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ccp
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« Reply #400 on: July 25, 2009, 11:44:06 AM »

Interesting you say Phila.
I remember going to a wedding with a friend and driving through Phila sometime around 1979 or so.
I didn't even notice but I guess I drove through a light that was turning red and didn't get to the other side of the intersection in time.
We were stopped by a Black policeman.

My friend warned me to be polite and not to mess with the Phila police.  He was very clear about this.
They had a reputation of being tough.

The officer was polite and did the usual ID check.
My white friend and I were dressed up and had gift boxes in the back seat on the way to the wedding and we explained that, and I apologized.

And that was it.  Happy ending and otherwise boring story.

The officer was actually OK.  He accepted my apology, could plainly see the gifts in the back seat and we were in suits and ties and let us off with a warning.
I never thought much of it and still don't, but could this have been reverse profiling?



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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #401 on: July 25, 2009, 01:51:35 PM »

GM:

I am 56.

 grin
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G M
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« Reply #402 on: July 25, 2009, 09:48:23 PM »

Crafty,

You do understand that American law enforcement has changed a great deal in the last 30 years?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #403 on: July 25, 2009, 09:52:45 PM »

Smartass cheesy
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G M
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« Reply #404 on: July 25, 2009, 09:54:26 PM »

- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

The Gates Arrest: Sgt. Crowley’s Nightmare Is All Too Real
Posted By Jack Dunphy On July 25, 2009 @ 12:34 am In . Feature 01, Crime, Politics, Race Issues, US News | 106 Comments

I had a terrible nightmare last night: I dreamed I was driving along in my patrol car when I responded to a fairly routine radio call. Someone had reported a possible burglary, and when I went to the home to investigate I encountered not the burglar I was led to believe I would find but rather the home’s resident, an Ivy League professor who, while indignantly challenging my authority to inquire into the reported crime, couldn’t resist doing so without calling my intelligence into question, accusing me of racial bias, and even going so far as to insult my sainted mother. When the verbal provocations escalated further and crossed the line into illegal conduct, I slapped the handcuffs on the man and hauled him down to the station house. A frothing media maelstrom then ensued, with reporters clogging the streets outside my home and traipsing across the lawn and through the shrubbery with their cameras and their boom microphones and their incessant, impertinent questions. Finally, the president of the United States was on television telling the entire world how stupid I am.

Then I woke up.

I am in a sense fortunate in that I work in an area where I’m as likely to encounter an extraterrestrial as an Ivy League professor, but like most police officers I can nonetheless sympathize with Cambridge Police Department sergeant James Crowley, for whom there will be no waking from the nightmare for some time to come. But, except for the notoriety and lofty position of the reported “burglar” (one of America’s preeminent black scholars, and all that), the scenario presented to Sgt. Crowley is fairly typical, one that every cop has experienced many times. A well-meaning neighbor has seen something she perceives as out of the ordinary and has asked the police to investigate. If more people were disposed to act this way, America’s crime rate would plummet overnight.

The first question to be asked about Sgt. Crowley’s initial response is, was it lawful and reasonable? Clearly it was both.  A cornerstone U.S. Supreme Court decision, [1] Terry v. Ohio, held that an officer may stop and detain a person he reasonably believes to be involved in criminal activity. Here, Sgt. Crowley answered a citizen’s report of a possible burglary. Such reports are granted a presumption of reliability under the law, so Sgt. Crowley was on solid ground in approaching the home and, upon seeing a man inside who matched the description provided by the witness, asking him for his identification. A police officer responding to such a report must, for his own safety, assume the report to be accurate until he can satisfy himself that it isn’t. The cop who blithely handles every call assuming it to be a false alarm will likely not survive to handle many of them. In fact, many police officers faced with the identical facts would likely have ordered Henry Gates out of the home at gunpoint.

Sgt. Crowley did not go so far as that (imagine the furor if he had), but he exercised a measure of caution by following Gates into the home as Gates retrieved his identification. Gates insists Crowley needed a warrant to enter the home but he is mistaken, as even the most liberal judge would find that Crowley was faced with sufficiently exigent circumstances, viz. a possible burglar who may have attempted to arm himself or flee, to justify a warrantless entry.

Mr. Gates, who [2] admits he asked his limo driver to force open a stuck door, is surely accustomed to a certain amount of bowing and scraping in the circles in which he travels, and it must have come as a shock when he was surprised by a cop who neither knew nor cared that he occupied such an exalted position. He apparently never stopped to consider that he and his driver may have been seen by someone who would misinterpret their actions and report them to the police. No, to Mr. Gates the first and only explanation for the sudden appearance of a white police officer at his doorstep was that the cops had come to hassle him because he’s black.

The next question is whether Mr. Gates’s language and behavior that Sgt. Crowley described in his police report fell within the proscribed conduct of the Massachusetts statute against disorderly conduct. This is where the two accounts diverge most dramatically. Mr. Gates [3] addressed the issue with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who, reading from the [4] police report, said, “[Sgt. Crowley] described you as behaving in a tumultuous manner.”

“Yeah,” Gates responded with a chuckle, “look at how tumultuous I am. I’m five foot seven, I weigh a hundred-fifty pounds.” He said this as though it’s inconceivable that someone of those proportions might behave in manner that could be characterized as “tumultuous,” an assertion that any police officer, and for that matter just about anyone not affiliated with an Ivy League university, knows is preposterous. That Gates’s behavior at the scene of his arrest might differ from that which he exhibited on a nationally televised interview was an issue that went unexplored.

But there is a way we might learn, as best we may, of what really occurred that day on Harvard Square. Mr. Gates says he’s considering a lawsuit against Sgt. Crowley and the Cambridge Police Department, during which, one presumes, we would hear testimony from all the various parties and witnesses. If Mr. Gates is to prevail in such an action he would have to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Sgt. Crowley fabricated the case against him, and did so in the knowledge that the incident had been witnessed by several other police officers, including a black sergeant from his own department and some officers from the Harvard campus police with whom he is presumably unacquainted. Also called to testify would be the woman who made the initial call to the police and some or all of the “at least seven other passers-by” referred to in the police report. And the arrest, which was undoubtedly vetted all the way up the police department’s chain of command, was nonetheless allowed to proceed despite the certain knowledge that Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree and a phalanx of briefcase-bearing shiny suits would soon descend on the police station and start tossing about their habeas corpus this and their mens rea that, and that they would spare no effort or expense in ferreting out any weaknesses the case may have.

Sure, professor, Sgt. Crowley made it all up. Arresting Mr. Gates may have been arguably imprudent, but it wasn’t illegal.

If I may presume to offer Sgt. Crowley a bit of advice, I would encourage him to invest in a small digital tape recorder such as the one I carry while on duty. I have done so for many years and it has often proved invaluable, as in the case when some of my colleagues and I were accused of all manner of heinous conduct by a young man we had arrested for carrying a gun. Among the allegations was that we had used the notorious “N-word,” which, though one can’t walk a block in some parts of Los Angeles without hearing the denizens use it a dozen times, is nonetheless held as a near-capital offense when spoken by a police officer.

The time came for my interview with the internal affairs investigators, for whom I played the tape. It revealed, among other inconsistencies in my accuser’s tale, that it was he and not we who had so liberally used the accursed word, and that he used it, in the span of about 45 seconds, as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, and as something of an all-purpose interjection, a linguistic feat I suspect I may never see equaled. I was cleared of the charge, but I still listen to that tape every now and then just for its entertainment value.

Sgt. Crowley, you can pick up one of those recorders for less than a hundred dollars. Don’t you wish you had bought one earlier?

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/sgt-james-crowleys-nightmare-is-all-too-real/

URLs in this post:
[1] Terry v. Ohio: http://supreme.justia.com/us/392/1/case.html
[2] admits: http://www.theroot.com/views/skip-gates-speaks
[3] addressed the issue: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/living/2009/07/23/bia.henry.gates.cnn?iref=videosearch
[4] police report: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates1.html
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #405 on: July 26, 2009, 10:38:04 PM »

Oh cripes, I've tried to stay away from all this birther stuff, mostly because there are so many cranks and fools involved with it. Started running my eyes across this piece as the preface had an authoritative ring, but then learned it was published by a center affiliated with World Daily Net, a source too breathless and tabloid like for my tastes. Be that as it may, the piece at the link contains info I had not encountered before about the law in the state of Hawaii at the time BHO's birth was registered. I think it is worth considering, though the underlying WDN source has proven so dubious in the past I hesitate to post the link and am not going to post the piece. FWIW I'd be interested in what others think of the arguments found here:

http://www.westernjournalism.com/?page_id=2697
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G M
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« Reply #406 on: July 26, 2009, 11:44:44 PM »

If Obama's mother was outside the US at the time of his birth, then her passport would show it. If an infant Obama were born outside the US, when and with what documents did he enter the US? Obama traveled and lived outside the US as a child and young man. To obtain a US passport, an applicant would have to submit to the US State Dept proof of citizenship. Most commonly for children, it's a birth cert.and sworn statement from the parents.

There should be a substantial paper trail in the federal archives. Birthers should be filing FOIAs for these documents.
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G M
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« Reply #407 on: July 27, 2009, 09:44:00 AM »

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2009/07/24/mccain_lawyers_investigated_obama_citizenship.html?referrer=js

July 24, 2009


McCain Lawyers Investigated Obama Citizenship
As we asked earlier this week, if questions over President Obama's citizenship were valid, wouldn't they have come out during the presidential campaign?

David Weigel talked with Trevor Potter and other lawyers for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign who said that they did look into the Obama citizenship rumors and found them without merit.

Said Potter: "To the extent that we could, we looked into the substantive side of these allegations. We never saw any evidence that then-Senator Obama had been born outside of the United States. We saw rumors, but nothing that could be sourced to evidence. There were no statements and no documents that suggested he was born somewhere else. On the other side, there was proof that he was born in Hawaii. There was a certificate issued by the state's Department of Health, and the responsible official in the state saying that he had personally seen the original certificate. There was a birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser, which would be very difficult to invent or plant 47 years in advance."
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ccp
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« Reply #408 on: July 27, 2009, 09:54:42 AM »

So why is the original BC kept from pulbic viewing?

And as for the birth announcement does anyone know how they get into the paper in 1947.  From hospital records or does simply the mother send a note to the paper annoucing birth in which case this is not there fore proof but circumstantial evidence?

Say he was born before his mother returned to the US.  Would it not be reasonable for her to call the paper after they get here and make an annoucement?

I am not yet convinced.
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G M
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« Reply #409 on: July 27, 2009, 10:10:28 AM »

Knowing that Barack Obama Jr. would run for president one day she calls to get his birth announcement published in the local paper?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #410 on: July 27, 2009, 11:03:02 AM »

"So, why is the original BC kept from public viewing?"

This seems to me a VERY fair question given what is involved.
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sgtmac_46
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« Reply #411 on: July 27, 2009, 04:18:12 PM »

- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

The Gates Arrest: Sgt. Crowley’s Nightmare Is All Too Real
Posted By Jack Dunphy On July 25, 2009 @ 12:34 am In . Feature 01, Crime, Politics, Race Issues, US News | 106 Comments

I had a terrible nightmare last night: I dreamed I was driving along in my patrol car when I responded to a fairly routine radio call. Someone had reported a possible burglary, and when I went to the home to investigate I encountered not the burglar I was led to believe I would find but rather the home’s resident, an Ivy League professor who, while indignantly challenging my authority to inquire into the reported crime, couldn’t resist doing so without calling my intelligence into question, accusing me of racial bias, and even going so far as to insult my sainted mother. When the verbal provocations escalated further and crossed the line into illegal conduct, I slapped the handcuffs on the man and hauled him down to the station house. A frothing media maelstrom then ensued, with reporters clogging the streets outside my home and traipsing across the lawn and through the shrubbery with their cameras and their boom microphones and their incessant, impertinent questions. Finally, the president of the United States was on television telling the entire world how stupid I am.

Then I woke up.

I am in a sense fortunate in that I work in an area where I’m as likely to encounter an extraterrestrial as an Ivy League professor, but like most police officers I can nonetheless sympathize with Cambridge Police Department sergeant James Crowley, for whom there will be no waking from the nightmare for some time to come. But, except for the notoriety and lofty position of the reported “burglar” (one of America’s preeminent black scholars, and all that), the scenario presented to Sgt. Crowley is fairly typical, one that every cop has experienced many times. A well-meaning neighbor has seen something she perceives as out of the ordinary and has asked the police to investigate. If more people were disposed to act this way, America’s crime rate would plummet overnight.

The first question to be asked about Sgt. Crowley’s initial response is, was it lawful and reasonable? Clearly it was both.  A cornerstone U.S. Supreme Court decision, [1] Terry v. Ohio, held that an officer may stop and detain a person he reasonably believes to be involved in criminal activity. Here, Sgt. Crowley answered a citizen’s report of a possible burglary. Such reports are granted a presumption of reliability under the law, so Sgt. Crowley was on solid ground in approaching the home and, upon seeing a man inside who matched the description provided by the witness, asking him for his identification. A police officer responding to such a report must, for his own safety, assume the report to be accurate until he can satisfy himself that it isn’t. The cop who blithely handles every call assuming it to be a false alarm will likely not survive to handle many of them. In fact, many police officers faced with the identical facts would likely have ordered Henry Gates out of the home at gunpoint.

Sgt. Crowley did not go so far as that (imagine the furor if he had), but he exercised a measure of caution by following Gates into the home as Gates retrieved his identification. Gates insists Crowley needed a warrant to enter the home but he is mistaken, as even the most liberal judge would find that Crowley was faced with sufficiently exigent circumstances, viz. a possible burglar who may have attempted to arm himself or flee, to justify a warrantless entry.

Mr. Gates, who [2] admits he asked his limo driver to force open a stuck door, is surely accustomed to a certain amount of bowing and scraping in the circles in which he travels, and it must have come as a shock when he was surprised by a cop who neither knew nor cared that he occupied such an exalted position. He apparently never stopped to consider that he and his driver may have been seen by someone who would misinterpret their actions and report them to the police. No, to Mr. Gates the first and only explanation for the sudden appearance of a white police officer at his doorstep was that the cops had come to hassle him because he’s black.

The next question is whether Mr. Gates’s language and behavior that Sgt. Crowley described in his police report fell within the proscribed conduct of the Massachusetts statute against disorderly conduct. This is where the two accounts diverge most dramatically. Mr. Gates [3] addressed the issue with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who, reading from the [4] police report, said, “[Sgt. Crowley] described you as behaving in a tumultuous manner.”

“Yeah,” Gates responded with a chuckle, “look at how tumultuous I am. I’m five foot seven, I weigh a hundred-fifty pounds.” He said this as though it’s inconceivable that someone of those proportions might behave in manner that could be characterized as “tumultuous,” an assertion that any police officer, and for that matter just about anyone not affiliated with an Ivy League university, knows is preposterous. That Gates’s behavior at the scene of his arrest might differ from that which he exhibited on a nationally televised interview was an issue that went unexplored.

But there is a way we might learn, as best we may, of what really occurred that day on Harvard Square. Mr. Gates says he’s considering a lawsuit against Sgt. Crowley and the Cambridge Police Department, during which, one presumes, we would hear testimony from all the various parties and witnesses. If Mr. Gates is to prevail in such an action he would have to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Sgt. Crowley fabricated the case against him, and did so in the knowledge that the incident had been witnessed by several other police officers, including a black sergeant from his own department and some officers from the Harvard campus police with whom he is presumably unacquainted. Also called to testify would be the woman who made the initial call to the police and some or all of the “at least seven other passers-by” referred to in the police report. And the arrest, which was undoubtedly vetted all the way up the police department’s chain of command, was nonetheless allowed to proceed despite the certain knowledge that Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree and a phalanx of briefcase-bearing shiny suits would soon descend on the police station and start tossing about their habeas corpus this and their mens rea that, and that they would spare no effort or expense in ferreting out any weaknesses the case may have.

Sure, professor, Sgt. Crowley made it all up. Arresting Mr. Gates may have been arguably imprudent, but it wasn’t illegal.

If I may presume to offer Sgt. Crowley a bit of advice, I would encourage him to invest in a small digital tape recorder such as the one I carry while on duty. I have done so for many years and it has often proved invaluable, as in the case when some of my colleagues and I were accused of all manner of heinous conduct by a young man we had arrested for carrying a gun. Among the allegations was that we had used the notorious “N-word,” which, though one can’t walk a block in some parts of Los Angeles without hearing the denizens use it a dozen times, is nonetheless held as a near-capital offense when spoken by a police officer.

The time came for my interview with the internal affairs investigators, for whom I played the tape. It revealed, among other inconsistencies in my accuser’s tale, that it was he and not we who had so liberally used the accursed word, and that he used it, in the span of about 45 seconds, as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, and as something of an all-purpose interjection, a linguistic feat I suspect I may never see equaled. I was cleared of the charge, but I still listen to that tape every now and then just for its entertainment value.

