Thursday, June 03, 2010

Obama Attacks Florida: Impeach the Beach! (Updated) 


...so now it's time to attack Florida because he didn't do his job.

Aside from taking vacations, playing golf and attending rock concerts, the president wants you to know that the Gulf Oil Spill is Priority Number One!

Instead of Paul McCartney, though, the White House Should have invited Earth, Wind and Fire. They famously did a cover of McCartney's "Got To Get You Into My Life", and the president has been singing "Got To Get the Feds Into Your Life" for more than a year, confiscating massive new swaths of American life as Property of the State.

Yet the State clearly cannot handle--or even afford--the responsibilities it already has.

All the Social Security money has been spent, and then some. We pay more debt service on our National Credit Card than most countries are even worth, yet the government Won't Leave Home Without It! I hear public service announcements from the Park Service begging for funding. Leaving aside the propaganda aspects of a federal agency telling the public what they need to fund, why are we taking on a $50 million park in the Virgin Islands if we have "an estimated $9 billion in backlog maintenance on existing parks"? I got to get you into my life that badly?

But considering that Obama's Socialized Energy policy is turning Florida's white sand beaches black with Government Sludge, maybe we do need to buy our beaches elsewhere.

Permanent Candidate Obama has taken to campaigning against his own administration:

"There is a culture of corruption and cronyism at my agencies, and if I'm elected, I promise to get to the bottom of me!"

He desperately wants to make it Bush's Fault, or even Calvin Coolidge's--never did like that Coolidge fellow anyway. But he's stuck with his own recent off-shore drilling proposal, which is ironic, since it wasn't a serious drilling proposal in the first place. It was more like a ban disguised as a proposal, designed mostly for petty political purposes--but he can't say that. But there are lots of things that he can't say.

For example, Minerals Management Agency Director Elizabeth Birnbaum "resigned" recently. In reality, she was forced out by her boss Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as his designated fall guy. At his yearly press conference, Obama couldn't say if she had been fired or resigned, despite being "focused like a laser beam" on the problem "since Day One". I guess no one told Teleprompter.

But she was only doing the job she was assigned. You see, Salazar had tasked her with the Cape Wind Project.

Um...excuse me, but, you know, wind power is a nice little diversion and all, but...IS WIND REALLY A "MINERAL"? As in "MINERALS MANAGEMENT"?

Environment & Energy:

Birnbaum acquaintances, angered by the sudden ouster, said she had not been ordered to clean house at the scandal-stained agency, but to promote renewable energy. In particular, she was tasked with handling the politically charged issue of siting the 25-mile "Cape Wind" wind farm off Cape Cod, the MMS issue where Salazar was most active before the spill. In April, Salazar ended nearly a decade of regulatory battles by green-lighting the project.

Now with Obama's Interior team taking heat for not cleaning house at an agency notorious for its cozy ties with industry, they say she took the fall.

"She's being made a scapegoat," said one acquaintance.

Her focus on the Cape Wind project is supported by the fact that it was the first thing Salazar mentioned about Birnbaum as he praised her service to the committee.

"She helped us on issues of offshore wind in the Atlantic," Salazar said. "All I can really tell the committee is she is a good public servant."
That may be, but she was also an environmentalist. And this administration is so fixated on renewable energy that it forced the director of the non-renewable minerals agency to focus mostly on renewable wind power.

"Earth, Wind...and Fired!"

The results are now washing up on Pensacola.

Florida's magnificent pristine beaches have survived so much over the centuries--yet they may not survive a year-and-a-half of juvenile socialism and Lord-of-the-Flies leadership. Chief BP Jerk Tony Hayward may "like his life back," but a lot of good Floridians, Arizonans, Louisianans, Mississippians, Alabamians and other Americans would like their votes back, too.

Does this mean BP won't get its Pollution Prevention Award from Interior?

It is Socialized Energy that pushed oil companies offshore and into mile-deep water to begin with.
Socialized Energy focused our resources on toys like wind power rather than the real job at hand.
Socialized Energy prevented an effective response once it broke--we can't burn it, we can't siphon it, we can't disperse it, we can't build berms...but that Paul McCartney rocks, dude!

And it is Socialized, well, Everything that has taken all of Obama's and Washington's time and effort in the last year.

