Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obama's Stealth Leap to Socialism


Obama's Stealth Leap to Socialism
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

President Obama showed his hand this week when The New York Times wrote that he is considering converting the stock the government owns in our country's banks from preferred stock, which it now holds, to common stock.

This seemingly insignificant change is momentous. It means that the federal government will control all of the major banks and financial institutions in the nation. It means socialism.

The Times dutifully dressed up the Obama plan as a way to avoid asking Congress for more money for failing banks. But the implications of the proposal are obvious to anyone who cares to look.

When the TARP intervention was first outlined by the Bush administration, it did not call for any transfer of stock, of any sort, to the government. The Democrats demanded, as a price for their support, that the taxpayers "get something back" for the money they were lending to the banks. House Republicans, wise to what was going on, rejected the administration proposal and sought, instead, to provide insurance to banks rather than outright cash. Their plan would, of course, not involve any transfer of stock. But Sen. John McCain undercut his own party's conservatives and went along with the Democratic plan, assuring its passage.

But to avoid the issue of a potential for government control of the banks, everybody agreed that the stock the feds would take back in return for their money would be preferred stock, not common stock. "Preferred" means that these stockholders get the first crack at dividends, but only common stockholders can actually vote on company management or policy. Now, by changing this fundamental element of the TARP plan, Obama will give Washington a voting majority among the common stockholders of these banks and other financial institutions. The almost 500 companies receiving TARP money will be, in effect, run by Washington.

And whoever controls the banks controls the credit and, therefore, the economy. That's called socialism.

Obama is dressing up the idea of the switch to common stock by noting that the conversion would provide the banks with capital they could use without a further taxpayer appropriation. While this is true, it flies in the face of the fact that an increasing number of big banks and brokerage houses are clamoring to give back the TARP money.

Goldman-Sachs, for example, wants to buy back its freedom, as do many banks. Even AIG is selling off assets to dig its way out from under federal control. The reason, of course, is that company executives do not like the restrictions on executive pay and compensation that come with TARP money. It is for this reason that Chrysler Motors refused TARP funds.

With bank profits up and financial institutions trying to give back their money, there is no need for the conversion of the government stock from preferred to common -- except to advance the political socialist agenda of this administration.

Meanwhile, to keep its leverage over the economy intact, the Obama administration is refusing to let banks and other companies give back the TARP money until they pass a financial "stress test."

Nominally, the government justifies this procedure by saying that it does not want companies to become fully private prematurely and then need more help later on. But don't believe it. They want to keep the TARP money in the banks so they can have a reason and rationale to control them.

The Times story did not influence the dialogue of the day. People were much more concerned with the death of 21 horses at a polo match. Much as we will miss these noble animals, we will miss our economic freedom more.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Government Help Hurts


Government Help Hurts
John Stossel
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Rate hikes and late fee traps have to end. No more fine print, no more confusing terms and conditions", said President Obama last week when advocating another big-government solution -- this time to evils committed by credit-card companies.

Credit cards are a demagogue's dream come true. What better way to win public affection than to rail against banks for their harsh terms? In the politicians' morality play, creditors are the villains and debtors their helpless victims.

A little context first: No one has a natural right to a credit card. Someone has to be willing to undertake the risk in issuing it. Banks issue cards in their quest for profits. Nothing wrong with that.

Think about what a credit card is. It's convenient access to unsecured loans, permitting consumers to buy things large and small -- not to mention emergency services -- without cash. Pay the bill promptly, and you enjoy a fantastic service for virtually nothing. If circumstances prevent you from paying the bill in full, you can set your own payment schedule, realizing there is a minimum payment and that you will be charged interest on the unpaid balance. No surprise there.

To appreciate credit cards, it is worth recalling that before they came along, people got personal loans from banks, finance companies, pawnshops and loan sharks. Such loans were less convenient, and repayment was less flexible. Some people bought things on layaway, which meant they didn't take the goods home until they were paid for. Loan sharks sometimes broke people's legs.

Credit cards didn't create consumer debt -- they are merely a superior alternative to older methods.

As President Obama and other politicians demagogue this issue, keep two things in mind: Life would be more difficult without credit cards, and banks don't have to keep issuing them. Be careful what you ask for.

Politicians are too short-sighted and vote-hungry to say such things. They want a "credit card holders' bill of rights" that would prohibit certain billing practices, like raising interest rates on existing balances. The House could approve the "bill of rights" this week.

Understandably, these billing practices endear themselves to no one, but competition makes the worst of them far less common. And as for raising rates, revolving credit means that a balance is a fresh loan each month; as the terms state, the rate can change. If issuers can never raise rates on existing balances, even when economic conditions change, they will be likely to charge everyone a higher rate to make up for the risk.

Todd Zywicki, a professor at George Mason University Law School and an expert on consumer credit, points out that the credit-card industry is highly competitive. The web is full of sites that permit easy comparison shopping. Competition has driven banks to more precisely match consumer costs to individual risk. In earlier days, every cardholder paid higher interest rates than today and an annual fee (a way around usury laws). Now, annual fees are largely gone. Rates are lower. Late and over-the-limit fees are unpleasant, but they aren't charged until a cardholder's conduct triggers them. This is not to say credit-card companies never abuse customers, but as Zywicki notes, "[T]here are ample tools for courts and regulators to attack deceptive and fraudulent practices on a case-by-case basis."

Politicians assume we are ignorant about credit-card terms. However, Zywicki points to evidence that people who carry credit-card balances are aware of the interest rate they're paying, and "those who carry larger balances are even more likely to ... comparison shop."

The "bill of rights" seems designed to prevent people from getting themselves in over their heads. That motive is honorable, but government has never been very good at such protection. The law of unintended consequences cannot be repealed, and what government gives with one hand, it inadvertently takes away with the other.

Increasing the banks' costs will make it harder for poorer people to get credit cards, and that will only push them into costlier forms of debt, like payday lenders.

I've never understood how the poor are helped by limiting their choices.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

A Hundred Days of Media Love


A Hundred Days of Media Love
Brent Bozell
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

There's something very curious -- even laughable -- about watching the media assemble to offer President Obama a grade after the first 100 days. They weren't exactly a team of dispassionate scientists in a lab. They continue to be what they've been all along -- a rolling gaggle of Obama cheerleaders -- only before it was a campaign, and now it's an administration. So now they're assessing whether their awe-inspiring historic candidate still glows with the luster of victory. Hmm ... let's see. They applied the luster, they boasted of the luster, and you can bet your bottom dollar they'll continue doing both.

Remember Chris Matthews, and apply his pre-inauguration pledge across the media: "I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work."

Three months have made zero difference in the major media's ardor. They were head over heels in love on Jan. 20, and they're still head over heels in love on April 29. Just as before, Obama is automatically destined for historical greatness: "Obama's start has been the most impressive of any president since FDR," crowed Time magazine. One can also say, "Obama has been the most socialist since FDR."

Time ran a long column of puffery from Joe Klein, who adored Obama's radical change from government-asphyxiating Reaganism and his long view of the sweep of history, as opposed to our "quick-fix, sugar-rush, attention-deficit society of the postmodern age." Klein declared, "The legislative achievements have been stupendous -- the $789-stimulus bill, the budget plan that is still being hammered out (and may, ultimately, include the next landmark safety-net program, universal health insurance)."

"Stupendous." That's what socialists think. Conservatives call it horrendous. You can quickly see whose side the media favor -- the multiplication of "landmark safety nets" of socialism, from the government takeover of health care to the imposition of onerous global-warming taxes.

It doesn't matter to the media if the Democrats impose them with the "nuclear option" of a reconciliation procedure that requires only 51 votes in the Senate, not 60. Yes, they savaged Bush for even thinking about using it. But it doesn't matter if Obama is a bare-fanged partisan that rams through massive new government intervention with little time for debate. It doesn't matter that no one read the biggest "stimulus" bill in history before voting on it. Results are all that count.

