Thursday, April 30, 2009
Of course, at the time he was not busy trying a stealth move to make combat-disabled veterans pay for their own artificial limbs, so there's something to be glad about.
Obama in his own teleprompter's words, followed by a few choice words from Dennis Miller:
"A thorough audit of federal spending"? Hey, you'd have to read the budget first.
Yes, I can see it now. A couple of kids in Obama's daughters' private schools get sent home with raging fevers and nausea; the next morning, Grandma Obama packs the Obama girls off to school with a couple of painter's masks solicitously tucked into their pockets and a loving admonition to cough toward their elbows. Uh huh.
What lurks at the core of President Obama's underwhelming concern for for the health of America's other schoolchildren? Perhaps a few uncomfortable facts that the administration would prefer American parents not to notice, if possible, because the administration has succeeded in making these facts seem boringly uncool.
Like the fact that border officials are putting on surgical masks to watch Mexicans leave Mexico, when Homeland Security was hoping they would be gearing up for big Cinco de Mayo celebrations following Obama's anticipated announcement of the his version of amnesty for the "undocumented." For open-border enthusiasts, the timing of the Mexican flu epidemic is not exactly ideal, one good reason for Obama to protest that the "entire government is taking the utmost precautions and preparations."
Another fact that the administration would prefer to remain in the who cares? category is that, during his supposedly victorious 100 days, Obama hasn't managed to fill many positions at Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control. Two days ago, with schoolchildren in New York City testing positive to swine flu, Kathleen Sebelius, supporter of late-term abortionist Tiller the Baby Killer, was confirmed to head the Department of Health and Human Services, leaving only 14 top health positions unfilled, including that of the full-time director for the CDC.
But the really big fact that Obama doesn't want Americans to focus on, I suspect, is the state of the American pocketbook. The stock market has been creeping up, but not as much as unemployment figures. The flu epidemic in Mexico is putting a hurt on our South-of-the-Border trading partners, and, as I write this post, many Texas schools and daycare centers are closed, keeping working parents home with the kids. Reducing production, paychecks, and tax revenues.
Those tax revenues are going to be desperately needed. After all, according to economist Martin Weiss, "In less than a year, the U.S. government alone has spent, lent, committed, or guaranteed over $8 trillion, sixteen times its biggest ever federal deficit." The taxpayer bailout to AIG, just one corporation, is said to have exceeded the entire value of the gold in Fort Knox. Yet, the U.S. economy shrank 6.1 percent last quarter.
It is precisely because unanticipated times of no work and no pay can be guaranteed to occur from time to time that, throughout history, prudent people and, occasionally, their governments used to "save for a rainy day."
That meant putting away cash and stockpiling food and other necessities to be taken out and used during a time of emergency. For many, saving for a rainy day has come to mean tucking away an extra credit card; in many households that "emergency credit card" has already been pressed into service and maxed out. The national debt has not been reversed since Dwight David Eisenhower did it 1956.
The deeper the debt hole we dig, individually and collectively, the harder it gets for us to make the kinds of choices we would prefer to make. And the greater the national debt, the harder it will become for individuals to put something away for a time of need.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Thus observed one New Yorker.
Yes, the Feds knew the New York City Flyover "would cause panic," [via Hot Air]:
Federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and Air Force One to buzz ground zero and Lady Liberty might set off nightmarish fears of a 9/11 replay, but they still ordered the photo-op kept secret from the public.According to a memo issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, that agency "threatened federal sanctions" against the NYPD, the Secret Service, the, FBI and the Mayor's Office if the "secret ever got out."
Hey, that's a really important secret, unlike the interrogation techniques used to protect the lives of ordinary Americans. The White House has to draw the line somewhere.
Someone at the White House apologized [wink, wink] to the New Yorkers who had been placed in fear of their lives. After all, we are meant to believe, the Secret Service never can tell where Air Force One and Air Force Two and all those mischievous little F-16s are going to show up.
Nobody apologized to the Al Qaeda terrorists, this time.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
It is a photograph taken yesterday of a low-flying airliner terrifying the people who experienced 9/11 first hand.
This Boeing 747 is a backup of Obama's own Air Force One, and it was accompanied by an F-16 fighter jet escort on an unannounced "classified" mission described in some reports as a "aerial photo mission" for either film footage for a film company or "file photos" of Air Force One.
