Forgetting Our Past Promises To Israel

Evidently the Middle East peace process has unraveled. Yesterday Commentary Magazine posted an article reminding us of some of the promises made in the past.

The article points out:

As it happens, tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of one of the more important items of history the Brzezinski group ignored: the April 14, 2004 letter from President George W. Bush to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. In Tested by Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Abrams recounts how the letter went through “many drafts, as words, phrases, and paragraphs came in and out,” ending with a “headline” that was clear: “There would be no return to 1967 and Israel could keep the major settlement blocks.” In her  own memoir, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recounted spending three hours on the letter with Sharon the night before it was issued, and described the agreement to apply a “Google Earth test” for settlements: no new ones, no expanding the boundaries of them, but allowing building within existing settlements, since that would not reduce the land available for a Palestinian state.

When John Kerry was running for President, he went on the record supporting that agreement.

The Obama Administration has taken a slightly different view:

The Obama administration, when it took office in 2009, repeatedly refused to answer whether it was bound by the Bush letter. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied there were any “enforceable” understandings with Israel. The day before Palestinian President Abbas met with President Obama, Clinton told the press Obama had been “very clear” with Prime Minister Netanyahu that he “wants to see a stop to settlements – not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions”–and that this had been “communicated very clearly, not only to the Israelis but to the Palestinians and others.” The same day, Abbas told the Washington Post he would do nothing but watch the Obama administration pressure Netanyahu. The administration eventually got a ten-month construction freeze, which both Clinton and Obama envoy George Mitchell called “unprecedented.” It produced nothing from the Palestinians other than a demand in the tenth month that it be continued.

The article explains the specifics of why the negotiations fell apart:

The peace process went “poof” not because of 700 units in Jerusalem, but because–for the third time in three years–the Palestinians violated the foundational agreement of the process, which obligates them not to take “any step” outside bilateral negotiations to change the status of the disputed territories. For the third time, the Palestinians went to the UN; for the third time, there was no American response; for the third time, there was no penalty for the violation; and on April 8, there was not even an honest assessment of the situation by the secretary of state.

Unfortunately the Obama Administration has unilaterally undone many past agreements made with our allies. This has resulted in many of our allies wondering if they can trust agreements made with America. President Obama has considerably lowered America’s standing in the world.

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Why Foreign Policy Matters

None of us have a 100% chance of predicting the future, but we expect our leaders in Congress and the White House to be well enough informed to make sure they don’t do anything that will hurt us internationally in the future. The current situation in Ukraine is one example of a Congressional bill that later had serious unintended consequences.

Today’s U.K. Daily Mail posted a story about a bill passed by Congress that destroyed the stockpile of weapons Ukraine needs to defend itself against Russia.

The article reports:

As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama won $48 million in federal funding to help Ukraine destroy thousands of tons of guns and ammunition – weapons which are now unavailable to the Ukrainian army as it faces down Russian President Vladimir Putin during his invasion of Crimea.

In August 2005, just seven months after his swearing-in, Obama traveled to Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine with then-Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar, touring a conventional weapons site.

The two met in Kiev with President Victor Yushchenko, making the case that an existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program covering the destruction of nuclear weapons should be expanded to include artillery, small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, and conventional ammunition of all kinds.

After a stopover in London, the senators returned to Washington and declared that the U.S. should devote funds to speed up the destruction of more than 400,000 small arms, 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles, and more than 15,000 tons of ammunition.

…Many of the artillery shells shown in photographs from Donetsk, multiple weapons experts told MailOnline, would be the same types of ammunition required to repel advancing Russian divisions as they advanced to the west, had they not been destroyed.

…’Vast stocks of conventional munitions and military supplies have accumulated in Ukraine,’ Obama said in am August 30, 2005 statement from Donetsk. ‘Some of this stockpile dates from World War I and II, yet most dates from Cold War buildup and the stocks left behind by Soviet withdrawals from East Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungry and Poland.’

‘We need to eliminate these stockpiles for the safety of the Ukrainian people and people around world, by keeping them out of conflicts around the world.’

More than a year later, President George W. Bush signed into law a proposal authored by Obama and Lugar.

In addition to the destruction of these weapons, many of the weapons were sold to the United States, Libya, and Great Britain. There is no way any of this activity made the world one bit safer.

The article concludes:

Sky News video broadcast on Tuesday showed Russian troops firing automatic weapons over the heads of apparently unarmed Ukrainian Air Force personnel near a contested airfield in Crimea.

Foreign policy matters. This is an example of what happens when Congress and the White House do something that down the road endangers the freedom of people in other nations.

 

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What Is Appropriate To Discuss In A Campaign?

Byron York posted an article at the Washington Examiner today discussing what is appropriate to bring up in a political campaign. There has been some recent discussion as to whether or not it would be appropriate if Hillary Clinton runs for President to bring up the Clinton scandals prior to and during President Clinton’s presidential term.

The article points out:

…Of course Clinton’s recent experiences are relevant to a presidential run. But so are her actions in the 90s, the 80s and even the 70s. It’s not ancient history; it reveals something about who Clinton was and still is. And re-examining her past is entirely consistent with practices in recent campaigns.

In the 2012 presidential race, for example, many in the press were very interested in business deals Mitt Romney made in the 1980s. In the 2004 race, many journalists were even more interested in what George W. Bush did with the Texas Air National Guard in 1968, as well as what John Kerry did in Vietnam that same year. And in 2000, a lot of journalists invested a lot of time trying to find proof that Bush had used cocaine three decades earlier.

So by the standards set in coverage of other candidates, Clinton’s past is not too far past.

