Monday, November 30, 2009

Talking Turkey Over Health Care Reform

The Senate is back in session this week, and will begin its work on hammering out the new bill they put forth before the Thanksgiving recess on Health Care Reform. Here is a reminder of Senator Reid's presentation of the new bill:

Who wants to place bets on whether or not Charles Krauthammer will have to eat his hat given the dollars Reid claims will be saved by this particular Health Care Reform bill? I will go out on a limb and say I think Dr. Krauthammer's hat is safe.

What, then, is to be done? Well, Dr. Krauthammer thinks both bills should be killed, and we need to start all over again:
The United States has the best health care in the world -- but because of its inefficiencies, also the most expensive. The fundamental problem with the 2,074-page Senate health-care bill (as with its 2,014-page House counterpart) is that it wildly compounds the complexity by adding hundreds of new provisions, regulations, mandates, committees and other arbitrary bureaucratic inventions.

Worse, they are packed into a monstrous package without any regard to each other. The only thing linking these changes -- such as the 118 new boards, commissions and programs -- is political expediency. Each must be able to garner just enough votes to pass. There is not even a pretense of a unifying vision or conceptual harmony.

The result is an overregulated, overbureaucratized system of surpassing arbitrariness and inefficiency. Throw a dart at the Senate tome:

-- You'll find mandates with financial penalties -- the amounts picked out of a hat.

-- You'll find insurance companies (who live and die by their actuarial skills) told exactly what weight to give risk factors, such as age. Currently insurance premiums for 20-somethings are about one-sixth the premiums for 60-somethings. The House bill dictates the young shall now pay at minimum one-half; the Senate bill, one-third -- numbers picked out of a hat.

-- You'll find sliding scales for health-insurance subsidies -- percentages picked out of a hat -- that will radically raise marginal income tax rates for middle- class recipients, among other crazy unintended consequences.

Okay, I already have a headache just reading this. No wonder Krauthammer reaches this conclusion:
The bill is irredeemable. It should not only be defeated. It should be immolated, its ashes scattered over the Senate swimming pool.

Then do health care the right way -- one reform at a time, each simple and simplifying, aimed at reducing complexity, arbitrariness and inefficiency.

First, tort reform. This is money -- the low-end estimate is about half a trillion per decade -- wasted in two ways. Part is simply hemorrhaged into the legal system to benefit a few jackpot lawsuit winners and an army of extravagantly rich malpractice lawyers such as John Edwards.

The rest is wasted within the medical system in the millions of unnecessary tests, procedures and referrals undertaken solely to fend off lawsuits -- resources wasted on patients who don't need them and which could be redirected to the uninsured who really do.

In the 4,000-plus pages of the two bills, there is no tort reform. Indeed, the House bill actually penalizes states that dare "limit attorneys' fees or impose caps on damages." Why? Because, as Howard Dean has openly admitted, Democrats don't want "to take on the trial lawyers." What he didn't say -- he didn't need to -- is that they give millions to the Democrats for precisely this kind of protection.

Tort reform has been a common refrain for what is glaringly absent from this Health Care Reform bill, and one component conspicuously absent. But that's not the only problem:
Second, even more simple and simplifying, abolish the prohibition against buying health insurance across state lines.

Some states have very few health insurers. Rates are high. So why not allow interstate competition? After all, you can buy oranges across state lines. If you couldn't, oranges would be extremely expensive in Wisconsin, especially in winter.

And the answer to the resulting high Wisconsin orange prices wouldn't be the establishment of a public option -- a federally run orange-growing company in Wisconsin -- to introduce "competition." It would be to allow Wisconsin residents to buy Florida oranges.

But neither bill lifts the prohibition on interstate competition for health insurance. Because this would obviate the need -- the excuse -- for the public option, which the left wing of the Democratic Party sees (correctly) as the royal road to fully socialized medicine.

That's an interesting take on it. And still more:
Third, tax employer-provided health insurance. This is an accrued inefficiency of 65 years, an accident of World War II wage controls. It creates a $250 billion annual loss of federal revenues -- the largest tax break for individuals in the entire federal budget.

This reform is the most difficult to enact, for two reasons. The unions oppose it. And the Obama campaign savaged the idea when John McCain proposed it during last year's election.

Insuring the uninsured is a moral imperative. The problem is that the Democrats have chosen the worst possible method -- a $1 trillion new entitlement of stupefying arbitrariness and inefficiency.

The better choice is targeted measures that attack the inefficiencies of the current system one by one -- tort reform, interstate purchasing and taxing employee benefits. It would take 20 pages to write such a bill, not 2,000 -- and provide the funds to cover the uninsured without wrecking both U.S. health care and the U.S. Treasury.

I tend to agree with Krauthammer - I think we need to deep-six these two bills and start over. Additionally, I do not want anything in these bills that has NOTHING to do with Health Care Reform. No pork, no bribes, nothing that is not strictly related to issues of health care reform. But that's just me. At the very least, both houses need to start over, and do it right this time, not throwing together whatever they can in the shortest amount of time possible. This is a serious issue, and merits serious consideration, not political expediency.

If Congress does THAT, starts completely over, leaves out the pork, does what's best for American citizens and not their respective political parties, I'll eat MY hat...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is It Getting Hot In Here?

Maybe not, if the recent revelation regarding a data dump in this article is correct, "Climate Change Data Dumped."

Before I go any further, let me say I have been shocked by the revelation found in recently hacked emails from New Zealand that raise great suspicion regarding the validity of Global Warming. I have long supported organizations fighting against global warming, even giving monthly contributions to the Union of Concerned Scientists. I bought Al Gore's documentary, for pete's sake. I'm telling you, I have long been one of those yelling about the damage we have done/are doing to this planet.

And now we are finding out that it may have all been a bunch of hooey (or at least hyped up)?? Are you kidding me??

Here is more from the "Data Dump" article:
SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director. In them he discusses thwarting climate sceptics seeking access to such data.

In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

Oh, boy. Well, gosh - I guess when we were demonizing this "climate sceptics," we were, um, wrr, wrrrooo, ahem - um, wrong to do so. Dammit. Don't you just HATE when that happens? (Huh - probably how a lot of former Obama sycophants are feeling right about now...)

There's more:
The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.

Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, discovered data had been lost when he asked for original records. “The CRU is basically saying, ‘Trust us’. So much for settling questions and resolving debates with science,” he said.

Jones was not in charge of the CRU when the data were thrown away in the 1980s, a time when climate change was seen as a less pressing issue. The lost material was used to build the databases that have been his life’s work, showing how the world has warmed by 0.8C over the past 157 years.

He and his colleagues say this temperature rise is “unequivocally” linked to greenhouse gas emissions generated by humans. Their findings are one of the main pieces of evidence used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which says global warming is a threat to humanity.

Well, yes, that's what they say, but I think everyone can agree that the whole thing about SCIENCE is having DATA to use to formulate scientific conclusions. Absent of that information, it is simply, well, opinion.

This revelation, from the emails to the data dump, is being referred to as "Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation ," highlighting why this is so important:
The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Are you as taken aback by this as I am? How many years have we been hearing about global warming? When the scientists who are working on this admit in emails their duplicity, it calls everything into question:
Since 2003, however, when the statistical methods used to create the "hockey stick" were first exposed as fundamentally flawed by an expert Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, an increasingly heated battle has been raging between Mann's supporters, calling themselves "the Hockey Team", and McIntyre and his own allies, as they have ever more devastatingly called into question the entire statistical basis on which the IPCC and CRU construct their case.

The senders and recipients of the leaked CRU emails constitute a cast list of the IPCC's scientific elite, including not just the "Hockey Team", such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague Keith Briffa, but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC's 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth, who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering over hurricane activity; and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al Gore's ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself.

