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Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Election -- International Trade

Over the last few decades, millions of American jobs have moved overseas as certain industries have relocated to places like China or Mexico. There remain, however, a number of industries where America has a clear advantage over products from other countries. In fact, these industries have the capability of helping to lead the United States back to stronger economic growth. As more American goods get sold abroad, there will be more jobs created and personal incomes will rise. Export industries could be a significant driver of economic recovery.

One problem that prevents the growth of these export industries is the archaic nature of America's trade agreements with many other countries. New trade agreements are not exciting; nor are they easy. Completing a trade agreement is hard and slow work, but there is no question that the benefits which result are great. In the last four years, China has negotiated and signed 19 new trade agreements with other countries. During the same time, the USA has only reached three agreements, and each of those three was essentially done under the Bush administration. President Obama has gone nearly four years in office without bothering to complete even one new agreement.

Trade is not an issue that will show up often on the front page of the newspapers or on the evening news shows. Completing these agreements is part, however, of the nuts and bolts of governing successfully. On this score, Obama has been a complete failure.

For his part, Mitt Romney has made clear that increasing international trade is one of his principal points for improving the economy. Romney understands the need for trade and the vulnerabilities of an America that ignores the need for trade agreements.

On the issue of trade, clearly the better choice is Romney. In fact, it is a choice between something (Romney) and nothing (Obama).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When Dogma is Described as consensus

Is there global warming? If so, is global warming the result of the actions of man? These are scientific, not political, questions. The answers to these questions ought to be determined as a result of investigation and observation, not by a show of hands and media pressure. Remember, there was a "scientific consensus" that the earth is flat, that the sun orbits the earth, that atoms were the smallest particles of nature (in fact, that is where the name elements comes from...the most elementary), and many other ideas that today have been tossed aside. Global warming theory is the first modern scientific or pseudoscientific idea that constantly proclaims its correctness on the basis of a consensus rather than on the basis of evidence. Indeed, the computer models that underlie the theory of global warming do not explain either the past or the future climate on earth.

Let me explain. Almost all of the global warming discussions are about computer models that put earth's climate in a computer simulation and then play that simulation years into the future. Of course, we do not and cannot have data for the future climate, so there is no way to verify the correctness of the models from the data they predict for the future. There is, however, another way to check the accuracy of these models. We can take climate data from the past and see if it agrees with the results predicted by these computer models. After all, if the computer model cannot explain the actual data we have, then there is no reason to believe that it can explain the future. The problem with the computer models, however, is that they do not explain the past. For example two thousand years ago, the earth was warmer than it is today. It was also warmer 1000 years ago during what was known as the medieval warm period. One thousand years ago, there were vineyards in Sweden and large agricultural settlements in Greenland. Europe, the area with the best climate records, was substantially warmer than now. None of the computer models explain this warm period or the other ones before it. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, earth was cooler than it is today. Remember the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas Eve? The river is filled with ice, a condition that almost never happens today and certainly never in December. Again, the computer models do not explain this cooling period. Something else caused these climate changes, something that the model cannot explain. That leads to the simple conclusion that something else may be causing climate variations now, something that has nothing to do with man's activities. No matter what the consensus says, science says that man made global warming has not been proven or even demonstrated as the likely cause of climate change.

A group called the Union of Concerned Scientists, a non-profit lobbying group for global warming, is out today with a study that criticizes Fox News and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal for failing to fall in line behind the "consensus" view of global warming. Fox is taken to task for mentioning the widely publicized belief in the 1970's that earth was cooling. Now, the UCS says this was just a minority view. I guess they did not live through the 1970's so they missed all the hype about the consensus that earth was cooling. The Wall Street Journal is attacked for allowing someone to call global warming a hoax on its editorial page. But if global warming theory does not explain the past, what else can one call it? Would UCS prefer actual scientists to call global warming theory a widely-shared delusion? How about a discredited theory that many cling to for political reasons?

The main stream media, of course, is widely publicizing the UCS position. They love anything that cricizes Fox News.

In a reasonable world, the federal govenment would have funded a detailed study of climate history which would be made available in full detail on line for anyone and everyone to review. That would, at least, let us all agree on the basis data of the past. Remember, the main source of climate data thus far, the University of East Anglia, is the place where emails from those involved in gathering the data revealed that much of it was "modified" so that it would fit the theory. Normally the theory is changed so that it will fit the data, but not so here.

In a reasonable world, the government would also have a group like NASA or the National Science Foundation review the data from the experiments at CERN in Europe that showed that the level of solar radiation is nearly 1000 times more likely to be the cause of climate change. The higher the solar radiation, the more high level clouds that get formed in the atmosphere, and those clouds affect temperature much more so than slight changes in greenhouse gases.

The truth is that right now, there is no reliable data to tell us if earth is even warming. Oh, we know the day to day changes in temperature. What we do not know is the decade to decade changes or the century to century changes. Without such data, the theories as to the causation of climate change are little more than electronic superstition.

It would be nice if a group called the union of concerned scientists could support science rather than dogma and consensus. The issue of climate change and its possible impact across the globe are way too important for the results to be determined by political views rather than science.

The Phony CBS/New York Times polls

This morning, there are new polls from CBS and the New York Times. The polls cover three states: Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Each shows a big Obama lead. Each one is phony, and the pollster obviously must know that this is the case. Let me explain using the Florida poll as an example.

In 2004, the exit polls on election day showed the electorate identified itself as 37% Democrat, 41% Republican and the rest independent. In 2008, the exit polls showed the electorate to be 37% Democrat and 34% Republican with the rest independent. No one expects that the 2008 voting pattern will hold again this time. Republicans are far more energized to come out and vote while Democrats are less likely to come out. Many who came to vote for the first black presidential candidate will not make it back a second time. In other words, the turnout model should be closer to the four percent Republican advantage of 2004 than the 3% Democrat advantage of 2008. In its Florida poll, CBS is using a 9% Democrat advantage. Interestingly, CBS/NYT in its poll shows that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats. CBS/NYT also shows Romney with a lead among independents. Indeed, CBS/NYT shows that the results among Democrats, Republicans and independents are roughly the same that they were in the last poll by CBS/NYT a month ago. Despite that, CBS/NYT finds that Obama's lead has increased by 6%. This is impossible, and the pollster knows this.

This is perhaps the clearest example I have seen of a poll manipulated to give Obama an advantage. I am not surprised that it was done for the New York Times or CBS.

This fraud ought to be exposed.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Election -- the Constitution

In America, it has always been our system of government that laws are passed by Congress and the president signs the bill for it to become law. Even if the president refuses to sign or vetoes the bill, Congress can still pass the law with a two thirds vote. On the other hand, the president cannot, by himself, pass any law or even change the laws already on the books.

In the last six months, president Obama has ignore these requirements for enacting new laws or modifying old ones. About two months ago, Obama announced that the federal government would no longer take action against certain classes of aliens who are here illegally. In essence, Obama adopted the rules of the Dream Act which failed to even come close to passage in Congress. Obama claimed that he was just using prosecutorial discretion to decide who should be prosecuted. That argument fails miserably once one realizes that Obama is not deciding about individuals but about the standard course of conduct for the federal government.

Obama has also pushed for all sorts of regulations in areas where Congress refused to act. The EPA and OSHA are closing down coal mines with their new regulations even though Congress refused to pass requirements of this onerous nature on the coal mining industry.

Other examples of Obama exceeding his constitutional authority abound. Under Obama, America is being transformed from a constitutional republic into a quasi fascist state where the "leader" is able to decide new policies on his own without a care about what the constitution says.

Mitt Romney has promised to respect the Constitution. Obviously, we have not seen Romney in action, but it is extrememly hard to think that he could be anywhere near as bad on this score as Obama.

