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April 29, 2009

Exhausted Ideas

Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch are asking "is this the change you had in mind?"

Obama's Vision Deficit - "After 100 days, the new president has revealed himself as an effective salesman of exhausted ideas."

So here we are, 100 days into the great eight-year triumph of Hope over Change, a new Era of Really Good Feelings in which only one thing has become increasingly, even irrefutably, clear: President Barack Obama is about as visionary as the guy who invented Dippin' Dots, Ice Cream of the Future. Far from sketching out a truly forward-looking set of policies for the 21st century, as his supporters had hoped, Obama is instead serving up cryogenically tasteless and headache-inducing morsels from years gone by.

On issue after issue, Obama has made it clear that instead of blasting past "the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long," (as he promised in his inaugural address), he's moving full speed ahead toward policy prescriptions that already had less fizz than a case of Billy Beer back when Jimmy Carter was urging us all to wear sweaters and turn down our thermostats. Instead of thinking outside the box, Obama is nailing it shut from the inside.

Lots of good linkage in the original.

100 Days of Photo-Ops

Michelle Malkin says the "Scare Force One" incident is an apt symbol for the first 100 days of a photo-op presidency...

Come on, who’s surprised? The White House-engineered photo-op of low-flying Air Force aircraft that caused terror in New York City this week epitomizes the Age of Obama. What better way to mark 100 days in office than with an appalling exercise in pointless, taxpayer-funded stagecraft.

The superficiality, the unseriousness, the hubris, the obliviousness to post-9/11 realities: They were trademarks of the Obama campaign and they are the tattoos on his governance.

As is the president's "the buck stops over there" approach to taking responsibility for it.

April 27, 2009

Guy Things

If you haven't seen the Heineken ad where the woman is showing her girlfriends her new walk-in closet, and the girls shriek with excitement, the Cleveland Cavaliers' version of the ad (below) won't be even a little bit funny. Click above before you click below, if you're not sure.

Pancake Tales

Renowned researchers of Cold War Soviet espionage, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr are joined by Alexander Vassiliev for a piece at Commentary which effectively removes any lingering doubt that iconic journalist I.F. Stone was a Soviet spy and a traitor.

I.F. Stone, Soviet Agent—Case Closed

Liberal Amnesia

The 2007 Washington Post article recalling Nacy Pelosi's 2002 briefings on harsh interrogation techniques and other details of the government's counter-terrorism strategy has been revisited in recent days, in response to administration and congressional Democrats' preening on torture becoming ever more shrill and dishonest.

Pelosi is now said to be "pushing back" on accusations she was fully briefed on the programs in 2002 and 2003 , and today Bret Stephens suggests an amnesia defense might make more sense than the story she's trying to spin this week.

Maybe, for instance, the speaker doesn't remember that in September 2002, as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, she was one of four members of Congress who were briefed by the CIA about the interrogation methods the agency was using on leading detainees. "For more than an hour," the Washington Post reported in 2007, "the bipartisan group . . . was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

"Among the techniques described," the story continued, "was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder."

Former CIA Director Porter Goss can't believe what he's hearing from the Speaker.

Noemie Emery says "let the hearings begin". Permit me a longish excerpt and then go read the rest. From the top...

Some Democrats, from the White House on down, are pushing the idea of a "truth commission," à la South Africa, to deal with the "harsh measures" used by the Bush administration in interrogating al Qaeda detainees. Good. Let's have lots of truthtelling. Please bring it on.

Let's tell the truth about Bush's conduct of the war on terror, which is that it's been a success. His ultimate legacy hasn't been written--Iraq is improved, but not out of danger--but the one thing that can be said without reservation is that the country was kept safe. He delivered on the main charge of his office in time of emergency, in a crisis without guidelines or precedent. Attacks took place in Spain, and in London, in Indonesia and India, but not on American soil, which was the obvious target of choice. Bush couldn't say this before he left office, for obvious reasons, and after he left, attention switched to the new president. This little fact dropped down the memory hole, but with all this discussion, it will rise to the surface. Let the hearings begin!

