Archive for October 8th, 2009

White House Defends Attacks on Fox News: ‘They Will Say Anything’

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: Beck |

By Lachlan Markay
The White House is stepping up its attacks against the Fox News Channel, labeling it a bastion of stilted and opinionated journalism. A top administration communications official has called the Fox “opinion journalism masquerading as news,” and vowed to wage a war of ideas against the network.
Speaking with Time Magazine, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that the administration intends to be “more aggressive rather than just sit back and defend ourselves, because they will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it.”
    The White House blog has begun singling out and taking on the cable news network. Recent blog posts carry pejorative headlines such as “Fox Lies,” and “even more Fox lies.” Time calls Dunn the “general” of this anti-Fox campaign.
   White House bloggers have focused the most attention on Fox prime time host Glenn Beck. They have derided his “disregard for the facts” and his “attempt to smear” the administration for, among other things, lobbying the Olympic Committee for the 2016 games.

    Surely every president has to endure his share of intense criticism from those in the media establishment that disagree with him or his policies. So scathing critiques of the office are nothing new.

    Dunn, Gibbs, and the left’s anti-Fox crusaders would have Americans believe that the sort of ‘opinion journalism’ they are combating is somehow confined to the right; that conservatives, unlike liberals, will “take any small thing and distort it.” But the left certainly has its share of network television shills.

Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, David Shuster, and Chris Matthews, among others, have all partaken in too many instances of journalistic malfeasance and pro-Obama pontificating to list here. My esteemed colleagues here at NewsBusters have documented scores of such instances.

   So criticism of the president is nothing new, and it is non-partisan (that is, both sides engage in it). So why the sudden interest in countering messages from the right that can damage Obama or throw him off message?

Read the rest on NEWSBUSTERS.COM

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

BREAKING: Catholic Bishops On Health Care – Change Bills Or Else

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , , , |

In a letter just released, the three Catholic bishops leading the Church’s efforts on health care warned Congress that “we will have no choice but to oppose the bill” unless current bills are amended.

The letter signed by Bishop William Murphy, Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop John Wester outlines three main areas of concern:  “that no one should be forced to pay for or participate in abortion, that health care should be affordable and available to the poor and vulnerable, and that the needs of legal immigrants should be met.”

Of those, of course, abortion poses the gravest threat to the bill.  The bishops simply don’t buy the argument that House Democrats found a way to block public funding for abortions with the Capps amendment, and they insist that the Hyde amendment doesn’t apply to the bills because they are not appropriations measures.  A sizable bloc of House Democrats, led by Bart Stupak of Michigan, agree and are pressuring for a clear prohibition on public funding.

Add this to the list of complications I outlined this morning. Here’s the Bishop’s letter.
 
– George Stephanopoulos

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

OMB directs executive branch to cut ties to ACORN

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: Acorn | Tags: , |

by Ed Morrissey

While Congress wrestles with various ways to strip ACORN of any remaining federal funding, the White House has somewhat quietly begun to disconnect itself from the community-organizing group.  OMB director Peter Orszag yesterday sent the following compliance memo to “all Executive Branch agencies” to meet the requirements of the continuing resolutions that Congress have already passed to keep the government funded in the absence of a budget.  Orszag basically says to cut ACORN off immediately:

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
FROM: Peter R. Orszag Director
SUBJECT: Guidance on section 163 of the Continuing Resolution regarding the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)

This memorandum provides guidance to Executive Branch agencies regarding the implementation of section 163 of the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2010, Division B of Pub. L. No. 111-68 (CR), which states:

SEC. 163. None of the funds made available by this joint resolution or any prior Act may be provided to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or allied organizations.

Your agency must immediately commence all necessary and appropriate steps to comply with section 163. This includes the following:

