Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fast and Furious Screw Up Hurts Innocent Americans


By Michelle Malkin

There are now enough Operation Fast and Furious officials playing hide-and-seek in the Obama administration to fill a New York City-style “rubber room.”

Yesterday, the Justice Department announced it was shuffling Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, out of his job. The disclosure comes amid continued investigations into the administration’s fatally botched “gun sting” racket at the border and spreading outrage over legal obstructionism and whistleblower retaliation by Justice brass. The department’s inspector general is also conducting a probe.

Internal documents earlier showed that Melson was intimately involved in overseeing the program and screened undercover videos of thousands of straw purchases of AK-47s and other high-powered rifles -- many of which ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartel thugs, including those who murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December. Fast and Furious weapons have been tied to at least a dozen violent crimes in America and untold bloody havoc in Mexico.

In secret July 4 testimony, Melson revealed he was “sick to his stomach” when he discovered the extent of the operation’s deadly lapses. Join the club, pal.

Melson told congressional investigators that he and ATF’s senior leadership “moved to reassign every manager involved in Fast and Furious, from the deputy assistant director for field operations down to the group supervisor” after ATF whistleblowers went to the press and Capitol. But according to Melson, he and company were ordered by Justice Department higher-ups to remain silent about the reasons for the reassignments.

In other words: The ATF managers in the know were “effectively muzzled while the DOJ sent over false denials and buried its head in the sand,” as GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, concluded in July.

Melson has been kicked back to DOJ’s main office in a flabbergasting new slot as “senior adviser on forensic science in the department’s Office of Legal Policy.” He may have been “sick to his stomach,” but the federal careerist apparently has no intention of quitting an administration with blood on its hands. And now he’ll be advising others on how to track and handle evidence. Nice make-work if you can get it.

Others on the Fast and Furious dance card of lemons:

* Assistant US Attorney Emory Hurley in Phoenix, who helped oversee the straw-gun-purchase disaster. He’s being transferred out of the US Attorney’s Office’s criminal division and into the civil division.

* Assistant ATF Special Agents in Charge George Gillett and Jim Needles. Moved to other positions.

* ATF deputy director of operations in the West, William McMahon. Promoted to ATF headquarters.

* ATF Phoenix field supervisors William Newell and David Voth. Promoted to new management positions in Washington.

Keep your friends close and your henchmen on the verge of spilling all the beans closer.

There’s been only one visible Fast and Furious resignation: U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke in Phoenix, who quietly stepped down on Tuesday. One of his last acts? Opposing the request of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s family to qualify as crime victims in a court case against the thug who bought the Fast and Furious guns used in Terry’s murder.

The fish rots from the head down, of course. DOJ is run by Eric Holder, the Beltway swamp creature who won bipartisan approval for his nomination -- even after putting political interests ahead of security interests at the Clinton Justice Department in pushing presidential pardons for both big donor Marc Rich and several Puerto Rican FALN terrorists.

Screw up, move up, cover up: It’s the Holder way, the Obama way, the Washington way. And innocent Americans pay.

Michelle Malkin is a New York Post columnist. This column originally appeared in the New York Post on August 31.





No Religion Can Claim Superiority Over Safety and Security


By Cal Thomas

No religion can claim superiority over safety and security. On Tuesday, Rye Playland, an amusement park near New York City temporarily shut down after an altercation erupted with a Muslim group over the park's headgear policy.

Muslim women in a tour group at Playland were reportedly denied access to several rides because they were wearing hijabs – their traditional headscarves, according to FoxNews.com.

The park's deputy commissioner said, "Our headgear policy is designed to protect the safety of patrons and safety is our first concern...This policy was repeatedly articulated to the tour operator, but unfortunately the message did not reach some of the members of his group."

Since the regulations at Playland were established before this incident with Muslim women and their head scarfs, no one can credibly claim they are being used to discriminate against Muslims, especially since park officials claim to have "painstakingly" told the Muslims about the ban.

Because some of them attempted to board the rides anyway, it can't help but raise a question about whether this was another attempt to force us to lower our guard against those Muslims who mean us harm.

As we have seen at airports and other venues, Muslim activists have deliberately tried to create incidents against the government in order to avoid searches and questions about their behavior and conversations.

