Thursday, April 30, 2009
Is The New American Business Model All For One And One For All? Sounds Like Something Other Than Capitalism!
I read this on another blog, and it really couldn't be put much better. The idea of being a senior creditor is that you are in the highest position in the pecking order of creditors. It gives you the opportunity to push your case in bankruptcy if you think that the offer being made to you is not fair or sufficient. This is not a commentary on the hedge funds and the way that they do business, but on the way that America has always done business.
It seems under our new socialist way of approaching things, a senior creditor should take whatever is being offered to be one of the guys, not make waves, etc. Sounds a little like our new foreign policy as well.
"The latest news is that some senior creditors of Chrysler, mostly hedge funds, don’t want to voluntarily agree to accept 33 cents on the dollar for their debt. Obama criticizes them for not being willing to “sacrifice” for the best interests of the country.
It seems to me that when someone buys senior debt, they agree to a lower return on the assumption that, if there’s a bankruptcy, they get paid before everyone else. Why would they want to accept 33 cents on the dollar when billions are going to be paid to junior creditors and Chrysler will continue to recognize various long term contracts (such as union contracts) which normally are not recognized as valid interests under bankruptcy law?" (Half Sigma)
In prime time, yet again. And still mopping up the mess created by the "failed policies of the last 8 years." Change and hope. No mention I am sure of all of the miscues and foibles committed, such as the recent buzzing of lower Manhattan for a photo-op at the expense of a traumatized public and on the taxpayers dime.
Perhaps he will get to those in his prime time speech to celebrate the first 120 days and then 150 days.
For some perspective on the administration one only has to look at Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who said early on:
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste, and what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you didn't think you could do before."
The First 100 Days: As Good As The Media and Polls Leads You To Believe?
The Obama Administration is like the students in college that get an A on the first assignment, so the teacher assumes anything they do is A work. This administration had an A in the media's eyes during the primary season, and receives an A no matter what they do. If something is so bad that it deserves a lower grade, it will just get ignored.
Let's take a look at the chart which gives the gap between the first year support of a president from the constituents of each party, and just how wide that gap is between the two (Pew Research).
The chart shows that of all of the presidents of the recent past, President Obama has so far been the most polarizing, despite his spoken desire for it to be the exact opposite.
Is it Obama specifically, or is it the trend in our country towards very partisan politics. Watching votes in the Senate and House that typically come out along purely party lines, perhaps that is where the public takes it's cue. Or perhaps it is that each of the parties has moved further to the right and further to the left.
Given The Control Of The Left Leaning Media, Could The First 100 Days Be Viewed As Anything Other Than A Rousing Success? It Wouldn't Be Allowed!
Re: First Obama prime time press conference - "He seated a left-wing radio host in the coveted front row. He called on a liberal blogger from the Huffington Post. He even brought far-left columnist Helen Thomas out of the wilderness and let her ruminate about “so-called terrorists.” (Foxforum)
CHRIS MATTHEWS (November 6, 2008): Yeah, well, you know what? I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work, and I think that --
Obama's start has been the most impressive of any President since F.D.R. The biggest tests are ahead of him (Time.com)
Will the lovefest continue, or will the media begin to take a harder look? Only time will tell.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
It is good of the media to label the emotions of President Obama for us readers that may not be able to interpret them for ourselves.
Funny thing is though, the flyover was ordered by the White House Office of Military Affairs. Now I could be wrong, but isn't that Office part of the Executive Office of the President? And isn't the EOP overseen by the Chief of Staff, in this case Rahm Emanuel?
"Overseen by the White House Chief of Staff, the EOP has traditionally been home to many of the President’s closest advisors.
The following entities exist within the Executive Office of the President:
Council of Economic Advisers
Council on Environmental Quality
Council on Women and Girls
Domestic Policy Council
National Economic Council
National Security Council
Office of Administration
Office of Management and Budget
Office of National AIDS Policy
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Office of the United States Trade Representative
President's Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board
Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
White House Military Office
White House Office" (EOP)
If this is correct, then is it safe to assume that the President was more than likely briefed on the flyover? Furious may not then be the proper emotion, but possibly more appropriate would be contrite and apologetic. Was he somehow let off the hook by the media that really didn't pursue this event for the abomination that it was. More of a one day wonder.
How About This?
"FAA Memo: Feds Knew NYC Flyover Would Cause Panic"
"...Federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and a 747 from the presidential fleet to buzz ground zero and Lady Liberty might set off nightmarish fears of a 9/11 replay, but they still ordered the photo-op kept secret from the public.
In a memo obtained by CBS 2 HD, the Federal Aviation Administration's James Johnston said the agency was aware of "the possibility of public concern regarding DOD (Department of Defense) aircraft flying at low altitudes" in an around New York City. But they demanded total secrecy from the NYPD, the Secret Service, the FBI and even the mayor's office and threatened federal sanctions if the secret got out..."(WCBSTV)
This event shows a clear lack of understanding of the ramifications of actions by this White House!
In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania indicated his intention to leave the Republican Party to become part of the Democrat Party. Why you ask? It depends on who you ask.
If you ask Senator Specter, the reason would be that his philosophy more resembled that of Democrats (which may very well be the truth)and that Republicans have moved to far to the right. The reality is that Senator Specter stood ready to lose a primary challenge that would have been waged against him by a conservative Republican challenger. Unable to meet that challenge, why not be a politician and take the easy way out?
HARRISBURG, Pa.(April 15)—Pat Toomey, who as a little-known congressman nearly defeated Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2004 primary, announced Wednesday that he will mount another challenge when Specter seeks the Republican nomination for a sixth term next year.(Boston.com)
The additional Senate seat will put the Democrats in the position of the 60 vote majority that will make them filibuster proof. Thee fact is though that Specter, coming from a Democrat state and being what could be generously called a moderate Republican, was not a reliable vote for the Republican side anyway. The following pretty much sums up the position that Specter found himself in:
"...The precariousness of Specter's political position -- a Republican in a Democratic-leaning state -- was on display earlier this year when he was one of three GOP senators to back President Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus plan. That vote was strongly condemned by conservative Republicans and Toomey used that vote as the launching pad for his candidacy.
Because of the shrinking Republican vote in the state, Specter was seen as a dead man walking politically in the primary with polling showing him trailing Toomey by ten or more points. The bar for Specter to run as an independent was also extremely high due to the rules governing such a third party candidacy.
That left a Democratic candidacy as Specter's best option if he wanted to remain in the Senate beyond 2010..."(WashingtonPost.com)
It is such a pathetically political move that the constituency in Pennsylvania should defeat him out of hand, but then one only has to look at the election of Hillary Clinton to a New York Senate seat as a carpetbagger to realize that won't be the case.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
America and the world was under attack, and we did what we thought we needed to do to keep it from happening again.
No, in the typical expression of weakness by our left leaning legislators such as Nancy Pelosi, they will just deny that events of record took place and hope that any public outcry will go away. And with the help of their constituency that includes most of the media, they are probably correct.
Security Before Politics
By Porter J. Goss
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Since leaving my post as CIA director almost three years ago, I have remained largely silent on the public stage. I am speaking out now because I feel our government has crossed the red line between properly protecting our national security and trying to gain partisan political advantage. We can't have a secret intelligence service if we keep giving away all the secrets. Americans have to decide now.
A disturbing epidemic of amnesia seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation's intelligence services had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda. In the fall of 2002, while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA's "High Value Terrorist Program," including the development of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and what those techniques were. This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers.
Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as "waterboarding" were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.
Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:
-- The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.
-- We understood what the CIA was doing.
-- We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.
-- We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.
-- On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.
I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues. They did not vote to stop authorizing CIA funding. And for those who now reveal filed "memorandums for the record" suggesting concern, real concern should have been expressed immediately -- to the committee chairs, the briefers, the House speaker or minority leader, the CIA director or the president's national security adviser -- and not quietly filed away in case the day came when the political winds shifted. And shifted they have.
Circuses are not new in Washington, and I can see preparations being made for tents from the Capitol straight down Pennsylvania Avenue. The CIA has been pulled into the center ring before. The result this time will be the same: a hollowed-out service of diminished capabilities. After Sept. 11, the general outcry was, "Why don't we have better overseas capabilities?" I fear that in the years to come this refrain will be heard again: once a threat -- or God forbid, another successful attack -- captures our attention and sends the pendulum swinging back. There is only one person who can shut down this dangerous show: President Obama.
Unfortunately, much of the damage to our capabilities has already been done. It is certainly not trust that is fostered when intelligence officers are told one day "I have your back" only to learn a day later that a knife is being held to it. After the events of this week, morale at the CIA has been shaken to its foundation.
We must not forget: Our intelligence allies overseas view our inability to maintain secrecy as a reason to question our worthiness as a partner. These allies have been vital in almost every capture of a terrorist.
The suggestion that we are safer now because information about interrogation techniques is in the public domain conjures up images of unicorns and fairy dust. We have given our enemy invaluable information about the rules by which we operate. The terrorists captured by the CIA perfected the act of beheading innocents using dull knives. Khalid Sheik Mohammed boasted of the tactic of placing explosives high enough in a building to ensure that innocents trapped above would die if they tried to escape through windows. There is simply no comparison between our professionalism and their brutality.
Our enemies do not subscribe to the rules of the Marquis of Queensbury. "Name, rank and serial number" does not apply to non-state actors but is, regrettably, the only question this administration wants us to ask. Instead of taking risks, our intelligence officers will soon resort to wordsmithing cables to headquarters while opportunities to neutralize brutal radicals are lost.
The days of fortress America are gone. We are the world's superpower. We can sit on our hands or we can become engaged to improve global human conditions. The bottom line is that we cannot succeed unless we have good intelligence. Trading security for partisan political popularity will ensure that our secrets are not secret and that our intelligence is destined to fail us.
The writer, a Republican, was director of the CIA from September 2004 to May 2006 and was chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 1997 to 2004.
Who was the decision maker behind this staged event over downtown New York City on Monday, done with no warning to the populace of a city still traumatized by the events on 9/11/01? This is the brilliance of our government at work. Does President Obama give any thought to the ramifications of these or any other actions, or will they just blame it all on an underling somewhere down the line. Or maybe 9/11 wasn't that big a deal to them, making it okay to stage an event so eerily similar.
This all seems like a long way to go for the Christmas card picture to send to Hugo Chavez, the King of Saudi Arabia and all of his other new buddies.
Mild Cases In The United States,Australia, Brazil, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, Israel and Spain, Not So Mild In Mexico With A Social And Economic Impact That Is Yet To be Seen Or That Can Be Determined
On Monday travel warning were issued by the EU recommending that all non-essential travel to the United States and Mexico be avoided. The United States, already on alert regarding travel to Mexico due to drug violence, is now also issuing a recommendation to avoid travel there due to the outbreak of swine flu. This recommendation could soon turn into an official warning.
The chart above is from the World Health Organization, and details the various stages that a pandemic will go through. In a significant move, the warning level was raised from Phase 3 to Phase 4. Phase 4 indicates sustained human to human transmission, and a move to Phase 5 would indicate widespread human infection. The WHO made the decision to raise the level on Monday.
What Does This All Mean?
Not to minimize the potential human tragedy that the spread of this disease could have in a world whose economy is already extremely tenuous at best. Border closings, food and agricultural product embargo's, travel restrictions and any other side effects of this disease is exactly what is not needed at the present time.
To summarize the problem as it is known now (which is going to be extremely dynamic and certainly not static, so subject to change at any time):
"A unique strain of swine flu is the suspected killer of dozens of people in Mexico, where authorities closed schools, museums, libraries and theaters in the capital on Friday to try to contain an outbreak that has spurred concerns of a global flu epidemic.
The worrisome new virus — which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before — also sickened at least eight people in Texas and California, though there have been no deaths in the U.S.
"We are very, very concerned," World Health Organization spokesman Thomas Abraham said. "We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human ... It's all hands on deck at the moment."
The outbreak caused alarm in Mexico, where more than 1,000 people have been sickened. Residents of the capital donned surgical masks and authorities ordered the most sweeping shutdown of public gathering places in a quarter century. President Felipe Calderon met with his Cabinet Friday to coordinate Mexico's response.
The WHO was convening an expert panel to consider whether to raise the pandemic alert level or issue travel advisories.
It might already be too late to contain the outbreak, a prominent U.S. pandemic flu expert said late Friday.
Given how quickly flu can spread around the globe, if these are the first signs of a pandemic, then there are probably cases incubating around the world already, said Dr. Michael Osterholm at the University of Minnesota."(Yahoo)
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands. This is the perfect time for a lesson in manners.
Monday, April 27, 2009
This "Craig's List" killing is a horror for everyone involved with the exception of the fiance of the killer who continues to stand by her man.
What this case points out is that society always needs to lay the blame for an event on someone or something, when the reality is that if a man or a woman is a sociopath, they will find the way to perpetrate the evil that is in their mind.
The source that is being scapegoated in this case is Craig's List, and the fact that they allow these personal or thinly veiled ads for prostitution to appear on it's site. What is the definition of a sociopath and/or a psychopath?
"a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience" (Dictionary.com)
I remember growing up seeing the ads in the Village Voice or New York magazine for "massages" either "in-call" or "out-call". I remember Channel J on cable in New York City and the ads that ran on the Robin Byrd Show for escort services.
Times have not changed, but the search has become easier. Instead of going down to the local newsstand you simply have to turn on your computer. The sad truth, as we see by the father that recently killed his wife and two children, the terrorists that bombed the World Trade Center or this most recent killing of the masseuse, is that a sociopath will find the source that will allow them to satisfy there anti-social or deadly urges. Whether easy to find or difficult, they will find it.
This is not the fault of Craig's List, because this guy would have found his victim or victims in some other way. Watching an interview with the creator of the site, the attempt was made to drag him out as the second villain after the murderer. Craig's List is no more responsible than the dog that directed the Son of Sam to kill many years ago.
Unfortunately in society there will always be those that are mentally ill and who perpetrate or try to perpetrate crimes that the sane can't fathom. They are responsible for their actions, and they will find their victims no matter how difficult it is.
Rather than look for a scapegoat, it is up to the rest of us to try and recognize the signs of someone who is just not right, but even then stopping them will never be simple?
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Oh the indignation of it all. We used what interrogation techniques against terrorists that may have had information that could potentially save American and others lives and that apparently did?
If only Nancy Pelosi had known waterboarding might be used, she would have put her holier than thou foot down to try and make sure that it would not happen. Funny thing though, with all of her denials it appears that what we all think is true. She and others were well aware of what was being planned, and are now lying(?) in terms of denying that fact.
Politics are politics, but could this potentially be the downfall of Pelosi, or will the memo's and minutes suspiciously disappear ala Sandy Berger, or will the media simply ignore the story. You make the call.
