Saturday, October 24, 2009
UNBEFRIKINLIEVABLE: OBAMA ADVISOR MOGAHED STANDS BY HER PRO-SHARIA COMMENTS
OBAMA ADVISOR DALIA MOGAHED TODAY:
"I don't regret anything I said," she said. "My regret is that I went on the show."ER, UM . . . WHAT DID SHE SAY?
Barack Obama adviser says Sharia Law is misunderstood.SO... IT WASN'T JUST THAT SHE APPEARED ON A TV SHOW WITH A TERRORIST, IT'S WHAT SHE SAID THAT MAKES HER UNACCEPTABLE AS AN ADVISOR TO THE POTUS.
President Barack Obama's adviser on Muslim affairs, Dalia Mogahed, has provoked controversy by appearing on a British television show hosted by a member of an extremist group to talk about Sharia Law. Miss Mogahed, appointed to the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, said the Western view of Sharia was "oversimplified" and the majority of women around the world associate it with "gender justice".
- NOW THAT SHE HAS REITERATED THAT SHE BELIEVES WHAT SHE SAID, SHE MUST BE FIRED AT ONCE.
- THERE'S ONLY ONE REASON OBAMA WOULD KEEP HER: HE AGREES.
- IF OBAMA REALLY WAS A CRYPTO-MUSLIM WHO HATED AMERICA, WOULD HE BE DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY?
My White Friends
This is how.
Europe's March To Cultural Suicide
A mob of Muslim protesters were on hand to picket Geert Wilders outside the House of Parliament, waving signs that show they are anything but democratic or tolerant. They want to impose their 7th century bedouin culture on the modern world and the Brits and other Europeans are only too happy to accommodate them. Europe can't seem to commit suicide fast enough. Liberalism is a death wish.
I don't much like the signs these hirsute barbarians are carrying. I created the sign below as my response. I used the exact same font and the same colors as their signs. As always, feel free to use it, particularly in Europe, as a response to your growing barbarian population.
You can see the barbarians in the UK here, promising murder for Geert Wilders and promising to destroy the West. They emphasize that "insulting the Prophet" is a capital offense under Sharia law, which they hope to impose on the West.
Screw Muhammad, his religion and the camel he rode in on.
Go read the whole thing.
Swine Flu A "National Emergency"?
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency and empowered his to suspend federal requirements and speed treatment for thousands of infected people.
The declaration that Obama signed late Friday authorized Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to bypass federal rules so health officials can respond more quickly to the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States.
The goal is to remove bureaucratic roadblocks and make it easier for sick people to seek treatment and medical providers to provide it immediately. That could mean fewer hurdles involving Medicare, Medicaid or health privacy regulations.
"As a nation, we have prepared at all levels of government, and as individuals and communities, taking unprecedented steps to counter the emerging pandemic," Obama wrote in the declaration, which theWhite House announced Saturday.
He said the pandemic keeps evolving, the rates of illness are rising rapidly in many areas and there's a potential "to overburden health care resources."
Because of vaccine production delays, the government has backed off initial, optimistic estimates that as many as 120 million doses would be available by mid-October. As of Wednesday, only 11 million doses had been shipped to Centers for Disease Control and Preventionofficials said., doctor's offices and other providers, according to the
The government now hopes to have about 50 million doses of swine flu vaccine out by mid-November and 150 million in December.
Swine flu is more widespread now than it's ever been. Health authorities say almost 100 children have died from the flu, known as H1N1, and 46 states now have widespread flu activity.
Worldwide, more than 5,000 people have reportedly died from swine flu since it emerged this year and developed into a global epidemic, thesaid Friday. Since most countries have stopped counting individual swine flu cases, the figure is considered an underestimate.
From The Blog of Record:
Something to put the swine flu outbreak in perspective: The regular seasonal flu has killed more than 13,000 people in the U.S. since January, and kills between 250,000 and 500,000 worldwide annually.
Update: The numbers are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A quotation:
The number of influenza-associated (i.e., flu-related) deaths varies from year to year because flu seasons often fluctuate in length and severity. CDC estimated that about 36,000 people died of flu-related causes each year, on average, during the 1990s in the United States. This figure includes people dying from complications of flu. This estimate came from a 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Medication Association (JAMA), which looked at the 1990-91 through the 1998-99 flu seasons. Statistical modeling was used to estimate how many flu-related deaths occurred among people whose underlying cause of death on their death certificate was listed as a respiratory or circulatory disease. During these years, the number of estimated deaths ranged from 17,000 to 52,000.
In 2009, CDC published additional estimates of flu-related deaths comparing different methods, including the methods used in the 2003 JAMA study. The seasons studied included the 1993-94 through the 2002-03 flu seasons. Results from this study showed that during this time period, 36,171 flu-related deaths occurred per year, on average.
CBS Reveals that Swine Flu Cases Seriously Overestimated
John Holdren Does Not Support Forced Abortions, etc. But....
Do You Remember October 23, 1983?
War on terror? Wrong enemy. "The people's" enemy is to the right of Huffington and Kos
- 10/21/09 06:19 PM ET
Grayson: Republicans are 'the enemy of America'
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) fired his latest salvo at Republicans on Wednesday evening, calling them "the enemy of America."
The congressman, who gained attention for saying the GOP's health plan is for the ill to "die quickly," made his remark in response to Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-Tenn.) comment today warning the Obama administration to not draft a Nixonian "enemies list."
No comment is needed by me, save this.... many are saying this guy is some crazy idiot, not to be paid attention to.
Grayson said on MSNBC that the GOP is the enemy of anybody who wants "anything good for this country," including healthcare reform, climate change legislation and "certainly the enemy of peace."He also took a swipe at Fox News, saying that 99 percent of Americans have the "good sense" not to tune into the network.
on the democratic party ruling elite's bell curve.
Why have "czars"? White House: Policy 'czars' won't testify
I can't HELP IT.
AND YOU SAID WE WERE 'NUTS'
And it's Susan Collins ! Not, Kyl or Sessions, or Bunning.
No kidding. WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE? Those people all ACCEPT that their ideas, and their feelings are more important than the constitution and it's limits on the natural human desires of those WITH POWER. They think because they see themselves as sincere and good that this is primary and these other hindrances born of an 'imperfect document' must be circumvented so that they can achieve the ends they have in mind for the good of the people.
WASH TIMES- The White House has told Congress it will reject calls for many of President Obama's policy czars to testify before Congress - a decision senators said goes against the president's promises of transparency and openness and treads on Congress' constitutional mandate to investigate the administration's actions.
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, said White House counsel Greg Craig told her in a meeting Wednesday that they will not make available any of the czars who work in the White House and don't have to go through Senate confirmation. She said he was "murky" on whether other czars outside of the White House would be allowed to come before Congress.
Miss Collins said that doesn't make sense when some of those czars are actually making policy or negotiating on behalf of Mr. Obama.
"I think Congress should be able to call the president's climate czar, Carol Browner, the energy and environment czar, to ask her about the negotiations she conducted with the automobile industry that led to very significant policy changes with regard to emissions standards," Miss Collins said at a hearing Thursday that examined the proliferation of czars.The debate goes to the heart of weighty constitutional issues about separation of powers.
THEY ARE A DANGER TO THE REPUBLIC WITH THIS ATTITUDE, AND THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW IT...CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE IT
Friday, October 23, 2009
Behind the War Between White House and Fox
By JIM RUTENBERG
WASHINGTON — Late last month, the senior White House adviser David Axelrod and Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive of Fox News, met in an empty Palm steakhouse before it opened for the day, neutral ground secured for a secret tête-à-tête.
