Saturday, May 29, 2010
The Obama Doctrine: Marching that Long Gray Line into a Gray Fog
Saturday, May 29, 2010
President Obama this week brought his unique brand of leadership to the U.S. Military Academy. Speaking at the West Point graduation, the commander-in-chief outlined a foreign policy that sharply differed from the Bush Doctrine that was proclaimed from that same podium eight years ago.
In those tense, post-9/11 days, George W. Bush declared that the U.S. would carry the fight to our jihadist enemies, that we would not wait for those who were preparing weapons of mass destruction to strike us a first, devastating blow, and that we would regard any government that harbored terrorists as a foe. The Bush Doctrine was certainly controversial then. It has been effectively superseded by the Obama Doctrine. President Obama recognized that America’s economy is the basis of America’s military strength. No argument there. He told the Corps of Cadets, that illustrious “Long Gray Line,” including hundreds of graduates who will soon join their brothers in combat:
Simply put, American innovation must be the foundation of American power - because at no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy. And so that means that the civilians among us, as parents and community leaders, elected officials, business leaders, we have a role to play. We cannot leave it to those in uniform to defend this country - we have to make sure that America is building on its strengths.
During World War II, American productivity saved freedom for the world. But Obama’s economic policies will choke American innovation. Small businesses are already contemplating the grim decision whether to lay off workers or pay the fine and dump their employees from company-provided health plans. Obama’s Cap & Trade legislation, should it be passed, will vastly increase the cost of doing business. At the very time the President seeks to engage “soft power”--economic and non-military resources, his policies are rendering that power ineffective.
We will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well, including those who will serve by your side in Afghanistan and around the globe. As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we also have to build new partnerships, and shape stronger international standards and institutions.
His audience applauded. (It’s an offense under Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for military officers to show contempt.) But the rest of us must blink in wonder at these words. What is the state of our alliance with Great Britain today? Obama famously stiffed Prime Minister Gordon Brown, denying him not only a State Dinner, but even a joint press conference. Similarly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was whisked around Washington, D.C. in a sealed limousine with motorcycle escort. If it were not for the Israeli flag bravely waving from the hood of his automobile, you might have thought he was a captured terrorist. How do the Poles and Czechs feel about Obama’s “steadfastness?” He vetoed their anti-missile defense systems without so much as a Rose Garden sendoff. He sent Hillary Clinton to Ottawa, where she insulted Prime Minister Harper’s Conservative government in its own capital. But he made up for it when he invited Mexico’s Felipe Calderon to come to Washington to insult us in our own capital.
Strengthening old alliances? How about shredding them? He stood by while Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Brazil’s President Lula da Silva dealt with Iran’s murderous mullahs, then criticized them for providing cover for Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
He concluded with this soaring rhetoric:
Al Qaeda and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of history. They lead no nation. They lead no religion. We need not give in to fear every time a terrorist tries to scare us. We should not discard our freedoms because extremists try to exploit them. We cannot succumb to division because others try to drive us apart.
These “small men” have succeeded in murdering more Americans than any enemy since Pearl Harbor. They may not lead a nation, but their influence is felt worldwide--including even on U.S. military bases. Political correctness in the Army permitted Nidal Hasan to spew anti-American statements while in uniform and to plot mass murder while collecting full pay and allowances from the U.S. government. We don’t have to discard our freedoms, true, coddling jihadists and reading Miranda rights to enemy combatants makes no sense. Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, cannot even bring himself to admit that Islamist extremism is a possible motivator for these murderous attacks.
There are thoughtful criticisms of the Obama and Bush foreign policies. If victory in this war will not look like World War II, with the Japanese surrendering unconditionally aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, then it is the duty of our commander-in-chief to tell us what victory will look like. Right now, it appears President Obama is sending that famed Long Gray Line marching off into a gray fog.
to read more on this event - click here
Posted by Brett at 8:43 AM
Still Stuck in '64
Saturday, May 29, 2010
If someone offered me twice the assessed value of my home -- in cash, no questions asked -- I’d schedule a moving van. It wouldn’t matter whether the potential buyer was black, red, brown or polka dotted. The only color I’d be interested in would be green.
However, if I’d lived in my home in 1952, the year after it was built, and an African-American potential buyer had offered me twice the assessed value, I would have been forced to turn the offer down. It was the Jim Crow era, and state and local laws made it illegal to sell homes on my street to blacks.
Again -- not only was this discrimination legal, it was mandated by law.
Here’s part of a Virginia law passed in 1912: “The preservation of the public morals, public health and public order, in the cities and towns of this commonwealth is endangered by the residence of white and colored people in close proximity to one another.” Thus localities were empowered to create “segregation districts.” It was, unbelievably, a misdemeanor “for any colored person, not then residing in a district so defined and designated as a white district, to move into and occupy as a residence any building or portion thereof in such white district.”
That, in a nutshell, is why the country needed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other federal intervention. Many states had enacted laws that prevented free enterprise. It was up to Washington to restore choice to millions of citizens.
That law is much in the news again these days, thanks to Rand Paul. On MSNBC, the Senate candidate seemed to suggest that parts of it over-reached. Dr. Paul has since clarified. “You would have voted yea. You would have voted yes in favor of the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” Wolf Blitzer asked on CNN. “Yes,” Paul responded.
But that’s coming at this the wrong way. The question should be, “Given societal sea changes over the last 46 years, what parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act need to be reauthorized today?” Consider another question Blitzer asked Paul. “Did Woolworth -- Woolworth, the department store, have a right, at their lunch counters, to segregate blacks and whites?”
That misses the historical context. Owners were often mandated, by law, to segregate blacks and whites. “All persons licensed to conduct a restaurant, shall serve either white people exclusively or colored people exclusively and shall not sell to the two races within the same room or serve the two races anywhere under the same license,” read a Georgia law. For its part, Birmingham, Ala., passed a “separate accommodations” law as late as 1963.
The better question would be, “Would any business operating today make it a practice to segregate blacks and whites?” It’s possible. But highly unlikely. Businesses don’t make money by turning down customers.
Of course, there could still be discrimination. The owner of a Bed & Breakfast could decline to host homosexual couples, for example. In that case, federal law could theoretically force that owner to cater to gays.
But again, look at that example from the other direction: If you were gay, would you and your partner want to stay with an owner who self-identifies as opposing your lifestyle? You’d probably want to do the exact opposite -- organize a boycott of the anti-gay owner and deny him business.
There are those who look around, even in 2010, and see a deeply bigoted country. For example, moveon.org is collecting signatures on a petition to oppose “whites only” lunch counters. But is any politician or lobbying group pushing to resegregate lunch counters? It’s a petition to oppose a position that simply doesn’t exist.
Instead of seeing the progress we’ve made since the 1960s (that’s in living memory for many Americans) some insist minorities should live in fear that their rights are about to be stripped. But the burden of proof should be on the fear mongers.
Do they really believe Americans are so bigoted that we’re eager to go back to segregated facilities? Nobody could make this case, because there’s no evidence that American voters would stand for resegregation, and overwhelming evidence (based on the people we’ve elected in recent decades and the laws they’ve passed) that we wouldn’t.
Jim Crow laws were a profound injustice, based on the mistakenly decided Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision that enshrined “separate but equal” facilities. It required federal intervention to fix that injustice, since it had been triggered by the federal government.
But now that Jim Crow’s flown south, he’s never coming back. News flash for those in the news business: It isn’t 1964.
Posted by Brett at 8:42 AM
Friday, May 28, 2010
Memorial Day 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. -- This is the place that receives the most attention on Memorial Day, though it is but one of 141 national cemeteries in the United States and 24 others located on foreign soil. Many of our countrymen will observe this "last Monday in May" holiday with travel, shopping and picnics. But those who take the time to visit one of these hallowed grounds will have an unforgettable experience.
These are the final resting places for more than 3 million Americans who served in our armed forces -- as soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines -- including the nearly 5,500 who have perished in Afghanistan and Iraq.
A visit to one of these quiet memorials is a tribute to those who made history by wearing our nation's uniform and taking up arms to preserve our liberty and free tens of millions of others from tyranny. In words written on stone markers, these places tell the story of who we are as a people.
Regardless of when they served, all interred in these cemeteries sacrificed the comforts of home and absented themselves from the warmth and affection of loved ones. Since 1776, more than 1.5 million Americans have lost their lives while in uniform.
At countless funerals and memorial services for those who lost their lives in the service of our country, I hear the question, "Why is such a good young person taken from us in the prime of life?" Plato, the Greek philosopher, apparently sought to resolve the issue by observing, "Only the dead have seen the end of war." I prefer to take my solace in the words of Jesus to the Apostle John: "Father, I will that those you have given me, be with me where I am."
