Friday, December 31, 2010

The American Government Enables Worldwide Sharia by Censoring Critics of Radical Islam

Ned May Posted by Ned May Dec 31st 2010 at 4:44 am in Defense and Foreign Policy, Featured Story, Religion 

As I reported reported earlier, four “Swedes” and a “Dane” were arrested yesterday for planning a massive attack on the Jyllands-Posten building in Copenhagen as revenge for the Mohammed cartoons. They intended to make their operation a reprise of Mumbai, with as many innocent casualties as possible.

The plan was larger and more ambitious than previous Motoon revenge plots, but it was not different in kind.

As Dymphna reported last year, the plot against Kurt Westergaard and Flemming Rose in October 2009 was designed as a mass attack on Jyllands-Posten’s offices. Last year’s version was part of a conspiracy that extended back to the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and involved terrorists in Canada and the United States, including David Headley. Yesterday’s plot may have similar connections; it’s too early to tell.


The terror plot in Denmark assumes a wider significance when juxtaposed with a leaked American diplomatic cable, which coincidentally was also reported yesterday at Islam in Europe. Readers should consult Esther’s entire post for the details on the WikiLeaks revelations, but the gist is this:

The United States government, through ambassador James P. Cain, pressured the Danish government to force Jyllands-Posten not to reprint the Motoons on the first anniversary of their publication. The Danish government responded by basically telling us to buzz off, that they were not in the business of telling their newspapers what to print or not print. So the ambassador contacted the newspaper directly, and spoke to its editor-in-chief.

As it happened, the paper had already decided — independent of any American or Danish government pressure — not to reprint the cartoons. Although Ambassador Cain was pleased, he reported back to Washington on what he considered the unfortunate aspects of the affair:
On the negative side, though, this popular center-right government has hardened its views on the absolute primacy of free speech. The prime minister appeared willing to let Jyllands-Posten dictate the timing of the next Islam vs. West confrontation without question or open discussion within the government. [emphasis added]
In other words: The United States ambassador considered the “absolute primacy of free speech” to be a NEGATIVE.

The Danish government believes in freedom of the press more than our own government does.
Gud bevare Danmark — May God preserve Denmark!

Remember: all of this occurred on the watch of President George W. Bush, the man who said the United States was the “friend of all those who love freedom”. The same guy who sent our soldiers all over the world to die for “freedom”.

Some “freedom”.

One of the big mistakes being made by American conservatives nowadays is to believe that the Republicans are substantively different on this sort of issue than the Democrats. They aren’t.

That’s why I experience a certain loathing when I read magazines and look at websites that act as partisan cheerleaders for the Republicans at all times, no matter what. Whatever helps Republicans win elections is good. Whatever hurts their chances is bad.

Yes, yes: I know the Republicans favor higher defense spending. But they use all that military power to serve the purposes of the Saudis and the Emirates. If we ever take out Iran’s nuclear capability, it will not be to “advance the cause of human freedom”, but to eliminate a rival and threat to Saudi Arabia. Petrodollars speak louder than the electorate. It’s as simple as that.

The mainstream Republicans are on board with all this. They’re appalling. They’re disgusting.

And yes, the Democrats are worse, but the Republicans pretend to stand on principle — and so they should.

As it stands now, they are masters of the Big Lie.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
If the opinion of its ambassador to Denmark is any indication, the United States of America believes that the best way to prevent terrorism is not to target the source, but to restrict the speech of those who offend Muslims.

Whether they realize it or not, America’s policymakers are actually promoting sharia. Under Islamic law, insulting the prophet Mohammed — which is what Muslims charge the Mohammed cartoonists with — is considered “slander” or “defamation”, and is a capital crime.

For the past eleven years, the Organization of the Islamic Conference has been attempting to push through a UN resolution that would impose exactly this definition of “defamation of religion” on the laws of all member states. The United States is ahead of the curve here, acting — if you can believe it — in advance of the United Nations. Through its diplomats abroad, it is pushing for the Islamic definition of slander in Western democracies.

It is peddling sharia.

The question that naturally arises is: how many newspapers and magazines in the USA experienced the same pressure?

 How many editors received a discreet telephone call from the Department of Homeland Security or the State Department?

We’ll never know the answer to that one, of course. Any words that passed between the federal government and the Fourth Estate will remain obscure.

But one word we should be dusting off and putting into use is the dreaded T-word: TREASON.

Julian Assange may be a cynical opportunistic amoral lowlife. He may well deserve to go to prison for stealing classified state secrets or some similar offense.

 Some Republicans want to try him for espionage, and those who overlook his Australian citizenship would like to try him for treason.

 But that charge should be reserved for those who really deserve it.

 Oh, yes — I could definitely suggest a few names to put at the top of the list in a comprehensive indictment for treason.

But “Julian Assange” wouldn’t be one of them.

Big Journalism

Wa Post Editorialist Admires Members of Taliban’s Armies, Are Just as Good as U.S. Soldiers

Does anyone on the left understand right and wrong? Do any of them understand that some things humans do are morally reprehensible or is everything relative? If we could find one that understands it, it certainly won’t be Colman McCarthy. We can say this because this week the former Washington Post columnist and current director for the farcical Washington-based “Center for Teaching Peace” said that he “admires” people who “join armies” and, revealing his moral ignorance, he said he even admires those that join the Taliban’s “army.”

In a recent Washington Post piece meant to convince people that the U.S. Army is evil and that ROTC programs should be eliminated from our nation’s universities, McCarthy made the startling admission of his admiration for the Taliban’s murderous minions. And, like most leftists, he tried to dress up his admiration for immoral actions by cloaking it in the left’s favorite vehicle for misdirection: nuance.

Like most leftists McCarthy tries to split hairs saying that he isn’t “anti-soldier” by being anti-U.S. Army. He says he “admires soldiers” but just hates their work. Of course, it isn’t possible to love the troops and hate everything they do, but that is a leftist’s illogic writ large.

McCarthy wants the U.S. Army chased from our nation’s schools and thinks that ROTC is a “warrior ethic” that “taints” a school’s “intellectual purity.” This is amusing since the intellectual purity of our schools was summarily disposed of by the introduction of anti-American leftist ideology by the destructive efforts of folks like John Dewey and Charles Beard who’s efforts started at the end of the 1800s!

In any case, McCarthy treads a fine line trying to justify his “admiration” of the Taliban and his hatred of the U.S. Army. [my bold]
To oppose ROTC, as I have since my college days in the 1960s, when my school enticed too many of my classmates into joining, is not to be anti-soldier. I admire those who join armies, whether America’s or the Taliban’s: for their discipline, for their loyalty to their buddies and to their principles, for their sacrifices to be away from home. In recent years, I’ve had several Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans in my college classes. If only the peace movement were as populated by people of such resolve and daring.
And therein lies his faulty sense of morality. Leaving aside the fact that there is no “Taliban Army” (because “the Taliban” isn’t a “the” but is made up rather of all sorts of different groups loosely affiliated one with the other) this cretin is equating the men and women of the U.S. military to the illiterate, murderous, oppressive members of the Taliban.

