Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Heart-breaking, Wrong, and Not Quite Accurate
Fact-checking the legitimately heart-breaking anecdotes of real Americans is a thankless task. Health insurance companies make callous decisions that hurt real Americans, and no reporter wants to belittle those outrageous tales of bureaucratic bean-counting. Pointing out inaccuracies in versions of these anecdotes told by the president feels like not seeing the forest for the trees. The larger issue is clearly that insurance companies are making decisions like these.......
Both stories were shared at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigation hearing in June. It turns out that while it's impossible to defend the behavior of the insurance companies in either instance, the stories, as the president told them, were not accurate.
Go read it all.
By CELIA DEWOODY email@example.com
Published: Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:08 AM
This was found on the Drudge Report today - notice it was published last Saturday. It's a very heart warming story of a tragic illness and a large corporation compassionately coming to the aid of a grieving family. FedEx deserves thanks from the nation.
Jeff Jacoby: The myth of the underpaid public employee
Dick Morris & Eileen Gann : Surrendering U.S. Sovereignty at G-20 Summit
Walter Williams: Is Disagreement with Obama Racism?
Dr. Paul Kengor: Got Hope:The Theological Virtue of Obama
Byron York: Has the liberal moment come and gone?
Need to get to work. I've raised the listing of RC's favorite links so you can access them more easily. They may be meatier than mine. Later....
Sept 29 2009
September this year, Asheville, North Carolina, at the Sand Hill Venable Elementary School PTO meeting.
Change has come. Change has come.
Uniting blacks and whites.
Being both, Obama cannot take sides.
"Don’t worry," said hope. "I will be your bridge."
In time, hope will be the bridge for all of us.
Hope will last enough for you to make a difference.
Change has come. Change has come.
Go now, fly free!
Study! Watch! Learn! Keep your eyes open!
Education is the key!
Education is the secret!
Education is the way!
Education is the path!
Can I make America better?
Can I make America better?
Can we make America better?
Yes! Yes we can!
Yes! Yes we can!
Go to YouTube video here
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Europe’s Socialists Suffering Even in Downturn
PARIS — A specter is haunting Europe — the specter of Socialism’s slow collapse.
Even in the midst of one of the greatest challenges to capitalism in 75 years, involving a breakdown of the financial system due to “irrational exuberance,” greed and the weakness of regulatory systems, European Socialist parties and their left-wing cousins have not found a compelling response, let alone taken advantage of the right’s failures.
German voters clobbered the Social Democratic Party on Sunday, giving it only 23 percent of the vote, its worst performance since World War II.
Voters also punished left-leaning candidates in the summer’s European Parliament elections and trounced French Socialists in 2007. Where the left holds power, as in Spain and Britain, it is under attack. Where it is out, as in France, Italy and now Germany, it is divided and listless.
Read the rest of the good news in the NY Times here
Sept 29, 2009
President Obama wants a unified front against Iran, and to that end he stood together with Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown in Pittsburgh on Friday morning to reveal the news about Tehran's secret facility to build bomb-grade fuel. But now we hear that the French and British leaders were quietly seething on stage, annoyed by America's handling of the announcement.
Both countries wanted to confront Iran a day earlier at the United Nations. Mr. Obama was, after all, chairing a Security Council session devoted to nonproliferation. The latest evidence of Iran's illegal moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon was in hand. With the world's leaders gathered in New York, the timing and venue would be a dramatic way to rally international opinion.
President Sarkozy in particular pushed hard. He had been "frustrated" for months about Mr. Obama's reluctance to confront Iran, a senior French government official told us, and saw an opportunity to change momentum. But the Administration told the French that it didn't want to "spoil the image of success" for Mr. Obama's debut at the U.N. and his homily calling for a world without nuclear weapons, according to the Paris daily Le Monde. So the Iran bombshell was pushed back a day to Pittsburgh, where the G-20 were meeting to discuss economic policy.
Le Monde's diplomatic correspondent, Natalie Nougayrède, reports that a draft of Mr. Sarkozy's speech to the Security Council Thursday included a section on Iran's latest deception. Forced to scrap that bit, the French President let his frustration show with undiplomatic gusto in his formal remarks, laying into what he called the "dream" of disarmament. The address takes on added meaning now that we know the backroom discussions.
Please read the entire article here
WSJ Online Sept 29, 2009
Philip K. Howard
Eliminating defensive medicine could save upwards of $200 billion in health-care costs annually, according to estimates by the American Medical Association and others. The cure is a reliable medical malpractice system that patients, doctors and the general public can trust.
But this is the one reform Washington will not seriously consider. That's because the trial lawyers, among the largest contributors to the Democratic Party, thrive on the unreliable justice system we have now.
Almost all the other groups with a stake in health reform—including patient safety experts, physicians, the AARP, the Chamber of Commerce, schools of public health—support pilot projects such as special health courts that would move beyond today's hyper-adversarial malpractice lawsuit system to a court that would quickly and reliably distinguish between good and bad care. The support for some kind of reform reflects a growing awareness among these groups that managing health care sensibly, including containing costs, is almost impossible when doctors go through the day thinking about how to protect themselves from lawsuits.
Monday, September 28, 2009
September 28, 2009
We are now in the midst of the single largest domestic public policy debate in my lifetime. Certainly there were intense debates when Ronald Reagan asserted his positions in the 1980’s. There was also significant discussion during the Clinton years about his proposals for health care and welfare reform. The most heated disputes have occurred around foreign policy issues -- Viet Nam, Iran-Contra and the Iraq War have all raised greater public ire.
However, the size of the current debate generates from the overwhelming magnitude of change in public policy proposed for this country. This includes the stimulus package, the energy bill commonly referred to as “Cap and Trade,” the public takeover of segments of the automobile and finance industry, the huge annual increase in government expenditures and above all the linchpin – health care.
Only twice in our history has domestic policy been as significant. The first was at our inception. That was from utter necessity as people like Alexander Hamilton needed to define the ground rules of our new country. The second was during the Great Depression. The problem is that no matter how bad the current economy is, it is not the second Great Depression. In fact, it appears to be turning out to be a real severe recession akin to the early seventies, but no worse. It may not even be as bad as the conditions at the end of the Carter years.
The American people have evaluated this ideology-driven attempt to restructure their relationship with their government and have risen up with an emphatic “NO!” They have been “mugged by reality.” Their self-realization has made me as proud an American as I have ever been.