Also dropped down the memory hole--along with the names of all the Democrats who thought Saddam was a menace who cried out for removal--is what the ambience was like in late 2001 and 2002, when fears of anthrax and suitcase bombs ran rampant, and people on all sides tried to seem tough. Let's tell the truth about all the liberals who went on record supporting real torture, not to
mention the Democrats in Congress, when it was cool to want to seem tough on our enemies, who couldn't be too warlike. Then war and tough measures stopped being cool, and "world opinion" became more important. Nothing like statements under oath to revive ancient memories! And rewind the tapes.

Let's get at the truth too about the word "torture," which to different people, means different things. Some think "torture" means standing on the 98th floor of a burning skyscraper and realizing you have a choice between jumping and being incinerated. Some think torture is being crushed when a building implodes around you. Some think torture is not thinking you might drown for several minutes, but looking at burning buildings on television and knowing that people you love are inside them. They remember that being crushed, incinerated, or killed in a jump from the 98th story happened to almost 3,000 blameless Americans (as well as a number of foreigners), and that 125 Pentagon employees were killed at their desks, while many survivors suffered terrible burns. They think the choice between stopping this from happening again by slapping around or scaring the hell out of a cluster of brigands, or leaving the brigands alone and letting it happen again, is a no-brainer.

Always must reading is Andy McCarthy...

The president is reeling because he sees his legislative agenda going up in smoke. In his inexperience, he reckoned that his base on the Left would somehow be sated by the mere disclosure of Bush-era methods, coupled with vague assurances that a day of reckoning for Bush administration officials might soon be at hand. His Republican opposition, he further figured, would be cowed by his moral preening on “torture.” This, he concluded, would mean smooth sailing ahead for the more pressing business of nationalizing the economy, starting with the health-care industry.

But as George W. Bush might have warned his successor, anti-American ideologues are emboldened, not mollified, by concessions. The Left doesn’t want Bush officials exposed — they want blood, and anything less than that will be cause for revolt. Simultaneously, Obama has raised the ire of the Right. In his solipsism, the president failed to foresee that the “torture” memos — memos that, as Rich Lowry shows, in fact document an assiduous effort to avoid torture — would not support his overblown rhetoric or substantiate the allegations of misconduct raised by politicized leaks from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Critics were not cowed. That, combined with Obama’s disingenuous strategy of exposing our tactics while suppressing the trove of intelligence they produced, ensured that the Right would push back aggressively.

So now the president has chaos on his hands and no one but himself to blame for it. From the Left’s perspective, he has validated their war-crimes allegations. You can’t expect to do that and then just say, “never mind.”


However unintentionally, Obama has invited an accounting. Vice President Dick Cheney has lent his still-powerful voice to the push for disclosure of the intelligence produced by the CIA interrogations, and that push is not going away, either. You can’t have an accounting with half the facts — the more important half — missing.

UPDATE 4/28:

William McGurn in the WSJ:

Over the past few years, the Democrats have moved to ban waterboarding only when it was clear that such a bill would not pass -- or would be vetoed by George W. Bush. In September 2006, Sen. Edward Kennedy introduced an amendment to the Military Commissions Act that would have effectively defined waterboarding as a war crime, and it was defeated largely along partisan lines. In February 2008, when Democrats were in control of Congress, they made a big fuss about sending a bill that would have limited interrogation to techniques found in the Army field manual. They did so knowing President Bush would veto it, and that he had the votes to sustain that veto.

Today the Democrats have an even larger majority -- plus a president who would sign such legislation. So why the call for a truth commission instead? The answer is a nasty one: If Congress made waterboarding illegal now, they would be making clear that it was not illegal before.

And more today from Andy McCarthy - A Dishonest Debate:

What is going on beneath President Obama’s theatrics about “our values” (again, meaning his values) is a cynical farce. If our values were really at stake, if there were a consensus among us (i.e., Americans) that harsh interrogation tactics could never be justified, the Democrat-controlled Congress would outlaw them today and bask in the resulting adulation. But there is no such legislation, because the goal here has nothing to do with improving American policy.

The goal is vengeance, pure and simple.