Republicans barely exist in this narrative, but when they surface, it's only so they can be severely beaten. Klein's Obama action movie portrayed our president/hero as leading "a triumph of vision over substance," complete with the usual spin that Obama is "lucky" to have Republican enemies/villains snidely unleashing "gimmicks and hissy fits," whose rants "seem both ungracious and unhinged."

The long Klein hymn of praise was only the beginning. They paired the four-page column with 10 pages of adoring photographs on his "historic start," including such supposedly historic photos as "Obama plays with a football," "Obama congratulates his daughter [Sasha] on her ability to navigate the building," "Obama ... greets his daughter [Malia] as she talks about her school day," and a photo of an "intimate moment" of Barack dancing with Michelle as "Earth, Wind and Fire serenades them."

You can see their heartfelt investment in Team Obama simply in the effort they're putting out. Remember Time magazine's cover package on Bush's first 100 days in 2001? No. Maybe that's because there wasn't one.

A Media Research Center study of all 852 stories about the Obama administration on ABC's "World News," "CBS Evening News" and "NBC Nightly News" from Jan. 20 through April 15 found most of the coverage tilted in favor of Obama's liberal agenda, with conservative spokesmen and experts virtually shut out of the debate.

None of the three broadcast networks aired a single story on whether the new president's economic policies were driving America toward European-style socialism. Not a single network news reporter used the term "socialist" to describe how his policies are shifting economic authority to the federal government. On only four occasions was the word "socialist" used on camera at all -- all by outside sources.

Network reporters never called Obama or his agenda even "liberal." NBC and CBS never used the word, and ABC only aired the term twice, citing Republicans using the word "liberal" to describe White House policies. On three of these major economic policies -- his banking bailout, his auto bailout and his plans for socialized medicine -- the networks never had a single soundbite from a conservative expert. After 100 days, the media still look more like the president's advertising team than the people's watchdog.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

The Decline and Fall of Private Education

The Decline and Fall of Private Education
Chuck Norris
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

There's something the U.S. government doesn't want you to know. And it's come out again in the new Heritage Foundation report on education. It conveys that the general public is increasingly dissatisfied with public schools, with a rising number opting for private education.

The report explains that during the 2007 and 2008 legislative sessions, 44 states introduced school-choice legislation. And in 2008, choices for private school were enacted into law or expanded in Arizona, Utah, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. Today 14 states and the District of Columbia offer voucher or education tax-credit programs that aid parents with sending their children to private schools. But that may be short-lived.

Despite the growing public preference for private education, Congress recently canceled the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which was created in 2004 to offer students from low-income families in the nation's capital an opportunity to join the voucher educational community. The law provided $14 million in scholarships to help pay for tuition at private schools of their choosing. But no longer.

Why did Congress nix the program, especially when recent studies showed that students receiving vouchers since the program's inception were academically 18.9 months ahead of their peers? (I read the other day that 100 percent of Thurgood Marshall Academy's charter graduates are accepted to colleges.) And why would Congress phase out a program that costs $7,500 per student annually, compared with the $15,000 it costs in Washington's public schools to educate a child?

So its cancellation is not a result of costing too much, because it's half the price of public schooling. And it's not because of inferior quality, because the kids enrolled in the program were scoring higher than students in regular schools. There's only one reason Congress canceled it, and it comes down to this: federal control and educational indoctrination.

Of course, government officials won't admit to a blatant usurpation of our rights, but they will say their educational reform is seeking to help your children. They will say it is necessary to establish common educational standards. They will say that we need to leave education to the experts and not to parents. And I fear that too many of us simply will give in to the whims of the nanny state.

As I wrote in my new best-selling book, "Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America": "The reason that government is cracking down on private instruction has more to do with suppressing alternative education than assuring educational standards. The rationale is quite simple, though rarely if ever stated: control future generations and you control the future. So rather than letting parents be the primary educators of their children -- either directly or by educating their children in the private schools of their choice -- (government) want(s) to deny parental rights, establish an educational monopoly run by the state, and limit private education options. It is so simple any socialist can understand it. As Joseph Stalin once stated, 'Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.'"

What's amazing, too, is how hypocritical it is for Congress to make this decision. The Heritage Foundation's report also conveys that 44 percent of current United States senators and 36 percent of current members of the U.S. House of Representatives have "at one time sent their children to private schools." While the foundation found that 11 percent of American students attend private schools, 20 percent of the members of the 111th Congress attended private high schools. And they want to remove the voucher option for private school education?

While the members of President Barack Obama's administration profess to have education as a top priority, they did nothing in March when Congress chose to discontinue the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Why? Because they all are in cahoots to not only choose our medical care for us, own the mortgage insurance and finance businesses, and place caps on corporate earnings but also control our educational choices for our children.

Our Founders' educational philosophy seems to me to be the charter of a true American system of education. But as we know, our nation's public schools, especially our nation's colleges and universities, are the seedbeds of politically correct and leftist indoctrination. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. It's a travesty that we have come to the point that we have to protect our children from the public school systems by looking to alternative methods.

If you have a good public school, congratulations. Stay active in the PTA, and attend school board meetings to keep it that way. For many parents, the only responsible choice is to send their children to private, parochial or Christian schools or to home-school their children. My wife and I home-school our 8-year-old twins.

What I also think is good about private schools is the students' wearing uniforms. Just like in my KICKSTART martial arts program for kids in Texas schools, uniforms in private schools give students a sense of pride and empowerment. They increase the atmosphere of respect. And uniforms make economic class more of a nonissue, making rich and poor students indistinguishable -- not to mention the fact that uniforms do away with young people's style of wearing their jeans down to their knees and showing their butt cracks!

Parents deserve educational choices; choice is what this country was founded upon. Government's controlling and monopolizing education is just another avenue for usurping power and control on the slippery slope to socialism. And it's unbecoming for our republic, whose Founders created a system of freedom, choice and minimal government intervention.

Is it merely coincidental that the private choice of home schooling was outlawed by the Soviet state in 1919, by Hitler and Nazi Germany in 1938, and by Communist China in 1949?

Is America next?

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

The "Blessing" of Abortion

The "Blessing" of Abortion
Marvin Olasky
Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done."

That was the Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale in 2007, repetitiously inciting her disciples to be not just pro-choice but fanatically pro-abortion. This is significant because, according to standard journalistic stylebooks, Ragsdale does not exist. We're told that pro-choice folks don't like abortion; they're just trying to help a woman facing tragedy.

Ragsdale, though, says abortion is a "blessing," and not only in harsh situations but good ones: "When a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion—there is not a tragedy in sight—only blessing. The ability to enjoy God's good gift of sexuality without compromising one's education, life's work, or ability to put to use God's gifts and call is simply blessing."

Ragsdale is in the news because of a plum appointment: On July 1 she is scheduled to become president of Episcopal Divinity School, a major seminary near Harvard that was founded in 1974 when two venerable divinity schools (founded in 1858 and 1867) merged.

Hear some more of Ragsdale's statement to her troops: "I want to thank all of you who protect this blessing—who do this work every day: the health care providers, doctors, nurses, technicians, receptionists, who put your lives on the line to care for others (you are heroes—in my eyes, you are saints); the escorts and the activists; the lobbyists and the clinic defenders; all of you. You're engaged in holy work."

Ragsdale is a member of the board of NARAL Pro-Choice America and for eight years chaired the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights. Nevertheless, calling abortion "holy work" seemed so over-the-top that WORLD called Ragsdale to ask whether a fanatic had taken her name in a variant of identity theft. Ragsdale acknowledged that the words were hers and that she still identified abortion with "blessing." She said, though, that she had pulled that speech off her website because it was "creating an occasion for sin" as readers posted critical comments. She also said she's "really busy and can't keep up with the comments coming in."

How has Ragsdale developed her position? I looked on her website at sermons that remain. In 2005 she asked rhetorically why pro-lifers did not look at pro-aborts "with tolerance and respect." She then said, "The answer to that question is that in this arena it is women who must make the final decision and that you do not respect the moral agency (or full personhood) of women simply because we are women." Convenient: It's not about life; it's about sexism.