From all appearances this has been a grassroots uprising unlike any I have seen since the protests of the Viet Nam war. Certainly, the Republican establishment was in such disarray that it could not have effectively done this. Republicans did not have comparable organizations to MoveOn.org or ANSWER on the left. In fact, Sheldon Adelson and a few other Republican leaders had tried to form such an organization in 2007-8 and it faltered. No matter what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want to say with their cute little quip about “Astroturf events,” it just is not true.
So what have these average Americans gotten for actually participating in their government by having “tea parties” and showing up to Congressional Town halls? They have been called names. They have been called wing-nuts, fundamentalists, gun-toting extremists, birthers, paranoid and a whole lot more.
Will I state that there are some less-than-rational people involved in these protests? Absolutely. But there are a whole lot less than there will be in Pittsburgh this week for the G-20 summit or there were in Seattle when they ripped the city apart.
I was recently reminded of a famous statement by Nobel Laureate Friedrich A. Hayek in “The Constitution of Liberty.” He wrote that all political theories assume, of course, that most individuals are ignorant. The Obama Administration and its Congressional allies are not exceptions to this principle. First, they assumed the American people would just roll over and accept these significant policy changes without a fight. Second, as always, they presume to know better what is good for the people and fervently believe that putting decisions in the hands of the governistas would be best for all.
As I said, I have never been prouder to be an American. My fellow citizens have clearly told their public officials that they have gone way too far and they need to roll things back. They don’t want the extreme environment bill, they don’t want governmental hands all over health care and, above all, they don’t want gargantuan deficits whose only result can be sharply higher taxes and/or severe inflation.
The Democrats need to realize that assuming their constituents are ignorant is a falsehood. Americans understand what is being attempted here and have said “No Way!” If the Democrats want to see a Republican landslide in November 2010, then they should continue on their current path. But if they want any hope of maintaining their elected positions, they need to address these issues without extreme solutions.
Unfortunately, the Democratic leaders give every appearance that they are tone-deaf ideologues. Fasten your seat belts my friends - we are in for one heck of a bumpy ride.
Entire Article here>>
September 28, 2009
Huckabee shows Republicans the way
The shrinking gap in party identification is the result of a sway in Republican leaning independents and not from growth in self-identifying hard core Republicans.
And Republican approval of their own Republican members of Congress has dropped from 52 percent last December to 39 percent today.
I can say from my own mail that animosity still runs high toward our previous Republican administration. As the Mercatus Center at George Mason University reports, annual growth in federal spending in the eight years of the Bush Administration was higher than under any of the six previous presidents, including Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's.
So although the public is unhappy with the big government policies of Democrats, Republicans have their work cut out to re-establish themselves as the limited government alternative.
Republicans must start crystallizing principles. And it's time to be bold. Our country is in trouble. In this sense, I think Mike Huckabee, who won the presidential straw poll at the Values Voters Summit last week, is someone to pay attention to.
The strength of Huckabee's candidacy was a big surprise in 2008. And a lot of establishment Republicans still have a hard time taking him seriously.
But let's keep in mind that these same establishment Republicans are the reason their party is now on the outside looking in.
Huckabee is singular in staking out principled and courageous stands badly needed today.
At the Values Voters Summit, he re-stated his support for totally overhauling our tax system, getting rid of the income tax, and replacing it with a national sales tax (the Fair Tax).
Huckabee courageously stated during a recent trip to Israel opposition to creation of a Palestinian state.
He pointed out appropriate concern when 20 percent of the population of Israel is Arabs but the Palestinians demand zero Jewish presence as a pre-condition for the state they say they need.
How can Americans pressure Israel to relinquish territory and compromise its security to those motivated by hate rather than by ideals of freedom?
Regarding "death panels", Huckabee correctly pointed out that our government has been sanctioning death since Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Whether it's Huckabee or others, Republicans need to get positive, principled, and aggressive. Republicans ought to heed Bill Clinton's advice.
Read entire column here>>
"1. Did you know that about 150 young black people were admitted to Howard University School of Law this year? But, unfortunately, about 1370 black babies were aborted today. How can we effect “social justice” if the health profession kills far more blacks than the legal profession is currently accepting into its ranks?
"2. Isn’t abortion sort of like liberalism in a nutshell? It’s just a way of asking others to suffer the consequences of your own bad decisions?"
Graphic Wording Warning
"4. You been supported by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals throughout your political career. What if I trapped a dog in a cage and dismembered him slowly with a pruning tool I stuck through the bars of the cage? What if I then sucked out the bloody body parts with my Black & Decker power vacuum? Would PETA demand my arrest? Would they succeed? Would this not be eerily similar to what licensed doctors do to babies? Isn’t that more serious than animal abuse? Even more serious than ACORN funding brothels with tax-payer dollars? Is this a procedure we want to nationalize?"
" 6. Jesse Jackson was pro-life before he decided to run for president. He switched to the “pro-choice” position because he wanted to be the first black president. This, he thought, would show that America is no longer racist. Jesse still opposes the death penalty because – at least he claims - it is racist. In the American health care system, over 9000 black babies are aborted every week. Has the criminal justice system ever executed 9000 innocent blacks in a single week?"
Read Entire Article here>>
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Perhaps no controversy in recent years illustrates more clearly the dismal state of American civics education than the controversy pertaining to Barack Obama’s birthplace. People who are woefully ignorant of Article 4, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States again are locked in mortal combat with people who are woefully ignorant of Article 2, Section 1 of the same document. The only good outcome that one can hope for in this struggle is that they both lose.
Maybe both can learn a little by reading this article here
Iran is back in the news. It clearly decided to follow the North Korean strategy of forcing the world’s hand. It told the IAEA what the Western intelligence services claim they knew but pretended not to know so that they can claim that negotiations with Iran is a viable option or serious sanctions a real possibility. The result? The usual suspects Obama, Brown and Sakozy got in front of the camera to tell Iran it better start behaving or else. Missing from the line up were Russia and China. In other words, Obama’s good will gesture towards Russia, i.e., throwing Eastern Europe to the bear, failed to achieve the intended result.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Posted: September 25, 200912:45 am Eastern
By Aaron Klein© 2009 WorldNetDaily
Cass SunsteinJERUSALEM –
Restrictions on access to abortion would turn women's bodies into vessels to be "used" by fetuses, according to President Obama's newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein.
