September 2009

Follow the Leader. France?

by Bill O'Connell on September 29, 2009

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With Ahmadinejad and the mullahs taking maximum advantage of Obama’s apology tour, it was time to make a bold statement regarding a second nuclear installation in Iran.  What better place and what better time than at the U.N. Security Council meeting especially with President Obama holding the gavel as the current chairman.  At least that was what French President Nicholas Sarkozy thought, as well British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The problem was that President Obama was basking in the glow of his makeover of America.  Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, after all, told the General Assembly that he no longer smelled the sulfurous odor of El Diablo, President Bush.  It was another Obama global love fest.  Why spoil it by talking about global security in the Security Council of all places?  It would be far better to talk about global security the following day at an economic summit of the G-20.  Don’t you think?

French Fried

Sarkozy apparently had his U.N. speech prepared to take a strong stance against Iran in the Security Council Meeting, but was forced to remove that part of the speech.

President Sarkozy in particular pushed hard. He had been “frustrated” for months about Mr. Obama’s reluctance to confront Iran, a senior French government official told us, and saw an opportunity to change momentum. But the Administration told the French that it didn’t want to “spoil the image of success” for Mr. Obama’s debut at the U.N. and his homily calling for a world without nuclear weapons, according to the Paris daily Le Monde. So the Iran bombshell was pushed back a day to Pittsburgh, where the G-20 were meeting to discuss economic policy. — WSJ, September 29, 2009

Welcome as it is, at the same time somewhat embarrassing that the French are frustrated that the United States isn’t taking a harder line.  President Obama has certainly come full circle from President Bush in just nine months.  As for me, I slept better with an American cowboy in the White House.

When given an opportunity to speak in Pittsburgh, President Sarkozy could hardly contain himself:

“We are right to talk about the future,” Mr. Sarkozy said, referring to the U.S. resolution on strengthening arms control treaties. “But the present comes before the future, and the present includes two major nuclear crises,” i.e., Iran and North Korea. “We live in the real world, not in a virtual one.” No prize for guessing into which world the Frenchman puts Mr. Obama.

Sarkozy continued,

“I support America’s ‘extended hand.’ But what have these proposals for dialogue produced for the international community? Nothing but more enriched uranium and more centrifuges. And last but not least, it has resulted in a statement by Iranian leaders calling for wiping off the map a Member of the United Nations. What are we to do? What conclusions are we to draw? At a certain moment hard facts will force us to make decisions.”

Vive la France. I hope we make it to 2012.

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Campaigner in Chief

by Bill O'Connell on September 28, 2009

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When in doubt stick with what you know.  Barack Obama knows how to campaign.  As a result he has been campaigning non-stop since he was elected.  Instead of spending his time in the Oval Office making executive decisions and leading, he is the perpetual pitch man for everyone else.  The problem is the American people didn’t elect Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi as their president, nor did they elect a politburo of 30+ czars.  They elected the most inexperienced and inept chief executive since the Harding administration.

Biden’s Brushfires

Remember it was almost one year ago that Joe Biden said, “Mark my words…”  that within six months of taking office a President Obama would be faced with an international crisis.  Maybe it took a little longer than six months and maybe it is not yet a full blown crisis, but are there brushfires?  Let me count the ways:

  • Ahmadinejad thumbs his nose at the world while buying time to finish building nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to Israel.  Obama had the opportunity to put the same kind of pressure on the mullahs that the mullahs put on the Shah of Iran in 1979, by speaking out strongly against the fraudulent election in Iran. Instead he issued a tepid response and the mullahs cracked down hard.  Now Obama is negotiating from a position of extreme weakness.
  • The Poles and the Czechs are thrown under the bus, while the Russian bear licks its lips as the missile defense bases are cancelled by Obama
  • Obama has spoken to his commander in Afghanistan but once in the 70 days that the commander has been on the ground.  The general says he need more troops.  Obama is calculating his response.
  • Hugo Chavez is getting chummy with Ahmadinejad and would love to have nukes in Venezuela so he can take over as leftist strongman in South America as Castro fades away.
  • And if the nukes can’t get to Venezuela fast enough, Chavez wants to put puppets throughout the region.  He is currently trying to re-install Zalaya in Honduras, after Zalaya was removed for trying to illegally alter the Honduran constitution.  Hillary and Obama are not helping the democratic government of Honduras, but Chavez and Zalaya.
  • North Korea continues to play cat and mouse with Obama, while they also expand their nuclear and missile capabilities and see who they can sell the technology to for hard currency.