Mr. Ailes, who had reached out to Mr. Axelrod to address rising tensions between the network and the White House, told him that Fox’s reporters were fair, if tough, and should be considered separate from the Fox commentators who were skewering President Obama nightly, according to people briefed on the meeting. Mr. Axelrod said it was the view of the White House that Fox News had blurred the line between news and anti-Obama advocacy.
What both men took to be the start of a frank but productive dialogue proved, in retrospect, more akin to the round of pre-Pearl Harbor peace talks between the United States and Japan.
By the following weekend, officials at the White House had decided that if anything, it was time to take the relationship to an even more confrontational level. The spur: Executives at other news organizations, including The New York Times, had publicly said that their newsrooms had not been fast enough in following stories that Fox News, to the administration’s chagrin, had been heavily covering through the summer and early fall — namely, past statements and affiliations of the White House adviser Van Jones that ultimately led to his resignation and questions surrounding the community activist group Acorn.
At the same time, Fox News had continued a stream of reports rankling White House officials and liberal groups that monitor its programming for bias.
Those reports included a critical segment on the schools safety official Kevin Jennings, with the on-screen headline “School Czar’s Past May Be Too Radical”; urgent news coverage of a video showing schoolchildren “singing the praises, quite literally, of the president,” which the Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson later called “pure Khmer Rouge stuff”; and the daily anti-Obama salvos from Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.
There followed, beginning in earnest more than two weeks ago, an intensified volley of White House comments describing Fox as “not a news network.”
“It was an amalgam of stories covered, and our assessment of how others were dealing with those stories, that caused us to comment,” Mr. Axelrod said in describing the administration’s thinking.
The heated back-and-forth between the White House and Fox News has brought equal delight to Fox’s conservative commentators, who revel in the fight, and liberal Democrats, who have long characterized the network as a purveyor of right-wing propaganda rather than fact-based journalism.
Speaking privately at the White House on Monday with a group of mostly liberal columnists and commentators, including Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Bob Herbert of The New York Times, Mr. Obama himself gave vent to sentiments about the network, according to people briefed on the conversation.
Then, in an interview with NBC News on Wednesday, the president went public. “What our advisers have simply said is that we are going to take media as it comes,” he said. “And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that’s one thing. And if it’s operating as a news outlet, then that’s another.”
In a sign of discomfort with the White House stance, Fox’s television news competitors refused to go along with a Treasury Department effort on Tuesday to exclude Fox from a round of interviews with the executive-pay czar Kenneth R. Feinberg that was to be conducted with a “pool” camera crew shared by all the networks. That followed a pointed question at a White House briefing this week by Jake Tapper, an ABC News correspondent, about the administration’s treatment of “one of our sister organizations.”
White House officials continue to interact with Fox News correspondents whom they have complimented as professional, including Major Garrett and Wendell Goler.
But Michael Clemente, senior vice president for news and editorial programming at Fox, said the White House was conflating the network’s commentary with its news coverage. That, Mr. Clemente said, “would be like Fox News blaming the White House senior staff for the Washington Redskins’ losing record.”
“I think we’re doing the job we’re supposed to be doing,” he said, “and we do it as well as anyone.”
Mr. Clemente suggested that the fight was part of a larger White House strategy to marginalize critics. He cited a report in Politico about a strategy session in August at which officials discussed plans to move more aggressively against opponents.
White House officials acknowledged that Fox News did come up at that meeting, although not, they said, as a central topic. A number of issues had been added to the White House’s list of grievances by then, including the network’s heavy coverage of some of the more intensely anti-administration activity at town-hall-style meetings on health care and Mr. Beck’s remark that Mr. Obama “has a deep-seated hatred for white people.”
The first real shot from the White House, however, came when aides excluded “Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace” — which they had previously treated as distinct from the network — from a round of presidential interviews with Sunday morning news programs in mid-September.
“We simply decided to stop abiding by the fiction, which is aided and abetted by the mainstream press, that Fox is a traditional news organization,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the deputy White House communications director. Later that week, White House officials said, they noticed a column by Clark Hoyt, the public editor of The Times, in which Jill Abramson, one of the paper’s two managing editors, described her newsroom’s “insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio.” The Washington Post’s executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, had already expressed similar concerns about his newsroom.
White House officials said comments like those had focused them on a need to make their case that Fox had an ideological bent undercutting its legitimacy as a news organization.
Fox News Channel certainly seems to be enjoying a row it considers ratings candy, having devoted hours of news coverage and commentary to the fight.
But White House officials said they were happy to have at least started a public debate about Fox.
“This is a discussion that probably had to be had about their approach to things,” Mr. Axelrod said. “Our concern is other media not follow their lead.”
Taliban Attacks Nuke Site
Posted on Fri, Oct. 23, 2009
Bomb hits outside suspected Pakistani nuclear-weapons site
Saeed Shah McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: October 23, 2009 11:28:27 AM
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A suicide bomber attacked a suspected nuclear-weapons site Friday in Pakistan, raising fears about the security of the nuclear arsenal, while two other terrorist blasts made it another bloody day in the country’s struggle against extremism.
Increasingly daring and sophisticated attacks by terrorists allied with al Qaida on some of Pakistan’s most sensitive and best-protected installations have led to warnings that extremists could damage a nuclear facility or seize nuclear material.
Pakistan's nuclear sites are mostly in the northwest of the country, close to the capital, Islamabad, to keep them away from the border with archenemy India, but that places them close to Pakistani Taliban extremists, who are massed in the northwest. Al Qaida has made clear its ambitions to get hold of a nuclear bomb or knowledge of nuclear technology. Several other sites associated with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons have been hit previously.
Pakistan is reeling from a wave of terrorist violence that’s coincided with the launch of a U.S.-backed ground operation by the military against the country’s al Qaida and Taliban heartland of South Waziristan, on the Afghan border.
A suicide attacker struck a checkpoint Friday morning on the boundary of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, an air force base at Kamra, about 40 miles outside Islamabad, killing eight people, including two security personnel, and wounding 15.
“There were strict security arrangements, so he (the bomber) was intercepted at the first checkpost,” local Police Chief Fakhar Sultan said.
Many of the attacks have been carried out in a deadly collaboration between Taliban extremists from the northwest and militants from Punjab, the country’s most heavily populated province.
The military is a favorite target. Earlier this month, a team of commando-style assailants shot its way into the military headquarters at Rawalpindi. This week, gunmen ambushed and killed a brigadier general in Islamabad, spraying his army jeep with bullets.
Separately on Friday, a car bomb ripped through a hotel in an upscale residential neighborhood of Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province, wounding more than a dozen people, while a blast also struck a bus that was carrying a wedding party in the Mohmand tribal region, close to the Afghan border. Four women and three children were among the 17 people who were killed.
“Look what’s happening in Islamabad. This (violence) can take place anywhere now,” said Iftikhar Hussain, the provincial information minister for the North West Frontier Province. “We will not bow to terrorists ... whatever sacrifices we have to make.”
At Kamra, the bomber rode up to the checkpoint on a bicycle, explosives strapped to his body. Officials denied that the facility, the major research center for the air force, had links to the nuclear program. However, Pakistan doesn’t specify which sites are involved in the program and many independent experts think that Kamra is a nuclear air base.
