyche.
Mr. Obama didn't get the point. Rather, he vowed anew that as long as he and his party hold congressional majorities, he will exploit them to inflict as much socialism and economic and fiscal misery on America as possible.
Election Day is Nov. 2.
A hard-core, left-wing ideologue
Mona Charen, Townhall.com: [P]eople may be dismayed to find that they elected a left-wing ideologue who wasted most of his first year pushing health care reform when something like 17 percent of the nation is unemployed or underemployed; who reads terrorists their Miranda rights and gives them lawyers; who apologizes to the world for America's manifold sins; who increases the national debt by $1.6 trillion in his first year; who elects to try Khalid Sheik Mohammad in Manhattan; who promises transparency and then presides over shameless backroom deals; who clings to cap and trade even in the midst of economic misery; who extends more conciliation to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than to Republicans; who has nearly the entire press in his back pocket but nonetheless attempts to punish Fox News; who disdained all Republican proposals as "the failed ideas of the past"; and whose vanity (a presidential podium and teleprompter in a sixth-grade classroom?) is verging on the pathetic.
President Obama has signaled that he will not change course. It's an affront that it took him 70 platitudinous and self-indulgent minutes to say so.
Running his mouth, plugging his ears.
James Taranto, Best of the Web: In a moment of faux humility, he said of ObamaCare's failure: "I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people." He will not listen to us; he expects us to listen to him as he explains this monstrosity again, "more clearly" this time, he promises.
Blind man running.
Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times: So it's full speed ahead, even if nobody knows where we're going. We can console ourselves that if we're lucky we might not get there. That's the main point of President Obama's eagerly awaited assessment of the State of the Union. He said, as all presidents do, that the state of the union is pretty good on his watch, considering that George W. Bush, his favorite bad boy, bequeathed a sad-sack union.
Mr. Obama now turns to jobs, jobs, jobs, and promises to do for job creation what he did for health care reform and what he's doing to protect us from terror catastrophe. Which may not be enough, but he's doing a bang-up job of protecting the rights of terrorists.
2010 may not turn out so well for the president.
Rich Galen, Mullings: Liz Sidoti, senior political writer for the AP, filed a piece about the lack of coattails that Obama is exhibiting:
The list of White House failures is growing: It hasn't galvanized the legions of 2008 Obama backers in three major statewide losses. It hasn't prevented primary challenges for at least two vulnerable Senate Democrats even though Obama endorsed them. And it hasn't recruited strong candidates for Senate seats once held by Vice President Joe Biden and the president himself.
If the President can't get the Congress to adopt "such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient" and he can't help Democrats get elected, then it will be a very, very long year until the next State of the Union.
January 28, 2010
Petulant, whiney, and unpresidential.
Marc Thiesson, NRO: It was quite possibly the most partisan, condescending State of the Union address ever. Tonight, Obama was unpresidential. The permanent campaign continues. In the long run, it will backfire.
Obama is well on his way to becoming a mediocre, one-term president. -- CB
Obama can't even impress a radical, left-wing historian.
Howard Zinn: I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president.
BTW: Howard Zinn has died. He was 87. -- CB
Obama shortchanges his primary mission -- national security. And Dems will pay.
Pete Hegseth, NRO: Last night, the president did his best to advance, and shore up, domestic issues which remain his utmost concern. The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the larger fight against violent Islam were barely mentioned. This is not a surprise, but is certainly a mistake. Not only is it bad policy to both under-emphasize and misunderstand national-security issues, it's also bad politics — as Martha Coakley found out in Massachusetts. The people know the difference between criminalizing terrorism and fighting it, and will vote on it in 2010.
As for the speech, the president said very little that was new: ending the war in Iraq (nothing about "victory"), being "successful" in Afghanistan (I was waiting for Joe Wilson to yell "win!"), and getting in some tough talk on Iran, that has yet to come to fruition. Also of note, the president didn't mention closing Guantanamo Bay, or prosecuting KSM in New York City. Not sure if that's a sign of shifting winds on those issues, but I sure hope so.
The only "new" item in his speech was his call for a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Attempting to change a policy, which is supported by top Pentagon brass and war-fighters in the field, will cause another big political fight on Capitol Hill. Certainly, while both sides will fight on the margins about the policy's utility, it's not a strong centerpiece proposal for national-security "change" leading into 2010.
Obama's SOTU -- Nothing new, just the same old statism, driven by ideology and ego.
National Review: Everything changes except President Obama. His agenda doesn’t change. He has had no second thoughts about the wisdom of his health-care policies, or any of his policies; resistance is always and only a reason for redoubling. Also unchanging is the condescension with which he articulates his agenda: He faulted himself for not explaining health care well enough to the easily confused American public. The same familiar strawmen dot the landscape of his rhetoric. (Republicans want to “maintain the status quo” on health care. This president is willing to listen to Republican ideas, just so long as he can then forget that he has ever done so.) Narcissism, too, is a constant companion. The opening of the speech, and the end, invited us to regard Obama as the embodiment of the nation. But it is not the country’s future that has suddenly come under doubt. It is his administration’s. It is not the country’s spirit that is in danger of breaking. It is contemporary liberalism’s.
“Let’s try common sense,” said the president. For Obama, that means that expanding Medicaid is the way to reduce the deficit. That increasing the price of energy is the way to create jobs. That further socializing medicine is the way to stay ahead of India. Nothing in his speech suggested that the government’s most important economic task might be to create the context of stability in which growth can occur. (Perhaps that thought would have interfered with the theme of “change.”)
The agenda to destroy America.
Larry Elder, Townhall.com: A Hofstra University professor represents this view in his analysis of "what it means": "The obvious solution, of course, would be a sharp turn to the left. Go where the real solutions are. Fight the good fight. Call liars 'liars' and thieves 'thieves'. Do the people's business. Become their advocate against the monsters bleeding them dry. Create jobs. Build infrastructure. Do real national health care. End the wars. Dramatically slash military spending. Produce actual educational reform. Launch a massive green energy/jobs program. Get serious about global warming. Kick ass on campaign finance reform. Fight for gay rights. Restore the New Deal-era regulatory framework and expand it. Restore a fair taxation structure. Rewrite trade agreements that undermine American jobs. Rebuild unions. Fill the spate of vacancies in the federal judiciary, and load those seats up with progressives. Rally the public to demand that Congress act on your agenda. Humiliate the regressives in and out of the GOP for their abysmal sell-out policies."
Comparing jobs lost vs "jobs saved".
Victor Davis Hanson, Townhall.com: A year ago Barack Obama inherited a recession brought on by financial panic following the collapse of the housing bubble. The market crash was made worse by Wall Street shenanigans and recklessness at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Job losses followed.
