You can’t fool Mother Nature
Flies know where B__ S___ comes from
Morning Bell: Obama’s Leadership Vacuum
Posted By Mike Brownfield On June 23, 2010 @ 9:16 am In Ongoing Priorities |
More than two years ago, then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton launched a campaign ad that took direct aim at Senator Barack Obama’s inexperience . It painted the picture of a telephone ringing in the White House at 3 a.m. and asked the question, when there is a crisis in the world and your children are safe and asleep, “Who do you want answering the phone?”
Now, two years later, there are several crises confronting America, that telephone is ringing, and President Obama isn’t quite sure what to do about it.
The first crisis is the War in Afghanistan, a lynchpin in the War on Terror and a key to ensuring U.S. security. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, reportedly tendered his resignation yesterday following a Rolling Stone article  that portrayed him and senior aides on his team as dismissive of top Obama administration officials. Apart for being an embarrassing moment for both President Obama and Gen. McChrystal, the story revealed a larger problem for the president – festering, internal dissension  regarding his administration’s Afghanistan strategy. As Politico reports , there are divisions among Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice President Biden, Gen. David Petraeus, Richard Holbrooke and others.
Those divisions are of Obama’s own making, stemming from his lack of leadership and failure to make a firm commitment to victory in Afghanistan. It took the president 10 months to decide on an Afghanistan strategy , he took a middle road in only committing 30,000 additional troops  to the mission, many fewer than Gen. McChrystal had requested, and he imposed an artificial timeline for withdrawal that sent mixed signals to the country , the military, our allies and our enemies about America’s resolve to win the war. Now, as the president contemplates Gen. McChrystal’s potential resignation, it appears he is reaping the bitter harvest of his failure to take decisive action.
There’s another crisis spewing from deep in the Gulf of Mexico, where the environmental and economic repercussions of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continue to spread, 64 days later. Even after President Obama addressed the nation on the government’s oil spill response, 59 percent of Americans  do not believe he has a clear plan for tackling the crisis.
Is it any wonder? Yesterday, a federal judge struck down the president’s six-month ban on oil drilling, concluding that plaintiffs likely could show  “the Administration acted arbitrarily and capriciously in issuing the moratorium.”
The ruling followed protests from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and 19 Gulf lawmakers , including Democrat Rep. Charlie Melancon (LA), who complained that the ban would pile on even more economic hardship to the embattled Gulf region. Despite the ruling, the protests, the economic consequences, and a poll showing that 56 percent of Americans  believe offshore drilling is necessary for U.S. energy security, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he will issue a new order  re-imposing the moratorium on deepwater drilling.
The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky writes that the ban is just one example  of the Obama administration’s oil spill failures:
From the unjustified 24-hour ban imposed by the Coast Guard on the barges that were pumping oil out of the water to check on whether they had fire extinguishers and life vests on board to the Army Corps of Engineers’ delays in allowing Louisiana to build berms and sand barriers to protect its wetlands, the administration has acted more like the Keystone Cops than a competent and effective government.
And then there’s the budget. President Obama’s administration has been marked by a spend-now, cut-later (or never) mantra that has featured the largest single-year increase in domestic spending since World War II  and a trillion-dollar health care plan . Recognizing that all that spending might cause a public relations problem, the president appointed the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform  to study ways to improve America’s fiscal future. Why make a decision when others can do it for you?
Taking a cue from their leader, House Democrats announced yesterday that they won’t pass a budget this year . Even though that’s never been done  in the history of the modern budgetary process, they want to wait  until the president’s commission issues its report in December before making any moves.
Following President Obama’s Oval Office address on the oil spill last week, MSNBC commentators Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Howard Fineman, three of the president’s most ardent media cheerleaders, roundly criticized the president’s speech . Fineman said “Obama should be acting like a ‘commander-in-chief.’” Olbermann complained the president “wasn’t specific enough.” Matthews observed, “I don’t sense executive command.” Each of those observations comes down to one thing: leadership. And these days, the man picking up the White House phone at 3 a.m. doesn’t seem to have it.
The berms are meant to protect the Louisiana coastline from oil. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has concerns about where the dredging is being done.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who was one of the most vocal advocates of the dredging plan, has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, pleading for the work to continue.
Nungesser said the government has asked crews to move the dredging site two more miles farther off the coastline.
“Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil,” Nungesser wrote to Obama. “Furthermore, with the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, we are being put at an increased risk for devastation to our area from the intrusion of oil.
Nungesser has asked for the dredging to continue for the next seven days, the amount of time it would take to move the dredging operations two miles and out resume work.
Work is scheduled to halt at midnight Wednesday.
The California dredge located off the Chandelier Islands has pumped more than 50,000 cubic yards of material daily to create a sand berm, according to Plaquemines Parish officials.
Nungesser’s letter includes an emotional plea to the president.
“Please don’t let them shut this dredge down,” he wrote. “This requires your immediate attention!”