My sojourns to this "Sacred Ground," as Tom Ruck calls our national cemeteries in the title of his magnificent book, remind me that among those here are veterans who served with my father and all of my uncles in the conflagration of World War II. Only a handful of those 16.5 million from that "greatest generation" remain. Others resting in these consecrated places were tested just five years later in our first fight against despotic communism -- on the Korean Peninsula. They braved stifling heat, mind-numbing cold and an enemy that often outnumbered them 10 to one.
Here are headstones of those who served in the decade between Korea and Vietnam. More than 12 millions young Americans donned military uniforms in what was called "the cold war." It was only cold for those who didn't have to fight in it. They served on land, air and sea in lonely outposts, dusty camps, along barbed wire barriers in foreign lands, on guard against those who would have done us harm if they had the chance.
Between 1964 and 1975, more than 7 million young Americans were committed to the bloody contest in Southeast Asia. The names of 58,267 who died from that fight are on the wall of the Vietnam War Memorial -- some of them were my Marines and my brother's soldiers. Headstones in cemeteries all across this land testify to more of their selfless sacrifice -- and serve as a reminder that the victory denied in that war should never happen again.
In the three-and-a-half decades since Vietnam, not a single year has passed without Americans in uniform being committed to hostile action somewhere around the globe -- including Grenada, Beirut, Panama, the Balkans and Kuwait. We are not a warlike people. But for more than two centuries, ours has been the only nation on earth willing to consistently send its sons and daughters into harm's way -- not for gold or oil or colonial conquest, but to offer others the hope of liberty.
Since Sept. 11, that great legacy has been borne by volunteers serving in the shadows of the Hindu Kush, along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, in the Persian Gulf and on anti-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean. These young Americans are engaged against a merciless enemy who has proven repeatedly that there is no atrocity beneath them -- and that they will do whatever it takes to kill as many of our countrymen as possible.
Those now in uniform deserve our thanks, for no nation has ever had a better military force than the one we have today. And no accolade to those presently in our country's service is greater than honoring the veterans who preceded them on Memorial Day.
Posted by Brett at 4:24 PM
Is the Impeachment of Barack Obama Moving Forward?
Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
Friday, May 28, 2010
All of a sudden, everyone is talking about the possibility of impeaching Barack Obama.
Drudge is writing about it. Sean Hannity is talking about it. Dick Morris is saying that the potential scandal is "enormous.". Karl Rove called it an "extraordinary charge." WorldNetDaily.com wrote that "it could be grounds for impeachment."
What happened? The story surrounding the alleged bribe of Congressman Joe Sestak initially broke way back in February. We wrote about it then, but it never broke out into the mainstream media. But because of activist pressure and the courageous work of California Congressman Darrell Issa the story refused to die.
ImpeachObamaCampaign.com alone has delivered more than 750,000 petitions to Congress in support of impeachment. Make no mistake, patriotic Americans are driving this sudden turn of events. It is a testament to what can happen when patriotic Americans refuse to look the other way, and they make their voices heard in a real and meaningful way. It didn't hurt that Obama has failed to answer the questions surrounding the attempted bribe of Congressman Joe Sestak.
So did Barack Hussein Obama commit a felony by offering Congressman Joe Sestak a "high ranking" Cabinet position to drop out of the Pennsylvania Senate race against Sen. Arlen Specter?
Let's be clear. The commission of an actual felony is not actually required in order to impeach a sitting president, but if Sestak's allegation is true, and if Barack Hussein Obama's fingerprints are all over this offer, that's a felony, and drawing up Articles of Impeachment against Barack Obama becomes a necessity.
According to Judge Andrew Napolitano with Fox News: "Federal law makes it a felony to offer 'anything of value' to an official of the government in return for a decision in your favor by that official of the government; it is called bribery."
And Congressman Darrell Issa has been relentlessly pushing the matter. He's called on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the allegation, but Holder is essentially ignoring the request.
Recently, Issa directly challenged Holder: "You don't answer or apparently investigate. ... You're not investigating whether it's a false statement by a member of Congress or a crime by the White House. What are we to do?"
Back in February, Sestak confirmed to Larry Kane, a Philadelphia talk-show host, that the White House dangled a "high ranking" job in front of him to convince him to drop his primary challenge against incumbent Arlen Specter.
Initially, the Obama White House denied the accusation. According to a Fox News report: "White House official told Fox News that Sestak is expected to 'clarify' the allegation."
But Sestak didn't take the hint... he didn't "clarify" the accusation.
He stood by his statement and told Fox News: "I was asked a direct question yesterday and I answered it honestly."
Just prior to the Pennsylvania primary, Issa confronted Holder directly, but Holder refused to comment on the case. When Issa questioned Holder on why he had not responded to his request for a special prosecutor, Holder simply said that he thought he had responded to the request and offered his apologies.
Is it possible that Sestak lied, or that he was simply mistaken?
It seems unlikely as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs issued the following carefully guarded statement to the press: "I'm told whatever conversations have been had are not problematic" and Gibbs added that the matter was "in the past."
Stonewalling... obstruction... but it's clear by Gibbs' statement that someone made Sestak an offer.
Keeping in mind that only Barack Obama has the authority to appoint an individual to his own Cabinet, the only question that remains is: What did Obama know and when did he know it?
The American people deserve an answer.
Updated: WH Used Clinton To Ask Sestak To Get Out Of Race, Sestak Responds Friday, May 28, 2010
Posted by: Jillian Bandes at 1:33 PM
A statement is expected from the White House later today on the nature of the Sestak bribe. I wonder if it will include this nugget -- a new report out that the White House that they used Bill Clinton to convince Sestak to drop his Senate bid. The New York Times quotes sources who say Clinton was contacted as early as last summer -- that would be right after Specter's party-switch.
Here's what the "anonymous" White House officials told the New York Times:
The White House did not offer Mr. Sestak a full-time paid position because [Rahm] Emanuel wanted him to stay in the House rather than risk losing his seat. Among the positions explored by the White House was an appointment to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, which provides independent oversight and advice the president. But White House officials discovered it would not work because Mr. Sestak could not serve on the board while still serving in Congress.
Clinton would be a convenient scapegoat in this story, and I'm eager to see whether the President will oblige repeated requests for a full investigation.
Update: The Atlantic reportedly has the White House memo, authored by chief counsel Bob Bauer.
Update II: Rep. Sestak has released the following statement in response to the White House's comments from earlier today:
Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation, he expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background.
He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives. I said no. I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer. The former President said he knew I'd say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects.
"There are many important challenges facing Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. I intend to remain focused on those issues and continue my fight on behalf of working families."
Sestak's statement seems to nearly word-for-word corroborate the story from the White House. Do you think everyone is being honest here?
To read more on this subject, click here.
Posted by Brett at 4:15 PM
Obama's Master Plan: Targeting and Eliminating the Dissenters
Posted by: Chris Field at 11:31 AM Friday, May 28, 2010
They've gone after Glenn Beck.
Rush Limbaugh is in their crosshairs.
They want Sean Hannity off the air.
Salem Communications, Townhall's parent company, has a bull's-eye on it.
They've attempted to marginalize Fox News.
The Obama administration hates those in the media who would dare to question their agenda -- especially talk radio.
The Left has declared war on conservative talk radio because they know the influence it has in thwarting the progressive agenda. So it comes as no surprise that the liberal media have labeled it everything from "hate speech" to "sedition."
But talk radio is exactly the type of First Amendment speech the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Bill of Rights. In fact, talk radio more closely resembles the Founders' vision of the guarantee for a free press than the mainstream media: Like the colonial press, talk radio seeks to stir the public to action, while the MSM is perceived as talking down to its readers, viewers and listeners.
It is power of and the attack on conservative media, specifically talk radio, that drove us to publish June's powerful cover story, "Trashing Talk," by Townhall contributing editor Fred Lucas.
The only thing endangered by talk radio is public apathy. That most certainly is not seditious.
As Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers magazine, told Lucas: "To say any kind of criticism of the government is sedition is not understanding what the First Amendment is all about. It fundamentally misses the depth of the First Amendment."
Here's a sampling of Lucas' important story, "Trashing Talk":
During a television talk show discussion on tea parties and talk radio, Time’s Joe Klein showcased his crack investigative prowess when reflecting upon what he wrote on a napkin.
“I did a little bit of research just before the show on this little napkin here,” Klein told host Chris Matthews and fellow panelists. “I looked up the definition of ‘sedition,’ which is conduct and language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and, to a certain extent, Sarah Palin, rub right next—right up close to being seditious.”
Fellow panelist John Heilemann of New York Magazine was quick to concur.
“You know, Joe is right, and I will name another person here, his name is Rush Limbaugh, you know, who uses this phrase, talks about the Obama administration as a ‘regime,’” Heilemann said. “That phrase which has connotations of tyranny.”
