Monday, October 31, 2011

GOP mocks Obama's new 'can't wait' slogan, tells Senate to act

By Pete Kasperowicz
House Republicans on Monday night mocked President Obama's new "we can't wait" slogan that he introduced in a Las Vegas speech earlier in the day.

Obama used the slogan to stress his plans to introduce an administrative effort to help people refinance their mortgages. The plan, to be run through the Federal Housing Finance Agency, is aimed at making an existing refinancing program available to more borrowers.

The plan — and the "we can't wait" slogan — is meant to show an administration attempt to help struggling borrowers without waiting for Congress to act. But Republicans turned it around to ask why Democrats are ignoring more than a dozen House-passed bills that would ease federal regulations on companies.

"In my opinion, this slogan is an odd choice, especially coming from the president and his party," Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) said. "Right now, 15 different House-passed jobs bills, each reducing the red tape that is hindering small business, each removing obstacles to domestic energy production, are stuck in the Senate awaiting action from Democratic leadership.

"Mr. Speaker, the president is right: We can't wait," he said in response to the Senate's inaction.

Poe also came up with his own slogan for the Senate, which has struggled to pass much of its own legislation this year: "It's time for the Senate to pick a horse and ride it."

Halloween, the Sequel

Halloween, the Sequel

by John Hinderaker/Powerline in Economy, Obama administration

Unfortunately, it isn’t a movie. It’s reality. Barack Obama is presiding over, and helping to create, the scariest economy since Jimmy Carter. Michael Ramirez shows what makes us all shudder with horror:

Peaceful OWS Demonstrator Threatens to Stab Fox 5 Reporter

Peaceful OWS Demonstrator Threatens to Stab Fox 5 Reporter

Just one of those isolated incidents that shouldn't be used to make the rest of these noble protesters look bad. Besides, this guy works for Faux News, so he's got it coming, right?
A protester, angered by the presence of a news crew inside Zuccotti Park Friday morning, threatened to stab Fox 5 News reporter John Huddy.

What has been an otherwise violence-free period during his six weeks covering the Occupy Wall Street movement, took a turn for John Huddy. He explained what happened during Good Day New York:

"This is somebody I've come across several times for the last few days. He threatened to stab me in the throat with a pen. He ripped the mic out of my hand," said Huddy.

"I have a meeting with Bloomberg," said the incoherent protester. The man was soon arrested by the NYPD.
Cops arrested the man -- identified as Dustin Taylor, 34, of Millerburg, Ohio -- and charged him with grand larceny, menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, and harassment, the NYPD said.
Huddy had gone into the park to find out what protesters were doing to fight the significant drop in temperatures.
"I don't think this person represents the whole," Huddy said. "One of the media representatives asked me not to categorize this one person as representative of the whole group. Most of the folks I've dealt with have been accomodating. There is an element here that we've seen that has caused problems. Overall, it has been peaceful in the park."

Read more:
Here's the report from Huddy: (Use link to view video):

Links to Occupy Red Bluff facebook, Occupy together and OWSexposed

Rep. Ryan Foremost Intellectual Defender of American Conservatism

Rep. Ryan Foremost Intellectual Defender of American Conservatism: Ryan: Obama 'sowing social unrest'

Ryan speaks at the Heritage Foundation, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. | AP Photo

The speech marked another high-profile moment for the rising GOP star. | AP Photo Close

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) took direct aim at President Barack Obama in a speech Wednesday morning, accusing him of “preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment” as he travels the country to sell his jobs plan.

In a speech at the Heritage Foundation, Ryan said Obama’s method of rallying public support for his $447 billion jobs package was “sowing social unrest and class resentment” and could be “just as damaging as his misguided policies.”

“Instead of working together where we agree, the president has opted for divisive rhetoric and the broken politics of the past,” Ryan said. “He is going from town to town, impugning the motives of Republicans, setting up straw men and scapegoats, and engaging in intellectually lazy arguments, as he tries to build support for punitive tax hikes on job creators.”

Ryan accused Obama of using “class-based rhetoric” in his re-election campaign. Obama’s tactics, he said, make “America weaker, not stronger.”

“Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were the hallmarks of his first campaign, he has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy, and resentment,” Ryan said.

“This has the potential to be just as damaging as his misguided policies. Sowing social unrest and class resentment makes America weaker, not stronger. Pitting one group against another only distracts us from the true sources of inequity in this country – corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless.”

The speech at the Heritage Foundation marked another high-profile moment for the rising GOP star who many conservatives publicly longed for as their party’s nominee to challenge Obama in 2012. Ryan also gave a health-care heavy speech at Stanford University last month, calling for a comprehensive “replacement” to the health care law – not just a repeal of Obama’s signature domestic policy feat.

In Wednesday’s speech, Ryan defended his budget proposal – which passed the House earlier this year and has been much maligned by Democrats – as a sensible one that gets rid of “corporate welfare and crony capitalism” and “modestly income-adjust[s]” Social Security and Medicare.

Ryan said the class warfare that threatens the U.S. is “[a] class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society. And their gains do come at the expense of working Americans, against entrepreneurs, and that small businesswoman who has the gall to take on the corporate chieftain.”
“It’s disappointing that this President’s actions have exacerbated this form of class warfare in so many ways,” he said.

Obama has called on the wealthy to pay a larger share of their income in taxes, and Senate Democrats have proposed surtaxes on millionaires to pay for various chunks of the president’s jobs package – efforts that so far failed to garner the 60 votes needed to start debate in the upper chamber.

“According to the President’s logic, we should give up on trying to reform our tax code to grow the economy and get more revenues that way,” Ryan said. “Instead, these goals are taking a backseat to the President’s misguided understanding of fairness.”
“The president’s political math is a muddled mix of false accusations and false choices,” he added. “The actual math is apolitical: By the time my kids are my age, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects, the size of government will be double what it is today.”

During the question and answer session, Ryan told the audience he thinks the Occupy Wall Street protests are “fine.” The demonstrators, he noted, have the right to petition the government and air their grievances.

“As long as no one gets hurt and property doesn’t get destroyed, that’s fine,” Ryan said.
But, Ryan added, he’s “not precisely sure what policies they’re shooting for.”

Mackenzie Weinger contributed to this story.

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Uncle Joe Never Disappoints--Biden in the Beltway Bubble

Uncle Joe Never Disappoints
Biden in the Beltway Bubble

A disturbingly thin skin


Last fall, before the midterm shellacking, Vice President Joe Biden admonished rank-and-file Democratic voters to “stop whining.” Uncle Tough Guy should practice what he screeches: The 2012 campaign has barely begun, but Biden’s thin skin makes a spring-roll wrapper look impenetrable.