What the Left wants is the previous administration in handcuffs. Their fantasy is to put President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and Attorney General Gonzales on trial. (The CIA director should be in there, too, but George Tenet is inconvenient: a Democrat, a Clinton holdover, and an architect of extraordinary rendition, the Clinton-era policy under which alien terrorists were kidnapped and transferred to torture countries.) Leftists sense that the whole enchilada, at least for now, is beyond their reach. For present purposes, there are proxies aplenty: Bush Justice Department, Pentagon, and White House lawyers.

The Left would turn the ruinous, career-destroying machinery of criminal investigation against former government officials who, acting under an obligation to protect the United States, labored day and night over the vexing legal challenges of modern international terrorism. These lawyers never employed a single coercive tactic themselves; they professionally evaluated the legal viability of such tactics. Democrats would place these public servants in legal jeopardy, and send a paralyzing message to current and future national-security officials, for the offense of concluding that U.S. interrogation tactics were not against the law. That was, it should be reiterated, precisely the same conclusion that led Ted Kennedy to propose a change in the law, and the same conclusion that enabled Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats to encourage the CIA when congressional leaders were exhaustively briefed about the interrogation program in 2002 and 2003.

Peter Wehner - Morality and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

April 23, 2009

Durban II Fizzles

Claudia Rosett reports from the U.N.'s conference on racism, which disintegrated after Ahmadinejad's appearance and the furor that followed.

Serving Spinach

Charles Krauthammer on the coming rationing of healthcare - The Grand Strategy

April 22, 2009

Certain Diversity

From Peter Kirsanow at NRO

Celebrate Diversity...

...except veterans, small-business owners, practicing Catholics, gun owners, talk-radio listeners, tea-party attendees, Texans, smokers, limited-government proponents, pro-lifers, taxpayers, NASCAR fans, Boy Scouts, oil-company employees, secure-border advocates, capitalists, global-warming agnostics, Cuban refugees, school-choicers...

(nothing more at link)

April 21, 2009

Obama Killing Choice in DC

Lots of reaction to Obama's killing off of the Washington D.C. school voucher program, in another example of the policy walk not matching the campaign talk. Caving to labor interests trumps the continuation of a successful voucher program that was rescuing poor D.C. area students from the miserable public schools there. And the administration's political maneuvering around the issue is even more cynical and transparent.

Democrats apparently don't want private schools outlawed. (Where else could the Obama girls go?) They just want rich people to be the only ones permitted to attend them. How progressive!

Juan Williams rips the administration here:

...all along the administration indicated that pending evidence that this voucher program or any other produces better test scores for students they were willing to fight for it. The president has said that when it comes to better schools he is open to supporting “what works for kids.” That looked like a level playing field on which to evaluate the program and even possibly expanding the program.

But last week Secretary Duncan announced that he will not allow any new students to enter the D.C. voucher program. In fact, he had to take back the government’s offer of scholarships to 200 students who had won a lottery to get into the program starting next year. His rationale is that if the program does not win new funding from Congress then those students might have to go back to public school in a year.


With no living, breathing students profiting from the program to give it a face and stand and defend it the Congress has little political pressure to put new money into the program. The political pressure will be coming exclusively from the teacher’s unions who oppose the vouchers, just as they oppose No Child Left Behind and charter schools and every other effort at reforming public schools that continue to fail the nation’s most vulnerable young people, low income blacks and Hispanics.

That evidence of the program's success that Obama said would cause him to reconsider the program was contained in a study that the administration has been sitting on. Here's Shikha Dalmia at Reason.com:

D.C. public schools are violent, chaotic places that have among the highest dropout—and the lowest graduation—rates in the country. In 2007, D.C.'s fourth- and eighth-grade students scored lower than children from all 50 states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the nation's most reliable standardized test. Less than half of its children are "proficient"—meaning they perform at grade-level—in reading and math.

Against this grim reality, one would have thought an administration that ran on the theme of hope would do anything to nurture a program that offers a way out of D.C.'s hope-killing factories and into other schools.

Instead, the Obama administration has done everything in its power to strangle it. Obama cheerfully signed a spending bill that gratuitously included a provision phasing out the program next year unless Congress expressly reauthorizes it. Of course, making water flow uphill will be easier than winning approval from a Democrat-controlled Congress with strong ties to the teachers' unions who contribute tens of millions of dollars to Democratic campaigns.