In response, Obama pushed through a stimulus bill that went well beyond the borrowing done by George W. Bush in his last months in office. In fact, Obama and the Congress borrowed an additional $787 billion to infuse the economy with fresh job-creating cash.
The president warned us that without this borrowing, unemployment might reach double digits. Yet with the stimulus, unemployment has soared from 7.6 percent to 10 percent. That translates into over 4 million jobs lost in 2009 alone.
In reaction, an embarrassed administration continues to cite hypothetical jobs saved, rather than the actual number of jobs lost this year. Just this week senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, press secretary Robert Gibbs and senior White House adviser David Axelrod variously claimed "thousands and thousands," "1.5 million" and "2 million" jobs saved. If the White House insiders can't get their theoretical numbers straight, how can anyone else?
Obama's SOTU -- Reset to the same socialist policies.
Karl Rove, WSJ: Mr. Obama's problems are not political management, but policy. They won't be solved by faux fiscal restraint, mini-ball proposals for the middle class, and angry pretensions to populism.
By his own Office of Management and Budget numbers, Mr. Obama has raised the baseline of discretionary domestic spending by a total of $115 billion since his inauguration, bumping it up midway through the 2009 fiscal year budget and then increasing it again for the 2010 fiscal year.
Mr. Obama is now calling for a spending freeze to save $15 billion for fiscal year 2011. That's nice, but it freezes in place a 24% increase in discretionary, nonsecurity domestic spending. The president would also exempt from a freeze the $512 billion that has yet to be spent from last year's stimulus package. To present such a proposal as a serious attempt at restraining spending is to reveal a low opinion of the intelligence of ordinary Americans.
Mr. Obama has squandered the "sense of common cause" he talked about on Sunday that many felt at his inauguration. In the week leading up to his State of the Union, he did little to rekindle that spirit or reverse his sinking fortunes.
January 27, 2010
Preserving the integrity of the system while preserving the First Amendment.
John Stossel: There is a simple way to get corporate money out of politics: get the government out of our lives and economic affairs. If government has no favors to sell, no one will spend money trying to win them.
Obama's deafness caused by his living in a socialist bubble.
David Limbaugh: The problem is not the 'crises' Obama inherited. It's the ones he's creating. He has lived in such a socialist policy shell all his life that he doesn't have a clue that he's on a different planet than most of us. If he were just slightly less narcissistic, he might be able to figure this out. But ... no matter what adjustments he promises to make following the Boston Massacre, he still intends to govern like a socialist. He only wants to do a better job of figuring out how to do it less visibly, hoping we won't 'get it' before it's too late.
A political "crash and burn."
The Washington Times: President Obama said Monday that he would "rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." He will be lucky if he's not an abject failure. There's usually a reason for a presidency lasting a single term, as Mr. Obama's slow-motion train wreck is demonstrating.
By May 2009, Americans began to lose confidence in Mr. Obama, and the god began to bleed. The numbers saying the country was on the wrong track crept back upward. Mr. Obama' public approval rating began its great decline, the most rapid of any first-year president, according to Gallup. The decline has been broad and deep; Mr. Obama has lost support nearly uniformly from men and women across all age groups and all incomes.
It's not hard to understand Mr. Obama's historic descent. After 100 days, Americans took the measure of the man in office and found him wanting. They saw his inexperience, his penchant for liberal ideology over common sense and his unprecedented drive to expand government controls over every aspect of American life. He pressed for more taxes, more regulations, greater federal control over the economy and increased dependence on Washington. He rammed through a $787 billion stimulus bill that was an off-budget wish list of congressional pork. He ran up more debt in the first month of his first budget than the federal government accrued in all of 2007. He promised the stimulus bill would limit unemployment to 8 percent; unemployment is now in double digits.
Mr. Obama promised to renew America's relations with the world, but his reach has exceeded his grasp. His grand designs for peace in the Middle East and South Asia have collapsed. His outreach to the Muslim world has not stemmed the tide of terrorism. America's adversaries mock the president, and our friends watch the decline of U.S. power in wonder and disappointment.
Dems in disarray.
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner: I sense that something more fundamental is at stake. Obama in his first year adopted the priorities of what pundit Joel Kotkin, a Democrat himself, calls the "gentry liberals." Obama called for addressing long-term issues like health care and supposed climate change. He and his economic advisers, like many analysts across the political spectrum, underestimated the rise in unemployment. Talk about "green jobs" has proved to be just talk.
The Dep't of Justice is no longer about justice. It is a hotbed of Left-wing ideologues.
NY Post: Whose side is the Justice Department on: America's -- or the terrorists'?
It's just insane that a lawyer who defended Osama bin Laden's driver and bodyguard -- and who sought constitutional rights for terrorists -- could be one of the Obama administration's top legal officials.
But there's Neal Katyal, occupying a top perch at the Justice Department as the principal deputy solicitor general.
Then there's Jennifer Daskal -- who just months ago was an anti-Guantanamo activist. Now she's in Justice's National Security Division -- working on detainee issues.
So, what's the bad news?
P.J. Gladnick, Newsbusters: You want an example of how depressed The New Republic has become on the topic of the Obama presidency? Well, just check out this meltdown money quote from their latest editorial:
How does this president handle a crisis? Thus far, the answer is not at all encouraging. The current crisis is the election in Massachusetts of Scott Brown, now the forty-first Republican senator. His arrival in Washington has sent Democrats into panic mode--fearful that they too will be swallowed by a seething electorate--and caused many of them to flee in the other direction from health care reform. In short, Barack Obama faces a moment where his presidency just might collapse or, rather, risks heading into a wilderness where it would accomplish next to none of its ambitious goals.
Glenn Thrush and John Bresnahan, Politico: President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be all smiles as the president arrives at the Capitol for his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, but the happy faces can’t hide relationships that are fraying and fraught.
The anger is most palpable in the House, where Pelosi and her allies believe Obama’s reluctance to stake his political capital on health care reform in mid-2009 contributed to the near collapse of negotiations now.
But sources say there are also signs of strain between Reid and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and relations between Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate are hovering between thinly veiled disdain and outright hostility.
Presidential elevator music.
James Taranto, Best of the Web: "Authors, editors and speechwriters interviewed by The Associated Press agree President Obama is indeed a gifted and effective speechmaker," the AP reports from New York. There's just one problem;
Even admirers have a hard time remembering what he actually says.
Ted Widmer, who edited an anthology of political speeches for the Library of America, praised President Obama for his "masterful" style, but could not cite a specific line the president said. Similar observations were made by Jeff Shesol, David Frum and Harry C. McPherson, who wrote speeches for presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Lyndon Johnson, respectively.