There are three threads in particular in the leaked documents which have sent a shock wave through informed observers across the world. Perhaps the most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach (see McIntyre's blog Climate Audit and Anthony Watt's blog Watts Up With That), is the highly disturbing series of emails which show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing the devious tactics whereby they could avoid releasing their data to outsiders under freedom of information laws.

They have come up with every possible excuse for concealing the background data on which their findings and temperature records were based.

And now you know why this is being referred to as "Climate Gate" by James Delingpole of the Telegraph(UK). This is also why many are calling for the meeting in Copenhagen to be called off immediately until this can all be sorted out. That is not a bad idea, and one I would certainly support.

Until then, I am trying to wrap my head around the very real possibility that we all have been sold a bill of goods on a massive scale. Not only is that infuriating, but the possibility of that happening is extremely disconcerting when you start to realize the sheer magnitude of this scandal. Staggering that so many of us around the globe may have been had...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

DOJ Gives ACORN An Early Holiday Present

And circumvents the Congress, even the President, in the process. Yes, it turns out that, according to DOJ lawyer, David Barron, it is A-Okay for ACORN to receive funds from American taxpayers, according to this NY Times article.

Yes, it is a little more complicated than that, but not a lot. I believe the term is "grandfathering" the contracts in:
The Justice Department has concluded that the Obama administration can lawfully pay the community group Acorn for services provided under contracts signed before Congress banned the government from providing money to the group.

The department’s conclusion, laid out in a recently disclosed five-page memorandum from David Barron, the acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, adds a new wrinkle to a sharp political debate over the antipoverty group’s activities and recent efforts to distance the government from it.

Since 1994, Acorn, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has received about $53 million in federal aid, much of it grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for providing various services related to affordable housing.

But the group has become a prime target for conservative critics, and on Oct. 1, President Obama signed into law a spending bill that included a provision that said no taxpayer money — including money authorized by previous legislation — could be “provided to” the group or its affiliates.

Here's a little newsflash - it isn't just Conservatives who are angry that this organization, which has engaged in MASSIVE voter registration, as well as voter, fraud, is receiving our tax dollars. Then there's the pesky little issue of the videos taken in their offices mentioned below. But I digress...

This will warm the cockles of your heart, just who it was who asked that funding be restored. Yes, another government agency:
A Housing and Urban Development Department lawyer asked the Justice Department whether the new law meant that pre-existing contracts with Acorn should be broken. And in a memorandum signed Oct. 23 and posted online this week, Mr. Barron said the government should continue to make payments to Acorn as required by such contracts.

The new law “should not be read as directing or authorizing HUD to breach a pre-existing binding contractual obligation to make payments to Acorn or its affiliates, subsidiaries or allied organizations where doing so would give rise to contractual liability,” Mr. Barron wrote.

The deputy director of national operations for Acorn, Brian Kettenring, praised Mr. Barron’s decision.

“We are pleased that commitments will be honored relative to Acorn’s work to help keep America’s working families facing foreclosure in their homes,” Mr. Kettenring said.

Mr. Barron said he had based his conclusion on the statute’s phrase “provided to.” This phrase, he said, has no clearly defined meaning in the realm of government spending — unlike words like “obligate” and “expend.”

Citing dictionary and thesaurus entries, he said “provided to” could be interpreted as meaning only instances in which an official was making “discretionary choices” about whether to give the group money, rather than instances in which the transfer of money to Acorn was required to satisfy contractual obligations.

Since there are two possible ways to construe the term “provided to,” Mr. Barron wrote, it makes sense to pick the interpretation that allows the government to avoid breaching contracts.

Moreover, he argued, requiring the government to cancel contracts with a specifically named entity — “including even in cases where performance has already been completed but payment has not been rendered” — would raise constitutional concerns best avoided by interpreting the law differently.

In other words, it all depends on how you define the term. Wow, that's some major lawyering going on right there, isn't it? "It depends on what the definition of 'is' is..." Great.

You may recall that ACORN has filed a lawsuit, too, claiming it should not be cut off from our funds, despite it clearly being a partisan organization:
The Constitution prohibits “bills of attainder” — legislation intended to punish specific people or groups. Acorn has filed a lawsuit arguing that the statute banning the government from providing it money amounts to a bill of attainder.

Founded in Arkansas in 1970, Acorn describes itself as the nation’s largest grass-roots community organizing group. It provides financial services to poor and middle-income families, conducts voter registration drives, and advocates for higher minimum wages and more affordable housing.

Conservatives have long complained about Acorn’s voter drives in poor neighborhoods, citing instances in which workers fraudulently registered imaginary voters like Mickey Mouse. Acorn has argued that it is the real victim of such incidents, which its employees have often brought to the attention of the authorities.

Criticism of Acorn escalated in September, when two conservative activists released videos they had recorded using secret cameras of Acorn workers in several cities. The activists had posed as a pimp and a prostitute seeking financial advice. Instead of raising objections, the Acorn employees counseled the couple on how to hide their illicit activities and avoid paying taxes.

Conservatives seized on the videos to criticize the group further, highlighting that the Obama campaign had paid an Acorn affiliate for get-out-the-vote efforts. Congress then enacted the ban on providing money to it.

Acorn has fired several of the employees depicted in the videos.

Again, I am no attorney, and certainly welcome comments from those who are (jbjd!), but I'm thinking that when the Constitution is heralded as a foundation for not discriminating against certain "groups of people," it doesn't mean partisan political organizations like ACORN, but more like Native Americans, or disabled Americans, et al. But I could be wrong.

I hope I'm not, though - can you imagine the Constitution protecting a political group that constantly works to circumvent our very laws, like, say, child prostitution? Or, voter fraud? Or embezzlement? Yeah, me, neither.

It makes me wonder about our Department of Justice, though. So far, we have it supporting DOMA, in which it likens GLBT people to pedophiles and incest perpetrators; allowing someone who committed an act of war in which thousands were killed to have a civilian trial with all the inherent rights of an American citizen, as is the case with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and now does an end-run around the Legislative and Executive Branches to continue funding a disreputable company. They sure have their priorities straight, don't they? Uh huh.

I guess this is more "change we can believe in"? And just in time for the holidays, too...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Literature, Or Reality?

I've been reading a book by the novelist, Vince Flynn, Extreme Measures. If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Flynn's books, they typically deal with the CIA, Washington, DC, and how politics affect the intelligence community, following the exploits of the main protagonist, Mitch Rapp, as he works to ensure the safety of the country. This book is no different.

Here is more about it (and writing in general) in Vince Flynn's own words:

So why the book report? Well some of you may have heard about the three Navy Seals being charged for assault, who now face court martial, after capturing an incredibly dangerous terrorist, Ahmed Hashim Abed. I swear, it is just like some major scenes in the book mentioned above. It's uncanny.

Anyway, the claim against the Navy Seals? They gave the terrorist a bloody lip when they captured him. I am not kidding. A bloody lip. Heck, I've seen people get bloody lips playing a game of pick-up basketball. Bear in mind, this terrorist is responsible for murdering four Blackwater guards, burning them, and dragging them through the streets of Fallujah in 2004. And, the Seals involved claim he was fine when they nabbed him:
Matthew McCabe, a Special Operations Petty Officer Second Class (SO-2), is facing three charges: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee, making a false official statement, and assault.

Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, SO-2, is facing charges of dereliction of performance of duty and making a false official statement.

Petty Officer Julio Huertas, SO-1, faces those same charges and an additional charge of impediment of an investigation.

Neal Puckett, an attorney representing McCabe, told Fox News the SEALs are being charged for allegedly giving the detainee a “punch in the gut.”