Turn-about is, after all, fair play. The article points out a few other reasons why past events might be relevant to the discussion. Younger voters know Hillary Clinton as President Obama’s Secretary of State. They might be aware of some of the problems surrounding Benghazi, but generally they have no idea of the Clinton’s history. Other than the Lewinsky scandal, there is the problem of firing the White House travel office personnel in order to give the job to some friends. There is also Hillary’s rather successful attempt to divert attention away from the Lewinsky scandal by claiming a ‘vast right-sing conspiracy.’ The truth might have never come out without the blue dress and Matt Drudge.

Mrs. Clinton does not have a wonderful track record when it comes to telling the truth. Even if the scandals of the Clintons are in the past, Mrs. Clinton’s pattern of behavior has continued. That is what voters need to know.

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Hoping That The American Voters Are Either Stupid Or Forgetful

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted a story about the interview that Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly did with President Obama.

The interview included the following exchange:

The president also refused to acknowledge that the IRS illegally targeted tea party groups in the run-up to the 2012 election. “Absolutely wrong,” he said when O’Reilly broached the subject. “These kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part, because you and your TV station will promote them… We’ve had multiple hearings on it!”

“So you’re saying there was no corruption there at all?” O’Reilly asked.

“Absolutely not,” the president replied. “There were some bone-headed decisions out of a local office.”

“But no mass corruption?” O’Reilly persisted.

“Not even mass corruption,” a visibly-annoyed Obama replied. “Not even a smidgen of corruption.”

This is a very interesting contrast to a story filed by NBC News on May 13, 2013, which stated:

A partial draft report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration — obtained by NBC News — shows that top officials knew about the targeting nearly a year before then-IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, testified to Congress in March 2012 that no singling out of conservative groups ever occurred.

The House Ways and Means Committee announced after the president’s remarks that it will hold a hearing on the alleged targeting on Friday, May 17. Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller and J. Russell George, the Inspector General who headed up the IRS report, are expected to testify.

And the IRS confirmed Monday night that Miller was informed in May of last year that “some specific applications were improperly identified by name and sent to the [IRS] Exempt Organizations centralized processing unit for further review.”

In a statement earlier Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president is “concerned” about the reported conduct of “a small number of Internal Revenue Service employees.”

The investigation into the IRS is being done by a major Democrat party campaign donor.

On January 17 2014, Fox News reported:

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI did not expect to file any criminal charges in connection with the IRS’s admitted, systemic, multi-year targeting of conservative nonprofits for improper scrutiny.

To be clear, the FBI made this decision without interviewing even a single one of the American Center for Law and Justice’s 41 targeted clients. And we’re not alone. Other Tea Party attorneys report their clients weren’t interviewed either.

Put simply, the FBI leaked its conclusions in a criminal investigation without even interviewing the victims of the potential crime.

So there was no crime. That conclusion was reached without interviewing any of the people who were targeted. This is the equivalent of refusing to interview a robbery victim and then claiming that since you did not interview the victim, there was no robbery.

Is the American voter that stupid? We will find out in November.

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Rewriting History As You Go Along

It has been thirteen years since the disputed 2000 election. Younger voters who voted in the 2008 and 2012 elections probably do not have a clear picture of exactly what happened in that election. Chris Matthews isn’t helping.

The Daily Caller posted a transcript of a Chris Matthews discussion with Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe on MSNBC.

Christ Matthews stated:

Obama “has had a very difficult opposition out there … who from the very beginning wanted to destroy this presidency,” he said. “And some of it is ethnic, and some is good old ideology. But they way they treated this guy is unusual in our history.”

“Al Gore accepted the fact, even though he won by 600,000 votes, that W. was president. And the Democrats accepted the legitimacy of George W. Bush 100 percent,” he added, when host Joe Scarborough tried to push back a bit.

On November 12, 2001, The New York Times stated:

A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year’s presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward.

Contrary to what many partisans of former Vice President Al Gore have charged, the United States Supreme Court did not award an election to Mr. Bush that otherwise would have been won by Mr. Gore. A close examination of the ballots found that Mr. Bush would have retained a slender margin over Mr. Gore if the Florida court’s order to recount more than 43,000 ballots had not been reversed by the United States Supreme Court.

Even under the strategy that Mr. Gore pursued at the beginning of the Florida standoff — filing suit to force hand recounts in four predominantly Democratic counties — Mr. Bush would have kept his lead, according to the ballot review conducted for a consortium of news organizations.

The New York Times is certainly not a conservative newspaper. They were generally not kind to George W. Bush, but they got the facts about the recount right. Either Chris Matthews is badly misinformed or he is lying. Either way, I suspect many young voters or voters who have forgotten or were not paying attention believed him. Rewriting history is a true danger to our representative republic. It is the media’s job to tell the truth. It is a shame that they have forsaken their responsibility.

Just for the record, President Obama has not been treated badly by the opposition. There have been people questioning the amount of secrecy surrounding his past–his education, some of his activities in Chicago, some of his campaign tactics, etc. Those are legitimate questions that should be asked of any candidate. Unfortunately, an element of practicing personal destruction instead of debating political issues has crept into our politics in recent times. We saw that element in the 2012 presidential election. Policies took a back seat to scare tactics and claims that Mitt Romney was a rich man who had no compassion for the poor. As someone who lived in Massachusetts during the time Mitt Romney was governor, I can tell you that there is no truth in that statement. However, the press worked hard to present that image. Until the media ignores those people practicing the politics of personal destruction, all Presidents will be treated badly by some element of the opposition. The mainstream media however, will continue to be cheerleaders for the Democrats and complain when anyone says anything negative about their candidates or the policies of their candidates. Unfortunately, that is where we are.

