Audacity Vs. Reality

Audacity Vs. Reality

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, May 18, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Middle East: President Obama seeks a grand, unlikely reconciliation between Jews, Shiites and Sunnis. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decidedly undreamy Mideast agenda is about survival.


Read More: Middle East & North Africa


 

In the Middle East of the early 21st century, the world is challenged by two big facts: one, a problem with no solution; the other, a problem it’s been pretending isn’t really there.

The first fact is the troubled co-existence of Israel with its hostile Muslim neighbors.

It’s obvious that the Jewish state will never be accepted as legitimate by a large number of Arabs.

There will always be Muslim nations and armed organizations that will never accept its right to exist, and that would try to get rid of it.

Yet year after year we hear most of Western Europe, Third World nations and now apparently America insist that a Palestinian state is the key to a lasting Mideast peace.

In truth, such an Israeli concession would likely fan the flames of hate toward Israel, make it territorially far less secure, and be seen by radical Muslims as a step toward Israel’s eventual destruction. The heat would be turned up on the Jewish homeland.

As the world insists the insoluble problem — harmony between Middle Eastern Jew and Muslim — be given priority, the other fact regarding the region is neglected, even though it has a solution.

That second problem is Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The options available now for years include concerted economic isolation, an explicit policy of regime change manifested through the material support of Iran’s organized dissidents, and joint military action by the major free world powers.

Instead of any of that, this Islamofascist regime that has called for the destruction of Israel and has sponsored terrorists in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq has been subjected only to impotent sanctions that have encouraged Tehran’s ruling mullahs.

It is in this context that Barack Obama and Bibi Netanyahu’s two hours together at the White House on Monday must be seen.

The president let it be known in his public remarks that he told the hard-line Israeli PM to “get a serious movement” going.

He also pointedly insisted to the Israeli leader that Jewish West Bank “settlements have to be stopped,” and in a remark in which it is difficult not to find condescension, he expressed confidence that Netanyahu “is going to rise to the occasion.”

An enticing vision of normalized relations between Israel and all Muslim countries was reportedly presented to the Israeli leader. Clearly, Netanyahu is far too sagacious to swallow any such fantasyland scenario.

Yet it was this same supposedly hotheaded hawk, the Israeli who during his previous tenure as prime minister is said to have caused Bill Clinton to spew a string of angry profanities, who came to Washington with the real message of unity.

“There’s never been a time when Arabs and Israelis see a common threat the way we see it today,” Netanyahu said of the Iranian nuclear threat.

When President Obama said “there is no reason why we should not seize this opportunity and this moment,” it’s too bad he wasn’t talking about the opportunity to unite Israeli and Arab against the evil that continues to fester in Iran.

 

NRA convention reflects growing number of female shooters.

NRA convention reflects growing number of female shooters.

Source: The Kansas City Star (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service)

Publication Date: 19-MAY-01

 

Byline: Lee Hill Kavanaugh and Matt Schofield

KANSAS CITY, Mo. _ Lee Totzke likes to shoot handguns. And rifles.

The Lee’s Summit, Mo., mother of two even took a weeklong course in shooting. Every Tuesday she and her husband shoot together _ the couple’s date night.

“It’s like our bowling league,” she said.

But at her PTA meetings, Totzke, 39, doesn’t mention her passion for guns. Or at church. Or at her job. At least, not very often.

When she tells others that she belongs to the National Rifle Association, she is not sure how they will react. Often it is with a laundry list of stereotypes.

“They’ll think I’m a zealot, a conservative, a fundamentalist Christian, against abortion, vote Republican, a cheerleader for (President) Bush, all because I like the sport of shooting,” Totzke said. “Even though I do believe many of those things, I resent being labeled just because I believe in the Second Amendment.”

As more than 40,000 people…

Growing Rift in Anti-gun Community?

Growing Rift in Anti-gun Community?
 