A Goof with a View

The insipid talk show "The View" is where president Obama goes these days to take questions from the "press". Obama is so intent on avoiding any real questions that might upset his re-election plans that instead he goes on TV with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and the other ladies. Even then, with fawning entertainers serving up softball questions, Obama still blew it. Obama, for the first time, told the nation from The View that the attack in Libya that killed our ambassador and three other Americans was not a spontaneous outburst due to the famous video. "There's no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn't just a mob action. What's clear is that, around the world, there are still a lot of threats out there."

Now remember that when the attack occured, Obama strongly told us that it was not terrorism or preplaned. He had UN ambassador Susan Rice go on four news shows to loudly proclaim that there were not even any indications that this was a terror attack. The president of Libya announced that this clearly was a carefully planned terror attack, but still the White House persisted. There were absolutely no indications that this was a terror attack, we were told. Then news came out that Obama had been warned ahead of time that there might be such an attack and did nothing. Here too we were assured that there were no indications that this was a terror attack. Members of Congress were incredulous and pointed out that this had to be a terror attack, but Obama persisted with his story. Either he did not recognize that this was clearly a terror attack, or he did not actually realize the truth (which is worse). Then the dam broke. Jay Carney told us that it was self-evident that this was a terror attack. High intelligence officials testified in Congress that this was a terror attack. And now, Obama himself has actually admitted "there's no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn't just a mob action.

So now Obama's story is that the weapons make clear that this was not a spontaneous mob action. So there are obvious indications that this was a terror attack. That means all those statements from Obama and his lackeys that there were no indications that terrorists were involved were wrong. And not only wrong; now Obama admits that there is "no doubt" about it. Obama just switches sides on the story and offers no explanation for his first two weeks of lying.

Obama is a danger to America.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Election -- Pakistan

There are a great many issues where president Obama and governor Romney do not agree. Few of these make it into the public debates, but many are crucial to the future of the USA. Over the next few weeks, I am going to try to select some of these issues for discussion. The press may not care about these issues, but we all should.

In the last few days, there have been major anti-American demonstrations in Pakistan. The demonstrations were suggested by the leader of Pakistan who declared a national holiday to give people the time to attend those demonstrations. Before that, we saw the Pakistanis hide Osama bin Laden for many years in their equivalent of West Point. Then we saw Pakistan cut off the USA from shipping supplies to our troops in Afghanistan across Pakistan. That made resupply of troops in Afghanistan much more difficult and expensive. We also had the problem that the Pakistani intelligence agency has been coordinating with the Taliban in anti-American attacks. All during that time, the USA kept shoveling foreign aid money to Pakistan's government. To say the least, the Obama policy for dealing with Pakistan (if there is one) has been a failure.

Pakistan is not a sexy subject for the presidential race. Obama's policy looks like a clear failure, so the main stream media does not want to highlight this. It would be a fair question, however, to ask Obama how, if at all, he would change the approach to Pakistan during a potential second term. No one has even asked that question yet. Governor Romney, however, has discussed the issue. Romney proposes using Pakistan's main rivalry as the basis for moving it towards more accomodation with America. Since the founding of India and Pakistan in the late 1940's, the two countries have been mortal enemies. Nothing, absolutely nothing, strikes fear into the heart of Pakistan's leaders more than the prospect of a stronger India. During the Bush administration, America moved much closer towards India and the Pakistanis tried to win back our favor with cooperation. Obama has moved away from India and towards Pakistan with the result that the Pakistanis lost their motivation to treat us well. Romney has said that we ought to go back the other way.

In many respects, it seems that the Obama policy towards Pakistan was adopted just because it was the opposite of the Bush policy. That, however, is not a good way to run American foreign policy. Remember, Pakistan is the only Moslem nation with nuclear weapons. It is a very important country. We need to have a policy towards Pakistan that actually works.

The Red Carpet at the Emmys

After last night's telecast of the Emmy Awards, I saw that there were countless articles about what the stars were wearing on the red carpet. Forty seven percent of Americans care deeply about those fashions. None of them are going to read this blog, so I am not going to write about the subject.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Unintentional Humor

The AP is out today with an article "exposing" that the natural gas produced from fracking was actually developed with the help of the American government. The reporter discloses that over the last thirty years, the federal government has spent $137 million dollars to support research into methods for extracting shale gas, principally fracking. Since this shale gas is now flooding into the market, the AP reporter is basically trying to support president Obama's position that the government did this, not private individuals. Indeed, the reporter points out how it is important the the government continue to support wind and solar energy now.

There is just one problem. Even according to this reporter, the federal government invested $137 million over thirty years. That comes to about $4 million per year. since president Obama took office, the federal government has "invested" over $90 billion in wind and solar energy and that effort has been a miserable failure. In other words, AP is trying to equate $4 million per year with about $25 billion per year wasted by Obama.

The truth is that fracking was principally developed by private industry. Was there government support at some point? Sure, but it was insignificant. On the other hand, the wind and solar energy fields basically depend on the government for survival. Firms like Solyndra only exist so long as the government foots the bill for the losses. Projects like the huge solar and wind plants that have been built only exist so long as states mandate that utilities buy the higher priced solar or wind energy. In other words, there has to be a continuing tax subsidy or the solar and wind industries will collapse.

I have to say that reading the AP seriously try to compare natural gas with wind and solar was pretty funny, unintentionally funny, but humorous nevertheless.


Here is the first sentence of a news article on Breitbart this morning:

President Barack Obama is about to release or transfer 55 Gitmo prisoners, despite reports that the Libyan believed to be behind the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens was a former Guantanamo inmate transferred to Libyan custody.

When Obama ran for office in 2008, he told America that our problems with the Moslem world were due to our policies being run by George Bush. He, Obama, would run a more aware and friendly policy that would bring friendship with the Moslems. One big part of that new policy would be closing Gitmo within a year of taking office. Of course, as with other promises, Obama broke that one. Gitmo is still open. Further, Obama has not succeeded even in a minor way with gaining the friendship of the Moslem world. One need only look at the anti-American demonstrations of the last two weeks to see that. So, after following a policy that has failed for four years, why would Obama now take a major further step down the road to failure? It is a question that cannot be answered in a rational manner. Obama's course of action is nuts.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mitt Romney's Tax Returns and the Crazies

The ever biased Yahoo News has a headline this morning that reads "Romney Tax Return Slammed." Democrats, it seems, have "pounced" on Romney's return because it was "manipulated". The truly crazy thing is that you need to read well into the article to find out the nature of the Democrats complaint. Here it is: Romney paid too much in taxes!! Oh, the horror of it all!!!!

For the last few years, all we have heard from Obama and the Obamacrats is how the rich pay too little in taxes. Now, they are complaining that Romney has paid too much. They tell us that Romney had more deductions that he could have claimed but did not. "How hardhearted and evil!" Harry Reid, the poster child for sleezy politicians is out complaining that Romney manipulated his return. Reid, of course, says nothing about his prior charge that Romney paid no taxes for ten years. Indeed, a sworn statement from Romney's accountants to the contrary gets no response from Reid at all. He is on to the next lie already. Romney is heinous because he just paid too much in taxes.

Reid is joined in his criticism of the Romney returns by that liar Stephanie Cutter. She is the one who called Romney a felon in the past and claimed that she had no knowledge of the Obama ad which called Romney a murderer. Of course, even when the facts showed that she was lying, she never apologizes or even changes her conduct. No, Cutter is out there again with more lies.

The sad truth is the Obama has surrounded himself with liars. To make matters worse, Obama himself is a pathological liar. The entire Democrat leadership is tainted by lying. The chair of the Democrat National Committee, Debbie Disgusto Schultz, was caught lying about what the Israeli ambassador to the USA said, but she never even admitted the lie after tape of her actual remarks were released. Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats leader in the House, has lied repeatedly. Harry Reid has raised lying to the level of an Olympic sport. Obama never stops lying.

