"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Friday, October 30, 2009

Health Bill: 1990 Page Monstrosity

I haven't been blogging too consistently recently-- and honestly it was a bit of a relief to just isolate myself from news and politics for a time. I suppose I might have been charging myself up to tackle this stuff now.

The final House Democratic health restructuring bill was unveiled yesterday-- a 1990 page behemoth. I'm going to slog through it and of course I will post my analysis (for what that's worth). Wish me luck.

Jacobson over at Legal Insurrection has his report on the CBO's scoring of the bill. The bill is shaping up to be pretty much everything I expected it to be-- an expensive travesty.

From Jacobson:

"Here are the highlights (all time periods are through 2019, unless otherwise noted):
  • The scoring 'does not constitute a final and comprehensive cost estimate for the bill.' (page 1)
  • There are $426 billion of cost cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs, and $572 of tax increase revenues projected. (pages 2, 6)
  • The costs of the insurance subsidies will be $894 billion after taking into account certain assumed revenue offsets. (page 3)
  • State spending on Medicaid will increase on net by about $34 billion. (page 4)
  • 18 million non-elderly people will remain uninsured, with the percentage of coverage rising from 83% to 96%. (page 5)
  • 15 million more people will be on Medicaid. (page 6)
  • 6 million people will join the public plan option, which will charge higher rates than private insurance, due to less management of utilization by patients and an unhealthier pool of patients (page 6)
  • It will cost between $5 and $10 billion for the IRS to implement 'the eligibility determination, documentation, and verification processes for subsidies.' These costs are not factored into the overall estimates. (page 9)
  • The deficit will be reduced by $9 billion in 2019. (page 12)
  • The 'bill would put into effect (or leave in effect) a number of procedures [such as leaving physician payment cuts in place] that might be difficult to maintain over a long period of time' and which, if not followed, would require a change in the projections. 'The long-term budgetary impact of H.R. 3962 could be quite different if those provisions generating savings were ultimately changed or not fully implemented.' (page 14)

"In sum, we create massive new federal bureaucracies and regulations, get IRS intrusion into health care, 15 million more people become Medicaid dependents, and we still have 18 million uninsured, and all this after spending over $1 trillion (best case scenario).

"Assuming this best case scenario comes true based upon these unrealistic cost assumptions, we will have achieved very little relative to the costs. And we will have done severe damage to our health care system, something the CBO cannot score because it cannot be expressed in dollars."

Sounds great, doesn't it?

18 million left uninsured (a realistic estimate at how many citizens in the U.S. that cannot afford medical insurance now is 19 million) for $1 trillion. So in other words, those without medical insurance because they are unable to afford it will only be reduced by 1 million people-- for a trillion dollars.

Q: So where does this leave the rest of us?

A: With massive debt, much higher taxes, expanded Medicaid dependants (15 million more) and the medical industry now subservient to Congress and the Executive Branch-- for starters.

This bill is not about getting poor people insurance. It is about something else entirely.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reported Stimulus Jobs Overstated

Remember when the AP was touting the jobs gained (their old link goes to this new article but I wrote about it here) by the "Stimulus" Bill?

Well, guess what? It turns out there was some over counting, as the AP reports here.

From the article:

"The government's first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, or one in six, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.

"The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

"For example:

"-- A company working with the Federal Communications Commission reported that stimulus money paid for 4,231 jobs, when about 1,000 were produced.

"-- A Georgia community college reported creating 280 jobs with recovery money, but none was created from stimulus spending.

"-- A Florida child care center said its stimulus money saved 129 jobs but used the money on raises for existing employees."

Is anybody really surprised about this?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Britain's Surveillance Society

Check out this NYT article "Britons Weary of Surveillance in Minor Cases" by Sarah Lyall (via Drudge Report) about the extent that of government surveillance allowed in Britain. I highly recommend reading the entire article at the other end of the link. It is worrisome situation.

"A report in 2007 by the lobbying group Privacy International placed Britain in the bottom five countries for its record on privacy and surveillance, on a par with Singapore.

[...]

"[U]nder a law enacted in 2000 to regulate surveillance powers, it is legal for localities to follow residents secretly. Local governments regularly use these surveillance powers — which they 'self-authorize,' without oversight from judges or law enforcement officers — to investigate malfeasance like illegally dumping industrial waste, loan-sharking and falsely claiming welfare benefits.

"But they also use them to investigate reports of noise pollution and people who do not clean up their dogs’ waste. Local governments use them to catch people who fail to recycle, people who put their trash out too early, people who sell fireworks without licenses, people whose dogs bark too loudly and people who illegally operate taxicabs.

[...]

"The law in question is known as the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, or RIPA, and it also gives 474 local governments and 318 agencies — including the Ambulance Service and the Charity Commission — powers once held by only a handful of law enforcement and security service organizations.

"Under the law, the localities and agencies can film people with hidden cameras, trawl through communication traffic data like phone calls and Web site visits and enlist undercover 'agents' to pose, for example, as teenagers who want to buy alcohol."

I have to wonder how it is that law enforcement became so separated from the police? Why is it that local government agencies can run undercover sting operations for failing to recycle and dogs barking too loudly? I think this whole situation illustrates why a government's powers need to be limited.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Czars Not Answering to Obama?

Check out this article from Politico by Eamon Javers (h/t Anne Leary at Backyard Conservative).

"It will go down in history as one of Barack Obama’s signature decisions on the economy, a dramatic move to slash corporate pay at bailed-out banks and automakers.
But on Wednesday night, administration officials said that the president of the United States didn’t have all that much to do with a decision that will, in many ways, come to define his relationship with Wall Street.

"In fact, sources within the administration say the decision to cap corporate pay was Kenneth Feinberg’s, and his alone. A senior administration official tells POLITICO that Obama did not sign off on the pay master's decision. Feinberg didn’t even brief the White House on it, the official said, but he briefed Treasury officials instead.

"'Decisions were his,' says the official. Treasury, in turn, briefed White House staff on the 'shape and general direction' of the Feinberg decision last week, but didn't offer extensive detail. The president did not have to approve Feinberg’s plan.

"Feinberg, a Washington attorney who was appointed to the unsalaried position as Treasury’s special master for corporate pay in June, has wide latitude to act independently of the administration. His personal credibility is one reason why he was given so much authority – Feinberg also acted as the mediator who decided how much each life lost in the Sept. 11 attacks was worth.

[...]

"Meanwhile, one critic of the plan said the news of Feinberg’s decision may undermine a program that Obama traveled to Landover, Md., to announce on the same day. Obama went to the headquarters of a small company to tout his proposal to let small banks into the TARP program, as a part of the effort to get small business lending going again.

