Monday, February 28, 2011

Palin Will Draw a Contrast With Obama in Her Visit Next Month to India

By PRANAY GUPTE, Special to the Sun | February 27, 2011

Sarah Palin’s choice of an international venue to deliver an address on “My Vision of America” is canny. She will speak in March before India’s business, political, diplomatic, academic and media elite at the annual India Today Conclave. The gathering arguably possesses the biggest private-sector megaphone in the world’s largest democracy. And while the delegates may not be a microcosm of the country’s 1.2 billion mostly poor people, they certainly make decisions that matter.

Mrs. Palin’s choice is also shrewd because her visit to India will come barely three months after a celebrated one by President Obama. Her appearance is certain to elicit comparisons, however superficial. A presidential visit, replete with pomp and pageantry, is far more of a visual and verbal feast than that of a private citizen, even if she happens to have been an erstwhile governor of Alaska and a former running mate in an American presidential election.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Palin’s India journey is an important one. For one, Indians would like to hear a clearly defined sense of America’s political and economic trajectory. Mr. Obama’s message during his trip last November was replete with predictable bromides and the usual rhetoric of bilateral friendship. He announced some major business deals that would enhance American exports, but these had been anticipated. Indians were less than happy that, however subtly, the president sought to underscore that, in Washington’s view at least, there was parity between an economy of $1.4 trillion, and a neighboring one – Pakistan – whose GDP is $167 billion.

The Obama Administration’s concept of parity, however, has less to do with economics than with a hope — becoming increasingly vain — that Pakistan will be a robust ally in the global fight against Al Qaeda’s terrorism. Unlike India, whose democracy is loud and messy, and whose economy is on a trajectory of sustained economic growth, Pakistan, also a nuclear power, is clearly a failed state. Even its well-wishers rue that civilian government seems to be imploding. Without America’s economic and military support, the state, which was carved out of the British Raj’s Greater India, would have collapsed a long time ago.

Mrs. Palin will get to see first hand how the politics of the Subcontinent work. She may even want to make an unscheduled stop in Pakistan, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

But it is in India that Mrs. Palin is certain to be well received; there will be quite of bit of curiosity, too, since she will be a newcomer — although not a new face media-wise — for Indians. That has little to do with her controversial public persona. Rather, Indians have traditionally looked favorably at Republicans, with the possible exception of Richard Nixon, during whose presidency Washington openly sided with Pakistan as India assisted the former territory of East Pakistan to gain independence from Islamabad and establish itself as Bangladesh. Two years after George W. Bush retired from the White House, he’s still held in high regard in New Delhi on account of his unflinching support for the deal under which India has been allowed to buy equipment for its civilian nuclear program.

The other reason that Mrs. Palin will be warmly received is that Indians like women leaders. After all, the country’s most powerful politician is Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress; the INC is the lead party in the coalition that rules India. It has often been said that Mrs. Gandhi, daughter-in-law of the assassinated prime inister, Indira Gandhi, is the person that the current prime minister, Manmohan Singh, consults on every major decision. Mrs. Palin is bound to be impressed by how many women legislators there are in India’s national parliament, and in the assemblies of the countries 28 states and seven federal territories.

The India trip will deepen Mrs. Palin’s geopolitical education about South Asia, a region of enormous possibilities for stronger ties with America. While her visit may be short, she will be meeting the drivers of economic change in a country that once was moribund on account of misguided Fabian socialist policies that spawned a sprawling and corrupt bureaucracy. She will also experience for herself the colors and clangor of

India, an ancient land that is rapidly becoming a hyper modern nation who GDP may equal that of America in the next 50 years.

And Mrs. Palin will no doubt hear from her hosts concerns about the insidiously expanding hegemonic ambitions of China. The irony is that China is both India’s biggest trading partner, and a competitor for political influence in Asia. Should Sarah Palin decide to undertake a presidential run, or even just continue to be an influential public presence in America, she will bring back home with an enhanced sense of the political kaleidoscope of South Asia.

And given her personality, Mrs. Palin most definitely will make friends in India, which has already begun souring on President Obama for his perceived failure to follow through on promises made on his state visit.

Happily, Mrs. Palin will be a political tourist; she will have no obligation to make any pledges, other than of accelerating her personal friendships in a land known for its warmth and hospitality.

Mr. Gupte is a contributing editor of The New York Sun.

New York Sun

The Entitled Party

February 28, 2011
President Obama and the left wing of the Democratic Party think they are entitled to win.  From our narcissistic President to screaming union organizers, they are puffed up with self-righteous zeal.  They must have health care to save the sick, they must shut down Louisiana oil rigs to save the planet, they must defend government unions to save the middle class. 

Of course, each side thinks they are right.  Being right is no excuse.  You have to abide by the law, you have to abide by elections, you have to respect the courts and constitutional separation of power, or else we no longer live in a democratic country.  In our democracy, no one is entitled to win.  If you won't lose, you cannot have democracy.

What you have are the Wisconsin Democrat senators who are unwilling to abide by the election results that put them in a minority.  What you have is Reid and Pelosi, ramming Obamacare through by breaking rules of procedure, in order to flout the 2010 election results.  What you have is the Obama White House, blocking Congress's right to confirm appointees, and openly ignoring federal courts.  What you have is the Justice Department announcing it will no longer defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in court, as if Obama gets to decide which laws are constitutional.  What you have is a Democratic Party run amok, undercutting our democracy in the service of their own power. 

The complacency, nay, the vociferous support, from Democrat leaders and the legacy media for this disregard for the rule of law reminds me of the old joke about the psychiatrist.  A man is sent by his family to see a shrink because he thinks he's a chicken.  After months of treatment, he is still clucking.  The family asks the psychiatrist if he's told his patient he is not a chicken.  "No," the psychiatrist admits.  "Why not!"  "Because I like the eggs."

The Democrats like the eggs.  They like imposing their will, whether it be ObamaCare, or the off-shore drilling moratorium, or the blockage of Wisconsin's elected government.  Are they really this short-sighted?  Don't they understand the damage to our democratic system by these anti-democratic precedents?  Do they really want to change congressional rules so that the House and the Senate version of bills no longer have to be reconciled, as they did to jam ObamaCare through by the fiction it was a finance bill?  Do they really want the Interior Department ignoring federal court orders?  Do they really want state senators refusing to accept that when you lose an election, the other side gets to pass their agenda?

Obama appointed extremists for important administrative positions, controversial and even creepy people, like Van Jones, whom he knew would not get past Congressional confirmation.  The checks and balances between executive and legislative branch were instituted by our founders for this exact purpose.  The executive nominates but Congress must confirm -- bedrock principles of American democracy.  Obama's answer: flout the law.  Call his appointees 'czars' and bypass confirmation.  This is not legal and it is not democracy.  Do the liberal legacy media and Obama's fellow Democrats want presidents to have this unlimited power?  Do they really want to give up the safeguards of congressional confirmation by calling appointees czars? 

