• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Getting to Know Obama Better…..”Among the most thin-skinned presidents we have had”.

Peter Wehner wrote the following at Politics Daily a few days ago:

” Obama is among the most thin-skinned presidents we have had, and we see evidence of it in every possible venue imaginable, from one-on-one interviews to press conferences, from extemporaneous remarks to set speeches.

The president is constantly complaining about what others are saying about him. He is upset at Fox News, and conservative talk radio, and Republicans, and people carrying unflattering posters of him. He gets upset when his avalanche of faulty facts are challenged, like on health care. He gets upset when he is called on his hypocrisy, on everything from breaking his promise not to hire lobbyists in the White House to broadcasting health care meetings on C-SPAN to not curtailing earmarks to failing in his promises of transparency and bipartisanship.
In Obama’s eyes, he is always the aggrieved, always the violated, always the victim of some injustice. He is America’s virtuous and valorous hero, a man of unusually pure motives and uncommon wisdom, under assault by the forces of darkness.
It is all so darn unfair.
Not surprisingly, Obama’s thin skin leads to self pity. As Daniel Halper of The Weekly Standard pointed out, in a fundraising event for Sen. Barbara Boxer, Obama said,
Let’s face it: this has been the toughest year and a half since any year and a half since the 1930s.
Really, now? Worse than the period surrounding December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001? Worse than what Gerald Ford faced after the resignation of Richard Nixon and Watergate, which constituted the worse constitutional scandal in our history and tore the country apart? Worse than what Ronald Reagan faced after Jimmy Carter (when interest rates were 22 percent, inflation was more than 13 percent, and Reagan faced something entirely new under the sun, “stagflation”)? Worse than 1968, when Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated and there was rioting in our streets? Worse than what LBJ faced during Vietnam — a war which eventually claimed more than 58,000 lives? Worse than what John Kennedy faced in the Bay of Pigs and in the Cuban Missile Crisis, when we and the Soviet Union edged up to the brink of nuclear war? Worse than what Franklin Roosevelt faced on the eve of the Normandy invasion? Worse than what Bush faced in Iraq in 2006, when that nation was on the edge of civil war, or when the financial system collapsed in the last months of his presidency? Worse than what Truman faced in defeating imperial Japan, in reconstructing post-war Europe, and in responding to North Korea’s invasion of South Korea?
In his autobiography “Present at the Creation,” Dean Acheson wrote about the immensity of the task the Truman administration faced after war ended in 1945, which “only slowly revealed itself. As it did so, it began to appear as just a bit less formidable than that described in the first chapter of Genesis. That was to create a world out of chaos; ours, to create half a world, a free half, out of the same material without blowing the whole to pieces in the process.”
For Obama to complain that the problems he faces are so much worse than any other president in the last 80 years is stunningly self-indulgent, to say nothing of ahistorical.
With Obama there is also the compulsive need to admonish others, to point fingers, to say that the problems he faces are not of his doing. Oh, sure; on occasions there are the grudging concessions, like in Thursday’s press conference devoted to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, where Obama says, “In case you’re wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility” to ensure that “everything is done to shut this down.” But those words are always pro forma, done reluctantly and for tactical political reasons, a rhetorical trick that is meant to get him off the hook. As recently as last week, Obama, in the Rose Garden, was implicitly blaming the previous occupant of the White House for the explosion of the offshore rig Deepwater Horizon [Obama remarks linked here].
The president’s instincts are by now obvious to all: deflect blame, point fingers, and lash out at others, most especially his predecessor. We know from press reports (see here and here) that the strategy for the Democrats in 2010, two years after Obama was elected president, is to – you guessed it – blame George W. Bush.
What explains all this is hard to know. But it’s clear he has adopted an image of himself as something rare and remarkable, a historic figure of almost super-human abilities. “I am absolutely certain that generations from now,” Obama said during the summer of his presidential run, “we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”
“We are the ones we have been waiting for,” Obama and his aides said constantly during the campaign.
President Obama’s more unattractive personal qualities probably won’t wear well with the electorate. Americans tend to tire of those who are look back rather than ahead and are always blaming others for the problems they face.
Barack Obama — a man who was as unprepared to be president as any man in our lifetime — has over the last 16 months shown that he is overmatched by events. His poll numbers continue to drop, his health care proposal is becoming less rather than more popular, the oil spill in the Gulf is badly eroding his image for leadership and competence, and his party has been battered in election after election since November. We have now reached the point where Democrats are running against Obama and his agenda in order to survive (witness Mark Critz in Pennsylvania).
We can hope that Obama, an intelligent man, learns from the errors of his ways. But the great danger in all of this is that in the face of his troubles Obama and his aides become increasingly defensive, display a greater sense of entitlement and even a touch of paranoia. When arrogant men lose control of events it can easily lead to feelings of isolation, to striking out at critics, to bullying opponents, and to straying across lines that should not be crossed.
And so the president needs to surround himself with people who can tamp down on the uglier impulses within his administration, who are willing to tell Obama that the lore created by him, Axelrod, Plouffe, and Gibbs during the campaign has given way to reality, that cockiness is not the same as wisdom, and that spin is no substitute for substantive achievements. And Obama needs someone who has standing in his life to tell him that the presidency is a revered institution that should not be treated as if it were a ward in Chicago.
The ingredients are in place for some serious problems down the road. Those who care for the president need to recognize the warning signs now, sooner rather later, before it becomes too late, for him and for the nation.”
Comment:  “Arrogant, friendless, untrustworthy, disingenuous, unreliable, cold,  loner, self interested, self pitying, hot tongued, poor listener, narrowly educated, isolated,  unrealistic, anti-Semetic, anti-capitalist, obtuse, distant, revengeful,”  are the words which have been used often to fairly often to describe America’s 44th president……
Why should we be surprised to discover he is “thin-skinned?”   He is filled with self pity…….These two are inseparable.
President Obama is quite transparent.   His disingenuous moments flow often and arrogantly.   There is much for him to hide.

