RFK Jr. Throws Dead Kennedys Under the Obama-Cuba Bus

kennedys

The title of the piece is “We have so much to learn from Cuba”.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. opens his latest op-ed, this one regarding the Obama administration’s diplomacy-warming of a U.S.-Cuba relationship by embargo change, by putting blame on two of his own relatives…

In early December, President Barack Obama announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than five decades of a misguided policy which my uncle, John F. Kennedy, and my father, Robert F. Kennedy, had been responsible for enforcing after the U.S. embargo against the country was first implemented in October 1960 by the Eisenhower administration.

RFK Jr., I guess, thinks shaking his head and finger at his father and uncle, AND pointing out his privileged visit to the island, solidifies his views that the embargo is broken and must be scrapped, or something. He manages to basically scold the Castro regime for being bad communists.

However, his belief is the U.S. embargo was behind the Cuban government’s reasoning and justification for treating Cuba’s people like starving prisoners and keeping the country’s economy down. Yeah, we made them do it.

It is almost beyond irony that the very same politicians who argued that we should punish Castro for curtailing human rights and mistreating prisoners in Cuban jails elsewhere contend that the United States is justified in mistreating our own prisoners in Cuban jails.

Imagine a U.S. president faced, as Castro was, with over 400 assassination attempts, thousands of episodes of foreign-sponsored sabotage directed at our nation’s people, factories and bridges, a foreign-sponsored invasion and fifty years of economic warfare that has effectively deprived our citizens of basic necessities and strangled our economy.

No, what’s ironic, Bobby Jr., is the conspiracy theory of Castro’s alleged involvement in your POTUS Uncle JFK’s assassination. But, eh…

The Cuban leadership has pointed to the embargo with abundant justification as the reason for economic deprivation in Cuba.

The embargo allows the regime to portray the United States as a bully and itself as the personification of courage, standing up to threats, intimidation and economic warfare by history’s greatest military superpower.

It perpetually reminds the proud Cuban people that our powerful nation, which has staged invasions of their island and plotted for decades to assassinate their leaders and sabotaged their industry, continues an aggressive campaign to ruin their economy.

Yeah, he said that. The same-old same-old claptrap that has been heard for years. Sort of flies in the face(s) of half a century of countless Cubans climbing into dangerous, leaky rafts to sail deadly shark-infested waters to get here to the great Satan … Doesn’t it?

Oh, and I found this one priceless…

Unlike other Caribbean islands where poverty means starvation, all Cubans receive a monthly food ration book that provides for their basic necessities.

But you read and judge.

A week ago A.J. Delgado wrote, “Arguing with idiots about #Cuba”, where she counters many of the anti-embargo talking points liberals, such as RFK Jr., are constantly regurgitating. The fact is Barack Obama’s new age plan for changing diplomacy with Cuba is yet another one of his foreign policy decisions granting trust where trust is not deserved … and is already evident.

“Ojo y mucho cuidado”: Elections in El Salvador

(My new American Thinker post about the elections in El Salvador)

Not long ago, Central America was a big part of our foreign policy discussion in the US.

Remember the contras? Noriega and the Panama invasion?  El Salvador civil war?

We don’t have those problems anymore and we’ve spent a lot of time looking at Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and so on.  Nevertheless, the region faces violence and economic challenges.   It is also a source of illegal immigration to the US.

Last Sunday, the left won the first round of the El Salvador election, as reported in The NY Times:

 “In El Salvador, a divided right may have benefited the front-runner of the left-leaning Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, known as the F.M.L.N., which appeared in good position to hold on to the presidency. It won the office for the first time in 2009, after a string of losses to conservatives following peace accords in 1992 ended one of the bloodiest civil wars in the Americas. The F.M.L.N. candidate, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, a former guerrilla commander and the vice president, got 49 percent of the vote, but not the majority needed to avoid a March 9 runoff, according to preliminary results.”

The right should do better in the 2nd round because many of the 3rd party votes are more likely to go right then left.  At the same time, the left goes to the “runoff” with 49% of the vote in the first round.  As they say, I’d rather go to the runoff with 49% in the first round than 39%!

No matter who wins, the people are not happy with the political class because of a sluggish economy and rampant gang violence.The winner of the election will have a very brief honeymoon and face citizens who want quick results. It won’t be easy governing El Salvador.

Central America has come a long way from “contras” and “the civil war” of the early 1980s in El Salvador.  Unfortunately, they face a new set of problems, such as mindless gang violence and insecurity.

And let’s not forget that Central America is a source of illegal immigration to the US. It’s in our interest to have jobs and economic growth in the region.

P. S. You can hear my chat with Fausta Wertz (Fausta’s Blog) and Miguel Portillo-Cuadras from El Salvador & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

 

 

“La realidad” has landed in Buenos Aires!

“La realidad” has finally arrived in Argentina.