Amid all of this, one might expect President Obama to be burning the midnight oil in the Oval Office.  Well, not when there is another campaign that needs his special talents.  So he will travel to Copenhagen, to campaign for his hometown of Chicago, as they bid to be the host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

It almost makes you pine for Jimmy Carter.

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Honduras: Hillary “Wrong Way” Clinton

by Bill O'Connell on September 21, 2009

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Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan was an aviator in the 1930s.  In 1938 he mistakenly flew from New York to Ireland when he was supposed to fly from New York to California, because he claims he misread his compass.  It later turned out that he really intended to fly to Ireland but couldn’t get permission.

What’s Hillary’s excuse?  As the Obama Administration has called the removal of Honduran President Manuel Zalaya a coup d’etat, more attention is being focused on what the law in Honduras really says.  The Congressional Research Service looked into it and had this to say:

“The Supreme Court of Honduras has constitutional and statutory authority to hear cases against the President of the Republic and many other high officers of the State, to adjudicate and enforce judgments, and to request the assistance of the public forces to enforce its rulings.”

—Congressional Research Service, August 2009

So why is Hillary Clinton now attacking the Honduran Supreme Court by pulling the visas of all fifteen members of the court?  The U.S. sided with Hugo Chavez and Costa Rica to reach a “negotiated” settlement that would put Zalaya back in the presidency.  Honduras said, sorry, that would violate our constitution.  He broke the law, we dealt with it according to our constitution, and that’s that.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes in the Wall Street Journal:

The upshot is that the U.S. is trying to force Honduras to violate its own constitution and is also using its international political heft to try to interfere with the country’s independent judiciary.

Hondurans are worried about what this pressure is doing to their country. Mr. Zelaya’s violent supporters are emboldened by the U.S. position. They deface some homes and shops with graffiti and throw stones and home-made bombs into others, and whenever the police try to stop them, they howl about their “human rights.”

When will the apology tour end and we start standing up for liberty and democracy?  Is it more important that Hillary have an accomplishment she can brag about than following  the rule of law?  This administration has so much, so backwards it is hard to keep track of it.  They focus all their time and energy doing things they are not constitutionally authorized to do (health care, taking over car companies and banks, funding ACORN), and ignoring their fundamental constitutional duties of foreign policy and national defense.  Let’s hope some pressure can be brought to bear on the Obama Administration to back off before Chavez puts a puppet in place.

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Foreign Policy: Good Will = Nothing. Surprise!

by Bill O'Connell on September 20, 2009

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Peter Baker writes in the New York Times, “Good Will, But Few Foreign Policy Benefits for Obama,” that

“As much as they may prefer to deal with Mr. Obama instead of his predecessor, George W. Bush, foreign leaders have not gone out of their way to give him what he has sought.”

Well, duh, who didn’t see that coming?  Who doesn’t prefer to negotiate with someone who wants to be your best friend, so that they can clean your clock before you realize what hit you?  I take that back, liberals didn’t see it coming and they never do.  One liberal that I can think of who could see it, is no longer with us, Daniel Patrick Moynihan.  He wrote a book about it referring to the world in it’s title A Dangerous Place.

So what has Obama’s policy of “engagement” gotten us?