  • No future obligations of funds. No agency or department should obligate or award any Federal funds to ACORN or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries or allied organizations (collectively “affiliates”) during the period of the CR. To the extent your agency already has determined that funds should be obligated or awarded to ACORN or its affiliates but has not yet entered into any agreement to provide such funds to ACORN or any of its affiliates, your agency should not provide such funds, or enter into any such agreements to do so. As section 163 makes clear, its prohibition applies not only to the funding that is made available by the CR, but also to the funding that was made available by previously enacted statutes. In addition, the text of section 163 is sufficiently broad to cover funding that was made available for fiscal year (FY) 2009 and prior fiscal years, as well as funding that is or will be made available for FY10.
  • Suspension of grant and contractual payments. If your agency has an existing contract or grant agreement with ACORN or its affiliates, the agency should: (i) where permissible, immediately suspend performance of any obligations under the contract or agreement, including payment of Federal funds; and (ii) consult promptly with the agency’s general counsel and, if necessary, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Justice concerning the legal considerations that bear on the performance of such obligations under the existing contract or agreement.
  • No funding of ACORN and its affiliates through Federal grantees or contractors. Your agency should take steps so that no Federal funds are awarded or obligated by your grantees or contractors to ACORN or its affiliates as subgrantees, subcontractors, or other subrecipients. Because section 163 states that “[n]one of the funds . . . may be provided,” this prohibition applies not only to a direct recipient of Federal funds but also to a subrecipient (e.g., a subcontractor, subgrantee, or contractor of a grantee). We recommend that your agency:
    • notify all Federal grant and contract recipients of the prohibition contained in section 163, and provide them with a copy of this guidance document; and
    • advise all Federal grant and contract recipients (a) not to provide Federal funds to ACORN or its affiliates as subgrantees, subcontractors or other subrecipients, consistent with this guidance, and (b) to notify your agency of any existing subgrants, subcontracts or other subrecipient agreements with ACORN or its affiliates and of how the grantee or contractor is planning to comply with the prohibition with respect to those subgrants, subcontracts or subrecipient agreements.
  • Read the rest at Hot Air Blog
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Selling Your Tweets to the Enemy

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , |

By Ryan Tate

Tech bloggers are in a tizzy over the prospect of tech giants Google or Microsoft getting real-time access to the thoughts of Twitterers, but Valleywag has learned that cash-hungry Twitter is already selling access to its “firehose” of data.

Various startups, we’re told, have already been able to buy access (for thousands of dollars, not the millions Google or Microsoft would have to pay) to tweets. Twitter is in “advanced talks” with both those companies to sell access to a full feed of tweet data for use in the companies’ search engines, according to Kara Swisher at All Things D. Such a feed would presumably include all new tweets as they are posted along with public data on favorites and who is following whom.

Thought they haven’t widely publicized the practice, Twitter is already in the business of selling access to its “firehose” of public data, according to a source close to one customer of the service. Twitter typically charges between $1,500 and $3,000 per month for such access, this person said.

Then again, a typical customer until now has been a relatively small startup company with little revenue, utterly dependent on the Twitter ecosystem. Google and Microsoft are more fearsome competitors, with much deeper pockets. Google CEO Eric Schmidt just this past March called Twitter a “poor man’s email system,” and his company recently added real-time features to its GMail product, making it more Twitter like.

Read the rest at Gawker.com

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Labor Unions Battle High-End Policy Tax

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , , |

By SEAN HIGGINS, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY

Prodded by Big Labor, House Democrats are rising up against Senate Democrats’ efforts to pay for President Obama’s health care overhaul in part via a tax on high-end insurance plans.

A total of 157 House Democrats — over 60% of the party’s 256-member caucus — sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Wednesday announcing their opposition to the tax.

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., who organized the petition, said the tax would hurt too many middle-class people in addition to the wealthier people it is intended to hit.

“This would have an impact far wider than just the Paris Hiltons of the world,” Courtney told reporters Wednesday.

Their move creates the latest snag in the already-troubled efforts to pass a health care bill this year. Democratic leaders are struggling to balance various factions in crafting legislation. Now Big Labor is making its demands as well.

The Senate Finance Committee, led by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., last week included a 40% tax on insurance plans that would cost families more than $21,000 a year or individuals more than $8,000. The threshold would increase by 1% above inflation each year.

The thresholds would move to $26,000 and $9,850 respectively for people more than 55 years old and those in high-risk professions.

The tax would fall on insurers, but they would almost certainly pass that on to customers in the form of higher premiums.

Read the rest at Investors.com

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Climate Talks Failure Would Embarrass Obama, EU Says

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , , |

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — U.S. President Barack Obama faces “more than an embarrassment” should his nation fail to lead international negotiations to complete a new climate-protection treaty by December, a senior European climate negotiator said.

Obama’s scope is limited because the U.S. Congress may not approve a domestic law to control emissions before the December deadline for signing an international climate accord in Copenhagen, Karl Falkenberg, director-general for environment at the European Union’s executive body, said in an interview.

“Obama and his administration are very committed, and it will be more than an embarrassment for them if at Copenhagen they would have to admit they are not ready,” Falkenberg said late last night in Bangkok, where more than 180 nations are meeting for talks. “We can just help, but helping them also means directly telling them that the world has an expectation.”

Delegates wrap up two weeks of talks in Thailand tomorrow in an effort to replace or extend the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, whose emission limits for industrialized nations expire in 2012. Kyoto requires reductions of about 5 percent in greenhouse gases from 1990 levels, with no limits for developing nations.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation, and a companion bill has yet to be considered in the Senate. Failure to have a new law in time for Copenhagen’s final round of negotiations would raise question marks over what commitments the U.S. can make, Falkenberg said.

