Time to Jump to Some Conclusions
Thirteen brave soldiers are dead today because the United States Army decided to put the tender sensibilities of radical Muslims above the personal safety of the American people. An overstatement? Not hardly. And to make matters worse, it is now clear that under Commander in Chief Barack Hussein Obama, the Army intends to continue this lunacy -- no matter how many innocent lives are lost. And no matter how thoroughly it devastates our army's ability to combat terrorism both abroad, and at home.
Lest there be any doubt about the Obama policies, consider his admonition immediately following Nidal Malik Hasan's terrorist attack on U.S. soldiers at Fort Hood. No sooner had Hasan finished mowing down the unarmed "infidels" ... no sooner had the assassin's screams of "Allah Akbar" faded from his lips ... than Barack Obama warned the American people “don’t jump to conclusions.”
Now, lest anyone think that by this, Obama meant not to jump to the conclusion that Hasan was the shooter, such, unfortunately, is not the case. Said the President shortly after the massacre, "This past Thursday, on a clear Texas afternoon, an Army psychiatrist walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, and began shooting his fellow soldiers."
No, what this President meant is clear to any who listened as he soft-peddled radical Islam throughout his presidential campaign. His words are clear to any who heard his speech to the Egyptian parliament apologizing for America’s intolerance. They are clear to all who know that his first call to a foreign leader was to Palestinian strongman Mahmoud Abbas They are clear to those who recall that his first formal interview was to Al Arabiya, when he condemned, not Islamic terrorism, but Israeli settlements. And they are abundantly clear to any who remember Obama’s own words from page 261 of his self-adulating autobiography Audacity of Hope. Apologizing for what he considers the horror Muslims have suffered at the hands of everyday Americans, he writes:
“They [the Muslims] have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”
Little wonder, then that Obama has, at best, consented with his silence as his Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and his top military commanders clear Nidal Malik Hasan of any radical Islamic motives. And even less wonder that he has allowed his Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George Casey, to take such patent idiocy a far step further.
Indeed, asked by ABC’s George Stephanopolous if the Amy had “dropped the ball” by not recognizing any of a hundred and one different warning signs that Hasan had become a dangerous radical, Casey recited the Obama Administration’s official mantra. We shouldn’t “jump to conclusions,” he intoned, based on “early tidbits.”
And what were those “early tidbits?” In 2001, Hasan attended the notorious Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia, where he listened in rapt attention as the fiery, anti-American imam Anwar Al-Awlaki encouraged his followers to attack the infidels. Not so coincidentally, among Hasan’s fellow attendees at the Center were two of the September 11 terrorists.
During his time at Walter Reed Hospital and the Uniformed Services University, Hasan, according to the New York Times, became increasingly hostile towards the War on Terror and Americans who defended it. Wrote the Times:
“A former classmate in the master's degree program said Major Hasan gave a PowerPoint presentation about a year ago in an environmental health seminar titled "Why the War on Terror Is a War on Islam." He did not socialize with his classmates, other than to argue in the hallways on why the wars were wrong … [S]ome students complained to their professors about Major Hasan.”
Even more recently, according to an ABC News Online article, intelligence sources had a level of knowledge that Hasan was in communication with al Qaeda assets abroad. And according to the highly reliable web site, the Northeast Intelligence Network, “this and information similar but not directly related to such communications became a ‘political issue’ between government agencies and officials ‘at the policy making levels’ of the administration.”
So, in view of all this – and the 13 martyred soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas -- are the Obama Administration and the U.S. Army, at last, ready to start heeding reports of radical activity among Muslim soldiers – before more shots are fired and additional lives are lost?
Not a chance. Here is the Obama Administration’s official response, as enunciated by Gen. Casey on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning: “As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” That, of course, is sheer idiocy. And it is time for Barack Hussein Obama to step to the fore and declare once and for all – honestly and openly – whether he still intends to “stand with” the radical Muslims even to the extent of protecting “diversity” over American lives. If not, we have every right to “jump” to our own conclusions.
Obama's arrogance of power
Last year's financial meltdown rightfully destroyed former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan's reputation as an infallible "wise man," but he said something wise in his 2007 memoirs, describing a constitutional amendment he'd been "pushing for years." Wrote Greenspan: "Anyone willing to do what is required to become president of the United States is thereby barred from taking that office. I'm only half joking."
