Archive for May, 2009

Obama: Pointing Fingers and Whining

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Generally, as regards foreign policy, I think that Obama is pretty much doing the right thing. It is so unfortunate that he feels the need to heap all of this opprobrium on Bush for pursuing exactly the same policies that he himself is now, thankfully, pursuing. I’m glad that Obama is repackaging the Bush policies in shinier wrapping. George W. Bush was never very good at packaging.

Obama is now continuing the Bush administration policies with regard to military tribunals, indefinite detaining of unlawful combatants, rendition, and FISA surveillance of international calls. He has also ordered a study into possible enhanced interrogation techniques that go beyond the Army Field Manual.

If there is some way in which he is departing from the Bush policies on the war on terror, I am not aware of it. The changes in the military commissions are obviously phony. He has banned waterboarding. Oh wait, no, Bush did that. He has promised to close Guantanamo, which would not only be stupid, but I don’t think he will really do it, and if he does do it, he will simply have to recreate it in a different, less suitable, geographical place.

I applaud the reversals of his campaign positions. I just wish he wouldn’t deem it necessary to continue with the lying and the Bush bashing. I will give the President the last word. Here are a few excerpts from his speech that exhibit his serial dissembling and finger pointing:

“But I also believe that – too often – our government made decisions based upon fear rather than foresight, and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, we too often set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And in this season of fear, too many of us – Democrats and Republicans; politicians, journalists and citizens – fell silent.”

“…the decisions that were made over the last eight years established an ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable – a framework that failed to rely on our legal traditions and time-tested institutions; that failed to use our values as a compass.”

“There is also no question that Guantanamo set back the moral authority that is America’s strongest currency in the world. Instead of building a durable framework for the struggle against al Qaeda that drew upon our deeply held values and traditions, our government was defending positions that undermined the rule of law.”

“…the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.”

“We are cleaning up something that is – quite simply – a mess; a misguided experiment that has left in its wake a flood of legal challenges that my Administration is forced to deal with on a constant basis, and that consumes the time of government officials whose time should be spent on better protecting our country.”

“…we are acutely aware that under the last Administration, detainees were released only to return to the battlefield. That is why we are doing away with the poorly planned, haphazard approach that let those detainees go in the past.”

“Instead of using the flawed Commissions of the last seven years, my Administration is bringing our Commissions in line with the rule of law.”

“In all of the areas that I have discussed today, the policies that I have proposed represent a new direction from the last eight years. To protect the American people and our values, we have banned enhanced interrogation techniques. We are closing the prison at Guantanamo. We are reforming Military Commissions, and we will pursue a new legal regime to detain terrorists. We are declassifying more information and embracing more oversight of our actions, and narrowing our use of the State Secrets privilege. These are dramatic changes that will put our approach to national security on a surer, safer and more sustainable footing, and their implementation will take time.”

“I understand that it is no secret that there is a tendency in Washington to spend our time pointing fingers at one another. And our media culture feeds the impulses that lead to a good fight. Nothing will contribute more to that than an extended re-litigation of the last eight years. Already, we have seen how that kind of effort only leads those in Washington to different sides laying blame, and can distract us from focusing our time, our effort, and our politics on the challenges of the future.”

“On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who embrace a view that can be summarized in two words: “anything goes.” Their arguments suggest that the ends of fighting terrorism can be used to justify any means, and that the President should have blanket authority to do whatever he wants – provided that it is a President with whom they agree.”

“Make no mistake: if we fail to turn the page on the approach that was taken over the past several years, then I will not be able to say that as President. And if we cannot stand for those core values, then we are not keeping faith with the documents that are enshrined in this hall.”

“Every now and then, there are those who think that America’s safety and success requires us to walk away from the sacred principles enshrined in this building.”

The American Political Cycle

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Obama is now blaming hedge funds and other Chrysler bond holders, which include the University of Kentucky, Kraft Foods’ retirement fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, pension funds, and teachers’ credit unions, according to CBS News. Even though they are contractually, legally, first in line for the remaining assets of Chrysler, Obama has threatened them with ruination unless they take his deal which rewards most of their money to the UAW, a major Democratic campaign contributor.

It is not the responsibility of hedge funds and their ilk to safeguard the American financial system. Those guys always do their best to figure out a way to make money without risk. That is the ideal toward which they strive, and so they should.