Meanwhile, we need to guard against the rewriting of history and challenge it whenever possible.

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Sometimes There Are Just No Words

This is a copy a letter suggesting a link to Thanksgiving dinner conversation guidelines put out by Organizing for Action, a group that supports ObamaCare. The photo below is posted at HotAir.

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Please follow the link above to read the entire article. Can you image the outrage if an organization supporting President Bush had put out this letter? Do these people ever stop campaigning? Do you really want a political group giving you talking points for the family holiday dinner table?

A website called TheFederalist gives the correct response if someone in your family took the above memorandum seriously:

Here’s a sample response you might use. “That would be great. Except that I’m going to be washing dishes and cleaning up for a bit. How about you go into the guest room and use the computer in there to sign me up. As soon as you’re done, you can have some pie.”

The key is to get them to make a commitment not to come out until they’ve finished signing you up. Remember their conversation tip — Ask them to make a plan, and commit to it. Ask them to commit to finishing the sign-up before they come out of the room.

Since nobody can actually sign up for Obamacare, they’ll be busily trying to operate the web site for the duration of your visit. And the beauty of the disaster zone that is the Obamacare website is that whether you plan to visit for hours or days, the crazy family member will be out of your hair. For added giggles with the sane portion of the family, be sure to follow the last tip — Don’t forget to follow up: “Have you signed up yet?”

Every time you pass the room, knock on the door loudly and ask them that exact question. Once your crazy uncle is holed-up with a laptop in the guest bedroom, you and your more tolerable relatives can enjoy the rest of the holiday in peace.

What an amazingly creative solution!

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Changing The Numbers To Fit The Situation

Remember when 5 percent unemployment under George W. Bush meant that we were in horrible economic straits? Remember when gas prices hit $3.00 a gallon under George W. Bush and it was the end of the American economy as we knew it? Anyone else long for those days?

We are being told that the unemployment rate is currently hovering around 7 percent. We are also watching the labor participation rate fall to 62.8 percent (Investor’s Business Daily). This puts the true unemployment rate at about 11.8 percent.

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

When the economy fell into recession in December 2007, the jobless rate was 5% and the labor force participation rate was 66%. As job losses surged, unemployment doubled to 10% in October 2009, a few months after the recession officially ended. The jobless rate slowly began to edge down, but held at 9% or above for nearly two years, and above 8% for nearly three years.

But the drop largely reflected job market weakness rather than strength. During this time, labor force participation steadily fell. In October 2009, when official unemployment peaked, participation was 65%. A year later it was 64.4%. Now, more than four years into the expansion, it’s 62.8%, the lowest in 35 years.

But wait–there’s more. The New York Post reported yesterday that Congress will begin an investigation on how unemployment numbers have been calculated and released particularly during the run-up to the 2012 election.

The article at the New York Post reports:

Last week I reported exclusively that someone at the Census Bureau’s Philadelphia region had been screwing around with employment data. And that person, after he was caught in 2010, claimed he was told to do so by a supervisor two levels up the chain of command.

On top of that, a reliable source whom I haven’t identified said the falsification of employment data by Census was widespread and ongoing, especially around the time of the 2012 election.

In 2009, before the 2010 census was taken, the White House changed the rules on how the census would be reported. The Census Bureau would report to senior White House aides. I will admit that at the time I thought this would result in some population statistics being altered to increase the number of votes in blue states and decrease the number of votes in red states. It didn’t occur to me at the time that these numbers could also be used to skew unemployment data.

The New York Post continues:

Back in 2010, I started getting reports that the Census Bureau had some very unusual hiring practices. Census takers and supervisors — at risk of heavy fines — were reporting to me that large numbers of people were being hired only to be fired shortly afterward. And then rehired.

I theorized at the time that Census was trying to make the job-creation totals look better nationwide in those bleak months leading up to the midterm congressional elections.

This employment policy seemed too coordinated. The regional higher-ups at Census couldn’t be doing this on their own; there had to be a grander plan.

I still don’t know what was going on.

But then I heard about the falsification in Philly. This time, however, it wasn’t the employment numbers that were being doodled with. This time it was the unemployment data, which are gathered at the Census Bureau and handed over raw to the Labor Department.

Please follow the link and read the entire story. Unfortunately most of the media is unaware of this or ignoring it. As voters, all of us need to be aware of what is taking place here.

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Rewriting History Subtlely

This is the opening paragraph in an article about President Obama’s second term posted by the New York Daily News:

This wasn’t a war started on a lie about weapons of mass destruction the way Iraq was for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Affordable health care for all Americans was Barack Obama’s war, one started with noble intent, the way so many big ideas all the way back to Social Security have started.

The opening sentence of that paragraph is amazing. First of all, America’s intelligence organizations showed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Britain’s intelligence organizations showed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and Israel’s intelligence showed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. There is also a book called Saddam’s Secrets which details Saddam Hussein’s wmd program. The book was written by one of Saddam Hussein’s top generals and details the program and the exportation of those weapons during the run-up to the war. Regardless of whether or not you believe the weapons existed, the President did not lie. He spoke based on the information he had at the time.

ObamaCare is a very different situation. As reported on rightwinggranny yesterday, four years ago it was obvious to many people that people would lose their health insurance under ObamaCare. Christina Romer did an amazing job of avoiding that very question in her testimony before a House Education and Labor Committee hearing of June 23, 2009.  You could make the argument that President Obama was not told that people would lose their insurance, but that would lead to the question of his basic competence.

The article at the Daily News points out that many Democrats are already supporting Hillary Clinton for President in an effort to distance themselves from the debacle of ObamaCare. The Democrats are also very anxious to change the subject.