These guys haven't heard of computerized graphics?
Of course they have, which makes me think that there's more to this story that we'll never hear about. Or maybe not. Maybe there really is some film company out there that stands in good enough with the Obama administration to hot dog over the Statue of Liberty in a couple of Defense Department aircraft. If so, I'll bet they're not from the New York/New Jersey area. I cringe when I think that this stunt might have been done to provide the press with slick photos to make Barack Obama's favorite ride look good.
There's nothing like knowing that your tax dollars are being thoughtlessly squandered to provide the people of a city or two with an unavoidable flashback of the most horrific event in their lives.
Imagine looking out your office window at the New York Mercantile Exchange Building near the World Trade Center site, watching a big airliner and a fighter jet heading straight for your desk:
You would likely be one of the thousands of people who fled their buildings in fear of their lives. A good night's sleep wouldn't be in the picture for you for a while.
I've read blog comments that mocked the people who panicked when their airspace was invaded without warning.
I guess those mockers haven't erected memorials to their loved ones in their backyards because, well, there just wasn't anything left to bury.
Which brings me to the topic of the "torture" of certain terrorist enemies of our country, including the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Every one of the people who died as a result of the 9/11 attack died as the result of torture. Many of those who survived suffered what was clearly intended to be torture, including terrible burns and crushing injuries. Take, for example, the last person pulled from the Twin Towers rubble, Genelle Guzman, who spent 27 hours surrounded by dead bodies in pitch blackness, with her head pinned between two pieces of concrete, her leg crushed, able to move only her left hand. Her recovery, to the extent that she has been able to recover, was long and torturous. She lives with the knowledge that most of the people she worked with died gruesome deaths, and that their families mourn them. Unlike Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his brother terrorists, Genelle Guzman was not a murderous bigot who had trained for this attack. She was a young mother supporting her family on the wages of a Port Authority clerk.
Let's not pretend that the people who loved the victims of 9/11 didn't also suffer torture. And how about the rescuers, or the people assigned to sort out the body parts for identification?
I'm with the Americans who don't think defending ourselves and our loved ones from attack is a moral problem.
Better them than us.
[Thanks to Michelle Malkin and Ace of Spades via There's My Two Cents.]
Monday, April 27, 2009
Nothing can more affect national prosperity than a constant and systematic attention to extinguish the present debt and to avoid as much as possibly the incurring of any new debt.
Hat tip to Hercules Mulligan at Meet the Founding Fathers.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
In the U.S. between the autumn of 1918 and the spring of 1919, more than half a million died of swine flu; even more died in Western Europe, and the disease claimed tens of millions of lives worldwide, with some estimates exceeding 50 million. Eight out of every ten people who contracted swine flu died.
Now there's a new strain on the loose, and it has claimed up to 60 lives in Mexico. This version of swine flu is bad, but, so far, it does not seem to be as serious as its predecessor; some common modern antiviral medications work against it. Eight people in Texas and California are known to have contracted the disease, but their symptoms were mild and they have all recovered. In Mexico, though, some 900-1,000 people have contracted this new strain of flu; Mexican authorities have tried to limit its spread by advising healthy people to avoid crowds, advising sick people to stay home, and by closing schools, libraries, and museums. (For a more scientific view from a public health standpoint, look here.)
Health authorities from both sides of the border have teamed up to report that public health risks for Americans living near the Mexican border are greater than elsewhere in the U.S.:
Analysis of data from the U.S. National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System for 1990 through 1998 showed increased risks for certain foodborne, waterborne, and vaccine-preventable diseases in U.S. counties within 100 kilometers of the border, compared with nonborder states. These data show a two- to fourfold greater incidence of hepatitis A, measles, rubella, shigellosis, and rabies and an eightfold greater incidence of brucellosis in border counties than in nonborder states. Studies have identified the importance of cross-border movement in the transmission of various diseases, including hepatitis A, tuberculosis, shigellosis, syphilis, Mycobacterium bovis infection, and brucellosis. [See original for citations.]
It certainly is difficult enough to control the spread of disease when people are trying to do so, but the task becomes incalculably more difficult when a high-risk population is exempted from disease control. This exempted population, of course, is the population permitted to immigrate into the U.S. without medical screening.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told CNN that illegal immigration is not a crime even though U.S. law (read it here) establishes punishments for unauthorized immigration of up to 6 months of imprisonment for the first (misdemeanor) offense and up to 2 years for the second (felony) offense. Even if unauthorized entry into the U.S. were not a crime, it would still be a threat to American security, if for no other reason than the danger posed by microscopic hitchhikers like Mycobacterium bovis and H1N1 swine flu virus.