My dad and I were having one of those “father-son chats” many years ago. He said one of the most profound things that I’ve ever heard. He told me that reality always has the last word.

My father was not speaking about Argentina but reality is clearly having the last word down there.

It is really tough, and getting worse, according to news reports:

“”When I went to buy it, the price had gone up 25% since when I checked prices last week,” she complained outside the Alto Palermo shopping mall.

“The same thing just happened to me at the pharmacy where I went to buy the medicine my husband takes: the price was up 20%.”

The economic panic leading to price mark-ups of this kind began in mid-January, whenArgentina’s central bank reserves dipped below $30bn, forcing the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to drop its policy of injecting large quantities of dollars into the exchange market to shore up the overvalued peso.

The sudden dollar scarcity on Argentina’s exchange market sent the peso’s official value crashing to eight pesos to the dollar, while the “blue” illegal rate shot up to nearly 13 pesos.

Retailers immediately marked up their prices to reflect the new reality. In some cases, items were pulled en masse from the shelves, as retailers pondered how much to mark up their goods.”

In the past, President Cristina Fernandez, who replaced her husband Nestor a few years ago, has demonized the opposition and promised more “free stuff” to voters.

That was then and this is now.

Reality does not allow her to play that “tango” anymore.

Argentina is going to enter a very serious crisis and the public is in for a very uncomfortable ride.   We will likely see a default of Argentina’s foreign debt, as Fausta Wertz has been saying.

There are two options for Argentina.

First, they can look to Chile, bite the bullet and better days will come. Argentina has the potential for a huge comeback but they need a political class that looks to Chile not Cuba for economic ideas.

Second, they can “double down” on class warfare and implode.  Yes implode like “implode”!

“Don’t cry for me Argentina” should be changed to “Don’t vote for such stupid leaders Argentina”.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

 

“The United States government is the ultimate giant unworkable mess”

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog puts into brilliant context exactly why government cannot do or build the things a culture with real individual incentive can build, no matter how much money the government continually throws at it…

The ObamaCare website is the natural spawn of that technocracy who love the idea of using modernity to make things faster and easier, but have no idea what anything costs or how it works.

It’s hard to have a functioning technocracy without engineers. A technocracy made in Silicon Valley with its complete disregard for anything outside its own ego zone would be bad enough. But this is a Bloombergian technocracy of billionaires and activists, of people who think that “progress” makes things work, rather than things working leading to progress.

Healthcare.gov showed us that behind all the smoother and shinier designs was the same old clunky government where everything gets done because the right companies hire the right lobbyists and everything costs ten times what it should.

If the government can’t build a health care website, how is it going to actually run health care for an entire country is the obvious question that so many are asking. And the obvious answer is that it will run it the way it ran the website. It will throw wads of money and people at the problem and then look for programs it doesn’t like to squeeze for extra cash.

The Navy had to be cut to the bone and the Benghazi mission had to make do without security so that a Canadian company which began employing a classmate of Michelle Obama’s could score over half a billion to build a broken website. Obama mocked Mitt Romney’s criticism of his Navy cuts by telling him that we don’t fight with bayonets and horses anymore. Bayonets and horses are outdated. In our glorious modernity, we spend fortunes to build websites that don’t work instead.

Modernity has to be built. It has to be constructed brick by bit by rivet by cable by people who know what they are doing. Modernity without competence is as worthless as the ObamaCare website which looked pretty enough to give the illusion of technocratic modernity, but didn’t actually work.

Competence is the real modernity and it has very little to do with the empty trappings of design that surround it. In some ways the America of a few generations ago was a far more modern place because it was a more competent place. For all our nice toys, we look like primitive savages compared to men who could build skyscrapers and fleets within a year… and build them well.

Those aren’t things we can do anymore. Not because the knowledge and skills don’t exist, but because the culture no longer allows it. We can’t do them for the same reason that Third World countries can’t do what we do. It’s not that the knowledge is inaccessible, but that the culture gets in the way.

It’s our very hollow modernity that gets in the way of our truly being modern. We can no longer build big things because the ability to implement vision on a large scale no longer exists. We can still do impressive things as individuals, but that’s also true of Kenya or Thailand. And in China, they can carry out grandiose projects, but those projects have no vision or competence.

Read in full

MORE:

Obamacare Catastrophe Reveals Barack’s Entire Paper-Mache Fantasy World

“Las monjas se van a enojar con Obama” for spying on Pope Francis

I hope that they didn’t tell President Obama about this one:

“The National Security Agency spied on the future Pope Francis before and during the Vatican conclave at which he was chosen to succeed Benedict XVI, it was claimed on Wednesday.

The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.

The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.

The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.

At that time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy.”

My guess is that the White House will distance President Obama from this.

It’s one thing to get the Germans or the Europeans angry.  It’s quite another thing to spy on the Pope before he became Pope.

