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June 30, 2009

The Honduran army PREVENTED a coup, but don’t hold your breath waiting for Obama to admit it

If a coup is defined as an illegal seizure of power, then the Honduran army didn’t stage a coup this past weekend, it prevented one. Every action taken to stop President Zelaya from proceeding with his illegal referendum was done in accordance with the Honduran constitution.

Read this WSJ article from Monday for some background information.

Zelaya was looking to remove the constitutional limits on his retention of power (following in the footsteps of his buddy Hugo Chavez), but the national Congress refused to call an election to put the constitutional amendment to a vote by the people.

Despite the fact that only the legislature could call such an election, Zelaya determined to move forward anyway. The president even whipped up a mob to storm the military installation where the ballots (printed by Venezuela) were stored.

The Supreme Court and the Attorney General – completely within the boundaries of their constitutional power – ordered Zelaya to stand down, but he refused.

It was because of Zelaya’s criminal actions that he was arrested on Sunday morning by troops acting on the orders of the Supreme Court – again, all within the boundaries of their constitutional power.

In light of the foregoing facts, it would be absurd to accuse the military of staging a coup, but the Obama administration has joined the chorus of those making just such an accusation.

I am not at all surprised that Obama would take the side of those who despise the rule of law. His administration has been doing that very thing in our country over the past 5+ months.

UPDATE: The WaPo opines that the Obama administration should continue to push for Zelaya's reinstatement, but adds that the administration should also be bold enough to confront the antidemocratic forces spreading like a cancer throughout Latin America (in Venezuela and Nicaragua, for example) that emboldened Zelaya in the first place.

WaPo seems to imply that confronting the Marxists would be out of character for Obama, and with that sentiment I heartily agree.

(Map credit: geology.com)

June 24, 2009

Romney redux?

Just five months into the Obama administration, and National Review has already resumed beating the drums for Mitt Romney.

Rich Lowry today:

If Republicans want a presidential candidate who lives clean and whose family hasn't been involved in tabloid scandals, it might soon be Mitt Romney by process of elimination.

Lowry appears to be lumping Sarah Palin in with those who should be disqualified because of ‘tabloid scandals’. It apparently doesn’t matter that virtually all of the so-called scandals are the result of a concerted, ongoing smear campaign by Democrat operatives (silently cheered on by some of her potential opponents).

The Palin family’s one “legitimate” scandal, daughter Bristol’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy, has been handled by the family in a way that has left Sarah’s popularity largely intact within the conservative base. Again, it’s the left’s unrelenting smear campaign that is keeping this in the news at all.

As for Romney…

He talked a good talk in the 2008 primaries, but I had trouble reconciling his campaign rhetoric with one inescapable truth:

This is a man who was acceptable to the majority of voters in Massachusetts, one of our country’s most left-leaning states.

My 2008 favorite (Fred Thompson) was eliminated early in the primary season, and I was prepared to reluctantly pull the lever for Romney as the next best candidate, but the nagging doubts stayed my hand. I ended up voting for Fred anyway, since he was still on the ballot. I might have supported Romney in the general election, but in the primaries I couldn’t get past the impression that he was coming across as an opportunist.

Regardless… Romney still has a lot to prove in order to earn my vote (assuming he runs again). If Palin runs – without being bloodied too much by the smear campaigns – Mitt can pretty much forget about my vote in the primary.

UPDATE: Well, at least John McCain appears to be accepting the inevitable:

June 22, 2009

John McCain, unwitting propagandist for the Obama administration

It looks like Sen. John McCain has provided President Obama with a soundbite to use in his 2012 reelection campaign.  AP, June 22:

Sen. John McCain says his opponent in last year's presidential campaign, Barack Obama, has "done well" in his first five months in the White House.

The Arizona Republican says that using a legislative scorecard to judge the presidency so far, Obama has achieved all his legislative goals.

McCain appears to have based his assessment on the technical fact that Obama has accomplished his major legislative goals.  He does not appear to be endorsing those legislative accomplishments.

If that is the case, the senator would have “done well” to have chosen his words a little more carefully.   The Obama administration and its state-run media will downplay the context of his remark, and will play it as an endorsement of Obama’s policies.

How could they pass up a gift like this?