Wouldn't the last year-and-a-half have been much better spent trying to get a grip on the already-massive government we already have, rather than trying to quadruple the size and scope of The Fedzilla That Is Eating Florida's Beaches?

UPDATE: Obama has shut down 33 drilling platforms to protect himself wildlife even though there are no problems with them. Evidently the Gulf Coast is doing just great and doesn't need all those extra high-paying jobs anyway. Mostly Cajun:

4000 direct jobs. Indirect? Hard to say. Nothing offshore happens without a huge “tail” of support infrastructure. Helicopters weave back and forth from the shore bases to the platforms hauling personnel and critical equipment. Service boats cleave the waters hauling equipment, men and supplies. Teams of contractors show up to handle everything from painting and cooking to incredibly critical and esoteric tasks like logging (“My pipe is a thousand feet through the water and 16,000 feet into the rock. What’s down there?”) and mudding and cementing.

A lot of those companies are dependent on those thirty-three platforms to keep crews busy. We’re not talking about burger-flippers, either, for the most part. Folks all over the South have known for decades that good livings were to be made in “the oilpatch” and offshore doing jobs where sharp minds and merit carried more weight than Ivy League diplomas, places where hard physical labor in demanding surroundings resulted in good homes and money to send kids to college. Sure, it’s a tough life, but many a family clawed its way to a good living on the money paid to work out there.

In return, America got the oil it needed, and we became a great country.

More from the Oil & Gas Assoc.:

Each drilling platform averages 90 to 140 employees at any one time (2 shifts per day), and 180 to 280 for 2 2-week shifts
Each E&P (Exploration & Production) job supports 4 other positions
Therefore, 800 to 1400 jobs per idle rig platform are at risk
Wages for those jobs average $1,804/weekly; potential for lost wages is huge, over $5 to $10 million for 1 month – per platform.
Wages lost could be over $165 to $330 million/month for all 33 platforms

It's not an official ObamaCrisis(tm) until he's figured out a way to cost Americans their jobs, too.

The Young Turks and the Well-Rested Greeks (Updated) 


"Many of us English-speakers use the phrase "young Turks" without pondering the origin of the expression: The original "young Turks" were the youthful activists agitating for reform in the last decades of the Ottoman Empire. The phrase itself recognizes a connection between political energy and demography. As yesterday confirmed, today's young Turks are Islamist. The Kemalists are old Turks."--Mark Steyn

The Other Day, Andrew Sullivan wandered over to The Other McCain's for a couple of comments about himself commenting on Israel (before other commenters began posting as him--sorta' like his ghost-written blog, come to think of it. heh). Andy was pro-terrorist, naturally, but he said one thing that was particularly demented:

Israel opened fire on a ship from a NATO member, Turkey. Should NATO treat this as an attack on every member nation?

The answer to that is of course, yes.

In other words, Andy wants NATO to start World War III by attacking Israel...because Turkey already started the war by attacking Israel with a boatload of terrorists!

Sullivan's not worth much more attention, but it does bring up the Turkish Problem.

Prof. Hanson:

"Turkey has about as much business in NATO as Greece does in the EU. Both countries seem out of place in their respective organizations; both envy and resent northern Europe and the United States, and seek their attention through petulance; and both seem to traffic daily in conspiracy theories about going to war against each other.

The problem with both the EU and NATO is that, while there is always much gala celebration about who gets in and under what particular conditions, there is almost no attention given to the circumstances under which a member gets out of either organization. That will change in the next few years, given southern European debt, growing Islamization, and the apparent planned financial and military regression of the West. ...A bankrupt Greece has alienated its patrons in northern Europe, has alienated the U.S. through years of anti-American rhetoric, has little or no financial resources, and will be facing cutbacks in its military — and a newly assertive Turkey is carving..."

Col. Peters:

Turkish leaders visit the West and sing, "Democracy, democracy, democracy!" We coo and clap. Then they go east and cry, "Islam, Islam, Islam!" And we insist they don't mean it.

Then there's Turkey's unfortunate NATO membership. Since the rise of its Islamists, Turkey has been a Trojan horse, not an ally. What happens now if Ankara provokes a military confrontation? How would we respond, given NATO's mutual-defense agreements?