I'm not saying this was a coordinated effort at Rye Playland to achieve such ends, just that it fits a pattern of what we have seen since 9/11.

Respect is a two-way street. Muslims have more rights in America than in the countries from which many of them come. If Americans visit those countries they are expected to abide by the laws and religious rules. A similar amount of respect and adherence to our laws and rules should also be expected.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated newspaper columnist.



Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why Islam is NOT Protected Under the US Constitution!


By Kevin A. Lehmann

Contrary to conventional stupidity, Islam is NOT protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. Is there anyone left in the three branches of government today that can interpret our most sacred document (the Declaration of Independence not withstanding) correctly?

Like in Christendom, where the exegesis and hermeneutics of certain passages of scripture are often skewed to conform to a particular ideology, agenda, or belief system, so too has the clear and concise language of the Constitution and the 27 Amendments progressively undergone exegetical attacks over the decades—depending on which party is in power—to conform to a particular political ideology.

But this is one hermeneutical battle America can ill afford to lose. Our founding principles, i.e. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness hang in the balance. In short—our country’s very survival depends on it.

America faces a grave threat from Islam. Muslims are infiltrating our country in droves and they’re doing it under the guise of “Constitutional Protection.” And like England, if we don’t stand our ground now, it will be too late. Muslims are cunning, crafty and clever. They’re using our ignorance of the understanding of our own Constitution against us, and they are clandestinely and methodically spreading their freedom-snatching tentacles in a quiet and unassuming manner.

Federal, state, and local governments on the other hand won’t acknowledge the imminent threat. They incorrectly claim that Muslims have “Constitutional Rights” to come here, proselytize people, build mosques, and implement shariah in their communities and in the public square. They’re dead wrong! And by and large, Islam is getting away with it just like they have in Europe. Only unlike in Europe and Great Britain in particular, where many local non-Muslim citizens now live in perpetual fear and oppression, it’s not too late to stem the tide, but we have to act now. Time is not on our side. In fact, this may come as a shock, but there are more mosques being built on American soil than Christian churches. We are already well under way to being Islamized.

To understand Islam is to understand sharia. The religion of Islam is nothing short of a totalitarian political, economic, military, social and legal system that’s camouflaged in religious garb. Their mandate (not objective) is to incorporate our country into a global Islamic caliphate.

Sadly, they are making serious inroads towards their tyrannical mandate because America is not resisting. We are all that stands between freedom and a worldwide Islamic caliphate. The United States of America is the world’s last bastion of hope.

Yet, the dreadful message we get from ignorant and incompetent lawmakers is that our Constitution renders us powerless to do anything about it. On the contrary, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence—properly interpreted—actually give our federal, state and local governments justification and authority to stop Islam dead in its tracks!

Here’s How . . .

Islam is NOT a religion in the sense we understand religion. Islam—which stands for “submission” or “surrender”—is about COMPLETE DOMINANCE. It is a totalitarian form of government that controls every aspect of the lives of its adherents. It’s a barbaric form of life. It masquerades as a monotheistic religion rooted in Old Testament principles, but more appropriately follows the thievery and murderous thuggery of it’s founder, Muhammad, a descendent of Ishmael, who came on the scene 600 years after Christ’s ascension. Only their modern day tactics now include recruiting mentally ill, naive and gullible idiots who become suicide bombers. And Western countries indoctrinated with the lies of multiculturalism and political correctness—to their demise—have reluctantly turned a blind eye. But like Communism, Marxism and Socialism, the Constitution of the United States of America empowers us to defeat it.

Given that fact, we must understand our founding principles that (1) Rights come from God alone, (2) Muslims do not have the right to divest us of our Rights, and (3) the purpose of civil government is to secure the rights God gave us.

What are our rights, and where do they come from? The Constitution? The Bill of Rights? No! The Declaration of Independence says:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. —that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men . . .”

So, where do our rights come from? God. And what are those rights? Life , Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Liberty is the very essence of God’s model for civil government. Inscribed on the Liberty Bell is Leviticus 25:10 - “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

Do Muslims respect the rights God gave us? Of course not! Sharia stands in stark contrast to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Let’s have a look . . .