U.S. negotiators “have to admit their margin will be defined by what happens in the Congress,” he said. What the U.S. commits to will “trigger what countries like China or India or Brazil are going to be prepared to do,” he said.

White House officials declined to comment.

Stalled Talks

Two years of climate talks have stalled as developed nations disagree over 2020 emission limits. Developing nations said they are waiting for richer countries, which have put most of the gases into the atmosphere over the past century, to cut their output first.

The talks in Bangkok are going “too slow to make a deal in Copenhagen,” Falkenberg said. “It needs to very seriously accelerate. We need more political commitment.”

After the Bangkok talks, countries have another week in Barcelona in November before the December summit in Copenhagen.

While “significant advances” have been made in Bangkok, “lack of leadership on the key political issues” has impaired the process, Yvo de Boer, the UN’s top climate official, told reporters today in Bangkok.

‘No Good Faith’

Read the rest of the store at Bloomberg.com

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Calling ‘Em Out: The White House Takes on the Press

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , , |

There was never a single moment when White House staff decided the major media outlets were falling down on the job. There were instead several such moments.

For press secretary Robert Gibbs, the realization came in early September, when the New York Times ran a front-page story about the bubbling parental outrage over President Obama’s plan to address schoolchildren — even though the benign contents of the speech were not yet public. “You had to be like, ‘Wait a minute,'” says Gibbs. “This thing has become a three-ring circus.”

For deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer, the more hyperbolic attacks on health-care reform this summer, which were often covered as a “controversy,” flipped an internal switch. “When you are having a debate about whether or not you want to kill people’s grandmother,” he explains, “the normal rules of engagement don’t apply.”

And for his boss, Anita Dunn, the aha moment came when the Washington Post ran a second op-ed from a Republican politician decrying the “32” alleged czars appointed by the Obama Administration. Nine of those so-called czars, it turned out, were subject to Senate confirmation, making them decidedly unlike the Russian monarchs. “The idea — that the Washington Post didn’t even question it,” Dunn says, still marveling at the decision.

All the criticism, both fair and misleading, took a toll, regularly knocking the White House off message. So a new White House strategy has emerged: rather than just giving reporters ammunition to “fact-check” Obama’s many critics, the White House decided it would become a player, issuing biting attacks on those pundits, politicians and outlets that make what the White House believes to be misleading or simply false claims, like the assertion that health-care reform would establish new “sex clinics” in schools. Obama, fresh from his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, cheered on the effort, telling his aides he wanted to “call ’em out.”

Read the rest at Time.com

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Another Snowe Job?

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , |

Congress: If the people of Maine want a dysfunctional health care system, that’s their business. But why must their senator insist that the rest of us have the same?

Now that Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee is gone and Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter has defected, Maine’s senior senator, Olympia Snowe, may be the least reliable Republican in the U.S. Senate. She may have been all along.

Which is why Democrats hope she’ll vote against her party once again on health care reform. Snowe is the lone Republican on the Senate Finance Committee that’s open to the Democrat-backed bill expected to move to the Senate floor.

Officially, Snowe is undecided. And even if she votes for the measure in committee, that doesn’t mean she’ll back it in the full Senate. Or so she says. But her name keeps popping up when Democrats count the noses they’ll need for a filibuster-proof 60 votes.
If Snowe goes along with the Democrats, it won’t be the first time. She has voted against the GOP on issues including tax cuts, Social Security, free trade, the war in Iraq, missile defense, cap and trade, illegal immigration, and abortion.

The National Journal had her voting more with liberals than conservatives in 2008, and Americans for Democratic Action gave her an 80 rating, higher than some Democrats, including Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee. The American Conservative Union, on the other hand, rated her a lowly 12.
Read the rest on Investors.com

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Congress’ Secret Plan to Pass Obamacare – CONFIRMED

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , , , |

Leaders in the House and Senate have a plan to pass President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care plan by Thanksgiving without any significant participation by the American public. CNS News has confirmed the details in our September 22nd titled “Passing a Shell of A Bill: Congress’ Secret Plan to Ram Through Health Care Reform.” Nicholas Ballasy reports “a senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told CNSNews.com that it is ‘likely’ that Reid will use H.R. 1586—a bill passed by the House in March to impose a 90-percent tax on bonuses paid to employees of certain bailed-out financial institutions—as a ‘shell’ for enacting the final version of the Senate’s health care bill, which Reid is responsible for crafting.”

This story confirms the four part scenario that would railroad the bill through the Senate using a very unusual closed door procedure to craft the bill with no input from the American people.