Saturday, April 06, 2002
 
A group of anti-gun lawmakers and gun-ban advocates held a sparsely-attended press conference on March 20 to promote another attack on gun shows, but this effort also included a curious attack on the “Project Exile” prosecution model. The event drew far more anti-gun extremists than actual members of the media, and served as the launching pad for U.S. Representative John Conyers` (D-Mich.) H.R. 4034—touted as the House version of U.S. Senator Jack Reed`s (D-R.I.) S. 767. But was this event merely an attempt by Conyers and his supporters to grab publicity, or does it expose a growing conflict among anti-gunners?Flanked by fellow Representatives Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Dianne DeGette (D-Colo.), Conyers adopted the anti-gun movement`s universally-accepted shameless strategy of exploiting the war on terrorism to promote attacks on the Second Amendment. Conyers and his cohorts, however, went a step further to promote his legislation. Using a “study” put together by an obscure anti-gun organization called the Pacific Center for Violence Prevention (PCVP), Conyers derided the highly acclaimed “Project Exile” prosecution model—a program that has been widely hailed as helping to lower violent gun crime. This would appear to be an attempt to show how his bill is “superior” to the McCain/Schumer/Lieberman bill (S. 890), which includes cursory support for “Project Exile.”

But there may be more to this latest assault on gun shows than simply just another example of anti-gun lawmakers working to eviscerate the Second Amendment. Does the addition of the attack on “Project Exile” in the anti-gun strategy serve to expose an ever-widening rift within the anti-gun movement?

This rift seems to have started with the launch of the new anti-gun organization that calls itself “Americans for Gun Safety” (AGS), and has widened with the attacks on gun shows. So it is not surprising an anti-gun shows bill would help to better expose the conflict.

On one side of the rift are the more radical extremist groups promoting the Reed bill, which includes the Violence Policy Center (VPC)—an organization that openly advocates banning all handguns—and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA)—which has worked hand-in-hand with VPC on numerous occasions and advocates that every home in America with children be “gun-free.” VPC representatives attended the Conyers press conference but did not release a statement, while CFA`s Susan Peschin put out a release that seemed to indicate her group is entirely ignorant of federal gun control laws. Her statement included the comment, “Representative Conyer`s [sic] bill merely extends federal law from gun stores to gun shows”—a blatant lie, as the same federal laws that apply at gun stores already apply at gun shows nationwide. While the CFA release did not echo the anti-”Project Exile” sentiment of Conyers and the PCVP, it does express support for Conyers/Reed attack over the competing McCain-Schumer-Lieberman/Castle-McCarthy (H.R. 2377) anti-gun show bills, which both include language supporting “Project Exile” as a sop to pro-gun Congressmen.

But perhaps far more indicative of this growing rift within the anti-gun community was the distribution at Conyers` press conference of a recent American Prospect article attacking AGS. The article (a link to it can be found on the VPC website) explains how Internet billionaire Andrew McKelvey began funneling millions of dollars into the gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI—McKelvey briefly held the position of HCI Board Member—then, to the apparent chagrin of the already established national anti-gun organizations, started his own anti-gun group, AGS.

Many anti-gun groups at the state level were initially enticed to align with AGS by the allure of McKelvey`s millions, but are now trying to distance themselves from AGS due to its attempt to mis-represent itself as an organization that supports the right to own guns. Most of those state groups are quite open with their extremist anti-gun views, even openly supporting banning firearms. So as AGS began to try to separate itself from the image of being just another anti-gun group, the state groups started dropping away. But AGS has not been able to hide from the fact that one of the goals it has stated as its “top national priority” is the establishment of a Draconian licensing and registration scheme for all gun owners.

So where does this leave the anti-gun move-ment? Still dangerous, of course, and with plenty of supporters in Congress and the so-called mainstream media. But it would appear that anti-gun organizations are now stalling their own agenda by openly fighting over the specifics of their anti-gun agenda. The most radical extremist groups, such as VPC, are trying to vilify AGS because it is not anti-gun enough. Meanwhile, AGS is trying to fool the general public into believing it “supports the rights of individuals who own firearms.” And where does this leave the gun-ban group many people still refer to as HCI? Conflicted, no doubt, as it publicly supports many of the most extreme anti-gun views held by groups like VPC, but also tries to deceive the general public into believing that it does not have all law-abiding gun owners in its sights. HCI has yet to publicly weigh in on Conyers` anti-gun show/”Project Exile” condemnation press conference, and the group has vacillated on the two Senate bills that seek to end traditional American gun shows. Initially, HCI supported both, then changed its position to preferring the Reed bill, but not opposing the Lieberman-McCain bill. Considering HCI began claiming it supports “Project Exile,” but only after NRA helped make it a nationally popular crime-fighting tool, it will be interesting to see how the organization responds to the March 20 event. Will it abandon its “support” of a proven crime-fighting tool, abandon several staunch allies by condemning their attack on “Project Exile,” or simply remain silent, hoping not to get drawn into the growing battle within the ranks of the anti-gun community?