But go back further, to an Easter sermon in 2003 when she said that the Resurrection may never have happened. (Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "If Christ has not been raised, our faith is futile . . . we are of all people most to be pitied.") And go back further to Easter 2002: "The suffering and death of Jesus, according to the theory of the Atonement, pays for our sins and buys our salvation. It's an interesting theory, but not one that I find compelling."

Some denominations have cracked open on issues of homosexual ordination, but the fissure began long before, when clerics put God on trial and chose which doctrines they found compelling. In 2003, proclaiming her lesbianism, Ragsdale took aim at those who say that "we can't help being gay—the old take pity, have mercy, argument. You know, the one that concludes with a plaintive—who would choose this? Let me answer that with three words: Me! Me! Me!"

The tragedy of abortion is bad enough, but the origin of the tragedy, and so many others of our time, emerges from worship not of Christ but of "me, me, me." Katherine Ragsdale may show this tendency in a heightened form, but all of us display it to some degree. May God have mercy on her, on her students, and on all of us.


Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved



Oh YEAH - The Pig pictured below - that's Ragsdale.

Swine Flu - The Beginning

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Days and Awful in (Almost) 100 Ways


100 Days and Awful in (Almost) 100 Ways
Laura Hollis
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama has now been in office 100 days. Let’s review his record, shall we? So far, the Bringer of Hope, Change, Peace, Administrative Transparency, Bipartisanship, Fiscal Responsibility, International Admiration, Multilateral Accord, and generally Unprecedented Competency has:

1. Insisted that his administration would have strict rules about lobbyists.

2. And then changed his mind.

3. Nominated former Senator Tom Daschle to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, and then accepted Daschle’s withdrawal after it was discovered that Daschle owed over $100,000 in back taxes.

4. Nominated Tim Geithner to be Secretary of the Treasury. Geithner was confirmed despite revelations that he owed $25K in back taxes.

5. Nominated Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson for Secretary of Commerce, only to have Richardson withdraw because of controversy over campaign financing.

6. Nominated U.S. Senator Judd Gregg for Secretary of Commerce, who later withdrew over fundamental disagreements with Obama over his economic policies and plans to politicize the U.S. Census by bringing it under White House control.

7. Nominated pro-abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. Sebelius received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from notorious late-term abortionist Dr. George Tiller.

8. Nominated Hilda Solis to be Secretary of Labor, who was confirmed despite revelations that her husband owed back taxes.

9. Nominated Harold Koh to be legal adviser to the State Department. Koh advocates “transnationalism,” a theory that calls for considering other countries’ laws when interpreting American legal disputes.

10. Nominated Dawn Johnson, former legal counsel for the National Abortion Rights Action League, to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Johnsen is perhaps best known for her argument before the Supreme Court that abortion should be legal because unwanted pregnancy was tantamount to involuntary servitude.

11. Appointed an African-American Attorney General who has called America “a nation of cowards” on matters of race.

12. Promised that his any bill signed by him would be reviewable for at least five days before signing it.

13. And then signed a $787 billion “stimulus” bill without providing five days for the public to review the 1100+ page document.

14. Oh, and this also applied to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

15. And the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009.

16. And the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009.

17. And the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.

18. And the Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009.

19. (While we’re on the subject...) ...promised that his “stimulus” bill would contain no pork barrel spending.

20. Signed the “stimulus” bill with billions of dollars in pork barrel spending.

21. Assured Caterpillar workers that his economic “stimulus” would save their jobs, only to be contradicted by Caterpillar’s CEO, who advised that more layoffs were coming.

22. Took over an American car company and kicked out its CEO.

23. Promised “green” cars, even though they are money-losers for the automakers, American demand for them is not substantial and, due to complex state and federal regulations, many Americans can’t get them.

24. Announced a plan to take the United States $10 trillion dollars into debt in the next 10 years.

25. Launched a failed policy to help homeowners who purchased houses they could not afford.

26. Informed banks that took TARP money that they would be prohibited from repaying the money.

27. Moved to nationalize banks by taking common (voting) stock in them.

28. Supported legislation that would permit the federal government to set the salaries of executives in the private sector.

29. And tax them at 90%, a textbook violation of Article One of the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against Ex Post Facto laws and Bills of Attainder.

30. Sent the Dow Jones plummeting virtually every time he opened his mouth to announce another policy, program, or initiative.

31. Proposed nationalizing the American health care system, a program that has resulted in skyrocketing costs and rationing everywhere it has been tried.

32. Insulted Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of England with the return of the bust of Winston Churchill, cheap gifts, and ineptitude during his visit to the United States.

33. Insulted England generally when a low-level State Department employee said that England was “nothing special,” that they are “just the same as the other 190 countries in the world” and they they “shouldn’t expect special treatment.”

34. Bowed obsequiously before the King of Saudi Arabia.

35. Informed the German-speaking Austrians know that they speak “Austrian.”

36. Apologized for American “arrogance” in Strasbourg, France – a country where nearly 10,000 American servicemen and women are buried at Normandy American Cemetery alone.

37. Handed over control of the American financial system to an international consortium of foreign bankers.

38. Went to Europe to ask for assistance for a war in Afghanistan, and got nothing.

39. Received an economic chastisement from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

40. Failed to impress French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

41. Prompted the President of the European Union to call his economic policies “the road to hell.”

42. Proposed international control over nuclear fuel.

43. Promised that he would support Armenia in its claims of historical genocide.

44. And then didn’t.

45. Revoked the “Mexico City Policy,” freeing up federal monies for agencies that counsel or provide abortions in foreign countries

46. Signed a presidential memorandum authorizing the expenditure of federal funds to destroy distinct human individuals so that their genetic material can be used for scientific experimentation.

47. Nominated Harry Knox, a gay activist who referred to the Catholic Church as a “discredited army of oppression,” to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

48. Threatened to revoke “conscience” protection for American medical professionals who do not wish to take part in abortions.

49. Been spanked by the Vatican, which rejected the appointment of Caroline Kennedy as Ambassador to the Vatican because of her pro-abortion views.

50. Killed a federally funded scholarship that rescued 1700 students a year from the District of Columbia’s abysmal public schools and allowed them to attend private schools like Sidwell Friends, the school his own daughters attend, as a political payoff to the teachers’ unions.

51. Embarrassed himself by insulting the Special Olympics on national television.

52. Announced nearly a billion dollars in aid for Hamas, a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel.

53. Virtually ignored a long-range missile launch by Communist dictator Kim Jong Il.

54. Sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Russia with a “reset” button that actually said “overcharged.”

55. Through Clinton, informed the Chinese that human rights violations would not be an impediment to trade.

56. Nominated Leon Panetta, someone with no intelligence experience, to run the CIA.

57. Banned the term “war on terror” and substituted “overseas contingency operations.”

58. Through his DHS Director Janet Napolitano, replaced the words “terrorist attacks” with “man-caused disasters.”

59. Promised to close the terrorist holding facility on Guantanamo Bay

60. Released a report from his Department of Homeland Security, revealing that his administration thinks the real threats to American safety and security are returning American veterans, American conservatives, American advocates of limited government, defenders of the United States Constitution (particularly the Second Amendment), and Americans united for the protection of human life.

61. Released CIA memoranda revealing interrogation techniques used to extract information about planned terrorist acts against the United States.

62. Promised that members of the intelligence community who kept the country safe from terrorist attacks for the past eight years would not be prosecuted.

63. And then changed his mind.

64. Stated the U.S.’ intention to attend Durban II

65. And then changed his mind. (OK, he gets points for this flip-flop.)

66. Announced that the U.S. would seek a seat on the utterly discredited “Human Rights Council” of the United Nations.

67. Endured an anti-American diatribe from a Daniel Ortega, a Communist dictator, and said virtually nothing in rebuttal.

68. Glad-handed Hugo Chavez, the de facto dictator of Venezuela.

69. Supported new ways to implement the same objectives as the radioactive “Fairness Doctrine” to reduce the impact of talk radio.