"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she was never told during a congressional briefing in 2002 that waterboarding or other "enhanced" interrogation techniques were being used on terrorism suspects.
But in a story published in the Washington Post in December 2007, two officials were quoted saying that the California Democrat and three other lawmakers had received an hour-long secret briefing on the interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, and that they raised no objections at the time...
...Pelosi is among those lawmakers who want an independent commission established to probe the evolution of the policies -- but it's still unclear what she knew early on in the Bush administration.
Asked about the briefings on Thursday, Pelosi said: "We were not -- I repeat -- were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used."
But she also did not explicitly say that waterboarding was not part of the conversation. She indicated instead that any discussion they may have had was hypothetical.
"What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel ... opinions, that they could be used, but not that they would," she said..."(Fox News)
In time all of the true facts will come out, or will they?
Friday, April 24, 2009
Pakistan: Time for Contingency Planning
The time has come that the world must have contingency planning in case Pakistan falls to the Taliban.
I know, this is a worst case scenario. Maybe I am just playing scare tactics. But maybe the reality can only hit home if we talk about it.
Understand this simple fact: The Taliban now control cities within two hour driving distance of Islamabad. How bad is that? Well, Taliban don’t control any territory within 2 hour driving distance of Kabul in Afghanistan. I am not saying the Taliban have a reasonable chance of taking the Pakistani capital, but the risk is growing. Actually, on Friday there were reports that a cleric in the town of Bener convinced the Taliban to withdraw from the district. However, what this shows is that the government has little or no control. Government officials continue to state that the Taliban will be confronted if they challenge central authority…and yet, they did challennge the government, and we still have not seen significant military confrontation in the region. That speaks volumes.
Additionally, the Pakistani government has been impotent in controlling its major cities of Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore. There have been numerous large scale attacks on each of those cities in the past few months.
Hillary Clinton, in Congressional hearings this week, stated that Pakistan is now facing an ‘existential threat’ to its very existence. And the fact is, the Pakistani leadership doesn’t even realize it.
So what now?
1. Start planning now.
Mr. Obama, for good or bad, is a thoughful person. We saw that this month with the Somali pirate escapade. He took several days of deliberation to finally give the order to ‘eliminate’ the pirates if necessary. It was the right decision, and I lauded him for it.
But that same thoughtful process can be a hindrance in a situation like Pakistan. To many, it is surprising how fast countries can deteriorate and come apart at the seams. In 2001, it took just weeks for rebels to take over Afghanistan.
As far as I can tell, there are three legitimate scnearios if Pakistan falls:
1. The Worst Case Scenario
The Pakistani government falls. The Pakistani military is in disarray. The ISI, the Pakistani intelligence services, side with the Taliban. And the United States and India do not have an active plan in place to deal with the failed state.
This is not an unreasonable set of circumstances.
This would lead the subcontinent to ultimately be destabilized, and nuclearized. The Chinese would have difficult staying out of the conflict, because let us face facts: a nuclear war on the subcontinent would dramatically effect the entire Asian continent.
This is the apocalypse scenario; unlikely, but frighteningly possible.
2. A very, very bad scenario
India unilaterally decides that it cannot risk the safety of the nation to the United States and the United Nations. They perform air and land raids primarily on nuclear sites within Pakistan. This would likely lead to a full scale ground war in Kashmir and Punjab., that likely would cost hundreds of thousands of lives, assuming that it stayed a conventional war. The path of this scenario would ultimately depend on whether India could successfully take out Pakistani military sites; a highly questionable proposition. Thus, this scenario could also very likely lead to nuclear war.
3. The best case scenario, in a very bad situation.
The U.S., NATO, Israel and India all decide in a coordinated fashion that they cannot let Islamic extremist have ‘the bomb’. The Americans and the West send in bombers and strike fighters to take out nuclear military installations. American, NATO, and Indian paramilitary forces try to take out key military installations from the ground. Best case scenario, the Americans have a contingency plan with military leaders within Pakistan, to support their immediate takeover of all armed forces in the hopes that they can somehow restore order.
And that ugly scenario is the best case.
You can see why American and United Nations intervention is needed now. Obama can no longer sit on the sidelines and let surrogates handle this…he must dive in, head first. The Pakistani leadership must be forced to realize the extremely bad situation they are in. So far, they have been delusional, still feeling that India is a bigger threat than the Taliban. That is simply not the case. Pakistan will not exist in five years if the Taliban is not taken care of today. The situation is that dire. Hopefully, for Pakistan, Indian, and the rest of the world, they come to their senses.
If I am getting tired of talking about the same thing, then people must be getting tired about reading about the same thing. This situation was once a dangerous thought, then a dangerous development, and now it is seemingly an extremely dangerous reality.
Slowly but surely, as discussed in this blog ad infinitum, the Taliban is moving towards Islamabad and a de facto takeover of the government of Pakistan. Much like Hitler was appeased by France, the UK and the Soviet Union in the 1930's when he was allowed to take Czechoslovakia, the Taliban has been appeased but does not seem satisfied by what they were given either.
What will be the result if there is a full takeover of Pakistan by the Taliban, and more importantly the weapons that Pakistan controls. The world, as the saying goes, will be up a very brown creek without a paddle. There have been questions all along regarding the current government of Pakistan in terms of it's allegiances, and that is who we are counting on to put down this dangerous, dangerous situation.
What are the world leaders saying:
- After Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told lawmakers in Washington on Wednesday that the Pakistani government was "basically abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists," Islamabad has seen a flurry of diplomatic activity.
Huh? Any thoughts on how to diffuse the situation Madame Secretary, or do we just go with the flow on this one?
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Prime Minister Gillani to express her concern. And Western diplomats met with Pakistani lawmakers throughout the day to assess the government's likely response to the threat.
Really? Is that making anyone feel better?
- This is what the Taliban had to say:
"Taliban fighters from the nearby Swat Valley have infiltrated the area in recent days, emboldened by a government-sanctioned peace deal allowing them to enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, in the valley, a onetime tourist paradise.
Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gillani told reporters in Islamabad on Thursday that the government would see to it that the peace agreement isn't violated. "The government will not allow anyone to challenge the government," he said in a statement.
But in Buner, the Taliban remained largely in control despite the stepped-up paramilitary presence.
"We will not leave the area," a Taliban commander, Mufti Bashir, told local journalists.
Since entering Buner from Swat, the Taliban has reportedly set up checkpoints, begun patrolling roads and ordered barbershops to stop shaving beards, which are favored by Islamic militants. The moves have prompted some residents to flee..." (LA Times)
President Obama, I don't want to be an alarmist here, but what are the plans besides calling the Prime Minister and voicing our concern, or going to United Nations demanding this to stop.
This is the Taliban that does not answer to any international voice, and if this development that could turn disastrous for us all is not stopped and stopped now, your health care plan and the rest of your socialist agenda could be rendered moot.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Just click on the link below.
There's My Two Cents: Translating Liberalism
The Liberal Code of Beliefs
I'm a Liberal because I'm way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.
I'm a Liberal because I love the fact I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my horse.
I'm a Liberal because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.
I'm a Liberal because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.
I'm a Liberal because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.
I'm a Liberal because when we pull out of Iraq I trust the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.
I'm a Liberal because I believe people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday, CAN tell us the polar ice caps will melt away in 10 years if I don't start driving a Prius.
I'm a Liberal because I believe business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as THEY see fit.
I'm a Liberal because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who could NEVER get their agendas past the voters.