McCarthy claims he “admires” the Taliban as much as he does U.S. soldiers but I’d suggest that this is a lie.

I’d suggest he actually admires the Taliban’s killers more than he does American soldiers. After all, where are his editorials denouncing the Taliban? On the other hand, this deluded peacenik has an admittedly long history of attacking the U.S. Army and the country it protects.

The moral truth that McCarthy and his fellow left-wingers miss is that some causes that people join simply are not laudable enough to engender admiration no matter how much devotion is lent to the cause. To join the oppressive forces of the Taliban is simply nothing to admire. To become an al Qaeda “soldier of Allah” is a disgrace, not something to admire even if the joiner truly believes in the cause.

In the end, only a leftist can say that a U.S. soldier is just as admirable as a terrorist.

Big Journalism

The case against public employee unions

December 31, 2010
Rick Moran

John Hinderaker at Powerline makes a powerful case against the existence of public employee unions. This, in the wake of the news that the New York sanitation workers may have slowed down snow removal last weekend to protest budget cuts:

For the large majority of our history, public employee unions have been illegal. It is only since the 1960s and 1970s that they have been allowed. Currently, they are legal in roughly half the states. The United States has carried on a four-decade experiment in legalization, and the results are in: public employee unions are a cancer on our country.Public employee unions flourish because government is, by its nature, a monopoly. Thus, there is no need for unionized government units to compete against non-unionized units. Moreover, public officials who negotiate with public employee unions generally lack the same incentives that private employers have to keep costs down. The result has been a fiscal disaster, with numerous states and municipalities now going over the waterfall of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, public employee unions have become perhaps the dominant force in our political life. They extract dues from their members which go to fund the candidacies of politicians who will pay public employees even more money. The unions' ill-gotten clout has created a vicious cycle; at the same time that government units are going broke, public employees are now far better paid than their private sector counterparts, while enjoying better benefits and ridiculous job security.

Enough is enough. Legalization of public employee unions has been a disaster. It is time to end the experiment and make them illegal once again, at both the federal and state levels. I expect that this will become one of the great political issues of the next decade.

Part of the fiscal insanity brought about by these unions has been well-chronicled here at AT with Ed Lasky's, and others penning a series of articles and blog posts on the public pension crisis that threatens to bankrupt states and municipalities. This is a problem we will have whether we make the unions illegal again or not.

American Thinker

The Future and the United States

December 31, 2010
As the opening decade of the twenty-first century draws to a close, what is the future of the United States in an increasingly complex and fluid world order?

In a prospective global scenario in which China dominates and reshapes Asia, India becomes a major economic power and extends its influence into Africa, Islam continues to spread its brand of social dominion, and Europe has become a loose confederation of states trying to maintain some semblance of importance, what role will the United States play?

It has become conventional wisdom that over the next 25 to thirty years, the United States will continue to experience a precipitous decline, and that China will become the dominant power in the world alongside the massive growth of countries such as India and Brazil.  In short, according to the doom-and-gloom crowd, the days of U.S. world influence may well be over.

This assumes the global scenario of the past few centuries when just one part of the world dominated international affairs.  That has been Europe (and by extension, the United States).  Globalization combined with foolhardy economic and social policies has diffused power away from the West.  But that power is moving to countries that have within their societies many built-in factors that will limit their ability to achieve global hegemonic power.

In the case of both China and India, their overwhelming populations and the increasing demands by the people for a piece of the expanding economic pie will force these countries to focus more on internal matters or risk societal upheaval.  China, for example, if foolish enough to physically conquer other lands, will only add to its unsustainable internal burden.  China can therefore be expected to rely instead on economic supremacy within its own sphere of influence.

Those nations dominated by Islamic fundamentalism will not experience growth, as the nature of their vision of Islam will prevent the expansion of capitalism.  In order to keep their populations at bay, brutality will be the order of the day.  Their major source of income, the exploitation of natural resources (mainly oil), can be replaced as other nations, such as the United States, tap into their own vast reserves of petroleum-related resources. 

Europe will continue its decline, with Russia clinging desperately to past days of glory as a world superpower.  However, with the negative birthrates throughout the continent and the widespread fealty to social democracy, Europe's influence will wane as the years go by, and within forty years, it will resemble the European city-states of the Middle Ages -- but still a major consumer and economic arena.

Thus, the world that will arise from these factors is not one of domination by one country or region, but one that contains numerous centers of power.

As these centers of power mature, they will take care of security and military matters within their domain.  As long as nuclear weapons exist and these nations have them, the old Cold War theory of mutually assured destruction will act as a deterrent against global war.  Within their orbit, these nations will have greater incentive to constrain the rogue states and dictators from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, as they will not want to risk conflagration and destroy their power base.  Thus, the United States will not be alone in maintaining peace and acting as the world's policeman.

Beyond just military or security issues, the United States will be even more vital in this new world order.

These new centers of power will require a clearinghouse or arbitrator that has its foot in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean spheres of influence.  Only the United States is in this position -- due not only to factors of geography, but also to the melting-pot influence of the population and the sheer size of its economy. 

However, it is incumbent on the United States to get its house in order.  Fiscal and monetary policy must recognize the reality of current financial mismanagement.  The current ruling class and its Euro-socialist mindset must be replaced with those who are willing to deal with these matters honestly and lead the American people with honor and integrity.  The first (albeit embryonic) steps were taken in the midterm election of 2010, but much more needs to be done and equitable sacrifices made by all segments of society.

Further, the country must focus on becoming the foremost haven for business in the world and revamp its foreign policy that is still based on the twentieth-century model of superpower confrontation. 

The matter that could throw the remainder of this century into worldwide chaos and the United States into anarchy is not the emergence of other nations, but the collapse of the United States.  That overall possibility rests solely in the hands of the American people.

There is no need to fear the future.  The American century can continue, and the United States can become an even greater influence on world events.  The factors are there.

American Thinker

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Unintelligence Report

December 31, 2010
By Pamela Geller

The Southern Poverty Law Center's ironically named "Intelligence Report" for Winter 2010 contains a hit piece entitled, "Geller, Jones Amp Up Anti-Muslim Hate Rhetoric."

More disinformation and outright lying from Leftist propagandists.

Their skullduggery is apparent in their presentation of a false narrative. Notice how they are conflating me and my work with the cartoonish Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who gained international fame by threatening to burn the Qur'an - and then backing down. This is Goebbels-style propaganda. Jones is a media creation, a fringe pastor who Tweeted something stupid - that he was going to burn the Qur'an -- and the media descended like locusts. The Ground Zero Mosque story worked in just the opposite way: it became national news in spite of the media's silence, and the American people stood against the mosque despite the media's relentless cheerleading for the Islamic supremacist slumlord Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the other shady Ground Zero Mosque organizers. The Ground Zero mosque was the people's story, the people's outrage, a cry against the disrespect and insult.