"But Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America who attended the event with Obama, says the pay master’s decision could doom the idea. That's because community bankers will be loath to take TARP funds if they think Feinberg will set their pay.

"'They’ll say, "I’m not going to touch the TARP, or the government's going to come down on my pay,"' Fine said."

So let's recap. Feinberg, a presidential appointee, is now declaring that the federal government will set pay scale for banking execs-- and the decision was his alone. So now we have political appointees clear of any oversight or approval by elected officials dictating intrusive policy of the private sector?

Well, if Obama can't be bothered to be briefed by his czars, who do they answer to? And with people like Kevin Jennings, Mark Lloyd, Anita Dunn, Ron Bloom, and fired truther Van Jones all taken on as czars (all circumventing any form of Congressional approval), one would think they shouldn't have a blank check to enact federal policy. Yet who knows the the extent of their authority and independence in this hard to pin down Obama administration?

Transparency indeed...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Koh and the U.S. Response to the Honduran "Coup:" Smart Diplomacy Gone Terribly Stupid?



Check out this op/ed at the Washington Times titled "Undermining Honduras." Read the whole op/ed at the link. It's short (h/t Honduras News).

"When Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh was chosen as chief legal counsel to the State Department, we editorialized that it was an 'offensive nomination.' We explained that 'Mr. Koh's repeatedly stated agenda is contrary to the American tradition of law originating in the "consent of the governed."' Little did we know that Mr. Koh would trample on the consent of the governed in other countries, too.

"Now we discover that it was Mr. Koh's legal opinion that supported the Obama administration's wrongheaded, and indeed immoral, decision to punish the nation of Honduras. The administration bizarrely objects to Honduran legislators and judges enforcing their own constitution against the would-be dictator, Manuel Zelaya, who tried to shred a key constitutional restraint against a Honduran president trying for a second term in office.

"In August, the Law Library of Congress concluded that 'the judicial and legislative branches applied constitutional and statutory law in the case against President Zelaya ... in accordance with the Honduran legal system.' Yet not only did the Obama administration object, but it imposed unilateral sanctions against Honduras. Even James Kirchick of the liberal New Republic magazine wrote that 'U.S. policy has become a mistake in search of a rationale.'

[...]

"As it happens, Mr. DeMint [Sen. Jim DeMint SC (R)] and 15 other senators have been asking since July 8 for the State Department to cite the source of its legal analysis. Their letter protesting the administration's stance was mailed to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. In an unmerited slap in the face, the department's response came not from Mrs. Clinton, but - a slow 14 days later - from Richard R. Verma, the assistant secretary for legislative affairs. Mr. Verma's letter completely ignored the request for legal analysis. Mr. DeMint reports that all subsequent congressional attempts to see legal analyses written by Mr. Koh or anybody else have been rebuffed as 'privileged communications.' This is, to put it bluntly, illegal. No such vague privilege exists.

[...]

"Former top federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, writing for National Review, put the problem best: 'Now, under Obama rules, we have to tell al Qaeda what our interrogation tactics are but we can't tell the American people why the Obama administration has made a political determination to support a [Marxist] thug at the expense of Honduras' rule of law.' The stonewalling is unacceptable. So is the policy it supports [emphasis mine]."

So now the State Department is illegally blocking Congressional inquiries into the legal reasoning of sanctions and pressures against Honduras. And for what purpose? Why the hostility toward Honduras in the first place? Even months after the knee-jerk mislabeling of Honduras' actions as a "military coup" has been disproved, the Obama administration continues to grind away at Honduras and actively hides its reasoning from Congress.

Is Obama unwilling to admit to a mistake? Obama, as a person, seems completely incapable of admitting even minor errors in judgement, let alone a major blunder like this. Is it this attitude transmitted to the State Department that has snowballed into the unjust pressures being levelled against a country for upholding its constitution?

Perhaps. But I think there's more to it then simply that. Personally I believe that the Obama administration did act first out of both its mislabeling of the Honduran incident as a "coup." Yet they also leaped at a chance to decisively demonstrate "new" American good faith in order to win over Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and other South and Central American Leftists-- quick evidence to convince them of the good intentions of Obama's "new" American foreign policy. It seemed like an easy, sure thing (much like the Chicago Olympics bid). The American and international press would hail Obama as a peacekeeper. Simultaneously he would show U.S. critics in Central and South America that the Obama administration is more interested in stability than in liberty or the rule of law, and that they would respond by relaxing their political posturing. Yes, this is simplistic and naive thinking, but remember Obama has consistently demonstrated such thinking in his UN address, his betrayal of Poland and the Czech Republic, his international apology tour, etc.

Problems arose however, when Honduras showed resilience and didn't immediately fold under the pressure, and then the American Right didn't ignore the story. Now Obama is left in the current, embarrassing position and hopes to stonewall Congress and critics until the whole situation becomes moot with Zelaya's return to power.

This leaves Honduras hung out to dry, betrayed and strong-armed by the U.S. government. Ironically Honduras is in the position of having its leadership and law enforcement arbitrarily dictated to by an administration that was hoping to demonstrate how they would not dictate Latin American affairs.

Such idiocy, tragically compounded by these brutal unintended consequences, is probably par for the course in Obama's new "smart diplomacy." How many other allied countries he will betray and grind down due to his administration's sense of anti-American self-righteousness remains to be seen.

More Questions on Obama's View of Human Rights

Check out this excellent op/ed in The Wall Street Journal by Bret Stephens. Once again it echoes others' concerns regarding Obama's stance with those governments who would violently oppress criminally neglect their own people. Read the whole piece. It is not long.

"China: In February, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed in Beijing with a conciliating message about the country's human-rights record. 'Our pressing on those [human-rights] issues can't interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis,' she said.

"In fact, there has been no pressing whatsoever on human rights. President Obama refused to meet with the Dalai Lama last month, presumably so as not to ruffle feathers with the people who will now be financing his debts. In June, Liu Xiaobo, a leading signatory of the pro-democracy Charter 08 movement, was charged with 'inciting subversion of state power.' But as a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Beijing admitted to the Journal, 'neither the White House nor Secretary Clinton have made any public comments on Liu Xiaobo.'

"Sudan: In 2008, candidate Obama issued a statement insisting that 'there must be real pressure placed on the Sudanese government. We know from past experience that it will take a great deal to get them to do the right thing. . . . The U.N. Security Council should impose tough sanctions on the Khartoum government immediately.'

"Exactly right. So what should Mr. Obama do as president? Yesterday, the State Department rolled out its new policy toward Sudan, based on 'a menu of incentives and disincentives' for the genocidal Sudanese government of Omar Bashir. It's the kind of menu Mr. Bashir will languidly pick his way through till he dies comfortably in his bed.

