Wednesday, June 24, 2009

There you go again, Barney!

(Reuters) - Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.

In March, Fannie Mae (FNM.N)(FNM.P) said it would no longer guarantee mortgages on condos in buildings where fewer than 70 percent of the units have been sold, up from 51 percent, the paper said. Freddie Mac (FRE.P)(FRE.N) is due to implement similar policies next month, the paper said.

In a letter to the CEO's of both companies, Representatives Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Anthony Weiner warned that a 70 percent sales threshold "may be too onerous" and could lead condo buyers to shun new developments, according to the paper.

The legislators asked the companies to "make appropriate adjustments" to their underwriting standards for condos, the paper added.

In an interview with the paper, Weiner said the rules have "had a real chill on the ability to get these condos sold," at a time when prices of condos have fallen enough to attract potential buyers.

In addition to the 70 percent sales threshold, Fannie Mae will also not purchase mortgages in buildings where 15 percent of owners are delinquent on condo association dues or where one owner has more than 10 percent of units, as the firm sees these as signals that a building could run into financial trouble, the paper added.

Both Fannie and Freddie are preparing a response to the lawmakers, according to the paper.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

(Reporting by Chakradhar Adusumilli in Bangalore; editing by Simon Jessop)

More Truth from Dick Morris...

June 24, 2009

Obama's Weakness Issue

By Dick Morris

If only President Obama were a third as tough on Iran and North Korea as he is on Republicans, he'd be making progress in containing the dire threats to our national security these rogue nations represent. As it is, the president is letting the perception of weakness cloud his image. Once that particular miasma enshrouds a presidency, it is hard to dissipate.

If foreign policy issues actually involve war and the commitment of troops, they can be politically potent. But otherwise, the impact of international affairs on presidential image is largely metaphoric. Since foreign policy is the only area in which the president can govern virtually alone, it provides a window on his personality and use of power that domestic policy cannot.

When President Clinton, for example, dithered as Bosnia burned, he acquired a reputation for weakness that dragged down his ratings. It was only after he moved decisively to bomb and then disarm the Serbs that he shed his image of weakness. It took President H.W. Bush's invasion of Iraq to set to rest concerns that he was a "wimp." Jimmy Carter never recovered from the lasting damage to his reputation that his inability to stand up to Iran during the hostage crisis precipitated.

So now, as North Korea defies international sanctions and sends arms to Myanmar and Iran slaughters its citizens in the streets, President Obama looks helpless and hapless. He comes across as not having a clue how to handle the crises.

And, as North Korea prepares to launch a missile on a Hail Mary pass aimed at Hawaii, the Democrats slash 19 missile interceptors from the Defense Department budget.

The transparent appeasement of Iran's government -- and its obvious lack of reciprocation -- make Obama look ridiculous. Long after the mullahs have suppressed what limited democracy they once allowed, Obama's image problems will persist.

While Americans generally applaud Obama's outreach to the Muslims of the world and think highly of his Cairo speech, they are very dissatisfied with his inadequate efforts to stop Iran from developing -- and North Korea from using -- nuclear weapons. Clearly, his policies toward these two nations are a weak spot in his reputation.

His failure to stand up to either aggressor is of a piece with his virtual surrender in the war on terror. Documented in our new book, "Catastrophe," we show how he has disarmed the United States and simply elected to stop battling against terrorists, freeing them from Guantanamo as he empowers them with every manner of constitutional protection.

Obviously, the Iranian democracy demonstrators will not fare any better than their Chinese brethren did in Tiananmen Square. But the damage their brutal suppression will do to the Iranian government is going to be huge. The ayatollahs of Tehran have always sold themselves to the world's Islamic faithful as the ultimate theocracy, marrying traditional Muslim values with the needs of modern governance. But now, in the wake of the bloodshed, they are revealed as nothing more than military dictators. All the romance is gone, just as it faded in the wake of the tanks in Budapest and Prague. All that remains is power.

China, of course, fared better after Tiananmen because of its economic miracle. But Iran has no such future on its horizon. The loss of prestige in the Arab world and the end of the pretense of government with popular support will cost Iran dearly.