Biden’s office is now calling for an official investigation of a young editor who dared to question His Highness. Jason Mattera of the conservative-leaning Human Events magazine confronted the veep last week on his hysterical claims that rape and murder would increase if Congress didn’t ram through the half-trillion-dollar White House jobs bill.

The testy exchange between the audacious journalist and the temper-challenged Beltway pol took place in a Senate hallway:
Mattera: Do you regret using a rape reference to describe Republican opposition to the president’s bill?
Biden: I didn’t use it. No, no, no, what I said, let’s get it straight, guys. Don’t screw around with me. Let’s get it straight. Listen to me. I said rape was up, three times, in Flint [Michigan]. They’re the numbers, go look at the numbers. Murder’s up, rape is up, burglary’s up, that’s exactly what I said.
Mattera: And if Republicans don’t pass this bill, then rape will continue to rise?
Biden: Murder will continue to rise, rape will continue to rise, all crimes will continue to rise.

Never mind that the statistics in Flint actually show no correlation between crime rates and the number of police officers in the city. It’s never about the facts: It’s about the shameless demonization of Biden’s and Obama’s political opponents — and of those in the press who would dare question their doom-and-gloom narratives.

After jabbing his finger in Mattera’s face, Biden stalked off, and one of his rattled press-aide protectors yelped: “Who are you with?” Like playground tattletales who just got smacked in the face after cheating at tetherball, Team Biden then reported Mattera’s transgressions to the Senate press gallery and the standing committee of correspondents. The Hill newspaper reported on Tuesday that “the matter is under review.”

Biden’s crude response to Mattera’s challenge — “Don’t screw around with me” — is par for the course with him. This entitled blowhard has long sought to bully reporters and ordinary citizens who question him. In October 2008, Barbara West — anchor for WFTV Channel 9 in Orlando, Fla. — put Biden on the hot seat over ACORN, voter fraud, and Obama’s infamous “spread the wealth” comments. Biden falsely denied any relationship between ACORN and Obama, an ACORN-affiliate Project Vote community organizer whose 2008 campaign doled out more than $800,000 to another ACORN satellite group. West was calm and professional. After Biden sputtered, “C’mon, let’s get real,” and asked West whether her questions were a “joke,” Biden’s handlers lambasted the questions as “combative and woefully uninformed about simple facts.” Anything less than total sycophancy from the Obamedia is considered “combative,” you see. Biden then cracked the brass knuckles and punished the Florida television station by canceling a previously scheduled interview with his wife.

The perpetually vexed veep seems to have a hang-up with Florida journalists. In March, Biden’s staff locked Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers in a closet for hours to prevent him from talking with wealthy donors at a $500-per-person fundraiser where Biden spoke. Powers told the Drudge Report: “When I’d stick my head out, they’d say, ‘Not yet. We’ll let you know when you can come out.’” One of the attendees later told the Sentinel: “If I had known there was a reporter stuffed in the closet, I would have been compelled to stand up and demand answers. I would also like to know if this is actually legal to treat people like caged animals. I’m disgusted by these actions.”
And yet, Biden keeps getting a golden pass for his half-oaf, half-ogre shtick.

Last year, when a Milwaukee, Wis., custard-shop owner told Biden that Washington should lower his taxes, Biden snapped that he was a “smartass.” Biden’s apologists played it off as a joke. But he set the imperial tone with voters two decades ago during his failed presidential run, when a New Hampshire citizen named Frank asked him about his lousy academic record. “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect,” Biden hissed before falsely claiming he graduated in the top half of his law-school class.

As political blogger Doug Powers joked: “If they start banning any reporter with the potential to make Joe Biden look silly, the press gallery is going to be as sparsely populated as Capitol Hill’s next ‘I quit earmarks, ask me how’ seminar.”

On a sober note, Team Biden’s media litmus test is appalling. If the Senate caves and bars Mattera, no one is safe from Uncle Joe’s goonish etiquette police.
— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. © 2011

Don’t Like Polarization? Blame FDR--and think about the character assassination coming from the Obama left right now

Don’t Like Polarization? Blame FDR

by Steven Hayward in History

One of the great themes of reformers and deep-dish thinkers these days is that our politics are too polarized between right and left, that there are no more moderates left.  It is true that there are hardly any conservative Democrats left, and very few liberal Republicans.  Over the last couple decades the Republican Parry has become much more fully and self-consciously conservative, and the Democratic Party much more fully and self-consciously liberal.

The critics have a point that moderates are occasionally useful for reaching legislative compromise, and are also correct that starkly polarized politics turns off a lot of independent voters and actually increases the volatility of American politics.  But the subtext of a lot of the chin-pulling about polarization is that it is—wait for it—somehow the fault of conservatives, for pushing the Republican Party to the right and for being a “divisive” force in our political life.

May I suggest that FDR deserves a lion’s share of the blame?  If you want to study a deliberately devisive figure, there was no one better.

In 1941, Roosevelt wrote of his intent to make the Democratic Party a fully wholly liberal party, clearly distinct from Republicans:
I believe it to be my sworn duty, as President, to take all steps necessary to insure the continuance of liberalism in our government.  I believe, at the same time, that it is my duty as head of the Democratic Party to see to it that my party remains the truly liberal party in the political life of America.
There have been many periods in American history, unfortunately, when one major political party was no different than the other major party—except only in name.  In a system of party government such as ours, however, elections become meaningless when the two major parties have no differences other than their labels.  For such elections do not give the people of the United States an opportunity to decide upon the type of government which they prefer for themselves for the next two or the next four years, as the case may be. . .
Generally speaking, in a representative form of government, there are usually two general schools of political belief—liberal and conservative.  The system of party responsibility in America requires that one of its parties be the liberal party and the other be a conservative party.
Of course, FDR tried to solidify Democratic liberalism in his great purge of 1938, which failed miserably.  After the 1938 election, Wisconsin Governor Philip La Follete wrote: “The result of the so-called purge by President Roosevelt showed that the fight to make the Democratic Party liberal is a hopeless one.”  Wrong.  They just needed a little patience.

As for “divisiveness,” let’s go to the tape.  During his first re-election campaign in 1936, FDR demonized the Republican Party, suggesting Republicans were anti-American, and compared Republicans to the Tories of the Revolutionary War who left the country.  Clearly FDR was trying to read the Republican Party out of the mainstream of American political life.  In his 1944 speech outlining the positive rights he wanted government to provide for everyone, Roosevelt wasn’t satisfied merely to set out these “new principles” of government.  He went on to imply that Republican opposition to his philosophy was the equivalent of the Fascism we were fighting against overseas.  He did so with the clever tactic of attributing this thought to someone other than himself:
One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920’s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.
In other words, even during wartime when the country was supposedly caught up on a spirit of unity for the war effort, Roosevelt exploited the war for partisan purposes.  Roosevelt’s speeches like this are worth remembering when contemporary liberals claim “divisive” conservatives are “questioning their patriotism.”