Find this item at: http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Federal/Read.aspx?id=332

Obama’s small Muslim world

Obama’s small Muslim world

David Frum,  National Post 

 

Barack Obama made an unwise commitment during his campaign. Actually he made quite a number of them, but this column will have to settle for dealing with just one:

Candidate Obama promised to deliver a major speech to the Muslim world from a Muslim capital. On June 4, President Obama will make good on that promise in Cairo.

What could go wrong with this heartwarming outreach? Begin with this question: Does the President regard Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali as belonging to the Muslim world, yes or no?

If yes — if “the Muslim world” includes everyone who happens to be born to a family of Muslim origin regardless of his or her own personal belief, and if it includes liberals of Muslim origin, secularists of Muslim origin, atheists of Muslim origin — then it seems almost pointless to speak to them all as a distinctive group.

The more likely answer however is no–Rushdie and Ali are not intended. Almost inevitably, the President’s speech will address the most anti-Western, the most militant, the most radical Muslims. The decision to speak “to” the Muslim world is a decision to speak “to” these rejectionists.

Look at the choice of venue. The President could have spoken from Indonesia or Bangladesh — each of them home to more Muslims than live in the Arab Middle East. In Indonesia and Bangladesh, the prevailing forms of Islam are moderate and tolerant. Each of these countries is working to build a more democratic society, more connected to the global economy.

Instead the President chose Egypt. True, Egypt is an important U. S. ally. Egypt is also the intellectual centre of the most radical forms of Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood originated in Egypt, as did Sayyid Qutb, the ideologist of modern jihad. This is the country of Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Ayman al-Zawahiri. It would be extremely odd to speak from Egypt and not take such men and their ideas into account.

But to do so has an ironic side effect: The very fact that an American president talks about these extremist Muslims — and tries to talk through them to reach their sympathizers – validates them as the most important and significant of Muslim individuals. It risks conceding that these men are somehow the most “authentic” of Muslims, and that their anger and alienation somehow matters more than the desire of other Muslims to live in a more secular society or to participate more fully in the global economy.

Radical Muslims have constructed a narrative in which Islam is oppressed and colonized by the West, Muslims have real and reasonable grievances against the West and any acrimony between Muslims and the West is due to the actions of the West.

Perhaps the President will dispute this narrative. But can he really go to Cairo and dismiss the narrative altogether?

Can he say that the problems of Muslim majority countries have little if anything to do with the West — that if they are victimized it is by their own leaders, if they are backward it is due to their own rejection of modern ways of life?

The very act of speaking to individuals of Muslim origin as Muslims concedes a point that an American president should be wary of conceding. No president would ever give a speech to “the Christian world.” He’d take for granted that Christian identity is personal and private, not collective and public. He’d remember that Christianmajority countries contain non-Christian minorities, entitled to equal respect. He’d understand that many in the Christian majority define their identity in terms other than religion; and that the freedom to choose how to define oneself is one of the fundamental principles of a free society.

Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood insist that Islam is inescapably public and political. But why would an American president agree? Yet if he speaks to “the Muslim world” how can he avoid agreeing?

The Pakistani scholar who wants to be free to study the origins of the Koran without fear of violence if he reaches an unorthodox conclusion — isn’t he part of the Muslim world too? The Saudi woman who would like to wear jeans in public? The Iranian youth who would like to convert to the Bahai faith? The

Senegalese merchant who prefers the movies to the mosque? The French student who celebrates Ramadan with his parents and Christmas with his girlfriend? Or his boyfriend?

