Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 6/25/2008 10:18:00 PM
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
June 24, 2008, 0:00 a.m.
10 Concerns about Barack Obama
By William J. Bennett & Seth Leibsohn
Barack Obama’s stance toward Iran is as troubling as it is dangerous. By stating and maintaining that he would negotiate with Iran, “without preconditions,” and within his first year of office, he will give credibility to, and reward for his intransigence, the head of state of the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism. Such a meeting will also undermine and send the exact wrong signal to Iranian dissidents. And, he will lower the prestige of the office of the president: In his own words he stated, “If we think that meeting with the president is a privilege that has to be earned, I think that reinforces the sense that we stand above the rest of the world at this point in time.” Not only has his stance toward Iran caused concern among our allies in Europe, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton called it, “Irresponsible and frankly naïve.”
Barack Obama’s position on negotiating with U.S. enemies betrays a profound misreading of history. In justifying his position that he would meet with Iran without precondition and in his first year of office, Barack Obama has said, “That is what Kennedy did with Khrushchev; that’s what Nixon did with Mao; what Reagan did with Gorbachev.”
In reverse order, Ronald Reagan met with no Soviet leader during the entirety of his first term in office, not (ever) with Brezhnev, not (ever) with Andropov, not (ever) with Chernenko. He met only with Gorbachev, and after he was assured Gorbachev was a different kind of Soviet leader — and after Perestroika, not before.
If Barack Obama wants to affiliate with Richard Nixon, that’s certainly his call. But one question: Was Taiwan’s expulsion from the U.N. worth “Nixon to China”? That was the price of that meeting.
As for the Kennedy-Khrushchev summit of 1961, Kennedy himself said “He beat the hell out of me.” As two experts recently wrote in the New York Times: “Paul Nitze, the assistant secretary of defense, said the meeting was ‘just a disaster.’ Khrushchev’s aide, after the first day, said the American president seemed ‘very inexperienced, even immature.’ Khrushchev agreed, noting that the youthful Kennedy was ‘too intelligent and too weak.’ The Soviet leader left Vienna elated — and with a very low opinion of the leader of the free world.”
So successful was the summit that the Berlin Wall was erected later that year and the Cuban Missile Crisis, with Soviets deploying nuclear missiles in Cuba, commenced the following year.
2. Barack Obama’s Iraq policy will hand al-Qaeda a victory and undercut our entire position in the Middle East, while at the same time put a huge source of oil in the hands of terrorists. Barack Obama brags on his website that “In January 2007, he introduced legislation in the Senate to remove all of our combat troops from Iraq by March 2008.” His website further states that “Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.” This, at the very time our greatest successes in Iraq have taken place. And yet, as Gen. David Petraeus has stated (along with other military experts from Michael O’Hanlon at the Brookings Institution to members of the U.S. military), our progress in Iraq is “fragile and reversible.”
Obama’s post-invasion analysis of Iraq is anything but credible or consistent, leading one to even greater doubt about his strategy as commander-in-chief. When President Bush announced the surge strategy in January 2007, Barack Obama opposed it, saying it “would not prove to be one that changes the dynamics significantly,” and that “the President’s strategy will not work.” Of course, the surge is one of the greatest achievements in Iraq since the initial months of the invasion, and is has reversed much of the loss suffered since the invasion.
Beyond these miscalculations and poor judgment on Iraq strategy, Obama has been anything but consistent on Iraq. For example, the same year (2007) he stated it would be a good idea to bring home the U.S. troops from Iraq within March of 2008, three months later he stated, we should bring them home “immediately…. Not in six months or one year — now.”
3. Barack Obama has sent mixed, confusing, and inconsistent messages on his policy toward Israel. Earlier this month, Barack Obama told an audience at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” The next day, Obama backtracked, stating: “Obviously, it’s [Jerusalem] going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues…And Jerusalem will be part of the negotiations.” Later, Obama’s Middle East adviser tried to explain the flipping of positions on Jerusalem by stating Obama did not understand what he was saying to AIPAC: “[h]e used a word to represent what he did not want to see again, and then realized afterwards that that word is a code word in the Middle East.”