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Occupy Whatever stuff--more double standards on display

Occupy Whatever stuff

Remember when the Tea Party was in Arizona and that one guy lawfully carried an AR-15 in a sling on his shoulder? Remember how it made the news and how the beltway crowd was really freaking the Hell out? Remember how MSNBC used selective editing to make it look like it was a disheveled white guy when it was really done by a clean cut black guy? And the media went into OMG!!!111 mode?

Funny story. Turns out, theres a bunch of guys at Occupy Phoenix wearing camo, tactical gear and carrying around AR-15s and I haven’t heard a peep about it in the press.

And on the local radio news this morning, it was reported that the folks at Occupy Nashville asked the police for protection because, and I am not making this up, they were camped out near a bunch of homeless people. I guess the 99% swings the other way too?
And NYPD says gun crime is up because of Occupy Wall Street.

As U.S.-Iraq troop talks faltered, Obama didn't pick up the phone

As U.S.-Iraq troop talks faltered, Obama didn't pick up the phone

BAGHDAD — Throughout the summer and autumn, as talks on a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq foundered, President Barack Obama and his point man on Iraq, Vice President Joe Biden, remained aloof from the process, not even phoning top Iraqi officials to help reach a deal, according to logs released by the U.S. Embassy here.

The omission is an unusual one, given the high priority that U.S. officials had given to achieving an agreement for some sort of residual U.S. presence in Iraq after the Dec. 31 pullout deadline set in a 2008 pact between the two countries. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other senior Pentagon officials spoke often about the need for an agreement in a pivotal country in a volatile region and insisted talks were continuing up until Friday, when Obama announced that all U.S. troops would be coming home before the end of December.

A listing of direct conversations provided by the embassy — drawn, the embassy said, from the White House website — indicates that Obama had no direct contact with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki between Feb. 13, when he telephoned the prime minister, until Friday, when he called al-Maliki to tell him U.S. troops would be withdrawn by Dec. 31.

Also absent for nearly the entire year was Biden. According to the official listing, Biden telephoned al-Maliki on Dec. 21, the day al-Maliki formed a new government, and visited here Jan. 18, but had no direct contact after that date, according to the official listing.

U.S. Embassy officials, asked in July whether Biden was coming to help secure the deal, which military officers said needed to be concluded by July 31 for planning purposes, said the vice president was too busy trying to end the donnybrook in Congress over raising the national debt ceiling to visit Iraq.

On Tuesday, a White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, denied that Obama and Biden had not talked to al-Maliki during the negotiations. But he did not respond to a request for the dates of conversations between the president and al-Maliki.

"The VP talked to senior Iraqi leaders multiple times during that period of time," Vietor wrote in an email. "The president also engaged with Iraqi leaders. Your story is totally wrong."

Iraqi government spokesman Tahseen al Shaikhli said he could not explain the lack of contact between al-Maliki and top-level Americans.

"You'll have to ask (Obama) why he didn't intervene before this, or call before this," he said.
Shaikhli said his government still hopes that an invitation that Obama extended for a meeting with al-Maliki in December might lead to an agreement between the two countries that would allow uniformed U.S. trainers to deploy to Iraq.

"Maybe when they sit together, they will solve most of the problems," he said, adding, "Or maybe they will complicate it more."

The issue of whether some U.S. troops might remain in Iraq after the Dec. 31 date, which was set by the so-called Status of Forces Agreement that the administration of President George W. Bush negotiated with the Iraqi government, had always been a complicated one — both for Iraqi officials and Obama, who promised as a presidential candidate in 2008 that he would bring U.S. troops home from Iraq.

Al-Maliki announced on May 11 that he would consult politicians at every level before deciding whether to ask the United States to keep troops here, and he said he hoped to reach a decision by July 31, the date set by the U.S. military. Iraqi officials soon were saying that the country was hoping that at least 10,000 to 15,000 troops would stay behind.

Iraqi political leaders, with the exception of followers of the militant Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and veteran politician Ahmed Chalabi, indicated that they would favour the continued presence of U.S. forces, but they were less certain about the U.S. demand to provide immunity from prosecution for troops serving here.

The top politicians, already gridlocked on other security issues, including who would serve as ministers of defense and the interior, were unable to agree at the initial sessions.

Panetta flew to Baghdad on July 11, his first trip since becoming defense secretary, but he didn't make any headway. "I'd like things to move a lot faster here, frankly," he told U.S. troops then. "Do you want us to stay, don't you want us to stay? Damn it, make a decision."

A major complication was the insistence by the Obama administration that the accord go before the Iraqi parliament, something that in the end Iraqi politicians decided was impossible. But whether that restriction was necessary is an open question. Many status-of-forces agreements are signed at the executive level only, particularly in countries without elected legislatures.

But the White House turned the issue over to the State Department's legal affairs office, reporters in Baghdad were told on Saturday. The lawyers gave a variety of options, but Obama chose the most stringent, approval by Iraq's legislature of a new agreement, citing as precedent that the Iraqi parliament had approved the 2008 agreement, reporters were told.

By mid-September, Iraqi government spokesmen had lowered their goal for a continued presence of U.S. military trainers to about 3,000. But they were also determined not to give in on the American demand for immunity for U.S. troops.

When the Iraqis announced that they had reached a decision Oct. 4 to request trainers, the figure was "more than 5,000," according to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who told reporters Oct. 10 that Iraqi was seeking a "yes or no" response from the Americans. He said there would be no grant of immunity to Americans who stayed behind, however, something the Pentagon had previously said would be required if any troops were to remain.

Whether an earlier Obama intervention would have changed the course of the talks is unknowable.

Shaikhli, the Iraqi spokesman, said his government still is hoping for an agreement that would provide American forces with "legal protection" rather than "immunity," meaning that the U.S. would retain jurisdiction if a soldier committed a crime against another soldier, but that Iraqi law would hold sway if the soldier were accused of injuring an Iraqi civilian.

Shaikhli said, however, that he didn't think such an agreement should be put before the Iraqi parliament.
"We have to wait until the negotiation is finished," he said, "and we should not jump to a conclusion."

