Check your phone bill and you’ll find a small charge for Universal Lifeline service — a program that subsidizes telephone service to the poor.
Now the FCC has determined that broadband Internet service is an essential right in America.
Lifeline has traditionally provided “discounts on one basic monthly telephone service (wireline or wireless) for qualified subscribers.” While announcing a series of Lifeline reforms, Genachowski said, “Which brings us to the final but perhaps most important reform: beginning the process of modernizing Lifeline from telephone service to broadband. Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity in the 21st century.”
He added that “broadband Internet — wired and wireless — is the most transformative new technology since electricity. It’s changing almost every aspect of our economy and our lives.”
A telephone is essential for seeking emergency help or communicating with one’s doctor.
But you can live without broadband — we all did 15 years ago.
…The dinner was a good idea at its inception back in 1920. After all, we Americans rather like the idea that our presidents aren’t royalty, and we take pride in the fact that we are allowed to poke fun at them (I don’t recall many Castro roasts).
But maybe it’s the growing mean-spiritedness of contemporary humor, or maybe it’s the nature of the problems facing the country and the world, but the whole thing comes off as sort of—if you’ll pardon a technical term—icky. Besides which, we don’t need these dinners to see the “lighter side” of our presidents.
Between the tweeting and the talk shows, there’s no shortage of opportunities for our leaders to show us just how funny they are. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind having more chances to see how serious they are.
Medellín — There are two Latin Americas. There’s the largely fictional one of media-perpetuated stereotypes; and there’s the real one: an incredibly vibrant, industrial, youthful, open-minded people with whom the United States — if it wishes to remain a great power — absolutely must forge stronger economic and political bonds.
I have now lived in four cities of two Latin American countries: Medellin, Bogota, and Cartagena, Colombia, and Guadalajara, Mexico. I stay in others’ homes and rarely speak English. And I’ve observed what the empirical data support: Gringos suffer mass misperceptions harmful to all parties; false beliefs that impede business dealings and national security arrangements with people who are both neighbors and friends.
“Gringos” he says. Isn’t that a nasty word? Sure, in context — like when the bandito calls Clint Eastwood’s character a “Feelthy greengo peeg!” In reality, it’s a neutral term often applied to any foreigner and sometimes to lighter-featured people within the country.
(I’ve also never heard anyone say “Hasta la vista!” In Guadalajara it’s usually “¡Que le vaya bien!” essentially “May all go well!” Nice, huh?)
Yes, they’re neighbors. This notwithstanding that two different Americans whose jobs concern Latin America recently asked me of Mexico, “What is South America like?” Maps show Mexico firmly attached to the U.S. in the North American continent.
Yet the real South America is close enough that you can fly from Washington, D.C., to two major capitals there in the same time it takes to go from L.A. to Washington, D.C. That means all of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean is even closer. You can also drive from the U.S. to the southern tip of South America. Try that with Hawaii while keeping your socks dry.
How about the stereotypical Mexican with the huge sombrero and poncho, napping under a tree? Never saw that, but have personally observed that Latin American work weeks are six days, 10 to 12 hours on the job with a two-hour lunch. Hardly surprising, then, that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says Mexicans are the hardest-working people of its 26 member nations.
Nor should it be surprising that the economy of Latin America grew 4.3% in 2011, while that of the U.S. limped along at 1.7%. No wonder Latin American economic performance confidence levels are higher than in anywhere else in the world, according to Thornton International’s 2011 report.
That also helps explain why between 1998 and 2009, total U.S. merchandise trade (exports plus imports) with Latin America grew by 82%. This compared with 72% for Asia and only 51% with the EU nations. Yet the U.S. has barely tapped that potential, with almost 60% of Latin American trade coming from just one nation — Mexico .
Brazil’s economy alone is twice the size of Mexico’s and growing much faster. Indeed, it’s now the world’s sixth-largest. And two years ago China knocked aside the U.S. as its largest trading partner. Indeed, throughout “America’s backyard” China is gaining market share from the U.S. at an astounding pace…
House Speaker John A. Boehner scolded President Obama on Sunday for politicizing issues upon which Democrats and Republicans agree, including the need to prevent a hike in interest rates on federal student loans.
“The president is getting some very bad advice from his campaign team, because he’s diminishing the presidency by picking fake fights, going after straw men every day,” Boehner said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Boehner (R-Ohio) told CNN host Candy Crowley that he and the president have a good relationship, but he provided no evidence of that, instead excoriating Obama for his recent speeches attacking the GOP’s position on student loans.
“The point I’ve been trying to make here in the last couple of weeks is that the president’s bigger than this,” Boehner said. He cast his criticism as constructive: “Somebody needs to help him out, so I thought I would.”
The interview was broadcast the morning after Obama, without naming Boehner, took a humorous jab at Congress for failing to pass legislation.