Sgt. Crowley, you can pick up one of those recorders for less than a hundred dollars. Don’t you wish you had bought one earlier?

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/sgt-james-crowleys-nightmare-is-all-too-real/

URLs in this post:
[1] Terry v. Ohio: http://supreme.justia.com/us/392/1/case.html
[2] admits: http://www.theroot.com/views/skip-gates-speaks
[3] addressed the issue: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/living/2009/07/23/bia.henry.gates.cnn?iref=videosearch
[4] police report: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates1.html


Indeed!
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G M
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« Reply #412 on: July 27, 2009, 04:27:50 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/27/gibbs-on-birthers-nothing-will-convince-them/

More on the "birther" movement.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #413 on: July 30, 2009, 01:24:32 PM »

July 30, 2009, 0:00 a.m.

Suborned in the U.S.A.
The birth-certificate controversy is about Obama’s honesty, not where he was born.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

Throughout the 2008 campaign, Barack Hussein Obama claimed it was a “smear” to refer to him as “Barack Hussein Obama.” The candidate had initially rhapsodized over how his middle name, the name of the prophet Mohammed’s grandson, would signal a new beginning in American relations with the Muslim world. But when the nomination fight intensified, Obama decided that Islamic heritage was a net negative. So, with a media reliably uncurious about political biographies outside metropolitan Wasilla, Obama did what Obama always does: He airbrushed his personal history on the fly.

Suddenly, it was “just making stuff up,” as Obama put it, for questioners “to say that, you know, maybe he’s got Muslim connections.” “The only connection I’ve had to Islam,” the candidate insisted, “is that my grandfather on my father’s side came from [Kenya]. But I’ve never practiced Islam.” Forget about “Hussein”; the mere mention of Obama’s middle initial — “H” — riled the famously thin-skinned senator. Supporters charged that “shadowy attackers” were “lying about Barack’s religion, claiming he is a Muslim.” The Obamedia division at USA Today, in a report subtly titled “Obama’s grandma slams ‘untruths,’” went so far as to claim that Obama’s Kenyan grandmother is a Christian — even though a year earlier, when Obama’s “flaunt Muslim ties” script was still operative, the New York Times had described the same woman, 85-year-old Sara Hussein Obama, as a “lifelong Muslim” who proclaimed, “I am a strong believer of the Islamic faith.”

Such was the ardor of Obama’s denials that jaws dropped when, once safely elected, he reversed course (again) and embraced his Islamic heritage. “The president himself experienced Islam on three continents,” an administration spokesman announced. “You know, growing up in Indonesia, having a Muslim father . . .” The “Muslim father” theme was an interesting touch: During the campaign, when the question of Barack Hussein Obama Sr.’s Islamic faith reared its head, the candidate curtly denied it with an air of what’s-that-got-to-do-with-me? finality: “My father was basically agnostic, as far as I can tell, and I didn’t know him.” And, it turns out, the spokesman’s fleeting bit about “growing up in Indonesia” wasn’t the half of it: Obama had actually been raised as a Muslim in Indonesia — or, at least that’s what his parents told his schools (more on that in due course).

These twists and turns in the Obama narrative rush to mind when we consider National Review’s leap into the Obama-birth-certificate fray with Tuesday’s editorial, “Born in the U.S.A.”

The editorial desire to put to rest the “Obama was born in Kenya” canard is justifiable. The overwhelming evidence is that Obama was born an American citizen on Aug. 4, 1961, which almost certainly makes him constitutionally eligible to hold his office. I say “almost certainly” because Obama, as we shall see, presents complex dual-citizenship issues. For now, let’s just stick with what’s indisputable: He was also born a Kenyan citizen. In theory, that could raise a question about whether he qualifies as a “natural born” American — an uncharted constitutional concept.

The mission of National Review has always included keeping the Right honest, which includes debunking crackpot conspiracy theories. The theory that Obama was born in Kenya, that he was smuggled into the U.S., and that his parents somehow hoodwinked Hawaiian authorities into falsely certifying his birth in Oahu, is crazy stuff. Even Obama’s dual Kenyan citizenship is of dubious materiality: It is a function of foreign law, involving no action on his part (to think otherwise, you’d have to conclude that if Yemen passed a law tomorrow saying, “All Americans — except, of course, Jews — are hereby awarded Yemeni citizenship,” only Jewish Americans could henceforth run for president). In any event, even if you were of a mind to indulge the Kenyan-birth fantasy, stop, count to ten, and think: Hillary Clinton. Is there any chance on God’s green earth that, if Obama were not qualified to be president, the Clinton machine would have failed to get that information out?

CERTIFICATE AND CERTIFICATION
So, end of story, right? Well, no. The relevance of information related to the birth of our 44th president is not limited to his eligibility to be our 44th president. On this issue, NRO’s editorial has come in for some blistering criticism. The editorial argues:
The fundamental fiction is that Obama has refused to release his “real” birth certificate. This is untrue. The document that Obama has made available is the document that Hawaiian authorities issue when they are asked for a birth certificate. There is no secondary document cloaked in darkness, only the state records that are used to generate birth certificates when they are requested.
On reflection, I think this was an ill-considered assertion. (I should add that I saw a draft of the editorial before its publication, was invited to comment, and lodged no objection to this part.) The folly is made starkly clear in the photos that accompany this angry (at NRO) post from Dave Jeffers, who runs a blog called “Salt and Light.”

To summarize: What Obama has made available is a Hawaiian “certification of live birth” (emphasis added), not a birth certificate (or what the state calls a “certificate of live birth”). The certification form provides a short, very general attestation of a few facts about the person’s birth: name and sex of the newborn; date and time of birth; city or town of birth, along with the name of the Hawaiian island and the county; the mother’s maiden name and race; the father’s name and race; and the date the certification was filed. This certification is not the same thing as the certificate, which is what I believe we were referring to in the editorial as “the state records that are used to generate birth certificates [sic] when they are requested.”

To the contrary, “the state records” are the certificate. They are used to generate the more limited birth certifications on request. As the Jeffers post shows, these state records are far more detailed. They include, for example, the name of the hospital, institution, or street address where the birth occurred; the full name, age, birthplace, race, and occupation of each parent; the mother’s residential address (and whether that address is within the city or town of birth); the signature of at least one parent (or “informant”) attesting to the accuracy of the information provided; the identity and signature of an attending physician (or other “attendant”) who certifies the occurrence of a live birth at the time and place specified; and the identity and signature of the local registrar who filed the birth record.

Plainly, this is different (additional) information from what is included in the certification. Yet, our editorial says that “several state officials have confirmed that the information in permanent state records is identical to that on the president’s birth certificate [by which we clearly meant ‘certification’],” and that the “director of Hawaii’s health department and the registrar of records each has personally verified that the information on Obama’s birth certificate [i.e., certification] is identical to that in the state’s records, the so-called vault copy.” (Italics mine.)

That misses the point. The information in the certification may be identical as far as it goes to what’s in the complete state records, but there are evidently many more details in the state records than are set forth in the certification. Contrary to the editors’ description, those who want to see the full state record — the certificate or the so-called “vault copy” — are not on a wild-goose chase for a “secondary document cloaked in darkness.” That confuses their motives (which vary) with what they’ve actually requested (which is entirely reasonable). Regardless of why people may want to see the vault copy, what’s been requested is a primary document that is materially more detailed than what Obama has thus far provided.

Now, let’s address motives for a moment. Are some of those demanding the full state records engaged in a futile quest to prove Obama is not a U.S. citizen? Are they on what the editors call “the hunt for a magic bullet that will make all the unpleasant complications of [Obama’s] election and presidency disappear”? Sure they are. But not everyone who wants to see the full state records falls into that category. I, for one, have very different reasons for being curious.

WHO IS THIS GUY?
Before January 20 of this year, Barack Obama had a negligible public record. He burst onto the national scene what seemed like five minutes before his election to the presidency: a first-term U.S. senator who actually served less than four years in that post — after a short time as a state legislator, some shadowy years as a “community organizer,” and scholastic terms at Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard that remain shrouded in mystery. The primary qualification supporters offered for Obama’s candidacy was his compelling life story, as packaged in 850 pages’ worth of the not one but two autobiographies this seemingly unaccomplished candidate had written by the age of 45.

Yet we now know that this life story is chock full of fiction. Typical and disturbing, to take just one example, is the entirely fabricated account in Dreams from My Father of Obama’s first job after college:
Eventually a consulting house to multinational corporations agreed to hire me as a research assistant. Like a spy behind enemy lines, I arrived every day at my mid-Manhattan office and sat at my computer terminal, checking the Reuters machine that blinked bright emerald messages from across the globe. As far as I could tell I was the only black man in the company, a source of shame for me but a source of considerable pride for the company’s secretarial pool. They treated me like a son, those black ladies; they told me how they expected me to run the company one day. . . . The company promoted me to the position of financial writer. I had my own office, my own secretary, money in the bank. Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond traders, I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors — see myself in a suit and tie, a briefcase in my hand — and for a split second I would imagine myself as a captain of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal, before I remembered who it was that I had told myself I wanted to be and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of resolve. . . .
As the website Sweetness & Light details, this is bunk. Obama did not work at “a consulting house to multinational corporations”; it was, a then-colleague of his has related, “a small company that published newsletters on international business.” He wasn’t the only black man in the company, and he didn’t have an office, have a secretary, wear a suit and tie on the job, or conduct “interviews” with “Japanese financiers or German bond traders” — he was a junior copyeditor.

What’s unnerving about this is that it is so gratuitous. It would have made no difference to anyone curious about Obama’s life that he, like most of us, took a ho-hum entry-level job to establish himself. But Obama lies about the small things, the inconsequential things, just as he does about the important ones — depending on what he is trying to accomplish at any given time.

In the above fairy tale, he sought to frame his life as a morality play: the hero giving up the cushy life of the capitalist “enemy” for the virtues of community organizing. But we’ve seen this dance a hundred times. If Obama wants to strike a connection with graduating students in Moscow, he makes up a story about meeting his “future wife . . . in class” (Barack and Michelle Obama met at work). If he wants to posture about his poverty and struggle in America, he waxes eloquent about his single mother’s surviving on “food stamps” so she could use every cent to send him “to the best schools in the country” (Obama was raised by his maternal grandparents, who had good jobs and were able to pull strings to get him into an elite Hawaiian prep school). If he wants to tie himself to the civil-rights struggle of African Americans, he tells an audience in Selma, “There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma . . . so [my parents] got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born” (Obama was born in 1961, four years before the civil-rights march in Selma — by which time his parents had divorced and his mother was planning a move to Indonesia with the second of her two non-African-American husbands). If he wants to buy a home he can’t afford, he “unwittingly” collaborates with a key fundraiser (who had been publicly reported to be under federal investigation for fraud and political corruption). If he wants to sell a phony stimulus as a job-creator, he tells the country that Caterpillar has told him the stimulus will enable the company “to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off” (Caterpillar’s CEO actually said no, “we’re going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again”).

The fact is that Obama’s account of his background is increasingly revealed as a fabrication, not his life as lived; his utterances reflect the expediencies of the moment, not the truth. What is supposed to save the country from fraudulence of this sort is the media. Here, though, the establishment press is deep in Obama’s tank — so much so that they can’t even accurately report his flub of a ceremonial opening pitch lest he come off as something less than Sandy Koufax. Astonishingly, reporters see their job not as reporting Obama news but as debunking Obama news, or flat-out suppressing it. How many Americans know, for example, that as a sitting U.S. senator in 2006, Obama interfered in a Kenyan election, publicly ripping the incumbent government (a U.S. ally) for corruption while he was its guest and barnstorming with his preferred candidate: a Marxist now known to have made a secret agreement with Islamists to convert Kenya to sharia law, and whose supporters, upon losing the election, committed murder and mayhem, displacing thousands of Kenyans and plunging their country into utter chaos?
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« Reply #414 on: July 30, 2009, 01:24:50 PM »

A MUSLIM CITIZEN OF INDONESIA
The aforementioned Indonesian interval in Obama’s childhood is instructive. Obama and the media worked in tireless harmony to refute any indication that he had ever been a Muslim. It’s now apparent, however, not only that he was raised as a Muslim while living for four years in the world’s most populous Islamic country, but that he very likely became a naturalized citizen of Indonesia.
 
Shortly after divorcing Barack Obama Sr., Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, married an Indonesian Muslim, Lolo Soetoro Mangunharjo, whom she met — just as she had met Barack Sr. — when both were students at the University of Hawaii. At some point, Soetoro almost certainly adopted the youngster, who became known as “Barry Soetoro.” Obama’s lengthy, deeply introspective autobiographies do not address whether he was adopted by the stepfather whose surname he shared for many years, but in all likelihood that did happen in Hawaii, before the family moved to Jakarta.

Under Indonesian law, adoption before the age of six by an Indonesian male qualified a child for citizenship. According to Dreams from My Father, Obama was four when he met Lolo Soetoro; his mother married Soetoro shortly thereafter; and Obama was already registered for school when he and his mother relocated to Jakarta, where Soetoro was an oil-company executive and liaison to the Suharto government. That was in 1966, when Obama was five. Obama attended Indonesian elementary schools, which, in Suharto’s police state, were generally reserved for citizens (and students were required to carry identity cards that matched student registration information). The records of the Catholic school Obama/Soetoro attended for three years identify him as a citizen of Indonesia. Thus Obama probably obtained Indonesian citizenship through his adoption by Soetoro in Hawaii. That inference is bolstered by the 1980 divorce submission of Ann Dunham and Lolo Soetoro, filed in Hawaii state court. It said “the parties” (Ann and Lolo) had a child (name not given) who was no longer a minor (Obama was 19 at the time). If Soetoro had not adopted Obama, there would have been no basis for the couple to refer to Obama as their child — he’d have been only Ann Dunham’s child.

In any event, the records of the Catholic school and the public school Obama attended during his last year in Indonesia identify him as a Muslim. As Obama relates in Dreams from My Father, he took Koran classes. As Obama doesn’t relate in Dreams from My Father, children in Indonesia attended religious instruction in accordance with their family’s chosen faith. Moreover, acquaintances recall that young Barry occasionally attended Friday prayers at the local mosque, and Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama’s half-sister (born after Lolo and Ann moved the family to Jakarta), told the New York Times in a 2008 interview, “My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim.” In fact, back in March 2007 — i.e., during the early “Islamic ties are good” phase of Obama’s campaign — the candidate wistfully shared with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof his memories of the muezzin’s Arabic call to prayer: “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset.” Kristof marveled at the “first-rate accent” with which Obama was able to repeat its opening lines.

The point here is not to join another crackpot conspiracy, the “Obama as Muslim Manchurian Candidate” canard. Obama was only ten years old when he left Indonesia; there is no known evidence of his having made an adult choice to practice Islam, and he is a professed Christian. The point is that he lies elaborately about himself and plainly doesn’t believe it’s important to be straight with the American people — to whom he is constantly making bold promises. And it makes a difference whether he was ever a Muslim. He knows that — it’s exactly why, as a candidate, he originally suggested his name and heritage would be a selling point. Obama’s religious background matters in terms of how he is perceived by Muslims (Islam rejects the notion of renouncing the faith; some Muslims, like Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi, make no bones about regarding Obama as a Muslim; and — as the mainstream media took pains not to report during the campaign — it is suspected that significant illegal donations poured into the Obama campaign from Islamic countries and territories). Obama’s religious background also matters in terms of how he views American policies bearing on the Muslim world.

WHEN DID INFORMATION SUDDENLY BECOME A BAD THING?
While it is all well and good to belittle the birth-certificate controversy, without it we’d know only what the media and Obama himself would tell us about his multiple citizenships, which is nothing. As noted above, we now know Obama, by operation of British and Kenyan law, was a citizen of Kenya (a status that lapsed in 1982, when he turned 21). That’s something voters would find relevant, especially when Obama’s shocking 2006 conduct in Kenya is considered. But we don’t know about his Kenyan citizenship because the media thought it was newsworthy. We know it only because of the birth-certificate controversy: Pressed to debunk the allegation that Obama was born in Kenya, his embarrassed supporters felt compelled to clarify his Kenyan citizenship.

By contrast, the question whether Obama ever was an Indonesian citizen is still unresolved, as are such related matters as whether the foreign citizenship (if he had it) ever lapsed, and whether he ever held or used an Indonesian passport — for example, during a mysterious trip to Pakistan he took in 1981, after Zia’s coup, when advisories warned Americans against traveling there. By the way, many details about that journey, too, remain unknown. Obama strangely neglected to mention it in his 850 pages of autobiography, even though the 20-year-old’s adventure included a stay at the home of prominent Pakistani politicians.

There may be perfectly benign answers to all of this. But the real question is: Why don’t the media — the watchdog legions who trekked to Sarah Palin’s Alaska hometown to scour for every kernel of gossip, and who were so desperate for Bush dirt that they ran with palpably forged military records — want to dig into Obama’s background?