The comparison of the ObamaCare roll-out to President Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina does not work either–President Bush did not create Hurricane Katrina–President Obama did create ObamaCare (or at least he allowed Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy to create it).

The article continues, smashing Republicans as it goes, but the bias is obvious. The rewriting of history is inexcusable, but until voters learn to do their own research, history will remain rewritten. Welcome to 1984.

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Does The Debt Matter?

The chart below was posted at zerohedge.com on Thursday:

Debt-vs-GDP-101713

The article cites what it considers the most disturbing sentence uttered during the debt ceiling debate/government shut down, that should raise some concerns by both political parties:

“We must increase our debt limit so that we can pay our bills.”

When you think about it, that is an amazing statement.

John Hinderaker at Power Line made the following observation yesterday:

The declining deficit is due to the election of a Republican House in 2010, which led to the sequester, and to tax increases. But in historical perspective, a $650 billion deficit is nothing to celebrate: the U.S. has never run a deficit anywhere near that big in any fiscal year when Barack Obama was not president. Don’t be fooled by Democrats who try to attribute FY 2009 to George Bush. The Democratic Congress didn’t pass spending bills covering the vast majority of FY 2009 spending until Obama was safely in office, and FY 2009 includes the Obama/Pelosi/Reid “stimulus” spending, with which George Bush, obviously, had nothing to do. The largest deficit of the George W. Bush years was $459 billion, in FY 2008, the year when financial markets collapsed. The largest deficit of the Clinton years was $255 billion; of the George H.W. Bush years, $290 billion; and of the Reagan administration, $221 billion.

As Americans, we need to be concerned about the deficit. Until we get the deficit under control, it acts as a ticking time bomb that will eventually destroy the American economy. We need to elect people who will bring spending under control. If we do not do that, then we are responsible for our own demise.

 

 

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The Latest Executive Order From President Obama Is Not What It Appears To Be

Executive Orders are getting old. According to Snopes, a sometimes reliable source, President Obama had issued 138 Executive Orders as of September 2012. In his two terms as President, George W. Bush issued 291.

Today the Daily Caller posted an article about an upcoming Executive Order to be issued by President Obama. The Order will “ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities.” Other than the fact that it is gun control law the President can’t get through Congress, it sounds rather harmless. Unfortunately it isn’t. This Executive Order will effectively shut down the 110-year-old Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).

The article explains:

The CMP tightly controls the importation of obsolete military weapons. The program was created by the U.S. Congress as part of the 1903 War Department Appropriations Act with the purpose of allowing civilians to hone their marksmanship skills, should they later be called into military service.

…There are no data indicating any of the weapons involved in homicide were imported surplus military rifles. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s homicide crime statistics, rifles accounted for only 323 deaths out of 12,664 homicides in 2011, the most recent data set provided by the FBI.

“Apart from a donation of surplus .22 and .30 caliber rifles in the Army’s inventory to the CMP, the CMP receives no federal funding,” the CMP website states, adding that they have been overwhelmed by requests and orders are taking 30-60 days to ship product.

This is an end run around Congress to take guns away from innocent, hard-working civilians.

The article concludes:

The rifles that the Executive Order would affect are typically from U.S. allies and are pre-Vietnam era. Without the importation of these rifles, the CMP is likely to become defunct and thus destroying a 110 year tradition of saving military arms and their civilian ownership.

I don’t know how much power Congress has in relation to Executive Orders, but Congress needs to develop a backbone and fight this one. This Order has nothing to do with crime or keeping Americans safe–it is simply a move by a petty tyrant to take firearms and firearm training away from Americans.

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The Real War In The Middle East

Michael Ledeen posted an article at PJMedia today about the Syrian civil war.

Mr. Ledeen reminds us of the history of the war in Iraq:

We invaded Iraq in the name of the War Against Terror, which President George W. Bush defined as a war against terrorist organizations and the states that supported them.  That should have made Iran the focus of our strategy, since Tehran was (and still is, now more than ever) the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.  Nothing would have so devastated the jihadis as the fall of the Iranian regime, which–then as now–funded, trained, armed and gave sanctuary to terrorist groups from al-Qaeda and Hezbollah to Islamic Jihad and Hamas.  Unless we defeated Iran, it would not be possible for Iraq to have decent security, no matter how total the defeat of Saddam and the Baathists, and how well-intentioned the successor government.  As you can plainly see.

Mr. Ledeen points out that we have again arrived at the same place.

He further explains:

So, as in Iraq, if you want to win this battle in the terror war (Syria), you must defeat the Iranian regime.  And, as in the early years of this bloody century, you can do it without dropping bombs or sending Americans to fight on the ground, because the overwhelming majority of Iranians want to rid themselves of Khamenei and Rouhani and all the rest of their tyrannical oppressors.  They can do it, with a bit of political, technological and economic support.  They could have done it in 2003, when they were on the verge of declaring a general strike against the regime.  Colin Powell and W abandoned them, and it never happened.  They could have done it in 2009, when millions of them took to the streets in demonstrations larger than those that led to the downfall of the shah.  Hillary Clinton and O abandoned them, and a brutal repression ensued.

We keep trying to take down the tree by only removing its branches because they are easier to chop off. Well, they are not really easier to chop off, and we are never getting to the root of the problem. Unless our Middle East policy drastically changes, we will be fighting the Muslim Brotherhood there for the next fifty years or more.

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The Double Standard At Work

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted a story about the recent controversy regarding a rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair. The clown wore a President Obama mask.