Such quick switches of policy may stem from mere inexperience or they may stem from a general tone-deafness on the meaning of words and policy when it comes to the Middle East. After all, earlier this year, a leading Hamas official endorsed Barack Obama stating, “I do believe [Obama] is like John Kennedy, a great man with a great principle. And he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community, but not with humiliation and arrogance.” Rather than immediately renouncing such an endorsement, Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, embraced the endorsement, saying “We all agree that John Kennedy was a great president, and it’s flattering when anybody says that Barack Obama would follow in his footsteps.” Given Barack Obama’s long-standing ties to Palestinian activists in the U.S., one has good cause to wonder.
4. While his Mideast policy may have been the quickest turnaround or flip-flop on a major issue, it is not the only one. In the primary campaign, Barack Obama consistently campaigned against NAFTA, but has now changed his tune, as he has with other issues. During the primary, Obama sent out a campaign flier that said “Only Barack Obama consistently opposed NAFTA,” and called it a “bad trade deal.” He also said NAFTA was “devastating,” “a big mistake,” and in what the Washington Post labeled as a unilateral threat to withdraw from NAFTA, Obama said “I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage.”
No longer. Recently, Barack Obama backtracked on NAFTA and said, “I’m not a big believer in doing things unilaterally.” “I’m a big believer in opening up a dialogue and figuring out how we can make this work for all people.” He explained his primary campaign opposition this way: “Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified.”
This is of a piece with his further change of position on public campaign financing. As a primary candidate, he touted his support for the public financing of presidential campaigns, but then witnessing his own fundraising prowess, as a general election candidate he has gone the unique route of forswearing the system. As David Brooks put it in the New York Times:
Barack Obama has worked on political reform more than any other issue. He aspires to be to political reform what Bono is to fighting disease in Africa. He’s spent much of his career talking about how much he believes in public financing. In January 2007, he told Larry King that the public-financing system works. In February 2007, he challenged Republicans to limit their spending and vowed to do so along with them if he were the nominee. In February 2008, he said he would aggressively pursue spending limits. He answered a Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire by reminding everyone that he has been a longtime advocate of the public-financing system. But Thursday, at the first breath of political inconvenience, Fast Eddie Obama threw public financing under the truck.
5. Barack Obama’s judgment about personal and professional affiliations is more than troubling. On March 18, after several clips of sermons by his longtime friend and pastor Jeremiah Wright surfaced (showing Wright condemning the United States with vitriolic comparisons and denunciations), Obama defended his friend stating: “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother.” After Rev. Wright delivered two more talks along the same lines as the clips that led to the March 18 speech, Sen. Obama finally denounced Wright the following month, stating: “His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.” “They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs,” he said.
It strained credulity to believe Obama was unaware of Wright’s previous rants — especially after a 20-year membership in Wright’s church, especially when in February of last year Obama asked Wright not to attend his campaign announcement because he “could get kind of rough in sermons,” and especially when his church’s magazine honored on its front cover such a man as Louis Farrakhan. Nonetheless, once he ceased being a political asset and turned into a political liability, Obama dumped him.
Jeremiah Wright is, of course, not the only person close to Barack Obama who holds vitriolic anti-American views. Bill Ayers was a founding member of the Weather Underground. According to his own memoir, Ayers participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972. As recently as 2001, Ayers said “I don’t regret setting bombs….I feel we didn’t do enough.’’ When asked if he would engage in such terrorism again, Ayers responded: “I don’t want to discount the possibility.” When confronted with his friendship with Bill Ayers, Barack Obama dismissed the negative connections saying he is also friendly with abortion opponent U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. While Obama has never, himself, discussed his relationship with Ayers, what we do know is that Ayers hosted a fundraiser for Obama in his home and, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Obama and Ayers moved in some of the same political and social circles in the leafy liberal enclave of Hyde Park, where they lived several blocks apart. In the mid-1990s, when Obama was running for the Illinois Senate, Ayers introduced Obama during a political event at his home, according to Obama’s aides….
Obama and Ayers met a dozen times as members of the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a local grant-making foundation, according to the group’s president. They appeared together to discuss juvenile justice on a 1997 panel sponsored by the University of Chicago, records show. They appeared again in 2002 at an academic panel co-sponsored by the Chicago Public Library.
6. Obama is simply out of step with how terrorists should be handled; he would turn back the clock on how we fight terrorism, using the failed strategy of the 1990s as opposed to the post-9/11 strategy that has kept us safe. The most recent example is his support for the Supreme Court decision granting habeas-corpus rights to terrorists, including — theoretically — Osama bin Laden. When the 5-4 Supreme Court decision was delivered, Obama said, “I think the Supreme Court was right.” His campaign advisers held a conference call where they claimed the Supreme Court decision was “no big deal” according to ABC News, even if applied to Osama bin Laden, because a judge would find that the U.S. has “ample grounds to hold him.”