The SPLC's "Intelligence Report" didn't bother to mention that I wrote this about the Qur'an-burning back on September 9, before Terry Jones backed off his threat to burn the book: "A stupid idea, of course but protected under the laws of free speech. The burning of books is wrong in principle: the antidote to bad speech is not censorship or book-burning, but more speech. Open discussion. Give-and-take. And the truth will out. There is no justification for burning books. If Americans are free and not under Sharia, then the church can do this if it wants, and their freedom and rights should be protected. Islamic supremacists should not be allowed a victory for their violent intimidation -- if these people want to burn a book, they're free to do so."

The SPLC "Intelligence Report" is just as unintelligent in what it does say: "Earlier this year, Geller - who also has questioned whether President Obama was born in America - bought anti-Muslim ads that were displayed on New York City buses for a month."

Actually, in the past, like many Americans, I simply pointed out that the President had never produced the long-form birth certificate that would definitively put to rest the questions about his place of birth. The new Governor of Hawaii has promised to produce this proof soon, so we shall see; but in any case this is simply not a live issue. Obama is the President, and he will not be removed because of questions revolving around his place of birth. I posted on this - in a small number of 20,000 posts at my website - during the campaign, and have not pursued the issue since then.

The very idea that merely questioning in a free society would get you preeminent status in the SPLC "Intelligence Report" speaks volumes about how less free we really are, as the left tightens its chokehold on the culture, the media, and politics.

As for my bus ads, they were not "anti-Muslim." They merely offered help to those who were threatened with death in America for leaving Islam, under Islam's traditional death penalty for apostasy - like Rifqa Bary, the Ohio convert from Islam to Christianity who says she was threatened by her father and was certainly threatened by other Muslims on Facebook. Is the SPLC saying that people who receive such threats don't deserve protection? Are we not all equal under the law? Are the lives of Muslims trying to escape the sharia worth less than the Islamic supremacists imposing the sharia in America?

SPLC: "She warned that Muslims will ‘turn to further intimidation, murder and terrorism' if they can't achieve a political takeover."

There have recently been Islamic terror plots uncovered in Portland, Oregon; Baltimore, Maryland; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; Great Britain; and elsewhere. Islamic jihadists murdered 68 Christians in a church in Baghdad. That's just in the last few weeks. Each of these plots had the imprimatur of an Islamic cleric and was plotted in the name of Islam. How much "intimidation, murder and terrorism" from Muslims is the SPLC going to ignore before it speaks out for the victims of these attacks?

SPLC: "Her comments were so incendiary, in fact, that several neo-Nazi organizations even ignored the fact that she is Jewish and published her diatribes."

Even if neo-Nazis published anything I wrote, it doesn't matter, since they did it without my knowledge or consent. In reality, neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations are generally pro-Islam and pro-jihad, because they hate Jews above all. SPLC in engaging in more Goebbels-style smear tactics by trying to connect me to neo-Nazis.

This is an obvious ploy to keep politicians away from opposing Ground Zero mega-mosque and taking a firm stand on any jihad-related issue. Trust me, the folks at Stormfront, whom I've monitored for years (they were the very first hate site to hit the web back in 1994), can't stand Jews or Israel or me, and it would be obvious to anyone that if there are posts there supporting my work, then this is a manifestation of Sun Tzu's strategy from The Art of War (deliberately planting misinformation from the "other side"). White supremacists and neo-Nazis actually hate Jews and Israel, and love Islam and jihad. The idea of neo-Nazis who love Israel and hate Islamic jihad is a figment of the left's imagination.

SPLC: "She in turn commented favorably on the South African, apartheid-defending terrorist Eugene Terre'Blanche after he was murdered, blaming his death on ‘black supremacism.'"

I never commented favorably on Terre'Blanche. I know little about him. But he was murdered, hacked to death at his home. I do not sanction cold-blooded murder.

In reality, I wrote this about Terre'Blanche: "Insofar as my sanctioning of white supremacists in South Africa -- that is a blatant libel....I vehemently disagree with Terre'blanche's ideas..."

The SPLC also points out that a Leftist/Islamic supremacist counter-demo held during our 9/11 Freedom Rally against the Ground Zero Mosque featured a sign saying, "The attack on Islam is racism." What race is Islam? The Islamic supremacist ideology is at war against freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and equal rights for women. People of all races hold to this ideology.

And the SPLC, instead of standing for those freedoms, is carrying water for the real haters, the real neo-Nazi Jew-haters: the forces of Islamic supremacism and jihad.

An earlier SPLC attack on me was entitled "Hatewatch." Actually, I consider my work more like "Lovewatch! Keeping the world safe for lovers and other strangers."

I equate the Southern Poverty Law Center coming out for Islamic supremacists with them coming out for Nazis. What's the difference, and why doesn't the SPLC even have a category for Islamic jihadi groups? Not one. The greatest threat facing our nation, our people, our world, and they are shilling for them.

Here is proof: recently a reader sent me an exchange he had with the SPLC's Mark Potok. Reader Bob wrote, "I started out by looking on their website for a definition of the term ‘hate group' fully expecting that Islam would fit any reasonable definition. When I couldn't find such a definition (still can't today) I inquired." In the course of the exchange, Potok wrote back: "With regard to monitoring radical jihadists, we have made a pragmatic decision to leave that mainly to the major Jewish NGOs, which do a good job and have some real expertise that would likely take us years to develop." In other words, the real hate just doesn't matter to the SPLC. "Still," Potok continued, "we do cover black Muslim extremists and have written about such matters as the connections between radical Muslims and neo-Nazis."

Except when they're pretending that the neo-Nazis are connected to me, that is.

But consider what they have admitted to here. They refuse to cover, evaluate, or report on the single greatest threat to free men here and across the world. The jihad is exempt from the prying, dishonest leadership of the SLPC, but those who are standing up against these tremendous odds are being smeared, defamed and destroyed.

And the SPLC is getting well paid to do this. According to the SPLC's 990 Form for 2008, the SPLC's Chief Trial Counsel Morris Dees made a generous $348,420 that year. SPLC President and CEO, Richard Cohen, was right behind him, at $344,490. General Counsel Joseph Levin made $189,166. Legal director Rhonda Brownstein brought in $179,806; CFO Teenie Hutchinson, $155,414. Potok pulled in $143,099. Former Chief Operating Officer Jeff Blancett made $159,301 - that's right, the former COO.

Who is funding this subversive and dangerous organization?

Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs website and former associate publisher of the New York Observer.  She is the author of The Post-American Presidency.

American Thinker

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sarah for President?

There is probably no one more qualified for the White House than Sarah Palin. But is she electable?