1. Life: Islam is a culture of death, e.g., murder, honor killings and suicide bombers.

2. Liberty: Islam is a culture where women are slaves and prisoners, children are sex toys for old men, and conversion to another belief system is seen as a capital offense and met with a brutal death.

3. Pursuit of Happiness: Theirs is a culture of torture and sadism. How many times have we already heard of young Muslim girls in America who, after they talked to non-Muslim boys, were shot to death or run over by their father for allegedly bringing shame to their family? Public wife beating is commonplace. Women who don’t cover their hair are beaten on the spot. They’re often gang raped and mutilated and maimed on their faces, even in their own homes, needing multiple witnesses to testify against their male aggressors.

4. Freedom of Speech: Try criticizing Islam in Saudi Arabia—one of our Arab allies. See how swiftly justice is met with your head as the ornament of of an Opec member’s Mercedes.

For every right God gave us—not the Constitution or its Amendments—the Muslims seek to eradicate.



Do Muslims have the “right” to impose shariah in this country which strips us of our God-given rights? No! God did not give Muslims the “right” to take away from us, the rights He gave us!

Lawmakers tell us Muslims have a First Amendment “right” to build mosques, proselytize, and implement shariah here. But is that what the First Amendment says? No!

See for yourself . . .

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Now consider the verbiage very carefully. A lot of lawmakers and most Americans make the exegetical error that the First Amendment grants us rights. The First Amendment doesn’t grant any rights to anybody. All it does is prohibit Congress from making laws about religion, speech, the press, or assembly.

Therefore, Muslims do not have a First Amendment “right” to build mosques, proselytize, and implement shariah in our country.

Not only do Muslims claim the “right” to impose shariah in the Muslim communities that are rapidly spreading throughout our country, they also claim the “right” to impose shariah law in the public square. They demand shariah compliant financial institutions, foot baths in public places, and that such abominations as wine and pork be banned from their presence. Moreover, they demand that public streets be closed off for “prayers.”

So it begs the question: Do Americans have any Constitutional protection against the invasion of a foreign law being foisted upon us? Absolutely!

Article VI, Clause 2 of our Constitution states . . .

“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the Supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

Did you get that? Our Constitution and laws are authorized by the Supreme Law of this Land. And anything to the contrary must fall.

The practice of sharia in the United States, at any level directly violates our Constitution. Muslims who therefore seek to overthrow our Constitution or otherwise usurp or circumvent it are guilty of Criminal Sedition. The federal government has the duty to prosecute them for sedition, or deport them.

The Declaration of Independence says the purpose of civil government is to secure the rights God gave us. Muslims seek to take away our God-given rights. Civil government is supposed to protect us from those who seek to divest us of our rights. Therefore it’s incumbent on every American citizen to insist that our federal, state, and local governments immediately STOP the Islamization of OUR COUNTRY—starting with an immediate cease and desist on the construction of all mosques! The purpose of our civil government is to protect our GOD-given rights.

The Declaration of Independence recognizes God as Creator, Supreme Judge and Regulator of the World—our Divine Protector.

In fact, Article VII of our Constitution recognizes the Lordship of Jesus Christ . . .

“Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Seven . . . “

In Summary:

1. Our rights come from God. They predate and preexist the Constitution. Our Constitution doesn’t give “rights” to anybody. So Muslims don’t have “constitutional rights” to come to our Judeo-Christian established country and build mosques, proselytize, and impose shariah.

2. Muslims take away from people the rights God gave them. Since our Declaration of Independence acknowledges that the purpose of civil governments is to secure the rights God gave us, it is the duty and responsibility of civil governments at all levels to protect us from Islamization.

3. Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution—the “Supremacy Clause”—is the silver bullet that makes it unconstitutional for Muslims to practice shariah law anywhere in our Country.

Let me be perfectly clear. Islam is not a friend of America. It is our enemy. The very notion of “Chrislam”—a syncretistic fusion of Christianity and Islam—being promoted by such notable Christian celebrities as Rick Warren, author of the best selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, is an abomination. It’s anti-American, and antithetical to the Christian principles upon which our great nation was founded. It is imperative that you understand the inherent danger of multiculturalism, and the amalgamation of polarizing religions.

