Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's Next On ObamaCare

http://www.gasstationnearme.com/images/Effects-Of-Nuclear-Explosion.jpg

According to my sources, the Obama Administration has pretty much decided to try and push this through nuclear style, via reconciliation. Look for Obama himself to announce it at a presser midweek.

One sign is that Nancy Pelosi is already admonishing her fellow Donkeys to take a bullet for Obama saying they should be willing to sacrifice their seats 'for the people.'

Of course, that kind of courage comes easy when you represent ├╝ber-Leftist Marin County in San Francisco and your own personal seat is safe.

According to Kent Conrad (d-SD), the Senate budget committee chairman, the House would have to pass the current flawed Senate bill first in order for reconciliation to be used. That would take 217 votes. And before that, the House would want a guarantee that the Senate would be able to pass the Obama bill put forth by the president, after which they would have to have the votes in the House to pass the new bill.

Fairness or even political common sense isn't even on the table. Rest assured that Pelosi, Reid and Obama will use every single tool of bribery and coercion to get this through, even if it means promising wavering Dems campaign cash or cushy jobs in the administration or with the administration's private sector allies if they lose their seats in November because of Obamacare votes.

What Obama and his minions are counting on is shoving this through now even though the American people oppose it with the idea of getting it embedded enough that it will be extremely difficult to repeal later. And in any event, the damage to America's health care system and our economy will already have been done.

Normally, this sort of thing is precluded by political common sense if nothing else. But we are dealing with ideologues here, not rational actors.

If you look carefully at the steps the Obama Administration has taken -the quadrupling of the national debt, the outsized spending, the governmental attack on private enterprise among others - they make no sense. Unless of course, you were deliberately trying to create a crisis situation where the economy fails and a desperate population is dependent for their necessities on the largess of the Obama White House.

In the latter case, it's simply Alinsky 101.








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A Little Purim Wisdom - From Rabbi Berel Wein

Here's some noteworthy Purim wisdom from the famous Torah scholar Rabbi Berel Wein on the message of Purim for today:


In thinking about Purim 5770/2010 a few things are fairly obvious. There is no shortage of Hamans around, with the current Persian ruler a good leading candidate for the part. Nassralah, Mashad and a few others of our cousins can also be counted to be in contention for the role.

There are also many contenders for the role of Achashvairosh ( King Ahaseurus). These include Goldstone, Ban, the Guardian, Putin and sometimes even the professors and intellectuals of the Israeli left who demand that the universities that pay their salaries somehow be subjected to boycott and deligitimization.


In fact many of the so-called Western world leaders are certainly capable of being stand-ins for the false and power hungry king who has no scruples over participating in the threatened annihilation of millions of Jews.

The main crime that Jews are guilty of is the crime of being Jews. There are other faults that the Jews possess, certainly individual Jews, but those are only ancillary issues compared to the great crime that the Jews are a “different” people. And there is no repentance possible for that crime.

The American Secretary of State, powerless and forced to always be flitting around the world so she can’t influence and trouble the American administration in Washington, probably is a good candidate for the poor Queen Vashti, who had her head handed to her by a loveless boss. Maybe our own Tzipi can also audition for that role of being unable to deal with the fact that she is not currently running the country. The current contrempts over Naomi and her beloved but ill named New Israel Fund makes her also a possible contender for that part. And then there are the secretaries, spokesmen, roving ambassadors and the State Department who merrily execute the orders of Achashvairosh and Haman without any hesitations or moral compunctions. And in the spirit of Purim everyone is wearing a costume and a disguise so that the whole situation is seemingly backwards and turned on end.


Read the rest here









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Obama Tells Israel They Have No Right To Their Religious Shrines


If anyone still had any doubts about how innately hostile the Obama Administration actually is to Israel and the Jewish people, this little item should convince them.

The Israelis decided that in view of things, they should designate a number of their Holy sites in Judea and Samaria as part of a list of Jewish heritage sites marked for renovation and preservation. Included among them were Rachel's tomb and The Me'arat HaMachpela, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

The idea of preservation and renovation is especially important, since it is due entirely to Palestinian violence and vandalism that these shrines need to be protected and renovated in the first place. There's a long history here.

It was the Palestinians who burnt the synagogues in Gaza to the ground after the Jews left,who destroyed 28 historic Synagogues in Jerusalem and used the tombstones of the historic Jewish cometary as pavement during the Jordanian Arab occupation, who desecrated the tomb of Joshua, Joseph's tomb, the Yeshiva in Homesh, just as the Iraqis are now 'de-Judaizing' Ezekiel's tomb.

And these are only the most prominent examples of historic synagogues and Jewish Holy sites destroyed by the Arabs over the last sixty odd years.

As for the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron,the Israelis actually attempted to share that with the Muslims. Their reward for this open-mindedness was to find anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled all over the shrine and to discover that the Palestinians had actually urinated and defecated in the area used to store the Torah scrolls.