The four stage plan to pass Obamacare has been publicly confirmed and is ready to be implemented. The following is a comprehensive update:

Step One: “The Senate Finance Committee will finish work on the marking up of Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) conceptual framework for legislation by this Friday.” Progress on this had been stalled and the bill was not passed by the end of last week. Foxnews.com is reporting that the Congressional Budget Office score of the bill will be released later today and a high score may further stall progress on the Committee’s Vapor Bill.  Senate Finance Committee’s progress on passing something out of committee – INCOMPLETE

Congress’ Secret Plan to Pass Obamacare – CONFIRMED

Leaders in the House and Senate have a plan to pass President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care plan by Thanksgiving without any significant participation by the American public. CNS News has confirmed the details in our September 22nd titled “Passing a Shell of A Bill: Congress’ Secret Plan to Ram Through Health Care Reform.” Nicholas Ballasy reports “a senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told CNSNews.com that it is ‘likely’ that Reid will use H.R. 1586—a bill passed by the House in March to impose a 90-percent tax on bonuses paid to employees of certain bailed-out financial institutions—as a ‘shell’ for enacting the final version of the Senate’s health care bill, which Reid is responsible for crafting.”

This story confirms the four part scenario that would railroad the bill through the Senate using a very unusual closed door procedure to craft the bill with no input from the American people.

The four stage plan to pass Obamacare has been publicly confirmed and is ready to be implemented. The following is a comprehensive update:

Step One: “The Senate Finance Committee will finish work on the marking up of Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) conceptual framework for legislation by this Friday.” Progress on this had been stalled and the bill was not passed by the end of last week. Foxnews.com is reporting that the Congressional Budget Office score of the bill will be released later today and a high score may further stall progress on the Committee’s Vapor Bill.  Senate Finance Committee’s progress on passing something out of committee – INCOMPLETE.

Step Two: Next, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take the final product of the Senate Finance Committee and merge it with the product of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee. CNSnews.com has confirmed that “the actual final text of the legislation will be determined by Reid himself, who will consolidate the legislation approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the still-unapproved legislation from the Senate Finance Committee. Reid will be able to draft and insert textual language that was not expressly approved by either committee.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will write the final version of Obamacare to be considered in the Senate with no input from the American people. This is an extremely complex procedure that will not be done in public, or in the form of a hearing, or a public conference committee, and only Senator Harry Reid, some other Senators chosen by Reid and Obama Administration officials will be allowed to read the bill before the Senate debate starts. Merger of the bills – IN PROGRESS.

Read the rest Blog. Heritage.org

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Wade Rathke’s a ‘Dangerous Fellow’

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: Acorn |

by Chris Berg

“I’m Recognized to be a Fairly Dangerous Fellow Out There in the Community” – Wade Rathke

Let’s be honest, if Wade Rathke saw me walk into his book signing last Tuesday, he wouldn’t have been at his most candid.  I wanted insight into the man who created this racket that is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or is it the American Institute for Social Justice, or Citizens Consulting Inc?  I’m still not too sure.  I know it operates under 361 different affiliates in at least 43 states and the District of Columbia.

In his newly released book Citizen Wealth, he paints himself as a modern day Robin Hood, stealing from the evil faceless corporations to give to the poor.  But as he recounts these campaigns it becomes clear the corporations have faces, their CEOs, who he doesn’t hesitate to harass at home to demand financial concessions.  Wade’s stilted story almost makes him sound noble as he provides innocuous reasons why he would like to collect and store copies of people’s personal financial records and birth certificates or as he tries to rationalize why people would be well served by becoming dues paying ACORN members.

These past few months I believed Wade’s the blissfully ignorant captain whose been stripped of his command but still seems intent to go down with the ship.  He hasn’t “run” the organization since the very public revelation that his brother embezzled close to $1 million from ACORN and Wade went about covering it up.  He was negotiated out of the coveted “chief organizer” role that he had held for decades.  The ACORN Board allowed him to retain control of ACORN International, but when public pressure started building, he even went ahead and changed its name to COI – Community Organizations International.

Even in exile he denies that ACORN is a criminal enterprise and claims that allegations that federal and tax-exempt funds have been used for political purposes are a “complete fabrication.”

I had to hear him speak.  I had to see for myself if he really bought what he was selling.  But let’s be real.  I’m a twenty-eight year old Republican lawyer… and I look like one.  I wear Brooks Brothers suits, bold ties, and nine times out of ten there’s a pair of elephant cufflinks on my wrists.  If he saw me coming I doubted he would be as open in his proselytizing for community organizing.

 

I had to tone it down a notch.  No, I didn’t borrow James O’Keefe’s vintage chinchilla shoulder throw.  I just threw on jeans and a t-shirt, jumped in my SUV, and headed off to see ACORN’s Founding Father.