The Kamra facility had been struck by a suicide bomber previously, in December 2007. In November 2007, the nuclear-missile storage site at Sargodha was attacked, while in August 2008, a team of suicide bombers blew themselves up at the entrance to the Wah armament factory, which is thought to be one of Pakistan’s main nuclear-weapons assembly locations.
Pakistan’s nuclear sites are tightly guarded, and the country repeatedly has denied any threat to them. While experts don't think that terrorists could seize a nuclear bomb -- the weapons aren't kept in a usable form --it's possible that they could cause a fire or explosion at a nuclear site or perhaps seize radioactive material.
After the attack on the military headquarters earlier this month, Shaun Gregory, a professor at Britain’s Bradford University and an expert on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, told McClatchy: “It is an incredible shock that terrorists can strike at the heart of GHQ (general headquarters). … Terrorists could mount this sort of assault against Pakistan’s nuclear installations.”
After the military headquarters strike, Western officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were forced to calm concerns, saying that “We have confidence in the Pakistani government and military's control over nuclear weapons."
Friday Nooner!5:37:00 pm permanent link# 5 Comments
OK, OK, all right already honey. I finally redid the bathroom12:26:00 pm permanent link# 1 Comments
Must be for the peace corps ..Muslim Brotherhood recruiting Sunnis for overseas
GERTZ - CAIRO -- Egyptian security sources said the Muslim Brotherhood has revived its international network by recruiting prominent Sunni clerics and politicians from the Levant, North Africa and the Gulf.
The sources said the recruitment took place in 2009 in wake of the Hamas war with Israel in the Gaza Strip.
"The Brotherhood has been working with Hamas and other groups to form an international network that would serve to pressure their governments to support jihad," a source said.
Islamist equivalent to Carville and Begala?
Egypt's state-controlled media have identified several leading Arabs as members of the Brotherhood network. They included cleric Awad Al Qarni, an Egyptian exile who has been living in Saudi Arabia. Al Qarni has denied the reports.
Leading Iraqi Sunnis have also been linked to the Brotherhood. They were said to include Sunni parliamentarians as well as the speaker.
No, I don't believe it!!! Jihadist, Qutb-ite people IN THE GOVT? Actually elected? By people?
I heard it today, Barack got a prize
Seams theyre dishin peace, prizes left and right
If you wanna prize, you can do it to
Theres just a few things, that you gotta do
Im mowing the lawn
You get a peace prize
Doing the laundry
Thats a peace prize
Im grooming my dog
He seems to like it
Thats a peace prize
You, get a peace prize
He, gets a peace prize
I, get a peace prize
Everybody, gets a peace prize
They gave a peace prize, to our president
Hed only been prez, for two weeks by then
The same time he takes, to dust his smokes
Some people call this, nobel prize a joke
But remember yall, Big O gives us hope
More hope for all man, even for the pope
This award aint for, anything he did
But for things he promises that he will
The first man to win, a peace prize for hope
Bankrupt America, The man is dope
Obama wants change, see it in his eyes
If you do to, youve earned yourself a prize
Im in the hot tub
Im doing some dips
Being a black guy
Gets a peace prize
Im making a sandwich
Thats a peace prize
Shes eating the sandwich
Heres a peace prize
Uh, yeah peace prize
The Nobel prize, aint given to fools
The whole committee, Went to greater schools
They thought Barack, Was Nobel worthy
they decided to, look at his story
He was voted to, be our president
Then they closed the books, The man is in
His namell go down, with other cool cats
Al Gore, Carter, Yasser Araffat
The prize aint always given to the best
Its got to be, politically correct
Thats why its not, everybody wins
For what not to do, Take a look at him
You get no peace prize
Curb AIDS in Africa
No peace prize
Your last name is Bush
You get no peace prize
Ha, no peace prize
Obama, gets a peace prize
Automatic, Peace Prize
Huh, peace prize
Everybody, peace prize
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Brown Sugar...Just Like a Young Man Should10:53:00 pm permanent link# 1 Comments
They hung a sign up in out town
if you live it up, you wont
Live it down
So, she left monte rio, son
Just like a bullet leaves a gun
With charcoal eyes and monroe hips
She went and took that california trip
Well, the moon was gold, her
Hair like wind
She said dont look back just
Come on jim
Oh you got to
Hold on, hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, Im standing right here
You gotta hold on
Well, he gave her a dimestore watch
And a ring made from a spoon
Everyone is looking for someone to blame
But you share my bed, you share my name
Well, go ahead and call the cops
You dont meet nice girls in coffee shops
She said baby, I still love you
Sometimes theres nothin left to do
Oh you got to
Hold on, hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, Im standing right here, you got to
Just hold on.
Well, God bless your crooked little heart st. louis got the best of me
I miss your broken-china voice
How I wish you were still here with me
Well, you build it up, you wreck it down
You burn your mansion to the ground
When theres nothing left to keep you here, when
Youre falling behind in this
Big blue world
Oh you go to
Hold on, hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, Im standing right here
You got to hold on
Down by the riverside motel,
Its 10 below and falling
By a 99 cent store she closed her eyes
And started swaying
But its so hard to dance that way
When its cold and theres no music
Well your old hometown is so far away
But, inside your head theres a record
Thats playing, a song called
Hold on, hold on
You really got to hold on
Take my hand, Im standing right here
And just hold on.
Philadelphia Phillies beat Los Angeles Dodgers to return to World Series
By Rob Maaddi
Associated Press writer
PHILADELPHIA — Powered by Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and all those other big bats, the Philadelphia Phillies are headed back to the World Series.
Werth hit two home runs, Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz also connected and the defending champions beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 in Game 5 on Wednesday to win their second straight NL pennant.
Brad Lidge closed it out and the Phillies became the first team to reach consecutive World Series since the New York Yankees in 2000-01.
Now, Jimmy Rollins and crew wait for their next opponent. They'll go for their third World Series title beginning next Wednesday night at New York or Los Angeles. The Yankees lead the Angels 3-1 in the ALCS, which resumes tonight at Angel Stadium.
Philadelphia overcame another shaky outing by 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP Cole Hamels.
Meanwhile, slugger Manny Ramirez, manager Joe Torre and the rest of the Dodgers go home after leading the NL with 95 wins in the regular season and sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the division series.
Los Angeles closed to 9-4 in the eighth, but Ryan Madson escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Russell Martin and retiring Casey Blake on a grounder to shortstop.
After beating Tampa Bay in last year's World Series, the Phillies are trying to become the first repeat champions from the NL since the Cincinnati Reds in 1975-76. The Yankees were the last team to win consecutive titles when they captured three in a row from 1998 to 2000.
Andre Ethier, James Loney and pinch-hitter Orlando Hudson hit solo homers for the Dodgers, who also lost to the Phillies in five games in last year's NLCS.
Five pitchers tossed 4 2/3 strong innings in relief of an ineffective Hamels, who hasn't been the dominant ace he was last postseason. Chad Durbin earned the win by retiring all four batters he faced, including Ramirez representing the tying run in the fifth.
Lidge, who has bounced back from a rough season with a 0.00 ERA during the playoffs, worked a scoreless ninth.
Hamels allowed three runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings. Still, he got a standing ovation on his way to the dugout.
Vicente Padilla, the former Phillies pitcher who was excellent in his first two playoff starts, lasted just three-plus innings and gave up six runs.
The teams combined to tie the record of seven homers in a postseason game. It was the fifth time that has happened.