Read more:

"Weird Statements from President and Democrats and What They Mean"

Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 8:38 AM

The Monday column from Clark Judge:
Weird Statements from President and Democrats and What They MeanBy Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute

Today (Monday) President Obama will launch what The New York Times reports is “a series of executive-branch actions to confront housing, education and other economic problems over the coming months, heralded by a new mantra: ‘We can’t wait’ for lawmakers to act.”

This apparently in your face bypassing of Congress and the constitutional system is the most recent of a weird series of non-, maybe even anti-democratic pronouncements coming out of Democratic Party figures of late.

There was North Carolina governor Beverly Perdue’s statement that, “If those of us who hold office could be given a break from having to face voters, we could more freely consider what would be best for this country.”  Widely interpreted as a call to postpone the 2012 election, it came around the same time as former Obama budget director Peter Orszag’s similar suggestion that we should “stretch out” the time to the next election.
It is tempting to brush aside Perdue’s and Orszag’s grumblings – and even the president’s.   They all sound like the fading gasps of a political class whose misrule has most the American people feeling the next election can’t come soon enough.  Has any economic downturn in the last half-century been handled more ineptly – with more ideological myopia – than the one we’re in?  But something more is involved here than mere forebodings of Election Day doom.

Remember Massachusetts Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren’s recent and now infamous diatribe against the “self-made man”?

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.”

On one hand, Warren is being little more than dumb.   Yes, of course, if I build a factory, I will move my goods to market via the public roads, as does everyone else, whether shipping goods or going to work.  And my tax dollars helped build those roads, as did everyone else’s.  This is not a matter of agreement or disagreement but of fact.

But Warren was saying something more.  She was saying that, whatever our station in life, the government somehow owns a piece of each of us.  The government is not a creature of us all.  We are each a creature of it.

Like the president, Perdue, and Orszag, Warren is challenging a presumption – the most basic presumption – of the American experiment.  No, that challenge is not about class warfare or with gridlock in Washington. All their statements, as different as Warren’s is from the others, fly in the face of the way almost all Americans understand the national order and political legitimacy.

The first three words of the Constitution are shorthand for the way most of us conceive of government in America.  The phrase “We the People” suggests individuals coming together to form a government.  It says the government is a creature of freely associating men and women and their communities.  The people gave powers and privileges to the government, not the other way around.

It seems to me that the president, Warren, Perdue and Orszag are saying something very similar to one another and very different from the presumption the rest of us hold.  As Perdue put it: “Most of us in government know what needs to be done.  The apparent disagreement between Republicans and Democrats is just jockeying for political advantage.”  In other words, government is made up of experts who would manage better if only the people would stay out of the way –- which again suggests that government is preeminent, the people subordinate.

There is a lot of loose talk about the administration and the Democratic Party more generally having a socialist bent.  Maybe they want comprehensive public ownership of the means of production, though I suspect most of them would recoil at the idea.  But this presumption about a government of experts to which the people should defer and from which the people derive their just powers and privileges runs through everything they say and do.

Marx said he stood Hegel on his head.  Our present day Democrats seem to have stood Jefferson on his head – and Lincoln, too, with their cozying up to a concept of a people of and by the government.

As I say, it’s all a little weird -- and creepy.

Police Investigating Possible Sexual Assault Of Teen At Occupy Dallas

Police Investigating Possible Sexual Assault Of Teen At Occupy Dallas « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Dallas Police continue to investigate whether a teenage runaway was sexually assaulted by an adult male at the Occupy Dallas encampment behind City Hall.

A source within the Dallas Police Department who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation said the girl ran away from home in Garland last month and that she is now refusing to cooperate with investigators. She initially told officers that she had sex with a man in his early twenties and had engaged in sexual activity with several other people.

Some members of the group told CBS 11 the girl identified herself as a 19-year-old and never knew she was 14.

Police were alerted after someone recognized the girl from a picture seen on a flyer asking for help locating a missing teen.

One Occupy Dallas protestor said if the allegations are true measures should be taken to ensure everyone’s safety.

“We’ll find out what the truth is and if that’s her story, that she was having sex with older men in the park, I guess we really need to watch the age group that’s coming in here and get control of that,” protestor Rich Coffman said.

Occupy Dallas organizers said they’ll implement a 10 p.m. curfew and check the identification of anyone seen walking the grounds after that time.

The girl remained in custody as police continued to investigate the allegations Monday evening.

The Occupy Dallas protest, an offshoot of a group staging a protest in New York City called Occupy Wall Street, began more than two weeks ago.

Obama snatches Iraq defeat from jaws of victory

Obama snatches Iraq defeat from jaws of victory Hugh Hewitt Columnists Washington Examiner

In July of 1967, Great Britain announced it would be withdrawing from all of its military bases "East of Suez" over a period of years.

That schedule for withdrawal actually accelerated, as did British national decline, at least until Margaret Thatcher came to power and ushered in the United Kingdom's return to a more muscular and confident role in the world.

Friday's announcement of President Obama's decision to abandon Iraq is at least as stunning as Great Britain's in 1967, for the United States is not a second-tier world power trimming its reach to match its resources, but the only global superpower, one with responsibilities to maintain global security as best as can be done, with a special obligation to at least cabin the most belligerent of the sinister nations.

Though Obama and his advisers attempted to spin the collapse of the "status of forces" negotiations with Iraq as simply the execution of presidential policy, too much information was already on the public record for even the president's staunch allies in the mainstream media to swallow the wholly unpersuasive "up is down" and "left is right" rhetoric.

For months, the debate had raged within the Obama administration over the minimum number of troops the United States would have to maintain in Iraq in 2012 and future years to preserve Iraqi security and deter Iranian adventurism.

The very low end of that scale was 3,000 troops and the higher estimate was at least as high as 20,000, and this range does not reflect the commentary or input of the cadre of Iraq specialists who helped craft and implement the successful "surge" strategy of 2007, which brought order and peace out of chaos.

"Many Iraqis -- especially ethnic Kurds, secular intellectuals and Sunnis skittish about Shiite power -- have expressed anxiety about what the country might become without an American military presence," reported the New York Times on Sunday.

Indeed. What are Tehran's mullahs to conclude except that the door is open wide and their opportunity to fuse Iraq with Syria and Hezbollah in a united front of extremism has arrived.

For if the United States won't even commit a force of a few thousands to help preserve what has been won at such extraordinary cost in lives and treasure, why should Iran be worried that the same country will dare to oppose any push against Israel or the Sunni states.

The president and his spin doctors in and outside of the government appear poised to try and cover a global retreat through the repetition of the names bin Laden, Awlaki and Gadhafi, as though necessary victories in a series of battles somehow make up inevitable triumph in a war.