Will the President talk to them? If not — it would be better to stay home.

© David Frum dfrum@aei.org

‘When Bibi met Obama’

‘When Bibi met Obama’

Ethel C. Fenig
Israeli government map maker and and cartoonist Ya’akov Kirschen gives us an advance peek at the maps Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu is bringing to President Barack Hussein Obama (D) as the two newly elected leaders begin discussions on how to solve historical border problems.
      http://www.feedblitz.com/t.asp?/20446/13471248/http://www.drybonesproject.com/blog/pages/D09510_3600.html
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/05/when_bibi_met_obama.html at May 18, 2009 – 12:11:40 PM EDT

Barack’s Epistle to the Egyptians

Barack’s Epistle to the Egyptians

By James Lewis
Ahhh, he does love those grand gestures. Obama culminated his campaign with two of them, the famous styrofoam Greek temple charade in Denver, and his Citizens of the World! speech in Berlin. Not many Americans were told by our media about the Prussian Victory Monument that graced the background of 200,000 cheering (and some puzzled) Germans, among them thousands of nude gay sunbathers celebrating a Prussian Victory of their very own.  

Now, after misusing a trillion bucks in TARP money to bully formerly free banks and car makers, after telling us he is about to abolish 5,000 schools and start them again from scratch, and after threatening to do the same to insurance companies;  after proclaiming that he is on a mission to remake the American Republic from top to bottom, and while he is in the very act of (secretly) taking over one-seventh of the economy devoted to medicine, to make sure that all health care will be rationed fairly – Obama is Ready for his Grandest Gesture, his Peace Outreach to A Billion Muslims

 

Such a thing has never been done before in human history — except by Mohammed’s letters to the Emperors of Persia and Byzantium in the 7th century, and more recently, by Ahmadinejad’s letter to the Infidels. (That’s us, folks!).

 

The trouble is that the love of grand gestures is old, old, old — not new and revolutionary at all.  The ancient world of tyrannical empires is stuffed with grand gestures

 

We are told that Mr. Obama will speak from Cairo, because Mecca and Jerusalem were booked. But Mr. Obama has been invited to speak from the Mosque of Al Azhar in Cairo, a famous mosque at a famous Islamic university, which also happens to be a center for Islamist propaganda and for issuing Sunni fatwas about infidels such as Mr. Obama. Al-Azhar is a great center of Muslim anti-Semitism and medieval scholasticism. But, to be fair, it is just as tough on Christians, especially the Christian Copts of Egypt, who are routinely persecuted in the House of Peace on the Nile. 

 

That’s the problem with grand gestures.

 

The Germans loved Mr. Obama’s electrifying speech at the Prussian Victory Monument in Berlin, and responded by making no concessions at all — none whatsoever — on matters like taking Gitmo terror killers into Germany. They did nothing — not a single thing — to help with their own national defense, having sucked off Uncle’s teat for sixty years, and doing very well by it. They didn’t even respond to Mr. Obama’s request to send “trainers” to Afghanistan. And they never helped the American effort to protect Gulf oil supplies, which constantly go to keep Europe’s carbon-based prosperity alive.

 

So Mr. O got zilch for his grand gesture in Berlin. Giving the Queen an iPod and the Prime Minister a set of DVDs of his own speeches wasn’t much better. Bowing low in the ancient gesture of slavish submission to the King of Arabia hasn’t gotten Obama a thing.

 

So far, the success of all those grand gestures is not impressive. Except maybe for ego gratification. But history is being made! –  even if it is the history of empty gestures.

 

Reading his Epistle to the Muslims from a glittering center of Sunni learning in Cairo will annoy Ahmadinejad and the Twelver cultists in Tehran, who sincerely believe that their brand of Islam is the only true tradition. Egypt just had a major spat with the Iranians, after arresting about 50 Hezbollah terror types trying to stage a coup against Mubarak. Mubarak is getting old, and the Egyptians are afraid of Iran meddling in the succession. All the Arab countries are deathly afraid of Iranian nukes, and have no faith whatsoever that Obama will solve that little problem for them. So they are all shopping around for their own. The Egyptians and Saudis are shaking in their Gucci loafers because an Iranian nuke would mean either surrender to Tehran, a degrading submission, or war.