Honor Killing in Arizona?
Father Runs Over Daughter For Being Too "Westernized"
PEORIA, Ariz. (CBS/AP) Police believe a 20-year-old girl was run over in a Phoenix suburb because she had become too "Westernized." And the man they suspect was behind the wheel was her own father, an Iraqi immigrant.
Police say 48-year-old Faleh Hassan Almaleki of Glendale allegedly ran his daughter over Tuesday at an Arizona Department of Economic Security parking lot in Peoria.
The victim, Noor Faleh Almaleki, who lives in Surprise, Az., a Phoenix suburb, remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
A second woman, 43-year-old Amal Edan Khalaf suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police say the women are roommates.
Cynthia Diaz, who witnessed the crash, said Noor Almaleki was unconscious and bleeding from the nose; however, Khalaf was able to communicate.
"I asked her specifically, 'Do you know who did this?'" Diaz said to CBS Affiliate KPHO. "She said yes and she gave a name."
Police said Faleh Almaleki was last seen driving a gray or silver 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee with license plate No. ADS-9192.
Barack the Ditherer
Cheney slammed scared waffler Obama yesterday for dithering while American troops are in harm’s way.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney skewered the “scared waffler” Barack Obama during his talk yesterday to the Center for Security Policy.
Real Clear Politics provides the transcript. Here are a few points from this amazing speech:
…In the short of it, President Obama’s cancellation of America’s agreements withTeam Obama’s likely rebuttal: Cheney is unpopular.
the Polish and Czech governments was a serious blow to the hopes and aspirations
of millions of Europeans. For twenty years, these peoples have done nothing but
strive to move closer to us, and to gain the opportunities and security that America offered. These are faithful friends and NATO allies, and they deserve better. The impact of making two NATO allies walk the plank won’t be felt only in Europe. Our friends throughout the world are watching and wondering whether America will abandon them as well.
Big events turn on the credibility of the United States – doing what we said we would do, and always defending our fundamental security interests. In that category belong the ongoing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the need to counter the nuclear ambitions of the current regime in Iran.
Candidate Obama declared last year that he would be willing to sit down with Iran’s leader without preconditions. As President, he has committed America to an Iran strategy that seems to treat engagement as an objective rather than a tactic. Time and time again, he has outstretched his hand to the Islamic Republic’s authoritarian leaders, and all the while Iran has continued to provide lethal support to extremists and terrorists who are killing American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic continues to provide support to extremists in Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, the regime continues to spin centrifuges and test
missiles. And these are just the activities we know about.
I have long been skeptical of engagement with the current regime in Tehran, but even Iran experts who previously advocated for engagement have changed their tune since he rigged elections this past June and the brutal suppression of Iran’s
democratic protestors. The administration clearly missed an opportunity to stand
with Iran’s democrats, whose popular protests represent the greatest challenge to the Islamic Republic since its founding in 1979. Instead, the President has been largely silent about the violent crackdown on Iran’s protestors, and has moved blindly forward to engage Iran’s authoritarian regime. Unless the Islamic Republic fears real consequences from the United States and the international community, it is hard to see how diplomacy will work.
…President Obama has said he understands the stakes for America. When he announced his new strategy he couched the need to succeed in the starkest possible terms, saying, quote, “If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban – or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged – that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.” End quote.
Five months later, in August of this year, speaking at the VFW, the President made a promise to America’s armed forces. “I will give you a clear mission,” he said, “defined goals, and the equipment and support you need to get the job done. That’s my commitment to you.”
It’s time for President Obama to make good on his promise. The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger.
Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries. Waffling, while our troops on the ground face an emboldened enemy, endangers them and hurts our cause.
Recently, President Obama’s advisors have decided that it’s easier to blame the Bush Administration than support our troops. This weekend they leveled a charge that cannot go unanswered. The President’s chief of staff claimed that the Bush Administration hadn’t asked any tough questions about Afghanistan, and he complained that the Obama Administration had to start from scratch to put together a strategy.
In the fall of 2008, fully aware of the need to meet new challenges being posed by the Taliban, we dug into every aspect of Afghanistan policy, assembling a team that traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, reviewing options and recommendations, and
briefing President-elect Obama’s team. They asked us not to announce our findings publicly, and we agreed, giving them the benefit of our work and the benefit of the doubt. The new strategy they embraced in March, with a focus on counterinsurgency and an increase in the numbers of troops, bears a striking resemblance to the strategy we passed to them. They made a decision – a good one, I think – and sent a commander into the field to implement it.
Now they seem to be pulling back and blaming others for their failure to implement the strategy they embraced. It’s time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity…
…There are policy differences, and then there are affronts that have to be answered every time without equivocation, and this is one of them. We cannot protect this country by putting politics over security, and turning the guns on our own guys.
We cannot hope to win a war by talking down our country and those who do its hardest work – the men and women of our military and intelligence services. They are, after all, the true keepers of the flame.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Other countries have allowed their gun rights to be taken from them and now, very often, find themselves in a bit of a fix over it.
But not here. Not yet. Hopefully never. And not while I have anything to say about it.
Because it was people like you and me that had our flintlocks and pushed back. Said enough.
Buy a gun. Learn to use it. Count yourself as part of The American Militia.
Nothing sinister about it. Nothing sinister in defending your right to personal protection and protection from tyranny.
from Milford Daily News h/t Dr Bulldog
Parente: Digging gun rights out of a State House Dumpster
By Marie Parente/ Local columnist
Posted Oct 21, 2009 @ 08:04 AM
During my second term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, I received a call from then Speaker Thomas McGee to meet with him regarding legislative matters. He got to the point quickly. "There is a State House Library Board of Trustees comprised of members from various learning institutions and prestigious libraries. Members include the secretary of state or his designee, governor or his designee, director of JFK Library, state librarian and Haverhill library director and other archivists. Two of the seats on that board have been assigned to the Speaker and the Senate President or their designees. I have noticed that you make extensive use of that library, so I am asking you to serve as my designee to that board."
As a fairly new legislator, I was stunned but appreciative. I accepted and served from 1982 to 2006 having been appointed and re-appointed by succeeding Speakers. Eventually I was elected library chair and served in that capacity from July 1991 to December 2006.
The board conducted regular meetings regarding state library budgets, acquisitions, personnel, and maintained the security of the second oldest library in the country. Our duties included the preservation of the commonwealth's one million book collection, special collection of documents, e.g. Mayflower Compact and the Bradford Manuscript.
The Bradford Manuscript is often described as the diary of the Mayflower's personnel and passengers and is stored in the State House vault whose exact site is shared with very few individuals. Once we allowed the Plymouth Historical Society to "borrow" it for their 350th anniversary. After six months of negotiations to insure its safety, we sent the document to Plymouth escorted by state troopers. It is now ensconced in the State Archives, Dorchester - under 24-hour guard.
Probably the shortest term served was by a library director who "purged the collection" by throwing out leather-bound books because "we have several copies of those books."
"What a waste," I thought. So when I spotted the leather-bound books in a State House hallway Dumpster, I climbed in and retrieved them. I donated several to local collectors and libraries. I confess, I kept one for myself. "The Acts and Resolves of 1779." Occasionally I would thumb through the book to experience the mind set of legislators in 1779. It was there I learned why the Legislature is often referred to as "The Great and General Court." There was no court system in 1779 and a wide variety of issues were brought before the Legislature for resolution.