Breitbart.com reports:

On Tuesday, the Missouri State National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a statement asking for federal involvement in the case of a rodeo clown who wore an Obama mask and then asked the crowd if they’d like to see Obama run down by a bull. “The activities at the Missouri State Fair targeting and inciting violence against our President are serious and warrant a full review by both the Secret Service and the Justice Department,” said State President Mary Ratliff. “Incidents involving individuals acting out with extreme violent behavior in movie theaters, schools, churches, political appearances, and outdoor events in general speaks volume to the irresponsible behavior of all the parties involved with the incendiary events at the Missouri State Fair.”

To be honest, I think the rodeo clown with the Obama mask is tacky. I think it was tacky when rodeo clowns wore George Bush masks. However, free speech is a part of American life. Where were all these people demanding investigations when this was done to George Bush? Why is this any different because President Obama is black (actually half black if you want to be technical)? If we had true equality of races, there would be no distinction between making fun of President Obama and making fun of President Bush. However, this is not really about race–it’s about politics–the political left always cries fowl when they are treated the way they routinely treat the political right.

There is nothing racial in this–the same thing was done to President Bush. I think it is tacky whatever race is involved. It may be considered satire in some circles, but it is definitely tacky.

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Why I Don’t Believe Everything I Read

In his book Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution, The Alinsky Model, David Horowitz relates an incident that tells us all we need to know about how underhanded the game of politics can be.

The book states:

College student activists in the 1960′s and 1970′s sought out Alinksy for advice about tactics and strategy. On one such occasion in the spring of 1972 at Tulane University’s annual week-long series of events featuring leading public figures, students asked Alinsky to help plan a protest of a scheduled speech by George Bush, then U.S. representative to the United Nations, a speech likely to be a defense of the Nixon Administration‘s Vietnam War policies [Note: the Nixon Administration was then negotiating with the North Vietnamese Communists to arrive at a peace agreement- DH] The students told Alinsky that they were thinking about picketing or disrupting Bush’s address. That’s the wrong approach, he rejoined – not very creative and besides, causing a disruption might get them thrown out of school. [Not very likely-DH] He told them, instead, to go hear the speech dressed up as members of the Ku Klux Klan, and whenever Bush said something in defense of the Vietnam War, they should cheer and wave placards, reading, ‘The K.K.K. supports Bush.’ And that is what the students did with very successful, attention-getting results. (This story is taken from a Saul Alinksy book, Let Them Call Me Rebel)

So why am I telling this story? The tactics really have not changed. A website called redflagnews is reporting that Renee Vaughan, who was holding a sign at a Trayvon Martin rally, was not who she appeared to be. Ms. Vaughan held a sign that stated, “We’re racist & proud,” and stood with the group supporting George Zimmerman.

The article at Red Flag News reports:

Austin resident Renee Vaughan echoed the sign’s ugly sentiments by yelling, “We’re racist. We’re proud. We’re better because we’re white,” at the Martin group as they passed, according to the Chronicle.

Brandon Darby interviewed Renee Vaughan at the rally. She told him her sign means that “there are people here who are racist and apparently think that’s OK. I’m not one of them. I’m being sarcastic.”

It looks as if Saul Alinsky’s tactics are alive and well among those who want to divide this nation along racial lines.

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What Is This All About And Does It Matter?

As I view what is happening in Washington, the skeptic in me keeps remembering the scene in the Bill Murray movie “Meatballs” where the character Bill Murray plays leads the campers in a chant of “It just doesn’t matter.” I wish it did matter, but I just don’t think it does.

I have lost track of the scandals–I babysat grandchildren today and could not get my usual news fix. I know that there was a document dump of Benghazi-related documents today (hotair.com). I know that the acting IRS commissioner is leaving (the Daily Mail)–President Obama says that Steve Miller has been asked to resign–Steve Miller says that his assignment ends in early June. The Associated Press and had their phones bugged. At the same time conservative groups were being harassed by the IRS, President Obama’s half brother received tax-exempt status for the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a shady charity headed that operated illegally for years (the Daily Caller).

So where do we go from here? Impeachment is a really bad idea. It will not solve the problem and will probably create more problems. The press is quite capable of bringing down the presidency of any president they do not like–we are all human and make mistakes; and even if we don’t, mistakes can be manufactured. For example–the evidence President Bush cited to justify the war in Iraq was seen and evaluated by the Democrat leadership in Congress. When the Democrats voted for the war in Iraq, they knew everything President Bush knew–there was no way he could have lied to them. But that didn’t prevent cries of “Bush lied, people died.” When the media couldn’t get to Dick Cheney, they went after Scooter Libby. If President Obama were impeached, in the future the press would work very hard to bring down any administration they didn’t like. The will of the voters’ would be routinely undermined. Also, impeachment would further divide the country and create partisanship. Then again, there is the prospect of President Biden.

Impeachment is not the answer, so what is the answer? The answer lies with the voters. Voters need to become aware of what is going on and vote against anyone who is part of it or seems to be supporting it. The members of Congress that are blocking investigations should be voted out of office.  Those members of Congress who are defending the President and calling to end investigations need to be voted out of office–the investigations should end after they are finished and not before.

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Using The Age Of New Media To Control The Story

The U.K. Daily Mail posted an Associated Press article today about how the Obama Administration is using the new media to avoid scrutiny of their policies. Like previous administrations the Obama Administration has controlled access to the President, but they have gone a step further.

The article reports:

Capitalizing on the possibilities of the digital age, the Obama White House is generating its own content like no president before, and refining its media strategies in the second term in hopes of telling a more compelling story than in the first.

At the same time, it is limiting press access in ways that past administrations wouldn’t have dared, and the president is answering to the public in more controlled settings than his predecessors. It’s raising new questions about what’s lost when the White House tries to make an end run around the media, functioning, in effect, as its own news agency.

