Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Obama’s campaign attacks against Bush now apply to his presidency.

Saving Obama from Himself - Victor Davis Hanson - National Review Online

Obama’s campaign attacks against Bush now apply to his presidency.

Do you remember candidate Barack Obama offering his hope-and-change platitudes in front of the fake Greek columns during the Democratic convention? Or, earlier, pontificating at the Victory Monument in Berlin?

Why didn’t an old cigar-chomping Democratic pro take him aside and warn him about offending Nemesis? She is the dreaded goddess who brings divine retribution in ironic fashion to overweening arrogance.

Or maybe a friend could have whispered to Senator Obama to tone it down when he was merciless in damning the Bush administration for its supposedly slow response to Hurricane Katrina.

Obama railed that Bush showed “unconscionable ineptitude.” Obama further charged that Bush’s response was “achingly slow,” a result of “passive indifference,” and that his team was rife with “corruption and cronyism.”

Those phrases now apply to Obama himself, as he seems lost amid his own disaster — eerily, in about the same Gulf environs. Adding insult to injury, a recent poll revealed that Louisiana residents thought Bush had done a better job with Katrina than Obama has with BP.

Couldn’t one of Obama’s many handlers have warned him to ignore the media’s tingling-leg gaga worship, or their nonsense that Obama is “a god”?

Didn’t Team Obama ever suspect that such an unhinged press, in the manner of a Greek chorus, could just as easily sour on their prophet once his poll ratings fell as quickly as they had soared?

Couldn’t David Axelrod have admonished his candidate to cut out the creepy stuff about himself and his throng being “the ones we’ve been waiting for”? Why was there a need for all that megalomaniac hocus-pocus about slowing the “rise of the oceans” and healing the planet? Sure enough, Nemesis ensured that instead of Lord Poseidon lowering the seas, Obama is a smoky Hephaestus fouling them up.

Did the Nobel Committee members really think they were doing their post-national, post-racial heartthrob any good by giving him a peace prize even though he lacked any record of foreign-policy accomplishment? Didn’t his Scandinavian admirers grasp that prophets suffer the wages of hypocrisy far more readily than mere mortals when things go badly, as they inevitably do? Jay Leno is now more likely to use the phrase “Nobel Laureate Obama” than a serious diplomat.

For nearly two years, Senator, Candidate, and Freshman President Obama ridiculed his predecessor — as if running the executive were as easy a job as community organizing, serving a couple of years in the Senate, or campaigning for president.

But now the once-enthralled electorate is starting to tire of the hope-and-change platitudes, and even of the easy blame-gaming of his predecessor, mostly because almost everything Obama once demagogued is in weird fashion now coming back to haunt him.

Obama easily damned everything from Guantanamo Bay to Predator drone attacks in Afghanistan to the war in Iraq, only to adopt those policies and more from Bush.

He sermonized about the morals of a corrupt Republican Congress, only to keep quiet about earmarks, lobbyists, and the sins of Democratic cronies such as Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Charles Rangel.

Deficits were once supposed proof of Bush’s out-of-control spending. What does far greater red ink say about Obama?

If only swaggering George W. Bush could have been smart enough to reach out to Cuba, Iran, and Syria. Then Obama did just that, only to make bad things even worse.

And remember the Obama comment about an arrogant Bush turning off our allies? Why, then, does an aloof Obama seem to alienate them even more?

The reality of Barack Obama is that he was an inexperienced community organizer with an undistinguished record as a Senate newcomer. A perfect storm of popular anger at eight years of George Bush, a lackluster John McCain campaign, Obama’s landmark candidacy as a black American, a disingenuous campaign promising centrist and bipartisan governance, and the financial meltdown in 2008 got the relatively untried and unknown Obama elected.

Most mortals in Obama’s position would have treaded lightly. They would have kept promises, steered a moderate course, and listened more than lectured until they won over the public with concrete achievement.

But headstrong tragic figures do not do that. They neither welcome in critics nor would listen to them if they did. They impute their unforeseen temporary success to their own brilliance — and expect it to continue forever. So would-be gods set themselves up for a fall far harder than what happens to the rest of us.

That’s about where we are now, with our president playing a character right out of Greek tragedy who, true to form, is railing about the unfairness of it all.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern. © 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

How Unpopular is the Obama Administration?

How Unpopular is the Obama Administration?  by John Hinderacker/Powerline

President Obama's approval ratings have declined steadily since he took office. Among likely voters, those who disapprove of his performance consistently outnumber those who approve by eight points or so. The margin between those who strongly disapprove and those who strongly approve is even greater.

I suspect, however, that those numbers actually overstate the popularity of the Obama administration. Many voters are reluctant to give up on a president they voted for, and, knowing that we are stuck with Obama until 2013, some prefer not to admit how poorly they think our president is doing. Further, Obama continues to enjoy a near-unanimous approval among African-Americans that probably reflects understandable loyalty as much as real satisfaction with the administration's policies.

Another way to assess how the Obama administration is doing with the American people is to follow the approval ratings of other members of the administration. For example, this Rasmussen survey finds that just 32 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of both Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano. 42 percent view Holder unfavorably, while 47 express an unfavorable opinion of Napolitano. Since these two cabinet members oversee key areas of administration policy, this may be a more accurate gauge of what voters think of the Obama administration than the President's own approval ratings.

If that is true, the administration is in serious trouble with the American public. While many Americans--a minority, to be sure--still feel obliged to say that they support our president, a much larger number are deeply disappointed in the policies he and his administration have pursued.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010



Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality.

The Dutch fall into the first group. Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. “Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,” Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.

To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn’t capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks. . . .

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico. . . .

The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer — but only partly. Because the U.S. didn’t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.

(Read the whole thing).
by Glenn Reynolds

Remember: make Laura Ingraham's stuff a stop

Devastating take-down of lawlessness of Obama

The Law? How Quaint! - Victor Davis Hanson - National Review Online (DP: This is a longer, but absolutely essential, essay  from VDH on the callous disregard, flagrant flouting, of the law by Obama)

“Change you can believe in” is working out in practice to mean: If you don’t like the Constitution’s separation of powers — ignore it.

We are well into revolutionary times, but perhaps not in the way we traditionally think of political upheaval. Instead, insidiously, the law itself is becoming negotiable — or rather, it is becoming subservient to what elite overseers at any given time determine is a higher calling of social change.

Of course, progressive federal judges have been creating, rather than interpreting, law for decades. Yet seldom in memory have we seen such a systematic attack on our framework of laws as the present assault from the executive branch.

Federal immigration statutes mandate a clearly defined American border, which aliens may not cross without authorization. Yet the Obama administration not only does not fully enforce those statutes (in this regard, it is not behaving much differently from the prior administration), but also is preparing to sue the state of Arizona for implementing enforcement that follows the intent of neglected federal laws on the books. Apparently, the president believes that enforcement of existing law is a bargaining chip that can be used to obtain “comprehensive immigration reform” — a euphemism for blanket amnesty.

Other states and even cities are now marching in lockstep to boycott Arizona. Meanwhile, the president of Mexico recently blasted Arizonans from the White House Rose Garden, no less, apparently counting on the president of the United States to go along with this demonization of one of his own states. All this is eerie; it has a whiff of the climate of the late 1850s, when the federal government was in perpetual conflict with the states, which in turn were in conflict with one another, and which often appealed to foreign nations for support.

Recently, as if on cue, the secretary of labor, Hilda Solis, produced a video advising workers to contact her office should they feel that they have been shorted wages by their employers. Fair enough. But then she goes on to explicitly include workers who are not documented and to promise them confidentiality, i.e., de facto federal protection for their illegality: “Every worker has a right to be paid fairly, whether documented or not.”

“Undocumented” is part of the current circumlocution for breaking federal law and residing here illegally. In short, although Solis is a federal executive sworn to uphold existing federal law, she has decided which laws suit her and which do not. She rightly promises to pursue lawbreaking employers, but quite wrongly not to pursue lawbreaking employees.