Of course, as we all know, those sneaky little devils could be riding in on the coat tails of hard-working terrorists.
Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching. Will this year's advocates for a porous southern border be wearing medical masks?
Update 1: The Mexican swine flu outbreak may have moved to New York City:
The New York City health department dispatched a team of investigators to a private school in Queens on Friday after dozens of students complained of symptoms that officials believed were consistent with a strain of swine flu that has swept Mexico City.The agency said about 75 students at St. Francis Preparatory School had complained Thursday of nausea, fever, dizziness and aches and pains. Several of the students were said to have recently traveled to Mexico, where as many as 61 people have died and possibly hundreds more have been infected in an outbreak of swine flu in recent weeks.
Update 2: Spokesperson Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Center for Disease Control announced that "It is clear that this is widespread. And that is why we have let you know that we cannot contain the spread of this virus."
Update 3: Two swine flu cases confirmed in Kansas; eight probable in New York City. h/t Michelle Malkin
Friday, April 24, 2009
-Lawyers whose legal opinions are not aligned with the legal opinions of the leader of the Democrat Party.
- CIA agents who, under a non-Democrat administration, followed legal directives not aligned with the current Democrat Party leader's directives.
- ICE officials who legally arrested illegal aliens working illegally in the U.S., thus violating the Democrat policy.
- Americans in general whose appreciation of fact is not aligned with the Democrat administration's view that illegal immigration is not a crime.
- Americans not aligned with the Democrat president's views on abortion.
- Americans who exercise their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, in opposition to Democrat administration views.
- Returning veterans whose political views might not be aligned with current Democrat political views.
- Americans holding politically conservative views, which thus are not aligned with the Democrat president's political views.
It sure looks like there isn't going to be much room for non-Democrats in this country, ASAP.
(Cartoon credit: Michael Ramirez, Investors Business Daily)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Naturally, I had to check the references on this one, and, sure enough, the cited 1939 New York Times article offered confirmation, available online here:For those of us surprised by the thinking of the denizens of the groves of academe, JOM poster, Daddy, reminds us that there is nothing new here:
Last week I finished Walter Isaacson’s “Einstein”. Einstein had moved to Princeton in 1933 and remained there until his death in 1955. During the 30’s, he was world famous, beloved, quirky and kind. To my surprise, in a section called Prewar Politics, the author writes the following on page 445.
“A survey of incoming freshmen in 1938 produced a result that is now astonishing, and should have been back then as well; Adolf Hitler polled highest as the “greatest living person.” Albert Einstein was second.”
HITLER IS 'GREATEST' IN PRINCETON POLL; Freshmen Put Einstein Second and Chamberlain Third
November 28, 1939, Tuesday
Page 23, 236 words
PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 27-- Princeton's freshmen again have chosen Adolf Hitler as "the greatest living person" in the annual poll of their class conducted by The Daily Princetonian. Ninety-three votes were given to the German Chancellor, as compared with twenty-seven to Albert Einstein in second position and fifteen to Neville Chamberlain in third. [italics mine]
Just for the record, Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.
Galley Slaves reproduced the rest of the article:
In answer to a criticism, which suggested the use of the word "important" rather than "great" for the poll, The Nassau Daily pointed out editorially that the dictionary defines "great" as "eminent or distinguished by rank, power or moral character."
The Princeton yearlings gave most votes to President Roosevelt as the greatest living American, with Charles Evans Hughes and Herbert Hoover in second and third positions, respectively. President Roosevelt ranked fifth, behind Mahatma Gandhi, as "the greatest living person."
A third term for the President, however, was opposed by 368 votes, while only sixty favored it. Most believed he would run but would not be re-elected.
Only 120 Nassau first-year men said they would fight overseas, but 413 would defend this country against invasion. The present war is considered "imperialistic" by 199, "ideological" by only fifty-nine.