Who cares that Hawaii’s full state records would doubtless confirm what we already know about Obama’s birthplace? They would also reveal interesting facts about Obama’s life: the delivering doctor, how his parents described themselves, which of them provided the pertinent information, etc. Wasn’t the press once in the business of interesting — and even not-so-interesting — news?

And why would Obama not welcome Hawaii’s release of any record in its possession about the facts and circumstances of his birth? Isn’t that kind of weird? It would, after all, make the whole issue go away and, if there’s nothing there, make those who’ve obsessed over it look like fools. Why should I need any better reason to be curious than Obama’s odd resistance to so obvious a resolution?

There’s speculation out there from the former CIA officer Larry Johnson — who is no right-winger and is convinced the president was born in Hawaii — that the full state records would probably show Obama was adopted by the Indonesian Muslim Lolo Soetoro and became formally known as “Barry Soetoro.” Obama may have wanted that suppressed for a host of reasons: issues about his citizenship, questions about his name (it’s been claimed that Obama represented in his application to the Illinois bar that he had never been known by any name other than Barack Obama), and the undermining of his (false) claim of remoteness from Islam. Is that true? I don’t know and neither do you.

But we should know. The point has little to do with whether Obama was born in Hawaii. I’m quite confident that he was. The issue is: What is the true personal history of the man who has been sold to us based on nothing but his personal history? On that issue, Obama has demonstrated himself to be an unreliable source and, sadly, we can’t trust the media to get to the bottom of it. What’s wrong with saying, to a president who promised unprecedented “transparency”: Give us all the raw data and we’ll figure it out for ourselves?

— National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books, 2008).

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZmJhMzlmZWFhOTQ3YjUxMDE2YWY4ZDMzZjZlYTVmZmU=
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« Reply #415 on: July 30, 2009, 10:08:37 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/30/wow-black-cop-in-gates-arrest-sends-letter-to-obama-about-being-called-an-uncle-tom/comment-page-1/

Good cop smeared.
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« Reply #416 on: July 31, 2009, 03:41:24 AM »

BBG:

Good to have a thorough piece on that subject.  Thanks.
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« Reply #417 on: July 31, 2009, 01:21:46 PM »

A quiblle, no doubt, but had BHO drank a Guinness, my estimation of him would have risen. Reminds me of a joke:

Q: What does American beer and making love in a canoe have in common?

A: They are both f*ck'in' near water.

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/135157.html


You Call That Beer?

Jacob Sullum | July 31, 2009, 11:31am

The biggest disappointment from President Obama's "beer summit" with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley yesterday was the beer selection:

Quote
The four drank out of beer mugs. Mr. Obama had a Bud Lite, Sergeant Crowley had Blue Moon, Professor Gates drank Sam Adams Light and Mr. Biden, who does not drink, had a Buckler nonalcoholic beer. (Mr. Biden put a lime slice in his beer. Sergeant Crowley, for his part, kept with Blue Moon tradition and had a slice of orange in his drink.)

Without getting into the merits of citrus fruit in wheat beer (I happen to like it), Crowley seems to have the best taste. While there are many better Belgian-style ales made in the U.S. (in particular, those produced by Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, New York, and New Belgium in Fort Collins, Colorado), the Coors-produced Blue Moon is a decent choice (though New York Times food critic Eric Asimov jokingly chides Crowley for not thinking through the implications of drinking a "white" ale). But look at the other selections: two lights and a nonalcoholic "beer." A regular Sam Adams lager (or one of the company's ales) would have been a good hometown choice for Gates, but I've never understood the urge to water down beer. Instead of having two crappy ones, why not just one good one? It sounds like there was only one round at this little get-together anyway.

As for Obama's selection of Bud Light, this has to rank as one of his worst decisions since taking office, somewhere between the stimulus package and the auto industry bailout. Regular Budweiser is bad enough. When you have a beer that already tastes like water, why would you add more water to it? And the less said about Biden and his Buckler, the better. In yet another example of the blatant misrepresentations for which the Times is notorious, Asimov erroneously reports that "Joe Biden, who joined the other three, enjoyed a nonalcoholic brew called Buckler."

The sad thing is that three out of four men, given their pick of the world's beers, chose three of the same bland style. Gates reportedly was considering Jamaica's Red Stripe, which sounds a little more exotic but tastes pretty much the same as the major American lagers. Given the wide variety of excellent beers in myriad styles produced in the United States today, even jingoism is no excuse for the pitiful selection displayed at the White House.

This is a good time to revisit Jay R. Brooks' 2006 Reason article on the "long tail" phenomenon in the American beer industry.
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« Reply #418 on: August 01, 2009, 12:23:53 PM »

A site that collects Joe Biden's utterances:

http://joebidensaidthat.com/
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« Reply #419 on: August 01, 2009, 09:25:40 PM »

This one could grow some legs:





http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/08/01/obama-joker-poster-popping-los-angeles
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« Reply #420 on: August 02, 2009, 04:38:43 PM »

Eric Holder's Justice Department
It's all politics, all the time.
by Jennifer Rubin
08/10/2009, Volume 014, Issue 44

In the litany of criticisms leveled at President George W. Bush none was repeated more often than the accusation that he had "politicized the administration of justice." In endless television show appearances and congressional hearings, Democratic lawmakers like Senator Chuck Schumer railed against the politicization of the Justice Department, lecturing all who would listen about how Justice "is different than any other department. In every other department, the chief cabinet officer is supposed to follow the president's orders, requests, without exception. But the Justice Department has a higher responsibility: rule of law and the Constitution."

Democrats loved to berate the often hapless Alberto Gonzales, who they claimed failed to uphold this standard as attorney general. Although the alleged offenses occurred primarily on the watch of Gonzales (who served only two and a half of Bush's eight years), the criticism stuck and lingered long after Gonzales departed. Inspector general investigations and oversight hearings maintained the drumbeat of accusations. And when the distinguished federal judge Michael Mukasey was nominated to replace Gonzales, he was peppered by Senators Joe Biden, Russ Feingold and Patrick Leahy, among others, with questions about just how badly the department had been "politicized." The average American couldn't help but conclude that something had gone terribly awry.

It is therefore surprising that in the first seven months of the Obama administration, a series of hyper-partisan decisions, questionable appointments, and the inexplicable dismissal of a high-profile voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther party have once again fanned suspicions that the Justice Department is a pawn in partisan political battles.

Both in Congress and among a number of current and former Justice Department employees is a growing concern that the Obama administration is politicizing the department in ways the Bush team never imagined. A former Justice employee cautions that every administration has the right and the obligation to set policy. "Elections have consequences," he affirms. But he thinks that the Obama administration has gone beyond policy reversals and is interfering with prosecutorial decisions, staffing the department with unqualified personnel, and invoking privilege to thwart proper congressional oversight and public scrutiny.

Sitting in his Capitol Hill office, Texas Republican Lamar Smith, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, speaks in careful, clipped sentences, rephrasing at times to convey precisely what he means. His irritation is apparent. "The whole concern here is an administration that would not politicize the Department of Justice. That was a major campaign rallying cry," he says. "If it was isolated you'd think it was an exception to the rule. But where you see three or four examples then you really worry whether they themselves are verging on violating the law or the oath of office."

This is not what the Obama administration had promised. In his confirmation hearing Eric Holder declared,

The attempts to politicize the department will not be tolerated should I become attorney general of the United States. It will be my intention to return [the civil rights] division and the Department of Justice as a whole to its great traditions and the great traditions that it had under Democratic and Republican attorneys general and presidents.

He further pronounced,

I will work to restore the credibility of a department badly shaken by allegations of improper political interference. Law enforcement decisions and personnel actions must be untainted by partisanship. Under my stewardship, the Department of Justice will serve justice, not the fleeting interests of any political party.

While some conservatives doubted that the man who helped facilitate the Marc Rich pardon and overrode the recommendation of career attorneys to give Bill Clinton a favorable recommendation on the pardon of 16 Puerto Rican terrorists in 1999 could live up to those pretty sentiments, he was confirmed by a vote of 75-21 with the support of many Republican senators.

Holder soon cast aside his confirmation rhetoric in favor of partisan politics. The first battle occurred over the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), the elite group within the Justice Department that wrestles with difficult constitutional analysis and acts as the constitutional arbitrator for the entire administration. During his confirmation hearing Holder specifically pledged,

We don't change OLC opinions simply because a new administration takes over. The review that we would conduct would be a substantive one and reflect the best opinions of probably the best lawyers in the department as to where the law would be, what their opinions should be. It will not be a political process, it will be one based solely on our interpretation of the law.

Within weeks, however, Holder violated that pledge when the issue of voting rights for the District of Columbia emerged. It had been a longstanding position of OLC, dating back to the Kennedy administration, that federal voting rights for the District could not constitutionally be granted by statute. This position did not sit well with the new Obama administration, or with Holder personally. After all, Holder has been a prominent figure in D.C. politics and was introduced at his confirmation hearing by a longtime friend and ally Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's nonvoting representative and a key proponent of D.C. voting rights.

Presented with OLC's settled position, Holder opted to shop around for another opinion. He went to the solicitor general, asking a lower threshold question, namely whether the solicitor general could "defend" the Obama administration if it signed a statute granting D.C. voting rights. Clint Bolick, a veteran of the Reagan Justice Department, observes, "I don't recall [another instance] when the Department of Justice went back to get a second answer, when you have a 'do over,' when the best lawyers come up with the 'wrong answer' from a policy perspective."

Another former Justice Department attorney finds the opinion shopping "extremely out of the ordinary." "[OLC] is the last word on constitutional issues," he explains. "Holder asked the wrong question to the wrong office and got an obvious, easy answer to satisfy his political agenda."

Lamar Smith describes as "worrisome" not only the initial decision but also Holder's subsequent behavior. The attorney general rejected requests from Republican members of Congress for the documents pertaining to the decision. When Holder objected to revealing the Department's internal deliberations, Smith modified his request to ask only for the final opinion, rather than the complete legal analysis. Again, Holder refused. Smith observes, "This is an administration perfectly willing to make public the interrogation techniques [used by the CIA to extract information from terrorists] but something like legal advice they might make available--we can't get these."

Many current and former Justice Department employees are angry about the decision. One explained, "Holder in his own words called the OLC the crème de la crème of Justice. The longstanding opinion of both parties' administrations shouldn't be jettisoned to serve political ends." Another longtime Justice employee says that he "never heard of such a thing." He remarks, "That's why we have institutions--to contain the authority of any one individual."

But Holder's effort to run roughshod over OLC and rebuff of subsequent scrutiny was just the beginning of his efforts to conceal controversial decisionmaking.

To Representative Frank Wolf, a moderate Republican from Northern Virginia, the "most egregious" action by Holder and the Obama administration concerns the disposition of detainees at Guantánamo Bay and Justice's interference with the flow of information from the FBI. His annoyance obvious, Wolf explains that he sent multiple letters to Holder asking a list of questions concerning the potential release of detainees, and in particular about the Uighurs, who news reports suggested at one point were about to be released in Northern Virginia. He was rebuffed: "I'm the ranking member, and I can't get them to answer a question." Wolf says that the Justice Department even went so far as to forbid FBI briefings with his office unless a Justice Department representative was present, which he terms "outrageous." He received one briefing from the FBI, but "then the political guy came in and chilled the entire meeting."

Efforts by Representative Lamar Smith and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama to obtain information on the administration's Guantánamo plans, including a response to their query as to how the possible release of the Uighurs squared with federal law preventing entry into the United States by those who had received terror training, were similarly thwarted. Smith says that on the topic of detainees, "We haven't gotten a single response to a letter of inquiry."

But these instances are tame compared with the Justice Department's controversial and still unexplained decision to dismiss a default judgment obtained in a case of egregious voter intimidation. On Election Day 2008, members of the New Black Panther organization, dubbed by the Justice Department a "black-super-racist organization" were captured on videotape at a Philadelphia polling place. One wielded a nightstick. All wore the uniform and insignia of the organization. They made racial threats and hurled insults at voters. After the video made its way around the Internet, the voting rights section of the Justice Department's civil rights division investigated. Additional evidence showed that the New Black Panthers had in Internet postings called for "300 members to be deployed" at the polls on Election Day. Bartle Bull, a veteran activist and civil rights attorney, filed an affidavit in support of the Justice Department, terming it "the most blatant form of voter intimidation I have encountered in my life in political campaigns in many states, going back to the work I did in Mississippi in the 1960s."

A Justice Department complaint was filed on January 7, 2009, against the New Black Panthers national organization and the individuals present at the polls. Although the Justice lawyers urged the defendants (one of whom was a lawyer himself) to respond, they did not. The court then ordered the Justice lawyers to file a default judgment against the Panthers. Nevertheless, in an unprecedented move, the Justice Department in May dismissed the case against all defendants, save the single nightstick-wielding individual.

Multiple sources within and outside of the Justice Department confirm the curious sequence of events. In April, a preliminary filing of default was filed by Justice lawyers with the court clerk. No concern or objection was raised within Justice. This decision was approved by both the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, Loretta King, and Steve Rosenbaum, previously acting deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights and recently returned to his post as section chief for housing.

Shortly thereafter, the career lawyers who actually filed the case and obtained the judgment were peppered with questions, according to sources with knowledge of the events. New legal theories were raised disputing how the non-baton-wielding defendants and the New Black Panther party itself could be charged. There wasn't enough evidence, it was suggested, or the case had to be dropped entirely because there was only conclusive evidence against the single baton-wielding defendant. The New Black Panthers had First Amendment rights the career attorneys were told. On it went, as each theory was researched and shot down by the beleaguered lawyers.

As the internal battle raged, the career lawyers presented ample facts and legal theories based on basic principles of liability and citations to other voting rights cases to substantiate the case. In late April, they were instructed by King to seek a delay of the default judgment for two weeks and to make no mention of the change in administrations in the filings seeking the delay. In mid-May, the appellate section weighed in recommending the case go forward. Case discussion, briefings, and mock arguments continued. All of this came to an end when King ordered the default judgment withdrawn on May 15. The decision mystified lawyers in the civil rights division as well as outside observers including the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which sent a letter of inquiry.

Following the default judgment and its coverage in the press, Lamar Smith and Frank Wolf sent rounds of letters demanding to know who made the decision and why. Justice spokesmen insisted in writing and in congressional briefings that "career lawyers" had made the call. But King holds a political position. Those with direct knowledge of the events and veterans of the department both doubt that a decision as controversial as this could ever be made without at least consulting King's boss, associate attorney general Thomas J. Perrelli, and likely then the deputy attorney general and the attorney general himself. And indeed this week the Washington Times reported that Perrelli had made the final call. Certainly once the decision was made, Holder and his political appointees soon became deeply immersed in the effort to respond to congressional leaders' attempts to ferret out the reason for the dismissal.

The Justice Department initially claimed the "facts and law" did not support going forward in the case, although just weeks earlier a default filing had been supported. More letters followed from Smith and Wolf addressed to Holder and his underlings. In mid July, the Justice Department offered a series of thinly supported reasons for the dismissal. The case was dismissed because the Panthers' Internet posts about deploying at polls did not mention bringing weapons, Justice claimed. Yet voter intimidation laws require no such specificity or the use of weapons. Then Justice claimed the New Black Panther organization did not control the individual defendants. But again, the facts--specifically an interview where the New Black Panther chairman boasts of such control--suggest otherwise. Next Justice suggested there was no case because the Black Panthers disavowed the defendants' actions after the fact. Voluminous case law suggests that this defense is preposterous. The Justice Department, moreover, never explained why more discovery was not conducted in the case if the facts were in doubt, rather than an outright dismissal.

The Justice Department had invoked claims of "privilege" to resist providing further information to Wolf, although ample case law suggests that excuse cannot be deployed against members of Congress.

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« Reply #421 on: August 02, 2009, 04:39:09 PM »

One cannot read through the correspondence without concluding that Holder's Justice Department is grasping at straws to defend a decision made for a purpose it wants to conceal. Positions never before used by the civil rights division have been tossed about, in contradiction of previous case law and department policy. While the Justice Department has cited the First Amendment rights of the Panthers, it had never before accepted such a defense in a case of voter intimidation. (Steve Rosenbaum himself once filed a voter intimidation claim against Jesse Helms and the North Carolina state Republican party for merely sending a postcard memo, normally quintessential protected political speech, which the department found misleading.) And while the Justice Department seems bent on coming up with excuses for the New Black Panther party, the department took an entirely different approach in Pima County, Arizona, where the presence of Minutemen legally carrying firearms on Election Day set off more than a half dozen visits by the Justice Department and multiple inquiries.

Observers remain baffled as to the reason for the dismissal. Some wonder if a Philadelphia politician weighed in. Others speculate that the Obama administration fears offending allies in the African-American community or simply recoiled against the notion that civil rights laws originally designed to prosecute white segregationists might be applied to a militant African-American organization.