The madcap agenda of Turkey's current rulers is to create a 21st-century version of the Ottoman Empire. Turks even mutter about the caliphate -- headed for centuries by the Turkish sultan. This is explosive stuff. And the Turks are playing with matches.

But we've obstinately ignored every warning sign. First, our "ally" stabbed us in the back on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, denying our troops their planned routes into Iraq. Then the Turkish media intensified its anti-American fantasies. ...

Then, just last month, the Turks moved to provide the Iranian regime with cover for its nuclear program. And we still didn't get it. The most dramatic transformation in the Middle East since the fall of the shah is playing out before us. And we can't see behind the mask of the "plight of the Palestinians" (a key Obama administration concern).

In yesterday's confrontation, Israel behaved clumsily. The peace activists behaved savagely. The Turks behaved cynically. The world reacted predictably. And Washington scratched its head.

This is a peace activist. And this is a terrorist.

The Turkish Flotilla Mavi Marmara was a state-sponsored terrorist attack on Israel.

UPDATE: Seth Cropsey:

The flotilla had been planned for a year. ... But this incident is less about Israeli-Palestinian issues than it is about Turkey, whose Islamist prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told parliament that “today is a turning point in history. Nothing will ever be the same again.” This observation is probably the most important and to-the-point remark about the incident.

Israel and Turkey have had good relations for virtually all of Israel’s existence. These included military, economic, and most important, strategic cooperation. Whatever Turkish leaders saw in the importance of Israel to the moderate Middle Eastern politics they favored, there was no doubt of common cause with Jerusalem in limiting Soviet ambitions in the region. This ended when Russia withered. Erdogan has been shifting Turkey’s course away from a secular state that looks westward to a religious one that looks to the east since he became prime minister seven years ago. Domestic critics accuse him of leading Turkey toward establishing an Islamic state. “Iran is our friend,” Erdogan told the Guardian in October 2009. Earlier the same year he stormed out of the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland telling Israeli President Shimon Peres that “I know well how you hit and kill children on the beaches.” Last month Turkey and Syria held joint military exercises for the second time in as many years: This is a significant change. In 1998, Egyptian President Mubarak was mediating to keep Turkey and Syria from going to war with each other. The Islamists have the upper hand in Turkey today and the Mavi Marmara incident, as Prime Minister Erdogan understands, is a custom-made tool in his hands for sealing the fate of strategic cooperation with Israel.

...What does the Obama administration make of all this? Does it understand the effect of its policy toward Israel? Does it see that gradual diminishing of U.S. support for Israel encourages the suggestion advanced by Prime Minister Erdogan’s friend Ahmadinejad that Israel can be wiped off the map? Does the Obama administration think, for example, that the resolution it supported in the UN on Friday, May 28 for a nuclear-free Middle East, which singles out Israel but is silent on Iran, encourages or discourages the belief that maybe, just maybe, Israel will be forced on terms regardless of their consequences for its security to accede to Palestinian rulers, i.e. Hamas? ... President Obama’s first trip abroad was to Europe and his first stop was Turkey. How could it have turned into this? ...

This one is not about the Mavi Marmara. It is about the strategic mass created by the increasingly convergent paths of the two of the Middle East’s largest, most powerful, and influential states, one of which could become a nuclear power and the other of which is on the threshold.

An Inconvenient Wife: Al Gore Demands Recount of His Wedding Ceremony 

"It's my belief pride is the chief cause in the decline of the number of husbands and wives."--Roger Miller


Smitty's right. Ed, too.

My Strange New Respect* for Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich III 


and lifts.

"And guess what this Liberal would be all about? This Liberal would be all about socializing…er, uh. [Pauses for several moments] …would be about… [pause] … basically… taking over, and the government running all of your companies."--Rep. Maxine Waters, to the president of Shell Oil during a competency House hearing

Michelle Malkin:

Banking. Auto manufacturing. Health care. Now oil. There’s no such thing as a “temporary” government power grab, let alone a “temporary receivership” in the hands of Team Obama control freaks:

Reich: "It’s time for the federal government to put BP under temporary receivership, which gives the government authority to take over BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the gusher is stopped. This is the only way the public know what’s going on, be confident enough resources are being put to stopping the gusher, ensure BP’s strategy is correct, know the government has enough clout to force BP to use a different one if necessary, and be sure the President is ultimately in charge."

