Tuesday, June 30, 2009
GOP's Coleman concedes, sending Franken to Senate
By BRIAN BAKST
Associated PressJune 30, 2009
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican Norm Coleman has conceded to Democrat Al Franken in Minnesota's contested Senate race, ending a nearly eight-month recount and court fight. Coleman conceded at a news conference in St. Paul, a few hours after a unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Tuesday the former "Saturday Night Live" comedian and liberal commentator should be certified the winner.
Franken's presence in the Senate would give the Democrats control of 60 seats, enough to overcome any Republican filibuster if they stay united.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the earliest Franken would be seated is next week, because the Senate is out of session for the July 4 holiday.
Democrats now have one more clown in the U.S. Senate. You would think they had enough already!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Court rules for white firefighters over promotions
By MARK SHERMAN
The Associated Press
Monday, June 29, 2009 11:19 AM
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court ruled Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.
New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.
The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide and make it harder to prove discrimination when there is no evidence it was intentional.
"Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his opinion for the court. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Republicans who voted For:
- Mary Bono Mack, CA-45
- Mike Castle, DE
- Mark Steven Kirk, IL-10
- Leonard Lance, NJ-7
- Frank LoBiondo, NJ-2
- John McHugh, NY-23
- Dave Reichert, WA-8
- Chris Smit, NJ-4
If you are a constituent of any of the above, you may wish to express your displeasure at their voting for a bill that will do nothing to prevent climate change but will saddle American's with thousands more in tax increases and job losses. Contact links for each member are available on their web page linked above.
Not Voting were:
Constitutents of Jeff Flake may wish to inquire why he was not able to vote today. Cong. Sullivan was on one month's leave for treatment of an alcohol addiction. It's interesting to note that Cong. Patrick Kennedy (D-MA) was taken out of alcohol rehab for the purposes of voting. Dems apparently felt passing this bill was more important, or perhaps more doable, than sobering up a Kennedy.
300 Page Amendment to 1200 Page Bill Added at 3:09AM
House GOP Leader John Boehner (OH) describes the rush Democrats imposed on consideration of this bill so that few would have the chance to read it and object:
Dems had 30 years to write this bill, but left only hours to read it or debate it.
Graphic from House Leader Boehner's blog shows complexity of Democrat bill:
Here's another in what is fast becoming a series of moves designed to further shield Obama allies from any accountability before the law:
Conyers backs off probe of ACORN
Says 'powers that be' ended plans for hearings on group
By S.A. Miller
June 26, 2009
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. has backed off his plan to investigate purported wrongdoing by the liberal activist group ACORN, saying "powers that be" put the kibosh on the idea.
Mr. Conyers, Michigan Democrat, earlier bucked his party leaders by calling for hearings on accusations the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) has committed crimes ranging from voter fraud to a mob-style "protection" racket.
"The powers that be decided against it," Mr. Conyers told The Washington Times as he left the House chambers Wednesday.
The chairman declined to elaborate, shrugging off questions about who told him how to run his committee and give the Democrat-allied group a pass.
Pittsburgh lawyer Heather Heidelbaugh, whose testimony about ACORN at a March 19 hearing on voting issues prompted Mr. Conyers to call for a probe, said she was perplexed by Mr. Conyers' explanation for his change of heart.
"If the chair of the Judiciary Committee cannot hold a hearing if he wants to, [then] who are the powers that he is beholden to?" she said. "Is it the leadership, is it the White House, is it contributors? Who is 'the power'?"
Capitol Hill had bristled at the prospect of hearings because it threatened to rekindle criticism of the financial ties and close cooperation between President Obama's campaign and ACORN and its sister organizations Citizens Services Inc. and Project Vote.
The groups came under fire during the campaign after probes into suspected voter fraud in a series of presidential battleground states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Mexico and Nevada.
ACORN and its affiliates are currently the target of at least 14 lawsuits related to voter fraud in the 2008 election and a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act complaint filed by former ACORN members.
Ms. Heidelbaugh, who spearheaded an unsuccessful lawsuit last year to stop ACORN's Pennsylvania voter-registration drive, testified in March that the nonprofit group was violating tax, campaign-finance and other laws by, among other things, sharing with the Barack Obama campaign a list of the Democrat's maxed-out campaign donors so ACORN could use it to solicit them for a get-out-the-vote drive.
ACORN also provided liberal causes with protest-for-hire services and coerced donations from targets of demonstrations through a shakedown it called the "muscle for the money" program, said Ms. Heidelbaugh, a member of the executive board of the Republican National Lawyers Association.
Mr. Conyers, a fierce partisan known for his drive to continue investigating President George W. Bush's administration, had been an unlikely champion for opponents of ACORN.
The culture of corruption within the Democrat Party is alive and well and there is no check and balance that can stop it!
Red State has the list of Reps who are on the fence!
Plus: New bombshell EPA report, doubting science, censored!
The House of Representatives is holding a series of votes on the 1300 page+ cap and tax bill today. It's doubtful that more than a handful of members have actually read the bill.
But with absolute certainty we know the following:
- There is no one who can honestly guarantee that if this bill passes it will make the slightest difference to the world's ever changing climate.
- It will however, be one of the most massive tax increases in history and will tax American families thousands or more per year.
- For every green job created, many more jobs will be lost as the increase in production costs of American goods drive customers overseas where competitors do not have such burdensome costs and regulations.
Want more proof that the global warming debate is a fraud? Read on....
EPA Tries to Silence EPA Expert on Global Warming
In May we learned of an Office of Management and Budget report which cast doubt on the assumptions underlying the global warming fanatics drive to control our lives. Today, we learn that an EPA official with extensive knowledge of the science of global warming was being censored for speaking out.
Here's the gist of the story:
Source inside EPA confirms claims of science being ignored, suppressed, by top EPA managementHere is the PDF of the report by Alan Carlin.
By Thomas Fuller
San Francisco Examiner
June 25, 2009
Source inside the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed many of the claims made by analyst Alan Carlin, the economist/physicist who yesterday went public with accusations that science was being ignored in evaluating the danger of CO2.
The source, who chooses not to be identified for fear of retaliation, said that Carlin was rebuffed in his attempt to introduce scientific evidence that does not accord with the EPA's view of global warming, which largely relies on IPCC reports. The source also saw Carlin's report and said that it was 'based on 8 points of peer-reviewed, recent and relevant scientific publications' that cast doubt on the wisdom of regulating CO2 as a pollutant.