 

Everybody in the Middle East is hoping that somebody else will take on the Armageddon cult in Tehran. But Obama hasn’t shown himself to have any foreign policy skills at all. His biggest military accomplishment has been to allow the local Navy commander of a destroyer off Somalia to order his Navy Seals to shoot three pirates who had kidnapped a US Merchant Marine Captain. There’s no other record of successful performance. Obama’s biggest power play has been to fire the President of General Motors. Ahmadinejad, who has seen people shot and tortured, is not impressed by that.

 

Instead, we see one foreign PR stunt after another. Leon Panetta just went to Israel to stop the IDF from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. But the Arabs have been hoping Israel would take care of their little problem with Iran, the way it took care of Saddam’s nuclear reactor in 1981. That’s why the Saudi King okayed a peace initiative with Israel, after all.

 

As usual Rahm Emmanuel has it completely backwards, and says the US won’t help Israel with Iran unless it surrenders the West Bank and half of Jerusalem to the corrupt and violent Palestinian Authority. But the US has demonstrated its utter impotence in dealing with Iran — just like the Europeans. So Israel is supposed to surrender its only security buffer in return for a promise — of what? Jimmy Carter II?

 

Everybody in the Muslim world wants something. Everybody has been at each others’ throats. If you think Iraq was bad, with all its internecine conflicts, just think about more than a billion people in dozens of countries like Iraq. Nuclear-armed Pakistan is teetering; next door, the Afghan government is losing support. India is concerned with Islamist terrorism — just having seen a massacre in Mumbai — Sri Lanka has just been told to lay off the Islamist Tamil Tigers when it finally has them beaten — the Philippines is fighting off an Islamist rebellion, as usual — Hamas and Hezbollah have rebuilt their missile inventories to keep hitting Israel — the Saudis are scared by Shiites in their oil provinces — Iraq itself is just recovering from three decades of horrors and five years of war, and now, somebody is exploding car bombs in their markets again.

 

All that sea of troubles is going to be solved by our man Obama in a single stroke. You just watch. It’ll be brilliant. All the Muslims in the world are going to love him. And they will make peace on earth, good will to all men — and maybe even women — thanks to Barack Hussein Obama.

 

The right words will do wonders, coming from a black man blessed with infinite credibility. They will heal the wounds of centuries. His words will finally convince all the Muslims that the United States is really, really sorry. Those styrofoam Greek columns will be transformed into styrofoam Muslim minarets.

 

Oh, believers, know there is One God, and Mohammed is his Prophet!”

 

Oops, better not do that. They might expect Obama to start worshipping like a Muslim. Can you imagine Michelle in a niqab? Or walking six paces behind her man? Nu-uh.

 

Well, how about George W. Bush’s line, “Islam Means Peace?”

 

That’s not too good either. Islam means the peace of surrender and submission, not the peace of a nice day on the beach at Waikiki. Everybody knows that by now, and the Christians in Muslim lands, and the Hindus in India, and the new Confucians in China, and the Jews in Israel, and all the atheists in Europe, they are all running scared of Islamist aggression. You see, for them Islam doesn’t mean peace. They’ve got that figured out.

 

Ask Vladimir Putin what he did to Chechnya after the Moscow Theater massacre and you’ll get the Russian answer about “Islam means peace.” 

 

Hmmm. This is getting hard.

 

But this guy is brilliant. He’ll think of a way.

 

Just watch.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/baracks_epistle_to_the_egyptia.html at May 18, 2009 – 12:04:34 PM EDT

By James Lewis
Ahhh, he does love those grand gestures. Obama culminated his campaign with two of them, the famous styrofoam Greek temple charade in Denver, and his Citizens of the World! speech in Berlin. Not many Americans were told by our media about the Prussian Victory Monument that graced the background of 200,000 cheering (and some puzzled) Germans, among them thousands of nude gay sunbathers celebrating a Prussian Victory of their very own.  