"A restriction on access to abortion turns women's reproductive capacities into something to be used by fetuses. ... Legal and social control of women's sexual and reproductive capacities has been a principal historical source of sexual inequality," Sunstein wrote in his 1993 book "The Partial Constitution."
In the book, obtained and reviewed by WND, Sunstein sets forth a radical new interpretation of the Constitution. In one chapter, titled "Pornography, abortion, surrogacy," Sunstein argued against restrictions on abortion and pornography.
"Restrictions on abortion, surrogacy and free availability of pornography are troublesome," he wrote.
"I do not mean to oppose equality to liberty. ... Liberty does not entail respect for all 'choices,'" he maintained.
Read Entire Article
by Robert Knight
Visitors to Washington D.C. today got to hear what residents in Hamtramck and Dearborn, Michigan, as well as areas of London, Amsterdam and other Western cities already endure five times a day: The sound of amplified Muslim prayers lifted to Allah.
This time, the prayers reverberated over America’s front lawn as some 2,000 Muslims gathered for the Jummah Prayer on Capitol Hill: A Day of Islamic Unity. Promoters had planned for 50,000 but came nowhere near that.
Please read entire article at Townhall.com
September 26, 2009
Obama pursues arms control treaties; Iran builds the bomb.
President Obama appreciates "teachable moments," so let's all discuss this week's lesson in arms control theory and practice.
The President brought his soaring sermon about "a world without [nuclear] weapons" before the U.N. General Assembly. He called for a new arms control treaty and won Security Council support for a vague resolution on proliferation. On cue yesterday, Iran showed the world what determined rogues think about such treaties. On the evidence of his Presidency so far, Mr. Obama will not let that reality interfere with his disarmament dreams.
The disclosure that Iran has a second facility to make bomb-grade fuel, the latest of many Tehran deceptions, isn't exactly surprising. ........
See entire article Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A14,
or See Online Article
Friday, September 25, 2009
PORLAMAR, Venezuela – Iran is helping to detect uranium deposits in Venezuela and initial evaluations suggest reserves are significant, President Hugo Chavez's government said Friday.
Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz said Iran has been assisting Venezuela with geophysical survey flights and geochemical analysis of the deposits, and that evaluations "indicate the existence of uranium in western parts of the country and in Santa Elena de Uairen," in southeastern Bolivar state.
"We could have important reserves of uranium," Sanz told reporters upon arrival on Venezuela's Margarita Island for a weekend Africa-South America summit. He added that efforts to certify the reserves could begin within the next three years.
The announcement came as revelations that Iran has secretly been building a uranium-enrichment plant provoke concerns among countries including the U.S., Russia, France, Britain, Germany and China.
by Mona Charen
Friday, September 25, 2009
President Obama's speech to the United Nations has been called naive and even "post-American." It was something else, as well: the most extravagant excursion into self-worship we have yet seen in an American leader.
Beware of politicians who claim to be "humbled by the responsibility the American people have placed upon me." It's a neon sign flashing the opposite. And sure enough, in almost the next sentence, the president allowed that "I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world." Really? The whole world pulses with hope and expectation because Obama is president? People in Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Taipei have a spring in their step because an Illinois Democrat won the White House?
Linda Chavez presents good news about Mexican immigrant assimilation into American culture.
From the middle of the article:
Immigrants always have been the canaries in the mine shaft -- an early warning system about the health of the U.S. economy. By mid-decade, informal networks of immigrants in the U.S. had already begun to send word-of-mouth messages back home that job opportunities in the U.S. were drying up. As a result, immigration from Mexico -- the country responsible for about a third of all immigration to the U.S. -- began a steep decline and is now down overall by about 40 percent. And according to estimates from Mexico's National Survey of Employment and Occupation, Mexicans have been returning home at a rate of more than 400,000 a year since 2006, at the very time that fewer Mexicans have been choosing to leave Mexico for the U.S.
But what about those who remain? The greatest passion generated during immigration debates over the past few years has concerned illegal immigration, but many people also have voiced fears that Hispanic immigrants, even those who came legally, are somehow different from all previous immigrants and never will move into the American mainstream. The Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector, for example, warned in one study that the descendants of Mexican immigrants will constitute a permanent underclass, dependent on welfare and unable to carry their fair share of the tax burden, discouraging lawmakers from considering changes to immigration law that would allow more Mexicans to immigrate, even if they were to do so legally.
A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center, however, suggests that many of these fears are overblown and that children of Latino immigrants are doing well on most measures. They fare better on most health indicators (except obesity) than native-born Americans, for example, despite being less likely to be covered by health insurance. Most importantly, they are about as likely to grow up in two-parent households as whites -- 73 percent, compared with 77 percent for whites. They graduate high school at rates slightly less than non-Hispanic whites (80 percent, compared with 92 percent of whites), but almost half go on to attend college. And those who graduate from college actually earn slightly more than their native-born counterparts.
Friday, September 25, 2009
When the White House announced plans for the president's nationwide address to schoolchildren two weeks ago, worried parents were dismissed as "kooks." We pointed to the subtext of "social justice" activism rampant in American classrooms. It's time for a big fat Told You So.
Out of the spotlight, politicized lessons continue to supplant core academics.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said all should lend a hand to make the country strong again.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be fair today, equal work means equal pay.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said take a stand, make sure everyone gets a chance.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said red, yellow, black and white, all are equal in his sight.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama.
Yeah! Barack Hussein Obama.
…Hello, Mr. President, we honor you today
For all your great accomplishments, we all do say hooray.
Hooray, Mr. President, you are No. 1
The first black American to lead this nation.
Acknowledging the historic nature of Obama's presidency ("the first black American") is one thing. Deifying him with creepy spiritual references ("red, yellow, black and white, all are equal in his sight" is cribbed from the famous hymn "Jesus Loves the Little Children"; cheering "you are No. 1") is quite another. Burlington Township school officials said Thursday the recording and dissemination of the video was "unauthorized," but acknowledged that the Obama praise session was part of the students' official curriculum.
Carney-Nunes' Obama book was on prominent display during the students' performance. It is a tool, she says, that "allows children to see themselves through the inspirational story of President Obama growing up as an ordinary child, asking, 'Who will change the world?' Ultimately, he realizes that he will." Seeing everything through the lens of Obama, as his incessantly self-referential United Nations speech demonstrated, is a trademark of the perpetual Obama campaign.