The EPA's draft Endangerment Finding was initially written over a year ago during the Bush administration, and Lisa Jackson (the new head of the EPA) and her team wanted to get the Finding out on or near Earth Day, according to a schedule that was made public about a week before formal publication of the proposal. The draft was submitted to agency workgroups with only one week for review and comment, which is unprecedented, and received only light comments--except for Carlin's.
Alan Carlin, who had hosted a series of seminars featuring peer-reviewed scientists who disagree with the IPCC reports (but were unattended by members of the workgroup developing the Endangerment Finding) went public...via the Competitive Enterprise Institute after realising that there would be no debate about the science. The lectures by the scientists are available on the EPA website, but were not even mentioned in the Finding. Carlin was advised to get an attorney--and has since been reassigned to mundane work.
EPA may not have the expertise to evaluate many of the comments, as they are more charged with dealing with the effects of global warming through regulation rather than determining the true nature of the cause. Our source says members of the workgroup complained to other EPA staff that they don't understand these issues, much less how to relate the scientific studies identified in Carlin's report to the IPCC report.
Preface: We have become increasingly concerned that EPA and many other agencies and countries have paid too little attention to the scinece of global warming. EPOA and others have tended to accept the findings reached by outside groups., particularly the IPCC and the CCSP as being correct without a careful and recritical examination of their conclusions and documentation.The report goes on to highlight the major differences which exist in the science of this issue.
We do not maintain that we or anyone else have all the answered needed to take action now. ... we believe our concerns and reservations are sufficiently imporatnt to warrant a serious review of the science by EPA before any attempt is made to reach conclusions on this subject.
Here is the email by the EPA official in charge, who declined to submit Carlin's comments for further review stating:
“The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed forIt's become increasingly clear that the science on climate change is not "settled" as the fanatics like to suggest. It is also clear that no one can make a legitimate claim that the fantastically expensive and economically disruptive legislation currently before congress will make the slightest difference in our climate.
this round. The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision.
I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and
that would be a very negative impact on our office.”
--Al McGartland, Office Director of EPA’s National Center for
Environmental Economics, March 17, 2009
What is clear is that the climate change bill is riding on the back of a fraud and that it's real agenda is another massive power and money grab by the socialists in power who need more funds for their political indoctrination programs.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
"If you don't have health insurance, you'll be able to get the same kind of health insurance Members of Congress get for themselves."
--Barack Obama, "Closing Argument" speech, Canton, Ohio, October 26, 2008
In a rare moment during last night's Democrat Party health care infomercial on ABC, President Obama was challenged by Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center. Dr. Devinsky asked if Obama's wife or one of his daughters was sick and the plan the President proposed limited tests and treatments, would Obama "potentially sacrifice the health of your family for the greater good of insuring millions, or would you do everything you possibly could as a father and husband to get the best health care and outcome for your family?"
The short answer (something that is difficult for Obama) is no. He would do whatever it takes.
But the question itself stems from a faulty premise. Neither Obama, nor members of Congress will have to face the difficult choices of Obama-Care. Page 114, line 22 of the Kennedy-Dodd "Affordable Health Choices Act" bill (PDF) clearly exempts members of congress and federal employees and their families. They will continue to be covered by what many regard as the Gold Standard for health care at your expense.
Will YOUR Member of Congress Join Obama Care?
Thursday, Rush Limbaugh started a new campaign directed at those members of congress pushing health care reform. He invited his listeners to call or write their Representative and Senators and ask "will you be giving up your federal benefit and joining Obama Care?" If not, then why foist this monstrosity on us?
Unions Exempt from Health Care Taxes
Readers may recall how candidate Obama pounced on John McCain in the presidential election wrongly claiming he would tax health care benefits. Well guess what? Obama may soon be taxing health care benefits. But the bill Democrats are working on exempts Unions, whose health care plans are among the most generous of all (otherwise GM and Chrysler would still be making money).
It appears that the finest health care at an affordable cost will come to Americans, like the auto union, who invested early and often by contributing to the Obama campaign! For the rest of us, get used to standing in line and being told that lifesaving care is unavailable.
It's clear to anyone who has ever dozed through an Obama speech that the man likes the sound of his own voice. He's known for rambling, long winded speechifying even in press conferences.
ABC's all Obama all day long extravaganza Wednesday was no different. Obama answered one question from the handpicked crew of supporters attending the Town Hall style event on health care with a vague monologue that went on for four minutes and thirty three seconds. No doubt leaving many viewers scrambling for the remote or praying for a commercial break.
It's also noteworthy that nowhere in what was billed as a "dialogue" on health care did Obama face any Republican critics. Even critical advertising was banned.
Obama possesses the rare gift of being able to say so much and so little all at the same time. The only question is: when will voters decide they've heard too much?
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Like Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman of Minnesota is a rising star in the GOP. And like Gov. Palin, she's attractive, she's smart, she's conservative and she's a Christian. Therefore, the left must destroy her.
Jump starting that effort in a way that is easy for left wing zealots to understand, a bunch of loons in Minnesota have published a comic book called "False Witness."
Cover is below. Page images can be found here.
One giant belch likely emitting more CO2 into the atmosphere than all the cars on earth do in one year!
More photos and full story here.
As a native of South Carolina, I was disappointed to learn the news that our Governor, Mark Sanford, admitted to having an affair with a woman in Argentina. I wasn't a big supporter of his so it's not a personal disappointment but it does remove the likelihood that his strong conservative voice will be heard on the national stage in the run up to the 2012 election.
And while he mislead state officials as to his whereabouts in a bizarre weeklong story, there is no indication now that he asked any officials to lie on his behalf. Also, in comparison with the multiple scandals of then President Bill Clinton, Sanford never lied under oath to a federal judge.
We Republicans always hold our elected officials to a higher standard so Sanford's career in national politics is either terminated or put in the deep freeze.
It's unclear whether Sanford will stay as Governor in a term set to expire in 2010.
Not that this episode will set any kind of example to Democrats. They'd still vote for a child molester if he had a (D) after his name. One thing this sad news illustrates is that Republicans have high standards for their leaders while Democrats have none!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
In the face of the violence in Iran, a strong American President, a real leader, would take some concrete action to match his outrage over Iran's behavior.