The Republicans who want to be president have to challenge this absurd argument that the United States can safely withdraw from the world and leave it to its own devices, except for patrolling some of the skies on some of the days with some of the drones at our command.

It is an illusion and one that will lead to wars far greater in fury and cost than those of the last decade, as weakness in the face of aggressive outlaw states always does.

The president may have resigned himself to defeat next November and thus to a course of actions he deems legacy builders, but global retreat and the consequences of that retreat will be an indictment, not a legacy.

"President Obama's astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney concluded Friday.

"The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government."

"The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq," Romney added in what is clearly an invitation to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon to hold hearings and soon into this fiasco.

Examiner Columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Breaking Video: #Occupy Denver Goon Is Tackled and Hogtied After He Tries to Knock Cop Off Bike

Breaking Video: #Occupy Denver Goon Is Tackled and Hogtied After He Tries to Knock Cop Off Bike

 by Jim Hoft on Saturday, October 29, 2011, 10:40 PM

Around 20 protesters were arrested today at the Occupy Denver protests. The Obama-endorsed protesters knocked a police officer off his bike and kicked police during clashes today at the Colorado Capitol. One protester was knocked out of a tree during the melee.

One protester tried to knock a police officer off his motorcycle. The cop tackled him and cuffed him.

No justice. No peace.
Here’s the video:

By the way… The cop was black.
Damn racists.

Report: Fights erupt among Occupy Wall Street protesters

Report: Fights erupt among Occupy Wall Street protesters

By Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY
Fights are erupting among Occupy Wall Street protesters, so much so that one corner of Zuccotti Park has emerged where protesters say they won't go for fear of their safety, the New York Daily News is reporting.

Police officers also have been warned of "dangerous instruments" being concealed in cardboard tubing, the News says it has been told by unidentified police sources.

MORE: Full coverage

"There is a lot of infighting in the park," a police source told the news organization. "There is one part of the park where they won't even go at night."

Meantime, Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, is warning protesters at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan that he will pursue civil suits against anyone who assaults a union member.
"New York's police officers are working around the clock as the already overburdened economy in New York is being drained by 'occupiers' who intentionally and maliciously instigate needless and violent confrontations with the police," the News reports Mullins said in a statement.
But protesters tell the News they have been the victims of police brutality, not the other way around.
"We have been brutalized and mass-arrested by the NYPD," said protester Jen Waller, 24, of Brooklyn. "They can threaten us all they want. We've got lawyers, too."

Getting informed on the "Occupy..." movement

Here are some links for national and local Occupy movement (OWS):

(Occupy Wall Street exposed--which has been attacked and shut down by the supposed advocates of free speech via "denial of service" web internet activity)

Here is the "Occupy Red Bluff" facebook link:

Here is the link to the national "Occupy Together" site:

Spend a little time at each of the above sites and learn about the modern equivalent of the "useful idiots" that Lenin said were essential to usher in/foment/insurrect the socialist/communist wave.

Above Democracy, And The Rule Of Law

Above Democracy, And The Rule Of Law

Barack Obama
Image via Wikipedia

In 2010, the American people delivered a stinging rebuke to President Obama.  The 63 seat Republican gain in the House was a New Deal size landslide, harking back to a time when America was choosing a fundamental change of course.  In the Senate, Republicans came back from a minority unable to even mount a filibuster to within three seats of the Democrats, after some party infighting fumbled away a couple of quite possible wins.

For Democrats, that does not bode well for a 2012 election with 23 Democrat Senate seats at stake, and a filibuster proof Republican majority possible by winning only half of those.  The people elected these Republicans in 2010 to stop the emergent Obama agenda, not to cooperate in its advancement.
But President Barack Obama refused to heed the people and change course.  The election results only changed the means by which he has pursued the most left wing policies of any President in U.S. history.  Recognizing that he could no longer advance his agenda through Congress, Obama pivoted to maximizing the vast regulatory powers of the Executive Branch.

For example, since cap and trade legislation obviously no longer had any prayer of getting through Congress (even the overwhelmingly Democrat Congress of 2009-2010 wouldn’t pass it), Obama said after the election, “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way.  It was a means, not an end.”  Sometimes this pivot has involved ignoring legal rulings, breaking agreements with Congress, and exceeding statutory authority.

Phil Kerpen understands Barack Obama and what he is up to better than almost anyone else in the country. Kerpen is vice president for policy at the grassroots free market organization Americans for Prosperity and author of the new book Democracy Denied: How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him (BenBella Books, October 2011).

As Kerpen writes, “In the face of an unprecedented wave of public discontent expressed at the ballot box and throughout his time in office, Obama has remained committed to an extreme left wing agenda.”  But, “Unfortunately, for decades Congress has been delegating away its legislative power to bureaucratic agencies that Obama is now using to bypass Congress and the American people to pursue his agenda.” That includes moving “forward to impose huge ‘cap-and-trade’ style energy taxes via Environmental Protection Agency regulation, to use his friends at the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet, and to pursue his failed union agenda at the National Labor Relations Board.”

Kerpen discusses in detail the FCC’s adoption of net neutrality regulations on December 21, 2010.  The foundation for those regulations is that the companies that invest in and build the Internet infrastructure can’t be trusted to manage it, arbitrarily favoring some users over others.  So the government needs to step in and manage it, eventually taking over control of the ‘Net.
Of course, the experience has been that under private management in the competitive market, the Internet has been the freest institution in the world.  But wherever the government has stepped in to control the Web, that freedom has been restricted or squelched.

Obama’s FCC appointees adopted this regulation even though just 8 months earlier the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in Comcast v. FCC that the FCC has no statutory authority for it.  Kerpen also notes that in the 2010 Congressional campaigns, 95 candidates signed the pledge of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee to promote Net Neutrality and Internet regulation, and all 95 lost.  Moreover, a bill introduced in Congress to provide FCC authority for such regulation garnered only 27 co-sponsors.
Yet Obama continues to implement such regulation heedless of the people, the courts and Congress.