"The speech he made in Cairo--I remember the intelligence, the breadth and the reasonableness," McPherson says. "But I can't tell you--and this is one of the shortcomings of the kind of speech he makes--I can't quote anything, or cite anything, off the top of my head."
But is this a bug or a feature? We're going to try really hard to remember what Obama says in his State of the Union Address tomorrow. If we succeed--admittedly, a big if--we have a feeling we may not end up liking it all that much.
January 26, 2010
Another socialist "success".
Reuters: Venezuela's Vice President Ramon Carrizalez, who was also defense minister, resigned on Monday citing personal reasons, adding to the political problems facing leftist President Hugo Chavez.
Chavez is facing growing discontent over shortages of electricity and water and a sharp currency devaluation this month as he heads into legislative elections in September that could reduce his tight grip of the OPEC nation's Congress.
Proving the definition of insanity.
Andrew Cline, The American Spectator: It's not fun watching the administration stubbornly refuse to acknowledge reality because the stakes of this mistake are so high. One year into Obama's presidency, and he is still selling the health care bill with exactly the same spin he used when he began selling it.
On Sunday, Axelrod invited Scott Brown to join the administration in working to achieve the administration's priorities on health care. If that sounds familiar, it's exactly the same invitation Obama extended to Republicans early last year -- join us in passing our agenda. It was, and remains, an invitation to a beheading.
And so we have lost a year of work on the economy, on terrorism, on entitlement reform and on two wars to the president's hubris, and we are about to lose another. Scott Brown's win was highly enjoyable to behold. But that brief pleasure is outweighed by the frustration of seeing this president continue to gaze lovingly in the mirror while the nation claws its way toward a recovery and prays the national security apparatus doesn't let another bomber through.
Thomas Sowell: No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems -- of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.
Politics as usual -- only worse -- reveals Dems' hypocrisy.
Investor's Business Daily: During last year's presidential campaign, Democrats blasted "sweetheart deals" for companies like Halliburton and vowed to end no-bid contracts. Now the Democrats' political donors are reaping them.
Monday, Fox News found that Checchi & Company Consulting was awarded a $24,673,427 no-bid contract for "rule of law stabilization services" inside Afghanistan. And by coincidence, its president, Vincent Checchi, donated $8,350 to Obama's campaign, according to opensecrets.org.
If Afghanistan weren't so important it might be written off as just Chicago politics as usual. But there's a war that must be won and few signs from the White House of what it wants to achieve. Instead of winning the war, President Obama seems to be using Afghanistan to reward his political cronies.
Obama's charisma-driven failures.
Bret Stephens, WSJ: Mr. Obama's first year in office amounts to a long parade of rebuffs. His inaugural address famously offered the world's dictators an outstretched hand in exchange for an unclenched fist. From North Korea, he got missile and nuclear tests. From Iran, he got a contemptuous rejection of his extraordinary offer to enrich uranium for it. From Cuba, Fidel Castro said last month that "the empire's real intentions are obvious, this time beneath the kindly smile and African-American face of Barack Obama." From Venezuela, Hugo Chávez is now comparing Mr. Obama to the devil, a shtick he first tried out on George W. Bush back when liberals thought it was kind of funny.
Of course these are America's enemies, so we probably should not have expected better even if Mr. Obama seemed to believe we might. What about our (ostensible) non-enemies? The president pre-emptively conceded the Czech and Polish missile-defense bases to Russia in hopes of getting Moscow to take a tougher line on Tehran's nuclear programs. The Kremlin isn't biting. Neither is China, never mind Mr. Obama's gratuitous snub last year of the Dalai Lama.
As for the Muslim world that Mr. Obama has been at such pains to court (the Cairo and Ankara speeches, his opposition to Gitmo and the war in Iraq, etc.), the 2009 Pew Global Survey that measures opinions about the U.S. finds as follows: Turkey, 14% favorable views of the U.S.; Palestinian territories, 15%; Pakistan, 16%; Jordan, 25%; Egypt, 27%. Granted, this is up slightly from the last year of the Bush administration, but only by a couple of percentage points on average. So that's the great Obama perception dividend?
And then there are America's friends. Hondurans will not soon forgive the administration's efforts to shove ex-president Manuel Zelaya down their throats. Among Israelis suspicion of Mr. Obama is pervasive. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wonders aloud, "Est-il faible?" (Is he weak?)
Now the same question is being asked in the U.S. in the wake of Scott Brown's Senate victory in Massachusetts. The president from Oprah Nation, says Newsweek, suffers from an "inspiration gap"; the prevailing wisdom is that he's too cool and detached for his own political good. Are they kidding? Should the president now take squealing lessons from Howard Dean?
Mr. Obama's real problems are of a different stripe. It's not as if he lacks for charisma. It's that he believes too much in the power of charisma itself and specifically too much in his own.
Obama has driven himself into a lose-lose situation.
William McGurn, WSJ: For his part, Mr. Obama is clear. He says he'd rather be a one-termer than give up on his agenda. But this State of the Union, with the president's approval ratings sinking, Democrats have to be asking themselves: Do Mr. Obama's chances of getting his agenda through really go up if the congressmen and senators listening to his words come to the conclusion he's a short-timer?
"We the People" must stop acting like "We the Sheep".
Tony Blankley, The Washington Times: Only by changing the architecture of power will we change the shape and exercise of power.
Obama refuses to recognize reality.
The Washington Times: President Obama's response to the catastrophic political failures of his freshman year in office is to fight harder for more of the same. Presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett made the point explicitly on Sunday, asserting that the White House is "not hitting a reset button at all." That reflects the kind of political savvy that handed the safest Democratic Senate seat in America to a Republican.
Mr. Obama seems unaware that he is part of the problem. The president credited Scott Brown's historic Senate-race victory in Massachusetts last week to the same voter frustration that swept him into office in 2008. The glitch in that worldview is that Mr. Brown ran explicitly against the Obama agenda.
Mr. Obama is in a state of denial. His party's losses in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts all sent the message that the American people want the party in power to govern more wisely. For the time being, Democrats still enjoy substantial margins in both houses, but their agenda is stalled because it's painfully out of step with what the country wants. Mr. Obama pledges to keep on fighting, but pushing harder for ruinously bad policies is not populism; it is political suicide.
Ego is not the same as capability.
Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times: One Democratic congressman who bailed on Monday, Rep. Marion Berry of Arkansas, says enough already. He says he and certain of his colleagues tried to tell the White House that they were making the same mistake Bill Clinton made, of forcing unpopular legislation on voters who wouldn't take it any more, leading to the Big Blow-Out of '94. "They just kept telling us how good it was going to be," says the retiring Mr. Berry. "The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, 'Well, the big difference here and in '94 was you've got me.' We're going to see how much difference that makes now."... [T]he current president imagines that his talent is the size of his ego and he's big enough to speak things into existence.
It's been going on in earnest for over 70 years.
James Madison, 1788: There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
January 25, 2010
A "Blue Dog" Dem bails.
Jim Geraghty, NRO: Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry is expected to announce his retirement tomorrow morning, according to three sources briefed on the decision." He represents a district where McCain carried 59 percent of the vote.
Prepare to be "stimulated" -- again.
Paul Jacob: Consider the failed $787 billion stimulus spending bill. Obama acknowledges it hasn't much helped Main Street. So, in his State of the Union address this Wednesday, the president will take the bold step of calling for another 'economic recovery package,' i.e. doing the same thing again. If borrowing hundreds of billions to spend stimulating an economy crippled by too much borrowing doesn't work, thank goodness there is always the option of borrowing hundreds of billions (if not trillions) more. Feeling better yet?
A high-level bailout in the wake of Brown's win in Mass.
AP: Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden will not be running for the U.S. Senate seat once held by his father, Vice President Joe Biden.
The younger Biden told supporters in an e-mail Monday that he will run for re-election as attorney general rather than seek the Democratic nomination for Senate.
His decision ends months of speculation on whether he would run for the seat his father held for 36 years.
It also leaves veteran Republican congressman and former two-term governor Mike Castle, one of the most successful politicians in Delaware history, still waiting for a Democratic opponent.
Stop whining. Did Obama think the presidency would be a cakewalk?
President Obama, referring to the mid-east peace process: I’ll be honest with you, this is just really hard.
Jay Leno: President Obama called Martha Coakley and said, “Well, we can’t win them all.” Same thing he said after the New Jersey governor’s race, the Virginia governor’s race, the 2016 Olympic bid, and the Copenhagen climate summit.
January 23, 2010
The Obama administration is not serious about the War on Terror.
Marc Thiessen, NRO: Much overlooked last week was this shocking admission from Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair: One year after Obama eliminated the CIA’s terrorist interrogation program, the administration still has not activated its supposed replacement — the so-called High Value Interrogation Group (HIG). In hearings last week, Blair said that the HIG should have been called in to interrogate the Christmas Day bomber — apparently unaware that there was no HIG to call in. In a statement “clarifying” his testimony, Blair stated that the FBI questioned Abdulmutallab using its “expertise in interrogation that will be available in the HIG once it is fully operational.”
In other words, by Blair’s own admission, the United States at this moment does not have a high-value terrorist interrogation capability — at a time when our country has once again come under terrorist attack. Of course, the administration did not think they needed such a capability — because they have stopped trying to capture high-value terrorists alive and bring them in for questioning. So when one landed in their lap unexpectedly, they had no idea what to do with him.
As I explain in Courting Disaster, the HIG is a joke — because the administration has limited the techniques at its disposal to those in the Army Field Manual. Police detectives and district attorneys across the country use more aggressive techniques than the Army Field Manual every day. The irony is, Obama has so denuded our terrorist interrogation capability that the Detroit police department has more tools at its disposal to interrogate a terrorist than the still non-operational HIG.
That is pathetic — and dangerous for our country.
Islam in charge in the West.
Mark Steyn, NRO: What the Wilders prosecution, the Danish cartoons, the Canadian "human rights" suits against Ezra Levant, Maclean's and me and many other ostensibly minor news stories all have in common is one consistent underlying principle - that Islamic law now applies to all.
If a Muslim doesn't want to show representations of Mohammed, good for him. But why can't Yale University Press?
If a Muslim doesn't want Winnie-the-Pooh's pal Piglet on his desk, go for it. But why can't a lapsed Anglican working for a British municipal council?
If a Muslim wants to fast during Ramadan, fast away. But why does a Brussels cop or a Scottish hospital worker have to ease up on the donuts?
We are making Islam the de facto established church of the western world. And, lest you think this near parodic prostration before Islamic supremacism is a purely European phenomenon, read the official whitewash of Fort Hood, which is one of the most disgusting and contemptible documents ever produced by the US military. The families of the dead should be furious at its craven evasions.
January 22, 2010
Leftie atheists make a mountain out of a molehill.
The Patriot Post: ABC News has discovered that there are sinister "secret codes" stamped on many of our military's rifle sights. The shocking revelation has the Leftmedia searching for answers. To them, these secret codes are offensive and must be removed.
The codes in question are Scripture verses stamped on sights made by Trijicon, which is based in Wixom, Michigan. According to ABC News, "The biblical references appear in the same type font and size as the model numbers on the company's Advanced Combat Optical Guides, called the ACOG." References such as 2COR4:6 and JN8:12 point to Bible passages on light (the sights use available light to illuminate the reticle). The company says the inscriptions have been there for nearly three decades without complaint, and their Web site explains, "We believe that America is great when its people are good. This goodness has been based on Biblical standards throughout our history, and we will strive to follow those morals."
Predictably, ABC and others screamed "separation of church and state!" Michael "Mikey" Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation declared that "it violates the Constitution." But we would remind leftists yet again that there is no mention of the term "separation of church and state" in the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, we are unaware of any contract prohibition against serial numbers containing biblical references.
Certainly, this tempest in a teapot was yet another distraction we don't need. Unfortunately, Trijicon came to the same conclusion, announcing Thursday that they would remove the references from future sights ordered by the military, as well as provide modification kits for current ones.
The man has no clue.
Jonah Goldberg, NRO: In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the president offered his nuanced analysis of the Bay State Götterdämmerung and his first year in office.
In short: “I did nothing wrong.”
Well, with one caveat: “One thing I regret this year is that we were so busy just getting stuff done . . . that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people. . . . I think the assumption was, if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on the, you know, this provision, or that law, or are we making a good, rational decision here, that people will get it.”
In his first year as president, Obama has broken all records for talking directly to the American people. According to CBS News, he has delivered 411 public “speeches, comments, and remarks” and 158 interviews — more than one public statement per day and roughly an interview every other day.
Turn out the lights -- this party's over.
Carl Campanile, NY Post: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered another body blow to health-care reform yesterday, saying rattled House Democrats lack the votes to pass legislation approved in the Senate.
"In its present form, without any changes, I don't think it's possible to pass the Senate bill in the House," Pelosi said. "I don't see the votes for it at this time."
Libs crying in their decaf, low-fat, soy lattes. Break out the violins.