“Congress and I have certainly had our differences; yet, I’ve tried to be civil, to not take any cheap shots. And that’s why I want to especially thank all the members who took a break from their exhausting schedule of not passing any laws to be here tonight,” Obama said at the White House correspondents dinner.
How about passing a budget, smart ass?
A heart-beat away — that’s the real deal.
A majority of doctors support measures to deny treatment to smokers and the obese, according to a survey that has sparked a row over the NHS‘s growing use of “lifestyle rationing”.
Some 54% of doctors who took part said the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment from patients who do not lose weight or stop smoking. Some medics believe unhealthy behaviour can make procedures less likely to work, and that the service is not obliged to devote scarce resources to them.
And that’s the trouble with services and institutions run from the taxpayer’s purse, administered by centralists and bureaucrats. It becomes a carrot or a stick for interventionists to intervene in your life. Its delivery depends on your compliance with the diktats and whims of the democracy, or of bureaucrats. Your standard of living becomes a bargaining chip. Don’t conform? You might be deemed unworthy of hospital treatment.
It seems innocuous to promise all manner of services in exchange for taxes. Citizens may welcome the convenience, the lower overheads, the economies of scale. They may welcome a freebie, and the chance to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labour. They may feel entitled to it.
Many words have been spent on the problems of dependency; that rather than working for an honest living, the poor may be sucked into a vortex of entitlement, to such an extent that they lose the desire to produce…
I realize that every conservative has plenty to complain about. Everything from media bias to popular culture to the Marxist in the White House springs to mind. But I, personally, have my own particular complaints. I refer to the fact that even though those on the Left have taken to heart the Saul Alinsky dictum that in the unending war between liberals and conservatives no weapon is quite as effective as ridicule, we conservatives ignore the pronouncement at our peril.
Every time you turn around, professional clowns like Bill Maher, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, Maureen Dowd, Rachel Maddow, Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Lawrence O’Donnell, Joe Biden, Henry Waxman, Michael Moore and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, are happily mocking those of us on the Right. In rebuttal, we roll out Ann Coulter, Dennis Miller and Greg Gutfeld, and while it’s true that one conservative wit is easily the equal of a dozen liberal nitwits, these three shouldn’t be forced to do all the heavy lifting on our behalf.
Although I readily acknowledge that every time a liberal opens his mouth, he or she pretty much makes our case, and while I’d never want to discount the role that such serious-minded individuals as Charles Krauthammer, Dennis Prager, Bernie Goldberg, Mark Steyn, Steve Hayes, Laura Ingraham, Hugh Hewitt, Bret Baier, David Limbaugh, Mike Gallagher, Lou Dobbs, Neil Cavuto, Mark Levin, Michael Medved, Andrew Napolitano, Glenn Beck, Bill Kristol, Brit Hume and Sean Hannity play, when it comes to ridicule, it couldn’t hurt to go on the offensive a little more often.
You would think that conservatives would be desperate to fight back in kind, and yet I have never been able to get the Wall Street Journal, Townhall magazine, USA Today or the Weekly Standard, to publish a single one of my articles and, for good measure, have never been invited on Fox News, where the welcome mat is always out for the likes of Alan Colmes, Geraldo Rivera, Bob Beckel and the ubiquitous Juan Williams. Go figure.
Well, enough about me. Moving on to lesser matters, I keep hearing Obama describing his energy policy as “all of the above,” while neglecting to mention that by “all,” he means everything but coal, oil and nuclear power. However, I can see where he gets the idea that an industrial nation can get by with those alternative sources of energy he keeps subsidizing with our tax dollars. After all, in search of campaign donations, he gets to fly all over the country on Air Force One, and so far as he can tell, it’s entirely fueled by his own considerable wind power.
Both Obama and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu agree that Americans are addicted to oil, apparently seeing it as akin to heroin or crack cocaine. It is the reason that both of them have done everything in their power to make gas prices rise, at least until they risked having those soaring prices jeopardize Obama’s re-election.
But it occurs to me that when fuel costs skyrocket, it raises the price of everything we buy because retailers have to adjust their prices upward to cover their own overhead. That leads me to wonder if along the way, Obama will take us to task for our shameful addiction to food and clothing.
Something else we keep hearing from the soon-to-be ex-president is that we must be respectful of Islam, even when allegedly trusted Muslim allies shoot our soldiers in the back of the head; when people we’ve squandered blood and treasure protecting have the gall to insult us; and when in 2011, in Pakistan alone, 943 women and girls were murdered for offending their family honor. Odd, isn’t it, that it’s never Muslim males who are guilty of these sexual transgressions?
Pakistan, by the way, is a nation in which there is no law against domestic violence, and so-called honor killings are casually dismissed by the police as family matters.
One is tempted to wish that these people would be bombed back into the Dark Ages, but it would be a meaningless threat because, for all intents and purposes, they’ve never left.
