It’s no fun being Cassandra….

Poor Cassandra was cursed by the Gods with the gift of making accurate prophecies that no one would believe.  The disasters she foresaw always came true, but she was helpless to stop people (and nations) from racing towards their doom.  The endings were always so terrible — and Cassandra was herself swept up in them — that she never even got the consolation of a good “I told you so.”

Ever since Obimbo appeared on the scene, we at Bookworm Room have been Cassandras.  We’ve vacillated between trying to decide whether Obama acts as he does through incompetence or malevolence, but we’ve always been clear in our own minds that his approach to the Presidency would be disastrous, both at home and abroad.  One of the things we (and by “we,” I mean my readers and I) predicted was that the Obamessiah, by creating a leadership vacuum in the space America used to fill, would release dangerous forces — just as the Soviet Union’s collapse unleashed long simmering, and quite deadly, regional rivalries in the Balkans.

The headlines now seem to bear out our worst predictions.  Just today, Danny Lemieux forwarded to me a Gateway Pundit post relaying the news that, because Saudi Arabia acted in Bahrain (yes, filling the American leadership vacuum), Iran is now rattling its sabers:

A senior Iranian legislator called on the foreign ministry to show firm reaction against deployment of Saudi military forces in Bahrain and take strong stances and measures in defense of the rights and independence of the Bahraini people.

“The foreign ministry should take a strong position against the dispatch of the Saudi forces to Bahrain” and defend the people’s move and rule over the country, Mostafa Kavakebian said in an open session of the parliament on Tuesday.

God forbid this comes to something, the regional line-up is going to be Israel and Saudi Arabia versus Iran.  What’s impossible for me to know — I simply don’t have the sechel (Yiddish:  smarts) about Middle Eastern allegiances and alliances — is where the other countries, aside from Syria and Lebanon, both already Iranian proxies, will fall when the whole thing blows.  They all hate Israel, but their degrees of loathing for Saudi Arabia and Iran are going to determine which colors they wear in this fight.

I could say “I told you so” but, Cassandra-like, I don’t have the heart to utter those words.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

A behind the scenes deal?

Call me cynical, but….

I’ve opined frequently that, when push comes to shove, Obama will always hew to the strong man.  (Witness his dream of being President of China.)  With that in mind, consider this paragraph in John Podhoretz’s savage dissection of Obama’s press conference:

And what about doing something to help resolve the Libyan crisis in a way that might calm the oil markets? Oh, we are, we are! For example, we got our embassy personnel out of there. And we are making it clear to Khadafy that the “world is watching,” because, as we know, the Libyan maniac is very concerned about his global Gallup numbers.

Khadafy must be quaking in his boots to hear that the president “has organized a series of conversations about a wide range of options that we can take.” A series of conversations — now there’s something to strike fear in the heart of a merciless, murderous, monstrous dictator out to crush a rebellion.

But not to worry, America, we are “slowly tightening the noose” around Khadafy. This must be coming as news to Khadafy — since militarily he’s in better shape than he was five days ago. And not just militarily: Far from sounding more resolute yesterday, the president seemed to be signaling that he is prepared for Khadafy to remain in power.

Do you think that there’s a chance that this is more than just weak rhetoric but, instead, actually represents a deliberate plan to ensure that Khadafy remains in power? Recall that the Brits had a nice behind-the-scenes agreement with Khadafy to send the perfectly healthy Lockerbie bomber back home.

Does Obama’s bizarre, weak behavior regarding Libya represent his natural passivity, a passive-aggressive attempt to keep a strong man in power, or something arrived at working with Khadafy? The result is the same regardless, but I do wonder about the mechanics.

Youth unemployment – where does it lead?

As we settle into the Obama Depression era, one thing that I and others have noticed is that many of the very youth that voted enthusiastically for Obama are the ones already feeling the consequence of his policies: they are unemployed. As one of my college-age kids put it, “our generation is so over Obama, today!”.

High youth unemployment is an inevitable consequence of socialism. In modern Europe, it has always been high. Here is an example of its pervasiveness in the U.K., for example:

In Europe, the problem has been exacerbated by extensive “social safety nets” that guarantee a pretty good lifestyle for the unemployed. Why work, when you can live comfortably on public assistance combined with the black market economy (dealing drugs, for example)? There are large swaths of the European population that, like people in our inner city projects, have no idea how to work. A young man in France with a finance degree recently reported to me that he was “happily unemployed”. Thanks to his government, he leads a comfortable existence. However, that, too, shall come to an end, for Europe faces the same economic collapse as the U.S.

I really do feel sorry for university students graduating today: for many, if not most, their degrees will be obsolete by the time the economy recovers (which could be a very long time). What employer would hire a student with, say, a business, philosophy, English, or whatever degree that has lain fallow for two, four or more years when they can hire a freshly minted graduate instead? These students’ parents, meanwhile, will often have drained hundreds of thousands of dollars from their retirement funds to fund such now worthless educations. I know of parents that have destroyed their retirement options in order to put their kids through university.

So, what happens when you have armies of unemployed young people with obsolete skills? I know that this has happened before, such as in the Great Depression. However, when economic recovery did come in the mid-to-late ’40s, workers with no education and technical skills could still find plenty of hands-on work opportunities. I don’t know that this holds true anymore in a modern economy. There’s only so many openings for baristas.
Any ideas?

Henpecked husbands in the White House

Everyone has been talking about Obama’s bizarre behavior in ceding his press conference to Bill Clinton and just walking away.  What I haven’t seen commented upon yet, but what I find incredibly funny, is the henpeckedness of it all.  Both of these men are reputed to have wives with more testicular fortitude than they have themselves.  With that in mind, pay close attention to the wife dialog in the following video:

Obama:  Here’s what I’ll say which is that I’ve been keeping the First Lady waiting for about half an hour, so I’m going to take off.

Clinton:  I don’t want to make her mad.  Please go.

Obama urges hecklers to pursue his political opponents

I noticed earlier a story in which Obama was heckled by people who believe that the US has not done enough to fund AIDS programs around the world.  I was going to write about it, but got distracted.  Had I written about it, I would definitely have said this.

We’ve met the enemy and… he is “us”!

Not militant Islam, not a resurgent Russia or China, not North Korea, not Iran….us! Conservatives, independents, and anyone else that disagrees with his agenda. Or, so says President Barack Hussein Obama.

Why is it that Barack Hussein Obama and other Lefty presidents and presidential wannabees (Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Carter) feel compelled to rouse their base by saying “I will fight for you…against…[insert name of individual or group]” when it is clear that whom they plan to fight against are other Americans that disagree with them? With Obama and Clinton, these attacks became personal against specific individual American citizens (Rush Limbaugh comes to mind).

What ever happened to the idea of the President as our leader? Isn’t he /she supposed to be “our” leader, as in the leader of us all? Instead, these Lefty Presidents position themselves as the great dividers, exhorting groups of Americans to fight each other.

Please help me remember. Did Reagan talk this way? Nixon? Bush I? Bush II? I remember George W. Bush, for example, being gracious toward even his most vituperative opponents (e.g., Cindy Sheehan) and making a point of standing up for the rights of other Americans to disagree with him.

If only Barack Hussein Obama could muster as much indignation toward our country’s real enemies instead of trying to pit Americans against one another.

Obama has publicly labeled me the “enemy” on the basis of my beliefs and values. He has publicly exhorted his followers to fight against me. Sadly, I have to say, Barack Hussein Obama is not my President. He told me so.

A “Deadliest Warrior” match-up between Churchill and Obama

My kids — indeed all the kids I know — are enthralled by a show called “Deadliest Warrior.”  In every episode, the show takes two types of warriors (Israeli Commandos v. Navy SEALS; Al Capone v. Jesse James; etc.), and compares their weapons and techniques to determine which will be that episode’s deadliest warrior.  (Incidentally, the SEALS won, though the Commandos came a very close second.)  Although no one gets hurt, there’s lots of fake blood, lots of explosions, lots of guns, and lots of hand-to-hand combat.  It’s a rather enthralling show.

It occurred to me today that, because Obama is our nation’s Commander-in-Chief, it might be fun for us to do a “deadliest warrior” episode comparing his rhetorical skills and strategic thinking to those same attributes as evinced by another wartime commander.  Because Obama was sold to us as the greatest orator of our generation, not to mention the most brilliant leader since Abraham Lincoln, I’ve decided to pair him up against the greatest orator (and possibly strategist) of the last wartime generation.  That would be, of course, Winston Churchill.

Let’s start with Winston Churchill, whose war came first, and who has held the “greatest wartime orator” title for a few decades more than that up-and-coming commander-in-chief, Barack Hussein Obama:

A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril. [Love of country — check!]