Czars indeed.

The White House is not only ignoring elections and subverting the power of Congress, it is also willing to disobey federal courts.  When the health care bill was challenged in court and the administration lost, Obama ignored the ruling of Justice Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court in Florida.  Judge Vinson declared the entire ObamaCare bill unconstitutional in a ruling that the judge stated was the equivalent of an injunction.  The White House has not halted implementation.  The White house has not followed normal rules to fast-track the appeal process so the Supreme Court can decide.  Our White House seems entirely comfortable to show contempt of court.

In Louisiana, the administration didn't like a court ruling lifting the moratorium on off-shore drilling, so what did the Obama administration do?  It ignored the court.  In response, on February 2, the U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman held the Department of Interior in contempt.  The Administration then adopted a go slow policy and did not issue a single permit.  So on February 21, Judge Feldman ordered the Obama administration to act on five deep water drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico within 30 days, calling the delays in issuing new decisions "unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified."  We have a White House that places its anti-energy policy above the rule of law.  This is unacceptable in a democracy.

Democracy is a complex system based on cultural norms and principles as much as institutions.  As we see governments topple in the context of resurgent jihadi movements in the Arab world, we are keenly aware that elections alone rarely lead to democracy.  George Washington was an almost unique figure in the history of the world, in that he relinquished power.  Our founding fathers were political geniuses who gave us a system of checks and balances to curb misuse of power by those who govern.  As Americans, we are privileged to witness the recurring, orderly transfer of power from one administration to the next, through which voters get to determine the direction of their government and correct mistakes and imbalances.

We are seeing in both the Obama White House and the Wisconsin Senate that the Democratic Party is unwilling to lose.  Over and over in the past two years, we have seen a Democrat administration willing to flout the courts, flout rules and regulations, and flout the voice of the people as expressed in elections.

Disregard for the democratic limits on power is as important as the administration's fiscal irresponsibility that threatens our prosperity, as important as the explosive growth of bureaucracy that threatens our liberties.

Our democracy cannot survive if only the Republican Party cares about it.  It is time for centrist Democrats to throw off the power grab by the radical wing of their party and start defending the Constitution, as they have sworn to do.    

Obama Nixes Safe Drilling

February 28, 2011
By Jeffrey Folks

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was in Houston this weekend talking with oil executives who are eager to start drilling again in the Gulf of Mexico. That may sound like progress, but after the meeting Salazar said that nothing had changed. He was not ready to approve any new drilling.

Despite everything that energy companies have done to devise advanced containment systems, Salazar is unwilling to issue a single new permit. Systems constructed by the nonprofit Marine Well Containment Company and other entities are now able to handle a flow equal or greater than that experienced during the Deepwater Horizon accident last summer. But that's not enough for Salazar, who stated that even the most advanced systems have "limitations on water depth and barrel-per-day containment capacity."

Well, yes. Any system that could be devised would have limitations on depth and per-barrel capacity. But that's not the point, as Mr. Salazar must know. The question is whether the new systems are able to handle the sorts of accident that might actually take place. Not the worst scenario that someone from the Interior Department could dream up. Combined with safely protocols now in place, the new containment equipment can do just that.

So why no permits for new drilling? It appears that the Obama administration is more interested in kowtowing to environmental donors in advance of the 2012 election than it is in controlling energy prices. Even with a federal court order to decide on new drilling in the Gulf by March 20, the Obama administration remains obdurate.

By refusing to grant a single deep-water permit in the Gulf, Obama has shut down access to one third of America's oil supply. With Libyan oil fields now closed indefinitely and with uncertainty about future production elsewhere in the Middle East, it is a dreadful time to be shutting down America's oil fields as well. Turmoil in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, or Iraq would drive the price of oil up above $150 a barrel, at the very least. A prudent policy would be to increase domestic production in light of uncertainty abroad.

Some Americans are already paying $4 a gallon for gas, but this is not just because of what's happening in the Middle East. Government action on Gulf drilling permits would immediately calm the oil markets and bring down prices, even though new production would not come on line for several years. But instead of reducing prices, Obama seems is intent on driving them up.

It's not just the Gulf of Mexico that is off limits. Obama opposes drilling anywhere offshore, including in the rich arctic region which is known to hold billions of barrels of oil reserves.

Just as bad, in his FY2012 budget Obama proposes cutting $4.4 billion of annual tax deductions for oil and gas drilling -- deductions for depreciation and amortization that date back to 1913. Those tax deductions help energy companies pay for exploratory projects that then result in lower energy costs for all Americans. At a time when Obama is throwing away $100 billion on risky alternative energy boondoggles, a number of which have already gone bankrupt, he wants to end those modest tax advantages that actually result in the production of large quantities of new energy. That sort of accounting only makes sense to a politician.

Obama, in fact, is doing everything possible to curtail domestic energy production, and yet he says that "our dependence on foreign oil threatens our national security." If reliance on foreign oil puts America at risk, why not produce more oil at home? New drilling techniques including fracking, horizontal drilling, and deep-water drilling now make it possible to do just that, but Obama opposes all of these.

If the President knows that dependence on foreign oil threatens our national security and that new drilling techniques can increase domestic supplies, why is he intent on destroying our domestic oil and gas industry?   

America is going to need new oil and gas production in a big way. In a new report, Charles T. Maxwell, the dean of U.S. energy analysts, has gone on record saying that regardless of what happens in the Middle East, oil prices are going up, way up. In a Barron's interview Maxwell stated that oil prices will hit $300 by 2020. Maxwell arrives at this number by way of a straightforward calculation. By about 2015 global oil production will peak, but demand will continue to increase on a global basis.

That leaves Americans paying $12 a gallon for gas, which is just about what Obama has said he wants. That certainly will help to end our dependence on foreign oil. The problem is there won't be anything to take its place.

At $12 a gallon, we won't be driving around much in large SUVs or in small SUVs, either. Nor will we be enjoying cheap air fares or discounted cruises. The cost of transporting goods will triple, as will the cost of heating homes, schools, and offices. And those who think that solar and wind will take the place of fossil fuels are sadly mistaken.

As Maxwell points out, solar energy now supplies one tenth of one percent of America's energy needs. Even with massive subsidies -- the kind of subsidies that have already bankrupted the Spanish economy -- solar and wind will never supply more than a small percentage of America's energy needs. Since Obama, through EPA restrictions, is busy sabotaging coal and natural gas as well, and since America has no serious nuclear program underway, we are left with nothing.

Only a president who is extraordinarily stupid would fail to see this. Conclusion: Obama is either extraordinarily stupid, or he is willing to trade America's national security for the support of environmentalist donors who are key to his re-election. Whichever it is, we're in trouble.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and article on American culture.

American Thinker

Fighting the Islamists: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I’m thankful that more and more people and their governments seem to be finding their voice as they speak out against the blight that is radical Islam. It remains, however, very much a mixed bag—more on that in a minute. Islamism versus the rest of us is a classic example of good versus evil or white hat versus black. And the stakes are high because what hangs in the balance is the 5,000 year odyssey of human civilization. So, what exactly has changed?