Stratfor Accuses Turkish Organization for Initiating Incident with Israel

 George Friedman, founder of Stratfor has written the following article on the sudden crisis instigated by an Turkish non-government group.   From time to time I am privileged to receive such articles,  reliably  unerring in tone and content, and detailed in content.  Mr. Friedman has been interviewed by Dennis Prager upon occasion.  He has never been less that superbly professional.  He writes the following in his article entitled, “Flotillas and the War of Public Opinion”:

“On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel

A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

The ‘Exodus’ Scenario

In the 1950s, an author named Leon Uris published a book called “Exodus.” Later made into a major motion picture, Exodus told the story of a Zionist provocation against the British. In the wake of World War II, the British — who controlled Palestine, as it was then known — maintained limits on Jewish immigration there. Would-be immigrants captured trying to run the blockade were detained in camps in Cyprus. In the book and movie, Zionists planned a propaganda exercise involving a breakout of Jews — mostly children — from the camp, who would then board a ship renamed the Exodus. When the Royal Navy intercepted the ship, the passengers would mount a hunger strike. The goal was to portray the British as brutes finishing the work of the Nazis. The image of children potentially dying of hunger would force the British to permit the ship to go to Palestine, to reconsider British policy on immigration, and ultimately to decide to abandon Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations.

There was in fact a ship called Exodus, but the affair did not play out precisely as portrayed by Uris, who used an amalgam of incidents to display the propaganda war waged by the Jews. Those carrying out this war had two goals. The first was to create sympathy in Britain and throughout the world for Jews who, just a couple of years after German concentration camps, were now being held in British camps. Second, they sought to portray their struggle as being against the British. The British were portrayed as continuing Nazi policies toward the Jews in order to maintain their empire. The Jews were portrayed as anti-imperialists, fighting the British much as the Americans had.

It was a brilliant strategy. By focusing on Jewish victimhood and on the British, the Zionists defined the battle as being against the British, with the Arabs playing the role of people trying to create the second phase of the Holocaust. The British were portrayed as pro-Arab for economic and imperial reasons, indifferent at best to the survivors of the Holocaust. Rather than restraining the Arabs, the British were arming them. The goal was not to vilify the Arabs but to villify the British, and to position the Jews with other nationalist groups whether in India or Egypt rising against the British.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn’t particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded.