Some years later, the recurring argument of gun control surfaced. A new legislator proposed additional controls on gun ownership.
The debate went on for hours. I remembered the old leather-bound "Dumpster" book . I rushed to my office, found the book and rushed back to the Chamber to join the debate.
The proponent of new gun ownership controls was in hot pursuit of his opponents. I joined the fray. "Mr. Speaker."
"For what purpose does the lady from Milford rise?"
"To debate, Mr. Speaker."
And there I was at the podium, "I object to the proposed changes to our gun laws," I said.
My opponent roared, "On what basis?"
"The second Constitutional amendment... the right to bear arms." I stated, firmly.
My opponent was relentless. "And where is it written, that a man has the right to a private weapon? Where is that written?"
"I thought you would never ask." I responded and read from the book's withered pages:
"Whereas by a Resolve of the General Court of this State, past the 2nd of April 1778, for raising 1300 men for North River, it was among other Things resolved that every person who supply himself with a good firelock and bayonet, cartouche-box, haversack and blanket ... shall receive, agreeable to a resolve by the Congress, ... two dollars for the use of his firelock, bayonet and cartouche and two dollars for the use of his blanket and four dollars in like proportion for either of them."
According to the Acts and Resolves of 1779, "after producing proper vouchers they were so provided. It is my considered belief the farmers earned tacit approval of private gun ownership." In conclusion, I said, "Had not the farmers brought their private weapons to the Revolutionary War we might not be standing here today."
I called for a roll call vote. The proposal to restrict ownership of private weapons went down in flames.
Speaker McGee leaned over the rostrum, and said, "where did you find that one?"
I smiled and said, "The Dumpster, sir."
I still have the book. It is a trove of common sense legislation that became the bedrock of freedom. The right to bear arms was incorporated into the Bill of Rights and enacted circa 1791.
Since we had no army, per se, in 1775, the farmer with his firelock, and his blanket helped us win our freedom! Tacit approval of private gun ownership, I say!
Marie J. Parente of Milford is a former state representative and town official.
Iran: Biggest Threat Since Soviets
by Mitt Romney
The Iranian leadership is the greatest immediate threat to the world since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has gone well beyond the boundary of outrage -- beginning with his calculated desecration of history. When he denies the Holocaust, he could care less about history. His point is about the present and the future. His purpose is not merely to deny the Holocaust, but also to deny Israel. He is testing the waters. He wants to know who will object. And how they will register their objection.
That’s why it was so shocking last month when the United Nations gave a platform to a Holocaust-denier who has pledged over and over again that he will wipe out Israel. It was a grotesque moment and another stain on the reputation of the U.N. And congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu for having the moral courage to say what needed to be said to those members of the United Nations who stayed to listen to Ahmadinejad -- "Have you no shame!”
I will happily agree that the U.N. has done some good in its history. But I will also insist that it has also done terrible damage to the causes it claims to uphold. And on no issue has it been more irresponsible and morally reckless than when considering the fate of Israel.
The Iranian regime threatens not only Israel, but also every other nation in the region, and ultimately the world. It is a repressive regime… an intractable enemy of liberty and human rights… the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and subversive war. The threat it poses to the world would take on an entirely new dimension if Iran were allowed to become a nuclear power.
Earlier this month, senior staff members of the U.N. nuclear agency concluded in a confidential analysis that Iran has acquired “sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable” atom bomb. We also learned of a previously secret, illegal uranium enrichment facility that the Iranians had been hiding near Qom.
A nuclear Iran would be a tipping point in the proliferation of nuclear regimes, and yet America still has not taken critical steps to immediately dissuade Iran from its nuclear folly.
At this late stage, I would simply say that it is long past time for America to recognize the nature of the regime we are dealing with. The Iranian regime is unalloyed evil, run by people who are at once ruthless and fanatical. We should stop thinking that a charm offensive will talk the Iranians out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons. It will not. And agreements, unenforceable and unverifiable, will have no greater impact here than they did in North Korea. Once an outstretched hand is met with a clenched fist, it becomes a symbol of weakness and impotence. President Eisenhower said it well: “The care of freedom is not long entrusted to the weak and timid.”
The President of the United States can employ his admiration and good will to actually accomplish something meaningful and real in Iran -- comprehensive, withering sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and international support for the forces of freedom within Iran.The people of Iran represent a major source of strength. By and large, they have not been radicalized by their government and clerics; in fact, the regime’s effort to crush the uprising against it has only alienated the people of Iran. They fear economic stagnation and they hate political repression. Most are not seeking a military confrontation with the West. Indeed, most want greater engagement with the West.
And the military option must remain on the table -- and that threat needs to be credible. Unfortunately -- for reasons that are unfathomable to me -- our government has signaled that the military option is effectively off the table. How can that be countenanced when an ally of the United States faces an existential threat?
I don’t pretend for a moment that the course of action to take with Iran is easy or obvious; there are costs to anything we do, but there are even greater costs if we do nothing at all. If we allow Iran under the rule of the mullahs to get a nuclear weapon, it will make the problems America faces today look like a walk in the park.
The clock is ticking, with no real progress to show for the precious time that has already lapsed.
Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock
Iran Lawmaker Rejects Nuke Deal to Ship Uranium
Thursday, October 22, 2009 7:40 AM
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's deputy parliament speaker has dismissed an internationally backed draft plan to have Tehran ship its uranium abroad for enrichment.
Mohammad Reza Bahonar was quoted by the official IRNA news agency on Thursday as saying Iran "doesn't accept" the offer, drummed up at a nuclear meeting in Vienna.
Following three-day talks in the Austrian capital, Iran said it would decide on the plan on shipping its uranium to Russia for enrichment.
The international community sees this as a way to curb Tehran's ability to build a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Bahonar's remark is the first reaction on the draft in Tehran. But he does not speak for the government, which is to decide on the matter.
You know Glenn Beck has gone too far when...
Glenn, present the facts, minimize the conclusions. It would be plenty to ask about the efficacy of testing, or present track records of speed developed vaccines, or mortality and morbidity studies of H1N1, yadda.
Louis Farrakhan: H1N1 Vaccine Developed to Kill People
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said the H1N1 flu vaccine was developed to kill people, UPI reported.
"The Earth can't take 6.5 billion people. We just can't feed that many. So what are you going to do? Kill as many as you can," Farrakhan reportedly said during an event in Memphis, Tenn. "We have to develop a science that kills them and makes it look as though they died from some disease."
The 76-year-old added that many wise people won't take the vaccine, according to UPI.
His comments were made during an event to observe the group's Holy Day of Atonement, and also marked the 14th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington.
Taking the facts over a cliff, and seeing as your nearest neighbor during the long descent is Mr, Farrakhan should be a wake up call.
The govt has no underlying purpose. They may be wrong and stupid (par for the course) but this is not part of some plan.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
WHerein our Heroes (oh yes they are!) Hannah and James Drop in on ACORN, Philly Style
Hope they remembered to get a good cheesesteak while they were in town. . .
Dr Bulldog adds:
Fox News: “ACORN representatives claim James and Hannah were kicked out of Philadelphia,” Andrew Breitbart said in a statement prior to the 9:30 a.m. ET news conference. “They also said publicly that, unlike Baltimore, Washington D.C., Brooklyn, San Bernardino (Calif.) and San Diego, James and Hannah never even mentioned prostitution before they were told to leave. James and Hannah will be joining me to set the record straight. After Wednesday, everyone will know what really happened in Philly.”