All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. [Love of democratic ideals — check!]

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old. [Unswerving commitment to victory — check!]

You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, “come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.” [A willingness to commit all available resources to achieve full victory over a totalitarian enemy — check!]

That’s some pretty tough competition, so let’s see how Obama steps up to handle the role of greatest wartime leader and rhetorician:

We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger.”  [Apathy and minimal goals — check!]

“You’ve got to get the job done there.  And that requires us to have enough troops that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.”  [Practical advice, crudely and insultingly phrased — check!]

[Per the WaPo’s summary of Bob Woodward’s book]:  “Frustrated with his military commanders for consistently offering only options that required significantly more troops, Obama finally crafted his own strategy, dictating a classified six-page ‘terms sheet’ that sought to limit U.S. involvement, Woodward reports in ‘Obama’s Wars,’ to be released on Monday.”  [Ensuring greater risks for America’s troops and, by ignoring his own crude advice, increasing the risks to civilians — check!]

[Per the NYT’s summary of Bob Woodward’s book]:  “Privately, he told Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to push his alternative strategy opposing a big troop buildup in meetings, and while Mr. Obama ultimately rejected it, he set a withdrawal timetable because, ‘I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.'”  [Putting party politics ahead of national security and troop safety — check!]

Hmm.  I have to say that, while I had high hopes for our articulate president, I just don’t see him winning in this rhetorical (and strategic combat).  As you can see, right out of the box, it’s clear that he really see the war as end to the jihad on American soil, especially because Americans can suffer with the best of them.  (A complete aside here, but that type of apathy has a remarkably inshallah tone to it, which really does help contribute to the notion that he’s a cultural Muslim.)

As our post competition analysis clearly shows, Obama also completely ignores his own crudely given and tactless advice, which was that you win a war by having boots on the ground.  And lastly, he puts party politics ahead of national victory, which just has to knock him down some points in this competition.

On other other hand, Winston Churchill has managed to hit all the major factors citizens look for in a war time leader:  he loves his country, he loves what it stands for, he expresses unswerving commitment to seeing the fight through to the end, and he’s willing to use all available resources to emerge from the battle victorious.

Comparing our competitors’ performance statistics, I have to conclude that, in this week’s match up of wartime commanders-in-chief, the clear winner is Winston Churchill.  Unfortunately, having been dead for several decades, Churchill is not available to accept his award.  Even more unfortunately, life’s not a game, and the sorry, apathetic, cowardly, lazy, ideologically driven Barack Obama is this nation’s real commander-in-chief.

(P.S.  For a more serious post contrasting Obama’s weak leadership to past leader’s, check out the Mudville Gazette.)

In 2010, we’ll finally see grown-ups in the voting booth

[How many people caught the fact that I put the wrong year in the post caption (2008, instead of 2010, which I’ve now written in)?  As I’m sure you’ve noticed before, I have problems with numbers.  This is why I’m not an economist.  What’s the excuse the Democrats have for their budget failures?]

The year 1920 marked the first time that American women got the vote in a federal election.  That same year, Warren Gamaliel Harding won the vote.  He was a disastrous president.  Although a very likable guy, even he knew that he was a dim bulb.  His presidency was marked by a level of corruption that America didn’t see again until the Clinton and Obama presidencies. Incidentally, women voted for him in droves.  He was the lady-killer candidate, the handsome man who wooed these women who, for the first time, could vote.

Just to tell you how times have changed, this was what 1920s “sexy” candidate looked like:

He wouldn’t sell well now, but he was hot, hot, hot back then.

The year 2008 marked the first time that America’s youth was galvanized to vote.  They too got the hot, hot, hot sexy candidate:

It wasn’t only the hitherto apathetic millenialists who voted.  Other people who had not previously taken their voting rights seriously — that would be minorities — also piled into the polling places.  As with the star-struck youngsters, minorities, even the more mature ones, didn’t think through the ramifications of an Obama presidency.  Instead, they voted for him because he was hot, hot, hot and black.

None of these new voters represented a thoughtful electorate.  They were, instead, committed to the electoral equivalent of a one night stand with the sexy quarterback.  And as most people discover after the one-night stand with the sexy quarterback, they’d been well and truly . . . well, you know.

Obama’s presidency, like Harding’s, has been a disaster.  It’s been marked by bad decisions (although we haven’t been as resilient as post WWI America, which was roaring through, not falling down), and exceptional degrees of corruption.

In both 1920 and 2008, the elections were marked by unusual frivolity.  The people who turned out to vote were new to the concept and they were not thinking seriously.  They were capable of serious thought — well, at least the women and older minorities were; I have my doubts about today’s untried, spoiled young people — but they didn’t bother.  They were excited and sex/race sold.

Of course, the morning after always arrives, and you have to take stock.  You can try to drown out that cheap, used feeling you have by behaving in exactly the same behavior in the hope of a different outcome; you can repent and try to undo the harm; or you can just slink away, pretend it never happened, and not do it again.

The 2010 election is going to be marked by the last two approaches.  The voters who could have been mature, and weren’t, have repented and will try to correct the situation.  The young’uns, the ones who were never serious, will fade into the woodwork and wait until they actually grow up before they vote again.  Pat Sajak puts it best:

I’m not what you’d call a Pollyanna. In fact, I’m pretty sure if something can go wrong, it will. As for the glass being half empty or half full, I not only come down on the half-empty side, I’m pretty certain there’s a crack in the bottom of the glass that will drain the whole thing dry. Despite all that, I’m growing more and more convinced that November’s elections will mark an extraordinarily important turning point in the relationship between the government and the governed, and not simply because the Democrats are likely to have their clocks cleaned. Despite the efforts of the Left and their cohorts in the press to paint their opponents as ignorant, hate-mongering racists, this is shaping up to be a serious election in which serious people are weighing serious issues. It’s not about slogans and personalities and trivialities; it’s about deficits and government power and the Constitution and the courts and scores of other important issues. In short, we’re about to have a grown-up election.

I know a shallow intellect when I see it — or why Obama’s carpet and Jan Brewer’s brain freeze are two sides of the same coin

When I was in high school, I developed a trick to make myself look smarter.  I learned the beginning of a few key quotations, all tied into the classical literary or historic canon.  At appropriate moments in a conversation, I’d start the quote, and then quickly trail off, as if I didn’t want to bore the listener with the whole thing.  That left the listener with the impression, completely untrue, that I actually knew the whole work from which the quotation was drawn.

“Well, of course he’s lazy.  It’s like ‘the lilies of the field’ all over again.  But you were saying?”

“I know, I know.  ‘To thine own self be true,’ and all that.  But isn’t it time that he began doing something for others?”

“Well, it’s like Dickens said:  ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’  Some people like what Obama’s doing better than others do.”

In each case, I left the impression that I was intimately acquainted with Christ’s sermons, Shakespeare’s plays, or Dickens’ lively prose.  I can do the same thing with Chaucer, Donne, Byron, Lincoln, etc.  I throw out a clause and then stop abruptly, leaving the quite false impression that there’s a depth of knowledge there.

Now that I’m older, I don’t actually play this game anymore.  It was a great trick when I was young, since it impressed older people.  I finally figured out, though, that it turned off my peers who knew, correctly, that I was being arrogant.  Being more mature has its virtues, some of which actually offset the wrinkles and gray hair.  Not engaging in cheap parlor tricks to create false impressions about my smarts is one of those time-learned virtues.

Which brings me around to Obama, of course.  As you’ve probably heard by now, his Oval Office remodel, in addition to reminding some (myself included) of generic conference rooms and hotel lobbies, has a major inaccuracy in it:  the specially designed carpet incorrectly attributes a quotation to Martin Luther King.  Martin Luther King did indeed say that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  The problem with the Oval Office carpet is that he didn’t originate those words.  Instead, Theodore Parker, an abolitionist who died on the eve of the Civil War, spoke those lovely words.

One could say that this is a small mistake, since the words are by now strongly associated with Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.  However, we’re not just talking about my making a mistake in a little conversation when I’m throwing my (false) intellectual weight around.  Instead, we’re talking memorializing language in a carpet, in the office of the most powerful man in the world.

Someone ought to have taken the time to do a little investigation to make sure that all was accurate.  Indeed, anyone with any depth of knowledge when it came to King should have been especially careful, since King was known to borrow words, both legitimately (as here, where he never claimed that Parker’s were his words, although he didn’t attribute them either) and illegitimately (as with his lifelong plagiarism problem).  King was a brilliant, brave and, where it counted, a moral man, but that doesn’t erase the historical fact that you’d better double-check to make sure that his words were always his own.