This O-cult lesson is exactly the kind of junior campaign lobbying activity that White House officials planned around the president's education speech. Alert parents and administrators called out the Department of Education's activist, Obama-centric education manuals before the event. Federal officials altered the language. Obama delivered an innocuous speech. But on cue, education radicals goaded students to engage in political activism.
Link to YouTube video here
WASHINGTON—An international panel of leading anthropologists, cultural critics, biologists, and social theorists announced this week that Western civilization will reach its lowest conceivable point at 3:32 p.m. Friday.
"From the prehistoric Lascaux cave paintings to the stirring symphonies of Mozart to today's hot-dog eating competitions and action films with comical gerbils, culture has descended into a festering pool of mass ignorance," said Yale sociologist Paul Riordan, who has spent his career analyzing western civilization's fall into the depths of depravity. "If our calculations are correct, this complete erosion of all that is enlightened and unique will reach absolute rock bottom on the afternoon of Sept. 25, 2009."
Added Riordan, "It is scientifically impossible for civilization to sink any lower than it will this Friday."
See the rest
BEST OF THE WEB TODAY
SEPTEMBER 25, 2009.
Looking for a job? There are openings at the National Endowment for the Arts..
By JAMES TARANTO
Late yesterday we received an email from our pal Victoria Hutter, of the National Endowment for the Arts' Office of Communication: "This afternoon Yosi Sergant submitted his resignation from the National Endowment for the Arts. His resignation has been accepted and is effective immediately."
In case you haven't been following this story, let's bring you up to date: In August, as we detailed Monday, Sergant organized a conference call for federally subsidized artists in which he and other administration officials--including Buffy Wicks of the White House Office of Public Engagement--urged them to produce propaganda for the president's legislative initiatives. Two weeks ago, after the call was exposed by whistleblower Patrick Courrielche, Sergant was "reassigned."
On Tuesday, as we noted Wednesday, the NEA issued a bizarre statement from chairman Rocco Landesman, in which he denied that anything was wrong with the conference call save for some "language" that was "unfortunately, not appropriate," but also implying that the agency had dealt harshly with its employee--never named in the statement--who hadn't really done anything wrong: "This employee has been relieved of his duties as director of communications."
Thursday, September 24, 2009
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer is seen from Mexico's side of the San Ysidro port of entry guarding vehicles involved in a shooting in Tijuana, Mexico, Sept. 22, 2009. Four people were injured in a gun battle involving an attempt to smuggle illegal immigrants from Mexico at the busiest border crossing in the U.S., authorities said. (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
(CNSNews.com) - Even though the Border Patrol now reports that almost 1,300 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border is not under effective control, and the Department of Justice says that vast stretches of the border are “easily breached,” and the Government Accountability Office has revealed that three persons “linked to terrorism” and 530 aliens from “special interest countries” were intercepted at Border Patrol checkpoints last year, the administration is nonetheless now planning to decrease the number of Border Patrol agents deployed on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Border Patrol Director of Media Relations Lloyd Easterling confirmed this week--as I first reported in my column yesterday--that his agency is planning for a net decrease of 384 agents on the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal 2010, which begins on October 1.
A Department of Homeland Security annual performance review updated by the Obama administration on May 7 said the Border Patrol “plans to move several hundred Agents from the Southwest Border to the Northern Border to meet the FY 2010 staffing requirements, with only a small increase in new agents for the Southwest Border in the same year.”
By JOSH MITCHELL and STEPHEN POWER
(See Corrections & Amplifications below.)
WASHINGTON -- A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.
The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.
View Full Image
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images Fisker's Karma hybrid sports car, above, will initially cost about $89,000.
The awards to Fisker and Tesla have prompted concern from companies that have had their bids for loans rejected, and criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers.
"This is not for average Americans," said Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, an anti-tax group in Washington. "This is for people to put something in their driveway that is a conversation piece. It's status symbol thing."
See Corrections & Amplifications below
Thursday, September 24, 2009
National Review Online
ROCCO'S FIRST WORDS
NEA chairman Rocco Landesman, who was confirmed by the Senate on August 7 and began serving the day after his agency organized its now-infamous conference call, may be an excellent Broadway producer. But he’s still struggling to find his voice as a public servant.
As evidence, let me cite his statement on the conference-call matter, issued yesterday. For readers who might be jumping into this discussion for the first time: This call, organized and participated in by the NEA using agency (in other words “taxpayer”) resources, asked some 75 artists to use their talents to promote a huge portion of President Obama’s domestic agenda. Two days later, 21 arts organizations endorsed Obama’s health-care plan. According to the Washington Times, those groups received $2 million in NEA grants during the four months leading up to the call.
Instead of issuing an apology for his agency’s role in this controversy, Landesman uses his statement to “clarify the issues” regarding the call. “Here are the facts,” he writes, and then presents an actual list (“Fact 1,” “Fact 2,” … “Fact 6”). This is amazing. It reads like a schoolboy defending some indefensible behavior. Rest assured, no form of apology appears anywhere.
I won’t pain you with each “fact,” just one that is particularly appalling. It reads, in part:
Fact 3: This call was not a means to promote any legislative agenda and any suggestions to that end are simply false.
Just a glance at the transcript of the call reveals Landesman to be flat-out wrong.
“So we’ve kind of narrowed it down to four main areas to give people a little bit of direction,” explained Buffy Wicks, who was dialing in to the call from her perch at the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. The areas? Wicks explained that they conferred with cabinet agencies to determine that the greatest are health care, energy and the environment, education, and community renewal. And she talks about the president’s agenda in each area. She then says: “We need your guys’s help to promote this. We know that you all have channels and ability to get the message out far greater than we do here and the president’s put out the call.” Another White House participant then comes on to reinforce’s Buffy’s message.
If hearing from these two White House appointees hasn’t intimidated these potential NEA grant applicants enough, next on is (now former) NEA director of communications Yosi Sergeant: “Pick — I would encourage you to pick something whether it’s health care, education, the environment, you know, there’s four key areas.#...#My ask would be to apply artistic, you know, your artistic creative communities’ utilities and bring them to the table.”
Perhaps Mr. Landesman’s education at the Yale School of Drama and his experience running broadway theaters, producing shows, including Angels in America, and owning baseball teams and racehorses has not prepared him to recognize a list of public-policy issues. And perhaps he doesn’t realize that when you take a job giving away millions of tax dollars, and you find yourself in a situation where both the White House and a prominent member of your staff has done something that creates the appearance that your grant dollars are somehow tied to the fulfillment of “asks” for acts of creative propaganda, the appropriate words to use are these:
“I apologize, to the American public and particularly to the nation’s artists, for anything the National Endowment for the Arts may have done to suggest that our grant dollars are tied in any way to support for White House initiatives. They are not. In addition to dismissing the relevant staff members, I have initiated an investigation into the process whereby grants were given to institutions that have recently engaged in public-policy discussions with either the NEA or the White House. I will share the results of that investigation as soon as they are available. Again, I and the NEA regret this episode.”