Yet when we become unequal before the law, the entire notion of a lawful society starts to erode. If Secretary Solis has decided that lawbreaking aliens can in confidence count on her protection, then can those who don’t pay their taxes (perhaps citing some sort of prejudice) likewise find exemption from Treasury Secretary Geithner? Can citizens pick and chose their particular compliances — run red lights, but still want shoplifters arrested? Break the speed limit, but insist that cars stop at crosswalks? Do questions of race, class, and gender determine the degree to which the federal government considers enforcing existing law?

Recently in Port Chester, N.Y., a federal judge made a mockery of the concept of one man, one vote. Apparently the magistrate felt that Hispanics in Port Chester needed help to elect someone with whom they can identify along racial lines. So, to ensure the election of an Hispanic to the village Board of Trustees, the judge created a system of cumulative voting. Each voter was given six votes, and the explicit hope was that Hispanics would give all their votes to Hispanic candidates, voting on the basis of race rather than policy. Now we hear this may well become a precedent that the federal government will use to ensure diversity elsewhere.

When an “Hispanic” was duly elected as one of the six trustees, the judge and other observers were pleased that Hispanic voters had achieved the intended result. There was no thought, of course, about what constituted “Hispanic.” Does it require three-quarters Hispanic blood? One-half? One-quarter? One-eighth? Does Puerto Rican count, but not Spanish? Mexican, but not Portuguese or Basque? There was also no thought about whether such racial pigeonholing was good for the country. After all, focusing on race, while violating the cherished notion of each citizen enjoying one — and only one — vote, might also conjure up some disturbing memories from our not-too-distant past.

BP has acted in derelict fashion in the Gulf. But that does not justify the Obama administration’s decision — without a court order and without legislation passed by Congress — to ignore past legal precedent capping oil-company liability. Instead, this administration promises to “kick ass” and put a “boot on their necks” until BP coughs up, say, $20 billion in reparations. If a president by fiat can demand $20 billion from a corporation to create a payout fund, why not $30 or perhaps $100 billion? Or better yet, in South American style, why not simply nationalize BP altogether?

We saw something like this before from the Obama administration, when it bailed out the bankrupt Chrysler Corporation and by executive order overturned the legally determined order of creditors. “Senior” creditors were to have been, by contract, the first paid, while junior creditors waited in line. But the latter group included union workers. So Obama derided the senior lenders as “speculators” and simply put his own constituents and campaign donors in front of them. The first sign of a debauched society is that it does not honor contracts, but reinterprets them according to perceived political advantage.

Now there is talk of an executive decree from the Environmental Protection Agency to implement provisions of cap-and-trade legislation that Congress will not pass. Republican senators are already worried that the administration will likewise simply begin to grant amnesty to illegal aliens en masse, without introducing such a proposal to Congress, which alone has the right and responsibility to make our laws. And the recent executive order to ban all offshore drilling in the Gulf clearly circumvented the legal process. (Does the government have the right to shut down every flight if one airplane crashes, or to mothball all nuclear plants should one leak?) Instead of putting a moratorium on the sort of deep-drilling procedure and pipe fittings that BP used, the Obama administration simply issued a blanket ban on all offshore drilling — as if the real intent was not to allow the crisis of an oil spill to go to waste in the larger environmental effort to reduce carbon emissions.

What do all these ends-justify-the-means examples portend? Mostly, they reflect an effort by a technocratic class to implement social change through extralegal means if it finds that its agenda does not meet with public approval. In some sense, the Obamians have lost all faith that our democracy shares their vision, and so they seek to impose their exalted will by proclamation — as if they are the new Jacobins and America is revolutionary France throwing off the old order.

In late 2008, the liberal hope was that an elected President Obama, with large Democratic majorities in both the Senate and the House, could do just about whatever he wanted. But then a number of obstacles arose, from occasionally recalcitrant Democratic legislators to bothersome things like filibusters. In response, Obama was not content with achieving his liberal ends, but sought to change the very means of obtaining them; even New York Times columnists suddenly resented the calcification of American politics, and pointed to the ease with which dictatorial China can simply impose green change.

Note the logic of all this. Federal officials determine a supposed good and then find the necessary way to achieve it. The law be damned. “Diversity,” unions, environmentalism — any of these anointed causes trumps the staid idea of simply following the letter of the law.

The final irony? It was law professor Obama who campaigned on respect for the rule of law as he serially trashed elements of the Bush administration’s war on terror — almost all of which he subsequently kept or expanded. Note how what was deemed illegal before 2009 has suddenly become quite legal and worthy of emulation and indeed expansion.

As Obama’s polls continue to erode and congressional support for his agenda further dwindles, expect his cabinet to continue to seek ways around the enforcement of existing law. You see, in the current climate, the law is seen as retrograde, an obstacle to the advancement of long-overdue social change — which is to be implemented by a law professor and a past fierce critic of George Bush’s supposed constitutional transgressions.

While the media still rail about fanciful threats to constitutional stability from right-wing Tea Party types, we are getting real usurpation — but with a hope-and-change smile.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, the editor of Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome, and the author of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern.

News flash: gov't work growth vs. private decline

The Corner - National Review Online

Private Sector Losses vs. Public Sector Gains [Veronique de Rugy]
It's been a while since I reported on private-sector and public-sector job growth since the passage of the stimulus bill. Here is a chart, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that speaks for itself.

Since the beginning of the recession (roughly January 2008), some 7.9 million jobs were lost in the private sector while 590,000 jobs were gained in the public one. And since the passage of the stimulus bill (February 2009), over 2.6 million private jobs were lost, but the government workforce grew by 400,000.
I will leave it up to you to draw conclusions.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

1 minute video says it all--O should stop lying about border being secure

(Full screen web URL:

Constitution? First Amend't? They don't need it, don't want you to have it, and spit on it!

MARK HEMINGWAY: House ’shreds our constitution for raw, ugly, partisan gain’ by vote of 219-206. “So unions now get nearly unrestricted, undisclosed political spending. Further, the restrictions in the DISCLOSE Act only cut one way — against business. If you took TARP funds as a business, express political advocacy is now verboten. So GM has very limited first amendment rights, but even though arguably primary beneficiary of the auto bailout was the United Auto Workers union which got government guaranteed billions directly as a result of the TARP funding — UAW can spend almost whatever it pleases, and it has a history of spending millions on Democratic campaigns. Further, under the DISCLOSE Act if a company has more than $7 million in government contracts, it has no right to political speech. But public sector unions can spend millions of recycled tax dollars campaigning for Democrats, no problem.”

by Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit
Read the whole article:

Budget? We don't need to pass no stinkin' budget

Hoyer: Yeah, we’re punting the budget this year by Ed Morrissey/Hot Air

The primary responsibility of Congress under the Constitution is to pass a budget for the federal government. The Democrats have a 77-seat majority in the House and an 18-seat majority in the Senate, where filibusters won’t apply anyway on budgetary matters. Barack Obama’s presidency gives them a clear path to passing whatever budget Democrats desire for FY2011. And so, obviously, all of this has proven too much of a hurdle for Democrats to overcome, as Steny Hoyer admitted today:

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer made official Tuesday morning what most insiders have known for months: Congress won’t do a budget this year.

Instead, Democrats are pushing an alternative route that falls well short of the more rigorous annual budget resolution — a short-term resolution that will call for discretionary spending lower than in President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget. But he said Congress wouldn’t take longer-term budget action before hearing from Obama’s fiscal commission in December. Republicans have lambasted Democrats for not passing a budget resolution, saying that’s the first time it’s happened since 1976.

John Boehner wasted no time in blasting his counterparts across the aisle for dereliction of their first duty:

Republicans have already seized on the budgetary inaction. Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent out a mocking statement that said: “We regret to inform you that the congressional budget for fiscal year 2011 has been canceled due to Washington Democrats’ out-of-control spending spree.”

Debra Saunders notes that Democrats had defined such a failure in stark terms just four years ago:

“If you can’t budget, you can’t govern,” Rep. John Spratt Jr., D-S.C., proclaimed in 2006 when the House GOP leadership chose to dispense with passing a budget resolution.