A somber-faced Matthews—who used to refer to the George W. Bush “regime”—nodded compliantly expressing his grave concern. Matthews himself said months earlier, “The activists on radio are not afraid, because they’re not afraid of anything. But at some point, if we have violence in this country against our president of any form or attempt, people are gonna pay for it, the people who have encouraged the craziness.”
Craziness can apparently be defined as criticizing the public policies of elected officials.
“The typical liberal rhetoric is that free speech is only free speech when you agree with them,” said conservative talk-show host Mike Gallagher in an interview for this story. “I remember when Hillary [Clinton] shrieked, saying it is healthy to dissent when Bush was president.”
The intense attacks are because talk radio’s influence has skyrocketed with the burgeoning tea party movement and a potentially watershed mid-term election coming in November, Gallagher noted.
“Talk radio is quintessential. It is a grassroots medium. The tea party movement’s mindset is grassroots. So there is perfect synergy between talk radio and the tea parties,” Gallagher said. “I’ve been doing this since 1978. I’ve seen a lot of peaks and valleys. Now talk radio has the opportunity to make a true, real difference in the direction of the country. Most of us are taking that very serious. I know I am.” …
The use of absurd liberal demagoguery to accuse conservative talk radio of demagoguery is not new. Recall President Bill Clinton said “loud and angry voices” on talk radio who were “promoters of paranoia” were responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which was, at the time, the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil.
But the smearing of conservative talkers seems to have reached another high point in today’s efforts by Democrats and some in the media to defend President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress and to discredit the tea party movement.
“The number of attacks on conservative talk radio has increased with the tea parties because they are accused of drumming up civil unrest,” Michael Harrison, editor of the trade journal Talkers magazine, said in an interview for this report. “To blame conservative talk radio for instigating violence is unfair and unhealthy. Demonstrations are the American way. That is politically motivated criticism. To question your government is what this country was built on.”
Conservative talk radio must be protected from the Obama agenda, and this exclusive Townhall cover story will help Americans understand the importance of talk radio and the threat the government poses to it.
Posted by Brett at 12:52 PM
Whose Blowout Is It, Anyway?
Friday, May 28, 2010
WASHINGTON -- Heres my question: Why are we drilling in 5,000 feet of water in the first place?
Many reasons, but this one goes unmentioned: Environmental chic has driven us out there. As production from the shallower Gulf of Mexico wells declines, we go deep (1,000 feet and more) and ultra deep (5,000 feet and more), in part because environmentalists have succeeded in rendering the Pacific and nearly all the Atlantic coast off-limits to oil production. (President Obama's tentative, selective opening of some Atlantic and offshore Alaska sites is now dead.) And of course, in the safest of all places, on land, weve had a 30-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
So we go deep, ultra deep -- to such a technological frontier that no precedent exists for the April 20 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
There will always be catastrophic oil spills. You make them as rare as humanly possible, but where would you rather have one: in the Gulf of Mexico, upon which thousands depend for their livelihood, or in the Arctic, where there are practically no people? All spills seriously damage wildlife. Thats a given. But why have we pushed the drilling from the barren to the populated, from the remote wilderness to a center of fishing, shipping, tourism and recreation?
Not that the environmentalists are the only ones to blame. Not by far. But it is odd that theyve escaped any mention at all.
The other culprits are pretty obvious. It starts with BP, which seems not only to have had an amazing string of perfect-storm engineering lapses but no contingencies to deal with a catastrophic system failure.
However, the railing against BP for its performance since the accident is harder to understand. I attribute no virtue to BP, just self-interest. What possible interest can it have to do anything but cap the well as quickly as possible? Every day that oil is spilled means millions more in losses, cleanup and restitution.
Federal officials who rage against BP would like to deflect attention from their own role in this disaster. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, whose departments laxity in environmental permitting and safety oversight renders it among the many bearing responsibility, expresses outrage at BPs inability to stop the leak, and even threatens to "push them out of the way."
"To replace them with what? asked the estimable, admirably candid Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander. No one has the assets and expertise of BP. The federal government can fight wars, conduct a census and hand out billions in earmarks, but it has not a clue how to cap a one-mile-deep out-of-control oil well.
Obama didn't help much with his finger-pointing Rose Garden speech in which he denounced finger-pointing, then proceeded to blame everyone but himself. Even the grace note of admitting some federal responsibility turned sour when he reflexively added that these problems have been going on for a decade or more -- translation: Bush did it -- while, in contrast, his own interior secretary had worked diligently to solve the problem from the day he took office.
Really? Why hadn't we heard a thing about this? What about the September 2009 letter from Obama's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration accusing Interior's Minerals Management Service of understating the "risk and impacts" of a major oil spill? When you get a blowout 15 months into your administration, and your own Interior Department had given BP a "categorical" environmental exemption in April 2009, the buck stops.
In the end, speeches will make no difference. If BP can cap the well in time to prevent an absolute calamity in the Gulf, the president will escape politically. If it doesn't -- if the gusher isn't stopped before the relief wells are completed in August -- it will become Obama's Katrina.
That will be unfair, because Obama is no more responsible for the damage caused by this than Bush was for the damage caused by Katrina. But that's the nature of American politics and its presidential cult of personality: We expect our presidents to play Superman. Helplessness, however undeniable, is no defense.
Moreover, Obama has never been overly modest about his own powers. Two years ago next week, he declared that history will mark his ascent to the presidency as the moment when "our planet began to heal" and "the rise of the oceans began to slow."
Well, when you anoint yourself King Canute, you mustnt be surprised when your subjects expect you to command the tides.
Posted by Brett at 12:36 PM
Conservative Media Fiddle While the Military Burns
Friday, May 28, 2010
Barney Frank and his friends are rolling their tanks through Congress while everyone is talking about something else. As we reel from one crisis to the next, homosexual activists and their allies are muscling through their agenda, with nary a peep from the nation’s conservative talking heads.
This week, their target is the military. Soon, it will be passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would criminalize traditional morality in every workplace with 15 or more employees. After that, they will try to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. Finally, they aim to pass an “anti-bullying” law that will threaten schools with losing federal funds if they refuse to force kids to read Heather Has Two Mommies and Gloria Goes to Gay Pride. The agenda is breathtakingly ambitious, and would be unimaginable to previous generations.
These radical laws would be a watershed moment for socialists, who are at war with family and religion as impediments to a growing state. The pansexual Left senses triumph now for two reasons:
First, the Obama-manufactured crisis-a-day has people terrified about where the economy is headed. The sheer magnitude of government takeovers and spending is dominating the Tea Party movement, and in fact, everybody.
Second, homosexual activists and their media enablers have “jammed” the public debate. Hollywood, educators and the media continually deny the truth about homosexuality – that while all people are made in God’s image and are entitled to basic human rights – homosexuality is not in-born, is changeable, and is dangerous to the health and well being of individuals, families and communities. The militant advancement of gay activism poses the greatest threat to the freedoms of religion, assembly and speech within our borders.
Why aren’t more Americans properly concerned? You can have gay relatives, friends and colleagues and still understand that promoting sodomy as an affirmative action “right” is not a good thing. Americans used to get that. Perhaps the lack of resolve is because many conservative opinion leaders have run for the tall grass on this issue. By omitting it, they’re saying it really isn’t important.
When was the last time you heard a frank discussion about this on any of the top conservative talk shows, either on radio or television? Michael Savage is the only prominent talk show host to take it on, and he does it from Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco. How about Erick Erickson’s estimable Red State Morning Briefing? It’s vital, on-line reading, and I urge everyone to subscribe. And yet, while we’re on the verge of Congress’ raping the military to please a tiny, leftist lobby, the topic is nowhere to be found on Red State this week. Similarly, with a few exceptions, GOP leaders have been silent.
The gravity of allowing open homosexuality in the military cannot be overstated. It has the potential of destroying the all-volunteer force by discouraging recruitment, retention and shattering unit morale. Chaplains would find themselves muzzled on basic questions of morality and many would leave the services. Recruits would undergo pro-homosexual “sensitivity” training. The already troubling problem of sexual misconduct would increase.
A 1993 report by the chief criminal investigator of the Army summarized 102 cases of homosexual misconduct in the army between 1989 and 1992. Twenty-nine of the incidents occurred in the barracks. Forty-nine incidents involved children. Five involved HIV-positive offenders. Nine occurred in either latrines or showers. Thirty-one cases involved soldiers with “a significant variance in pay grade,” such as sergeants preying on enlisted men. And this was during a time when the ban was in effect, including the question at induction, and before Clinton watered down the 1993 law with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” That law, by the way, which Congress passed overwhelmingly, explicitly bars people with the “propensity” to engage in homosexuality.