Finally, Joe Biden, the man who took the vice-presidency, which has traditionally been a non-speaking part, and turned it into a feature role as the Court Jester, once famously described ObamaCare as “one *%$#@% big deal.” But that was two years ago and people have short memories, so Biden recently reminded us of his well-deserved reputation by describing Obama’s role in signing off on the Osama bin Laden raid as the most audacious plan in the past 500 years.
While some of the more historically-minded among us have suggested that Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, the Boston Tea Party and the D-Day invasion, have all dwarfed Obama’s providing the thumbs-up to our Navy Seals, I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was being dismissive of Obama’s audacity for strictly partisan reasons.
Instead, having actually looked up “audacious” in the dictionary and discovering that among its various definitions are “unrestrained,” “in defiance of convention and propriety,” “impudent,” and “reckless,” I would say that one of the most audacious things Barack Obama has ever done was to select a cluck like Joe Biden to be a mere heartbeat away from the presidency.
In a related matter, it has been determined by a panel of experts that the single most audacious thing the American people have ever done was to elect Barack Hussein Obama the 44th president of the United States.
By one definition, I’m native American, too. And a Hoosier.
But Warren, who is running for Senate against Scott Brown (for the so-called Kennedy seat), claimed to be part Indian to benefit her career.
A controversy has broken out in Massachusetts over the fact that Harvard Law School has claimed professor and current senatorial candidate Elizabeth as a minority member of the faculty based on apparent (but as yet unconfirmed) Native American ancestry. The Brown camp seems to think this is big news [update: the campaign has called on her to apologize for allowing Harvard to claim her as a "minority"; this, as we'll see, doesn't make any sense, because at the time Warren was claiming herself as a minority, and Harvard was only following her lead], Warren responds that she’s unaware that Harvard claimed her as a minority professor, but that she’s proud of her Indian ancestry. Her colleague Charles Fried, who was chair of the appointments committee when she was hired, claims that Warren’s Native American ancestry never came up in the hiring process, and that he only became aware of it later.
My contribution to this controversy is that there seems to be some disingenuousness going on. Warren says that she could not “recall” ever listing her Native American background when applying for college or a job.
The old AALS Directory of Faculty guides are online (through academic libraries) at Hein Online. The directories starting listing minority faculty in an appendix in 1986. There’s Elizabeth Warren, listed as a professor at Texas. I spot-checked three additional directories from when she was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, including 1995-96, the year Harvard offered her a position. Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Warren.
So, we know one thing with almost 100% certainty: Elizabeth Warren identified herself as a minority law professor. We know something else with 90%+ certainty: (at least some) folks at Harvard were almost certainly aware that she identified as a minority law professor, though they may not have known which ethnic group she claimed to be belong to, and it may not have played any role in her hiring…
- Bill Clinton is an odd choice for spokesman given that he passed up a chance to kill Bin Laden long before 9/11. And for his gutless response to the genocide in Rwanda. And for his gutless response to the African AIDS crisis.
- Had the raid failed, Obama’s presidency would not have been doomed. Americans don’t punish someone for trying: they know missions go awry. This whole tale is just a way to inflate Obama’s role in this.
And this will come as a shock: That Romney quote is crap. Courtesy of Ace of Spades, linking to the reporting of our own Matt Lewis back in 2007 when he was at Townhall.com, here’s what Romney actually said to Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press:
LIZ SIDOTI: Why haven’t we caught bin Laden in your opinion?
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: I think, I wouldn’t want to over-concentrate on Bin Laden. He’s one of many, many people who are involved in this global Jihadist effort. He’s by no means the only leader. It’s a very diverse group – Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and of course different names throughout the world. It’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person. It is worth fashioning and executing an effective strategy to defeat global, violent Jihad and I have a plan for doing that.
SIDOTI: But would the world be safer if bin laden were caught?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Yes, but by a small percentage increase – a very insignificant increase in safety by virtue of replacing bin Laden with someone else. Zarqawi – we celebrated the killing of Zarqawi, but he was quickly replaced. Global Jihad is not an effort that is being populated by a handful or even a football stadium full of people. It is – it involves millions of people and is going to require a far more comprehensive strategy than a targeted approach for bin laden or a few of his associates.
SIDOTI: Do you fault the administration for not catching him though? I mean, they’ve had quite a few years going after him.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: There are many things that have not been done perfectly in any conduct of war. In the Second World War, we paratroopered in our troops further than they were supposed to be from the beaches. We landed in places on the beaches that weren’t anticipated. Do I fault Eisenhower? No, he won. And I’m nowhere near as consumed with bin Laden as I am concerned about global Jihadist efforts.
His point was: Taking out Bin Laden would make the world safer, but there are a lot of other guys out there still causing trouble and that needs to take priority. Whether or not you agree with that, whether you think it’s heartless of him to put it in those terms, that’s a long way from “Romney wouldn’t give the order to kill Bin Laden.”
I also like that they included Wolf Blitzer’s question, but not the answer. Obama thinks you’re stupid. And if you voted for him, he’s right.
