Monday, March 22, 2010
Is President Obama At War With America?
If a frontal assault on the foundational principals and values of American life can qualify as being “at war” - then yes, Barack Obama is in combat with our country. And while the belligerence of both his administration and his party’s congressional leadership have seemingly created a sense of alarm across the U.S., their apparent disregard for their own self-inflicted political damage is all the more staggering.
Taking aim at America’s foundations has impacted us both here at home, and abroad. European allies France and England have both made note of our President’s “short shrift” treatment over the past fourteen months, while earlier this month French President Nicolas Sarkozy chastised Obama for his protectionist, anti-free trade policies ( “this is not the right way to behave” Sarkozy told our President). And just last week Vice President Biden took U.S.-Israel relations to a new low point by criticizing the nation on their own soil.
But domestically, Obama’s greatest offense to American life is fundamentally economic in its nature. And at its root, his assault on our sensibilities is best described in terms that he himself has used to criticize others.
In a quickly produced campaign commercial back in the Fall of 2008, candidate Obama addressed the then- melting down American financial system, stating that “this crisis serves as a stark reminder of the failures of crony capitalism, and an economic philosophy that sees any regulation at all as unwise and unnecessary…” At that moment in time, long-standing American financial institutions were being crushed, mostly by their overexposure to sub-prime mortgages, while the stock market was tumbling precipitously.
Was “cronyism” in the financial system really our problem back then? Arguably it was one of many problems at that time, although Obama’s insinuation that our capitalistic free market economy is “un-regulated” was phony (completely un-regulated capitalism does not exist).
But today, cronyism is so flagrant and blatant at the highest ranks of our government, that the President and the congress have lost the confidence and the trust of both America’s cultural “right” and “left.” The stunning, “we’ll-stop-at-nothing” fight to take-over the healthcare industry and the medical profession has put Obama-styled cronyism on full display – and therein lies the greatest assault on America.
The cronyism, however, didn’t begin with the healthcare fight. After taking office, President Obama got to work right away buying-off people who would serve his interests, as he continued the destructive precedent established by George W. Bush and handed over billions of our tax dollars to Chrysler and General Motors. He then established his special “Automotive Task Force,” and appointed as the head of the task force Steve Rattner, a Wall Street investor with no experience in the car business but with lots of experience in raising campaign money for Obama and Democrats.
When GM and Chrysler ended-up in bankruptcy, President Obama insisted that everybody involved needed to “sacrifice,” yet the only people to experience a loss were the companies’ secured creditors. The Obama Administration used the full power of the White House to force the creditors to accept debt payment of thirty cents on the dollar, and then during the “re-structuring” of the companies managed to have chunks of each corporation “gifted” to the United Auto Workers Union (the UAW currently owns about 17% of GM, and slightly over 50% of Chrysler).
President Obama had a good reason to provide “gifts” to the UAW – labor union members frequently make great, loyal, campaign foot soldiers for Democrats. And for this reason it was no surprise when President Obama negotiated an exemption from the mandates of his nationalized healthcare plan for UAW members – they already receive healthcare benefits, and it made no sense to entangle into government healthcare a group of people who could be politically beneficial to Barack Obama.
Then there are the “gifts” to individual members of Congress. The “Louisiana purchase” with Senator Mary Landrieu and the “Cornhusker kickback” happened months ago. Yet all within the last week, we saw Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich go from a “no” to a “yes” vote on Obamacare after his wife was given a job working for Michelle Obama. And the Obama Administration used the power of the Department of the Interior to expand California’s water allocations, in exchange for the votes of on-the-fence Representatives Costa and Cardoza.
And why, exactly, does the Obamacare agenda require all Americans to buy health insurance? Using the force of government to create more “demand” for their product was a great way for President Obama to garner the political support of the insurance industry.
Yet at the epicenter of all of this – all the bribes, manipulations, and heavy-handed mandates – is the narrow, political self-interest of one man: Barack Obama. America’s cultural “right” decries the loss of freedom and the rise of abusive government, while the “left” decries a government that lines the pockets of for-profit corporations (companies that are presumed to be “greedy”), all for the benefit of one self-serving politician.
This is the assault on America’s foundational principals and values. It is the assault of governmental cronyism, on our basic understandings of what is right, and fair.
Keeping An Eye On The Domestic Threat
One of the most frequent questions I am asked about my transit from the political left to the right some thirty years ago is why I did not stop somewhere along the way, and in particular somewhere “in the middle,” by which the questioner usually means on the Democratic Party side of the political divide. In fact, I remember very clearly why I did not. At the time of my transition, just before the 1984 re-election, Ronald Reagan and the Republicans were trying to hold the line against a Communist offensive in Central America, while Democratic senators – Tom Harkin, John Kerry and Christopher Dodd among them – were conducting their own private diplomacy in Central America to cut deals with the Communists while the Democratic House was seeking to cut funds for the anti-Communist forces on the ground. I had turned my back on the left because of the support it gave to the Communists in Indo-China, which had enabled the slaughter of two-and-a-half million peasants when Democrats cut-off funding to the anti-Communist forces.