The class preferred a Phi Beta Kappa key to a varsity letter in athletics, and thought the chairmanship of the Daily Princetonian was the most desirable campus position. [italics mine]
By 1945, Winston Churchill replaced Hitler as "the greatest living person" in the Princetonian mind but, by then, 355 students and alumni had sacrificed their lives as members of the U.S. Armed Forces in World War II; another 72 million souls had been slain in battle, died or been murdered while imprisoned, or died of starvation as the result of the war.
Note: Neville Chamberlain's now infamous refusal to recognize Hitler's thirst for conquest was summarized in his words: "Peace with honor" and "Peace in our time."
Sunday, April 19, 2009
1 Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.
5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them.
7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.
8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
9 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?
(To be continued next Sunday.)
Saturday, April 18, 2009
According to Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center:
Janet Napolitano is lying to the American people when she says the Report is not based on ideology or political beliefs. In fact, her report would have the admiration of the Gestapo and any current or past dictator in the way it targets political opponents. This incompetently written intelligence assessment, which directs law enforcement officials across the country to target and report on American citizens who have the political beliefs mentioned in the report, will be used as a tool to stifle political opposition and opinions. It will give a pretext for opponents of those Americans to report them to police as rightwing extremists and terrorists. You can imagine what happens then.On the Congressional front, Michigan Representative Pete Hoekstra, the top-ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has asked the National Intelligence ombudsman to investigate Homeland Security's "Rightwing Extremist" report. "This report has significant analytic shortcomings and does not deserve to be called an intelligence product,” Hoekstra said. “Our nation’s veterans and hardworking families that may be facing tough times should not be viewed as a threat and neither should citizens who oppose out-of-control federal spending and tax hikes."
"The administration," Hoekstra commented, "needs to get to the bottom of how and why a report like this was written, and put standards in place to keep it from happening again.”
Friday, April 17, 2009
Interestingly, the word terrorism is one that Napolitano has eschewed as reflecting what she calls "the politics of fear."
Just what does Napolitano mean by her intention to "move away from the politics of fear"?
Are we supposed to put aside our fears of those who intend to blow us up for being American, and replace these instincts of self preservation with a fear of those who put their lives on the line to protect us, who are concerned for the safety of the unborn, or (shudder) who are a mite suspicious that the federal government (so ably represented by Janet Napolitano) isn't the be-all and end-all of wisdom?
Or does Napolitano mean that only certain special people should be afraid?
Like these folks:
After word of the directive got out, Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano managed to "apologize" to returning veterans saying, "that offense . . . was certainly not intended."
She also managed not to apologize to the rest of Americans who hold constitutionally protected political beliefs that do not mirror those of Barack Obama, Janet Napolitano, or the rest of the Obama constituency.
In an opinion piece in U.S. News & World Report, "The New McCarthyism: DHS Reports on Right-Wing Extremism," Peter Roff argued for a greater response to the Obama administration's profiling of ordinary Americans:
The report needs to be recalled, the person who oversaw its production reassigned or fired and the total amount of money spent on the project—from staff time to production costs to the postage used to mail it—needs to be returned to the U.S. Treasury out of the budget of the Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security. As we have been told time and again, it is no small matter when the U.S. government, as an official matter, questions someone's loyalty. The consequences for this catastrophic misuse of taxpayer dollars needs to be severe for all those involved.I agree that a greater response to the report is needed, and I think it should go further. Handing a pink slip to the author of the report would be a start, but this expediency would hardly alter the mindset at the Department of Homeland Security, where profiling ordinary Americans for holding political views not aligned with the current administration's doesn't merit the raising of an eyebrow.
The DHS report calls for action by President Obama, or, failing that, by Congress, but I don't think I'll be holding my breath for that.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Like other Tea Parties, it was a family affair, quiet, peaceable, with just about every available demographic represented, including many young parents actively teaching their children about American values. Musicians offered music, and speakers offered their insights into how their neighbors and businesses suffer as they try to keep up with rapidly escalating taxes. A big problem in New York State is that many young people can't afford to stay.
Plenty of American flags and Don't Tread on Me banners were on display, along with an inspiring variety of homemade protest signs that reflected one of the true strengths of Yankee patriots, an ability to employ freedom of thought to get to the heart of the matter. Some of my favorites were:
What does liberty have to do with taxes?
Susan Roesgen derisively asks this question at a Tax Day Tea Party?
This so-called "interview" illustrates a great divide this nation now faces.