"Iran: Mr. Obama's week-long silence on Iran's 'internal affairs' following June's fraudulent re-election was widely noted. Not so widely noted are the administration's attempts to put maximum distance between itself and human-rights groups working the Iran beat.

"Earlier this year, the State Department denied a grant request for New Haven, Conn.-based Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. The Center maintains perhaps the most extensive record anywhere of Iran's 30-year history of brutality. The grant denial was part of a pattern: The administration also abruptly ended funding for Freedom House's Gozaar project, an online Farsi- and English-language forum for discussing political issues.

"It's easy to see why Tehran would want these groups de-funded and shut down. But why should the administration, except as a form of pre-emptive appeasement?

"Burma: In July, Mr. Obama renewed sanctions on Burma. In August, he called the conviction of opposition leader (and fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner) Aung San Suu Kyi a violation of 'the universal principle of human rights.'

"Yet as with Sudan, the administration's new policy is 'engagement,' on the theory that sanctions haven't worked. Maybe so. But what evidence is there that engagement will fare any better? In May 2008, the Burmese junta prevented delivery of humanitarian aid to the victims of Cyclone Nargis. Some 150,000 people died in plain view of 'world opinion,' in what amounted to a policy of forced starvation.

"Leave aside the nausea factor of dealing with the authors of that policy. The real question is what good purpose can possibly be served in negotiations that the junta will pursue only (and exactly) to the extent it believes will strengthen its grip on power. It takes a remarkable presumption of good faith, or perhaps stupidity, to imagine that the Burmas or Sudans of the world would reciprocate Mr. Obama's engagement except to seek their own advantage.

"It also takes a remarkable degree of cynicism—or perhaps cowardice—to treat human rights as something that 'interferes' with America's purposes in the world, rather than as the very thing that ought to define them. Yet that is exactly the record of Mr. Obama's time thus far in office."

I think Stephens is particularly accurate regarding Obama, Sudan and Burma. Obama seems to not grasp the obvious truth that the Burma junta and Omar Bashir's government, first and foremost, wish to remain in power. The idea that they would willingly weaken their hold over their citizenry due to diplomatic engagement is incredibly naive and seems based on inexperience and ignorance.

Why would the U.S. wish to strengthen and give legitimacy to these oppressors with the policy of "engagement?" Why would the U.S. not want to engage and give legitimacy to the opposition groups struggling to overthrow these butchers?

I think the answer is rooted in the idea that if we all get together and wish real hard, that dictators will stop being so mean to their people (an idea skewered in Naked Gun 3 when Leslie Nielsen's character is onstage at the Academy Awards). When has this ever happened? This type of non-action may be popular because it is easy, requiring absolutely no effort except the shaking of a head and a feigned (or at best shallow) empathy.

Obama exhibits two traits in his international policies: cowardice and self-absorption.

Obama's apology tours bespoke of both traits. He demonstrated, for all to see, that fear of being viewed as unpopular would shape his foreign policy. He also suggested that he feared the rising powers of Iran and militant Islamic extremism by backing down and acting conciliatory in the midst two wars. Likewise, Obama demonstrated the self-absorption inherent in offering empty apologies for the that he takes no credit for. It is outrageously shallow to expect an apology such as his to carry any weight. Such apologies are meant, not for those supposedly wronged, but to assuage the self-image of those offering the "apology." It builds this image with false, meaningless, and superficial self-abasement. More significantly for those around the world, it also demonstrates a fundamental weakness of both purpose and tenacity.

We're starting to see the meat of these policies now. Sudan offered a buffet of human rights incentives for the government to leisurely pick and choose from as the situation worsens or betters irregardless of U.S. actions. Iran given the opportunity to develop nuclear weapons without having to bother with genuine engagement. Myanmar (Burma) strengthened , legitimized, and offered the opportunity to tighten their iron grip on Burmese people in exchange for petty promises.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obama Morals: The Selling Out of Hope

Check out this article in the NRO online by Mona Charen. It's short and to the point.

"[I]n the space of just nine months, the Obama administration has betrayed the cause of human rights around the globe.

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped set the tone in February by swatting away a question about human rights abuses in China. Those issues, she said, 'can’t interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis.' Political prisoners, Tibetans, and religious minorities may have been dejected by this stony dismissal, but the Chinese government was delighted. 'This type of realistic attitude could be followed by other Western leaders,' an official newspaper noted with satisfaction.

"Hundreds of thousands of Iranians endured tear gas, bullets, arrests, and torture in an attempt to topple one of the most vicious and dangerous regimes in the world. Yet day after day, President Obama, moral beacon to the world, dismissed and even denigrated them. He was not going to allow a bunch of democrats to interfere with his meticulously planned overture of friendship toward the mullahs. His condemnation of the violence and brutality of the regime was so tepid, tardy, and grudging that it amounted to tacit support for the government. Another blow to human rights and morality.

"The people of Honduras, who have struggled painfully to achieve a successful democracy, threw off a would-be dictator who threatened to plunge the nation back to autocracy. Rather than help to solidify Honduras’s devotion to its constitution, Obama (together with those well-known human rights avatars Hugo Chávez and the Castro brothers) sided with Manuel Zelaya and imposed sanctions on the legitimate government. Which side better represents human rights and morality?"

[...]

"On Monday, the Washington Post reported that that the U.S. 'will shift its policy toward Sudan to one based on working with the country’s government instead of isolating it.' Whereas he had once demanded that 'the international community must, over the Sudanese regime’s protests, deploy a large, capable U.N.-led and U.N.-funded force with a robust enforcement mandate to stop the killings,' the president now says that 'if the government of Sudan acts to improve the situation on the ground and to advance peace, there will be incentives; if it does not, then there will be increased pressure imposed by the United States and the international community.' Incentives? For Omar al-Bashir, the only head of state currently under indictment by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity? That threat of 'increased pressure' must really terrify him. It’s the fierce urgency of the kow tow."

It is amazing to me how the Obama Administration has so easily sold out any pretense of morality for the bank rolling their deficit-ridden domestic goals. This combined with Obama's narcissistic apology/appeasement policies (the US has changed now that I'm president) is proving to be disastrous combination... not just for the U.S. but for any seeking to resist terrorism and external aggression. Israel, Honduras, Iranian protesters, Thailand, the Philippines, Chinese protesters, Iraq, Poland, and the Czech Republic have all been shuffled aside (if not simply betrayed) for little reason and with little political gain.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Obama Credited for Opening Door to Acceptance of Interracial Marriage

This one is a bit personal for me, so bear with me.

A Politico article by Ben Smith has somehow managed to credit political acceptance of interracial marriage to Obama.

From the article: "There’s nothing more traditional in American politics than the wholesome family portrait: a beaming candidate, beaming spouse, reluctantly beaming teenagers.