December 30, 2010 - by David Solway

Sarah Palin continues to galvanize the imagination of both her ardent supporters and her hectoring adversaries. It is easy to understand her appeal to those who have rallied behind her and her possible candidacy for the office of president of the United States. She has a lot going for her: charm, personableness, natural smarts, moral probity, executive competence, independence of character, and a passionate love of country. These are undeniable advantages, or should be in any sane political environment.

At the same time, she steps up to the plate with two strikes against her — or, in an alternative baseball universe, with three, four, or five strikes already logged in the umpire’s clicker. PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome) flourishes on the liberal-left, to the extent that a correspondent to suggests “we get rid of Palin” by having her electrocuted like one of Michael Vick’s dogs. According to the media scuttlebutt and her innumerable liberal detractors, she is poorly educated, brings no foreign policy experience to the job, shoots her own dinner, comes across as politically unnuanced, and, perhaps the most cutting strike against her, lacks gravitas. These negatives are obviously serious disadvantages for anyone contemplating a run for the presidency, but are they valid criticisms? Is she really “out” before she even takes a swing? Let’s consider each of these knocks against her in turn.

To begin with, Palin is by no means poorly educated; she merely did not graduate with a degree from an Ivy League institution, which by any reasonable account in today’s academic milieu should stand decidedly in her favor. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Berkeley and other so-called elite universities charge prohibitive tuition fees while, for the most part, delivering second-rate curricular fare. They represent the kiss of intellectual death — unless, of course, one wishes to enter the service of the State Department or practice trial or immigration law. Palin did well to avoid these bastions of mainly liberal-left political correctness.

As for the absence of foreign policy experience, David Jenkins reminds us in an article for PJM that, with the exception of the elder Bush (who, incidentally, was no presidential cynosure), “it is not common for presidents to enter office with foreign policy experience.” In this respect, Palin is no different from the vast majority of her predecessors and certainly not from the present incumbent. What is needed in this domain is precisely what Palin would bring to the highest office in the land: insight and principle. As Jenkins writes, “she knows that America must be strong in order to be safe, and…that we must develop our own resources and end our dependence on foreign oil.” Palin also knows that an American president does not bow and apologize to foreign despots and does not alienate loyal and tested allies, but comports himself or herself with dignity and courage.

Nor is there anything wrong with shooting one’s own dinner, especially when one considers that liberal urbanites are perfectly OK with having other people shoot their dinner for them. Unless they are dedicated vegans, their hypocrisy is indigestible, and even vegans would surely vote for a meat-eating Democrat. Being handy with a shotgun and knowing how to skin a caribou is plainly not the real issue here. The implication is that Palin is some sort of primitive rustic rather than a credentialed cosmopolite. But the truth is that frowning on Palin’s wilderness skills is nothing but class snobbery on the part of those who would be utterly lost were they stripped of the “civilized” amenities they thoughtlessly take for granted. It is their mincing pretentiousness and fashionable outrage, not Palin’s honest hardiness, that is deplorable.

Further, Palin is by no means politically unnuanced. Quite the contrary, she is as politically savvy as they come, whether on the domestic or international front. Her speeches during the recent congressional elections were not only unteleprompted barnburners in the best populist tradition, but revealed a meticulous command of the domestic issues currently bedeviling the nation as well as a finely nuanced understanding of America’s pancreatic failures in international diplomacy. She displays a far more realistic perspective on the Middle East and has far more accurately taken the measure of America’s geopolitical competitors, particularly Russia and China, than anyone in the Democratic administration.

Palin does not believe in tax and spend, in fiat printing, in redistributive economics, in ObamaCare, in the AGW nonsense that is only an opaque wealth transfer scheme, in making purses out of sows’ ears (aka pork and earmarks), in pressing reset buttons, in blaming Israel for the Palestinians, or in a degrading and unproductive “outreach” to the Islamic umma. These are policies she would reverse, as indeed would anyone with a nuanced understanding of the economic and political worlds. There is little doubt that Palin would be a strong, resolute, and effective president should she ever accede to the White House. Unlike Obama, she would not try to square the Oval.

Finally, if Palin lacks gravitas, then so do many others on the current political scene. Barack Obama, for example, not only lacks gravitas, he exhibits the moral and intellectual substance of a will o’ the wisp. This is not to take anything away from his golf game, but in political life he is always badly in need of a mulligan. Joe Biden is a figure straight out of vaudeville who can be dependably counted on to drop the cane he is trying to twirl — though, it must be admitted, he would look great in a straw boater. Hillary Clinton is, frankly, a wizened party hack and, like her husband, an adroit shape-shifter: one cannot trust a word she utters. No gravitas to be found amidst this crew.

Among the possible Republican contenders there are (or were) some potentially credible choices, at least from the standpoint of knowledge, experience, and/or presence. Newt Gingrich carries weight and political erudition but unfortunately also carries baggage. The same may be said for Jeb Bush, whose family name still remains a heavy burden he may not be able to shuck. His opposition to Arizona’s immigration law is also a very bad sign. Others like Marco Rubio and Allen West, both highly impressive figures, are too young or new to the field to be presidentially assessed. Chris Christie is a bold and ethical administrator, but is not a particularly persuasive communicator. John Thune is little known and Mitch Daniels is aura-challenged. Mike Huckabee’s banjo is not an electoral plus. Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty are “good people,” but Jindal does not seem ready for higher office and Pawlenty is prone to misjudgment, such as withdrawing from the race for a third term as Minnesota governor that he could have won handily. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour may have disqualified himself from consideration owing to certain insensitive or ambiguous racial comments — at least, journalist and fellow-Southerner Kyle-Anne Shiver appears to think so. John Bolton would make a decent president but an even better secretary of defense. Rick Perry’s secession remark, however flippant, has cost him dearly. Mitt Romney seems to wear a certain gravitas, but the “RomneyCare” fiasco that he imposed as governor of Massachusetts shows his weak and fallible side.

The real problem, however, is that “gravitas” is a vague and unreliable personality construct and, moreover, one that can be readily simulated by a good actor. Al Gore, for instance, managed to project seriousness of purpose for a time, until greed, corruption, and deceit tore away the mask with which he dazzled his public. “Gravitas” functions primarily as a media buzzword that can be applied indiscriminately, either to demean or to inflate its chosen subject. Only in the most proven and ineluctable cases can it be said to be an appropriate descriptor, and these are far and few between. Whether or not Palin is deficient in this regard, what she demonstrably lacks is the approval of a reprobate and partisan press, which is itself cripplingly short of integrity, not to mention gravitas.

But is Palin electable? The next two years will determine whether she will be able to counter the slanderous media campaign against her candidacy and her competence, and so convince enough people that she has the right stuff to lead the country in perhaps its most perilous historical moment since the Civil War. Clearly, she suffers more than her share of antagonists among the megabuck left and their myriad satellites, Ivy League academics, mainstream journalists, public intellectuals, union impresarios and henchmen, and the entitlement-addicted segment of the public. They are terrified of her. She even has the panjandrums in the Republican old guard shaking in their Guccis.