Now that the Dems run the House, Spratt is chairman of its Budget Committee and the April 15 deadline for passing a budget resolution is a niggling detail, easily ignored. House Democrats have decided to not even try to pass a budget resolution before this fiscal year expires on Sept. 30 – and may well delay passage until after the November elections. …

But this year, Democrats won’t pass a budget resolution – which means there will be no limit on spending in next year’s 12 spending authorization bills. Democratic proposals to cut budgets by 2 percent won’t see a floor vote.

As the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget noted last month, “The very reasonable push to reduce some discretionary spending has left the House unable to agree on a plan.” In short, D.C. lawmakers cannot curb the growth in government spending to save their own necks.

“Saving their own necks” is what this is all about. The Democrats in Congress believe what Rep. Gerry Connolly told the LA Times, which is that no member of Congress ever lost an election because of a failure to pass a budget. They don’t want to be on the hook for the hard decisions that must come in FY2011, which is either to drastically reduce spending from the binge levels of the last three Democratic Congresses, or to raise taxes to cover it. Spending cuts won’t change voter perception of this Congress at this late date — and tax hikes will make it worse.

Spratt is right — a failure to budget is a failure to govern. Democrats seem intent on proving their unworthiness to lead Congress in even its most basic tasks. At the same time, their leadership wants voters to trust them to make the most personal of decisions in their health care, as well as believe that they can cool the planet and lower the sea level with punitive taxes on energy production and boondoggles in alternative energy. They can’t even govern themselves.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's Obama's economy to screw up

YOU DON’T SAY: Business leaders say Obama’s economic policies stifle growth. “The chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of top corporate executives that has been President Obama’s closest ally in the business community, accused the president and Democratic lawmakers Tuesday of creating an ‘increasingly hostile environment for investment and job creation.’”

..."In our judgment, we have reached a point where the negative effects of these policies are simply too significant to ignore," Seidenberg said in a lunchtime speech to the Economic Club of Washington. "By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses."
...The final straw, said Roundtable president John Castellani, was the introduction of two pieces of legislation, now pending in Congress, that the group views as particularly bad for business. One, a provision of the administration's financial regulation overhaul, would make it easier for shareholders to nominate corporate board members. The other would raise taxes on multinational corporations. The rhetoric accompanying the tax proposals has been particularly harsh, Castellani said, with Democrats vowing to campaign in this fall's midterm elections on a platform of punishing companies that move jobs overseas.

by Glenn Reynolds

Pelosi: send donations to fend off GOP investigations

Pelosi asks for donations to fend off potential GOP investigations - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room By Eric Zimmermann

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is asking supporters for contributions to help prevent the "subpoenas and investigations" that would result from a GOP majority.

In a fundraising letter for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Pelosi says if Republicans take back the House, they'll initiate "endless investigations against President Obama" and "bring back the days of Ken Starr and the politics of personal destruction."

"Remember a Republican-controlled Congress that devoted more time to subpoenas and investigations than to solving our country's problems?" Pelosi asks. "There is far too much at stake for our country now to allow it to happen again."

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, has shown himself willing and eager to be a thorn in the side of the Obama administration on everything from the BP oil spill to the Joe Sestak job offer. Few doubt that he would use a chairmanship to ramp up those efforts.

Seizing on Pelosi's letter, Issa said Pelosi was effectively seeking "immunity" for the Obama administration.

"Obviously, Speaker Pelosi believes that a Democratic Congress should give this administration immunity from legitimate questions and appropriate accountability," Issa said. "Her statements are indicative of the desperate state her Majority is in and if the best case she can make is to caution the American people against the dangers of conducting legitimate and vigorous oversight, she is welcome to make that case."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Flashback: Media Promoted Military Criticism of President Bush

Flashback: Media Promoted Military Criticism of President Bush By Lachlan Markay

No general should criticize his or her commander, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal is no exception. But the mainstream media is primarily concerned with the political fallout of McChrystal's apparent insubordination as revealed by a piece in Rolling Stone. They are not concerned with whether his critiques are accurate, in stark contrast to other military officers' critiques of war policy under the Bush administration.

During Bush's tenure, active duty generals that spoke out against administration policy were portrayed as courageous whistleblowers. Retired generals were treated as ever-wise sages of military policy. None were scrutinized as McChrystal, pictured right, has been in the hours since Rolling Stone released its article.

The most prominent active duty general to earn the media's affection was Gen. Eric Shinseki, current Secretary of Veterans Affairs (to the media's delight). He insisted in 2003 that, contrary to Defense Department policy as iterated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the United States would need to send "hundreds of thousands" of troops to Iraq during the initial invasion. The media ate it up.

Granted, Shinseki made his comments before the Senate Armed Services Committee, a more appropriate setting than in the pages of a magazine. But the fact remains that Shinseki was expressing an opinion--one that undermined administration policy--and the media seized on his statement not as a commentary on the chain of command, but rather as criticism of the administration's war effort.

"Top generals, including Eric Shinseki," wrote the Boston Globe in 2004, "fault Pentagon leadership for not heeding their advice to deploy more ground forces before the invasion or to prepare adequately for the aftermath."

After Shinseki's repudiation of official military policy prompted rebukes from Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, the New York Times dubbed those rebukes "unusual" and went on to bemoan the fact that Shinseki "has not had more influence on the war planning and the allocation of forces," in the words of another Army general.

The Times also devoted a piece to active duty personnel's criticisms of Rumsfeld and the Iraqi war effort generally. The article read,

Long-simmering tensions between Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Army commanders have erupted in a series of complaints from officers on the Iraqi battlefield that the Pentagon has not sent enough troops to wage the war as they want to fight it…

One colonel, who spoke on the condition that his name be withheld, was among the officers criticizing decisions to limit initial deployments of troops to the region. "He wanted to fight this war on the cheap," the colonel said. "He got what he wanted."...

Underlying the strains between Mr. Rumsfeld and the Army, which began at the beginning of Mr. Rumsfeld's tenure, are questions that challenge not only the Rumsfeld design for this war but also his broader approach to transforming the military.

Instead of going on to examine the apparent problems with a military chain of command in which policymakers are criticized, the Times, the Globe, and many other media outlets used critiques from officers both named and anonymous to question the effectiveness and wisdom of American military policy.

McChrystal's statements could spur some discussion on whether President Obama is really up to the task in Afghanistan--the general is certainly is not the first to suggest it. Yet the media focus has been almost entirely trained on the general himself and on the supposed danger of a dysfunctional chain of command and a general who questions the president's orders.

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter today explained, in the words of his headline, "Why Military Code Demands McChrystal's Resignation."

"The most important issue at hand in the furor over Gen. Stanley McChrystal's acerbic comments in Rolling Stone," wrote Alter, "is the central one in a democracy: civilian control over the military." Got it? The question is not whether McChrystal's critiques of the administration could shine some light on an ineffective war effort or misguided military policies.

No, unlike military criticism of Bush war policy, McChrystal's comments spur discussion of the intricacies of a civilian-controlled military, not the specific policies employed by the civilian government and their consequences on the battlefield.

Time's Joe Klein applauded Mike Huckabee in 2007 for saying he "would have met with Shinseki privately and carefully weighed his advice." But now Klein is far more concerned with the "military tradition and practice" violated by generals who speak out against their commanders than he is with the ongoing war effort.

McChrystal was of course out of line. But media liberals who are only distraught at potential insubordination when the subordinate does not aid their political goals in speaking out are commentators whose opinions must be taken with a few grains of salt.

—Lachlan Markay is an associate with Dialog New Media.

Read more:

Pelosi’s lame blame game: No ‘burrowed-in’ Bush appointees oversaw Deepwater Horizon

Pelosi’s lame blame game: No ‘burrowed-in’ Bush appointees oversaw Deepwater Horizon Washington Examiner By: Joel S. Gehrke Jr.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recently blamed Bush appointees who “burrowed in” at the Minerals Management Service for the regulatory failures that led to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But as it turns out, not one of the officials responsible for overseeing the exploded rig was a Bush political appointee.

The Washington Examiner has obtained biographic information on the MMS officials responsible for overseeing BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig at the time it exploded, from the Gulf Region Director to the last inspector to set foot on the rig. Most of these federal employees started with the agency decades ago. Not one was a presidential appointment of George W. Bush, although one longtime MMS employee in question was promoted to his current position during the Bush Administration.