Allied forces gear up for defeat in Afghanistan

Sorry about the provocative title, but there’s no other way to interpret the new rules of engagement for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.  AP, June 22:
The top U.S. general in Afghanistan will soon formally order U.S. and NATO forces to break away from fights with militants hiding in Afghan houses so the battles do not kill civilians, a U.S. official said Monday.
The order would be one of the strongest measures taken by a U.S. commander to protect Afghan civilians in battle. American commanders say such deaths hurt their mission because they turn average Afghans against the government and U.S. and NATO forces.
Is it really that hard to understand that the militants are going to seize this irresistible opportunity to start using civilians as human shields as they continue their offensives?
What are we going to do?  Beg them to come out in the open so we can fight them?
This new policy is insane.
I truly feel sorry for soldiers who are having to serve in Obama’s Army.

June 19, 2009

The U.S. Census, enabler of the nanny state

As the Obama administration gears up for next year’s census, we are reminded how far this decennial ritual has drifted from its constitutional roots.
Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution indicates that the exclusive purpose of the census was to provide an accurate headcount of the citizens of each state, for the purpose of apportioning Representatives and direct taxes.
The 16th amendment severed the relationship between the headcount and direct taxes, so the remaining sole legitimate purpose of the U.S. Census is to determine how many representatives each state gets.
Accordingly, the only legitimate questi0n on the census form should be: How many people live in your household?
In recent decades, the census form had grown into a monster, “asking” that households provide information that reached into the farthest corners of their personal lives.
Why would the federal government want to know all of this? Because virtually every unconstitutional action in which it engages depends on this knowledge.
This time around, most of the intrusive demographic questions has been pulled out of the census form, instead asking only for the following: name, sex, age, date of birth, race, ethnicity, relationship and housing tenure. While this is much better than before, it still violates the original intent of the census. This is why U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann has vowed to return her family’s form with only the headcount filled in.
This doesn’t mean that the government has lost its appetite for the data that was removed from the census, though – instead, that data will be collected through the annual American Community Survey. As you can see from the official sample of the 2009 Survey, respondents are asked to pretty much bare all.
By separating this data collection from the census, the government can now claim that the census is no longer politicized. Smart move on their part. They still get what they want, and they disarm their critics at the same time.
Armed with its ACS data, updated yearly instead of every ten years (and with much less fanfare than accompanies the census), the nanny state is well-equipped to carry on.

Standing up to tyranny: The courage of the Iranian protesters

Iran's Ayatollah Khamanei has drawn a line in the sand, warning that possibly violent consequences will come if election protests continue on Saturday (AP via Breitbart):

Iran's supreme leader sought Friday to end the deepening crisis over disputed elections with one decisive speech—declaring the vote will almost certainly stand and sternly warning opposition leaders to end street protests or be held responsible for any "bloodshed and chaos" to come.

But a first sign of possible resistance came shortly after nightfall in Tehran. Cries of "Death to the dictator!" and "Allahu akbar"—"God is great"—rang from rooftops in what's become a nightly ritual of opposition unity.

The sharp line drawn by Iran's most powerful figure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is a gambit that pushes Iran's opposition to a pivotal moment: either back down or risk a crushing response from police and the forces at Khamenei's disposal—the powerful Revolutionary Guard and their volunteer citizen militia, the Basiji.

An Iranian blogger writes about how she is preparing for Saturday’s showdown between protesters and their government (translated by niacInsight):

3:09 pm: One of our readers requested that we translate the following blog post: “Tomorrow is a big day, may I get killed tomorrow!” (http://balatarin.com/permlink/2009/6/19/1625688)

“I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow. Maybe they will turn violent. Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed. I’m listening to all my favorite music. I even want to dance to a few songs. I always wanted to have very narrow eyebrows. Yes, maybe I will go to the salon before I go tomorrow! There are a few great movie scenes that I also have to see. I should drop by the library, too. It’s worth to read the poems of Forough and Shamloo again. All family pictures have to be reviewed, too. I have to call my friends as well to say goodbye. All I have are two bookshelves which I told my family who should receive them. I’m two units away from getting my bachelors degree but who cares about that. My mind is very chaotic. I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so they know we were not just emotional and under peer pressure. So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them. So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mongols but did not surrender to despotism. This note is dedicated to tomorrow’s children…”

I hope and pray that the people of Iran will look back on these events as the dawn of freedom and prosperity for their nation.

June 18, 2009

Voters know they’re in an abusive relationship, but they just can’t quit Obama

President Obama’s approval ratings remain high, even as more and more of the electorate are starting to chafe under the crushing burden the president is placing on them and their posterity.