On one side of the chasm are Americans like the concerned dad who take the trouble to examine today's problems in light of the experiences of leaders like Abraham Lincoln and the "fathers" Lincoln greatly respected, the ones who "brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty."
On the other side of the chasm are Americans like sneering, rude, whining Susan Roesgen and her clueless comrade Kyra Phillips back at the CNN studio who couldn't care less that the Tax Day Tea Parties commemorated the Boston Tea Party of 1773, at which Sons of Liberty pitched tons of tea into Boston Harbor because they were offended by (is there any way of mentioning this tactfully) the Tea Tax?
Liberty and taxes unconnected? No. Brain cells unconnected--that I could believe.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
According to the Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C., who have been studying taxation in the U.S. since 1937, Americans actually spend more on taxes than on food, clothing, and housing combined.
The Tax Foundation is the group that calculates when Tax Freedom Day® will fall each year. That is the day when Americans have earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year.
This year, Tax Freedom Day® fell on April 13, if you don't figure in the federal budget deficit. With this year's unprecedented budget deficit of over $1.5 trillion, the date is May 29.
In other words, every dollar Americans earned from January 1, 2009 to May 29, 2009 goes to pay taxes and cover this year's deficit. Of course, if you live in a high-tax state, like New York, you can add on two extra weeks of work to pay those taxes, making the date June 12!
Click here for a Tea Party near you.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
At least 10 states are considering some kind of major increase in sales or income taxes: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. California and New York lawmakers already have agreed on multibillion-dollar tax increases that went into effect earlier this year.
States have been painted into a corner by legislators' unwillingness to exert fiscal restraint at a time when many people have lost jobs or are earning less. With less income, people pay less (or no) state income tax; with less money to spend, they contribute less to their state's sales tax coffers.
As Eaton points out, Arizona has recently lost more than 10% of its sales tax revenue and almost 16% of its income tax revenue, about matching what the Federal Government has been losing in income tax receipts for the last 6 months. Next year for Arizona, the gap between money in and money out will be $3.4 billion. That's a lot to make up in taxes. Oregon is looking at losing a third of its tax revenue; Pennsylvania about 7%.
According to the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, for fiscal year 2010 in New York State, where I live, the difference between money in and money out will equal nearly 25% of this year's state budget! That means a world of hurt is coming to my little corner of Progressive Paradise. Just for starters, residents of New York State are getting hit with "100 new taxes, fees, fines, surcharges and penalties to be paid by all New York residents." New York City has lost more than 75,000 jobs since last August.
Similar gaps between state income and state outgo in 2010 are expected to equal nearly 30% of 2009 government spending in Arizona and Nevada, 25% in California, 23% in Connecticut and Florida, 22% in New Jersey and Louisiana, and 21% in Vermont.
Time for a hold-your-nose, count-on-your-fingers math exercise. Suppose you had the nerve to look at your 401(k) statement and found out that it is down, say 50%. The government has recently printed a great deal of money to grease the skids, enough to dilute the value of whatever money you've got left in your 401(k). Let's be generous and say that means you now have 40% of your original 401(k) holdings.
Printing extra money means the money in your wallet, piggybank, mattress, and CD is worth less too. But, deflation is rolling along, meaning that goods cost less, which offsets some of your money losses temporarily. For example, if you do manage to scrape together enough money to buy a car this year, you will pay less for it than you would have last year.
However, if you have savings tied up in something that is not money, like that piece of property you are paying more taxes on each and every year, these assets are getting to be worth less and less each day and will continue to be worth less as long as prices keep falling, which they probably will for a good long while yet.
Eventually, prices won't be able to get any lower, and inflation will start (probably helped along by the government). That's another story, and I don't even want to talk about what inflation will do to your job search and buying power. It's not pretty.
Considering that genius types who do the really hard number crunching have concluded that the national debt will skyrocket to 20 trillion in 10 years or less, I don't give the states much chance of breaking even any time soon. The federal government will be taxing more and more, states will be taxing more and more, counties will be taxing more and more, and so will municipalities. No end is in sight.
Tax Day Tea Parties will be held in 28 cities in New York State and in hundreds of other cities across the country tomorrow, on April 15. Many of these gatherings will be held after 5:00 p.m. to accommodate many working people. Click here to find a location near you, and join others to tell Congress what you think of tax servitude and their involvement in it.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
When we view the blessings with which our country has been favored, those which we now enjoy, and the means which we possess of handing them down unimpaired to our latest posterity, our attention is irresistibly drawn to the source from whence they flow. Let us then, unite in offering our most grateful acknowledgements for these blessings to the Divine Author of All Good.