The success was rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In this way, the Zionists’ ability to shape global public perceptions of what was happening in Palestine — to demonize the British and turn the question of Palestine into a Jewish-British issue — shaped the political decisions of a range of governments. It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered. What mattered was the ability to identify the victim and victimizer such that global opinion caused both London and governments not directly involved in the issue to adopt political stances advantageous to the Zionists. It is in this context that we need to view the Turkish flotilla.

The Turkish Flotilla to Gaza

The Palestinians have long argued that they are the victims of Israel, an invention of British and American imperialism. Since 1967, they have focused not so much on the existence of the state of Israel (at least in messages geared toward the West) as on the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since the split between Hamas and Fatah and the Gaza War, the focus has been on the plight of the citizens of Gaza, who have been portrayed as the dispossessed victims of Israeli violence.

The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.

Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel’s increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous.

The Geopolitical Fallout for Israel

It is vital that the Israelis succeed in portraying the flotilla as an extremist plot. Whether extremist or not, the plot has generated an image of Israel quite damaging to Israeli political interests. Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, with heavy pressure on its relationship with Europe and the United States.

In all of these countries, politicians are extremely sensitive to public opinion. It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel’s enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.

The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.

With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.

Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.

The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.

Internationally, there is little doubt that the incident will generate a firestorm. Certainly, Turkey will break cooperation with Israel. Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States — by far the most important in the equation — might shift to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” position.

While the international reaction is predictable, the interesting question is whether this evolution will cause a political crisis in Israel. Those in Israel who feel that international isolation is preferable to accommodation with the Palestinians are in control now. Many in the opposition see Israel’s isolation as a strategic threat. Economically and militarily, they argue, Israel cannot survive in isolation. The current regime will respond that there will be no isolation. The flotilla aimed to generate what the government has said would not happen.

The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.”

Comment:  If Barack Obama had been more consistently reassuring to the Israelis regarding American guarantees of Israeli sovereignty, I don’t think Israeli’s enemies would provoke such schemes.  

But the American president was born to equivocate regarding friends  and reassure our enemies we understand their pain. 

   

The Shallows of Barack Obama

This article by James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal, was found at realclearpolitics.

“What exactly is the job of the president of the United States? Let’s ask the man who currently holds that position, Barack Obama:

My job right now is just to make sure that everybody in the Gulf understands this is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about: the spill.

Obama’s job description is fascinating. He has been depicted as a proponent of “activist government,” but this may be a bum rap. Now he tells us he thinks that if he somehow gets people to think about him and how much he’s thinking about what he thinks they think he should be thinking about, his job is done.

Which raises only two questions: First, if the requirements of his job are so modest, why is he still having trouble meeting them? Second, couldn’t all this cogitation be done at a cost of less than $3.5 trillion a year?

Are we being too literal here? If we are, then so is the pro-Obama New York Times, whose coverage of the press conference at which the president made the above statement likewise emphasizes his thought processes. Here’s how it begins:

President Obama uttered three words on Thursday that many of his 43 predecessors twisted themselves into knots trying with varying degrees of success to avoid: “I was wrong.”

He strode into the East Room to mount a robust defense of his handling of the largest oil spill in American history, reassuring the nation that he was in charge and would do “whatever is necessary” to stop and clean up the BP leak in the Gulf of Mexico. But by the time he walked out an hour later, he had balanced that with a fairly unusual presidential self-critique.

He was wrong, he said, to assume that oil companies were prepared for the worst as he tried to expand offshore drilling. His team did not move with “sufficient urgency” to reform regulation of the industry. In dealing with BP, his administration “should have pushed them sooner” to provide images of the leak, and “it took too long for us” to measure the size of the spill.

Actually, that’s not a self-critique at all, but classic passive-aggressive behavior: I’m sorry. I was wrong. I should never have trusted you.

Earlier this week, “one who was there” told the Washington Post that in an Oval Office meeting, Obama commanded: “Plug the damn hole.” This leak–of the information, that is, not the oil–shows that Obama is doing what he conceives to be his job, namely trying to persuade people that he is thinking about the spill.