“I don’t know how they’re going to bring this detainee to the United States and give us our constitutional right to confrontation in the courtroom,” Puckett said. “But again, we have terrorists getting their constitutional rights in New York City, but I suspect that they’re going to deny these SEALs their right to confrontation in a military courtroom in Virginia.”

The three SEALs will be arraigned separately on Dec. 7. Another three SEALs — two officers and an enlisted sailor — have been identified by investigators as witnesses but have not been charged. obtained the official handwritten statement from one of the three witnesses given on Sept. 3, hours after Abed was captured and still being held at the SEAL base at Camp Baharia. He was later taken to a cell in the U.S.-operated Green Zone in Baghdad.

The SEAL told investigators he had showered after the mission, gone to the kitchen and then decided to look in on the detainee.

"I gave the detainee a glance over and then left," the SEAL wrote. "I did not notice anything wrong with the detainee and he appeared in good health."

I might add, you know from my previous writings, I have no love lost for Blackwater. But, these guys were simply protecting a supply chain when they were attacked, no, murdered, and then set on fire.

Here is more on the tactics being used by Abed:

We are a nation of laws, but it seems to me we need to be careful that our laws are not manipulated by the very people who have harmed us. Torture is wrong, but for these Seals to be treated the way they are as a result of, at best minor injuries, and more likely, false claims by this terrorist mastermind, is disturbing. To say the least. In this case, reality is mimicking literature. Read the book, you'll see.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksigiving!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and have much for which to be thankful. May you be surrounded by family, chosen and/or blood, and close friends with whom to spend the day. May you have food to eat, this day and every day. May you have love, and laughter, in your life. May your day be one of Thanksgiving, for this day and every day.

And may you enjoy this lovely piece, both visually and musically.

If you are traveling today, may you arrive safely at your destination, and home again.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Hope Is Fading Fast"

I'll say. And what a fantastic depiction on this t-shirt. Here's more from the article, "Hope Is Fading Fast: A Devastating Take On The Iconic Obama Poster. Ouch." Oh, and I am sure you can appreciate the neutrality of the title. Ahem:
A new offensive has been launched against President Obama, and if it catches on it may make as much noise as a Birther at a Town Hall. It’s the new “Hope Is Fading Fast” t-shirt from LA streetwear company Freshjive — a sad, disappointed take on the iconic “HOPE” poster by Shepard Fairey. Here’s how FreshJive describes it on its website:

Pre-releasing on Black Friday is the t shirt design, “Hope is Fading Fast”. This is actually the first item releasing without the Freshjive brand name on it. Read the recent post on the World’s Got Problems blog regarding how the Obama administration is maintaining continuity with its disgraced predecessor.

I would say this is an excellent first t-shirt for this l
abel, but that's just me. Seems the author of this story might not feel similarly: Ouch. FreshJive founder Rick Katz (sic)is well-known locally as both a streetwear pioneer as well as a provocateur (he was protested, for example, by the Jewish Defense League with two controversial Palestinian-themed shirts last June). This shirt will probably cause a more conflicted reaction as Democrats debate whether it’s fair or unfair, and Republicans will probably love it. What makes this image significant, of course, is that it comes from the left: In October 2007 Katz (sic) said, “Really in the end what drives me is making that one t-shirt that says ‘Fuck off, Bush.’” Two years later, he seems to be sending Obama pretty much the same message.

Here is FreshJive’s list of grievances against Obama, here is Politifact’s “Obameter” to track campaign promises...

The founder's name is actually Rick KLOTZ, but whatever - he's clearly a disrespectful man going after Obama like this, so why get his name right? I might add, the whole Jewish Defamation League issue is a bit of a red herring, and it makes me wonder why the author, Rachel Sklar brought it up. Oh, why do I say that? Because Klotz is, well, Jewish!

Anywho - this t-shirt design seems to be pretty accurate to me, especially as Obama's poll ratings continue to decline, our deficit, the highest it has been since WWII, continues to rise, along with unemployment being in double digits.

Or maybe it is Obama shattering, SHATTERING, the spending record for first year presidents. Obama spent $3.5 TRILLION in the first year. By comparison, Bush spent $1.8 Trillion, and Clinton $1.6 Trillion. Maybe it's all those parties he's been throwing...But I digress.

I might add, the t-shirt is a timely design - a perfect holiday gift for the Kool Aide drinker in your family! Oh, wow, wouldn't that be fun? Just make sure you have the videocam at the ready.

I sure, um, hope, this is just the beginning of these t-shirts. I would think there is a wealth of possible slogans from which to choose. I bet some imaginative readers can come up wit some other slogans. I'd love to see them!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Shine Is Tarnishing - The True Obama Appears

Well, it seems like it is finally happening. The world community to which Obama pandered during the campaign is starting to realize what many Americans now know (and some of us always did): He's not all he's cracked up to be.

In this article from Spiegel, "Obama's Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage", they seem to finally be cluing in:
When he entered office, US President Barack Obama promised to inject US foreign policy with a new tone of respect and diplomacy. His recent trip to Asia, however, showed that it's not working. A shift to Bush-style bluntness may be coming.

There were only a few hours left before Air Force One was scheduled to depart for the flight home. US President Barack Obama trip through Asia had already seen him travel 24,000 kilometers, sit through a dozen state banquets, climb the Great Wall of China and shake hands with Korean children. It was high time to take stock of the trip.

Barack Obama looked tired on Thursday, as he stood in the Blue House in Seoul, the official residence of the South Korean president. He also seemed irritable and even slightly forlorn. The CNN cameras had already been set up. But then Obama decided not to play along, and not to answer the question he had already been asked several times on his trip: what did he plan to take home with him? Instead, he simply said "thank you, guys," and disappeared. David Axelrod, senior advisor to the president, fielded the journalists' questions in the hallway of the Blue House instead, telling them that the public's expectations had been "too high."

The mood in Obama's foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The "first Pacific president," as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions.

The "first Pacific president" - please. Could this man possibly have a more inflated sense of himself?? Not to interrupt myself or anything, but check out what Charles Krauthammer had to say about that false claim:

"First Pacific President," indeed. Please.

Back to the "Emperor Has No Clothes" article:
Lost Some Stature

Upon taking office, Obama said that he wanted to listen to the world, promising respect instead of arrogance. But Obama's currency isn't as strong as he had believed. Everyone wants respect, but hardly anyone is willing to pay for it. Interests, not emotions, dominate the world of realpolitik. The Asia trip revealed the limits of Washington's new foreign policy: Although Obama did not lose face in China and Japan, he did appear to have lost some of his initial stature.

In Tokyo, the new center-left government even pulled out of its participation in a mission which saw the Japanese navy refueling US warships in the Indian Ocean as part of the Afghanistan campaign. In Beijing, Obama failed to achieve any important concessions whatsoever. There will be no binding commitments from China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A revaluation of the Chinese currency, which is kept artificially weak, has been postponed. Sanctions against Iran? Not a chance. Nuclear disarmament? Not an issue for the Chinese.

The White House did not even stand up for itself when it came to the question of human rights in China. The president, who had said only a few days earlier that freedom of expression is a universal right, was coerced into attending a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao, at which questions were forbidden. Former US President George W. Bush had always managed to avoid such press conferences.

Understand this: when the author writes that the "White House did not even stand up for itself..." it means that the White House is not standing up for US, the American people. And Obama doing a press conference when Bush had managed to get out of them - for eight years - shows again how woefully inept and ill-prepared Obama is, even in comparison to Bush.

So, just what did Obama accomplish? Not a whole lot:
Relatively Unsuccessful

A look back in time reveals the differences. When former President Bill Clinton went to China in June 1998, Beijing wanted to impress the Americans. A press conference in the Great Hall of the People, broadcast on television as a 70-minute live discussion, became a sensation the world over. Clinton mentioned the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, when the government used tanks against protestors. But then President Jiang Zemin defended the tough approach taken by the Chinese Communists. At the end of the exchange, the Chinese president praised the debate and said: "I believe this is democracy!"