Virtually all Western European leaders are publicly decrying the mortal danger that their appeasement of Islam has brought them. Some Muslims in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and even Iran are challenging the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood and the radical Iranian hardliners. That said, make no mistake; the democracy that many in the region are calling for isn’t the Jeffersonian variety. A solid minority continues to abhor Christians and Jews, America and Israel, and the West in general. Nonetheless, this still represents progress. The people of Oklahoma passed legislation (currently stayed by a federal injunction) banning the implementation of Shari’a in their state.  Germany’s Angela Merkel, England’s David Cameron and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy have all openly confessed the abject failure of Europe’s attempt at so-called Islamic multiculturalism. Each has vociferously lamented what political correctness has brought them—a large and growing segregated Muslim population that rejects assimilation into their respective societies. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is holding hearings on the floor of congress to assess the threat that stealth Jihad poses. Senator Mark Kirk is educating his colleagues in the other house on the dangers of Shari’a. All of these instances suggest a new era of speaking out against Islamism.

On the other hand, our president has not added his voice of condemnation to those of our European allies.
Once again he missed an opportunity to create “change you can count on”, I mean desirable change, you know, the kind that most of us actually want to occur.  Iranian Mullahs are racing toward nuclear weapons even as they are killing protesters in the street while the world pretends not to see. Holland and Austria are suspending freedom of speech as they prosecute those who speak out against radical Islam. Then there is the truly unbelievable United Nations. This esteemed body is pursuing their pathetic Defamation of Religions Resolution. This abomination of international law whose putative goal is to protect religion is really an invention by Islamists and other shady characters to do quite something else. Its actual purpose is to promote Islam as it enervates Christianity and Judaism; the latter via the de-legitimization and eventual destruction of the state of Israel. Once again, Obama is curiously—or not so curiously— AWOL as he watches silently from the bleachers. Moreover, the UN Security Council met last Friday, in serious deliberation regarding the situation in the Middle East. That seems reasonable considering that nearly the entire region is on fire with civil unrest, riots, revolution and mass murder. The problem is that the Council turned a blind eye to the seven Muslim nations in the midst of chaos and revolt—no, they met to condemn the state of Israel for its settlement-building policies. Settlements while Arabia burns? Is that the best they can do? For the UN to choose this issue at this time is ineffably absurd. Once again, the mainstream media is not touching this monumental hypocrisy.

So, as I said, it is a mixed bag but at least some are finding the courage to address the madness of Islamism in the bright light of day. I guess we should celebrate every victory, however dwarfed by those who promulgate hate and their enablers who work so hard to ignore it. One step forward, two steps back.

Big Peace

Protesting Teacher: Give Us the Billionaires’ Addresses!

As government employee unions continue to rally across the country in support of the Wisconsin protesters, they are becoming completely unhinged. (Being surrounded by hygienically-challenged individuals who continuously shout mind-numbing slogans will do that.)

All the protests are understandable. The Democrats and the unions had a very bad election last November.

Their only hope of stopping the inevitable demise of collective bargaining privileges for public sector employees is by swaying public opinion. The unions are playing a very weak hand, and the protests are their “ace in the hole.”

But what’s inexcusable is the attempt of some protestors to villanize and make veiled threats against private American citizens (namely “The Rich”).

Last weekend, some 2,500 government workers rallied outside the California state Capitol, to demand that the Golden State does not follow in the footsteps of Wisconsin. True to form, the government employees were spreading the vitriol and intimidation there, too.

For instance, “Melody,” a 1st grade teacher, had this to say about ‘where’s the money in this country’:
“Well, isn’t it in the top 1.5% of people?  I think they should start telling us those people’s addresses!”

Ms. First Grade Teacher, who are “they?”  SEIU’s Andy Stern?  AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka? MSNBC?

And what would you do with the billionaires’ addresses, Ms. First Grade Teacher? Add them to your Christmas card list?

Or do you want to ambush them at home, like the SEIU did last May to Greg Baer, the deputy general counsel for Bank of America? (The SEIU thugs were so intimidating that Baer’s teenage son, who was alone at home, locked himself in the bathroom out of fear.)

Is “Melody” typical of unionized public school teachers? I certainly hope not, but she certainly represents the most vocal wing of the teachers union.
And one final point: isn’t it interesting to see what animates the teacher unions, what gets them protesting in the streets?  It’s the money – not the low level of academic achievement – that gets the teacher unions worked up.

Just look at what is going on in Wisconsin. The average teacher compensation package in Milwaukee Public Schools recently topped $100,000. That’s a great deal for the teachers, but less so for the taxpayers who are drowning in red ink. So when Gov. Walker tries to get Wisconsin’s budget under control, the teacher unions go bananas and close down the schools.

But when data shows that two-thirds of Wisconsin 8th graders can’t read proficiently, the teacher unions are strangely silent. Where’s the march on the Capitol over that, teacher union members? (No wonder teacher unions don’t want performance pay. They’d be penniless and in a state of regret.)

The vitriol and feigned outrage going on in Madison and across the country shows that the unions are only concerned with their financial needs. The unions are willing to do whatever they can – even confronting “billionaires” at home – in order to keep the gravy train running on time.

Big Government

Montana Republicans to the Federal Government: ‘Don’t Tread on Me’

Although last year’s midterm elections dealt Democrats a devastating blow at the federal level, what has liberals reeling now are the ramifications of power Republicans accumulated on the state level as well. Just consider their reaction to the union-adjusting policies of the newly elected governors in Ohio and Wisconsin (John Kasich and Scott Walker), and it’s evident that the outcome of November 2010 continues to be more than many Democrats can handle.

Yet the key battleground for a clash between the political status quo, which is always good for Democrats, and an active conservatism, which is always good for liberty, looks like it may take place hundreds of miles away from either Kasich or Walker, in a state that still symbolizes the strength and courage of the Wild West: namely, Montana.

Yes, it’s there that the battleaxe of Tea Party conservatism is crashing down with a boom on liberalism, progressivism, and every other “ism” that threatens to the limit the intrinsic (and inalienable) rights of the citizens in that state.

The Associated Press (AP) recently bemoaned the fact that Republicans emerged from the November 2010 elections with a  “supermajority in the Montana House.”  Which means they now control both chambers in that state. This also means that words like “nullification,” phrases like “states’ rights,” and theories like Thomas Jefferson’s description of the union of states as a “compact” are not only spoken in the legislative halls, they are shouted from the rooftops. (Jefferson’s view on the nature of the union, best set forth in his “Kentucky Resolutions,” is that states do not look to the federal government for the cause of their existence rather the federal government exists because the states chose to delegate certain powers to it.)

In Montana, they are trying to right the ship by restoring a constitutional balance of powers that constrains the federal government’s habit of infringing on the rights of the people.