This is not going to go down well with Catholic nuns!  Watch for the nuns to lineup outside the White House ready to slap President Obama’s hands.

Let me tell you something from personal experience.  There is nothing more scary in the planet than an angry nun with a ruler!

P.S. By the way, I miss Alvarez-Guedes on days like this one!  Can you imagine what he would say about the President of the US spying on a bishop waiting to become Pope?

 

Dear Mr Leisman: Cruz is Cuban and the jobs report is pre-shutdown

Steve Leisman of CNBC had a very embarassing moment today:

“There was a brief moment of awkwardness on CNBC Tuesday morning when, during a discussion of the weak jobs report and Senator Ted Cruz, reporterSteve Liesman asked for some “Mexican music” to be played while they talked about Cruz.

Liesman said, “We’re going to call this the Senator Ted Cruz jobs report. These are the jobless claims of Senator Ted Cruz.”

When a picture of Cruz appeared on the screen, he continued, “Can we get some music to go along with that? Some Mexican music, maybe?”

There was also some music briefly playing for a few seconds before immediately being cut.”

Leisman is wrong on two counts:

First, and less important, the reference to Mexican music misses the point that Senator Cruz is Cuban American.  I’m not worked up about this but there is a double standard in the media.  Would he have said “play Mexican music” if he was talking about a Mexican American Democrat?  My guess is no!

Second, and very important, the jobs report is all pre-shutdown:

“September’s report predates the culmination of the most recent fiscal showdown, whose effects are more likely to be found in the October employment report.”

So Mr Leisman got the wrong music and bad analysis of the numbers.

The jobs report was very weak.    We created a lousy 148,000 jobs but the big story that 10 millions have now dropped out of the labor force.

We are in the 5th year of the Obama stimulus and we have very little to show for the $847 billion spent.

Forget the music.  It’s the policies!

 

I Can See The “Community Organizer” From My House…

community organizer

Recall in 2008 during the then presidential election campaigns how all the in-the-know Obama supporters in the democrat party and in the media were so eager to elevate the man, with little to no experience at even an actual job, to a would be indisputable level of “Community Organizer” that would trump anything a crazy Vietnam-vet-McCain/Alaska-hick-Palin ticket could possibly offer the country … or the WORLD!!! As we have seen in recent weeks, when Obama’s claim to supreme expertise in the specialty of ‘organizing communities’ has been called upon, he has shown himself far over-sold even in that job.

Silvio Canto, Jr. holds up the mirror for all to see…

As you may recall, much of Senator Obama’s message in 2008 was about international coalitions. He mocked President Bush for “going at it alone.” I guess that 40-something countries in Iraq was not a big enough coalition. Or, having UK, Canadian and other NATO soldiers take bullets in Afghanistan was not enough either.

Today, President Obama stands alone in the world. He can’t even get the UK in Syria. He has found some “moral support” but no one is offering airplanes or missiles.

President Obama is saying that the world drew a “red line.” However, no one seems ready to enforce it or fight for the innocent people of Syria.

President Obama is painfully learning that it was easier to build coalitions in the campaign trail than from The Oval Office.

This is the latest about the coalition that won’t coalesce:

[…]

We’ve come a long way from that summer of 2008 when Obama was treated like a rock star in Europe.

Frankly, we have a perfect storm here: We have a man who made outregously silly statements about international relations when he was a candidate and a crowd silly enough to believe it.

Silly speaker plus silly listeners equals what we are seeing today.

Continue

Oddly, the strongest ally Obama has been able to organize into his tiny “Bomb Assad/Syria” community is his old 2008 foe Sen. John McCain … with Gov. Palin allowing, “Let Allah sort it out” … Which, of course, is far far worse than bombing the hell out of Syria, or something.

MORE:

“WH Chief of Staff: U.S. Has No Military Allies for Syria Strike”

One Person’s Opinion

This is a guest post from frequent commenter Honey.

* * *

William Buckley often used to use the expression “History begins where you want it to when you want to win an argument.” I am sure most people understand what that means. But how many times have you listened in exasperation when someone takes the current set of facts and makes conclusions based on that and ignores all that led up to it?

So I cringed when Laura Ingraham on Fox News Sunday, June 2nd, in discussing whether the U.S. should intervene in Syria now, asked, in mockery of the idea, remember when Bush talked about those dominoes that were going to fall as the middle eastern countries were going to want democracy when they saw it was possible in Iraq. She said now look what we have wrought. Then she added insult to injury when she said that America has to grapple with the idea that its influence on the world has declined and we have limited power to intervene in a world where the parties are unknown.

I was glad that the outnumbered Jennifer Rubin on the panel got in the comment that we should remember what happens when the U.S. does nothing to stand up to power and that our current problems were CAUSED by this administration.