Similar lawlessness occurred in the offshore drilling moratorium imposed by Obama’s Interior Dept. in response to the 2010 Gulf oil spill.  Kerpen recounts that Obama appointed an expert task force to make recommendations concerning how the federal government should respond to the spill.  The task force report featured a recommendation for a six month moratorium on all deepwater drilling activities.  But as Kerpen explains, “the recommendation for a moratorium was not supported by the authors of the task force report.”  Task force authors wrote in a letter to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu, saying:

[W]e are concerned that our names are connected with the moratorium as proposed in the executive summary of the report.  There is an implication that we have somehow agreed to or “peer reviewed” the main recommendation of that report.  This is not the case….[T]he scope of the moratorium on drilling which is in the executive summary differs in important ways from the recommendation in the draft which we reviewed.  We believe the report does not justify the moratorium as written and that the moratorium as changed will not contribute measurably to increased safety and will have immediate and long term economic effects.
Kerpen reports in the book that the Executive Summary for the report was rewritten to endorse the moratorium by the staff of White House energy czar Carol Browner.  President Obama then used his staff rewritten task force report to justify the offshore drilling moratorium “with full knowledge that it would put more than 23,000 Americans out of work at a time of record high unemployment.”  This is yet another example of the Obama public relations style I have called “calculated deception,” more worthy of a third world authoritarian government than the world’s leading liberal democracy.

Kerpen continues, explaining, “On June 23, 2010, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman issued a stinging 22 page decision, issuing an injunction to overturn the moratorium based on the political manipulation and the Interior Department’s utter failure to justify the breadth of the moratorium.”  Judge Feldman wrote regarding the studies Interior cited for the moratorium:

How these studies support a finding that shear equipment does not work consistently at 500 feet is incomprehensible.  If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are?  Are all planes a danger because one was?  All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez?  All trains?  All mines?  That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed and rather over-bearing.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals then rejected the Obama Administration’s request for a stay of Feldman’s ruling.  Yet Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “reimposed a very similar moratorium disregarding the rulings of the two courts,” Kerpen reports.  Salazar imperiously pronounced, “We will only lift the moratorium when I as Secretary of Interior am comfortable that we have significantly reduced those risks.”  Salazar and the Interior Department were held in contempt of court by Feldman, to no avail.

Kerpen provides another example of Obama Administration authoritarianism backed by double talk.  When he was a candidate, Obama lambasted Bush’s practice of “signing statements,” objecting to parts of legislation he was signing as unconstitutional and so refusing to enforce them.  Candidate Obama said:

This is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he is going along.  I disagree with that.  I taught the Constitution for 10 years.  I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States.  We are not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress.
But just weeks after taking office, Obama reversed himself on signing statements, saying they involved “a legitimate constitutional function, and one that promotes the value of transparency, to indicate when a bill that is presented for presidential signature includes provisions that are subject to well founded constitutional objections.”

Obama soon provided an egregious example of his new position.  In the April, 2011 budget deal to avoid a government shutdown, he agreed to language blocking funding for several of his most controversial policy czars, Kerpen reports.  But on April 15, 2011, Obama issued a signing statement on the compromise government funding bill reneging on the agreement, saying, “Section 2262 of the Act would prohibit the use of funds for several positions that involve providing advice directly to the President….Therefore, the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives.”

Who gives advice to the President may be a Presidential prerogative.  But the President has no prerogative to agree to a deal with Congress on funding for those positions, and then to refuse to abide by the deal.

Kerpen’s book continues to discuss Obama Administration regulatory abuses and counterproductive misjudgments in full detail.  Such overregulation and its costs is one of the reasons America has suffered no recovery after the last recession on the historical time scale for the American economy.
But Kerpen doesn’t just complain.  He offers good, long overdue solutions, leading with the REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny).  As Kerpen explains, that legislation proposed by Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “cuts to the heart of abuse of regulatory power by requiring any major regulatory action to receive the approval of the House and Senate as well as the signature of the president before it can take effect.”

That would restore the Constitution to control over regulation, which states in Article I, Section I, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.”  Kerpen adds, “In Federalist 47, James Madison explained that the U.S. Constitution was written to avoid the danger of legislative and executive power being fused by prohibiting the executive from making laws…Yet we now have precisely the situation that Madison and the other framers wanted to avoid.  We have regulators who are effectively writing and executing their own laws.”

The Republican controlled House is expected to pass the REINS Act within this year.  Nobody knows what the Democrat controlled Senate will do, or even whether it will allow a vote on the measure.

Kerpen further advises that “We must repeatedly and unrelentingly…deliver these two messages to Congress: You can delegate authority, but you can never delegate responsibility.  If you fail to stop out-of-control regulators, voters will hold you accountable.”  That is a powerful message coming from one of the nation’s most effective grassroots organizations.

Kerpen has written the best book available on Obama Administration regulatory abuse and excess.  It is a must-read for every informed voter.

Lackluster economic news showcases problems of aimless policy

GHEI: Outlook beige - Washington Times

Lackluster economic news showcases problems of aimless policy

By Nita Ghei
Illustration: Federal Reserve by Linas Garsys for The Washington TimesIllustration: Federal Reserve by Linas Garsys for The Washington Times
The Federal Reserve Board released its Beige Book compilation of economic data on Thursday. The document’s bland title serves as an apt metaphor for the current state of the U.S. economy.

The only upbeat news is that there are significant signs of recovery from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which helps U.S. manufacturers dependent on Japanese parts. Several of the Federal Reserve’s 12 districts showed a higher production in automobile- and transportation-related equipment, including Atlanta, Chicago and Cleveland, suggesting the supply disruptions that followed those calamities are finally being resolved. Business and consumer spending also are up, modestly.

The housing market, however, remains in the doldrums, other than the small increases reported in Philadelphia and two other regions. Home sales and loan activity are flat. Chicago listed a tightening of credit conditions, and New York reported weaker activity in the securities industry. Banks are still struggling with the burden of the stiff regulations imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act. Returning to a free market in housing, as opposed to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac model of sticking overburdened taxpayers with all the risk, is the only way the housing sector is going to recover.

More broadly, the rest of the economy is suffering from a lack of jobs, and the outlook isn’t promising. As the Beige Book reports, “Many Districts noted restraint in hiring and capital spending plans.”

Business owners are acting rationally. They have noted the recent declines in consumer confidence and are reluctant to build up inventories - even ahead of the all-important holiday retail season - because they think products will remain unsold on their shelves. That doesn’t bode well for the last quarter of this year. Even the most optimistic forecasts see a mere 2 percent growth in gross domestic product for the remainder of the year. That would be an improvement showing we avoided a double-dip recession, but it’s hardly the robust growth this country needs to regain the ground it has lost over the past several years of stagnation.

The 9.1 percent unemployment hasn’t budged. At the same time, employers in several major districts - including Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago and Kansas City - noted that employers in some sectors were having difficulty finding employees with appropriate skills. This signals a deeper underlying problem that feel-good legislation like President Obama’s Jobs Act fails to address: the issue of structural unemployment. Subsidizing the public sector, as Mr. Obama proposes to do, isn’t a solution, as it does nothing to address the core problem. Businesses need to operate in an environment where investment in capital and hiring workers is rewarded. Likewise, opportunities need to exist for individuals, who otherwise won’t go through the training to acquire the needed skills.