In the meantime, Obama's pathetic performance vis-a-vis Iran and North Korea cannot but send a message to all of America's enemies that the president of the United States does not believe in using power. That he is a wimp and they can get away with whatever they want. A dangerous reputation, indeed.

Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of "Outrage." To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to http://www.dickmorris.com/.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Real Facts and an alternative

From the President of the Heritage Foundation to the President and Congress:


To: The President and Congress of the United States

From: Edwin Feulner, Ph.D., President, The Heritage Foundation

Health care reform has been a central goal of The Heritage Foundation since our creation more than three decades ago, so we welcomed President Barack Obama’s call for a common effort to find the right solution to this public policy challenge. We believe that putting families, not the government, in control of the system is the key to success. We want to strengthen our health system based on that principle.

The trouble has been that, no sooner does the President call for “everybody to pitch in” and engage in the debate, than he vilifies any one who criticizes his plans. Denigrating different views does nothing to improve the tone of the debate here in Washington, let alone achieve real reform.

Having a civil national debate will produce more lasting change; accusing opponents of engaging in “scare tactics and fear-mongering” will not.

And make no mistake: there are legitimate concerns with what the White House has proposed. Americans need to understand the implications of all of the competing proposals, whether from the White House, from Capitol Hill, from industries, from think tanks or from interest groups.
In his speech to the American Medical Association, the President said, “When you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They’re not telling the truth.” Truth, however, is not a commodity over which the President has a monopoly. We not only believe that we are alerting the nation to potentially catastrophic consequences when we point out pitfalls in his plans, we think that some proposals being made by the White House are advertised on false premises.

Here are a few examples:

If you like your health care package you can keep it: This assertion is difficult to square with the facts. The President says that a “public option”—a government plan—would just be one of many health care plans that Americans could select. In fact, a public plan will lead many employers to drop private health coverage for their workers and dump them into the public plan—just as many employers in the 1990s pushed their workers into cheaper managed care plans. According to independent analyses, as many as 119 million Americans could end up in a public plan. This is hardly letting people keep what they have. And many in Congress are eager to expand a public plan, with tight rules on what your doctor can do and how much he or she will be paid. Congress can do that because it will be both the “umpire” who sets the rules and the “team owner” of the public plan. There will be no “level-playing field.” We believe a public option will toll a death knell for private plans.

The end goal is not a single payer system: This is another Washington euphemism that confuses people. Let us all be clear: The “single payer” here is Uncle Sam, using taxpayers’ money, and not just paying the bills but calling the shots and deciding what care every American will get—or not get. The inclusion of a public option is nothing more than a Trojan horse. The architects of the President’s proposals, and the sponsors of his proposals on Capitol Hill, know that once a government plan is in place, private insurance companies will be eventually run out of business. The government already owns a major bank and auto company; we shouldn’t hand over the medical industry as well.

The proposals are deficit-neutral: The President also asserts that a government system will be fully financed. This is a stunning untruth. Analysts, including the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office–Congress’s own watchdog–have issued preliminary estimates that the cost could be high as $2 trillion over 10 years, with most of that borrowed money. Even squeezing Medicare payments and adding new tax revenue will not pay for the massive burden this plan would put on American families. And current congressional proposals would still leave millions without insurance. Washington always says that new costs will be paid by savings elsewhere, but these phantom savings never materialize. These new costs will be borne by American families.

The quality of your health care will get better: One need only look at current government health programs to test this premise. Medicare has huge gaps in coverage. Medicaid’s quality is notoriously bad. They both offer substandard care compared to most private insurance plans. These persistent deficiencies are routinely overlooked in discussions of a government health plan. Rather than fixing Medicare and Medicaid, what the government proposes is to make these programs the foundations of a universal plan.

But we know opposing bad ideas is not enough. We need to fix the gaps in our health care system and lower costs for Americans. The system we need must not just protect union bosses, bureaucrats and select cartels, it must empower American families. The nation needs health care reform, not health care micromanaged by the government.

We are happy the President has joined a cause we have championed since our inception. He has recently been asking audiences across the nation “Where’s the alternative?” We at The Heritage Foundation are ready to discuss our alternative plans and help craft a bipartisan solution to America’s health care problems. That is what the country needs and what the President says he wants.