-- 2nd Annual Message to Congress, November 16, 1818.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world for the better . . . .
Friday, April 10, 2009
From what I learn from the temper of my countrymen and their tenaciousness of their money, it will be more easy to raise ships and men to fight these pirates into reason, than money to bribe them.
Letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale College, December 26, 1786
Thursday, April 9, 2009
As revealed on Tuesday, a Chinese businessman was indicted on 118 counts of "falsifying business records to gain access to U.S. banks" to finance weapons parts and materials deals between his company, LIMMT, and the Iranian military [see indictment here]. According to The Wall Street Journal:
The good news is that Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's indictment this week of the Chinese firm LIMMT and its principal Li Fang Wei exposed some of Iran's illicit transactions. The bad news is that Tehran wasn't seeking U.S. currency simply as a safe haven in a turbulent market. The mullahs wanted dollars to buy critical ingredients in the production of long-range missiles and atomic warheads. And Mr. Morgenthau says they got them.
The veteran prosecutor tells us that the illegal arms trade at the heart of his 118-count indictment has provided Iran with the capability to field a new generation of missiles by the end of this year, accurate at a range of 1,300 miles. He reports that his investigation also shows that Iran has acquired technology for atomic weapons that could be ready soon after that.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
We will listen carefully, we will bridge misunderstandings, and we will seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world. . . .--Barack Obama addressing the Turkish Parliament two days ago on Monday, April 6, 2009.
For years, Turkey was barred from applying for EU membership because of its notorious record of torture that continues into the present, and we're not talking panties on the head or waterboarding. In Turkish prisons and detention centers, according to the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, torture continues at "crisis proportions."
This, of course, is nothing new. Historically, Turkish forays into Eastern Europe were so ghastly that, in some areas, plains dwellers built entire villages underground to conceal them from the Turks. To this day, Turkey refuses to acknowledge that its predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire, committed genocide on 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1924.
That's why it could be expected that, when the U.S. president addressed the Turkish parliament on Monday, he would raise the difficult topic of torture.
Sadly, after a European tour in which every Obama speech featured an obligatory blame-America-first component, Obama's focus was not was not on the torture practiced throughout Turkey's penal system for crimes not even recognized as such in the United States, but on "torture" as practiced by the United States:
Every challenge that we face is more easily met if we tend to our own democratic foundation. This work is never over. That's why, in the United States, we recently ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. That's why we prohibited — without exception or equivocation — the use of torture. All of us have to change. And sometimes change is hard.Every step taken by Turkey to reduce their human rights abuses is, of course, to be welcomed. It is a shameful practice, though, for Obama to confess to every country with a podium and a microphone that we are their equals (or more) in their particular histories of abuse.
The unalterable fact is that the United States is a country largely invented and populated by people who escaped the abuses of the homelands they fled. Ask any of the 100,000 Kurds now living in the USA about this country's track record on torture. They'll tell you all you need to know.
Monday, April 6, 2009
I've had my objections. First, who in the process defines hate? It's hard for me to picture a person being brutally murdered for altruistic reasons. What violent crimes are not hate crimes?
Second, whether a criminal's mindset is one of indifference or unhinged passion makes no difference to the outcome for the victim. A murdered woman is equally dead whether her killer picked her at random, hated lesbians, or was a jealous stalker.
Third, elevating some crimes to the "hate" category separates them linguistically and conceptually from "non-hate" crimes, as though some acts of violence on people are more or less okay. Someone commits an "ordinary" murder, like shooting a person at close range for a perceived slight, and it might not even make the paper in a big city. The murderer could be out of prison in 18 months. I've seen it happen. But if the same crime is attributed to "hate," 20,000 trees head to the chipper to make up the extra newsprint, and talking about the hatefulness of the hate crime will pay that month's rent for a couple hundred news analysts.
Forth, political influence determines which characteristics will in fact cause hate crime charges to be brought. A lot of people are hated for reasons that haven't yet been carved on the victim totem pole. More and more groups are lobbying for hate victim visibility so that people who kill and maim members of those groups will get appropriately punished instead of "get out of jail soon" cards.