— Lynne Munson served as deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2001-2005. Her book, Exhibitionism: Art in an Era of Intolerance, traces the evolution of the NEA’s grants to visual artists.
09/23 05:07 PM
Senate confirmed my boss today…and we’re off!” — As posted by Yosi Sergant on Twitter August 7th.
Those were the words of the former Communications Director of the National Endowment for the Arts three days before the conference call. However Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), in a recent statement declared that Yosi Sergant acted “unilaterally and without the approval or authorization” from his superior.
By JOHN FUND in WSJ Online
It was a bad news day yesterday for the community organizers at Acorn, now caught up in Day 15 of a burgeoning scandal that has seen the group condemned by Congress and its financial records subpoenaed by Louisiana's Democratic attorney general.
Last night, the Internal Revenue Service severed its ties with Acorn, which had been an IRS partner in providing low-income workers with tax preparation assistance.
But the real body blow came when Rep. Barney Frank abruptly threw Acorn under the bus, telling Fox News: "I think they have forfeited their right to get [federal] funds."
Mr. Frank said he had been incorrectly quoted previously as saying he would have voted against a motion last week cutting off the group's access to the federal gravy train. He couldn't resist a partisan jab, however, noting that Acorn had received $14.2 million in federal housing funds during the Bush administration -- a fair point.
Mr. Frank also appeared unsympathetic to Acorn's latest attempt to change the subject, a lawsuit filed yesterday against two filmmakers who had videotaped Acorn employees in several cities offering tax evasion advice to a supposed prostitution ring. The suit alleges the filmmakers and news site Breitbart.com violated a local law banning unauthorized taping of individuals. Legal analysts largely panned the case, noting that Acorn had filed the lawsuit jointly with two former Maryland Acorn employees who had previously been fired for the behavior caught on the videotape
Mr. Frank had no comment on the merits of the suit, but did offer this pithy summary: "People have said, 'Well, the sting [against Acorn] is terrible.' I will tell people there is a great defense against being stung. Don't do the kind of things that put you on television."
(The above statements reported by John Fund were made in an interview with Bill O'Reilly.)
For the full story about the training and planning of these two heroes, go here
Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:28pm EDT
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Czech President Vaclav Klaus sharply criticized a U.N. meeting on climate change on Tuesday at which U.S. President Barack Obama was among the top speakers, describing it as propagandistic and undignified.
"It was sad and it was frustrating," said Klaus, one of the world's most vocal skeptics on the topic of global warming.
"It's a propagandistic exercise where 13-year-old girls from some far-away country perform a pre-rehearsed poem," he said. "It's simply not dignified."
At the opening of the summit attended by nearly 100 world leaders, 13-year-old Yugratna Srivastava of India told the audience that governments were not doing enough to combat the threat of climate change.
Klaus said there were increasing doubts in the scientific community about whether humans are causing changes in the climate or whether the changes are simply naturally occurring phenomena.
But politicians, he said, seem to be moving closer to a consensus on climate change.
"The train can't be stopped and I consider that a huge mistake," Klaus said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon organized the climate summit to help create momentum before a U.N. meeting in Copenhagen in December to reach agreement on new targets for reducing so-called greenhouse gas emissions.
However, new proposals by China and a rallying cry from U.S. President Barack Obama did little to break a U.N. deadlock about what should be done.
Klaus published a book in 2007 on the worldwide campaign to stop climate change entitled "Blue Planet in Green Chains: What Is Under Threat -- Climate or Freedom?"
In the book, Klaus said global warming has turned into a new religion, an ideology that threatens to undermine freedom and the world's economic and social order.
(Editing by Doina Chiacu)
I'm looking for a complete transcript and will post when I find it.
A brief Excerpt Here
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Commentary Staff Writer
09/21/09 9:59 AM EDT
Since passing tort reform in 2004, Mississippi has seen the number of medical malpractice claims plummet by 91 percent from its peak. The state's largest medical liability insurer dropped its premiums by 42 percent, and has offered an additional 20 percent rebate each year since tort reform went into effect.
That is the story that Mississippi's Republican, governor, Haley Barbour, offered on Friday, speaking at the Heritage Foundation. He also made an observation about President Obama's decision to offer only token "demonstration projects" on lawsuit abuse rather than address it meaningfully in his health care reform proposal.
"It's mysterious to me that the administration and the leadership of Congress talk about health care reform and the goal of reducing costs, and yet refuse to put tort reform into the legislation," he said. "I believe $200, $250 billion a year in health care costs is caused by litigation. It may be more than that. But this is the lowest hanging fruit, this ain't rocket science. If they want a demonstration project, come down to Mississippi, and I'll show you a demonstration project." (Last month, Barbour wrote this op-ed for The Examiner on insurance reform.)
T WAS a perfectly straightforward question. The answer was anything but.
President Obama vows not to raise taxes on any American family earning less than $250,000 a year. Yet he backs legislation that would force every American to either carry health insurance or pay a hefty penalty to the IRS for failing to do so. Such an "individual mandate," as it's called, is included in all the major health-care bills making their way through Congress, including the legislation unveiled by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus last week. So when ABC's George Stephanopoulos interviewed the president on Sunday, he raised the obvious challenge:
"Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money [to buy insurance], fining you if you don't. How is that not a tax?"
Obama replied that the individual mandate "is absolutely not a tax increase," since, in his view, there is good reason to impose it. He stuck doggedly to that position even when Stephanopoulos confronted him with Merriam-Webster's definition of "tax" -- "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."
"George," chided Obama, "the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary . . . indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now."
He is in San Antonio and has local, Texas and National political news. He is a great resource. I will continue to link to his different articles, but read him whether I do or not.
Today he has all this:
Just How Deep *IS* Obama’s Involvement With ACORN’s Corruption?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
On September 25, 2009, from 4 a.m. until 7 p.m., a National Day of Prayer for the Muslim religion will be held on Capitol Hill.
See the Islam on Capital Hill website here.