These people make Pravda look like amateurs.

The article draws a conclusion about the dangers of a White House news agency:

And while plenty of news organizations cover the president’s State of the Union address, the commentary that accompanies the White House’s ‘enhanced’ version is more one-sided.

When viewers choose the White House as their news source, ‘what people are being exposed to is highly selective,’ says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.

‘They’re not getting the balance of the alternative points of view. They’re not getting the criticism that asks, “Is this accurate?” It’s not being put in historical context.’

Jamieson says the White House-generated content can be highly seductive, particularly when people feel they’re developing a ‘direct relationship’ with White House officials who send out chatty mass emails and solicit feedback through social media.

Democratic and Republican veterans of the White House alike say it makes sense for the Obama administration to maximize its use of digital advances to communicate directly to the public, but they warn that something is missing when ‘the administration’s feet are not held to the fire’ in certain settings, in the words of Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary under Bush.

Kumar, the Towson professor, warns that the administration can even delude itself if it puts too much emphasis on self-reinforcing content.

‘They start believing what they’re creating,’ she says. ‘They need to hear a lot of voices and they need to hear them early.’

One of the reasons for the success of the new media (outside the White House new media) is that people who want to stay informed are willing to look for the other side of the story. The current administration’s control of the story and the mainstream media’s bias have combined to create ‘the low information voter.’ This voter would not exist if the mainstream media told both sides of the story. Unfortunately, the low information voter votes based on his knowledge of events. That is the reason we are in our second term of President Obama (aka our third term of Jimmy Carter).

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Bad Optics Don’t Matter If The Press Is On Your Side

It’s very easy when the Democrats do something outrageous to say, “What if a Republican had done that?” The obvious answer is that if a Republican had done it, the articles would have been on the news all day and night and on the front page of all major newspapers in the country. It is unfortunate, but the press is no longer doing its job of keeping Americans informed–instead it has taken the position of cheerleaders for President Obama and the Democrat party.

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday about President Obama’s priorities in dealing with the sequester budget cuts.The President has taken some pricey vacations lately. Contrast this with President Bush who simply headed for his ranch in Texas when he could. The problem is not the pricey vacations–it is the fact that the pricey vacations are happening at a time when school children on spring break cannot visit the White House due to sequestration budget cuts. It is a matter of priorities. The message I believe the White House is sending is that sequestration will impact American school children who want to see the White House, but my family will go first class anywhere we want regardless of the cost. Has the mainstream media bothered to mention these priorities. President Obama is President and his family is the First Family–not the Royal Family.

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Why Sequestration Was Necessary

CBS News reported yesterday that the national debt has risen by more than $6 trillion since President Obama took office. During the eight years George W. Bush was President, the debt grew by $4.9 trillion.

The ‘cuts’ in sequestration are not the best cuts that could be made. There were better ways to do this. The most obvious improvement would have been to actually cut the budget. Although sequestration cuts the budget from now until June by about $40 billion (to keep things in perspective–aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy was  $50 billion), it only cuts the future rate of growth–it does not cut future spending. Next years budget is larger than this years budget.

The Independent Journal Review posted an article listing five basic things all Americans need to know about the sequester:

1. The cuts are small, and most of them take place in future years. We know how that generally works.

2. Government spending is still increasing, even with the cuts.

3. The Pentagon budget will be about $500 billion, not counting war-related and emergency appropriations.

4. One example of how badly the government manages money is that the  one program which the sequester cuts by $2 million ended last year and does not even exist anymore.

5. The sequester was the President’s idea. The President and the media should not be allowed to use the sequester as a battering ram against the Republicans. First of all, runaway spending should not be a political issue–it impacts all of us.

Since the current leadership in Washington does not want to put the welfare of the country over their own petty politics, both parties need new leadership. Sequester happened because there was no one with the courage (or possibly the will) to cut government spending. Until Americans elect more people who are willing to stand up for the rights of working Americans who pay taxes, we will only have more spending, more debt, and eventually, bankruptcy.

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Posted On Facebook By A Friend

MICHELLE CARUSO-CABRERA: Does the country have a spending problem sir? Does the country have a spending problem?

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: Does the country have a spending problem? The country has a paying for problem. We haven’t paid for what we bought, we haven’t paid for our tax cuts, we haven’t paid for war.

CARUSO-CABRERA: How about what we promised? Are we promising too much?

HOYER: Absolutely. If we don’t pay, we shouldn’t buy.

CARUSO-CABRERA: So how is that different than a spending problem?

HOYER: Well, we spent a lot of money when George Bush was president of the United States in the House and Senate were controlled by Republicans. We spent a lot of money.

(Squawk Box, February 12, 2013)
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Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

The legacy for George W. Bush won’t really be written for a number of years. I suspect President Bush will remain a controversial character because he was not a fiscal conservative and because of the war in Iraq. However, there is one very positive aspect of his presidency that he is rarely given credit for.

On Monday, the Washington Post posted an article about President Bush’s role in helping fight AIDS in Africa. In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush stated, “Tonight I propose the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa. This comprehensive plan will prevent 7 million new AIDS infections, treat at least 2 million people with life-extending drugs and provide humane care for millions of people suffering from AIDS and for children orphaned by AIDS.”

The President then worked to make those words come true. President Bush launched The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The article reports:

PEPFAR gathered the support of an odd coalition. Its congressional sponsors included Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), a pro-life leader, and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.); Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Religious conservatives joined with traditionally liberal health organizations to push for the measure. It was signed into law four months after it was announced.