As if that wasn't a big enough obstacle, no sooner had the ink dried on the law than Education Secretary Arne Duncan rescinded the scholarship offer to children admitted for next year, making the program's shuttering a fait accompli.

And now it turns out that, while the program's fate was being sealed in Congress, the administration deliberately sat on a study its own Department of Education completed weeks earlier. Why? Because the study found not that the program was failing, but that it was succeeding.


The most blatant hypocrisy involves Obama's personal parental decisions. He chose to send his own daughters to Sidwell Friends, a private school among D.C.'s most exclusive institutions whose annual tuition runs around $30,000. If he felt so strongly that offering children an exit route would stymie the reform of public schools, then why not put his own daughters in one? Jimmy Carter did. This would not only please unions—prompting them to open up their war chest even more in the next elections—but also signal his resolve about reform. If he didn't, that's presumably because his daughters' futures are too precious to be sacrificed on the altar of politics. But, evidently, the futures of other children are not.

The pro-choice forces haven't given up. Senators Lieberman and Collins have written the Secretary of Education asking that the program be continued long enough for Congress to consider re-funding it.

(via MKH at TWS, and Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner)

April 19, 2009

Stimulus Skepticism

Reason.com asks ten prominent economists if the Obama stimulus package will work. Their answers don't sound encouraging.

April 16, 2009

Kasich in Columbus

John Kasich, former Congressman and current candidate for Governor in Ohio, speaks at the Columbus Tea Party, and he does a pretty good job of articulating the dissatisfaction of many of the Tea Party attendees (and untold millions of others) with the direction of the government under the current leadership. (via Right on the Right)

Ohio desperately needs leadership that understands private sector job creation and the business-friendly tax and regulatory climate necessary to attract that business. We are headed 180 degrees in the other direction at the moment. Kasich in the Governor's mansion would at least get Ohio to do an about face on economic growth strategy.

April 15, 2009

Sports Guy on LeBron

One of the best MVP races ever...and still not really that close. Bill Simmons has LeBron as the clear MVP, and after running down the prodigious stats, he gets into the intangibles.....

Not since Magic Johnson has a superstar doubled as such a galvanizing teammate. If there's an enduring image of the '08-09 season, it's the way LeBron stamped his personality on everyone around him. They orchestrate goofy pregame intros (my favorite: the team snapshot), trade countless chest bumps, giggle on the sidelines, hang out on road trips and support each other in every way. What's telling about LeBron's in-traffic dunks -- and he unleashes them more frequently than anyone since Dominique -- is how he seeks out his bench for feedback, and even better, how they give it to him. It makes the forced camaraderie of the Lakers seem glaring. If you want to watch a team that pulls for each other and follows the lead of its best player, watch Cleveland.

...and his thinking has changed on the prospects of James staying with the Cavs...

And if you're a Cavs fan trying to talk yourself into LeBron staying after 2010, your best chance is this: Through 24 years, LeBron has proven to be an inordinately devoted guy. When you're with him, you're with him. The upcoming documentary (supposedly superb) about his high school years bangs this point home. So does the fact that he jettisoned his agents and surrounded himself with high school buddies. So does everything that happened this season. He's as good of a teammate as a player. The more I watch him, the more I wonder if such an intensely loyal guy would ever say, "Thanks for the memories, everybody," dump his teammates, dump his hometown and start a fresh life elsewhere. Although he isn't surrounded by the most talented players right now, collectively, it's a team in the truest sense, with a devoted set of appreciative fans, and maybe that's all LeBron James will need in the end.

I thought he was a goner four months ago. I think he's staying now. Regardless, he's our Most Valuable Player for 2009. It won't be the last time.

I think he's staying too. Especially if the Cavs win it all this year, and he sees this as his best shot to win multiple titles. Then of course, he'll play five more years or so, and jump to the NFL before he's 30. You know he's thinking about it.