I don't agree with him. Yes, BP is going to have to cough up billions. They cut corners just like the administration did. But "temporary"? It took 108 years to finally repeal the "temporary" luxury tax on telephones, meant to fund the Spanish-American War. And only after the FCC legislated a secret, hidden Al Gore Phone Tax.

And if you want "the public to know what’s going on", why would you trust the Sestak Society, who took three months to cook up a phony, lawyered-up Clintonspeak pack of lies?

And if you want the president to be in charge, don't tell us--tell his caddy.

No, I don't agree with Sec. Reich...but at least he's honest about seizing the means of production.

Robert Reich was also one of the few Democrats who stood with Sarah Palin, looked her straight in the midriff and told America "Yes, America, there will be Death Panels!":

“We’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

If Democrats socialized Snap-On Tools, there would only be one tool in the tool chest: Government. It's the only tool they've ever heard of. Evidently, it fixes everything:

* Your 30-year-old student needs condoms? Government!
* Poor old Microsoft needs an $11 million bridge to connect two portions of headquarters? Government!
* Public safety demands a $1.15 million guardrail around the lake--except it’s a dry hole? Government!

But Reich's proposal makes a kind of sense when you think about it:

You go to Driving School on a Government Student Loan.
You get driver's license from the DMV.
You get your tags at the Dept. of Revenue.
Your license plates were made at the State Prison.
You get your insurance at your Government Insurance Agency.
You get your car loan at your Government Bank.
You'll drive on DOT highways after you buy your new 2012 Buick Bureaucrat at Government Motors.

So why wouldn't you put Government Gasoline and Government Oil in your car?

And could you check the tire pressure while your down there, Mr. Secretary?

(*Un-strange old respect: Bob Tyrrell)

UPDATE: In this column, Reich says Obama's awesome double-digit unemployment has liberated entrepreneurs:

"These Americans are now liberated from the bureaucratic straitjackets they thought they had to wear. They can now fulfill their creative dreams and find their inner entrepreneurs. All they needed was a good kick in the pants."
This from a professional bureaucratic straitjacket designer who has never had a real job in his life.

The caveat: we'll need massive new government programs to assist these new entrepreneurs. Call it "Socialized Entrepreneurship". After all, Fedzilla has proven its business savvy with Freddie and Fannie and the Socialized Mortgage Meltdown. And now with Government Oil.

Hate Floats 

"All My Terror Pals (Have Settled In)..."--Country legend Hank Hussein, Jr., from the album "Kenya Kountry Klassics and Kriss Kraft Kommissars"


The flotilla was organized by the Free Gaza Movement, a coalition of leftist human rights activists and pro-Palestinian groups engaged in attempts to break a blockade imposed by Israel on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Ayers, Dohrn and Evans' Code Pink have led several recent Free Gaza Movement initiatives, including attempted marches into the Gaza Strip. Dorhn was in the Middle East just last month on behalf of the movement.

Ayers and Dohrn were close associates for years with President Obama, while Evans was a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama's presidential campaign.
I told you that old sea-dog Billy Ayers could really turn a nautical phrase!

Weekly Standard:

The Turkish nonprofit [IHH] belongs to a Saudi-based umbrella organization known to finance terrorism called the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir in Arabic). Notably, the Union is chaired by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who is known best for his religious ruling that encourages suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.

In 2006, both the U.S. government and the United Nations designated the IIRO branch offices in Indonesia and the Philippines for financing al Qaeda. French magistrate Jean-Louis Brougiere also testified that IHH had an "important role" in Ahmed Ressam's failed "millennium plot" to bomb the Los Angeles airport in late 1999.

The U.S. government, it should be noted, also views the Union of Good as a terrorist organization. ... U.S. Treasury announced the umbrella group's leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT), stating that the group was "created by Hamas leadership to transfer funds to the terrorist organization."

... The Treasury, drawing from declassified documents, stated unequivocally that the Union of Good "compensated Hamas terrorists by providing payments to the families of suicide bombers.

Five boats were boarded peacefully. Only on the sixth boat loaded with terrorists was there violence, as they chanted slogans celebrating the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arabia by Muhammed.