Obama visited a new China, an economic power that is now making its own demands. America should clean up its government finances, and the weak dollar is unacceptable, the head of the Chinese banking authority said, just as Obama's plane was about to land.

Obama's new foreign policy has also been relatively unsuccessful elsewhere, with even friends like Israel leaving him high and dry. For the government of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, peace is only conceivable under its terms. Netanyahu has rejected Obama's call for a complete moratorium on the construction of settlements. As a result, Obama has nothing to offer the Palestinians and the Syrians. "We thought we had some leverage," says Martin Indyk, a former ambassador to Israel under the Clinton administration and now an advisor to Obama. "But that proved to be an illusion."

Even the president seems to have lost his faith in a genial foreign policy. The approach that was being used in Afghanistan this spring, with its strong emphasis on civilian reconstruction, is already being changed. "We're searching for an exit strategy," said a staff member with the National Security Council on the sidelines of the Asia trip.

Gee, you mean that whole experience thing about which Hillary Clinton, then John McCain, spoke actually MEANT something?? Good grief. Show of hands of how many of us tried to tell them: Yep, that's what I thought.

There is probably one person on the face of the earth who is going to think this is a good comparison, and you'll know who right now:
'A Lot Like Jimmy Carter'

An end to diplomacy is also taking shape in Washington's policy toward Tehran. It is now up to Iran, Obama said, to convince the world that its nuclear power is peaceful. While in Asia, Obama mentioned "consequences" unless it followed his advice. This puts the president, in his tenth month in office, where Bush began -- with threats. "Time is running out," Obama said in Korea. It was the same phrase Bush used against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, shortly before he sent in the bombers.

There are many indications that the man in charge at the White House will take a tougher stance in the future. Obama's advisors fear a comparison with former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, even more than with Bush. Prominent Republicans have already tried to liken Obama to the humanitarian from Georgia, who lost in his bid to win a second term, because voters felt that he was too soft. "Carter tried weakness and the world got tougher and tougher because the predators, the aggressors, the anti-Americans, the dictators, when they sense weakness, they all start pushing ahead," Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker in the House of Representatives, recently said. And then he added: "This does look a lot like Jimmy Carter." (Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan)

Given how much water Jimmy Carter has carried for Oama, even disparaging the BEST Democratic candidate to do so, I just wonder how he will feel when he discovers Obama fears being compared to him more than George W. Bush??? You know I used to love Jimmy Carter until he started to trash Hillary Clinton, and called a bunch of us a bunch of racists. But I bet he didn't see that coming for all the backstabbing he did. Welcome to the "Under The Bus" club, President Carter. It was only a matter of time.

It was also only a matter of time before the shine started to tarnish. But even more than that, this man is supposed to be working on behalf of our nation. The work he is doing is what many of us knew was going to happen from someone so wet behind the ears, so concerned what people thought of HIM rather than being concerned about what he could do for the people. Not only do we know it, but now the world knows it. Even more than that, they know they can do pretty much as they wish since Obama doesn't have the chops to stand up to them. Well, that's just jake, isn't it?

Is it 2012 yet?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Two Powerful Women On Two Powerful Women

I was delightfully surprised to see Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard, and Lady Lynn de Rothschild, big-time Hillary supporter together discussing issues related to women in politics, especially Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. In the clip below, they discuss the double standard of the media toward female politicians compared to male politicians:

Isn't that incredible, that the AP put 11 factcheckers on Palin's book, and NONE on any of the men? We know already that Obama's book, Dreams of My Father, was filled with erroneous facts, unless time travel is now possible and I missed it (e.g., the March on Selma inspired Obama's parents to have him four years after he was born, Kennedy bringing his father over from Kenya, etc., etc.). This is not unlike the horde of "investigative reporters" running up to Alaska to turn over every rock to dig up dirt on Palin when none were dispatched to Chicago to extend the same courtesy to Obama.

Yep, I'd say there is some double standard by the MSM. Their furor over Governor Palin is practically rabid. I have to say, it is kinda funny to watch them get all worked up, isn't it? Except that so much of it is sexist beyond belief (like the recent Newsweek cover/article). But, other than that...

Since ady Lynn de Rothschild mentioned our Hillary, here she is speaking to the troops in Afghanistan this week:

You'll notice, nary a teleprompter in sight! When one is capable of speaking from the head and the heart simultaneously, like Hillary Clinton can, one does not need one. Her support of the troops is evident, and judging from the response at the end of her remarks, the feeling is mutual. That's our Hillary.

Good to see that some folks are paying attention to what the MSM has been doing with Governor Palin. I hope having two women of this caliber, Carly Fiorina and Lady Lunn de Rothschild, will help to keep the MSM honest. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Sunday Special

With each passing day, there are new expectations regarding President Obama. One intrepid resident of the Lowcountry came up with the following revision of an ancient text. He might be onto something:
Here are the Ten Commandments according to President Obama:

Thou shall not have any presidents before me or after me.

Thou shall not watch Fox News.

Thou shall obey me without question.

Thou shall honor my image.

Thou shall not be a conservative.

Thou shall place me above thy parents.

Thou shall tithe thyself and send the rest to me.

Thou shall mistrust all businesses large or small.

Thy children shall sing praises to me.

Thou shall not say to me, "You lie."

BRUCE BATES, Little Ranch Road, Ladson

Bronwyn's Harbor had this video up the other day, but it is so timely given the above revision of the Ten Commandments, I just had to steal, um, BORROW it:

C'mon, the "Baby Jesus" remark was hilarious! And so appropos...

While I am at it, a former parishioner sent me the following. I know there are others who have done it before, but this is a particularly good one, I think:

I know, right? Funny! I love the smaller person jumping up and down. That would so have been me...

Have a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shall A Little Child Lead Them?

On Friday, a gathering of Christian Clergy held a press conference to present the "Manhattan Declaration," a conservative platform of what they will, and will not accept. It is timely in relation to the upcoming Senate vote on Health Care Reform on Saturday (the vote is to move it out of committee, thus allow for discussion, and not one that would pass the bill).

In that light, here is a brief description of the purpose of the "Manhattan Declaration" (major h/t to Logistics Monster for sending this to me):

Wow, right? You know I am pro-choice - always have been. But I can understand people who are adamantly opposed to abortion do not want to pay for one with their tax dollars in the Health Care reform bill. It is not unlike many of us not wanting to fund ACORN with our tax dollars, though that is more political in nature. Yes, it is legal, and should be, IMHO (as Hillary says, it should be safe, legal, and rare). As I said, I can understand people who do not want their tax dollars funding them.

From a purely sociological perspective, it is interesting to see the ecumenical nature of this group, and the issues that galvanized it. From a theological and personal perspective, I think they are absolutely wrong in their depiction of same-sex marriages. It never ceases to amaze me how the message of Love preached by Jesus can be so distorted by those who call themselves his servants.

It seems that the clergy from the "Manhattan Declaration" should take a little look see at the following video sent to me by my NQ buddy, Linda. It is an interesting juxtaposition between the clergy, another man in the video, and Will Phillips, the fifth grader who refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance until ALL American citizens have liberty. Take a look:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gaywatch - Peter Vadala & William Phillips
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Oh, yeah, bringing a world of hurt to the ones who hurl insulting monikers - excellent!