Your state senators and congressmen are completely oblivious to the imminent threat that Islam and sharia pose to the sovereignty of our nation. They are uneducated and weak. It’s imperative you demand they get informed very quickly and embrace the fight to stop the spread of mosques and sharia at the local level. The Center for Security Policy issued a report last year entitled: “Shariah: The Threat to America”. Demand they read it and take immediate action to defend your community from Islamization.

Are you curious to know what life is like when your community has been infiltrated with Muslims, especially after they outnumber the local citizens? Click here to listen to my radio show back on March 21st with Tommy Robinson, the leader of the EDL (English Defense League) in England. Since that time, he was nearly murdered and has had multiple death threats against him, his wife and children for having the guts to speak up.

Europe, in the interest of multiculturalism and political correctness, made a grave error. And now they are hopeless to reverse it, especially in England, without a civil and very bloody religious war. An entire country, even with it’s parliamentary government in tact, is now at the mercy of Muhammad and his warriors of death or submission.

Recently exonerated Dutch Member of Parliament, Geert Wilders, listed ten steps Western countries must take to stop the Islamization of their countries.

ALL ten steps are mandated by our Declaration of Independence, and consistent with our Constitution:

1. Stop cultural relativism: We must formalize the idea that we have one dominant culture that is based on Judaism and Christianity [Wilders adds "humanism"].

2. Stop pretending that Islam is a religion.

3. Show the true face of fundamentalist Islam. It is a brutal totalitarian ideology.

4. Stop all immigration from Muslim countries. For Muslims who are already citizens, tell them that if they adhere to our values and our Constitution, they may stay as equals. But if they deviate, we will expel them.

5. Outlaw shariah and deport practitioners.

6. Require Muslims to sign legally binding pledge of integration and allegiance.

7. Stop building mosques.

8. Seek reciprocity with Saudi Arabia for Western churches and synagogues.

9. Close all Islamic schools—they are fascist institutions teaching hate.

10. Remove our current weak leaders.

In closing, we are at war with a very evil and cunning enemy. An enemy that seeks to destroy everything that is good about the United States of America; Everything we value; Everything we cherish, Everything our forefathers and successive generations fought and died for, so that we could receive the torch of freedom and pass it on to our children and grandchildren. This is our moment. It is our time to boldly stand up for our God, our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our beloved Freedom! Let us exercise our God-given unalienable rights and say “Yes to Freedom!” and “No to Oppression!” We owe it to our children, our grandchildren, and our grandparents.

Until next time . . . Wake Up America!

Kevin A. Lehmann



Friday, August 19, 2011

Why History, Even Recent History Is So Important. PERSPECTIVE!

Why I Worry About My Generation


By Nicole Swinford

I sat in the college classroom—a bright-eyed freshman. My notebook was out, my pencil was at the ready—this was it! I was finally in an institution of higher education! I would face bigger challenges, have to work harder—more would be expected in the adult world and I couldn’t wait to get started. As I furiously jotted down notes and punched numbers into my calculator to double check my answers, the girl a few seats down raised her hand.

“Do we really have to memorize all five of those equations? That’s so much work! Can’t you just put them up on the board for us during the test?”

My jaw dropped. What had just happened? Was I back in kindergarten? But I was soon to find that this would not be a singular occurrence. Other students joined in on the plea and this mindset would permeate other classes as well. But apparently more was not expected of us—the professor did indeed write the equations on the board for our test just as requested.

Reality check: college was not exactly the challenge I expected it to be. And I was thoroughly disappointed.

I soon realized that my generation has a problem. We are, as a whole, rather lazy. Many of us simply don’t understand what it means to really work.

But work is an essential part of America. After all, isn’t that what the American Dream really is? That if you work hard enough, you will succeed? That if you work for it, anything is possible. I was under the impression that we were the Land of Opportunity, but now it seems more and more like we are the Land of Entitlement.

Why do we lack this work ethic? The answer is simple: our world is one of instant gratification. With all of technology’s advances, life is considerably easier than what it once was, and many of us, having known no other life, take it for granted—it’s an easy trap to fall into. Work no longer has much value and it is a direct result of the way we live.