In a recent interview, Obama stated: “What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks — for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated. And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, ‘Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.’”
Ask the legal officials during the 1990s just how cowed terrorists were by our continued indictments against them. Or, witness the bombings at the African embassies, the attack on the USS Cole, or the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Now, ask yourself why we have not been attacked since 9/11, and, even more specifically, why there have been no successful attacks against American civilian interests abroad since 2004.
7. Barack Obama’s economic policies would hurt the economy. As Kimberly Strassel recently put it in the Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Obama is hawking a tax policy that would take the nation back to the effective marginal tax rates of the Carter days. He wants to further tax income, payroll, capital gains, dividends and death. His philosophy is pure redistribution.”
When Barack Obama speaks of taxing only the wealthy, keep in mind this could have a devastating effect on new small businesses. As Irwin Stelzer has written: “Taxes change behavior. By raising rates on upper income payers, Obama is reducing their incentive to work and take risks. The income tax increase is not all that he has in mind for them. He plans to increase their payroll taxes, the taxes they pay on dividends received and capital gains earned, and on any transfers they might have in mind to their kith and kin when they shuffle off this mortal coil. If the aggregate of these additional taxes substantially diminishes incentives to set up a small business of the sort that has created most of the new jobs in recent decades, the $1,000 tax rebate will be more than offset by the consequences of reduced growth and new business formation.”
8. Barack Obama opposes drilling on and offshore to reduce gas and oil prices. While Barack Obama has opposed off-shore drilling and a gas-tax holiday (as supported by John McCain or Hillary Clinton), his solution to our energy crisis does include additional tax burdens on oil company profits, taxes we can only imagine will be passed on to the consumer, thus causing an even more expensive trip to the gas station. As the New York Times recently detailed, ethanol subsidies are a major plank in Barack Obama’s view of energy independence and national security; the “Obama Camp is Closely Linked with Ethanol,” and “Mr. Obama…favors [ethanol] subsidies, some of which end up in the hands of the same oil companies he says should be subjected to a windfall profits tax.”
9. Barack Obama is to the left of Hillary Clinton and NARAL on the issue of life. As a state senator in Illinois, Barack Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, a law that would have protected babies if they survived an attempted abortion and were delivered alive. When a similar bill was proposed in the United States Senate, it passed unanimously and even the National Abortion Rights Action League issued a statement saying they did not oppose the law.
10. Barack Obama is actually to the left of every member of the U.S. Senate. According to the National Journal, “Sen. Barack Obama…was the most liberal senator in 2007.” As the magazine reported: “The ratings system — devised in 1981 under the direction of William Schneider, a political analyst and commentator, and a contributing editor to National Journal — also assigns ‘composite’ scores, an average of the members’ issue-based scores. In 2007, Obama’s composite liberal score of 95.5 was the highest in the Senate. Rounding out the top five most liberal senators last year were Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), with a composite liberal score of 94.3; Joseph Biden (D., Del.), with a 94.2; Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), with a 93.7; and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), with a 92.8.”
Whom will a man this far left appoint to the Supreme Court?
— William J. Bennett is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show Bill Bennett’s Morning in America. Seth Leibsohn is the show’s producer.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 6/24/2008 11:38:00 PM
It was in early May, 2008, when rumors of a tape of Michelle Obama ranting and raving and making remarks that were consistently called "stunning". Then we heard the GOP already had this tape, and it was most likely Rudy Giuliani's opposition research team that found it,
The Michelle Obama Rant Tape was allegedly filmed between June 26th and July 1st, 2004, in Chicago, IL, at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago, specifically the women's panel.
Michelle Obama appeared as a panelist alongside Mrs. Khadijah Farrakhan and Mrs. James Meeks, wife of the hateful Rev. Meeks.
For about 30 minutes, Michelle Obama launched into a rant about the evils of America, and how America is to blame for the problems of Africa. Michelle personally blamed President Clinton for the deaths of millions of Africans and said America is responsible for the genocide of the Tutsis and other ethnic groups. She then launched into an attack on "whitey", and talked about solutions to black on black crime in the realm of diverting those actions onto white America. Her rant was fueled by the crowd: they reacted strongly to what she said, so she got more passionate and enraged, and that's when she completely loses it and says things that have made the mouths drop of everyone who's seen this.