  • Putin getting Obama to drop missile defenses based in Poland and the Czech Republic for… “a player to be named later” from Putin?
  • Ahmadinejad fixes an election in Iran, kills and rapes the opposition, presses on with its intention of getting nuclear weapons and the Obama administration says, “That’s a no, no,” as if chiding a tot.  Ahmadinejad can’t believe his good fortune.  He will play Russia off the U.S. and merrily stall until he has nuclear weapons and the missile technology to deliver them anywhere.
  • Chavez is trying to help a dictator abolish democracy in Honduras, and Obama and Clinton try to help him by telling the Honduran people that have to allow their law breaking former president to return to power.
  • Chavez is getting buddy-buddy with Ahmadinejad, so as soon as Iran has nuclear weapons, we may soon see nukes in South America.  JFK went to the brink of nuclear war to keep such weapons out of this Hemisphere.  Does anyone believe Obama would do the same?
  • North Korea continues to thumb its nose at the Obama Administration, while it tests more missiles until it gets one that can hit Kansas City.
  • Europeans dismiss Obama’s calls for more troops in Afghanistan
  • The Saudi’s dismiss (despite or because of,  the bowing of Obama to their king) his requests for concessions on Israel
  • Israel refuses to stop building settlements on the West Bank
  • Obama has marginalized the State Department.  What is Hillary Clinton actually responsible for?  Biden seems to be handling (?) Russia; George Mitchell the Middle East; Holbrooke Afghanistan; Dennis Ross for Iran.

Foreign policy could not be more fundamental to the office of the President (Constitution: Article II, Section 2), but today President Obama will appear on five Sunday talk shows to continue to push his health care initiative that 56% of the American people don’t want and the Constitution doesn’t identify as a federal function.  If he doesn’t get back on track with foreign policy it won’t be health care we need but medical triage in the aftermath of another terror attack or war on our soil.

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Why Do We Have 1,000 Page Congressional Bills?

by Bill O'Connell on September 15, 2009

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In 1956 the Federal Highway Act was signed into law creating the Interstate Highway system that today is 47,000 miles long.  The bill that created that was 29, that’s not a typo, 29 pages long.  Who could not read through a 29 page bill before deciding whether or not to vote for or against?

In this Congress we had a stimulus bill that was over 1,000 pages long, a cap and trade bill that was over 1,000 pages long, and health care reform that is sure to be over 1,000 pages long.  Who could possibly read over 3,000 pages of legislation and make any kind of intelligent vote on it.  I don’t know about you, but I have read regulatory “prose” and after 10 pages or so, I need to take a walk around and get a cup of coffee, just to clear my head.

Why Are These Bills So Long?

Someone once asked, “Where is the best place to hide a tree?”  Answer: “In a forest.”  A 1,000 page bill is a very good forest.  Arlen Specter just introduced legislation to help tort lawyers make more money from frivolous lawsuits.  Consider this:

To show what a loyal tort-lobby servant he is, Mr. Specter has also introduced a bill to let attorneys claim an up-front tax deduction on expenses they incur while building contingency fee cases. Amazing but true: Mr. Specter wants to give a tax cut to sustain the likes of Mel Weiss or Dickie Scruggs in the yachts to which they have become accustomed while they await jackpot jury verdicts. Even Democrats are too embarrassed by this giveaway (estimated cost: $1.6 billion) to pass it as a stand-alone bill, so tort lobbyist Linda Lipsen recently said “we have to tuck it into something” else, such as another “tax vehicle.” {emphasis added}

What better place to hide something like this than a 1,000 page bill?  Add to that the URGENCY that everything has to be passed NOW so that for those who want to read the bill to find these stinkers to oppose them there is no time before Nancy Pelosi rams that through.

It seems like it is us against them.  They have gotten into power and their top priority is to stay there.  Representing us?  That ended on election night.

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The Czar Defense

by Bill O'Connell on September 8, 2009

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As the number of czars continues to grow Americans are becoming more concerned about losing control of their government.  What can be done about it?  Try this.  If a czar comes calling to check on your salary, tell him to go stuff it.

What is a czar?

Czars are special advisers to the President.  As such they do not require Senate confirmation.  The President can have his Uncle Charlie as an adviser, for all that matters.  He can get advice from anyone.  However, he cannot legally give his authority to a czar.  So let’s do this about the czars.  Ignore them.  If President Obama wants his czars whispering in his ear all day long, so be it.  If he wants to give them any authority, then he should appoint them to a political position in his administration that is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.  In that process we will learn a lot more about who these characters are, and we can voice our opinions of them.  Otherwise, President Obama is going to have to do the heavy lifting and take responsibility for everything he brought his czars on board to do.

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