It's no laughing matter. After all, what sort of person wants the job badly enough to spend years living out of a suitcase, begging for cash, glad-handing through primary states, and saying things that no intelligent person could possibly believe? Greenspan's point was that people who seek the presidency today display a pathological power lust that ought to make us uncomfortable, given the powers the modern president enjoys.
George Washington was called "the American Cincinnatus," after the Roman hero who took power reluctantly and returned humbly to his plow when crisis passed. That's the model Americans once expected presidents to follow. Things have changed, and not for the better.
The last candidate to pay tribute to the Cincinnatus model was 1996 GOP contender Bob Dole, who praised the virtues of his birthplace, Russell, Kan., insisting it was either the White House or "home." It turned out that Dole left "home" deliberately vague. After losing, he returned to his condo at the Watergate, making bucks as a lobbyist and Viagra pitchman.
As for the current POTUS, "he's always wanted to be president," according to Obama's longtime friend and advisor Valerie Jarrett. No surprise, then, that, as Newsweekeditor Jon Meacham put it in a profile of Obama earlier this year, he "likes and enjoys power," even "revels" in it.
In a fascinating article, presidential scholar Richard Ellis writes that "in the beginning, the presidency was envisioned not as an office to be enjoyed but as a place of stern duty." "Powerful cultural norms" told 19th-century presidents to approach the role humbly, with a keen awareness that power corrupts. In public and in private, early presidents often acknowledged their deficiencies. "No event could have filled me with greater anxieties," Washington said of his election. Likewise, in his first inaugural, Jefferson worried that the task he'd undertaken was "above my talents."
Today, Ellis explains, the public demands greater confidence from presidential aspirants. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tells us that when he congratulated Barack Obama for a "particularly fine" speech Obama made as a freshman senator, Obama "said quietly, 'I have a gift, Harry.'" Reid reports that Obama said that with "deep humility." We'll have to take his word for it.
Calvin Coolidge, a genuinely humble man and a fine president, wrote in his autobiography that it was "a major source of safety to the country" for the president "to know that he is not a great man." Few of our recent presidents display Coolidge's self-awareness.
Newsweek's Meacham reports that Barack Obama relishes "the capacity to shape reality in his image and by his lights." An interesting phrase, that -- reminiscent of the Bush aide who bragged to reporter Ron Suskind that "we're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." And yet, as we learned during the Bush years, reality has a way of fighting back.
Obama's supporters have embraced the epithet Suskind's source coined. They fancy themselves members of the "reality-based community." Yet they doggedly defend a president for whom the word "hubris" might have been invented -- one who thinks that the government, under his direction, can rationally reshape the one-sixth of the U.S. economy devoted to health care.
Our president describes his budget as a "blueprint" for America's future, and believes that, with the proper mix of social workers and soldiers, we can bring orderly governance to Afghanistan, which has never enjoyed it. We'd do far better if our presidents had Coolidge's sense of his own limitations and of government's as well. It's easy enough to blame the overconfident, self-aggrandizing characters who seek the office. But at the end of the day, we're the ones who reward them. Unless and until we seek out candidates who share Coolidge's modesty, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves.
Jobs, jobs, jobs
The news will always return to unemployment when other topics fade. "Any time you have unemployment this high, it is the number one story, whether it's being written about or not," says David Winston, a Republican pollster who for months has urged GOP officeholders to focus steadily on the issue. Double-digit unemployment is the default top story of the year; whatever else happens, the national conversation will come back to unemployment as long as the jobless rate remains unacceptably high.
You don't have to be a Republican strategist to agree. "Obama's focus on health care rather than jobs, when the economy is still so fragile ... could make it appear that the administration has its priorities confused," writes Robert Reich, former Clinton secretary of labor and a supporter of nationalized health care. "While affordable health care is critically important to Americans, making a living is more urgent."
Reich wrote those words nearly a week before we learned, last Friday, that unemployment had hit 10.2 percent. And on that Friday, the news about President Obama was that he had delayed, by a day, his pep talk to House Democrats preparing to pass the health care bill. Obama stayed in the news over the weekend with highly visible statements on health care.
What a difference from the first days of his administration when -- with unemployment at 7.6 percent -- the president seemed totally focused on jobs. "Experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits," Obama said in his weekly address on Jan. 24, urging Congress to quickly pass a proposed $1 trillion stimulus bill. The nightmare "double digit" scenario became Obama's mantra. "If we don't act immediately ... the national unemployment rate will approach double digits," he said in early February at a town hall in Florida. "Approach double digits," he repeated at a speech in Indiana. "Double digits," he wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post.