What the newly elected Republicans in Montana are saying is that they know their constitutional options, and that those options haven’t been recognized or respected by the federal government for some time now.

It appears that such options, embodied in the rights “reserved to the States respectively,” are about to be re-asserted one by one, as they re-enter the political lexicon. And what’s bothering the left is the fact that such a re-assertion flips their worldview on its head, because it reserves powers to the people that the federal government cannot control.

I guess you could say Montana is sending a strong message to the federal government, and that message is “Don’t Tread on Me.”

Big Government

How Al-Jazeera Kills Americans

Posted by Accuracy in Media Feb 28th 2011 at 1:25 pm in Featured Story, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, media bias, national security

From Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid:

The U.S. media propaganda campaign in favor of Al-Jazeera getting on more American television networks, stations and cable systems has reached Time Magazine and The Washington Post. But the shocking truth about this Arab government-funded “news” network may still get out through congressional hearings arranged by Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Time has a story, “Why the U.S. Needs Al Jazeera,” by Ishaan Tharoor, who claims, that “… millions across the world, including many first-time viewers in the U.S., have marveled in recent weeks at Al Jazeera English’s impressive coverage from the front lines of the protests currently shaking the Middle East.”

A different opinion is provided by Florida broadcaster Jerry Kenney, who compares Al-Jazeera to an arsonist who, after setting a fire, records the inferno and then brags about the film footage. Hundreds have died in the violence in the Middle East egged on by Al-Jazeera. AIM’s “Terror Television” DVD showed captured terrorists saying they came to Iraq to kill Americans because of the words and images on Al-Jazeera.

Could the same thing happen here if Al-Jazeera English reaches more American Muslims, who don’t speak Arabic, with inflammatory words and images making America out to be the enemy and villain in the Middle East?

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) released a statement on Thursday in response to the arrest of a Saudi national suspected of plotting terrorist attacks in the U.S. The top Republican on the Senate Homeland

Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said, “This plot is yet another example of radicalized extremists working to do us harm from within our borders. I am alarmed at the growth of homegrown terrorist plots.”

She added, “Between May 2009 and November 2010, there were arrests made in 22 ‘homegrown’ plots by American citizens or legal permanent residents. By comparison, in the more than seven years from September 11, 2001, through May 2009, there were 21 such plots.”

What is needed is a congressional inquiry into whether Al-Jazeera, through its exposure to some Americans through the Internet and YouTube and some cable systems, is playing a role in this carnage.

Al Anstey, managing director of Al-Jazeera English, has recently been meeting with cable providers such as Comcast to demand more media access. His campaign will succeed unless Americans contact Comcast executives with their concerns. The telephone for the corporate office is 215- 665-1700.

However, the channel’s brazen cover-up of the sexual assault of CBS News reporter Lara Logan has had the effect of waking up even some liberals about the channel’s real agenda. This has been a significant turning point. For example, liberal columnist and editorial writer Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post has denounced the channel in harsh terms for ignoring the Logan assault.

Ignoring this kind of criticism from one of its own columnists and editorial writers, the Post’s Sunday “Outlook” Section carried an article by Wadah Khanfar, director general of Al-Jazeera, entitled, “At Al-Jazeera, we saw the Arab revolutions coming. Why didn’t the West?

As far as revolutions are concerned, it is noteworthy that Al-Jazeera has failed miserably to rally supporters of democracy in the country which pays its bills — Qatar. Indeed, it has spared the authoritarian regime there any serious scrutiny.

Khanfar rails against “the moral, political and economic bankruptcy of the old Arab elites,” without noting that the Emir of Qatar hired him and pays the bills at Al-Jazeera with his oil billions. The emirs have run the state of Qatar since it was founded in 1850.

Walid Phares writes in his book, The Coming Revolution, that “While hosting a large U.S. military base and promoting a pro-Western image, Doha’s ruling family launched the jihadist TV Channel al Jazeera in 1996” and that it “supports jihadism over democracy and liberalism.”

“Since fall 2001,” notes Phares, “the Qatari-funded channel al Jazeera had systematically challenged war efforts and public relations of U.S. and allied campaigns in the region. It played a tremendous role in arousing sentiment and mobilizing large segments in the Arab and Muslim world against America. Amazingly, despite the savage attack [on 9/11] against the United States, Al Jazeera was able to turn the tables against Washington by portraying the United States as waging war against Islam, and not in defense of its own security. I followed the network closely and saw clearly that the ideological and political line, from editorial to talk shows, was without a doubt that of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was barely even camouflaged.”

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, describes Phares as a respected author, scholar and expert on Islamist Jihadism who “has been advising the Homeland Security Committee staff and me in preparing for Committee hearings on Islamist or Jihadi radicalization.” Those hearings begin on March 9th.

King adds, “I certainly expect to call him to testify at future hearings regarding Jihadi ideologies and strategies. My staff and I will also continue to rely upon Professor Phares for his advice and counsel as these hearings go forward.”

We shouldn’t have to wait for hearings for the media to take into account Phares’ well-documented criticism of Al-Jazeera. The picture he paints of the channel is directly opposed to the carefully cultivated public image it is creating for itself.

The Time article, which takes the form of an interview with Al-Jazeera’s Washington bureau chief Abderrahim Foukara, inadvertently discloses the truth when Foukara declares, “To be honest, I don’t know what objective journalism means.”

 Nevertheless, Time argues that Al-Jazeera “deserves a greater American audience.”

In the Time interview, the Al-Jazeera official is asked if protests like the ones we’re seeing now in the Middle East hit Qatar, “would we see coverage on Al Jazeera?” His reply, “It’s an if.”

He went on to say, “My sense tells me that if something like that happens, we would see coverage,” but later said, “The question is what happens in Qatar that would warrant attention 24 hours a day.”
How’s that for a commitment to complete coverage and exposing Arab dictators?

He also declared, “I do not recall one time in which somebody from the Qatari government picked up the phone to say we want you to do this or to do that.”

Of course, Qatar officials don’t have to do that. The coverage by Al-Jazeera has not been directed at corruption by the authoritarian monarchy in Qatar because employees know that the regime, which controls personnel at the channel, would fire them if they were too critical.

“If the government of Qatar funds Al Jazeera with hundreds of millions of dollars annually, obviously it’s not a charity,” says Foukara, in an obvious understatement.

Al-Jazeera has already been shown to play a role in radicalizing Muslims abroad to make Americans into terrorist targets. Is there any reason to believe its impact in America itself would be any different? Through Al-Jazeera English, the channel could further stir up and inflame the Arabs and Muslims inside the U.S.

Could its increased presence in U.S. media markets spark more terrorism on American soil from home-grown Jihadists?

This is a question that Rep. King will want to address. It’s also a question that Comcast executives should consider before making a rash and reckless decision to put the channel into millions of more American homes.

Big Journalism

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Union civility: Fox-bashing edition

By Michelle Malkin  •  February 27, 2011 10:25 PM

It’s not about the “children.”