But for those who would actually like to see the damn hole plugged, the president looks impotent and irrelevant–so much so that this response from the Ayn Rand Center is a model of common sense and clarity:

That’s the politician’s answer to every intractable problem: give orders, issue threats, and wait for obedience. But the creative human mind cannot take orders like that. Notice I didn’t say, “refuses to take orders.” I said, “cannot take orders.”

By that I mean, the task of plugging a leak 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico is an engineering feat. BP’s acknowledged role in causing the leak does not alter the fact that careful study, creative thought, and the exacting deployment of technical and mechanical skills over long distances are all necessary in order to fix the leak. No amount of jaw clenching or bug-eyed threats from politicians can bring the solution one inch closer to reality. The human mind does not operate by force from outside. . . .

Obama’s petulant outburst brings to mind a scene from Atlas Shrugged featuring Kip Chalmers, a politician who is traveling by train from Washington, D.C., to California, where he’s running for office. When the train’s diesel engine is destroyed by accidentally running over a split rail, Chalmers issues furious demands, expecting they will result in instant technical solutions:

” ‘God damn these railroad people!’ said Kip Chalmers. ‘They’re doing it on purpose. They want to ruin my campaign. I can’t miss that rally! For Christ’s sake, Lester, do something!’ “

Even National Public Radio notes that “the public seems to understand that only BP, not the federal government, can plug the hole.”

After Katrina, liberals claimed that the Bush administration had failed in its response because conservatives “don’t believe in government.” The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne now argues that the Obama administration has failed in its response to the oil spill because . . . conservatives don’t believe in government! Seriously:

“Deregulation” is wonderful until we discover what happens when regulations aren’t issued or enforced. Everyone is a capitalist until a private company blunders. Then everyone starts talking like a socialist, presuming that the government can put things right because they see it as being just as big and powerful as its Tea Party critics claim it is.

But the truth is that we have disempowered government and handed vast responsibilities over to a private sector that will never see protecting the public interest as its primary task. The sludge in the gulf is, finally, the product of our own contradictions.

For a real contradiction, though, consider this detail from the Washington Post report on yesterday’s press conference:

At one point, Obama said he did not know whether Elizabeth Birnbaum–the director of the Minerals Management Service he blamed for allowing the oil industry to overrule environmental and safety concerns–had resigned or been fired hours before.

It is unreasonable to expect the government to be omnicompetent. It is entirely reasonable to expect the president to be competent to manage his own administration.”

Comment:  Mr. Obama has a flippent nature which when unteleprompted frequently is let loose.   His putdowns especially against any perceived opponent are quick, personal, and cutting.  The man seems weak in debate and weaker yet in carrying on his press conference. 

The man is cold and friendless.   He uses treats and threats to control his flock and then appears offended if his tactics are recognized. 

It was clear why his predecessor, GW was a hugely popular guy to be arround whether as a frat boy or awkward politician.  He, too, failed to shine, however, at his own press conferences.  He had to stand tall in front of people programmed to hate him…and had some trouble with sentence syntax from time to time. 

This president, Mr. Obama, is treated as sugar by these agents of modern news, and he withers even in their presence without his pacifier teleprompter.

The Sestak Case Makes Obama Look Even Smaller

What’s stopped us from meeting these challenges is not the absence of sound policies and sensible plans. What’s stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics . . The time for that politics is over.

Barack Obama, announcing his presidential candidacy, Feb. 10, 2007

“So how’s this, sound Congressman Sestak? You give up this idea of running for the Senate and, as a token of our gratitude, we put you on the president’s intelligence advisory board. Yeah, I know you’re running against a guy who was a Republican senator for 29 years. But now he’s a Democrat, so we want to make sure he gets re-elected. And giving voters a choice just doesn’t help.”

That, we gather, was the essence of what Bill Clinton, on assignment from Obama, said last year in trying to dissuade Rep. Joe Sestak from running in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary against Sen. Arlen Specter. Fortunately for the people of the state, Sestak spurned the request. On May 18, he won his party’s nomination, even though Obama backed Specter.