Our mindset has two aspects: easy and fast. You only have to turn on the television and watch a few commercials to catch on to this frame of mind. Easy and fast sells, and it is expected.

The problem is that work is the exact opposite of these concepts. It is hard and it takes time. The result is sadly predictable; many of us reject a good work ethic. And there are plenty of distractions to assist us in this pursuit (all of which involve staring impassively at a screen doing absolutely nothing)—television, computers, video games, movies. These activities involve no physical or mental effort. These are instant gratifications. Even our social lives can be conducted without ever actually putting ourselves in a social setting.

However, far from being a minor annoyance, there are much bigger consequences that the future holds for this generation should we as a whole continue in this mindset and these practices.

I beg my peers to consider this: if we remain apathetic in our everyday lives, we will be apathetic in our political lives; furthermore, it is less likely that we will take the time or be willing to do the work to research the actual issues and will end up debating everything on pure emotion.

Lord Acton, a political philosopher and economist, once explained that the reason he did not condone the government feeding, clothing, or caring for the people was because with a loss of responsibility the people would become dependent on the government. Essentially, without any sort of work ethic, without a sense of responsibility, the people will ultimately enslave themselves. Freedom is work. We are not free simply because we are Americans. We are free because men and women worked to make it so. Because they died to make it so. And that work is never over. If we allow ourselves to lose our work ethic, we have given up our freedom. Is this where we are headed?

Thomas Paine told those who originally fought for our freedom, “That which we gain too cheap, we value too lightly.” We would do well to remember those words. This holds true for all that we do, whether it concern something as vast as freedom, or something as specific as our schoolwork. They are linked. What we manifest in our individual lives will take root and grow into everything we do.

So, here is my challenge to my generation: Yes, the world is an easy and fast-paced place to live now and it is only getting more so. We, as the future of America, face an important question: how do we salvage our traditional work ethic?

The answer is simple: we change because we as individuals recognize that we need to (after all, they say admitting the problem is the first step) and we choose to do so. Whether or not we get up off the couch and start working is up to us. These are our choices, our consequences, and our responsibilities.

So, I encourage you: get up and do the work (Who knows? You might be surprised to find what satisfaction a job well done can bring)! It may not necessarily be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

Nicole Swinford is a student at Chapman University in Orange, California.



Monday, August 15, 2011

Is Obama Leaking Details of Bin Laden Killing to Boost His Approval Ratings?


By Michael Goodwin

Pete King has a reputa tion as a hothead, but the Long Island Republican kept his cool recently when he had every right to lose it. During an interview about King's criticism of media leaks and a film about the Usama bin Laden raid, one of CNN's liberal poodles suggested King was being "a little silly" since there were so many important things happening in Washington.

Whoa, Nellie! My head almost exploded just watching, but King's eyes flashed red only for an instant before he coherently repeated his point: The White House could be leaking secret information, putting lives and future missions at stake, and that's pretty damn important.

So it is, and King, who is already examining Islamic radicalization, is off again to slay more sacred cows. That this battle involves the Hollywood elite makes it all the more delicious.

King's concern started when he saw a drip, drip of sensitive operational details emerging since the May 1 bin Laden killing. Magazines and newspapers had information that, as head of the House Committee on Homeland Security, he knew was supposed to remain secret.

The published details he's worried about include: the name of the courier who was followed to the compound in Pakistan, that retired Pakistani military officers were recruited by the CIA to man an observation post near the compound, where the FBI got a DNA sample from a bin Laden family member, the capabilities of our satellites, the base the helicopters used in Afghanistan and how they evaded Pakistani radar, the names, bases and training sites used by units on the mission, the number of SEALs involved, the weapons and equipment they carried, which Al Qaeda plots we learned of from data seized in the compound, which may tell Al Qaeda which plots we do not know about.

King notes that at least five Pakistanis were arrested after the reports surfaced.

"Nobody in the intelligence world or the military is going to give out that kind of information unless they're told to from above," he told me. He called the leaks "an inside job" and added that the failure of the administration to probe the sources "shows they are involved."

If that were all, it would be more than enough. But the stench from the film project reveals how the raid is being put to propaganda use by President Obama's political team.