The "tape" is a DVD that Trinity United sold on its website, and possibly offered free for download up until March 2008 when Trinity's site was scrubbed and the DVDs were no longer offered for sale.
It's also being reported that ABC-7 news anchors moderated a panel at the Conference that appears to be the one Michelle Obama participated in. If so, then it's reasonable to believe ABC-7 in Chicago has footage from the panel discussion.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 6/24/2008 10:46:00 AM
Monday, June 23, 2008
Here are the top 10 reasons Barack Obama has variously stated why he voted against Illinois' Born Alive Infant Protection Act when state senator.
10. Babies who survive their abortions are not protected by the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Speaking against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act on the IL Senate floor on March 30, 2001, Obama, the sole verbal opponent to the bill stated:
... I just want to suggest... that this is probably not going to survive constitutional scrutiny.
Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a - child, a nine-month-old - child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place.
I mean, it - it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute. For that purpose, I think it would probably be found unconstitutional.
9. A ban to stop aborted babies from being shelved to die would be burdensome to their mothers. She alone should decide whether her baby lives or dies. Before voting "no" for a 2nd time in the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 5, 2002, Obama stated:
What we are doing here is to create one more burden on women, and I can't support that.
During a speech at Benedictine University in October 2004, Obama said, according to the Illinois Leader, that "the decision concerning a baby should be left to a woman, but that he does not see himself as supportive of abortion."
8. Wanting to stop live aborted babies from being shelved to die was all about politics. During that same speech at Benedictine University, Obama said, according to the Illinois Leader, "the bill was unnecessary in Illinois and was introduced for political reasons."
7. There was no proof. Also during the Benedictine University speech, Obama said, according to the Illinois Leader, that "there was no documentation that hospitals were actually doing what was alleged in testimony presented before him in committee."
6. Aborting babies alive and letting them die is a doctor's prerogative. An Obama spokesman told the Chicago Tribune in August 2004 that Obama voted against Born Alive because it included provisions that "would have taken away from doctors their professional judgment when a fetus is viable."
5. Anyway, doctors don't do that. Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times in October 2004 he opposed Born Alive because "physicians are already required to use life-saving measures when fetuses are born alive during abortions."
4. Aborting babies alive and letting them die is a religious issue. During their U.S. Senate competition Alan Keyes famously said:
Christ would not stand idly by while an infant child in that situation died.... Christ would not vote for Barack Obama, because Barack Obama has voted to behave in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved.
Obama has always mischaracterized Keyes' rationale for condemning Obama by implying Keyes was simply making a statement against Obama's pro-abortion position, which is untrue. Keyes pointedly stated he was condemning Obama for his support of infanticide.
Nevertheless, live birth abortion must be included in the list of procedures Obama condones. Obama responded first to Keyes by saying, as quoted in his July 10, 2006, USA Today op ed:
... [W]e live in a pluralistic society, and that I can't impose my religious views on another.
3. Aborting babies alive and letting them die violates no universal principle. In the same USA Today piece, Obama said he reflected on that first answer, decided it was a "typically liberal response," and revised it:
... But my opponent's accusations nagged at me.... If I am opposed to abortion for religious reasons but seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.
2. Sinking Born Alive was simply about political oneupsmanship. Obama has this quote on his website:
Pam Sutherland, the president and CEO of the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council, told ABC News. "We worked with him specifically on his strategy. The Republicans were in control of the Illinois Senate at the time. They loved to hold votes on 'partial birth' and 'born alive'. They put these bills out all the time... because they wanted to pigeonhole Democrats...."
And the #1 reason Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act was:
1. The IL Born Alive Infant Protection Act was a ploy to undercut Roe v. Wade. During a debate against Keyes in October 2004, Obama stated:
Now, the bill that was put forward was essentially a way of getting around Roe vs. Wade.... At the federal level, there was a similar bill that passed because it had an amendment saying this does not encroach on Roe vs. Wade. I would have voted for that bill.
This was an out-and-out lie. The definition of "born alive" in the federal and Illinois versions were identical. The only difference came in paragraph (c), which was originally identical in both versions but changed on the federal level.
Illinois' paragraph (c): A live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law.
Federal paragraph (c): Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being "born alive" as defined in this section.