As for Rachel's Tomb, situated in Bethlehem, the Palestinian attempted to firebomb it a couple of years back.

Nor is it just Jewish Holy sites. It was the Palestinians who invaded and trashed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and are disinterring Christian bodies wholesale in Gaza as well.

In view of this history, Israel's decision to make a commitment to preserve these Holy sites is not only understandable but entirely justified.

There's even a clear basis for this under international law.

So what do you think the response was from the Obama Administration and the UN was when Israel made the announcement that they were making preserving these shrines official policy?

You guessed it. Outright condemnation:

The Obama administration sharply criticized Israel on Wednesday for designating the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb, both in West Bank cities, to the list of Jewish heritage sites marked for renovation and preservation.

The government's decision, announced Sunday, sparked Palestinian protests and has drawn criticism from other quarters, including the United Nations. {...}

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the administration viewed the move as provocative and unhelpful to the goal of getting the two sides back to the table.

Toner said US displeasure with the designations of the Cave of the Patriarchs in the flash point town of Hebron and the traditional tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel in Bethlehem had been conveyed to senior Israeli officials by American diplomats.



Israel is frequently accused by its critics of 'ignoring international law.' In fact, it's just the opposite - international law ignores Israel, the Jew among nations.

As for Barack Obama, given given whom he is, none of this surprising.

Some people have speculated over whether the current occupant of the White House is an anti-Semite. Frankly it doesn't matter, since he continues to act like one at every opportunity.

Obama may very well end up acheiving his goal of destroying the relationship between America and its ally Israel, but it will not be without significant cost to the United States.

-selah-








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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Watcher's Winners


The Council has spoken! A complete rundown of the voting tallies on our weekly competition and the Watcher's always persnicketty and entertaining Commentary is here.

Winning Council Submissions

Winning Non-Council Submissions



As always, congratulations not only to the winners but to the participants.








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Friday, February 26, 2010

Rangel 'Admonished' By Ethics Committee - And Why It Won't Affect Him

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After almost two years, Rep. Charlie Rangel, one on Congresses' most egregious tax cheats was finally 'admonished' by the House ethics committee.

The only charge the Democrat dominated committee chose to cite the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee was that he was guilty of breaking House rules by taking corporate-funded Caribbean junkets.

House Republicans have been calling for Rangel to lose his chairmanship over his ethical challenges for quite some time and that call was renewed last night, most notably by Indiana Rep. Mike Pence.

Even a few Democrats have joined the chorus, mindful of getting beaten up badly in the midterms as the GOP hangs the 'Most, Ethical. Congress.Evah' slogan by house Speaker Nancy Pelosi around their collective necks.

Don't look for it to happen,unless Pelosi somehow pulls off the highly unlikely feat of convincing Rangel to fall on his sword and resign. As a matter of fact, Pelosi is already running interference for Rangel and trying to stall any proceedings.

Racial politics is a huge part of this.

Charlie Rangel has been in the House since 1970, and aside from being Congressman-for-life in the mostly black 15th District is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group representative of a constituency the Democrats need to carry almost as a bloc in order to win elections.

The CBC membership would rather do almost anything than vote to censure or remove a fellow CBC member from the feeding trough of a prestigious chairmanship or even a committee seat.
And they don't look kindly on anyone else trying to do it either.

Pelosi knows this.

Back in 2006, CBC member William Jefferson's home was raided by the feds and $90,000 in cash was found in his freezer.Jefferson, like Rangel was on Ways and Means and with the 2006 midterms only months away, Pelosi wanted Jefferson gone so as not to interfere with the 'culture of corruption ' fantasy. So when he refused to resign, she tried to have him expelled from his committee seat.

The CBC, led by Rangel, closed ranks and fought his expulsion tooth and nail, claiming he was being railroaded and punished because of his race.

Pelosi finally managed to get a vote of the full Democratic caucus on Jefferson. But the CBC and a number of Congressmen with a significant black vote in their districts revolted after a heated debate and in the end, nearly 60 House Democrats refused to vote to boot Jefferson. And while Pelosi managed in the end to get enough votes to dump him, the last thing she wants revisit is hellish internal warfare with the CBC over Rangel.

And trust me - if Rangel asks the CBC to fight a all out war for him, they will.

So Speaker Pelosi has an interesting choice, with no good options. She can push to get enough votes to oust Rangel, at the cost of alienating the CBC and allied congressmen with black constituencies and a huge firefight.

Or she can opt to simply ignore all this, giving the Republicans even more ammo for the midterms and endangering swing-district Democrats, who are going to have to explain to the voters why they’re protecting Charlie Rangel.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving group of people.








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Hysterical Video: Mouse Fitness!



Cheerfully swiped from my pal Gerard over at American Digest








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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Behind The Scenes, Obama And The Democrats Destroy The CIA's Ability To Interrogate Jihadis


As Andrew McCarthy reveals, Obama and his allies in Congress have legislation up that would essentially destroy the CIA's ability to interrogate jihad terrorists:

...House Democrats last night stashed a new provision in the intelligence bill which is to be voted on today. It is an attack on the CIA: the enactment of a criminal statute that would ban “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” (See here, scoll to p. 32.)