But, as one former Justice official notes, although charges of "political meddling" were constantly raised in the Bush administration, "to date the inspector general has never found a single case dropped or instituted due to political interference. Already [during the Obama administration] we have a case--the New Black Panther case--in which actual politicization occurred."

Wolf becomes irate when discussing the New Black Panther case. Asked if he believes the Justice Department has been honest, he says tersely, "I don't." Although he was briefed by King and Rosenbaum (who had not worked on investigating or filing the case), they seemed unaware of some of the case's basic facts. They claimed that one defendant lived at the facility and therefore had a right to be at the polling place. Wolf pointed out the polling place was a retirement home and that the defendant lived blocks away. The Justice Department attorneys told Wolf they "didn't know anything about him living there." He says, "We can't get an answer. I have lost confidence in Eric Holder. I don't know if I believe them."

Smith and Wolf are pursuing multiple avenues to get to the bottom of the matter--requesting an inspector general investigation, seeking a hearing or a possible congressional resolution. The inspector general has referred the matter to Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). House Judiciary chairman John Conyers is considering a hearing, but only on the general topic of voting rights (although Republicans on the committee would have the opportunity to raise the issue). Following release of the Washington Times story identifying the associate attorney general's involvement in the case, Smith issued a written statement blasting the Justice Department's lack of candor:

It is clear that political appointees at the Justice Department allowed career employees to be pressured to drop a case against the President's political allies. That is politicizing justice and it undermines democracy. The Attorney General must come clean to Congress about the role his political appointees played in the dismissal and disciplinary action must be taken against anyone who applied political pressure to sway a law enforcement matter.

But it is not just such decisions at Justice that are raising eyebrows. The hiring and appointment decisions by the Obama administration have been equally surprising. There was no greater criticism of the Bush Justice Department than "cronyism" and politicization of hiring decisions. The firing of nine U.S. attorneys set off a firestorm that ultimately resulted in the resignation of Gonzales, who was himself regularly criticized as being insufficiently independent of President Bush.

As Clint Bolick explains, "The president is entitled to have whatever policy advisers he wants. But when you have someone whose job it is to enforce the law you must have someone who is not only qualified but someone determined to enforce the law." That standard seems not to be operative in the Holder Justice Department.

Take the case of Mary Smith, a Native-American Chicago lawyer and Obama supporter. She has been nominated as assistant attorney general in the tax division. While she did serve in the Clinton administration, she has no expertise in tax matters and has not spoken on the topic or taken professional education courses in tax law. She did, however, work on three successive Democratic campaigns (including Obama's). A former Justice Department official asks of Smith, "This was the best they could do?"

At her confirmation hearing, Senator Sessions voiced his grave displeasure. "Tax law is very specialized and it's certainly not an area where you learn on the job." He continued, "You should not put people in a job they're not prepared to handle." While the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to confirm her not a single Democrat spoke in her defense. Lamar Smith says, "It is obviously being done for political reasons. It is not supposed to be a reward for politics back home. It is a violation of trust and a disservice to the American people." One current Justice Department attorney remarks that placing a political supporter in charge of the tax division "sounds like Nixon."

Attention has also focused on Jennifer Daskal, a former Human Rights Watch lawyer with no prosecutorial background but rather a record of aggressive advocacy on behalf of Guantánamo detainees (e.g., questioning the guilt of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, objecting to the incarceration of a 15-year-old who killed Marines). Her new job, remarkably enough, is on the Guantánamo task force that will make recommendations on detainee policy. She is now free to pursue her agenda from inside the Justice Department.

Dawn Johnsen's nomination to head OLC quickly became controversial given her record of rabid criticism of the Bush administration, her extreme views on national security and abortion (she once wrote that limits on abortion would be tantamount to "slavery" under the Thirteenth Amendment), and her insistence that the Justice Department should pursue novel legal theories based on "economic justice." Threatening a "make-over" of OLC, she appeared to be precisely the sort of extreme partisan whom Holder had suggested would be unwelcome in his department. Her nomination has now stalled, with a number of Democratic senators unwilling to support her nomination.

Then there is Les Jin, who was chief of staff to the controversial former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Mary Frances Berry, who engaged in such regular political stunts as attempting to prevent the seating of George W. Bush's lawful nominee to the commission. Jin is now in a senior counselor spot at Justice. Another opening has been staffed by Julie Fernandes, an attorney who, prior to joining the department, worked for a left-wing civil rights organization and routinely weighed in on pending cases. Mark Kappelhoff who was chief of the criminal section of the civil rights division at Justice (and who took the position, while serving in the criminal section, that a campaign mailer reminding voters they must be citizens to cast a ballot was illegal "voter intimidation") maxed out as an Obama donor and has been boosted to principal deputy attorney general for civil rights.

While the Bush administration was investigated for seeking out conservative lawyers and staff, the Obama administration has been given a pass for going to the other extreme and stocking Justice with ultra-left leaning partisans. Overt signs of political activity and support now are on full display throughout the department. While it was unheard of to display campaign literature or paraphernalia during the Bush years, in the Holder Justice Department "Yes we did!" signs are fully evident, as are copies of reverential Obama campaign posters.

There also remain the ongoing investigations of OLC attorneys in the Bush administration, concerning the advice they provided about the legality of interrogation techniques. Although Obama has urged the country "to look forward and not back," Holder is pressing full steam ahead with the investigation of John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury, who rendered lengthy legal opinions at OLC on the subject of enhanced interrogation techniques.

The prospect of OPR attorneys, with no particular expertise in national security matters, providing grounds for either criminal or professional ethics charges based on the detailed legal work of their colleagues has brought a torrent of complaints. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey explained in a reporters' roundtable in December 2008,

What I have said is that there is absolutely no evidence that anybody who rendered a legal opinion, either with respect to surveillance or with respect to interrogation policies, did so for any reason other than to protect the security of the country and in the belief that he or she was doing something lawful. In those circumstances, there is no occasion to consider prosecution and there is no occasion to consider pardon. If the word goes out to the contrary, then people are going to get the message, which is that if you come up with an answer that is not considered desirable in the future you might face prosecution, and that creates an incentive not to give an honest answer but to give an answer that may be acceptable in the future. It also creates some incentive in people not to ask in the first place.

Ronald Rotunda, a professor of law at Chapman Law School and a specialist in ethics, was consulted by the Justice Department on the OPR's investigation and cannot comment on its specifics. He does, however, express bewilderment that dozens of pages of legal analysis in which direction is carefully given as to what "may" or "might" constitute torture has now been converted into the basis for prosecution. "I can't imagine you would discipline someone who goes through everything methodically." He explains, "If you don't like the particular policies, then change the policies." He draws an analogy with the attacks on free speech during the Vietnam war and McCarthy eras in which lawyers with particular views were demonized and threatened with loss of their professional licenses.

Yet Holder pushes on with a highly charged political inquiry, to the delight and with the encouragement of liberal Democrats in Congress. News reports have revealed that a draft report based on OPR's investigation was reviewed and sharply criticized by Mukasey and his deputy, Mark Filip, in late 2008. One former Justice official with knowledge of the matter says, "It is safe to say they had a number of concerns about the draft report both as to the timing and the substance" of the work by OPR. There is, this official reports, "institutional unease by senior career people" at Justice that good faith legal work may place attorneys in peril. "The department won't be able to attract the best and the brightest. You really want lawyers who will give candid legal advice."

In looking at the totality of Holder's performance, the degree to which he has departed from his confirmation hearing rhetoric is glaring. Any demarcation between the Obama administration's political agenda and the impartial administration of justice is being eradicated. "Holder is the most political, partisan attorney general I can remember," says Frank Wolf. A former Justice Department official says that "the entire equilibrium of the department is out of whack." Lamar Smith, too, is dismayed. He says he has met with Holder several times. "You hear the words but there is a disconnect with the actions. We keep hoping for better."

Certainly that was the promise of the Obama administration. "Hope" and "change" got millions to the polls. But within half a year, the Justice Department is once again beset by allegations of impropriety and politicization. The difference of course is that the current congressional leadership no longer has any incentive to investigate and illuminate the department's misdeeds. "Ending the politicization of the Justice Department," we have learned, was nothing more than a campaign slogan.

Jennifer Rubin, a lawyer and regular contributor to Commentary magazine's Contentions blog, is Pajamas Media's D.C. editor.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/799hlime.asp
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ccp
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« Reply #422 on: August 03, 2009, 09:14:16 AM »

"The wild success" raves we are hearing all over the air waves about the cash for clunkers situation just goes to show how tax payers have no say in anything.
One guy is on cable this am saying he bought his car some years ago for $4K and traded it in with 220K miles for $4500.
I don't get it.  This is not monopoly money.  This is tax money going to give this guy a huge discount - more than the value of his car.

Why is there not outrage?

Why is there this glee in the media that this plan is great?

Am I missing something?

Of course people willl  rush for these deals if they can qualify for free funny money.

The greatness of the US is over folks.
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ccp
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« Reply #423 on: August 03, 2009, 09:20:27 AM »

Remember how I point out the multitude of left articles published in the New England Journal.  This one is only surprising because it is written by a guy from S. Carolina.

This guy who I presume got his history lessons while residing in Russia states he has no clue what is being talked about when we speak of "American Values".

Folks, the America I knew growing up is gone.   
 
******HEALTH CARE 2009

Previous Volume 361:440-441  July 30, 2009  Number 5
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"American Values" — A Smoke Screen in the Debate on Health Care Reform

Allan S. Brett, M.D.
 

 
 
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Amid all the rhetoric about health care reform, one claim has emerged as a trump card designed to preserve the current patchwork of private and public insurance and to stop discussion of a government-sponsored single-payer system in its tracks: the claim that single-payer health care — a Canadian-style Medicare-for-all system — is antithetical to "American values." The idea that American values dictate a particular approach to health care reform is often stated explicitly, and it is implicit in the generalization that "Americans want" a particular system. The underlying premise is that an identifiable set of American values point incontrovertibly to a health care system anchored by the private insurance industry. Remarkably, this premise has received very little scrutiny.

Two related assumptions are buried in the language of "American values." The first is that there are archetypical Americans — that if we know someone fits the category "American," it should be possible to predict his or her general worldview accurately. However, we have good reason to doubt that assumption. In nearly all respects — ethnically, culturally, religiously, politically, and socioeconomically — Americans are increasingly diverse. The recent presidential campaign provides evidence that a monolithic conception of what it means to be "American" is problematic and outdated: those who championed the idea of "real" Americans (as distinct from Americans who are somehow less representative of American ideals) were precisely those whose candidate lost the election.

The second assumption is that Americans' personal values predictably translate into certain organizational structures for the financing and provision of health care — and that a single-payer system is not among them. Exactly what might those values be? Are they self-regarding values directed toward maximizing individual well-being and potential? Or other-regarding values such as altruism or concern for community? Clearly, most people — regardless of political, ethnic, or cultural identity — regard both sets of values as important in varying proportions; nothing precludes a single-payer system as one possible means of realizing a blend of these values.

The notion that American values militate against a single-payer system is advanced not only by advocates of preserving the status quo or making incremental changes but also by some who propose major reforms that nibble around the edges of a single-payer system. For example, Ezekiel Emanuel — now a special adviser on the Obama administration's health care team — has proposed universal health insurance funded by a value-added tax on sold goods and services; all citizens would receive government-issued vouchers to purchase health insurance from private insurance companies. According to Emanuel, such a plan "coheres with core American values: individualism and equality of opportunity." He argues that equality of opportunity dictates universal coverage and government funding, but individualism dictates preservation of the private insurance system: "Americans clamor . . . for the chance to choose. . . . We want to choose our insurance plans, our hospitals, our doctors."1

The theme of "choice" also surfaces in the writing of Tom Daschle, President Barack Obama's initial pick for secretary of health and human services. In his book Critical, Daschle proposes universal coverage delivered through a private–public hybrid plan. He all but admits that a single-payer system is the best solution but abandons the idea because it is "politically problematic" and because "compared to residents of [European countries], Americans are more supportive of choice and suspicious of government."2

Suppose that "freedom to choose" is indeed the paramount American value relevant to health care. For many people, it would surely imply choice of physician, hospital, or clinic. For such choice, a single-payer system beats the competition hands down. Incremental reforms preserving the private insurance industry and employer-based insurance would probably perpetuate the restricted choice of health care providers that many Americans already encounter: private plans typically limit access to certain physicians or hospitals, and physicians often refuse to accept certain plans. In contrast, single-payer proposals eliminate those restrictions.

Another possible meaning of "choice" is the freedom to choose from an array of private insurance companies. Here it is important to acknowledge that insurance is only a means for collecting and disbursing health care funds — not an end in itself. The key question is therefore whether private insurance is superior to single-payer insurance in achieving the desired end of efficient, cost-effective health care. Here, too, the single-payer system would probably prevail. Because administrative costs are consistently lower in single-payer systems than in private-based systems, more of the health care budget goes directly to patient care (and less to administration) in single-payer systems. Thus, Americans have been misled by the rhetoric about choice. In contrast with the single-payer option, a system with multiple private insurers would continue to restrict one dimension of choice (selection of physicians) and perpetuate a choice most people would consider irrational (wasteful spending on administrative overhead).

A third dimension of choice is the freedom to choose whatever test or treatment a patient wants. This choice is system-neutral, pointing to neither single-payer nor alternative systems. Any reform initiative must control spending; unproven or unnecessary medical interventions should not be available in any system.

A closely related rhetorical device — the idea that Americans or American values are "unique" — also deserves attention. For example, Emanuel describes individualism and equality of opportunity as "uniquely American."1 Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, asserts that a public–private hybrid is essential because it is a "uniquely American solution."3 Others describe rugged individualism as a "uniquely American" value that makes us "reluctant to provide our tax dollars to support someone else's health care."4 Such defiant-sounding assertions imply that "uniqueness" is a matter of pride and an end in itself. But these generalizations are impossible to prove, a distraction in the debate, and ultimately irrelevant. What is relevant is whether a solution works, not whether it is unique. Indeed, the aspect of the current U.S. system that is truly unique among developed countries is its failure to cover everyone — hardly something to brag about.

In their book Benchmarks of Fairness for Health Care Reform, Norman Daniels and colleagues reject these "ungenerous" views of our values, arguing that past failures to reform health care are better explained by the influence of interest groups whose wealth and power are threatened by reform.5 The authors propose that fair equality of opportunity is a more promising and relevant American value. Opinion polls support this proposal: in multiple surveys of randomly selected Americans during the past decade, more than 60% of respondents have favored government-guaranteed health care for all. Although these responses don't necessarily specify a single-payer system as the only model for government-guaranteed insurance, they surely do not exclude it.

Policymakers debating health care reform should stop hiding behind the smoke screen of "American values." Discussions dominated by references to uniquely American individualism, uniquely American solutions, or narrowly defined conceptions of choice tell us more about the political and economic interests of the discussants than about the interests of the Americans they claim to represent. In an increasingly diverse country that has a widening gap between rich and poor, a more promising approach is to start with the questions that matter to everyone: Will the system care for us when we're sick and help prevent illness when we're well? Will we have access to medical care throughout our lives without risking financial ruin? Will we be able to navigate the system easily, without jumping through unnecessary hoops or encountering excessive red tape? Will health care spending be managed wisely? Health care reformers owe Americans a system that best addresses these questions — not one that merely pays lip service to ill-defined "American values."

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.


Source Information

From the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia.

References


Emanuel EJ. Healthcare, guaranteed: a simple, secure solution for America. New York: PublicAffairs, 2008:12-6.
Daschle T. Critical: what we can do about the health-care crisis. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2008:144, 204.
Medical News Today. Sen. Baucus hopes to introduce comprehensive health reform legislation this summer. March 5, 2009. (Accessed July 10, 2009, at http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/141193.php.)
Garson A Jr, Engelhard CL. Health care half-truths: too many myths, not enough reality. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007:131-2.
DanielsComments and questions? Please contact us.

The New England Journal of Medicine is owned, published, and copyrighted © 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.
 
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DougMacG
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« Reply #424 on: August 04, 2009, 09:51:05 AM »

This insight came from Forbes, Biden who doesn't drink beer (really none of them did) was needed by the beer-summit planners for racial balance.  This was only a photo opp and it was looking like it would be a white cop surrounded by two black psuedo-intellectuals with a chip on their shoulder about race. With Biden they achieved balance - like a double date.  Any other white and it would have just looked like they brought in a token, but Joe Biden is the  VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES which was helpful when Obama needed to show he has white 'friends' too.  So much for post-racialism.  These men with fruit in their near-beers should become the Dukasis in a tank photo moment for future campaigns.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #425 on: August 05, 2009, 12:20:50 PM »

August 05, 2009
Democratic Voters Flee the Obama-Pelosi Bandwagon

By Brad O'Leary
As President Obama's approval rating continues to nosedive toward that of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one has to wonder: Who are these naysayers abandoning the dynamic duo of government-run everything?  While it's true that a majority of the discontented comes from the ranks of Republican and Independent voters, it is also true that many Democratic voters are parting ways with the Obama-Pelosi agenda on several fronts. 