A Liberal has to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.
A Liberal has to believe that the same teacher who can't teach 4th-graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.
I'm a Liberal because my head is so firmly planted up my own butt, it's unlikely I'll ever have another point of view.
"A Liberal is a person who will give away everything they don't own."
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
WASHINGTON — Pressure mounted on President Obama on Monday for more thorough investigation into harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects under the Bush administration, even as he tried to reassure the Central Intelligence Agency that it would not be blamed for following legal advice. (New York Times)
Not An Advocate Of Torture For Tortures Sake But...
A couple of questions here:
The first is under what circumstances should it be allowable to attempt do everything that we can in order to get actionable information that we believe an enemy combatant has, information which may help to save American lives or the lives of other innocents? What has to be remembered, despite the cry's of the ACLU, is that these prisoners were not boy scouts, but enemy combatants. Actually potential terrorists or purveyors of man made disasters as the Secretary of Homeland Security likes to say.
The second question is what exactly constitutes torture? That is not to say that we should bring ourselves down to the brutal level of some others, but just how far is it allowable to go? Should the limit be to say please can you tell me what I want to know? Can we play good cop bad cop? Is sleep deprivation, loud music or keeping the lights on 24 hours a day pushing it? How about the terrible tickle torture?
"...In a separate Pentagon memo, dated Nov. 27, 2002, the Defense Department's chief lawyer, William J. Haynes II, recommended that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approve the use of 14 interrogation techniques on detainees at Guantanamo Bay, such as yelling at a prisoner during questioning and using "stress positions," like standing, for up to four hours.
Haynes also recommended approval of one technique among harsher methods requested by U.S. military authorities at Guantanamo: use of "mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger and light pushing."
Among the techniques that Rumsfeld approved on Dec. 2, 2002, in addition to that one, the yelling and the stress positions:
_ Use of 20-hour interrogations.
_ Removal of all comfort items, including religious items.
_ Removal of clothing.
_ Using detainees' "individual phobias such as fear of dogs to induce stress..." (Peoples Daily Online)
There were also some others that may have pushed the envelope a little bit far:
"...Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee..." (New Yorker)
And of course periodic water boarding.
Let's put all of this into some perspective. For all of the people screaming that this all went beyond the bounds of civil society, consider the crimes that these prisoners may have been plotting or that they may have had knowledge of. This "torture", in this new world of ours, can potentially have saved thousands of lives. Where do you draw the line? Let's take a look at the techniques that our enemy uses. Again, our interrogation is done for actionable information to save lives. Why is theirs done?
WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda terrorists use blow torches, electric drills and meat cleavers to torture and force information out of their victims, according to a "how-to" book discovered in a terrorist safe house in Iraq...
...Some of the drawings show how to drill hands, sever limbs, drag victims behind cars, remove eyes, put a blowtorch or iron to someone’s skin, suspend a person from a ceiling and electrocute them, break limbs and restrict breath and put someone’s head in a vice.
Items found at the safe house include electric drills, hammers, blow torches, meat cleavers, pliers and wire cutters, chains, screw drivers, whips and handcuffs..."(Fox News)
Now in this time of overbearing political correctness, where parents can be turned in by their children for actions that not many years ago were the rule and not the exception, where a teacher can be suspended for using a commonly accepted phrase and where animal rights can sometimes supersede human rights, what place in the queue does the safety of innocent life come in?
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Question: Does President Obama understand that foreign policy is part of his job description? This means more than bowing to the Saudi King, shaking hands with Hugo Chavez and basically giving up the responsibility for the protection of our citizens here and around the world to a decision by committee of world leaders and the United Nations?
While holding a press conference on Monday to discuss the nickels and dimes that he is tasking his departments with shaving off of their budgets, no mention was made of the extremely disturbing news coming out of Pakistan.
To give President Obama some perspective, because according to his minions he has been in office such a short time he shouldn't be expected to be held responsible for anything that goes on there (everything is apparently a result of the failures of the last 8 years), Pakistan is a partner in the war on terror, possesses nukes and is apparently slowly being taken over by the Taliban. Now if we look at the map below, we find that Pakistan, situated between it's arch enemy India and Afghanistan (and again possessing nuclear weapons) is in a strategically very important and dangerous location.
To all of the Obama apologists out there who seem to think that it is way to early in his administration to expect much out of him (I think they believe that would be somewhere in his 4th year if ever), this situation with the Taliban has the potential to morf out of control and affect all of us in some very disturbing ways.
Now while cutting $100 MM over a 5 year period from a few different agencies is all well and good, what Mr. President, is the plan for this spreading problem? Perhaps President Obama doesn't view the spread of Islamic fundamentalist power as a problem. I suppose that could be true as well.
In the event that the Congress and the President have not been briefed by Secretary of State Clinton (who also may possibly not be aware of the situation with more important items on her plate like keeping an eye on her husband), here is a summary:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 19 -- A potentially troubling era dawned Sunday in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where a top Islamist militant leader, emboldened by a peace agreement with the federal government, laid out an ambitious plan to bring a "complete Islamic system" to the surrounding northwest region and the entire country.
Speaking to thousands of followers in an address aired live from Swat on national news channels, cleric Sufi Mohammed bluntly defied the constitution and federal judiciary, saying he would not allow any appeals to state courts under the system of sharia, or Islamic law, that will prevail there as a result of the peace accord signed by the president Tuesday.
"The Koran says that supporting an infidel system is a great sin," Mohammed said, referring to Pakistan's modern democratic institutions. He declared that in Swat, home to 1.5 million people, all "un-Islamic laws and customs will be abolished," and he suggested that the official imprimatur on the agreement would pave the way for sharia to be installed in other areas...(Washington Post)
I say it often, but apparently it has to be said over and over and over. President Obama, there is a foreign policy component to you job. Perhaps as important as the economy and health care, because if a rogue nation or terrorist group somehow releases a nuclear device, the economy becomes a little less important.
If you haven't given your answer to the question in the sidebar concerning who you voted for in this past presidential election, and if you would vote the same way if the election were to be held today, please do so!
Monday, April 20, 2009
President Obama, seeking to be friend to the world and stating willingness to sit down and negotiate with rogue country's is leading the United States and the rest of the world down a very dangerous path.
"April 18, 2009
Israel stands ready to bomb Iran's nuclear sites
Sheera Frenkel in Jerusalem
The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government.
Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack.
Two nationwide civil defence drills will help to prepare the public for the retaliation that Israel could face.
“Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words,” one senior defence official told The Times.
Officials believe that Israel could be required to hit more than a dozen targets, including moving convoys. The sites include Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges produce enriched uranium; Esfahan, where 250 tonnes of gas is stored in tunnels; and Arak, where a heavy water reactor produces plutonium..." (Times)
1) Obama and Hugo Chavez Make Fast Friends
2) The Word Terrorism Is To Inflammatory For The Obama Administration - Let's Use Man Made Disaster
3) Your Inappropriate Commercial Of The Week
1) Not A Bow, But Are They Best Friends?
Maybe not: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:44pm EST Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday Barack Obama had the "stench" of his predecessor as U.S. president and was at risk of being killed if he tries to change the American "empire." (Reuters)
This picture was taken on April 18th, 2009. I guess it doesn't matter what leaders say or think. The new world role of the United States is apparently to be friends with everyone and anyone, making sure not to make any false moves that might make someone mad at us. After we negotiate with Iran and North Korea and get "ironclad" promises from them, let's get Chavez to the table next. Sounds like sound foreign policy to me.