America deserves better. Obama and the Obamacrats have got to go!

"I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are still truly good at heart..."

The title to this post are words that I first read when I was in 8th grade. They are the last line of the diary written by Anne Frank, a Dutch Jewish teen who hid with her family in an attic in Amsterdam for three years in order to avoid death at the hands of the Nazis. I remember being astounded by the optimism expressed by this poor girl who was spending her life in hiding for no reason other than her religion. She had done nothing to those who wanted to kill her; she had, in fact, done nothing to harm anyone at all. But despite the irrational hatred directed towards her by an entire nation, she remained optimistic about both the future and about the basic decency of the human race.

Anne's outlook came to mind this morning when I was perusing the world and national news. We have an international group that seems to have taken leave of its senses. The Moslem communities around the world are in chaos. The supposed reason for all this is a youtube video that none of those who are rioting have ever seen. Thirty people or more are dead but those who killed have no real idea why they are killing. Even worse, if that is possible, is that the rage is directed against the USA when America has nothing whatsoever to do with the ostensible reason for the rage. It is the equivalent of hearing that the food at a particular restaurant is second rate and then protesting at City Hall because that restaurant (at which you never ate) is within the city limits. It is, at best, a mass delusion.

To compound the problem with the mindless but raging mobs, we have the cynical but psychotic terrorists who are using their fellow Moslems and the ignorance of that group to promote a political agenda. These people do not care if twenty or twenty thousand of their fellow Moslems die in the fighting. The goal has nothing to do with the rioters or their cause. Indeed, this is one of the most anti-humanistic causes since the death of old style Communism with the fall of the USSR twenty years ago.

On top of this we have the Chicken Littles in this country and elsewhere in the West who are frantic to tell us that the sky is falling. Instead of responding rationally and calmly to the crazy rage of the mobs that the jihadists have whipped up, these folks are instead trying to assuage that anger. Going back to my example of the restaurant and the demonstration at City Hall, this is the equivalent of the mayor having the police arrest the chef of that restaurant in order to satisfy the protesters. Our president cannot even bring himself to admit that the attack in Libya was a terror attack. No, Obama still says that it stemmed from the video. For over a week, the entire Obama administration stuck to that line, although now, finally, everyone other than Obama has admitted that it was a terror attack. The president, however, is still hiding from the truth. He is lying still to America, or even worse, he cannot recognize reality. We have seen Obama send police to arrest the filmmaker for exercising his free speech rights. We have seen America run commercials with Obama and Clinton on Pakistani television condemning the video. In short, we have seen these folks lose their minds.

But not everything is about the riots these days. The other day, Obama appeared for what he thought would be another softball interview, this time on Univision. Amazingly, Obama was asked why he broke his 2008 promise to pass an immigration reform bill. Obama was taken aback to actually be asked about his record, but then he proceeded to lie in response. Obama claimed that the Republicans blocked immigration reform. It was not an unexpected lie, but it was not accepted. Obama was asked why he did not even try for a bill, why he failed to even offer a proposal since the Democrats had total control of Congress and the Republicans had no power to block anything. In other words, they actually called Obama's bluff.

I truly believe that America is slowly catching onto Obama. Clearly, the man talks a good game. But his record sucks. He is a total failure when it comes to achieving anything positive for the United States. I think he will lose. "I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are still truly good at heart..." We will see soon.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yahoo News -- the most biased news source on the internet

During the Republican convention, the head of Yahoo's Washington news bureau was fired by Yahoo when he made a really nasty and biased comment about Republicans over the air. Sadly, that move has done nothing to change the totally biased picture that Yahoo News always gives to its political stories. I just saw on that I have to mention.

Jake Tapper of ABC News has an article out that is headlined President Obama Falsely Claims Fast and Furious Program "Begun Under the Previous Administration". The point of the article is that Obama lied when he told the audience during an interview on Univision that he inherited Fast and Furious and that Bush was to blame for it. In fact, Fast and Furious was only begun in the summer of 2009, about half a year after Obama took office. The hundreds of people who were killed with guns that Fast and Furious sent to the Mexican drug cartels are Obama's responsibility, not that of George Bush.

Yahoo News has a link to the article, but they decided to change the headline on the link. What does Yahoo News change in an article about how Obama made false claims? Here is the headline: Obama: Fast and Furious began under Bush Administration.

That's right. Yahoo changes the story from one about Obama lying to one that blames Bush for something that undeniably is Obama's responsibility.

Connecting the Dots

Below is a list of events. See if you can determine what they all have in common.

1. The American embassy in Benghazi, Libya is attacked by about 100 extremely well armed terrorists who destroy the building and manage to kill 4 and wound 17 Americans.

2. The websites of Bank of America and Chase come under massive cyber attacks in the form of denial of service. In other words, someone gets massive numbers of computers to all flood the bank sites with requests so that the banks sites are overwhelmed.

3. The single biggest demonstration against America as a result of the youtube video is held in Beirut, Lebanon, under the leadership of Nasrallah of Hezbollah.

4. No meaningful demonstrations against the youtuve video are held in Iran.

5. Many terrorists trying sneak across the border this morning into Israel are discovered by Israeli troops and killed in a fire fight. One Israeli soldier dies in the conflict.

6. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, makes a speech at a military parade this morning and announces the Israel is behind the youtube video.

7. The filmmaker of the youtube video first tells the world that he is Sam Bacile an Israeli Jew. He turns out actually to be neither Israeli nor a Jew; he is Egyptian.

8. News comes out that the underground power lines to two different Iranian nuclear installations were blown up the other day. No word is given on whether or not this damaged the centrifuges in those installations.

9. A previously unknown group claims credit for the attacks on Chase and Bank of America. It says that the attacks are due to the youtube video.

10. Intelligence sources in the USA say that the attacks on Chase and Bank of America are the work of the Iranian government.

11. Iran announces that it is deploying submarines in the Persian Gulf. It also announces that it has deployed anti-ship missiles along the shores of that body of water and the Straits of Hormuz.

12. Time is running out for military action against the Iranian nuclear facilities.

If you think about these events, one thread that ties them all together is that each one pertains in a major way to the activities of Iran and its goal of getting nuclear weapons. Since the mullahs took power in 1979, they have consistently used distrations and proxies to achieve their ends. Think about it. During the Iraq war, militias supported by Iran killed thousands in Iraq, including a great many Americans. One estimate is that a majority of the IEDs used with great effect against America forces were manufactured in Iran. Those IEDs, however, were placed by Iraqis or others, never by Iranians. In Afghanistan, there are whole areas of the country where the Iranians have supplied the opponents of America. In that country too, many Americans have been killed with weapons supplied by Iran to their proxies. In 1983, the USA sent marines to Lebanon as a peacekeeping force. The barracks housing the marines were blown up by Shia Moslems following directions from Teheran. Nearly 250 marines died. In 2006, as the focus of the world was on Iran's nuclear ambitions and America was having some success getting Arab countries to join the effort to prevent the success of that Iranian effort, Iran had both Hamas and Hezbollah kidnap Israeli soldiers with the result that Israel fought a war with the two terror groups.

All of these events are part of an Iranian campaign to prevent any action from being taken against their nuclear program until it is too late. Iran hopes to paralyze Washington with the fear of widespread Moslem outrage over any attack. The youtube video upset is meant to be just a small indication of what would follow an attack on Iran. The submarine and the bank web site attacks are also meant to show Washington just how much damage Iran might be able to do if attacked.