Specifically, a plan that would reform health care will need to:

Give families control of their health care: We need to let families—not the government—control decisions so they can choose the coverage they want. For this to happen private health insurance needs to be portable—that is, owned by Americans so they can take their package from job to job. The health care system we have today was conceived in the era of World War II, when many Americans worked for the same company all their lives. As we know, that is not the case today. The President has acknowledged this. But we do not need a public plan, or mandates on businesses, to have portability. We need changes in rules and the removal of tax penalties to allow families real choice and ownership.

Reform the tax system: For portability to become reality, we need to reform the tax system. Right now, families can get a tax break for their insurance only if they hand over control of their insurance to their boss, and leave their plan behind if they change jobs. That needs to change. We need to provide the same tax relief to families wherever they choose to get their plan. In that world of empowered families, plans would have to compete to satisfy them, not compete to cut costs for employers.

Bring on competition: Americans will get quality health care only with the mechanism that has given us quality in all other aspects of life: competition. The way to get quality care in America is to have insurers compete to satisfy families in an insurance market, one that provides transparent information, ease of delivery and quick results, and which is fair to families and their doctors. Members of Congress pick and choose plans in such a market. The rest of America should also have that right.

Recognize that states know better than Washington: The challenges of organizing and delivering health care vary greatly across the nation. Rural Mississippi is not the same as Midtown Manhattan. States have always been smarter than Washington at figuring out how to get the job done. To the extent that government must play a role, the states should take the lead in devising the best way to reach our national goals. The last thing we need is one-size-fits-all health care.
Congress needs to let states find the best way to achieve value for money in widening coverage while bringing down costs.

A reckless, expensive and one-sided rush toward “reform” would not only be damaging to our public discourse, but it could fundamentally change our society in ways that have far-reaching consequences.

Rather than bringing in the failed central-planning approach to health care, with the government controlling who gets what, let’s ensure access to affordable health care for all Americans. Let’s use the tried and tested approach of the empowered consumer in a truly competitive market.
These are some of our remedies to our nation’s health care system. There are other free market ideas that also warrant consideration. We call on the President and Congress to widen the conversation. Let the debate truly begin.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A President who is proud of his country....

June 12, 2009

Hovering on High: Obama Surveys the World

By Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- When President Obama returned from his first European trip, I observed that while over there he had been "acting the philosopher-king who hovers above the fray mediating" between America and the world. Now that Obama has returned from his "Muslim world" pilgrimage, even the left agrees. "Obama's standing above the country, above -- above the world. He's sort of God," Newsweek's Evan Thomas said to a concurring Chris Matthews, reflecting on Obama's lofty perception of himself as the great transcender.

Not that Obama considers himself divine. (He sees himself as merely messianic, or, at worst, apostolic.) But he does position himself as hovering above mere mortals, mere country, to gaze benignly upon the darkling plain beneath him where ignorant armies clash by night, blind to the common humanity that only he can see. Traveling the world, he brings the gospel of understanding and godly forbearance. We have all sinned against each other. We must now look beyond that and walk together to the sunny uplands of comity and understanding. He shall guide you. Thus:


(A) He told Iran that, on the one hand, America once helped overthrow an Iranian government, while on the other hand "Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians." (Played a role?!) We have both sinned; let us bury the past and begin anew.

(B) On religious tolerance, he gently referenced the Christians of Lebanon and Egypt, then lamented that the "divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence" (note the use of the passive voice). He then criticized (in the active voice) Western religious intolerance for regulating the wearing of the hijab -- after citing America for making it difficult for Muslims to give to charity.

(C) Obama offered Muslims a careful admonition about women's rights, noting how denying women education impoverishes a country -- balanced, of course, with "meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life."

Well, yes. On the one hand, there certainly is some American university where the women's softball team has received insufficient Title IX funds -- while, on the other hand, Saudi women showing ankle are beaten in the street, Afghan school girls have acid thrown in their faces, and Iranian women are publicly stoned to death for adultery. (Gays, as well -- but then again we have Prop 8.) We all have our shortcomings, our national foibles. Who's to judge?

