Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Radical Appointment

Twenty-five years ago I was addicted to the British satirical comedy show Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister. The show dealt with a fictional minister and later prime minister, the Rt Hon. Jim Hacker, and his struggles with the British civil service represented by his permanent secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby, who was constantly trying to sabotage the legislation and reforms attempted by the elected official he was supposed to help. This struggle between the representatives of the people and the entrenched bureaucracies in government gave an insight into the powers of career bureaucrats.

I was just reminded of this show as I was reading about appointments by the Obama administration for undersecretary positions. We tend to look at the appointments to the cabinet and assume that the administration is moderate based on who was selected to what position. The press concentrates on the Secretaries of the different departments, but tends to forget the appointments of those assistants, who in many cases have the real power to shape policy based on their views in their areas of expertise.

Some appointments however are so outrageous, that even the ever-dormant media, pushed by bloggers, has no choice but to investigate and report on some of these appointees. We saw this in the case of Charles W. Freeman and his appointment to be chairman of the National Intelligence despite his radical views on China and Saudi Arabia, and his contempt for human rights in these nations. I still cannot understand what Obama was trying to achieve by this appointment, except perhaps to send a message to Israel that things were about to change, and not for the better.

A new appointment has again left many of us scratching our heads and trying to understand the reason for the nomination. The latest controversy came with the nomination of Harold Koh, former deal of Yale Law School, to the position of State Department legal adviser. In this position Koh will deal with international agreements on issues from trade to arms control, and help represent our country in such places as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. However, as reported by Meghan Clyne in the New York Post, and by Daniel Pipes in his blog, Koh is most controversial on the issue of "transnational legal process," or the idea of interpreting the U.S. Constitution according to the legal norms of other countries, and his accusing the U.S. government of constituting an "axis of disobedience" along with North Korea and Saddam-era Iraq.

Furthermore, Steven Stein, a New York lawyer, says that in addressing the Yale Club of Greenwich in 2007, Koh claimed, "in an appropriate case, he didn't see any reason why Sharia law would not be applied to govern a case in the United States."

By his own admission, Koh is an activist and what many would define as a radical who would have the power in the State Department to implement his radical agenda. His nomination gives an insight into the Obama agenda; the hearings at the senate will give us an insight into whether he will be allowed to implement it..

Me and my Kindle...

Well, I am back to blogging after a hiatus forced by two events. The first was receiving my Kindle from Amazon.com, and the second by the realization that the country I love is slipping and sliding into third worldism, but this merits a different entry.

Let’s start with the Kindle. It has been several years since I read about this gadget. The bibliophile in me greeted the news of an electronic book with mixed emotion. I love books, their texture, smell, covers, pages, ink and just the feeling of opening a book for the first time. Of course this emotional attachment has led to four bookcases full with double rows of books, several piles on the floor, half a closet full of books, and an additional 20 volumes on my night table, just in case I wake up in the middle of the night and need to peruse. This doesn’t take into consideration the additional 200 books I have in my place in Florida.

Having established my credentials as a book lover; a couple of weeks ago I decided that the time has come to buy a Kindle, and on impulse I went to Amazon, clicked the purchase icon and three days later a box no larger than a book arrived at my home. I opened it with anticipation and sure enough, here was a white tablet with a screen. I looked at it with a guilty conscience. It almost felt as if I was cheating on my books. What had I done? Centuries of printing presses, ink manufacturing, converting trees into pulp, manufacturing ink, bookbinding, all gone and replaced by zeroes and ones in a binary code, and a bunch of computer chips. My lips moved in a silent apology to Guttenberg as I plugged my new toy into the electric outlet and charged it for the first time. I began reading the instruction on the screen.

An hour later the Kindle was fully charged and I went book shopping in the kitchen. I was greeted by 250,000 volumes that comprise the Amazon list of books available for Kindle. Thousand of those books are available for free, and the rest range in price from 30 cents to $ 14.95. NY Times bestsellers sell for $ 9.99.