Did we really hear Obama talk a lot about getting Bin Laden before he got to take all the credit for getting Bin Laden? If so, was that before or after he failed to close Gitmo and failed to prosecute the CIA guys responsible for the intel that eventually led to his big PR victory?
Nothing the Democrats have done since Romney became the putative GOP candidate has worked one bit. They’re reeling. Now, six months out, they’re already resorting to football-spiking.
As blogger American Glob notes, Bush saved more lives from AIDS than anyone else, ever.
…then learn to disco.
HT: American Digest
…and does he know how to do anything else?
“Live not by lies,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn enjoined his countrymen shortly before being exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974. This week the political press finally took his advice.
Since August 2011, when President Obama went on a bus tour of Iowa coinciding with the Ames Republican straw poll, the White House has asked the American people to accept the fantasy that the president’s hyper-partisan speeches and appearances are not actually campaign events. The “official” rallies, Obama spokesmen said, would not begin until late in spring of 2012, when at long last the president would “engage” his Republican opponent Mitt Romney.
What “a load of you know what,” as our president might say. Obama’s every word and action is geared toward reelection. His September 2011 address to a joint session of Congress was nothing more than an act of political positioning: Challenge the Republicans to pass a tax-and-spend jobs bill that has no chance of becoming law, Obama’s thinking went, and attack them afterwards as partisan obstructionists. For the incumbent, it would be a win-win.
His February 2012 speech to the United Auto Workers convention had all the trappings of a 1930s labor rally. The president played the role of Agate in this impromptu production of “Waiting for Lefty,” whipping-up the workers in an impassioned polemic that reminded the union of who handed them Chrysler and who, like Romney, thought normal bankruptcy laws should apply even when the political interests of the Democratic Party are at stake.
At the beginning of April there was Obama’s savage and over-the-top and demagogic attack on the House Republican budget and its supporters. Delivered at the annual Associated Press luncheon, before an audience of star-struck and laughing journalists, the president accused an entire party of Social Darwinism and of wanting to inflict pain on autistic children. Then the former president of the Harvard Law Review ridiculed Romney’s vocabulary. He repeated the dishonest message a week later to an ecstatic crowd of college students.
The distinction is technical but important: If these speeches are designated campaign events, the Obama campaign must reimburse the government for the massive expense of flying the President around the country and staging elaborate such productions. If they are official government business, however, everything can be done on the taxpayer’s dime. That is why the White House website classifies these speeches as official business. All of the “campaign events” at which the president has spoken in April have been fundraisers.
Such double-talk is signature Obama: deride “politics” and “partisanship” while doing nothing but raise money and blast opponents…
France’s Socialist presidential frontrunner Francois Hollande said on Saturday he was expecting a wave of lay-offs to follow next weekend’s election, but pledged his government would not stand idly by as companies dismissed their workers.
Hollande is on track to win the May 6 runoff against President Nicolas Sarkozy, due largely to the conservative leader’s failure to meet promises to lower stubbornly high unemployment in the euro zone’s second largest economy.
So he plans to force companies to keep employees they cannot afford?
Who will make up the companies’ losses to their stockholders?
Who will buy the French products that will become more expensive?
Is this the French way, to take money from one pocket and put it in another?
So it seems.
It recently occurred to me that we are all living in a very bizarre amusement park. We all know that if you take a few too many rides on one of those whirling contraptions, by the time you climb out, you’re going to wind up with wobbly legs and a hangover. Well, keep in mind that every second of every day the earth is spinning around its axis at a rate of 1,040 miles an hour. Is it any wonder that we’re all as dizzy as drunken mice?
But even inebriated rodents would find it amusing that both Arizona and Texas have been called on the carpet before the U.N.’s Human Rights Council. In Arizona’s case, the problem is that they are trying to put a stop to illegal immigration. In the case of Texas, the federal government is offended that a sovereign state is demanding that would-be voters provide photo IDs proving they have a legitimate right to cast a ballot.
Now, on the face of it, no sane human being would argue that Arizona doesn’t have the responsibility, let alone the right, to prevent non-citizens from bankrupting it by overwhelming its schools, hospitals and social services or that Texas hasn’t the moral and legal obligation to do everything in its power to prevent its elections from being contaminated by voter fraud. But of course, in America, in 2012, sane people seem to be greatly out-numbered by the knuckleheads on the Left.
But over and above that, consider who is opposing these two states. In each case, the war is being conducted by Eric Holder, the unrepentant racist who oversees the Department of Justice. Talk about your misnomers! It should be re-named the Department of Social Justice.
In the case of Arizona, he has the support of Mexico, a third world nation that should replace the eagle grasping a snake on its flag with a junkie wielding a hypodermic. In the case of Texas, Holder has his race-baiting chums in the NAACP taking the battle to the U.N.