Implementation was swift, under a theory that PEPFAR’s first administrator, Ambassador Randall Tobias, described as “Ready, fire, aim.” By late 2005 — with the help of PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — there were about 800,000 people on treatment. That number today is more than 5 million.

Because of a few words in the State of the Union address and the willingness to put those words into practice, millions of people are alive today. That is impressive.Enhanced by Zemanta

If The Truth Is Not Repeated Often Enough The Lie Will Take Over

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an article with a quote from Dan Rather on the supposed National Guard documents concerning George W. Bush.

Dan Rather is quoted as saying:

Number 1 – the facts of case are not in dispute.

Number 2 – no one had ever established that the documents were forged (those who attack them argued that we didn’t do enough to demonstrate that they were not forged) The whole documents argument was a camouflage – what was described in the documents was factual. As for the trap argument — could have been, might have been but nobody has ever proven that. What I know, all I know, is we reported a true story. Whatever you think of the documents, facts are facts.

Yes, Mr. Rather, facts are facts. First of all, the charges against President Bush have never been proven. Second of all, the fact that the documents were forged has been proven.

The article includes comments by Font expert Thomas Phinney, who has built a career on typography:

I am on the left wing of the political spectrum, and I am also a typography expert who was quoted twice in the Washington Post about the memos, and approached by ABC News to get my opinion on the topic. TL;DR: they were blatant forgeries.

…The assertion that all the attacks on the Bush National Guard story were “partisan political” attacks is nonsense. I voted against Bush in both elections, and I donated money to his opponents. But that doesn’t change my assertion that the memos were clear forgeries. None of the hundreds of typographers who have come to one of my presentations has even tried to collect the $1000 reward I have repeatedly offered to anybody who can produce a device, available in 1972, that could have produced those memos. (The Selectric Composer and the IBM Executive typewriter are not plausible candidates, btw.)

It’s an old story, but I guess it needs to be retold occasionally. Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” In this case at least we have the information to refute the lie.Enhanced by Zemanta

History Revealed

There are lessons to be learned from history, and we ignore them at our peril. This month Elliott Abrams posted a story in Commentary Magazine with a lot of behind-the-scenes information about the Israeli bombing of the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the story.

The story begins:

In the middle of May 2007, we received an urgent request to receive Mossad chief Meir Dagan at the White House. Olmert asked that he be allowed to show some material to Bush personally. We headed that off with a suggestion that he first reveal whatever he had to National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and to me; I was then the deputy national-security adviser in charge of the Middle East portfolio on the National Security Council. Vice President Dick Cheney joined us in Hadley’s office for Dagan’s presentation. What Dagan had was astonishing and explosive: He showed us intelligence demonstrating that Syria was constructing a nuclear reactor whose design was supplied by North Korea, and doing so with North Korean technical assistance. Dagan left us with one stark message: All Israeli policymakers who saw the evidence agreed that the reactor had to go away.

The article then details the meetings that followed, the fact that the existence of the site was successfully kept a secret from the American media, and the options debated as to the solution to the problem.

A conclusion was reached:

The arguments for going to the IAEA and UN seemed so flimsy to me, despite the length and detail of the planning memos and scenarios to which they gave rise, that I did not much worry about them. Who could believe these organizations would act effectively? Who could believe we would not be sitting there five years later entangled in the same diplomatic dance over the Syrian program that we were in with respect to Iran?

In the end, our near-perfect policy process produced the wrong result. At a final session in the gracious Yellow Oval Room at the Residence, Bush came down on Rice’s side. We would go to Vienna, to the IAEA; he would call Olmert and tell him what the decision was. I was astounded and realized I had underestimated Rice’s influence even after all this time. The president had gone with Condi.

The Israeli attack on the reactor made President Bush’s plan obsolete:

…We knew the Israelis would strike sooner or later. They acted, in the end, when a leak about the reactor’s existence was imminent and Syria might then have gotten notice that Israel knew of its existence. That would have given Assad time to put civilians or nuclear fuel near the site. The Israelis did not seek, nor did they get, a green or red light from us. Nor did they announce their timing in advance; they told us as they were blowing up the site. Olmert called the president on September 6 with the news.

As I had sat in the Oval Office on July 13, listening to his conversation with Olmert, I had wondered how the president would react to the Israeli action. With anger? Or more pressure? None of it. He heard Olmert out calmly and acknowledged that Israel had a right to protect its national security. After hanging up, the president said something like “that guy has guts,” in an admiring tone. The incident was over; the differences over al-Kibar would obviously not affect Bush’s relationship with Olmert or his view of Israel.

So quickly did he accept the Olmert decision that I wondered then, and do still, if the president did not at some level anticipate and desire this result. He had sided with Condi and shown that she was still in charge of Middle East policy, but her “take it to the UN” plan had been blown up along with the reactor. He did not seem very regretful. What is more, he instructed us all to abandon the diplomatic plans and maintain absolute silence, ensuring that Israel could carry out its plan.

The paragraph below provides food for thought in our current dealings with the Arab world:

A very well-placed Arab diplomat later told us that the strike had left Assad deeply worried as to what was coming next. He had turned Syria into the main transit route for jihadis going to Iraq to kill American soldiers. From Libya or Indonesia, Pakistan or Egypt, they would fly to Damascus International Airport and be shepherded into Iraq. Assad was afraid that on the heels of the Israeli strike would come American action to punish him for all this involvement. But just weeks later, Assad received his invitation to send a Syrian delegation to that big international confab of Condi’s, the Annapolis Conference, and according to the Arab envoy, Assad relaxed immediately; he knew he would be OK. I had not wanted Syria invited to Annapolis because of its involvement in killing Americans in Iraq, but Condi had wanted complete Arab representation as a sign that comprehensive peace might be possible. It was only years later that I learned that Assad had instead interpreted the invitation just as I had: as a sign that the United States would not seriously threaten or punish him for what Syria was doing in Iraq.