This Week on the Gathering Storm Radio Show
The call-in number is (646) 915-9870.
Our guests this week we'll have our regular bi-weekly visit from I.Q. al Rassooli to educate us on the meaning of Islam and the Koran and Elisabeth from Austria who will discuss with us the details of the OSCE meeting in Europe.
Listen to the October 23, 2009 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show, live or later, by CLICKING HERE.
October 30: Mohammad Abdul
November 6: Jeff Epstein
November 13: Bill Warner
November 20: Allan Goldstein
Decline Is a Choice
Decline Is a Choice
The New Liberalism and the end of American ascendancy.
by Charles Krauthammer
10/19/2009, Volume 015, Issue 05
The weathervanes of conventional wisdom are engaged in another round of angst about America in decline. New theories, old slogans: Imperial overstretch. The Asian awakening. The post-American world. Inexorable forces beyond our control bringing the inevitable humbling of the world hegemon.
On the other side of this debate are a few--notably Josef Joffe in a recent essay in Foreign Affairs--who resist the current fashion and insist that America remains the indispensable power. They note that declinist predictions are cyclical, that the rise of China (and perhaps India) are just the current version of the Japan panic of the late 1980s or of the earlier pessimism best captured by Jean-François Revel's How Democracies Perish.
The anti-declinists point out, for example, that the fear of China is overblown. It's based on the implausible assumption of indefinite, uninterrupted growth; ignores accumulating externalities like pollution (which can be ignored when growth starts from a very low baseline, but ends up making growth increasingly, chokingly difficult); and overlooks the unavoidable consequences of the one-child policy, which guarantees that China will get old before it gets rich.
And just as the rise of China is a straight-line projection of current economic trends, American decline is a straight-line projection of the fearful, pessimistic mood of a country war-weary and in the grip of a severe recession.
Among these crosscurrents, my thesis is simple: The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption that somehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable external forces, is wrong. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline--or continued ascendancy--is in our hands.
Not that decline is always a choice. Britain's decline after World War II was foretold, as indeed was that of Europe, which had been the dominant global force of the preceding centuries. The civilizational suicide that was the two world wars, and the consequent physical and psychological exhaustion, made continued dominance impossible and decline inevitable.
The corollary to unchosen European collapse was unchosen American ascendancy. We--whom Lincoln once called God's "almost chosen people"--did not save Europe twice in order to emerge from the ashes as the world's co-hegemon. We went in to defend ourselves and save civilization. Our dominance after World War II was not sought. Nor was the even more remarkable dominance after the Soviet collapse. We are the rarest of geopolitical phenomena: the accidental hegemon and, given our history of isolationism and lack of instinctive imperial ambition, the reluctant hegemon--and now, after a near-decade of strenuous post-9/11 exertion, more reluctant than ever.
Which leads to my second proposition: Facing the choice of whether to maintain our dominance or to gradually, deliberately, willingly, and indeed relievedly give it up, we are currently on a course towards the latter. The current liberal ascendancy in the United States--controlling the executive and both houses of Congress, dominating the media and elite culture--has set us on a course for decline. And this is true for both foreign and domestic policies. Indeed, they work synergistically to ensure that outcome.
The current foreign policy of the United States is an exercise in contraction. It begins with the demolition of the moral foundation of American dominance. In Strasbourg, President Obama was asked about American exceptionalism. His answer? "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Interesting response. Because if everyone is exceptional, no one is.
Indeed, as he made his hajj from Strasbourg to Prague to Ankara to Istanbul to Cairo and finally to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama drew the picture of an America quite exceptional--exceptional in moral culpability and heavy-handedness, exceptional in guilt for its treatment of other nations and peoples. With varying degrees of directness or obliqueness, Obama indicted his own country for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness (toward Europe), for maltreatment of natives, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantánamo, for unilateralism, and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.
Quite an indictment, the fundamental consequence of which is to effectively undermine any moral claim that America might have to world leadership, as well as the moral confidence that any nation needs to have in order to justify to itself and to others its position of leadership. According to the new dispensation, having forfeited the mandate of heaven--if it ever had one--a newly humbled America now seeks a more modest place among the nations, not above them.
But that leads to the question: How does this new world govern itself? How is the international system to function?
Henry Kissinger once said that the only way to achieve peace is through hegemony or balance of power. Well, hegemony is out. As Obama said in his General Assembly address, "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation." (The "can" in that declaration is priceless.) And if hegemony is out, so is balance of power: "No balance of power among nations will hold."
The president then denounced the idea of elevating any group of nations above others--which takes care, I suppose, of the Security Council, the G-20, and the Western alliance. And just to make the point unmistakable, he denounced "alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War" as making "no sense in an interconnected world." What does that say about NATO? Of our alliances with Japan and South Korea? Or even of the European Union?
This is nonsense. But it is not harmless nonsense. It's nonsense with a point. It reflects a fundamental view that the only legitimate authority in the international system is that which emanates from "the community of nations" as a whole. Which means, I suppose, acting through its most universal organs such as, again I suppose, the U.N. and its various agencies. Which is why when Obama said that those who doubt "the character and cause" of his own country should see what this new America--the America of the liberal ascendancy--had done in the last nine months, he listed among these restorative and relegitimizing initiatives paying up U.N. dues, renewing actions on various wholly vacuous universalist declarations and agreements, and joining such Orwellian U.N. bodies as the Human Rights Council.
These gestures have not gone unnoticed abroad. The Nobel Committee effused about Obama's radical reorientation of U.S. foreign policy. Its citation awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize lauded him for having "created a new climate" in international relations in which "multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other institutions can play."
Of course, the idea of the "international community" acting through the U.N.--a fiction and a farce respectively--to enforce norms and maintain stability is absurd. So absurd that I suspect it's really just a metaphor for a world run by a kind of multipolar arrangement not of nation-states but of groups of states acting through multilateral bodies, whether institutional (like the International Atomic Energy Agency) or ad hoc (like the P5+1 Iran negotiators).
But whatever bizarre form of multilateral or universal structures is envisioned for keeping world order, certainly hegemony--and specifically American hegemony--is to be retired.
This renunciation of primacy is not entirely new. Liberal internationalism as practiced by the center-left Clinton administrations of the 1990s--the beginning of the unipolar era--was somewhat ambivalent about American hegemony, although it did allow America to be characterized as "the indispensable nation," to use Madeleine Albright's phrase. Clintonian center-left liberal internationalism did seek to restrain American power by tying Gulliver down with a myriad of treaties and agreements and international conventions. That conscious constraining of America within international bureaucratic and normative structures was rooted in the notion that power corrupts and that external restraints would curb arrogance and overreaching and break a willful America to the role of good international citizen.
But the liberal internationalism of today is different. It is not center-left, but left-liberal. And the new left-liberal internationalism goes far beyond its earlier Clintonian incarnation in its distrust of and distaste for American dominance. For what might be called the New Liberalism, the renunciation of power is rooted not in the fear that we are essentially good but subject to the corruptions of power--the old Clintonian view--but rooted in the conviction that America is so intrinsically flawed, so inherently and congenitally sinful that it cannot be trusted with, and does not merit, the possession of overarching world power.
For the New Liberalism, it is not just that power corrupts. It is that America itself is corrupt--in the sense of being deeply flawed, and with the history to prove it. An imperfect union, the theme of Obama's famous Philadelphia race speech, has been carried to and amplified in his every major foreign-policy address, particularly those delivered on foreign soil. (Not surprisingly, since it earns greater applause over there.)