The truth, however, is very different from the picture that Iran is trying to paint. Most of the world's Moslems do not hold Iran in high regard. After all, Iran's Moslems are Shia and not Sunni. Further, the military capabilities of Iran are insignificant when place in proper context. The American navy ought to be able to track an Iranian diesel submarine in the Persian Gulf and sink it the minute it began to take any belligerent action. The anti ship missiles in Iran would be a threat for the first few days of conflict, but American air power could wipe them away rather quickly. Attacks by terror groups controlled by Iran will always be a problem, but the likelihood of such attacks is greatly lessened if the mullahs come to understand that the existence of their regime depends on dialing down their support for terror rather than the opposite. In other words, in the face of strong action, Iran would have no choice but to quickly cut and run. The alternative, the destruction of the Islamic regime in Teheran, is not one that the mullahs would ever allow.

Now, before I get the emails telling me that I am being too simplistic, let me hasten to add this: I know that what I am saying is part analysis and not just a recitation of facts. I also know that in fighting that would result from an attack on the Iranian nuclear program, there would be many casualties. I also know that some of those casualties inevitably would be Americans. On the other hand, however, I also know that the mullahs in Iran understand that they will have to back down if faced with the real threat of imminent action against their nuclear program. Such a threat requires America and others to make clear to Iran just what the consequences of its actions are to be. Right now, we have a president whose reaction to the youtube video and the terror attacks is to deny that terror actions even took place and to place ads on Pakistani television to deplore the video. That is not projecting strength or even the appearance of strength. It is not leading from the front or even from behind. It is clearly projecting weakness to Iran. It is Obama telling the mullahs in effect that he is prepared to do anything to avoid confrontations before election day.

Explain This

Yesterday, a federal court in New York ruled that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had to accept ads in the subway stations that say this:


The MTA had refused to accept the ad on the grounds that it was "demeaning". Huh? Who does it demean? The only group it mentions is the jihadists. Is there something wrong with calling a group that killed 3000 in 2001 and just murdered four in Libya "savage"? I certainly do not see it.

Fortunately, the judge enforced the requirements of the First Amendment which prohibit the government from determining which speech is acceptable.

On another front in the free speech battles, the United States has begun running TV commercials in Pakistan in which America condemns the you tube video that has been tied to all the protests. That's right. People in various countries get upset about this video and the reaction of the United States government is not to stand up for free speech, but to condemn the video and to see to it that the filmmaker is arrested.

Before the 2008 election, president Obama had criticized the US Constitution as a document of negative rights; in other words, the Constitution says in detail what the government cannot do. Obama spoke out about how the Constitution ought to say what government must do. At the time, it seemed that all Obama wanted to for the government to be required to provide certain needs of the people like housing and food. That is radical enough. Now, however, it is clear that Obama also dislikes the restrictions on government action contained in the Bill of Rights. Free speech, to Obama, is a bother, an annoyance. His administration is basically campaigning against it all across the Moslem world.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Obama loses some Jewish Support

A poll was released today detailing the views of the Jewish community in Florida. In the race for president Obama gets 69% of the vote. That sounds overwhelming until you hear that four years ago, Obama got 78% of the vote. Further, the poll was taken before Obama refused to meet with Israeli prime minister this week. Obama claimed his schedule was too busy to allow the meeting, but he had time to hold a short event today for "national talk like a pirate day". That was worse than the appearance on Letterman as a message for Israel.

According to the poll, Obama's failure to support Israel and to treat it like a friend is the biggest reason for the eronsion of Jewish support for the president.

To put this in context, the decline in Jewish support in Florida could mean about 50,000 fewer votes for Obama in that state. In a close election, the swing of that many votes could tip the state to Romney.

The only question that I have about all this is how in the world could 69% of Jews still support Obama?

More polling Games

I was looking at today's polls and was intrigued by the Public Policy Polling results from Wisconsin that showed Obama ahead of Romney by 52% to 45%. This is quite a big swing from the last poll in that state by the same organization that showed Romney ahead by 48% to 47% one month ago. Of course, since Public Policy Polling always seems to skew its results towards the Democrats, I decided to look a bit further. It did not take long to find that in August, PPP polled 3% more Republicans and 3% fewer Democrats than it did in September. Since both Republicans and Democrats are supporting their nominees by better than 95%, that sample change means that there would be a 3% swing in the August results for that reason alone. In other words, by changing their sample, PPP took results that showed a Romney 48 to 47 lead and made them an Obama 50 to 45 lead. In that context, the results today of 52 to 45 are alomst the same as a month ago.

There is no easy way to know the proper breakdown between Republicans and Democrats in Wisconsin. Party registrations are at best approximations. Probably the closest figure to use is the party breakdown in the exit polls from the recall election last June. Under that test, the latest PPP poll has 4% too few Republicans. In other words, the figures in August were close to the recall numbers, while the latest figures are substantially skewed towards the Democrats. Were this another polling organization, I would be prepared to believe that the skew is inadvertant. With Public Policy Polling, however, I have to suspect that this is all intentional.

How close is Wisconsin? Obama is probably ahead by 2%. The PPP poll is just garbage.

Even CBS is Reporting the Obama Lies

This morning, CBS is reporting that witnesses of the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi which led to the death of the ambassador and three other Americans was not the result of any protest over that now famous video. According to the witnesses who actually were there, there was no such protest in Libya. That attack on the embassy was a premeditated terror attack. President Obama and his spokesmen told us at first that there was no terror attack. Then Obama and friends changed that to there was no evidence of a terror attack; the problem according to Obama was a demonstration about the video that got out of hand. Yesterday, we got an admission from a senior Obama intelligence chief that the attack indeed was a terrorist action by al Qaeda. At the White House, however, they were still saying that the attack stemmed from that video. Now CBS is reporting that there was no protest demonstration about the video, just a terror attack. The CBS reporter actually concluded his piece by saying that America would not be told the true facts of the attack in Benghazi until after the election.

If even CBS is reporting this, then Obama's lies have completely fallen on their face. Obama has been revealed as the liar he actually is. Rather than take responsibility for the lack of security at the embassy even in the face of multiple warnings of possible attack, Obama is hiding behind a phony story. What a disgrace!

How Would You Describe It?

This morning the government released its weekly report on the number of new unemployment claims filed during the previous week. The number of new claims reported was 382,000. This was higher than the consensus of the experts who were expecting 374,000. It was also high enough to raise the four week average off claims, the number that most economists use. It was the same figure that was reported last week. In addition, the number for last week was revised upwards by 3000 to 385,000. This upward revision is the 53rd time in the last 54 weeks that the previous week's figure was revised; each of these revisions has been up and not down. In summary, the report was not good news; it was just another indication that the economy is not creating jobs at the pace needed to bring down unemployment. The best description of the report is that it is more of the same.

So, here is the question. What do you think was the headline on CNN for this report? If you guessed "Unemployment Claims Fall", you were correct. CNN is so in the tank for Obama that it takes this report and spins it to make it seem like good news. Unbelievable!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What is more important?

Consider the Question: What is more important?

a) the fact that the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi was led by an al Qaeda operative who helped finance the original 9-11 attacks and then was held at Gitmo for six years; or

b) the fact that the inspector general of the Department of Justice found criminal wrongdoing within the department in connection with operation Fast and Furious; or

c) the third day of reactions to the tape of Mitt Romney telling a fund raiser last May that a big group of Americans expect to get benefits from the government and will probably vote for Obama?

If you chose item "c", then you have the same news judgment as the ABC and NBC evening news. CBS chose "b" for its evening news. Fox went with "a".

What gets interesting, though, is not the item that led the evening newscasts. No, even more interesting is which items got omitted from those newscasts. ABC and NBC did not even mention Fast and Furious or the al Qaeda connection to the Benghazi attack. CBS did not mention the al Qaeda connection to Benghazi. Fox covered all three.

It is a sad thing for America when the supposedly fair evening newscasts do not even cover important news because it might make Obama look bad. Maybe NBC could change its name to Pravda.