All of which leads Thomas Lifson to reach a few conclusions about Obama himself:

The error perfectly encapsulates the shallowness of Barack Obama’s intellect, and his lack of rigor. Obama is a man who accumulated academic credentials while giving no evidence whatsoever of achieving any depth. He was the only president of the Harvard Law Review to graduate without penning a signed article in that esteemed journal. His academic transcripts remain under lock and key, as do his academic papers.

For the sort of people like David Brooks of the New York Times, who are impressed by fancy degrees and a sharp crease in the trousers, Obama may appear to be the smartest ever occupant of the Oval Office. But, as the old joke goes, deep down, he is shallow. Underfoot, literally, there is woven into his background a prominent vein of phoniness.

For some reason or other, Obama has been able to skate through academia and politics without ever being seriously challenged to prove his depth. A simple veneer of glibness has been enough to win the accolades of the liberal intelligentsia. But now that he has actual responsibilities — including relatively trivial ones like custodianship of the inner sanctum of the presidency — his lack of substance keeps showing up in visible, embarrassing and troubling ways.

Yup. Been there, done that myself. But I outgrew it. He hasn’t.

Incidentally, you see the flip side of all of this with Jan Brewer’s paralyzing moment of silence during the debate.  Jan Brewer is not glib.  Instead, she is more of a Moses:

Then Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Exodus, 4:10)

I don’t think that anyone would argue that Moses’ slow speech meant that he had a slow intellect, lacked leadership abilities, or that he was ethically challenged. No one — at least no one who isn’t as shallow as a plate — would conflate moral heft or intelligence with glibness.  Oh, wait. I’m wrong. Everyone on the Left does exactly that.

To the Left, the fact that Obama reads well from the teleprompter and tosses around a few erudite phrases (and he has well-creased pants, per David Brooks) means, ipso facto, that the man must be a genius. (And since I’m a lawyer, I do get to throw around the phrase ipso facto with a certain professional aplomb.)  Who cares that he has a blank record when it comes to actual proof of intelligence, common sense, practical abilities or moral compass?

And about Jan Brewer?  Forget her effective time as governor, and the brave and moral stance she’s taken on behalf of Arizonans (and other Americans) by standing up to the federal government for its refusal to enforce its own laws.  If you’re a Progressive, the fact that she suffered a momentary brain freeze means she’s obviously an idiot, as are all the people who look past the words and into her depths, and who support her on account of the latter qualities, not the former.

As I said at the top of this post, I know a shallow intellect when I see it.

Yes, I miss him *UPDATED*

On the one hand, we have a little man (figuratively speaking), sitting at a big, empty desk, speaking in deadened tones and flat words, as his eyes roam relentlessly back and forth between his teleprompter, desperately avoiding the single word that so aptly sums up American bravery and sacrifice:  Victory!

And on the other hand, we once had this:

I started appreciating George Bush on September 11, 2001, and came to respect him greatly in the intervening years.  And boy, do I miss him now.  He didn’t always do things with which I agreed, but he was always, always, a person of great integrity, decency, patriotism and personal warmth.  All of that shows in the speech above.

Hat tip:  Commentary’s post about Obama’s anticipated absence from Ground Zero on 9/11 this year.

UPDATE:  Turns out I’m not the only one feeling nostalgic for President Bush today.  Heck, Obama is so bad, some are even feeling nostalgic for Clinton.

When the policeman goes away — or what happens when a big nation retreats

In 1989, when it became clear that the former Soviet Union could no longer stop the spread of Democracy in the Eastern Bloc countries, many of us naively assumed that a new dawn of peace and harmony was about to arrive.  We envisioned lions and lambs frolicking together, all bedecked in dewy flowers.  What actually happened, of course, was that Central Europe exploded.  It turned out that one of the benefits of Soviet dominance was that the Soviets squashed traditional tribal rivalries that used to send those nations into periodic convulsions.  Without the strong arm of the Soviets, ethnic and religious warfare broke out with nice historic ferocity.

Although we didn’t like the former Soviet Union, which was a brutal totalitarian dictatorship, its fall did remind us that a superpower is often times useful to keep the peace.   You and I learned that lesson.  The Ivory Tower Obamites clearly did not.

Obama’s first act upon moving in to the White House was to retreat.  He retreated everywhere he could.  In the former Eastern Bloc, when he abandoned allies; in the Middle East, when he abandoned allies; and in Latin America, when he abandoned allies.  As if the years 1989 through 1994 had never happened, he blithely assumed that, with the withdrawal of a bullying superpower (because that, quite obviously, is how Obama views the nation he leads), the lion and lamb would frolic together, bedecked in dewy flowers.

What’s happening, of course, is precisely what happened when the Soviet Union retreated:  long simmering discords, held in check only by a super power’s presence, are coming to the fore.  Putin is bullying and killing left and right, both within his borders and in countries that were formerly part of the Russian republic, while Chavez is bullying and killing left and right within his own borders, and is working hard to destabilize democratic regimes within Latin America and to ally himself with Islamists and Communists outside of Latin America.

And then there’s Iran.  It got the green light from Obama to savage its own citizens and to build a bomb that it manifestly intends to use for two reasons:  (a) to destroy Israel; and (b) to become the Super Power in the Middle East.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are aware of what Iran’s goals are in the absence of the U.S.’s strong hand.  And as I long ago predicted, they are joining forces, according to the old dictum that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  They may hate and fear each other, but they hate and fear Iran more.  It remains to be seen whether Israel really is setting up a functional military base in Saudi Arabia, capable of strikes against Iran, or if this is just an elaborate feint, intended to scare Iran into retreat.  Either way, it’s interesting to see how nations are struggling to fill the vacuum America behind left when Obama unilaterally retreated.

The official Bookworm statement on the whole McChrystal/Obama/Petraeus affair *UPDATED*

I feel I should say something, so I will.  Being me, of course, what I say will be discursive.

Re McChrystal:  An excellent general who didn’t hit it off with Obama from the git-go (blame lies, I believe, with Obama), and who failed utterly in the diplomatic discretion category — something that’s true whether you regard the revelations in Rolling Stone as big deals or little ones.  Was the latter a firing offense?  I don’t know.  It depends on how the Commander in Chief chooses to handle it.  Which leads me to Obama….

Re ObamaAs I noted earlier, Obama is either apathetic or agitated.  One of the things about which he’s never been sufficiently agitated is the war in Afghanistan.  Sure, he didn’t pull out immediately, but his initial decisions to announce a withdrawal time table and to refuse to meet with McChrystal until McChrystal was forced to use the media against Obama (something that probably created a bad precedent in terms of McChrystal’s ideas about using the military to achieve his goals) show that he never gave a flying whatsit about American troops trying to win against Muslim jihadists.

On the other side of the scale, the things that do agitate Obama include the Joos; attempts to stop potential new Democratic party voters from sneaky in over the border and sparking crime waves; and offenses to his dignity.  McChrystal committed the latter crime.  Obama could have glossed the whole thing over, downplaying McChrystal’s errors (as he’s done with every one of his other appointees) or he could have done what he did, which is to fire McChrystal for having hurt his feelings.  The only way to come out smelling like a rose from letting his ego lead was for Obama to have appointed someone better than McChrystal.  Which leads me to Petraeus….

Re Petraeus:  When Obama was a Senator, he denigrated Petraeus’ task and, by his behavior, Petraeus himself.  Petraeus, however, is the real deal when it comes to counterinsurgency, and I can’t think of a better person to try his hand at Afghanistan.  Peter Wehner spells out Petraeus’ virtues:

General Petraeus is the man who, more than any other single individual, turned around the war in Iraq. It was a nation on the brink of civil war when he was named commanding general there — and today it is a nation on the mend. That is the result of many hands and many hearts — but no single individual is more responsible for what happened in Iraq than Petraeus. In addition, General Petraeus literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency, having authored the Army’s manual on the subject. Petraeus, then, is both the intellectual architect of our COIN strategy and its best practitioner.

Beyond that, Petraeus — like McChrystal before him — has the confidence of President Karzai, which U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and National Security Adviser Jim Jones (among others) do not. He understands, unlike others in the Obama White House, that the way to deal with someone like Karzai is to support him in public and make demands of him in private. Nouri al-Maliki was no walk on the beach, either; but Petraeus, along with Ambassador Ryan Crocker, dealt with him extremely skillfully, holding him close while moving him along the right path.

What is also significant is that Petraeus has the confidence of our troops because of what he has achieved. He is not only a respected figure; he is very nearly legendary among them. The troops in Afghanistan will treat him as college basketball players would treat Mike Krzyzewski, if he took over another basketball program. There is instant trust, instant credibility, and instant confidence. And that matters.