Next, let us consider the Human Rights Council. In case you haven’t checked lately, a few of its sleazier members are China, Uganda, Congo, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Libya and Cuba. One can only assume that when the boneheads at the United Nations placed that scummy group on a council that is supposed to oversee human rights violations, the rationale must have been it takes a thief to catch a thief.
In a related matter, in the Washington, D.C., Superior Court building, there is a photo exhibit dedicated to honoring “Black Women Paving the Way to Greatness in Politics.”
In spite of that grandiose title, they only came up with eight honorees, so you can see that the pickings were mighty slim. I mean, aside from Condoleezza Rice, who served as Secretary of State with some distinction, two of the remaining seven were former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, who once referred to George Will as a member of the Ku Klux Klan for daring to question her misuse of campaign funds, and Michele Obama, who once got married. I guess, all things considered, we should be grateful that they didn’t stoop to including Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters and Sheila Jackson Lee.
On the other hand, they did find room on the wall for Angela Davis, who once upon a time was the leader of the American Communist Party and, even more notably, once made the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. She pulled off that coup after providing the guns used by James McClain, who used them to shoot his way out of a California courtroom where he was being tried for the murder of a prison guard. During his escape, McClain killed Judge Harold Haley with the shotgun provided by Ms. Davis.
A further sick irony of Angela Davis’s being honored in an American courthouse is that she has seriously argued that any black serving a prison sentence in the United States, even for robbery, child molestation or rape, is in reality a political prisoner.
She ultimately beat the rap and, quite naturally, wound up being a professor at UC Santa Cruz.
I find it interesting that in the Soviet Union, a utopia for leftists, political dissidents were regularly sent off to Siberia or lined up against a wall and shot; in America, the Great Satan where capitalism rules, radicals like Ms. Davis, along with Weathermen William Ayers (University of Illinois) and Bernadine Dohrn (Northwestern University), all get to be tenured professors, and Barack Obama (University of Chicago) gets to wind up in the White House.
Is it any wonder that parents, who are mortgaging their homes in order to send their tots off to be educated at American universities, wind up with bobble-head dolls they can barely recognize, who endlessly parrot Saul Alinsky, Noam Chomsky and Herbert Marcuse while praising the likes of Che Guevara, Hugo Chavez and the Palestinian Authority?
My suggestion to American parents is that you do your wallets and America a huge favor by forgetting about Harvard, Yale and Berkeley, and, instead, send your kids off to a decent trade school.
Just think how much better off the world would be if his folks had raised Karl Marx to be a plumber.
Calling America’s criminal justice system “racist” is not confined to “civil rights leaders” like the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Then-Sen. Barack Obama, during the 2008 presidential campaign, said it, too. Blacks and whites, said Obama, “are arrested at very different rates, are convicted at very different rates (and) receive very different sentences … for the same crime.”
When the man who became president of the United States says this — the No. 1 law enforcement officer — it must, therefore, be true.
Let’s examine five major assumptions behind this assertion.
1) Blacks are arrested at higher rates compared to whites — but wrongly so.
Not true. While only 13 percent of the population, blacks accounted for 28 percent of nationwide arrests in 2010 and 38.1 percent of arrests for violent crime (murders, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault). But are they unfairly arrested? Studies find that arrest rates by race are comparable to the race of suspect identification by victims.
For example, in a given city, x number of robbery victims describe their assailants as black — whether or not the suspect has been apprehended. It turns out that the race of those arrested matches the percentage given by victims. This has been found repeatedly across the country, in all categories of crime where the race of an assailant is identified. So unless the victims are deliberately misidentifying their assailants — unconcerned about whether the suspect is apprehended and knowingly give a false race — blacks are not being “over-arrested.”
2) Blacks are convicted at higher rates and given longer sentences than whites for the same crime.
Not true. Differences in conviction and sentencing rates by race are due to differences in the gravity of the criminal offenses, prior records or other legal variables. A 1994 Justice Department survey of felony cases in the country’s 75 largest urban areas actually found lower felony prosecution rates for blacks than whites and that blacks were less likely to be found guilty at trial.
3) The sentence disparity between powder and crack cocaine is racist and accounts for a large percentage of imprisoned blacks.
Not true. Concerned about the deadly effect of crack within their own communities, black members of Congress led the charge to pass the 1986 federal drug laws. The bill that was passed — which included the crack/powder sentencing disparity — did so with the support of the majority of black congresspersons. None at the time objected to the sentencing disparity as “racist.” (more…)
The man so many worship for his supposed idealism, is the most hard-nosed, driven and dirty politician president we’ve had in a long while.
Try this thought experiment: You decide to donate money to Mitt Romney. You want change in the Oval Office, so you engage in your democratic right to send a check.
Several days later, President Barack Obama, the most powerful man on the planet, singles you out by name. His campaign brands you a Romney donor, shames you for “betting against America,” and accuses you of having a “less-than-reputable” record. The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money.
Are you worried?