A filmmaker is getting favored treatment for a movie scheduled to be released a month before the 2012 election. The film is being distributed by Sony, whose top brass gave Obama a fund-raiser last April.

Maureen Dowd of The New York Times first reported that Kathryn Bigelow, director of the Oscar-winning "Hurt Locker," and a screenwriter are getting wide access to defense and intelligence sources. King said he heard from insiders that Bigelow attended a CIA ceremony honoring the SEALs involved in the raid.

King, who lavished praise on Obama for the mission, doesn't begrudge the president getting a legitimate political boost. But he notes that military secrets are held for years or decades and released only when the war is over and there is zero chance the enemy can benefit.

To that end, he wants inspectors general in defense and intelligence to make sure no classified information has been released, to draw up guidelines for what can be released and to make sure the limits are enforced.

Those aims are modest. There's already too much smoke around these leaks for there not to be fire. Let's put it out before the nation gets burned.

Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Obama Is Jimmy Carter 2.0

By Bradley Blakeman

The evidence is mounting more than ever to suggest that President Obama is morphing into failed Democratic President Jimmy Carter.

The latest comparison was made by dour New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd in her column on July 30. This is some of what she said:

"Democratic lawmakers worry that the Tea Party freshmen have already 'neutered' the president," as one told me. They fret that Obama is an inept negotiator. They worry that he should have been out in the country selling a concrete plan, rather than once more kowtowing to Republicans and, as with the stimulus plan, health care and Libya, leading from behind.

As one Democratic senator complained: 'The president veers between talking like a peevish professor and a scolding parent.' (Not to mention a jilted lover.) Another moaned: 'We are watching him turn into Jimmy Carter right before our eyes.'"

Dowd who once loved Obama is now souring on her liberal-media-created sensation and now she believes that the comparison of Obama to Carter is a valid one.

So what are the valid comparisons between the presidencies of Obama and Carter that allow for even a Democratic Senator to allege it?

Management Style

Carter: Ineffective. He was seen as a micro-manager who even had to decide who was allowed to play on the White House Tennis Court.

Obama: Ineffective. He is the ultimate delegator who likes being president but doesn't like the work. He rather sub-contract presidential leadership to Reid and Pelosi on health care and the vice President on spending and the economy and Secretary Clinton on foreign affairs.

Iranian Hostages

Carter: He was paralyzed by the Iranian Hostage Crisis where 52 Americans were held against their will for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, (the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president). During his presidency he was consumed by the crisis and in the end was powerless to end it.

Obama: He ran on a platform of apology to foreign enemy powers for past American "aggression" and pledged to usher in a new approach toward Iran that would bring better relations between the U.S. and Iran.

President Obama has failed to bring Iran around and in fact, today, two American hikers have been held hostage for over a year and a half by the Iranian government

Iran continues to crack down on its people and is accelerating their plans to build nuclear weapons. The country's leadership also continues to arm rebels in Iraq, Syria and other Middle East hot spots and destabilize the region.

Energy Crisis

Carter: In 1979 America faced an oil crisis in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution. OPEC reduced production and as a result oil prices shot through the roof and supply was severely curtailed.

Carter, instead of taking on OPEC and demanding increased production, imposed rationing on gasoline, and home heating oil and placed tariffs on imported oil. America literally ran out of gas and what gas could be purchased was paid for at outrageous prices.

Obama: In the aftermath of his sluggish response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico the Obama administration ceased drilling in the Gulf and set in place a moratorium on new offshore drilling. This action was being taken in spite on America's dependency on foreign oil. Gas prices have risen over 120 percent since Obama has taken office.

Economic Crises

Carter: Because of his failure to lead and his failed economic policies of government spending and indecision, the "misery index" ¬- unemployment plus inflation ¬- crested at 20 percent, the highest number since WWII. Add double-digit interest rates into the mix and you have "stagflation." Stagflation is defined as a situation in which the inflation rate is high and the growth rate is low. The result was high prices, high unemployment, low confidence, and low growth.

Obama: There is no doubt that Obama like Carter inherited a recession, however, it is equally apparent that both leaders made their situations much worse by their actions and inaction.

Obama, like Carter, went on a government-spending spree in response to the recession with little to show for it.