Vice President Biden just can't help telling the truth:
Biden on 2010: If GOP Succeeds, It’s ‘The End of the Road for What Barack and I Are Trying to Do’
The New York Times Aims Low from American Thinker
A factual article in the Washington Post on Honduras
Moving Forward in Honduras
The Terror Probe Widens from The LA Times
Afghan War Report puts Obama in a Tough Spot
Monday, September 21, 2009
Also from Alamo City Pundit, Disgraced San Antonio Mayor/HUD Secretary Cisnersos Named by ACORN to Investigate ACORN
Read it all.
With a San Antonio twist, of course . . . otherwise why would Alamo City Pundit be reporting?ACORN, beset by troubles within (the lawsuits by former employees who were fired for reporting irregularities) and without (the ACORN Hooker Tapes as seen on Fox News; Indictments in several states pending for Voter Registration fraud, etc,. etc,) has decided to appoint it’s own board to “independent” observers to investigate themselves.....
We Are Sick Of Moveon.org Rally 9-22-09
Tuesday September 22nd – 8200 IH 10 West, San Antonio, TX 78230-3876
Get Directions: (210) 344-9100 MAP HERE
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Moveon.Org San Antonio is planning a rally in front of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Offices in San Antonio. They will be holding signs and chanting for a public option.
Let’s get a nice turnout in opposition to Moveon and H.R. 3200.
I'm getting this out a little late, but maybe someone will see it and be able to go.
We haven't seen many colorful trees yet, but will see them within the week. We are finally having wonderful fall weather, after a full week of rain.
We plan to be in Madison for another night or two, then explore Northern Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan. We are in a wonderful county park, formerly a farm. Queen Anne's lace is still blooming here and we have seen some areas covered with little purple asters, very pretty when surrounded by goldenrod.
This is my first chance to check up on the news and blogs online since a week ago and I know I have missed a lot.
Keep up the good work, consersvatism lives!
**NEA conference call full audio and transcript here**
Should the National Endowment for the Arts encourage artists to create art on issues being vehemently debated nationally?
That is the question that I set out to discuss a little over three weeks ago when I wrote an article on Big Hollywood entitled The National Endowment for the Art of Persuasion?”
The question still requires debate but the facts do not.
The NEA and the White House did encourage a handpicked, pro-Obama arts group to address politically controversial issues under contentious national debate. That fact is irrefutable.
But some have claimed that the invite and passages, pulled from the conference call that inspired the article, were taken out of context. Context is what I intend to establish here.
On August 10th, the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and the Corporation for National and Community Service hosted a conference call with a handpicked arts group. This arts group played a key role in Obama’s arts effort during his election campaign, as declared by the organizers of the call, and many on the call played a role in the now famous Obama Hope poster.
Go to Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com for entire story.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The president said he is "happy to look at" bills before Congress that would give struggling news organizations tax breaks if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.
"I haven't seen detailed proposals yet, but I'll be happy to look at them," Obama told the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade in an interview.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced S. 673, the so-called "Newspaper Revitalization Act," that would give outlets tax deals if they were to restructure as 501(c)(3) corporations. That bill has so far attracted one cosponsor, Cardin's Maryland colleague Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).
Read the whole article
Friday, September 18, 2009
As we noted yesterday, Acorn is a vast octopus of false fronts and slight of hand. The libral democrates may be abandoning the front end of Acorn, but they will not abandon the idea of Acorn. They set up and nurtured Acorn to build a base from which to build momentum for their far-left ideals. Keep and eye on the bills in the house and senate with the amendments calling for the defunding of Acorn...watch and see if they actually make it through. Watch for the rise of a new acronym organization devoted to the same goals as Acorn.
The vote, on a provision attached to a student aid bill, was 345-75, with Democrats supplying all the "no" votes.
On Monday the Senate voted 83-7 to deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
Chief Political Correspondent, Washington Examiner
September 18, 2009
Back in February, during the Democrats' frenzied rush to pass the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, Republican Sen. David Vitter offered a simple, 28-word amendment: "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used directly or indirectly to fund the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." Vitter's amendment was shot down, 51-45, with all the votes coming from the Democratic majority.
At about the same time, GOP lawmakers introduced similar measures in the House. Those, too, were defeated by Democratic majorities.
Fast-forward to Monday, Sept. 14. A Housing Department appropriations bill was moving through the Senate, and Republican Sen. Mike Johanns offered an amendment that was nearly word-for-word identical to the one Vitter introduced back in February, barring all federal housing funds for ACORN. This time, the ACORN-defunding amendment passed, 83-7. The winning total included 50 -- yes, 50 -- Democrats. Liberals like Chris Dodd, Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin, Charles Schumer and others who supported ACORN back in February all changed their votes to approve the cutoff of funds.
That was just a preview of what would happen on Thursday, across the Capitol in the House of Representatives. Just 48 hours after Republican Leader John Boehner introduced the "Defund ACORN Act," which would ban all federal funds for the group, the House Democratic leadership agreed to a vote on the bill. Boehner's measure passed 345-to-75, with 172 Democrats voting to cut off funds for an organization that had long worked on behalf of Democrats nationwide.
It was an absolutely mind-blowing turn of events, a total collapse of longtime Democratic support for ACORN. Republicans had worked for years to reduce ACORN's influence, with little success. Now, in the span of a few days, the GOP scored major victories.
Everybody knows why. None of this would have happened had it not been for undercover videos, released on the new Web site BigGovernment, which caught ACORN employees in Baltimore, Washington, New York City and California in the act of encouraging tax fraud and prostitution, including prostitution involving underage girls. The videos, which were ignored by most big media organizations other than Fox News, had a huge effect on Capitol Hill.
"I was stunned by what I saw," says Johanns, who has had his eye on ACORN since joining the Senate in January. "I just could not believe that you could have a situation where people were so complacent, so complicit, in what was clearly activity that was not only illegal but just unbelievably wrong."
Read it all here
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Where Is Obama’s ‘Center’?
Look at his Rolodex and then figure out just where such a man would estimate it to be.
by Mark Steyn in National Review
From NBC's Mike Viqueira (ed. note: this is how "you lie" helped)
The White House tonight is providing the below clarification on what the president's health-care proposals would mean when it comes to the issue of illegal immigrants.
The question, as we all know, arises from the Wilson "You lie" outburst, and the core claim that notwithstanding specific bill language barring illegal immigrants from participating in the "exchange," as a practical matter, there is no way of verifying the citizenship of applicants -- which is the current state of play. Republicans say that then means illegal immigrants would end up being enrolled in plans -- bill language or no bill language.