Two Obama Administration Lies Unravel Completely

It has been quite an afternoon for team Obama. Two major lies that they have clung to fiercely have now completely fallen apart. Here they are:

1. The Inspector General of the Department of Justice issued his report on Operation Fast and Furious, the DOJ gun running operation that resulted in DOJ sending 2000 assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels, supposedly to track them. Of course, the tracking failed and scores of people ended up being murdered with these weapons including a US border guard. When the operation was first uncovered, the Department of Justice claimed that it was just run by ATF and that no one in the upper reaches of DOJ had been told about it. Attorney General Eric Holder even testified to Congress that he had never heard of Fast and Furious until just a week or two before his testimony in May of 2011. As memoranda were uncovered that show Holder being notified about events in Fast and Furious, he just said that he had not read them. Even when his weekly summary of important events mentioned Fast and Furious, Holder still claimed not to have read the memo. Holder's position was that he essentially never reads memoranda directed to him. (One does wonder what Holder spends his time doing.) DOJ also repeatedly told Congress that no one in the Department was told about Fast and Furious. When Congress began an investigation, Holder refused to turn over the relevant documents and that confrontation ended with Congress voting to hold the attorney general in contempt.

Well, now the internal DOJ probe by the Inspector General of the Department has been made public. The inspector general is an Obama supporter who, I assume, was expected by Obama and Holder to whitewash the situation. But he told the truth. First, the IG explains that Holder was told about the flaws in Fast and Furious in early February of 2011. That means that Holder lied to Congress when he claimed to have just heard of the program for the first time in May of 2011. Then, the IG notes that people like Lanny Breuer, the head of the Criminal Division of DOJ acted improperly and should be subjected to disciplinary proceedings. Other high DOJ officials were also cited by the IG for acting improperly, and one, Jason Weinstein, the deputy assistant attorney general has resigned after being accused by the IG of illegal behavior. In short, the inspector general made clear that the entire Obama administration story about Fast and Furious has been nothing but a pack of lies.

2. This morning the director of the National Counterterroism Center testified in Congress that the attack in Benghazi on 9-11 that resulted in the death of four Americans including the ambassador was a premeditated attack by terrorists. This puts the lie to the claims by the Obamacrats that the Benghazi incident was just an offshoot of spontaneous protests in Libya about that video. Just three days ago, Obama sent UN ambassador Susan Rice onto four news shows to tell America that there was "no indication" that Beghazi was a terror attack. Suddenly, they are now admitting what was painfully obvious all along. This was a terror attack by al Qaeda.

It is interesting to note that team Obama has not mentioned any new information discovered in the last two days that changed their opinions. All that happened was that it became impossible to continue with a blatant lie. Indeed, my guess is that the polling and focus groups told the Obamacrats that the country just was not buying the lie.

The testimony is damning to Obama since we now know that two days prior to the attack, Obama himself supposedly went over the security arrangements for US installations in North Africa. Of course, the Benghazi embassy was left essentially defenseless. Obama failed in his obligation to keep American personnel safe. What this means is that America was warned of the danger, Obama was told of the danger, Obama considered security and basically ignored the warnings even though the anniversary of 9-11 is a favorite date for terror groups to attack and the premeditated terror attack was launched with the result that four Americans died. Simply put, Obama just did not do his job.

It is disgusting that rather than dealing honestly with this tragedy, Obama decided to launch yet another campaign of lies and distortion. With today's testimony those lies have been destroyed. Obama is a failure even when he tries to spread lies.

Obama's Foreign Disasters

With all the attention on Moslem riots in Cairo, Benghazi and elsewhere these days, there are two very important events in Asia which have not gotten the attention that they deserve. Each is more important for America than the Moslem riots. Each is, unfortunately, a disaster for American foreign policy.

1. The first big event is the decision by the coalition command in Afghanistan to end joint patrols with Afghan forces. This policy was chosen by the American commander as a result of the ongoing attacks by Taliban forces which infiltrate Afghan government police and army groups and then attack Americans or other coalition forces from inside their bases. So far this year, something like 75 Americans have been killed in this way.

The decision sounds like a rational response to an ongoing problem until one thinks about the policy implications of the change. President Obama has announced that American forces will be out of Afghanistan by 2014 and had directed a policy that called for the forces of the Afghan government to be trained so that they could gradually take over responsiblity for security as the coalition forces withdrew. The decision by the American commander has, for the time being, ended the training of the government forces. Simply put, this means that Obama's Afghan strategy has collapsed. Either America will just pull out of Afghanistan and leave chaos and an eventual return of the Taliban, or America will stay in Afghanistan well past the deadline set by Obama. Neither is an acceptable result.

This collapse of Afghan policy has gotten very little coverage in the media. They are in full "protect Obama" mode, so the bad news is basically ignored. Reality, however, does not stop for elections.

2. The second big event in Asia is the ongoing dispute between Japan and China over a nearly uninhabited island group in the East China Sea. Japan has administered the islands since 1895, but China still claims them. Recently, Japan purchased the islands from their former private owner. This has led to mass demonstrations in China, threats of major retaliation against Japan and even talk of war. The latest threats from China center on that country using its ownership of Japanese bonds to damage the Japanese economy, of cutting off the export of rare earth elements to Japan that are needed for all manner of high tech devices, and of cutting off trade between the two countries. Each of these attacks would be a major strike by China against Japan.

This confrontation is an enormous problem for the United States. We have treaty obligations to Japan to defend it against a Chinese attack. That treaty extends to the disputed islands. What that means is that a confrontation between Japan and China could rapidly change into a nuclear confrontation between China and the USA. Further, any Chinese trade war with Japan would likely also grow to include the USA. The disruption to the economy would be enough to guarantee the return of recession and perhaps depression. Of course, the whole process would damage China as well, but the Chinese government (which need not answer to its people) might well take that course anyway.

So far, America's efforts to calm this situation have proven futile. Obama seems to think that ignoring the problem will result in its going away. Again, reality does not stop for elections.

Most of the attention to this dispute has been in the financial press. The main stream media mentions the dispute in passing periodically, but just mostly ignores it. Let's be clear: this dispute could end in nuclear war. It should not and cannot be ignored. Maybe someone ought to tell president Obama.

It does not add up

I was looking at the poll results from the last 24 hours and find them puzzling to say the least. Let me explain:

1. CBS is out with polls of Wisconsin, Virginia and Colorado. Each shows a small lead for Obama over Romney. So far it all seems fine. Then I looked at the internals of the polls. In Virginia, Obama has a 4% lead which is the same as the last CBS poll in that state taken in early August. The problem is that since early August, the poll also reports that Romney has moved up his performance among men and among women. Among men his lead has moved from being ahead by 5% to being ahead by 6%. Among women in Virginia, Obama's lead among women has fallen from 14% a month ago to just 11% now. That's right, Romney is doing better among men and among women, but the overall results have not changed. What this means is that the poll this month obviously included many more women than a month ago. Indeed, if you do the math, there have to be a major swing in the number of women included and a big drop in the number of men. I think we can all agree that the percentage of women in Virginia's population did not change between August and September. Something is wrong with the poll.

2. Two pollsters have tracking polls of the big swing states. These include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire and Nevada for Rasmussen and the same states plus New Mexico for Gallup. Rasmussen tracks likely voters while Gallup tracks registered voters, so one would expect Obama to do about 2% better in the Gallup poll. The results today show Romney leading by 1% in the Rasmussen poll and Obama up by 2% in the Gallup poll. Those results are completely consistent. But here's the problem. According to the polls of the main stream media, Obama is leading in every one of the twelve states covered by these polls except for North Carolina where Romney is supposed to have a tiny lead. Again, according to the main stream media polls, Obama is ahead in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Michigan and Wisconsin by about 8% or more. Obama is also supposed to be way ahead in Ohio according to the main stream media. That is impossible. You cannot average eleven or twelve states, most of which supposedly show big leads for Obama with one state with a small Romney lead and find the race tied or with Romney ahead. As they said at the Democrat Convention, you need to do the arithmetic.