Healthcare

According to a recent Zogby International/O'Leary Report poll (which surveyed 4,470 voters July 21-24 and has a margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 1.5 percentage points - internal data here), only 36 percent of Democratic voters support the Obama-Pelosi government administered health insurance plan that would put government in charge of determining what medical procedures Americans can have and when they can have them.  Fifty-nine percent of Democratic voters prefer to either keep the current system in place, or want something different altogether.

When Obama and Pelosi ask their more moderate colleagues to come onboard with Obamacare, what they're really asking them to do is ignore the will of their constituents, voters within their own Party, and the broader American electorate.  That's a tough sell.

First Amendment Rights

On September 9, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could turn a key provision of the "McCain-Feingold" campaign finance law on its head.  At issue is a documentary about Hillary Clinton that was produced by the conservative group Citizens United and released in January 2008 when Clinton was running for president.  Citing "McCain-Feingold" restrictions, a district court barred the group from advertising the documentary on television and distributing it through video-on-demand.  Now the Supreme Court will decide if such a ban infringes on Americans' First Amendment rights.

Both Obama and Pelosi support McCain-Feingold, however, the same can't be said for a majority of voters in their Party.  The same Zogby/O'Leary poll found that 54 percent of Democratic voters believe that the First Amendment protects the right of organizations to buy political advertising that either supports or opposes a candidate for political office.  Only 27 percent of Democratic voters believe otherwise.

Second Amendment

Recently, an amendment that would have permitted law-abiding gun owners with concealed-carry permits to carry their firearms across state lines fell short in the Senate.  Although the amendment received a majority of votes (58-39), a filibuster-proof 60 votes were required for passage.  Thirty-seven of the "no" votes came from Democratic Senators.

The Zogby/O'Leary Report poll found that an overwhelming 79 percent of Democratic voters support laws that allow law-abiding Americans to carry guns.  Yet over 60 percent of Democratic Senators voted to disallow Americans this right.  A majority of Senate Democrats voted against the wishes of a majority of Democratic voters.

President Obama and Nancy Pelosi have never met a gun-ban they didn't like - both of their records are abundantly clear on this.  But is this a reflection of the Democratic electorate at large?  Or is it just a reflection of their native enclaves - Southside Chicago (where Obama cut his political teeth) and San Francisco?  Signs point to the latter.

Fifty-six percent of Democratic voters believe the Second Amendment "‘right to keep and bear arms' is a right that should apply to every law-abiding citizen living in this country."  A slight majority of Democratic voters (52 percent) disagree with any law that would ban the possession of handguns, and the same percentage agree that "self-defense with a firearm is a fundamental right."  And finally, 73 percent of Democratic voters believe in the individual right to own and use firearms.

Conclusion

President Obama and Speaker Pelosi may find it convenient, not to mention politically expedient, to blame Republicans every time they fail to get one of their Big Government agenda items through the Democrat-led House and the Democrat-led Senate.  However, the inconvenient truth is that majorities of Democratic voters are opposed to the Obama-Pelosi agenda on many issues.  According to a recent Gallup poll, 40 percent of all Americans consider themselves "conservative," and only 21 percent call themselves "liberal" (35 percent say "moderate").  The same poll found that 62 percent of self-identified Democrats consider themselves either conservative or moderate.

Try as they might, Obama and Pelosi should eventually find these numbers hard to ignore.  In the meantime, they seem content to not only buck mainstream America, but also buck the mainstream within their own Party.

Brad O'Leary is publisher of "The O'Leary Report," a bestselling author, and is a former NBC Westwood One talk show host. His new book, "Shut Up, America! The End of Free Speech," (endoffreespeech.com) is now in bookstores. To see more, go to olearyreport.com.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/democratic_voters_flee_the_oba.html at August 05, 2009 - 01:12:42 PM EDT
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ccp
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« Reply #426 on: August 05, 2009, 05:56:19 PM »

And yet BO remains popular - his ratings still over 55%.
He appears divorced from the health care issue in the polls.

How can the right convince so many people that socialism is not better for them?

Obviously there are people who are fine with this notion.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #427 on: August 05, 2009, 06:53:23 PM »

To quote my mocking description of the demogogues philosophy during my most recent run for Congress (in 1992)

"We had a vote.  You're paying."
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #428 on: August 05, 2009, 08:34:34 PM »

http://www.reason.com/news/show/135237.html


Little Bitty Bang Bang

The trouble with "cash for clunkers"

David Harsanyi | August 5, 2009

Here's an idea: Let's give $50,000 to anyone looking to upgrade to a brand-spanking-new, environmentally friendly home. All we ask in return is that you burn your previous residence into a heap of smoldering cinder.

That's the concept behind the bizarre "cash for clunkers" program so many people are deeming a success. It's so successful, in fact, that Congress will increase funding for it by 200 percent.

Then again, in Washington, a place where elected officials are astonished—astonished!—when a program doling out free cash is popular, success often translates into higher costs and fewer results.

Now, some of you radicals may have an ideological dilemma with a government handing out thousands of dollars to citizens making an average of $57,000 a year so they can upgrade their perfectly serviceable vehicles. Turns out, though, that by nearly any criterion, including the ones offered up by President Barack Obama, this populist experiment is an unmitigated fiasco.

To begin with, building a new car consumes energy. It is estimated that 6.7 tons of carbon are emitted in the process. So a driver who participates in the "cash for clunkers" program would need to make up for that wickedness. There are about 250 million registered vehicles in the United States. Only a micro-slither of those cars will be traded in—and a slither of that number could be deemed "clunkers" outside the Beltway.

A survey of car dealerships found a relatively small differential in fuel efficiency between cars traded in and those replacing them. A Reuters analysis concluded—even with the extended program in place—"cash for clunkers" would trim U.S. oil consumption by only a quarter of 1 percent.

As an economic stimulus, the plan is equally impotent. As James Pethokoukis, a columnist at Reuters, succinctly explained, "The program gets much of its juice via stealing car sales from the near future rather than generating additional demand."

The point of a stimulus should be to create new demand, not to move existing demand around to score political points. Then again, for this administration, economic recovery always takes a back seat to moral recovery.

If the nation weren't in the midst of a six-month agenda of national redistribution, this kind of blatantly inefficient program—even if it were ostensibly about the environment—would be allotted a measure of substantive debate in Congress. No such luck. We need to pass something quickly—quickly, always quickly. And that kind of pressure typically manifests in some creative accounting.

This week, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood claimed that "cash for clunkers" had benefited domestic car companies, particularly Ford. When The Associated Press requested data to verify this contention, the most transparent administration ever to grace God's soon-to-be-unblemished Earth refused to release the data.

The AP reported that "the limited information released so far shows most buyers are not picking Ford, Chrysler or General Motors vehicles, and six of the top 10 vehicles purchased are Honda, Toyota and Hyundai."

If those numbers are correct, take it as a positive sign that companies that avoided the orgy of corporate welfare are exceeding expectations.

But unless your idea of success is transferring wealth from one citizen to another for no tangible economic or environmental benefit, "cash for clunkers," like much of what passes as stimulus these days, is a major dud.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #429 on: August 06, 2009, 02:22:58 PM »

I don't know where other than under glibness to put this...  As we celebrate the diplomatic success of paying ransom to hostage takers it was noted that it is unusual for hostages to be rescued from forced hard labor camps carrying shopping bags and intact luggage.
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/08/something_odd_about_those_two.html
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ccp
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« Reply #430 on: August 06, 2009, 08:01:53 PM »

Doug,

The other night there was some discussion by the talking heads about this "rescue".
One asked the other who would you believe as to the true nature of what went on behind the scenes, the N. Korean government or the US government.  The intent was to suggest that only a crazy person would believe N Korea's story over the talking crats.

Sadly all I could think was that I wouldn't trust a Democrat any more than I would a N. Korean official.

Also I remember all too vividly that I could never know when Clinton was (if ever) telling the truth.  He would lie so much even if or when he was being truthful one could not know.  Clearly the same is true of BO.  Clearly the same is true of most if not all of the outspoken Democrats.

As for the picture you posted I wonder where the one is of Clinton carrying his bags full of cash on his way over to N. Korea.

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G M
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« Reply #431 on: August 06, 2009, 09:41:59 PM »

- Works and Days - http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson -

Prairie-Fire Anger
Posted By Victor Davis Hanson On August 5, 2009 @ 8:15 am In Uncategorized | 176 Comments

Why Are People in Revolt?

The approval ratings on nearly every one of the President’s key policy initiatives—cap-and-trade, health care overhaul, government take over of industry and finance, deficit spending, stimulus—are already less than half of polled voters. Obama’s own popularity has fallen dramatically and hovers near fifty percent. A number of well-publicized town meetings have erupted in shouting, as administration and congressional representatives try, often in condescending fashion, to explain the Obama agenda. The Republicans—written off just a few weeks ago as an obsolete party headed for oblivion—are now often polling higher in generic surveys than are Democrats.

Why the sudden uproar?

Bait-and-Switch

There is a growing sense of a “we’ve been had”, bait-and-switch. Millions of moderate Republicans, independents, and conservative Democrats—apparently angry at Bush for Iraq and big deficits, unimpressed by the McCain campaign, intrigued by the revolutionary idea of electing an African-American president—voted for Obama on the assumption that he was sincere about ending red state/blue state animosity. They took him at his word that he was going to end out of control federal spending. They trusted that he had real plans to get us out of the economic doldrums, and that he was not a radical tax-and-spend liberal of the old sort.

Instead, within days Obama set out plans that would triple the annual deficit, and intends to borrow at a record pace that will double the aggregate debt in just eight years.

He not only took over much of the auto- and financial industries, but also did so in a way that privileged unions, politically-correct creditors, and those insider cronies who favor administration initiatives. On matters racial, his administration is shrill and retrograde, not forward-looking. It insists on emphasizing the tired old identify politics that favor a particular sort of racial elite that claims advantage by citing past collective victimization or piggy-backs for advantage on the plight of the minority underclass.

 In other words, the Obama swing voter thought he was getting a 21st-century version of pragmatic, triangulating Bill Clinton—and instead got something to the left of 1970s Jimmy Carter.

 

Those Who Receive and Those Who Dole Out

There is, of course, a growing fear of government—but a new sort of anxiety that transcends the traditional skepticism of statism. Few Americans younger than 60 can recall the magnitude of the current government take-over of the economy that may reach 40-45% of GDP. Evocation of “socialism” is still considered inflammatory by the Left, but it is now simply an empirical term, not a slur, given that America’s tax codes and entitlement spending may look like the  social landscape in France or Scandinavia in short order.

Apprehensive voters dread turning their hard-won and paid-for private health care plans into something like the emergency room on Saturday night, where the care reflects the chaos. The new anti-Obamians do not want industry run like the Department of Motor Vehicles, where most time and money are invested mostly in those  who do not follow the rules like registering their cars or getting a driver’s license. And it is not just the waste, inefficiency, and lack of accountability inherent in government-run enterprises that bother the growing cadre of angry voters.

There is, again, a mounting anxiety that the current federal expansion is politically-driven in rather radical ways—an effort to create a permanent new constituency of millions who either receive expanded federal largess or are gleefully employed in doling it out. The zealotry of expansive bureaucracy and dependency instills fears, rational or not, of a radicalized huge federal work force, a sort of national version of Acorn to the nth degree that in pack-like fashion is mobilized to target potential naysayers.

Bastille Day—All the Days

Voters are beginning to sense a certain edge to the Obama revolution, a meanness in its class-driven rhetoric aimed at the more successful. Even the middling classes do not necessary like this constant bashing of their bosses and lawyers, doctors, dentists, contractors, brokers, and real estate agents. The constant harangue about taxing only those who make over $250,000 (or is it now $200,000?, or $150,000) accentuates the notion that those who run successful businesses, who create  profitable medical practices, and who are accomplished professionals are somehow culpable—greedy, conniving, or worse.

If well over 40% of the population pays no federal income tax, and the demonized 1% pay more federal income tax than does the bottom 95%, and still we are to hear whining about Bush-era greed, what is next? What does the Left ultimately want—confiscation of 90% of all income? Tax exemptions for 99% of the electorate? Continual Barney Frank show-trial congressional hearings to grandstand the bullying of the now satanic CEOs and investors?

In just six months has arisen a Storming the Bastille anger of “pay-back.” Class envy and anger are unleashed through careless presidential rhetoric about Las Vegas junkets, Wall Street vampires, Super Bowl trips, and all the other slurs and slanders that have nothing to do with the building contractor who makes $250,000 a year by working weekends and twelve hour days—only to plow back his profits immediately into his business.

Existential questions are now being raised—isn’t compensation fickle (why should the brain surgeon make more than the auto worker?) and in need of federal readjustment on April 15? Is your income really your own, but not more to be envisioned as something on loan from society at large, to be morally recalled as needed?

Yet how strange that the highly-compensated, privileged DC technocrat deprecates the manifestation of success of the small businessman while bailing out the Wall Street buccaneers who have so lavishly donated in the past to the Obama cause. In the world of Obama, make $300,000 in household income and you deserve to be in the crosshairs; make $30,000,000 and you are a sensitive fat cat donor, who rises above class and personal interests, and so becomes deserving of  a bail-out, insider exemption, honorific federal post or ambassadorship, or dinner at the White House. The grandee talks of Harvard-educated children and Martha’s Vineyard, and  so in his noblisse oblige is one of ‘us’, the grasping plumbing contractor goes to NASCAR and deserves what he gets.

One senses that a number of the successful are already detaching themselves psychologically from the American scene—and figuring out how to reduce, shield, and avoid income. They often see themselves, if not in melodramatic fashion, as modern-day Kulaks, targeted for extinction by equality-of-result state, FICA, and federal tax hikes that may result in nearly 70% of their income going for the Obama New Deal. They sense the more they pay, the more they will pay more to come. In Obama world, the fact that you will pay 40% federal tax, a health care surcharge, higher state taxes, and FICA on most of your income, is proof that you should have paid those tax rates all along, and will pay even more in the future.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

 

There is a cascading anger at a new sort of left-wing elitism and hypocrisy as well, one that feeds the rhetoric of class warfare. The rules of the game simply do not apply to this bunch of wannabe Platonic Guardians. Stopping Bush’s private Social Security accounts was patriotic; using the same tactics to stop Obama care is nearly disloyal; a gross Joker-like image of Obama surfaces on the Internet and is deemed horribly unfair; that Vanity Fair published something identical about Bush was hilariously legitimate criticism. Radio talk show is now deemed radically insurrectionist; Moveon.org’s and Michael Moore’s open hostility to the U.S. military and American society at time of war (remember “General Betray-Us” ads, and Moore’s lament that bin Laden hit a blue-state city?) did not earn them ostracism from the Democratic leadership.

A well educated technocracy—we see such figures in the emblematic Timothy Geithner, Eric Holder, or Barack Obama himself —have most of their lives served in government, largely regulating, overseeing, organizing, auditing, and sermonizing far more productive and capable others. One of the worst flaws of this species of utopian technocrat is the notion that he wishes to curtail in others the very things he wishes to enjoy without constraint himself.

Thus we sense that a Geithner does not wish to pay the taxes he hikes on others. A Holder wants to destroy through subpoena and litigation the Bush lawyers, but pleaded once for mercy for his own shenanigans involving the crooked Clinton pardons. And Obama lectures about the inequality of wealth and the burdens of racism while his wife’s salary climbed as his political influence grew. Meanwhile his own rarified tastes translated into a shady transaction with Tony Rezco to help to score a stately home and expansive yard—while attending a Trinity Church that radiated racial venom from a charlatan preacher who ended up in a mansion on a golf course.

In other words,  a great number of people are scared of these new versions of Al Gores and John Edwardses who live one way, and quite shamelessly preach another. I don’t think anyone in this green administration is going to be chauffeured to work in a Civic. Few will put their kids in the DC school system as they oppose vouchers. None would be happy in an environmentally-correct 1200 square foot home, with an ideal carbon-footprint, as they preach cap-and-trade taxes on energy for apartment dwellers.

Al Gore, for example, preached the evils of DC insiderism and the need for a new independent TV network. But when his company foolishly sent two of its employees into modern-day Mordor, he uses his status to convince the spouse of the Secretary of State and former President to grant concessions (by the mere fact of his presence with such a monster) to North Korea, free his workers, and set the precedent that hostage-taking does indeed earn high profile exposure. Some egalitarians.

 Epilogue

I confess that when I first read Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope, first learned in depth about Trinity Church and its tirades about “black middle classness”, first studied the modus operandi of Obama’s state legislative campaigns and the mysterious implosions of both his primary and general election senatorial foes—all this belatedly in late 2006 and early 2007—I had little hope that he would prove to be anything other than the fossilized angry liberal that he is sadly proving to be.

But I erred in one key regard: I assumed his prepped oratory, youth and “cool”, transracial profile, media sycophants, and “Bush did it” excuses would ensure that his ratings stayed well above 60% at least through the midterm elections.