Drew Hammill, Speaker Pelosi’s press secretary, told the Examiner that Pelosi had been referring more generally to a “whole culture” at MMS of lax oversight.”The Speaker had in mind that there was a culture at the Bush Administration of regulators having a cozy relationship with the Big Oil they were regulating,” said Hammill.

On May 27, Pelosi was asked by a reporter whether congressional Democrats had failed in overseeing MMS. She replied by blaming “burrowed-in” Bush appointees for the breakdown in oversight that resulted in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

“Many of the people appointed in the Bush administration are still burrowed in the agencies that are supposed to oversee the [oil] industry,” Pelosi said.

The Examiner subsequently left repeated messages with the Speaker Pelosi’s office seeking the names of Bush appointees to whom the Speaker was referring. When contacted Friday, Hammill confessed: “I do not know.” He added: “She wasn’t making specific – she didn’t mention any names in the press conference, but there are people who have moved from administration to administration…” He also said, ”We aren’t going to give out names of government employees.”

Neither the officials at the Minerals Management Service who work in New Orleans District — which has immediate jurisdiction over Deepwater Horizon rig — nor their superiors in the Gulf Region owe their career to the Bush Administration. They got their jobs applying for a civil service position through the normal federal hiring process. With two exceptions, these officials have worked at MMS since at least the 1980s. The two most recent members of the Gulf Region MMS are not connected to the Bush Administration, either.

Hammill pointed to a report recently published by the Office of the Inspector General. “I think the people she had in mind were discussed in the IG reports, and you’d have to get their names from the Inspector General,” he said. The two most recent IG reports detail investigations of the nearby Lake Charles District, which did not have oversight of the ruptured well, and another MMS district in Colorado. The former report does allude to a scandal involving Don Howard, the regional supervisor for MMS stationed in the New Orleans office, but Mr Howard was fired in January, 2007, two years before BP bought the rights to drill in the area where the spill is located and three years before the spill began.

The MMS Public Affairs office provided The Examiner with background information on the MMS staffers with direct roles in overseeing Deepwater Horizon. Here’s the rundown:

Eric Neal was the “novice” drill inspector that the MMS sent out for what would be the last Deepwater Horizon inspection before this disaster started. Eric Neal started as a career employee of MMS in 2003, following in the footsteps of his father, Robert Neal. The elder Neal started with the agency in 1984 and was promoted to his current position there in 1993.

The Neals both report to their Unit Supervisor, Phil McLean, who joined MMS in 1999.

Frank Patton, the New Orleans district drilling engineer, joined the United States Geological Service in 1976, and then joined MMS in 1988. Patton was responsible for approving three BP Deepwater Horizon permits in 24 hours, including two within ten minutes of their receipt, one week before the rig blew. Patton later admitted approving the defective blowout preventer on the BP rig without verifying that the “last-ditch mechanism” on the blowout preventer would work.

Patton and McLean both report to David Trocquet, the New Orleans District Director who joined MMS in 1988.

Trocquet’s superior is Michael Saucier, the Regional Supervisor of Field Operations. Saucier started with MMS in 1984.

Lars Herbst and John Rodi are the Director and Deputy Director of the Gulf Region, and Michael Saucier’s immediate superiors. Herbst started with MMS in 1983, and Rodi started in 1981. Herbst was promoted to his current position by Randall Luthi, the MMS Director under Bush’s Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, but he kept his position after President Obama appointed a new Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, and after Salazar named Elizabeth Birnbaum his MMS director.

In addition to her charges about “burrowed in” Bush appointees, Pelosi has told reporters that she will continue to blame Bush for the nation’s current ills until “the problems go away.”

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Don't forget to check the latest from Laura

"The dossier" of Barack Hussein Obama

Of the statements that I know the facts on, I find no innaccuracies, which lends credibility to the entire presentation--THIS IS A MUST WATCH...BETTER NOW THAN NEVER:

What we could've known with real reporting

All the President’s Rubes By Ed Driscoll/Pajamas Media

An up and coming pundit named Richard Cohen writes:

It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all. It consists instead of a series of challenges — of problems that need fixing, not wrongs that need to be righted. As Winston Churchill once said of a certain pudding, Obama’s approach to foreign affairs lacks theme. So, it seems, does the man himself.

For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. He treats the Israelis and their various enemies as pests of equal moral standing. The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.

This, of course, is the Obama enigma: Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?

Who indeed. If only Cohen worked for an organization that had people paid to gather facts and…what’s the word I’m looking for — reported them to the public — yes, that’s it! — before going all in on a candidate. Perhaps someone should invent such a business. It could combine a mass audience with a veneer of… hmmm, what’s a word that rhymes with mass? Class! Yes, that’s it.

You could print it on paper for a retro vibe and call it news on paper, a paper of news, something like that. I’m sure there’s got to be a catchier name for it, and it’ll come to me eventually. But in these days of media experimentation, such a venture could really catch on with elitist readers, particularly inside the Washington Beltway.

McChrystal’s real offense; think you know? Read

McChrystal’s real offense Washington Examiner

By: Byron York

There is a lot of uproar about Gen. Stanley’s McChrystal’s disrespectful comments about his civilian bosses in the Obama administration, and President Obama would be entirely justified in firing McChrystal for statements McChrystal and his subordinates made to Rolling Stone. Obama is a deeply flawed commander-in-chief who doesn’t want to be fighting a war on terror, but he is the commander-in-chief. He should have a general who will carry out his policies without public complaint until the voters can decide to change those policies.

But the bigger problem with McChrystal’s leadership has always been the general’s devotion to unreasonably restrictive rules of engagement that are resulting in the unnecessary deaths of American and coalition forces. We have had many, many accounts of the rules endangering Americans, and the Rolling Stone article provides more evidence. In the story, a soldier at Combat Outpost JFM who had earlier met with McChrystal was killed in a house that American officers had asked permission to destroy. From the article:

The night before the general is scheduled to visit Sgt. Arroyo’s platoon for the memorial, I arrive at Combat Outpost JFM to speak with the soldiers he had gone on patrol with. JFM is a small encampment, ringed by high blast walls and guard towers. Almost all of the soldiers here have been on repeated combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and have seen some of the worst fighting of both wars. But they are especially angered by Ingram’s death. His commanders had repeatedly requested permission to tear down the house where Ingram was killed, noting that it was often used as a combat position by the Taliban. But due to McChrystal’s new restrictions to avoid upsetting civilians, the request had been denied. “These were abandoned houses,” fumes Staff Sgt. Kennith Hicks. “Nobody was coming back to live in them.”

One soldier shows me the list of new regulations the platoon was given. “Patrol only in areas that you are reasonably certain that you will not have to defend yourselves with lethal force,” the laminated card reads. For a soldier who has traveled halfway around the world to fight, that’s like telling a cop he should only patrol in areas where he knows he won’t have to make arrests. “Does that make any f–king sense?” Pfc. Jared Pautsch. “We should just drop a f–king bomb on this place. You sit and ask yourself: What are we doing here?”

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Obama should resign or change--won't do either

Resign... or Change, Mr. President By Kevin McCullough

While defending his own policies President Obama has routinely been rude and sarcastic to his predecessor, George W. Bush. Yet Obama appears to be making the resident of the previous White House look like a genius compared to his own serious missteps in office.

Case in point – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's performance and the communication of priorities on the issue of oil rig safety in the Gulf of Mexico.

It seems incomprehensible that the president and other members of the administration still have jobs when it is now being reported that the federal government was apprised by BP on February 13 that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was leaking oil and natural gas into the ocean floor.

In fact, according to documents in the administration's possession, BP was fighting large cracks at the base of the well for roughly ten days in early February.

Further it seems the administration was also informed about this development, six weeks before to the rig's fatal explosion when an engineer from the University of California, Berkeley, announced to the world a near miss of an explosion on the rig by stating, "They damn near blew up the rig."

It's also now being reported that BP was asking for the administration's help on this matter long before the deadly accident and the now gushing well of tar.