When the senator sponsoring the IL bill tried to amend IL's paragraph (c), Amendment 1 below, to be the same as the federal paragraph (c), Barack Obama himself, as chairman of the committee hearing the bill, refused, and he then also killed the bill (click to enlarge).
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 6/23/2008 10:48:00 AM
posted in Breakfast and Brunch by Kathy Maister
My niece Fiona is in graduate school here in
Since she is from
Grits are a grain made from ground corn or “hominy.” When cooked, they have a porridge-like consistency. They are a common food in the Southern portion of the
Plain grits take 2 minutes to prepare and about 40 minutes to cook. Instant grits are available but (quote) “no true Southerner would serve instant grits”. (Does anyone remember the movie “My Cousin Vinny”?)
To make two servings of grits, measure out 1/2 cup of grits….
…and 2 and 1/4 cups of water.
Measure out one Tablespoon of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
(I personally felt that this was too much salt, but that was what the recipe called for.)
Put the grits, butter and salt in a sauce pan and add the water.
Stir everything together.
Set the stove to high and bring the grits to a boil.
Cover the pot and lower the temperature to simmer.
Simmer the grits until all the water is absorbed and the grits develop a smooth and creamy texture - about 40-45 minutes.
There are numerous variations to this basic recipe. Perhaps Fiona (or any of you who wish to join in) will share some with us.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 6/23/2008 09:39:00 AM
Edgy comic George Carlin dies in L.A., aged 71
By Dean Goodman
2 hours, 49 minutes ago
Comedian George Carlin, a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs, dirty words and the demise of humanity, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital on Sunday. He was 71.
Carlin, who had a history of heart and drug-dependency problems, died at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica about 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT) after being admitted earlier in the afternoon for chest pains, spokesman Jeff Abraham told Reuters.
Known for his edgy, provocative material developed over 50 years, the bald, bearded Carlin achieved status as an anti-Establishment icon in the 1970s with stand-up bits full of drug references and a routine called "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television." A regulatory battle over a radio broadcast of the routine ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the 1978 case, Federal Communications Commission vs. Pacifica Foundation, the top U.S. court ruled that the words cited in Carlin's routine were indecent, and that the government's broadcast regulator could ban them from being aired at times when children might be listening.
The Grammy-winning Carlin remained an active presence on the comedy circuit. Carlin was scheduled to receive the John F. Kennedy Center's prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in November and his publicist said Carlin performed in Las Vegas this month.
His comedic sensibility revolved around a central theme: humanity is a cursed, doomed species.
"I don't have any beliefs or allegiances. I don't believe in this country, I don't believe in religion, or a god, and I don't believe in all these man-made institutional ideas," he told Reuters in a 2001 interview.
Carlin told Playboy in 2005 that he looked forward to an afterlife where he could watch the decline of civilization on a "heavenly CNN."
"The world is a big theater-in-the round as far as I'm concerned, and I'd love to watch it spin itself into oblivion," he said. "Tune in and watch the human adventure."
Carlin wrote three best-selling books, won four Grammy Awards, recorded 22 comedy albums, headlined 14 HBO television specials, and hosted hundreds of variety shows. One was the first episode of "Saturday Night Live" in 1975, when he was high on cocaine.
Drug addiction plagued him for much of his life, beginning with marijuana experimentation as a teen, graduating to cocaine in the 1970s, and then to prescription painkillers and wine. During the cocaine years, Carlin ignored his finances and ended up owing about $3 million in back taxes. In 2004, he entered a Los Angeles rehab clinic for his alcohol and Vicodin abuse.
George Dennis Carlin was born on May 12, 1937, in New York City, where he was raised with an older brother by their single mother. He fondly recalled that the nuns at his school tolerated his early comedic inclinations.
After a brief, troubled stint in the U.S. Air Force, he started honing his comic act, developing such characters as Al Sleet, a "hippie-dippie weatherman."
Carlin told Playboy that his sensibilities developed in the 1950s, "when comedy stopped being safe ... (and) became about saying no to authority." He cited such influences as Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Dick Gregory and Bob Newhart.
He also dabbled in movies and television, recently voicing a hippie Volkswagen bus named Fillmore in the Pixar cartoon "Cars."
Carlin is survived by his second wife Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; and brother Patrick. His first wife, Brenda, died of cancer in 1997. News of his death was first reported by the television show "Entertainment Tonight."
(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Patricia Zengerle)
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