Now I don’t think at this moment we have a dog in the fight in Syria. But I would have felt a bit more comforted by Ingram’s terrible assertions if she had at least alluded to many things that got us into this place, like for example why we are in a world where the parties are unknown.

I always astonish my friends because I say unpopular things. It doesn’t mean I am incorrect. Most of the time what I say turns out to have been prophetic, but no one who disagreed with me ever comes to me to say, ” You were right. I should have listened.”

And I am guessing few would say that to me now in regard to many of the assertions I will be making here.

I loved Ronald Reagan. I loved him because he recognized that there was evil in the world and was willing to name it and its location. But here is where I may hit nerves. I also loved George Bush for the same reason.

People love to engage in historic revisionism. Iraq was a free country after Bush pushed the situation in the surge. Remember all of those who criticized the surge and had to eat crow because it worked after all? Iraq had free elections, luxury hotels booked for years to come, many new organs of a free press – it was a free country.

But Americans these days do not have the patience that Americans had, say, during the Second World War. A favorite poster now asserts that “War Is Not the Answer”. “Can’t we all just get along?”, is the latest homily.

Iraq is not free today. But imagine if we had nominated a candidate and elected a president who was like Bush and understood that there is evil in the world and if we allow it free rein, evil will take the reins and stampede. Instead the American people elected and (perhaps) reelected a different kind of president. So what is an Iraqi leader to do? Once you understand that there is no America to back up your freedom because war is such a bore, what would you do? So he warmed up to his dangerous neighbor, Iran, for some protection.

Elections have results.

Here are just a few of them:

The biggest one is that we ignored the Greens in their efforts in Iran to make trouble for the Islamist government. The Iranian people are a natural ally of the west. There are of course many faithful to the Mullahs there. But the majority of the Iranian people want to overthrow their tyranny. Our president said empty words and left those brave people to their terrible fate. Can you picture Bush doing that? That behavior alone set the tone that America is a paper tiger and anyone who chooses to confront tyranny does not have an ally in this White House.

Of course it was not reported this way. The Pravda press for this administration never reports the failures as being bad. All that this administration chooses to do is good according to them.

The pattern from January 20th, 2009, was immediate and consistent. Spend the country into oblivion. Spend so much, mostly to reward cronies or big contributors, and almost nothing to make things better, that the private economy is destined for ruin. Then spend so much more, and keep piling on demonizing your political enemies in permanent campaign mode, so that the country cannot survive. Spend so much that you must crowd out defense spending and therefore have done with any thought of protecting the American people anymore. Then let the press praise your every decision and demonize anyone who says a word against you.

More of the pattern was to run around the world apologizing for America and giving the impression that we are not unique but just another country.

Add to this that nothing that goes wrong is the fault of the administration and blame everyone and everything. No matter how ludicrous you sound let political operatives and the msm cover for you in their blather.

Oh, and, yes, declare the war on terror over.

Finally in all conflicts take the wrong side. In Honduras, support the tyrant over the freely elected representatives; in economic thought isolate American allies and reward enemies of freedom; Pull out of Iraq and get the predictable result and go into Afghanistan and get more American service people killed by a factor of three in three years than died in six years under Bush. Jeanine Garafolo and Cindy Sheehan will not be on talk shows crying for the lost ones now as they were ubiquitously under Bush, nor will the main TV news shows be counting the number of dead on every broadcast.

The reasons we lose so many now are the horrible rules of engagement.

Use the IRS to squelch opposition by ruining lives of any who decide to wish for a return to the Constitution. Have your operatives demonize anyone who is not on your wavelength. Have your intelligence services spend their time treating some in the press as if they were enemy agents; instead of building up your intelligence to be able to go under cover when needed to ferret out who our friends are and who our enemies in conflicts overseas, which Bush so ably did. But, no, who needs intelligence when you can rashly do actions without worrying about consequences? So say Mubarek must go, and allow Egypt, a stable ally which did not make trouble against Israel, to go Islamist. Do nothing to stop Iran getting the bomb or spreading terrorism at will. Ignore homeland threats.

Above all, never call it terrorism when it blatantly is just that. Use euphemisms. Let Americans get killed in Benghazi. Not to worry. The press will cover you. Do so many illegal things in a pile on that when your political opposition has the courage to take you on, they look like it is all just playing politics.
I could go on, but you get the idea.

So now if you were one faction in a country who wanted power against the leadership, what would you do under the circumstances? You have a militarily and economically weak America with an administration that is not knowledgeable about the world and how it works – well, just go ahead and stir up rebellion. The baddies on both sides can have a field day and those who really want to live in freedom are lost in the shuffle. So more tyranny and chaos can reign and less freedom ensues.

Why is it lost on so many that most of this was kept tamped down under Bush and there were no ( fill in euphemism) acts of terror?

And now we get back to Laura Ingraham and her remarks. Now we can see that it needn’t have all turned out this way.