I saw the title of a book that I was interested in reading, and I clicked on try a sample. Seconds later the first chapter of the book was in my Kindle. I sat down to read this sample. The letters were too small, so I selected a larger font and realized how comfortable it was to read with a font size determined by me. The format of the page had not changed. I read that chapter, but did not buy the book. I downloaded several other samples until I found a book that I wanted to purchase. I clicked buy, and in about thirty seconds my new book was downloaded. Since the book was On Human Bondage, by Somerset Maugham, and not a current bestseller the cost was 0.99 cents. Reading an old British novel allowed me to use another two wonderful features of the Kindle. The first was the built in dictionary. One clicks on a word and the complete definition appears on the screen. You need more information, and the Kindle takes you to Wikipedia. This is absolutely wonderful. It takes seconds to see definitions and information, eliminating the distraction of having to fetch a dictionary and look for a particular word.

The screen of the Kindle is different from a computer screen, and it requires light to read. This reproduces more the feeling of reading on paper and prevents the eye fatigue that one gets from spending hours reading on a computer screen. For music lovers, Kindle allows you to download mp.3 files so that you can listen to your favorite music while you read. If you are driving or feel like closing you eyes, then you can use the “text-to-speech” figure and have the kindle read to you with a male of female voice. This feature has managed to improve dramatically the quality of the sound, eliminating many of the mechanical sounds produced by text-to-voice on computers. No question that this will revolutionize reading for the blind.

I also enjoyed the fact that Kindle allows you to bookmark, add notes and highlight paragraphs. All this is then stored in the home menu, allowing the reader to find a page or a highlighted item in seconds.

Finally, Kindle allows subscriptions to magazines, blogs and newspapers from around the world. The NY Times sells for $ 13.95 a month and the Washington Post for $ 9.99. Others are cheaper. The papers and magazines are downloaded automatically and they arrive hours before the print edition hits the stand. I love the idea of sitting in a bus or the subway reading the paper without having to disturb my neighbors every time I change pages, and arriving at my destination without ink I my fingers.

As a former educator, I think that this machine should replace textbooks. A child could get all the required books for the school year on the first day of classes and not have to carry the heavy loads they are currently carrying. Furthermore, school districts could save millions buying electronic books. An average textbook cost today around $ 65.00, and an Advanced Placement book can go for as high as $ 120.00.

Do I recommend the Kindle? Definitely. Am I getting rid of my books? Definitely not.

If you have any questions about this gadget, put them in to comments and I will respond.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

They Blame America First

The Blame America First crowd is back in business. Visiting our southern neighbor, Hillary stated that an "insatiable" appetite in the United States for illegal drugs is to blame for much of the violence ripping through Mexico. No, Hillary, an insatiable appetite for mayhem and corruption is to blame for the violence in Mexico.

Does Hillary and the "root causes crowd" at the White House believe that if Americans stopped using drugs, the Mexican underworld would fade into oblivion? Violence in Mexico has been part and parcel of their history, whether it is to control drug traffic or whether it is to control politics and other criminal activities. Today we are more aware of it because the 24 hour cycle of news on TV has brought it to our living rooms.

What has become of our country when our own secretary of state instead of being our advocate becomes our prosecutor?

Meanwhile, the genius at treasury stated that he is open to the governor of the China's central bank proposal to replace the dollar with an international currency, calling the plan modest and evolutionary. This sentence led yesterday to a decline of the value of the dollar

Does the current Obama cabinet realize that they are supposed to be working for the United States?
In addition, The Chicago Tribune is reporting on Rahm Emanuel's cozy relationship with Freddie Mac that netted him $ 320,000 for a 14 month stint as a member of the board of directors. Read the article and see how it works being a Washington insider.
Maybe its time the Obama cabinet got a new red "reset" button.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Weekend Readings

Once again Charles Krauthammer has managed to summarized current problems in a clear and concise manner. If you have not done so, read his column and weep for this country. I am afraid Obama will make Carter look competent.

AIG Recipients

Friday, March 20, 2009

I am not Jewish but...

On March 4, 2009, Rupert Murdoch chairman and CEO of News Corporation, gave a speech upon receiving the National Human Relations Award of the American Jewish Committee. Here is a link to the Jerusalem Post and the adaptation of the speech. It is particularly ironic that the support for Jews and Israel should come from the mouth of a person who for many Jews represents all they hate about the right: Fox News, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

What is it about liberal Jews that makes them ally themselves with those who seek to destroy them? At a time when Israel is facing some of its most dangerous challenges and international isolation we should be embracing those who realize that Israel is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. The way Israel goes is the way the West goes. Who says so? Murdoch does.