"But when Bill de Blasio, a candidate for public office in New York City this fall, put his family in his campaign mailings and TV ads, there was nothing routine about it. De Blasio’s wife of 15 years, Chirlane McCray, is black, his children are of mixed race and, even in one of America’s most liberal cities, no one could remember anything like it."

[...]

"With Barack Obama having rewritten the history of race relations in this country, de Blasio may be demolishing one of its last taboos, 'For so long in American history, interracial couples went out of their way to keep their relationships out of the public eye that it’s remarkable to see them used in a campaign like this,' said Peggy Pascoe, a historian of interracial marriage at the University of Oregon, who referred to the campaign as 'a post-Obama phenomenon.'

"That’s a perception McCray said she shared. Obama, she said, 'opened a door' and 'made it easier for us to go there.'

"While de Blasio’s success in New York reflects the increased acceptance of mixed marriages, recent history suggests that the new tolerance may still be dependent on geography and race. A sharp counterpoint was the 2006 Tennessee Senate race which then-Rep. Harold Ford, an African-American, lost narrowly to Republican Bob Corker after the final days of the campaign were consumed by a Republican National Committee ad linking Ford to a scantily clad young blond woman. Ford’s allies charged it was a thinly veiled attempt to tap into old Southern fears about black men and white women.

"And it seems to be a current that still remains just below the surface in Tennessee politics: Ford’s subsequent marriage to a white woman was widely viewed as a major barrier to another run."

Hmm. Let's see a mention of Harold Ford losing to Corker in Tennessee, a race that nothing to do with mixed marriages, but did have to do with "a scantily clad young blond woman." Any details to this? Nope. It's enough to simply say "Ford's allies charged it was a thinly veiled attempt to tap into old Southern fears about black men and white women." No response from anyone not allied with Ford.

A recap of the ad controversy is here. While the whole incident was distasteful, it's more than a stretch to tie it to the issue of political mixed marriages. Yet, it is prominently mentioned in the beginning of the article. Interesting.

However, there are some incidents a little more directly related to mixed political marriages that weren't mentioned. Michelle Malkin has a post here about this same article. She has compiled a list of intolerances left unaddressed by Smith's Politico article. So let's give it a look.

There's this gem from leftist Miroslava Flores at La Voz de Aztlan from a post dated Aug. 28, 2003. "Both [Michelle Malkin and Linda Chavez-Gersten] are married to Jews, both are Republicans and both are being utilized to attack Mexicans and Mexican-Americans."

[...]

"We ask, why doesn't Malkin lay off our backs and perhaps focus on the growing problem of illegal immigration from the Philippines. On August 20 of this year, 60 more Filipinos arrived in Manila after being deported from the US because of supposed terrorist ties. Maita Santiago, the Filipino Migrante International Secretary-General, said, 'Like the hundreds of other Filipinos deported since 9/11, we expect this group will also be handcuffed and treated like terrorists or hardened criminals.' There have been at least 465 Filipinos deported from the US since September 2001. Most of the Filipinos who are deported are victims of the Absconder Apprehension Initiative Program. This program targets about 12,000 Filipino immigrants for arrest, detention and deportation (most with expired visas), according to the Filipino Community Support Group (FOCUS) in San Jose, California. One of these deported Filipinos, Jerome Aricheta, 28 years old, became severely depressed and hung himself in his Makati City home.

"Doesn't Michelle Malkin care about her own people? Has she forgotten who she is after marrying Jesse D. Malkin, a Rand Corporation analyst? Perhaps, now that she lives among the 'white' affluent people in Maryland, she like Linda Chavez-Gersten, has turned her back on her ethnic group in return for the little economic comforts she is now receiving. She is a classical 'malinchista' in my book."

So Malkin and Linda Chavez-Gersten are racial sellout/traitors some of which comes from (or is reflected by) marrying white Jews. Okay. That doesn't sound so open to interracial marriage to me...

Here's another nice little quote from state Sen. Diane Watson of Los Angeles regarding Ward Connerly as reported by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe. '''He's married to a white woman,' hissed state Sen. Diane Watson of Los Angeles. 'He wants to be white.'''

Then there's this wonderful sentiment expressed by columnist Barbara Reynolds (author of Jesse Jackson, the Man, the Myth, and the Movement) regarding Justice Clarence Thomas' white wife Virginia (as reported by Laura Blumenfeld in the Washington Post): "'If he is influenced by his wife, a white conservative who lobbied against comparable pay for women, he will be anti-women's issues,' wrote USA Today columnist Barbara Reynolds in a July 5 piece. Reynolds, who is black, also is concerned by Thomas's choice of a white wife."

A little bit of Virginia Thomas being Lady MacBeth there huh? But not really much to do with mixed marriages. That comes in a statement Reynolds made later, which she prefaces by saying she may sound bigoted. "'It may sound bigoted; well, this is a bigoted world and why can't black people be allowed a little Archie Bunker mentality?' Reynolds said later. 'Here's a man who's going to decide crucial issues for the country and he has already said no to blacks; he has already said if he can't paint himself white he'll think white and marry a white woman.'"

Oh Ms. Reynolds, I don't think that just "sounds" bigoted. Yet again, more intolerance of mixed race marriages-- directly stated. Not suggested in some subtle and coded way that only journalists can "translate," but bald-faced opposition based only on race.

From the same article: "His[Clarence Thomas] marrying a white woman is a sign of his rejection of the black community,' said Russell Adams, chairman of Howard University's department of Afro-American studies. 'Great justices have had community roots that served as a basis for understanding the Constitution. Clarence's lack of a sense of community makes his nomination troubling.'"

Mr. Adams makes no bones and no apologies about expressing his own antipathy for interracial marriage. Oh sure, Adams crouches it in the usual, nonsensical argument about being inauthentic, but is that not what most bothers bigots (whites included) about mixed-race marriages-- a betrayal of some form of racial norm?

I usually don't go into any detail of my private life on this blog, but I will state that my wife of nine years is black (born in urban L.A.) and I am not. Since we've been married, the only brushes with intolerance we have experienced is on two separate occasions when a man has come up to me and accused me of "stealing their women." You may have guessed that both of these men were black. That's been it. No swastikas, no nooses hanging from our front porch, no epithets or insults. Nothing else.

When we married in 2000, my wife and I were hardly breaking any sort of social taboos or other such nonsense. Little did we know that Peggy Pascoe, expert in interracial marriages, would now tell us that we can go into the public eye with our relationship. What a relief! I can pull my wife out of the basement and we can go out to dinner in a restaurant! TOGETHER! Amazing! And it's all due to Obama for some reason...