It’s not about “fairness.”

It’s about agitation and community organizing and ginning up hatred against political enemies.

For the union radicals in Wisconsin, as I reported in my column on Friday, those enemies include the Koch brothers, the Tea Party movement, minority conservatives, female Republicans, independent citizen journalists…and Fox News.

As I told you on Feb. 19, Fox News-bashing has been all the rage in Madison:

Now, the hatred has turned physical. Fox News reporter Mike Tobin — a fearless international correspondent who has covered wars in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories — was assaulted in Madison today as hysterical union goons screamed over his live shots to drown out his news segments.

Via Mediaite:

Tobin said he has received much heckling, and that a teacher even told him she hates him because it made her feel good. The “utter lack of civility and harassment of reporters,” as anchor Gregg Jarrett described it, is truly breathtaking and seems like a weird strategy to try and win support for one’s cause.
And yes, they threatened to break his neck.

“Get a little bloody.” It’s the Union way.
AFL-CIO thug-in-chief Richard Trumka has nothing to say about the ugliness on the ground:
Appearing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was twice asked whether he found the tone at the nearly two-week long demonstrations “wrong” or “inappropriate.”
Trumka did not answer, instead saying, “We should be sitting down trying to create jobs. … In Wisconsin, a vast majority of the people think this governor has overreached. His popularity has gone down. They’re saying to him, sit down and negotiate; don’t do what you’ve been doing. So he’s losing.”
And, of course, the lamestream media had nothing to say about Trumka’s own violent legacy. I repeat, because no one else will:
Trumka and Obama will cast Big Labor as an unassailable force for good in American history. But when it comes to terrorizing workers, Trumka knows whereof he speaks.
Meet Eddie York. He was a workingman whose story will never scroll across Obama’s teleprompter. A nonunion contractor who operated heavy equipment, York was shot to death during a strike called by the United Mine Workers 17 years ago. Workmates who tried to come to his rescue were beaten in an ensuing melee. The head of the UMW spearheading the wave of strikes at that time? Richard Trumka. Responding to concerns about violence, he shrugged to the Virginian-Pilot in September 1993: “I’m saying if you strike a match and you put your finger in it, you’re likely to get burned.” Incendiary rhetoric, anyone?
A federal jury convicted one of Trumka’s UMW captains on conspiracy and weapons charges in York’s death. According to the Washington, D.C.-based National Legal and Policy Center, which tracks Big Labor abuse, Trumka’s legal team quickly settled a $27 million wrongful death suit filed by York’s widow just days after a judge admitted evidence in the criminal trial. An investigative report by Reader’s Digest disclosed that Trumka “did not publicly discipline or reprimand a single striker present when York was killed. In fact, all eight were helped out financially by the local.”
In Illinois, Trumka told UMW members to “kick the s**t out of every last” worker who crossed his picket lines, according to the Nashville (Ill.) News. And as the National Right to Work Foundation (pdf), the leading anti-forced unionism organization in the country, pointed out, other UMW coalfield strikes resulted in what one judge determined were “violent activities … organized, orchestrated and encouraged by the leadership of this union.”
Trumka washed off the figurative bloodstains and moved up the ranks. As AFL-CIO secretary, he notoriously refused to testify in a sordid 1999 embezzlement trial involving his labor boss brethren at the Teamsters Union. No surprise. Thugs of a feather: Trumka’s violence-promoting record echoes the riotous Teamsters strikes dating back to the 1950s, when the union organized taxicab companies to target workers with gas bombs, bottles and fists.
And now, Trumka is spearheading a Democratic Party get-out-the-vote campaign by far-left groups — publicized in the revolutionary Marxist People’s World — to “energize an army of tens of thousands who will return to their neighborhoods, churches, schools and voting booths to prevent a Republican takeover of Congress in November and begin building a new permanent coalition to fight for a progressive agenda.”
Take those as literal fighting words. The bloody consequences of compulsory unionism cannot be ignored.
President Obama, are your supporters doing “everything [they] can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations?”
Earlier today: Union Civility: Michigan Edition

Recent: Hate-a-rama: The vulgar, racist, sexist, homophobic rage of the Left

Recent: More Union Civility: Eyewitness to Boston thuggery; Plus: Die, elderly Tea Partiers, die!

Recent: Video: Rhode Island union supporter to cameraman – “I’ll f**k you in the ass, you faggot”

Recent: Video: CWA union thug strikes young female FreedomWorks activist; Updated

Flashback: SEIU and the “persuasion of power;” Update: St. Louis thuggery on tape

Flashback: Caught on tape: SEIU thuggery

Flashback: The progressive “climate of hate:” An illustrated primer, 2000-2010
Posted in: SEIU,Unions,Wisconsin

(Video) Palin Unscripted

Highlights of Governor Palin's Q&A at Long Island Association - February 17 2011
Full video here

End Forced Unionism

February 27, 2011
Where would we be without labor unions?  We would be much better off. 

Americans do not understand what "labor unions" mean.  Nothing prevents a group of workers at a plant or office from getting together, signing an agreement which delegates power to negotiate contracts to certain representatives, and then proceeding with collective bargaining by those workers who chose to sign the agreement.  That is not unionism; it is simply a business arrangement, much like when an athlete has an agent or a client has a lawyer.

The problem with unionism is that those who do not feel such an agreement is needed are compelled to surrender their right to bargain for their working conditions and compelled, as well, to support a vast, expensive bureaucracy of labor satraps.   It is coercion of workers masked as industrial democracy.  If 49% of the "represented" workers want a wage freeze but more vacation time, and that is not the official union position, then the union bosses are working against the interest of these workers.  If many workers feel union rules reduce efficiency, and so the prospects of more jobs, those workers have to pay for the privilege of their representatives doing exactly the opposite of what these wish. 

Coerced unions were always unnecessary, wasteful, and immoral -- and all unions today are coerced unions.  Depending upon whether a state has a "closed shop" (only members of a union can be hired, and these must comply with union rules) or "union shop" (new employees must join the union after being hired), if a state has no right to work law, employers must negotiate with the union instead of the individual worker.  Only 22 states now have right to work laws, although robust Republican state governments could add six more states to that column, five in the Great Lakes region alone.

Our Great Lakes Region was once the industrial dynamo of the world.  Unions murdered its prosperity.    Towns and cities in the Great Lakes that ought to be humming with activity are now dwindling into ghost towns.  

People invariably can be persuaded that in free economic transactions, like the decision of people to work in a coalmine or tractor factory, the workers are getting the short end of the stick.  Market economics, however, prevents "exploitation" from being more than a brief aberration and these fluctuations are as likely to unjustly enrich workers (for a short time) as to enrich employers.  Only a mind focused on envy and anger can pretend that laws denying the liberty of employment somehow make life better.