Richard Nixon’s “enemies list” appalled the country for the simple reason that presidents hold a unique trust. Unlike senators or congressmen, presidents alone represent all Americans. Their powers—to jail, to fine, to bankrupt—are also so vast as to require restraint. Any president who targets a private citizen for his politics is de facto engaged in government intimidation and threats. This is why presidents since Nixon have carefully avoided the practice.
Save Mr. Obama, who acknowledges no rules. This past week, one of his campaign websites posted an item entitled “Behind the curtain: A brief history of Romney’s donors.” In the post, the Obama campaign named and shamed eight private citizens who had donated to his opponent. Describing the givers as all having “less-than-reputable records,” the post went on to make the extraordinary accusations that “quite a few” have also been “on the wrong side of the law” and profiting at “the expense of so many Americans.”
These are people like Paul Schorr and Sam and Jeffrey Fox, investors who the site outed for the crime of having “outsourced” jobs. T. Martin Fiorentino is scored for his work for a firm that forecloses on homes. Louis Bacon (a hedge-fund manager), Kent Burton (a “lobbyist”) and Thomas O’Malley (an energy CEO) stand accused of profiting from oil. Frank VanderSloot, the CEO of a home-products firm, is slimed as a “bitter foe of the gay rights movement.”
These are wealthy individuals, to be sure, but private citizens nonetheless. Not one holds elected office. Not one is a criminal. Not one has the barest fraction of the position or the power of the U.S. leader who is publicly assaulting them…
Ben Shapiro at Breitbart.
Today, Time magazine got hold of a memo written by then-CIA head Leon Panetta after he received orders from Barack Obama’s team to greenlight the bin Laden mission. Here’s the text, which summarized the situation:
Received phone call from Tom Donilon who stated that the President made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault.
The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 am.
This, of course, was the famed “gutsy call.” Here’s what Tom Hanks narrated in Obama’s campaign film, “The Road We’ve Traveled”:
HANKS: Intelligence reports locating Osama Bin Laden were promising, but inconclusive, and there was internal debate as to what the President should do.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: We sat down in the Situation Room, the entire national security apparatus was in that room, and the President turns to every principal in the room, every secretary, “What do you recommend I do?” And they say, “Well, forty-nine percent chance he’s there, fifty-one … it’s a close call, Mr. President.” As he walked out the room, it dawned on me, he’s all alone. This is his decision. If he was wrong, his Presidency was done. Over.
Only the memo doesn’t show a gutsy call. It doesn’t show a president willing to take the blame for a mission gone wrong. It shows a CYA maneuver by the White House.
The memo puts all control in the hands of Admiral McRaven – the “timing, operational decision making and control” are all up to McRaven. So the notion that Obama and his team were walking through every stage of the operation is incorrect. The hero here was McRaven, not Obama. And had the mission gone wrong, McRaven surely would have been thrown under the bus.
The memo is crystal clear on that point. It says that the decision has been made based solely on the “risk profile presented to the President.” If any other risks – no matter how minute – arose, they were “to be brought back to the President for his consideration.” This is ludicrous. It is wiggle room. It was Obama’s way of carving out space for himself in case the mission went bad. If it did, he’d say that there were additional risks of which he hadn’t been informed; he’d been kept in the dark by his military leaders.
Finally, the memo is unclear on just what the mission is. Was it to capture Bin Laden or to kill him? The White House itself was unable to decide what the mission was in the hours after the Bin Laden kill, and actually switched its language. The memo shows why: McRaven was instructed to “get” Bin Laden, whatever that meant.
President Obama made the right call to give the green light to the mission. But he did it in a way that he could shift the blame if things went wrong. Typical Obama. And typical of him to claim full credit for it, when he didn’t do anything but give a vague nod, while putting his top military officials at risk of taking the hit in case of a bad turn.
Mark Steyn at The Corner:
Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives – for up to six hours after their death.
The controversial new law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament.
It will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 and the ridding of women’s rights of getting education and employment.
Gotta hand it to the Muslim Brotherhood. Hard to come up with a more apt image of the Arab Spring than an aroused Islamist rogering a corpse.
Apparently the imam who ruled on this matter says that wives have the same right.
I guess rigor mortis is good for something.
What has happened to America since the 1960s? Plenty. This interview, and the book, is food for thought.
See the post below for context of the headline.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) took to the Senate floor today to draw attention to a video of a top EPA official saying the EPA’s “philosophy” is to “crucify” and “make examples” of oil and gas companies – just as the Romans crucified random citizens in areas they conquered to ensure obedience.
Inhofe quoted a little-watched video from 2010 of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official, Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz, admitting that EPA’s “general philosophy” is to “crucify” and “make examples” of oil and gas companies.
In the video, Administrator Armendariz says:
“I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said:
“It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’dfind the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them.
“Then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”
“It’s a deterrent factor,” Armendariz said, explaining that the EPA is following the Romans’ philosophy for subjugating conquered villages.
