Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Obama promises Arabs Jerusalem will be theirs

President Obama and his administration told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting last week the U.S. foresees the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, according to a top PA official speaking to WND. "The American administration was very friendly to the position of the PA," said Nimer Hamad, Abbas' senior political adviser. "Abu Mazen (Abbas) heard from Obama and his administration in a very categorical way that a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is in the American national and security interest," Hamad said.

Another PA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told WND today that Obama informed Abbas he would not let Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "get in the way" of normalizing U.S. relations with the Arab and greater Muslim world. "We were told from this new administration they will not allow a Netanyahu government to hurt their efforts of rehabilitating U.S. relations with the Arab and Islamic world, which is a high priority of Obama," the official said, speaking during a visit to Cairo.

Also in Cairo today, Abbas met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, where the Palestinian leader briefed Egypt's president on his recent trip to Washington, saying the U.S. was committed to bringing about an end to Israeli construction in the West Bank.




If you don't read anything else today, read Byron York's searing account of what happened last time a brilliant Hispanic jurist was nominated to a high-profile appellate post:
Born in Honduras, [Miguel] Estrada came to the United States at 17, not knowing a word of English. He learned the language almost instantly, and within a few years was graduating with honors from Columbia University and heading off to Harvard Law School. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, was a prosecutor in New York, and worked at the Justice Department in Washington before entering private practice.

Estrada's nomination for a federal judgeship set off alarm bells among Democrats. There is a group of left-leaning organizations -- People for the American Way, NARAL, the Alliance for Justice, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the NAACP, and others -- that work closely with Senate Democrats to promote Democratic judicial nominations and kill Republican ones. They were particularly concerned about Estrada.
In November, 2001, representatives of those groups met with Democratic Senate staff. One of those staffers then wrote a memo to Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, informing Durbin that the groups wanted to stall Bush nominees, particularly three they had identified as good targets. "They also identified Miguel Estrada as especially dangerous," the staffer added, "because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment. They want to hold Estrada off as long as possible."

It was precisely the fact that Estrada was Hispanic that made Democrats and their activist allies want to kill his nomination. They were determined to deny a Republican White House credit, political and otherwise, for putting a first-rate Hispanic nominee on the bench.

They succeeded, too. They filibustered Estrada for years and he never made it onto the bench. So, when you see Barack Obama--who voted to filibuster Sam Alito!--piously denouncing "the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this process" in the past, remember Miguel Estrada. Somewhere on this earth, there is a worse hypocrite than Barack Obama. I just can't think who he is offhand....



Trust in the individual: The Fundamental Divide between Left and Right

By Bjaffe

As a recovering liberal for the last 13 years, I sometimes lose sight of the thought processes that led me to the beliefs I used to hold. Fortunately, I still have many Democratic and liberal friends to remind me what the fundamental difference is between the left and the right. That difference can be summed up in one small but powerful word – trust.

The fact is, liberals have no trust at all in anyone except elected liberal officials and the government when run by liberals. They do not trust the American people to do the right thing unless the government forces them into it. Hence the push for hate crimes legislation, gun bans, forced charitable giving in the form of taxes that pay for entitlement programs, mandatory participation in Social (in)Security and so on. Liberals just do not believe most Americans will do the right thing left to their own devices. The same is true of businesses. Liberals believe that, in the absence of government regulation and oversight, business will always do the wrong thing and engage in bad business practices. Fortunately, in their worldview, we have them to guide us in the right direction and to steer the nation as a whole toward the proper destination.

The conservative, on the other hand, believes in the inherent greatness each person possesses. We believe that everyone in this nation has it within themselves to succeed at anything they put their minds to. We also believe that the individual is responsible for their own success or failure. Sure, life is unpredictable, and stuff happens that we have no control over, but ultimately, it is how we handle ourselves in those situations and what we learn from them that determines where we end up. Most importantly, we believe most individuals, when left to their own devices, will not only do the right thing, but will do it far better than under government “guidance.” We also know the free market, left to its own devices, would weed out those businesses that engage in poor practice while well-run businesses succeeded. Additionally, we know that when old businesses fail, if there is a market for the goods or services that business provided, new ones with sound business practices will rise up to replace them.

This cuts to the very core of what defines liberals and conservatives. Belief in the greatness of government or belief in the greatness of the individual. I was reminded of this just recently, when having the following exchange with a very honest Democrat I have been friends with most of my life. We were discussing the new credit card regulations, which he supports, when he said this: “…as much as I hate the government stepping into anything... I have no faith in people these days to have self control, and ultimately banks will just continue this practice if controls aren't in place.”

Many Democrats I know, and most liberals, share this lack of faith in people. This is what leads them to craft the policies I mentioned above, aimed at regulating behavior. They do not feel that people can be trusted with any responsibility, and will ultimately fail without government to save them. We see this not just in the credit card reforms recently passed, but in all of the recent bailouts. Banks cannot be trusted to run effectively or efficiently, so rather than failing and paying the price for poor business decisions, they need to be propped up and run by the government. Imagine, the government, the largest debtor in the entire country, with a debt larger than every bank in the nation combined, telling these businesses how to run themselves effectively. Is this a joke? This is like asking a chronically homeless person for advice on how to build wealth! The government is itself a failed business venture, and would have collapsed decades ago if it had to run itself by the rules it foists upon other businesses. But the banks failed, and the liberal thinking is that the government has to step in and do something. So we get bailouts that even financially healthy institutions were coerced into accepting – presumably because even the well-run banks could not be trusted to keep doing the right thing. And this does not even begin to cover the auto industry bailouts or the homeowner bailouts – which ironically saw more than half of the bailed out homeowners back in default within six months. Way to go government!