Here is a quote from a book Jay Nordlinger was reviewing in Impromptus:

“civilization, luxury, safety, and justice could be swept away in the blink of an eye; and that no matter how apparently certain and sweet were the ways of peace, they were not permanent.”

So my conclusion:

I still believe America is the greatest country in the world. I still believe we work best when our leaders stick to the Constitution. But who are to be our leaders? Are we to choose a nice man like Romney again? As one speaker on a recent NR cruise said and got a huge ovation, “Romney is a very nice man. You would want him as your neighbor. But I don’t want a nice man next time. Next time I want a bastard.” Will we choose a good green eye shade person? Will we choose a get-along-and-be-sure-to-appeal-to-several-interest-groups person? Will we choose an isolationist libertarian?

As you can guess this is not what I would wish for. I want the person who will stand for America and recognize that we are unique and the greatest country in the world. I want someone who wants the Fair Tax, but I will take the flat tax – zero tax on corporations, capital gains, interest, dividends, and estates, who will work to overturn Obamacare 100% and replace it with a private system, who will privatize Social Security and Medicare, who will close whole departments, especially the Department of Education, energy and agriculture, and cut spending and power in Washington and give more power to the states. What I want is a Club for Growth candidate. And it should be someone who will beef up our military and intelligence services and who knows who our friends are and who our enemies, and treats them accordingly, and calls them what they are, and who will secure our borders before he even thinks of immigration reform. I want someone who will make enemies afraid to create mischief because they know there will be serious repercussions.

Does such a person exist? Well, it sure ain’t Christie or Rand Paul.

Where are you, my knight in shining armor? Man or woman? Where are you? Show your face. Are you real? Are you possible any more in this age of compromise and appealing to different constituencies? Where is the one who will tell it like it is and assure Laura Ingram that America’s influence need not be on the decline, that we can and must be that shining city on a hill? Where are you? Hurry up and show yourself.

The Rhodes to The Benghazi Cover-Up?

rhodes obama

It’s an interesting bit of twisted incest, if you will. Follow along

CIA career officials clearly and repeatedly identified Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-linked Islamic terrorists as the culprits behind the murder of four Americans.

Of course, this would cause embarrassment for the Obama team, especially in the few weeks before the election. They had been boasting for years that Al Qaeda had been decimated, the “tide of war” was receding; they had been on a mission to whitewash the prospect of Islamic terrorism as a threat to America (see Lauri Regan’s superb column (“Can a President who has promised to stand with Muslims protect America? ). Obama’s Cairo speech before an audience that included Muslim Brotherhood officials that he compelled Egypt to include, was a paean to Islam. It was also, to a great extent, a work of fiction that included grandiose and subsequently disproven claims about the positive contributions Islam has made to America and the world.

That speech was written by Obama’s foreign policy speechwriter and now National Security Council team member, Ben Rhodes.

That is the man who Hayes “outs” as a key person behind the Benghazi cover-up.

He reportedly altered the CIA talking points to delete references to Islamic terrorists, “attacks” (they became “demonstrations”) and other negative references to Islamism. Also, someone at the White House level apparently dreamt up the idea of blaming an inconsequential video for triggering a spontaneous protest, that in the frenzy of events, led to the murder of Americans. These CIA talking points were eviscerated to whitewash the role of Islamic terrorism.

There was a White House whitewash that should not be dismissed over events that occurred a ‘long time ago;” contrary to Hillary Clinton saying that responsibility for the deaths of Americans serving their nation does “matter.” And despite Secretary of State’s John Kerry’s dismissiveness towards the Benghazi murders – “we got a lot more important things to move on to” – justice for the America’s dead demands we find who is responsible.

Ben Rhodes should be called to account for trying to divert blame away from Islamic terrorists and the Obama team members whose feckless negligence led to the Benghazi massacre.

I have previously written about Ben Rhodes and his role in the Obama White House. It is shameful that this “kid” (he is all of 35) has been given any responsibility at all in our government.

In “Does it bother anyone that this person is the Deputy National Security Adviser?” I noted his problematic background for someone given so much power by Obama. But then again he does specialize in fiction-writing.

Read in full

I am not sure just to what degree somebody such as Ben Rhodes should shoulder the weight of the Benghazi cover-up. After all, the buck stops at the desk where Obama props-up his feet, and in the worn sensible pumps Hillary Clinton walked the halls of the State department.

American Thinker contributor Clarice Feldman reminds me that the brother of Ben Rhodes is the president of CBS News, David Rhodes. As I stated earlier today, it has been CBS’s investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson who has been basically pulling teeth (and at times getting bitten) trying to get the truth out about what happened in the Obama administration’s “Fast and Furious” gunwalking project and the attack in Benghazi, and the political cover-up(s) aftermath. It is also important to point out Attkisson has been doing this tough and responsible journalist-thing, much to CBS’s chagrin, and I remind you that roughly a month ago she was in talks with CBS management to get out of her contract with the network. However, I am sure my Monday afternoon speculating over these ‘connections’ may appear a bit weak to some … but that’s probably because it is not a republican administration n`nat (as they say in Pittsburgh). “What difference does it make?”