Obama promised that if his $800 billion stimulus were passed the national unemployment rate would not exceed 8 percent. Our country's unemployment rate has not dipped below 8% since Obama has been president and has spiked above 10% well after the stimulus was passed.

Instead of dealing with high unemployment, soaring energy prices, a record number home foreclosures, bankruptcies and record setting debt, Obama turned his attention to health care and started a third war in Libya.

The president caused the current self-inflicted crisis on the debt ceiling increase this summer by failing to lead well in advance of the deadline. He could have taken the recommendations of his bi-partisan commission as a starting point to lead on spending and deficit reduction over a year ago when their report was delivered to the White House.

Public Opinion

Carter: At the time of his re-election campaign his approval ratings was below 30% and a majority of Americans felt that America was on the wrong track.

Obama: Today the president's approval rating averages 42% and a majority of Americans believe we are on the wrong track.

The hallmark of the Carter years was the word "malaise." Malaise is defined as "a feeling of uneasiness, indisposition, and distress." All these symptoms existed during Carter's tenure and we can clearly see these same symptoms -- and some additional new ones -- manifesting themselves under Obama's tenure.

President Obama has governed at a time of America high unemployment, low GDP growth, inflation on the rise for consumer goods, falling housing prices, a stalled housing market, home foreclosures and bankruptcies at record levels, high gas prices, 3 wars, and a government that spends too much and takes in too little.

While "malaise" may have defined the Carter years perhaps the word "funk" best describes the the Obama years so far.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University.





Obama Won’t Escape Blame for Credit Downgrade

By Philip Klein

Standard and Poor’s explanation for why it downgraded U.S. debt is written in such a way that it can be seized upon by all ideological stripes. The statement cites the unwillingness of Republicans to raise taxes and of Democrats to agree to entitlement cuts. And the rating agency’s discourse about the political dysfunction will provide column fodder for Washington pundits who long for the days when both parties would work together to reach compromises. But make no mistake, when all the dust settles, it will be difficult for President Obama to escape blame for this.

Defenders of Obama will attempt to pin the blame on his predecessor, President Bush, and on intransigent Tea Party radicals in the current Congress. But that would leave out the part in between. For his first two years in office, Obama’s party controlled both chambers of Congress – for part of that period, he had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. During that time period, he and his fellow Democrats could have passed his supposedly ideal, long-term, deficit-reduction package -- one that represented a “balanced approach” between spending cuts and tax increases. It also could have delayed the deficit reduction for several years, so it wouldn’t have affected the current weak economy or the “investments” he considers crucial. Forget about actually accomplishing serious deficit reduction -- he didn’t even attempt it.

When Obama came into office, he argued that we needed deficit spending to boost the economy, so he passed a $800 billion stimulus package. Then, in one of his first supposed pivots to the deficit, he convened a ‘fiscal responsibility summit’ in February 2009. But that actually turned out to be part of a different pivot altogether. It was during that summit that then White House Budget Director Peter Orszag declared, “health care reform is entitlement reform.”

And so, for the next 13 months, Obama spent all of his energies trying to get health care legislation across the finish line. The end product was a plan that, according to both the Congressional Budget Office and actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, did not bend the health care cost curve down. Let’s even set aside the argument over the accounting gimmicks that were employed to obtain a CBO score that showed modest deficit reduction. The reality is this: the law used money raised through tax hikes and Medicare cuts that otherwise would have been available for deficit reduction, to instead expand Medicaid by 18 million beneficiaries and create a massive new health care entitlement.

Of course, there’s more. After health care passed last March, Obama punted on the debt for the rest of the year as he awaited a report from his fiscal commission. He then ignored its recommendations and released a budget so ludicrous that within two months, it failed 0 to 97 in the Senate and he himself rejected it. He instead delivered a speech about his deficit reduction vision, which didn’t have enough details for the CBO to score. And then he spent the last few months arguing that he was prepared to offer Republicans a “grand bargain,” but to this day he hasn’t released details of this supposedly awesome deal that Republicans refused, beyond calculated leaks to favored reporters.