In other words, I underestimated the righteous anger of those who are daily deprecated by a utopian class—one that has neither the ability nor the fortitude to achieve what it now wishes to undo in others.

 

Post script: I will finish Mediterranean reflections, ancient and modern, next posting–on thoughts about Rhodes, Bodrum, the Cyclades and Istanbul as well as the Greek mainland.

Article printed from Works and Days: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/prairie-fire-anger/
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ccp
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« Reply #432 on: August 07, 2009, 09:03:41 AM »

From Bama
"I expect to be held responsible," Obama said. "But I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking."

One never really knows about a  person until he is under pressure.
The real Bama is coming out.

This kind of language will only anger people even more and lead to more divisiveness.

This guy appears to be cracking.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #433 on: August 07, 2009, 10:46:55 AM »

Good points CCP.  By ransom I was only referring to the part we know about - giving him high level attention and positive publicity while the rest of the prisoners continue to slave for him.  Who knows about the bag of cash.  By making it a private mission there could have been real payoffs and still have Obama insulated with plausible deniability.

Instead of angering me, the dishonest people in my world bore me.  They tell me what happened and I still don't know what happened so they waste my time by speaking.  I don't know when, if not already, the overexposed Obama will start to have that affect.  I suspect that the millions of mostly non-political, fair-weather first time one time voters that saw something different tuned out already.  They might tell a pollster they approve or choose him over another in reelection but not with the excitement or numbers we saw the first time.

On the other point, that he doesn't mind cleaning up after them but doesn't want to hear criticism?  Cleaning up after whom?? Barney Frank and the Democrats who pushed for lending based on needy neighborhoods instead of based on solid credit and substantial down payments like it used to be to buy a house.  He always implies it was conservative policies and free markets running wild that made the mess when it was the opposite even if it was R's partially that supported the wrong headedness. 

What part of this means people should lose the right to speak and oppose new, wrongheaded initiatives that will worsen our problems?  Opponents shouldn't attend Democrat townhall meetings and if they do they should sit quietly??  The gameplan of going to all the meetings and filibustering with dissent was written at ACORN!  Obama is notoriously thin-skinned for a person in his position. I don't know how that will pay off as things turn worse politically for him.

I still think the main things we will remember the Obama administration for haven't even been contemplated yet, like 911 for Bush and Clinton adopting the Gingrich agenda and sparking the economy.  Maybe we'll see what this chameleon is capable of if he loses the house next year.
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ccp
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« Reply #434 on: August 07, 2009, 11:38:14 AM »

"Instead of angering me, the dishonest people in my world bore me.  They tell me what happened and I still don't know what happened so they waste my time by speaking.  I don't know when, if not already, the overexposed Obama will start to have that affect."

Yes I agree but the larger issue is this what we should expect or should get from our leaders?
It is now common place to assume all politicians are liars.
Why even bother to complain about this one or that one doing it, "they all do it".
Is spin, bull, and lies effective leadership?

Don't people want someone they can trust leading them?
Is this where we are in today's world?

When the occasional lie from our leaders becomes an art form of spin and deceit we have lost our way.

Some would say that W lied about the weapons of mass destruction.

At the very worst he believed they were there and believed what he was doing was best for America.
I can't think of anything else that he lied about just to make himself look good.

I can say the same about Reagan.

Why can't we have honest leaders who say what they mean and mean what they say other?

I understand why BO won't say what he means because,

he clearly has a socialist agenda.  Clearly he wants single payer government controlled health care and to redistribute wealth and put the historically white male led America in "its place".
But all of our leaders this way??

Perhaps I am expecting too much.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #435 on: August 07, 2009, 03:40:44 PM »

Hard to say without loading in my own bias but it always seems that liberalism can't be sold straight up.  Look at the Sotomayor hearings for example.  What everyone says is adherence to founding principles etc. when everyone knows that there are two competing philosophies with the liberal one perfectly described by everything this Judge said and did BEFORE the confirmation process.  Watch and listen to the liberals laugh at themselves about lying to themselves.  Amazing video, very telling:



"Don't people want someone they can trust leading them?"  - In the case of Obama on so many things such as not going for single payer, not raising taxes, not spending out of control and in the case of Sotomayor claiming to not favor liberal, judicial activism, their supporters actually trust them to NOT do what they say!
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #436 on: August 11, 2009, 03:36:58 PM »

Remember the Homeland Security report about the threat those nasty right wing extremists pose? Well a group ran a FOIA request and discovered the assessment was based on--shudder--internet searches! Can reports of alien abductions be far behind?



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« Reply #437 on: August 16, 2009, 09:17:27 PM »

August 16, 2009, 8:04 p.m.

What Went Wrong
Piling up debt, gaffes, and hypocrisy, Obama & Co. are sinking.

By Victor Davis Hanson

We are witnessing one of the more rapid turnabouts in recent American political history. President Obama’s popularity has plummeted to 50 percent and lower in some polls, while the public expresses even less confidence in the Democratic-led Congress and the direction of the country at large. Yet, just eight months ago, liberals were talking in Rovian style about a new generation to come of progressive politics — and the end of both the Republican party and the legacy of Reaganism itself. Barack Obama was to be the new FDR and his radical agenda an even better New Deal.

What happened, other than the usual hubris of the party in power?

First, voters had legitimate worries about health care, global warming, immigration, energy, and inefficient government. But it turns out that they are more anxious about the new radical remedies than the old nagging problems. They wanted federal support for wind and solar, but not at the expense of neglecting new sources of gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power. They were worried about high-cost health care, the uninsured, redundant procedures, and tort reform, but not ready for socialized medicine. They wanted better government, not bigger, DMV-style government. There is a growing realization that Obama enticed voters last summer with the flashy lure of discontent. But now that they are hooked, he is reeling them in to an entirely different — and, for many a frightening — agenda. Nothing is worse for a president than a growing belief among the public that it has been had.

Second, Americans were at first merely scared about the growing collective debt. But by June they became outraged that Obama has quadrupled the annual deficit in proposing all sorts of new federal programs at a time when most finally had acknowledged that the U.S. has lived beyond its means for years. They elected Obama, in part, out of anger at George W. Bush for multi-billion dollar shortfalls — and yet as a remedy for that red ink got Obama’s novel multi-trillion-dollar deficits.

Third, many voters really believed in the “no more red/blue state America” healing rhetoric. Instead, polls show they got the most polarizing president in recent history — both in his radical programs and in the manner in which he has demonized the opposition to ram them through without bipartisan support. “Punch back harder” has replaced “Yes, we can.”

Fourth, Americans wanted a new brand — youthful, postracial, mesmerizing abroad. At first they got that, too. But after eight months, their president has proven not so postracial, but instead hyper-racially conscious. Compare the Holder “cowards” outburst, the Sotomayor riff on innate racial and gender judicial superiority, and the president’s Cambridge police comments. All that sounds more like Jesse Jackson than Martin Luther King Jr. Demagogues, not healers, trash their predecessors at the beginning of every speech. When a once-eloquent president now goes off teleprompter, the question is not whether he will say something that is either untruthful or silly, but simply how many times he might do so at one outing. Some once worried that George W. Bush could not articulate our goals in Iraq; far more now sense that Obama is even less able to outline his own health-care reform.

Fifth, even skeptics are surprised at the partisan cynicism. A year ago, Democratic leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama praised organizing, dissidents, and protest. Today they have become near-Nixonian in demonizing popular resistance to their collectivized health-care plans as mob-like, inauthentic, scripted, Nazi-like, and un-American. There are still ex-lobbyists in the government. High officials still cheat on their taxes. Hacks in the Congress still profit from their office. The public is sensing not only that Obama has failed to run the most ethically clean government, as promised, but indeed that he is not running as ethically clean a government as the predecessor who he so assiduously ridiculed.

Sixth, there is a growing fear that Obamism is becoming cult-like and Orwellian. Almost on script, Hollywood ceased all its Rendition/Redacted–style films. Iraq — once the new Vietnam — is out of the news. Afghanistan is “problematic,” not a “blunder.” Tribunals, renditions, the Patriot Act, and Predators are no longer proof of a Seven Days in May coup, but legitimate tools to keep us safe. Words change meanings as acts of terror become “man-caused disasters.” Hunting down jihadists is really an “overseas contingency operation.” Media sycophants do not merely parrot Obama, but now proclaim him a “god.” New York Times columnists who once assured us that Bush’s dastardly behavior was proof of American pathology now sound like Pravda apologists in explaining the “real” Obama is not what he is beginning to seem like.


Seventh, the Obama cabinet is sounding downright uncouth and boorish. The tax-challenged Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, unleashed a profanity-laced diatribe against bank regulators. Hillary Clinton’s recent outburst in the Congo, captured on YouTube, was something out of Days of Our Lives. Joe Biden cannot speak extemporaneously without causing an incident with the Russians or misleading the public about swine flu. Attorney General Holder sounds like a tired scold, only to be overshadowed by the president’s off-the-cuff cuts about the Special Olympics, Las Vegas, and the Cambridge police. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs makes Scott McClellan sound like a Cicero by comparison.

Eighth, we were all appalled by Wall Street greed and the notion that an individual could take $100 million rather than one or two million as a bonus. But the Obama remedy for that obscenity was to conflate Goldman Sachs or AIG with the family orthodontist or local asphalt contractor whose 80-hour weeks might result in an annual $250,000 income. Worse still, the public impression is that while small entrepreneurs may pay up to 65 percent of their income in new state and federal income taxes, payroll taxes, and surcharges, those on Wall Street have been bailed out and have cut various deals with upscale liberals in government.

Ninth, Democratic populism turned out to be largely aristocratic elitism. Obama spends more money on himself than did Bush. The liberal Congress has a strange fondness for pricy private jets. Those environmentalists and racialists who lecture us about our ecological and ethical shortcomings prefer Martha’s Vineyard and country estates to Dayton and Bakersfield. Offering left-wing populist sermonizing for others while enjoying the high life oneself is never a winning combination.

Tenth, Americans no longer believe this is our moment when the seas stop rising and the planet ceases warming. Instead, there is a growing hopelessness that despite all the new proposed income taxes, payroll taxes, and surtaxes, the deficit will skyrocket, not shrink. There is foreboding that while apologies abroad are nice in the short term, they will soon earn a reckoning. And while the productive classes pay more of their income, and while government grows and entitlement expands, there is a sense that what follows will not be thanks for either taxes paid or benefits received, but even more anger that neither is enough and that much more is owed.

Obama’s popularity might rebound with a natural upturn in the economy, continued low energy prices, and good will for our first multiracial president. But then again, it could get even worse if the recovery turns into stagflation, gas prices soar, and the identity-politics lectures amplify. The next six months should be interesting.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MWRmMjAxNmNhZDRhMjllYmFjYTZjYmRlYTZmYWNjYTA=
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ccp
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« Reply #438 on: August 17, 2009, 03:46:40 PM »

I only post this because it is actually humerous if not maddening.
Here is the biggest spender in the history of government who now is advised to come out speaking in defense of the *taxpayer*.

Of course if it isn't only to decry the waste in miliatry spending - true to form from a gigantic liberal.
We don't need any more tanks.  We need cultural compentancy and language experts to defend America:

Obama criticizes a Cold War approach to defense
PHOENIX – President Barack Obama chastised the defense industry and a freespending Congress on Monday for wasting tax dollars "with doctrine and weapons better suited to fight the Soviets on the plains of Europe than insurgents in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan."

"Twenty years after the Cold War ended, this is simply not acceptable. It's irresponsible. Our troops and our taxpayers deserve better," he told a national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "If Congress sends me a defense bill loaded with a bunch of pork, I will veto it."

Turning to the two foreign wars engaging the United States, Obama spoke of fierce fighting against Taliban and other insurgents leading up to Thursday's national elections in Afghanistan. He said U.S. troops are working to secure polling places so the elections can go forward and Afghans can choose their own future.

Attaining that peaceful future "will not be quick, nor easy," Obama said.

He said the new U.S. strategy recognizes that al-Qaida has moved its bases into remote areas of Pakistan and that military power alone will not win that war. At the same time, confronting insurgents in Afghanistan "is fundamental to the defense of our people."

As to Iraq, Obama reiterated his commitment to remove all combat brigades by the end of next August and to remove remaining troops from the country by the end of 2011. U.S. troops withdrew from cities and other urban areas in June.

Obama, in his third appearance before the VFW but his first as president, got hearty applause and standing ovations as he spoke at the Phoenix Convention Center to several thousand veterans, though only about two-thirds of the seats were filled.

That may have been partly because he started his speech nearly an hour before it was scheduled. Aides say he was anxious to get back to Washington after a four-day trip out West that was part family vacation and part business, including the VFW speech and town hall meetings in Montana and Colorado to push his health care agenda.

Obama told the veterans that overhaul would not change how they get their medical services — and that nobody in Washington is talking about taking away or trimming their benefits.

Instead, he said he's instructed senior aides to work with the secretary of veterans affairs to come up with better ways to serve veterans.

Obama said he wants each of the 57 regional VA offices "to come up with the best ways of doing business, harnessing the best information technologies, breaking through the bureaucracy."

He said the government would then pay to put the best ideas into action "all with a simple mission — cut these backlogs, slash those wait times and deliver your benefits sooner."

Even at a time when Obama needs as much congressional support as he can summon for his health care priorities, he spared no party from his harsh critique of business-as-usual by some in the military establishment, some defense contractors and some lawmakers who write defense budgets.

He assailed "indefensible no-bid contracts that cost taxpayers billions and make contractors rich" and lashed out at "the special interests and their exotic projects that are years behind schedule and billions over budget."

He took on "the entrenched lobbyists pushing weapons that even our military says it doesn't want" and blistered lawmakers in Washington whose impulse he said was "to protect jobs back home building things we don't need (with) a cost that we can't afford."

He said such waste was unacceptable as the country fights two wars while mired in a deep recession.

"It's inexcusable. It's an affront to the American people and to our troops. And it's time for it to stop," Obama said.

As a candidate and as president, Obama has held up the weapons-buying process as the perfect example of what's wrong with Washington and why the public doesn't trust its leaders. He essentially picked a political fight with a large part of the congressional-military-industrial alliance.

He sounded much like his campaign rival of a year ago, Arizona Sen. John McCain. And, while in Arizona, Obama praised McCain for seeking to rein in costs and reform the weapons-buying process.

In seeking to overhaul the weapons-buying process, Obama hopes to make good on a campaign promise to change the way Washington does business. But it certainly won't be easy to do; lawmakers protecting jobs at home are certain to put up enormous fights over Obama's efforts to stop production on weapons like the F-22 fighter jet.

Despite objections and veto threats from the White House, a $636 billion Pentagon spending bill was approved by a 400-30 vote in the House late last month. It contains money for a much-criticized new presidential helicopter fleet, cargo jets that the Pentagon says aren't needed and an alternative engine for the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that military leaders say is a waste of money.

The Senate will deal with the spending measure in September.

The president laid out a vision of a nimble, well-armed and multilingual fighting force of the future, not one that was built to fight land battles against the Soviets in Europe.

"Because in the 21st century, military strength will be measured not only by the weapons our troops carry, but by the languages they speak and the cultures they understand," he said.

He praised McCain for joining him and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in opposing unneeded defense spending.

Shortly after Obama won the White House, McCain had pointedly suggested there was no need for the Marine Corps to bring on newer helicopters to ferry the president at a cost of billions of dollars.

On the subject of the helicopters, Obama told the veterans: "Now, maybe you've heard about this. Among its other capabilities, it would let me cook a meal while under nuclear attack. Now, let me tell you something. If the United States of America is under nuclear attack, the last thing on my mind will be whipping up a snack."

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DougMacG
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« Reply #439 on: August 17, 2009, 06:41:43 PM »

CCP,  I don't believe him but I agree with the premise that we could have a scary strong and effective military for a little less money if the process did not involve lobbyists and bureaucrats ranking ahead of clear thinking,  modern military strategists.

B.O: "If Congress sends me a defense bill loaded with a bunch of pork, I will veto it."

Yeah, sure he will, just like he did with the 'defense of banking' bills and shovel ready stimulus bullsh*t.   sad

He sounds like he is campaigning for the office instead of leading and he sounds like he competing not against Pelosi-Barney Frank-Durban-Schumer but against a Republican congress, which maybe he already sees coming...
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ccp
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« Reply #440 on: August 18, 2009, 10:17:36 AM »

"He sounds like he is campaigning for the office instead of leading and he sounds like he competing not against Pelosi-Barney Frank-Durban-Schumer but against a Republican congress, which maybe he already sees coming..."

Yes,  and, I feel he always been this way.
*The pretend you are one of them, then you can change them strategy.*

Though at times he dons the sheep skin costume more then others depending on who he is conning.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #441 on: August 19, 2009, 03:17:54 PM »

http://www.reason.com/news/show/135529.html


Among the Cynics

When it comes to health care reform, Obama doesn't believe reasonable people can disagree

Katherine Mangu-Ward | August 19, 2009

It's funny—I don't feel like a fearmongering naysayer. And I haven't gotten a check from a health insurance lobbyist in ages. Actually, come to think of it, I've never gotten a check from the insurance lobby.