Read the article and spend a couple of hours a week listening the Fox News Chanel.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don't Tamper With The Constitution

The House of Representatives voted today on a bill that would tax the bonuses to AIG executives at a rate of 90%.

It is so scary that our legislators either don't understand the U.S. Constitution or have blatantly chosen to ignore it. Either way it looks as if under Obama and a Democrat dominated Congress, we are striving to become a clone of Argentina or Venezuela. Is a clearly abusive distribution of bonuses worth the tampering with the Constitution?

The Constitution clearly states: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. This means that we cannot enact a bill that has a negative effect on a single person or group (Attainder) nor enact an ex post facto bill (Formulated, enacted, or operating retroactively). Justice Chase interpreted ex post facto in Calder v. Bull:

1st Every law that makes an action done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action. 2d. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed. 3d. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense, in order to convict the offender.

For those who might accuse me of taking something out of context, here is a copy of Article 1, Section IX of the Constitution which deals with the legislative branch. Please notice the highlighted 3rd paragraph:

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.) (Section in parentheses clarified by the 16th Amendment.)

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Family Guy Mocks Jews

I wasn't even aware of this controversy until I received an email from Naomi Ragen where she discusses this disturbing case.

In one episode of Family Guy entitled When You Wish Upon a Weinstein, the family guy sings the song "I need a Jew" as he is looking for someone to manage his money. The song plays to the stereotype that Jews know all about money, and "even though they killed my Lord, I need a Jew."

Haaretz reports that when the show was sued by Disney, a judge ruled that the song "was humorous and sufficiently different in character that it didn't infringe on the rights of the owners of the Disney song. " The composer of the song is Jewish.

Two days ago there was a kerfuffle in the media concerning Jackie Mason use of the word "schwartze" when referring to Obama, and attempted to portray Mason as a racist. In the meantime, a show that is seen by millions of viewers around the world does an offensive episode that plays to the the basest anti-Semitic stereotypes and no one has deemed it necessary to complain.

Talking about anti-Semites, what was Carter doing visiting Obama in the White House? Is Obama asking this failed president for advise?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Europe Syndrome and the Challenge to American Exceptionalism

The following is a link to the transcript of a lecture by Charles Murray, asking the whether we want to be more like Europe.

It is a clear and concise argument for preserving the values that have made America great, and for rejecting the welfare state that in the name of security has taken away from individuals and the family the challenges that make life worth living. Definitely worth reading.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pay the Bonuses to AIG Executives

What a refreshing idea. A journalist that actually supports paying the AIG executives and publishes an article on the subject in the New York Times. In a logically written article, Andrew Ross Sorkin presents the case for paying the bonuses promised to AIG executives based on the concept of sanctity of contracts, and he makes sense. Now, before you yell like Nancy Pelossi that auto workers had to renegotiate their contracts, Ross explains that in the case of the UAW the renegotiation was done bilaterally, and not in the unilateral way that is being done with AIG.

I was for letting AIG fail, and I still think that it would have been to logical course to take. I completely disagree with fear mongers who say that this would have brought the whole financial system down. Although AIG was unique in the conglomeration of different varieties of insurance, there are quite a few giants that are salivating at the thought of purchasing sectors of this company at bargain prices.

Now that the taxpayers own 80% of AIG, the bonus fiasco is but a small example of what any enterprise managed by the government will look like. Governments don't go bankrupt, and as such have zero incentive for disciplining themselves. Now AIG has the survivability of the IRS or any other bureaucracy that exists despite the fact that all it does is damage to the country.

Finally, while we are on the subject of AIG, no one is mentioning the role of ex governor Spitzer in bringing down Hank Greenberg, the legendary CEO and builder of this company and majority stockholder. The day that Greenberg left AIG was the day that the hanky panky started. When the history of this crisis is written, Spitzer will be shown to have have screwed not only prostitutes, but the American people.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Weekend Ramblings

Thank God we didn't elect Sarah Palin. She was so low class. Not like the erudite Biden who this week retorted to a question with a classy "Give me a fucking break!"