Unless America gets off this gloomy path, we’ll end up like Europe with an underclass of the permanently unemployed.

Nita Ghei is a contributing Opinion writer for The Washington Times.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Washington Post Steps Up Attacks on Marco Rubio

Washington Post Steps Up Attacks on Marco Rubio - HUMAN EVENTS

Last week, the Washington Post attacked Marco Rubio for “misrepresenting” his family’s story. The Post got called out by other newspapers for the Post’s egregious truth stretching to make its story fit. In the quotes the Washington Post cited, the reporter misrepresented the context of Marco Rubio’s remarks. It was true that Rubio had gotten some details wrong. But it was also very clear that they were the innocent mistakes of a son retelling his parents’ story. It was also true the Washington Post got parts of its reporting wrong.

But the Washington Post has not stopped. Now the paper is back at it premising a new article on the last story without nothing the Washington Post itself got key elements of its story wrong. This time, the Washington Post wants to make the case that Marco Rubio could be a risky Vice Presidential pick for the GOP.


We have a President of the United States who, for twenty years, worshiped in Jeremiah Wright’s church, had his house paid for by Tony Rezko, claimed his uncle freed Jews at Auschwitz, snorted cocaine, and got other key biographical details wrong and the Washington Post never seemed to think he was too risky.

The other angle of attack in the Washington Post is defending Univision’s smear of Rubio’s family. Marco Rubio refused to do an interview with the very liberal leaning network. After Rubio refused to do the interview, Univision ran a report on Marco Rubio’s brother-in-law being arrested 24 years ago for drug trafficking. Univision denies a connection and argues about the time line.

But somehow, according to the Washington Post, these two incidents make Rubio risky. There really is more of a story here than the Washington Post lets on.

Everyone knows that despite Rubio’s denials he is every Republican’s first choice for Vice President. The left cannot abide the first Hispanic Vice Presidential candidate being a Republican. The Democrats expect to have the black vote locked up in 2012 and they want the Hispanic vote locked up too. That would be made more difficult with Rubio on the Republican ticket.

So the left is using the Washington Post to attack Rubio now, just as the Obama Administration has begun attacking Mitt Romney now. The calculus is that Romney will be the nominee and Rubio the veep pick. Consequently, the left is on the attack now trying to damage Rubio’s reputation as much as possible. CNN reports the Democrats even have a PAC run by a former Harry Reid staffer engaged in this.

The Democrats are deathly afraid of what Marco Rubio as the GOP’s Vice Presidential nominee could do to Obama’s re-election chances and the long term fortunes of the Democrats within the Hispanic community. The Washington Post is running the Democrats’ attacks for them as part of the left.

Each attack shows just how scared of Marco Rubio the Democrats really are.

And they should be.

Editor's note:  This story was originally published at

Occupy Baltimore to sex assault victims: you're on your own...

Occupy Baltimore to sex assault victims: We support you in reporting the abuse, but we don’t encourage the involvement of police in our community

 by Allahpundit/Hot Air

Via JWF, who makes the obligatory Joe Biden shout-out so that I don’t have to. The news here isn’t really that they’d rather have a “Security Committee” deal with alleged rapists than the local P.D. The whole point of starting a utopian commune is that it’s as insular as possible.

No, the news here is that there’s apparently enough of a problem that they felt obliged to publish a pamphlet dealing with the subject at all. I confess, I haven’t been to any tea-party rallies so you’ll have to tell me: Are there a lot of “here’s what to do if you’re raped today” fliers circulating at those too?
Efforts by the Occupy Baltimore protest group to evolve into a self-contained, self-governing community have erupted into controversy with the distribution of a pamphlet that victim advocates and health workers fear discourages victims of sexual assaults from contacting police.
The pamphlet says that members of the protest group who believe they are victims or who suspect sexual abuse “are encouraged to immediately report the incident to the Security Committee,” which will investigate and “supply the abuser with counseling resources.”
The directive also says, in part, “Though we do not encourage the involvement of the police in our community, the survivor has every right, and the support of Occupy Baltimore, to report the abuse to the appropriate authorities.”…
Lewis said there have been no reports of sexual assaults or rapes at the Baltimore protest site. But she said that members of the “security committee” have mediated several disputes involving allegations of sexual harassment.
That’s what Biden wants that new jobs-bill funding for, if I’m not mistaken — “mediating” between sex-crimes victims and their alleged attackers.

Now that you’re done here, go back over to JWF’s site and read about the residents near Zuccotti Park who have about had it with the heroes of the revolution literally crapping on their doorsteps. One of the challenges of blogging the “Occupy” movement is that there’s so much funny/creepy video being churned out every day — see, for example, Charles Cooke’s new stuff or a half dozen examples at Breitbart TV — that it’s hard to decide on just one to post for our readers. The following, though, from the MRC seems pretty well in line with the theme of this post, so let’s go with that. Ace is giving it “up twinkles” so it must be good.

"The Decline and Despair President"

"We have lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge..."

That was President Obama on Tuesday, October 25, 2011, speaking to a fundraiser in San Francisco, expanding on the premise of his presidency, that America is in decline.

The president has made such statements a recurring theme of his speeches going back to his campaign, though it isn't clear whether they just pop out of his inner Alinksy or that they cross the teleprompter in front of him.

In Mumbai in 2010 he said the US was no longer in a position to "meet the rest of the world economically on our terms".

"The fact of the matter is that for most of my lifetime and I'll turn 50 next year - the US was such an enormously dominant economic power, we were such a large market, our industry, our technology, our manufacturing was so significant that we always met the rest of the world economically on our terms," the president told his foreign audience. "And now because of the incredible rise of India and China and Brazil and other countries, the US remains the largest economy and the largest market, but there is real competition."

Apple faces real competition, but it hasn't declined. It is thriving. But our president assumes American decline instead of assuming that we would win any competition, and handily.

In the UK, Telegraph columnist Nile Gardiner calls Obama "the decline and despair president."
The most famous expression of the president's disdain for the notion that America is a superpower and exceptionally situated and equipped to lead the world came a year before his remarks in India, when at the European summit of the Group of 20 in 2009, he quipped, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

Andrew Sullivan for one denied that the president meant what he said here, and rose to his defense in 2010 with an extended quote from this same "Greek exceptionalism" speech in which the president professes pride in the United States and its core values, but this misses the point of what the president believes to be the arc of American history right now. "What cannot be done honestly, in my view, is to create a narrative from all of [the president's moves] to describe Obama as an anti-American hyper-leftist, spending the US into oblivion."