There is no "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza. Only a terrorism crisis. Tons of supplies come in all the time. Indeed, the UN treating these people as permanent welfare pets is part of the problem.

Why don't these "activists" ever yell at Egypt? After all, Egypt has miles of border with Gaza. You see, it's not about helping Gazans, it's about attacking Israel.

This is just an attempt to get the naval blockade stopped, so missiles may be transported freely into Hamas-stan and then fired at Israel's cities...yet another Bill Ayers bombing campaign!

Liberals thought they were being "nice" when they humored Arafat, letting him murder our diplomats with impunity. Instead, they have turned the Palestinian people into the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the earth.

Europeans and leftists will yammer about "proportionality", but if Europeans could do proportionality, the Jews would have never been forced to flee Europe. Masquerading as occupiers of the moral high ground, leftist Europeans are merely trying to save their own skins from Iran's Bomb or their own Islamist Fifth Columns.

Q: What Smells So Fishy?
A: The New Euro-Vichy.

Which is just like the old Vichy in its pro-Nazi nastiness. And is not improved by the presence of the same old tired commies, too.

Prez on the Run: Listen To What The Gov Said! 


"Danny [Ortega's] speech was a long one. There are no brief excuses for communism."--P.J. O'Rourke


Cuban lawmakers denounce Arizona immigration law

HAVANA (AP) - Cuban lawmakers have passed a resolution denouncing Arizona's new immigration law as "racist and xenophobic," recalling an old dispute in the process: the argument that the United States' purchase of Arizona from Mexico in the 19th century was tantamount to theft.

The Arizona law has caused controversy since it was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer on April 23. It requires police to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. ...

But the denunciation of the law by Cuban lawmakers, who called it a "brutal violation of human rights," is sure to raise anger among U.S. backers of the law.

The tightly controlled, communist-run island has long been criticized for its human rights record, which includes the jailing of 200 political prisoners, the banning of a free press and the outlawing of opposition political parties.

Cuban citizens are required to carry identification with them wherever they go, and can be stopped by police and sent home if they are found in a part of the island where they don't belong. ...

The lawmakers' resolution, dated Wednesday and reprinted in the Communist Party daily Granma on Thursday, says the Arizona law "has a profound racist and xenophobic character, and permits police to use racial profiling." ...

The lawmakers said the Arizona measure "aims to close the doors on immigrants to territories that were stolen by force from the noble Mexican people."
Thieves Against Theft, eh?

Doug Powers:

Can it be long before Raúl Castro is invited to speak before a joint session of Congress?

From Human Rights Watch:

... The 123-page report, “New Castro, Same Cuba”, shows how the Raúl Castro government has relied in particular on the Criminal Code offense of “dangerousness”, which allows authorities to imprison individuals before they have committed any crime, on the suspicion that they are likely to commit an offense in the future.

American Glob:

Surprise! Obama Won’t Meet With Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

No surprises here…

"President Obama has turned down Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s request to meet while she’s in Washington next week as tensions mount between his administration and Arizona over the state’s new law cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Brewer will be in Washington to meet with other governors. She said Friday that she had asked to meet with Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to discuss border security and immigration. But Obama’s schedule “doesn’t allow for a meeting” with her..."

Actually, it is surprising, given this:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said at tonight’s CNN debate in Austin that he would be willing to meet immediately with Cuba's new leader, Raul Castro. But Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said she would not.

In fact, Obama broadly extended his policy of being willing to meet with dictators without preconditions...

“Not just in Cuba, but I think this principle applies generally,” Obama said. “I recall what John F. Kennedy once said: 'We should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate'."

In the tried and true Democrat style, this president isn't too busy to whip up George Wallace-style racial strife for get-out-the-vote purposes...but he can't meet the governor of Arizona? He's got a Paul McCartney concert to attend, lady!

I think it was the late great Hoyt Axton who put it best:

Well I never been to Phoenix
But I kinda like the Beatles
Told people not to go to Vegas
As I take my front row seat-le
In Old Havana, not Arizanna
What does it matter
What does it matter
Let me be clear

I quote from memory. Tommy Chong's.