Reports like the above, and the astronomically higher incidences of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV among homosexual men, are ignored in any discussions of whether to lift the ban. Instead, the rhetoric of the civil rights movement is employed, as if being black or Hispanic or white is on a par with acting out homosexual desires. Unlike skin color or ethnicity, sex is inextricably tied to behavior, character and morality. Thus, the “civil rights” arguments are absurdly inapplicable. How about the civil rights of service people who will be forced to co-habit with those who might view them as sex objects? They can’t just “go home” at night. And no one has made the case that adding homosexuality to the mix will improve military readiness. The best they can do is say that they’ll try to minimize the damage.
From misreporting junk science about non-existent “gay genes,” to bashing people who believe that some behavior is simply wrong and unhealthy, the media are a fully owned subsidiary of the gay activist movement. They march in lockstep according to the dictates of the 1989 gay strategy manual After the Ball, which describes in detail how to vilify anyone who disagrees.
The liberal media might be expected to reject what God and common sense tell us about sexuality. But there is no excuse for the conservative brain trust to ignore this threat. If the gay rights activists get everything they want, thus transforming morality itself into a form of bigotry actionable under the law, we will see the criminalization of Christianity.
It’s already happening in Great Britain, Scandinavia and in Canada, where the perversion of civil rights has led to Christians being hauled before human rights commissions for merely expressing a traditionalist view of sexual morality in public. And it’s begun in the U.S. as well, with the Boy Scouts being thrown out of schools, parks and United Way chapters, and a Christian couple fined by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission for declining to photograph a lesbian civil union ceremony. In New Jersey, the state removed the tax exemption for a Methodist seaside gazebo because the church did not want it used for same-sex ceremonies contrary to Biblical morality. Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Chai Feldblum has said in reference to gay rights, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
The military is a linchpin for all of society. It is a bastion of traditional values. Former communist David Horowitz recalls that during the ‘60s, radical leftists determined that if they could destroy the U.S. military, they could destabilize the rest of capitalist America. Two things could accomplish this, they said: Putting women into combat, and opening the armed forces to homosexuality.
Even for non-religious Americans, the strategy – and threat – ought to be clear. It’s time to get over fears of being called a “bigot,” and to stand up for what’s right for our military servicemen and women – and our country.
If conservative opinion leaders won’t talk about this, how will the rest of the country rally to defeat this leftist goal? We still can, but the hour is late.
To read more on what's up with the gay agenda - click here
Posted by Brett at 12:28 PM
Friday, May 28, 2010
At a New Jersey town meeting, Gov. Chris Christie, the newest YouTube star for the limited government set, was reproached by an unhappy teacher. The governor, facing a budget shortfall of $11 billion, has proposed, among other economies, a one-year salary freeze for New Jersey teachers. Her voice raised in anger (that's a normal speaking voice in my home state), Rita Wilson protested that she should be paid $83,000, the only reasonable compensation in light of her "education and experience." Christie's reply got an ovation: "Well, you know what? Then you don't have to do it."
Meet the newest conservative hero: The Trenton Truth-Teller!
That exchange with the teacher, along with other greatest hits available on YouTube of the blunt yet friendly governor's first five months, highlight a political opportunity for Republicans.
First, the problem: How can smaller-government Republicans win elections when more and more Americans are receiving government benefits while fewer and fewer are paying taxes? In 2010, 47 percent of Americans paid no income taxes at all. Among those who do pay taxes, most pay comparatively little. Both parties have agreed to make the tax code more steeply progressive in the past two decades, to the point where the top 20 percent of earners, those with incomes above $100,000, pay 70 percent of all taxes. Accordingly, the tax issue has lost some of its political purchase.
But as Christie is demonstrating, voters are open to a new fairness argument. Whereas Barack Obama and his party invoke "fairness" as a license to take property from productive people and transfer it to the unproductive, Christie is inviting voters to consider the unfairness of our current arrangement in which government employees enjoy better salaries and benefits than private-sector employees. Economic historian John Steele Gordon points out that, "Federal workers now earn, in wages and benefits, about twice what their private-sector equivalents get paid. State workers often have Cadillac health plans and retirement benefits far above the private sector average: 80 percent of public-sector workers have pension benefits, only 50 percent in the private sector. Many can retire at age 50."
Christie spelled it out:
A retired teacher paid $62,000 towards her pension and nothing -- yes, nothing -- for full family medical, dental, and vision coverage over her entire career. What will we pay her? $1.4 million in pension benefits and another $215,000 in health care benefit premiums over her lifetime. Is it 'fair' for all of us and our children to have to pay for this excess? (Is it) fair to have New Jersey taxpayers foot the bill for 100 percent of the health insurance costs of teachers and their families from the day they are hired until the day they die? Is it fair that teachers have a better, richer health plan than even state workers and pay absolutely nothing for it?
New Jersey has been overspending for decades -- when the state had the funds and when it didn't. "Even as we speak," Christie told the town hall crowd, "it continues in New Jersey at the local level, despite the economic downturn. Consider this fact: In 2009, we lost 121,000 private-sector jobs in New Jersey, while the municipal and school board payrolls grew by 11,300 jobs. The private sector shrank ... while the government grew. That's exactly backwards from how it's supposed to be."
That, from a northeast governor! New Jersey's unfunded pension liability is officially estimated at $32 billion. But Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute warns that this figure is based on flawed measures. The true number, he says, is closer to $145 billion. The state of New Jersey, in other words, is a little Greece.
Christie's proposed economies -- in addition to the one-year salary freeze, he wants teachers and administrators to contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries to the cost of their medical coverage -- have provoked thousands of teachers to take to the streets, Athens style. They've started a Facebook page that excoriates the governor to the delight of its 68,000 fans. And the NJEA has spent $1.8 million on an anti-Christie ad campaign since January.
Still, when the question was submitted to voters in April, 60 percent backed Christie's reforms. His popularity ratings are in dispute (Rasmussen pegs him at 53 percent approval, whereas a Fairleigh Dickenson University poll has him at 43 percent), but he is gaining traction in a state with a 700,000 Democratic registration advantage.
This is one to watch.
Posted by Brett at 12:27 PM
Turning Against Israel
Friday, May 28, 2010
Iran is just short of becoming a nuclear power, and nearly every nation on earth is worried. Israel worries most of all. Nuclear weapons will afford Iran the means to deliver on its threat to "wipe Israel off the map," as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad so cheerfully puts it.
Children throughout the Middle East already study maps with a hole in them where Israel used to be. Some are tempted to dismiss Ahmadinejad as a blowhard and a clown, but he's a credible and loud voice to the millions of angry Muslims surrounding the only democracy in the Middle East.
Israel is the "Little Satan," secure from the rage of its enemies so long as the "Big Satan" guarantees it, and the guarantee is safe so long as Jews remain strong in Israel's behalf. But there's an angry buzz in the media and in certain academic covens that Jewish support for Israel is declining -- and may be on the way to collapse.
The strength and depth of the buzz is traced in an essay by Peter Beinart in the New York Review of Books, headlined, "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment." Beinart attends an Orthodox synagogue, though he is not an Orthodox Jew himself, and he draws his conclusions from surveys of opinions of young American Jews, many of them on the campuses of our most prestigious colleges.
The surveys demonstrate that young secular leftist Jews, who can't remember a Middle East without a strong Israeli state, have separated themselves from the sympathetic attitudes of their parents and grandparents. They're two generations removed from the Holocaust and from knowing American Jews who fled to America to escape the Nazis or who left close relatives behind. They feel no exhilaration in the accounts of how President Truman ordered the recognition of Israel 11 minutes after it declared itself a nation in 1948. They never felt the fear for the future of the Jewish nation when Arab armies went to war against the new nation the very next day.
These young secular Jews grew up reading the "Diary of Anne Frank" -- but as literature, not history. But it occurs to few of them to say "there but for the grace of God go I." Ann Frank, tragic though her story is, was long ago and far away.
Two years ago, the student Senate at Brandeis University, the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored university in America, refused even to observe the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state. My mother-in-law, for whom Israel and Brandeis were among her favorite charities, is spinning beneath the sod: How could this happen?
Beinart focuses on the views of privileged Jews in America who are far from their origins. Few have heard relatives speak English with Yiddish accents. These young Jews, who grew up in comfortable suburbs, surrounded by luxury and ease, hold scant empathy for the Israeli settlers saving to add a room or two to their houses to accommodate expanding families.
The new generation is eager to blame Israel first, much as young liberals are eager to blame the United States for the tension and violence in the Middle East. They can't criticize the Palestinians for refusing the generous terms to settle their argument with Israel, offered a decade ago by President Clinton at Camp David, nor do they credit the Israelis for withdrawing from Gaza settlements at considerable sacrifice. When Hamas sent its thanks via deadly rockets, there was no outrage.