Boston Globe: They filed in and out of coffeehouses, all but crying in their cappuccinos, barely touching their carrot cake muffins, still in shock that Scott Brown - a Republican! - had been elected to the US Senate in the state that pioneered universal health care, legalized same-sex marriage, and normally sends 12 Democrats to Congress. ‘It is a little unsettling to realize that more people in this state want to vote [Republican] than I would have suspected, so that does make me feel a little isolated.’
There is no better place to sense that mood than Amherst and Cambridge, two outposts of extreme liberalism in Massachusetts. They share a self-effacing nickname - “The People’s Republic.’’ They share (along with Provincetown) the distinction of being the most pro-Coakley communities, having handed her 84 percent of the vote. And they share the shock.
“I’m upset. I’m heartbroken. I just hate the idea that the Republicans have just won,’’ said Nick Seamon, owner of The Black Sheep, a bakery/bastion of liberalism on Main Street in Amherst.
Maybe Harry should re-think this idea.
Geoff Earle, NY Post: President Obama plans to visit Las Vegas next month to help boost embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's flagging re-election bid.
Obama has flopped as a campaigner since becoming president. He stumped for the losers of the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races, and this week failed to inspire Massachusetts voters in the Senate race.
What would Jefferson say now?
Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, 1824: I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.
The flock of sheep known as "the press".
Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times: The gentlemen of the press (and the ladies, too) are mostly a decent sort, often a bit prideful and sometimes with not very much to be prideful about. They're comfortable only by running in a herd. Trying to think alone gives them a migraine.
A fortnight ago, Scott Brown was merely a footnote to the ritual of selecting a successor to Teddy Kennedy, not worth the attention of respectable reporters, pundits or pollsters. Everyone in the herd was sure that "the Kennedy mystique," though tattered and frayed, would produce a suitable substitute to fill Teddy's size twelves. A pundit or pollster who took the trouble to look, to discern the gathering perfect storm, was sneered at as a right-wing nut cake. Yet when Mr. Brown, against all odds, expectations and calculations won, one of the first questions he took on election night was whether he would now run for president of the United States.
Given the shrinking attention span of readers and viewers, there's a competitive pressure driving the herd to manufacture great, defining moments and lay them out neatly as "the future." Facts, caution or history need not apply. The institutional memory, once so prized in the newsroom, has withered and died, unmourned.
January 20, 2010
Want to know the real strength of America?
Click on this link http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100119/FRONTPAGE/1190301&template=single
The world may hate us, but whenever disaster strikes anywhere -- absolutely anywhere -- America sends in people like this. The world may never thank them, but God certainly will. -- CB
Protect and defend from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Sen-elect, Scott Brown (R-MA): And let me say this, with respect to those who wish to harm us: I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation. They do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.
Some Dems begin to see the light.
Daniel Foster, NRO: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) is joining the likes of Sen. Jim Webb (D., Va.) and Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) in calling for a moratorium on health-care reform until Scott Brown is seated.
"As I said to somebody last night:, everybody needs to get the Washington wax out of their ears and listen and pay attention that people out there believe that we are going too far, too fast," McCaskill told Politico.
"I've said to the leader, 'I don't think it's a good idea for us to try to pass another bill in the Senate before Sen. Scott Brown is seated," she added. "I think that's a bad idea."
McCaskill said Democrats need to "hunker down and be realistic about what we can accomplish and certainly realize that if we don't pay attention to what the voters say in Massachusetts, then I think we do so at the peril of our party's effectiveness."
More good news for the security of the country.
Fox News: Erroll Southers, President Obama's choice to lead the Transportation Security Administration, says he is withdrawing because his nomination has become a lightning rod for those with a political agenda.
People ain't buying what they're selling.
Tom Blumer: Voters in the often wayward Cradle of Liberty looked danger in the eye, stood up, and said, 'Enough.' Tuesday's takeaway is this: if Obama & Co. can't sell their agenda there, it's an epic fail everywhere.
What a silver-tongued devil.
Barack Obama to Martha Coakley: We can't win them all.
Dems are in trouble.
Stu Rothenberg, Roll Call: If you are looking for an analogy for a Republican victory in Massachusetts, the best one for Democrats may well be the stock market crash of 1929. ... [Y]ou could have Democrats jumping out windows and off roofs.
Brains discovered in Hollywood.
Actor John Ratzenberger: This isn't the Democratic party of our fathers and grandfathers. This is the party of Woodstock hippies. I was at Woodstock -- I built the stage. And when everything fell apart, and people were fighting for peanut-butter sandwiches, it was the National Guard who came in and saved the same people who were protesting them. So when Hillary Clinton a few years ago wanted to build a Woodstock memorial, I said it should be a statue of a National Guardsman feeding a crying hippie.
Political earthquake in Mass.
Joseph Curl, The Washington Times: Riding a populist tide of voter anger, Republican Scott Brown on Tuesday won the Senate seat held for 47 years by Democrat Edward M. Kennedy, giving the GOP enough votes to frustrate President Obama's health care reform plan — and perhaps his entire agenda.
Coming on Day 364 of the president's first year in office, the come-from-behind victory stunned Democrats on Capitol Hill as they prepare to face voters in less than 10 months and served as a wake-up call to Mr. Obama, whose poll numbers have plummeted amid growing discontent over his agenda.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Brown led Mrs. Coakley 51.9 percent to 47.1 percent.
The race quickly became a referendum on Mr. Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress, with a clear focus on "Obamacare." ... Not surprisingly, Mr. Obama didn't mention the health care bill once during his Sunday campaign stop with Mrs. Coakley.
January 19, 2010
Brown even has a sense of humor.
Mark Steyn, NRO: Several of us have noted below President Obama's descent into ever drearier sludgelike rhetoric, to the point where even the most drooling media Obammysoxers have given up swooning over his silver tongue.
By contrast, Scott Brown seems to deliver very nice lines on a regular basis:
"It's not Ted Kennedy's seat, it's the people's seat": Brilliant. Popular democracy vs the House-of-Lords Democrats.
"Scott Brown believes in evolution, but in the case of Bob Kerrey he's willing to make an exception": Lovely. A genial throwaway response to a demented line of attack that makes the attacker look ridiculous.
"The leader of the free world is talking about my truck": Bullseye. It underlines the David-vs-Goliath nature of the race, and also reminds you that, by having to intervene to prop up his flailing candidate, the President of the United States demeaned himself.
All these lines are beautifully poised, certainly when compared to the Hopeychanger's leaden oratory.
Incompetent does not even begin to describe this.
Mark Steyn, NRO: I love the way every time Martha Coakley attempts to correct the missteps in her campaign she ends up amplifying them.