I was reminded of these events by a report that appeared recently on the Newsweek website: “Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein and other prominent Senate Democrats have accused spies at the Homeland Security Department of basing official intelligence reports on dubious open-source material. Inquiries … indicate that at least some of the data that Feinstein and her colleagues deemed ‘questionable’ came from a website set up by outspoken conservative activist David Horowitz to catalogue negative information about the political left.”
This was a reference to DiscovertheNetworks.org, an encyclopedia of the left, which I launched in February 2005 and which has attracted over the last five years 22.4 million unique visitors, among them the producers of innumerable radio and TV talk shows. According to the Newsweek report, Senator Feinstein’s immediate concern was: “a profile of an unnamed but prominent American Islamic leader and was produced by Homeland Security’s intelligence office during the latter years of the Bush administration. The report was requested by the Department’s civil rights office, whose officials were preparing to meet with the Islamic leader. But instead of sending the civil rights office a quick bio of the individual in question, Homeland’s intelligence office issued a ‘finished’ intel report that was circulated to other intelligence agencies and, eventually, to Congressional oversight committees.”
In other words, Senator Feinstein and the Democrats were objecting to the scrutiny of a prominent Islamic leader scheduled to meet with the Bush Administration, even though leaders of prominent “mainstream” Islamic organizations such as CAIR have been convicted of terrorist activities, while others have been linked by the FBI to a formally organized network of the Muslim Brotherhood, the fountainhead of Islamic terrorism.
The letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is the focus of the Newsweek article, complains that the Department of Homeland Security “used ‘certain questionable’ source material to glean ‘derogatory’ information about [a particular] Muslim leader, including information from an unidentified source ‘with obvious political motivation whose stated purpose is to “identif[y] the individuals and organizations that make up the left”.’ The senators added that the source also included information on “’numerous members of Congress and two former Presidents of the United States.’”
The source was censored from the Intelligence Committee letter, but Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball was able to identify it using a Google search as Discoverthenetworks.org: “The website is one of a number of anti-left and anti-Islamic websites operated by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Los Angeles-based assortment of conservative political organizations founded and headed by David Horowitz, a 1960s-vintage far-left organizer who migrated sharply to the political right.”
When Hosenball interviewed me, I told him that I had no knowledge of the Homeland Security incident but hoped that intelligence officials were consulting DiscovertheNetworks regularly – for the sake of the country. The political left, I told him, “including some members of Congress – [the one I named was Barbara Lee, head of the Black Caucus] has a long history of … actively working with and collaborating with America’s enemies.” I also assured him that the material on his DiscovertheNetworks.org is “factual,” and not written in an inflammatory manner, which could be easily checked.
Of all the projects of the David Horowitz Freedom Center over its 22-year history, its university campaigns, the scores of books its principals and contributors have authored, the hundreds of lectures they have given and the thousands of articles its websites have published, I regard the creation of DiscovertheNetworks as its single most significant achievement with the most far reaching long-term impact on the future of this country. This is not because it is a “catalogue [of] negative political information about the political left,” as Newsweek claimed. It is no such thing, but rather a map describing the origins, activities, agendas, funding and interlocking networks of a political movement whose collective goal is the destruction of American capitalism and pluralism, and the framework its Founders created more than 200 years ago.
Ever since making my political conversion I have been aware that the American public is dangerously naïve about the nature and purposes of the American left (although mercifully it is an innocence that is rapidly coming to an end). The extent of this innocence is reflected in an incident twenty years past when I gave a speech to the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation in St. Louis. Cardinal Mindszenty was a hero of the anti-Communist cause, and the Mindszenty Foundation was as conservative an organization was likely to host me.
In my days as a radical I would have described myself as a “Marxist revolutionary,” but when it came to my introduction, my host presented me as “a former peace activist and civil rights worker.” How familiar is this? Sworn enemies of American capitalism and American democracy such as Angela Davis and Michael Moore are universally described by mainstream media as “liberals” even though they are Marxists. The campaign to prevent America from toppling Saddam Hussein was portrayed in the mainstream media as a “peace movement” even though its leaders were self-described supporters of Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and other Communists, and they did not organize a single “peace” demonstration in front of the Iraqi embassy to demand that Saddam Hussein cease his defiance of 17 UN arms control resolutions and allow inspectors the required access to his weapons sites.
DiscoverTheNetworks strips the veil from thousands of radical groups who fly under false flags and attempt to slip beneath the radar by referring to themselves as peace movements and civil liberties organizations and campaigns for “social justice.” For the first time the left’s history, and agendas and commitments are displayed for a public that has not made the study of the left a lifetime occupation. This is a service to the country and the cause of freedom. For that reason, the most alarming aspect of the Newsweek report is the fact that the Bush Homeland Security Department had to refer to our research to warn the White House of the dangers a prospective visitor might pose and did not have this information in its own files.