NY Daily News reports today:

[According to a new Wall Street Journal/CBS News poll] Nearly seven in 10 Americans said they had concerns about the federal government's intervention in the economy, including the administration's decision to take an ownership stake in General Motors and the limits set by the White House on executive compensation.

Obama and Congress should worry more about keeping the deficit down, 58% of the respondents said. A majority disapproved of Obama's decision to close the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll revealed 60% of Americans believe the Obama administration has failed to develop a clear plan for dealing with the budget deficit.

A majority, 52%, said the government should not spend money to stimulate the economy and should focus instead on reducing the deficit.

According to the poll, fewer than half of the country approves of Obama's handling of health care or the crisis facing the nation's auto industry. Obama received positive reviews for his handling of foreign policy and the threat of terrorism.

For all these bad reviews of Obama’s policies, the WSJ/CBS poll still shows his overall job approval rating as 56%.

In other words, the voters have Battered Wife Syndrome: Apart from the daily beatings, my husband is not a bad person!

PETA: Beyond parody

President Obama swats a fly, and if we can believe the media, everyone is in awe of the skill with which he dispatched the pest.  It’s certainly the most significant thing going on in the world this week.

Well, not everyone is in awe.  The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is complaining that Obama was wrong to murder the fly, because the fly is, you know, just a tiny animal, and it’s not ethical to kill animals (unless, of course, PETA itself carries out the death sentence).

AP reports that PETA wants Obama to set the example for us by practicing humane catch-and-release for this most maligned of pests:

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the flyswatter in chief to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he's bedeviled by a fly in the White House.

PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.

"We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."

June 17, 2009

Defending our country comes in at #8 (right after fair-trade coffee)

US Naval Academy professor Bruce Fleming reports that, in the Age of Obama, our military is descending ever deeper into the morass of political correctness (emphasis added):

The Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced in Annapolis recently that "diversity is the number one priority" at the Naval Academy.

The Naval Academy superintendent, Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, echoed him. Everyone understands that "diversity" here means nonwhite skins.

Fowler insisted recently that we needed to have Annapolis graduates who "looked like" the Fleet, where enlisted people are about 42 percent nonwhite, largely African American and Hispanic.

Quick Quote: Thomas Jefferson on wealth redistribution

And now, a word from the founder of the Democratic Party:

"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, 1816

Reference: Vindicating the Founders, West (136); original Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Bergh, ed., vol. 14 (466)

(Found at Patriot Post)

June 16, 2009

AG Eric Holder presses for expansion of thought crimes laws

Using recent attacks on George Tiller, the National Holocaust Museum and an Army recruiting station as his justification, U.S. Attorney General has called for tougher penalties for crimes motivated by -------- (I’ll pause as you go back and review the incidents which prompted this call) -------- gender, disability or sexual orientation.
The Associated Press reports:
The attorney general's call for Congress to act came as a civil rights coalition said there has been a surge in white supremacist activity since the election of the first African-American president and the economic downturn.
"Over the last several weeks, we have witnessed brazen acts of violence committed in places that many would have considered unthinkable," Holder told the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
He cited separate attacks over a two-week period that killed a young soldier in Little Rock, an abortion provider in Wichita and a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Federal agents and prosecutors already are involved in the local investigations of each attack.
The violence, Holder said, "reminds us of the potential threat posed by violent extremists and the tragedy that ensues when reasoned discourse is replaced by armed confrontation."
"We will not tolerate murder, or the threat of violence, masquerading as political activism," he said. "So let me be clear. The Justice Department will use every tool at its disposal to protect the rights ensured under our Constitution."
Holder said that to stop such violence, Congress should pass an updated version of hate crimes legislation in order to more effectively prosecute those who commit violent attacks based on gender, disability or sexual orientation.
The growing number of hate crimes against Latinos also shows the need for tougher laws, Holder said.
For better or worse, everything Holder mentioned is already covered under existing “hate” crime laws. Perhaps he wants to go for mandatory life imprisonment. Or maybe this is the one situation where the left will support the death penalty.
Regardless, the very notion of “hate” crimes is uncomfortably akin to Orwellian “thought” crimes. To the untrained observer, there is no difference in outcome between “hate” crimes and the more ordinary, garden-variety crimes. To the left, however, what the criminal was thinking at the time he or she committed the crime makes all the difference in the world in determining the sentence.
As if the family of the victim would be consoled by the knowledge that the criminal’s act against their loved one was nothing personal.