Ahem. What I MEANT to say was, isn't there a line in the Bible, "a little child shall lead them" (Isa. 11:1-10)? Yeah, I'm pretty sure there was. Maybe the clergy members oughta take a look at it...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Apparently, Holder Has Other Things To Do

Than look at ACORN. Yet, the hits just keep on coming. There is another tape out from James O'Keefe of filmmaker James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles going to ACORN offices in an expose of the lengths to which ACORN workers will go to assist in setting up an underage prostitution ring. Here is the latest video released by O'Keefe:

Oh, boy. So, did I get this right, ACORN has/is working with Larry Flynt, the king of pornography??? Holy crappydoo - I am sure so many people will be happy to know that's to whom their hard earned dollars are going.

Thursday night, James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart were on Hannity (h/t to Bronywyn's Harbor for this video), and they have some mighty interesting thins to say about who is being scrutinized, and who is not:

What, they expect AG Holder to go after ACORN? Why, because of the numerous tapes revealing their wrong doing? They want him to listen to the whistle blowers who are willing to come forward to expose what ACORN has done - with our tax dollars, I might add? Hey, he's BUSY working on bringing the 9/11 Masterminds to NYC for a Civilian trial, for pete's sake (for recent posts on this topic, go HERE and HERE). I mean, really - he's got his hands full being schooled by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on the whole military tribunal thing and all. Sheesh - what do they expect? For Holder to do his JOB???

I am sure they did not expect for Jerry Brown to go after THEM rather than the ACORN employees. Then again, given the way this Administration has been going with ACORN, maybe they should have. I mean, isn't that why Obama brought in Bauer, to run interference for ACORN? Oh, no, wait - that was to "erase tracks between Obama and ACORN." Well shoot, in that case, for what are Jerry Brown and Eric Holder waiting?? Ahem.

Well, I don't think any of us are going to be holding our breath for THAT. And it is so typical that the people exposing the massive problems with ACORN are the very ones being targeted by the Powers-That-Be, rather than the organization engaging in questionable activities.

Our justice system really has lost its bearings when war criminals are extended rights given to American citizens. And American citizens who expose wrong doing by a group receiving Taxpayers money are targeted by those with connections to the justice system. I guess Obama HAS brought change to America...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"News"Week's Sexism Shows On The Cover

Have you seen this "News"Week cover? Never mind the title of the article, excuse me, the EDITORIAL, that goes along with the cover:

Holy smokes. Needless to say, there has been a LOT of discussion about this photograph, and why Newsweek would choose to run this particular photo. Taylor Marsh - former Clinton supporter now Obama water carrier - wrote a piece at Huffington Post on this, "What Was Newsweek Thinking?". Media Matters had a post by Julie Millican, "Newsweek Should Worry More About How To Solve Its Problem With Sexism" (h/t to Bronwyn's Harbor), though many of the comments would lead one to believe it is find and dandy to be sexist to someone if they are a Republican, and Palin's an idiot anyway, so what's the big deal?? (That was SNARK on my part, but sums up the sentiment there.)

Sarah Palin weighed in on the photo, too:
Palin denounced it—and us—to her million-strong Facebook following last night. "The choice of photo for the cover of this week's Newsweek is unfortunate. When it comes to Sarah Palin, this 'news' magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant," she wrote on her fan page, adding, "The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now." She also told ABC's Barbara Walters that she found the cover "a wee bit degrading." Others, like CBN's David Brody, said our cover was a new low: "biased and sexist at the same time."

Well, yes. Out of all the photographs available out there, why choose one from RUNNER'S WORLD?? This was the excuse, I mean, reason, given by the editor:
Today, NEWSWEEK's Editor Jon Meacham has responded to critics. "We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do,” Meacham said. "We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard."

Well, if what they were trying to say was that they are a bunch of sexist patronizing sanctimonious assholes, they succeeded!

They could have chosen, oh, say, this one:

(September 3, 2008 - Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

Or how about this one:

(October 31, 2008 - Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images North America)

It took me less than a minute to find them. I would think Newsweek could take that long to find another image - if they had wanted to, that is. But they chose that one for a reason, and that reason is SEXISM.

Speaking of the photograph, it seems the photographer who took it, Brian Adams, engaged in a bit of premature, um, opportunism. He had a contract, you see, that did not allow him to sell this image until August of 2010. Oops!! Don't you just hate when that happens? Anyway, kinda makes you wonder just how Newsweek got it, and it wasn't from Runner's World.

And then there's the HEADLINE: "How Do You Handle a Problem Like Sarah? She's Bad News For The GOP - And Everyone Else, Too." Um, well, golly gee - that kind of sets the tone from the get-go, doesn't it? I don't even think one needs to read the damned thing to get where they are going with this.

It makes me wonder where they are getting their information. You may know that Governor Palin was on Oprah earlier this week. I don't know about you, but I was wondering, just out of curiosity, what the ratings were going to be for that show. Care to hazard a guess? If you went by the headline above, you'd guess not very high. And you would be very wrong. Oprah's show had the highest rating it has had in over TWO YEARS. Dang, that Palin is just TERRIBLE for EVERYBODY!!!! Never mind all of those cheering crowds turning out for her book tour - Palin is just terrible for them! And the GOP! And the WORLD!!!! Ahem.

Again, I disagree with a lot of her policies, but I do appreciate her honest, down to earth bearing - those are characteristics sorely missing among politicians today. Does she possess brilliance on a par with Hillary Clinton? No, I don't know anyone in politics who is on Clinton's level. She is heads and shoulders above (which is, no doubt, why they drug her down and stomped all over her). Apparently, though, those of us who consider ourselves to be liberal cannot like Sarah Palin at all in any way for any reason whatsoever without being chastised, criticized, demeaned, and belittled. Because we couldn't POSSIBLY have been marching for Equal Rights for someone like SARAH PALIN, who, by her own admission on Oprah says her relationship to her husband is one based on EQUALITY. Surely, SHE doesn't count, which has been the recurring theme about her by so-called liberals and "feminists." Apparently, only Democrats are worthy of having equal rights according to a lot of these folks - many of whom were not marching, or fighting, or accompanying women to Planned Parenthood for abortions like a number of us did (including myself), but they can, with incredible sexism and elitism, denounce Palin for being an "idiot" and unworthy of respect ("she hasn't done anything to deserve respect" was one comment I saw at Media Matters), despite all she accomplished for Alaska. Yet, Obama with his paper thin resume, and his throwing women under the bus, backing up, running over them again, and again, and again, somehow does deserve their respect. Wow.

Speaking of Obama, shockingly, in a recent Quinnipiac Poll, though Obama has now dipped below 50% approval, women approve of him by 52 - 37% while men disapprove of Obama by 47 - 44%. Why do women still support him after all of the ways he has dismissed women and our issues?

As for Sarah Palin, I am amazed by the amount of animosity directed at her by men, but women, too. And it amazes me how quickly people are willing to believe whatever rumor or half-truth comes down the pike about her. It is sad, really, but it also undermines their arguments against her, so there's that.

Taking the two together is a sad, sad commentary on where we are. The bottom line, as we saw so clearly this past election season, is that sexism is most definitely alive and well in the United States, spurred on by our media, and our politicians. There is too little comeuppance for those who engage in sexism on a national level, like the cover of Newsweek above. I am glad that some women are speaking up as noted, but too many people are willing to engage in massive amounts of sexist commentary against Palin simply because she is a Republican and a conservative. Their hypocrisy apparently knows no bounds.

Sexism is sexism. We must be willing to apply the same standard across the board and political spectrum. Until then, we will continue to see national publications like "News"week engage in blatant sexism toward a former governor and former Vice Presidential candidate with too little outcry. And we will continue to see so-called liberals engage in blatant woman-bashing under the guise of "politics." That is an excuse used by cowards and misogynists, and must not be excused any more by anyone. Call it by name: Sexism.

, you owe Governor Palin, and all women, an apology. We're waiting...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fifth Grader Refuses to Say Pledge Of Allegiance - Wait Until You See Why

I admit, when I first saw the headline about the child refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance, I just assumed it was about the whole "under God" thing in there. Well you know what they say when one "assumes," and nowhere was that more the case than here, as this article makes clear, A Boy And His Flag: Why Will won’t pledge.