The provision is impossibly vague — who knows what “degrading” means? Proponents will say that they have itemized conduct that would trigger the statute (I’ll get to that in a second), but it is not true. The proposal says the conduct reached by the statute “includes but is not limited to” the itemized conduct. (My italics.) That means any interrogation tactic that a prosecutor subjectively believes is “degrading” (e.g., subjecting a Muslim detainee to interrogation by a female CIA officer) could be the basis for indicting a CIA interrogator.

The act goes on to make it a crime to use tactics that have been shown to be effective in obtaining life saving information and that are far removed from torture.

“Waterboarding” is specified. In one sense, I’m glad they’ve done this because it proves a point I’ve been making all along. Waterboarding, as it was practiced by the CIA, is not torture and was never illegal under U.S. law. The reason the Democrats are reduced to doing this is: what they’ve been saying is not true — waterboarding was not a crime and it was fully supported by congressional leaders of both parties, who were told about it while it was being done. On that score, it is interesting to note that while Democrats secretly tucked this provision into an important bill, hoping no one would notice until it was too late, they failed to include in the bill a proposed Republican amendment that would have required full and complete disclosure of records describing the briefings members of Congress received about the Bush CIA’s enhanced interrogation program. Those briefings, of course, would establish that Speaker Pelosi and others knew all about the program and lodged no objections. Naturally, members of Congress are not targeted by this criminal statute — only the CIA. {...}

What’s more, the proposed bill is directed at “any officer or employee of the intelligence community” conducting a “covered interrogation.” The definition of “covered interrogation” is sweeping — including any interrogation done outside the U.S., in the course of a person’s official duties on behalf of the government. Thus, if the CIA used waterboarding in training its officers or military officers outside the U.S., this would theoretically be indictable conduct under the statute.

Waterboarding is not all. The Democrats’ bill would prohibit — with a penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment — the following tactics, among others:


- “Exploiting the phobias of the individual”


- Stress positions and the threatened use of force to maintain stress positions


- “Depriving the individual of necessary food, water, sleep, or medical care”

- Forced nudity


- Using military working dogs (i.e., any use of them — not having them attack or menace the individual; just the mere presence of the dog if it might unnerve the detainee and, of course, “exploit his phobias”)


- Coercing the individual to blaspheme or violate his religious beliefs (I wonder if Democrats understand the breadth of seemingly innocuous matters that jihadists take to be violations of their religious beliefs)


- Exposure to “excessive” cold, heat or “cramped confinement” (excessive and cramped are not defined)


- “Prolonged isolation”


- “Placing hoods or sacks over the head of the individual”




I suppose this leaves a potential interrogator with the threat of taking away the TV remote..at least for the half hour or so it will take the jihadi to be mirandized, lawyer up and take advantage of his right to remain silent while his friends plot the murder of more Americans.

I can't emphasize that enough. Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself again with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession. If Obama had been president on 9/11 and these rules would have been in effect, thousands more Americans would have died. And apparently, that's what Obama and the Democrats find preferable to embarrassing or inconveniencing a jihad terrorist.

And what about the security officials charged with interrogating captured terrorists? Do you think any of them are going to risk 15 years in the slammer by doing anything more than going through the motions? Can you blame them?

This goes beyond politics. It is a profound lack of common sense and a foul violation of the oath Obama and members of Congress took when they assumed their offices. it puts American lives at risk.

Our enemies fully understand the sort of weak, feckless, appeasement minded administration now in the White House. And I fear we will pay in blood because of it.

UPDATE:
Sanity is not entirely dead in DC. After widespread outcry, the Democrats pulled this suicidal nonsense from the legislation.

Here's what Rep. Pete Hoekstar(r-MI) had to say on the matter:

"That Democrats would try to bury this provision deep in the bill, late at night, when they thought everyone’s attention would be focused on the health care summit is a testament to the shameful nature of what they were attempting," Hoekstra said.

"Republicans brought this to the attention of the American people, who were rightly outraged that Democrats would try to target those we ask to serve in harm’s way and with a unified push we were successful in getting them to pull the bill."








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Yet Another Summit Nugget - Paul Ryan Takes Obama's Bogus Numbers Apart



Brilliantly done,Congressman Ryan. Notice how Zero can only sit there and glare, and then quickly moves on?

Heh!








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Hey, It's Purim!


And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword....And the Lord said unto Moses, "Write this for a memorial in the book and tell it unto the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven..the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation."- Exodus 17:14

That's the way the Big Boys talked in the old days,when conversations with the Lord were commonplace and Amalek and his pals were freely labeled as the rabid dogs they were for picking off stragglers and attacking and killing Jews out of hand just for the pure sport and profit of it as the Jews moved through the desert after leaving Pharaoh's Egypt. No illusions there...you have to defeat evil, not negotiate with it. G-d said so,and He most likely knew what He was talking about.In any event He'd been right enough times so that Moses, Aaron and Joshua weren't about to argue the point.They defeated Amalek and then proceeded on their way in peace.