What is missed in this equation is the fact that failure is necessary and healthy. People fail, businesses fail, and that is part of the natural order of things. It is not success that creates prosperity and success, it is failure, and the lessons it brings. Maybe most people will not do the right thing if left to their own devices, but if they are allowed to fail, they will learn from the experience, and will eventually change the behaviors causing them to fail. This is the only way to ever achieve true success – to overcome failure and adversity. This is what gives a foundation for success, and the process by which people learn what works, and what does not work. A great example of this is Thomas Edison, who failed hundreds upon hundreds of times to create a working, practical light bulb. Had he been propped up by the government after his first dozen failures, and simply given up, would we ever have developed the light bulb? When the government forces people to behave in certain ways to do “the right thing,” it does no favors for anyone.

The liberal mindset that people cannot be trusted to do the right thing, and that the government must take action to prevent people and businesses from failing, while very well intentioned, is ultimately debilitating and will lead to the exact opposite of what its intent is. Rather than helping things run smoothly and effectively, this lack of trust and enforced guidance will perpetuate a system that does not work while preventing new and innovative systems that will work from coming into existence. Only by allowing people to have the maximum amount of freedom possible, including the freedom to fail, can progress be made and ineffective/inefficient systems and behaviors be purged and replaced with ones that work. And this is what conservatives believe in.




When the law is one-sided, people will seek balance in other ways: "US President Barack Obama has expressed outrage at the fatal shooting of a controversial Kansas doctor who performed late-term abortions. "I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr George Tiller as he attended church services this morning,'' Mr Obama said. "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.'' Tiller was shot dead in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. A suspect was arrested three hours later, police said. Over the years Tiller had been picketed, bombed and shot in both of his arms by anti-abortion protesters. The shooting occurred just two weeks after Mr Obama sought "common ground'' over the divisive abortion debate in a controversial speech at one of the top Catholic universities in the United States."

Barack Bush: "“The Obama administration insists it has no obligation to provide access to a top secret document in a wiretapping case, setting up a showdown next week with the judge who ordered it released. Justice Department lawyers, in a response Friday with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, also argued that Judge Vaughn Walker had no cause to penalize the government over its refusal to turn over the document.”

Ireland set to go bust, says economic historian: “A dire warning that the Republic is a prime candidate to go bust has come from one of the world’s leading economic historians. ‘The idea that countries don’t go bust is a joke,’ said Niall Ferguson, Harvard professor and author of The Ascent of Money. ‘The debt trap may be about to spring’ he said, ‘for countries that have created large stimulus packages in order to stimulate their economies.’ His chosen prime candidate to go bust is ‘Ireland, followed by Italy and Belgium, and UK is not too far behind.’ Argentina is top of his list of shaky countries but ‘the argument that it can’t happen in major western economies is nonsense.’ Professor Ferguson believes the economists are ill qualified to analyse the current economic situation since they lack the overview of historians such as himself.”

Sotomayor and the Last of the WASPs: “If Judge Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed, the US Supreme Court will consist of six Catholics, two Jews and precisely one white Anglo-Saxon Protestant in the form of Justice John Paul Stevens, who is 88 years old and boasts of two important WASP insignia: inherited wealth and a bow tie. He also thinks that Shakespeare’s plays were written by the Earl of Oxford. But then, so does Antonin Scalia. The other WASP among the nine, until he announced his retirement — thus paving the way for Sotomayor’s nomination — is David Souter. The two WASPS have been the most liberal members of the court.”

Legalize it: "“City pushcart vendors could legally prepare food with a type of license that already exists in the parks. Why not let them? … [Miguel] Sanchez makes about $100 a day at the cart; working nearly every afternoon and evening, and picking up some painting and carpentry jobs on the side, he supports his family of six. But he lives under the near-constant threat of being fined by the city. What he’s doing is illegal in Chicago, and as demand for his food grows in the spring, so does the likelihood that he’ll be slapped with tickets for anywhere from $200 to $1,000.”

The unpersuasive orator: “Let’s stipulate that President Obama is a wonderful speaker, vigorous in promoting his policies and even eloquent at times. But there’s a problem: He’s not persuasive. Obama is effective at marketing himself. His 64 percent job approval (Gallup poll) is a reflection of this. But in building public support for his policies, Obama has been largely unsuccessful. You’d never guess this from the laudatory press coverage of Obama. With every major speech or press conference, the media and a sizable chunk of the political community — including many Republicans — assume Obama has carried the day. Actually, he rarely has.”

The “unseen” deserve empathy, too: “As important as compassion and empathy are, one can have these feelings only for people that exist and that one knows about — that is, for those who are ’seen.’ One can have compassion for workers who lose their jobs when a plant closes. They can be seen. One cannot have compassion for unknown persons in other industries who do not receive job offers when a compassionate government subsidizes an unprofitable plant. The potential employees not hired are unseen. One can empathize with innocent children born with birth defects. Such children and the adversity they face can be seen. One cannot empathize with as-yet-unborn children in rural communities who may not have access to pediatricians if a judicial decision based on compassion raises the cost of medical malpractice insurance.”


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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