This boy, though only 10, is well, amazing. He outshines millions of adults in this country, that's for sure. The article makes that point clear:
Will Phillips isn't like other boys his age.

For one thing, he's smart. Scary smart. A student in the West Fork School District in Washington County, he skipped a grade this year, going directly from the third to the fifth. When his family goes for a drive, discussions are much more apt to be about Teddy Roosevelt and terraforming Mars than they are about Spongebob Squarepants and what's playing on Radio Disney.

It was during one of those drives that the discussion turned to the pledge of allegiance and what it means. Laura Phillips is Will's mother. “Yes, my son is 10,” she said. “But he's probably more aware of the meaning of the pledge than a lot of adults. He's not just doing it rote recitation. We raised him to be aware of what's right, what's wrong, and what's fair.”

Will's family has a number of gay friends. In recent years, Laura Phillips said, they've been trying to be a straight ally to the gay community, going to the pride parades and standing up for the rights of their gay and lesbian neighbors. They've been especially dismayed by the effort to take away the rights of homosexuals – the right to marry, and the right to adopt. Given that, Will immediately saw a problem with the pledge of allegiance.

“I've always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer,” Will said. “I really don't feel that there's currently liberty and justice for all.”

Out of the mouths of babes - or a child, in this case. Preach it, Will.

I love how deliberate this child is in his considerations. Again, would that many adults were capable of such rational thought:
After asking his parents whether it was against the law not to stand for the pledge, Will decided to do something. On Monday, Oct. 5, when the other kids in his class stood up to recite the pledge of allegiance, he remained sitting down. The class had a substitute teacher that week, a retired educator from the district, who knew Will's mother and grandmother. Though the substitute tried to make him stand up, he respectfully refused. He did it again the next day, and the next day. Each day, the substitute got a little more cross with him. On Thursday, it finally came to a head. The teacher, Will said, told him that she knew his mother and grandmother, and they would want him to stand and say the pledge.

“She got a lot more angry and raised her voice and brought my mom and my grandma up,” Will said. “I was fuming and was too furious to really pay attention to what she was saying. After a few minutes, I said, ‘With all due respect, ma'am, you can go jump off a bridge.' ”

Ahahahahahahaha. I love that, "with all due respect..." It seems he had been showing her more respect than she was showing him. This was the quintessential "teachable moment," and this teacher wildly missed the mark.

Well, you know what happened next, as will happen when a child backtalks a teacher (at least in Arkansas):
Will was sent to the office, where he was given an assignment to look up information about the flag and what it represents. Meanwhile, the principal called his mother.

“She said we have to talk about Will, because he told a sub to jump off a bridge,” Laura Phillips said. “My first response was: Why? He's not just going to say this because he doesn't want to do his math work.”

Eventually, Phillips said, the principal told her that the altercation was over Will's refusal to stand for the pledge of allegiance, and admitted that it was Will's right not to stand. Given that, Laura Phillips asked the principal when they could expect an apology from the teacher. “She said, ‘Well I don't think that's necessary at this point,' ” Phillips said.

And why not? In this case, this teacher was wrong, as the principal acknowledged. The issue was one of justice and liberty, again, a great teaching moment for these children. The discussion could have been quite enlightening, but no:
After Phillips put a post on the instant-blogging site about the incident, several of her friends got angry and alerted the news media. Meanwhile, Will Phillips still refuses to stand during the pledge of allegiance. Though many of his friends at school have told him they support his decision, those who don't have been unkind, and louder.

“They [the kids who don't support him] are much more crazy, and out of control and vocal about it than supporters are.”

Given that his protest is over the rights of gays and lesbians, the taunts have taken a predictable bent. “In the lunchroom and in the hallway, they've been making comments and doing pranks, and calling me gay,” he said. “It's always the same people, walking up and calling me a gaywad.”

Unfortunately, we we could see that coming, especially from Fifth graders, and other school age children who routinely say, "Oh, that's so gay." What am I talking, some teachers do it, too (unfortunately). Still, this young man has some backbone:
Even so, Will said that he can't foresee anything in the near future that will make him stand for the pledge. To help him deal with the peer pressure, his parents have printed off posts in his support on blogs and websites. “We've told him that people here might not support you, but we've shown him there are people all over that support you,” Phillips said. “It's really frustrating to him that people are being so immature.”

At the end of our interview, I ask young Will a question that might be a civics test nightmare for your average 10-year-old. Will's answer, though, is good enough — simple enough, true enough — to give me a little rush of goose pimples. What does being an American mean?

“Freedom of speech,” Will says, without even stopping to think. “The freedom to disagree. That's what I think pretty much being an American represents.”

Somewhere, Thomas Jefferson smiles.

Okay who wants Will to run for president in 25 years??? Yeah, me too.

No doubt Thomas Jefferson IS smiling at this wonderful young boy, and I am thankful for parents like the Phillips. We could sure use more like them. We DEFINITELY could use more young people like Will. What a thoughtful, grounded, boy he is. I hope for his sake, for our sake, he will be able to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance before he goes off to college...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Would An Abbacus Help To Accurately Count Jobs "Recovered"?

Recently, Vice President Biden reported that the Stimulus Program had created a huge number of jobs. If you have 41 minutes to spend to watch him - what the hell is the matter with you?? Oh, no wait - sorry. Ahem. I meant to say, if you have the time, you can watch Biden announce all of the many jobs recovered below in this "clip" (and I use the term loosely):

Isn't that great?? Well, it would be if it was actually true. But it is not. For instance, did you know that Puerto Rico has 99 districts? Nope, me, either. Because they don't. They have 1 (one). How about Arizona? Heck, they've got at least 38 (thirty-eight), right? Oh, wait, no they don't - they have 8 (eight). The alleged "recovered jobs" bragged about by Biden and how our stimulus money is being spent don't quite match up. I know, big surprise (almost as much as the following report being on ABCNews):

Wow that's some "state of the art system" you got going on there, Joe. And I am SOOOOO sure that all of the problems are the result of people not knowing in which district they live. Oh, sure. Because it is so difficult to access that information. I mean, really, you might need to make a PHONE CALL or something. Or look it up on "the internets," if it isn't in the area in which you live. Because then, you could just take a little look-see at your voter registration card! Gosh, I am just stunned that they would not be getting these numbers right!

Speaking of jobs, check out these headlines:

This is exactly why so many of us are concerned about the Government running our health care system. Can you say fraud? If they cannot even get this right, how are they going to adequately address issues of life and death?? I don't think even an abacus could help out there ...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Code Pink Fundraisers Have Lost Their Frikkin' MInds, And Any Sense Of Decency

Let me just warn you now. If you are drinking or eating anything as you read this, you might want to stop. This article is disturbing on so many levels, but even more, it is infuriating at the way in which it paints Major Hasan, the alleged mass murderer. This is way beyond the pale in just plain human decency, much less the manner in which they are using this horrific traedy. The headline pretty much says it all, Obama Ally Code Pink Justifies Fort Hood Terrorist Attack, Cashes in on Massacre in Veterans Day Fundraising Appeal. Yes, you read that right, and no, it is nor hyperbole:
Following on the heels of their macabre Afghan war protest at a White House Halloween party that targeted children of military families for psychological abuse, leftist Obama ally Code Pink issued a statement justifying the terrorist attack at Fort Hood as opposition to the war from officers and put out a Veterans Day appeal seeking to raise money off the Fort Hood terrorist attack.

Signed by top Obama funder Jodie Evans, the appeal was published at Code Pink’s website on Veterans Day and sent out the same day to the group’s e-mail list. The terrorist attack at Fort Hood is cited three times in the fundraising letter.