As Victor Volsky writes in American Thinker, “in the eyes of the political/cultural aristocracy, [Palin] is the embodiment of its worst nightmare: the revolt of the masses against their masters.” And she knows that the master class will mobilize its considerable reserves against her. The question is whether, by sheer force of character, will, and charisma, like an American version of Delacroix’s Marianne leading the charge at the electoral barricades, and by pursuing a tireless itinerary, she can prevail against overwhelming odds and bring to the American people authentic change and genuine hope for the future.

David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, has just been released by Mantua Books.

Pajamas Media

2010: The Year of the Tea Party

Thursday, December 30th, 2010 at 6:33 am
By Andrew Zarowny

Joe Klein of the Time Magazine may disagree, but 2010 is the Year of the Tea Party! The grassroots movement which grew organically after the infamous Rick Santelli rant over the Obama stimulus bill in 2009 matured in 2010, resulting in a major victory during the mid-term elections in November. Since the CNBC analyst’s fuming over government spending and economic policies, the Tea Party movement evolved into a formidable force, sending shockwaves through Washington, DC. Scoffed and berated by most in the establishment media, plus by Beltway-insiders, the Tea Party has proved that they are a force to be reckoned with by politicians of both Democrats and Republican persuasions.

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 2: Keli Carender, of Seattle, WA, stands with other members of the Tea Party Patriots during a rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Election Day November 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Most polling conducted ahead of today's elections point to a change in power in the House, where Republicans could win the 39 seats they need to take control of the chamber. (Photo by Rod Lamkey /Getty Images)

Standing for ‘Taxed Enough Already’, the primary issues for Tea Party members is government spending and growth. In the past year, sales of books on the Founding Fathers, the Constitution and American history have soared as a rebirth of fundamental principles evolved. Not since the early 1800s has the National Debt and the Constitution been such hot topics of debate.

It may seem difficult to believe but there had been a time in American history when politicians actually campaigned on paying down the National Debt and reducing the size and power of the Federal government. Even more astounding is that they, the politicians, actually meant it, too! The first popularly elected president, Andrew Jackson, made eliminating the National Debt his main campaign promise, and he kept it! Within his term of four years, he brought the debt down to a paltry sum of just a few thousand dollars.

After the Civil War, when America went into deep debt, the next four presidents following Abraham Lincoln all worked diligently to pay down the National Debt. The primary method was slashing spending and reducing the size, and power, of the Federal government. After the Wilson administration, and the huge debt racked up during the First World War, efforts to consciously reverse the trend again helped clear the books. By the time Calvin Coolidge handed the White House to Herbert Hoover, about 56% of the National Debt had been paid off. In 1932, FDR campaigned on criticism of Hoover and his attempts to spend his way out of the Great Depression. Once elected, FDR doubled-down and spent even more.

Since FDR, balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility have become rare events. For the most part, the American people accepted the situation and went along for the ride. But the Crash of 2008 and the bail-out mania that followed changed the dynamics. More and more Americans had had enough of pork, stimulus, earmarks and bailouts. The Obama administration’s expansion of Federal budgets and regulatory bureaucracy, up 24% (discretionary spending) just in 2009, prompted a wave of anger in the Heartland.

The Obama healthcare bill caused a massive backlash during the late summer of 2009 as people challenged their elected representatives during town hall meetings. The arrogance of Washington DC reached new heights as Nancy Pelosi declared that the only way to learn what was in the bill was to pass it first, instead of reading the 2,500+ page monster. Backed by Tea Party support, Scott Brown won the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts that had been held by Democrats, namely Ted and John Kennedy, for some 60 years!

By 2010, as the primary schedule unfolded, long-serving Republican ‘moderates’ became the next set of victims of the Tea Party movement. Demonstrating ‘blind-partisanship’, the Tea Party worked to reject and eject anyone who smacked of arrogance or pragmatism. They demanded a new breed of politicians, those committed to fiscal responsibility and the principles of our Founding Fathers.

While many in the GOP establishment cringed over candidates like Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle, the Tea Party movement didn’t care. To them, principles were more important than elect-ability. As the movement grew and became more organized, they demonstrated their resolve and fielded large rallies, often at a moment’s notice. Despite media reports to the contrary, the Tea Party also showed that theirs was a peaceful revolt. Their signs and placards may have had spelling issues, but they were not burning police cars or smashing windows.

There is little doubt that the Tea Party movement impacted 2010 in the November mid-term elections. Thanks to them, the largest single swing in House seats in about 60 years took place, sending Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Obama and the Democrats a clear message. That the Progressive agenda of the last century has been stopped cold! A nationwide revival of principles and values is the new currency of the land. So 2010 is the Year of the Tea Party. Joe Klein of Time Magazine doesn’t think anything significant happened this past year. But like most of the establishment media, he just doesn’t ‘get it’ and probably never will ever again.

WASHINGTON, DC -NOVEMBER 2: Jim Griffin, of Ft. Washington, MD, is dressed as the comic action character Captain America as he joins members of the Tea Part Patriots during a rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Election Day November 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Most polling conducted ahead of today's elections point to a change in power in the House, where Republicans could win the 39 seats they need to take control of the chamber. (Photo by Rod Lamkey /Getty Images)

Right Pundits

Big Nannies Of The Year

It was a nefarious year for nettlesome nosy-bodies employed by the Nanny State. Here are the top power-grabbers of 2010 who just can't leave us alone:
-- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Two feet of snow paralyzed trains, buses, plows and emergency vehicles in the Big Apple this week. Perhaps if Bloomberg -- the nation's top self-appointed municipal food cop -- spent more of his time on core government duties instead of waging incessant war on taxpayers' salt, soda, trans-fat and sugar intakes, his battered bailiwick would have been better equipped to weather the storm.
-- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He proposed meddling mileage taxes, mused about a system to track drivers' routes, lobbied for high-speed rail boondoggles and promoted a "livability initiative" to limit suburban growth and force dwellers into public transportation. Then America's driving czar floated a plan earlier this fall to disable cell phones through some kind of centralized government mechanism. LaHood backed off that creepy crusade, but he is still intent on waging war against drivers who choose to use cell phones, entertainment systems and GPS devices on the road. Just last week, the unstoppable control freak proposed a new rule banning truck and bus drivers from any use of cell phones while driving -- including emergency calls on hands-free devices. His anti-car agenda is stuck in overdrive.