That's the problem with Obama's transcultural evenhandedness. It gives the veneer of professorial sophistication to the most simple-minded observation: Of course there are rights and wrongs in all human affairs. Our species is a fallen one. But that doesn't mean that these rights and wrongs are of equal weight.

A CIA rent-a-mob in a coup 56 years ago does not balance the hostage-takings, throat-slittings, terror bombings and wanton slaughters perpetrated for 30 years by a thug regime in Teheran (and its surrogates) that our own State Department calls the world's "most active state sponsor of terrorism."

True, France prohibits the wearing of the hijab in certain public places, in part to allow the force of law to protect Muslim women who might be coerced into wearing it by neighborhood fundamentalist gangs. But it borders on the obscene to compare this mild preference for secularization (seen in Muslim Turkey as well) to the violence that has been visited upon Copts, Maronites, Baha'i, Druze and other minorities in Muslim lands, and to the unspeakable cruelties perpetrated by Shiites and Sunnis upon each other.

Even on freedom of religion, Obama could not resist the compulsion to find fault with his own country: "For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation" -- disgracefully giving the impression to a foreign audience not versed in our laws that there is active discrimination against Muslims, when the only restriction, applied to all donors regardless of religion, is on funding charities that serve as fronts for terror.

Obama undoubtedly thinks he is demonstrating historical magnanimity with all these moral equivalencies and self-flagellating apologetics. On the contrary. He's showing cheap condescension, an unseemly hunger for applause and a willingness to distort history for political effect.

Distorting history is not truth-telling, but the telling of soft lies. Creating false equivalencies is not moral leadership, but moral abdication. And hovering above it all, above country and history, is a sign not of transcendence but of a disturbing ambivalence toward one's own country.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Be careful what you wish for.....

The End of Medical Miracles?
Tevi Troy
June 2009

Americans have, at best, a love-hate relationship with the life-sciences industry—the term for the sector of the economy that produces pharmaceuticals, biologics (like vaccines), and medical devices. These days, the mere mention of a pharmaceutical manufacturer seems to elicit gut-level hostility. Journalists, operating from a bias against industry that goes as far back as the work of Upton Sinclair in the early years of the 20th century, treat companies from AstraZeneca to Wyeth as rapacious factories billowing forth nothing but profit. At the same time, Americans are adamant about the need for access to the newest cures and therapies and expect new cures and therapies to emerge for their every ailment—all of which result from work done primarily by these very same companies whose profits make possible the research that allows for such breakthroughs.

Liberals and conservatives appear to agree on the need to unleash the possibilities in medical discovery for the benefit of all. But it cannot be ordered up at will. It takes approximately ten years and $1 billion to get a new product approved for use in the United States. Furthermore, only one in every 10,000 newly discovered molecules will lead to a medication that will be viewed favorably by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Only three out of every ten new medications earn back their research-and-development costs. The approval success rates are low, and may even be getting lower—30.2 percent for biotech drugs and 21.5 percent for small-molecule pharmaceuticals.

It is the very nature of scientific discovery that makes this process so cumbersome. New developments do not appear as straight-line extrapolations. A dollar in research does not lead inexorably to a return of $1.50. Researchers will spend years in a specific area to no avail, while other areas will benefit from a happy concatenation of discoveries in a short period. It is impossible to tell which area will be fruitless; so many factors figure into the equation, including dumb luck. Alexander Fleming did not mean to leave his lab in such disarray that he would discover that an extract from moldy bread killed bacteria, yet that is how it happened. Conversely, if effort and resources were all it took, then we would have an HIV/AIDS vaccine by now; as it stands, the solution to that problem continues to elude the grasp of some of the most talented and heavily funded researchers.

Scientific discoveries are neither inevitable nor predictable. What is more, they are affected, especially in our time, by forces outside the laboratory—in particular, the actions of politicians and government bureaucracies. The past quarter-century has offered several meaningful object lessons in this regard. For example, in the 1980s, the Reagan administration undertook a number of actions, both general and specific, that had a positive effect on the pace of discovery. On the general front, low taxes and a preference for free trade helped generate a positive economic climate for private investment, including in the rapidly growing health-care sector. More specifically, the Reagan administration engaged in new technology transfer policies to promote joint ventures, encouraged and passed the Orphan Drug Act to encourage work on products with relatively small markets, and accelerated approval and use of certain data from clinical trials in order to hasten the approval of new products. All of these initiatives helped foster discovery.