Today, for the first time as far as we know, the administration is backing a provision that would require proof of citizenship before someone could enroll in a plan selected on the exchange.From American Thinker:
Virtue and Sarah Palin
Why I am No Longer an African American
by Mary Baker
Friday, September 11, 2009
The US Census Bureau on Friday severed all ties with controversial community organizing group ACORN. The reason? The bureau said ACORN's conduct and sour public image threatened to taint the bureau's execution of the 2010 census.
In a letter to ACORN, first obtained by Fox News, the Census Bureau informed ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) President Maude Hurd that the group's image has become too hot to handle.
The Full Letter:
September 11, 2009
Ms. Maude Hurd
739 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
Dear Ms. Hurd:
The goal of the U.S. Census Bureau’s partnership program is to combine the strengths of state, local, and tribal governments, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, schools, media, businesses and others to ensure an accurate 2010 Census. While not (sic) Census bureau employees, partners are advocates for census cooperation and participation. They serve a trusted voices within their communities and are critical to our strategy to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.
The Census Bureau has established criteria for partnerships, which are listed on our Web site at <www.census.gov >, and reserves the right to decline partnership or to terminate an existing partnership agreement with any group that 1) may create a negative connotation for the Census Bureau; 2) could distract from the Census Bureau’s mission; or, 3) may make people fearful of participating in the census.
To that end, and in keeping with the standards we shared with your organization and others who volunteered to partner with the Census Bureau to help promote the 2010 Census, we are today terminating our Partnership Agreement with ACORN.
Over the last several months, through ongoing communication with our regional offices, it is clear that ACORN’s affiliation with the 2010 Census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 Census efforts.
While not decisive factors in this decision, recent events concerning several local offices of ACORN have added to the worsening negative perceptions of ACORN and its affiliation with our partnership efforts.
We do not come to this decision lightly. It was our original assessment that your organization could be helpful in encouraging cooperation with the 2010 Census among individuals who are historically hard to count, including renters, low-income residents, the linguistically isolated, and others. As of today, we have close to 80,000 partnership agreements with national and local groups – many of whom are trusted voices and serve these same populations – and we will be relying upon those groups to continue our outreach in the communities you serve. The full participation of those populations remains of utmost importance to us.
Unfortunately, we no longer have confidence that our national partnership agreement is being effectively managed through your many local offices. For the reasons stated, we therefore have decided to terminate the partnership.
Robert M. Groves
From The Stratasphere
By AJStrata on Joe Wilson
As reader Frogg1 notes, the Senate Democrats scrambled to fix the loop holes in their bill to ensure illegal aliens could not get government subsidized (or rationed) health care. The liberal media shills can post and write whatever they want about Smokin’ Joe – but the fact he forced the Senate to make their bill ban illegal aliens from the government trough means he has been vindicated.
Progressive” is becoming more of a dirty word, but all political labels – except “being like Ronald Reagan” - are falling into disfavor with many U.S. voters, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
“Liberal” is still the worst and remains the only political description that is viewed more negatively than positively. Being like Reagan is still the most positive thing you can say about a candidate.
Just 15% of voters say they view the description of a candidate as politically liberal as positive, down four points from last November. Forty-one percent (41%) see it as a negative description, up five points form the earlier survey, while 42% say it’s somewhere in between.
Read it all at Rasmussen Reports.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Illegal Aliens CAN Get Healthcare Benefits Under House Bill: Congressional Research Service (HR3200)
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I and many other concerned veterans and citizens attended the hearing today in Federal Court in Santa Ana in the lawsuit against Barack Obama to determine his eligibility to be President and Commander in Chief. About 150 people showed up, almost all in support of the lawsuit to demand that Obama release his birth certificate and other records that he has hidden from the public.
Judge David Carter refused to hear Obama's request for dismissal today, instead setting a hearing date for Oct. 5, since Obama's attorneys had just filed the motion on Friday. He indicated there was almost no chance that this case would be dismissed. Obama is arguing this lawsuit was filed in the wrong court if you can believe that. I guess Obama would prefer a "kangaroo court"! Assuming Judge Carter denies Obama's motion for dismissal, he will likely then order expedited discovery which will force Obama to release his birth certificate in a timely manner (if he has one).
The judge, who is a former U.S. Marine, repeated several times that this is a very serious case which must be resolved quickly so that the troops know that their Commander in Chief is eligible to hold that position and issue lawful orders to our military in this time of war. He basically said Obama must prove his eligibility to the court! He said Americans deserve to know the truth about their President!
The two U.S. Attorneys representing Barack Obama tried everything they could to sway the judge that this case was frivolous, but Carter would have none of it and cut them off several times. Obama's attorneys left the courtroom after about the 90 minute hearing looking defeated and very nervous.
Great day in America for the U.S. Constitution!!! The truth about Barack Obama's eligibility will be known fairly soon - Judge Carter practically guaranteed it!
Video from the press conference after the hearing coming soon. Congratulations to Dr. Orly Taitz! She did a great job and won some huge victories today. She was fearless!
Jeff Schwilk, Founderwww.SanDiegoMinutemen.com
I couldn't agree more. Let's engage the other side's arguments, and let's allow Americans to decide for themselves whether the Democrats' health-care proposals should become governing law.
Some 45 years ago Ronald Reagan said that "no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds." Each of us knows that we have an obligation to care for the old, the young and the sick. We stand strongest when we stand with the weakest among us.
We also know that our current health-care system too often burdens individuals and businesses—particularly small businesses—with crippling expenses. And we know that allowing government health-care spending to continue at current rates will only add to our ever-expanding deficit.
Read it all:
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
WHO SET UP GOVERNMENT ‘PROPAGANDA’ CONFERENCE CALL? Newly Revealed White House, NEA Audio Contradict
When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings
by Byron York in Washington Examiner
Traveling Tea Party draws thousands
by Casey Cora in Southtown Star
A round up of links via Memeorandum. a good compendeum of news
Timing crucial for Hutchison on quitting Senate to run for Texas governor
by Todd J. Gillman in The Dallas Morning News
Eight Years Later and Still No Revenge
by Richard Cohen in the Washington Post
Once Upon a Time . . .Whatever happened to the old Barack Obama?
by Victor Davis Hanson in National Review
at National Review Online
Monday, September 7, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009, 10:39 AM
I can't add to this, go read it.