The only way to prevent unemployment from approaching 10 percent, Obama said, was to pass the stimulus, which in the end cost $787 billion. With the stimulus, the administration claimed, unemployment would stay below 8 percent. Without it, joblessness could climb to 9 percent.
Now, with the stimulus passed and unemployment at 10.2 percent, the White House is not only distracted by health care but divided on its own record. On one hand, Obama and Vice President Biden say the stimulus is working, and will work more in the future. On the other, top economic adviser Christina Romer suggests the stimulus has run its course and unemployment will likely "remain at severely elevated levels" through 2010.
The stimulus is the one big issue that is entirely Obama's, and he's losing support on it. "He has not managed to accomplish the basic thing that the American people want, and that is to provide some sense that the economy is going in the right direction," says David Winston.
On Monday, Biden -- who famously admitted that the Obama economic team didn't really understand the depth of the economic crisis -- headed to Detroit to headline fundraisers for two Democratic congressman at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel. It cost $5,000 to get into the VIP reception. Biden was met by a Republican ad, "Get Back to Work." "We've lost 178,000 jobs [in Michigan] since Congress passed the massive spending bill President Obama promised would help with jobs," the ad says. "While he's here, will the vice president be working on ways to reduce an unemployment rate of 15.3 percent, the highest of any state in the country?" The question answered itself; there were fundraisers to attend.
In coming weeks, Obama will be involved in contentious Senate fighting over health care. He may travel to Copenhagen for international global-warming talks. And he'll be in Oslo to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize -- a few days after the next set of unemployment numbers are due. There will be a lot of news. But for millions of Americans, joblessness will remain the big story, no matter what the president does.
I have been doing some revisions to my home page lately -- mainly putting up more pictures. See here (Backup here).
Obama Fail is an interesting blog. From them I learned that Obama is seen as "weak" in China. The only people he threatens are Americans.
Airport rules changed after Ron Paul aide detained: "An angry aide to Rep. Ron Paul, an iPhone and $4,700 in cash have forced the Transportation Security Administration to quietly issue two new rules telling its airport screeners they can only conduct searches related to airplane safety. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union is dropping its lawsuit on behalf of Steve Bierfeldt, the man who was detained in March and who recorded the confrontation on his iPhone as TSA and local police officers spent half an hour demanding answers as to why he was carrying the money through Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The new rules, issuedin September and October, tell officers "screening may not be conducted to detect evidence of crimes unrelated to transportation security" and that large amounts of cash don't qualify as suspicious for purposes of safety. "We had been hearing of so many reports of TSA screeners engaging in wide-ranging fishing expeditions for illegal activities," said Ben Wizner, a staff lawyer for the ACLU, pointing to reports of officers scanning pill-bottle labels to see whether the passenger was the person who obtained the prescription as one example. He said screeners get a narrow exception to the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches, strictly to keep weapons and explosives off planes, not to help police enforce other laws."
UT: Salt Lake City passes gay rights laws with Mormon backing: "With a historic endorsement from the Mormon church, the Salt Lake City Council unanimously passed a pair of ordinances making it illegal to discriminate against gays in housing and employment. Tuesday’s action was the first time the Utah-based church — which has been steadfast in its opposition to gay marriage — has publicly supported gay rights legislation.” [A Mormon crackup?]
A nightmare for the American dream: "As Members of Congress consider whether to retain federal death taxes, they should ponder the principal reasons why they should join prior Congresses and repeal this tax, says William W. Beach, Director of the Center for Data Analysis at the Heritage Foundation. Death taxes discourage savings and investment: For those Americans who think that their estates may one day pay federal death taxes, the tax sends a signal that it is better to consume today than invest and make more money in the future. Instead of putting their money in the hands of entrepreneurs or investing more in their own economic endeavors, Americans are encouraged to consume it now rather than pay taxes on it later.”
Big business hearts regulation: "It’s commonly supposed that big business dislikes regulation. Intuitively, the idea seems plausible enough. There’s only one problem: it’s wrong. Almost exactly wrong. Big business can absorb pernicious regulation fairly easily: they have in-house legal departments, they have various economies of scale working in their favor, and the cost of compliance with regulation per unit of output is trivial when compared to what their smaller competitors suffer. Big businesses, all too often, love regulation. They especially love rules and restrictions that shaft their competition.”
My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here
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)