Jeffrey Goldberg describes in Atlantic magazine the absence of proportionality in popular blogger attacks on Israel: "The (leftist) rejectionist front facing down Israel has seen every Israeli pullback as a victory not for the principle of compromise, but a victory in their campaign to eradicate Israel."
Reality in the Middle East never remains static, and every generation must forge its response from both experience and history. Aaron David Miller, who was actively engaged in the "peace process" in both Bush administrations and the Clinton administration, now thinks the process should be on hold because big decisions require strong leaders, and there is no Anwar Sadat or Menachim Begin to seize opportunity today. U.S. power is real, but defying and mocking the United States takes no particular courage today. Barack Obama, ever ready with an apology to troublemakers, has already won his Peace Prize.
But hope is not dead. This week, lots of Americans -- young and old, Orthodox, Christian and secular, black, white and other -- celebrated with the Israelis the 62nd birthday of an independent Israel with parades and marching bands. As far as we know, Satan made no appearance, but a helluva good time was had by all.
To read another article about Israel, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:26 PM
Thursday, May 27, 2010
What Would a Korean War Look Like? 4 Predictions
(May 27) -- Tensions continue to mount on the Korean peninsula in the wake of an international investigation that concluded a North Korean submarine was responsible for sinking a South Korean navy ship in April, killing 46 sailors. In the latest chess moves, Seoul staged a big anti-submarine drill, which Pyongyang responded to by saying it will no longer honor an agreement meant to avoid accidental naval clashes between the two nations.
As the crisis escalates, an unsettling question comes into focus: What would war on the Korean peninsula look like some 50-odd years after the armistice that brought the Korean War to an end?
A North Korean Attack: Though war would be catastrophic for both countries, South Korea would suffer the most in the first days of a full-scale conflict. Its capital of Seoul lies just 50 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) -- as big a misnomer as you will find, since the area is one of the most heavily militarized areas on the planet. On this de facto border, North Korea has amassed about 13,000 artillery pieces, rockets, missiles and other ordnance that can reach Seoul in a matter of minutes. Seoul, a city of 11 million, could be flattened; also at risk are the 28,500 American troops stationed in the country. Additionally, North Korea could release its dams and flood much of the South, writes Christopher Hitchens. There's also its 1.2 million-member army to consider. And were North Korea to deploy nuclear and chemical weapons, the devastation would be much much worse.
South Korea's Response: South Korea is far from defenseless, however. It has a standing army of more than 500,000 and nearly 10 times that in trained reservists. It has twice the population of the North and is a First-World economic power with huge industrial capacity, while North Korea is an economic backwater where much of the population is malnourished. In any protracted conflict, these would be huge advantages. What's more, the DMZ is heavily mined, and the border area is hilly (even mountainous along the East Coast) and offers natural defensive positions.
International Actors: Alliances haven't changed much in 50 years. The U.S. backs South Korea, while China supports the North. Neither country would likely remain neutral in a Korean war, but it's unclear how involved they would be -- unless North Korea employed nuclear weapons, which would almost certainly trigger an immediate U.S. response. Since 1978, the U.S. has pledged to protect South Korea from a nuclear threat from the North. "Under the extended nuclear deterrence pledge, the U.S. military would use some of its tactical nuclear weapons, such as B-61 nuclear bombs carried by B-2/52 bombers and F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 fighters, as well as Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from nuclear-powered submarines, to strike North Korea's nuclear facilities in retaliation for any such attack on the South," military experts told The Korea Times. China will not support North Korean nuclear aggression, though it's unlikely to sit by idly if American and South Korean forces take over the North. Meanwhile, the main U.S. tensions with China will remain over Taiwan, which could exacerbate if Taiwan used the distraction of a Korean conflict to declare independence.
The Aftermath: Were full-scale war to break out, the endgame likely would be the end of North Korea's dictatorship; the U.S. would not settle for a peace that left Kim Jong-il in power. But what would you do with his brainwashed subjects, whose leader has done everything he can to block their access to the modern outside world? Hitchens, again:
"The dirty secret here is that no neighboring power really wants the North Korean population released from its awful misery. Here are millions of stunted and unemployable people, traumatized and deformed by decades of pointless labor on the plantations of a mad despot. The South Koreans do not really want these hopeless cases on the soil of their flourishing consumer society. The Chinese, who have a Korean-speaking province that borders North Korea, are likewise unwilling to suffer the influx of desperate people that is in our future."
This reintegration project would be much more difficult than the one following the reunification of Germany, where Soviet control in the East, however draconian, never approached the cult state that is North Korea. Whatever military challenges war would bring would be dwarfed by these postwar social challenges.
To read more on the Korean conflict, click here
Posted by Brett at 5:05 PM
The GOP "Listening Tour"
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Hillary Clinton did it and it worked for her when she ran for the Senate in New York, so now Republicans will give it a go. It's the listening tour, except unlike Hillary, who traveled from town to town, Republicans plan to stay in one place and invite you to come to them.
House Republicans announced on Tuesday a new Website (www.americaspeakingout.com). It invites people to submit their ideas in five categories: American prosperity, fiscal accountability, American values, national security and an "open mic" section on which you can recommend anything not covered by the other four.
I do not wish to discourage anyone from asking for good ideas, but isn't this what we elect our representatives to do? If they have run out of good ideas that work and can improve the country, maybe it's time for them to leave office and allow people with good ideas to serve in their place. Given the toxic nature of our politics, what makes anyone think that a good idea from a Democrat would be accepted by a Republican and vice versa? Would it even be labeled "good" if the idea came from the opposition? I doubt it.
Are we the first generation out of the cave? Has nothing been tried before? We know what works and what doesn't. Is there any doubt that we are under a crushing load of debt because we spend too much on "entitlements" that are really just bribes for votes? Aren't individual liberty and economic independence good ideas?
A surgeon wouldn't ask patients in a hospital for suggestions on how to perform an appendectomy. Why, then, are Republicans asking the public to do their job?
But since they asked, here are some recommendations:
Economy: If Republicans regain power, they should promise to immediately declare a national fiscal emergency during which every federal program and agency, including every "entitlement," will be required to justify its continued existence. If it cannot do so, it should be eliminated. People must be told that the gravy train isn't going to stop at their station any longer so they'd better get about the business of taking care of themselves and their families. This will hurt, at first, like quitting nicotine or caffeine cold turkey, but the end result will be independence.
This might also require us to redefine the "American Dream," which ought to be less about accumulating stuff and more about acquiring character. That worked for previous generations.
Education: Money doesn't improve grades. Eliminate the Department of Education and reduce school staff (not good teachers). Allow for school choice. The initial focus will be on disadvantaged children who have proven that they can learn in the right environment and with the proper encouragement and motivation. The cycle of poverty will be broken and African Americans, especially, will thank Republicans by returning to their pre-Roosevelt roots and voting for them out of gratitude for saving their children.
Social issues: With the exception of adultery and physical abuse, divorce should be made more difficult and so should marriage. People should be required to see a counselor before marrying or divorcing. The social cost of divorce has been staggering. It should be discouraged. Abortion should also be discouraged and every woman who thinks she wants one should be required to view a sonogram of that which she is about to terminate. That would save many aborted babies and increase the number of taxpayers.
National defense: National defense begins with going after those who are going after us. Yes, we intend to identify, pursue (and deport from America) those terrorist leaders who use religion as an excuse to murder innocent civilians. Never has "the best defense is a good offense" had greater meaning.
These are some of my ideas, Republicans. I have more (including health care), but do these and the rest won't be necessary. Don't you already know these things? If so, what's the point of the Website?
Posted by Brett at 4:21 PM
Our Founders' Illegal Immigration Solutions, Part 2
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
This is part two of a multi-part series. To catch up with part one, click here.
Watching U.S. members of the House and Senate, and the president's Cabinet in a joint session of Congress stand and applaud Mexican President Felipe Calderon's slam of Arizona's new immigration enforcement law, I thought, "What a despicable act of disloyalty to one of their own states and a ludicrous leadership move to boot, especially when 71 percent of Arizonians agree with its new immigration law. "
President Calderon, how can you possibly criticize the state of Arizona about its newly passed immigration law, when Mexico's immigration law states:
-- Immigrants can't be an economic burden.
-- Immigrants must be healthy.
-- Immigrants must have no criminal record.
-- Immigrants must show a birth certificate.
-- Immigrants must provide their own health care.
-- Government can ban foreigners due to race.
-- Illegal entry is a felony (resulting in jail time).
-- Illegal immigrants can receive no government assistance of any kind.
-- Illegal immigrants' children may not attend public schools.
-- Document fraud is subject to fine/jail.
-- Incarceration and deportation of illegals occurs without due process or a trial.