Nowadays, the UN would be thumping for a state for Amalek and shrugging off the murder of Jewish women and children as 'resistance'. For that matter,the current occupant of the White House and his secretary of state would be leading the charge for an Amalek-stan, and giving them millions in foreign aid while warning the Jews against a 'disproportionate response.'

Note another thing about the above passage...it says there will be war with Amalek from generation to generation,and gives the Jews the responsibility of fighting in that war to defeat evil wherever it rears its ugly head.

The Jews commemorate one victory over a latter day manifestation of Amalek tonight when they celebrate Purim, the victory of Queen Esther and Mordecai over the evil Haman, who tried to manipulate the King of Persia into signing on to the murder, enslavement and plunder of every Jew in Persia.

The Megillah, which is read in every synagogue in the world at Purim relates how Queen Esther,wife of the king could have reacted the way a great many people would have, by simply pretending that what was going on didn't concern her,and rationalizing it. Instead, she realized that a threat to her people was a threat to her, even as high up and removed as the King's palace. She took the commandment to battle Amalek to heart and risked her life and position to defeat Haman and his evil allies and, along with her brother Mordecai, lead her people to victory.

Purim is preceded by a fast in honor of Esther, and then, it's party time.Many Jews observe the custom of sending a special basket of goodies to friends and family, the megillah reading is a noisy and joyous affair especially loved by children, celebrations and costumes abound, and even a bit of liquid libation is quite common..



Think of it a sort of like the Jewish equivalent of carnival.

As far as I'm concerned, Purim may have special meaning for the Jews, but it ought to belong to the whole world. It'a a joyous fete celebrating the triumph over evil.

And I'll let my pal Yakov at Dry Bones let you in on a little something, the hidden joke of the whole holiday:



Purim Sameach!









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Grade Obama In New Online Poll!


Courtesy of Robert Avrech over at Seraphic Secret, here's your chance to grade Barack Hussein Obama as president in this CBS online poll.

Let's just say I looked at the results when I voted and Prez Zero isn't doing so well...










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ObamaCare Summit Follies - The Juicy Bits

( from Chris Muir at Day By Day of course!)


What's going on today at Blair House is absolutely unbelievable.

What we're seeing, I think, is ObamaCare crashing and burning before our eyes, although I expect the Democrats to take one more stab at shoving this through and foisting it on the American people.

Obama still hasn't gotten the message, that the vast majority of Americans see ObamaCare for what it is and don't want any part of it.

Even worse, he had the overweening arrogance to think that he, the ObamaMessiah,could rescue this travesty by the sheer force of his persona.

In show biz, that's usually known as reading your own press releases too much.

Instead of the dialog he claimed it was going to be , the president tried to set this up as an infomercial, giving himself and the other proponents of Obamacare better than twice the amount of talking time while cutting Republicans off with what can only be defined as calculated rudeness. Here's a sample, with Prez Zero dissing Senator John McCain:





(I included two clips to get the full exchange, and there's some overlapping)

What a class act, eh? Is this any different than Obama telling Rep. Eric Cantor shut it because 'I won'?

And speaking of Cantor, Obama actually scolded him like he was speaking to a twelve-year -old for having the nerve to bring the entire 2,400 page bill into the summit.

Notice, Obama has no answer about the Louisiana Purchase ( which is still in his revised bill), the Cornhusker Kickback, or Obama's borderline illegal deal with Big Pharma, in which Pharma agreed to cut costs $80 billion and run $150 million in ads supporting ObamaCare in exchange for Obama agreeing to prohibit his government run healthcare from bargaining with them to get lower volume prices on drugs for the American people, import drugs from Canada or pursue Medicare rebates or to shift some drugs from to different Medicare plans, which would save Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

Obama's answer? "We're not in campaign mode anymore."

He didn't even bother to address the sleazy way ObamaCare was concocted behind closed doors or the fact that the American people don't want any part of it - that would be 'unhelpful'.

Have we ever had a more condescending, arrogant spoiled brat intent on getting his way at all costs in the Oval Office?

And speaking of not campaigning, what have Obama and his gang in the White House been doing from the day they walked in the door? For that matter, what were they doing yesterday?

Obama's Angry Left base might enjoy this side of Obama, but I don't think anyone else will who's not already a true believer. And they're in a distinct minority of late.

Actually, the real audience today is not really the American people - Obama discounted them months ago.The real intended audience is the Democrats in Congress, to try and get their blood up to cast a vote for ObamaCare and take a bullet for the president come November.

Instead, what they're seeing is an epic fail, as Obama and the Democrat's leadership fail to make the case.

Listening to threats like the one from the oafish Dick Durbin to 'start reconciliation Monday' to try and shove this through only makes it more obvious that it isn't going to happen.