Portrayed as a hack put up by the party machine who can't be bothered campaigning with real voters, she busses in Obama, Kerry and various minor Kennedys for a rally at a private school.
Revealed as a dimwit who can barely string a coherent sentence together on war and foreign policy, she fires back that she only took her position on Afghanistan because the idiot primary voters made her do it.
Hammered as the emblem of a lazy out-of-touch one-party state whose ruling establishment takes power for granted, she issues a press release complaining about Election Day irregularities dated the day before the election.
Democrats do what they have to do, but she better have a good case here because the difference between Massachusetts and Coleman/Franken in Minnesota is that this time round the Dems' tired old jiggery-pokery is part of the rap against them.
The 2008 campaign is over. Now it's time to govern. Therein lies the problem.
Bradley A. Blakeman, Fox News: The problem now is that Obama -- the candidate -- has reached the end of the political line. He, and the advisers who surround him, never grasped the fact that the campaign was over, that the time to govern has arrived. Instead of taking the reigns of power, he ceded his power and authority to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. What we got out of this deal was a disastrous “stimulus bill” that was rammed through the Congress and a manufactured “crisis” on health care that has paralyzed our government for the past 10 months.
In short, the reality is that our president is just a mere mortal. He has been seriously overrated in terms of both his competence and ability.
He has not delivered on the “change” he promised -- not because he doesn’t want to, but because he doesn’t know how too.
Reluctantly, many Americans have finally gotten wise to the fact that politically, their president, just like the emperor in the the fairy tale, has no clothes.
Dead Dem Walking.
Byron York, Examiner: As they face the growing possibility that Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley will lose the race to fill the seat formerly held by Sen. Ted Kennedy, some Democrats are settling on a new strategy to blame the defeat not only on Coakley's inept campaign but also on her personality and strained relations with both the Kennedy family and President Obama. At the same time, Democrats are working to position themselves to push Coakley aside and focus on defeating a Sen. Scott Brown, should the Republican run for a full six-year term in 2012.
"Everybody is scrambling and freaking out," says one Democratic strategist of the mood among Democrats now. Coakley's run has taught the once-triumphant party that "a lackluster, uninspiring campaign is not going to get it done, even in the bluest states." But with feelings running deep, some Democrats are blaming Coakley in a much more personal way.
"She's kind of aloof," the Democrat says. "There are people who will vote for her who don't really have a sense that they like or trust her. The Kennedys aren't really fond of her. She basically announced her campaign the day Ted died, and didn't give Vicki the opportunity to think about [running to replace her husband]. From the Kennedy side of the ledger, there's no great love for Coakley. They look at her as kind of a predatory politician."
"There's going to be a lot of finger-pointing after the fact," says the strategist. And at least among Democrats, all the fingers will point at Coakley; besides allowing Democrats to vent at Coakley, blaming her will have the effect of insulating President Obama from criticism that the election was a referendum on his policies, particularly the Democrats' unpopular national health care plan.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: Let's remove all doubt, we will have healthcare one way or another.
The majority of "We the People" are saying "NO!", but the petty dictators in the federal government as saying "Too bad!". Just remember what Pelosi, Reid, and Obama think of your opinion the next time you vote. Dems are reinforcing the position as the Evil Party. -- CB
The Patriot Post: "Most of the domestic groups that we pay attention to here are white supremacist groups. They're anti-government, in most cases anti-abortion, they are usually survivalist type in nature, identity oriented. ... Those groups are groups that claim to be extremely anti-government and Christian identity oriented." --TSA nominee Erroll Southers
Meanwhile, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the radical Muslim who actually tried to bomb a U.S. airliner, pleaded "not guilty" in federal court last Friday.
A Red streak in Blue Mass., driven by incompetence and elitism.
Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times: With disapproval of their health care "reform" running almost to 60 percent in the public-opinion polls, the Democrats set themselves up for disaster in Massachusetts. Scott Brown is smart, good-looking and knows his (Boston baked) beans, but it was his spirited and unapologetic opposition to ObamaCare that got him to the brink of a career in the U.S. Senate. He was helped by the pathetic Martha Coakley, the most inept Massachusetts candidate since Michael Dukakis tanked in the presidential campaign of '88.
She has "the kind of political stupidity it takes for a Democrat to lose a Senate race in Massachusetts," observes columnist Michael Graham in the Boston Herald. "You've got to run an absolute disaster of a campaign to lose to a Republican [in Massachusetts]. And that's what Martha Coakley delivered. It wasn't the Hindenburg or the Titanic. It was the Hindenburg crashing into the Titanic."
January 15, 2010
Obama is already a loser -- he doesn't want to be associating with another loser.
Joseph Curl, The Washington Times: Coming off stinging election losses in Virginia and New Jersey -- not to mention Copenhagen, where he failed to win the 2018 Olympics for his hometown of Chicago -- President Obama is staying away from what could become another painful loss.
Even though the campaign of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has been making quiet entreaties, the president has no plans to visit her in the last week of the special election to fill the Senate seat once held by the late Edward M. Kennedy.
"It's not on our schedule to go to next week," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said matter-of-factly.
With Mrs. Coakley flagging in the polls and Republican Scott Brown closing fast -- one recent polls puts him 2 points ahead -- Mr. Obama has decided to keep his fingerprints off a race that would be an embarrassment for Democrats should they lose, given that Mr. Obama won the state in 2008 by a 27 point margin.
January 14, 2010
Leftists would believe in a double standard -- if they had any standards.
Michael J. Boskin, WSJ: Politicians and scientists who don't like what their data show lately have simply taken to changing the numbers. They believe that their end—socialism, global climate regulation, health-care legislation, repudiating debt commitments, la gloire française—justifies throwing out even minimum standards of accuracy. It appears that no numbers are immune: not GDP, not inflation, not budget, not job or cost estimates, and certainly not temperature.
January 13, 2009
Obama's policies make us less safe.
NY Post: Here's another reason why al Qaeda terrorists don't belong in US civilian courts: the right to a speedy trial.
The lawyer for embassy bomber Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to receive a civilian trial, this week claimed that his client's years in detention violated his right to a timely adjudication of the case.
He's demanding Ghailani's release.
Insane? You betcha.
But it's the predictable consequence of Team Obama's efforts to shoehorn Islamist cutthroats into a justice system that was never designed for them.
Chicken Little politics.
Walter Williams, Townhall.com: Political commentator Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) warned that "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." That's the political goal of the global warmers.
Here's some Change we can Hope for.
John Fund, WSJ: In the end, I don't believe Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will run for re-election. Whether or not the health-care bill he muscled through the Senate becomes law, the 70-year-old will bow out of his race for a fifth term.