That which the government gives, it can also take away. As the 1990s began, a set of ideas began to gain traction about health care and its affordability (it seems hard to believe, but the first election in which health care was a major issue was a Pennsylvania Senate race only eighteen years ago, in 1991). Americans began to fear that their health-care benefits were at risk; policymakers and intellectuals on both sides of the ideological divide began to fear that the health-care system was either too expensive or not comprehensive enough; and the conduct of private businesses in a field that now ate up nearly 14 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product came under intense public scrutiny.

A leading critic of Big Pharma, Greg Critser, wrote in his 2007 Generation Rx that President Clinton picked up on a public discomfort with drug prices and “began hinting at price controls” during his first term in office. These hints had a real impact. As former FDA official Scott Gottlieb has written, “Shortly after President Bill Clinton unveiled his proposal for nationalizing the health-insurance market in the 1990s (with similar limits on access to medical care as in the [current] Obama plan), biotech venture capital fell by more than a third in a single year, and the value of biotech stocks fell 40 percent. It took three years for the ‘Biocentury’ stock index to recover. Not surprisingly, many companies went out of business.”

The conduct of the businesses that had been responsible for almost every medical innovation from which Americans and the world had benefited for decades became intensely controversial in the 1990s. An odd inversion came into play. Since the work they did was life-saving or life-enhancing, it was not deemed by a certain liberal mindset to be of special value, worth the expense. Rather, medical treatment came to be considered a human right to which universal access was required without regard to cost. Because people needed these goods so much, it was unscrupulous or greedy to involve the profit principle in them. What mattered most was equity. Consumers of health care should not have to be subject to market forces.

And not only that. Since pharmaceuticals and biologics are powerful things that can do great harm if they are misused or misapplied, the companies that made them found themselves under assault for injuries they might have caused. It was little considered that the drugs had been approved for use by a federal agency that imposed the world’s most rigorous standards, and was often criticized for holding up promising treatments (especially for AIDS). Juries were convinced that companies had behaved with reckless disregard for the health of consumers, and hit them with enormous punitive damages claims.

The late 1990s also coincided with an unpredictable slowdown in the pace of medical discovery, following a fertile period in which new antihistamines, antidepressants, and gastric-acid reducers all came to market and improved the quality of life of millions in inestimable ways. A lull in innovation then set in, and that in turn gave opponents of the pharmaceutical industry a new target of opportunity. An oft-cited 1999 study by the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) claimed that the newest and costliest products were only offering “modest improvements on earlier therapies at considerably greater expense.”
The NIHCM study opened fresh lines of attack. The first came from the managed-care industry, which used it as a means of arguing that drugs had simply grown too expensive. Managed care is extremely price-sensitive, and its business model is built on cutting costs; executives of the industry were well represented on the board of the institute that put out the report. They were, in effect, fighting with the pharmaceutical companies over who should get more of the consumer’s health-care dollars.

The second came in response to the approval by the FDA in 1997 of direct consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals. The marketing explosion that followed it gave people the sense that these companies were not doing life-saving work but were rather engaged in the sale of relative trivialities, like Viagra and Rogaine, on which they had advertising dollars to burn that would be better spent on lowering the cost of drugs. And the third element of this mix was the rise of the Internet, which gave Americans a level of price transparency that they had not had before regarding cost differentials between drugs sold in the U.S. versus Canada and other Western countries.

These three factors precipitated a full-bore campaign by public interest groups that bore remarkable fruit over the next several years. By February 2004, Time magazine was publishing a cover story on pharmaceutical pricing, noting that “the clamor for cheap Canadian imports is becoming a big issue.” Marcia Angell, a fierce critic of the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA, wrote in the New York Review of Books in 2004 that, “In the past two years, we have started to see, for the first time, the beginnings of public resistance to rapacious pricing and other dubious practices of the pharmaceutical industry.”