-- The city of Cleveland. The green police in this Midwestern metropolis made headlines in February with an intrusive plan to roll out electronic snooping trash cans -- "smart" rubbish bins bugged with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes to monitor residents' recycling habits. Violators can be fined $100. Federal stimulus money has gone to fund similar programs in Dayton, Ohio. The technology originated in Germany, was adopted by eco-authoritarians in England (where at least 500,000 trash cans are now embedded with snitch chips) and has spread across Europe. Welcome to the age of Bin Brother.
-- The city of San Francisco. The city board of supervisors recently took the "Happy" out of McDonald's Happy Meals by banning all restaurants from serving toys with children's meals that exceed arbitrary limits on calories, fat, salt and sugar. Even the mayor of the People's Republic of San Francisco opposes the latest food-control scheme. But the bossy City by the Bay continues to assault consumer freedom with bans on everything from plastic bags to pet sales and soda pop. By executive order this summer, Mayor Gavin Newsom outlawed Coke, Pepsi and Fanta Orange drinks from vending machines on city property. The decree dictates that "ample choices" of water, "soy milk, rice milk and other similar dairy or non dairy milk" must instead be offered. It's not clear how vendors will be able to circumvent the city's hostility toward plastic bottles. Maybe beverages will be served straight out of those noxiously trendy reusable cloth bags?
-- The architects of Obamacare. After ramming a trillion-dollar package of unconstitutional federal health mandates down our throats, they said children and seniors would be saved, we could keep our doctors, costs would go down, and the economy would be boosted. Reality: Premiums have continued to skyrocket. Insurers nationwide have dropped child-only plans in the individual market. Obamacare taxes forced the AARP to raise its members' rates. Hospitals have stepped up layoffs and shutdowns. And millions of Americans have only been able to keep their doctors and coverage after their employers, unions or health providers begged the feds for special waivers. Heckuva job, health bureaucrats.
-- First lady Michelle Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee. Mrs. Obama first played the anti-childhood obesity card in September 2009, as a rationale for using her office to crusade for taxpayer subsidies supporting her hometown Chicago's failed Olympics bid. Her argument: Kids would stay fat, lazy and uninspired if the Daley machine didn't get its share of massive sports corporate welfare.
Next came Mrs. O's push for the $5 billion expansion of federal child nutrition programs. As I first reported in February 2010, the legislation was a pet project of the Service Employees International Union, which seeks to swell the ranks of dawn-to-dusk year-round public school food service workers who organize under the progressive activist slogan "serving justice, and serving lunch." In addition to school breakfast and lunch, the kiddie food patrol is now pushing subsidized dinner plans and summer food service to create a "stronger nutrition safety net."
Nanny State Republican Mike Huckabee, who used his bully pulpit position as Arkansas governor to campaign for Big Government-endorsed "healthier living" in public schools and private life, naturally sided with Mrs. Obama -- and took a swipe at Sarah Palin last week for criticizing the White House usurpation of parental responsibility and rights. Huckabee scoffed at the idea that the feds are "trying to force the government's desires on people." But school bake sales are already under siege, and Mrs. Obama's childhood obesity task force has already called for new and dramatic controls on the marketing of unhealthy foods. Did Huckabee miss (or does he agree with) Mrs. Obama's officious rallying cry on child nutrition: "We can't just leave it up to parents"?
God save us from more busybody bipartisanship in 2011.

 Human Events

Greece Stumbles

December 30, 2010
By Brian Koenig

Greece risks Mediterranean isolation as government debt accumulates and international confidence weakens -- especially now that Moody's Investors Service is reviewing a possible downgrade of its current Ba1 credit rating.  With debt levels rising to 127 percent of GDP, Moody's noted that the "review will focus on the factors, namely nominal growth and fiscal consolidation, that will drive the country's debt dynamics over the next few years."

Translation: the leadership of Greece's near-bankrupt country better tighten the financial ropes and cease government handouts and trivial spending projects.

The Greek government has been spending blank checks for decades.  Eurostat, a directorate-general of the European Commission, amended debt and deficit figures, labeling Greece as the region's most "indebted country."  Financial insolvency has nearly stomped Greece's hopes of returning to the international bond market and has aroused negative sentiment among European neighbors.

From Italian and German invasions in World War II to political division resulting from the Greek Civil War, the country's political structure has become deeply instilled with socialist principles.  A truly debt-financed socialist country, Greece has a labor force that exhibits a bloated public sector, with roughly a third of the workforce working for the government. 

Though the government may be facing some fiscal reality, with Greece's new prime minister George Papandreou's claims of spending cuts, the country carries heavy baggage.  The problem is that Greeks as a whole are not committed to change, something expected from a country with such a massive public sector.  They are content in their cozy government jobs, as they omit decades of high wages and political operations funded by borrowed money. 

Greek society is ingrained with the ideology that government, rather than individual investment and private enterprise, creates wealth.  Citizens are comfortable working short hours and receiving as many government benefits as possible. 

Another problem is the government's view towards the market economy.  The Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal's 2010 Index of Economic Freedom described Greece's limits on economic latitude:

Challenges to economic freedom remain in such areas as government spending and labor freedom. High government spending chronically causes budget deficits and places upward pressure on an already high public debt. The rigidity of the labor market impedes productivity and job growth, undermining long-term competitiveness.

This intrusive business environment has exerted a prominent impact on the market.  Greece's economy is tanking, while the third-quarter unemployment rate reached 12.4 percent, leaving 622,000 currently out of work.  Labor unrest has sprung as riots ensue and labor strikes flood businesses and government agencies.  

Despite an ever-mounting wall of government debt, labor unions screech as the government plans to cut state subsidies by 20 percent, including wage cuts and involuntary job transfers.  In the name of "global capitalism," union workers criticize their government as fiscal responsibility threatens their professional lives.

Spending itself is not the only problem; government transparency is practically nonexistent.  The OECD, the World Bank, Transparency International, and other international organizations all agree that bureaucracy is the primary deterrent to Greek investment and business operations.  Arbitrary business inspections and financial monitoring produce rampant corruption.  Government officials are swayed to favor some private entities over others, generally for political clout and financial incentives.

In the business world, investors and lenders are highly regulated, with "international norms" determining compensation.  And in true socialist form, private property may be requisitioned for public purposes.  Shady tax practices present a system that is unstable and unpredictable, while the government frequently adjusts tax levels, sometimes compelling retroactive taxation.

The solution to Greece's fiscal meltdown is not tax hikes, as the country has a top income tax rate of 40 percent, a top corporate tax rate of 25 percent, and other taxes such as inheritance and value-added taxes.  The solution is a combination of pro-business tax policies, an expanded private sector, and decreased government spending.  Furthermore, bureaucracy must be thwarted and politicians made accountable by increasing transparency and loosening the government's reins on economic freedom.

With such a vast public sector, labor regulations in Greece must be amended.  Rigid regulations on labor hours and government oversight of business layoffs impede on the corporate environment.  And though corrupt private business practices should not be ignored, unreasonable searches and seizures and regulatory oversight must subside. 

For Greece to revive its feeble global reputation, it must prove fiscal responsibility and pro-market growth.  Progress in privatization will make businesses more competitive and will open the door to technological innovation and development.

Moody's warning should be a wake-up call to both the government and the populace, and unless the Greek people embrace individual responsibility, their nation's financial and economic decline will endure.