As appalling as cashing in on the mass murder of 14 innocents is, Code Pink tops that by invoking sympathy for the alleged terrorist as a reason to give money to Code Pink–even putting his act of terrorism on the same moral plane as the recent protest resignation of a former officer who left his diplomatic post in Afghanistan over Obama’s war policy:

“This Veteran’s Day, you can support Under the Hood and the soldiers who walk through their doors with a cash or in-kind donation…

“Click here to see how else you can support Under the Hood (in-kind donations accepted too).

“Our soldiers clearly need more care; the last thing they need is to be put into more harm’s way. Even US military officers think so–Matthew Hoh resigned from the Foreign Service in protest of the lack of clear mission and achievable results in Afghanistan, and of course the Ft. Hood shooter was a Major who did not wish to be deployed to Afghanistan.”

Think about that. Code Pink says a mass murder terrorist act against unarmed soldiers is the moral equivalance (sic) of a protest resignation.

I don't know about you, but this is disgusting. I don't know how else to categorize it. It is disgusting to equate one man's respectful resignation to another man's alleged mass murder. What the hell is WRONG with these people?? If only it stopped there:
Code Pink is even more direct in their justification for the terrorist attack allegedly by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan in a statement posted to their website that they encourage opponents of America in Afghanistan to send to President Obama:

The recent shootings at Ft. Hood and the resignation of top Foreign Service officer Matthew Hoh demonstrate how even our military officers are opposed to US strategy in Afghanistan.

Code Pink claims the money will be used to fund a campaign operated out of a coffee shop near Fort Hood called Under the Hood that preys on soldiers and their families. However, the donation link goes to Code Pink’s fundraising page and not to Under the Hood’s website. Note, fundraising links in this story are deliberately not active.

This is some organization with which Obama has aligned himself, isn't it? I am just thoroughly disgusted. TO read the rest of the story, which includes more about "Under the Hood," the relationship between Obama and Jodie Evans, and additional articles about Code Pink, please click HERE. Disturbing, just disturbing.

And it makes this Krauthammer piece that much more salient, Explaining Away Mass Murder. Indeed That is exactly what the Code Pink fudnraisers are doing with their despicable fundraising efforts:
-- What a surprise -- that someone who shouts "Allahu Akbar" (the "God is great" jihadist battle cry) as he is shooting up a room of American soldiers might have Islamist motives. It certainly was a surprise to the mainstream media, which spent the weekend after the Fort Hood massacre downplaying Nidal Hasan's religious beliefs.

"I cringe that he's a Muslim. ... I think he's probably just a nut case," said Newsweek's Evan Thomas. Some were more adamant. Time's Joe Klein decried "odious attempts by Jewish extremists ... to argue that the massacre perpetrated by Nidal Hasan was somehow a direct consequence of his Islamic beliefs." While none could match Klein's peculiar cherchez-le-juif motif, the popular story line was of an Army psychiatrist driven over the edge by terrible stories he had heard from soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Uh huh. And why is it that someone can't be nuts AND a terrorist? Many people would see those words as not being the least bit contradictory when used in conjunction. Oops - silly me - inserting logic into that ridiculous argument:
They suffered. He listened. He snapped.

Really? What about the doctors and nurses, the counselors and physical therapists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who every day hear and live with the pain and the suffering of returning soldiers? How many of them then picked up a gun and shot 51 innocents?

And what about civilian psychiatrists -- not the Upper West Side therapist treating Woody Allen neurotics, but the thousands of doctors working with hospitalized psychotics -- who every day hear not just tales but cries of the most excruciating anguish, of the most unimaginable torment? How many of those doctors commit mass murder?

It's been decades since I practiced psychiatry. Perhaps I missed the epidemic.

But, of course, if the shooter is named Nidal Hasan, whom National Public Radio reported had been trying to proselytize doctors and patients, then something must be found. Presto! Secondary post-traumatic stress disorder, a handy invention to allow one to ignore the obvious.

And the perfect moral finesse. Medicalizing mass murder not only exonerates. It turns the murderer into a victim, indeed a sympathetic one. After all, secondary PTSD, for those who believe in it (you won't find it in DSM-IV-TR, psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), is known as "compassion fatigue." The poor man -- pushed over the edge by an excess of sensitivity.

I wonder if Dr. Krauthammer would pay a visit to the entire fundraising staff, Obama's allies, at Code Pink? Now THAT would be a visit I'd like to see, especially since Dr. Krauthammer, like me, thinks this is, well, in my word, obscene:
Have we totally lost our moral bearings? Nidal Hasan (allegedly) cold-bloodedly killed 13 innocent people. In such cases, political correctness is not just an abomination. It's a danger, clear and present.

Consider the Army's treatment of Hasan's previous behavior. NPR's Daniel Zwerdling interviewed a Hasan colleague at Walter Reed about a hair-raising Grand Rounds that Hasan had apparently given. Grand Rounds are the most serious academic event at a teaching hospital -- attending physicians, residents and students gather for a lecture on an instructive case history or therapeutic finding.

I've been to dozens of these. In fact, I gave one myself on post-traumatic retrograde amnesia -- as you can see, these lectures are fairly technical. Not Hasan's. His was an hour-long disquisition on what he called the Koranic view of military service, jihad and war. It included an allegedly authoritative elaboration of the punishments visited upon nonbelievers -- consignment to hell, decapitation, having hot oil poured down your throat. This "really freaked a lot of doctors out," reported NPR.

Nor was this the only incident. "The psychiatrist," reported Zwerdling, "said that he was the kind of guy who the staff actually stood around in the hallway saying: Do you think he's a terrorist, or is he just weird?"

Was anything done about this potential danger? Of course not. Who wants to be accused of Islamophobia and prejudice against a colleague's religion?

One must not speak of such things. Not even now. Not even after we know that Hasan was in communication with a notorious Yemen-based jihad propagandist. As late as Tuesday, The New York Times was running a story on how returning soldiers at Fort Hood had a high level of violence.

So many excuses, so little relevance:
What does such violence have to do with Hasan? He was not a returning soldier. And the soldiers who returned home and shot their wives or fellow soldiers didn't cry "Allahu Akbar" as they squeezed the trigger.

The delicacy about the religion in question -- condescending, politically correct and deadly -- is nothing new. A week after the first (1993) World Trade Center attack, the same New York Times ran the following front-page headline about the arrest of one Mohammed Salameh: "Jersey City Man Is Charged in Bombing of Trade Center."

Ah yes, those Jersey men -- so resentful of New York, so prone to violence.

Indeed. Ahem. That organizations like Code Pink are painting this mass murderer of unarmed soldiers in such a sympathetic light, and with such moral superiority, indicates just how far from our moral base we have strayed. At a time when the fallen from that massacre are being buried, for this organization to depict Hasan as nothing more than a victim of US policy, and on the same level as a distinguished war veteran and US State Department employee who resigned with integrity is simply reprehensible.

In other words, the fundraisers at Code Pink, Obama's ally, have lost their frikkin' minds. I would say they should be ashamed of themselves, but they clearly, CLEARLY, have no shame at all. And that is most disturbing of all.

One last thing, to the families and friends of those fallen, it breaks my heart that in addition to such a grievous loss, you now have to deal with such outrageous fundraising attempts by a group excusing the actions of this man, Nidal Malik Hasan. I regret that you have to even deal with such additional lunacy an disrespect at this very difficult time. My heart and prayers go out to you all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A "Teachable Moment" That Didn't Take With Obama

Remember back in April when Obama traveled to the G-20 and bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia? If not, here it is:

Actually, that doesn't look as much like a bow as it does a genuflect. Not, true, says Obama's Spokes Weasel, Robert Gibbs. Oh, no - it is just because Obama is tall, and "bending over." I am not kidding you - that's what he claimed. So, don't believe what you actually SAW, just believe Spokes Weasel that it's not what it looked like it was.