Okay, my snarkiness aside, what has Obama done to bring about this "change?" Peggy Pascoe offers no explanation (or at least none recorded by Ben Smith). Chirlane McCray apparently claims "Obama, [...] 'opened a door' and 'made it easier for us to go there.'" As Malkin points out, whom Obama opened this proverbial door to is a bit of mystery. Based on the fact that McCray's husband is running for office in "one of America's most liberal cities," it would appear that Obama opened the door to liberal voters, although that is clearly not the point of the article since the example Smith foolishly brings up is the Corker/Ford Senate race and the RNC ad. I would also wonder, based on the virulent reaction to Connerly's and Thomas' marriage, if McCray meant opening the door to acceptance of their marriage and children by black voters-- but of course Smith lacks the courage to even hint at that.

Has Obama ever done or said anything to quell the bigoted statements from the likes of Russell Adams, state Sen. Watson, Barbara Reynolds, Miraslova Flores? No.

In fact, what has Obama actually done for general race relations in this country? Anything? After sitting through 20 yrs. worth of Rev. Wright's racially divisive victimology sermons, I suppose the best we can expect from Obama is to surround himself with American flags and declare old white women, including his grandmother, to be racist.

Without any words or deeds from Obama to credit, are we to believe that merely because Obama is a product of an interracial marriage (a failed one), that he has somehow "opened a door" for others? Has his mere presence created "a post-Obama phenomenon?"

The nonsense of Smith, McCray and Pascoe crediting Obama with inspiring tolerance for public interracial marriages is, like many "accomplishments" ascribed to Obama, borne of nothing more than wishful thinking, partisan politics, and a disconnect from reality. They presume the same mistaken belief that modern conservative beliefs espouse and/or embrace intolerance and the Left's political stances espouse racial equity and harmony. It is a presumption that is consistently contradicted by recent history (American and world), political platforms, published Leftist political theories, and the actions and words of current Left-thinking people in America.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

AP Wins the "Are Kidding Me Award" as it Touts Jobs Gained by the Stimulus

Here's the AP's headline: "STIMULUS WATCH: Construction drives up new jobs"

Yeah, that's right. While the graphic above might suggest a different story, this AP article would have you believe that jobs are being gained by the "stimulus" package. How many? How about 30,000?

"Businesses reported creating or saving more than 30,000 jobs in the first months of President Barack Obama's stimulus program, according to initial data released Thursday by a government oversight board. Military construction led the way, and states in the South and Southwest saw the biggest boost.

"The new job numbers — in line with expectations for such an early accounting — offer the first hard data on effects of the $787 billion stimulus program."The figures are based on jobs linked to less than $16 billion in federal contracts and represent just a sliver of the total stimulus package. But they also represent a milestone of sorts for an administration that promised unprecedented real-time data on whether the program was working."

Give me a break... Unemployment will hit double digits anytime now, and we're expected to believe that this political payoff is creating jobs. $16 billion dollars for 30,000 jobs? At that rate how much is going to cost to put even 1% of Americans back to work? All with no hope of profit or any form of monetary return?

Check out this graphic of jobs losses and gains over the past six years (h/t Instapundit). Run the pointer to June 2009 and tell me that the stimulus is working.

NEWSFLASH: The unemployment rate is higher than the White House said it would be without the stimulus package. I'm afraid those 30,000 jobs just aren't tipping the balance.


UPDATE: Conn Carroll at The Foundry has this to say:

"The Obama administration released the first hard numbers on how many jobs their $787 billion stimulus package has created or saved on Recovery.gov today. The number: 30,383 jobs from roughly $16 billion worth of stimulus contracts awarded directly by federal agencies.

"Crunching the numbers, that comes to $533,000 per job 'saved or created.' To put those 30,383 jobs in perspective, consider that the U.S. economy lost 263,000 net jobs just last month and has lost 3.6 million net jobs since President Barack Obama was sworn into office.

"But the administration also claims that federal contractor spending is just one portion of the overall stimulus “buckshot.” Last month at the Brookings Institute, Vice President Joe Biden claimed that White House computer models showed their stimulus plan had already saved between 500,000 and 750,000. And just how accurate are these White House economic models? Well, when the White House was pitching its plan to the American people, White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein wrote a report claiming the stimulus would keep unemployment under a peak of 8%. And what have actual Bureau of Labor and Statistics shown? A a 26-year record high of 9.8% unemployment rate."

So, $533,000 per job and 3.6 million jobs lost since Obama took over. So how much would that cost to employ all those people to get back to even Bush's level of unemployment?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baucus Bill Increases Taxes: Deficit Neutral is a Lie


Do you still believe the Obamaguff about no new taxes on people making less than $250,000 and health care reform being deficit neutral?

Check out this op/ed by Douglas Holtz-Eakin (former director of the Congressional Budget Office and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute) in The Wall Street Journal.

From the piece: "Consider the bill put forward by the Senate Finance Committee. From a budgetary perspective, it is straightforward. The bill creates a new health entitlement program that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates will grow over the longer term at a rate of 8% annually, which is much faster than the growth rate of the economy or tax revenues. This is the same growth rate as the House bill that Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) deep-sixed by asking the CBO to tell the truth about its impact on health-care costs.

"To avoid the fate of the House bill and achieve a veneer of fiscal sensibility, the Senate did three things: It omitted inconvenient truths, it promised that future Congresses will make tough choices to slow entitlement spending, and it dropped the hammer on the middle class.

"One inconvenient truth is the fact that Congress will not allow doctors to suffer a 24% cut in their Medicare reimbursements. Senate Democrats chose to ignore this reality and rely on the promise of a cut to make their bill add up. Taking note of this fact pushes the total cost of the bill well over $1 trillion and destroys any pretense of budget balance.

"It is beyond fantastic to promise that future Congresses, for 10 straight years, will allow planned cuts in reimbursements to hospitals, other providers, and Medicare Advantage (thereby reducing the benefits of 25% of seniors in Medicare). The 1997 Balanced Budget Act pursued this strategy and successive Congresses steadily unwound its provisions. The very fact that this Congress is pursuing an expensive new entitlement belies the notion that members would be willing to cut existing ones.

"Most astounding of all is what this Congress is willing to do to struggling middle-class families. The bill would impose nearly $400 billion in new taxes and fees. Nearly 90% of that burden will be shouldered by those making $200,000 or less.

"It might not appear that way at first, because the dollars are collected via a 40% tax on sales by insurers of 'Cadillac' policies, fees on health insurers, drug companies and device manufacturers, and an assortment of odds and ends.

"But the economics are clear. These costs will be passed on to consumers by either directly raising insurance premiums, or by fueling higher health-care costs that inevitably lead to higher premiums. Consumers will pay the excise tax on high-cost plans. The Joint Committee on Taxation indicates that 87% of the burden would fall on Americans making less than $200,000, and more than half on those earning under $100,000.