70. Pretended not to know anything about the nearly 1 million Americans protesting high taxes and out-of-control spending at the April 15th tea parties.

71. Wants to increase taxes for people making charitable contributions.

72. Downplayed the role of Christian beliefs as foundational to the country.

73. Announced that he would be taking over credit card companies’ interest rate policies, as well.

74. Proposed new “cap-and-trade” regulations on emissions, which would cripple many American energy companies, and are projected to cost the average American family over $3000 a year in additional energy costs.

75. Supported the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation which would deny union members the right to secret ballots in union elections.

76. Took his wife out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. In Chicago. Via Air Force One.

77. Flew a chef in from St. Louis to make pizzas.

78. Hosted gala events at the White House on Wednesday nights.

79. Glared, snapped at or otherwise chastised reporters who dare to challenge the party line or deviate from the day’s scripts.

80. Displayed an embarrassing dependence upon his Teleprompter.

81. Supported legislation that would institute mandatory “voluntary” service.

82. Used Mexican gangs and their terrorist activity to threaten lawful gun ownership in the United States, despite evidence refuting his specious claims.

83. Asked Georgetown University to cover up visible signs, seals and references to Jesus Christ during his speech there. (And isn’t it interesting? The absence of those references, coupled with stained glass backdrop here, make Obama look like the religious leader.)

84. Allowed Air Force One to be flown low over Manhattan, accompanied by an F-16 – for a photo opportunity. (Hey – your plane, your responsibility.)

85. through 99. Has left at least that many positions unfilled in Treasury, State, Defense, Education, and Health and Human Services. (Okay, I am cheating, but come on – isn’t 86 enough???)

100. And finally, still refuses – to release his long-form birth certificate, his passports, his college or his law school records.

When I started this column, I thought it would be impossible to find anything close to 100 disastrous decisions in as many days. Wrong. Wasn’t our last President accused of being a spendthrift, bumbling, out-of-touch, elitist idiot? If any other President made this many blunders or potentially catastrophic errors, the press would be circling the White House with torches. As it is, the sum total of their defense of Obama seems to be “Nyah, nyah, nyah, Bush was bad.” So, let’s see, because Bush was a cowboy, Obama can be a cowboy who can’t ride? Because Bush spent ridiculous amounts of money and left us in debt, Obama should spend more and leave us utterly bankrupt? Because Bush was viewed as a buffoon in Europe, Obama is justified in being viewed as a pompous ignoramus? This President is anti-life, anti-business, anti-entrepreneur, anti-capitalist and anti-American. If this is the “change” that’s been forced down our throats in the first 100 days, I seriously question whether we can survive the remaining 1361.



Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Law vs. Moral Values


Law vs. Moral Values
Walter E. Williams
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A civilized society's first line of defense is not the law, police and courts but customs, traditions and moral values. Behavioral norms, mostly transmitted by example, word of mouth and religious teachings, represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience and trial and error. They include important thou-shalt-nots such as shalt not murder, shalt not steal, shalt not lie and cheat, but they also include all those courtesies one might call ladylike and gentlemanly conduct. The failure to fully transmit values and traditions to subsequent generations represents one of the failings of the so-called greatest generation.

Behavior accepted as the norm today would have been seen as despicable yesteryear. There are television debt relief advertisements that promise to help debtors to pay back only half of what they owe. Foul language is spoken by children in front of and sometimes to teachers and other adults. When I was a youngster, it was unthinkable to use foul language to an adult; it would have meant a smack across the face. Back then, parents and teachers didn't have child-raising "experts" to tell them that "time out" is a means of discipline. Baby showers are held for unwed mothers. Yesteryear, such an acceptance of illegitimacy would have been unthinkable.

To see men sitting whilst a woman or elderly person was standing on a crowded bus or trolley car used to be unthinkable. It was common decency for a man to give up his seat. Today, in some cities there are ordinances requiring public conveyances to set aside seats posted "Senior Citizen Seating." Laws have replaced common decency. Years ago, a young lady who allowed a guy to have his hand in her rear pocket as they strolled down the street would have been seen as a slut. Children addressing adults by first names was unacceptable.

You might be tempted to charge, "Williams, you're a prude!" I'd ask you whether high rates of illegitimacy make a positive contribution to a civilized society. If not, how would you propose that illegitimacy be controlled? In years past, it was controlled through social sanctions like disgrace and shunning. Is foul language to or in the presence of teachers conducive to an atmosphere of discipline and respect necessary for effective education? If not, how would you propose it be controlled? Years ago, simply sassing a teacher would have meant a trip to the vice principal's office for an attitude adjustment administered with a paddle. Years ago, the lowest of lowdown men would not say the kind of things often said to or in front of women today. Gentlemanly behavior protected women from coarse behavior. Today, we expect sexual harassment laws to restrain coarse behavior.

During the 1940s, my family lived in North Philadelphia's Richard Allen housing project. Many families didn't lock doors until late at night, if ever. No one ever thought of installing bars on their windows. Hot, humid summer nights found many people sleeping outside on balconies or lawn chairs. Starting in the '60s and '70s, doing the same in some neighborhoods would have been tantamount to committing suicide. Keep in mind that the 1940s and '50s were a time of gross racial discrimination, high black poverty and few opportunities compared to today. The fact that black neighborhoods were far more civilized at that time should give pause to the excuses of today that blames today's pathology on poverty and discrimination.

Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we've become.



Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

The Housing Boom and Bust


The Housing Boom and Bust
Thomas Sowell
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In the spirit of bipartisanship, my newest book-- "The Housing Boom and Bust"-- shows how both Democrats and Republicans ruined both the housing markets and the financial markets.

Like so many disasters, the current economic crisis grew out of policies based on good intentions and mushy thinking.

For far too long, too many people have regarded home ownership as "a good thing." It is certainly true that home ownership has its benefits. But, like everything else, it also has its costs and its risks.

Weighing such trade-offs is something that each individual and each family can do for themselves. It is when such decisions are made by politicians-- of whatever party-- that trade-offs tend to vanish into thin air, replaced by pursuit of a "good thing."

Beginning in the 1990s, getting a higher proportion of the American population to become homeowners became the political holy grail of government housing policies. Increasing home ownership among minorities and other people of low or moderate incomes was also part of this political crusade.

Because banks are regulated by various agencies of the federal government, it was easy to pressure them to lend to people that they would not otherwise lend to-- namely, people with lower incomes, poorer credit ratings and little or no money for a conventional down payment of 20 percent of the price of a house.

Such people were referred to politically as "the underserved population"-- as if politicians know who should and who shouldn't get mortgages better than people who have spent their careers making mortgage-lending decisions.

But, in politics, power trumps knowledge. Banks whose mortgage loan approval rates for "the underserved population" did not match the prevailing preconceptions found that they could not get government regulatory agencies to approve their business decisions on opening new branches or enlarging their financial operations, the way competing banks did when those competing banks met the lending quotas set by the government.

If meeting those quotas required lowering the standards for granting mortgage loans, that was often considered a lesser evil than having government regulators stalling or vetoing the business decisions necessary for competing in the financial markets.

While Democrats spearheaded this crusade, Republicans joined in as well. The George W. Bush administration, for example, urged Congress to pass the American Dream Downpayment Initiative, which subsidized the down payments of prospective home buyers whose incomes were below a certain level.

Who could be against "the American dream" of home ownership or so mean-spirited as to ask how much it would cost the taxpayers or what risks it would create for the whole financial system? Certainly not most Democrats or Republicans in Congress or the White House.

The media were also part of this crusade for more home ownership, more widely available. If some segments of the population did not own homes as much as others, that just showed that there was something wrong with the mortgage lending process, as far as editorial office philosophers were concerned.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it, "lending institutions are being far more conservative than they have to be in determining the creditworthiness of minorities."

Later, disastrous default rates and foreclosure rates among "the underserved population" who had been given mortgage loans to satisfy government quotas suggest that the old-fashioned mortgage qualifications that had been pooh-poohed in editorial offices had more basis than the crusades of politicians and the press.