But there’s another reason why Obama won’t escape blame for this. Obama was elected president at a time when Americans felt the nation was in decline, and his central job was restore their faith that our best days were ahead of us, as President Reagan did after the Carter era. Whether you think he was dealt a poor hand or not, the bottom line is that the sense of decline has only deepened during the Obama presidency, and the first-ever downgrade of U.S. credit, whatever its ultimate financial implications, is yet another symbol of that decline.

Philip Klein writes for The Washinton Examiner




Monday, August 1, 2011

The Debt Deal and the Threat to America's National Security

By Amb. John Bolton

Serious questions remain about the national security implications of the proposed deal to raise the federal debt ceiling. With members of Congress essentially being asked to vote immediately to avoid defaulting on the national debt, they are also entitled to immediate and compelling answers to the defense-related questions.

For fiscal year 2012 and 2013, cuts in defense spending remain uncertain, with reductions as much as three percent below last year’s level still possible. Depending on the outcome of further negotiations over the size and allocation of those reductions, these cuts alone may well be quite harmful. The best that can be said is that, for these fiscal years, the issue is still unresolved.

Over the longer term, the outlook is almost certainly much more disturbing. In the deal’s second stage, the yet-to-be-named Congressional Joint Commission will have wide discretion on what to agree on, but if no agreement or only partial agreement is reached, the deal’s sequestration mechanism will be triggered. Broadly speaking, if that happens, defense spending will bear fifty percent of the total cuts, with non-defense spending bearing the remaining fifty percent, up to the amount necessary to raise the debt ceiling by the minimum $ 2.4 trillion required by the deal. This approach risks grave damage to our national security.

There is no strategic rationale whatsoever for cuts of this magnitude. There is, in fact, every strategic rationale to the contrary. While the appropriations process may still be able to decide which specific programs will be cut, this is no consolation. Cuts of this size are effectively indiscriminate.

Defense spending is not just another wasteful government program. Subjecting it to potentially massive, debilitating cuts is rolling the dice in perilous times internationally. Adam Smith himself wrote in "The Wealth of Nations": “the first duty of the sovereign” [is] “protecting the society from the violence and invasion” of others.

Advocates of the deal place their reliance on the Joint Committee established by the agreement to prevent massive defense cuts. This means that the Republicans selected for membership on this Committee have the future security of this country resting on their shoulders. We can only hope that the leadership chooses representatives who understand the enormity of that responsibility.

Deal supporters argue in the alternative that the trigger mechanism, which would come into play if the Joint Committee could not reach agreement on the second tranche of spending cuts (or tax increases), need not be feared. They rest this assertion on three points.

First, they say, “Even if the committee failed to produce a single dollar in savings, the Department of Defense would be on the hook for less than $500 billion over nine years, beginning in 2013.” Unquestionably, however, cuts at this level would be catastrophic. They may not be at the $900 billion level of the Reid Plan, but they are debilitating nonetheless. If that is the best argument the deal’s advocates have, we are in deep trouble.

Second, proponents of the deal argue that out-year defense cuts can be reversed by subsequent Congresses. Of course, the Democrats will argue precisely the same point in favoring their domestic programs, suggesting that the entire second-stage exercise is a sham. Perhaps that is the best we can hope for, but it will mean a debt-ceiling increase in the second-stage without certainty about offsetting spending cuts.

Third, deal advocates say that “the point of the ‘backstop’ is that it never, ever happens.” Unfortunately, every prospect is that the Joint Committee will allocate cuts 50 percent to defense, 50 percent to non-defense. Why should Democrats agree to their favored domestic spending bearing more than 50 percent of the cuts when they know the sequestration mechanism will give them a better deal? Conversely, why should Republicans agree to more than 50 percent of the cuts being taken in defense, when they know precisely the same thing on their side?

Thus, the logic of the negotiating dynamic will mean that both sides of the Joint Committee will not concede more than they would otherwise get under the sequestration formula. That, in turn, brings us back to $500 billion in defense cuts.

This deal may be the best we can get, and in many respects it is far better than we feared. But to have accomplished so much, and fended off so many harmful proposals, to stumble at the last hurdle is a great tragedy. Make no mistake, this deal, by risking massive defense cutbacks, potentially points a dagger at the heart of our national security.

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations" (Simon & Schuster, 2007).
 



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