Harvard’s Robert Blendon released a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in 2005 in which 70 percent of Americans reported feeling that “drug companies put profits ahead of people” and 59 percent saying that “prescription drugs increase overall medical costs because they are so expensive.” Overall, noted the foundation’s president, Drew Altman, “Rightly or wrongly, drug companies are now the number one villain in the public’s eye when it comes to rising health-care costs.”

About the Author
Tevi Troy, deputy secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services from 2007 to 2009, is a visiting senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

On the Leftist Condition....

The question that’s been preying on my mind is who is best suited to study those strange beings known as liberals. It strikes me that they’d be fit subjects for psychiatrists, who might be in a position to figure out why they revere the people they do — people such as Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Al Gore and Ted Kennedy — men who haven’t a single notable accomplishment to their name, aside from either winning elections or eliminating them altogether. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate for biologists to delve into the left-wing organism, and determine how it is possible that creatures without brains could have survived so long in an often hostile environment.
If you don’t believe that liberalism is a serious malady, consider that Paul Krugman of the New York Times, when addressing Sonia Sotomayor’s remark about an Hispanic woman being better qualified than a white man to be a judge, said that she was merely being entertaining. Even if Mr. Krugman is, as his comment suggests, more easily entertained than a backward three-year-old, I have a feeling that he wasn’t nearly as forgiving when Trent Lott, on the occasion of Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday in 2002, said it was a shame that the old Dixiecrat hadn’t been elected president in 1948.Yet another recent example of liberalism in action took place at Harvard, where bright young people go to have their brains exchanged for a pound of hay and humongous egos. It seems that the mucky-mucks at the university found $1.5 million lying around and decided that the best possible use for the money was to create a visiting professorship in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies. I guess the good news is that if Barney Frank decides to do us all a big favor and get out of politics, there’s a job opening at his alma mater.
Speaking of liberal goofiness brings us inevitably to Barack Hussein Obama, as he now proudly identifies himself — at least when he’s addressing Muslims, praising Muslims and, as usual, slandering America. By the way, isn’t it the least bit odd that he never condemns Muslim-extremists for clinging to their religion and their suicide bombs? And even if you’re a liberal, doesn’t it seem peculiar that during his speech in Egypt, he didn’t take a moment to mention how much blood and national treasure America has spent — and, I would suggest, wasted — defending Muslims in Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan?
But, then, we mustn’t forget that this is the same chap who went to France and took the opportunity to apologize for America’s arrogance without once mentioning the number of American G.I.s who died, making sure that the French wouldn’t have to give up wine and foie gras for beer and bratwurst.
By the way, do you think the day will ever come when he’ll quit apologizing for America’s arrogance and apologize for his own?
Before setting off for the Middle East, where he gave a thumbs-up to Iran’s nuclear program while condemning Israel for building houses, Obama mentioned that America is home to one of the world’s largest Muslim populations. As anyone with even a passing interest in facts would know, there are roughly three million Muslims in the United States. Just to give you some idea of how far off Obama was, Indonesia has 195 million, Pakistan has 160 million, India has 154 million. Even Burkina Faso, a place you’ve never even heard of, has seven million. There are, as one of his advisers should have told him before he shot off his mouth, roughly 40 countries in the world with larger Muslim populations than America.
But, then, as we all know, Obama has notoriously weak math skills. It certainly explains why he announced during the campaign that that the U.S. is made up of 57 states. Heck, it may even help explain the way he tosses around our money. It’s a scary thought, but isn’t it just possible that he can’t really tell the difference between million, billion and trillion?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pat Buchanan on the Apologizer in Chief

from RealClearPolitics.com

June 9, 2009
The Anti-Reagan By Patrick Buchanan

Despite his boldness, Barack Obama seems as fated to fail as were Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter. And for the same reason: a belief in his own righteousness and moral superiority, and a belief that his ideals and his persona count mightily in the modern world.

Wilson declaimed about America's fight to "make the world safe for democracy" when in harness with the British, French, Russian, Japanese and Italian empires, all slavering to feast on the carcasses of the Hohenzollern, Habsburg and Ottoman empires.