I wish Petraeus every bit of luck available to him.  Combine that luck with his skills and intellect, apply all those to the best military in the world, and there might be a good outcome here (including Obama being able to back down from his withdrawal timetable while still saving face).

Conclusion:  Obama first seeded the lemons, starting with his long-ago refusal to take either General McChrystal or the Afghanistan war serious.  He harvested the lemons when he elected to let his ego lead in what could have been a down-played, and therefore negligible, situation.  And he managed to create lemonade by replace McChrystal with only the best general out there.  Let’s hope the best general chews up Afghanistan, rather than vice versa.

(Just FYI, The Anchoress has a stellar round-up of responses to the whole saga.)

UPDATE:  Bruce Kesler, who understands more about what’s going on than I ever could, is pleased okay with Petraeus’ appointment, but would have preferred General Mattis.  Blackfive thinks the timing of this whole thing is more than a little suspicious.  (The first story will make you happy sanguine; the second, angry.)

UPDATE II:  Was Obama just trying to keep Petraeus out of the 2012 race?  I doubt it.  For one thing, that’s two years ahead, and a lot can change between now and then.  For another thing, I have it on good authority that Petraeus is saying right now, with a straight face, that he’s not running.  If this is preemptive action, it’s really preemptive.  Sometimes a cigar is just a smoke.

My sense is that Petraeus genuinely doesn’t want to run.  It’s a lousy job, and Petraeus isn’t an egotist.  He is, however, a patriot.  If he feels that America truly needs his unique skills, Afghanistan will be the smallest part of the U.S.’s problems, and he’ll run regardless.

About the Gulf spill

The Gulf spill has shown Obama at his feckless worst.  Or, perhaps, its shown him at his Machiavellian best, using passive aggressive behavior to destroy big oil entirely.  I mean, after this mess, who’s going to want to drill anywhere at all?

The Gulf spill is an environmental disaster (or opportunity), but am I the only one who is also concerned with the sheer waste?  I mean, considering that everyone keeps telling us world oil supplies are vanishing, why does no one seem to be fussing about the fact that millions of gallons are simply being dispersed into nowhere?  This kind of waste offends my thrifty soul, and is another reason why Obama should be soundly castigated for his inability to do anything but convene commissions and, as the wonderful Mark Steyn demonstrates, make arid, disconnected speeches:

What was it all the smart set said about Bush? Lazy and uncurious? Had Obama or his speechwriters chanced upon last week’s fishwrap, they might have noticed that I described the president as “the very model of a modern major generalist,” and they might have considered whether it might not be time to try something new. For example, he could have demonstrated, as he and his energy secretary (whoops, Nobel Prize–winning energy secretary) have so signally failed to do, an understanding of what is actually happening 5,000 feet underwater and why it’s hard to stop. Instead, lazy and uncurious, this is what the Technocratic Mastermind offered: “Just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge — a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize–winning physicist and our nation’s secretary of energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

“As a result of these efforts, we’ve directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology.”

Excellent. The president directed his Nobel Prize–winning Head of Meetings to assemble a meeting to tackle the challenge of mobilizing the assembling of the tackling of the challenge of mobilization, at the end of which they directed BP to order up some new tackle and connect it to the thingummy next to the whachamacallit. Thank you, Mr. President. That and $4.95 will get you a venti oleaginato at Starbucks.

A tribute to Obama

Long before Obama appeared on the scene, we’ve all commented here (and I’ve written at some length) about the amazing parallelism between the Harry Potter world and the real world when it comes to the Western world’s approach to Islamic terrorism.  There was almost an artistic perfection to the fact that, when Obama became president, his administration deleted “Islamic terrorism” from all national security documents.  This perfectly (and frighteningly) paralleled the wizarding world’s decision to refer to Voldemart as “he who must not be named.”  As the brilliant Hermoine pointed out, you cannot fight an enemy you refuse to name.

The above is old news to Bookworm Room readers.  Reader Lulu, however, hasn’t stopped thinking about President Obama and the Harry Potter series.  She realized that J.K. Rowling not only anticipated the Jihad now being actively waged against the West, she also wrote Obama into her books:

(For those of you unfamiliar with the books, you’ll be interested to know that, not only was Gilderoy Lockhart a vain poseur, he was also a fake, utterly lacking in magical skills.)

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Yesterday, White House officials were telling Jake Tapper that Obama would support Israel.  Any minute moments of hope I cherished that the administration actually meant what it said were swiftly dashed.  This is Obama’s version of support:

The Obama administration considers Israel’s blockade of Gaza to be untenable and plans to press for another approach to ensure Israel’s security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area, senior American officials said Wednesday.

The officials say that Israel’s deadly attack on a flotilla trying to break the siege and the resulting international condemnation create a new opportunity to push for increased engagement with the Palestinian Authority and a less harsh policy toward Gaza.

As is this:

President Barack Obama said Thursday that the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip was “tragic”, but he stopped short of condemning the actions of Israeli forces.

While Obama said the deaths of nine people were unnecessary, he said the U.S. wants to wait for “an investigation of international standards” to determine the facts. Israel, he said, should agree to such an investigation.

“They recognize that this can’t be good for Israel’s long-term security,” Obama said in an interview with CNN’s Larry King airing Thursday night.

Just so you know, even though the Obama administration seems to have misunderstood the facts on the ground, there is a good reason for the blockade:

Hezbollah in Lebanon, which shares a land border with Syria and is not under blockade, has a gigantic arsenal of rockets and missiles, more than most governments in the Middle East, and that arsenal includes missiles that can reach every single inch of Israeli territory, including Jerusalem, downtown Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport, and the Dimona nuclear power plant. The next war between Israel and Hezbollah will likely mean missiles, artillery shells, and payloads from air strikes will explode all over the Eastern Mediterranean, making last year’s small war in Gaza look even smaller.

Hamas has a relatively tiny arsenal of crude rockets, but if the Gaza Strip were not under military blockade, it could acquire whatever weapons Syria and Iran felt like sending by ship. Gaza could bristle with as many destructive projectiles as Hezbollah has. Food and medicines are allowed into the Strip already, so the most significant difference between Gaza now and a Gaza without a blockade will be the importation of weapons and war material.

More Israelis would be likely to die during the ensuing hostilities, and an even larger number of Palestinians would be likely to die when Israel fights back harder against a better armed and more dangerous adversary.

And again, let me remind everyone (although I know Obama isn’t listening to little ol’ me), the blockade blocks weapons, not anything else.

Having now gotten a glimpse at Obama’s “support,” I have to ask:  What the Hell does life look like if you’re on Obama’s enemies list, rather than receiving his “support”?  Does he come in the night and flay you alive while robotically reciting his boring, pompous meaningless speeches?  I’m no longer pretending that Obama is inept, or misguided, or stupid, although I think he is all those things.  I’m convinced he is evil, as only a true antisemite can be.

It’s a sad day when the only person in a presidential administration making any sense and showing any signs of human decency is Joe Biden, who really stepped up and said the right thing this time:

“I think Israel has an absolute right to deal with its security interest. I put all this back on two things: one, Hamas, and, two, Israel’s need to be more generous relative to the Palestinian people who are in trouble in Gaza,” Biden said, according to a transcript of the interview, in which he went on to discuss Hamas’s control of Gaza:

“[The Israelis have] said, ‘Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship–if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza.’ So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight–3,000 rockets on my people,’ ” Biden said.

Kudos to Biden.  He’s not right often, but when he’s right, he lands it square in the middle of the target.

To clear your brain from the miasma that is Obama-think, please read Michael Oren’s op-ed, which the New York Times at least had the decency to publish.

The soft life in America has sucked the brains out of American Jews *UPDATED*

American Jews supported Barack Obama in numbers second only to American Blacks.  They still support Obama.  This is because the soft life in America has sucked out their brains.  How else can one explain that they continue to support him despite things like this:

Washington’s unprecedented backing for a UN resolution for a nuclear-free Middle East that singles out Israel has both angered and deeply worried the Jewish state although officials are cagey about openly criticising their biggest ally.

The resolution adopted by the United Nations on Friday calls on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and urges it to open its facilities to inspection.

It also calls for a regional conference in 2012 to advance the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, with around 200 warheads, but has maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its capabilities since the mid-1960s.

The document, which singles out Israel but makes no mention of Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, drew a furious reaction from the Jewish state who decried it as “deeply flawed and hypocritical.”