Which leads me to some questions for the president. If I were in front row of reporters in the White House briefing room, here’s what I’d like to know:

1. It appears, Mr. President, that you were informed by BP about problems on Deepwater Horizon on February 13 and the company wanted your help. What did you say?

2. Given this new revelation, Mr. President, how can you can sleep at night knowing that your inaction cost the lives of eleven men in Louisiana?

3. Did you inform the victims' families about these facts when you invited them to the White House for last month's photo op?

4. You've said, Mr. President, time and again, that the buck stops with you. Doesn’t that statement seem like something bordering on propaganda when you follow it up with what appears to be a false sense of outrage by telling Matt Lauer that you're looking for rear ends to kick?

5. Does the buck stop with you… or not?

6. Are you going to insist that Mr. Salazar step down from his post in disgrace and shame?

7. Will you hold another prime time television press conference and tell the entire truth to the American people? -- These would be the actions of a man who says that the buck "stops" with him.

8. I know when this news was breaking midday on Saturday about the latest BP developments that you and the Vice President were out on the golf course. Was it 39th or 40th time you've played a round in 18 months? (Just for a point of reference President Bush played golf 24 times in eight years.) Never mind, your priorities are for you to decide. At least until election night...

And now here's where I would not be able to stop myself from saying more...

It is one thing, Mr. President, to be forced to deal with unexpected circumstances and to have to deal with genuinely new problems. President Bush sure had to. He had to respond to an attack on our homeland that took the lives of 3,000 of our fellow citizens. But on his watch no other terrorist actions took lives of Americans on our soil, largely due to his steadfast leadership and willingness to accept no excuses on the matter.

But Mr. President, you seem to have very little leadership experience and it appears you have even less skill. Being a good dad and nice guy who sees the world as he wishes it to be is not exactly a resume of exacting leadership.

Your advisers have failed you and you have failed the American people on nearly everything we've asked of you.

Where you go from here is really your call, but you should consider two options if you genuinely love the country you work for and those of us you report to.

First, change your tactics. Second, appear to care. Attempt to engage and empower Americans who can and will go solve this mess.

Otherwise resign.

For the good of the nation, for your own children's future, change your patterns or change your path... but change!

You do remember that word don't you, Mr. President?

Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of "'Baldwin/McCullough Radio" now heard on 213 stations and columnist based in New York. He blogs at www.muscleheadrevolution.comHis second book "The Kind Of MAN Every Man SHOULD Be is in stores now. And host of "The Kevin McCullough Show" weekdays 7a-9am EST on Sirius 161/XM 227.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Well problems notified to MMS in February

Cracks Show BP Was Battling Gulf Well as Early as February

BP Plc was struggling to seal cracks in its Macondo well as far back as February, more than two months before an explosion killed 11 and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

It took 10 days to plug the first cracks, according to reports BP filed with the Minerals Management Service that were later delivered to congressional investigators. Cracks in the surrounding rock continued to complicate the drilling operation during the ensuing weeks. Left unsealed, they can allow explosive natural gas to rush up the shaft.

“Once they realized they had oil down there, all the decisions they made were designed to get that oil at the lowest cost,” said Peter Galvin of the Center for Biological Diversity, which has been working with congressional investigators probing the disaster. “It’s been a doomed voyage from the beginning.”

BP didn’t respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment. The company’s shares rose 22 pence to 359 pence today in London after the company struck a deal with the Obama administration yesterday to establish a $20 billion fund to pay cleanup costs and compensation. BP has lost 45 percent of its market value since the catastrophe.

On Feb. 13, BP told the minerals service it was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, drilling documents obtained by Bloomberg show. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the fissures played a role in the disaster.

‘Cement Squeeze’

The company attempted a “cement squeeze,” which involves pumping cement to seal the fissures, according to a well activity report. Over the following week the company made repeated attempts to plug cracks that were draining expensive drilling fluid, known as “mud,” into the surrounding rocks.

BP used three different substances to plug the holes before succeeding, the documents show.

“Most of the time you do a squeeze and then let it dry and you’re done,” said John Wang, an assistant professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering at Penn State in University Park, Pennsylvania. “It dries within a few hours.”

Repeated squeeze attempts are unusual and may indicate rig workers are using the wrong kind of cement, Wang said.

Grappling Engineers

BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward and other top executives were ignorant of the difficulties the company’s engineers were grappling with in the well before the explosion, U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said today during a hearing in Washington.

“We could find no evidence that you paid any attention to the tremendous risk BP was taking,” Waxman said as Hayward waited to testify. “There is not a single e-mail or document that you paid the slightest attention to the dangers at this well.”

BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles and exploration chief Andy Inglis “were apparently oblivious to what was happening,” said Waxman, a California Democrat. “BP’s corporate complacency is astonishing.”

In early March, BP told the minerals agency the company was having trouble maintaining control of surging natural gas, according to e-mails released May 30 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the spill.

Gas Surges

While gas surges are common in oil drilling, companies have abandoned wells if they determine the risk is too high. When a Gulf well known as Blackbeard threatened to blow out in 2006, Exxon Mobil Corp. shut the project down.

“We don’t proceed if we cannot do so safely,” Exxon Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson told a House Energy and Commerce committee panel on June 15.

On March 10, BP executive Scherie Douglas e-mailed Frank Patton, the mineral service’s drilling engineer for the New Orleans district, telling him: “We’re in the midst of a well control situation.”

The incident was a “showstopper,” said Robert Bea, an engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has consulted with the Interior Department on offshore drilling safety. “They damn near blew up the rig.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Alison Fitzgerald in Washington at; Joe Carroll in Washington at

The 2001/2003 Tax Cuts: Myth vs. Reality

The 2001/2003 Tax Cuts: Myth vs. Reality [Brian Riedl]

Congress, blaming the 2001/2003 tax cuts for structural budget deficits, is considering letting many or all of them expire this December. However, my new report, “The Three Biggest Myths About Tax Cuts and the Budget Deficit,” shows:

● The 2001/2003 tax cuts are responsible for just 14 percent of the swing from budget surpluses to budget deficits between 2002 and 2011. CBO data reveals that spending and economic factors play an overwhelmingly larger role in the deficits.

● More specifically, the tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 are responsible for just 4 percent of the swing from surpluses to deficits.

● Even without any tax cuts, Washington would have run $4 trillion in deficits over the decade as a result of runaway spending as well as economic factors.

● The president’s claim that future budget deficits are “the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program” is based on a methodology that fails basic statistics — and is still wrong even by that methodology.

● Repealing the “Tax Cuts for the Rich” would close just 5 percent of the 2011–2020 budget deficit, and would be dwarfed by trillions in new spending.

● Even if all tax cuts are extended and the AMT is fixed, tax revenues are still projected to surpass their 18.0 percent of GDP historical average by 2017. That means 100 percent of the surging budget deficit after 2017 will be the result of Washington spending 6 percent of GDP more than the historical average. None of it will be caused by below-average revenues.

● Specifically, 90 percent of the rising budget deficit by 2020 will be the result of rising entitlement and net interest spending, while the other 10 percent will be the result of other spending hikes. Above-average revenues will partially offset this new spending (even with all tax cuts).

Read the entire report (with printable version here).

— Brian Riedl is Grover M. Hermann fellow in federal budgetary affairs at the Heritage Foundation.

Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?

Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny? - By THOMAS SOWELL

When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics.

Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler's rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.

"Useful idiots" was the term supposedly coined by V.I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union.

Put differently, a democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive.

In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.

The president's poll numbers are going down because increasing numbers of people disagree with particular policies of his, but the damage being done to the fundamental structure of this nation goes far beyond particular counterproductive policies.

Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere.

And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Many among the public and in the media may think that the issue is simply whether BP's oil spill has damaged many people, who ought to be compensated.

But our government is supposed to be "a government of laws and not of men."

If our laws and our institutions determine that BP ought to pay $20 billion — or $50 billion or $100 billion — then so be it.

But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without "due process of law."

Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.

With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution.

If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don't believe in constitutional government.

And, without constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a "crisis" — which, as the president's chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to "go to waste" as an opportunity to expand the government's power.