But Obama says that I am, along with (pick your poll) 30 to 60 percent of Americans who are not on board with massive government intervention in one of the biggest and fastest growing sectors of our economy. So it must be true.

I do have all the hallmarks of the cynic. "In the coming weeks, the cynics and the naysayers will continue to exploit fear and concerns for political gain," President Barack Obama wrote in The New York Times on Sunday, after gazing into the near future of the health care debate and seeing a dystopia full of "scare tactics." And it's true. I am "exploiting" "concerns." By expressing them. In print. In conversation. My 30 to 60 percent fearmongering brethren and I, cynics that we are, just keep having concerns.

We fearmongers and our "concerns" wield an unholy power over the political process. How else to explain what happened? A plan—noble in reason, infinite in faculties, in form admirable—was presented to the American people. The obvious genius of the plan failed to carry it through intact. As more details were revealed, more and more people got antsy about the whole endeavor. They mentioned their concerns to their congressmen, sometimes loudly. Congress got cold feet, and now everyone is sitting in time out, thinking about what they did wrong.

When Obama, the man of hope, tells this story, it sounds like a failure of the democratic process, corrupted by special interests who somehow forced all those people to holler at town meetings and forced me to write this article. Again, though, without the actual writing of checks. But someone of a non-cynical nature might equally see this story as a great success of participatory democracy, with representatives accountable to the people.

Obama saw the health care cynics coming a mile away. Back in the misty days of January 2007, he warned the Democratic National Committee about us. The "cynics," he predicted, would fight health care reform. "With such cynicism, government doesn't become a force of good, a means of giving people the opportunity to lead better lives; it just becomes an obstacle for people to get rid of. Too often, this cynicism makes us afraid to say what we believe. It makes us fearful. We don't trust the truth." He blended together his own health care plan, government as a force for good, and truth into a delicious rhetorical smoothie, and they ate it up.

But times have changed and on Saturday, in Grand Junction, Colorado, Obama indulged in a little psychologizing of the now-ascendant Other. He said he understood "why people are nervous" but then he clarified: "Whenever America has set about solving our toughest problems, there have been those who have sought to preserve the status quo. And these struggles have always boiled down to a contest between hope and fear." The people who are nervous are just timid, more susceptible than average to the "special interests" do things like "use their influence" to get their "political allies to scare the American people." And they are contagious, passing on the fear themselves.

Sometimes it seems that Obama ascribes opposition to his agenda to a simple failure of intelligence, or perhaps perception. "What the cynics fail to understand," said the brand spanking new president on inauguration day, "is that the ground has shifted beneath them—that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply."

Or perhaps people just have the facts wrong. If they weren't blinded by falsehood, surely they would hop right on board. On Thursday, this exchange between White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and ABC's Jake Tapper entertained the White House press corps for a couple of minutes. After squabbling over polls, (which might or might not show that more Americans disapprove of the president's handling of health care reform than approve, but that either way an awful lot of people didn't dig the plan) it finally got down to this:

TAPPER:  ...why are they not with the president?
GIBBS:  Look, I think part of it is some of these misconceptions.

Everyone needs someone to mischaracterize while engaging in political battle—remember all those Islamists who "hate our freedoms"? But the strangest thing about Obama's cynics-and-naysayers gambit is that it's no gambit at all. Every single time Obama implies (or says outright) that the people who disagree with him are confused, that they aren't listening properly to what he is saying, they they are in the thrall of liars, or that they are fearful or mean-spirited—he's doing it in good faith.

Obama's path is so clearly illuminated by the light of his own reason, he simply can't entertain another possible way of being, a different set of beliefs, held by an intelligent person who is well-informed and well-intentioned—or so his language about cynicism, fear, and lies strongly implies. His assumption of bad faith or idiocy on the part of his opponents is done, it seems, with a pure heart.

Katherine Mangu-Ward is a senior editor at Reason magazine.
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« Reply #442 on: August 26, 2009, 07:36:45 AM »

Obama and ‘Redistributive Change’
Forget the recession and the “uninsured.” Obama has bigger fish to fry.

By Victor Davis Hanson

The first seven months of the Obama administration seemingly make no sense. Why squander public approval by running up astronomical deficits in a time of pre-existing staggering national debt?

Why polarize opponents after promising bipartisan transcendence?

Why create vast new programs when the efficacy of big government is already seen as dubious?

But that is exactly the wrong way to look at these first seven months of Obamist policy-making.

Take increased federal spending and the growing government absorption of GDP. Given the resiliency of the U.S. economy, it would have been easy to ride out the recession. In that case we would still have had to deal with a burgeoning and unsustainable annual federal deficit that would have approached $1 trillion.

Instead, Obama may nearly double that amount of annual indebtedness with more federal stimuli and bailouts, newly envisioned cap-and-trade legislation, and a variety of fresh entitlements. Was that fiscally irresponsible? Yes, of course.

But I think the key was not so much the spending excess or new entitlements. The point instead was the consequence of the resulting deficits, which will require radically new taxation for generations. If on April 15 the federal and state governments, local entities, the Social Security system, and the new health-care programs can claim 70 percent of the income of the top 5 percent of taxpayers, then that is considered a public good — every bit as valuable as funding new programs, and one worth risking insolvency.

Individual compensation is now seen as arbitrary and, by extension, inherently unfair. A high income is now rationalized as having less to do with market-driven needs, acquired skills, a higher level of education, innate intelligence, inheritance, hard work, or accepting risk. Rather income is seen more as luck-driven, cruelly capricious, unfair — even immoral, in that some are rewarded arbitrarily on the basis of race, class, and gender advantages, others for their overweening greed and ambition, and still more for their quasi-criminality.

“Patriotic” federal healers must then step in to “spread the wealth.” Through redistributive tax rates, they can “treat” the illness that the private sector has caused. After all, there is no intrinsic reason why an auto fabricator makes $60 in hourly wages and benefits, while a young investment banker finagles $500.

Or, in the president’s own language, the government must equalize the circumstances of the “waitress” with those of the “lucky.” It is thus a fitting and proper role of the new federal government to rectify imbalances of compensation — at least for those outside the anointed Guardian class. In a 2001 interview Obama in fact outlined the desirable political circumstances that would lead government to enforce equality of results when he elaborated on what he called an “actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.”

Still, why would intelligent politicians try to ram through, in mere weeks, a thousand pages of health-care gibberish — its details outsourced to far-left elements in the Congress (and their staffers) — that few in the cabinet had ever read or even knew much about?

Once again, I don’t think health care per se was ever really the issue. When pressed, no one in the administration seemed to know whether illegal aliens were covered. Few cared why young people do not divert some of their entertainment expenditures to a modest investment in private catastrophic coverage.

Warnings that Canadians already have their health care rationed, wait in long lines, and are denied timely and critical procedures also did not seem to matter. And no attention was paid to statistics suggesting that, if we exclude homicides and auto accidents, Americans live as long on average as anyone in the industrial world, and have better chances of surviving longer with heart disease and cancer. That the average American did not wish to radically alter his existing plan, and that he understood that the uninsured really did have access to health care, albeit in a wasteful manner at the emergency room, was likewise of no concern.

#page#The issue again was larger, and involved a vast reinterpretation of how America receives health care.  Whether more or fewer Americans would get better or worse access and cheaper or more expensive care, or whether the government can or cannot afford such new entitlements, oddly seemed largely secondary to the crux of the debate.

Instead, the notion that the state will assume control, in Canada-like fashion, and level the health-care playing field was the real concern. “They” (the few) will now have the same care as “we” (the many). Whether the result is worse or better for everyone involved is extraneous, since sameness is the overarching principle.

We can discern this same mandated egalitarianism beneath many of the administration’s recent policy initiatives. Obama is not a pragmatist, as he insisted, nor even a liberal, as charged.

Rather, he is a statist. The president believes that a select group of affluent, highly educated technocrats — cosmopolitan, noble-minded, and properly progressive — supported by a phalanx of whiz-kids fresh out of blue-chip universities with little or no experience in the marketplace, can direct our lives far better than we can ourselves. By “better” I do not mean in a fashion that, measured by disinterested criteria, makes us necessarily wealthier, happier, more productive, or freer.

Instead, “better” means “fairer,” or more “equal.” We may “make” different amounts of money, but we will end up with more or less similar net incomes. We may know friendly doctors, be aware of the latest procedures, and have the capital to buy blue-chip health insurance, but no matter. Now we will all alike queue up with our government-issued insurance cards to wait our turn at the ubiquitous corner clinic.

None of this equality-of-results thinking is new.

When radical leaders over the last 2,500 years have sought to enforce equality of results, their prescriptions were usually predictable: redistribution of property; cancellation of debts; incentives to bring out the vote and increase political participation among the poor; stigmatizing of the wealthy, whether through the extreme measure of ostracism or the more mundane forced liturgies; use of the court system to even the playing field by targeting the more prominent citizens; radical growth in government and government employment; the use of state employees as defenders of the egalitarian faith; bread-and-circus entitlements; inflation of the currency and greater national debt to lessen the power of accumulated capital; and radical sloganeering about reactionary enemies of the new state.

The modern versions of much of the above already seem to be guiding the Obama administration — evident each time we hear of another proposal to make it easier to renounce personal debt; federal action to curtail property or water rights; efforts to make voter registration and vote casting easier; radically higher taxes on the top 5 percent; takeover of private business; expansion of the federal government and an increase in government employees; or massive inflationary borrowing. The current class-warfare “them/us” rhetoric was predictable.

Usually such ideologies do not take hold in America, given its tradition of liberty, frontier self-reliance, and emphasis on personal freedom rather than mandated fraternity and egalitarianism. At times, however, the stars line up, when a national catastrophe, like war or depression, coincides with the appearance of an unusually gifted, highly polished, and eloquent populist. But the anointed one must be savvy enough to run first as a centrist in order later to govern as a statist.

Given the September 2008 financial meltdown, the unhappiness over the war, the ongoing recession, and Barack Obama’s postracial claims and singular hope-and-change rhetoric, we found ourselves in just such a situation. For one of the rare times in American history, statism could take hold, and the country could be pushed far to the left.

That goal is the touchstone that explains the seemingly inexplicable — and explains also why, when Obama is losing independents, conservative Democrats, and moderate Republicans, his anxious base nevertheless keeps pushing him to become even more partisan, more left-wing, angrier, and more in a hurry to rush things through. They understand the unpopularity of the agenda and the brief shelf life of the president’s charm. One term may be enough to establish lasting institutional change.

Obama and his supporters at times are quite candid about such a radical spread-the-wealth agenda, voiced best by Rahm Emanuel — “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid” — or more casually by Obama himself — “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

So we move at breakneck speed in order not to miss this rare opportunity when the radical leadership of the Congress and the White House for a brief moment clinch the reins of power. By the time a shell-shocked public wakes up and realizes that the prescribed chemotherapy is far worse than the existing illness, it should be too late to revive the old-style American patient.
 
— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZWQ2NWJkN2M3ZmJjYWQwMDZlMWQyM2FjNWI4ZWJkNGI=
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DougMacG
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« Reply #443 on: September 01, 2009, 11:17:51 AM »

First part is about the Lockerbie release but the topic is still governing glibly instead of wisely.

Suicide of the West?
By Thomas Sowell

Britain's release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi-- the Libyan terrorist whose bomb blew up a plane over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people-- is galling enough in itself. But it is even more profoundly troubling as a sign of a larger mood that has been growing in the Western democracies in our time.

In ways large and small, domestically and internationally, the West is surrendering on the installment plan to Islamic extremists.
clear pixel

The late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn put his finger on the problem when he said: "The timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles."

He wrote this long before Barack Obama became President of the United States. But this administration epitomizes the "concessions and smiles" approach to countries that are our implacable enemies.

Western Europe has gone down that path before us but we now seem to be trying to catch up.

Still, the release of a mass-murdering terrorist, who went home to a hero's welcome in Libya, shows that President Obama is not the only one who wants to move away from the idea of a "war on terror"-- as if that will stop the terrorists' war on us.

The ostensible reason for releasing al-Megrahi was compassion for a man terminally ill. It is ironic that this was said in Scotland, for exactly 250 years ago another Scotsman-- Adam Smith-- said, "Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent."

That lesson seems to have been forgotten in America as well, where so many people seem to have been far more concerned about whether we have been nice enough to the mass-murdering terrorists in our custody than those critics have ever been about the innocent people beheaded or blown up by the terrorists themselves.

Tragically, those with this strange inversion of values include the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder. Although President Obama has said that he does not want to revisit the past, this is only the latest example of how his administration's actions are the direct opposite of his lofty words.

It is not just a question of looking backward. The decision to second-guess CIA agents who extracted information to save American lives is even worse when you look forward.

Years from now, long after Barack Obama is gone, CIA agents dealing with hardened terrorists will have to worry about whether what they do to get information out of them to save American lives will make these agents themselves liable to prosecution that can destroy their careers and ruin their lives.

This is not simply an injustice to those who have tried to keep this country safe, it is a danger recklessly imposed on future Americans whose safety cannot always be guaranteed by sweet and gentle measures against hardened murderers.

Those who are pushing for legal action against CIA agents may talk about "upholding the law" but they are doing no such thing. Neither the Constitution of the United States nor the Geneva Convention gives rights to terrorists who operate outside the law.

There was a time when everybody understood this. German soldiers who put on American military uniforms, in order to infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge were simply lined up against a wall and
shot-- and nobody wrung their hands over it. Nor did the U.S. Army try to conceal what they had done. The executions were filmed and the film has been shown on the History Channel.

So many "rights" have been conjured up out of thin air that many people seem unaware that rights and obligations derive from explicit laws, not from politically correct pieties. If you don't meet the terms of the Geneva Convention, then the Geneva Convention doesn't protect you. If you are not an American citizen, then the rights guaranteed to American citizens do not apply to you.

That should be especially obvious if you are part of an international network bent on killing Americans. But bending over backward to be nice to our enemies is one of the many self-indulgences of those who engage in moral preening.

But getting other people killed so that you can feel puffed up about yourself is profoundly immoral. So is betraying the country you took an oath to protect. 
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/09/01/suicide_of_the_west_98112.html

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #444 on: September 02, 2009, 02:41:54 PM »

Obama's labor secretary lets union officials off transparency hook
By: KEVIN MOONEY
Commentary Staff Writer
08/28/09 2:49 PM EDT
Never mind about those revised union financial disclosure requirements President Obama inherited from his predecessor. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis now says she won’t make union officials comply.
Unions officials complained for eight years that regulations issued by Elaine Chao, President George W. Bush’s Labor Secretary, were more rigorous than required by the Labor Management and Reporting Disclosure Act (LMRDA), which calls for modestly detailed annual financial reports by unions with receipts of $250,000 or more.
The Bush-Chao regulations require union officials to disclose financial information that could aid union members’ seeking information on how their union leaders are spending dues money, and to help expose “no show jobs” that put paychecks for ghost employees into union coffers.
Before Bush took office, the reports were mostly ignored by the Labor Department. Now, it’s back to business-as-usual. A notice appeared this week on the department’s web site saying the Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS), whose main job is enforcing LMRDA requirements, won’t be doing its job under Solis:
“Accordingly, OLMS will refrain from initiating enforcement actions against union officers and union employees based solely on the failure to file the report required by section 202 of the Labor-Management and Reporting Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. § 432, using the 2007 form, as long as individuals meet their statutorily-required filing obligation in some manner. OLMS will accept either the old Form LM-30 or the new one for purposes of this non-enforcement policy.”
Now that Obama-Solis are giving union officials a choice between the old and new forms, can you guess which one they will choose?

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Obamas-labor-secretary-lets-union-officials-off-transparency-hook-55818342.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #445 on: September 02, 2009, 03:50:57 PM »

I would file that one on the Corruption thread.  Nice find.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #446 on: September 09, 2009, 11:20:30 AM »

Too late for Obama to turn it around?

Plus: The left's visionaries lost their bearings on drugs -- but the GOP is led by losers
By Camille Paglia

Sep. 09, 2009 |

What a difference a month makes! When my last controversial column posted on Salon in the second week of August, most Democrats seemed frozen in suspended animation, not daring to criticize the Obama administration's bungling of healthcare reform lest it give aid and comfort to the GOP. Well, that ice dam sure broke with a roar. Dissident Democrats found their voices, and by late August even the liberal lemmings of the mainstream media, from CBS to CNN, had drastically altered their tone of reportage, from priggish disdain of the town hall insurgency to frank admission of serious problems in the healthcare bills as well as of Obama's declining national support.