A weak President, would do this:
No discussion of sanctions with our allies. No U.N. resolution condemning Iran. Nothing at all but empty words. Oh, and Iranian government officials are still welcome at our 4th of July BBQ.
How do you want your burger cooked Mahmoud?
UPDATE: No Iranians have RSVP'd so Obama has withdrawn the invite. Instead of withdrawing the invite because of the violence. WEAK!
From today's press conference:
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Your administration has said that the offer to talk to Iran's leaders remains open. Can you say if that's still so even with all the violence that has been committed by the government against the peaceful protesters? And if it is, is there any red line that your administration won't cross where that offer will be shut off?Basically, what he is saying with the repeated statement of seeing "how this plays out" is that he is neutral in the battle between good and evil being waged in the streets of Tehran and he'll work with whomever wins. The best opportunity to replace the evil regime that is directly responsible for much of the terrorism and bloodshed the world has experienced in the last 3o years is floating slowly past us as we watch the horror on the streets of Tehran go unchallenged by the President of the United States.
OBAMA: Well, obviously what's happened in Iran is profound, and we're still waiting to see how it plays itself out. My position coming into this office has been that the United States has core national security interests in making sure that Iran doesn't possess a nuclear weapon and it stops exporting terrorism outside of its borders.
We have provided a path whereby Iran can reach out to the international community, engage, and become a part of international norms. It is up to them to make a decision as to whether they choose that path. What we've been saying over the last several days, the last couple of weeks, obviously is not encouraging in terms of the path that this regime may choose to take. And the fact that they are now in the midst of an extraordinary debate taking place in Iran, you know, may end up coloring how they respond to the international community as a whole.
We are going to monitor and see how this plays itself out before we make any judgments about how we proceed. But to reiterate, there is a path available to Iran in which their sovereignty is respected, their traditions, their culture, their faith is respected, but one in which they are part of a larger community that has responsibilities and operates according to norms and international rules that are universal.
We don't know how they're going to respond yet, and that's what we're waiting to see.
QUESTION: So should there be consequences for what's happened so far?
OBAMA: I think that the international community is, as I said before, bearing witness to what's taking place. And the Iranian government should understand that how they handle the dissent within their own country, generated indigenously, internally, from the Iranian people, will help shape the tone, not only for Iran's future, but also its relationship to other countries.
American leadership at critical moments has achieved great progress in human history. Unfortunately, the world now sees a President who does not share the vision of American exceptionalism which led to so many advances in world peace and prosperity in earlier years.
Meanwhile, Obama's State Department has invited Iranian diplomats to 4th of July parties at our embassies worldwide for the first time in many years!
I hereby apologize to the world, and especially to the Iranian people for the weak and passive response by this President of the United States! You are on your own. Obama doesn't care!
Son's Death Has Iranian Family Asking WhyYou can imagine there are quite a few parents all over Iran asking why?
By FARNAZ FASSIHI
Wall Street Journal
JUNE 23, 2009
TEHRAN—The family, clad in black, stood at the curb of the road sobbing. A middle-aged mother slapped her cheeks, letting out piercing wails. The father, a frail man who worked as a doorman at a clinic in central Tehran, wept quietly with his head bowed.
Minutes before, an ambulance had arrived from Tehran's morgue carrying the body of their only son, 19-year-old Kaveh Alipour.
On Saturday, amid the most violent clashes between security forces and protesters, Mr. Alipour was shot in the head as he stood at an intersection in downtown Tehran. He was returning from acting class and a week shy of becoming a groom, his family said.
The details of his death remain unclear. He had been alone. Neighbors and relatives think that he got trapped in the crossfire. He wasn't politically active and hadn't taken part in the turmoil that has rocked Iran for over a week, they said.
"He was a very polite, shy young man," said Mohamad, a neighbor who has known him since childhood.
When Mr. Alipour didn't return home that night, his parents began to worry. All day, they had heard gunshots ringing in the distance. His father, Yousef, first called his fiancée and friends. No one had heard from him.
At the crack of dawn, his father began searching at police stations, then hospitals and then the morgue.
Upon learning of his son's death, the elder Mr. Alipour was told the family had to pay an equivalent of $3,000 as a "bullet fee"—a fee for the bullet used by security forces—before taking the body back, relatives said.
Mr. Alipour told officials that his entire possessions wouldn't amount to $3,000, arguing they should waive the fee because he is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war. According to relatives, morgue officials finally agreed, but demanded that the family do no funeral or burial in Tehran. Kaveh Alipour's body was quietly transported to the city of Rasht, where there is family.
Everyone in the neighborhood knows the Alipour family. In addition to their slain son, they have two daughters. Shopkeepers and businesses pasted a photocopied picture of Mr. Alipour on their walls and windows. In the picture, the young man is shown wearing a dark suit with gray stripes. His black hair is combed neatly to a side and he has a half-smile.
"He was so full of life. He had so many dreams," said Arsalan, a taxi driver who has known the family for 10 years. "What did he die for?"
Monday, June 22, 2009
Read it all here.
Dodge Facts, Skip Details, Govern Chicago-Style
By Michael Barone
Real Clear Politics
June 22, 2009
We pundits like to analyze our presidents and so, as Barack Obama deals with difficult problems ranging from health care legislation to upheaval in Iran, let me offer my Three Rules of Obama.
First, Obama likes to execute long-range strategies but suffers from cognitive dissonance when new facts render them inappropriate. His 2008 campaign was a largely flawless execution of a smart strategy, but he was flummoxed momentarily when the Russians invaded Georgia and when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. On domestic policy, he has been executing his long-range strategy of vastly expanding government, but may be encountering problems as voters show unease at huge increases in spending.