And it is not just the polling numbers that don't make sense. The reporting is also slanted. Just this morning, I heard the CBS director of polling tell listeners about the results in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is a state that Obama carried by 14% in 2008. It was never expected to be a swing state in 2012; six months ago all of the pundits would have put it in the likely Obama column. Romney was given no chance of victory there. But this morning, CBS was reporting that Wisconsin is a state that Romney has always needed in order to win the election. So, it is not enough to come out with slanted polls, CBS is also reporting the results in a way that make it seem like Romney cannot win the election. It clearly looks like CBS is trying to demoralize Republicans so that they will not vote in November. After all, if they think it is a lost cause, the is no need to vote.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Where is Claude Rains when We Need Him

In the film Casablanca, the local French chief of police is told by the Nazi representative to shut down Rick's Cafe. The police chief, played by Claude Rains, orders the club shut and when asked for a reason why he has issued the order he announce that "I am shocked, shocked to find that there is gambling going on here." At that point, one of the club employees comes over to Rains and hands him some money which he says is Rains gambling winnings. This film snippet is perhaps the most well know example of hypocrisy in American culture.

Well, today, we need Rains to step forward again. The item in question now is the reaction a statement made by Mitt Romney in which he said that Palestinians "have no interest" in peace with Israel but are "committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel." Romney also said that the prospects for a two-state solution to Mideast peace were dim.

To listen to the main stream media, one would think that Romney was advocating nuclear war rather than just stating the obvious. There truly cannot be a sane person, even one in the media, who would disagree with Romney's statement. Remember what happened at Camp David with Bill Clinton meeting with the Israelis and the Palestinians. At that time, the Israeli prime minister offered Yassir Arafat nearly everything that Arafat had asked for. There would be a Palestinian state. It would get about 99% of the land in the West Bank and Gaza that was won by Israel in the 1967 war. Isreal would withdraw from all of that territory and only maintain some small garrisons along the Jordan River. The Moslem holy sites in Jerusalem would be under Palestinian control. Basically, Arafat would get everything that he wanted except that there would be no return by Palestinian refugees to land in Israel itself; in other words, the refugees created by the 1948 war would not return by would settle instead in the Palestinian half of the area. Arafat's answer was a total rejection of the plan. He would not accept any outcome that did not result in the end of the Jewish state.

The late Israeli statesman Abba Eban used to say that "the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." He was talking about opportunities for peace. No matter what was offered to them, the Palestinians rejected it. They were and are committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel.

Bravo to Romney for having the courage to speak the truth! America needs to hear that simple truth. The problem in the area is not Israel; it is the Palestinians who are intransigent.

The main stream media ought to be ashamed of itself. Here it is promoting the idea that to tell the truth is a bad thing. America is supposed to move ahead with the fiction that peace is just around the corner when it clearly is not. We have seen where lies like that have gotten us during the last four years of Obama. We do not need more lies.

The Romney Tape -- The Reason for the Timing

Last night, the media made a big splash about a tape on which Mitt Romney told a fund raiser last May that president Obama has the support of most of the 47% of the population that depend on the government. Romney pointed out the culture of dependence that this creates and spoke about rallying the rest of the country to move forward with programs that favor independence for individuals and the benefit of work. There is no point in hashing out exactly what Romney said; it is much the same as he says in his stump speech. I think he usually puts it this way: "If you want to go through life dependent on the government for your existence and are satisfied with that kind of existence, then you should vote for the other guy."

When I first saw the big deal being made about the tape, I began to wonder why it had come out now. After all, this tape is from last May; surely, it did not just surface now. I found out that parts of the tape have been on youtube for months. Further, about three weeks ago, the whole thing was being discussed on Twitter. So why the big media splash now?

This afternoon comes the answer: Today's Gallup tracking poll of registered voters shows Obama leading Romney by 47% to 46%. That poll covers seven days. Over the last week or so, the Obama lead in this same poll has declined from 8% to 7% to 6% to 5% to 4% to 3% to 3% again and now to 1%. If you do the math, what this means is that yesterday's polling had Romney doing roughly 14% better than he did a week ago and Obama doing roughly 14% worse than he did at that same time. It seems that not only has the Democrats convention bounce disappeared, but also the total failure by Obama to protect our embassy in Benghazi even after being warned that an attack was coming has undermined his support. Obama even made things worse when he ignored the attack that was underway and flew off to a fund raiser in Vegas. Add in the snub to the Israeli Prime Minister due supposedly to scheduling problems during a time when Obama found time to go on the Letterman show and attend a party thrown by Jay-Z and Beyonce, and Obama has been shown not to care. Even the lies trotted out by the Obamacrats that none of the events in the Middle East had anything to do with America or Obama's policies has not helped. No one would even believe such garbage. Obama was bleeding in the polls.

That means only one thing: the tape of Romney and the big media splash is an attempt by the Obamacrats and their allies in the media to change the subject. They are desparate not to talk about the attack in Libya anymore. So they trot out a tape that has been around for a while but get the media to treat it as big news.

We shall have to see if it works. My bet is that it will not.

Is it all Theater?

Protests and riots in the streets are in vogue this past week. But what do they mean? Let's start with yesterday's New York protest by the remnants of Occupy Wall Street to mark the one year anniversary of that group. There were drum circles in Zuccoti Park, dozens of arrests and breathless media coverage. What there wasn't, however, were many people. According to many reports, there were more police and media than actual demonstrators. That's right, one year after this supposedly major people's movement began, it could not even muster a group big enough to outnumber the reporters and cops who showed up. Now, of course, this did not stop the media from covering the demonstration as if it were the equivalent of the Democrat Convention. I saw interviews with demonstrators who announced their purpose on multiple news shows. I even saw one man who was interviewed on three different news shows. The problem, however, is that there just was no real demonstration there; it was all theater, and the media thought it was glorious. At some point, however, reality has to step in and make clear that Occupy Wall Street is dead, over, kaput. No matter how hard the media tries, it cannot change the fact that all that is left is the usual group of kooks and radical leftists that come out in New York City for events like these. Even in the national center of left wing thought that is Manhattan, this group is on the fringe.

Then we have the demonstration/riots in various cities in the Moslem world. Here too, the media has a story that it is pushing no matter what the facts. Supposedly, the issue is the youtube video that essentially no one has seen. The upset has nothing to do with America, we are told by president Obama and his minions and the media repeats this stuff as if it were fact. The problem, however, is that the facts keep intruding and even some of the usually compliant media has noticed. It is hard to ignore the president of Libya when he tells the world that America was warned at least three days in advance of the attack that it might be coming. It is hard to ignore that Obama did nothing to increase security at Benghazi even after being warned. It is hard to call the attack in Banghazi an outgrowth of the video when one hears the details of the attack. According to an embassy guard interviewed on CNN and elsewhere, everything was quiet. Then there was an explosion as a bomb planted next to the embassy walls was detonated. Then something like a hundred heavily armed men attacked the embassy from all directions. There were no protesters, just a military attack by terrorists. These are the facts from which Obama tells us that there is no evidence that this was a terror attack.

Another of these protests supposedly about the video was held in London in front of the American embassy. I read the press reports and learned, at first, that British Moslems were upset with the video and therefore were protesting in front of the embassy. Two days later, I learned for the first time that the protests consisted of about 150 people and that over 100 of them were from British anti-war groups who protest anything that has to do with the USA because of our involvement in Afghanistan. In other words, in the theater of the media, London was just another outburst due to the video. In fact, however, the London protest has nothing to do with the video.