6/17 UPDATE: The House passed the bill in April, but, LifeSite News reports, the Senate is trying to smuggle it through as an amendment to a tourism bill.

ABC becomes a more explicit propaganda arm of the Obama administration

One of the first principles of the MSM’s marriage to the Democrat Party is that they’re supposed to deny the existence of the relationship at all times. The ABC television network is violating this principle in a way that is raising a lot of eyebrows.

Drudge is reporting today that on June 24, ABC is planning to give president Obama a free, unchallenged bully pulpit to promote his health care agenda.

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care -- a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special -- 'Prescription for America' -- originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

ABC will lead up to this event with a week and a half of promotions.

The Republican National Committee challenged ABC News to either allow opposing viewpoints or to make the Democratic National Committee pay for the airtime. ABC News Senior Vice President Kerry Smith sniffed in response:

"ABCNEWS prides itself on covering all sides of important issues and asking direct questions of all newsmakers -- of all political persuasions -- even when others have taken a more partisan approach and even in the face of criticism from extremes on both ends of the political spectrum. ABCNEWS is looking for the most thoughtful and diverse voices on this issue.

"ABCNEWS alone will select those who will be in the audience asking questions of the president. Like any programs we broadcast, ABC News will have complete editorial control. To suggest otherwise is quite unfair to both our journalists and our audience."

In other words, ABC says the balance will come through questions asked by its handpicked audience. They promise. Trust them.

Even if some audience member managed to slip a good question past ABC’s censors, that’s not the same thing as a high-profile opponent offering reasoned debate.

The fact of the matter is, ABC is acting as a willing shill for Obama’s agenda, and their protests to the contrary are sounding more and more pathetic as time goes on.

June 15, 2009

I take back some of what I've said about Twitter

I've long been of the opinion that Twitter is completely useless to anybody who isn't afflicted with ADHD. The microblogging service's limit of 140 characters per post is ill-suited to anybody who communicates in complete sentences and who has thoughts more complex than "OMG this traffic is awful" or "I like turtles LOL".

My antipathy toward Twitter has softened somewhat as I've seen the use made of it by anti-Ahmadinejad partisans in Iran. The #IranElection channel (is that the right word for it?) has been, bar none, the best source for raw information on the protests and the government's reaction.

I've come to the conclusion that Twitter is ideally suited for this kind of hit-and-run reporting (an apt term in this case, since many of the Tweeters are running for cover as they post). In other words, Twitter does "live blogging" better than blogs do.

Twitter appears to recognize that they're a part of history today. Australia's News.com reports that the service has postponed a scheduled outage so the #IranElection channel won't be disrupted.

To Twitter: SALUTE! To those in Iran wishing to be free from Mad Mahmoud: I wish you success, with little or no bloodshed.

P.S. I still think the other 99.9% of posts on Twitter are completely useless. And I'll keep saying so until I start my own feed there.

June 12, 2009

Yeah, that'll teach North Korea

The Associated Press (via WaPo) breathlessly informs us that the United Nations is sending North Korea to bed without any dinner:
The U.N. Security Council has approved tough new sanctions against North Korea for its recent nuclear test.

The resolution imposes new sanctions on the reclusive communist nation's weapons exports and financial dealings, and allows inspections of suspect cargo in ports and on the high seas.

U.S. deputy ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo said Friday's vote was a strong and united international response to North Korea's unacceptable behavior.
Does anyone seriously think these sanctions will persuade the folks in charge of NK to change their ways?

Saddam Hussein prospered for a decade under the United Nations' "tough sanctions" and its "strong and united international response" to his "unacceptable behavior". And Saddam was just your garden-variety genocidal dictator. Kim Jong-Il and his merry men take genocidal dictatorship to a whole new paranoid level.

June 3, 2009

St. George of Wichita

It was almost too easy to predict (like I did in the third paragraph in this post). Some among the religious left are already declaring George Tiller, heroic abortionist, to be a "martyr" and a "saint".

Washington Times, June 2:
Liberal religious groups joined secular pro-choice organizations Monday to mourn as a martyr one of the country's most famous providers of late-term abortions.

A nationwide network of candlelight vigils and services took place from Lafayette Park in the District to Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, Ore., and from Union Square in New York to Millennium Plaza in Yakima, Wash.