The Next Big Crisis: State Bankruptcies
Posted By Dick Morris On June 23, 2010 @ 12:01 am In FrontPage | 7 Comments
Many say that the situation in Greece is a harbinger of what is coming to the United States. They are right. But first it will come to states like New York, California and Michigan, which are stretched way beyond their means and deeply in debt.
Until now, the problems in these states have been papered over by federal aid. Essentially, Washington has relieved these states (and the local governments they fund) of their constitutional obligations to balance their budgets by giving them welfare checks in the nick of time. Barack Obama now seeks to pass $50 billion in additional welfare to the states.
But, since these federal funds are not necessarily recurring — and the jobs and obligations they fund are — they simply enlarge each year’s deficit hole and enable the states to go more deeply into the red.
As these deficits mount — particularly if a newly elected Republican House and/or Senate refuse to fund them — bondholders will get more and more nervous. Eventually, they will realize that the less solvent states are bankrupt and will refuse to buy their debt. Eyes in Sacramento, Lansing and Albany will turn helplessly to Washington to guarantee their debt, just as Athens turns to Berlin.
Republicans, if they control either or both Houses, should stand firm and insist that these states sink or swim on their own. America’s taxpayers will not take kindly to having to bail out other states — or even their own — to pay for years of reckless spending. Americans will swarm to the GOP and will hail its stand.
The time is long passed when a local newspaper can generate sympathy — even from its own readers and the state’s own citizens — with a headline like “Ford to New York: Drop Dead.” Now, people in other states (and even in the affected state) would stand up and cheer should the Republicans take so strong a position.
There is currently no legal procedure for a state government to go bankrupt.
Congress, especially if it is Republican in 2011, should pass a mechanism that permits states to discharge in bankruptcy their collective bargaining agreements and contracts with their municipal unions. Of course, this procedure would have to let school boards and local governments do likewise.
Obama will veto this bill, and a stalemate will ensue.
On the left will stand Obama, the unions and the Democrats demanding bailouts for the states and, truly, an end to our federal system of government. Once Washington guarantees state debt and spending, there will be no more state governance, only national rule.
On the right will stand a Republican Congress refusing to do so unless the states declare bankruptcy and cleanse themselves of the union agreements that got them into trouble in the first place. The GOP will point out that state funding is leaking as surely as the Deepwater Horizon oil well and polluting our nation’s balance sheet as badly in the process.
The money will run out. States, school boards and localities will stop sending out checks. Emergency state funding may keep schools open, prisons locked, and police and fire services running, but otherwise all hell will break loose.
Something will give in this national game of chicken. If it is the states and Obama that blink first, we will free our local governments of the grip of municipal unions, their rigid work rules and their unaffordable pensions. If the Republicans blink first, they will forfeit their right to represent the American people, having backed down from the challenge of our times.
This Armageddon looms in 2011, presenting us with either an opportunity to reform our government in fundamental ways or to set in stone our path to an Athens-esque meltdown.
Planned Parenthood Missing Over $1 Billion Taxpayer Dollars
Ever misplace over a billion dollars? What do you think would happen to you if you did? How long would your prison sentence be? Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is missing around $1.3 billion of government assistance. Where’s the outrage? Where are the investigations? Where is the congressional hearing?
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) just released a new report on Planned Parenthood’s handling of money given through federal grants and programs. Between 2002 and 2008 the government funneled 2 billion dollars to PPFA. But the GAO audit on the organization shows only $657.1 million of that money has been spent during that time.
That leaves over $1.3 billion taxpayer dollars unaccounted for! Where is it? Just under 33 percent of the money given to PPFA by the federal government has been spent. And as of right now there is no account of where the rest of the money is.
“Why the discrepancy? These numbers don’t add up and from an organization with a track record like Planned Parenthood’s, the American people deserve an explanation.” – Rita Diller, American Life League
This report was done after 31 U.S. senators and representatives asked for it. In the last year many reports have come out in the press of various local Planned Parenthoods being involved with illegal abortions, covering up rape cases, and lying about what an abortion does to the fetus. Just today a news story came out about a Planned Parenthood in Iowa teaching 8th graders how to do graphic sex acts.
Such a report should shock Americans when you realize what ObamaCare will fund. Obama’s health care overhaul will give “health centers” like Planned Parenthood over $11 billion. So you are going to give a lot more money to a group that can’t account for 70 percent of its funding. Most of that funding that PPFA did spend was to woo women into their facilities for free health care, then they give them free birth control, and when that fails they are ready to provide abortions. How many abortions? PPFA admits that between 2002-2008 they aborted over 1.8 million unborn babies.