-- A Mexican who marries a foreigner with the goal of helping the foreigner live in the country is subject to up to five years in prison.
-- Federal, local and municipal police must enforce immigration laws, including checking "papers" of suspected illegals
Mexican law actually shares similar strictness with how America's founders dealt responsibly and forcefully with immigration law. In Part 1, I concluded by outlining key criteria for citizenship from the Naturalization Act of 1795, which remain part of American law. These include: "1) five years of (lawful) residence within the United States; 2) a 'good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States'; 3) the taking of a formal oath to support the Constitution and to renounce any foreign allegiance; and 4) the renunciation of any hereditary titles."
In order for us to regain control of the chaotic mess and national disunity posed by illegals and press on to achieve the success our forefathers had in immigration, I believe we must apply those four criteria to our naturalization process in a more practical way.
First, Congress must stop the flow of illegal immigration by putting up a viable border fence and reinforcing it by whatever means necessary. Then it must refocus the streams of immigration.
In order for the sheer force of Niagara Falls to be harnessed into usable energy, it must be intentionally funneled through proper and restrictive channels. I believe the same must be done with immigration or ultimately we will hand our sovereignty over to other nations on a populous platter.
Our forefathers increased and decreased the influx of certain peoples because America was not only building a melting pot of ethnicities but securities and degrees of productivity. Today, with America having achieved that great diversity, of course we shouldn't regulate the flows of immigration based upon ethnicity. Rather, we should regulate them based upon societal needs for balance, stability and growth, just as our founders did.
James Madison spoke for most founders as he gave the purpose for immigration: "Not merely to swell the catalogue of people. No, sir, it is to increase the wealth and strength of the community; and those who acquire the rights of citizenship, without adding to the strength or wealth of the community, are not the people we are in want of."
As I mentioned, we can't properly deal with the illegals within our borders until we've stopped the flow of any more at our borders. Then, and only then, can we turn our attention to the millions already residing in our country. What I then propose for them is not amnesty in any package, but a onetime solution based upon the 1790-1795 immigration law that would separate the wheat from the chaff, straining out potentially productive and law-abiding citizens who will pay their fair share of taxes as residents.
I would give illegal immigrants already here a three-month grace period to apply for a temporary worker's visa. If they failed to apply within that time frame, they would be considered fugitives, and would be found and deported. Once they applied and qualified for a temporary worker's visa, these immigrants would be placed on a two-year probationary period (the original 1790 requirement of residency). At the completion of that time, and if they remained in good standing, they would be issued a permanent worker's visa. And, after an additional three years (completing the five-year residency requirement from the Naturalization Act of 1795), they would qualify to apply for U.S. citizenship.
During their two-year probationary period, it would be their responsibility to check in to assigned governing officials and prove their productivity and progress as a part of the American landscape. Criteria would of course be established by Congress (as the Constitution requires), but enforced by local probationary personnel from the departments of naturalization, in a similar way that probation officers monitor people on probation. If immigrants don't "check in," and do not have a good reason for not doing so, they will be deported. If they are law-breakers, they will be deported. If they don't demonstrate a good moral standing and aren't productive members of their community, they will be deported.
This is how America was built, and it is how it can be rebuilt again today -- if we finally secure our borders, better regulate the influx of immigrants to meet and build up societal needs, and offer a responsible path to citizenship for immigrants who are already working here and want to become productive American citizens. Next week in Part 3, Chuck will discuss what he believes is, "The greatest obstacle to border enforcement."
To read an explanation of Arizona's new immigration law, SB 1070, click here
Posted by Brett at 11:08 AM
Obama STARTS to Disarm America
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Would you be satisfied if your only access to a computer was to try to boot up one that hadn't been used or tested since 1992? That's the predicament of our nuclear deterrent on which we depend for our ultimate physical survival.
On April 8 in Prague, President Obama signed what is called the New START bilateral arms control agreement. It reads like it was written by the Russians and has nothing good in it for the United States.
Obama is demanding a rush to ratification, after which we can then discover the details of what the treaty requires. Does that remind you of the procedure used for Obamacare?
If there ever were a need for the Senate to read the bill and for the Senate to use its "advice" power as well as its "consent" power, this is it, including reading the treaty's protocols and annexes. Harry Reid's Senate promptly held one hearing, but heard only from treaty advocates, not from its critics.
In the globalist world that Obama inhabits, he dreams of a nuclear-zero world. But his "world without nuclear weapons" would be a world where the United States is a sitting duck for nukes fired by a rogue nation.
The treaty allows Russia to build new and modern weapons to reach New START limits, whereas the United States is locked into reducing its current number. That means Russia will have new and tested weapons, but the U.S. will be stuck with its current, out-of-date, untested warheads.
We live in a dangerous world in which bad guys respect strength and weapons, and disdain weakness and disarmament. Yet Obama is already presiding over the steady obsolescence of our aging deterrent, a failure to test our weapons and the phasing out of our skilled workforce to sustain them.
The fantasy that our abandonment of nuclear weapons will inspire other nations to follow our example is so foolish that it can only be described as nuts. When the Cold War thawed and the U.S. and the old U.S.S.R. dramatically reduced their nuclear warheads, that encouraged proliferation -- with India, Pakistan, North Korea, Syria and Iran trying to join the nuclear club.
New START allows the United States to have only as many nuclear warheads as Russia can afford to build. And Russia gets to set the count of weapons.
Equal ceilings on warheads are ridiculous because, while Russia only has to defend its own people, our allies all over the world count on us for protection. If the treaty prohibits us from having weapons to fulfill those expectations, they will try to build their own.
The treaty does not limit tactical nuclear weapons, leaving Russia with a 10-to-one numeric superiority, which Russia has threatened to use in regional conflicts. We could build more tactical missiles, but there is no chance Obama will do that.
New START gives up the verification, on-site inspections and monitoring of production that were requirements of previous treaties. Whatever happened to Ronald Reagan's maxim, "Trust, but verify"?
Obama has made it clear that his eagerness for a nuclear-zero world also means a world without any defense against nuclear weapons. He has cut spending for missile defenses and killed or mothballed the few innovative programs we have to knock down incoming rockets in their boost phase.
Ever since President Reagan announced his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in 1983, the Kremlin has tried to ban all U.S. missile defenses. The Kremlin brags that it achieved this goal in New START.
This treaty gives Russia a veto over all U.S. defenses against incoming missiles. Article V contains a binding clause that we "shall not convert and shall not use ICBM launchers and (submarine-launched ballistic missile) launchers for placement of missile defense interceptors therein."
Article XIV confirms this prohibition, stating that any party can withdraw from New START if "extraordinary events ... have jeopardized its supreme interests." Russia explained that this means it will stick with New START "only if the (U.S.) refrains from developing its missile defense capabilities quantitatively or qualitatively."
The wisdom of the Founding Fathers is available to save us from New START folly -- i.e., the constitutional provision that ratification requires approval by two-thirds of senators. That's the provision the globalists hate the most.
The Council on Foreign Relations complained in print on May 1, 2008, that "the separation of powers enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress a critical voice in the ratification of treaties and endorsement of global institutions, complicates U.S. assumptions of new international obligations."
Our Constitution can save us from New START if 34 senators will stand up for America.
To read another article about Obama's disarming of America, click here
Posted by Brett at 11:07 AM
Kurdistan: the "Second Israel"
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Halabja, Iraq - Twenty-two years ago, in this dusty town hard up against the mountainous border with Iran, Saddam Hussein's military used chemical weapons to murder 5,000 Kurdish men, women and children.
The Halabja massacre was only the most infamous atrocity of Operation Anfal, a name Sadam took from a sura of the Koran that details permissible conduct against enemies of Islam. Of course, most Kurds are Muslims. But they are not Arabs. Kurds have had their own distinctive culture and language since long before armies from Arabia embarked on the first jihads -- wars of Islamic conquest -- in the 7th century.
The goal of Operation Anfal was genocide. At least 150,000 Kurds were slaughtered, many having first been herded into concentration camps where mass executions were conducted. More than a million Kurds were driven from their homes.
Kurds have not forgotten that, in 1991, Americans established a "no-fly zone" over Iraq's Switzerland-sized Kurdish region, to provide them some protection from Saddam's predations. They regard America's 2003 military intervention in Iraq as their liberation. Iraqi Kurds now enjoy substantial self-rule. Kurds living as minorities in Syria, Iran and Turkey do not.
Six months after the collapse of Saddam's regime, the Kurds erected a memorial on the edge of Halabja. It includes haunting photos; those of mothers clutching babies to their breasts as they died in the streets are perhaps the most heart-wrenching. A sign, in fractured English, gets its point across nonetheless: "Live and victory for all nations. Death for all kinds of racism."