His long-range strategy of propitiating America's enemies has been undercut by North Korea's missile launches and demonstrations in Iran against the mullah regime's apparent election fraud. His assumption that friendly words could melt the hearts of Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been refuted by events. He limits himself to expressing "deep concern" about the election in the almost surely vain hope of persuading the mullahs to abandon their drive for nuclear weapons, while he misses his chance to encourage the one result -- regime change -- that could protect us and our allies from Iranian attack.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Tom the Redhunter reminds me of these words from President Reagan's first year in office. He delivered this speech from the Oval Office on December 23, 1981. Reflect on them in regard to the current Iran crisis:
PRESIDENT REAGAN: ...As I speak to you tonight, the fate of a proud and ancient nation hangs in the balance. For a thousand years, Christmas has been celebrated in Poland, a land of deep religious faith, but this Christmas brings little joy to the courageous Polish people. They have been betrayed by their own government.This wasn't the first time President Reagan had strong words to say on the subject of communist oppression and it wouldn't be the last. His speech calling the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire" is a classic. Liberals went bonkers every time President Reagan denounced communist dictatorship. They said Reagan was a warmonger and claimed his stand for freedom might lead to a nuclear war. They insisted that by speaking out so forcefully Reagan threatened to undo the hopes for an arms control agreement that might end the nuclear standoff.
The men who rule them and their totalitarian allies fear the very freedom that the Polish people cherish. They have answered the stirrings of liberty with brute force, killings, mass arrests, and the setting up of concentration camps. Lech Walesa and other Solidarity leaders are imprisoned, their fate unknown. Factories, mines, universities, and homes have been assaulted.
I urge the Polish Government and its allies to consider the consequences of their actions. How can they possibly justify using naked force to crush a people who ask for nothing more than the right to lead their own lives in freedom and dignity? Brute force may intimidate, but it cannot form the basis of an enduring society, and the ailing Polish economy cannot be rebuilt with terror tactics.
When 19th century Polish patriots rose against foreign oppressors, their rallying cry was, ``For our freedom and yours.'' Well, that motto still rings true in our time. There is a spirit of solidarity abroad in the world tonight that no physical force can crush. It crosses national boundaries and enters into the hearts of men and women everywhere. In factories, farms, and schools, in cities and towns around the globe, we the people of the Free World stand as one with our Polish brothers and sisters. Their cause is ours, and our prayers and hopes go out to them this Christmas.
The liberals who thought this way were wrong then, just as they are wrong now in supporting President Obama's rather lukewarm support for the protesters in Iran.
Today's advocates of the "play it safe" approach in Iran seem more intent on not upsetting the Mullahs who rule Iran than they do in supporting the brave men and women risking their lives and standing up to the brutality and tyranny of the Iranian dictatorship.
Another lesson these liberals failed to learn was the power of Reagan's strong words to those who were being oppressed by the Soviet regime. Natan Sharansky, the dissident and former Soviet Refusenik recalled how Reagan's words stirred the hearts of him and fellow prisoners in the Soviet Gulag. When Reagan spoke, the dissidents in the camp would tap out a Morse code on the plumbing in their cell to spread the news:
“It was the great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union an Evil Empire before the entire world. This was the moment. It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell’s Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union. It was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations, and we all instantly knew it. For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now. This was the end of Lenin’s “Great October Bolshevik Revolution” and the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution–Reagan’s Revolution.”Reagan also backed up his words with actions. He led our allies in an effort towards a united policy to contain and isolate the Soviet Union at the same time he engaged them in negotiations.
Last year before the election Obama was fond of connecting himself to the Reagan legacy. But what he always missed is that Reagan not only gave a good speech, but the words came from deep core convictions Reagan held regarding American exceptionalism and his belief that we are the last best hope of mankind. And Reagan never accepted the moral equivalence arguments so redolent in Obama's apologias to the world which wrongly suggest we are no better than the rest of the world.
Obama rejects the Reagan philosophy of "Peace through strength." But it was that strength in both words and deeds that Reagan used to launch a revolution which freed millions from tyranny and gave peace and prosperity to a generation of inhabitants across the globe.
Obama Erases Pro-Democracy Money for IranNeed I remind readers that Obama recently pledged $900 million in assistance to Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip?
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
Friday, June 19, 2009
Newsmax has learned that the Obama administration also has zeroed out funding for pro-democracy programs inside Iran from the State Department budget for fiscal 2010, just as protests in Iran are ramping up.
Funding for pro-democracy programs began in 2004, when Congress earmarked $1.5 million of the State Department budget for “educational, humanitarian, and non-governmental organizations and individuals inside Iran to support the advancement of democracy and human rights in Iran.”
The funding ramped up dramatically two years later, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requested $75 million for pro-democracy programs. More than half of the $66.1 million Congress finally appropriated went to expand U.S. government-funded Persian language broadcasting services at Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
But no money has been earmarked for such programs in the administration’s fiscal 2010 foreign operations budget request. Congressional sources told Newsmax they doubted that a Democrat-controlled Congress would add it when the budget comes before a committee next week.
"I feel terrible and that is why I will go back to the streets"
Iranian student via Twitter
Meanwhile, the violence and bloodshed in Iran continues.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
A young woman named Neda, "voice" in Farsi, shot and killed by Iranian government squad.Neda looks directly into the camera moments before blood gushes from her mouth and nose as she lays dying on the street in Tehran. The eyes seem to ask: "What are you doing?"
What was Obama doing while all this was going on? Wordsmith has the story. He was taking his girls out to the Dairy Godmother ice cream store in Virginia.
Patterico at Hot Air arranged this contrast between what was happening on the streets of Iran with what one member of the White House press corps was reporting on Saturday:
Saturday, June 20, 2009
- Saturday Protest Size Diminished by Massive, Brutal Police Presence.
- Obama Speaks.
- Best source for latest news: Tehran Bureau Twitter feed.
President Obama, behind the curve of even Democrats in his own party in the House who voted unanimously for a resolution sponsored by Mike Pence, (R-IN) to "Condemn the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias," finally some additional fortitude Saturday afternoon and released the following statement:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 20, 2009
Statement from the President on Iran
The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.
It's clear that Obama had resisted calls for a tougher stance on Iran, coming even from Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton. But as his fantasy of cutting a worthless deal with the Iranian Mullahs on nukes fades, there is hope the President may soon understand that an Iran without the Mullahs would be in the best interests of the United States.
The statement above is a subtle shift from Obama's statements earlier in the week where he repeated the phrase "respect Iranian sovereignty" which is code for respect the dictatorship of the Mullahs. Today's phrase "If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community" is a subtle, but significant shift.