Read more

“In an otherwise unmemorable second inaugural speech…”

destroy

Bill Kristol perked-up his ears during Obama’s snoozer of an inauguration speech yesterday to something that has him a bit worried…

I was struck by one sentence: “But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.”

Read why Kristol finds this “dangerous”.

Apparently WaPo’s Michael Gerson was not impressed with the speech either, and has found other annoyances within…

Such polarization has deep roots. Parties, communities and regions have sorted themselves by ideology, producing citizens who operate in separate partisan worlds. Partisan media outlets succeed through the reinforcement and exaggeration of grievances. Most House members represent safe districts in which their greatest political fear is offending those who vote in primaries.

What can a presidential inaugural address do to oppose these centrifugal forces? Probably not much. Maybe admit some mutual fault and call for a new beginning. Maybe direct attention to unifying national values beyond current controversies. Maybe just assert the moral duties of kindness and civility we owe each other in a democracy.

This year, however, the influence of such a speech remains untested because it was not attempted. President Obama set an unobjectionable goal: “a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American.” He asserted that this objective can only be achieved “together, as one nation, and one people.” But he proceeded to define an agenda, in some detail, that could have been taken from any campaign speech of the 2012 election. It involves the building of roads and research labs, promoting clean-energy technology, protecting entitlements from significant change, passing equal-pay legislation and immigration reform.

Those who oppose this agenda, in Obama’s view, are not a very admirable lot. They evidently don’t want our wives, mothers and daughters to “earn a living equal to their efforts.” They would cause some citizens “to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.” They mistake “absolutism for principle” and “substitute spectacle for politics” and “treat name-calling as reasoned debate.” They would have people’s “twilight years .?.?. spent in poverty” and ensure that the parents of disabled children have “nowhere to turn.” They would reserve freedom “for the lucky” and believe that Medicare and Social Security “sap our initiative,” and they see this as “a nation of takers.” They “deny the overwhelming judgment of science” on climate change, don’t want love to be “equal” and apparently contemplate “perpetual war.”

For Abraham Lincoln, even the gravest national crimes involved shared fault. For Obama, even the most commonplace policy disagreements indicate the bad faith of his opponents…

From the Wall Street Journal

President Obama’s second inaugural address won’t be remembered for stirring lines, but then its purpose seemed to be more political than inspirational. Mr. Obama was laying down a marker that he has no intention of letting debt or deficits or lagging economic growth slow his plans for activist, expansive government.

Inaugurals usually include calls for national unity and appeals to our founding principles, which is part of their charm. With the election long over, swearing in a President is a moment for celebrating larger national purposes. But Mr. Obama’s speech was notable for invoking the founding principles less to unify than to justify what he called “collective action.” The President borrowed the Constitution’s opening words of “we the people” numerous times, but his main theme was that the people are fundamentally defined through government action, and his government is here to help you.

On that theme, the speech was especially striking for including a specific defense of the federal entitlement programs that everyone knows must be reformed. Mr. Obama cited “Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security” by name as “the commitments we make to each other.” Typically, such programmatic specificity is reserved for State of the Union speeches. Mr. Obama almost seemed to be elevating them to Constitutional rights.

Matthew J. Franck at The Corner simplifies…

But the most notable thing about the speech is not what it contains but what it lacks. The overwhelming impression one gets is that in Obama’s America, there is no civil society — no arena of private action, of voluntary responsibility, of free associations of citizens for solving the community’s problems. There are only the government (by default, the federal government, at that) and the individual. This is the “Life of Julia” campaign philosophy rendered in inaugural rhetoric: Without government’s aid in every aspect of our lives, we are lost, we are helpless, we are nothing. Every “we,” every “our,” every reference to “the nation” in this speech was a reference to a government solution to a “problem.” In this vision of America, no families, churches, charities, voluntary groups, or other institutions of civil society make any appearance at all. And when there are only the government and the individual, we know which one will be in charge.

And Fred Barnes

Read more

The Essentials of Educating the Eloi

eloi

Since I was a child one of my favorite movies has been the 1960 film version of the H.G. Wells story “The Time Machine”. (The more recent remakes were okay, but I like the original.) At the end of the movie Rod Taylor has jumped back into his machine and left behind his present day life in the Victorian world in order to return to the time of the childlike Eloi and the tyrannical Morlocks of the future. When H. George Wells’s puzzled housekeeper and his best friend Filby return to the parlor from his vacant laboratory they notice three books have gone missing from the shelf, and decide Wells has taken them back to the future with him. Mr. Filby poses the question to the maid, “Which three books would you have taken?”