There are many other complications covered in "The Housing Boom and Bust." But behind all the complexities was a very simple fact: Monthly mortgage payments by millions of home buyers were what provided the money for the banks, the financial institutions that bought mortgages from the banks, and the Wall Street firms that created sophisticated securities based on those mortgages.

Riskier mortgage lending practices, imposed by government, were what set the stage for many mortgage payments to stop and thus for the financial disasters that followed. Political rhetoric, echoed in the media, seeks to obscure that painfully plain fact.



Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Open Letter to Obama


Open Letter to Obama.April 17, 2009

Received this letter in our e-mail, and I thought it's a good representation about how many of us bosses feel about our employee.

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington , DC 20500

Mr. Obama:

I have had it with you and your administration, sir. Your conduct on your recent trip overseas has convinced me that you are not an adequate representative of the United States of America collectively or of me personally.

You are so obsessed with appeasing the Europeans and the Muslim world that you have abdicated the responsibilities of the President of the United States of America. You are responsible to the citizens of the United States. You are not responsible to the peoples of any other country on earth.

I personally resent that you go around the world apologizing for the United States telling Europeans that we are arrogant and do not care about their status in the world. Sir, what do you think the First World War and the Second World War were all about if not the consideration of the peoples of Europe? Are you brain dead? What do you think the Marshall Plan was all about? Do you not understand or know the history of the 20th century?

Where do you get off telling a Muslim country that the United States does not consider itself a Christian country? Have you not read the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States? This country was founded on Judeo-Christian ethics and the principles governing this country, at least until you came along, come directly from this heritage. Do you not understand this?

Your bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia is an affront to all Americans. Our President does not bow down to anyone, let alone the king of Saudi Arabia. You don't show Great Britain, our best and one of our oldest allies, the respect they deserve yet you bow down to the king of Saudi Arabia. How dare you, sir! How dare you!

You can't find the time to visit the graves of our greatest generation because you don't want to offend the Germans but make time to visit a mosque in Turkey. You offended our dead and every veteran when you give the Germans more respect than the people who saved the German people from themselves. What's the matter with you?

I am convinced that you and the members of your administration have the historical and intellectual depth of a mud puddle and should be ashamed of yourselves, all of you.

You are so self-righteously offended by the big bankers and the American automobile manufacturers yet do nothing about the real thieves in this situation, Mr. Dodd, Mr. Frank, Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelic, the Fannie Mae bonuses, and the Freddie Mac bonuses. What do you intend to do about them? Anything? I seriously doubt it.

What about the U.S. House members passing out $9.1 million in bonuses to their staff members on top of the $2.5 million in automatic pay raises that lawmakers gave themselves? I understand the average House aide got a 17% bonus. I took a 5% cut in my pay to save jobs with my employer. You haven't said anything about that. Who authorized that? I surely didn't!

Executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be receiving $210 million in bonuses over an eighteen-month period, that's $45 million more than the AIG bonuses. In fact, Fannie and Freddie executives have already been awarded $51 million - not a bad take. Who authorized that and why haven't you expressed your outrage at this group who are largely responsible for the economic mess we have right now.

I resent that you take me and my fellow citizens as brain-dead and not caring about what you idiots do. We are watching what you are doing and we are getting increasingly fed up with all of you. I also want you to know that I personally find just about everything you do and say to be offensive to every one of my sensibilities. I promise you that I will work tirelessly to see that you do not get a chance to spend two terms destroying my beautiful country.

Sincerely,

Every real American

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

THE PIED PIPER


THE PIED PIPER

There was a Pied Piper who said We live in the greatest country in the world. Help me change it!

And the people said, Change is good!

Then he said, We are going to tax the rich fat-cats,

And the people said, Sock it to them!

Then he said and redistribute their wealth.

And the people said, Show me the money!

And then he said, redistribution of wealth is good for everybody,

And Joe the plumber said, are you kidding me?

And Joe's personal records were hacked and publicized.

And one lone reporter asked, Isn't that Marxist policy?

And she was banished from the kingdom!

Then someone asked, with no foreign relations experience, how will you deal with radical terrorists?

And the Pied Piper said, simple. I'll sit down and talk with them and show them how nice we really are and they will forget that they ever wanted to kill us all!

Then the Pied Piper said, I'll give 95% of you lower taxes.

And one, lone voice said, But 40% of us don't pay ANY taxes!

So the Pied Piper said, Then I'll give you some of the taxes the fat-cats pay!

And the people said, Show me the money!

Then the Pied Piper said, I'll tax your Capital Gains when you sell your homes!

And the people yawned and the slumping housing market collapsed.

And he said, I'll mandate employer- funded health care for EVERY worker and raise the minimum wage.

And the people said, Gimme some of that!

Then he said, I'll penalize employers who ship jobs overseas.

And the people said, Where's my rebate check?

Then the Pied Piper actually said, I'll bankrupt the coal industry and electricity rates will skyrocket!

And the people said, Coal is dirty, coal is evil, no more coal! But we don't care for that part about higher electric rates.

So the Pied Piper said, Not to worry. If your rebate isn't enough to cover your expenses, we'll bail you out. Just sign up with ACORN and your troubles are over!

Then he said, illegal immigrants feel scorned and slighted. Let's grant them amnesty, Social Security, free education, free lunches, free medical care, bi-lingual signs and guaranteed housing.

And the people said, Ole`! Bravo! And they made him King!

And so it came to pass that employers, facing spiraling costs and ever-higher taxes, raised their prices and laid off workers. Others simply gave up and went out of business and the economy slowed even further.

Then the Pied Piper said , I am the Messiah and I'm here to save you! We'll just print more money so everyone will have enough!

But our foreign trading partners said, Wait a minute. Your dollar isn't worth what it was. You'll have to pay more.

And the people said, Wait a minute. That's not fair!

And the world said, Neither are these other, idiotic programs you've embraced. You've become a Socialist state and a second-rate power. Now you'll play by our rules!

And the people said, What have we done?

But it was too late.

If you think this is a fairy tale, open your eyes and ears. Its happening RIGHT NOW !

Survival Optional

Survival Optional
Thomas Sowell
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It used to be said that self-preservation is the first law of nature. But much of what has been happening in recent times in the United States, and in Western civilization in general, suggests that survival is taking a back seat to the shibboleths of political correctness.

We have already turned loose dozens of captured terrorists, who have resumed their terrorism. Why? Because they have been given "rights" that exist neither in our laws nor under international law.

These are not criminals in our society, entitled to the protection of the Constitution of the United States. They are not prisoners of war entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention.

There was a time when people who violated the rules of war were not entitled to turn around and claim the protection of those rules. German soldiers who put on U.S. military uniforms, in order to infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge, were simply lined up against a wall and shot.

Nobody even thought that this was a violation of the Geneva Convention. American authorities filmed the mass executions. Nobody dreamed up fictitious "rights" for these enemy combatants who had violated the rules of war. Nobody thought we had to prove that we were nicer than the Nazis by bending over backward.

Bending over backward is a very bad position from which to try to defend yourself. Nobody in those days confused bending over backward with "the rule of law," as Barack Obama did recently. Bending over backward is the antithesis of the rule of law. It is depriving the people of the protection of their laws, in order to pander to mushy notions among the elite.

Even under the Geneva Convention, enemy soldiers have no right to be turned loose before the war is over. Terrorists-- "militants" or "insurgents" for those of you who are squeamish-- have declared open-ended war against America. It is open-ended in time and open-ended in methods, including beheadings of innocent civilians.

President Obama can ban the phrase "war on terror" but he cannot ban the terrorists' war on us. That war continues, so there is no reason to turn terrorists loose before it ends. They chose to make it that kind of war. We don't need to risk American lives to prove that we are nicer than they are.

The great Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that law is not some "brooding omnipresence in the sky." It is a set of explicit rules by which human beings structure their lives and their relationships with one another.