The major reason has nothing to do with his many verbal gaffes, the latest of which exploded over the weekend. The simple fact is that he probably can't win re-election—almost no incumbent senator as far down in the polls has come back to win. Asked if Mr. Reid is finished, NBC Political Director Chuck Todd said yesterday, "I think so. I do—absolutely."
A new Mason-Dixon survey of Nevada voters finds Mr. Reid's favorable rating at just 33%, with 60% of voters disapproving of his role in the health-care debate. He trails three major GOP opponents jostling to run against him in their party's primary. He loses 50% to 40% to former GOP state chair Sue Lowden, to real estate developer Danny Tarkanian by 49% to 41%, and by 45% to 40% to former state legislator Sharron Angle. Extensive media buys by Mr. Reid to showcase his record of Senate accomplishment have done nothing to move his poll numbers.
The Dems' mid-term strategy -- Blame Bush.
S.A. Miller, The Washington Times: Facing a disgruntled electorate and bracing for losses in the November midterm elections, Democrats hope to make up ground by framing this year's campaign as a fight against Republicans who want to turn back the clock on progress.
Democratic strategists say the party's candidates should tout legislative victories, especially if Congress enacts health care reform in the coming weeks, and draw a stark contrast with a Republican desire to return to the era of President George W. Bush.
The game plan is designed to prevent the election from becoming a referendum on the party in power, which is almost always a losing bet during tough economic times. Democrats must convince voters that the health care overhaul will be beneficial and that President Obama's $787 billion stimulus program has worked before they can criticize Republicans for opposing the measures.
January 11. 2010
No wonder they hate Fox News.
Henry Blodget, Business Insider: When Roger Ailes started FOX News in 1996, people said he'd have no chance against CNN.
This year, FOX News will likely make $700 million of profit--more money than CNN, MSNBC and the evening newscasts of NBC, ABC and CBS combined.
Ailes rules not only the news business but politics: If Ailes were a Democrat, James Carville says, the Democrats would control 67 seats in the Senate.
Obama's "pet shark".
Nonie Darwish, Front Page Magazine: Both King Abdullah, custodian of the two Holy Mosques of Islam in Mecca and Medina, and the Islamic establishment everywhere, are extremely alarmed by the status of Islam today. Their power to control Muslims, trained for centuries to blind submission, is slipping away. Huge sums of oil money dedicated to rescue Islam’s image, is not enough to do the job.
That is where Obama’s services come to the rescue of King Abdulla. Obama’s bow to the king was no small matter, but of great significance in Muslim culture. It is a Muslim symbol of subjugation and inferiority.
Liberals argue that Obama’s decision to hold a trial in New York of the confessed mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, and the rest of the Guantanamo detainees, is proof of the US’s just legal system. But the Muslim world already knows that. Not one Muslim country demanded such a trial or claimed the KSM was innocent. To the contrary, the Muslim public, in general, think that Americans are stupid for opening their country to such terrorists and giving visas to terrorists while often denying it to legitimate travelers. Recently, my daughter innocently asked: Why is America trying to tame untamable terrorists? It is like “having a pet shark”.
Political arrogance with a Caesar complex.
NY Post: New York City's new comptroller, John Liu, has ordered his staff to rise whenever he enters the room and to address him as "Mr. Comptroller."
The new presidential-like formalities were laid out during a series of meetings last week that had veteran denizens of the Municipal Building snickering behind his back, sources said.
January 8, 2010
C-SPAN tries to open the doors.
Fox News: C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb accused President Obama of using his network as a "political football" during the presidential campaign, citing the president's broken pledge to televise health care reform negotiations on the nonpartisan channel which is devoted to covering Washington.
Lamb, speaking on liberal host Bill Press' radio show Wednesday, said Obama had "no right" to assume C-SPAN would cover the talks in the first place. And while he said his network would naturally want to cover the negotiations in full anyway, Lamb expressed disappointment that the White House has not lived up to that commitment.
Blame Bush, blame Gitmo, blame everything except his own incompetence.
Victor Davis Hanson, PJM: Let us get this straight: for a decade in the 1990s an ascendant al-Qaeda committed serial attacks against the U.S. and its interests. All that culminated in 9/11. In reaction to the mass murder, and as part of efforts to go after al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, Bush opened Guantanamo Bay — after which we have seen no successful major attacks on U.S. soil comparable to 9/11.
So consider the logic: before Guantanamo, al-Qaeda achieved its greatest success in damaging America; after it, it suffered some of its most grievous defeats, but somehow its existence is counter-productive and a recruiting tool? What, Pray God, was the recruiting tool on September 10, 2001?
All things being equal, the idea that a terrorist will spend a lot of time in a cell in Cuba if caught seems much less of a recruiting tool than hearing that your enemy has banned the use of “war against terror,” made up grand achievements of your civilization, apologized for his country’s sins, publicly bowed to prominent autocratic Muslims, promised a public trial in New York for your heroic mastermind of 9/11, and in general blamed the war on his predecessor. All that seems quite an encouragement to join al-Qaeda in comparison to the punishment of incarceration if caught.
The 'buck' stops, but nobody pays a price for their incompetence.
Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times: [Obama] said late Thursday that he won't fire anybody. "Ultimately, the buck stops with me. When the system fails, it's my responsibility."
Smooth talk is easy for Mr. Obama, and he often confuses words with deeds. He's taking responsibility for what happened aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on final approach over Detroit, but it's not clear what that means. He's not likely to fire himself (perhaps to spare us Joe Biden). So nobody pays a price for some serious sleeping on the job.
The State Department, warned by the terrorist's father that he had fallen in with evil companions and was up to no good, finally did its best work Thursday, revoking the visa of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. If he is released for more jihad, he won't be able to return to the United States without a new visa. This sounds like a bad joke, but it isn't. That's how the Foggy Bottom fudge factory works.
Protecting a terrorist, ignoring Americans' security.
Charles Krauthammer, Townhall.com: On Wednesday, Nigerian would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was indicted by a Michigan grand jury for attempted murder and sundry other criminal charges. The previous day, the State Department announced that his visa had been revoked. The system worked.
Well, it did for Abdulmutallab. What he lost in flying privileges he gained in Miranda rights. He was singing quite freely when seized after trying to bring down Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit. But the Obama administration decided to give him a lawyer and the right to remain silent. We are now forced to purchase information from this attempted terrorist in the coin of leniency. Absurdly, Abdulmutallab is now in control.
And this is no ordinary information. He was trained by al-Qaeda in Yemen, and just days after he was lawyered up and shut up, the U.S. was forced to close its embassy in Yemen because of active threats from the same people who had trained and sent Abdulmutallab.
This is nuts.