But it was US backing for the resolution which has caused the most consternation among Israeli officials and commentators, who interpreted the move as “a resounding slap around the face” which has dealt a very public blow to Israel’s long-accepted policy of nuclear ambiguity.

Publicly, the Israel government has not criticised the US position but privately, officials expressed deep disappointment over the resolution, which Washington backed despite intensive Israeli efforts to block it.

According to the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “furious with the Obama administration for having failed to prevent the resolution from passing… and for choosing to support it.”

Read the rest here.  I knew this was coming down the pike, but I’m still shocked to see it actually happening.  One wants to shake these foolish, ostensibly sophisticated American Jews and say, “Enough with your misplaced intellectual arrogance.  Bush may have said ‘nuculer,’ but Obama says ‘corpse-man’ — and, worse, much worse, he will destroy Israel despite the fake sophistication you keep pinning on a man with an empty brain and a Marxist, antisemitic heart.”

I continue to believe that Obama will be a one term president, but I’m hoping one term is short enough to keep him from destroying the Jewish nation.

UPDATE:  I guess Jews like this answer my rhetorical question about Jews’ willingness to support the American president who is trying to destroy Israel.

Words, words, words! I’m so sick of Obama’s words.

For someone who is supposedly the most adept president at speechifying since FDR, Obama is a bombastic blowhard, whose occasional forays into real speech reveal ugly things about his thinking.  Mark Steyn describes Obama’s linguistic approach:

Like those of many great “thinkers,” words for Barack Obama and his coterie seem to exist mostly in the realm of metaphor rather than as descriptors of actual action actually occurring in anything so humdrum as reality.

And so it is that, even as his bungling administration flounders in the turbulent waters of the Gulf, on the speaker’s podium the president still confidently sails forth deftly steering the ship through the narrow ribbon of sludge between the Scylla of sonorous banality and the Charybdis of gaseous uplift.

The Left will never abandon the U.S.S. Obama *UPDATED*

With increasing frequency, we hear reports about the Left’s growing disaffection with Obama.  The media, for example, is hostile to the fact that Obama doesn’t even bother to hide his disdain for them.  This is not just media pique resulting from unreasonably high expectations.  Obama is quite explicit about his unwillingness to have anything to do with the media that elevated him to the White House.  There is no better example than his walking away from questions after signing the Press Freedom Act:

“Speaking of press freedoms,” began Chip Reid of CBS before launching into a question about the Gulf Coast oil spill.

Obama didn’t bite.

“You are free to ask them,” Obama said. “I’m not doing a press conference today.”

It was only the severity of the Oil spill that finally caused Obama to break his self-imposed silence.  His dismal performance, of course, helped explain why he kept himself sequestered for almost an entire year.

And speaking of that spill, although the press tried to cover for him in the first few days, refusing to acknowledge that his response made George Bush look like a whirlwind of activity in the wake of Katrina, people are getting pretty jaded now.  Even James Carville found himself unable to hold back regarding the White House’s abysmal efforts.

The angry drum beat goes on when it comes to reports of despair from Obama’s most devoted followers:  American Jews.  Jews, whose support for Obama in 2008 was exceeded only by blacks’ support for Obama, have watched him use Israel as his whipping boy.  They are slowly coming to terms with two facts:  First, it was a lie that reducing support for Israel would decrease Muslim hostility to America.  Those of us who understand the Muslim response to strong and weak horses, were not at all surprised to learn that, rather than making Muslims more friendly to us, it simply allowed them to view America as a weak horse, ready for any jackal.  Second, it is apparent that Obama does not like Jewish Jews.  He’s comfortable around Jews who have elevated their Leftist political beliefs over their Jewish identity, but real Jews — yech.

Gays are not happy with Obama either.  Although there now appears to be some movement on repealing DADT, it took a year and a half of angry agitating to make it happen.  And even now, DADT’s opponents understand that the Democrats and Obama built into the bill a loop-hole that still allows the military to put the kibosh on the whole thing.  What the military eventually does remains to be seen, but those who want DADT dumped into history’s trash heap do not appreciate that, with Obama, a promise is not a promise, it’s just a political maneuver.

Obama’s anti-war constituency is also not pleased.  After all, this is a president whose pre-election statements were as anti-War as could be.  He opposed the war every step of the way, and was open in his hostility to the military.  Even now that he’s Commander in Chief of that same military, his hostility and disrespect continue unabated.  Still, despite his statements and his attitude, he not only has troops in Iraq, he’s escalating the war in Afghanistan.  The anti-War crowd feels abandoned and they’re out for blood.

On immigration too, Obama is worrying his followers.  Sure he insulted the Arizona law (so much easier than actually reading the law), and sure he’s made noises about immigration reform, but the only thing he’s actually done is to announce that he’s sending 1,200 National Guard troops down south to patrol the border.  People who appreciate that our Southern border is a vast sieve understand that the 1,200 troops are a meaningless political sop.  With that announcement, though, Obama still managed to infuriate the Open Borders crowd, who see any American presence on the border as a betrayal.

I mention all these stories of liberal disaffection because each time one breaks, I get emails from people or read blog posts and comments that have the same message:  This is it.  The worm is turning.  People will realize that Obama is completely ineffective and a faker, and they will break with him.  To which I say, NEVER!

You have to think of this administration as the U.S.S. Obama.  Back in 2008, when he was elected, the media and the rest of the Left assumed that they’d get first class cabins on the U.S.S. Obama, as it made its light-filled journey to a glorious beach at the Socialist Shores Resort.  They saw it all in their own minds:  They’d be enjoying shuffle board and Cosmos on the Lido Deck, as conservatives swam in the boat’s wake, trying to avoid becoming shark chum.

The media and the Left are now terribly upset (especially the media) because they’re not enjoying luxurious Progressive suites with view windows and private decks.  Instead, they’ve found themselves banished to steerage on the U.S.S. Obama.  The quarters are pathetic, the captain refuses to dine with them, and the ship’s crew is ineffectual and often corrupt.

Despite these travails, however, no one is going to jump ship.  It may have turned into what their delicate sensibilities perceive as “the cruise from Hell,” but they still know that this is a ship heading to the golden shores of socialism.  Their philosophy is that there is no way are they going to abandon their rat-infested cabins and join the conservatives who are still swimming along behind, periodically making a hungry shark happy.   What matters to them isn’t the journey itself, it’s Journey’s End.  They have faith that, if they remain on board, the ship’s disrepair, the down grade in their accommodations, and the crew’s corruption, inefficiency and lies will do nothing to stop the U.S.S. Obama’s inevitable trajectory.

UPDATE:  Here’s a sweet little example of the media love affair gone sour — but please don’t confuse it with an impulse to mutiny or abandon ship.

“Red, white and blue, we spit on you”

I thought you’d like to see the face of some of Barack Obama’s most ardent supporters, shown here in San Francisco on the occasion of Obama’s visit to raise funds for Boxer (a visit clearly more important than visiting the beleaguered Gulf Coast, with that “damn hole“):

For more on what Bay Area Tea Partiers faced when they went to encourage Democrats to cut spending and taxing, go here.

Sitting on my spindle *UPDATED*

For the past two days, I’ve been gathering links that I’ve meant to use in stand-alone posts.  That’s clearly not going to happen, though, so let me pass the links onto you, in the hope that you find them as interesting as I did.

Here’s something of a public service announcement:  if you post your phone number in Facebook, your phone number has suddenly become public property.  Please be careful.

Has Sarah Palin acquired a stalker or a legitimate journalist?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Elvis Costello joins the ranks of useful idiots to boycott Israel.  One Israeli politely takes him to task for his ignorance and inhumanity.

Much as the press loves Obama, Obama does not love the press.  They’ll never abandon his ship, though.  Even if they have unexpectedly found themselves traveling in steerage, when they thought they’d booked first class accommodations, he’s still taking them to their socialist port of choice.

Have other presidents blown off Memorial Day?  Even if they have, it still isn’t as tacky as Obama’s having done so, because no other president has ever shown such manifest disdain and disrespect for the American military.  This isn’t a one-off.  It’s a package deal of giving the middle finger to the troops he commands.  [UPDATE:  At American Thinker, they get it.]

Heather MacDonald points to the Emperor’s Nakedness:  all the huffing and puffing about the Arizona law hides the fact that Democrats desperately don’t want to enforce border security.  They will willingly watch terrorists sneak into the country, they will watch drug dealers destroy our cities, they will see masses of immigrants ruin our economy — all before they will give up the possibility of millions of new Democratic party-line voters.

If you live in North Carolina’s Second District, you should find interesting this interview with Republican candidate Renee Ellmers, another woman who found politics through the Tea Parties.