Soon after Armendariz touted the EPA’s “philosophy,” the EPA began smear campaigns against natural gas producers, Inhofe’s office noted in advance of today’s Senate speech:
“Not long after Administrator Armendariz made these comments in 2010, EPA targeted US natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming.
“In all three of these cases, EPA initially made headline-grabbing statements either insinuating or proclaiming outright that the use of hydraulic fracturing by American energy producers was the cause of water contamination, but in each case their comments were premature at best – and despite their most valiant efforts, they have been unable to find any sound scientific evidence to make this link.”
In his Senate speech, Sen. Inhofe said the video provides Americans with “a glimpse of the Obama administration’s true agenda.”
That agenda, Inhofe said, is to “incite fear” in the public with unsubstantiated claims and “intimidate” oil and gas companies with threats of unjustified fines and penalties – then, quietly backtrack once the public’s perception has been firmly jaded against oil and natural gas.
North America’s shale gas boom is chipping away at the market for gas producers like Russia. What’s more, if the United States becomes a gas exporter, Russia’s customers (especially in Europe) could decide to cancel expensive contracts with Gazprom in favor of cheaper American natural gas.
Here’s the story from the FT:
“If the US starts exporting LNG to Europe and Asia, it gives [customers there] an argument to renegotiate their prices with Gazprom and Qatar, and they will do it,” says Jean Abiteboul, head of Cheniere supply & marketing.
Gazprom supplied 27 percent of Europe’s natural gas in 2011. While American gas is trading below $2 per MMBTU (million British thermal units), Gazprom’s prices are tied to crude oil markets, and its long-term contracts charge customers roughly $13 per MMBTU, says the FT. European customers would love to reduce their dependence on Gazprom and start to import American gas. Already Gazprom has had to make concessions to its three biggest customers, and others are increasingly dissatisfied with their contracts.
Worse, from Russia’s point of view: evidence that western and central Europe contain substantial shale gas reserves of their own. Fracking is unpopular in thickly populated, eco-friendly Europe, but so are high gas prices.
All this ought to give Russia serious heartburn. Eroding Gazprom’s dominance of the European energy market would be a major check on Russian economic growth and political influence.
It appears one of the great challenges that President Obama has had to overcome in office is that no one around him is as good at their job as he is.
From Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas, page 66:
Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
This is not some long-ago sentiment, or momentary lapse into egoism. Michelle Obama declared at a Democratic-party fundraiser in California last June:
“He reads every word, every memo, so he is better prepared than the people briefing him,” she said. “This man doesn’t take a day off.”
At the time, I noted it’s a good thing that the Central Intelligence Agency is full of classy, dignified, professional people; otherwise, tomorrow’s President’s Daily Brief might consist of, “Well, since you’re so well prepared, figure it out yourself, smarty-pants.”
Also note that “the man doesn’t take a day off.” Correct, but we can all breathe easier knowing he found time for golf for eleven straight weekends.
The actual Republican Establishment –- political consultants, The Wall Street Journal, corporate America, former Bush advisers and television pundits — are exhorting Mitt Romney to flip-flop on his very non-Establishment position on illegal immigration.
Both as governor of Massachusetts and as a presidential candidate, Romney has supported a fence on the border, E-Verify to ensure that employees are legal and allowing state police to arrest illegal aliens. He is the rare Republican who recognizes that in-state tuition, driver’s licenses and amnesty are magnets for more illegal immigration.
These positions are totally at odds with Establishment Republicans who pander to the business lobby by supporting the cheap labor provided by illegal immigration, and then accuse Americans opposed to a slave labor class in America of racism. If this continues, America will become California and no Republican will ever be elected president again. Big business doesn’t care and Establishment Republicans are too stupid to notice.
If you’re not sure how you feel about illegal immigration, ask yourself this: “Do I have a nanny, a maid, a pool boy, a chauffeur, a cook or a business requiring lots of cheap labor that the rest of America will have to subsidize with social services to make up for the wages I’m paying?” Press “1″ to answer in English.
If the answer is “no,” illegal immigration is a bad deal for you. Cheap labor is cheap only for the employer.
Today, 70 percent of illegal immigrant households collect government benefits — as do 57 percent of all immigrant households — compared to 39 percent of native households.
Immigrant households with the highest rate of government assistance are from the (more…)
As a photographer I know how easy it is to make someone look bad. Even gorgeous people take bad pictures. So when I see an unflattering shot chosen in a newspaper I can spot bias.
This from the LA Times. Trust me, they had dozens of choices besides this one.
Ugly as they wanted to make Arizona Governor Jan Brewer look, they could not conceal the ugliness of Obama’s argument before the Supreme Court.
“I’m sorry.… I’m terribly confused by your answer,” Sotomayor said at one point. “Your argument — that this systematic cooperation is wrong — is not selling very well. Why don’t you try to come up with something else?”
JusticeStephen G. Breyeralso said he did not see a problem if “all that happens is a policeman makes a phone call.… I’m not clear what your answer is to that,” he told Verrilli.