Proud to help -- and to fly our flag
The United States has brought millions of dollars and many tons of aid to Haiti, but one thing we brought is not welcome: the American flag. For awhile, it flew over the compound where the Joint Task Force Haiti was operating, but no more. Apparently, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive thought it implied a U.S. occupation, and so, in a pitiful example of political correctness, it was lowered. This is even more ironic given that the French contingent proudly flies its flag and France held Haiti as a colony until a bloody revolution.
If the Haitian prime minister is unhappy with having the U.S. flag on his soil, we certainly can remove it. We can fold it nicely and place it in one of those giant containers full of food and medical supplies we brought, take one of the many pieces of construction equipment we brought, load it on one of the many planes and ships full of more of the same, and take them all back to the United States.
The prime minister should be so lucky as to have the United States occupy Haiti. Perhaps then his citizens could enjoy security and prosperity that he couldn't deliver even before the earthquake. Haiti consistently has been the worst place to live in the entire Western Hemisphere. But we are not there to occupy the country; we are simply doing what we always do. When the world dials 911, the phone is answered at the Pentagon. We may or may not be the world's policeman, but we certainly are its first responders.
Whenever a disaster occurs, man-made or natural, the U.S. military is the only force on Earth that can and does respond. No matter where, no matter who. When I served in Army Special Forces, we regularly came to help when tropical cyclones, typhoons and even the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines left people in need of humanitarian aid. We always showed the American flag, as it is a signal of security and safety in times of crisis. It also enabled those we helped to know who brought them relief. Surprisingly, instead of wondering whether we were there to occupy them, most people were smart enough to understand we were there to save their lives.
The idea that we have a reason to be ashamed or something to hide for doing this is disgraceful. It is one thing to be cognizant of the feelings of other countries. It is quite another to act as if the American flag is something other than a shining beacon of freedom and safety. Sadly, this is just another example of the current administration's feeling that America has more reasons to apologize than to be proud. The U.S. military does more humanitarian work around the world than anyone, and we should be flying our flag proudly over those operations.
ACORN sliding toward bankruptcy?: "The indelible images of ACORN workers helping a faux pimp and prostitute set up a tax shelter for a brothel certainly played into the advocacy group’s slide toward bankruptcy, though its problems began long before last year’s scandal. The New York Times is reporting that officials at the housing advocacy group will hold a teleconference this weekend to announce a bankruptcy filing. The group is reeling from a disbanding of at least 15 of its 30 state chapters in recent weeks, including the one in Maryland that served as the set for one of the most outrageous videos produced by conservative reporters James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, and led to government agencies like the Census Bureau severing ties to ACORN.”
Legislators rethink on teens & “sexting” : "In Iowa, Jorge Canal is on the sex offenders registry because, at 18, he was convicted of distributing obscene materials to a minor after he sent a picture of his penis by cellphone to a 14-year-old female friend who had requested it. In Florida, Phillip Alpert, then 18, was charged with distributing child pornography and put on the sex offenders registry because after a fight, he sent a photograph of his nude 16-year old girlfriend by e-mail to dozens of people, including her parents. In most states, teenagers who send or receive sexually explicit photographs by cellphone or computer — known as ’sexting’ — have risked felony child pornography charges and being listed on a sex offender registry for decades to come. But there is growing consensus among lawyers and legislators that the child pornography laws are too blunt an instrument to deal with an adolescent cyberculture in which all kinds of sexual pictures circulate on sites like MySpace and Facebook.”
On the unnecessary nature of much regulation: "I will admit that much of my personal opposition to the swamp of regulations in which we find ourselves is that I personally cannot stand being told what to do: I’ll find my own way to my grave thank you very much. This isn’t, I’ll also admit, all that strong an argument as a public or political policy against regulation. My personal wants or desires only become such when they are widely shared. However, there is a much stronger argument against said regulation: it doesn’t actually do what it sets out to do.”
Cash-strapped, state governments boosting traffic fee scams: "Shomari Jennings was willing to pay the $70 ticket he received for driving without a seatbelt, but not the slew of tacked-on fees and penalties that ballooned the cost more than tenfold. Every $10 of his base fine triggered a $26 ‘penalty assessment’ for courthouse construction, a DNA identification program, emergency medical services and other programs. Other fees ranged from $1 to $35. ‘It’s the new tax,’ Jennings, 30, complained while waiting in traffic court to contest a staggering bill compounded by a $500 fine for missing a court date. And motorists can only expect more of the same as cash-strapped cities and states consider measures ranging from expansion of red-light camera systems to charging drivers for cleanup after accidents.”
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)