2) The Word Terrorism Is To Inflammatory For The Obama Administration - Let's Use Man Made Disaster
I will get to it in a second, but let's take a look at the World Trade Center bombing on 9/11/2001. According to the Obama administrations Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, using the word terrorism to describe that event is to inflammatory and a reversion to what they would call the politics of fear of the last 8 years. I think that I would have to once again respectfully disagree with the Obama administration.
My question I suppose would be that the word terrorism is too inflammatory to whom? To the families of the people who died, to the world that is now facing a threat every day? In the new world order of the Obama administration, in which we are to only be viewed around the world as good guys, agreeable guys, passive guys, non-confrontational guys I suppose that it is. To the rest of the rational world, it is not!
So let's review, the person in charge of the Department that is charged with keeping the United States and it's citizens safe, is concerned with the use of the word that is the reality of the world that we live in. All in an effort not to offend anyone.
If Iran has and/or used a nuclear device, would that be a man made event or terrorism? North Korea, same question?
Now if Israel went in and took out Iran's capability to develop and use a nuclear device in a proactive attempt to avert such a disaster, how would the Obama administration term that? I have a funny and sad feeling that in that situation they would feel comfortable using the term terrorism, more comfortable than when Iraqi suicide bombers kill our soldiers.
Funny how that would potentially work. Now let's take a look back at some of these so-called man made disasters over the past 16 years. I could be crazy, but a rose by any other name..., you know the drill. Why does the Obama administration continue to feel the need to sugar coat the term terrorism in yet another attempt to avoid offending anyone. Except maybe me.
- 1993 (Feb.): Bombing of World Trade Center (WTC); 6 killed.
- 1993 (Oct.): Killing of U.S. soldiers in Somalia.
- 1996 (June): Truck bombing at Khobar Towers barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killed 19 Americans.
- 1998 (Aug.): Bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; 224 killed, including 12 Americans.
- 1999 (Dec.): Plot to bomb millennium celebrations in Seattle foiled when customs agents arrest an Algerian smuggling explosives into the U.S.
- 2000 (Oct.): Bombing of the USS Cole in port in Yemen; 17 U.S. sailors killed.
- 2001 (Sept.): Destruction of WTC; attack on Pentagon. Total dead 2,992.
- 2001 (Dec.): Man tried to denote shoe bomb on flight from Paris to Miami.
- 2002 (April): Explosion at historic synagogue in Tunisia left 21 dead, including 11 German tourists.
- 2002 (May): Car exploded outside hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 14, including 11 French citizens.
- 2002 (June): Bomb exploded outside American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 12.
- 2002 (Oct.): Boat crashed into oil tanker off Yemen coast, killing 1.
- 2002 (Oct.): Nightclub bombings in Bali, Indonesia, killed 202, mostly Australian citizens.
- 2002 (Nov.): Suicide attack on a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, killed 16.
- 2003 (May): Suicide bombers killed 34, including 8 Americans, at housing compounds for Westerners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2003 (May): 4 bombs killed 33 people targeting Jewish, Spanish, and Belgian sites in Casablanca, Morocco.
- 2003 (Aug.): Suicide car-bomb killed 12, injured 150 at Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.
- 2003 (Nov.): Explosions rocked a Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, housing compound, killing 17.
- 2003 (Nov.): Suicide car-bombers simultaneously attacked 2 synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 25 and injuring hundreds.
- 2003 (Nov.): Truck bombs detonated at London bank and British consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 26.
- 2004 (March): 10 bombs on 4 trains exploded almost simultaneously during the morning rush hour in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 and injuring more than 1,500.
- 2004 (May): Terrorists attacked Saudi oil company offices in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, killing 22.
- 2004 (June): Terrorists kidnapped and executed American Paul Johnson, Jr., in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- 2004 (Sept.): Car bomb outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, killed 9.
- 2004 (Dec.): Terrorists entered the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing 9 (including 4 attackers).
- 2005 (July): Bombs exploded on 3 trains and a bus in London, England, killing 52.
- 2005 (Oct.): 22 killed by 3 suicide bombs in Bali, Indonesia.
- 2005 (Nov.): 57 killed at 3 American hotels in Amman, Jordan.
- 2006 (Jan.): Two suicide bombers carrying police badges blow themselves up near a celebration at the Police Academy in Baghdad, killing nearly 20 police officers. Al-Qaeda in Iraq takes responsibility.
- 2006 (Aug.): Police arrest 24 British-born Muslims, most of whom have ties to Pakistan, who had allegedly plotted to blow up as many as 10 planes using liquid explosives. Officials say details of the plan were similar to other schemes devised by al-Qaeda.
- 2007 (April): Suicide bombers attack a government building in Algeria's capital, Algiers, killing 35 and wounding hundreds more. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claims responsibility.
- 2007 (April): Eight people, including two Iraqi legislators, die when a suicide bomber strikes inside the Parliament building in Baghdad. An organization that includes al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia claims responsibility. In another attack, the Sarafiya Bridge that spans the Tigris River is destroyed.
- 2007 (June): British police find car bombs in two vehicles in London. The attackers reportedly tried to detonate the bombs using cell phones but failed. Government officials say al-Qaeda is linked to the attempted attack. The following day, an SUV carrying bombs bursts into flames after it slams into an entrance to Glasgow Airport. Officials say the attacks are connected.
- 2007 (December): As many as 60 people are killed in two suicide attacks near United Nations offices and government buildings in Algiers, Algeria. The bombings occur within minutes of each other. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, formerly called the Salafist Group for Preaching, claims responsibility. It's the worst attack in the Algeria in more than 10 years.
- 2008 (January): In the worst attack in Iraq in months, a suicide bomber kills 30 people at a home where mourners were paying their respects to the family of a man killed in a car bomb. The Iraqi military blames the attack on al-Qaeda in Iraq.
- 2008 (February): Nearly 100 people die when two women suicide bombers, who are believed to be mentally impaired, attack crowded pet markets in eastern Baghdad. The U.S. military says al-Qaeda in Iraq has been recruiting female patients at psychiatric hospitals to become suicide bombers.
- 2008 (April): A suicide bomber attacks the funeral for two nephews of a prominent Sunni tribal leader, Sheik Kareem Kamil al-Azawi, killing 30 people in Iraq's Diyala Province.
- 2008 (April): A suicide car bomber kills 40 people in Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province in Iraq.
- 2008 (April): Thirty-five people die and 62 are injured when a woman detonates explosives that she was carrying under her dress in a busy shopping district in Iraq’s Diyala Province.
- 2008 (May): At least 12 worshipers are killed and 44 more injured when a bomb explodes in the Bin Salman mosque near Sana, Yemen.
- 2008 (May): An al-Qaeda suicide bomber detonates explosives in Hit, a city in the Anbar Province of Iraq, killing six policemen and four civilians, and injuring 12 other people.
- 2008 (June): A female suicide bomber kills 15 and wounds 40 others, including seven Iraqi policemen, near a courthouse in Baquba, Iraq.
- 2008 (June): A suicide bomber kills at least 20 people at a meeting between sheiks and Americans in Karmah, a town west of Baghdad.
- 2008 (August): About two dozens worshippers are killed in three separate attacks as they make their way toward Karbala to celebrate the birthday of 9th-century imam Muhammad al-Mahdi. Iraqi officials blame al-Qaeda in Iraq for the attacks.