Nihilism and, inevitably, anarchy.  Is that the world’s future?  In a post-Judeo-Christian world, Dennis Prager thinks it may well be.  America used to be the single brake against this trend, but Obama’s America has jumped upon the bandwagon.

I have no idea why it’s a surprise to learn that, the more government spends, the more businesses retrench rather than joining the spending party.  Business people understand what liberal policy wonks don’t:  all that spending has to be paid for by taxes; all those taxes suck money out of the economy; and an economy with no money is a perilous business environment.  The fact that it took a scholarly study to figure this one out tells us just how removed from reality the Ivory Tower crowd is.  [UPDATE:  Just wanted to add one more thing.  I’m reading Jaques Barzun’s The Culture We Deserve for my (conservative) reading group.  I’m only two essays in, but he’s already explained perfectly why I loathed the liberal arts program at UC Berkeley when I was a student there in the very early 1980s.  I’ve always been a member of the true reality-based community.  I therefore never had the stomach for the artificiality of academia.  People don’t live in petri dishes.  They live in the real world, with real problems and, most importantly, real cause and effect.]

Great.  The EPA is planning on managing plants in Texas.  This should go well (see my previous paragraph).

The two types of Jews — and their support for Obama

Robin of Berkeley hits a home run — actually, she hits it right out of the park — in this post explaining the two different types of Jews who support Barack Obama.  One type is the type I used to be, an unthinking liberal, who actually loves America and strongly supports Israel.  The other type of Jews is a hardcore Leftist who is Jewish in Name Only (a JINO?).  It is important to understand the distinction, so that you can understand who and what Obama is, and where “Jews” or, rather JINOs, fit in the grand scheme of things.

A Memorial Day tribute

It’s not Memorial Day yet, but it’s time to start thinking about it, and this beautiful video, by wordsmith at Flopping Aces, is a good place to start.  Be prepared with a hankie, though, ’cause you’ll need it.

I just want to add one thing now that you’ve spent a few minutes thinking about the great sacrifice our troops and their families are willing to make on behalf of all Americans (no matter how ungrateful some of those Americans are).  When watching a video such as this one, context matters greatly.  When people who support the military and their efforts — people like Mike — put together a video like this one, there is a reverence underlying it.  Those who make this video, and those who watch this video, do so with the greatest respect for those who are willing to put their patriotism on the line.  These men and women don’t just talk about American exceptionalism; they live it.

This is a far cry from the body counts that the Left loves (body counts that, interestingly enough, ahem, vanished completely upon Obama’s inauguration).  The Left sees the troops as killers or fools, who are willing or unwitting tools of America’s evil imperialism.  Their “homages” to troop deaths are not premised on gratefulness but are, instead, political hit pieces intended to show that the blood of the dead is on our leader’s hands.  Except, apparently, when that leader is Obama.  The media gives every indication of believing that Obama has perfected the trick of leading the troops into battle, but having no responsibility for their deaths.

Two presidents in their milieus — and how photos can lie *UPDATED/CORRECTED*

Presidents get photographed hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of time.  Each photograph captures a mere moment.  Some are flattering; some less so.  Many, however, go on to become iconic.

My generation, the 1970s generation, is deeply imprinted with this photo of Richard Nixon flashing the victory sign:


Then there is this 1932 photograph of FDR, which exemplified the buoyant self-confidence that was so attractive to frightened Americans during a shatteringly deep depression:


As a counterpoint to Roosevelt’s jaunty assurance, I kind of like this picture of Barack Obama, caught unawares [UPDATE:  FunkyPhD clues me in to something I didn’t know — the photo is a fake.  I’ll keep it here, but add another immediately after of Obama smoking, just to keep the balance.  Incidentally, while the newly added photo is old, the fact is that Obama can’t seem to kick the habit.]:



Frankly, whether one looks at the doctored photo or the genuine one, each freezes just a moment in time, but both seem to capture so completely the essence of the man (or lack of essence, if you will).

Steve Schippert, who writes at Threats Watch, stumbled across a couple of photos that seem to get to the heart of Bush and Obama, by showing each man in a milieu in which he clearly connects with his audience. The photos make a lovely matched set (and don’t I love those matched sets?) because each is informal and, in each, the President holds a bullhorn, reaching out to his audience.

The first photo shows George Bush, at Ground Zero with rescue workers, shortly after 9/11:


It is, in its own small way, another iconic moment.  9/11 was the turning point in Bush’s presidency and, for at least 8 years, in America’s relationship with the world.  Bush connected deeply with middle America, the America of people with traditional values and a reverence for American exceptionalism.  This is not a chauvinism that demands the degradation of other nations.  It is simply a recognition that we are what we are — and we like it. And the rest of the world hated Bush for his unreserved love for and protective feelings towards America.

The second photo shows Barack Obama, also with a bullhorn, speaking to adoring multitudes in Kenya:


He looks so pleased and comfortable.  This crowd that unabashedly loves him.  They don’t care where he was born, they don’t ask about his grades, they aren’t worried about his past associations, they don’t look askance at his slender employment record dotted with promotions that appeared to be due to connections, not merit.  The picture captures perfectly a mindset that the American media sold to American voters in 2008:  Out in the world, away from America, Obama doesn’t have to prove himself.  He just is.  He’s Obama.

But things are never that simple, are they?  As Obama seeks world peace by cuddling up to bad actors in an effort to disarm them (think Chamberlain and Hitler), people of good will around the world are getting worried.  Certainly Poland and the Czech Republic have reason to fear; Israel fears; South Korea fears; everyone within rocket or suitcase range of Iran fears; Venezuela’s neighbors fear — this is a man who prefers the peace of the grave to the hurly-burly of freedom.

The world is realizing that it’s not enough just to “be Obama.”  The cowboy insult bestowed on Bush might have been an unwitting compliment.  After all, it was Bush who was willing to ride into town and, at great risk to himself, clean up the bad guys.

The Kenyan image of Obama is especially ironic, because Africans and other people concerned about Africa are waking up to the fact that it was George Bush, whitest of white presidents, not Barack Obama, sort-of-black poster boy, who was a real friend to that imperiled continent.

Your quote for the day

J.C. Arenas on the laundry list of qualifications for Obama’s Supreme Court picks:

Obama’s first Supreme Court appointment was Sonia Sotomayor, the Bronx-bred daughter of Puerto Rican parents, who supposedly was a valedictorian student with a deficiency in English and become an Ivy-League educated jurist credited with saving Major League Baseball.

Now we have Elena Kagan, the granddaughter of immigrants, who as Dean of Harvard Law, introduced the concepts of civil debate, a faculty lounge, free coffee and tampons.

If this woman has some legitimate qualifications to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, I hope they are presented soon; otherwise I’m going to have a win a year supply of Laffy Taffy to find a bigger joke.

The word “mediocrity” springs to mind.  So does the story Harrison Bergeron.

Obama is setting Israel up for a terrible fall *UPDATED*

Never assume stupidity when malevolence can apply — words that aptly characterize the Obama administration’s approach to Israel.  Evelyn Gordon takes a look at the new “proximity” talks between Israel and the Palestinians, talks that no one expects to yield any results.   After all, the predicate is that the Obama administration has made demands only on Israel, and no demands whatsoever on the Palestinians.  One bar is set impossibly high, and the other bar . . . well, there is no other bar.  That contestant just gets to sit on the sidelines and sip daiquiris.  So why go through this charade?

Because currently, Obama lacks both public and congressional support for moving beyond mere verbal hostility. If he didn’t realize this before, the backlash to his March temper tantrum over Ramat Shlomo would certainly have convinced him.

So he needs to up the ante by painting Israel’s government as responsible for torpedoing a key American foreign-policy initiative — one he has repeatedly framed as serving both a vital American national interest and a vital Israeli one. He could then argue not only that Israel deserves punishment but that such punishment would actually serve Israel’s interests.

To avoid this trap, Jerusalem must launch its own PR campaign in America now to put the focus back where it belongs: on Palestinian unwillingness to accept a Jewish state. For if Israel lets Obama control the narrative, the public and congressional support on which it depends may be irretrievably undermined.

UPDATE: As a companion piece to the above, I recommend Daniel Pipes on the only precondition that matters.

The new Iranian world player — and the president who denies there’s a game afoot

From James Lewis’ must-read article today about the effect of Iran’s ICBM’s (which it has spread throughout the Middle East) and its future nuclear arsenal:

Mahmoud Ahmadijenad is the aggressive chess player behind all these missiles surrounding Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Iranian strategy has been to move its missile assets closer and closer to its enemies, including Israel, the American military in the Gulf and Iraq, and the Sunni Arab Gulf states. By 2015, Iran is predicted to have ICBMs that can reach Europe and the United States in less than a half-hour. On automatic standby, those missiles reduce the warning period to such short durations that no human being can make a rational decision. Automatic missiles require automatic defenses, but that also raises the danger of automatic escalation.