Now, after misusing a trillion bucks in TARP money to bully formerly free banks and car makers, after telling us he is about to abolish 5,000 schools and start them again from scratch, and after threatening to do the same to insurance companies;  after proclaiming that he is on a mission to remake the American Republic from top to bottom, and while he is in the very act of (secretly) taking over one-seventh of the economy devoted to medicine, to make sure that all health care will be rationed fairly – Obama is Ready for his Grandest Gesture, his Peace Outreach to A Billion Muslims

 

Such a thing has never been done before in human history — except by Mohammed’s letters to the Emperors of Persia and Byzantium in the 7th century, and more recently, by Ahmadinejad’s letter to the Infidels. (That’s us, folks!).

 

The trouble is that the love of grand gestures is old, old, old — not new and revolutionary at all.  The ancient world of tyrannical empires is stuffed with grand gestures

 

We are told that Mr. Obama will speak from Cairo, because Mecca and Jerusalem were booked. But Mr. Obama has been invited to speak from the Mosque of Al Azhar in Cairo, a famous mosque at a famous Islamic university, which also happens to be a center for Islamist propaganda and for issuing Sunni fatwas about infidels such as Mr. Obama. Al-Azhar is a great center of Muslim anti-Semitism and medieval scholasticism. But, to be fair, it is just as tough on Christians, especially the Christian Copts of Egypt, who are routinely persecuted in the House of Peace on the Nile. 

 

That’s the problem with grand gestures.

 

The Germans loved Mr. Obama’s electrifying speech at the Prussian Victory Monument in Berlin, and responded by making no concessions at all — none whatsoever — on matters like taking Gitmo terror killers into Germany. They did nothing — not a single thing — to help with their own national defense, having sucked off Uncle’s teat for sixty years, and doing very well by it. They didn’t even respond to Mr. Obama’s request to send “trainers” to Afghanistan. And they never helped the American effort to protect Gulf oil supplies, which constantly go to keep Europe’s carbon-based prosperity alive.

 

So Mr. O got zilch for his grand gesture in Berlin. Giving the Queen an iPod and the Prime Minister a set of DVDs of his own speeches wasn’t much better. Bowing low in the ancient gesture of slavish submission to the King of Arabia hasn’t gotten Obama a thing.

 

So far, the success of all those grand gestures is not impressive. Except maybe for ego gratification. But history is being made! –  even if it is the history of empty gestures.

 

Reading his Epistle to the Muslims from a glittering center of Sunni learning in Cairo will annoy Ahmadinejad and the Twelver cultists in Tehran, who sincerely believe that their brand of Islam is the only true tradition. Egypt just had a major spat with the Iranians, after arresting about 50 Hezbollah terror types trying to stage a coup against Mubarak. Mubarak is getting old, and the Egyptians are afraid of Iran meddling in the succession. All the Arab countries are deathly afraid of Iranian nukes, and have no faith whatsoever that Obama will solve that little problem for them. So they are all shopping around for their own. The Egyptians and Saudis are shaking in their Gucci loafers because an Iranian nuke would mean either surrender to Tehran, a degrading submission, or war.

 

Everybody in the Middle East is hoping that somebody else will take on the Armageddon cult in Tehran. But Obama hasn’t shown himself to have any foreign policy skills at all. His biggest military accomplishment has been to allow the local Navy commander of a destroyer off Somalia to order his Navy Seals to shoot three pirates who had kidnapped a US Merchant Marine Captain. There’s no other record of successful performance. Obama’s biggest power play has been to fire the President of General Motors. Ahmadinejad, who has seen people shot and tortured, is not impressed by that.

 

Instead, we see one foreign PR stunt after another. Leon Panetta just went to Israel to stop the IDF from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. But the Arabs have been hoping Israel would take care of their little problem with Iran, the way it took care of Saddam’s nuclear reactor in 1981. That’s why the Saudi King okayed a peace initiative with Israel, after all.

 

As usual Rahm Emmanuel has it completely backwards, and says the US won’t help Israel with Iran unless it surrenders the West Bank and half of Jerusalem to the corrupt and violent Palestinian Authority. But the US has demonstrated its utter impotence in dealing with Iran — just like the Europeans. So Israel is supposed to surrender its only security buffer in return for a promise — of what? Jimmy Carter II?