One result of this experience: Kurds see Americans as their allies and friends. "We appreciate the sacrifices Americans have made to liberate Iraq and bring the possibility of freedom," Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government, tells me and other members of a delegation of journalists and think tank analysts.
Many Kurds also have empathy for -- and even feel an affinity with -- Israelis and Jews. Unusual as this is within the "Muslim world," it makes sense when you think about it: Like Kurds, Jews are an ancient Middle Eastern people. Like Kurds, Jews have been targeted for genocide. Like Kurds, Israelis face an uncertain future among neighbors who range from merely hostile to openly exterminationist.
At a university in the Kurdish capital of Erbil, students meeting with our delegation express admiration for Israelis' courage - somewhat to the chagrin of their American professor.
A Kurdish driver, discovering that he and I both speak Russian, launches into a lively conversation that begins with praise for America. He soon tells me there is one other country he'd like to visit: Israel. Why? Because Israelis, like Kurds, have been persecuted yet have managed to survive, achieve and prosper.
A Kurdish journalist says that Iran's Islamist rulers cannot be trusted, noting that they recently executed 5 Kurds "because they were Kurds." He adds that Iran "supports Hezbollah. And we know what Hezbollah does to Israel."
Publicly, Kurdish officials state that Iraq ought to have peaceful relations with all its neighbors - without exception. Some go further: "We have no problems with Israel," explains Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government's Department of Foreign Relations. "They have not harmed us. We can't be hating them because Arabs hate them. We think it is in the interest of Iraq to have relations with Israel. And the day after the Israelis open an embassy in Baghdad, we will invite them to open a consulate here."
He notes that Israel is one of the few functioning democracies in the region and that Kurds, too, are attempting to build durable democratic institutions both in their homeland and in the rest of Iraq. Kurdistan, Bakir adds, is sometimes called "the second Israel."
Historically, Jews are not strangers in this land. They settled here as early as the eighth century B.C. In pre-Islamic times, some Kurdish royalty is believed to have converted to Judaism. Even today, such prominent families as the Barzanis have Jewish members.
Of course, Jews once lived throughout the broader Middle East, from Morocco to Afghanistan. However, after World War II and the founding of the state of Israel, Arab governments turned on their Jewish minorities. As recently as the 1940s, Jews constituted as much as a third of Baghdad's population. By the early 1950s, almost all had been expelled, their properties confiscated. The Iraqi government forced Kurdish Jews into exile as well. Many went to Israel where they harbored an understandable resentment toward Iraqi Arabs - but not toward Iraqi Kurds. In the 1960s and 70s, Israelis provided assistance to Kurdish rebels.
Kurds today appear to grasp this equation: If there is no place for Jews in the Middle East, there is not likely to be a place for Kurds either. The ongoing religious and ethnic cleansing of the "Muslim world" may be the biggest story journalists are not telling, political leaders are not highlighting and human right activists are not protesting.
Ancient Middle Eastern Christian communities - e.g. Copts, Maronites, Chaldeans -- are under assault, virtually powerless, their numbers shrinking in Egypt, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Pakistan and elsewhere. Somewhat more attention - though little meaningful action - has focused on the plight of the Darfurians of Sudan and the Baha'i of Iran.
Kurds say that, in their land, they are committed to tolerance - and they use the word not in the literal sense of abiding those who are distasteful, but in the American sense of respecting minority rights and valuing diversity.
This is not a common perspective in the modern "Muslim world." But Kurdistan is unique in many ways. Here it is recalled that Saddam Hussein not only had Weapons of Mass Destruction -- he used them. Here the arrival of Americans troops did cause people to dance in the streets. Here, it is possible to imagine Middle Eastern Muslims, Jews and Christians living in peace, improbable as that has come to seem.
Posted by Brett at 10:39 AM
The Politics of the Gulf Oil Spill
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Since last month's oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, two very different leadership styles have been on display. On the one hand we have President Obama, who took nine days before making a public statement on the spill. On the other, we have Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has been intensely and vocally involved from the beginning.
Now, we must all recognize that during the course of a presidency unexpected and unprecedented events will occur that cannot be blamed on the administration. And this is one of those cases. However, it is not always the event itself that causes the most trouble -- it is the response to the situation that usually gets you.
In the wake of recent criticism, President Obama has been forced to backtrack and step up his attention to the oil spill. The spill -- which may have already released 90 million gallons of oil into the Gulf and has now reached the marshes of Louisiana, "oiling" some 84 miles of the coast ---is undoubtedly the greatest national disaster of the Obama presidency. Yet despite intense Democratic criticism for President Bush's response to a natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina, in this same state, President Obama's response has been underwhelming, to say the least.
Under the justification of maintaining a regular schedule and demonstrating calm, President Obama has cavalierly gone about with casual events, even fundraisers, choosing to keep most of his disaster response effort private. So private, in fact, that those of us living far away from the slick might even be forgiven for forgetting about it.
This is not a superficial matter for a president. Even if President Obama's administration were, in fact, exercising the highest level of competency in dealing with the catastrophe, it is the job of a president to handle not only the practical matters of government, but to also be the public face to encourage, motivate, and inform the public. This is a job he is failing.
Down in Louisiana, people have seen a very different story. Gov. Jindal has engaged completely in all aspects of disaster relief efforts. He has been a tireless advocate for his state, challenging mistaken federal approaches and pressuring BP to make every possible effort to quell this spill. And when the focus is fully switched to clean-up efforts, the people of Louisiana can have every confidence that Gov. Jindal will continue in the manner he has begun.
BP's latest attempt to staunch the oil, their "top kill" tactic, is now underway. This effort will involve pumping an intense concentration of heavy mud and cement into the oil flow in an effort to staunch the flow. Initial results are promising, but only time will tell how effective this will be.
Right now, residents of the Gulf Coast need the administration to demonstrate the type of leadership being exercised by Gov. Bobby Jindal. President Obama is now talking about the future of off-shore drilling, placing additional restrictions and extending the moratorium on drilling. None of this, however, deals with the realities of the oil currently pouring into the ocean, and the livelihoods of Louisianans which are being destroyed.
Again we see a pattern of lackluster efforts from our president. Words and a veneer of calm are not a demonstration of leadership. They do not serve as action and progress. And coming from an administration whose party trounced President Bush for his conduct in the Gulf, such "leadership" is not only ineffective, but actually hypocritical.
I will be watching with the rest of the country to see where the President goes from here. I hope he will exceed the pattern he has shown us so far. And in the meantime, my prayers and support are with Gov. Jindal and the good people of Louisiana in the face of this tragedy.
Posted by Brett at 10:38 AM
Letting Rand Paul Twist in the Wind
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Libertarian Rand Paul, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky, shocked many conservatives when he refused to give full-throated support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act criminalized public sector racial discrimination, and struck down laws that required discrimination and segregation. But it went much further. It outlawed racial discrimination by private actors such as restaurant and hotel owners who refused to serve blacks.
National Review's Rich Lowry, for example, wrote: "[T]he Civil Rights Act was the last spasm of the Civil War. The South had frustrated the imposition of black civil rights during Reconstruction in a low-grade insurgency that successfully rumbled on into the 1960s. Black civil rights weren't going to be vindicated any time soon, absent the application of federal power again ... I'm sympathetic to libertarianism, but it sometimes has a weakness for theoretical exercises removed from reality."
This sounds like a white, guilt-ridden rationalization to justify an abandonment of principle. And it has real world, not merely "theoretical," consequences. For one thing, it encourages grievance-driven race-based identity politics -- and invites special-interest legislation to protect all manner of niche groups perceived as having been "held down by The Man." It is in these waters that professional victim seekers and exploiters like the Rev. Al Sharpton, race and gender "advocacy groups," and the Democratic Party do their fishing.
Rand's critics also unintentionally expose the condescending way "compassionate conservatives" deem that blacks -- still standing after slavery and Jim Crow -- are in need of protection by rare "noble" whites from the bigot-infested world through which blacks are obviously incapable of navigating. Why else throw overboard the just and basic principle that private actors, short of engaging in force or fraud, should behave as they wish?
What about the pro-life pharmacist who considers it immoral to stock and sell the morning-after pill? What about the landlady who thinks homosexuality is immoral and refuses to rent to a gay couple? What if she refuses to rent to an illegal alien? What about the "morally straight" Boy Scouts organization that discriminates against an openly gay scoutmaster? What about the healthy 25-year-old who refuses to purchase health insurance?
Republicans go all deer-in-the-headlights when someone questions their colorblind bona fides. But when Nazi sympathizers want publicly to march, many conservatives correctly defend the "right." Constitutional rights extend to both saints and sinners and those in between, no matter the outrage -- in this instance of Jewish Holocaust survivors over the prospect of swastika-wearing fascists parading through their neighborhood.