It is blindingly clear to any open mind that unions, especially public employee unions, do not even pretend to make an economic argument for their position.  Labor negotiations, more and more, are simply exercises in naked political power.  The dues snatched involuntarily from workers who oppose being drafted into supporting collectivist Democrats are used to buy politicians.  Aside from the crushing "tax" upon our nation's economy which union dues and union restrictions on liberty cost our nation, the social effect of a work environment smothered beneath big labor, big business, and big government squeezes most Americans into lonely atoms in the business of America.

These leviathans are the antithesis of what our country needs to survive and to thrive in a world of instant communication, evolving technology, and global market price systems.  Few, if any, people in history have been such rugged individualists as Americans.  Our ability to innovate, to adapt quickly, to push unconventional approaches to their limits -- all these have made us great, and in more than just wealth and power.   Unions are the antipode of this supreme American virtue.   Unions are the incarnation of the putrid body of Marx and all his bitter disciples.

Unions, including especially public employee unions, have function only in a grim universe of constant conflict and suspicion.  They are close siblings of feminists who find transcendent grievance in the fact of gender.  Unions find family with "civil rights" activists, whose wealth and power are dependent upon the hopelessness of black people.  Unions are natural cousins of personal injury lawyers whose only commandment is "Do anything to win" or leftist politicians whose guiding principle is "Promise anything."

The America of 2011 is shackled with crippling chains -- tax rates, particularly on capital gains; environmental regulations calculated to impoverish us into "green" living; goose-stepping media who sappily salute any sin of leftism; militant atheism masking as some sort of faux-Americanism; vast and awful pyramids of public debt and fathomless seas of future entitlements -- and so much more.   Do we want a bright future?  Do we want our country back?  Abolish forced unionism, beginning with government workers.  Republicans are weak, far too weak, on this particular issue.  Unions are not just the political enemy of Republicans; they are the ideological enemies of liberty.  Republicans should heed the quip of President Reagan when his assistants warned that some of his policies were too extreme: "What are they going to do to me?  Hang me from a higher tree?"

Governor Walker in Wisconsin is experiencing now what every Republican governor who tries any real reform of the workplace will encounter:  fanatical, take-no-prisoners, hatred.  Why not push for total victory and a free, productive workplace throughout the land?

American Thinker

Tout va Très Bien Madame la Multiculturalisma

Saturday, February 26, 2011
By Daniel Greenfield

France's President Sarkozy has stated that multiculturalism has failed, insisting that Muslim immigrants merge into the "national community". German President Angela Merkel made virtually the same statement earlier at her party's convention. British PM David Cameron went further saying that Islamism had taken root because multiculturalism had diminished a collective English identity. All three leaders are conservatives and language like this has been greeted with applause by their base. But there is really very little to cheer here.

Announcing the failure of multiculturalism in Europe of 2011 is as relevant a disclosure as the comic French song, Tout Va Très Bien, Madame La Marquise, in which the groom informs her ladyship that her husband had committed suicide after losing his money and burned down the estate, by telling her that everything was alright except for a minor mishap with her horse. Multiculturalism may be the post-national left's favorite nag, but the failure here is much greater. It is mass migration from the Muslim world that is the problem, and any policy that only addresses the consequences, rather than the cause, is bound to be a failure.

Of the three leaders, Cameron was the only to lay out something close to a policy. But his muscular rhetoric sounds suspiciously like the pre-election Sarkozy. And conservative British pols have developed a habit of talking tough about Islam one minute, and pandering to it shamelessly for votes on the other. Before becoming Prime Minister, Cameron went to live with a Muslim family and announced that, "Not for the first time, I found myself thinking that it is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the British Asian way of life, not the other way around."

Has Cameron suddenly realized that the extended Muslim family with its rugs and hospitality masks less appetizing cultural problems, particularly when it comes to the treatment of women, or is he trying to stay ahead of a public backlash. Sarkozy certainly is. His popularity is low. Meanwhile LePen's daughter is behind a revived party, without her father's Nazi sympathies and anti-semitism, that may take away enough votes to make a difference. Merkel is also unpopular and needs a red meat issue that will distract the voters from Greece and Portugal. And so for all that European leaders are talking about the threat of Islamic separatism, and the Palestinization of Muslim communities with their No Go zones, honor killings and riots, they are still speaking the language of integration.

Integration. Process the millions of Muslims through British, Germany and French schools and make sure that they know the national language, rather than the urban patois that has become the lingua franca of a changing Europe, showing up in rap albums and TV shows. Teach them how wonderfully tolerant we are, bridge the gap by celebrating their culture, and maybe even making room for a little Sharia law on the side. Tie the knot and there'll be a happy integrated nation, which marries the Middle Eastern values of hospitality and the British values of not beheading your daughter.

The problem with this new anthem of 'Tout va Très Bien Madame la Multiculturalisma' is that multiculturalism isn't the problem, it's the symptom. The British, French and German systems haven't failed, they have had a chance of success. It would have been possible to integrate a few thousand Muslims per country, but not a few million. Certainly not people who have no definition of integration, and whose cultural and religious assumptions are so far apart that they cannot integrate without losing their identity.

But even this need not have been a complete and absolute disaster. 3 million Nepalese might have made their own separate communities, as they have in towns such as Reading, without it leading to a civil war. The natives would have complained of the smells, the foreign languages and the strange signs. Of entire English towns in the hands of strangers. And it would have ended at that. But Muslims are a special case for three unfortunate reasons.

First, they hold an enduring grievance toward Europe for everything over the last 1000 years. Considering the troubles in Northern Ireland between peoples far more closely related by culture and blood, who in their right mind thought that it would be a good idea to import millions of foreigners who still resent the loss of Spain, the Crusades and colonial governments with nearly equal ferocity, and imagined that it would all go smoothly.

Second, their culture is tightly integrated with their religion, and their religion has a long history of expanding through conquest. A history both ancient and recent. It took enormous arrogance to import millions of members whose civilization still employs violence as a religiously sanctioned tool for promoting the faith, and then act as if they could be integrated with a good lesson plan.

Third, many Muslim countries have enormous wealth and influence, and have used it to promote Islamism and tear down the defenses of Western nations. Imagine if the Soviet Union had possessed enormous oil wealth or if Japan in the 80's had decided to use its wealth to aggressively promote a cultural takeover. That is what we are dealing with here.

All this talk of integrating Muslims disregards them as a civilization, and treats them as if they were delinquents. Cameron's talk of youth falling into extremism suggests that he thinks of them as if they were children from a broken home falling through the cracks of the system and shooting up heroin on council estates, rather than young men acting in accord with the values of their own religion.

The Muslim terrorists of Europe are neither impoverished nor marginalized. They are doctors, architects and university students who have taken the full benefit of what the countries have to offer them, and gone to war to win it all. They are brats acting out, but soldiers engaging in a war of conquest. A simple fact that all the integration prattle obscures.

The difference between the so-called extremists and the moderates, is that the extremists want to conquer Europe by force, and the moderates through demographics and culture. The extremists want to blow up Europe. The moderates want to integrate it. And their lesson plans have gotten much further into the European, Canadian, Australian and American child-- than the lesson plans of the Western integrators have into the Muslim child.