When Verrilli said the law could lead to “mass incarceration,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy snapped, “So you’re saying the government has a legitimate interest in not enforcing its laws?”
When the solicitor general said the “aggressive enforcement” of immigration laws could offend Mexico, Justice Antonin Scalia objected. “Look, free them from the jails and send them back to the countries that are objecting. What’s the problem with that?”
Verrilli replied that U.S. officials needed to work cooperatively with Mexico.
“So we have to enforce our laws in a manner that will please Mexico? Is that what you are saying?” Scalia asked.
You may recall that our esteemed attorney general, Eric Holder spoke out against the Arizona law before having read it.
A free campaign commercial for Obama.
Countered quickly by this:
Just imagine if the news media had written this story a month ago?
By Chris Francescani
SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) – A pit bull named Big Boi began menacing George and Shellie Zimmerman in the fall of 2009.
The first time the dog ran free and cornered Shellie in their gated community in Sanford, Florida, George called the owner to complain. The second time, Big Boi frightened his mother-in-law’s dog. Zimmerman called Seminole County Animal Services and bought pepper spray. The third time he saw the dog on the loose, he called again. An officer came to the house, county records show.
“Don’t use pepper spray,” he told the Zimmermans, according to a friend. “It’ll take two or three seconds to take effect, but a quarter second for the dog to jump you,” he said.
“Get a gun.”
That November, the Zimmermans completed firearms training at a local lodge and received concealed-weapons gun permits. In early December, another source close to them told Reuters, the couple bought a pair of guns. George picked a Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm handgun, a popular, lightweight weapon.
By June 2011, Zimmerman’s attention had shifted from a loose pit bull to a wave of robberies that rattled the community, called the Retreat at Twin Lakes. The homeowners association asked him to launch a neighborhood watch, and Zimmerman would begin to carry the Kel-Tec on his regular, dog-walking patrol – a violation of neighborhood watch guidelines but not a crime.
Few of his closest neighbors knew he carried a gun – until two months ago.
On February 26, George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in what Zimmerman says was self-defense. The furor that ensued has consumed the country and prompted a re-examination of guns, race and self-defense laws enacted in nearly half the United States.
During the time Zimmerman was in hiding, his detractors defined him as a vigilante who had decided Martin was suspicious merely because he was black. After Zimmerman was finally arrested on a charge of second-degree murder more than six weeks after the shooting, prosecutors portrayed him as a violent and angry man who disregarded authority by pursuing the 17-year-old.
But a more nuanced portrait of Zimmerman has emerged from a Reuters investigation into Zimmerman’s past and a series of incidents in the community in the months preceding the Martin shooting.
Based on extensive interviews with relatives, friends, neighbors, schoolmates and co-workers of Zimmerman in two states, law enforcement officials, and reviews of court documents and police reports, the story sheds new light on the man at the center of one of the most controversial homicide cases in America.
The 28-year-old insurance-fraud investigator comes from a deeply Catholic background and was taught in his early years to do right by those less fortunate. He was raised in a racially integrated household and himself has black roots through an Afro-Peruvian great-grandfather – the father of the maternal grandmother who helped raise him.
A criminal justice student who aspired to become a judge, Zimmerman also concerned himself with the safety of his neighbors after a series of break-ins committed by young African-American men.
Though civil rights demonstrators have argued Zimmerman should not have prejudged Martin, one black neighbor of the Zimmermans said recent history should be taken into account.
“Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I’m black, OK?” the woman said, declining to be identified because she anticipated backlash due to her race. She leaned in to look a reporter directly in the eyes. “There were black boys robbing houses in this neighborhood,” she said. “That’s why George was suspicious of Trayvon Martin.” (more…)
When Gabby Giffords was shot by a loon, we got plenty of lectures from the elite commentariat about keeping a civil tongue lest we egg on the violent amongst us.
With Trayvon Martin, all of that was forgotten, with NBC, ABC and other mainstream media turning the shooting into a racial matter.
They succeeded in conjuring a mob of blacks who beat a white man to within an inch of his life:
According to police, Owens fussed at some kids playing basketball in the middle of Delmar Drive about 8:30 Saturday night. They say the kids left and a group of adults returned, armed with everything but the kitchen sink.
Police tell News 5 the suspects used chairs, pipes and paint cans to beat Owens.
Owens’ sister, Ashley Parker, saw the attack. “It was the scariest thing I have ever witnessed.” Parker says 20 people, all African American, attacked her brother on the front porch of his home, using “brass buckles, paint cans and anything they could get their hands on.”
Police will only say “multiple people” are involved.
What Parker says happened next could make the fallout from the brutal beating even worse. As the attackers walked away, leaving Owen bleeding on the ground, Parker says one of them said “Now that’s justice for Trayvon.” Trayvon Martin is the unarmed teenager police say was shot and killed February 26 by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Samford, Florida.