By 1920, Wilson was a tragic failure, mocked by ex-allies and reviled by former enemies for having dishonored his own 14 Points.
Jimmy Carter declared in 1977 that "we have gotten over our inordinate fear of communism that caused us to embrace any dictator who shared in that fear." So, we undermined Nicaragua's Anastasio Somoza and the Shah, and got the Sandinistas and the Ayatollah Khomeini.

As for Barack, he behaves on the world stage like some Ivy League kid ashamed of the people he came from, letting one and all on campus know that he is nothing like his benighted family with its sordid history.

In Cairo, he confessed that America had a hand in dumping over the regime in Iran in 1953. He did not mention that the United States forced the retreat of Joseph Stalin's army from Iran in 1946.
For the 100th time, he declared, "I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year."
Is Obama unaware that Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia run prisons that make Guantanamo look like The Breakers at Palm Beach?
How many Guantanamo inmates plead to be sent home to Muslim countries?

In Trinidad, Obama sat for 55 minutes enduring Daniel Ortega's diatribe against the United States for mistreatment of Castro's Cuba and for the Bay of Pigs. Obama protested that he could not be held responsible for something that happened the year he was born.
Why could not he say to Ortega: "We also intervened in the Dominican Republic in 1965 to block a communist takeover, and in Grenada in 1983. The only problem with the Bay of Pigs is that we should have done it right and removed the odious Cuban dictatorship, and put Fidel, Raul and Che up against that same wall where so many patriots perished and spared the Cuban people 50 years of tyranny and the prostitution of their island into a base camp for the greatest despotism of the 20th century."

What is the matter with Obama that he cannot defend our Cold War conduct and Cold War presidents like Ike and JFK?
Answer: Obama cannot, because at heart he buys into the anti-American narrative that ours is a deplorable history -- of genocide against the Indians, of slavery and segregation, of robbing Mexicans of their land and of disrespecting our Latin neighbors.
Obama is determined to make the requisite apologies to show the world he does not condone the sins our fathers committed.

Thus, as Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation has cataloged, Obama has apologized to Europe for our having "shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." He apologized to Latin America for our having been "disengaged and at times ... sought to dictate."
He told the Turks that we are "working through our own darker periods in our history. ... Our nation still struggles with the legacy of slavery and segregation, the past treatment of Native Americans."
Obama, however, did not ask the Turks to confess to their own "darker periods," which might have taken some time.

Obama is the anti-Reagan. Where Reagan ever spoke of the greatness and glory of America, her history and heroes, her capacity to make the world all over again, Obama is like a dismal parson, forever reminding us -- and everyone within earshot -- of our own and our fathers' sins.
Obama is not only demoralizing Middle America, he is driving away the God-and-country patriots who are sick of hearing this rot from professors and journalists, and prefer not to hear it from their president. He is ceding moral high ground to regimes and nations that do not deserve it.

If Obama believes he can build himself up by tearing America down, he is mistaken. Cynical foreigners will view it with snickering contempt, patriotic Americans with disgust. What kind of leader is it who talks down his own country on foreign soil?

America's performance in the Cold War was hardly flawless. But does anyone deny that we were on the right side, that the Soviet Empire and Mao's China and communist Vietnam and Castro's Cuba were on the side of tyranny -- and that the neutrals were by and large irrelevant or worse in that great cause?

A nation is an extended family. While families fight and quarrel, often bitterly, you do not take the family quarrel outside the family.
You don't hang the family's dirty linen on the communal clothesline.
Obama, however -- like some Hollywood actress seeking sympathy and public approbation with her tell-all biography detailing how she was abused by her father -- trolls for popularity with America's adversaries by reciting for the benefit of the world all the sins his country has allegedly committed.

When did this become the duty of the president of the United States?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's the Economy, stupid!!!!!

Karl Rove hits a home run in this WSJ editorial:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124407228244683091.html

Of particular note is the falacy of job growth stimulated by Government spending.

Recent government stimulus projects in Michigan, specifically for roads, are going to those who would have won the projects anyway. They do not hire new people to execute these projects.

Buddies for Life......


Tuesday, June 2, 2009