My whole life this essential question has often crossed my mind, especially after each viewing of the timeless movie. Naturally most people would consider “The Holy Bible” at the top of that short list, but perhaps not for some folks. Not as any forced religion, but faith in an almighty God with a foundation for laws and civility in a new society based on personal responsibility would be a lesson to convey to a people that had been bred as lazy mindless cattle for government consumption purposes. They had the “talking rings” that gave a vocal accounting of history prior to the fall of Earth’s civilization, but the dumbed-down Eloi had never governed or provided for themselves, much less thought for themselves, and had no context of the importance of good or bad history. They were generationally conditioned subjects, dropping their aimless attention from their collective mediocre existence of waiting for their next meal or clothing to be provided for them until the media siren blared and filled their ears with the demand to obey their masters … marching blindly to their own demise. They had been at the mercy of the governance of Morlocks for generations and had no concept of managing and surviving the dangers of life, natural or manmade, or the individual and daring process of critical thinking. (The 2002 version of the movie gives more ‘intellect’ to the masterminds of the Morlocks.)

Also there would be the need to protect a society’s new freedom and avoid becoming serfs, cattle, or victims for anyone ever again. How about Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”? Or Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”? Oddly enough we now find ourselves becoming the dutiful Eloi to our ravenous growing government of Morlocks with the blaring media siren leading the way. Perhaps it’s time for our side to put down the other side’s “Rules for Radicals” and pick up a copy of Sun Tsu…

Many Americans these days believe the Republicans are not only losing this current political war, some think they are not even putting up much of a fight. Based on the recent results of the fiscal cliff negotiations, they may well have a point. Perhaps they could benefit, in their battles with President Obama, from a few words of wisdom from another war-time philosopher/strategist, Sun Tzu.

1. On sizing up your competition he said . . . “If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” A psychologist will tell you that when someone tells you who they are, you should probably listen. When they act the way they say they are, you should more than listen. Obama spoke for years about his activist, win at all costs ways – including his Sun Tzu-like “All warfare is based on deception” ways.

Since being President, he has stayed true to that and not negotiated in good faith – on anything. He has been a “take it or I will get it another way” president from day one (think defeated cap & trade legislation turned into mandated EPA rules). Republicans should know that by now and have had a strategy other than hoping he will act in good faith.

2. On the need for preparation . . . “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

In any negotiation, your potential success is nearly predetermined by your level of preparation including having a strategy and executing on it. For all appearances, Republicans did not dictate the pace or substance of the recent negotiations. There was no apparent grand strategy. Instead, Obama simply waited them out.

3. On framing the debate . . . “One mark of a great soldier is that he fights on his own terms or fights not at all.” Knowing that Obama won’t negotiate in good faith is only Step 1. Having a plan to deal with that is Step 2. Sun Tzu tells us here that Republicans need to fight this battle on terms they can win. To do that, they have to frame the debate so that people will listen to their message.

In these recent negotiations, and for a long time now, Obama has framed this debate. Most Americans thought this was a battle over how to close the budget gap through higher tax rates. It wasn’t a question of if higher tax rates were necessary; it was a question of how much higher. Under those circumstances, there was no chance Republicans could expect a good outcome. That’s the Democrats home field. Republicans will always lose that debate and many supporters with it.

Republicans win the debate when it is centered on 3 things:

[…]

Read in full

And I might have grabbed a forth book from my shelf … Square Foot Gardening.

Read more

The Resolution Quality of “Resolutions”

When I was very young it was explained to me, by one of my aunts, the reason we eat pork and kraut on New Years is to purge the bitterness and excess of the prior year (the kraut) and to hope for and celebrate the bounties of the New Year upon us (the pork). My Hungarian Grandmother also insisted turkey and chicken were never to be eaten on New Years Day because they scratched backward and we were to move forward. This week I deliberately spent New Years Eve and Day away from the internet and the news in order to do pretty much just that. So, please allow me this opportunity to wish all of my Babalu family and friends a very Happy New Year.

Here are a few things that caught my attention today as I plugged back in…

1. CNN has simply thrown any resemblance of couth out the window of a New York high-rise and doesn’t give two shakes of a damn.

2. hollywood

3. The ever clueless Al Gore is selling his failed attempt at Current TV to Al Jazeera.

4. Victor Davis Hanson warns us: “2013: Welcome to Very, Very Scary Times”. He cites a list of things we now will be exposed to as the new normal in this occupied United States of America. One is the brilliant idea of a Georgetown University (yeah, the same institution that gave us Sandra Fluke) constitutional law professor who wants to throw out the U.S. Constitution because it is standing in the way of political progress… or something. *sigh-h-h-h*

5. Obama is expected to use the emperor’s “executive order” pen, again, to go after gun control and immigration reform, ASAP.