- 2008 (August): A bomb left on the street explodes and tears through a bus carrying Lebanese troops, killing 15 people, nine of them soldiers. No one claims responsibility for the attack, but in 2007, the army fought an al-Qaeda linked Islamist group in Tripoli.
- 2008 (August): At least 43 people are killed when a suicide bomber drives an explosives-laden car into a police academy in Issers, a town in northern Algeria.
- 2008 (August): Two car bombs explode at a military command and a hotel in Bouira, killing a dozen people. No group takes responsibility for either attack, Algerian officials said they suspect al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is behind the bombings.
- 2008 (September): In its first acknowledged ground attack inside Pakistan, U.S. commandos raid a village that is home to al-Qaeda militants in the tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. The number of casualties is unclear.
- 2008 (September): A car bomb and a rocket strike the U.S. embassy in Yemen as staff arrived to work, killing 16 people, including 4 civilians. At least 25 suspected al-Qaeda militants are arrested for the attack.
- 2008 (November): at least 28 people die and over 60 more are injured when three bombs explode minutes apart in Baghdad, Iraq. Officials suspect the explosions are linked to al-Qaeda.
Those are a lot of man made disasters wouldn't you say Secretary Napolitano? I hope in addition to working on your Washington speak skills, you are also working on protecting the American people against the prospect of a disaster, whatever word you want to use for it!
3) Your Vibrating Touch: Inappropriate Commercial Of The Week
Saturday, April 18, 2009
You Make The Call!!!
Reporters, as the story goes, are not covering a story in order to get the political point of their company or themselves across, but merely to give the viewers an idea of what is happening, "fair and balanced". The Tea Parties that took place on April 15th, and that brought in bi-partisan participation, did not receive that type of coverage at all.
The participants were either ridiculed if an event was covered, or these events that brought out somewhere north of 250,000 people were ignored. View the video, make your own determination, and if you are a CNN viewer understand the type of "information" that is being delivered to you.
"One reporter, Susan Roesgen, who "covered" the Chicago tea party for CNN, was downright confrontational with attendees she interviewed, challenging a protester who referenced Abraham Lincoln with "What does this have to do with taxes?" The man attempted to explain. But the reporter interrupted him. "Did you know that you are eligible for a $400 rebate? Did you know that your state, the state of Lincoln, gets $50 billion out of the stimulus? That's $50 billion for your state." She then tossed back to the anchor noting that "This is really not family viewing."(Townhall.com)
Is that true, or is that the perception that a "news" organization was attempting to create?
Friday, April 17, 2009
The Department of Homeland Security issued a report that said that law enforcement agencies should be on the alert for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as they were at risk for being recruited by right-wing extremists.
Backtracking slightly Secretary Janet Napolitano said that this report was merely an assessment and not meant to accuse anyone of anything. More of a heads up I guess you would say. A footnote in the report was particularly troubling:
"...Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," said that while there is no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are planning acts of violence, such acts could come from unnamed "rightwing extremists" concerned about illegal immigration, abortion, increasing federal power and restrictions on firearms -- and singled out returning war veterans as susceptible to recruitment...(Fox News)
Number one, is there anything to fear from left-wing terrorist organizations, or are they all non-violent and rational. Groups like PETA and some environmental organizations that burn down and destroy property in order to protest against the destruction of the environment?
Two, why are returning veterans singled out as the group to be concerned about. Is defending our country a recipe for a path to radicalism?
Third, is anyone concerned and dedicated to a focused cause fodder for terrorism?
Yet one more embarrassment for the Administration.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
As Proof Of The Timidity of The Obama Administration, I Offer The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post is one of the more liberal offerings out there, and while the snippet from an article below is not an overt criticism of the Obama administration (it never would be), the last entry addresses the problem with the (lack of) foreign policy we have now. It is that Obama "vowed" to stop this violence, vowed to address North Korea, vowed to address the Iranian nuclear situation, vowed to address the dangerous trend of increasing Taliban activity in Pakistan, etc. Well, you get the idea. Many vows, no details.
The frightening facts are that this wordsmith was able to mesmerize the American public (or at least a small majority of it) during a campaign and media blitz that promised Change. Little did we know that the change would be an increase in government control and a drop in the way we are perceived around the world.
While it is true we are now one of the good guys that the other G-20 and NATO countries like to hang out with, it seems as if there is no longer a large concern around the world that we will take any action to defend or protect our interests.
I ask again where our foreign policy is. Where our Secretary of State is. Well today we heard from her, and it was just more of the empty rhetoric of the administration talking to a country that is more anarchy than government. Here it is:
"...Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for authorities in Somalia to act against land bases that pirates use to attack ships and said the U.S. will seek ways to track and freeze assets of the brigands.
Clinton said she has assigned a team of U.S. diplomats to press the Somali government and leaders of Puntland, a semi- autonomous region in Somalia, to take action against the land bases.
The U.S. wants “to know what the Somali government, what tribal leaders, who perhaps would not like to have the international community bearing down on them, would be willing to do to rid their territory of these pirate bases,” she said..." (Bloomberg) Whoa.
The one thing I don't have to ask is where President Obama is, because I need only turn on my T.V. to see him giving another dour speech on the economy placing the blame for all of the worlds ills on the "failed policies of the last 8 years."
Now to The Huffington Post quote on the mentality of the pirates/terrorists:
"...The brigands are grabbing more ships and hostages to show they would not be intimidated by President Barack Obama's pledge to confront the high-seas bandits, according to a pirate based in the Somali coastal town of Harardhere.
"Our latest hijackings are meant to show that no one can deter us from protecting our waters from the enemy because we believe in dying for our land," Omar Dahir Idle told The Associated Press by telephone. "Our guns do not fire water. I am sure we will avenge."
Now that it seems to be open season on U.S. flagged vessels, how about some teeth behind the vows.
On Monday, Obama vowed to "halt the rise of piracy" without saying exactly how the U.S. and allies would do it..."(The Huffington Post) Whoa.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
In an extraordinary twist of events (not really), North Korea has said that they are abandoning six-party talks and restarting it's nuclear program. ""We will never again take part in such talks and will not be bound by any agreement reached at the talks."(MarketWatch)
This at a time when the Obama administration seems to be waiting for everyone to forget about the fact that North Korea test fired a missile and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is nowhere to be found. What exactly is our policy here? Is it the powerful double barreled plan of the United Nations Security Council Resolution and the invoking of the phrase "problems created by the last 8 years?"
I am no foreign policy expert (and it seems no one in the current administration is either), but as the series of articles below indicates it is obvious, at least to me, that we had a problem here before the missile launch and that we have a greater one now. Perhaps President Obama should use one of his almost daily television shows to mention something to the country about foreign policy and stop pandering to his base (the show yesterday seemed particularly anti-business). In the speech yesterday I don't think he could have found a more friendly crowd if he had handpicked them himself (which he may have). One was reminded of the Nancy Pelosi yo-yo of clapping at every word out of his mouth.
The administration will hopefully look at the examples of North Korea and not abandon our missile defense plans to get Iran to the table for negotiations, the results of which it would have no intention of abiding by. It is time for the reality of the situation to set in to those in power, and not just to everyone else that has the capacity of simple analysis. Some recent articles on the topic have included:
North Korea and Iran: What Do Americans Think?
North Korea Follows Through: Now What?
North Korea: A Second Opinion
What If Hawaii Was At Risk? What Would We Do?
The North Korea Missile Launch Discussion Continue...
Yesterday Pakistan, Today North Korea
Tensions Run High On The Korean Peninsula
Obama Administration Naivete: Missile Defense Comp...