That power will of course not be confined to BP or to the particular period of crisis that gave rise to the use of that power, much less to the particular issues.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt arbitrarily took the United States off the gold standard, he cited a law passed during the First World War to prevent trading with the country's wartime enemies. But there was no war when FDR ended the gold standard's restrictions on the printing of money.

At about the same time, during the worldwide Great Depression, the German Reichstag passed a law "for the relief of the German people."

That law gave Hitler dictatorial powers that were used for things going far beyond the relief of the German people — indeed, powers that ultimately brought a rain of destruction down on the German people and on others.

If the agreement with BP was an isolated event, perhaps we might hope that it would not be a precedent. But there is nothing isolated about it.

The man appointed by President Obama to dispense BP's money as the administration sees fit, to whomever it sees fit, is only the latest in a long line of presidentially appointed "czars" controlling different parts of the economy, without even having to be confirmed by the Senate, as Cabinet members are.

Those who cannot see beyond the immediate events to the issues of arbitrary power — vs. the rule of law and the preservation of freedom — are the "useful idiots" of our time. But useful to whom?

Barack Obama, Dreamer in Chief--deluded to the core

Barack Obama, Dreamer in Chief - Charles Krauthammer - National Review Online

Vision is Obama’s thing. It sure beats cleaning up beaches.

Pres. Barack Obama doesn’t do the mundane. He was sent to us to do larger things. You could see that plainly in his Oval Office address on the Gulf oil spill. He could barely get himself through the pedestrian first half: a bit of BP-bashing, a bit of faux-Clintonian “I feel your pain,” a bit of recovery and economic-mitigation accounting. It wasn’t until the end of the speech — the let-no-crisis-go-to-waste part that tried to leverage the Gulf Coast devastation to advance his cap-and-trade climate-change agenda — that Obama warmed to his task.

Pedestrian is beneath Obama. Mr. Fix-It he is not. He is world-historical, the visionary, come to make the oceans recede and the planet heal.

How? By creating a glorious, new clean-green economy. And how exactly to do that? From Washington, by presidential command, and with tens of billions of dollars thrown around. With the liberal (and professorial) conceit that scientific breakthroughs can be legislated into existence, Obama proposes to give us a new industrial economy.

But is this not what we’ve been trying to do for decades with ethanol — which remains a monumental boondoggle, economically unviable and environmentally damaging to boot — as with yesterday’s panacea, synfuels, into which Jimmy Carter poured billions?

Notice that Obama no longer talks about Spain, which until recently he repeatedly cited for its visionary subsidies of a blossoming new clean-energy industry. That’s because Spain, now on the verge of bankruptcy, is pledged to reverse its disastrously bloated public spending, including radical cuts in subsidies to its uneconomical photovoltaic industry.

There’s a reason petroleum is such a durable fuel. It’s not, as Obama fatuously suggested, because of oil-company lobbying, but because it is very portable, energy-dense, and easy to use.

But this doesn’t stop Obama from thinking that he can mandate a superior substitute into being. His argument: Well, if we can put a man on the moon, why not this?

Aside from the irony that this most tiresome of clich├ęs comes from a president who is canceling our program to return to the moon, it is utterly meaningless. The wars on cancer and on poverty have been similarly sold. They remain unwon. Why? Because we knew how to land on the moon. We had the physics to do it. Cancer cells, on the other hand, are far more complex than the Newtonian equations that govern a moon landing. Equally daunting are the laws of social interaction — even assuming there are any — that sustain a culture of poverty.

Similarly, we don’t know how to make renewables that match the efficiency of fossil fuels. In the interim, it is Obama and his Democratic allies who, as they dream of such scientific leaps, are unwilling to use existing technologies to reduce our dependence on foreign (i.e., imported) and risky (i.e., deepwater) sources of oil — twin dependencies that Obama decried in Tuesday’s speech.

“Part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean,” said Obama, is “because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.”

Running out of places on land? What about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or the less-known National Petroleum Reserve — 23 million acres of Alaska’s North Slope, near the existing pipeline and designated nearly a century ago for petroleum development — that have been shut down by the federal government?

Running out of shallow-water sources? How about the Pacific Ocean, a not-inconsiderable body of water, and its vast U.S. coastline? That’s been off-limits to new drilling for three decades.

We haven’t run out of safer and more easily accessible sources of oil. We’ve been run off them by environmentalists. They prefer to dream green instead.

Obama is dreamer in chief: He wants to take us to this green future “even if we’re unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don’t yet precisely know how we’re going to get there.” Here’s the offer: Tax carbon, spend trillions, and put government in control of the energy economy — and he will take you he knows not where, by way of a road he knows not which.

That’s why Tuesday’s speech was received with such consternation. It was so untethered from reality. The Gulf is gushing, and the president is talking mystery roads to unknown destinations. That passes for vision, and vision is Obama’s thing. It sure beats cleaning up beaches.

— Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2010, The Washington Post Writers Group.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

America, the weak horse by choice

America, the weak horse by choice by Paul Mirengoff/Powerline

Osama bin Laden famously said that "when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." The truth of that statement depends on which meaning of the word "like" is being employed. People may not like the strong horse in the sense of feeling kindly disposed towards it. But they will tend to like that horse in the sense of backing it. (The question, "who do you like in the fifth race today" is a question about which horse one is backing not which horse one wants to pet).

The wisdom of bin Laden's statement is confirmed once again by the Afghan government's tilt away from the U.S. and towards Pakistan and the Taliban. According to the Washington Post, Afghanistan is talking with Pakistan about how to make peace with the insurgents who are fighting U.S. troops, including the deadly and bitterly anti-American faction led by Sirajuddin Haqqani.

The Afghan government isn't taking this approach because it feels well disposed towards Pakistan, much less towards the blood-thirsty Haqqani. It is doing so because it realizes that, with President Obama having made clear that the U.S. lacks the will to stay in the fight, Pakistan and the Afghan insurgents are the strong horse and U.S. is the weak one.

To be sure, joining forces with formerly hostile forces can be a good strategy. The U.S. adopted it during the Iraq surge, when we worked with certain nationalistic factions that previously had fought against us but were ready to turn on al Qaeda and other foreign fighters.

But that's not what's going on in Afghanistan. According to the Post, Haqqani increasingly is cooperating with al Qaeda. Furthermore, his forces include foreign fighters and "are largely drawn from the madrassas and thus tend to be [particularly] extreme." His style, says the Post, "embodies the Taliban's vanguard: younger commanders driven more by anti-Western zeal than the nationalistic aspirations of their elders."

Thus, even the Obama administration, which has prided itself in being willing to talk to anyone, isn't ready (at least yet) to deal with Haqqani. The Post reports that "administration officials have cautioned Afghanistan and Pakistan that they will not support talks with Haqqani's militia." They have also insisted that the U.S. "be treated as full partners and not be surprised."

But what will the U.S. do if we are not treated as full partners, threaten to start leaving Afghanistan in six months, instead of a year?

Speaking of leaving Afghanistan sooner rather than a little later, Great Britain's new Minister of Defense, has said he wants to withdraw British units from Afghanistan as quickly as possible, and Prime Minister Cameron is said to be preparing for a "rapid withdrawal." Like the Afghan government, the Brits see Obama's weakness and are reacting accordingly. You might pet a weak horse, but you'd be a fool to back it.

Since his emergence as a national figure, Obama has fretted about America's lack of popularity in the world. It does not seem to have occurred to him that, though being disliked may be unpleasant, the most serious trouble begins when a nation is viewed with contempt by its enemies and with pity by its friends.

Or perhaps Obama cannot conceive that a nation he's in charge of might be viewed with contempt or pity. But if he were able to reflect, free from the constraints of his ego, his education, and his ideology, on events in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, and Russia, the perception would strike him as far less implausible. How else can one perceive a nation that elects to be the weak horse?
Chris Matthews’ ‘The Rise of The New Right’: Deceptions and Delusions by Lori Ziganto

 Originally posted at NewsReal: (see for all links)

Last night, MSNBC aired a Chris Matthews special, labeled a documentary, called The Rise of the New Right. I decided to take a quick break from my radical right wing extremist acts like bitterly clinging to my guns and my Bible, whilst fiendishly drawing Hitler moustaches on Obama photos, to watch it. I know. Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment. However, while absolutely infuriating, it was simultaneously hilarious and almost took my mind off the distressing shortage of windmills in this country.