Well, it would seem Obama learned nothing from that experience when he traveled to Japan and met the Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan:

Sigh. I know it is customary to bow in Japan, but this is a bit over the top for anyone, much less a US president, or another world leader. You will notice that, while the Emperor or Empress bows in return, it is slight, almost imperceptible. Nice to see that SOME people understand decorum and protocol, even if Obama doesn't. They were modeling the appropriate level for him, and he missed it. I might add, Obama doesn't bow just once, he does it over and over and over again (though not as low) like a frikkin' bobblehead. His hosts, however, are not recirpocating.

Wow. So much for the President of the United States bowing to no one. What an amateur. Respect is one thing. Subordination is another. This appears to be a case of the latter, IMHO.

Yep, the second bow heard around the world. Oh, and the topic of discussion? Green tea ice cream. I'm not making this up, people, that's what Obama discussed with the Emperor and Empress.

Perhaps Obama could take a few lessons from Secretary of State Clinton on how one meets with other world leaders, particularly in Japan, as this video from February, 2000 demonstrates (pay special attention around the 5:10 mark when the Empress and Clinton greet each other):

You'll notice Clinton did not bow to the Empress. Though I have to say, the looks exchanged between the two women were quite lovely. They seem to really like each other (and who doesn't like our Hillary??). Other than that, not a bow in sight. Oh, sure, she nodded her head a few times in recognition when someone bowed to her, but a real bow? Uh, yeah, NO. Didn't see a one.

Once again, our Amateur in Chief is on display for all the world to see, and believe you me, they all saw it, too. Seriously, he needs to get some real protocol officers instead of asking one of his frat boys from their video games ("No, really, dude - I'm pretty sure they bow to each other in Japan. At least that's what my Samurai warriors just did to each other on my X Box...").

How I wish I could say I was surprised at Obama's breach of protocol after his "teachable moment" in April with the King of Saudi Arabia. But when you have a president who gives a "shout out" and CALLS it a "shout out" after finding out about a devastating attack on one of our military bases before even acknowledging the attack, this is just par for the course. It just leaves me shaking my head...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

ACORN - A Laugh A Minute - Not

And I am not talking about all of the acorns all over my yard (the raccoons and squirrels are having a field day!). Nope, I am talking about ACORN, Obama's former employer. They never fail to disappoint in the level of hubris and entitlement they bring, which can be downright laughable (if not so serious). But this one is a doozy. It is so funny, it just has to be a joke.

Are you ready? Get this: they are suing Congress to get our money back! Isn't that hysterical??? Wait - hold on a second - I am getting word that is NOT a joke, that this is, in fact, true, ACORN Sues Over 'Unconstitutional' Funding Cuts By Congress. Oh, sweet mother you have GOT to be kidding!

Yeah, no - this is what ACORN alleges:
In an attempt to regain the millions in funding it lost in the wake of a hidden-camera scandal, ACORN is suing the federal government over congressional legislation that cut off funding to the community organizing group.

Representatives for ACORN sued the federal government Thursday morning in an attempt to regain the millions of dollars in funding the community organizing group lost after filmmakers videotaped its workers offering advice on how to commit tax fraud and various other felonies.

The suit charges Congress with violating the Constitution when it passed legislation in September that specifically targeted ACORN to lose federal housing, education and transportation funds.

That qualifies the legislation as bills of attainder, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the suit on behalf of ACORN. A bill of attainder punishes a person or group without the benefit of a trial, and is illegal under Article 1 of the Constitution.

Bills of attainder have traditionally been understood to have more serious legal consequences -- including the seizure of private property and even capital punishment -- than Congress' decision to withhold funds that are at its discretion to disseminate. Though members of Congress have accused ACORN of corruption, it is not clear how the exercise of its own prerogative is outside the bounds of legislative power.

Critics of the group in Congress blasted the lawsuit as a last-ditch effort to save the foundering organization's bottom line.

"ACORN's baseless lawsuit is the first public acknowledgement we've seen from ACORN of just how desperate they are to use any mechanism available to subsidize an organization that is teetering on bankruptcy and financial insolvency," said Kurt Bardella, spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

I'll say this is baseless. What the hell makes them think they, a partisan organization, are entitled to OUR money? I am pretty sure that taxpayers do NOT have to subsidize partisan groups or political parties with which they disagree. Never mind the activities in which ACORN has been involved, like voter registration fraud, voter fraud, or who could forget those videos:
Congress began cracking down on its funding to ACORN after its employees were secretly videotaped in a number of cities offering to help a man and woman posing as a pimp and prostitute to lie to the IRS and acquire illegal home loans.

Footage showed staffers advising the "pimp" and "prostitute" on how to falsify tax forms and seek illegal benefits for 13 "very young" girls from El Salvador that the pair said they wanted to bring to the country to work as child prostitutes. The videos set off a firestorm in Congress.

ACORN pledged an internal inquiry and fired the staffers who were caught on tape, but it was only the latest of many legal troubles for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

State investigators raided ACORN offices in Louisiana last week, seizing computer hard drives and documents in a probe of alleged embezzlement and tax fraud. Staffers in multiple states have been accused of committing voter registration fraud.

Congress took the "prostitute" videos as clear evidence of systematic problems within ACORN and voted with bipartisan support in the House and Senate to freeze funding for the group in appropriations bills in September.

Yes, those funds are frozen now, though they could be reinstated in the coming year budget. Well, until ACORN decided to file this lawsuit. Not so smart on the timing, I'd say. But hey, whaddya I know? They're claiming their "contstitutional rights" are being trampled:
Thursday's lawsuit claims that Congress violated the right to due process enshrined in the Fifth Amendment -- declaring the group guilty of a crime and punishing its members without completing an investigation within the Department of Justice or the IRS.

"It's not the job of Congress to be the judge, jury, and executioner," said Jules Lobel, an attorney representing the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"We have due process in this country, and our Constitution forbids lawmakers from singling out a person or group for punishment without a fair investigation and trial."

The lawsuit itself singles out three defendants -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; Director of the Office of Management and the Budget Peter Orszag, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

The three were responsible for facilitating the defunding of ACORN by Congress, according to attorneys for the Center for Constitutional Rights.

ACORN claims it has been badly hurt by the congressional actions, and has had to fire workers and close some of its 1,200 branches around the country.

Though it remains unclear precisely how much money the national organization was receiving from federal sources and aid programs, a lawyer pressing the suit said ACORN has already lost an amount "in the millions" since the freeze took effect.

Why is it the amount of money they have received is unclear? Just wondering.

But if the voter fraud, the voter registration fraud, the mortgage crisis thanks in large part to ACORN and those who support it, and those VIDEOS aren't enough, check out THIS LINK. In it, you will find an audio tape and transcript of an ACORN worker acknowledging that they are indeed partisan, and worked to get Obama into office, as well as how every vote they got went to Obama, none to McCain. Oh, yeah, I am not kidding. This is an astonishing admission.

Add to that the raid on the New Orleans office, and what that is bound to turn up, and I'd think ACORN would want to shut the hell up already before they end up behind bars. But that's not their way. No doubt, they assume their "Friends in High Places" (i.e., Obama) will look out for them.

Obama's new legal counsel, Bob Bauer, husband to Anita Dunn (she of "Fox News Is The Devil Spawn" fame), is expected to do just that, according to Rep. Steve King (R-NY). Rep. King is afraid Bauer's deeply partisan ties will lead to letting ACORN off the hook. They might also allow this frivolous lawsuit (IMHO - I am not an attorney) to proceed.

We'll see what happens. This would be hilarious - if it wasn't true...