Obama's latest declaration is still a long way from an unambiguous statement of support for the protesters. Rep. Mike Pence, author of the House resolution, made this contrast:
"The President has the right to draw the line where he chooses to draw it but I am someone who believes that when Ronald Reagan went to the Brandenburg Gate, he did not say ‘Mr. Gorbachev, that wall is none of our business.'An excellent commentary by Rich Lowry:
Obama Shows Naivete on Iran
By Rich Lowry
Real Clear Politics
June 19, 2009
...Obama's timidity speaks to a guilty conscience. At some level, he buys the post-colonial critique of the West as the root of the developing world's troubles, and thinks we lack the moral standing to judge non-Western governments that resent and envy us. Obama is perfectly capable of launching moralistic broadsides - just at his own country, especially under his predecessor. Who are we to condemn the abuse of peaceful demonstrators when we waterboarded three terrorists?
And Obama is so dead-set on negotiating with the current regime, he doesn't want to invest much in the hope of changing it. Obama is often compared to Jimmy Carter, but his approach in Iran is the opposite of Carter's. Carter was deeply moved by human rights and put the possibility of promoting them above other priorities, such as stability and maintaining an ally in Tehran. Obama is putting human rights behind stability, in the ultimate cause of a prospective bargain with the mullahs.
And brilliant as always...
Obama Clueless on Iran
By Charles Krauthammer
Real Clear Politics
June 19, 2009
...This revolution will end either as a Tiananmen (a hot Tiananmen with massive and bloody repression or a cold Tiananmen with a finer mix of brutality and co-optation) or as a true revolution that brings down the Islamic Republic.
The latter is improbable but, for the first time in 30 years, not impossible. Imagine the repercussions. It would mark a decisive blow to Islamist radicalism, of which Iran today is not just standard-bearer and model, but financier and arms supplier. It would do to Islamism what the collapse of the Soviet Union did to communism -- leave it forever spent and discredited.
In the region, it would launch a second Arab spring. The first in 2005 -- the expulsion of Syria from Lebanon, first elections in Iraq and early liberalization in the Gulf states and Egypt -- was aborted by a fierce counterattack from the forces of repression and reaction, led and funded by Iran.
Now, with Hezbollah having lost elections in Lebanon and with Iraq establishing the institutions of a young democracy, the fall of the Islamist dictatorship in Iran would have an electric and contagious effect. The exception -- Iraq and Lebanon -- becomes the rule. Democracy becomes the wave. Syria becomes isolated; Hezbollah and Hamas, patronless. The entire trajectory of the region is reversed.
All hangs in the balance. The Khamenei regime is deciding whether to do a Tiananmen. And what side is the Obama administration taking? None. Except for the desire that this "vigorous debate" (press secretary Robert Gibbs' disgraceful euphemism) over election "irregularities" not stand in the way of U.S.-Iranian engagement on nuclear weapons.
Even from the narrow perspective of the nuclear issue, the administration's geopolitical calculus is absurd. There is zero chance that any such talks will denuclearize Iran. On Monday, Ahmadinejad declared yet again that the nuclear "file is shut, forever." The only hope for a resolution of the nuclear question is regime change, which (if the successor regime were as moderate as pre-Khomeini Iran) might either stop the program, or make it manageable and nonthreatening.
That's our fundamental interest. And our fundamental values demand that America stand with demonstrators opposing a regime that is the antithesis of all we believe.
Iran's dictatorship is the heart of much of Islamic terrorism and violence throughout the Middle East and the world. Ridding the world of that evil transcends the more narrow concerns about Iranian nuclear development!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday's rally was bigger still. Tehran's Mayor estimated crowds up to three million people!
TEHRAN, IRAN - JUNE 18: Iranian supporters of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi demonstrate on June 18, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. Thousands of people have continued to protest in the streets of Tehran today with expectations of an even larger protest tomorrow as a day of mourning is planned for the eight people killed in Monday's protests. Iran has banned foreign media from covering rallies in the country and Iran's Guardian Council reportedly said that they would recount some of the votes in the presidential election that critics say was unfairly won by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinehjad.
Obama Pressured to Strike a Firmer ToneIs it more important to Obama to seek a worthless deal on Iranian nukes than to see the hated regime responsible for so much death and violence, including the deaths of Americans, removed from power?
By HELENE COOPER and MARK LANDLER
New York Times
June 17, 2009
...Even while supporting the president’s approach, senior members of the administration, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, would like to strike a stronger tone in support of the protesters, administration officials said.
Other White House officials have counseled a more cautious approach, saying harsh criticism of the government or endorsement of the protests could have the paradoxical effect of discrediting the protesters and making them seem as if they were led by Americans. So far, Mr. Obama has largely followed that script, criticizing violence against the protesters, but saying that he does not want to be seen as meddling in Iranian domestic politics.
Even so, the Iranian government on Wednesday accused American officials of “interventionist” statements.
But several administration officials acknowledged that Mr. Obama might run the risk of coming across on the wrong side of history at a potentially transformative moment in Iran.
GREEN LIGHT FOR A CRACKDOWN
OBAMA'S SILENCE FAVORS THE MULLAHS
By Ralph Peters
New York Post
June 18, 2009
SILENCE is complicity. Our president's refusal to take a forthright moral stand on the side of the Iranian freedom marchers is read in Tehran as a blank check for the current regime.
The fundamentalist junta has begun arresting opposition figures, with regime mouthpieces raising the prospect of the death penalty. Inevitably, there are claims that dissidents have been "hoarding weapons and explosives."
Foreign media reps are under house arrest. Cellphone frequencies are jammed. Students are killed and the killings disavowed.
And our president is "troubled," but doesn't believe we should "meddle" in Iran's internal affairs. (Meddling in Israel's domestic affairs is just fine, though.)
We just turned our backs on freedom.
For decades, Washington policymakers from both parties have prodded Iranians to throw off their shackles. Last Friday, millions of Iranians stood up. And we're standing down.
That isn't diplomacy. It's treachery.
Too bad for the Iranians, but their outburst of popular anger toward Iran's oppressive government doesn't fit the administration's script -- which is written around negotiations with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
To Obama, his dogmatic commitment to negotiations is infinitely more important than a few million protesters chanting the Farsi equivalent of "We Shall Overcome."
This is madness. There is no chance -- zero, null, nada -- that negotiations with the junta of mullahs will lead to the termination (or even a serious interruption) of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our president's faith in his powers of persuasion is beginning to look pathological. Is his program of negotiations with apocalypse-minded, woman-hating, Jew-killing fanatics so sacrosanct that he can't acknowledge human cries for freedom?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
People are starting to ask why Obama and many of his minions are afraid to appear on Fox News? Neil Cavuto raised the topic of Obama's distaste for Fox News in this video:
Cavuto's piece makes it clear that Obama's view of Fox News is one that he has long held. Apparently, he seems to prefer networks which give him a pass on many of the tough questions.