Canton, OH Tea Party

Attended the Tea Party in Canton, OH at noon today, and have some pics below. My crowd estimate, and that of others in attendance was about 2000 people. In the crowd photo below, people are very densely packed in the area in front of the white tent, (at the center-right of the photo) where the live radio broadcast was happening, and where the speakers were located. I took this crowd shot from a nearby office building rooftop (don't ask). Larger pop-up image here


No disturbances or counter-demonstrators of any sort (what would they be advocating?....more government spending?). It would not be accurate to call this an anti-Obama event, despite the presence of a few signs featuring the president's name, or criticizing current government policies. Needless to say, Congress was not popular. This was regular folks... Midwestern America, blue collar and white collar, black and white, grandparents and grandchildren, demonstrating their dissatisfaction (and yes, anger) with irresponsible government spending, the mortgaging of our children's futures, and the lack of accountability in government. Assorted pics of signs or people that caught my eye...




A couple thousand rightwing extremists, and I could only find one lousy pitchfork.
(update: that was poorly worded...it sounds like I was implying that's me with the pitchfork. It's not. Not me. - dw)


UPDATE 4/16: Ed Driscoll with links and comment on media coverage of Tea Party Day.

Michelle Malkin's Tea Party wrapup

April 14, 2009

Making the Case

Peter Wehner - Responding to the Obama State

One senses that we are at a moment when there is a pressing need to again explain the connection between economic and political liberty; why a massive, centralized state not only chokes off economic recovery but also undermines self-government and the qualities that give rise to it; why breeding contempt for those who succeed is corrosive and counterproductive; and why ensuring equality of opportunity is vastly preferable to enforcing equality of outcome. And at a time when democratic capitalism is under attack, conservatives need to rally to its defense. The free market is not perfect; no human institution or arrangement is. But it is far and away the best economic system ever devised, responsible for unprecedented prosperity and human flourishing.

April 12, 2009


Congratulations to the Seals and all involved for the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips.

What an incredible story Phillips will have to tell the world. He's already a bonafide hero, having given himself up to free his whole crew, and then attempting a daring escape by jumping overboard. A week from now Leno and Letterman will be fighting for him.

The rescue operation was personally approved by Obama, so credit is due the president for trusting the best soldiers in the world to pull it off. He took some heat for not being more out front on this issue, but I think he played it about right, by not giving these low-lifes recognition from the presidential platform.

Maybe for the first time as President, Obama now understands what George W. Bush went through many many times in the White House. The necessity of dealing harshly with dangerous terrorist elements, when you know that your actions will make you unpopular with certain elite opinion-makers...and of course with other terrorist elements...

The rescue was a dramatic blow to the pirates who have preyed on international shipping and hold more than a dozen ships with about 230 foreign sailors. But it is unlikely to do much to quell the region's growing pirate threat, which has transformed one of the world's busiest shipping lanes into one of its most dangerous. It also risked provoking retaliatory attacks.

"This could escalate violence in this part of the world, no question about it," said Gortney, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding the Greek ship anchored in the Somali town of Gaan, said: "Every country will be treated the way it treats us. In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying," he told The Associated Press. "We will retaliate (for) the killings of our men."

Jamac Habeb, a 30-year-old self-proclaimed pirate, told the AP from one of Somalia's piracy hubs, Eyl, that: "From now on, if we capture foreign ships and their respective countries try to attack us, we will kill them (the hostages)."

"Now they became our number one enemy," Habeb said of U.S. forces.

There we go again....recruiting new terrorists by killing existing ones. So be it.

If this is Obama's way of saying 'Bring it on", good for him. You just hope some of the other countries involved can deal as successfully with hostages and cargo that they have at risk. Our ship's situation seemed like it could have been sort of a one-off. Other captured ships have lots more lives at stake, and no realistic rescue scenarios. Let's hope hostages from other currently captured ships aren't murdered in response to the U.S. resistance.

Reaching Out

Exurban League imagines Obama's remarks on the standoff with the Somali wealth redistributors..... Obama Reaches Out to 'Moderate' Pirate Community

Obviously, this incident has raised many concerns among Americans. There have been calls for justice and even violence against the misguided perpetrators. But such an emotional reaction has led to the disparagement of entire groups with which we are unfamiliar. We have seen this throughout history.