The Obama administration insists that, as political scandals go, this is pretty skimpy stuff. Contrary to rumors that Sestak, a retired admiral, was offered the job of secretary of the Navy, he was wooed with an unpaid position that, it turns out, he could not have taken without resigning his House seat.

Or, as the White House statement put it, he was provided “an opportunity for additional service to the public.” Nothing illegal there, the White House counsel concluded.

That may very well be true, though some congressional Republicans are calling for a special prosecutor to investigate. Rod Blagojevich must be wondering how he can introduce the Sestak affair into his upcoming trial on charges of, um, trying to barter a U.S. Senate seat.

If this episode looks something short of brazenly corrupt and illegal, it doesn’t leave the president looking like a shining agent of change, either. In the first place, it involved the kind of grubby deal-making that has to be kept out of sight because it would offend the public. In the second, the goal was to deny voters a reasonable option at the polls.

The president further tarnished his knightly armor by deciding to stonewall the whole issue. Sestak said back in February that the administration had offered him a job to withdraw, but the White House stubbornly refused to address the issue for months — on the apparent premise that what the citizens don’t know can’t hurt them.

Candidate Obama promised to transcend the pettiness of our politics.  But this gambit makes him look small….and like an old hand at the Chicago way.”

The above article appeared at today’s Chicago Tribune opinion page.

Comment:   President Obama  looked small and phony and magnificently sleazy bribing and lying his way through passge of Obamacare legislation……Come to think of it he looked  smaller yet in declaring his government plans to  attack Arizona in court regarding the illegals invading that state…..But, then again, he looks exceptionally small every time he speaks without  teleprompter prompting at his side. 

He does look unusually cold, however, whenever he does speak truth and untruth….I’ll give him that.

A Bit About Art Linkletter, A Wonderful American Retro!

“And Now For Something Different”….Art Linkletter, who died this past week.  Friend,  Mark Waldeland, sent me this brief article written by Warren Cole Smith.

“The basics of the life and death—on Wednesday at age 97— of Art Linkletter were widely reported in the mainstream media. That’s only fitting, as he did more than just about anyone to shape the form, if not the content, of modern media. His House Party program began on radio in 1944 and moved to television in 1954—where it stayed until 1969.

That program made Linkletter one of the most famous men in America to baby boomers and their parents. But he actually had been on television since the late 1940s. Many families in the post-war era got their first TV sets and could pick up Art Linkletter and little else. Indeed, if the word “television pioneer” can be applied to anyone, it is Linkletter.

But the mainstream media tended to neglect Linkletter’s behind-the-scenes role in the rise of the conservative movement. He was an entrepreneur and free-market advocate who made millions in television, and millions more outside of medium, as the author of 20 books, several of which were national bestsellers (Kids Say the Darnedest Things andOld Age Is Not for Sissies), and in business ventures that ranged from commodities trading to hula hoops.

His public persona, as an affable TV host, was mostly apolitical through the 1940s and ’50s. But he was a supporter of Ronald Reagan through the ’60s, and his image took on a new dimension when his daughter died of a drug-related suicide in 1970. He spoke out more forcefully against drugs and against what he called the “moral decline” of the country, and President Nixon appointed him to an anti-drug commission. He put his money and his celebrity status to work for conservative causes and the Republican Party. When the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) began to champion liberal political causes, he became a spokesman for a conservative alternative to AARP called USA Next. He also served on the board of Pepperdine University, a Christian college in Malibu, Calif., near his home.

When he gave speeches to conservative groups—which he often did—he was usually introduced to audiences, many of whom were too young to see him in his heyday, by a reel of TV clips showing him with Reagan and other conservative icons. These clips established his conservative “bona fides” and invariably “fired up” the groups. But the speeches themselves were the true “highlight reel.” Into his mid-90s, he would speak in a forceful and polished tone, for a half-hour or more, with no notes whatsoever. He reveled crowds with anecdotes of Reagan and the early days of television, but—in true show-biz “leave ’em laughing, leave ’em crying” fashion—he would close with words of appreciation for the group he was speaking to, and he would exhort them to even greater sacrifice and commitment.