Meanwhile, it's also Date Night in Caracas, as Hugo Chavez takes his date Oliver "Mancrush" Stone out to the movies. Their matching outfits are a nice touch; they just scream "Soy con Estúpido!"

What is it "good" for? 



"War Throughout History"

Did I say "war"? Sorry; I meant “overseas contingency operation”. I must have been thinking of the immortal words of Lt. Sen. John Oprah Chopra “Butch” Kerry, who famously said:

“I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive War on Terror that reaches out…”

Ah–the old “sensitive” war. In other words, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ah…hey, watch out for those baby ducks!” It brings to mind the famous quote by Robert E. Lee:

“It is well that war is so effective, thoughtful, strategic, proactive, sensitive & inclusive, else we should grow too fond of it.”

So true.

You almost couldn’t tell if Kerry was talking about war or a new federal tattoo-removal outreach program. Sorry, Mike.

G.K. Chesterton:

"The cheapest and most childish of all the taunts of the Pacifists is, I think, the sneer at belligerents for appealing to the God of Battles. It is ludicrously illogical, for we obviously have no right to kill for victory save when we have a right to pray for it. If a war is not a holy war, it is an unholy one--a massacre."

Ernie Pyle:

The Italian mule-skinners were afraid to walk beside the dead men, so Americans had to lead the mules down that night. Even the Americans were reluctant to unlash and lift off the bodies at the bottom, so an officer had to do it himself, and ask others to help.

The first one came early in the morning. They slid him down from the mule and stood him on his feet for a moment, while they got a new grip. In the half light he might have been merely a sick man standing there, leaning on the others. Then they laid him on the ground in the shadow of the low stone wall alongside the road.

I don't know who that first one was. You feel small in the presence of dead men, and ashamed at being alive, and you don't ask silly questions.

We left him there beside the road, that first one, and we all went back into the cowshed and sat on water cans or lay in the straw, waiting for the next batch of mules.

Somebody said the dead soldier had been dead for four days, and then nobody said anything more about it. We talked soldier talk for an hour or more. The dead men lay all alone outside in the shadow of the low stone wall.

Then a soldier came into the cowshed and said there were some more bodies outside. We went out into the road. Four mules stood there, in the moonlight, in the road where the trail came down off the mountain. The soldiers who led them stood there waiting. "This one is Captain Waskow," one of them said quietly.

Francis Schaefer:

"The Bible is clear here: I am to love my neighbor as myself, in the manner needed, in a practical way, in the midst of the fallen world, at my particular point of history. This is why I am not a pacifist. Pacifism in this poor world in which we live - this lost world - means that we desert the people who need our greatest help."

Peter Schramm:

I had a fine ride yesterday, a good long one. Almost no one driving, just me and Isabella dancing along (and a few other bikers, from time to time). I was contemplating peace and its pleasures in that easy way her purr allows, visits with my Marine son and other good pleasures, when I came around a bend and there on a flat piece of earth were about a hundred large American flags implanted in the soil of a cemetery. It took my breath away, the thing in itself and the surprise of it. A truly lovely moment of somber gratitude and I had to pull over for a bit, much too dangerous to ride with moist eyes. Later that night I watched parts of The Pacific and my gut was reminded of the horror of war, that terrible waster of men, the brutish and primitive hatred, the guts spilling from once men and now no more. And of course there was the bravery, the incredible bravery. And then a different kind of gratitude for those who didn't make it out. I'll do it again today, it's the least I can do.

P.J. O'Rourke:

One more thing about this generation of soldiers - they grew up in video arcades. It's no coincidence that watching the Gulf War's high-tech weapons on our TV screens is so much like watching computer games. This war is the daddy of all Mario Brothers, the Gog and Magog of hacker networks, the devil's own personal core dump. And our soldiers have an absolutely intuitive, Donkey Kong-honed, gut-level understanding of the technology behind it. Thank God they do. It's why we're winning. So here's what you folks back home can do to help with the war effort. If you happen to have any kids and they're outdoors exercising in the healthy fresh air and sunshine, give them hell: "YOU GET IN HERE RIGHT NOW AND PLAY NINTENDO!" The future of our nation may depend on it.

Mac Owens:

"The 30th day of May 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers and otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land." Logan’s order in fact ratified a practice that was already widespread, both in the North and the South, in the years immediately following the Civil War.