Cameron has rightly identified a portion of the problem. But his solution is asinine. You do not create a vigorous culture worthy of respect by passing a law and making it so. A culture that merits respect can only be created by the measure of its accomplishments. The decline of English culture parallels the physical recession of the nation, its power, its industry and its achievements. (And that is a fair warning for America, which is headed down the same path at a slower pace.) A lesson plan on King Alfred the Great, will not make England great, and will not earn Muslim respect, let alone their integration. Most nations have their own grand histories and their own tales. But unless they still have greatness within them, these are nothing but matters of trivia.

Talk all you want of greatness, but great nations colonize, they are not colonized. All a UK Muslim needs to do in order to gauge where the future lies is look at the native birth rate, at the Muslim birth rate and at the immigration statistics. And then he can safely relegate King Alfred the Great, Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill to the realm of obscure trivia from a vanishing nation. After all Byzantium too was great in its time, but now it's a giant Muslim marketplace.

The Middle East was once the cradle of civilization, today it is a heap of dirt with a smattering of oil, olive groves and vast dirty slum carrying the names of once legendary cities. The region was full of cultures and civilizations that were once great, before being trodden under the boots of maddened Bedouin fanatics. Today only two, the Jews and the Persians, exist as independent nations. And it would not take all that long to turn Europe into the new Middle East.

The integrators imagine that they can halt that process with a reading of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' or by banning the burqa, but the tide of history is not turned so easily as that. The great men of England's own history could tell Cameron that. It is not history that makes nations great, but the way in which they carry on that history into the present. The way in which they realize that history in the present day.

Say what you will about Muslims, but they are realizing their history in Europe today. While they reenact the old battles, their foes are tempting them with social services funding. European governments want Muslims to join their republican secular states. Muslims want Europeans to join their caliphate. And it is not difficult to see who will win that particular contest if things go on as they are.

Reporting the failure of multiculturalism is a touch of Tout Va Très Bien, Madame La Marquise by the integrators who are comically understating the scope and the nature of the problem. Europe's problem is not multiculturalism, but that it has been invaded and it has forgotten how to fight back.

Sultan Knish

Obfuscating Inflation

February 27, 2011
The government in Washington D.C. seems to be going out of its way to obfuscate and confuse the American citizens as to various economic factors and what the reality is of the situation the people find themselves in.  Instinctively the people know matters are worse than what they are being told and with the most incompetent and unscrupulous resident of the White House in the country's history in charge there is great unease that their government is not being honest with its citizens.  More than ever the American people deserve to be told the truth.

Among the most confusing of statistics is the unemployment rate.  The government adjusts for "seasonal factors", those who have supposedly dropped out of the labor force and some who are collecting or not collecting unemployment benefits.  The result of these adjustments is a number no one accepts as reality.

There is one simple way to look at the job situation that, while not 100% scientifically accurate, does reflect the real employment situation.  

In 2000 the population of the United States was, per the US Census, 281,421,906.  In that same year the US Payroll Employment: Total Non-Agricultural was 130,781,000 or 46.6% of the population.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an unemployment rate then of 4.0%.  Thus full employment in 2000 would have been 136,000.000 people or 48.3% of the population. 

The most recent national census completed in April 2010 revealed the population of the country had increased to 309,745,538.    In the same month of 2010 the US Payroll Employment: Total Non-Agricultural was 129,750,000 or 41.5% of the population.   Per the full employment factor of 48.3% in 2000 there should be a full employment labor force of 149,607.000 in 2010.

Therefore using the actual payroll employment of 129,750,000 in 2010 versus the theoretical full employment of 150,226,000 the employment rate is 86.4%.  Thus the unemployment rate is 13.6% as compared to the factors extant in 2000, the year of the last national census.

Essentially the unemployment rate is a statistical variable based on input and can be manipulated; however the bottom line is: over the past decade payroll employment has dropped by 1,031,000 while the total population has increased by 28,323,000.  Had the country maintained the same employment level as in 2000 there should have been 13,310,000 more people employed instead 14,331,000 jobs were lost or not created.

The US Census Bureau estimates that by 2020 the population of the United States will be 342,000,000, an increase of 33 million versus 2010.  Therefore to achieve the employment level established in 2000 by 2020 another 15,500,000 jobs will need to be created on top of the 14,331,000 lost in the previous decade.  Therefore nearly 30 million jobs or 3 million per year over the next 10 years must be established to achieve the levels experienced in 2000.  

The bottom line and the only meaningful job statistic the American people should pay attention to: if the monthly job creation number is not at least 250,000 every month then the United States is going backwards regardless of any games played by the various government agencies and their data.

Another area of obfuscation is the true cost of living and the rising cost of commodities and industrial raw materials.

The worldwide commodities markets are in a turmoil brought about by the lower yields for food staples, the upheavals in the Middle-East, the beginning of an economic recovery in the rest of the world and the inflationary impact of the Federal Reserve quantative easing programs.  Some commodities such as cotton are up 140% over a year ago.   

A key factor in the rise of commodity prices has been the decline in the value of the dollar.  As points of comparison over the past two years:  the Dollar has declined 16% versus the Japanese Yen, the Canadian Dollar by over 21%, and the Swiss Franc by 22%.

The best way to see the overall impact of commodity price increases is to track the various indices which contain a large basket of items within each category.  Since February of 2009 all the major indices are up significantly.  Despite the protestations of the Federal Reserve and the abandonment of fiscal responsibility of the Obama administration, these charts and the information they reveal will manifest themselves in the U.S. economy particularly coupled with the very real possibility of an oil cut-off form the Middle East.
This chart tracks the Agricultural Raw Material Index (increase 81% since 2009):

The Food Price Index (increase 49% since 2009):

The most volatile index of all has been the Metals Price Index which has increased 137%:

Lastly the Fuel (Energy) Index has increased 82% since 2009 but is destined to go higher:

There is simply no way these factors will not impact the inflationary trend here in the United States in the immediate future, killing any chance for a recovery.  Rarely have all these indices been on such a sustained rise in such a short period of time, and unless there is another global recession they will continue to do so.  Already other countries around the world have taken steps to fight inflation while the Federal Reserve is still contemplating deflation and continuing with its quantatative easing program (essentially printing money) while the Obama administration throws fuel on the fire by proceeding with its profligate spending agenda.

The American people should pay attention to theses indices.  As long as these trends continue inflation will hit the shores of the United States regardless of any obfuscation or misreporting by the Government.

It is beyond time for truth telling in Washington D.C. as the economy begins to tip into another downturn that maybe further accelerated by the chaos in the Middle East.

The Fierce Moral Urgency of WTF

February 27, 2011
By Clarice Feldman

Sick of carving up my hands as I wrestled with those ubiquitous clamshell packages, I bought a super duper package opening tool which promises to make this chore easier, but I nicked my skin on the clamshell packaging as I struggled to get to it.