“At a time when the majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life, Planned Parenthood rakes in over two billion of our tax dollars, inconsistently reports how they spent our tax money and then admits to killing 1,803,302 preborn babies between 2002 and 2008 alone. A growing number of Americans are fed up. It’s time to defund Planned Parenthood.” – Diller
I agree with Diller (who wrote an op-ed on this issue in the Washington Times). Recent polls over the last couple of years have consistently shown that most Americans are pro-life and are definitely against government funding of abortion and abortion clinics. How in the world can we continue to fund Planned Parenthood with the American tax dollars? If we thought ACORN was bad then we should unite together as citizens and demand that government support for PPFA stops today!
Posted By Rich Trzupek On June 23, 2010 @ 12:05 am In FrontPage | 14 Comments
The Islamist movement that threatens Judeo-Christian western culture can be viewed in one of two ways: as a fundamentalist, misguidedly pious religious phenomenon that appeals to a wide swath of the Muslim masses, or as a calculated, cynical attempt to grab both the power and wealth that the West holds — orchestrated by an Islamic elite who don’t actually care about the finer points of the Quran or Sharia law, except when either might serve to further their overall purpose. The important difference between the way that George W. Bush approached the problem of radical Islam and the manner in which Barack Obama deals with the issue – or claims to be trying to deal it – involves these two different points of view.
At various instances during his terms in office Bush tried, mostly in vain, to find and deal with moderates among Islamic leadership, hoping to thus isolate extremist leaders and their radical, fundamentalist followers. It was a flawed vision, but an appealing one, for it attacked the problem at a grass roots level. If radical Islam is primarily a political phenomenon then it should be possible to separate radical organizations like the Taliban, al Qaeda and Hamas from ordinary moderate Muslims who reject fundamentalist dogma and instead blend secular values in with their theology in the western style. That’s a tough road to take, especially given the lack of any meaningful educational system in the modern sense in the Muslim world. Yet, in Iraq the majority of a relatively educated populace (by Islamic-state standards anyway) did indeed reject the radicals in their midst once coalition forces provided the kind of security needed to allow the Iraqi people to take charge of their lives in safety.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, has effectively abandoned any hope of cultivating a moderate, secularlist Islam that might counterbalance the fundamentalist, radical variety. Given the ever-increasing power and influence of the extremists, even in a nation like Turkey that we once thought of as the model of a “moderate Muslim” state, the president’s approach is more realistic than Bush’s utopian visions. Moderate Muslims, cowed by the murderous fanatics who infect Islam throughout the globe, were never of much use in the war on terror anyway and aren’t likely to be in the future. In a practical sense, Obama’s policies reflect the reality that Islam cannot be reformed in any meaningful sense. But his reaction to that reality has been to try to appease the extremists rather than rendering them harmless. It’s a strategy that merely emboldens radical Muslims, who are thus convinced more than ever that the West lacks the stomach to see this war through.
Obama’s counter-terrorism czar, John Brennan provided an example of the Obama administration’s approach in a speech he gave a few weeks ago . Utilizing the kind of Orwellian newspeak that has become a hallmark of this administration, Brennan said that “…we need to try to build up the more moderate elements” within Hezbollah. It’s at least the second time that Brennan has referred to “moderate elements” within the radical Shia militia, but Brennan surely knows that there are no moderate elements within Hezbollah, just as though there are no moderates within Hamas, the Taliban or al Qaeda. So, why use such a term? There’s only one rational answer: if this administration is going to negotiate with terrorists – in effect trying to find a way to buy them off – it cannot appear to be doing so. While America remains a house divided when it comes to pressing forward war against the jihadis, the “millions for defense, but not a penny for tribute” spirit still resonates among Americans of every political stripe. Obama would face intense criticism on both sides of the aisle if he announced that he was going to negotiate a settlement with terrorists, but when the administration packages that strategy as an attempt to nurture so-called moderates, it sounds much more palatable, so that’s how his counter-terrorism czar is going to sell it.
This is of course the same John Brennan  who said: “Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.” Unfortunately, to the radicals that this administration is trying to court, it is both legitimate and Islamic to murder innocent men, women and children in the course of this “holy struggle.” Again, Brennan knows that. He was in the CIA  long enough to understand the realities of Islam, but his current assignment involves papering-over those inconvenient facts, not confronting the cold truth.
Some commentators have accused Obama of sympathizing with the radicals, or possibly being a “closet Muslim” himself. That kind of reaction is understandable, given the president’s poorly-concealed hostility towards Israel and his attempts to curry favor from Islamic states. Yet, the more likely reason that Obama chooses to trod down this dangerous path is because he’s an academic and, like most academics, believes that the right combination of words and concessions can soothe the most savage beasts. It’s a naïve strategy, of the sort that only a smug intellectual can embrace. Appeasement is also a forlorn hope, one that delays an inevitable conflict rather than preventing it, as western leaders from Jefferson  through Chamberlain  painfully learned. Barack Obama seems determined to take America down that doomed path once more. The inevitable consequences of the president’s policy are obvious to even casual students of history and Islam: America and Israel will surely pay for Obama’s naiveté in blood. The only real questions are when and how much.