All of this gets me to wonder if these events are like the Tet offensive of the Viet Nam War. During the Tet holiday in 1968, the North Vietnamese attacked in great numbers at sites all across the country. In city after city and village after village, the North Vietnamese were defeated by US forces which inflicted terrible casualties on the enemy. On television screens in America, however, the theater of the attack told a different story. According to the news reports, America was losing the war, American troops were not safe in the country, and American generals were shocked and unprepared for what happened. It was the turning point as far as support for that war was concerned, and it was all based upon a media misrepresentation. Are these protests the same thing? Is this the push needed to drive the USA from engagement with the Moslem world? America needs the actual facts about these demonstrations/riots/terror attacks. Only in that way will our policy be able to meet the challenges that it faces. For Obama to lie about the events in Benghazi to cover up the failure of his administration to protect our diplomats is understandable during the election. After all, Obama has lied about so many things, one more will not matter. Sadly, however, we still need to deal with the crisis and that can only be done after understanding the actual problem. We need to hear the truth.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Say Cheese!

Today's Washington Post points out something that is rather obvious to campaign watchers: president Obama is in trouble in Wisconsin. The story here is not the polls which show the race to be very close. No, the main point is that next weekend, Obama is coming to Wisconsin to campaign. In the last fifty days of a presidential campaign, a visit by the candidate is never made to places that have no significance. Sure, Obama might go to New York or California to raise cash, but such visits are rare at the end of the campaign. Instead, every campaign stop is designed for maximum effect in November. States that are clearly heading in one direction or the other do not get visits. The rallies are held in places where the campaign needs help to carry close elections. What that means is that team Obama views its efforts in Wisconsin as needing help. Beyond the visit from Obama, the news is also out that the Obama campaign has made a major television buy for advertising between now and election day on stations across Wisconsin. As of now, Obama is slated to spend about twice as much as Romney in the state. Romney makes up for some of that since his super PACs are poised to outspend the Democrat super PACs. It will be interesting to see where the polls in Wisconsin go as we get closer to election day. My guess is that we will soon see some polling from Wisconsin that shows Romney in the lead or the race tied. Nothing else can explain the Wisconsin panic from the Obama folks.

Meanwhile in Teheran......

With the focus in the Middle East centering on the attacks on the US embassy in Benghazi and the violent protests elsewhere in the Moslem world, it is worth taking a moment to look back at what is happening with Iran these days. Indeed, much of the upset around the Moslem world carries with it the possibility that it was staged by the Iranians to take the eyes of the world off of it as it approaches completion of its nuclear weapons.

Here is the latest:

1) The Iranian government announced that the underground power lines to one of its important centers for enrichment of nuclear fuel were bombed last week. This shut off power to the nuclear center suddenly, and it may have caused failure of some of the centrifuges at that site. Iran is now blaming the UN Nuclear agency for the bombing. According to the Iranian government the UN agency has been infiltrated by foreign agents trying to destroy the Iranian nuclear program. Put aside the rather bizarre claim that the UN has been infiltrated by anti-Iranian forces. What this report means is that Iran is experiencing some sort of problems with its nuclear efforts. Normally, Iran would not announce that a power line had been bombed. The mullahs customarily stay silent about setbacks. Indeed, it may be that the power lines failed without any bombing or other foreign involvement. Either way, however, it is good news if a power cutoff damaged the centrifuges.

2) Iran has now admitted that members of the Quds force are in Syria supporting the armed forces loyal to the Assad regime. The presence of Iranian soldiers in Syria is nothing new, but the admission by Iran of this fact is a major change. For many months, the mullahs have denied the presence of their shock troops in Syria and have denouced those who report such facts as liars and defamers of the Islamic Republic. I keep waiting for the Iranian leader to quote Emily Litella, the character from the old SNL whose catch phrase was "Nevermind."

One final note: it is worth considering whether or not the video which has supposedly sparked the upset across the Moslem world was actually created by Iran as a diversion. Since 1979, the rulers of Iran have repeatedly used diversions involving attacks on Israel, the United States and other Western targets to take the world's attention away from Iran and move it elsewhere. We know that the man who made the video is a convicted felon with a history of bank fraud. We also know that he clumsily proclaimed himself to be an "Israeli Jew" when he was actually and Egyptian and not Jewish at all. We also know that the film in question was filmed one way with no part that might be considered offensive to an Islamic audience and then modified later by the "filmmaker" to contain the supposedly offensive language. Could it be that Iran wants to create unrest and attacks on American targets in order to stave off a pre-election attack by American forces on Iran's nuclear program? After all, America is less likely to attack Iran if its embassies are already the targets of mob violence across the region. White house planners would surely advise the president to wait for things to calm down a bit in the region before taking any action against Iran. Obviously, this is conjecture, but it does seem entirely plausible to me.

More bad news

I do not usually write about the more arcane economic indicators, but today brings one that I consider worth mentioning only because it is so poor. The New York Federal Reserve Bank published the Empire State Manufacturing Index. In August, it was a negative 5.9 which means that manufacturing in the New York region was declining pretty much across the board. Expectations for the September report were that the number would improve to minus 2.0; that would mean that while manufacturing was still contracting, the rate of contraction was slowing. Instead, the number reported was minus 10.9, a terrible number. Obviously, manufacturing in the New York region is not an indicator for the entire American economy; nevertheless, a number like today's report is a flashing red indicator that screams RECESSION! If this turns out to be a national rather than a regional trend, we are in for some worse times ahead.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lies Lead to Deaths - 2

Earlier today, I tried to marshall the facts regarding the September 11 attacks in Cairo and Benghazi and to make the case that America needs to be honest about what happened; it will only lead to more death and destruction is we cling to lies and political spin rather than reality. Since I posted that piece, America's ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice appeared on two of the Sunday morning news shows to announce that indications are that none of the attacks were premeditated; according to Rice they were spontaneous outpourings of anger. At the same time, the head of the Libyan government appeared on Face the Nation and told the CBS audience that the Libyan investigation has revealed that the attack in Benghazi was a carefully planned terrorist attack which was under development for months. So the Libyans are able to discern the truth while the Obama government is still living in dreamland.

Interestingly, Senator Levin of Michigan, a Democrat and usual ally of Obama, has now said that the attacks were obviously preplanned and coordinated. Levin points out that folks do not get involved with spontaneous demonstrations which commence with the explosion of a bomb hidden next to the embassy wall. Nor do spontaneous demonstrators show up with rocket propelled grenades, mortars and assault rifles.

The truth is that Obama and his administration were forewarned that this was coming and they did nothing. To paraphrse that old chestnut that the left likes so much, "people died, now Obama lies."

America deserves better!

The Upside Down World

In a crazy world where large groups of people believe that words are more important than deeds, there are still things that go so far beyond the bounds of sanity that they retain the ability to startle. One such event is the speech this weekend by American professor Judith Butler at the Berlin Jewish Museum in Germany. Butler teaches rhetoric and comparative literature at Berkeley. She is a strident leftist and a rabid anti-semite. Right now, she is promoting the movement to boycott Israel and to divest companies that do business there.

Clearly, Butler is entitled to her views, no matter how wrong they may be. But for the Jewish Museum in Berlin to host a woman whose goal is the destruction of Israel seems to me to be way beyond any rational position. Indeed, anyone who listened to Butler would understand in a moment that she is not speaking rationally or even truthfully. Here is my favorite quote from this woman: “Understanding Hamas/Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important.”

Let's break that down. Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist groups. Hamas controlls the Gaza strip and from that vantage point it shoots rockets and missiles into Israel a few times each week. It tolerates no dissent within its area of control; members of al Fatah, the party to which the Palestinian leader Abbas belongs have been literally hunted down and shot in Gaza. Hamas is comprised of Sunni Moslems who espouse the strict adherence to the doctrine of jihad. Hezbollah is another Moslem group. Its members are Shia Moslems and its allegiance is to Iran. Hezbollah also follows the doctrine of jihad. It has taken over much of Lebanon where it persecutes Christians and also Sunni Moslems. It is supporting the actions of Assad in Syria, and it has justified the killings of tens of thousands of Sunni Moslems in Syria as proper and necessary. It has also attacked the Israelis repeatedly from positions in Lebanon and it was responsible for the war in 2006 in that area.