It’s hard to get Americans in this day and age to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. ...

For instance, how many Americans know the story of Marine Lieutenant John P. Bobo, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam? Here is part of his citation:

When an exploding enemy mortar round severed Lieutenant Bobo’s right leg below the knee, he refused to be evacuated and insisted upon being placed in a firing position to cover the movement of the command group to a better location. With a web belt around his leg serving as a tourniquet and with his leg jammed into the dirt to curtail the bleeding, he remained in this position and delivered devastating fire into the ranks of the enemy attempting to overrun the Marines. Lieutenant Bobo was mortally wounded while firing his weapon into the main point of the enemy attack but his valiant spirit inspired his men to heroic efforts.…

The reason for this disparity in coverage is simple. My Lai fit the conventional narrative of the anti-war left. Bobo’s story did not.

The Vietnam-era narrative lives on today. The conventional wisdom concerning Vietnam has been absorbed by today’s press, even those too young to remember the America’s Southeast Asia misadventure, resulting in a troubling predisposition on its part to believe the worst about those who are willing to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan. Thus long before an investigation was complete, opponents of the war used the alleged killing of Iraqi civilians in Hadithah three years ago to apply the Vietnam narrative to Iraq. Thus Rep. John Murtha, D-PA, a vociferous critic of the war, broke the story, claiming that Marines in Hadithah had "killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

In April of 2005, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, US Army, became the first soldier in the Iraq war to be awarded the Medal of Honor. He was killed in action when his outnumbered unit was attacked by Iraqi forces at the Baghdad airport on April 4, 2003, and is credited with saving hundreds of lives.

In his October 4, 2007 Wall Street Journal piece, "Modern Heroes", Robert Kaplan observed that "according to LexisNexis, by June 2005, two months after his posthumous award, [Smith’s] stirring story had drawn only 90 media mentions, compared to 4,677 for the supposed Quran abuse at Guantanamo Bay, and 5,159 for the court-martialed Abu Ghraib guard Lynndie England." This is nothing short of a scandal. ...

In the history of the world, many good soldiers have died bravely and honorably for bad or unjust causes. Americans are fortunate in that we have been given a way of avoiding this situation by linking the sacrifice of our soldiers to the meaning of the nation. ...

By all means, have a hot dog or a hamburger this weekend. If you’re close to a beach or a lake, take advantage of the nice weather and go. But on Memorial Day, take some time to remember the John Bobos and the Paul Ray Smiths who died to make your weekend possible.

(Hat-tip: The Sanity Inspector)

Voting "Present" Has its Price, Vincent 

Or, In The Nuclear Midnight Amateur Hour, When My Post-War Consensus Comes Tumblin’ Down, Pt. 2

"It is not good for the stability of the world, or its safety, that the leader of "the indispensable nation" be so weakened. I never until the past 10 years understood the almost moral imperative that an American president maintain a high standing in the eyes of his countrymen."--Peggy "Capt. Renault" Noonan, who is shocked, shocked that Obama and BP are shocked, shocked by the spill.

Prof. Hanson:

Very soon German workers are going to grasp that all the financial reserves they piled away the last two decades from not doing what a Spain or Italy did are essentially gone. Someone in Munich worked 40 hours a week until age 67 for someone in Athens not to — and for someone in Athens to demand that someone in Munich do so or else. The idea that nations like Greece, both overtly and implicitly, insult nations like Germany has no basis in historical terms.

In short…

Even European bankers now claim the euro is suspect. The European Union may well devolve into something other than its present form within a few years. NATO is an alliance mostly in name. Germany is angry. So far all the traditional restraints upon its pique — allied military rivals on its two borders, a divided country, fear of a nuclear Soviet Union, incorporation within the EU and NATO — are either nonexistent or increasingly problematic.

If it should choose, Germany could go nuclear in six months, its arsenal reflective of a country that makes Mercedes and BMWs. That is not so wild an idea in an age when unstable nations like Iran and North Korea boast of their arsenals and their aggression, while others such as Turkey and Brazil flout U.S. faculty-lounge sermons on non-proliferation.