Hundreds of people were expected to gather at each locale to mourn Sunday's fatal shooting of Dr. George Tiller on the grounds of his Lutheran church in Wichita, Kan. He was one of a handful of doctors in the country who did abortions after the sixth month of pregnancy.

St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Boston held an evening memorial service where the Very Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, president of Episcopal Divinity School in nearby Cambridge, was one of several scheduled speakers.

"This is about the loss of a man who was a saint and a martyr," she said in an interview before the service. "He was a prayerful man who put his life at risk to protect others and died for it. People are in shock, outrage and mourning. They need a place to go."
Yes, that was our good friend Katherine Ragsdale, who earned herself a brief moment of infamy when various websites discovered the text of one of her sermons where she referred to abortion as "a blessing".

Of course, if abortion is a blessing from God, then George Tiller was God's champion, and deserves to be sainted.

June 2, 2009

As long as the taxpayers are going to own an automotive company...

...why not own a company that makes cars that people actually want to buy? Satire from Scott Ott:
As the U.S. government escorted General Motors into bankruptcy court Monday with a deal giving taxpayers 60 percent of GM stock, a new survey reveals that most Americans would rather own a majority equity stake in Toyota.

According to a new Gallup poll, 87 percent believe Toyota's stock to be a better deal than GM's, due to the superior safety features, reliability and even the design of the Japanese equities.

A White House spokesman said, however, that the President Barack Obama has taken the AFL-CIO pledge to "Buy American" as the federal government takes over automakers, financial firms and other companies along a broad spectrum of business and industry.

You think that Tiller's murder is an indictment against all pro-life people? Fine.

We'll take moral responsibility for Scott Roeder's actions if the American Left will agree to take moral responsibility for the actions of Ted Kaczynski and Bill Ayers. Oh, and you "pro-choice" people need to own up to the eugenics views of Margaret Sanger.


Left using Tiller murder to resurrect discredited DHS report

AmSpec's Matthew Vadum notes that the Left blogosphere is abuzz with one particular talking point: The murder of abortionist George Tillman proves that the Department of Homeland Security should not have withdrawn a report suggesting that everyone to the right of Obama was a potential terrorist.

Vadum cites some examples:
Zachary Roth of TPM Muckraker writes:
But in the wake of the murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion extremist -- who had also been said by the FBI during the 1990s to have been a member of the radical Freemen group -- the report is looking a little more reasonable.
Predictably, Roth concludes, "[p]erhaps that report is due for a reassessment."
Hiding behind a pen name, "Kyle" of People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch, writes "it seems as if the report - far from being an offensive attack on Christians and anti-choice activists - was remarkably timely and accurate."
Given that this event (which I still contend was an atrocity) is turning out to be tailor-made to advance the Obama administration's agenda, perhaps we can suggest our own conspiracy theory by taking a cue from "Kyle" of People for the American Way: The timing of this murder was convenient. Too convenient.

Just kidding. I think.

June 1, 2009

Michael Moore dances on the grave of GM

Michael Moore has been on a jihad against General Motors for decades, and now his fondest dream is being realized: the dissolution of General Motors as a privately-owned corporation.

In his latest screed, he expresses his "joy" (his word, not mine) at seeing GM get seized unconstitutionally by the federal government.

However, he doesn't think GM's bankruptcy and nationalization should result in a single job loss (at least among union employees). Instead, he thinks that the employees should get right back to work for their new employer. Not building cars with internal combustion engines, mind you, because those are evil. What then? Things like:
  • Bullet trains between all of the major cities of the U.S.
  • Massive light-rail systems for all large and medium-sized cities in the U.S.
  • Energy efficient buses to serve every place not served by the above
  • Hybrid and all-electric cars for (steadily declining) use during the transition away from existing vehicles
  • Windmills and solar panels!
All of this complete upending of America's transportation infrastructure would, on the taxpayer's dime, be forced on an unwilling public. Moore is completely unsympathetic, though, and even suggests a two-dollar-per-gallon federal gas tax to put automobiles out of the reach of those he pretends to champion.

Moore has been pumping out this kind of bilge for a long time. As recently as last year I would comfort myself with the fact that nobody in power would give him the time of day.

Times are different now, much to America's harm. Not only are there many sympathetic people at the levers of power now, they've shown time and again that they recognize no real boundaries on their power.