Global warming, frozen iguanas.
Mona Charen, Townhall.com: Great swaths of Britain are buried under more than a foot of snow as the country shivers through the coldest winter since 1981. Airports have been shut down, trains have been canceled, and the army had to be called out to rescue more than 1,000 motorists stranded in Hampshire.
In Germany, most of which is also blanketed in white, temperatures have dipped to record lows of -7.6 F degrees. In Norway, reports the AP, the thermometer read -42 F degrees Jan. 5, the coldest reading since 1987.
The eastern two-thirds of the United States are coping with unusually severe cold. Atlantic, Iowa posted a temperature of 29 below zero, breaking a record set in 1958. Florida's $9.3-billion citrus crop hangs in the balance as the coldest weather in years is draping palm fronds with icicles and causing iguanas to drop frozen from the trees.
January 7, 2010
Too bad Buffalo is in New York State.
David Codrea, Examiner: Bucking a national trend, violent crime in Buffalo is on the rise. 2009 ended with a 60% rise in homicides over the previous year, surprising "[c]ity and police officials." They "predicted the city was headed in the right direction."
So what can be done? From The Buffalo News:
"Buy a gun," a member of a recently busted inner-city gang told The Buffalo News last week when asked what could be done to curtail homicides. "Hey, I'm just being honest. You asked."
Naturally: Police officials don't agree with his advice to take up a gun...
Of course they don't. Just remember, they're the same ones who "predicted the city was headed in the right direction."
But we can't profile.
Miami Herald: An Ohio man who became loud and disruptive aboard a flight from Miami to Detroit -- at one point shouting ``kill all the Jews'' -- was removed from the airplane and taken into custody by Miami-Dade police.
The man arrested was identified as Mansor Mohammad Asad, 43. Police say he caused a ``disturbance,'' forcing the pilot to decide to return to the jet-bridge. [Emphasis added -- CB]
When Asad was taken off the plane to be interviewed by police, he threatened officers, made racial comments and charged an officer, authorities said.
Asad was charged with threats against a public servant, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence to his person.
Your shower is becoming a federal case.
Ross Mackenzie, Townhall.com: [T]he federal Environmental Protection Agency, having tightened regulations regarding the amount of water allowable in flush toilets, now is moving to reduce (from 2.5 gallons per minute) the amount of allowable water flowing through shower heads.
January 6, 2010
The only thing out in the open is their radical socialism.
Fox News: President Barack Obama and congressional Democratic leaders agreed Tuesday to bypass a conference committee and keep negotiations to reconcile the Senate and House health care reform bills a closed-door affair.
Shoot the messenger. Don't try to fix the real problem.
John Fund, WSJ: Confronted with their gloomy poll numbers, Democrats have decided the solution is to discredit the pollsters they blame for dragging down their standing with the public. Politico.com reports that the No. 1 target is the proprietor of Rasmussen Reports, source of widely reported polls tracking the declining popularity of President Obama and his legislative initiatives.
Crooks bailing out.
Meredith Jessup, Townhall.com: First Democrat Sen. Byron Dorgan announced his retirement yesterday, now Sen. Chris Dodd will announce today that he too will be stepping aside and not seek reelection this year, according to sources close to the Senator. Good riddance.
Obama is the "systemic failure".
Ben Shapiro, Townhall.com: President Obama called the terror attempt a "systemic failure" on the part of American national security agencies. In particular, he blamed the CIA for the foul-up.
There is no doubt that the CIA should have done something more to prevent this attack. But, then again, President Obama has been keeping them busy.
With global warming.
According to the New York Times on Jan. 5, just a few days after Obama excoriated the CIA publicly, "The nation's top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government's intelligence assets -- including spy satellites and other classified sensors -- to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change." This project, the Times reports, "has the strong backing of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the last year, as part of the effort, the collaborators have scrutinized images of Arctic sea ice from reconnaissance satellites in an effort to distinguish things like summer melts from climate trends …"
While missing a potentially catastrophic terror attack is problematic, it's good to know that we've got the inside dossier on the mating habits of polar bears.
January 5, 2010
Too bad. Get over it.
Jim Kouri, Examiner: The Council on American Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, began 2010 by complaining about new security measures being enforced at U.S. airports by Transportation Security Administration security officers. The CAIR leadership released a statement that claims the TSA's airport security directives amount to the profiling of Muslims.
Obama's version of bi-partisanship.
Connie Hair, Human Events: President Obama has yet again summoned Democrats from House and Senate leadership to the White House to determine their final strategy to pass some bill that reconciles the disparate healthcare “reform” measures passed by each congressional body. Republicans were not invited to today’s meeting.
January 4, 2010
A dangerous president -- to Obama, everything is politics.
Tony Hamden, Telegraph (UK): The White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer eagerly descended into the political fray, responding to Cheney with the obligatory jibe about Iraq and also a litany of examples of Obama's "public statements that explicitly state we are at war".
It's a sure sign that you're losing the argument when you have to research quotes from your boss's speeches to prove that he gets it that America is at war. The problem for Obama is that people are now judging him by his actions as well as his words.
The incompetence of the US intelligence bureaucracy is not the only thing that makes Underpantsgate so damaging for Obama. More serious is his failure to understand or acknowledge the nature of the enemy - and to view war as mere politics.
Iran: Kerry can "report for duty" somewhere else.
The Hill: Iranian legislators on Sunday decided to not allow a visit from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), according to Iranian media.
"Members of the Iranian parliament's Foreign Relations Committee (a subcommittee of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission) voiced opposition to the request after studying the issue," Hassan Ebrahimi, head of the committee, told the semi-official Fars News Agency.
Several Iranian news outlets reported last week that Kerry had submitted an official request to visit Tehran in an emissary role.
Attacking the wrong "enemy".
NY Post: It speaks eloquently to the Obama administration’s priorities that it took the White House four days to acknowledge the “catastrophic breach of security” that led to the failed bombing of a US-bound jet on Christmas Day — but a scant four hours to accuse Dick Cheney of coddling terrorists.
The former vice president Wednesday harshly criticized the administration’s efforts — or non-efforts — against terrorism. Whereupon, Team Obama went ballistic.
But Cheney’s take was spot-on: “We are at war” against terrorism, but President Obama “pretends we aren’t.” This, warned Cheney, “makes us less safe.”
Obama evades responsibility for TSA failures.
Rich Galen, Mullings: Barack Obama has used the first person singular - or its variants - more than any other President in history. He has not said "this is a failure of mine," or of "my administration," or anything remotely like it.
He has used that time-honored [passive] construct: "Mistakes were made," meaning, "mistakes were made by someone else."
January 1, 2010
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