 

Everybody in the Muslim world wants something. Everybody has been at each others’ throats. If you think Iraq was bad, with all its internecine conflicts, just think about more than a billion people in dozens of countries like Iraq. Nuclear-armed Pakistan is teetering; next door, the Afghan government is losing support. India is concerned with Islamist terrorism — just having seen a massacre in Mumbai — Sri Lanka has just been told to lay off the Islamist Tamil Tigers when it finally has them beaten — the Philippines is fighting off an Islamist rebellion, as usual — Hamas and Hezbollah have rebuilt their missile inventories to keep hitting Israel — the Saudis are scared by Shiites in their oil provinces — Iraq itself is just recovering from three decades of horrors and five years of war, and now, somebody is exploding car bombs in their markets again.

 

All that sea of troubles is going to be solved by our man Obama in a single stroke. You just watch. It’ll be brilliant. All the Muslims in the world are going to love him. And they will make peace on earth, good will to all men — and maybe even women — thanks to Barack Hussein Obama.

 

The right words will do wonders, coming from a black man blessed with infinite credibility. They will heal the wounds of centuries. His words will finally convince all the Muslims that the United States is really, really sorry. Those styrofoam Greek columns will be transformed into styrofoam Muslim minarets.

 

Oh, believers, know there is One God, and Mohammed is his Prophet!”

 

Oops, better not do that. They might expect Obama to start worshipping like a Muslim. Can you imagine Michelle in a niqab? Or walking six paces behind her man? Nu-uh.

 

Well, how about George W. Bush’s line, “Islam Means Peace?”

 

That’s not too good either. Islam means the peace of surrender and submission, not the peace of a nice day on the beach at Waikiki. Everybody knows that by now, and the Christians in Muslim lands, and the Hindus in India, and the new Confucians in China, and the Jews in Israel, and all the atheists in Europe, they are all running scared of Islamist aggression. You see, for them Islam doesn’t mean peace. They’ve got that figured out.

 

Ask Vladimir Putin what he did to Chechnya after the Moscow Theater massacre and you’ll get the Russian answer about “Islam means peace.” 

 

Hmmm. This is getting hard.

 

But this guy is brilliant. He’ll think of a way.

 

Just watch.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/baracks_epistle_to_the_egyptia.html at May 18, 2009 – 12:04:34 PM EDT

The futility of soaking the rich

The futility of soaking the rich

Thomas Lifson
A host of states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Oregon — are planning to raise taxes on their richest inhabitants in order to overcome the consequences of overspending. Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore demonstrate the futility of this plan in today’s Wall Street Journal:

It never works because people, investment capital and businesses are mobile: They can leave tax-unfriendly states and move to tax-friendly states. …
The tax differential between low-tax and high-tax states is widening, meaning that a relocation from high-tax California or Ohio, to no-income tax Texas or Tennessee, is all the more financially profitable both in terms of lower tax bills and more job opportunities. …
We also found that over these same years the no-income tax states created 89% more jobs and had 32% faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts.
Did the greater prosperity in low-tax states happen by chance? Is it coincidence that the two highest tax-rate states in the nation, California and New York, have the biggest fiscal holes to repair? No. Dozens of academic studies — old and new — have found clear and irrefutable statistical evidence that high state and local taxes repel jobs and businesses.

 

I am not optimistic that the California Legislature will read and understand the many studies which confirm these findings.  Already, one of my best friends here in the Bay Area is decamping for Texas.  I am sure he will have plenty of company. Maybe me, sooner or later.

Hat tip: Susan L.

Update — Rosslyn Smith writes:

 

It is happening elsewhere.  Cook County Illinois has some of the highest sales and property taxes around.   According to this story it has lost population while the population of some of the collar counties has boomed. 

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/05/the_futility_of_soaking_the_ri.html at May 18, 2009 – 12:00:59 PM EDT

Pelosi-o

Pelosi-o
By: Jacob Laksin
Monday, May 18, 2009

 


Nancy Pelosi is caught in a web of her own deceit.