Those who choose to live outside those laws, whether terrorists or pirates, can be-- and have been-- shot on sight. Squeamishness is neither law nor morality. And moral exhibitionism is beneath contempt, when it sacrifices the safety of those who live within the law for the sake of self-satisfied preening, whether in editorial offices or in the White House.

As if it is not enough to turn cutthroats loose to cut throats again, we are now contemplating legal action against Americans who wrung information about international terrorist operations out of captured terrorists.

Does nobody think ahead to what this will mean-- for many years to come-- if people trying protect this country from terrorists have to worry about being put behind bars themselves? Do we need to have American intelligence agencies tip-toeing through the tulips when they deal with terrorists?

In his visit to CIA headquarters, President Obama pledged his support to the people working there and said that there would be no prosecutions of CIA agents for prior actions. Then he welshed on that in a matter of hours by leaving the door open for such prosecutions, which the left has been clamoring for, both inside and outside of Congress.

Repercussions extend far beyond issues of the day. It is bad enough that we have a glib and sophomoric narcissist in the White House. What is worse is that whole nations that rely on the United States for their security see how easily our president welshes on his commitments. So do other nations, including those with murderous intentions toward us, our children and grandchildren.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

20 Great Moments from Obama's First 100 Days!


20 Great Moments from Obama's First 100 Days!
John Hawkins
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Future generations will want to study Barack Obama's presidency, not only because he made history by being America's first black President, but because he also appears to be on track to be America's worst President. Sure, everybody wants to know the minute details of what Abe Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt did in the White House, but how many Americans are clamoring for the full story of the U.S. Grant or Jimmy Carter presidencies?

That's a shame, too, because those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it and it's not certain that America could survive another incompetent of Obama's caliber in charge -- although, in all fairness, Rome made it through quite a few emperors who were probably only marginally more on the ball than Obama, so perhaps I'm being overly pessimistic.

In any case, one day` when future generations of Americans are studying chapters of their American history books like, "No longer a Super Power: The Long Slide Down" or alternately, "Why We're Eating Our Own Shoe Leather Now," I'd like to think that articles like this one will be helpful for them.

In no particular order:

20) In another historic first, Obama has opened up the possibility that members of the party out-of-power now may be arrested and thrown in jail over political disagreements -- in this case, over the legality of waterboarding, making terrorists tired, and making them swleeeeeepy!

Granted, policies of that sort have consistently led to retaliatory arrests, bloodshed, and even revolution in other countries, but since Obama is repeating many of FDR's failed plans, the fact that these schemes have led to disaster since before even the days of the Roman Empire probably isn't going to phase him.

19) In another great moment for the presidency, Barack Obama publicly referred to his own country as "arrogant" while he was in Strasbourg, Germany. Jeremiah Wright must be so proud!

18) In what appeared to be an effort to undercut the nationwide anti-tax Tea Parties that occurred on April 15th, Janet Napolitano released a report that encouraged law enforcement agencies to be wary of military veterans and,

Right-wing extremists as 'groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,' and includes those 'rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority.'
Make no mistake about it: if the Founding Fathers were alive today, every one of them would be on the Department of Homeland Security "right wing extremist" watch list.

17) The only thing more startling than finding out that there were banks that want to give back hundreds of millions of dollars worth of taxpayer money was being told that Barack Obama’s administration was refusing to let them give the money back so he could retain control over the banks.

16) After rebuking freedom-loving Venezuelans by shaking hands with their thuggish dictator for life, Hugo Chavez, Barack Obama accepted an anti-American book that Chavez gave him as a gift. A President who loved the country he led would have been insulted. Obama probably just thought, "At least he didn't get me a bunch of DVDs that won't work in my DVR."

15) Under Obama's hear-no-evil, see-no-evil leadership, people around the world are for the first time wondering: which group of radical Islamists who want to kill millions of Americans will get their hands on nukes first? Will it be the Ayatollahs in Iran or Al Qaeda and the Taliban -- who, emboldened by Obama's weakness, have begun trying to take over Pakistan in earnest.

14) In a move that has typically only been seen in banana republics run by tinpot Castro wannabes, Barack Obama became super-CEO of General Motors by firing the CEO and most of the board, while dictating how they were going to run their company in the future. It would be far more comforting if Obama had, say, as much business experience as an assistant manager at Burger King, since he's now running one of the world's largest companies.

13) After ferociously attacking earmarks during the campaign, Barack Obama signed a budget with over 8,000 earmarks in it. However, it was Obama's calls for earmark reform on the very same day he signed a bill larded up with a staggering number of pork projects that showed the sort of utter shamelessness that makes him stand out in the sea of con men, hustlers, and flim-flam artists on Capitol Hill.

12) Despite the fact that Obama went to an anti-white church, he ran on racial reconciliation. Therefore, it was a wee bit of surprise when his attorney general, Eric Holder, described America as a, "nation of cowards." Perhaps Holder lost his bearings for a minute, thought he was overseas, and figured that would be an applause line. That's certainly a tactic his boss uses on a regular basis.

11) Once again, Obama made history -- not by breaking his campaign promise that no one making under 250k a year would have to pay new taxes, but by proposing the largest tax increase in the history of the world with his cap and trade plan. The cost per family of Obama's tax increase? $3,900 per household.

10) In a stunning display of haphazard incompetence that quickly came to define Obama's scattershot approach to foreign affairs, Barack Obama gave Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, 25 DVDs that wouldn't even play in a British DVD player. Tragically, that probably meant the British head of state wasn't able to unwind after a hard day's work by watching Psycho -- which, yes, really was one of the movies Obama gave him.

9) Most of America watched Barack Obama deeply bow to the Saudi king either on YouTube or the news, which made the "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes" denial that there was a bow, that came from the White House all the more stunning.

8) Despite the fact that Obama's State Department has more than 18,000 employees, apparently none of them speak Russian because Hillary Clinton handed Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov a button that was supposed to say "reset" It actually said "overcharge," so perhaps it was meant for one of the hundreds of companies now suckling at the government teat thanks to the stimulus and TARP.

7) In the best example yet of Obama's over-reliance on a teleprompter and the mainstream media's fervent devotion to him, during an appearance with the Irish prime minister, there was a mix-up -- and "President Obama thanked President Obama for inviting everyone over." The same mainstream media which relentlessly mocked George Bush for his slip-ups wouldn't even release the footage.

6) In yet another horrible precedent, the man who talked ceaselessly about bipartisanship and unity when he was running for President, yanked the census away from the Commerce Department so it could be manipulated to help the Democratic Party. There's nothing quite like preparing to cheat Republican states out of electoral votes and congressional representatives to help heal that partisan divide in the country!

5) In another wonderful moment that truly gives you insight into Barack Obama's raging narcissism, he actually gave the Queen of England an iPod that featured photos of himself and audio of his speeches. Many observers were undoubtedly surprised that Obama didn't force the queen to sit down and watch a slideshow of his last trip to the Grand Canyon, but he may be saving that treat for a future meeting.

4) After listening to a fifty minute rant against his country from fellow socialist Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Obama responded, "I'm grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old." Translation: Trash America all you like as long as you say nice things about me.

3) In a move that is shockingly typical of Obama's modus operandi, it was announced that he was closing the prison for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay despite the fact he has yet to figure out what to do with the prisoners. This is sort of like opening all the cages at the zoo and not worrying about what happens next -- except worse. Lions don't strap bombs to themselves and blow up buildings, but terrorists do, and it now looks like some of the terrorists from Gitmo may actually be released into the United States population.

2) While in Turkey on his "Trash America" tour, Barack Obama said this,

"We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. uh uh We consider ourselves uh uh a nation of US citizens"
What's this "we" stuff, pal?

1) If you want evidence of how the government "watchdogs" of the mainstream press have turned into lapdogs on Obama's watch, you couldn't do much better than White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs giving them a "strong A" grade. Roll over. Fetch! That's a good press watchdog! Who wants his belly scratched?

PS: If you're wondering why Barack Obama's approval rating isn't at about 23% after all these screw-ups, this last one explains it.


Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Obama, Your Slips Are Showing!