I arrived early and grabbed my seat in the middle of the room.  I expected a crowd.  Instead I was greeted by six reporters and ten supporters.

Wade had barely gotten started when that folksy “aw shucks” Wade Rathke persona took over:

“It’s all a new ride on the rodeo to me” when discussing how he is no longer accountable to ACORN members.

Read the rest of the story at Big Government

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Lose Afghanistan, Lose Pakistan, Lose Iran, Lose It All

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: Afganistan |

By James Lewis

The gangster regimes of the world are on the march, and they’ve got our number. They know how to squeeze more civilized nations. Our weakness is cowardice, and that goes double or triple in the face of nuclear weapons. That’s why all the rogues are trying to get nukes as fast as they can. They know it’s the perfect blackmail weapon, and it makes them invulnerable to attack.

That is also why President Obama’s public rejection of General McChrystal’s advice on Afghanistan affects your personal safety and mine. Gen. McChrystal wants more troops. Obama doesn’t want to send them because he needs the money to promote his socialist take-over of America. You can’t have both. Look at Europe, where the military have become pathetic social welfare programs. All the air is sucked out by bigger and bigger victim programs.

Obama must be realizing by now that the chance of a major war in the Gulf next year is rising to 100 percent. Ahmadinejad will have nuclear weapons too, and he already has enough radioactive materials for a dirty nuke, a low-tech weapon that can spread terror everywhere in the world. The Left always puts the burden of proof for WMDs on America, which can never prove their existence because the CIA rarely can penetrate totalitarian regimes. You can’t prove a negative.  Ever. So the Left is always asking the impossible. It makes them sound reasonable when they are just sabotaging common sense.

But Saddam had a warehouse full of yellowcake uranium, as we now know, and to make a terror weapon all he had to do is load a plane full of that stuff and crash it into the LA Library Tower. You don’t need a nuclear explosion to spread terror. All you need is a lot of radioactive stuff thrown together with explosive; agricultural fertilizer will do.  For radioactive material you could use the Cesium in your local X-ray unit. Saddam did not do that because he feared our inevitable retaliation.

via American Thinker: Lose Afghanistan, Lose Pakistan, Lose Iran, Lose It All.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Begala to Obama: Listen to me, dummy

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , |

Hugh Hewitt

Chicago and the Olympics weren’t a great mix from the start. Sort of like holding an international gathering of Alcoholics Anonymous in the Guinness St. James’ Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland.

The grifters and graft merchants of the Windy City couldn’t have helped themselves, and the results wouldn’t have been pretty. As a lover of the Olympics, I am disappointed, but perhaps we can nominate a less problematic locale for 2020 than Chicago and New York have proved to be in the last two rounds.

The aftermath of the president’s pratfall has been interesting to watch. The first-round knockout was so embarrassing that even the Beltway’s cadre of professional friends of the powerful were eager to telegraph that they were out of the loop and without influence on this one.

Paul Begala, who is beginning to make Brutus look like a paragon of loyalty, rushed to Politico’s Josh Gerstein to reaffirm to the world that he had warned the president not to go.

When the media’s merchants of inside scoop are looking for opportunities to broadcast how little their advice matters, you know the smash-up was pretty bad.

The obvious question: If the president cannot persuade the International Olympic Committee, which is, after all, merely corrupt, to go his way, how will he persuade Iran’s mullahs, who are both corrupt and fanatical, to give up their nukes?

Answer: He won’t, but the legacy media will be able to cover for his failure in that far more significant arena.

The stunned disbelief on the faces of a half-dozen Beltway-Manhattan media elites when the live announcement of the big boot to Chicago’s backside was made could not have been more revealing.

How could this be happening to their most favorite, best prepared and least unilateral president ever? It didn’t take long for the senator from Blagojevich, Roland Burris, to blame George Bush for the catastrophe that befell Chicago’s speculator class, and by Monday morning the momentarily stunned David Axelrod will have worked that line into his explanation.

The usually never-at-a-loss-for-spin Axelrod had sounded bitter on CNN when he rushed out to blame politics for the disaster, an unexpected if refreshing break from the Bush-centric rhetoric of the Obama inner circle.

Read the rest in The Washington Examiner

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Barack Obama’s 1967

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: Israel |

By ZALMAN SHOVAL
US President Barack Obama’s inspirational speech at the UN included more than a few passages about the Middle East conflict. He expressed the hope for “a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine, and the Arab world,” a wish shared by all Israelis. Upon closer look at some of the president’s statements, several question marks arise.