For too long, America has been too dismissive of the proud culture and invaluable contributions of the Pirate Community. Whether it is their pioneering work with prosthetics, husbandry of tropical birds or fanciful fashion sense, America owes a deep debt to Pirates.

The past eight years have shown a failure to appreciate the historic role of these noble seafarers. Instead of celebrating their entreprenuerial spirit and seeking to partner with them to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.

Some of us wonder if our current Overseas Contingency Operation would even be needed had the last administration not been so quick to label Pirates as "thieves," "terrorists" and worse. Such swashbucklaphobia can lead to tragic results, as we have seen this week.

April 11, 2009

Resistance is Futile

On pirates and distractions, the inimitable Mark Steyn. Read it all, but here's a slice...

Once upon a time we killed and captured pirates. Today, it's all more complicated. Attorney General Eric Holder has declined to say whether the kidnappers of the American captain will be "brought to justice" by the U.S. "I'm not sure exactly what would happen next," declares the chief law-enforcement official of the world's superpower. But some things we can say for certain. Obviously, if the United States Navy hanged some eye-patched, peg-legged blackguard from the yardarm or made him walk the plank, pious senators would rise to denounce an America that no longer lived up to its highest ideals, and the network talking-heads would argue that Plankgate was recruiting more and more young men to the pirates' cause, and judges would rule that pirates were entitled to the protections of the U.S. Constitution and that their peg legs had to be replaced by high-tech prosthetic limbs at taxpayer expense.

Meanwhile, the Royal Navy, which over the centuries did more than anyone to rid the civilized world of the menace of piracy, now declines even to risk capturing their Somali successors, having been advised by Her Majesty's Government that, under the European Human Rights Act, any pirate taken into custody would be entitled to claim refugee status in the United Kingdom and live on welfare for the rest of his life. I doubt "Pirates of the Caribbean" would have cleaned up at the box office if the big finale had shown Geoffrey Rush and his crew of scurvy sea dogs settling down in council flats in Manchester and going down to the pub for a couple of jiggers of rum washed down to cries of "Aaaaargh, shiver me benefits check, lad." From "Avast, me hearties!" to a vast welfare scam is not progress.

April 10, 2009

Got Respect?

Krauthammer on Obama's trip to Europe - It's Your Country Too, Mr. President

Our president came bearing a basketful of mea culpas. With varying degrees of directness or obliqueness, Obama indicted his own people for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness, for genocide, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantanamo and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.

And what did he get for this obsessive denigration of his own country? He wanted more NATO combat troops in Afghanistan to match the surge of 17,000 Americans. He was rudely rebuffed.

He wanted more stimulus spending from Europe. He got nothing.

From Russia, he got no help on Iran. From China, he got the blocking of any action on North Korea.

And what did he get for Guantanamo? France, pop. 64 million, will take one prisoner. One! (Sadly, he'll have to leave his swim buddy behind.) The Austrians said they would take none. As Interior Minister Maria Fekter explained with impeccable Germanic logic, if they're not dangerous, why not just keep them in America?

When Austria is mocking you, you're having a bad week. Yet who can blame Frau Fekter, considering the disdain Obama showed his own country while on foreign soil, acting the philosopher-king who hovers above the fray mediating between his renegade homeland and an otherwise warm and welcoming world?

It is unseemly for the president to hold his own country in such contempt. See also Jen Rubin and Pete Wehner.

David Harsanyi says Barack Obama has no business bowing before the Saudis. His whole piece is worthwhile.

What was it again about the Saudi government that warrants our respect? This is not solely an anti-Obama thing. Our relationship with the Saudis has been horribly corrupt for years. Our unceasing deference to them really does make all of our other human rights rhetoric ring hollow, and it infuriates me and a lot of people I know....but no more or less now than it did under Bush and Clinton and Bush.

But the actual human rights activists in Iran, Saudi Arabia and other unelected regimes are bound to be disheartened by Obama's seemingly unlimited tolerance for the systemic intolerance of those regimes.