In the meantime another test for the Obama administration. Russia has just announced that it has an interest in using Cuban airfields for their patrolling bombers. Hugo "I wannabe Castro" Chavez has also offered his airfields to the Russians. Why is it that I have zero confidence in this administration standing up to Russia. It must be because of Obama's slogan in the campaign "restore diplomacy" and the "reset" button Hilary offered the Russian foreign minister. Hey Obama, remember these two words: "Monroe Doctrine."

Experts have warned us that we are in danger of losing 75% of the rainforest in Brazil. This brought back memories of my early teaching career. In the 1970's and 80's, social studies textbooks dedicated many pages to environmental disasters. Desertification, Global Cooling, Acid Rain, Population Growth were terms used in every Regents Examination. As I was preparing a lesson plan and looking for newspaper articles to motivate the lesson, I came across one that stated that every week we lose in the rainforest an area the size of Rhode Island. Well, this meant 1,545 square miles a week, which translated to 80,340 square miles a year. Therefore, according to the "experts" in thirty years we were going to lose 2,410,000 square miles. Now, the total area of Brazil is 3,287,597 square miles, thus, the rainforest in this country has to have become extinct in the last decade. But no, it didn't, and a new generation of experts will make sure that the supply of grants continues to support them by claiming that in twenty years the rainforest will disappear. I am not worried, because according to Al Gore, the world will self-destroy in ten.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More from Seymour Hersh, Ian Fleming wannabe

Once again Seymour Hersh has come with an unsubstantiated James Bondian tale of conspiracy, and The New Yorker provides him with a platform to disseminate these manufactured tales. This time Hersh presents us with the story that vice-president Cheney, all by himself, ran an executive assassination team. Wow. All that’s missing is Cheney sitting on a high platform caressing a cat while ordering, “Bring me Abdullah’s head.”

Like all good tales, this story has its basis on fact. The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), together with the CIA's Special Activities Division has been involved in black operations in the course of searching for al-Qaeda and other terrorists. However, Hersh has weaved a tale where Chaney was the sole master of these operations. This is absolutely false.

JSOC was formed in 1980, as a result of the failed rescue operation of the hostages in Iran and has operated under the U.S. Special Operations Command, which reports to the secretary of defense, the president, and is under congressional oversight.

If Cheney was involved in ordering the assassination of al-Qaeda operatives, he did so within the law and with the full knowledge of Congress. Therefore, I must conclude with a heartfelt “Thank you, Mr. Cheney.”

Thank you, Weekly Standard.

What Will Pat Buchanan Say Now?

Associated Press

German Prosecutors Charge 88-Year-Old Ex-Nazi 29,000 Times

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 BERLIN —

German prosecutors said Wednesday they have charged retired Ohio auto worker John Demjanjuk with more than 29,000 counts of accessory to murder for his time as a guard at the Nazis' Sobibor death camp, and will seek his extradition from the U.S.Demjanjuk is accused of participating in the murders while he was a guard at the Nazi camp in occupied Poland between March and September 1943.

"In this capacity, he participated in the accessory to murder of at least 29,000 people of the Jewish faith," Munich prosecutors said in a statement.The 88-year-old Demjanjuk, who lives in a Cleveland suburb, denies involvement. His son, John Demjanjuk Jr., said Wednesday he would return a call later with comment. A family spokesman, former Demjanjuk son-in-law Ed Nishnic, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter at Israel's Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he was "very pleased that the German authorities have taken this step.""We hope that the process can be expedited to ensure that this Holocaust perpetrator will finally be appropriately punished," Zuroff told the AP in a telephone interview from Jerusalem. "We're on our way to a victory for justice today."

A native of Ukraine, Demjanjuk emigrated to the U.S. in 1952 and gained citizenship in 1958.In denying involvement in war crimes, he has said he served in the Soviet army and became a prisoner of war when he was captured by Germany in 1942.Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel in 1986, when the U.S. Justice Department believed he was the sadistic Nazi guard known as Ivan the Terrible from the Treblinka death camp.He spent seven years in custody before the Israeli high court freed him after receiving evidence that another Ukrainian was that Nazi guard.Demjanjuk's U.S. citizenship was restored in 1998, but the U.S. Justice Department renewed its case, saying he was another Nazi guard and could be deported for falsifying information on his entry and citizenship applications in the 1950s.A December 2005 U.S. court ruling determined that he could be deported to his native Ukraine or to Germany or Poland, but Demjanjuk spent several years challenging that ruling.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to consider Demjanjuk's appeal against deportation, clearing the way for the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which oversees cases against former Nazis, to seek his removal from the United States.But it was unclear which country would take him — his native Ukraine, Poland or Germany.Now, the Munich prosecutor's office, which is handling the case because Demjanjuk spent time at a refugee camp in the area after the war, said it was working on the extradition request with the German government.Munich prosecutors credited help from the U.S. Office of Special investigations in clarifying the validity of Nazi-era identity papers in enabling them to file charges against Demjanjuk.They said Demjanjuk will be formally charged before a judge once he is extradited to Germany.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Things I Have Enjoyed Reading