In that minor sense, my experience mirrored Obama's week, where everything domestic and international that he touched upon only further wounded him.

The Gallup and Rasmussen polls reflect only a continuing well-deserved slide in his and his party's standing among voters who have taken good measure of his consistently rotten performance.

Over There

As the Middle East explodes, with one country after another experiencing unrest and upheaval, the White House continues its   policies of dithering and then siding with our enemies.

Caroline Glick zeroed in on the preposterous U.S stance on Israel in the UN this week.  We vetoed a UN resolution criminalizing Israeli policy which allows Jews to build on their own property and then permitted US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and Secretary of State Clinton to condemn their own  veto.

Glick meticulously explains what anti-Israeli animus spurred by Obama's own unserious, benighted policies motivated the Lebanese (a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran through the terrorist organization Hezb'allah) move and what steps were available to Obama to check this ploy. She concludes that the Administration's actions may be motivated by animus toward Israel or incompetence, suggesting the latter. Whatever the reason, it makes the Administration look like clowns. (The phrase "A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants" comes to mind every time the Obama- Rice-Hillary combo is at bat.)

Just as damaging to US interests, she notes, is Obama's maltreatment of Mubarak and legitimizing of the Moslem Brotherhood, which she predicts, will create a new crisis in September when the promised elections in Egypt are scheduled to take place. She sees no happy consequence for the US after the elections under any scenario and notes that this blundering has also weakened our alliance with the Saudis.

On Libya, the picture is no different, As he did when the mullahs were murdering the protestors, Obama seemed inattentive and disinterested. Indeed, the White House could not even manage a timely evacuation of US citizens there and the White House website thinks the name of the country is  "Lybia."  Maybe they couldn't get planes or boats there because they couldn't find Lybia on any atlas. As we go to press the crack Obama -Rice- Clinton team has not even yet suggested that the bloody regime must be removed as a member of the UN's Human Rights Council .

"Once more is known, 'we will take appropriate steps in line with our policies, our values and our laws, but we're going to have to work in concert with the international community,' she said."

Part of me will miss Gaddafi, though, and it does appear his days are numbered even though we were too weak to do a thing to speed his departure. Think of it. With him gone, is there anyone remaining on the international stage who can match his sartorial splendor -- the clip on military fruit salad, the colorful bishts, the dazzling accessorizing and a hat collection matched only by the late Queen Mother? Not since Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, have we seen such male sartorial splendor.

I suppose the brilliant foreign policy tag team is still too busy pondering what they might do about the doped up Somali pirates, some of whom just murdered four American tourists. Perhaps -- just a suggestion now -- a firmer stance than catch and release or wait-until-they've-got-the-gun-pointed-at-the-yachtsman's-head-before-firing is called for.

Hope and Rope

So whether by design or incompetence the Administration is encouraging havoc in the Middle East, turning off our allies and encouraging our enemies, and at home it is succeeding in destroying the President's base -- public employee unions.

Like you and me, and unlike the feds, states cannot print money. They can issue bonds but there's a point where their liabilities get so great no one will buy them and they cannot claim bankruptcy protection. They can raise taxes even higher to pay their debts, though as New York and California found out, you can't chain taxpayers to your state and when you try to rob them they have a tendency to move and take their money with them.

Or you can cut your expenses. Wisconsin was in that position and needed to make some changes in the lavish benefits it was paying to its unionized public service employees (aka "the workers" or "the masses"), who on average are compensated at about twice the rate of Wisconsin taxpayers (aka "the  fat cat bosses"). The vast majority of Wisconsin voters agreed with their governor, Scott Walker, who said the unions would have to take a benefits haircut.

Now, this might have interfered with the Democrat honey pot.

Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle.  Michael Barone

So, Obama cast aside his usual strategy of dithering and voting present. With the world in flames, the economy tanking and his party's prospects shrinking, he did find time to speak out on behalf of the  workers who abandoned their classrooms, forcing parents who pay their salaries to lose their own: He accused the governor of staging "an assault on unions" adding ‘public employee unions make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens."

Well, he's entitled to his opinion, but it seems to be one shared by a distinct minority, mostly the unions, their members and the recipients of their campaign contributions.

As the messy, uncivil and abusive demonstrations proceeded in Madison, 14 Democratic senators fled the state for the not so sunny shores of Illinois, outside the reach of the governor, in the hope that it would deprive him of the necessary quorum to carry out his agenda.

Walker's agenda would deprive the public employee unions of the right to bargain for fringe benefits, and the right to demand Wisconsin withhold dues money from public employees.

As to Obama's claim that these unions "make enormous contributions to our states and citizens," I haven't found evidence for anything except the fact that these unions insist on driving up costs (and taxes) and diminishing services.

In any event, feeling full of hope that with the president and media (most of whom belong to the Communications Workers Union) by their side, they would prevail, the unions continued their demands and outrageous behavior. But they were wrong; the more adamant the demonstrations and the more obviously self-serving they were, the more public opinion turned against them -- not only in Wisconsin where the Governor seems to be prevailing. The fleebaggers (as the departing senators have been tagged) are now without their salaries and facing recall petitions. Elsewhere in the Midwest where other governors are strengthening their spines at this selfish union power grab, there is an anti public employee unions movement gathering force.

But the President as we know from Valerie Jarrett, his key aide and chef de chefs, is cool and too smart and above it all to worry about the roiling waters here and abroad and the fact that 1,000 of his citizens were stuck in harm's way in Libya. It was time for another white House soiree -- Motown was the focus this time.

Unfortunately for the Obamas, we are less distracted by the shiny objects the White House dangles before us these days as the price of food and gas and electricity rise, as housing prices continue to tumble, state and local governments are awash in red ink, financing dries up, jobs disappear, and we find ourselves in growing danger from our enemies.

As  the blog Michelle Obama's Mirror notes, the White House even messed up that relatively simple to organize event:

Ok - Seal at least brought some soul to the East Room (who knew? I mean, he is British and all) but Nick Jonas, John Legend and Jamie Foxx? Please. No pipes, no chops, no fly zone. And look at that sloppy "choreography." You could practically hear Berry Gordy's teeth grinding above the din.

If "The Motown story is really a metaphor for life," it doesn't look as though it ends well.

And can you envision Smokey Robinson with Sheryl Crow? If your answer is no, consider yourself lucky. As you can see, the audience was having none of it, despite what you might read in USA Today. Or the WaPo. (h/t Chick) 

I sense that this might spell trouble for Big Guy: nobody seems to mind very much that the Won and his Chicago posse have screwed up the economy, the budget, the world's greatest healthcare system, the war on terror, the Middle East, (he's working on topping Jimmy Carter in this contest, as Jimmy only enabled the toppling of one ally, while Big Guy still has several left on the table -- not even counting Israel -- plus we've now got enemy ships patrolling around the Suez Canal) and foreign relations in general -- butt messin' with Motown? I don't know, -- that might raise a few eyebrows.