"Industry fees are even worse because Democrats chose to make these fees nondeductible. This means that insurance companies will have to raise premiums significantly just to break even. American families will bear a burden even greater than the $130 billion in fees that the bill intends to collect. According to my analysis, premiums will rise by as much as $200 billion over the next 10 years—and 90% will again fall on the middle class.

"Senate Democrats are also erecting new barriers to middle-class ascent. A family of four making $54,000 would pay $4,800 for health insurance, with the remainder coming from subsidies. If they work harder and raise their income to $66,000, their cost of insurance rises by $2,800. In other words, earning another $12,000 raises their bill by $2,800—a marginal tax rate of 23%. Double-digit increases in effective tax rates will have detrimental effects on the incentives of millions of Americans [emphasis mine]."

Boy, this Baucus Bill is looking great, isn't it? Stifling upward mobility and government rationing of health care... is there anything more we could ask for? How about an NHS-style board (NICE) that denies life-prolonging cancer drugs and therapeutic pain-killing injections for patients because of expense, but wants to provide heroin to hardened drug users? Government run medicine in action...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sect. of State Clinton Agrees to Delay Sanctions Against Iran: Smart Diplomacy in Action

In news that should surprise no one, Hillary Clinton has agreed that neither Russia nor the US should currently impose sanctions against Iran.

From an article in Ria Novosti; "U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after talks with Russia's foreign minister on Tuesday that neither country is seeking to impose sanctions against Iran under the current circumstances.

"Clinton said sanctions over Iran’s controversial uranium enrichment program would be premature, and that Russia was being 'extremely cooperative in the work we have done together' on the issue.

"Lavrov said Russia is 'in principle very reserved on sanctions, as they rarely produce results.'

"He said sanctions should only be used when all diplomatic means have been exhausted, and that 'in the situation with Iran, this is far from the case.'

"Lavrov also said the U.S. and Russia had identical positions on the issue.

"'We are not asking anything of each other on Iran, because it would be ridiculous to make requests on an issue where our positions coincide,' he said.

"However, Clinton said that sanctions over North Korea's nuclear program would remain in place.

"'We have absolutely no intention of relaxing or offering to relax North Korean sanctions at this point whatsoever,' she said.

"Clinton will later meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Before her arrival in Russia as part of a European tour, Clinton had visited Switzerland, the U.K., and Ireland."

So, one is left to wonder exactly what does warrant ineffective sanctions against Iran? Perhaps a nuclear strike against Tel Aviv, or providing a safe haven for Hamas and Fatah with a nuclear threat?

Smart diplomacy apparently means push government run health care, increase domestic spending, and save those ineffective sanctions for when we really need them.

I wonder if the US media will pick this story up... Any bets?

Obama Economic Adviser Robert Reich Gives Glimpse into Coming Health Care Reform

Here's a little quote from former Labor Secretary and current Obama economic adviser Robert Reich. "We're going to have to, if you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive...so we're going to let you die [emphasis mine]."

This quote (h/t P.J. Gladnick at NewsBusters.org) was said during a speech given at UC Berkeley in 2007. Here's another gem from the same speech. "Also I'm going to use the bargaining leverage of the federal government in terms of Medicare, Medicaid---we already have a lot of bargaining leverage---to force drug companies and insurance companies and medical suppliers to reduce their costs. What that means, less innovation and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market which means you are probably not going to live much longer than your parents. Thank you [emphasis mine]."

Even more chilling is this is what Reich believes an honest liberal candidate would say if he had no thought of actually getting elected. Clearly an dishonest liberal politician would say something completely different-- probably prefaced with the the phrase "Let me be clear."

The audio of this speech (available here) has been making the rounds in the blogosphere and seems to have been ignored by the MSM.

Here is the entire portion of the speech which the snippets came from for context.

"I'll actually give you a speech made up entirely, almost on the spur of the moment, of what a candidate for president would say if that candidate did not care about becoming president. In other words, this is what the truth is and a candidate will never say, but what a candidate should say if we were in the kind of democracy where citizens were honored in terms of their practice of citizenship and they were educated in terms of what the issues were and they could separate myth from reality in terms of what candidates would tell them:

'Thank you so much for coming this afternoon. I'm so glad to see you and I would like to be president. Let me tell you a few things on health care. Look, we have the only health care system in the world that is designed to avoid sick people. And that's true and what I'm going to do is that I am going try to reorganize it to be more amenable to treating sick people but that means you, particularly you young people, particularly you young healthy people...you're going to have to pay more.'

'Thank you. And by the way, we're going to have to, if you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive...so we're going to let you die.'

'Also I'm going to use the bargaining leverage of the federal government in terms of Medicare, Medicaid---we already have a lot of bargaining leverage---to force drug companies and insurance companies and medical suppliers to reduce their costs. What that means, less innovation and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market which means you are probably not going to live much longer than your parents. Thank you.'"

So according to Reich, what does an honest liberal say about health care? Pay more, live sicker and die early. Real nice, huh? That doesn't sound make it sound like I can keep my doctor and insurance if I'm happy with it, does it?

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Reich is claiming his words were taken out of context. Amusingly, his own explanation basically proves the assertions that have been made about his own words taken "out of context."

Gladnick has a good summation here at NewsBusters.org and a link to the entire speech. It's 47 minutes long, but it'll put everything in perfect context.

And what is the context? Well, in Reich's own words: "The whole point of the mock exercise was to show that presidential candidates can't state what everyone knows to be the truth because they'll be taken apart by the Right or the Left. I slew many other sacred cows in that mock exercise, some of which are held dearly by the Left. Nonetheless, two years later the Right has exhumed the lecture and taken my words completely out of context purportedly to show that Obama and the Democrats plan death panels [emphasis mine]."

So these quotes that I and others have mentioned were indeed "what everyone knows to be truth."

Hey, everyone knows that "if you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive...so we're going to let you die."

We also all know that we should "force drug companies and insurance companies and medical suppliers to reduce their costs. What that means, less innovation and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market which means you are probably not going to live much longer than your parents."

Reich also says in his lecture "I just gave you the kind of speech that politicians will not give. And I've said a couple of things that, although they seem entirely reasonable to me, are sacred cows and are therefore politically untouchable [emphasis mine]."

Apparently these are just simple truths for Reich, truths that can't be uttered without uproar.

Cute. And thanks for the explanation Reich.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Forget the Nobel Prize and Remember Your Health Care

Following the surprise announcement of Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, it was inevitable that the blogosphere would light up with both accolades and outrage.