Almost immediately, two things became rather apparent. Firstly, MSNBC’s NewSpeak definition of “documentary” is evidently “blatant fallacies and pure propaganda”. Secondly, it’s quite clear that Chris Matthews’ leg ‘tingle’ has moved into his brain, or what passes for some semblance of one. Either that, or he’s merely decided to embrace his cuckoo pants. Plus, he’s a big, fat liar. I feel no qualms about saying that, since Matthews spent a full hour demonizing me and people like me as violent, irrational racists. In fact, the entire show could be summed up like this:

Racists. Birthers. Guns! Evil scary militia groups that have the same “Don’t Tread on Me” flag!!! Chanting “USA, USA” and being fond of the Constitution and, you know, liberty is super scary and ominous. Also, racist. And violence fomenting. Plus, racist.

You see, now Community Organizing is evil and dissent is no longer Patriotic. Instead, that now signifies some sort of marauding mob of nefarious radicals who are doubleplusungood. President Obama said “I want you to talk to your friends and neighbors; I want you to argue with them and get in their faces” , but that was okay because George Bush. Or something.

It’s not okay when the right peaceably assembles, voicing opinions articulately, in full and coherent sentences and using facts and rational thought, because we aren’t supposed to even know how to read! Plus, we don’t base things on feel-goody Utopian ideas of kitten whiskers, fairy dust and magical windmills. We sneaky right wing-nuts embrace real world ideas like individual success is a good thing and that people do not need the government to run every aspect of their lives and businesses. Oh, the horror.

It must be horrifying, as the entire show was scored with super spooky music. A video clip of Ronald Reagan? Cue ominous horror movie music! A Sarah Palin segment? Dun dun dunnnn. Matthews, of course, portrayed Sarah Palin as a dum-dum “failed candidate”, yet also somehow ominous and fiendish, accusing her of putting those who voted for Obamacare “in the cross-hairs.” Get it? She’s totally fomenting violence. From her facebook page.

Matthews continued shamelessly lying throughout the entire hour. I’d be hard-pressed to find even one truth and I’d also be hard-pressed to choose which lie was the most egregious. Probably the most constant lie, however, was the theme of “Racists!” It was also the most hypocritical. After spending most of the hour maliciously demonizing and fallaciously broad brush painting millions of people as racists, he then spent a segment demagoguing Glenn Beck — for saying that President Obama may be racist.

The abject lies continued as Matthews claimed Rand Paul is the face of the new right, neglected to mention that it was a Hillary Clinton operatives who started the “birther” movement, cited Media Matters as a credible source refuting “misinformation” from the right, interviewed the incredibly biased and race baiting agenda driven Southern Poverty Law Center as another source, suggested that the “new right” looks to Pat Buchanan for leadership, called Michele Bachmann a McCarthyite and compared Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to Father Coughlin. Father Coughlin, who was a notorious radical lefty, an Anti-semite and, you know, insane.

JennQPublic summed it up best when she tweeted “If I was writing a parody of a Chris Matthews special, it would sound just like this Chris Matthews special.” Exactly. It was almost a self-parody and included every tired, lame, outright false and, frankly, insanely delusional leftist narrative regarding conservatives.

He ended it with more nonsense and breathless depictions of his delusions of a violent right by, with a super serious face, suggesting that we remember what happens when there is such ugly and violent rhetoric (e.g., “uphold the Constitution!”) coming from the right: Timothy McVeigh.

Oh, really, Chrissy? Perhaps all that kool-aid has rotted your brain. Here’s a reminder of where recent violence has stemmed from:

It was not the fear of conservative violence that caused Ann Coulter’s speech to be cancelled this week.

It was a liberal who bit the finger off a man who disagreed with him on healthcare.

It was Obama-loving Amy Bishop who took a gun to work and murdered co-workers.

Joseph Stack flew his plane into the IRS building after writing an anti-conservative manifesto.

It was liberals who destroyed AM radio towers outside of Seattle.

It’s liberals who burn down Hummer dealerships.

It was progressive SEIU union thugs who beat a black conservative man who spoke his mind.

It’s doubtful that a conservative fired shots into a GOP campaign headquarters.

In fact, Democrats have no monopoly on having their offices vandalized.

Don’t forget it was Obama’s friend Bill Ayers who used terrorism as a tool for political change. SDS is still radical, with arrests in 2007 and the storming of the CATO Institute in July 2008.

Don’t forget it was Obama’s friend Bill Ayers who used terrorism as a tool for political change. SDS is still radical, with arrests in 2007 and the storming of the CATO Institute in July 2008.

Face it, fallacious Mr. Matthews. We aren’t the ones obsessed with the color of one’s skin, we care about content of character. And neither are we violent, no matter how desperately you wish that to be so. We simply love our country and refuse to be useful idiots. Perhaps it will help you if I explain in hip, simple terms for you:

Democrats, we really just aren’t that into you.

(For multitude of links in original):

O: no, it's not a tax, unless it needs to be a tax

Obama administration speaks with forked tongue  by Paul Mirengoff/Powerline
The anti-Obama ads for the 2012 campaign are beginning to write themselves. During the debate over Obamacare, the president insisted that the requirement to purchase health insurance, and the imposition of a penalty for not purchasing it, does not constitute a tax. Here he is doing so (see around 3:20 and 4:00) and, when challenged, suggesting that it's somehow unfair to apply the dictionary definition of "tax" (see around 5:00)!:

But now, in response to a lawsuit by various state attorneys general challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, the Obama Justice Department has described the penalty on those who don't purchase health insurance as a tax. It employs that description to support the government's contention that it has the right to impose the penalty as part of its power to tax.

In this case, the power to tax is the power to destroy whatever may be left of Obama's credibility.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Laura Ingraham's stuff is must-read material

For instance--check out some very revealing polling results that show how great is the gap between the people and government...: Rasmussen: Only 21% believe government has the consent of the governed

Vladimir Obama: living up(down) to the analogy


For several reasons. The vitriol has a xenophobic edge: witness the venomous references to “British Petroleum”, a name BP dropped in 1998 (just as well that it dispensed with the name Anglo-Iranian Oil Company even longer ago). Vilifying BP also gets in the way of identifying other culprits, one of which is the government. BP operates in one of the most regulated industries on earth with some of the most perverse rules, subsidies and incentives. Shoddy oversight clearly contributed to the spill, and an energy policy which reduced the demand for oil would do more to avert future environmental horrors than fierce retribution.

Mr Obama is not the socialist the right claims he is (see article). He went out of his way, meeting BP executives on June 16th, to insist that he has no interest in undermining the company’s financial stability. But his reaction is cementing business leaders’ impression that he is indifferent to their concerns. If he sees any impropriety in politicians ordering executives about, upstaging the courts and threatening confiscation, he has not said so. The collapse in BP’s share price suggests that he has convinced the markets that he is an American version of Vladimir Putin, willing to harry firms into doing his bidding.

Nobody should underestimate the scale of BP’s mistake, nor the damage that it has caused. But if the president does not stand up for due process, he will frighten investors across the board. The damage to America’s environment is bad enough. The president risks damaging its economy too.

Ouch. The Brits are not happy. Read the whole thing. by Glenn Reynolds

The Jones Act--How they failed to act on spill

Keeping Up with the Jones Act - Deroy Murdock - National Review Online An old, protectionist chestnut is devastating the Gulf Coast.

As a self-proclaimed “citizen of the world,” Pres. Barack Obama should have welcomed rather than spurned international assistance to prevent BP’s underwater oil geyser from wrecking the Gulf Coast. But spurn he did. Obama’s failure to waive the Jones Act still maintains a sea wall that blocks potentially helpful foreign ships from this tear-inducing mess.

The 1920 Jones Act requires that vessels operating in American waters be built, owned, and manned by Americans. Some U.S. ship owners love this protectionist measure. So do maritime labor unions. When it comes to confronting unions, Obama rarely crosses that line.