The speech didn’t, for instance, mention Islamic fundamentalism or Jihadism, the principal reasons for instability in the Middle East and beyond. Nor did it condemn the Arab world’s refusal to acknowledge the Jewish people’s right to a state of its own. No less problematic, the reference to ending “the occupation that began in 1967” puts history on its head, as it implies, perhaps unintentionally, that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is the cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This clearly inverts cause and effect.

As the writer and historian Simon Schama wrote, history should endeavor “to disentangle fact from fable,” also reminding us that one of America’s Founding Fathers, John Adams, had said “Facts are stubborn things.” Well, the facts regarding the conflict in the Holy Land, though often deliberately or inadvertently distorted or ignored , are indeed “stubborn.” Terrorist activities against Israel had started years before the “occupation,” and the PLO committed to the destruction of the Jewish state was founded in 1964

NO LESS important in the factual and historical sense are the actual antecedents of the “Six-Day War” which resulted in the “occupation” to which the president’s speech referred.

On May 13, 1967 the Egyptian dictator Gamel Abdel Nasser announced that two Egyptian divisions would move into the Sinai Peninsula bordering on southern Israel – contrary to international agreements, US commitments and UN guarantees. Caving in to Nasser’s blustering, the then UN Secretary U Thant agreed to remove the UN emergency force from the area.

The next day, Egyptian armored and infantry columns crossed the Suez Canal and started moving towards the Israeli frontier. Shortly after, Cairo announced that it would block all shipping to the port of Eilat, Israel’s only maritime outlet in the south, while Egyptian Mig21 war planes began flying over Israeli territory including the Dimona area. Concurrently, Syrian and Iraqi forces were ordered to prepare for an assault on northern Israel. The minimum strategic aim of the Egyptians, as was revealed later, was to cut off Israel’s Negev from the rest of the country – but Nasser himself, in both public and secret statements, left no doubt that his ultimate aim was the complete annihilation of the State of Israel.

Read the rest of this great article on JPost.com

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Obama is becoming the omnipresident

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: Obama | Tags: , , , |

Gene Healy: Obama is becoming the omnipresident

“No-drama Obama”? The president’s flight to Copenhagen last week to make a personal pitch for holding the 2016 Olympics in Chicago was an audacious move — and a dramatic failure. “Second City Absorbs Its Latest Defeat,” read the (rather snotty) headline in the New York Times.

But shed no tears for Chicago. As a 2006 report from Europe’s leading tourism trade association concluded, there’s “little evidence of any benefit to tourism from hosting an Olympic Games, and considerable evidence of damage.” With a projected half-billion-dollar deficit next year, the Second City is better off without the Games.

We can’t say the same for Obama’s reputation after his in-person appeal failed to get his adopted hometown past the first round of voting. What new project can the president undertake to save face?

How about … reforming college football? In a post-election “60 Minutes” interview last November, Obama called for selecting the national champion via an eight-team playoff: “I’m going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it’s the right thing to do.”

Perhaps those of us who oppose national health care and cap and trade shouldn’t complain that the president seems so easily distracted. But you have to wonder: Does Obama think there’s anything too frivolous to merit the president’s attention?

Obama’s failed Olympic gambit was dumb politics. But it’s also bad policy for the president to involve himself in nonpresidential issues, reinforcing as it does an infantile and unhealthy view of presidential responsibility.

Obama didn’t invent that view of the presidency, he inherited it. Over the course of the 20th century, the public, conditioned by the media’s relentless focus on presidential action, came to view the chief executive as a national father-protector, with a purview far broader than the limited role the Constitution sets out for him.

Nor is Obama the first president to involve himself in minutia. In his 2004 State of the Union, for example, President George W. Bush urged major-league baseball and football to “get tough, and get rid of steroids now.”

And Bush periodically played the role of national fitness coach, meeting with food company executives to hammer out “a coherent strategy to help folks all throughout our country cope with” childhood obesity.

Faithfully executing the laws, protecting the country from foreign attack — and helping Americans “cope” with their kids’ Dorito cravings — the president’s portfolio is vast indeed.

But Obama has forged new frontiers in triviality. He’s the president of all things great and small: He calls for “a cure for cancer in our time” while also promising to stand behind the warranty on your new Ford Fusion.

With the two wars he’s running and his ceaseless efforts to micromanage the U.S. economy, you’d think he’d have plenty to do. But in his televised speech to America’s schoolchildren last month Obama took time out to urge students “to stand up for kids who are being teased” and “wash your hands a lot.”

He just can’t help himself. Six months into his presidency, the Politico reported, Obama had already “uttered more than half a million words in public.” In one whirlwind week last month, the president made his third appearance on “60 Minutes,” gave a major speech on the financial crisis the next day, and made a record five talk-show appearances the following Sunday. And on the eighth day, he did Letterman.