This bluster needs to fade as quickly as it appeared, though. The Nobel Peace Prize means nothing to the US, and does not affect the US people one way or the other. What is important, and what needs to be remembered (as Quite Rightly at Bread upon the Waters has so cool-headedly reminded us) is that Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and other hard Leftists are crafting a series of bills that will take away the American people's health care choices, that will decrease the quality of American health care, that will cripple the American economy, and that will place us all in crippling debt.

The Nobel nonsense should not make us lose focus from our opposition to these bills and proposals. These proposals will affect all of us, while the Nobel Committee's idiotic and shallow decision is merely one more thing to roll our eyes at. Once instituted, these schemes are enormously difficult to disassemble even as they fail to accomplish their stated goals and collapse the government beneath mountains of debt. Remember it is likely the "health care reform" will be crafted behind our backs in closed door meetings, tacked onto HR 1586, and then sped through the Senate.

Contact Congress. Voice your opposition to these bad plans.

Obama's Nobel Farce

Sometimes it amazes me at what can happen in a couple of days.

Okay... So I stepped away from the computer for a couple of days to get some writing done. In that time I turned off the TV, didn't listen to the radio. Today I browse through the internet and find out that Obama won the frigging Nobel Peace Prize?! Today I found out that the world has officially become an Onion news piece.

This just makes me sick. How can someone be rewarded for nothing? Obama has done nothing for world peace. Nada. Zip. Making speeches that so many people believe to be pretty (they just annoy me-- his cadence is cloyingly arrogant), having a beer photo-op with Gates and a cop, firing a few hellfire missiles at terrorists during funerals, and a fretting inaction at an escalating war in Afghanistan, does not merit a certificate of participation, much less any farcical prize.

Even the Nobel Committee's announcement admits he has done nothing.

"Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

"For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that 'Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.'"

Yeah... Way to pin down those myriad of Obama accomplishments. "Created a new climate..." That passes as an achievement?

What's clear in their language is that the Committee's thinking is pretty much what the Daily Kos echoes. Witness this cute, little gem from Crispian Day a blogger at Daily Kos (h/t NewsBusters.org).

"In just eight months President Obama has taken us from looking like crazed, bible distributing (in Arabic no less) war mongering, macho, family killing raping and torturing nation that we WERE into a nation of peace seeking. Are you kidding me?

"You think that's easy... try getting two people who don't like each other to change... just two. He has turned the outlook of the whole world from one where everyone was worried about WW3 or WMD or Nukes, or mounting terrorism into a world of hope....

"There are people who are calling for him to turn it down. I think President Obama will say that this is where we all need to start and he will tell us where we should go from here. This gives him so much clout on the world stage. How can you turn down MORE clout to get more PEACE accomplished? And hopefully it will help with the world's crappiest Senate."

This juvenile rant by Day (why am I reminded of Chris Crocker?-- "Leave Obama alone! It's not easy... he's got a lot of stuff to deal with? Leave HIM ALONE!) really is not all that much different then what the Nobel Committee basically stated in their own announcement. Sure, Obama hasn't actually accomplished anything that's even close to tangible, but he's given us "hope" with PR, we agree with his politics ("the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy"), we think he's popular ("attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman") and we didn't like Bush. Brilliant.

I suppose you could think of Obama's so far disastrous presidency (a gargantuan political payoff/stimulus bill that has done nothing to stimulate, a trillion dollar deficit, etc.) and his unearned accolades as being the ultimate results of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

What is especially aggravating are the largely unknown people in other countries who have not confused appeasement with peace, and actually have worked, often at great personal risk to themselves, for actual peace.

People such as Morgan Tsvangirai (a politician who has stood up to Robert Mugabe's violent tyranny in Zimbabwe), Hu Jia (who has been jailed for his work for the Chinese democracy movement and AIDS/HIV activism), Dr. Sima Samar (who has worked for women's rights in her native Afghanistan), Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad (who advocates inter-religious dialogue and religious tolerance), Thich Quang Do (who has resisted government intrusion into religious beliefs, advocated democratic reforms in Vietnam, and was convicted of and jailed for"sabotaging government policies and damaging the interests of the state."), and Lidia Yusupova (who has worked to publicize human rights abuses by both Russian soldiers and Chechen rebels) were all reported to be on the short list of the Committee's nominees (h/t Jacobson at Legal Insurrection).

Selecting Obama over these people reaffirms to us the Nobel Committee's shallow tendency to prefer style over substance, political posturing over results, naivete over wisdom, and popularity over morality. The Committee has insulted all of these fine and dedicated people for the sake of celebrity.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pew Poll: 47% Oppose Health Care Reform 34% Favor

Check out this poll conducted by the Pew Research Center (h/t Instapundit).

The question:

"As of right now, do you generally favor or generally oppose the health care proposals being discussed in Congress?"

Answer: 34% Favor, 47% Oppose

An interesting side note, the Party ID percentages of those polled: 34% Democrat, 23% Republican, 37% independent.

So a poll conducted with 11% more Democrats than Republicans resulted in a +13% in favor of those who "oppose the health care proposals being discussed in Congress."

Also interesting, while keeping Party ID percentages in mind, are these results for the state of the country: 25% Satisfied, 67% Dissatisfied.

I hope the collective members of Congress are seeing these numbers and keep them in mind as they run their sleazy, closed door health reforms.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Baucus Bill Does not Exist

The CBO did not actually review the "Baucus Bill" because the bill has not been written. Jacobson over at Legal Insurrection was nice enough and calm enough to point this out.

From Jacobson, "The internet is alive with the sound of people analyzing the CBO's 'scoring' of the Max Baucus aka Senate Finance Committee Health Care Bill. Before everyone gets too deeply into their thoughts, please keep in mind the following (get ready, all CAPS, bold, indented signifies a really important concept):

"THERE IS NO BAUCUS BILL.

"The CBO scored the concepts described by the Baucus Committee. There is no legislative text. None. Baucus and his Democratic colleagues refused to reduce their concepts to actual legislation prior to a vote. Here is the CBO's disclaimer:

"'CBO and JCT’s analysis is preliminary in large part because the Chairman’s mark, as amended, has not yet been embodied in legislative language.'

"The Baucus Concepts are disastrous, but that's for another post. For this post, let me get across a simple concept: THERE IS NO BAUCUS BILL.

"Your esteemed Senators on the Senate Finance Committee will not be voting on legislation because THERE IS NO BAUCUS BILL."

I don't think things can be put much clearer than how Jacobson put it.

Pundit & Pundette, in their own post, have this quote from CBO Director Elmendorf "The Chairman’s mark, as amended, has not yet been converted into legislative language. The review of such language could lead to significant changes in the estimates of the proposal’s effects on the federal budget and insurance coverage."

Having met with unexpected resistance, the Dems are putting "health reform" through the back door and packaging it as though it was going through the front. This process in described in detail here.