Waterboarding it is not, but Nancy Pelosi’s increasingly self-discrediting campaign to deny any knowledge of the coercive interrogation measures used on senior al-Qaeda terrorists – measures that a large and growing body of evidence suggests she has known about for years – has made for torturous viewing.
 
The latest twist in the House Speaker’s great unraveling came last Thursday, when Pelosi leveled the sensational charge that the CIA was deliberately “misleading the Congress” when it released records placing her among those who attended a 2002 closed-door briefing on enhanced interrogation techniques, almost certainly including waterboarding, that had been used on al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah. Taken aback by the gravity of the charge, some reporters wondered if Pelosi was really accusing the CIA of lying about her role in the briefings. She was.
 
Pelosi may well have been counting on backing from CIA Director Leon Panetta. As of early last week, it seemed that Pelosi would indeed have an ally in Panetta, an Obama appointee and fellow California Democrat. When the CIA initially released the records of the 2002 briefings, Panetta had softened the initial blow to Pelosi by stating that “descriptions provided by the CIA may not be accurate.” Pelosi promptly seized on the statement to imply that there was reasonable doubt about what she had known of the interrogation measures in use in 2002.
 
Panetta dispelled any such doubt on Friday, however, as he resoundingly rejected Pelosi’s claims. “Let me be clear,” Panetta wrote in a memo to CIA employees. “It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress.” Devastatingly for Pelosi, Panetta stood firmly by the CIA’s account of the 2002 briefing, noting that “[o]ur contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing the ‘enhanced techniques that had been employed.’” Panetta didn’t specifically say that Pelosi was lying, but one didn’t have to read deeply between the lines to grasp the upshot.
 
If picking a fight with the CIA backfired, compounding Pelosi’s woes was her forced retreat from the claim that she was unaware of the kinds of interrogation techniques in use between 2002 and 2003, and that she was told only of the kind of techniques that could potentially be used.
 
In truth, this was always a tenuous claim. By all available accounts – including several reports in the Washington Post; a timeline of briefings prepared by Democratic Senator John Rockefeller; and the admission of a top Pelosi aide that she had been briefed about the harsh interrogation tactics – Pelosi’s recollection of events was highly suspect.
 
The point is in any case moot. Pelosi has now acknowledged that she had in fact been told by an aide that CIA was using waterboarding during interrogations. That puts the lie to her April 23rd assurance that “we were not — I repeat — were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used.” On the contrary, Pelosi had known full well that the interrogation methods she now condemns as “torture” had been used.
 
In a desperate bid to save face, Pelosi still maintains that she didn’t know about waterboarding in September 2002, but only in 2003. But even if one chooses take her rapidly shifting word over the CIA’s exact records, the latest admission does nothing to bolster her political brand. At worst, Pelosi is a liar. At best, she comes off as a cynical opportunist: Having known about waterboarding as long ago as 2003, she chose to stay silent until it became politically convenient to speak up several years later. Not only that, but by her own admission Pelosi cast aside the torture issue to focus on what she calls changing “the leadership in Congress and in the White House” – that is, electioneering.
 
Integrity is not the first word one would use to describe that record.
 
Nor did Pelosi help her cause when, late last Friday, she backtracked yet again, withdrawing her previous charge that CIA had deliberately lied to Congress and instead blaming – who else? – the Bush administration. “My criticism of the manner in which the Bush administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe,” Pelosi announced in a statement late Friday. This attempt at damage control has fallen on deaf years: With her belated admission that she had been briefed on interrogation measures, Pelosi is ill-fit to play the Bush administration’s victim.
 
Even the Obama administration has taken this view. If Pelosi hoped that the president would rally to her side, she miscalculated. When asked to referee the debate between Pelosi and her critics last week, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs pointedly declined the “invitation to get involved here.” As her credibility dwindles, Pelosi increasingly stands alone.
There is considerable justice in Pelosi’s current plight. In charging that the Bush administration was sanctioning “torture” and then lying about it to Congress, Pelosi had hoped to turn the intelligence debate into a political spectacle. Now she has. What she didn’t anticipate is that she would become the spectacle.


Jacob Laksin is a senior editor for FrontPage Magazine. His e-mail is jlaksin [@] gmail.com.

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