North Korea and Iran Are Not The Only Problems
On top of the North Korea situation, we also have a serious problem fomenting in Pakistan. No word on that one either from the White House that I have heard, but here it is:
DERA GHAZI KHAN, Pakistan — Taliban insurgents are teaming up with local militant groups to make inroads in Punjab, the province that is home to more than half of Pakistanis, reinvigorating an alliance that Pakistani and American authorities say poses a serious risk to the stability of the country.(New York Times)
Is there anyone in the Obama Administration that is in some way responsible for the brewing problems around the world that seem to be coming to a boil? The lack of any apparent focus on anything beyond our borders is frightening.
Is Hilary Clinton on the job somewhere, or is she trying to keep track of her husband which could be a full time job in and of itself? Does President Obama have any plans of dealing with foreign policy? So far, it doesn't seem that way.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Like in any heavyweight fight, we always have the tale of the tape that gives us the particulars of the combatants. Reach, height, weight, record, knockouts, wins by decision and more.
In the case of the controversy over whether President Obama did or didn't bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, we have heard excuses from the White House that it was not a bow, but merely a height issue. After all, President Obama is much taller that the King and in order to shake both of his hands bending down would be necessary. However, upon looking at the tape, it turns out that he is even taller than Queen Elizabeth ll.
President Obama: 6' 1 1/2 "
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia: 5' 6"
Queen Elizabeth ll of England: 5' 4"
As always in politics, the attempted cover-up is always worse than the indiscretion (although maybe not in this case). Simply step up to the plate and let us know why you would choose one or the other monarchs to bow to, but more importantly, as President of the most powerful country in the world why you would be bowing to anyone.
This event does not have the impact or importance of the rescue of Captain Phillips from the Somali pirates, but perhaps it gives a look into the goings on within the mind of President Obama. Let's go to the videotape.
So as the tape clearly shows, the Queen of England received a nod and the King of Saudi Arabia received a bow from the waist.
Handshake, nod, bowing from the waist, isn't it all the same? Is it really that important? Maybe, maybe not.
For one, after winning our freedom from the monarchy in Britain, we earned the right to not have to bow to anyone again.
Second is that while Saudi Arabia is an ally, they are also proponents of Sharia law, one of the strictest forms of Islam and one which metes severe and often deadly punishment for crimes, many of which we would consider to be minor offenses.
If Michelle Obama lived in Saudi Arabia, she would be forced to live life in a much different way than she does as First Lady.
"...Under Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, women face severe discrimination, particularly in matters like education, employment and the justice system. Although they make up 70% of university enrollment, women comprise only 5% of the Saudi workforce. They cannot travel abroad, be admitted into a hospital, be examined by a doctor or leave the house without permission or in the company of an immediate male relative. There is no basis for such restrictions in Islam...
...In an embarrassing display of law enforcement, the Saudi government convicted and sentenced the widow to 40 lashes and four months imprisonment for mingling with her late husband's 24-year-old nephew and his friend, after she had asked them to deliver some bread to her house. (Since her husband's death, she often asks others for help. The Saudi government claims that she has sinned.)"(Daily News)
The point for President Obama to understand is that every action that he takes and every move that he makes is being scrutinized by the entire world. He needs to explain his actions in an honest and clear way, and not rely on his minions to conjure up excuses that do not make any sense.
The cover-up is always worse, particularly in the age of 24 hour news.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Roger Gardner of Radarsite for selecting to use my article, The Story of Socialism on his blog.
For those not familiar with his Radarsite, I would definitely recommend a visit.
A note from Radarsite: The following concise but enlightening essay on Socialism was submitted to Radarsite by Michael Haltman, a friend of our noble fellow warrior Jenn Sierra of Fort Hard Knox
Friday, April 10, 2009
The Story Of Socialism
Socialism: general term for the political and economic theory that advocates a system of collective or government ownership and management of the means of production and distribution of goods. Because of the collective nature of socialism, it is to be contrasted to the doctrine of the sanctity of private property that characterizes capitalism. Where capitalism stresses competition and profit, socialism calls for cooperation and social service...
As promised the Monday inappropriate commercial of the week. Now sometimes these commercials are much more innuendo than pure sex, but use your imagination. Next week there will be nothing left to the imagination:
That Inauguration Was A Mess!
Look closely at the following picture .. Guess where and what it might be. Bomb blast in Moscow . Housing project in Chicago . Hollywood movie set. Aftermath of a tornado in Indiana . Answer appears at the bottom of the picture.
The man inset to the picture is from a commercial from when I was a kid. Floating through a river of garbage wondering why people felt they had the right to destroy nature and the environment.
This is not about politics,, this is just plain courtesy, respect, and being proud to be an American. I heard about the mess that the 1.5 million who attended the inauguration left.....
$21,000,000 Cleanup..... That's $14.00 each for the 1.5 million that attended! Guess none of them got it................Their idea of "personal responsibility" is letting someone else take care of them............
Sunday, April 12, 2009
MOMBASA, Kenya (April 12) - An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday in a swift firefight that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, U.S. officials said. (AOL)
North Korea, Iran and Now Somalia: The Tests Just Keep On Coming With The Grade A Resounding Incomplete
As an update we have still not heard anything from President Obama concerning the Somali standoff or our response , if any to North Korea, but news and pictures out of the White House indicate that a the long awaited first dog has been selected.
So to recap recent events, we are still waiting for a response on the North Korea missile firing from the United Nations, on Iran's Ahmadinejad reafirming his country's right to enrich uranium and on Somalia terrorists feeling they had nothing to fear hijacking a U.S. flagged vessel.
A new development detailed below is that the Somali pirates have apparently fired on a U.S. Navy vessel with no response. As discussed yesterday the captured Captain is a true American hero, a man who put his safety and life at risk in order to save his crew. We can only hope and pray that he will come out of this alive and well.
We are now at the point, however, where this crisis is yet another test of the Obama Administration's resolve. So far, silence, even in the face of gunfire aimed at a Navy vessel, seems to be the course of action. What's next? I am not here to say that this is an easy situation to resolve, but at some point negotiations will have to be deemed a failure, and action taken. For fhe Obama Administration, however, in it's overiding goal of being liked and loved all over the world, talk seems to be the choice d'jour, even under fire.
"Early Saturday, the pirates holding Phillips in the lifeboat fired a few shots at a small U.S. Navy vessel that had approached, a U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
The official said the U.S. sailors did not return fire, the Navy vessel turned away and no one was hurt. He said the vessel had not been attempting a rescue. The pirates are believed armed with pistols and AK-47 assault rifles." (AOL)
It has happened to all of us at one time or another. A suit, a car or the vote for the new school budget. It just hasn't happened before where the stakes are so high.
Here is the question:
If you voted for President Obama, are you glad that you did, and you would do it again?
Did you vote for President Obama, and if you had to do it again, knowing what you know now, you wouldn't?
Did you vote for someone else, and you would vote for someone else again?
Do you not really know?
This is purely an unscientific poll, but an extremely interesting question.
To vote, go to Sodahead.com
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Take a good hard look at the picture below. It is the USS Bainbridge with a Somali dingy in the foreground. The P-3 Orion aircraft that are also in the area are not shown. This is a lot of firepower for the size and scope of the mission. It is a great show of force by the Obama administration, that as we see is not instilling much in the way of fear within the Somali pirates that have U.S. citizen Captain Richard Phillips as a hostage. They have made the demand of $2 MM for his return.