Do not allow this expensive and intrusive garbage to be rammed down our throats. Call your congressmen and senators. Let them know that we are noticing and we will not forget this when elections come back around.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Obama and the Dalai Lama


Check out this post by Quite Rightly over at Bread upon the Waters. It is very interesting.

Obama has recently snubbed the Dalai Lama, postponing a meeting until after Obama meets with the Chinese.

From the Washington Post article by John Pomfret, "In an attempt to gain favor with China, the United States pressured Tibetan representatives to postpone a meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Obama until after Obama's summit with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, scheduled for next month, according to diplomats, government officials and other sources familiar with the talks.

"For the first time since 1991, the Tibetan spiritual leader will visit Washington this week and not meet with the president. Since 1991, he has been here 10 times. Most times the meetings have been 'drop-in' visits at the White House. The last time he was here, in 2007, however, George W. Bush became the first sitting president to meet with him publicly, at a ceremony at the Capitol in which he awarded the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest civilian award.

"The U.S. decision to postpone the meeting appears to be part of a strategy to improve ties with China that also includes soft-pedaling criticism of China's human rights and financial policies as well as backing efforts to elevate China's position in international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund. Obama administration officials have termed the new policy 'strategic reassurance,' which entails the U.S. government taking steps to convince China that it is not out to contain the emerging Asian power."

Quite Rightly makes a rather astute comparison of the Dalai Lama and Obama in his post. "When it comes to earning admiration and respect, some public figures have a whole lot more seniority than others. Compare, for example, two heads of state: the American President, Barack Hussein Obama, and Tibet's 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

"One is a babe in the woods when it comes to the realities of international politics and, possibly as a consequence, seems never to miss an opportunity to apologize for his people and their culture. The other has the most cruelly delivered knowledge of the consequences of the deadly ferocity of international quests for power and, possibly as a consequence, never misses an opportunity to advocate for his people and their culture.

"President Obama first showed up on the public scene when was elected to his state senate in 1996 under dubious circumstances and with the strong support of ACORN. In his time in the Illinois state senate, he was protective of gang members, prisoners, and ex-cons but not of lawful possession of weapons. He pushed for lower taxes for the poor and for higher taxes for the businesses that create jobs, making fewer poor people. He liked choice when it came to abortion and the use of human embryos for research, but didn't like choice when it came to parents sending their kids to non-government schools. He wrote two books about himself. In these days of soaring national debt and unemployment, the rest is not yet history.

"The Dalai Lama, on the other hand, first showed up on the scene in 1937, when a search party of Tibetan monks identified him as the 14th re-incarnation of Avalokiteśvara, who is venerated by Buddhists as the Bodhisattva of Compassion. (A bodhisattva is an enlightened being who willingly postpones entrance into Nirvana [heaven] to stay behind to help humanity.) Of course, if you are among the many believers who revere the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the 13 previous Dalai Lamas, his first birthday as Dalai Lama occurred in the year 1391, giving him more than average accumulated life experience. Since 1959, he has received over 84 awards including the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. He has written more than 72 books on Tibetan Buddhism, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility, and compassion."

Remember when the Dalai Lama said non-violence cannot tackle terrorism? From the indianexpress.com "The Dalai Lama, a lifelong champion of non-violence candidly stated that terrorism cannot be tackled by applying the principle of ahimsa because the minds of terrorists are closed.

"'It is difficult to deal with terrorism through non-violence,' the Tibetan spiritual leader said delivering the Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture here.

"He termed terrorism as the worst kind of violence which is not carried by a few mad people but by those who are very brilliant and educated.

"'They (terrorists) are very brilliant and educated...but a strong ill feeling is bred in them. Their minds are closed,' the Dalai Lama said.

"He said the only way to tackle terrorism is through prevention.

"The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile left the audience stunned when he said 'I love President George W Bush.' He went on to add how he and the US President instantly struck a chord in their first meeting unlike politicians who take a while to develop close ties."

I wonder if Obama will ever learn that people can be highly educated, intelligent, completely wrong and ruthlessly violent, or that you can't negotiate toothlessly with rogue terrorist states, or that you shouldn't sell out allies and principles for the sake of softening your deficit spending for universal(ly bad) health care, green energy nonsense, and other pipe dreams for your Great Leap Forward. I doubt it.

I have previously posted about Obama's tendency to sell out, ignore and otherwise wrong America's allies. Israel, Liberia, Britain, Poland, Colombia, Thailand, the Czech Republic, Japan, (likely) Taiwan, are but a few American allies which have suffered significantly or undergone internal upset due to the Obama administration's disinterest or outright hostility. Honduras has been sold out for the sake of negligible popularity, and the emerging government of Iraq is being sacrificed to Taliban's revival and Iran's nuclear ambitions. When Obama goes before the UN and naively declares that no one country can dominate another and that America will no longer act unilaterally, I wonder if he understands (or cares) that this essentially is a betrayal of our allies' trust.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Unemployment Graphic is a Bit Telling


This could be why people are laughing at the claim that the stimulus bill is buoying our economy.

But don't worry. Once health care reform passes, and Cap & Trade becomes law, and when windmills will power our dreams, I'm sure all sorts of jobs will pop up.
(Graph from Don Surber, h/t Instapundit)

CNBC Hosts Not Buying That Stimulus Package is "Keeping the Economy Up"

Check out the video clip at NewsBusters.org. It's kinda funny.

I'll quote what Noel Sheppard has to say about this clip. "In a discussion on CNBC about the larger than expected September job losses reported Friday by the Labor Department, Reich [former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich] was explaining to hosts Melissa Francis and Lawrence Kudlow how things would be much worse if not for the stimulus package.

"He also implied that things won't get better until healthcare is reformed.

"In the middle of this absolutely absurd statement, Francis and Kudlow appeared to look at each other with the former breaking out into laughter and the latter doing his best to hold it back."

Is that going to be the Democrats line? The economy will be fixed when we pass health care reform at its surge of taxes? This is pathetic. It would be funny if it wasn't ruining people's livelihoods.

Chicago Will Not Host 2016 Olympics: Rio is In


Congradulations are in order for Rio de Janeiro. This will be, I think, the first Olympics held in South America.

I'm not going to gloat over Chicago's failed Olympic bid. But I do find the reactions of several news anchors slightly amusing.

First this one from CNN (video at link): "Chicago is out?! Madrid... is still in?! Tokyo is still in?!"

And then this from WGN in Chicago (video at link). "Did we hear that right?"

After all the hoopla , Oprah, and the First Lady's "taking no prisoners" attitude, this must have been a bit of a blow to Chicago's ego.

I was actually pulling for Madrid (I've always had a fondness for Spain) with Rio a close second. I hope they don't wait until the last minute to get things done, like Athens did. We shall see.