On Tuesday, John Harwood of CNBC DID get an interview with Obama and he asked him about fawning media coverage in general. Obama's answer led to another slam against Fox News:
Transcript: Obama On The Economy, Iran
16 Jun 2009
HARWOOD: Last question. When you and I spoke in January, you said—I observed that you hadn't gotten much bad press. You said it's coming. Media critics would say not only has it not come, but that you have gotten such favorable press, either because of bias or because you're good box office, that it's hurting the country, because you're not being sufficiently held accountable for your policies. Assess that.Yeah, so transparent that we don't know how much your date night to New York cost. Or who authorized the Air Force One flyover which panicked New York or why you refuse to release the CIA memos which former Vice President Cheney claims show that waterboarding JUST THREE terrorists saved lives. But that's another story.
Pres. OBAMA: It's very hard for me to swallow that one. First of all, I've got one television station entirely devoted to attacking my administration. I mean, you know, that's a pretty...
HARWOOD: I assume you're talking about Fox.
Pres. OBAMA: Well, that's a pretty big megaphone. And you'd be hard-pressed, if you watched the entire day, to find a positive story about me on that front. I think that, ultimately, my responsibility is to provide the best possible decision making on behalf of the American people at a time where we've got a lot of big problems. And, you know, we welcome people who are asking us some, you know, tough questions. And I think that I've been probably as accessible as any president in the first six months—press conferences, taking questions from reporters, being held accountable, being transparent about what it is that we're trying to do. I think that, actually, the reason that people have been generally positive about what we've tried to do is they feel as if I'm available and willing to answer questions, and we haven't been trying to hide them all.....
Fox News THAT Threatening?
But is Fox News really that threatening to President Obama that he has to hide from them? Good grief, they are only a cable channel! Granted, they get more viewers than CNBC, MSNBC, CNN and CNN Headline News combined but Fox News is still only the 4th largest cable channel.
Nationwide there are more than 114.5 million television households. Of those, the overwhelming majority still get their news from the "Big Three" broadcast networks: ABC, NBC and CBS. NBC, which consistently leads network news ratings, is widely considered to be in the tank for Obama with questions being raised about it's parent company General Electric's plan to profit from Obama policy initiatives.
It's pretty clear to critical Obama watchers that the man thinks that fawning "news" coverage of him is fair news coverage. Apparently facing tough, critical questions would be an affront to his oversized ego and hence, cannot be allowed.
Let's face it: Obama is a coward!
Former President George W. Bush speaks at the Manufacturers & Business Association's 104th annual event in Erie, Pa. , Wednesday, June 17, 2009.
Bush takes swipes at Obama policies
By Joseph Curl
Thursday, June 18, 2009
ERIE, Pa. Former President George W. Bush fired a salvo at President Obama on Wednesday, asserting his administration's interrogation policies were within the law, declaring the private sector not government will fix the economy and rejecting the nationalization of health care.
"I know it's going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we're in," the former president said to applause from members of a local business group. "You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money."
"Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States," he said to huge cheers.
Mr. Bush weighed in on some of the most pressing issues of the day: the election in Iran, the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, and his administration's interrogation policies of terrorists held there and elsewhere.
"The way I decided to address the problem was twofold: One, use every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again," he said, adding that the country needs to stay on offense, not defense. On Guantanamo, which while in office Mr. Bush said he wanted to close, the former president was diplomatic.
"I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor," he said. "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind."
Mr. Bush did not directly address Mr. Obama's response to the election in Iran, which some critics have called tepid, but he did make clear that the outcome is very much in dispute.
But he was less than convinced about Mr. Obama's move to overhaul the health care system.
"There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care," Mr. Bush said. "I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care."
Asked by the evening emcee at the 104th annual Manufacturer and Business Association meeting if he finds the new president's policies "socialist," Mr. Bush started then stopped.
"I hear a lot of those words, but it depends on..,"he said, breaking off. He later offered a more diplomatic assessment: "We'll see."
During a question-and-answer session, Mr. Bush recounted tough decisions he made in office. Still steely, the former president said he left Washington with the same moral resolve. "When I look in the mirror, I say, 'He did not sell his soul for short-term politics.'"
Speaking of those enhanced interrogations. We STILL haven't seen any sign that the Obama Administration intends to declassify the memos which show what we learned in the THREE cases were terrorist monsters like Khalid Sheik Mohammed were waterboarded. I wonder why?And when former President Bush spoke of an "ideological conflict," asserting that in the long term, the United States needs to press freedom and democracy the contrast with Obama's serial apologies couldn't be more clear.
Apologies won't help support the brave men and women in Iran.
Obama has been out there blaming President Bush for all the mistakes that Obama himself is making. It's good to see President Bush finally able to respond to some degree.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
In 1941 Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Harrow, his old Public School (public schools are the equivalent of private schools in the U.S.), to raise the spirits of war weary students. At the time Britain was enduring the Blitz and had nearly succombed to the Nazi threat.
He gave some sound advice to the students. The essence of which can also be applied to situations like the current Iranian uprising:
The entire speech, only four minutes and fifteen seconds is here:
From the Churchill Audio Archive.
When tyrants see weakness, they seldom agree to give up something of value! That should be the driving motivation behind our dealings with Iran's government. Sadly, the opposite is true.
We stand at a pivotal moment, not just for the people of Iran, but also for the hopes for peace in the wider world. Nothing should be more important than encouraging the Iranian people to remove the bloodthirsty regime which has been behind so much misery and death for many throughout the world including Americans.
No vain pursuit of a worthless short term agreement on nuclear issues should stand in the way of what would truly be a game changer in the global war on terror. Yet, this is what Obama is doing. He won't lift a finger to help the Iranian people get rid of the Mullahs that govern Iran because he thinks he can get them to make a deal on nukes. He's wrong and the entire world will pay the price as the opportunity to for REAL CHANGE slips by.
People carry the body of a man allegedly shot by pro-government militia near a rally supporting leading opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi in Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 15, 2009.
Photo at right from "The Price of Freedom" posted by an Iranian blogger living in London.