Linkletter himself, who was abandoned as an infant and adopted and raised by a preacher, was self-effacing about his accomplishments. He often said his greatest achievement was his 74-year marriage to wife, Lois, who survives him. By Hollywood standards, or any other, it was a rare feat, indeed.” 

Comment:  During the years Art Linkletter starred on radio and television, America was a much kinder and more decent place in which to live, and to live and raise children.  There were infinitely kinder voices and kinder conversations spread throughout the nation at all levels.   Among the kindest was the voice from the personality of Art Linkletter. 

These were the years before the collapse of the Christian codes of belief and behavior….replaced by the atheisms of the American university “elite”….leading to our present national miasma of drugs, pornography and promiscuity,  ignorance,  double speak, foul speak, pretend speak, Marxism, and “leaders” and “voices”  like Al Franken,  Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, Keith Olberman,  Ed Schultz, Bill Maher, countless others including   the dead Betty Friedan and other peculiar human animals such as Malcolm X, and Bill Ayers and  so many others…..who collectively and individually  managed to replace honesty and truth with deceit and lies, honor with dishonor, freedoms to live in and achieve the ideals of any civilized society,  with freedoms to corrupt, destroy, be vile and vulgar, hateful, and carnally inspired while seeking  the great pleasures of each  living day. 

Before this age, there was Art Linkletter.   He could interview anyone and decorate them all  with decency and respect and humor.   The Political Correctness of the time was established by Christian Americana.  

The gokal of this America was the most noble ever to have been placed upon the human mind and exercised by a human plot…….to find a  path of   human behavior and therefore  government rule  in which  freedom, honor, gratitude, decency, ever expanding learning,  good labor, both mental and physical could be achieved, all  for the betterment of each  individual during ones  stay on this Earth.  It was a pact between citizen and government, that required a believing, knowledge-striving, thinking, tolerant, energetic and aware citizenry, ……and the acceptance by the citizen to be a responsible, God-fearing, honorable soul.

The experiment  had lasted for two centuries  and, no doubt,  had caused those wishing to  become more artistic in their inventing and experiencing life to replace learning about the human struggle for knowledge and understanding in favor of  whatever excitement, stimulant or depressant might be at hand to feel good, and to sacrifice  the individual on the  altar of Big, Unlimited,  All Powerful, All Benevolent, All Knowledgeable  Government.

Art Linkletter was a product of American culture before this Leftwing Cultural Revolution against Christian America came of age in the late 1960s, eventually  ripening into the Big Government Adminstration presently being designed by  Barack Husein Obama.

It should be noted that decency left the standard American world long before Art Linkletter did a few days ago.  What a wonderfully retro American he was.

Democrats Stop Senate Bill to Send More Troops To Border

Following article written by Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times, was found at realclearpolitics”

“Senate Democrats managed Thursday to block deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, but the proposal still garnered a majority of senators, showing widespread support for a border-security-first strategy and underscoring why President Obama is having difficulty trying to win an immigration-legalization bill.

The vote flustered Democrats, who seemed uncertain how to handle the proposal and were reluctant to defy Mr. Obama, who just this week proposed that a much smaller 1,200-troop force be deployed.

In the end, 12 Democrats joined 39 Republicans in voting for the deployment – though that still fell nine votes shy of the 60-vote supermajority needed for passage.”

Crime and Punish in the Republic of Iran: Recommended Reading for American Progressives

It’s almost a year ago there was an election in the Islamic Republic…a place we call Iran.  Robert Cohen of the New York Times wrote the following article, entitled, “Hell in the Islamic Republic”,  I found at realclearpolitics. 

I thank both the Times and especially Mr. Cohen for reminding us at least in print, that contrary to many extremists of the American Left and the teachings at many, many American colleges and universities there is a difference between good and evil.

“Charges and counter-charges filled the airwaves as large crowds, for and against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, filled the streets. A late Green wave surged behind Mir Hussein Moussavi, the opposition candidate.

Then night descended and horror. Ahmadinejad’s “victory” was celebrated with brutality worthy of a putsch. Thugs prowled, armed with the license of the Islamic Republic to beat women.