Israel is only the most obvious domino. The Tehran regime has had its eyes on Saudi oil and the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina for thirty years. There is no limit to their ambitions for conquest. That’s what they say in so many words.

The Europeans are getting really scared, as they should be. Sunni Arab nations have been anxious about Iranian imperialism for years. The Russians are playing it both ways, but they just put down a massive Islamist revolt in Chechnya with extreme violence, they recently suffered a major terror attack in Moscow, and they have fought Muslim invaders for more than five hundred years. The Russian Orthodox Church (of which Putin is supposed to be member), has been shaped by 1,300 years of struggle with Islam, ever since the Byzantine Empire. Moscow was historically the successor capital to Byzantium after the latter was destroyed by Muslim invaders. Russians have the fear of Muslim jihad in their genes.

Only Obama’s America isn’t worried. In fact, Obama has mentally flipped the source of danger, as Leftists always do, by blaming the victim. Israel has been told, in effect, that the United States will not help defend it unless it surrenders its defensive buffer area on the West Bank and the Golan Heights. That means that Israel’s civilian population will be within reach, not only of IRBMs and cruise missiles, but of more primitive rockets and mortars. Hamas and Hezb’allah, not to mention Iran and Syria, have never left any doubt of their intentions once they have the Israelis at their mercy.

Israel is only the first in line. As you can see, Iran is poised against everything and everybody. But because Israel is first in line, the Left controlling each of Iran’s targets (other than Saudi Arabia), is pretending that Israel is the only target.  This joke perfectly describes the Obama/Europe/Russia view:

Two men, while out hiking, are surprised by a very angry bear.  As they instinctively take off running, one man says, “Hey, we can’t outrun a bear!”  To which the other man replies, “I don’t need to outrun the bear.  I just need to outrun you.”

Outrunning the other victim is a sound strategy, I guess, if you know you won’t be seeing that bear anymore.  It’s a fool’s game, however, when the bear isn’t going to go away, and it’s starting to look awfully hungry again.

Obama bails on African AIDS

Whenever it comes to mentioning presidential policy, this New York Times article about the collapse of AIDS care in Africa is studiously neutral.  Read between the lines (and make it almost to the end of the article), though, and you’ll see the truth peek out:  Bush, the quintessential “white man,” helped Africa enormously, while Obama, the self-identified “black man” on the census form, is abandoning African AIDS.

‘Nuff said.  The irony meter is clanging loudly.

B Hussein O tries his first coup

Am I suffering from historical amnesia, or is this the first time in American history that an administration has made a coup attempt against an ally?

The administration of President Barack Obama has launched what officials termed a psychological warfare campaign meant to topple Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Sources in the Obama Administration and the US Congress have confirmed to the Middle East Newsline that the White House and State Department have sought to destabilize Netanyahu’s government by forcing him to agree to an indefinite freeze on Jewish construction in areas taken by Israel in the wake of the 1967 war as well as the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2012. They said the campaign sought to replace Netanyahu with opposition leader and former foreign minister Tsipi Livni.

“Bibi is extremely vulnerable to pressure,” a source familiar with the White House effort said. “We know this from his first term in office and believe he will collapse this time as well.”

The sources said the administration’s strategy aimed to delegitimize Netanyahu in his government and right-wing constituency. They said Obama and his aides have sought to portray Netanyahu as a weak and unstable politician who will destroy relations with Washington as Israel seeks U.S. support for a military option against Iran.

“There seems to be a general belief in the circle around the president that the democratically-elected government in Israel is drunk at the wheel,” Steven Rosen, a veteran pro-Israeli lobbyist now with the Middle East Forum, said. “They clearly will use pressure tactics to bring Israel around.”

If you have the stomach for it, you should read the rest here.

I’m not up to the task of commenting, especially since I have some carpooling to do.  But I will say that this is one of those rare moments where I thought an emesis basin might be a necessary accompaniment to my reading.

Does Obama even bother to listen to himself?

A brief history:  Obama promised that the health care debate was so important, it would be carried on C-SPAN.  That did not happen.  Obama promised that any proposed bill on health care would be placed on a website for public comment far in advance of the vote.  That did not happen.  Obama promised that he would wait at least 72 hours (is that right?) before signing any health care bill into law.  That did not happen.

What did happen was that Nancy Pelosi promised that the only way to learn about what was in the bill was to pass it, a reasonable promise given the number of congressmen who conceded that they personally had no idea what was in the 2000+ page monstrosity for which they voted.  In sum, our Democratic government took over 1/6 of the American economy without public input, without debate, and without even any idea of what it was doing.

Congress is now trying to take over Wall Street.  If Congress was merely trying to impose a “few rules but unbreakable” (a quote from one of my favorite books) in order to keep Wall Street honest, I’d be there.  But this is a Democratic initiative, so that’s not what’s going on.

What’s going on, instead, is political grandstanding along with some power grabs and market control.  You and I won’t be benefiting any time soon, but it could prove very costly and damaging to the vitality of the American marketplace.

The Republicans, having figured out that Obama legislation invariably means wasted money and increased government control (i.e. less individual freedom), is refusing to be pushed into a rushed decision on something so important.  Obama is irate.  And this is what an irate Obama says:

“The American people deserve an honest debate on this bill,” Obama told the crowd. “You should not have to have to wait one more day.”

Obama said Senate Republicans “unanimously blocked efforts to even being debating reform.”

“They won’t let it [the bill] get on the floor to be debated,” Obama said. “It’s one thing to oppose reform, but to oppose just even talking about reform in front of the American people and having a legitimate debate? That’s not right.”

From someone else, this might have been a reasonable question.  Coming from Obama, however, it amounts to an insulting slap in the face of the American people.  He has no interest in an open politic process.  This is just more of Obama’s governance by insult.  Really, what a dreadful little man he is.

Thursday night round-up — and Open Thread *UPDATED*

Oh, my gosh!  Have I got good stuff here for all of you.

Rush.  Need I say more?  Actually, just so you know what you’re linking too, Rush manages to combine into one lucid post American exceptionalism and Clintonian hypocrisy.  Whew!  [UPDATE:  Soccer Dad, every bit as wise as Rush, but lacking the scope, made much the same point here.]

I think we have a moral obligation to support conservative Bay Area bloggers, since we are a very fragile species in a hostile ecosystem.  (Did I get that environmentalist language right?)  Of course, it’s always easier to provide this support when the blog is good, and Fund47 is good.  You’ll find here a slide show of the San Francisco Tea Party as well as audio tape of the superb speech my friend Sally Zelikovsky made.  The one thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that this is no astroturf movement.  Every last one of the people you see and hear is the real deal, fed up with vast government overreach.

Obama is working hard to make sure we can’t rely on traditional energy sources, but the fact remains that “renewable” energy is too expensive and risky for sensible people to take on.  This explains why a Marin town has opted out of a clean energy program (in which several counties refused to join).  It also answers the New York Times‘ perplexed wonderment about the absence of solar power in California.  As to that, I can tell you that, yes, solar power does reduce PG&E bills.  Sounds good, but it’s not really.  If you’re lucky, in 15-20 years, you might break even on your solar system.  As for the taxpayers who subsidized your purchase . . . well, they’ll never see that money again.  Oh, by the way, unless you want your bill to go through the roof, try not to use any but the most necessary energy during peak hours.  During the summer, peak hours are all day, which pretty much puts the kybosh on basic functionality.

There was one person who understand what was really going on with environmentalism, and that was the late George Carlin.  If you don’t mind blue language, you want to listen to this.

Muslims, 1; Military/American Christianity, 0:  Franklin Graham was disinvited, after he dared to speak slightingly of Islam.  Oh, while I’m on the topic of Islam (and why Graham might have spoken slightingly of the religion that can no longer be named), Reason magazine has not one, but three, posts about the disgraceful, quisling censorship of South Park (again, blue language warning).  [UPDATE:  Red State makes sure to point the finger of blame in the proper direction.]

Of course, all that scary stuff may explain why, in addition to its fear of the long arm of Obama, the L.A. Times is assiduously refusing to release the tape it received showing an evening at which, existent stories hint, Obama cheerfully participated in Israel bashing with leading Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi.  I don’t think the Times is showing journalistic backbone, because it’s never indicated that it has any; I think it’s showing outright fear.

A point about which I frequently blog here is the fact that I find many liberals inarticulate, verging on incoherent, when it comes to explaining their viewpoint.  Fortunately, American Digest is here to help.