My question to the Obama administration is what Plan B is. These pirates have nothing, and "when you ain't got nothing you ain't got nothing to lose" (Bob Dylan 1965). They live in a failed state and are being directed to do what they do by business interests on shore. These men I am sure are considered expendable by their employers and are therefore in a desperate situation.
The pirates want what they want which is money and they want it much like they have gotten it in every hijacking they have done in the past. They made the mistake this time of targeting a U.S. flagged vessel for the fact that it has brought world attention to the problem that before has been a story buried on page 5.
We can bring an aircraft carrier to the region, but unfortunately for this extremely brave Captain who behaved as a captain will, the only real deterrent going forward is to attack the boat, hopefully save the Captains life, but in the process indicate that going forward there will be no negotiating with terrorists. A pirate with all of romantic thoughts back to the age of Captain Hook, is a terrorist plain and simple. I realize this sounds callaus, and if it was me or a family member or friend of mine I may hesitate to say it.
The Obama administration is now being put in the position of its second foreign affairs test having failed the first one over the North Korea missile launch. The longer this standoff drones on, the weaker we will look. The more we try and negotiate and fail, the weaker we will look. There is no time for U.N. threats or to get a coalition of our allies together, but it is now the time for swift, definitive action out of this administration that says to the world, do not f__k with the United States.
We have not heard much from the President on this issue, and there are hopefully high level talks that are being conducted, but these are the types of situations where the American public needs to hear what the President has to say. He has not been shy in his first days in office as I seem to see him every time I turn on my T.V. Where is he now?
My hopes and prayers go out to this brave Captain's family and friends and I hope to God that he comes out of this okay, but we need to exert our force and resolve this situation.
Friday, April 10, 2009
All For One And One For All
In the spirit of populism and political correctness, certain things have recently been deemed to hold true:
Among them are the fact that not all contracts are made the same. Some are airtight while still others can have attempts made at voiding them if it appears that the majority of the citizenry feels that they are excessive, unfair and unwarranted.
Another is the fact that the majority of employees are good, hard working and honest. That said, because some have exploited the compensation system and have taken on undue and unwarranted risk that almost brought the worlds financial system to it's knees, no employee going forward, no matter how valuable and profitable should receive excessive amounts of compensation (this amount is to be determined).
As a last example, no executive regardless of security or time shall ever take anything other than a car or train to a Congressional hearing lest they be excoriated for their elitism and wastefulness (this of course does not apply to our politicians).
The list goes on, but the general idea is that the rich should be less rich and the poor less poor, not through the rich becoming less motivated or poor working harder to achieve wealth, but by legislating it to be true.
This example points out some of the flaws in the argument (sent to me by a friend of mine):
An economics professor at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class. The majority of the class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said okay, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism.
All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too; so they studied little.. The second Test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F.
The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else. All failed to their great surprise and the professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because the harder to succeed the greater the reward but when a government takes all the reward away; no one will try or succeed.
"A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom,
can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever." John Adams
Thursday, April 9, 2009
What Do Liberals Think?
I wrote an article today called "Somali Pirates Go American Because They Think They Can!" I typically receive comments from what I would describe as your typical liberal, and I will tell you why I say that and give an example.
- They use the name "anonymous" because they are unwilling to put a name to their opinions. They would rather blather under the umbrella of anonymity because they do not have the strength, or courage of their convictions.
- They are incredibly angry. No where in my posts or responses do I resort to name calling or degradation (except today), but rather address the topic. Liberals, with all of their talk of superiority will resort to blistering name calling and put downs at the drop of a dime.
- Living in the past. Liberals will take whatever is happening and turn it around to being a product of the last 8 years, or make comparisons and accusations that make no sense. Instead of looking forward at what is and how we will deal with it, it is all about placing blame and nothing about solutions.
The following comments were made and are extremely instructive of the uphill fight that this country is facing.
hey lets get bobby jindal out there....when he spoke he seemed a little retarded with and without a tele-prompter....that being said..check who was president...9/11...and by the way mike please tell me if there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq...bush fucked up our middle east foreign policy for 20 years just to kill sadaam for daddy....osama bin laden ...how bush embarressed our country..by the way bin laden is doing a tour of 5 star hotels ..somewhere....obama pulling out of iraq and focusing on the real danger afghanistan...i haven't heard bobby jindals feeling on these issues..oh yea..you republicans are hiding him in new orleans teaching him to talk
April 9, 2009 7:22 AM
The Political and Financial Markets Commentator said...
What does any of that have to do with the fact that under the new administration the world now views us as weak and vulnerable, operating with no fear of any retribution other than a worthless U.N. Resolution and a coordinated statement from our allies that will sound tough and mean nothing?
How about addressing that in a cogent and coherent way.
April 9, 2009 8:25 AM
lets attack iraq...afghanistan, north korea iran and russia...as a show of strength all at the same timeasshole...maybe your son will be drafted...you can visit him/her in the summer like sleep a way camp
April 9, 2009 8:37 AM
The Political and Financial Markets Commentator said...
Let's get one thing straight. You are a liberal scumbag that would be the first one throwing his hands up in surrender (even faster if you were French)when there was any danger.
You can crawl into your pathetic little hole, blame everyone but your messiah for the worlds perception of our weakness and hope that the United Nations comes to our rescue.
Next, I never said I had a son, daughter or any children so I wonder what makes you say that, but if you ever mention anyone but me again, all communications will cease.
April 9, 2009 9:43 AM
As you can see, this "give and take" represents the calm and rational thoughts of a stable man, and the incoherent rantings of a liberal that cannot move from the past into the harsh realities of the now and future.
I am going to try and not turn this discussion into a commentary on the world's perception of the strength and resolve of the United States under the Obama administration. Okay, I tried and then I tried again, but I just couldn't do it. The fact of the matter is that other country's or even pirates would typically think long and hard before attacking an American flagged vessel. And then not do it. Why? The real and frightening potential for swift and harsh action.
The fact is that every action typically has some reaction. The Somali pirates must have thought about it, discussed it among themselves and come to the determination that there was really not that much to fear. They, like others, seem to have figured out that President Obama is a great speaker (most of the time particularly in front of a teleprompter), but that his bark seems to worse than his bite.
If we look at recent events such as the blatant disregard of the warnings to North Korea not to test fire a missile, at the same time President Obama was overseas on a meet and greet tour specifically discussing nuclear disarmament, a fear of any retribution obviously did not exist.
Not to pick on any of our allies, but let's use France as an example of a country that would be considered a likely choice to give in to terrorists quickly and easily. The United States would now appear to be viewed in the same way.
I would like to take this opportunity to say to President Obama that he needs to observe what is going on around him and take it all in. Nobody is saying that establishing a stronger, more friendly relationship with our allies is not a good thing. Having more open communications with them is great as well.
But at the end of the day, when push comes to shove and military force has to be used, who will be the leader if not the only participant. That would be the United States.
My suggestion therefore is not to be afraid to be tough and firm because you don't want to be called another George Bush or of possibly angering our allies. You need at the very least to create the perception and belief that you are a man of your word and are willing to back up what you say with action. Not a provocateur, but strong.
You are not in office to make friends. You are in office to protect the American people and advance our interests and if in the process you improve our relations around the world then that would be a bonus.
Remember that there is a fine line between being a good ally and becoming weak and vulnerable. Observe the actions of those that would like to do us harm, and as much as the Democrats ridicule the last 8 years, consider the fact that we have been terror free. Do not give in to the temptation to use the United Nations as our voice, guide and decision maker.