It is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve, the SEC, the financial committees in Congress, and professional and academic economists to be in the safeguarding business, and they have all failed miserably, Democrats and Republicans alike. The reason they all failed is because it felt so good that nobody, including the electorate, wanted it to stop.

My prediction is that Obama and company are in the process of screwing it up big time. The way the American political cycle works is nobody likes Republicans because they are like your Dad, always preaching self reliance, hard work, thrift, stiff upper lip, and all that crap. The Democrats are popular because they promise to take care of us and make everything groovy for free. But the Democrats are wrong about everything, so whenever they get in power, they screw everything up and then we vote for Republicans again, reluctantly, until we forget how badly the Democrats screwed up the last time.

National Socialism

Friday, May 8th, 2009

So Obama has decided to demonize, with the full force of his bully pulpit, the evil “speculators” who loaned money to Chrysler and who are now insisting on their legal rights in the distribution of Chrysler’s remaining assets. The President is doing this in order to force the transfer of the creditors’ legal share to the United Auto Workers union instead.

Throwing out contract law in order to achieve a desired result sounds suspiciously like the kind of decision that might be arrived at by a judge more concerned with “empathy” than with the law.

Maybe the union is just a bunch of good guys. Maybe the bondholders are all nasty rich people. Contract law is for everybody. A society with a weak rule of law is not a fun place to live. Obama, with his submission to the UAW, as well as to the left’s desire for revenge on the Bush administration, is weakening the rule of law in the United States.

No good will come of this. Except of course for the resurgence of the Republican Party, or perhaps the resurrection of the Whigs.

The Replacements

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

“I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives,” said the President, as he contemplates Judge Souter’s replacement.

Yes, I am looking forward to that. I’ve been getting the feeling, more and more, as I am sure many people have, that Congress no longer cares “about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives.” It is past time that the Supreme Court should shoulder that burden. This whole thing about voting and elections, when everyone knows that the majority of the people have no idea what’s right and what is not.

“The People” don’t even believe, along with Miss California, and the President of the United States, and the voters of California, that two men ought to be able to marry one another. That is so backward! Thank God that we have the Supreme Court to overrule all of these silly, so-called democratic institutions.

In the future, perhaps we can dispense with all this messy legislation and just have SCOTUS decide what is best. Everything would be so much better if we didn’t have to take into account all those yahoos who have never heard of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, but who would, unfortunately, agree with them if they had ever heard of them.

Speech Prison

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Looks like I may have to quit emailing my friends and victims, and definitely quit blogging. California Rep. Linda T. Sanchez and 14 others (all Democrats I presume) are proposing a bill containing this language:

Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both….

[“Communication”] means the electronic transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user’s choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received; …

[“Electronic means”] means any equipment dependent on electrical power to access an information service, including email, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones, and text messages.

Yes, I admit it. I am not innocent. I knew what I was doing. I have been causing “substantial emotional distress” on purpose! At least I hope so. But that’s OK. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. I’m resigned to my justly deserved fate.

I’ve been watching Dickens’ Little Dorrit on PBS. It made me nostalgic for debtor’s prison. Back in the good old days, as a last resort, you could always count on a bed at the href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshalsea”>Marshalsea.

Now this new Democratic initiative promises the same kind of entitlement for Republicans who insist on spewing out their hateful dissents from the policies of President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Reid. The Democrats, God bless ’em, are putting a penal safety net under freedom of speech.

The Glorious Future

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Forget the President’s crafty mantra about reducing taxes for 95% of the people. President Obama’s own figures predict doubling the national debt. Tripling is more realistic, according to the OMB. I conservatively predict quadrupling myself.

This debt will be paid, one way or another. By somebody. This means doubling, tripling, or quadrupling taxes, not just on the rich, but on everybody, even the current 40% who do not pay any federal income taxes whatsoever, only social security and medicare payroll taxes. It will be paid, either by increased taxes, or by devaluing the dollar to wheelbarrow levels, or some combination thereof.

Obama is not stupid. He understands this. His plan is to provide the benefits, and then somebody else, someday, will perforce institute the taxes. And we the people, the gun and religion-clinging people, will pay them happily because we love the new reality where our health care, retirement, education, housing, and subsistence are all paid for by the government.

I can dig it. There is nothing I would have, at one time, liked better than to only have to pay for pot and cheap wine, and to otherwise be free to hone my artistic talents.

I wonder who will choose to take risks and work their asses off to support the new reality with their taxes? God bless ’em, whoever they may be. I hope my grandchildren treat them with the proper gratitude and respect.