“I now pronounce us officially defenseless” Open Thread *UPDATED*

You know the story:  Obama has informed the world that we won’t use our nuclear weapons unless some rogue regime strikes.  Aside from the fact that he’s now tacitly admitted that he’s not going to stop Iran from going nuclear, he’s also announced to every nuclear nation in the world that the U.S. is surrendering in advance.  China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, etc., are all thinking maybe there really is a God, because their prayers have been answered.

Or at least that’s my take.  What about yours?

P.S.  Before you comment, read AllahPundit’s more nuanced take of Obama’s many layers of nuance.  Drudge’s breathless headline is over-the-top (which even I had figured out), so AllahPundit takes the time to deconstruct things.  Honestly, though, I still think my first reaction is right on the money, which is that Chinese and Russian leaders are dancing in the street, and Iran now has the final proof it needs that Obama is just going to sit there and do nothing while it creates a nuclear arsenal, nicely aimed, not at the U.S., but at Europe and Israel.

UPDATE:  I always feel that the intelligence of my thinking is confirmed when I discover that Jennifer Rubin and I are in sync.  Which we are.

Another example of how liberals teach our children — even when they’re unclear on the concepts themselves

Readers of my blog know that one of my personal bête noires is liberal indoctrination in public schools.  I blog about it frequently.  My last outing on that subject was here, and I’ll get back to that in a little bit.  First, though, I’d like you to see how one public school teacher saw fit to educate American children about America’s involvement in WWII, as well as the response of one politely appalled man who was actually involved in the historic moment at issue.

Not only is this kind of indoctrination par for the course, it’s produced at least one generation of people who can throw out conclusions to their heart’s content, but are incapable of backing them up with common sense or actual knowledge.  And that’s how we wrap around to that post of mine that I mentioned earlier.  If you link over to it, you’ll see that I spoke with my daughter about a teacher’s facile and ill-educated assertion that “all civilized countries” have socialized medicine.

I carefully led my daughter through a few fairly uncomplicated facts.  A lot of uncivilized countries (North Korea, Cuba, the former Soviet Union) have socialized medicine.  I also pointed out what is undoubtedly true, which is that those countries with socialized medicine cannot maintain them.  They work well initially when a big chunk of taxpayer money is poured into them, but that they then go downhill:  they don’t generate revenue themselves and, since they suck up wealth, they leave the taxpayer pool less wealthy and therefore less able to pay for them.  This isn’t rocket science and, more importantly, it’s not ivory tower theory — it’s actual real world fact, as proven by real world, actual events.

What’s interesting is what happened with my post when it got picked up on a liberal thread at (the thread is entitled “libertarian” but it’s clearly not, as the tenor of the comments indicates).  The liberals are very angry at what I wrote, but they don’t have substance to back up their anger.  Lots of insults, lots of conclusions, but no facts and no coherent, sustained argument.  Here are a few comments, plus my replies:

Wow, there is actually book that describes why the mother is an idiot, it is called Economics 101 – look in to it.  [Insult, conclusion; no argument.]

Also, dear mother: You do realize you already pay for the uninsured, right? You just pay 20 times as much as you should. Why is this not considered a tax?  [Boy is s/he unclear on free market concepts.  If the market wasn’t stultified by thousands of government regulations, not to mention the perverse incentives of mass buying by employers, there shouldn’t be uninsured.  Also, I don’t think I should be for the 30% of uninsured who are illegal aliens under any circumstances.]


Unfortunately, this kind of overly simplistic thinking is exactly why the tea party has no credibility. As cutesy as the exchange is, “Momma” didn’t address the fact that universal health care is working in many countries in Europe (not that it’s sustainable, but that’s not that point).  [I’m delighted this person thinks I’m cute, but the fact is that if universal health care is unsustainable, it’s not working in Europe, no matter how much you wish it was.  As it sucks money out of the economy, the initial benefit vanishes, with the health care system in Britain the perfect example.   You don’t need a Harvard PhD to figure that one out.]

Not only that, but the link that was posted at the end about the girl getting the abortion:

a) has absolutely nothing to do with the exchange about health care. b) I don’t see why the girl should be forced to tell her parents…we should be expanding the rights of the youth, not restricting them.  [Had the person read my post, s/he would have realized that it was relevant, as I explained, because it goes to the way in which public high schools indoctrinate students, right to the point where they bypass parents entirely when it comes to political hot topics such as abortion.]

tl;dr? As a hardcore libertarian, I think this article reeks of sensationalist neocon.  [Uh, I don’t read hardcore libertarian here.  I read Progressive troll.]


That was a lot of stupid in one place. Too bad the teacher did not point out that the CBO said that the bill saves money, not costs money. [Where to begin.  Here, perhaps.  The person also doesn’t understand that the CBO was forced to work with the numbers that Congress used as predicates for the bill, rather than actual real world costs.  Even with that, as Paul Ryan carefully explained, the bill is affordable only because of accounting jiggery-pokery and because of deferred costs.] Perhaps they are wrong, but that mom had better go over the figures and say where they are wrong. Then the teacher could point out how the bill helps small businesses get health care for employees. Then there was that deep dishonesty that North Korea having universal health care, both false and distracting from Europe and Canada and all that.  [All communist countries have universal health care because they have no private enterprise.  To the extent there is any health care, it comes from the government.  Of course, perhaps what this person meant is that North Korea has no health care at all, because the government has run out of money and the people are eating dirt.]

Insults, conclusions, false facts, ignorance — what are they teaching young people nowadays?

UPDATE:  If you’ve come this far in the post, you’ll know that the history teacher who put a unique spin on WWII history had edited the iconic Iwo Jima photograph to turn the flag into a McDonald’s arch with Arabic writing.  Perhaps that teacher was educated at the same schools as our president who managed, in his Easter message, to edit Jesus Christ out entirely, including the part in which he quoted from a WWII pastor.  (See also Flopping Aces, which tipped me off to this one, and which adds some more information.)

I understand that the president of a multicultural United States must be careful not to speak in such overtly religious terms that he sounds more as if he’s giving a sermon, than a speech.  One cannot avoid, however, the fact that Easter is a Christ centered religion.  (Unless, of course, Obama is actually celebrating the Pagan rite of spring which involved fertility goddesses and suchlike.)  For Obama, who professes to be a Christian to edit Christ out entirely from a message that should, in theory, resonate personally with Obama, is somewhat surprising.

Mark Steyn at his inimitable best on Obama at his inimitable worst

Much as been written by many great writers in the past few days about Obama’s extraordinary foreign policy, one that sees him crudely alienating old allies, while pandering to every totalitarian leader who comes along.  Mark Steyn sees Obama’s approach as part of a larger Leftist syndrome, inflated by Obama’s cold, self-centered personality:

As to Canadian funding of Third World abortion, the secretary of state was simply defaulting to her own tropes: If she sounds more like the chair of Planned Parenthood than the principal spokesman for American foreign policy, well, hasn’t she always? In a 2003 autobiography almost as long and as unreadable as the health-care bill, she offered little on world affairs other than the following insights: France’s Bernadette Chirac is “an elegant, cultured woman.” Nicaragua’s Violeta Chamorro is “an elegant, striking woman.” Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto is “a brilliant and striking woman.” Canada’s Aline Chrétien is “intelligent, sharply observant and elegant.” But Russia’s Naina Yeltsin is merely “personable and articulate.” Alas, since taking office, the Obama administration hasn’t found Gordon Brown, Stephen Harper, Binyamin Netanyahu, Nicolas Sarkozy, Václav Klaus, or Manmohan Singh the least bit elegant, cultured, striking, elegant, brilliant, elegant, striking, elegant, sharply observant, elegant, or even personable and articulate.

One of the oddest features of the scene is attributed to the president’s “cool,” which seems to be the euphemism of choice for what, in less stellar executives, would be regarded as an unappealing combination of coldness and self-absorption. I forget which long-ago foreign minister responded to an invitation to lunch with an adversary by saying “I’m not hungry,” but Obama seems to reserve the line for his “friends.” Visiting France, he declined to dine with the Sarkozys. Visiting Norway, he declined to dine with the king at a banquet thrown explicitly in Obama’s honor. The other day, the president declined to dine with Netanyahu even though the Israeli prime minister was his guest in the White House at the time. The British prime minister, five times rebuffed in his attempt to book a date, had to make do with a perfunctory walk ’n’ talk through the kitchens of the U.N. Obama’s shtick as a candidate was that he was the guy who’d talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Instead, he recoils from all but the most minimal contact with the world.

Treat yourself well today and read the rest here.