Michelle Obama went to a homeless shelter to serve food. Here she is photographed by a homeless man who is too poor to have a home, but not poor enough to deny himself a cell phone. Only in America! Thank you Ihatethemedia.com.

My favorite liberal has done it again. In her column in Salon.com, Camille Paglia has written a scathing analysis of the problems plaguing the Obama administration, and she points her finger at the advisers and cabinet members of the new administration. The article is written in the style that is unique to Ms Paglia. Her fans will love it, those who don't know her will become her fans. Click here for a link to her article.

Politico has a good report on the withdrawal of Charles W. Freeman from his appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia suffers from the same malady afflicting so many diplomats who have served in the merciful kingdom, namely, petrodollaritis. This disease is manifested by an intense desire to lobby for the Wahhabi version of the world. However, some reporters who are versed in Washington issues, have reminded us that Freeman was also an apologist for the Chinese communists, and justified the Chinese handling of Tienanmen Square. Of course, the Israeli lobby is blamed for derailing his nomination. What else is new? Read the article here and read another interesting article on the topic here.

In Minnesota the New Market Mortgage Agency has instituted a system of Islamic Sharia Mortgages. Read the article here. I can't wait until the insane crowd in Minnesota institutes stoning and legalizes "honor killing" to ensure that Muslims don't feel alienated in this country.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Manchurian Candidate

Excellent article by Kevin Hassett on Obama’s economic policies. The article was published by Bloomberg News. Click here for the link to the article.

Monday, March 9, 2009

40 Lashes in the Name of the Merciful

While so many around the world seem so shocked by the events that took place in Gaza; in Saudi Arabia a 74 year old woman was sentenced to forty lashes and 4 months in jail for mingling with two young men who are not her relatives and who were in the process of delivering bread. After the sentence, the woman will be deported to her native Syria, since her Saudi husband is dead.

I am deafened by the silence of the international civil libertarians who accuse Israel and America and the West in general, but are reluctant to point a finger at a society that represses half of its population and sees as moral sentencing to forty lashes a woman who because of her age might just die as a result of this punishment.

I am no psychologist, but I cannot help and feel that in Islamic societies with millions of sexually repressed young men, this type of punishments fulfil some kind of sick psycho-sexual fantasy. Let's remember that in Saudi Arabia men don't see the face of a female who is not a relative or a female body until they get married.

Do you know of any university clamoring for divestment from Saudi investments?

The Divestment Campaign at Hampshire College

Students for Justice in Palestine at Hampshire College in conjunction with a large part of the faculty, have been pressuring the administration to divest its investments from Israeli companies and companies doing business with Israel. Alan Dershowitz has once again taken upon himself to fight this irrational injustice and did so quite successfully. Here are two links concerning this controversy:

Deshowitz asks to stop contributions to Hamshire college

Dershowitz on the Hampshire administration doing the right thing.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Suggested Readings for March 6, 2009

Once again Charles Krauthammer demonstrates why he is the best pundit and columnists. Click here for his article on Obama's deceptive plans.

This an interesting article by Daniel Pipes on The Voice of America and Islamism. Click here to read the article.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Some Views From Across the Pond

James Delingpole, writing for The Telegraph, asks whether Michelle Obama is behind the snub of Gordon Brown. If her perceptions of history as described by Delingpole are correct, and she has the the president's ear, we will convert many friends into antagonists.

This last sentence was not inspired by the size of Obama's ears.