And because we remain so imperfect a nation, we are in no position to dictate our professed values to others around the world. Demonstrators are shot in the streets of Tehran seeking nothing but freedom, but our president holds his tongue because, he says openly, of our own alleged transgressions towards Iran (presumably involvement in the 1953 coup). Our shortcomings are so grave, and our offenses both domestic and international so serious, that we lack the moral ground on which to justify hegemony.
These fundamental tenets of the New Liberalism are not just theory. They have strategic consequences. If we have been illegitimately playing the role of world hegemon, then for us to regain a legitimate place in the international system we must regain our moral authority. And recovering moral space means renouncing ill-gotten or ill-conceived strategic space.
Operationally, this manifests itself in various kinds of strategic retreat, most particularly in reversing policies stained by even the hint of American unilateralism or exceptionalism. Thus, for example, there is no more "Global War on Terror." It's not just that the term has been abolished or that the secretary of homeland security refers to terrorism as "man-caused disasters." It is that the very idea of our nation and civilization being engaged in a global mortal struggle with jihadism has been retired as well.
The operational consequences of that new view are already manifest. In our reversion to pre-9/11 normalcy--the pretense of pre-9/11 normalcy--antiterrorism has reverted from war fighting to law enforcement. High-level al Qaeda prisoners, for example, will henceforth be interrogated not by the CIA but by the FBI, just as our response to the attack on the USS Cole pre-9/11--an act of war--was to send FBI agents to Yemen.
The operational consequences of voluntary contraction are already evident:
* Unilateral abrogation of our missile-defense arrangements with Poland and the Czech Republic--a retreat being felt all through Eastern Europe to Ukraine and Georgia as a signal of U.S. concession of strategic space to Russia in its old sphere of influence.
* Indecision on Afghanistan--a widely expressed ambivalence about the mission and a serious contemplation of minimalist strategies that our commanders on the ground have reported to the president have no chance of success. In short, a serious contemplation of strategic retreat in Afghanistan (only two months ago it was declared by the president to be a "war of necessity") with possibly catastrophic consequences for Pakistan.
* In Iraq, a determination to end the war according to rigid timetables, with almost no interest in garnering the fruits of a very costly and very bloody success--namely, using our Strategic Framework Agreement to turn the new Iraq into a strategic partner and anchor for U.S. influence in the most volatile area of the world. Iraq is a prize--we can debate endlessly whether it was worth the cost--of great strategic significance that the administration seems to have no intention of exploiting in its determination to execute a full and final exit.
* In Honduras, where again because of our allegedly sinful imperial history, we back a Chávista caudillo seeking illegal extension of his presidency who was removed from power by the legitimate organs of state--from the supreme court to the national congress--for grave constitutional violations.
The New Liberalism will protest that despite its rhetoric, it is not engaging in moral reparations, but seeking real strategic advantage for the United States on the assumption that the reason we have not gotten cooperation from, say, the Russians, Iranians, North Koreans, or even our European allies on various urgent agendas is American arrogance, unilateralism, and dismissiveness. And therefore, if we constrict and rebrand and diminish ourselves deliberately--try to make ourselves equal partners with obviously unequal powers abroad--we will gain the moral high ground and rally the world to our causes.
Well, being a strategic argument, the hypothesis is testable. Let's tally up the empirical evidence of what nine months of self-abasement has brought.
With all the bowing and scraping and apologizing and renouncing, we couldn't even sway the International Olympic Committee. Given the humiliation incurred there in pursuit of a trinket, it is no surprise how little our new international posture has yielded in the coin of real strategic goods. Unilateral American concessions and offers of unconditional engagement have moved neither Iran nor Russia nor North Korea to accommodate us. Nor have the Arab states--or even the powerless Palestinian Authority--offered so much as a gesture of accommodation in response to heavy and gratuitous American pressure on Israel. Nor have even our European allies responded: They have anted up essentially nothing in response to our pleas for more assistance in Afghanistan.
The very expectation that these concessions would yield results is puzzling. Thus, for example, the president is proposing radical reductions in nuclear weapons and presided over a Security Council meeting passing a resolution whose goal is universal nuclear disarmament, on the theory that unless the existing nuclear powers reduce their weaponry, they can never have the moral standing to demand that other states not go nuclear.
But whatever the merits of unilateral or even bilateral U.S.-Russian disarmament, the notion that it will lead to reciprocal gestures from the likes of Iran and North Korea is simply childish. They are seeking the bomb for reasons of power, prestige, intimidation, blackmail, and regime preservation. They don't give a whit about the level of nuclear arms among the great powers. Indeed, both Iran and North Korea launched their nuclear weapons ambitions in the 1980s and the 1990s--precisely when the United States and Russia were radically reducing their arsenals.
This deliberate choice of strategic retreats to engender good feeling is based on the naïve hope of exchanges of reciprocal goodwill with rogue states. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the theory--as policy--has demonstrably produced no strategic advances. But that will not deter the New Liberalism because the ultimate purpose of its foreign policy is to make America less hegemonic, less arrogant, less dominant.
In a word, it is a foreign policy designed to produce American decline--to make America essentially one nation among many. And for that purpose, its domestic policies are perfectly complementary.
Domestic policy, of course, is not designed to curb our power abroad. But what it lacks in intent, it makes up in effect. Decline will be an unintended, but powerful, side effect of the New Liberalism's ambition of moving America from its traditional dynamic individualism to the more equitable but static model of European social democracy.
This is not the place to debate the intrinsic merits of the social democratic versus the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. There's much to be said for the decency and relative equity of social democracy. But it comes at a cost: diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth.
This affects the ability to project power. Growth provides the sinews of dominance--the ability to maintain a large military establishment capable of projecting power to all corners of the earth. The Europeans, rich and developed, have almost no such capacity. They made the choice long ago to devote their resources to a vast welfare state. Their expenditures on defense are minimal, as are their consequent military capacities. They rely on the U.S. Navy for open seas and on the U.S. Air Force for airlift. It's the U.S. Marines who go ashore, not just in battle, but for such global social services as tsunami relief. The United States can do all of this because we spend infinitely more on defense--more than the next nine countries combined.
Those are the conditions today. But they are not static or permanent. They require constant renewal. The express agenda of the New Liberalism is a vast expansion of social services--massive intervention and expenditures in energy, health care, and education--that will necessarily, as in Europe, take away from defense spending.
This shift in resources is not hypothetical. It has already begun. At a time when hundreds of billions of dollars are being lavished on stimulus and other appropriations in an endless array of domestic programs, the defense budget is practically frozen. Almost every other department is expanding, and the Defense Department is singled out for making "hard choices"--forced to look everywhere for cuts, to abandon highly advanced weapons systems, to choose between readiness and research, between today's urgencies and tomorrow's looming threats.
Take, for example, missile defense, in which the United States has a great technological edge and one perfectly designed to maintain American preeminence in a century that will be dominated by the ballistic missile. Missile defense is actually being cut. The number of interceptors in Alaska to defend against a North Korean attack has been reduced, and the airborne laser program (the most promising technology for a boost-phase antiballistic missile) has been cut back--at the same time that the federal education budget has been increased 100 percent in one year.