Obama’s incontinent approach to presidential responsibility doesn’t seem to be helping him politically, however. August was the toughest month of his young presidency, and it began with the ridiculous “beer summit,” in which the president gratuitously injected himself into a disputed arrest by a local cop in Cambridge, Mass.

Given how much bloom has come off the rose since then, Obama’s decision to stake some prestige on securing the Olympics is baffling. What was the point of getting himself into an irrelevant fight that he might well lose?

More importantly, why would Obama go out of his way to encourage the public’s irrationally broad view of presidential responsibility? Isn’t the president’s job hard enough?

Obama has become the omnipresent omnipresident. But a man who is everywhere, promising to do everything, may end up accomplishing very little, and he’s sure to disappoint.

Washington Examiner

Examiner Columnist Gene Healy is a vice president at the Cato Institute and the author of “The Cult of the Presidency.”

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Obama Administration Defiantly Defends Another Radical Appointee

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: Obama | Tags: , , , , |

By David Limbaugh

I continue to be amazed at the naivete of people who keep giving President Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt concerning his radical appointments, saying his administration isn’t doing its job in vetting the appointees. When will they wake up to the reality that Obama is deliberately picking people, such as Kevin Jennings, who share his radical values?

When prescient commentators were warning of Obama’s radical friends and colleagues, such as Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, during the campaign, his apologists diverted proper scrutiny, saying it’s absurd to judge Obama by association. Even flawed cliches can work wonders when you have the entire mainstream media flacking for you.

Then when the radicalism of “green czar” Van Jones came to light, the left’s reflexive reaction was that Jones was being victimized by an extremist element on the right and that the Internet itself had now been exposed as “an open sewer of untreated, unfiltered information.” It was only when Jones’ own extremism became too obvious to deny that the left shifted its line of defense to: Obama’s team let him down by failing to vet Jones.

As I wrote at the time, “It’s not Obama who didn’t vet Jones, but the MSM who have never vetted Obama. Had they vetted Obama, they would have realized that he is Van Jones.”

It seems that if you wait long enough, the Obama administration will get around to vindicating its legitimate critics, such as those of us who warned that Obama was insincere when he pretended that the public option was not an indispensable component of his health care scheme. (We hear that he’s recently conducted a series of secret meetings with members of Congress, trying to cobble together a majority on a bill that includes the public option.)

Indeed, with his appointment of Kevin Jennings to head the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Obama has vindicated those of us who said that the Jones selection wasn’t a failure of vetting, but about Obama’s appointing a like-minded radical.

Now that Jennings’ radical homosexual activism has been exposed, the Obama administration hasn’t said: “Oh, sorry, another one slipped through our relatively new vetting process. The president will fire him, and we’ll pick someone who reflects the president’s values.”

Read the rest on GOPUSA

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Compare and Contrast

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , , |

As we wend our way through the first year of the Obama administration, it is hard not to notice a stark contrast in style between the American president and another democratic leader who has been in power for almost the same amount of time: Binyamin Netanyahu. The political trajectories of the two men have been almost perfectly opposite. Obama started off his presidency blessed by great popularity only to see his fortunes plummet, while Netanyahu began under a cloud of public uncertainty and suspicion yet today enjoys healthy public-approval numbers. More than anything else, the leadership styles of the two men explain their divergent fortunes.

The most obvious difference between the two is in the level of public exposure that each has pursued. Obama seeks to place himself in the headlines of newspapers and to lead the television news broadcasts on a daily basis, achieving an omnipresence unprecedented in American politics. He has given scores of speeches, each heralded to be of great consequence to the nation and the world. He has staked much of his presidential power on the sheer force of his personality, giving little consideration to the sustainability of such a strategy or whether so much narcissistic pageantry is becoming to a national leader. His public pronouncements are astonishingly self-absorbed: to take one example, in their speeches to the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen, the First Couple used the first-person pronoun 70 times in 89 sentences.

Obama’s permanent publicity blitz has rendered his pronouncements banal and is helping to create an impression that he is all talk, no results. Who can recall with any precision what the president says from one day to the next? Why bother trying when another speech is moments away? CBS News’ White House correspondent noted on July 13 that Obama had already delivered his 200th speech — on his 177th day in office.

Netanyahu has taken a completely different approach. He goes days without making public statements, often only commenting on events at his weekly cabinet meeting, and even so, by making the tersest of remarks. His response to the Goldstone Commission report was delivered without fanfare in a cabinet meeting and consisted in its entirety of a 330-word statement. Netanyahu has given only two major speeches during his premiership: the June address at Bar-Ilan University, where he rebutted Obama’s Cairo speech and laid out Israel’s terms for the peace process; and his UN General Assembly speech, where he shamed the “international community” for its indulgence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Read more on Commentary Magazine

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Report: Nearly 1 in 4 Worldwide Is Muslim

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: Islam |

 AP
The global Muslim population stands at 1.57 billion, meaning that nearly 1 in 4 people in the world practice Islam, according to a report Wednesday billed as the most comprehensive of its kind.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life report provides a precise number for a population whose size has long has been subject to guesswork, with estimates ranging anywhere from 1 billion to 1.8 billion.