But this tonic dose of truth-telling may be too little too late. As an Obama supporter and contributor, I am outraged at the slowness with which the standing army of Democratic consultants and commentators publicly expressed discontent with the administration's strategic missteps this year. I suspect there had been private grumbling all along, but the media warhorses failed to speak out when they should have -- from week one after the inauguration, when Obama went flat as a rug in letting Congress pass that obscenely bloated stimulus package. Had more Democrats protested, the administration would have felt less arrogantly emboldened to jam through a cap-and-trade bill whose costs have made it virtually impossible for an alarmed public to accept the gargantuan expenses of national healthcare reform. (Who is naive enough to believe that Obama's plan would be deficit-neutral? Or that major cuts could be achieved without drastic rationing?)

By foolishly trying to reduce all objections to healthcare reform to the malevolence of obstructionist Republicans, Democrats have managed to destroy the national coalition that elected Obama and that is unlikely to be repaired. If Obama fails to win reelection, let the blame be first laid at the door of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who at a pivotal point threw gasoline on the flames by comparing angry American citizens to Nazis. It is theoretically possible that Obama could turn the situation around with a strong speech on healthcare to Congress this week, but after a summer of grisly hemorrhaging, too much damage has been done. At this point, Democrats' main hope for the 2012 presidential election is that Republicans nominate another hopelessly feeble candidate. Given the GOP's facility for shooting itself in the foot, that may well happen.

This column has been calling for heads to roll at the White House from the get-go. Thankfully, they do seem to be falling faster -- as witness the middle-of-the-night bum's rush given to "green jobs" czar Van Jones last week -- but there's a long way to go. An example of the provincial amateurism of current White House operations was the way the president's innocuous back-to-school pep talk got sandbagged by imbecilic support materials soliciting students to write fantasy letters to "help" the president (a coercive directive quickly withdrawn under pressure). Even worse, the entire project was stupidly scheduled to conflict with the busy opening days of class this week, when harried teachers already have their hands full. Comically, some major school districts, including New York City, were not even open yet. And this is the gang who wants to revamp national healthcare?

Why did it take so long for Democrats to realize that this year's tea party and town hall uprisings were a genuine barometer of widespread public discontent and not simply a staged scenario by kooks and conspirators? First of all, too many political analysts still think that network and cable TV chat shows are the central forums of national debate. But the truly transformative political energy is coming from talk radio and the Web -- both of which Democrat-sponsored proposals have threatened to stifle, in defiance of freedom of speech guarantees in the Bill of Rights. I rarely watch TV anymore except for cooking shows, history and science documentaries, old movies and football. Hence I was blissfully free from the retching overkill that followed the deaths of Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy -- I never saw a single minute of any of it. It was on talk radio, which I have resumed monitoring around the clock because of the healthcare fiasco, that I heard the passionate voices of callers coming directly from the town hall meetings. Hence I was alerted to the depth and intensity of national sentiment long before others who were simply watching staged, manipulated TV shows.

Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.

How has "liberty" become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? (A prominent example is radio host Mark Levin's book "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto," which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three months without receiving major reviews, including in the Times.) I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party -- but I must be living in the nostalgic past. Remember Bob Dylan's 1964 song "Chimes of Freedom," made famous by the Byrds? And here's Richie Havens electrifying the audience at Woodstock with "Freedom! Freedom!" Even Linda Ronstadt, in the 1967 song "A Different Drum," with the Stone Ponys, provided a soaring motto for that decade: "All I'm saying is I'm not ready/ For any person, place or thing/ To try and pull the reins in on me."

But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it's invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote "critical thinking," which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/09/09/healthcare/
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #447 on: September 17, 2009, 07:14:13 PM »

Anatomy of the "Racist" Charge—or, How to Turn a Setback into a Disaster   [Victor Davis Hanson]
It is strange to see Democrats and their supporters persist in their efforts — indeed, even intensify them — to equate Obama's failing legislative initiatives, his dive in the polls, and the rise of protests against him with racism. Polls reveal that it is not just a losing tactic, but an enormously self-destructive one for Democrats.

To make the argument, they would have to prove three points. And so far they have not even come close:

1) Uniquely vicious?
Is the anger against Obama different from what we have seen leveled against presidents in the past? Americans not only know that this is not true, but that some who now charge unfair play were themselves well beyond the bounds of decorum in their own attacks. In the Bush years, "hate" was a favorite word of liberal critics, from both officials (cf. Howard Dean) and mainstream publications (cf. The New Republic). "Assassination" was the rage among liberal culture (cf. Alfred Knopf, the Toronto film festival, the Guardian). "Liar," "Nazi," and "brownshirt" were casual slurs from high-profile Democrats (cf. Gore, John Glenn, Robert Byrd, Harry Reid, Pete Stark, etc.). True, shouting "you lie" is more serious than booing the President (cf. 2005), but whereas Rep. Joe Wilson has apologized, none of the booers at Bush's State of the Union address, I think, felt that "I'm sorry" was ever necessary. (Questioning Barack Obama's birth certificate is infantile, even unhinged, but not de facto racially motivated — perhaps analogous to something like Andrew Sullivan persisting in spreading rumors [complete with purported photographs] that Sarah Palin did not deliver her last child and engaged in an elaborate cover-up of a faked pregnancy and delivery to hide her daughter's own stealth unwed pregnancy.)

2) Is Obama the only minority high-profile figure to have earned real anger?

No. Clarence Thomas had his character destroyed for partisan purposes, and liberals were enraged when he attributed it to a "high-tech lynching." Alberto Gonzalez was reduced to a caricature of an affirmative-action beneficiary. Former HHS Secretary Louis Wade Sullivan's race was explicitly cited by Representative Stark in a particularly nasty attack. When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was caricatured in state-run Palestinian newspaper cartoons as a pregnant monkey, few on the left rushed to denounce such virulent racism. The sad truth is that if a Pres. Condi Rice or Pres. Colin Powell were now in the midst of pushing a controversial conservative agenda (e.g., a federal ban on abortions, cuts in federal spending, keeping open Guantanamo, etc.), the liberal press would be as aggressively hostile as conservatives are today against the Obama plans. The only difference would be that all in the liberal camp would be furious over suggestions of racial motivations to their own anger over conservative African-Americans pushing controversial policy. This is self-evident.

3) Do more prominent politicians on the Right engage in racially charged invective, or rather on the Left?
There have been some lunatic local and minor right-wing state officials who have engaged in racist charges. But so far the most prominent violators of our common norms of decency have been on the left, and indeed those in high positions of executive or elected authority.

Van Jones was a White House adviser — one long ago sought out and watched, according to Obama insider Valerie Jarrett. So someone must have known that in racist fashion he had suggested that whites pollute minority neighborhoods and are more prone to commit mass murders in the schools. Top-ranking officials like Rep. Charles Rangel and Gov. David Paterson of New York have accused whites of racism in lieu of honest self-examination of their own failing careers.

There was no need for Eric Holder to accuse the country of cowardice for failing to talk about race on his terms, nor for the president himself to weigh in on a local police matter as judge and jury — to condemn police in general as profilers and those in Cambridge in particular as acting "stupidly." This was especially unfortunate given the president's own racialist gaffes in the campaign, whether his persistent confusion over the morality of the racist Rev. Wright, his incendiary dismissal of Pennsylvania voters in thinly disguised, culturally biased, if not racist terms, and his flippant reference to the grandmother who raised him as a "typical white person."

The fact is that both health care and cap-and-trade simply are not going to make it into law in anything like their proposed forms, due largely to real fright on the part of moderate Democrats who fear losses in 2010, given the abandonment of these issues by moderates and independents.
The false charge of racism won't change that reality, but it may well, if pursued, turn legislative defeats into political catastrophes for a generation. How strange that with large majorities in the House and Senate, with a president who just months ago enjoyed 70 percent approval ratings, and with a compliant and influential press, the Democratic party cannot pass its own legislation and instead is detouring to label most middle-class voters of all beliefs "racists." It is as if a group of political advisers got together and brainstormed how in theory to ruin the best liberal landscape in generations.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YzMwMDkzY2EwYTcwYjJmZGFmODhlZWNhOGE5YjVjNmY=
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ccp
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« Reply #448 on: September 17, 2009, 07:54:44 PM »

No screw ball Pelosi, what is scary is a government that is spending trillions of dollars as fast as they can come up with ideas on how to spend steal, bribe constituents, payoff unions Acorn, legal lobby, give away our sovereignty to China, Russia, S Amerca, etc., try to control the media, tax everything from light bulbs to toilet flushes, control every movement of our lives including our health care and on and on and on.  THAT IS SCARY.  What a nut:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw … I saw this myself in the late '70s in San Francisco,” Pelosi said, choking up and with tears forming in her eyes. “This kind of rhetoric is just, is really frightening and it created a climate in which we, violence took place and … I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made."
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #449 on: September 23, 2009, 12:05:48 PM »

Barack Obama, College Administrator
Our commander-in-chief seems to think he’s president of the University of America.

By Victor Davis Hanson

If you are confused by the first nine months of the Obama administration, take solace that there is at least a pattern. The president, you see, thinks America is a university and that he is our campus president. Keep that in mind, and almost everything else makes sense.

Obama went to Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard without much of a break, taught at the University of Chicago, and then surrounded himself with academics, first in his stint at community organizing and then when he went into politics. It shows. In his limited experience, those who went to Yale or Harvard are special people, and the Ivy League environment has been replicated in the culture of the White House.

Note how baffled the administration is by sinking polls, tea parties, town halls, and, in general, “them” — the vast middle class, which, as we learned during the campaign, clings to guns and Bibles, and which has now been written off as blinkered, racist, and xenophobic. The earlier characterization of rural Pennsylvania has been expanded to include all of Middle America.

For many in the academic community who have not worked with their hands, run businesses, or ventured far off campus, Middle America is an exotic place inhabited by aborigines who bowl, don’t eat arugula, and need to be reminded to inflate their tires. They are an emotional lot, of some value on campus for their ability to “fix” broken things like pipes and windows, but otherwise wisely ignored. Professor Chu, Obama’s energy secretary, summed up the sense of academic disdain that permeates this administration with his recent sniffing about the childish polloi: “The American people . . . just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act.” Earlier, remember, Dr. Chu had scoffed from his perch that California farms were environmentally unsound and would soon disappear altogether, “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California.”

It is the role of the university, from a proper distance, to help them, by making sophisticated, selfless decisions on health care and the environment that the unwashed cannot grasp are really in their own interest — deluded as they are by Wal-Mart consumerism, Elmer Gantry evangelicalism, and Sarah Palin momism. The tragic burden of an academic is to help the oppressed, but blind, majority.

In the world of the university, a Van Jones — fake name, fake accent, fake underclass pedigree, fake almost everything — is a dime a dozen. Ward Churchill fabricated everything from his degree to his ancestry, and was given tenure, high pay, and awards for his beads, buckskin, and Native American–like locks. The “authentic” outbursts of Van Jones about white polluters and white mass-murderers are standard campus fare. In universities, such over-the-top rhetoric and pseudo-Marxist histrionics are simply career moves, used to scare timid academics and win release time, faculty-adjudicated grants, or exemption from normal tenure scrutiny. Skip Gates’s fussy little theatrical fit at a Middle American was not his first and will not be his last.

Obama did not vet Jones before hiring him because he saw nothing unusual (much less offensive) about him, in the way that Bill Ayers likewise was typical, not an aberration, on a campus. Just as there are few conservatives, so too there are felt to be few who should be considered radicals in universities. Instead everyone is considered properly left, and even fringe expressions are considered normal calibrations within a shared spectrum. The proper question is not “Why are there so many extremists in the administration?” but rather “What’s so extreme?”

Some people are surprised that the administration is hardly transparent and, in fact, downright intolerant of dissent. Critics are slurred as racists and Nazis — usually without the fingerprints of those who orchestrated the smear campaign from higher up. The NEA seems to want to dish out federal money to “artists” on the basis of liberal obsequiousness. The president tells the nation that his wonderful programs are met with distortion and right-wing lies, and that the time for talking is over — no more partisan, divisive bickering in endless debate.

That reluctance to engage in truly diverse argumentation again reveals the influence of the academic world on Team Obama. We can have an Eric Holder–type “conversation” (a good campusese word), but only if held on the basis of the attorney general’s one-way notion of racial redress.

On most campuses, referenda in the academic senate (“votes of conscience”) on gay marriage or the war in Iraq are as lopsided as Saddam’s old plebiscites. Speech codes curb free expression. Groupthink is the norm. Dissent on tenure decisions, questioning of diversity, or skepticism about the devolution in the definition of sexual harassment — all that can be met with defamation. The wolf cry of “racist” is a standard careerist gambit. Given the exalted liberal ends, why quibble over the means?

Some wonder where Obama got the idea that constant exposure results in persuasion. But that too comes from the talk-is-everything mindset of a university president. Faculties are swamped with memos from deans, provosts, and presidents, reiterating their own “commitment to diversity,” reminding how they would not “tolerate hate speech,” and in general blathering about the “campus community.” University administrators instruct faculty on everything from getting a flu shot, to covering up when coughing, to how to make a syllabus and avoid incorrect words.

Usually the frequency of such communiqués spikes when administrators are looking for a job elsewhere and want to establish a fresh paper trail so that their potential new employers can be reminded of their ongoing progressive credentials.

Obama has simply emulated the worldview and style of a college administrator. So he thinks that reframing the same old empty banalities with new rhetorical flourishes and signs of fresh commitment and empathy will automatically result in new faculty converts. There is no there there in health-care reform, but opponents can be either bullied, shamed, or mesmerized into thinking there is.

Czars are a university favorite. Among the frequent topics of the daily university executive communiqués are the formulaic “My team now includes . . . ,” “I have just appointed . . . ,” “Under my direction . . . ” (that first-person overload is, of course, another Obama characteristic), followed by announcement of a new “special” appointment: “special assistant to the president for diversity,” “acting assistant provost for community affairs and external relations,” “associate dean for curriculum enhancement and development.”

Most of these tasks are either unnecessary or amply covered by existing faculty, department chairs, and deans. Czars, however, proliferated on campuses for fairly obvious reasons. First, they are spotlights illuminating the university administration’s commitment to a particular fashionable cause by the showy creation of a high-profile, highly remunerative new job. When loud protests meet the university’s inability to create a new department or fund a trendy but costly special program, administrators often take their loudest critics and make them czars — satisfying the “base” without substantial policy changes.

Second, czars are a way to circumvent the usual workings of the university, especially faculty committees in which there is an outside chance of some marginalized conservative voting against putting “Race, Class, and Gender in the Latina Cinema” into the general-education curriculum.

Special assistants for and associates of something or other are not vetted. Czars create an alternative university administration that can create special billets, hire adjuncts (with de facto security), and obtain budgeting without faculty oversight. The special assistant or associate rarely is hired through a normal search process open to the campus community, but rather is simply selected and promoted by administrative fiat.

One of the most disturbing characteristics of the new administration is a particular sort of whining or petulance. Dissatisfaction arises over even favorable press coverage — as we saw last weekend, when Obama serially trashed the obsequious media that he had hogged all day.

Feelings of being underappreciated by the public for all one’s self-sacrificial efforts are common university traits. We’ve seen in the past a certain love/hate relationship of Professor Obama with wealthy people — at first a Tony Rezko, but now refined and evolved much higher to those on Wall Street that the administration in schizophrenic fashion both damns and worships.

Michelle Obama during the campaign summed up best her husband’s wounded-fawn sense of sacrifice when she said, “Barack is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign to enter this messy thing called politics.”

Academic culture also promotes this idea that highly educated professionals deigned to give up their best years for arduous academic work and chose to be above the messy rat race. Although supposedly far better educated, smarter (or rather the “smartest”), and more morally sound than lawyers, CEOs, and doctors, academics gripe that they, unfairly, are far worse paid. And they lack the status that should accrue to those who teach the nation’s youth, correct their papers, and labor over lesson plans. Obama reminded us ad nauseam of all the lucre he passed up on Wall Street in order to return to the noble pursuit of organizing and teaching in Chicago.

In short, campus people have had the bar raised on themselves at every avenue. Suggest to an academic that university pay is not bad for ninth months’ work, often consisting of an actual six to nine hours a week in class, and you will be considered guilty of heresy if not defamation.

University administrators worship private money, and then among themselves scoff at the capitalism that created it. Campus elites, looking at a benefactor, are fascinated how someone — no brighter than they are — made so much money, even as they are repelled by a system that allows those other than themselves to have pulled it off. No wonder that Obama seems enchanted by a Warren Buffett, even as he trashes the very landscape that created Berkshire Hathaway’s riches. No president has raised more money from Wall Street or has given it more protection from accountability — while at the same time demagoguing it as selfish and greedy.

Many of the former Professor Obama’s problems so far hinge on his administration’s inability to judge public opinion, its own self-righteous sense of self, its non-stop sermonizing, and its suspicion of sincere dissent. In other words, the United States is now a campus, we are the students, and Obama is our university president.

-- NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. © 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTA4OWRmZTM3MmQwNzJlZWMyMDc4MTY1ZGE5NWMzODM=
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