Oh, don't get me wrong...they'll try, and this needs watching. But this particular version of ObamaCare is likely DOA unless I'm very mistaken.

So, will the president finally get the message and start focusing on something else?

You're kidding me, right? His ego won't allow it.

No, I expect he'll he'll come back with a scaled down version of ObamaCare that the Left will despise because it doesn't spend enough and the GOP will hate because it spends too much and doesn't address any of the real issues.

Like I said, epic fail.








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How Muslim Nations Poll On Islamist Terrorism

http://www.targetofopportunity.com/islam4kids.jpg


How do Muslim nations view groups that we in the West consider terrorists? Is there a disconnect between our view and theirs?

A recent Pew Trust survey reveals some answers to these questions bit only partially, because being Pew, they chose to ask about specific groups rather than actually attempt to see where people's personal lines are drawn.

Nevertheless, there's some real meat here that calls into question a lot of the current assumptions about the attitudes of the Muslim umma on this topic.

Pew polled Muslims in 25 separate countries,but with special emphasis on 3 countries considered US allies, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan plus Lebanon and the Palestinian occupied territories.

Here are favorable/unfavorable views for Hamas and Hezbollah:



As you'll notice, Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot receives fairly positive ratings in Jordan (56% favorable) and Egypt (52%) with slightly lower ratings in Lebanon and the Palestinian occupied territories. Oddly enough, Hamas gets lower approval ratings in Gaza than it does in Judea and Samaria ( AKA the West Bank), with 37% in Gaza expressing a favorable opinion versus 47%, almost half in the West Bank. That would perhaps suggest that Fatah's days are numbered.

As far as Hezbollah goes, most Palestinians both in Jordan and the Palestinian territories have a favorable view of Hezbollah, and the group does suprisingly well in Egypt (43%).

The view of Hezbollah in Lebanon depends very much on your religious outlook.
and Lebanon (35%). Almost all of the country’s Shia Muslims (97%) have a positive opinion of Hezbollah, while only 18% of Christians and 2% of Sunni Muslims do.

Only Turks out of the countries surveyed overwhelmingly reject both groups, in spite of Turkey's increasingly Islamist government. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the respondents were from cities like Istanbul an dwhat percentage were from the rural countryside, where the ruling AKP party has its greatest strength.

There's even worse news ahead.

Polled on which Middle Eastern leaders they have confidence in, Muslims in the polled areas responded as follows:



As you see, the most popular Muslim leader is Saudi King Abdullah. Only 37% of Lebanese overall express confidence in Hezbollah leader Nasrallah; however, the country's Shi'ites community almost unanimously approve of him(97%). Nasrullah also gets relatively high marks in the Palestinian territories, and especially in the West Bank, where 71% say they think he will do the right thing in international affairs. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also gets high marks among Lebanon's Shi'ites and the Palestinians. And fully 51% of Palestinian Arabs, (a much greater percentage than in any other Muslim region polled) voiced support for Osama bin Laden, something I'm not at all surprised at. That's also a good indicator about how the people who identify themselves as Palestinians feel about Americans in general.

Again, Turkey has fairly low approval ratings for these leaders.

One thing that's universal in Arab nations is extremely negative attitudes toward Jews - and note I said Jews, not Israelis, although there's obviously some coflating. More than 90% of Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Palestinians express unfavorable views toward Jews.

It's interesting that there are few if any Jews in these areas, and that the numbers change significantly in Israel,where Muslims have direct experience with Jews.Only 35% of Israeli Arabs express a negative opinion of Jews.

One reason for this is obvious....the constant drumbeat of Islamic oriented anti-Semitic propaganda in schools,mosques state controlled media that occurs in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian occupied areas doesn't occur in Israel.

Or to put it another way, these countries are in no way educating their people for peace, which says something about the value of Oslo, Land for peace and the associated policies.

It also shows that America isn't able to buy good will just by throwing money at this problem or appeasing Islamists...because a large part of the populations of "friendly" Arab nations simply aren't.

Until America's leaders are wiling to acknowledge that we will continue to put our efforts in all the wrong places.

Food for thought, definitely.








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Pelosi On ObamaCare: Will Create "4 million Jobs -- 400,000 Jobs Almost Immediately"

http://robertd.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/bela-pelosi.jpg

Nancy Pelosi at the ObamaCare summit. Check out the video.. and the look Prez Zero gives her.

Lying is one thing, but when you're not even good at it...








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Sarah Palin's Latest On Obama's Plan


Governor Palin has some of her usual common sense on the day of the so-called health summit:

The President has wrestled control of the health care debate away from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid by finally introducing his own plan. Unfortunately, the White House’s proposal includes everything we found untenable about the old Senate bill – only this one is even more expensive! This is what you might call putting “perfume on a pig.”


Perfume on a pig..masterful! That one's going to stick as well as 'death panels ' did, mark my words.