If Iran should go nuclear — and I think it will within a year or two — we should imagine that a Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria would too. As the European Union collapses, as third-rate nations become nuclear, and as the United States abdicates its postwar role in ensuring the safety and security of the West, why would Germany continue to subsidize southern Europe while receiving mostly blame for its efforts, while its airspace would be in theory vulnerable to the likes of a theocratic Iran?

Back to the 19th century?

In a sane world, a financially solvent United States would now step up to the plate, reassure Germany of both its long-standing financial and military support, and seek through its friendship and alliance to deflect any natural German inclination to translate its economic power and present seething into something other than mere anger at the EU.

But we don’t live in a sane world. U.S. finances are following the Greek example. President Obama either does not understand the West or perhaps does not care to. To the new America, a Germany is no different from a Pakistan or Venezuela, just another member of the international community, no better or no worse than any other. Our commitment to NATO and the U.S. defense budget will soon be redefined, as even more entitlements along the lines of the recent trillion-dollar health care plan are envisioned.

In other words, in such a vacuum, very soon, if we are not careful, we are going to have a German problem — again.
When liberals survey the world, they see America as the problem, America as the bully, America as the rogue nation. Not Iran. Not North Korea. Not even Russia.

This would be an amusing little tic, like a Zimbabwe printing a one hundred trillion dollar-bill, were it not for the fact that voters foolishly and dangerously entrusted them with real power. This worldview therefore has real consequences--and all of them bad.

They view America as giant Gulliver to be tied down by Lilliputian nations, and pickpocketed at the same time for good measure. America must be defanged, weakened, and humbled. It must be reverse-engineered. Like geo-political alchemists, they're hell-bent on reformulating America with enough base material to forever alter it into a compliant, mediocre power, no better or worse than any other.

They hope to turn gold into lead.

And when America is finally weak, they believe, Peace Will Dawn At Last. Strength will at last flow from Peace, rather than Peace coming through Strength.

They have learned nothing from 400 years of American Experience, not to mention thousands of years of human experience.

Prof. Hanson mentions a re-armed Germany--and what about a similar Japan? Do you really think they are reassured when Obama bashes, disarms and bankrupts America?

We've been here before and we can again learn from our American Experience:

Few Americans accept the belief of some of those now in positions of importance in guiding our foreign policy that America's purpose in the world is to appease the mighty out of a sense of fear or to appease the weak out of a sense of guilt. ...

Its policy is rooted in well-meaning intentions, but it shows a woeful uncertainty as to America's purpose in the world. The administration means to do good by espousing a human rights doctrine it cannot define, much less implement. In the process, this policy has met with scorn from our enemies and alarm from our friends. ...

But, by using a combination of heavy-handed moves against allied countries, on the one hand, and making "pre-emptive concessions" toward unfriendly or potentially unfriendly countries on the other, the...administration has managed to convey the view that it desperately wants the whole world to have democratic institutions that would be the envy of the most ardent ACLU lawyer, and that wishing will make it so.

That view of the world ranks along with belief in the Tooth Fairy. But confusion of purpose and a false sense of guilt are not the only elements in this administration's foreign policy. ...

The problem...is that they know too little, not too much, of history. And, they have lost faith in their own country's past and traditions.

Too often, that team has operated under the assumption that the United States must prove and reprove and prove again its goodness to the world. Proving that we are civilized in a world that is often uncivilized -- and unapologetically so -- is hardly necessary.

The themes of a sound foreign policy should be no mystery, nor the result of endless agonizing reappraisals. They are rooted in our past -- in our very beginning as a nation.

The Founding Fathers established a system which meant a radical break from that which preceded it. A written constitution would provide a permanent form of government, limited in scope, but effective in providing both liberty and order. Government was not to be a matter of self-appointed rulers, governing by whim or harsh ideology. It was not to be government by the strongest or for the few. Our principles were revolutionary. We began as a small, weak republic. But we survived. Our example inspired others, imperfectly at times, but it inspired them nevertheless. This constitutional republic, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, prospered and grew strong. To this day, America is still the abiding alternative to tyranny. That is our purpose in the world -- nothing more and nothing less.

To carry out that purpose, our fundamental aim in foreign policy must be to ensure our own survival and to protect those others who share our values. Under no circumstances should we have any illusions about the intentions of those who are enemies of freedom.

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