Lofty clerics bound by those beautiful words — “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate” — showed no mercy, no compassion, in unleashing the forces who reduced the pre-electoral vitality to a hallucination and thoughtful intellectuals to whimpering wrecks prepared to “confess” to plotting velvet revolution.

Never have I seen a nation’s mood so transformed overnight nor a generation’s aspirations so gratuitously crushed.

Behind the walls of Evin Prison, and in shadowy detention centers like Kahrizak, thousands were detained, beaten, abused; and dozens lost their lives. We will have to wait for the full accounting. Meanwhile we have this testimony:

“The man intones, ‘In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. …’ Mohsen braces himself. There is a terse whisper and the instrument comes crashing onto the soles of Mohsen’s feet. An unimaginable pain shoots through his body to his temples, a pain to drive one mad. Mohsen is dimly aware that he is screaming. His wrist and ankles are being cut up as he thrashes against his bonds.

“The beating continues. Before each blow, the man calls, ‘Ya! Hossein!’ After a while he stops to catch his breath. He speaks to Mohsen. He calls him a Hypocrite and a traitor to God. Then he starts again.”

The above passage comes from an important book, “Death to the Dictator!”, written under the pseudonym of Afsaneh Moqadam. The book, published this month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, plunged me back into Tehran in the harrowing days after June 12, 2009.

It recounts a fairly typical story: A young man named Mohsen Abbaspour (not his real name), who moves from apolitical apathy to action in the weeks before the vote, is outraged by the outcome and joins massive street protests, before being grabbed by goons and “disappeared” into an unspeakable labyrinth of violence.

The intensity of the account put me in mind of Bernard Fall’s “Hell in a Very Small Place.”

I know the author, who agreed that the true identity of Ms. Moqadam be revealed to me. The author is reliable, knowledgeable and assiduous. After speaking to the author, I have no doubt the events related in the book took place as described.

Mohsen is broken by the Islamic Republic, snapped like a twig. He is forced to name his “seditious” friends. His nightmare culminates in rape:

“Tied down as for a bastinado. The heavy man on top, panting. ‘Here! Have your vote back.’

“He loses consciousness from the pain. He is dead.

“Back in a different cell. All like him. No blindfolds in here. The floor is covered in blood and flies. They do it to them once a day, sometimes twice.”

One of the most shattering scenes comes when, after his release, Mohsen asks his mother to take him to a doctor — “not the family doctor.” The doctor, having conducted an examination, “looking at the picture on the wall behind her,” tells a sobbing Mrs. Abbaspour of the injuries to her son’s rectum and less visible ones to his psyche. As she leaves, the doctor says, “May God help you, Mrs. Abbaspour.”

It is impossible to describe the shame. It is a miracle that Mohsen spoke. I asked the author how many such cases there might be. “Hundreds, not thousands,” was the answer. Selective rather than wholesale brutality characterizes the Islamic Republic.

“Orders were given,” the author said. “No Revolutionary Guardsman behaves like that without being told he can.”

Since June 12, U.S. realists and idealists have had an Iranian field day. The realists have dismissed the Green Movement, proclaimed a stolen election fair, and urged President Obama to toss aside human rights concerns and repair relations with Tehran in the American interest.

The idealists have rained renewed fury on Ahmadinejad, called for his overthrow and urged Obama to bury outreach and back Moussavi.

Both are wrong. I told an old Iran hand, a former U.S. diplomat, about “Death to the Dictator” and Mohsen’s rape. “Oh, yes,” he said, “That was an old Savak technique.” The Savak was the shah’s brutal secret police.

If you believe that Iran is not eternally condemned to veer from a monarch’s to a theocrat’s repression, and that its centennial quest for pluralism is unquenchable, speak out about abuse but pursue engagement because isolation only serves the horror merchants. Shun the realist and idealist bravura for the gray area where things get done.

Iran is weaker now than before the election. Its renewed interest in Brazilian-Turkish mediated talks is worth skeptical consideration. If you believe Mohsen — in the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate — deserves a future.”

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