What’s in this “new” proposal? It has the unpopular (and arguably unconstitutional) individual mandate that forces people and employers to purchase health insurance – only this time with much harsher fines on employers who choose not to go along with another expensive government mandate. It has provisions that will make employers think twice before expanding their workforce. It has cuts to Medicare Advantage, a popular program which allows seniors to pay a little more money out of pocket for better coverage. And, of course, it still has sweetheart deals – only this time they’ve been extended even more.
The bill actually cuts jibs as private insurers will simply get out of the business as they're hit with unsustainable price controls and government oversight. And of course, the death panels, AKA the Independent Medical Advisory Boards are still there to ensure rationing for seniors.


We don’t know what the final long-term cost of this will be because the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t had a chance to calculate costs. We do know that the White House recognizes that its proposal will cost tens of billions more over the next ten years than the already-expensive $2.5 trillion Senate bill. The President promised last July that he won’t sign a health care bill if it “adds even one dime to our deficit over the next decade.” But he’s now proposing a health care bill with uncertain fiscal repercussions that could lead to endless deficits.
And, as I've pointed out repeatedly, the figures on cost are bogus because illegal aliens are covered, but not figured into the end total...especially as more of them will obviously come to take advantage of their new benefits.

The rising cost of care has driven the entire health care reform debate. So how does the President’s proposal address this central issue? Price controls. That’s right: Washington, D.C. wants to give a panel of bureaucrats the power to cap insurance premiums and prices. As Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute notes, “artificially limiting premium growth allows the government to curtail spending while leaving the dirty work of withholding medical care to private insurers.” This leads to rationing. Any economist worth his salt – including the White House’s own Larry Summers – will tell you that price controls lead to all sorts of negative unintended consequences. It’s another step towards government controlled health care and away from the real solution: free market, patient-centered reform.
Here, she hits the main nerve. This is the camel's nose in the tent for government run health care.

With a government-growing proposal this bad, it’s no wonder the President wants bipartisan cover for it in an election year. Thursday’s health care summit is already being revealed as little more than a photo-op. The Obama administration still denies the existence of the House Republicans’ health care plan that offers alternative solutions to health care challenges – even though the White House website links right to it.

The President’s proposal doesn’t include pro-free market ideas like allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, giving individual buyers the same tax benefits as those who get insurance through their employers, or instituting real medical liability reform. Despite the “kumbaya” rhetoric, Democrats are making plans to ram this bill through the Senate using a partisan procedural maneuver that will bypass the normal bipartisan debate process.
Governor Palin obviously remembers the Democrat's screaming about use of the nuclear option to pass President Bush's judicial nominees they had blocked. Back then, in 2005, Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham came to their rescue with the 'gang of 14' compromise. Of course, as I predicted, that deal lasted only as long as the Democrats were in a minority and was trashed as soon as they had their supermajority.

In the meantime, the White House will continue to ignore Republican reform ideas and cast the GOP as the party of no. That’s a hard sell considering that Democrats still hold the majority in the House and Senate. The only real “gridlock” preventing Democrats from doing what they want is the very real threat of America's voice being heard at the ballot box.

The public is clearly opposed to the Democrats’ health care bills. Americans want to scrap these big-government plans and start over with common-sense, incremental reform. Some on the left have urged Democrats to vote for Obamacare because it’s a foot in the door for universal health care. They understand what’s at stake; so should the rest of us.

The President can perfume this proposal however he wants, but it still doesn’t pass the smell test. Washington should listen to Americans now, or Washington will hear us in November.










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Blackwater Rescued Congressman Who Bad Mouthed Them



By now,many of you are familiar with hypermouth 'progressive' Alan Grayson, a Democrat in Congress noted for particularly brainless partisan attacks("The Republican health care plan is this: 'Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.'" , “I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America" and "We can't run this country based on Republican hissy fits.")

One of his pet targets ( along with Republicans in general) has been Blackwater Security, saying things like "We're not going to let the defense contractors use our money to bribe our government and take it over.We can't let, basically, Blackwater take over the entire government here. We have to draw the line somewhere."

Ironically, Grayson now has reason to thank his lucky stars Blackwater was around when he needed them:

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, narrowly escaped harm earlier this week after being caught up in a military coup in the African country of Niger.

Grayson's press secretary, Todd Jurkowski, confirmed to CNN that Grayson was close to the action. "He heard the gunshots. They were literally in the building next door."

The outspoken congressman was in Niger as part of a congressional delegation focused on science, technology and humanitarian relief, according to Jurkowski. When the situation began to unravel, Grayson was taken to the residence of the United States Ambassador to Niger, where he was placed under armed protection.


The protection and Grayson's evac were provided by none other than Blackwater, now known as Xe Security.

But do you think, just maybe, that he might develop a little respect for the people who risked their lives to save his worthless behind? Are you kidding?