Obama, Your Slips Are Showing!
Burt Prelutsky
Monday, April 27, 2009

Judging by my e-mail, a great many conservatives are counting down the days until they next get to vote in 2010. They hope and pray that Americans will come to their collective senses and undo some of the horrors unleashed by last November’s election.

Naturally, I hope they’re right. But I’m not sure that it will be enough to sound the alarm that the sky is falling because, by then, I suspect it will have already fallen. Besides, I’m not convinced that most of my fellow citizens have a problem with the direction that Obama, Pelosi and Reid have taken us during these past few months.

At the rate that Obama and the liberals are going, when it comes to piling up the national debt, nationalizing banks and major companies, scuttling our missile defense system, reaching out to Islamic and Communist tyrants, funding ACORN, AmeriCorps and Hamas, discussing nuclear disarmament with Russia at the same time that Iran, Pakistan and North Korea are gearing up, talking tough to Israel while currying favor with the Arabs and the Islamists, I have no idea what will be left to salvage a year-and-a-half down the road.

Still, if you know where to look, there are certain ironies one might find amusing. For instance, ever since Obama came on the scene, his supporters have insisted that, unlike George W. Bush, Obama would have influence with the other world leaders, particularly with those who speak German, French, Spanish and Italian. How surprised his disciples must have been when Obama begged for European cooperation in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and all he heard was a chorus of nein, non, nunca and nospeaka the English.

But then, anyone who seriously expects the Europeans to take up arms is the same person who believes that rabbits lay Easter eggs. No European nation would want to risk its well-deserved reputation for unenlightened self-interest by doing the decent thing.

You might think there would be some small feeling of obligation to the country that saved Europe from the Nazis in the 1940s and from Soviet domination over the following four decades, but that would be asking the impossible of governments that regard gratitude as an unseemly emotion and confuse arrogance with sophistication.

Frankly, if it didn’t constitute such a direct threat to the United States, I would rather enjoy the ongoing spectacle of Islamists finally, after a thousand years, conquering Europe.

Speaking of Muslims, about whom Obama, as was the case with Bush, can never say enough nice things, I’d like to know why America has decided to sign on as defenders of the faith. We went into Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq and Somalia to protect people who despise us and want us dead. For good measure, when a tidal wave hit Indonesia, we sent over a billion dollars in aid. That was back before Obama, when a billion dollars was still a lot of money, and was far more than any of the oil-rich nations sent to bail out their fellow Muslims.

To top things off, we elected a fellow named Barack Hussein Obama, who rushes off to Turkey on the taxpayers’ dime to tell them how large a role Muslims have played in American history.

One thing I must say for Obama is that he has become very adept at bowing. First there was that memorable kowtow to King Abdullah, and he quickly followed that up by taking numerous bows for the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips. We are all delighted that, thanks to the U.S. military, the captain was saved, but the only people who deserve congratulations are Commander Frank Castellano, the Navy SEALs and the fantastic marksmen who hit their three targets. The only thing the Commander in Chief did was to prolong the nightmare for Capt. Phillips and his family by saying that no action should be taken unless the hostage’s life appeared to be in imminent danger.

If this is the administration’s approach to hostage negotiations, we can better understand why Obama and Biden are insisting that Israel take no preemptive action against Iran. Apparently, no imminent danger can be assumed until Tel Aviv is nuked off the face of the earth.

It pains me to admit it, but there are certain times when I find I am ashamed of my beloved country. One of my saddest moments was watching that last helicopter lifting off from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon, leaving behind our South Vietnamese and Cambodian allies to the tender mercies of Pol Pot and Jane Fonda’s other murderous chums.

Another occasion was when our president went to Europe recently and, doing his rather uncanny impression of Michael Moore, apologized for American arrogance. Naturally, his own arrogant words were greeted with great applause from a pack of jackals who would have been under the boot of Hitler or Stalin, except for America’s hatred of tyranny, its unrivaled display of courage and fortitude, and its sacrifice of treasure and blood.

It is at such times that one can easily understand why the question about Obama’s citizenship continues to plague so many people. Which leads me to admit that I have always been befuddled by the notion of dual-citizenship. As a concept, it’s illogical. As a matter of national policy, it’s insane. What truly confounds me is how it’s possible that dual citizenship is legal, but bigamy isn’t.

Along similar lines, I have long wondered how it is that something as asinine and clearly un-American as the Congressional Black Caucus can exist. I mean, as embarrassing as the rest of Congress is, these jackasses take the prize. The idea that members of the House should be separated on the basis of color, even on a voluntary basis, is undeniably racist. Still, I can see where if I were a congressman, I would welcome any excuse to be as far away as possible from the left-wing lunkheads who make up the Caucus.

Six of its members, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Melvin Watt, Laura Richardson, Marcia Fudge and Emanuel Cleaver II, flew down to Cuba on a junket and came home raving about their visit to Castroland.

In their collective ability to turn a blind eye to the victims of this 50 year old Communist tyranny, the dirty half dozen remind me of the dupes who came back from the Soviet Union in the 1930s, rhapsodizing about the glories of the workers’ paradise, while managing to overlook the intentional starvation of millions of peasants, the torture and executions of anti-Communist intellectuals, the Siberian gulags, rampant anti-Semitism and political assassinations.

Behind their backs, Stalin parroted Lenin, referring to them as useful idiots. However, I think when it comes to Barbara Lee and her fellow loonies, even Stalin would have been hard-pressed to call them anything but useless.



Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

There Will Never Be a Middle Ground


There Will Never Be a Middle Ground
Bruce Bialosky
Monday, April 27, 2009

President Obama campaigned on uniting the country and creating a post-partisan environment. Watching the differences displayed this past week regarding the release of the CIA memos about interrogation techniques; it is quite evident we will never bridge the gulf that divides us.

We watched one group describe how members of the Bush Administration, including the Vice-President and possibly the President, should be hauled into court essentially for war crimes. But if you are surfing news channels, you can see people like former CIA Director Michael Hayden defending the actions of his predecessors and painting a distinctly different picture.

As a starting point, it is clear no one endorses the behavior that went on at Abu Ghraib. General agreement exists that what was done there was reprehensible. That behavior is not what we are speaking about here. We are speaking about techniques used to extract information from prisoners of war by our top professionals for the purpose of advancing our war aims and saving Americans lives.

The divide goes back to the difference in perspective of what kind of action we are involved in and how to confront the issue of terrorism. Prior to 9/11, the Clinton Administration treated this as a policing action. The Bush Administration defined this as a war, but a large portion of the left never accepted that perception. For example, Reza Aslan, while promoting his book How to Win a Cosmic War, states clearly where the left is coming from on this issue. He says that America (the Obama Administration) has finally come around to agreeing with our Europeans allies that this is a policing action. He purports we were treating this as a religious war between Muslims and Christians. The fact that our “Christian” soldiers freed millions of Muslims from totalitarian regimes appears to be lost on him.

Some of his viewpoints may be on the edge, but his positions are the mainstream of the left and they are being pursued by the Democrats in Congress. They seem to have a mindset and they are not called to task for it by the press, including the best at Fox News.

We deserve answers to four questions from the Democrats who continue pursuing this issue:

1) The Democrats kept asserting that use of “torture” techniques has been a major recruiting tool for Al Qaeda. They repeat this mantra at every opportunity. If so, please let us know how they know this. How many terrorists that have been recruited attribute their joining the cause to our “torture” of other terrorists? Do they have a Gallup Poll on this? Do they have in-depth studies of the terrorists and their motivations? We deserve to see this material so we can make an educated analysis of the situation. Without such information it is reasonable to suppose that someone spouted this out once and now it has been repeated a thousand times with no substantiation.

2) The point that the techniques that have been used do not produce results. After the mantra about the recruiting tool, this comes out of their mouths next. Whether you believe the techniques used should be used or not, to purport that torture does not work defies hundreds of years of use of torture. Surely some torture was done just because the people involved were sadistic. But please don’t foist some study by a PhD upon us and ask us to buy that. In fact, it is clear that the CIA personnel involved have disclosed that vital information was derived from the prisoners. Tell us you are against it for moral reasons, but don’t create a lie that it does not work. That is insulting to our common sense.