Brian Koenig writes about politics and economics and has been published in The New American, Intellectual Conservative, and Taki's Magazine, among others.  He resides in St. Louis, MO.
American Thinker

Obama's Inaugural Address: Two Years of Broken Promises

December 30, 2010
Along with the annual turn of the calendar from one year to the next comes the musing over where our lives have been and where we hope they'll go.  This year the icy currents of our musings as a people will run deep.

Certainly, they won't be equivalent to a nation fighting a bloody Civil War.  Nor do we face the daily trauma of a Great Depression with one of four Americans unemployed.  Nor are these days as ominous as when we were reeling from the attack on Pearl Harbor and suddenly at war with powerful and evil nations in Asia and Europe.

This time, the threats ride in on a slow tide, now washing around our ankles as we wonder just how deep the water will become.  This time, it's different.  This time, we lack what we always assumed would emerge when America found herself facing a crisis.  We lack presidential leadership and will for at least the next two years.

There's no immediate value in reviewing the litany of presumptions and assumptions that brought us the current regime.  But the consequences of the 2008 election are there for all with eyes to see and ears to hear.  Besides, it's a long-done deal -- just not the deal that many who voted for the freshman senator from Illinois thought they were getting.

To prove that, all we need do is review the trail of broken promises in President Obama's January 2008 inaugural address.  Back then he said, "We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents."
But, during the Obama administration, the Constitution has become a founding document to be subverted rather than served.

Obama said, "Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age."

But the irresponsibility over several administrations whereby banks were forced to artificially support a sub-prime interest rate that led to the housing bubble and brought down a financial house of cards gets translated into the president's distorted notion of class warfare, where the greedy and irresponsible "some" are at fault.

Obama said, "On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord."

But hope and unity have not been byproducts of the Obama style of boot-on-the-neck governing -- one that most closely resembles the one-party tyranny of his hometown, Chicago.

Obama said, "On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogma that for far too long have strangled our politics."
But petty grievances and false promises have flourished during the last two years as recriminations and worn-out dogma rule.  And the promise of a post-partisan era of politics now seems, in retrospect, at best to have been adolescently naïve and at worse duplicitous.

Obama said, "We will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth."

But even Pollyanna must admit that new jobs are not being created, and the only new foundation being laid for growth is a thicker concrete upon which debt grows toward national bankruptcy.

Obama said, "We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together."

But when none of that happened, he announced that there really never were any "shovel ready" projects after all.  It's like the punchline from the old skit from "Saturday Night Live..."Never mind."

Obama said, "We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its costs."

But the legacy media never asked, "Just what does 'restoring science' mean?"  And anyone today who thinks that Obamacare will lower costs is delusional.  It's clear now that government control was always the primary goal -- never lower costs.

Obama said, "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply."

But the translation to that became "I will decide the lay of the land, and I'm not interested in any political debate, since I won the election. And those who oppose me are cynics."

Obama said, "Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day[.]"

But the myth of federal government transparency is as great, if not greater, than during any previous administration.  And major legislation drafted during the last two years was done, out of all places, least often "in the light of day."

Obama said, "The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous."

But the nation doesn't prosper at all when its leader pits one group of citizens against another and plays the Marxist class warfare card over and over again.  It's a big world.  And the big money will find somewhere else to go, just as the deep-water drilling rigs that the Obama administration has banned from the Gulf of Mexico are today moving elsewhere.

And, two years ago, Obama also said, "With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet."

But the nuclear threat from Iran and North Korea has increased.  And the hoax of man-made global warming has been exposed, as has its High Priest, a former U.S. vice president, who's made a mess of his private life and a fool of himself.

Finally, the president closed his inaugural address by quoting George Washington.

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words: with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come; let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

These were Obama's truest words -- read by him, but not his own.  And ironically, today the icy currents of our common dangers are borne to us largely by the inept leadership of the president who quoted them two years ago.

Actually, Bush Vetoed Bill with ‘End-of-Life’ Provisions

I’m going to take the death panel end-of-life planning conundrum down one point at a time to make this very clear for Americans to understand what the Pelosi-led Democrats have done to your healthcare and their attempt to take cover under a Bush-era law–the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.

The Hill reported that the Obama White House attempted to calm Americans’ fears of the dreaded death panels:
The Medicare policy will pay doctors for holding end-of-life-care discussions with patients, according to the Times. A similar provision was dropped from the new healthcare reform law after Republicans accused the administration of withholding care from the sick, elderly and disabled.
However, an administration spokesman said the regulation, which is less specific than the reform law’s draft language, is actually a continuation of a policy enacted under former President George W. Bush.
“The only thing new here is a regulation allowing the discussions … to happen in the context of the new annual wellness visit created by [healthcare reform],” Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin told The Wall Street Journal.
In 2003, Medicare added a consultation visit for seniors new to the program, according to the Journal. Another 2008 law, enacted under Bush, said the visit can include “end-of-life” planning discussions.
However, what The Hill’s Jason Millman forgot to mention in his article was that President Bush VETOED the 2008 bill and the Democrats, along with some “good-willed” Republicans OVERRODE Bush’s veto forcing him to sign the legislation into law.  The bill dealt with doctors’ reimbursements and more, but the Democrats slipped in the end-of-life planning by opening up the Social Security Act, which I have stated many times is dangerous. Once the act is changed, it is difficult to amend again and allows for tinkering with the Medicare fee schedule and covered services definitions and requirements
For the record, here is the text that the Democrats changed:
(b) Revisions to Initial Preventive Physical Examination-
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 1861(ww) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(ww)) is amended–
(A) in paragraph (1)–
(i) by inserting ‘body mass index,’ after ‘weight’;
(ii) by striking ‘, and an electrocardiogram’; and
(iii) by inserting ‘and end-of-life planning (as defined in paragraph (3)) upon the agreement with the individual’ after ‘paragraph (2)’;
Comedy gold indeed, when Democrats blame Bush for, um, everything wrong in America, and then use him for cover on healthcare.

Big Government

Boehner taps Alabama Republican to lead ethics committee in GOP House

12/29/10 03:14 PM ET
By Susan Crabtree

Incoming Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has tapped Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) to be chairman of the ethics committee in the GOP-led House.

In his announcement, Boehner said Bonner is “widely respected” on both sides of the aisle and has a “deep appreciation for the importance of both ethics education and enforcement in the House.”

“The American people have every right to expect the highest standards of ethical conduct from their elected leaders, and it is important for members of both the majority and the minority to work together to ensure that such standards are observed and respected at all times within the institution,” Boehner said in a written statement. “A functioning Ethics Committee will be central to that effort in the 112th Congress.”

“I am confident that as chairman, he will work with the other members of the Ethics Committee to ensure there is accountability at all times in the People’s House,” Boehner continued. “I look forward to working with him, and I’m grateful for his willingness to serve.”

Although not surprising, the move amounts to a rejection of calls to reconstitute the panel and appoint an entirely new roster. Bonner served as the committee’s ranking member during a rocky period for the panel throughout the last Congress.