Thanks Missy for collecting some excellent thought pieces on the problem. Here's a sampling:
Obama, Siding With the Regime
By Robert Kagan
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
...Obama never meant to spark political upheaval in Iran, much less encourage the Iranian people to take to the streets. That they are doing so is not good news for the president but, rather, an unwelcome complication in his strategy of engaging and seeking rapprochement with the Iranian government on nuclear issues.
Whatever [Obama's] personal sympathies may be, if he is intent on sticking to his original strategy, then he can have no interest in helping the opposition. His strategy toward Iran places him objectively on the side of the government's efforts to return to normalcy as quickly as possible, not in league with the opposition's efforts to prolong the crisis.
If you find all this disturbing, you should. The worst thing is that this approach will probably not prevent the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. But this is what "realism" is all about. It is what sent Brent Scowcroft to raise a champagne toast to China's leaders in the wake of Tiananmen Square. It is what convinced Gerald Ford not to meet with Alexander Solzhenitsyn at the height of detente. Republicans have traditionally been better at it than Democrats -- though they have rarely been rewarded by the American people at the ballot box, as Ford and George H.W. Bush can attest. We'll see whether President Obama can be just as cold-blooded in pursuit of better relations with an ugly regime, without suffering the same political fate.
Oh dear, how inconvenient for the White House
By Melanie Phillips
The Spectator (UK)
Tuesday, 16th June 2009
... [I]n all this ferment, Obama stands exposed. Everywhere his strategy of abasement to tyranny is going belly-up. Korea test-fired its nukes and gave Washington the finger. And of course the flip-side of the grovelling to America’s enemies is his arm-lock on its ally. Having been so conspicuously even-handed in Iran between tyranny and resistance, there is one area where Obama is not being even-handed. It is only towards Israel, the prospective victim of Iranian genocidal and potentially nuclear aggression, that Obama is playing the heavy and making demands that he is making of no other country.
And now Israel is also fighting back. Netanyahu’s adroit challenge to the Palestinians to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state immediately laid bare Palestinian rejectionism -- and has now put Obama in the position of forcing Israel to bring into being a state which rests on the belief that Israel should be destroyed.
To this now explicitly demonstrated fact, Obama seems resolutely blind. To the condemnation of Hezbollah by the Lebanese, he was deaf. Now Iran may be on the point of finally getting rid of its regime, Obama is struck dumb. As the world struggles to find its way out of tyranny and into freedom there will be no assistance from the White House, whose present incumbent is simply on the wrong side of history.
Obama's foreign policy is quickly turning into one massive sh&@ball. By comparison, Jimmy Carter's foreign outlook seems sound!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Late Monday evening, President Obama FINALLY spoke regarding the situation in Iran. It was lame as usual.
What a shame someone can't hack his teleprompter and get these unambiguous words President Bush spoke in February 2006 inserted into Obama's teleprompter:
PRESIDENT BUSH: Iran is a nation held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people, and denying them basic liberties and human rights. The Iranian regime sponsors terrorists and is actively working to expand its influence in the region. (…) as we confront Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, we’re also reaching out to the Iranian people to support their desire to be free; to build a free, democratic, and transparent society.Bush's speech is a reminder that a real leader speaks the truth without apology!
To support the Iranian people’s efforts to win their own freedom, my administration is requesting $75 million in emergency funds to support democracy in Iran. This is more than a fourfold increase over current levels of funding. These new funds will allow us to expand radio and television broadcasts into Iran (…) so Iranians can organize and challenge the repressive policies of the clerical regime(…) By supporting democratic change in Iran, we will hasten the day when the people of Iran can determine their own future and be free to choose their own leaders. Freedom in the Middle East requires freedom for the Iranian people, and America looks forward to the day when our nation can be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.
Monday, June 15, 2009
"It Don't Gitmo Better Than This!"
Four of the Uighur terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay have been released in Bermuda. All expenses paid by the U.S. taxpayer.
Life in paradise as Guantanamo Four take a dip, eat ice cream, and plan first Uighur restaurant in British territory of BermudaNew life: Three of the four former Guantanamo detainees, Ablakim Turahun, Salahidin Abdulahat, and Khelil Mamut (left to right) take a stroll in the historic district of St. George, on the island of Bermuda
The Daily Mail
15th June 2009
...[The four men] have traded drab prison jumpsuits for comfortable cotton pants and knit shirts, and razor wire-encircled jail compounds for beach cottages, where they are staying at U.S. taxpayers' expense.
The four Uighurs (pronounced WEE'-gurs) also have immediate priorities, such as learning to drive, scuba dive and bowl, said Glenn Brangman, a former military official who is helping reintroduce them to the world outside prison.
For now, the men are savouring the most basic of experiences, interpreter Rushan Abbas said. They walked through a forest, touched trees and plants and expressed their amazement at a woman riding a horse.
They look pretty healthy to me considering how they just got out of what some people falsely claim is a torture chamber.
Constrast their appearance with that of John McCain after he was released from a North Vietnamese prison camp where he WAS tortured:
President Nixon greets released POW (and future Republican Senator) Navy officer John McCain (on crutches) after years of imprisonment in North Vietnam, 1973.
Yep, those Uighurs are living it up pretty good by comparison:
Seaside leisure: Khelil Mamut, Ablakim Turahun, and Salahidin Abdulahat (left to right) enjoy butter pecan ice cream at a local Hamilton shopOf course our ally, Great Britain, isn't too thrilled that the Obama Administration dissed them AGAIN and went behind their back in arranging this resort relocation. Bermuda is still attached to the United Kingdom.
Mr Gapes, a Labour MP, said: 'The U.S. is clearly determined to act in what it perceives as its own national interest even riding roughshod over what it should have done, which is spoken to the British Government.
'The proper authority here is the British Government and the U.S. should have consulted with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before they did anything of this kind,' he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One.
'I wonder what promises have been given to the Bermudians, potentially about going a bit soft on the tax haven status or something else as a quid pro quo.'
The arrival of Barack Obama in the White House did not mean an end to America acting in its own interests, said Gapes.
'We need to be aware that, despite the change of U.S. administration, there are going to be problems sometimes with the U.S. when it acts in a way which doesn't take account of and doesn't consult with its allies.'
Oh well, Obama doesn't really care if the "Special Relationship" we have with our number one ally is damaged. He's got to fulfill his campaign promise to close Gitmo!