3) Please explain why the Bush Administration is responsible when leading members of Congress from both parties were fully aware of what was being done and condoned the actions?

4) Please define what you are going to do to extract information from high-level prisoners of war. If you don’t like the techniques used then what are you going to do? We were not putting these people on the rack or cutting off fingers. In the realm of techniques of information extraction, these are relatively mild and people of good conscience can disagree whether they were actually torture. But now that these procedures have been taken out of our playbook, what are we going to do when we have a legitimate suspect and a plot to blow-up O’Hare has been discovered? We deserve to know how you are going to save thousands of innocent lives.

Until we have a clarification on these points we cannot take these people seriously. It appears they are against military action and just drowning in their hatred of whatever Bush-Cheney did during their term. Real matters of grave seriousness are at stake here and from all appearances we cannot take the current administration and their cohorts seriously. That, folks, is scary.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Obama middle east policy shows change in values


Obama middle east policy shows change in values
Star Parker
Monday, April 27, 2009

Barack Obama's obvious comfort level with leaders of un-free countries shouldn't surprise anyone. He is not only our first black president. He is also our first president who doesn't like the free country he was elected to lead and feels his job is to change it.

Obama's cordial encounter with Venezuelan thug Hugo Chavez, his bow of deference in London to the Saudi Arabian king, are extensions of behavior we have always seen on the black left. Jesse Jackson openly embraced Chavez, as well as having maintained relations with the likes of Libyian dictator Muammar Qaddafi and Yasir Arafat.

This should be kept in mind as our president now makes his own effort to bring peace to the Middle East.

It should be clear to anyone conscious and watching that central to Obama's Middle East strategy is to disabuse the long held notion that there exists a "special relationship" between the United States and Israel. The sense of unique kinship between our country and the Jewish state has existed since Israel's founding just 60 years ago.

The Arab world has always resented the US-Israel connection and has felt that because of this, Americans would never be an honest broker in Arab-Israeli negotiations.

Obama is out to change this. His first hundred days, from his very first television interview -- given to an Arab television network -- have focused on warming up our relations with Islamic nations and cooling down our Israeli ones.

We should appreciate that this shift is more than a technical change in diplomatic strategy. It reflects a change in values.

The "special" American-Israeli relationship has always reflected the shared values and traditions of the two countries. A commitment to freedom sustained by traditional Judeo-Christian core values.

Freedom House is a widely respected non-partisan organization that publishes annual reports on the state of freedom around the world.

They rate the state of freedom on a scale of 1-7, with 1 being most free.

According to the latest Freedom House data, released this past January, in the area of "political rights", Israel rates a 1. On "civil liberties", Israel gets a 2.

And Israel's Arab neighbors? On "political rights", Egypt ranks 6, Jordan 5, Syria 7, and Lebanon 5. On "civil liberties", Egypt ranks 5, Jordan 5, Syria 6, and Lebanon 4.

Oil rich Saudi Arabia, to whose king the President of the United States bowed deeply at the waist, ranks 7 in "political rights" and 6 in "civil liberties."

Freedom House also reports on freedom of the press. Of 18 countries in the Middle Eastern/North African area, they report only one country with a free press. Israel. Eleven of these countries have no free press, including Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Egypt and Lebanon are rated partly free.

Despite being the youngest country in the region, Israel's per capita gross domestic product is five times higher than the average of all its neighbors. Also, despite having no great endowment of natural resources, its GDP per capita, at $24,097, is higher than Saudi Arabia's, $22, 296, which has, by far, the world's largest oil production and reserves.

The great American writer Mark Twain visited the Holy Land in 1867 before Jews made their miraculous return to their ancient homeland. He reported that there was nothing there. "Palestine is desolate and unlovely."

You have to be either blind or have a political agenda to refuse to see the incredible miracle that has occurred in the re-birth of the Jewish nation.

Of course, there is a special relationship between the United States and Israel. The same values and traditions have produced in both places freedom and prosperity from nothing.

Should we denigrate Arabs and Muslims? Certainly not. But anyone who thinks that peace and prosperity will come from abandoning those very values that got us to where we are, and along with this our friends who share those values, is deeply misguided.

Unfortunately, today we have an American president who is set on doing just that. Principled Americans and Israelis should tighten seatbelts and prepare to defend the truths we hold dear.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Obama, Chavez, And The CIA: Who Is Most Dangerous?


Obama, Chavez, And The CIA: Who Is Most Dangerous?
Austin Hill
Sunday, April 26, 2009

So, who’s the real “enemy of the state,” anyway?

Over the past week we’ve seen an extraordinary display of discernment - - or lack of discernment, if you will - - from the President of the United States. It started with President Obama allowing himself to be photographed and recorded while glad-handing, back-slapping, and generally enjoying the company of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. It ended with the Obama Administration toying with the idea of attempting to prosecute members of the Bush Administration for being to mean to terrorists.

Let’s first consider Hugo Chavez, and President Obama’s public greeting of him. Chavez is a very troubling character, having helped lead an effort to overthrow his own nation’s government back in 1992. H ended up being sent to prison for the coup attempt, but after his release two years later in 1994, he was able to start his own political movement, and eventually win election to the presidency himself in December of 1998.

And what has happened to Venezuela’s government since Chavez became President? Among many other things, both judicial and legislative power has been concentrated in his hands. A nationwide, privately owned television network - - a network whose editorial stance happened to be quite critical of Chavez and his regime - - had its broadcast licenses revoked by Chavez, and the entire network was replaced by a state-run television network. Chavez himself even sought to change the nation’s constitution so as to abolish presidential term limits, an effort that was narrowly defeated by the nation’s voters by a vote of only 51%. In short, the President who once sought to overthrow his nation’s government has shown himself to have all the tendencies of a not-so-benevolent dictator, something that is inconsistent with democracy and human liberty.

After his warm greeting of Chavez, President Obama remarked that “it’s unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having polite conversation with Mr. Chavez, we are endangering the strategic interest of the United States.” This was a lame response to the criticism that Obama’s behavior had engendered, and worse yet, it completely missed the point.

Nobody has ever claimed that the Chavez government poses a danger to the strategic interests of the United States (this was yet another of Obama’s famous “straw man” arguments). Yet, there is a very good reason that both Republican President George W. Bush and Democrat President Bill Clinton both refused to be seen with Chavez. The reason is, simply, that for the President of the United States - - any President of the United States - - to be seen in the company of another head of state, is to automatically and immediately impart esteem and, at the very least, implicit approval, to that head of state. And whereas historically the United States has sought to advance the cause of freedom and democracy around the world (rather than undermine it), U.S. Presidents have refused to play into the propagandizing games of political leaders who are at odds with democracy.

But the days of the United States promoting liberty and democracy around the world seem to be over with, or, at the very least, have been suspended during this current era of Obama (certainly promoting liberty domestically is “on hold” right now). Similarly, the days of the U.S. Government taking seriously its own intelligence gathering efforts, and respecting those who do that work, appear to be on hiatus as well.

When early last week President Obama announced that the White House would release classified memos detailing the CIA’s interrogation of terror suspects from earlier this decade, he offered his assurance that there would be no attempts to prosecute those involved. Yet by weeks end, the President had suggested that maybe Congress should at least “investigate” the CIA’s interrogation tactics, and do so with a “bipartisan” commission at the helm. Further, the Administration appears ready to release at least some of the identities of CIA officials who had been involved in terrorist interrogations.

And note what is at stake: We’re talking here about people who work for our nation’s Central Intelligence Agency, people who do some of the most high-risk work in all the intelligence community, under clandestine agreements. President Obama now appears to be willing to reverse course, determine after the fact that their work is not clandestine, and subject these Americans to public scorn, at the very least, and grave threat, at the worst.

Yes, it’s an amazing week, when the President of the United States has a warm embrace for a dictator, and merciless condemnation for some of his fellow Americans.

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