Please read the entire article for ‘the rest of the story.’ After reading the entire article, I can’t help but think that pretty much everything American has done in the Arab world in order to make peace has had the opposite effect. I don’t think we understand the culture we are dealing with.

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It’s The Spending–Not The Taxes

On Friday Representative Darrell Issa posted an editorial in the Washington Times about the current fiscal cliff debate in Washington.

He begins the article with some recent history on American tax policy:

Twenty-six years ago, President Reagan implemented significant tax reforms that lowered the individual income tax rate, limited deductions and brought equality to tax rates across all levels. Before that reform, there had been 15 different marginal tax rates reaching levels as high as 50 percent for top brackets. By the time Reagan left office, the number of brackets had been reduced to two: 15 percent and 28 percent.

In 1993, President Clinton raised the top two income rates to 36 percent and 39.6 percent while also raising the corporate tax rate, increasing the taxable portion of Social Security benefits and increasing income taxable for Medicare. This is what has become known as the “Clinton tax rates.”

In 2001, President George W. Bush changed the rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, lowered the capital gains and dividend income rates, and expanded credits and deductions such as the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The current discussions in Congress are centered on the idea of raising taxes–not on cutting spending. What would be the impact of raising taxes on the rich?

Representative Issa points out:

If you raised taxes on the top income bracket, you would generate around $1 trillion over 10 years. The past four years under President Obama have resulted in trillion-dollar deficits each year. At this rate, in 10 years we’re looking at $10 trillion in new debt. At best, the “tax-the-rich” proposal is just a 10 percent solution.

Government spending has traditionally been about 18 to 20 percent of America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Under President Obama, it has been about 24%. Since tax revenue is about 18% of GDP for year, the source of the deficit is obvious. Even when taxes are raised, tax revenue remains about 18% of GDP.

Representative Issa concludes:

The other side tries to boil this down into a seven-second sound bite about taxing the rich and people paying their fair share. In 2009, the top 10 percent of earners in the United States already paid more than 70 percent of federal income taxes.

This isn’t about fairness and unfairness. It’s about taxing and spending, and the federal government has spent enough.

The federal government collects more tax money from all Americans than the Medieval lords collected from the serfs. It really is time for that to stop.

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Good News !

MyWay is reporting today that former President George H.W. Bush has been moved out of intensive care.

The article reports:

President Bush’s condition has improved, so he has been moved today from the intensive care unit to a regular patient room at The Methodist Hospital to continue his recovery,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said Saturday. “The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes.”

That is wonderful news. President George H. W. Bush is our oldest living President. President Jimmy Carter is the second oldest.

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About President Obama’s Energy Policy

This is a graph from Investors.com of energy of energy production on federal land since 2003:

The article reports:

When President Obama, in responding Tuesday to Mitt Romney‘s chiding about failing to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, claimed that his administration has added enough new oil and gas pipelines to “encircle the Earth and then some,” we felt a perfect response from Romney would have been, “You didn’t build that.”

The article further reports:

According to the Interior Department‘s Bureau of Land Management, in 2008 under President Bush a total of 55,085 oil and gas leases were in effect on federal land. In 2011 under Obama, there were just 49,174, a decrease of 11%.

Federal acreage under lease shrank from 47.2 million in 2008 to just 38.5 million, a drop of 19%. And 6,617 oil and gas permits were approved in 2008 vs. 4,244 permits in 2011, a decrease of 36%.

The Heritage Foundation‘s Nicolas Loras points out that a recent report from the EIA documents the fact that energy production fell 13% on federal lands in fiscal 2011 compared with fiscal 2010.

Although tapping domestic energy would not bring down gasoline prices tomorrow, it would impact those prices in the near future. It is time to elect a President who will allow us to become energy independent.

 

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Taken To The Woodshed For Telling TheTruth

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about some recent comments by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. On “Face The Nation” yesterday, Governor O’Malley told Bob Schieffer that he couldn’t say that we were better off now than we were four years ago, but “but that’s not the question for this election.” Really? (or ‘seriously?’ as my three-year-old granddaughter likes to say)

Here is the video:

The logical question at that point was, “Then what is the point of this election?”

Today Governor O’Malley has changed his mind.

According to the article:

A day after saying, no, the country was not better off than it was four years ago, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley reversed course on Monday and said, yes, indeed it was.

“We are clearly better of as a country because we’re now creating jobs rathare than losing them,” O’Malley, a Democrat, said on CNN’s Starting Point. “But we have not recovered all that we lost in the Bush recession. That’s why we need to continue to move forward.”

He then motioned to a panel that included Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, among others. “Is there anyone on this panel that thinks we’ve recovered all we lost in the Bush recession? Clearly we’re moving forward, we’re creating jobs, unemployment is down, job creation is up. And that job creation would not happen without the president’s leadership.”

I get it–it’s George Bush’s fault. These people are getting so desperate they are becoming comical. We need to make sure no one votes for them out of sympathy.

This is the chart posted at Hot Air:

The Republicans are echoing Ronald Reagan:

I am sorry (but not surprised) to see the failure of the Obama Administration in so many areas. President Obama has done nothing that had a positive impact on our economy, and he has treated many of our friends around the world badly. I celebrate the fact that America elected a black President, but I fear that because President Obama has done such an inadequate job in the office that it will be difficult in the future for a black man to convince Americans that he is qualified to be President.

 

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