Todd Jurkowsk, Rep. Grayson's spokesman, says the congressman's office is still trying to confirm whether he was in fact evacced by Presidential Airways. "The flight was arranged through the State Department," Jukowski says. "The Congressman did not know, and frankly did not care, who owned the plane.” On the subject of contractors, Jurkowski added, "The Congressman does not deny that there is admirable work being done by some employees of private contractors. However, he stands by his criticism of companies who have been found to cheat the American people, defraud our government, and unnecessarily risk the lives of members of our military, all in the name of making a profit."


Note to Blackwater/Xe - next time, do yourselves and us a favor and leave this waste of space behind.








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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Obama Kicks UK To The Curb Over Falklands Dispute

In yet another slap at one of our allies President Obama has declined to back the UK's claim to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands in its dispute with Argentina.

Washington refused to endorse British claims to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands yesterday as the diplomatic row over oil drilling in the South Atlantic intensified in London, Buenos Aires and at the UN.

Despite Britain’s close alliance with the US, the Obama Administration is determined not to be drawn into the issue. It has also declined to back Britain’s claim that oil exploration near the islands is sanctioned by international law, saying that the dispute is strictly a bilateral issue. [...}

Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Britain’s Ambassador to the UN, said: “As British ministers have made clear, the UK has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands . . . We are also clear that the Falkland Islands Government is entitled to develop a hydrocarbons industry within its waters, and we support this legitimate business in Falklands’ territory.”

Senior US officials insisted that Washington’s position on the Falklands was one of longstanding neutrality. This is in stark contrast to the public backing and vital intelligence offered by President Reagan to Margaret Thatcher once she had made the decision to recover the islands by force in 1982.


Not only vital intel, the satellite imagery that made a huge difference when Vulcan and Victor force touched down on Ascension Island, but pretty much all aid short of war, as I've mentioned before.The US quietly provided the Brits with the latest in sidewinder missiles to protect it's ships as well as vital refueling support of the Royal Navy's task force that enabled it to reach the Islands.

Of course, that was Ronald Reagan and General Haig. There's a very different creature inhabiting the White House nowadays, and I hope every Brit who salivated at the thought of Barack Hussein Obama taking over is choking on it now.

Obama has been insulting to most of our allies, but he's particularly gone out of his way to insult and demean the UK at every opportunity. After all, one of his first acts as president was to return a bust of Churchill given to George W. Bush by Britain after 9/11, and to treat British PM Gordon Brown like a visiting deputy attache from Paraguay . Did the Brits really figure they had a friend in the White House after that?

You see cousins, Israel isn't the only US ally Obama has a deep hatred for simply because of whom he is.

A number of Obama's Kenyan relatives were very involved with the terrorist Mau-mau insurgency that was defeated by the British and their Kenyan allies. To Obama, Britain is simply another colonialist white oppressor. Is it any wonder that he'd chose not to buck the Argentinians and a third world despot like Hugo Chavez over the Falklands, regardless of how the Islanders themselves might want to remain part of Britain?

And Obama and the US aside, there are some unpleasant realities the British themselves need to face.

At this point, Britain's Labour Party has effectively bankrupted the UK to the point that an armed conflict would likely be unsustainable. And that's assuming Britain still had the fleet to fight it with, which it no longer has...yes, Labour saw to that too.

That's why Britain had to run out on its allies and the British fleet scuttled away from its responsibilities in the Persian Gulf after Iran kidnapped a few sailors.

At this point, Argentina has the backing of most of South America, including Hugo Chavez. So Gordon Brown will likely have to make the best deal he can.








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Flashback: The Dems on Reconciliation When They Were The Minority



A little flashback,courtesy of Breitbart. You might remember, back in 2005 when the Democrats were a minority in the House and Senate that they blocked a number of President Bush's judicial nominations and appointees out of sheer spite. They screamed like wounded pea hens when the 51 vote nuclear option was suggested as a remedy.

A few quotes are included above,but here's an especially juicy one from Slo Joe Biden: "I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don't make the kind of naked power grab you are doing."

What happened of course is that Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham cheerfully came to the rescue and created the so-called 'gang if 14' compromise, which in fact ended up keeping a lot of Bush's judicial nominees from getting through.

I said then that it was a huge mistake, and that it would last precisely as long as it took for the Dems to get a solid majority, after which they would set the agreement aside like it never happened. I was right, but given whom these people innately are it wasn't that hard a call.

Aside from McCain-Feingold, which the SCOTUS just gutted, the Gang of 14 debacle will be McCain's lasting legacy and a monument to 'bi-partisanship' as practiced by most Dems,and certainly by their current leadership.

McCain will justifiably get a great deal of flak for that, but I don't think McCain deliberately set out to undermine the GOP or conservatives. I think he feels he acted out of principle, but he just has never realized whom he's dealing with.

Leftards lie. It's in their DNA.