But now the president's talk of lost ambition and ruined imagination ends the debate that Sullivan attempted to join. The president keeps providing those whom Sullivan criticizes with more evidence of his bleak view of the American future, and the left is helpless to defend him when the president simply insists on telling it the way he sees it.

"What's especially remarkable about this hackery," wrote Sullivan a year ago "is that these conservative authors don't just egregiously misrepresent the president's actual position. It's that all of them actually cite, as evidence, an out of context line from the very speech that proves their analysis is wrong."

"You can call this truthiness if you like," he concluded." Better, the Dish believes, to call it what it is. A deliberate campaign of misinformation. A Big Lie."

The trouble for Sullivan's argument is the evidence. The president went abroad early in his presidency, and the result was what is widely known, correctly, as "the apology tour."

"President Barack Obama has finished the second leg of his international confession tour," Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal on April 23, 2009. "In less than 100 days, he has apologized on three continents for what he views as the sins of America and his predecessors."

Rove continued:

Mr. Obama told the French (the French!) that America "has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive" toward Europe. In Prague, he said America has "a moral responsibility to act" on arms control because only the U.S. had "used a nuclear weapon." In London, he said that decisions about the world financial system were no longer made by "just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy" -- as if that were a bad thing. And in Latin America, he said the U.S. had not "pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors" because we "failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas."
After the first apology tour came the "Greek exceptionalism" moment, and after that his Mumbai confession and now his San Francisco sigh. The apologies merged with the dire assessments and have evolved into explicit pessimism.

"We have lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge..."

This is not the man to lead an American renaissance, any more than Jimmy Carter could be expected to rise above his personal sense of malaise which he projected on to the country thirty years ago.

The Miracle of Oil From Sand--be informed against the enviro-nuts

The Miracle of Oil From Sand

A visit to Alberta’s energy future (Worth the read--DP)

Yet as I stood at the edge of the mine, I understood that lots of people viewing the same sight would be horrified by it—and outraged by my enthusiasm for it. They would, instead, see the pit as a deep wound in the earth, amounting almost to a desecration.

Can I explain myself to those who see mining oil sands as a moral offense? I plead humanism. Modern capitalism and the technology it engenders has lifted a significant proportion of humanity out of our natural state of abject poverty for the first time in history. Even now, depending on the cycles of nature to renew supplies of fuel (in the form of wood and manure) means poverty, disease, and early death for millions.

So how did I happen to be standing at the edge of the Millennium oil sands mine in Alberta, Canada, this summer? I was on a propaganda trip with other journalists and bloggers paid for by the American Petroleum Institute, the largest oil and natural gas lobby in Washington, D.C. 

The goal of the trip was to sell us on the importance of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport synthetic oil produced from Canadian oil sands to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. When completed, the pipeline could transport 1.3 million barrels of oil per day. Environmentalist groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) not only oppose the oil sands production because of the greenhouse gas emissions, but also assert “the oil industry is transforming one of the world’s last remaining intact ecosystems into America’s gas tank.” 

A 2010 well-to-wheels study by the consultancy IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates calculated that with regard to greenhouse gas emissions, the “average oil sands import is about 6 percent higher than that of the average crude oil consumed in the United States.” A 2010 report from the Royal Society of Canada notes that other studies have found that producing oil from oil sands results in greenhouse gas emissions that average 10 to 20 percent higher than conventional oil. Oil sands emissions currently account for 6.5 percent of Canada’s emissions and 0.15 percent of global emissions. However, recent reports suggest that these emissions will triple by 2020. This is something to take into account when considering trade-offs between energy security and climate change.

The pipeline would almost certainly be a major economic boon, however. Studies project the creation of as many as 600,000 jobs and a $775 billion boost to the U.S. gross national product by 2035 as a result of importing Canadian oil. 

The Keystone XL project has already been delayed for three years. The U.S. State Department now says that a final decision will be reached on the pipeline by the end of the year. TransCanada Pipeline Vice President Robert Jones declared that the pipeline is “shovel ready” and construction would involve hiring as many as 10,000 Americans immediately, with up to 34,000 by 2014. Alberta’s Minister of Energy Ronald Liepert, who was present on my tour, dryly commented that in June Alberta (population 3.7 million) created 22,000 new jobs, compared to just 18,000 for the entire U.S.

The NRDC and other environmental lobbyists are right that mining oil sands does mean ripping up some boreal forest. Let’s put that in context: Canada’s boreal forest covers 2.2 million square miles, an area that is about 60 percent of the size of the entire United States. So far oil sands production has disturbed about 410 square miles of that territory. For comparison, the Chicago metropolitan area covers about 10,000 square miles.

Only 20 percent of Alberta’s oil sands are shallow enough to mine, which means that the other 80 percent must be recovered by other technologies. Just 50 miles from the open Millennium oil sands pit is another facility, this one a joint project of Conoco-Phillips and Total, which extracts oil using steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). Horizontal drilling creates two parallel wells, one on top of the other exactly three meters apart. The well pairs can extend to about a kilometer. Once completed, operators inject high-pressure 500 degree Fahrenheit steam produced by four enormous natural gas-fired steam generators into the top wells. This melts the bitumen causing a mixture of bitumen and water to drain into the bottom pipe from which it is then pumped to the plant. The SAGD process recovers about 60 percent of the resource in the ground.

Thanks to horizontal drilling, the wells occupy about 13 acres and drain bitumen from the surrounding 250 acres. The wells will operate for between and 8 and 15 years. The facility I visited currently produces 23,000 barrels of bitumen per day, but ConocoPhillips plans to up that production to 136,000 barrels by 2015. The company estimates that it could produce as much as 500,000 barrels per day by 2040.

In contrast with the magnificent roiling mine, the SAGD facility was clean and orderly, almost shockingly so—not even stray bits of paper or oil smudges anywhere. Asked about the lack of visible oil, a clearly proud ConocoPhillips employee responded that seeing oil would mean that something is wrong; it’s supposed to stay in the tanks and the pipelines.

The footprint of SAGD operations typically occupies only 5 percent of the land from which oil is being recovered, leaving most of the forests undisturbed. Perhaps for this reason, anti–oil sands activists who eagerly highlight photos of vast oil sands mining pits like the one I found so striking don’t tend to show photos of SAGD facilities. The tidy, compact facilities are unlikely to provoke the horror—or the exultation—inspired by the open mine pits. 

Ronald Bailey is reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is available from Prometheus Books.
Disclosure: My travel expenses to visit Alberta's oil sands were covered by the American Petroleum Institute. The API did not ask for nor does it have any editorial control over my reporting of this trip.