The project, three years in the making, also presents a portrait of the Muslim world that might surprise some. For instance, Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon, China has more Muslims than Syria, Russia has more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined, and Ethiopia has nearly as many Muslims as Afghanistan.

“This whole idea that Muslims are Arabs and Arabs are Muslims is really just obliterated by this report,” said Amaney Jamal, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University who reviewed an advance copy.

Pew officials call the report the most thorough on the size and distribution of adherents of the world’s second largest religion behind Christianity, which has an estimated 2.1 billion to 2.2 billion followers.

The arduous task of determining the Muslim populations in 232 countries and territories involved analyzing census reports, demographic studies and general population surveys, the report says. In cases where the data was a few years old, researchers projected 2009 numbers.

Read more on FoxNews.com

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Dick Armey: Obamacare Will be ‘Ruthless’ to Patients, Elderly

Posted on October 8, 2009. Filed under: health care |

By: Jim Meyers

A government-run healthcare system favored by many Democrats would be “ruthless” in its treatment of healthcare recipients, warns former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

In a wide-ranging exclusive Newsmax interview, the Texas Republican also said Sarah Palin will prove to be a far better proponent of small-government conservatism than John McCain was in 2008.

And Armey agrees with House Minority Leader John Boehner’s recent assertion to Newsmax that President Obama’s appointment of many so-called “czars” constitutes a “circumvention” of the Constitution.

Armey, who entered the House in 1984, was a leading architect of the “Republican Revolution” in the 1990s and the Contract with America. He was a national sponsor of the March on Washington in September, and is chairman of the conservative non-profit organization FreedomWorks.

Armey was instrumental in a lawsuit that successfully challenged a requirement that seniors had to enroll in Medicare or lose their Social Security benefits.

“This is a big victory for me and I think for America, for my partners in the lawsuit,” he said in his interview with Newsmax.TV’s Ashley Martella and Kathleen Walter.

“Imagine this: They have been enforcing a policy memorandum since 1993 — not a law, not a regulation, just a memorandum — that says, for example, if you’re a Christian Scientist and you decide not to enroll in Medicare, you lose your Social Security. What audacity is this?

“It’s an issue that needed to be set right, and we’ve done that, and I’m proud of the courts for seeing our case.

“But it’s also a reflection people should look at: If they’re that ruthless with our senior citizens, they’ll be that ruthless with you and me if they get their hands on all of America’s healthcare. They’ll be these kinds of secret, hidden bureaucratic implementations that aren’t understood or appreciated.”

Noting the massive negative response to Obama’s healthcare reform plans, Armey agreed that we are seeing a “populist uprising.”

He said: “I think it goes back to last April when we had the initial tea party uprisings across the country. It fascinated me to watch the Democrats’ response. They said, they’ll go away. Then they came back in August. Then they had the march on Washington. [The Democrats are] finally coming to terms with the fact that these are very real concerns expressed by hundreds of thousands of American citizens all over the country.

“It boils down to the simple observation by Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama: We can’t get our votes in the legislative body because members of Congress are being responsive to the concerns raised by their constituents.”

Martella cited a Health and Human Services Department “gag order” on insurance companies, stopping them from mailing out information to their clients about the proposed $500 billion cut in the Medicare Advantage program.

“Armey’s axiom: If you’re going to peddle a bum steer, you better keep it under wraps,” he responded. “The first thing they want is, no one should know what’s in this bill.

“This is their strategic mistake: When Speaker Pelosi allowed the committees to report that bill before the August recess, they gave America a chance to read the bill. This is why it blew up in their faces.

“The fact of the matter is, it’s heavy-handed. It is coercive. If you read the bill, it is frightening…

“The country’s really concerned. They consider this a big, unnecessary government takeover, an aggressive government takeover.”

Regarding the so-called “public option” health insurance plan being pushed by Democrats, Armey said that most Democrats in the House “want government-run healthcare. They think having a public insurance option is a compromise from their most desired position, which is just have the government run it all. ”

Walter asked Armey if he is concerned about President Obama’s appointment of several dozen “czars” — special advisors or envoys who have relatively few restrictions on their authority and do not have to win Senate confirmation as Cabinet secretaries do.

Read the rest @ NewsMax.com & see Video

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

  • Catagories

  • October 2009
    S M T W T F S
    « Sep    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...