Where is President Obama????
A man lies the back of a truck after being seriously injured by gunfire in an area where militia were firing shots at a rally supporting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's top opponent on Monday, June 15, 2009. Hundreds of thousands gathered in central Tehran to support Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims there was voting fraud in Friday's election. The gunfire came from a compound for volunteer militia linked to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard.
This is a rare moment in history where a solid declaration of support for freedom and democracy can make all the difference. WHERE IS OBAMA???
Latest Gallup poll: "Conservatives Are Single-Largest Ideological Group"
Sunday, June 14, 2009
A rare moment of opportunity for Iran to rejoin the family of nations is at hand. With millions of Iranians in cities and towns across the country protesting what is clearly a stolen election, the time is ripe for all those who support freedom and the peace that comes with it to stand with the demonstrators.
Curt has a full report here. Among many dramatic scenes, the video below stood out:
Iranians stood in their windows and on their rooftops chanting "God is Great" and "Death to the Dictator." It reminds me of that moment in the film "Network" when citizens run to their windows and shout "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."
In the next few days demonstrations in Iran may grow, or they may fizzle. A moment is at hand that could bring new freedom to Iran and new hopes for peace to the region and the world. So, I must ask the question: Where is the President of the United States?
For years, the United States government, under both political parties, has long sought a positive change in government in Iran that would make it possible to move beyond the Mad Mullahs obsession with terrorism and death. Solving the problem of Iran is a keystone to change throughout the region. Now is the most opportune moment to push forward with welcome statements of support for positive change in Iran.
Thus far, the only official statement from the White House is this:
Statement by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on the Iranian Election
The White House
June 13, 2009
Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians. We continue to monitor the entire situation closely, including reports of irregularities.
That's it. Nothing since about the clear longing for freedom and democracy being expressed in the streets. Not a word about the clear fraud that took place in the election.
Obama's speech in Cairo said nothing about the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people we now see so vividly on display. The entire section related to Iran was focused solely on how Obama would deal with the current leadership "without preconditions" on the issues such as nuclear development, which he all but sanctioned.
Democracy was mentioned in Obama's speech, but in a vague, general way. Wouldn't now be a good time to apply those broad principles in a specific context?
Is Obama afraid that if he speaks out forcefully on behalf of freedom and Iran's leaders succeed in clinging to power that they will reject Obama's repeated invitation for talks "without preconditions?"
Obama: Take a leaf from Reagan's Book
In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Obama liked to remind voters that President Reagan negotiated arms control treaties with the Soviets. Though Obama fails to mention that Reagan indeed had preconditions.
It's worth noting that on Friday, we observed the 22nd anniversary of President Reagan's speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin where he let Gorbachev know that if he wanted peace, he must "TEAR DOWN THIS WALL." That thundering denunciation of the most visible symbol of what was the "Evil Empire" did not stop the Soviets from negotiating.
Obama has an opportunity here to be a leader and do the right thing. Thus far, he remains AWOL. Was he too busy on another "date night" to bother?
- Iran Liberals erupt after vote, Sunday Times (UK): "Private polling of 5,000 voters conducted for the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and seen by The Sunday Times, suggested the reformist candidate would win at least 58% of votes across Iran. However, the official result gave him just under 34%."
- The Iranian Circus III, Michael Ledeen, PJ Media: "Until quite recently, the Iranians did not believe they could do such a thing on their own.... But nobody believes that Obama will help them, and they must know that they are on their own."
- Mr. President, Another Speech Please, Stephen Hayes, Weekly Standard: "When Barack Obama was elected, his supporters promised that his foreign policy would seek to effect important change in the world without using force, that he would deploy soft power – or, as Hillary Clinton put it during her confirmation, “smart power.”
Now is the time."
One report in the New York Times published Thursday breathlessly suggested we may be on the verge of a "Sea Change" even though the so-called "reform" candidate Moussavi had the same views of Iran's nuclear development as Ahmadinejad.
Obama himself contributed to this mythical idea of an "Obama effect" brought about by his Cairo speech:
"We are excited to see what appears to be a robust debate taking place in Iran," Obama told reporters today. "And obviously, after the speech that I made in Cairo, we tried to send a clear message that we think there is the possibility of change.Sadly, the result in the Iranian election which returns Ahmadinejad to power shows the "Obama effect" has turned out to be nothing but hot air. Both The Politico and San Francisco Chronicle are trying with varying degrees of success to find a silver lining in the outcome for Obama. The New York Times, or as I like to call it, the Obama Daily News, faces reality squarely: "Reverberations as Door Slams on Hope of Change. "
It must be difficult for Obama and his minions, so wrapped within the bubble of adulation they and their "news" media allies have created, to understand that one speech in Cairo cannot undo centuries of political and cultural habits in the Middle East. The fact is that most of the world is not as focused on Obama, what he says or does, as Obama and his followers.
I'm sure Obama would like to have claimed credit for inspiring hope and change in the Middle East because of one speech he gave. The fact that some seem to think it possible shows just how very out of touch with reality Obama worshippers have become!
Friday, June 12, 2009
President Reagan's remarks on East-West relations at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, Germany on June 12, 1987The entire address is worth listening to. But if your time is limited cue to 11:15 on the clip for the segment which contains the famous phrase "Mr. Gorbachev TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!"
Last year, I posted on the background that lead to Reagan's demand. Ending the Cold War and removing the last scar left on post World War II Europe was a goal of Ronald Reagan's for decades.
Many of Reagan's advisors, including then National Security Advisor Colin Powell, thought the line "tear down this wall" was too strong and tried to get it removed. But Reagan insisted.
Contrast Reagan's vision for a better, more peaceful world which he outlined in the Berlin Wall speech with Obama's address in Cairo. Reagan didn't spend half his speech apologizing for the United States or making absurd moral equivalence comparisons.
President Reagan had the moral fortitude to understand and then to explain that some things are right and some things are wrong. Thinking colored by shades of gray cannot achieve great things.
Years later, former Secretary of State George Schultz reflected on the Berlin speech and said:
"I guess the point I'm making here is that ideas matter a lot, the underlying ideas that stand behind policies. When you don't have ideas, your policies are flip-flopping all over the place. When you do have ideas, you have more consistency. And when you have the right ideas — then you can get somewhere."
Reagan got somewhere!