This preference for social goods over security needs is not just evident in budgetary allocations and priorities. It is seen, for example, in the liberal preference for environmental goods. By prohibiting the drilling of offshore and Arctic deposits, the United States is voluntarily denying itself access to vast amounts of oil that would relieve dependency on--and help curb the wealth and power of--various petro-dollar challengers, from Iran to Venezuela to Russia. Again, we can argue whether the environment versus security trade-off is warranted. But there is no denying that there is a trade-off.
Nor are these the only trade-offs. Primacy in space--a galvanizing symbol of American greatness, so deeply understood and openly championed by John Kennedy--is gradually being relinquished. In the current reconsideration of all things Bush, the idea of returning to the moon in the next decade is being jettisoned. After next September, the space shuttle will never fly again, and its replacement is being reconsidered and delayed. That will leave the United States totally incapable of returning even to near-Earth orbit, let alone to the moon. Instead, for years to come, we shall be entirely dependent on the Russians, or perhaps eventually even the Chinese.
Of symbolic but also more concrete importance is the status of the dollar. The social democratic vision necessarily involves huge increases in domestic expenditures, most immediately for expanded health care. The plans currently under consideration will cost in the range of $1 trillion. And once the budget gimmicks are discounted (such as promises of $500 billion cuts in Medicare which will never eventuate), that means hundreds of billions of dollars added to the monstrous budgetary deficits that the Congressional Budget Office projects conservatively at $7 trillion over the next decade.
The effect on the dollar is already being felt and could ultimately lead to a catastrophic collapse and/or hyperinflation. Having control of the world's reserve currency is an irreplaceable national asset. Yet with every new and growing estimate of the explosion of the national debt, there are more voices calling for replacement of the dollar as the world currency--not just adversaries like Russia and China, Iran and Venezuela, which one would expect, but just last month the head of the World Bank.
There is no free lunch. Social democracy and its attendant goods may be highly desirable, but they have their price--a price that will be exacted on the dollar, on our primacy in space, on missile defense, on energy security, and on our military capacities and future power projection.
But, of course, if one's foreign policy is to reject the very notion of international primacy in the first place, a domestic agenda that takes away the resources to maintain such primacy is perfectly complementary. Indeed, the two are synergistic. Renunciation of primacy abroad provides the added resources for more social goods at home. To put it in the language of the 1990s, the expanded domestic agenda is fed by a peace dividend--except that in the absence of peace, it is a retreat dividend.
And there's the rub. For the Europeans there really is a peace dividend, because we provide the peace. They can afford social democracy without the capacity to defend themselves because they can always depend on the United States.
So why not us as well? Because what for Europe is decadence--decline, in both comfort and relative safety--is for us mere denial. Europe can eat, drink, and be merry for America protects her. But for America it's different. If we choose the life of ease, who stands guard for us?
The temptation to abdicate has always been strong in America. Our interventionist tradition is recent. Our isolationist tradition goes far deeper. Nor is it restricted to the American left. Historically, of course, it was championed by the American right until the Vandenberg conversion. And it remains a bipartisan instinct.
When the era of maximum dominance began 20 years ago--when to general surprise a unipolar world emerged rather than a post-Cold War multipolar one--there was hesitation about accepting the mantle. And it wasn't just among liberals. In the fall of 1990, Jeane Kirkpatrick, -heroine in the struggle to defeat the Soviet Union, argued that, after a half-century of exertion fighting fascism, Nazism, and communism, "it is time to give up the dubious benefits of superpower status," time to give up the "unusual burdens" of the past and "return to 'normal' times." No more balancing power in Europe or in Asia. We should aspire instead to be "a normal country in a normal time."
That call to retreat was rejected by most of American conservatism (as Pat Buchanan has amply demonstrated by his very marginality). But it did find some resonance in mainstream liberalism. At first, however, only some resonance. As noted earlier, the liberal internationalism of the 1990s, the center-left Clintonian version, was reluctant to fully embrace American hegemony and did try to rein it in by creating external restraints. Nonetheless, in practice, it did boldly intervene in the Balkan wars (without the sanction of the Security Council, mind you) and openly accepted a kind of intermediate status as "the indispensable nation."
Not today. The ascendant New Liberalism goes much further, actively seeking to subsume America within the international community--inter pares, not even primus--and to enact a domestic social agenda to suit.
So why not? Why not choose ease and bask in the adulation of the world as we serially renounce, withdraw, and concede?
Because, while globalization has produced in some the illusion that human nature has changed, it has not. The international arena remains a Hobbesian state of nature in which countries naturally strive for power. If we voluntarily renounce much of ours, others will not follow suit. They will fill the vacuum. Inevitably, an inversion of power relations will occur.
Do we really want to live under unknown, untested, shifting multipolarity? Or even worse, under the gauzy internationalism of the New Liberalism with its magically self-enforcing norms? This is sometimes passed off as "realism." In fact, it is the worst of utopianisms, a fiction that can lead only to chaos. Indeed, in an age on the threshold of hyper-proliferation, it is a prescription for catastrophe.
Heavy are the burdens of the hegemon. After the blood and treasure expended in the post-9/11 wars, America is quite ready to ease its burden with a gentle descent into abdication and decline.
Decline is a choice. More than a choice, a temptation. How to resist it?
First, accept our role as hegemon. And reject those who deny its essential benignity. There is a reason that we are the only hegemon in modern history to have not immediately catalyzed the creation of a massive counter-hegemonic alliance--as occurred, for example, against Napoleonic France and Nazi Germany. There is a reason so many countries of the Pacific Rim and the Middle East and Eastern Europe and Latin America welcome our presence as balancer of power and guarantor of their freedom.
And that reason is simple: We are as benign a hegemon as the world has ever seen.
So, resistance to decline begins with moral self-confidence and will. But maintaining dominance is a matter not just of will but of wallet. We are not inherently in economic decline. We have the most dynamic, innovative, technologically advanced economy in the world. We enjoy the highest productivity. It is true that in the natural and often painful global division of labor wrought by globalization, less skilled endeavors like factory work migrate abroad, but America more than compensates by pioneering the newer technologies and industries of the information age.
There are, of course, major threats to the American economy. But there is nothing inevitable and inexorable about them. Take, for example, the threat to the dollar (as the world's reserve currency) that comes from our massive trade deficits. Here again, the China threat is vastly exaggerated. In fact, fully two-thirds of our trade imbalance comes from imported oil. This is not a fixed fact of life. We have a choice. We have it in our power, for example, to reverse the absurd de facto 30-year ban on new nuclear power plants. We have it in our power to release huge domestic petroleum reserves by dropping the ban on offshore and Arctic drilling. We have it in our power to institute a serious gasoline tax (refunded immediately through a payroll tax reduction) to curb consumption and induce conservation.
Nothing is written. Nothing is predetermined. We can reverse the slide, we can undo dependence if we will it.
The other looming threat to our economy--and to the dollar--comes from our fiscal deficits. They are not out of our control. There is no reason we should be structurally perpetuating the massive deficits incurred as temporary crisis measures during the financial panic of 2008. A crisis is a terrible thing to exploit when it is taken by the New Liberalism as a mandate for massive expansion of the state and of national debt--threatening the dollar, the entire economy, and consequently our superpower status abroad.
There are things to be done. Resist retreat as a matter of strategy and principle. And provide the means to continue our dominant role in the world by keeping our economic house in order. And finally, we can follow the advice of Demosthenes when asked what was to be done about the decline of Athens. His reply? "I will give what I believe is the fairest and truest answer: Don't do what you are doing now."