In the meantime, The Daily Mail reports that Obama gave Gordon Brown 25 DVD's of great American movies. As the newspaper reports:

It was the equivalent of receiving a pair of socks from an unfamiliar
aunt at Christmas - and a less-than-glowing affirmation of the UK-US

The pathetic package included the following movies:
1. Citizen Kane
2. The Godfather
3. Casablanca
4. Raging Bull
5. Singing In The Rain
6. Gone With The Wind
7. Lawrence Of Arabia
8. Schindler's List
9. Vertigo
10. The Wizard Of Oz
11. City Lights
12. The Searchers
13. Star Wars: Episode IV
14. Psycho
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey
16. Sunset Boulevard
17. The Graduate
18. The General
19. On The waterfront
20. It's A Wonderful Life
21. China Town
22. Some Like It Hot
23. The Grapes Of Wrath
24. ET: The Extra Terrestrial
25. To Kill A Mocking Bird.

The Arbiter of Fairness

Well, Timothy Geithner is not only a financial genius, but also an expert on global warming and Turbo Tax. Sorry…forget Turbo Tax.

Yesterday the wizard of Wall Street testified before Congress that subsidies in the form of tax breaks to oil and natural gas producers should be abolished because they contribute to global warming. He also voiced the position of the messianic administration, which proposed levying an excise tax on oil and natural gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico that would help raise 5.3 billion dollars between 2011-2019. An additional proposed fee of $4 per acre on leases in the Gulf would generate an additional 1.2 billion dollars over said period of time.

Let us ponder this. We are in the midst of a recession that, according to Obama, might turn into a depression, and now the proposal is to add new taxes? I am not sure how many economics courses Obama took in college, but does he really believe that the oil companies will swallow the tax increases and the additional fees, and deduct it from their dividends? Of course not. Every additional dollar in the cost of exploration will be passed along to the consumer, and each dollar going to the coffers of the state, is a dollar less in the circular flow of currency of the free market.

As I watch members of the cabinet testifying, I came to realize that Obama has surrounded himself with two types of acolytes. Those who are radicals just like him, and this group includes Hilda Solis at Labor, Attorney General Eric Holder, HHS secretary Kathleen Sibelius, Janet Napolitano at Intelligence and Lisa Jackson at EPA. The other group includes characters that probably know better, but are too enthralled of being in this historic administration and have become yes men for Barack Obama. Geithner, who seems sick every time he testifies, heads this group with trade representative Ron Kirk, who is another tax evader, OMB director Peter Orszag, Hilary Clinton at State and Leon Panetta at the CIA. The rest seem to belong to the Tabula Rasa Club.

I remember hearing presidential candidate Obama interviewed by Maria Bartiromo on CNBC. He mentioned raising taxes on the wealthiest American, a group that in New York City would include a policeman married to a teacher. When presented with evidence that tax cuts lead to increase revenues he responded that increasing taxes on the wealthy was “a question of fairness.”

Just like Chris Matthews, I felt a tingling sensation crawling up my leg. In contrast to Matthews, I recognized the feeling. It was the hand of the IRS inside my pockets.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Carter-Obama Corollary

The Jimmy Carter Corollary: A foreign affairs phenomenon that occurs when one powerful nation kowtows to a less powerful one which in return uses this opportunity to kick the powerful nation in the posterior. Named after the 39th president when his genuflection to the Ayatollahs concluded with 55 Americans being held hostage for 444 days.

Some students of history also attribute the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR to this corollary. Said invasion, in conjunction with the rise of the Iranian clergy led to the rise of Islamism, and al-Qaeda, events for which we are still paying the consequences. And now, once again we are facing this phenomenon that I propose should be renamed the Carter-Obama Corollary.

The first signs of a return to the genuflecting school of politics took place when the US Badminton team was refused entry visas to Iran on February 4, 2009. Since then the US has polished its act, and in an example of extreme courage approached Russia with the proposal that the United States would remove the missile defense system from Europe in exchange for Russia’s help in convincing the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Russia response was: “no haggling, just remove the missiles and we will be happy.”

In another act of vision and diplomatic courage, the Obama administration will donate 900 million dollars that we will borrow from China, for rebuilding Gaza. In an insult to the diminishing intelligence of many Americans, Hillary explained that the money would not go to Hamas. I am not aware of anyone in the media asking how this will be prevented. If Hamas, which rules Gaza, has funds for rebuilding infrastructure and we give them money, would it not free said funds for the purchase of weapons and missiles?