What a shame that the President of the United States doesn't choose to promote individual freedom and self-rule, especially when he travels abroad as our representative and mouthpiece. We're accustomed to having our president deliver a message of support and hope to the freedom-lovers and freedom-fighters of a country when he visits or speaks to their leadership.

Instead we have a leader currying favor overseas by, as Krauthammer said, celebrating his own country's decline.

April 7, 2009

What's Austrian for "Worldly"?

The latest in the "What if George W. Bush had said this?" department. Naturally, it would have been embarrassing proof of his insularity, ignorance, and lack of sophistication. For Obama, the media barely saw fit to report it back to the 57 states. And my point is not to criticize the President for a relatively harmless verbal misstep. It is only to highlight the media double standard at play.

Here Bloomberg News reports the direct quote without so much as a comment on Obama's lack of familiarity with the "Austrian" language...

At a news conference afterward, Obama said his debut on the international stage had convinced him that “political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate,” where he served before entering the White House.

“There’s a lot of -- I don’t know what the term is in Austrian -- wheeling and dealing, and people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics,” he said in response to an Austrian reporter’s question.

April 6, 2009

The Joke Police

Mark Steyn

Did you hear the one about the queer, the Muzzie and the pre-op tranny?

No? Well, you’re unlikely to anytime soon. The British government, fresh from recent proscriptions on religious and racial “hatred”, is pushing ahead with legislation that will criminalize homophobic jokes.

Apology Tour

In a post nearly three years ago, I speculated about how the election of a Democrat to the presidency might be a good thing, in that it would require the Democrats, as a party, to "own" the war against radical Islamist terror, and admit that it is a war worth fighting....to take on the mantle of leadership of the free world in a dangerous time. And besides, I asked then, how long could the worldwide apology tour possibly take? (sorry...but that's my first self-referential link in a while)

We don't know the answer yet, because the tour is ongoing. Power Line's John Hinderaker wonders if it will ever end.

There is apparently no limit to the man's self-regard, as exemplified in remarks like..."I would like to think that with my election, we're starting to see some restoration of America's standing in the world."

Well, we've seen a lot of kneeling, bowing, scraping and begging, but not a whole lot of standing, since Obama left Washington to insult and deride his country abroad. Soeren Kern takes stock of the emerging Obama Doctrine

Obama's diplomatic philosophy, which seems to put the interests of other countries ahead of those of the United States, could be called the "Obama Doctrine". If it is carried out in practice to its logical conclusion, it will have the long-term effect of gradually transferring U.S. geopolitical power and influence to Europeans and other American rivals.

Dr. Sanity goes off...

Behaving like an ass is not a psychiatric disorder, but it is often quite revealing psychologically; and this despicable behavior by the President exposes an incredibly narcissistic, infantile child/man who has failed to resolve any of the major emotional conflicts in his life. He thinks that now that he is POTUS he has been given carte blanche to destructively act out those conflicts on a world stage.

What a power rush he must be having now that he can finally and thoroughly embarrass the absent father about whom he is so conflicted. How fulfilling that he can now show that father the proper way to behave--like an all powerful nanny/mother.

The signature accomplishment of the G-20 meetings, the trumpeted trillion dollar commitment of "new money" for the IMF, is a mirage, according to the Times.

Bret Stephens is calling the trip an Unreality Tour. To wit, Obama's response to the North Korean missile launch...

...the greatest prize for Mr. Kim was the reaction from President Obama. "Rules must be binding," the president told his audience in Prague on Sunday. "Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." But how are words supposed to mean anything if all the administration proposes to do is offer up yet another resolution -- which is to say, more words?

To nobody's surprise (except, perhaps, Mr. Obama's) the Security Council has so far failed to agree on a resolution. But that's the U.N. for you, as opposed to a serious organization like NATO, at whose 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg . . . nothing much was accomplished, either.


In fairness, not everything about Mr. Obama's trip was unfortunate. At the G-20 Summit in London, the Europeans failed to get the U.S. to sign up to a new global regulatory agency, and the U.S. failed to convince the Europeans to dig themselves even deeper into debt -- a win for both sides, albeit unintentionally.

UPDATE 4/7: James Lewis: Those Arrogant Americans