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John Yoo Strikes Back: 'My Gift to the Obama Presidency '

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_fE-F7VIvYfk/Se-DpKZiSVI/AAAAAAAABLM/z2kzA6s1CZE/s320/middle_finger_flame.jpg

You have to love John Yoo, the Bush Administration lawyer who helped formulate legal opinions on enhanced interrogation techniques. After being slimed by the Obama Administration and then cleared for the simple reason that his legal basis was rock solid, he says farewell with a genteely raised middle finger:

Barack Obama may not realize it, but I may have just helped save his presidency. How? By winning a drawn-out fight to protect his powers as commander in chief to wage war and keep Americans safe.

He sure didn't make it easy. When Mr. Obama took office a year ago, receiving help from one of the lawyers involved in the development of George W. Bush's counterterrorism policies was the furthest thing from his mind. Having won a great electoral victory, the new president promised a quick about-face. He rejected "as false the choice between our safety and our ideals" and moved to restore the law-enforcement system as the first line of defense against a hardened enemy devoted to killing Americans.

In office only one day, Mr. Obama ordered the shuttering of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, followed later by the announcement that he would bring terrorists to an Illinois prison. He terminated the Central Intelligence Agency's ability to use "enhanced interrogations techniques" to question al Qaeda operatives. He stayed the military trial, approved by Congress, of al Qaeda leaders. He ultimately decided to transfer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the planner of the 9/11 attacks, to a civilian court in New York City, and automatically treated Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, as a criminal suspect (not an illegal enemy combatant). Nothing better could have symbolized the new president's determination to take us back to a Sept. 10, 2001, approach to terrorism.

Part of Mr. Obama's plan included hounding those who developed, approved or carried out Bush policies, despite the enormous pressures of time and circumstance in the months immediately after the September 11 attacks. Although career prosecutors had previously reviewed the evidence and determined that no charges are warranted, last year Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a new prosecutor to re-investigate the CIA's detention and interrogation of al Qaeda leaders.

In my case, he let loose the ethics investigators of the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to smear my reputation and that of Jay Bybee, who now sits as a federal judge on the court of appeals in San Francisco. Our crime? While serving in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in the weeks and months after 9/11, we answered in the form of memoranda extremely difficult questions from the leaders of the CIA, the National Security Council and the White House on when interrogation methods crossed the line into prohibited acts of torture.

Rank bias and sheer incompetence infused OPR's investigation. OPR attorneys, for example, omitted a number of precedents that squarely supported the approach in the memoranda and undermined OPR's preferred outcome. They declared that no Americans have a right of self-defense against a criminal prosecution, not even when they or their government agents attempt to stop terrorist attacks on the United States. OPR claimed that Congress enjoyed full authority over wartime strategy and tactics, despite decades of Justice Department opinions and practice defending the president's commander-in-chief power. They accused us of violating ethical standards without ever defining them. They concocted bizarre conspiracy theories about which they never asked us, and for which they had no evidence, even though we both patiently—and with no legal obligation to do so—sat through days of questioning.

OPR's investigation was so biased, so flawed, and so beneath the Justice Department's own standards that last week the department's ranking civil servant and senior ethicist, David Margolis, completely rejected its recommendations.

Attorney General Holder could have stopped this sorry mess earlier, just as his predecessor had tried to do. OPR slow-rolled Attorney General Michael Mukasey by refusing to deliver a draft of its report until the 2008 Christmas and New Year holidays. OPR informed Mr. Mukasey of its intention to release the report on Jan. 12, 2009, without giving me or Judge Bybee the chance to see it—as was our right and as we'd been promised.

Mr. Mukasey and Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip found so many errors in the report that they told OPR that the entire enterprise should be abandoned. OPR decided to run out the clock and push the investigation into the lap of the Obama administration. It would have been easy for Mr. Holder to concur with his predecessors—in fact, it was critical that he do so to preserve the Justice Department's impartiality. Instead the new attorney general let OPR's investigators run wild. Only Mr. Margolis's rejection of the OPR report last week forced the Obama administration to drop its ethics charges against Bush legal advisers.


Read the whole thing. It's simply superb.








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Jeb Bush Trashes Sarah Palin



Ex-Florida Governor Jeb Bush apparently thinks Sarah Palin is stupid. He talks nicely about her charisma, but it's obvious that he's slamming her for, in his benighted opinion, not having the "depth of understanding of the complexity of life we're living in today".

The fun starts at about 18:20.

You have to wonder from his description if he's actually ever met Governor Palin. I have, before she went national and she's about as far from the ignorant bumpkin she was portrayed as by the dinosaur media as you can imagine.

It's nakedly obvious that despite his disclaimer, Jeb is at least thinking about a run in 2012. Fine, but as far as I'm concerned, I don't ever want to see another faux-conservative named Bush anywhere near the White House.

And I think there are a lot of people that feel exactly the same way.








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Watcher's council nominations, 2/24/10



The Watcher's Council is a group of some of the most incisive blogs in the`sphere. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one of their own and one from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. After that, the members vote - and the results will be seen here Friday.

So, let's see what we have this week....and do check out the Watcher's screed on Senator John McCain and bi-partisanship.

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions










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