6. Speaks for itself:

7. A retired U.S. Marine tells gun-grabbing Sen. Dianne Feinstein to go pound sand.

8. Question of 2012: “Why Did A Train Carrying Biofuel Cross The Border 24 Times And Never Unload?”

9. Hollywood jumped on that whole gun control bullet train after the last mass school shooting demanding a plan for gun control. However, level-minded Americans are not buying into their crap, given their finished product(s), and have issued a reminder to the public of such titled “Demand a Plan – Demand Celebrities Go F*** Themselves” (WARNING: some language alerts):

10. Not to be outdone, Speaker John Beohner (who may or maynot have a gavel here shortly) had the same suggestion for a tired Sen. Harry Reid. By the way, I am finding all this outrage (especially from democrats) at Rep. John Boehner’s not allowing a vote on the ‘alleged’ Hurricane Sandy relief bill (that was crammed with non-essential pork that have nothing to do with storm relief) disgustingly hilarious. Where were/are these same people vomiting disdain and bile all over Harry Reid who never met a House bill he didn’t let drop dead and rot on a mountain of House bills outside his door since 2010, especially those bills dealing with balancing the budget? Perhaps ‘the fiscal cliff’ would not be so steep right now.

pants

Read more

One Election and Two Funerals…

I just haven’t completely gotten my mind around this election. It was a very long election cycle, and I am not trusting what I am seeing/hearing from anyone. Yet, my week is far from over.

My mother-in-law died over the weekend. My husband and I had our 36th wedding anniversary on election day. (Thirty-six years ago and I was only months out of high school graduation, and nobody gave us much chance of staying together very long. And it wasn’t one long honeymoon. But three beautiful and brilliant daughters, two wonderful sons-in-law, and three perfectly beautiful young grandchildren later…) Yesterday was my mother-in-law’s funeral. They had no money to speak of, so all the siblings had to split the costs with very little money ourselves. But we all got it done. My father-in-law had been living alone in their house for the better part of the last year while she was bed-ridden in a nursing home. He became frail and lonely without her. He had gotten shingles a few months ago and couldn’t even visit her. Missed our daughter Kate’s wedding. But he was able to return to going to the nursing home about two months ago. Then a few weeks ago he fell at home and broke his hip. Was on the floor for over four hours before anyone could get to him. His health was not so good with post-op complications and underlying health issues that surfaced. He was having a very hard time coping with the loss of my mother-in-law the last few days. Then the call came very early this morning, before my 6 a.m. alarm, that my father-in-law had passed away. They were both Scotch-Irish, so, It is what it is, as we say in our family. We all figured he was holding on for her, and when she was gone he chased after her, just like he did when he was begging her to marry him. It was her second marriage (1971), her first husband (1954), my husband’s father, dying in 1968. So, the stepdad was more a dad than anything else for my husband. I am now clinging to my own father and stepmother, and have re-connected with my estranged mother. Perhaps we must cling to our families tighter in the coming mess.

I do feel we have yet to hit the bottom in this country. Right now we are being led and controlled by the selfish children among us. We must not give in or give up. We have something they do not. We have convictions and loyalty to how and what this nation was founded upon. Right now these people are much like the person that tries to assemble something without reading the instructions. It never turns out well. After I crawled in bed on election night and forced roughly three hours of restless sleep, I got up the next day and carried on getting Lizzie Rose off to school, and then attending my mother-in-law’s funeral. While the pastor gave her sermon I found myself glaring at the winding paisley vines of the funeral home carpet … and this speech came into my head. My patriot friends, these are the words and inspiration we need now remember…

“The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers at the edge of the cliffs, shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top…”

Our nation will never die. We have something no other nation has ever had at time such as these … we have a foundation just waiting to be returned to and rebuilt a top of. We just need to clear the mounting debris and wreckage once the selfish and insolent chcildren have trashed the place enough for the ‘moderate’ lazies to have had enough, and it will not be easy. We must stay strong and united. We will be the heavy-lifters when all is said and done. Pray. Stay together. And grab that rope when you see it is your turn to climb… God bless us but we really are at war.

On a footnote … I cannot tell you how very grateful I am to be a part of this Babalu family during this tough battle ahead of us. As wonderful our loyal readers think the Babalu writers are, they are even more so.

Suicidal tendencies

A relevant quote for the morning after:

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” –Albert Einstein

On Monday I wrote that in addition to the fiscal cliff we are on, we are surrounded by enemies that are now emboldened by the reelection of Barack Obama. Our allies — especially Israel — should be quaking in its boots with the whirlwind we are about to reap. In that post, I added an epigraph where Abraham Lincoln states that “if destruction be [America’s] lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Let us pray, truly sincerely pray, that all the things we have been warning about do not come to pass, because I think we, as a nation, committed suicide last night.