This is freedom 101.
It is this freedom to discriminate that enabled Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson to become a billionaire through the use of race-based programming. It is this freedom that allows the Miss Black America beauty pageant to exclude non-black applicants. It is this freedom that allows private colleges and universities to discriminate against white applicants with higher SAT scores to achieve "diversity" by helping the "underrepresented." The Congressional Black Caucus discriminates when it refuses membership to whites, as it did recently to a white Tennessee representative even though he represents a majority black district.
If National Review's Lowry owned a restaurant, would he discriminate against blacks? Does he intimately know anyone who would do so? How would he treat friends who patronized restaurants that refused blacks? Of course he wouldn't exclude. Nor would his friends or associates. Obviously none of those "noble" souls in his immediate circle would consort with racists. So why assume that some unacceptable percentage of the "unwashed masses" will act as merchant-racists -- either without harmful consequences or the willingness to accept those consequences? Why do we further assume that, whatever the number of bigots, they will be capable of meaningfully affecting the day-to-day lives of blacks? If anything, these racists would have publicly outed themselves as part of the bad and the ugly.
The consequences of government coercion are more harmful than the certainty that some will use their freedom in ways that offend. Bad behavior tends to get punished in the social and business "marketplace." The Boston Red Sox, one of the last teams to hire black ballplayers, discovered fans valued winning much more than team racial homogeneity.
The well-intended, but misguided, passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- as applied to private conduct -- sought to change not only whites' behavior but also their "feelings." Some blacks perceive racial hostility toward them from their local Korean grocer. But if treated with a smile and offered quality goods at fair prices, most blacks patronize the store. People expect and respond to a certain measure of respect as a customer, regardless of how the proprietors may personally "feel" about them.
Instead of defending Paul on this issue against race-card-playing leftists like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, conservatives/Republicans/pundits panicked. How are we to get the country back on the course set by its Founders if we cannot stand with the Rand Pauls of the nation on the bedrock principle of maximum personal liberty?
Posted by Brett at 10:37 AM
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
It's open season on Arizona.
A Kennedy compared Arizona's law to the slave trade. Boycotts of Arizona by governments, convention-goers and girls basketball teams have been declared.
A former Phoenix Suns basketball star who is now the mayor of Sacramento put the repulsive logic of the Arizona boycott in shocking clarity. "I still have many friends in Arizona, and know the state is not a land filled with hatred. But sometimes Arizonans need a reminder of their foolishness. If we shun them, maybe they will get it."
If we shun them, maybe they will get it. Or maybe not.
The boycott will cost Arizona $90 million in hotel business, the mayor of Phoenix predicted. He opposes the law and the boycott, which will hurt all Arizonans including illegal aliens.
Why is the president of the United States and his party acting this way? To jack up the Democratic vote.
Let's be clear about one thing: The attempt to humiliate Arizona is not about solving the immigration issue. If anyone wanted to actually solve the problem, they would not begin by bullying Arizona. Sixty percent of Americans support Arizona.
People who were serious about actually reforming immigration would begin by defusing, not inflaming, the racial issues. Americans are pro-immigration. It is part of our DNA. We are also pro-rule-of-law, and pro-powerful-leaders who care what we think. We believe racial understanding is a two-way street.
I cannot speak for all Americans, but I can tell you about this American: I am sick and tired of the way working-class folks are treated as objects beneath contempt when they react the way any normal human being would react to uncontrolled immigration. (Imagine dumping 1,000 hardworking, law-abiding, illegally immigrating Iowans in a small Mexican village -- how would the locals react?) This is a generous country. Millions of Latinos are not rushing to our borders because we are such a racist society.
Serious immigration reform must begin by refusing to play the race card, by attempting to conciliate the legitimate concerns about immigration's sometimes serious local costs.
It is not that racism doesn't exist -- of course it does. But when ordinary Americans have normal concerns -- when they object to their children being bussed an hour across town in order to pursue cultural elites' visions of statistical racial harmony, or to a border so porous that the rule of law appears a joke -- they get told in no uncertain terms by powerful culture makers to go stand in the corner, like bad children.
When people in my presence criticize Arizona I ask them: "Did you know the week the bill passed, an Arizona deputy sheriff was shot in the stomach by a suspected illegal immigrant with an AK-47?" They get quiet. They hadn't heard about Louie Puroll.
The relative lawlessness of Mexico is spilling across our borders.
"Border Patrol agents have been told at daily musters that the Mexican drug cartels have put a $250,000 bounty on their lives," reports the Examiner.com. One agent said, "We were warned about this recently at several musters, and we were advised to take this threat seriously and to take precautions."
The lawfulness of American society is a precious commodity. Our tradition of welcoming immigration and the idea of racial equality are both precious commodities too. There is no easy answer.
But right now, American sheriffs are being gunned down with machine guns in the Arizona desert. The governor of Arizona is pleading in vain with the president of the United States to send more National Guard helicopters to help secure the borders.
And the president of the United States is standing with the president of Mexico criticizing the very hardworking, law-abiding Americans who are trying to do the job that the president of the United States doesn't want to do.
To read another article on Arrizona Immigration, click here
Posted by Brett at 10:36 AM
The Problem With Having an Olympian God for a President
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
"Plug the damn hole." So spake The Great Obama from high atop Mount Olympus, looking down upon the mere mortals struggling below. Those pitiful human beings were covered in oil, their bodies slick with it; they were weeping as they looked over the vast panoramic sea, which shone grimily in great rainbow smears, dead animals floating on the surface. The executives of British Petroleum sat on the beaches, heads in their hands, gazing gloomily at the hazy horizon.
And then, they heard the Great Obama's words from on high. "Why didn't I think of that?" asked BP CEO Tony Hayward. "What a magnificent idea!" shouted Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer. And together, they built an enormous cork and placed it in the hole in the ocean floor (along with Jack Shephard from "LOST"), and thus was ended the saga of the BP oil spill.
Thereupon, The Great Obama laughed and giggled and clapped his hands in mirth, and turned his attention to the problem of America's southern border. He sneered in scorn as he saw the pathetic, dirty, discriminatory Arizonans gnashing their teeth over illegal immigration. Then he stood before Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, and sonorously stated, "In the 21st century, we are defined not by our borders, but by our bonds."
And all illegal immigrants immediately turned around and went home, impressed with The Great Obama's clear thinking and inspirational vision. The Arizonans realized the error of their ways and gave thanks to The Great Obama for finding an easy solution to the devilish problem.
Upon seeing such repentance, The Great Obama smiled his benevolent smile and swung his upturned chin toward Israel. He shook his head in anger at the uppity Jews who would dare to suggest that The Great Obama could not solve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Arab-Israel conflict with a flap of his grandiloquent tongue. And The Great Obama snorted as those same uppity Jews suggested that they needed nuclear weapons to protect themselves from the Muslim nations surrounding them. "Whether we're talking about Israel or any other country," he grandly intoned, "we think that becoming part of the [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] is important."
And The Great Obama's generousness of spirit converted the Iranian government to a spirit of peacefulness, cooperation and philo-Semitism. And the Chosen People smote themselves on their foreheads and understood that The Great Obama was correct, and that all they had to do was concede to Muslim terrorists. Because after all, The Great Obama's words had the power of deeds.
The Great Obama shined his Nobel Peace Prize and smirked and patted himself on the back, and then shifted his gaze toward the European Union. Those feeble and piteous citizens were shrieking and wailing and beating their breasts in lamentation over the incipient bankruptcy of their countries and their currency. Their governmental officials cried because they had no ability to cut deficits without cutting costs. And The Great Obama grinned a wide grin, and he reportedly descanted above the hubbub, "Hey, guys, we all have a stake in this."
And suddenly, like a light from above, the EU knew what to do: They praised The Great Obama for his foresight, and they magically created money that would save their countries without having to subject the populaces to the hardships of free market life. There was great rejoicing in the streets and much drinking and making merry.
Once again, all was well with the world.
In real life, it turns out that The Great Obama can speak as much as he pleases; he can reel off inspirational phrases; he can fill the air with high-falutin' rhetoric -- and yet without correct action, none of it means anything. It's worse than that -- all of the meaningless words are actually counterproductive, because they incentivize evil people to do whatever they want without fear of consequences.
It turns out that the only way to plug a hole is to plug it, not to talk about it; the only way to stop illegal immigration is to stop it , not blather about it; the only way to stop Iran is to defeat Iran, not to bluster about it; the only way to stop fiscal meltdown is to cut spending, not to bloviate about it.
But Obama's too busy up on Mount Olympus to pay attention to reality. He's content to blame others, to speak loudly and carry a toothpick. We're all paying the price for his god delusion. The only hole that needs to be plugged is his mouth.
To read more by Ben Shapiro, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:35 AM