So let's consider that this wacko professor from California is telling the world that Islamic terrorists who murder others in the name of God are "progressives and leftists". They are not committing murder to achieve social justice. They are not slaughtering others to gain control for the people over the means of production. Hamas and Hezbollah kill tens of thousands in the name of their religion. Indeed, were Hamas and Hezbollah ever to succeed in their current aims, they would quickly turn on each other since one is Sunni and the other is Shia. They each consider the others to be heretics. So this nut job professor is telling the world that religious fundamentalist crazies who kill in the name of God are progressive leftists.

Clearly, Butler needs to be institutionalized for delusions. But what is the excuse for the Berlin Jewish Museum? Does the management of that museum think that it makes sense to host a speech by a woman who supports those who would repeat the holocaust? What a crazy world.

Lies Lead to Deaths

Some things are too important for political spin. They are items that have life and death consequences for Americans. They are perfectly fine to discuss in the political arena, but phony political positioning cannot be allowed; the harvest of such positioning is too awful to contemplate. Currently, the item which needs to be discussed clearly is the anger across the Middle East and the attacks on American interests and embassies that we are seeing every day. The American people and, more important, the American government need to understand the causes of these events so that a rational course of action to deal with the consequences can be achieved. Sadly, it seems that the government and its allies are trying to use political spin rather than logic and reason to decide how to respond.

There are certain facts that we know for certain at this point:

1) The date of 9-11 has major significance to both America and the terrorists. America knew that, but it did nothing to increase security at its embassies on that day. Indeed, marines and other guards at certain of the most vulnerable embassies were not allowed to carry ammunition even on that day.

2) Prior to the 9-11 attacks, the USA was warned that there could be trouble at its embassies on 9-11. Indeed, beyond the general warning about which we have heard previously, we now learn that in Libya the American embassy in Benghazi was specifically warned about the threat of armed terrorists congregating in that city; the warning came on September 7th, some four days before the attack. Despite these warnings, no steps were taken by the United States government to increase security at the embassies and nothing was done about the threat of terror attack in Benghazi.

3) For weeks and maybe months before the 9-11 attacks, there was on youtube a video which is the trailer for an amateurish film which has an unflattering portrayal of the prophet Mohammed. This video was discussed on Egyptian television for days prior to the attacks. It was also mentioned in other countries.

4) On 9-11 itself, the American embassy in Cairo heard that there might be a demonstration at its front gates on that day, so, before any demonstrators arrived, most of the embassy staff was sent home early. These folks were gotten out of harm's way, but no steps were taken to increase security.

5) As the demonstrators were assembling outside the US embassy in Cairo, the embassy released a statement which it followed up with tweets reinforcing the message. In the statement, the embassy apologized for the video showing Mohammed. It also condemned any statement that hurts the feelings of Moslems.

6) The demonstrators in Egypt scaled the walls of the embassy compound, ripped down and burned the American flag and replaced the flag with the black banner of jihad, the flag of al Qaeda. To make sure that their message was clear, the demonstrators chanted "Obama, Obama, we are all Osamas." They were not protesting a film; they were supporting jihad against the USA just like Osama bin Laden did.

7) In Benghazi, Libya, the embassy compound was attacked with rocket propelled grenades, mortars and semi-automatic rifles. The attackers came in well organized waves and quickly overran the compound. The ambassador and others were take secretly to a local safe house in accordance with the safety protocols of the embassy. The attackers immediately moved on to assault the safe house. They knew all about it; the secret location was obviously not so secret. The ambassador and three other Americans were killed; 17 were wounded.

None of these points is uncertain or conjecture. These are certainties. We do ourselves damage if we cannot accept this truth.

So why am I talking about spin? Here are five more facts that explain why.

1) When the embassy in Cairo issued its apology to the impending mob for the video, Mitt Romney issued his own statement condemning any policy which "apologizes" to America's enemies for our way of life. Romney pointed out that president Obama has gone to great lengths to apologize to Moslems during his term and that such conduct makes the USA seem weak and ineffectual to our opponents.

2) For his part, president Obama did not stay in Washington to oversee the response to these terror attacks. Instead, he went to a fund raiser and a campaign appearance in Vegas.

3) Within twenty four hours, Obama and Secretary Clinton both stated that the message released by the embassy in Cairo had not been approved by Washington and they both renounced the statement. In other words, the basically agreed with Romney.

4) The press in the USA went into a frenzy to try to paint the Romney statement as inappropriate or amateurish. Romney spoke out before the attacks were over. Romney spoke out before we knew that the ambassador had been killed. Romney criticized Obama during a foreign policy crisis. Romney did nothing to soothe the mobs in Egypt. These were the talking points.

5) The press and the Obama administration have also pushed relentlessly the position that all that happened is the result of the video. We are told that none of these events had anything to do with Obama's policies. Indeed, the man who made the video has been arrested in California by deputies acting on federal government instructions.

Let's stop fooling ourselves. There are certain conclusions that one must draw from these facts if we are ever to prevent future disasters of this sort:

a) The cause here is not the video. The video is an excuse and nothing more. The attack in Benghazi was obviously carefully planned for 9-11. It would have taken a serious intelligence effort for the terrorists to find the location of the safe house; those things take time. A spontaneous mob would not be armed with mortars and RPG's, not even in Libya. A spontaneous mob would not have been the subject of a warning delivered four days in advance.

b) Romney's statement was clearly correct. It was error for America to apologize for the video. In particular, that an apology for something that was not even the cause of the attacks makes no sense. More important, however, the video, no matter how offensive, is just a free expression by a resident of America. Free speech is one of the things for which our country supposedly stands. The president ought not apologize for it. Romney's instincts were 100% correct here. Even the timing of Romney's statement was fine. Surely, one cannot fault Romney for speaking prior to the end of the attacks if one realizes that Obama left to fly to Vegas at the same time. Romney's statement would not be any better or worse if the timing were changed.

c) The delusion that the problem is the video rather than a more basic problem with jihadists is a dangerous one. Since Obama cannot believe that those who attacked the embassies have a problem with America or with his policies, he cannot react in a way that will make a difference. No one in the terror groups cares whether or not the filmmaked in California is in jail. They want to destroy America and all it stands for. Remember: "Obama, Obama we are all Osamas!" They did not chant "get the filmmaker!"

In looking at today's press, I see that the die hard liberal supporters of Obama are still spreading the bogus points. Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post and Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times have both written pieces that focus on Romney's statement rather than on the crisis itself. I am heartened, however, to see that other segments of the liberal press seem to be coming to their senses. CNN has a detailed report on the specific warnings that the Obama administration got in Benghazi days prior to the attack and the inaction by Obama that followed. The truth is seeping out and into the American consciousness.

We need more, not less truth. If the focus stays on false criticism of the Romney statement and on punishing the filmmaker who just asserted his first amendment rights, there will be more dead Americans in the middle east. Only clear thinking and not political spin can help end the crisis.

I realize that the truth will not be helpful to president Obama. He will have to explain how he could have ignored warnings both general and specific and left the Cairo and Benghazi embassies defenseless. He will have to explain how the embassy in Cairo could believe that apologizing for America's right of free speech would be beneficial to our cause. He will have to admit that the problem here was not a video, but rather the existence of America and the American way of life. He will have to admit that his policies have not worked and then modify them to achieve our national goals. In other words, Obama will have to lead and not from behind. He will have to actually be president and not just talk about it.

So far, Obama has failed in this test. Four are dead in Libya, more are dead in Afghanistan. How many more will die until America gets a president who understands what it means to hold that office, that sometimes the president has to do what is right for the country no matter what the personal cost.