As you gather with your families today, for one last cookout, enjoying your easily-purchased beer, cold-transported from the brewer, your propane grill -probably invented by someone who’d forgotten to buy the charcoal lighter fluid, some time in the past- texting on your phones and so forth, remember to be thankful; say a prayer for those who have less, particularly those people who dream of living the life you have while facing oppression in third-world countries, where their “president” is shutting down radio stations and romancing the despots and the despot-lovers.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Afghanistan Czar: Richard Holbrooke
AIDS Czar: Jeffrey Crowley
Auto recovery Czar: Ed Montgomery
Border Czar: Alan Bersin
California Water Czar: David J. Hayes
Car Czar: Ron Bloom
Central Region Czar: Dennis Ross
Domestic Violence Czar: Lynn Rosenthal
Drug Czar: Gil Kerlikowske
Economic Czar: Paul Volcker
Energy and Environment Czar: Carol Brower
Faith-Based Czar: Joshua DuBois
Great Lakes Czar: Cameron Davis
Green Jobs Czar: Van Jones (resigned)
Guantanamo Closure Czar: Daniel Fried
Health Czar: Nancy-Ann DeParle
Information Czar: Vivek Kundra
International Climate Czar: Todd Stern
Intelligence Czar: Dennis Blair
Mideast Peace Czar: George Mitchell
Pay Czar: Kenneth Feinberg
Regulatory Czar: Cass Sunstein
Science Czar: John Holdren
Stimulus Accountability Czar: Earl Devaney
Sudan Czar: J. Scott Gration
TARP Czar: Herb Allison
Terrorism Czar: John Brennan
Technology Czar: Aneesh Chopra
Urban Affairs Czar: Adolfo Carrion Jr.
Weapons Czar: Ashton Carter
WMD Policy Czar: Gary Samore
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0909/26779.html#ixzz0QMjEMjGS
New Afghan war: Frontline correspondent says fight has morphed – but we still can't afford to lose
by Michael Yon
Helmand, Afghanistan - The West is losing this war. This has been obvious for more than three years. Less obvious is that in 2009, we are down to the wire. Gen. Stanley McChrystal and others will soon recommend to President Obama the latest treatment for a dying patient.
Meanwhile, allies and Americans are asking themselves why we are here. Some are saying that Al Qaeda is still here or is waiting in the wings to return to its home. Yet Afghanistan was never Al Qaeda's permanent home to begin with. Al Qaeda was just renting a little space here, just as it was renting space in places like Germany and Florida.
We must face reality: Our reasons for continuing are not the reasons we came for. We are fighting a different war now than the one that began in 2001. Today's war is about social re-engineering. Given the horrible history of Afghanistan, and the fact that we already are here, the cause is worthy and worthwhile.
The decisions facing us are perilous and immense. On the one hand, we desperately need more troops, while on the other increasing troop levels introduces a host of costs and potential traps.
Yet it seems certain the war will be lost if we do not significantly increase troops. While our enemies grow stronger, years will pass before Afghan forces can replace us. Enemies are gaining ground while we lose the goodwill of the people through disillusionment. In the mostly peaceful Ghor Province, for instance, development is scant and there are no Afghan soldiers.
I just spent more than a month with British combat forces in Helmand. Instead of concentrating on training and operating with Afghan forces, the British are involved in a daily struggle for tiny pieces of real estate.
Last December, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told me in a private discussion while flying back to the U.S. from Afghanistan, Bahrain and Iraq, that his greatest concern is that we will lose the goodwill of the Afghan people. Gates is correct and my confidence in his judgment is high. Gates knows that our stock is still okay here, but clearly it is losing value.
The strongest indicator of progress will come in the form of cooperation from the people. In Iraq, especially in about mid-2007, I witnessed a tidal shift in cooperation from the civilians and largely from that was able to report that the surge was working, long before the statistics would support what might have appeared to be a wild claim.
During 2006 in Afghanistan, I witnessed areas where the population was alienated from Kabul and Western forces. Again, long before the statistics would support what appeared to be wild claims, I published 12 reports saying we were losing here. Analysts cannot feel the pulse through statistics; in this sort of war, statistics lag behind the realities. An observer must be on the ground to sense the pulse.
Pundits who are saying we should pull out of Afghanistan today, to my knowledge, are not here.
Having just spent another month with British forces in Helmand, today I am on my own in the same province. During the last month, our great allies the British lost dozens of soldiers who were killed or wounded. Cooperation from locals is almost nonexistent in many places. Interaction between civilians and British soldiers was nearly zero. The British treat the civilians very well, but being polite and respectful is not enough. Without significant reinforcements, the British likely will be defeated in Helmand within a couple of years. My respect for British soldiers is immense. I have been in combat with them many times in Iraq and Afghanistan, including during the last couple of weeks and would go into battle with them today. Yet it must be said that the average British soldier has practically no understanding of counterinsurgency.
The enemies here cannot defeat the United States, but they can dissolve the coalition. Some allies are ready to tap out, while others are learning that counterinsurgency is difficult. The Germans, for instance, are losing in their battle space. To avoid watching
the coalition melt away, we must show progress before the end of 2010.
Today, the war is still worth fighting, yet the goal to reengineer one of the most backward, violent places on Earth, will require a century before a reasonable person can call Afghanistan "a developing nation." The war will not take that long - but the effort will. There are no short-term solutions to fix this place.
We are planting acorns. Oak trees grow slowly. emphasis added
He is self supported by donations from us in the States, out of the war zone,
this is his ending line:
Reader support is greatly valued and crucial to the continuation of this mission. Today I am unembedded in Helmand Province. Please cover my back while I cover the war.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
To get to the article, click on the title, or here:
Rick Santelli Not Welcome at the White House
In February 2009, CNBC business reporter Rick Santelli vigorously objected to Obama’s “spread the wealth” policies in a rant that many believe inspired the Tea Partiers:
“On CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Feb. 19, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter, along with several traders, expressed his outrage about President Barack Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth” for people that didn’t deserve
it. He said a stimulus should go to people who live responsibly rather than some sort of housing bailout to people that lived irresponsibly...."
In an interview today, CNBC reporter John Harwood asked White House Press Secretary about Santelli. Remarkably, Gibbs responded that while he had previously invited Santelli to the White House for coffee to discuss the subject, the Secret Service probably wouldn’t allow Santelli to come now: watch video here