I am not disappointed because I expected the worst from the new administration. My fears were confirmed when a bust of Winston Churchill was removed from the Oval Office and sent back to England.

Knowing Barack Obama, I have no doubt that he would be much more comfortable with a bust of Chamberlain.

Must Read....

Mark Steyn is back at the Canadian magazine MacLeans where he has published a great article on the dangers of not having children "to save the planet."

Daniel Pipes on The Gaza Reconstruction Conference in Egypt

A vintage Thomas Sowell article where he asks "Is Talk Cheap?"

Israpundit.com publishes an article by Joan Swirsky about Obama, full of inuendo, rumors and conspiracies. Still, fun to read.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Climate Change

New York City is under a blanket of snow, and we know it is bad because schools are closed. If you are not a New Yorker you wouldn’t think that closing schools because of snow is a big deal, but here it really is. I don’t remember when was the last time that this happened.

Under the nanny government in this metropolis, schools have become institutions designed to replace parental responsibility, and as such they are open 12 months a year to ensure that children are provided food and shelter. Thus, the reluctance to close for snow days. So we know how bad the March 2 storm really is.

It is still snowing, and some records have been shattered, but the greenies are getting ready for a massive demonstration in Washington to protest global warming…oooops….I mean climate change.

In this society where the tyranny of words have metamorphosed tax increases into revenue enhancement or investments in our future, global warming has suddenly become climate change. I noticed this a few days ago. As I walked passed the Museum of Natural History I saw a gigantic banner announcing a new exhibit on climate change. What happened to global warming? Well, with a change in terminology we can now blame snowstorms, record cold days, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, monsoons and the use of growth hormones by athletes on climate change. Why limit ourselves to just warm weather?

It might be coincidence, but a couple of weeks ago, when Al Gore had to testify in Congress, Washington was also facing record cold weather and snow. I am not superstitious, but I am beginning to feel queasy every time the greenies announce an event to protect the planet.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg on the Taxpayers of NYC

Mayor Bloomberg’s statement in opposition to a tax increase for the wealthy in NYC that was proposed by governor Patterson:

"One percent of the people that live in the city, the households that file in the city pay something like 50% of the taxes. In a city that's about 40,000 people so, you know, a handful left, any raise would make it revenue neutral. The question is, "What's fair?" If one percent are paying 50% of the taxes, you want to make it even more? A little over half the people, half the households who file tax returns don't pay any taxes. And about 30% of the households that file get a credit from the government. The government sends them a check. That's the Earned Income Tax Credit."

Grant and Lee at the NY Historical Society

Yesterday I went to the New York Historical Society, where they have a new exhibit: Grant and Lee in War and Peace. These two figures are used to illustrate not only their rivalries, but to also evaluate the forces that have shaped our nation since the Civil War. As usual, I went to see this exhibit with a great degree of anticipation, and as usual, the NYHS managed to disappoint me. The exhibit did not have a coherent sequence and the artifacts shown were in their majority items that can be seen in any antiques store. Furthermore, the displays were explained by articles placed on the walls, and most of the time one had to play detective to find the connection between the article and the displays. Postcards, letters and newspaper clippings were placed too high to read. The animated films were amateurish, and the historical evaluations were a long list of politically correct clich├ęs.

I was particularly incensed by a five minute film that explained the role of the White League and the end of Reconstruction that came with the election of Rutherford B. Hayes and the Compromise of 1877. The narrator of this film concludes with an admonition to the students who watch the film, and here I paraphrase: “Therefore, when your teachers tell you that we have a history of 200 years of democracy, no coup d'etat, and terrorism is something that occurs in other nations, remind them of the election of 1876.

To take an isolated historical event and place it into an historically relativist context is not only poor scholarship, but also unfair. The end of Reconstruction has to be studied within the context of the times, and the fatigue with decades of conflict. Was it a moment to be proud of? I doubt it. But was this event something that we can compare with the lack of democracy and terrorism around the world? The answer is definitely no.

The end of Reconstruction in 1877 left in place forces that although dormant for decades, eventually allowed in 2008 the election of the first black president of the United States. Students, tell this to your teachers when they blast our great nation.