On April 20, the Deepwater Horizon exploded, killed eleven oil-rig workers, and began gushing perhaps 60,000 barrels of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico daily. Three days later, the Dutch offered to sail to the rescue on ships bedecked with oil-skimming booms. They also had a plan for erecting protective sand barricades.

“The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” Dutch consul general Geert Visser told the Houston Chronicle’s Loren Steffy. “What’s wrong with accepting outside help?” Visser wondered. “If there’s a country that’s experienced with building dikes and managing water, it’s the Netherlands.”

Had those Dutch ships departed for the Gulf nearly two months ago, who knows how much oil they already would have absorbed and how many pelicans now would soar rather than soak in soapy water while wildlife experts clean their wings.

After initially refusing to name them, the State Department on May 5 declared that Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.N. had offered skimmer boats and other assets and experts to prevent the oil from destroying dolphins, crabs, oysters, and this disaster’s other defenseless victims.

Alas, they were turned away.

“While there is no need right now that the U.S. cannot meet,” stated a State Department statement, “the U.S. Coast Guard is assessing these offers of assistance to see if there will be something which we will need in the near future.” Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin translated this into plain English: “The current message to foreign governments is: Thanks but no thanks, we’ve got it covered.”

Had Obama instead waived the Jones Act via executive order — as did Pres. George W. Bush three days after Hurricane Katrina — that S.O.S. would have summoned a global armada of mercy. Who knows how many fishing, shrimping, and seafood-processing jobs this would have saved? Instead, thousands of Gulf Coast workers will endure a long march from dormant docks to bustling unemployment lines.

Even now, Obama could invite the world to send boats to clean the waters off Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and (potentially) the Carolinas and points north, if this mass of oil (so far, roughly equal to 13 Exxon Valdez oil spills) seeps into the Loop Current, swerves around Key West, slips into the Gulf Stream, and slides up the Eastern Seaboard.

“If there is the need for any type of waiver, that would obviously be granted,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs promised on June 10. “But, we’ve not had that problem thus far in the Gulf.”

Problem? What problem?

The Jones Act sometimes gets waived. As Fox News Channel’s Brian Wilson reported on June 11: “According to a news article in Tradewinds Magazine, a US Customs official ruled recently that the Jones Act does not apply to foreign owned vessels installing wind turbines off the coast of Delaware.”

Meanwhile, as Obama respected this old, protectionist chestnut and its Big Labor beneficiaries, he had lots on his mind. As a GOP Internet ad devastatingly details, between Day One and Day 58 of this catastrophe, Obama met with Bono, rocked out with Sir Paul McCartney, and played six rounds of golf, among many other diversions. Yet Obama did not speak directly with BP CEO Tony Hayward until June 16.

Watching Obama’s Tuesday night Oval Office address, BP brass must have been startled to hear the president say: “I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness.”

Should BP pay, and pay big? Yes.

Reckless? BP sure seems so.

But since when does the American president “inform” executives that they must devote billions to any cause, no matter how worthy? Isn’t this why Congress passes legislation and courts administer justice?

So, while a pro-labor trade barrier traps potentially helpful boats in overseas ports, due process withers under presidential diktat.

And the crude oil keeps on flowing.

— Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Green jobs" hoax: from Spain to Denmark

Kerry: Green-jobs pushes always work, except where they don’t; Update: The Denmark experience by Ed Morrissey

The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have argued for at least the last two years that massive government subsidies for “green jobs” programs will eventually make America an economic powerhouse — even if no one can define what a “green job” actually is. The cap-and-trade bill will tax energy consumption and put tens of billions of dollars into the hands of Congress, which they plan to spend on pet projects in alternative energy production in the hope that it will force the kind of scientific breakthroughs that will allow mass production. They insist that this will create an explosion of jobs and profit in the green-energy sector.

However, this has been tried already, in Spain and Germany, and it’s no coincidence that Spain now teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. The Spaniards lost 2.2 jobs for every subsidized “green job” created by government intervention, hiking welfare costs and undermining economic growth. When asked about the Spanish example, the Senate’s cap-and-trade co-author John Kerry called it an “anomaly”:

Senator Kerry told reporters that “every study” shows that the subsidizing of alternative energy creates jobs, telling reporters on Tuesday, “We just told you that every study that has been made says that this creates hundreds of thousands of jobs a year,” he said. “Here we are in this month, and we just had 27,000 private sector jobs created. Do Americans want to say ‘no’ to anywhere from 250,000 to 540,000 jobs a year for the next ten, twenty years?”

However, according to a 2009 study from King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain showed that the subsidizing of renewable energy was a complete disaster. In fact, the study said that for every new job depending on energy price supports, at least 2.2 jobs in other industries will disappear. Bloomberg reported:

“The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power – - which are charged to consumers in their bills — translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report.

‘The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices,’ he said in an interview.”

So, “every study” does not in fact show that subsidies create economic expansion. Kerry backpedaled:

I asked Senator Kerry about Spain’s own failed experience in the area of subsidizing alternative energy, and the Massachusetts Senator’s response sounded similar to someone saying Marxism or Stalinism never succeeded, because it was never implemented correctly. AUDIO

“If you look at other European countries, it depends entirely on exactly how committed they were and how far they were willing to go in terms of the breadth of the program,” he said.

“You have some anomalies in some countries where they began slowly. They didn’t have the right incentives, they over-subsidized a couple of different things– we’ve learned something from some of those mistakes, but I’m confident that the way we’re approaching this is really private sector determined. That’s the key here.”

The Spaniards might be surprised to hear that they “began slowly.” Their top-heavy approach put them deeper in debt, and now they face junk-bond status from credit analysts concerned over their soaring government spending. They are widely believed to be next in line to Greece for a collapse.

But Spain isn’t the only country with a study showing the futility of spendy green-jobs programs. Kerry Picket also reports in the same article that Germany’s own flirtation with government green-jobs subsidies resulted in lost purchasing power for consumers, job losses in other industries, and other economy-killing effects in their own study. This study also called into questions others that limit the scope of their analysis to just one side of the ledger:

“While employment projections in the renewable sector convey seemingly impressive prospects for gross job growth, they typically obscure the broader implications for economic welfare by omitting any accounting of off-setting impacts. These impacts include, but are not limited to, job losses from crowding out of cheaper forms of conventional energy generation, indirect impacts on upstream industries, additional job losses from the drain on economic activity precipitated by higher electricity prices, private consumers’ overall loss of purchasing power due to higher electricity prices, and diverting funds from other, possibly more beneficial investment.”

The basic fact in Spain is also a basic fact in the US: we don’t have the money for it anyway. Proposing $20 billion in subsidies for poorly-defined “green jobs” is the same in real terms as proposing $20 zillion for the same project. The money doesn’t exist in our Treasury. We would have to borrow it, which will extend the national debt, and the program will create inflation in energy and transportation costs, which will erode buying power while hiking prices in real terms. That is one of the big reasons that countries who attempt to force top-down solutions end up going the way of Greece — or Spain, in this case.

Update: Add one more study to Kerry’s “anomalies.” Denmark’s subsidies for wind power ended up having no net impact on job creation, but instead just shifted workers from unsubsidized to subsidized jobs, and at the cost of two average annual salaries per job (via commenter 16MPG):

The Danish Wind industry counts 28,400 employees. This does not, however, constitute the net employment effect of the wind mill subsidy. In the long run, creating additional employment in one sector through subsidies will detract labor from other sectors, resulting in no increase in net employment but only in a shift from the non-subsidized sectors to the subsidized sector. Allowing for the theoretical possibility of wind employment alleviating possible regional pockets of high unemployment, a very optimistic ballpark estimate of net real job creation is 10% of total employment in the sector. In this case the subsidy per job created is 600,000-900,000 DKK per year ($90,000-140,000). This subsidy constitutes around 175-250% of the average pay per worker in the Danish manufacturing industry.

So what Kerry meant to say is that every hypothetical study supports his claims for green-jobs programs, while every analysis of real-world experience is an anomaly.