Over the last two years, the panel was fraught with partisan infighting, and faced criticism for its handling of several investigations, including probes of Reps. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

At one point during the summer, Bonner took the unusual step of publicly criticizing then-ethics Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) for failing to schedule Rangel’s ethics trial before the November midterm elections. He accused her of playing politics with the ethics process.

The House censured Rangel in early December, but the Waters case is still pending. The panel indefinitely delayed her public trial in late November and put the lead attorney on the case, as well as an assisting attorney, on administrative leave without explanation.

Blake Chisam, the ethics committee chief counsel and staff director who was hand-selected by Lofgren, wanted to fire the two attorneys on the Waters case on Nov. 19, but Bonner objected, according to knowledgeable sources.
Chisam tendered his resignation before the election and left the committee in mid-December.

Also in mid-December, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), a member of the panel, said the committee’s integrity was in jeopardy unless Boehner appointed an entirely new slate of members. Several ethics watchdogs echoed that call.

Democrats have not said whether Lofgren will remain on the panel as ranking member.

The Hill

PBS Glorifies Cuban Health Care System

Jim HoftPosted by Jim Hoft Dec 29th 2010 at 11:15 am in Healthcare, Mainstream Media, PBS, media bias 

Your taxpayer dollars at work promoting Cuba’s failed socialist system PBS recently aired a report on Cuba’s outstanding health care system.

This was simply unbelievable.
Out state-run media is no longer just liberal – It’s communist:

They forgot to mention that Cuban President Raul Castro just warned his fellow Cubans that they are running out of time and if they don´t change now, their will be an economic collapse.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady at The Wall Street Journal corrected this latest leftist fairy tale.
A Cuban Fairy Tale From PBS
In his memoir covering four years in Cuba as a correspondent for Spanish Television, Vicente Botín tells about a Havana woman who was frustrated by the doctor shortage in the country. She hung a sheet on her balcony with the words “trade me to Venezuela.” When the police arrived she told them: “Look, compañeros, I’m as revolutionary as the next guy, but if you want to see a Cuban doctor, you have to go to Venezuela.”
That story was not in the three-part report by Ray Suarez on Cuban health care that aired on PBS’s “NewsHour” last week. Nor was the one about the Cuban whose notice of his glaucoma operation arrived in 2005, three years after he died and five years after he had requested it. Nor was there any coverage of the town Mr. Botín writes about close to the city of Holguín, that in 2006 had one doctor serving five clinics treating 600 families. In fact, it was hard to recognize the country that Mr. Suarez claimed to be describing.
The series was taped in Cuba with government “cooperation” so there is no surprise that it went heavy on the party line. Still, there was something disturbing about how Mr. Suarez allowed himself to be used by the police state, dutifully reciting its dubious claims as if he were reporting great advances in medical science.
Castro’s military dictatorship marks 52 years in power next week. But the “revolution” is dead. A new generation of angry, young Cubans now vents on Internet blogs and through music, mocking the old man and his ruthless little brother. On Nov. 29, in the city of Santa Clara, hundreds of students launched a spontaneous protest when they were denied access to a televised soccer match they had paid to watch. What began as a demand for refunds soon turned to shouts of “freedom,” “down with Fidel” and “down with socialism,” according to press reports.
Dissent is spreading in Cuba like dengue fever because daily life is so onerous.One of the best documented sources on this subject is the Botín narrative (“Los Funerales de Castro,” 2009, available in Spanish only), which pulls back the curtain on “the Potemkin village” that foreigners see on official visits to Cuba. Behind the façade is desperate want. Food, water, transportation, access to health care, electricity, soap and toilet paper are all hard to come by. Even housing is in short supply, with multiple families wedged into single-family homes. The government tries to keep the lid on through repression. But in private there are no limits to the derision of the brothers Castro.

Mr. Suarez’s report, by contrast, is like a state propaganda film.
In one segment, an American woman named Gail Reed who lives in Cuba tells him that the government’s claim of its people’s longevity is due to a first-rate system of disease prevention. He then parrots the official line that Cuba’s wealth of doctors is the key ingredient. What is more, he says, these unselfish revolutionary “foot soldiers” go on house calls. “It’s aggressive preventive medicine,” Mr. Suarez explains. “Homes are investigated, water quality checked, electrical plugs checked.”
An abundance of doctors? Not in the Cuba Mr. Botín lived in. In 2006 the government claimed there were 65,000 doctors. That number, he says, was “a figure that many professionals considered inflated.” When Cubans complained they couldn’t get care, he notes that the state upped the number “magically” to 71,000 five months later. Given Fidel’s habit of making things up, it’s hard to know how many competent doctors the government has trained. But there is no disputing the fact that thousands of medics have been sent overseas in large numbers to earn hard currency for the regime. There is also no question that Cubans are paying the price at home … [my emphasis]
Crossposted from Gateway Pundit

 Big Journalism

Society of Professional Journalists Launches Illegal Alien Amnesty Campaign

Dan  RiehlPosted by Dan Riehl Dec 29th 2010 at 7:58 pm in Featured Story, Media Matters, journalism, media bias

Of course the Society of Professional Journalists would have a “Diversity Committee.” How else could liberals continue on with the thought policing of which they became so fond in college? Now, according to the SPJ’s The Quill, they think the AP style book should be changed to provide amnesty to illegal aliens until they are proven to be in the U.S. illegally.

Frequent use of the phrases “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien” by our mainstream media is being questioned in order to remain faithful to the principles of our U.S. Constitution.
SPJ’s Diversity Committee met during the 2010 convention in Las Vegas and decided to engage in a yearlong educational campaign designed to inform and sensitize journalists as to the best language to use when writing and reporting on undocumented immigrants.
Megyn Kelly picked up on the topic at Fox News. Now, TPM is taking out after her. Given that so many self-professed journalists so routinely perform journalistic malpractice of the JournoList variety today, in the spirit of being certain, I propose we stop calling all of them journalists. We can just call them something fun, like typing monkeys, until we’re absolutely convinced they are capable of producing something akin to objective journalism, as opposed to the usual liberal spew they regularly regurgitate on cue.

Unfortunately, thanks to foolish constructs like the SPJ’s diversity committee, what was once thought to be a vital, objective and independent force in American democracy – journalism, is very often little more than liberal tripe. Genuine free thinkers need no longer apply.
Plenty of conservatives are pretty upset over a campaign by the Society of Professional Journalists to convince reporters to stop using the terms “illegal aliens” and “illegal immigrants” in favor of “undocumented immigrant.” But none are as livid as perpetually outraged Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who on Wednesday afternoon asked if journalists were going to start calling rapists “non-consensual sex partners” next.
“You could say that a burglar is an unauthorized visitor. You know, you could say that a rapist is a non-consensual sex partner which, obviously, would be considered offensive to the victims of those crimes,” Kelly said. “So how far could you take this?”

Big Journalism