I have other objections too. But, as the wise man once said, "Nobody listens to me."
So be it. That wise man also said, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
Hence, my proposal--and I think it could be the greatest invention (in its class) since the disposable diaper. It could solve the whole untidy legal mess surrounding what to do with those detained enemy combatants that nobody really wants in their backyard (except the 1 that France will take).
No more bickering about whether someone captured on a battlefield is a blood-thirsty jihadist, an innocent Muslim who picked the wrong place to open a Chinese restaurant, or an innocent barber who just happened to find an automatic weapon mixed in with his combs. No more debate about whether to use military or civilian courts.
I am willing to suggest that my proposal would be a public relations triumph of the highest order, one that would make practically everyone on the political continuum jubilant! The entire country would clamour to see enemy combatants tried yesterday in a civilian courthouse near them!
Here it is: Make it a hate crime for anyone to attempt to kill an American soldier!
Sweet. Simple. Straightforward.
That's the beauty of it. A hate crime is defined as one in which the perpetrator chooses the victim because of membership in a certain social group. Hey, the U.S. military is definitely a Group with a capital G. No arguing that.
And the new law could be made retroactive, like for an executive bonus penalty tax. It even has a certain international flavor to it.
Think I'm crazy? Hear me out.
Instead of people dissing detainees by calling them nasty, multi-culturally challenged names like "terrorist," we could all use the language of the culturally sensitive and call them "hate criminals."
I say, do that, and the liberal left will make sure those suckers spend hard time in a hard spot, pronto.
Or, maybe, just maybe, the "hate" in "hate crimes" won't mean "hate" anymore.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Be thou present, O God of Wisdom and direct the counsels of this honourable Assembly. Enable them to settle things upon the best and surest foundation, that the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that harmony and peace may effectually be restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety prevail and flourish amongst thy people. Preserve the health of their bodies and the vigour of their minds; shower down upon them and the millions they represent such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world, and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ thy son, Our Saviour, Amen.
--Reverend Mr. Jacob Duché
Many thanks to Hercules Mulligan at Meet the Founding Fathers for posting this treasure.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Must have been a surprise to the King. After all, since 2005, kissing the King's hand has been banned in Saudi Arabia. It is perhaps interesting to note that Obama was the only person to bow to anybody at the entire event, which was the gathering for the official photo of the G-20 leaders.
Yes, Barack Obama needs lessons on over-spending from socialists and communists, lessons on courtesy from anybody's grandmother, and lessons on freedom from the monarch of a country governed by Sharia law, according to which (says Obama's Department of State) women and children are considered household property.
Saudi King Bans Kissing of His Hand
September 12, 2005
The new Saudi king has ordered citizens not to kiss his hand, saying the traditional gesture of respect is degrading and violates Islam.
"Kissing hands is alien to our values and morals, and is not accepted by free and noble souls," Abdullah told a delegation from Baha, in southwest Saudi Arabia, which came to the royal palace to offer congratulations on his accession. "It also leads to bowing, which is a violation of God's law. The faithful bow to no one but God."
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Remember the 28 illegal aliens who were busted some weeks back in a raid of a manufacturing plant in Washington state? (I posted about it here.)
When those 28 jobs opened up at Yamato Engine Specialists in Bellingham, Washington, hundreds of unemployed American citizens and legal immigrants lined up in hopes of landing one.
Guess who has working permits now? Yes, 26 of the 28 illegal workers have gotten the Obama stamp of approval to fill jobs that U.S. citizens might be using to feed their American families. (You know, the families that U.S. patriots have shed blood to protect and defend over the course of more than two hundred years--those families.)
As you've probably heard, today's unemployment figures show that 740,000 private-sector workers in the U.S. got the ax last month, together with 25,000 U.S. government workers. Close to 3/4 of a million jobs lost in the U.S. in a single month.
That brings U.S. unemployment up to about 25 million.
The number of U.S. jobs held by illegal aliens in this country? Somewhere between 6 and 7 million.
You might be tempted to think that illegal aliens are having at least as much trouble finding jobs here in the U.S. as American citizens.
April Fool again!
According to the Center for Immigration Studies:
The unemployment rate among native-born high school dropouts is 17 percent. But the rate among legal and illegal immigrants without a high school diploma is only 10.6 percent.
I guess we know who's looking out for who.