Friday, November 27, 2009

Revisionist History Lives

Today's Post had a piece by a fellow who is saying that the US is on the right side of the Honduras affair. I posted a comment to his piece (see below) and if you want to see the piece itself (with a link to my response), go to Makes for interesting and informative reading.
Mr. Schumacher's piece failed to point out that the US has been on the wrong side of this issue since day 1 and makes it seem like we had it right all along. I imagine Mr. Schumacher works for the State Department in the Department of Covering Up Stupid Things We Have Done (DCUSTWHD). Maybe the US should do the right thing and admit we made a mistake and acknowledge how the Hondurans are on the right path - maybe that will cause others in the world to validate the free and fair elections to be held by Honduras. I thought our foreign policy under Bush was pretty bad in a lot of ways, but under Obama we are plumbing new depths of ineptitude and silliness.

tlamb1 wrote:
This was a very nice rewriting of history - my compliments to the author. It is true to say that the United States is now on the right side of this sordid affair, but extremely misleading not to mention that it was on the wrong side for the entire period of time leading up to elections. The author neglected to mention that the State Department did everything it could to reinstate Zelaya over the wishes of the Honduran Supreme Court and Congress (a majority of which was from Zelaya's own party) based on his defying of the Honduran Constitution. The US cut off aid, froze assets and suspended visas - all in an attempt to force the small, poor, democratic nation of Honduras to bow to the will of Morales, Chavez, Ortega, Kirchner and their ilk. It was clear to anyone that was paying attention (but not State or Hillary Clinton or President Obama) that Zelaya was lawfully removed from his Presidency. The method by which he was removed from the country in the middle of the night did not play well for the world cameras, but in hindsight was done for the right reasons (i.e. to stop Zelaya from fomenting the riots that eventually occurred).
So now the State Department recognizes the error of its ways and they get a free pass? God forbid the State Department (and Mrs. Clinton and President Obama) admit it was wrong in the first place - perhaps that would help to further legitimize the election.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Man Bites Dog! Washington Post Op-Ed Writer Questions Obama Plan's Ludicrous Claims

I do some of my best thinking while running (too bad I don't run much anymore) and this morning I was wondering 1) how it can be that President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, their fellow Democrats and their journalistic enablers can talk with straight faces about how the Obama health plan will lower the deficit, and 2) more importantly, how anyone can possibly believe that nonsense. The Wall Street Journal points this out with great regularity, but in the other paper I read (the Washington Post), other than pieces by Charles Krauthammer, George Will and Robert Samuelson, there are only glowing words and fluff pieces trumpeting the fantastic claims of Obama, et al, by the rest of the Opinion writers (Ruth Marcus, David Broder, Eugene Robinson, Anne Applebaum, Richard Cohen, the Post's editorial board, etc., etc., etc.)
I just opened up today's Post and read (twice - I didn't believe what I was reading the first time) a piece by predictably liberal stalwart David Broder ( And what was he writing about? Well, read it for yourself, but he talks about two things I rarely (I would say "never", but I am not that into hyperbole) see liberals mention: 1) a (vast) majority of Americans are against the Obama plan, and 2) any talk of cost savings or deficit reduction are just that - talk, preposterous talk at that.
The good news is that maybe some on the left really do see the flaws in the Obama plan, and I imagine the Obama administration really knows how unpopular this legislation is. The bad news is that I don't think this makes a whit of difference to Obama, Reid and Pelosi - they will do whatever it takes and tell as many lies as they can to get this legislative monstrosity passed. But then the good news (and I firmly believe this) is that the Democrats are going to suffer greatly in the polls in 2010 and again in 2012. To paraphrase the immortal words of Carl Spackler "so we've got that going for us...which is nice". Let's just hope the Republican president and Congress can roll back the abortion the Democrats are cooking up for us.

[Note: I am still working off and on (more off than on, as I have been busy on other things) on a piece called "Hooray for Honduras" which I will post soon. The news about Honduras will be a bit dated when I post it, but a large part of the piece reflects on my time in Latin America and how Americans are really perceived there.]

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ode to Joe

-->My friend and blogging mentor (let’s call him Jim A.) advised me to not be negative, nor to launch personal attacks in my writing, pointing out that we (conservatives) are in the right and should argue with facts, not vitriol. I wholeheartedly agree with him…most of the time…but there are exceptions to every rule…like here…so I am happy to say I loathe Joe Biden (and don't worry Jim, I have facts to argue the case).
Yes, I said it – I loathe Joe Biden. And as much as I have problems with Barack Obama, I find myself praying for the President's health, lest Fightin’ Joe take his place.
What makes Joe Biden worse than the collection of miscreants (Republican and Democrat) that populates Washington? Is it the sheer meanness and lack of morals/scruples he exhibits against his political foes? Is it the acts of plagiarism denoting dishonesty, untrustworthiness and lack of character? Or is it that he has been wrong on pretty much every foreign policy issue that he has ever weighed in on and now sits the proverbial one heartbeat away from the Presidency? If you answered “all of the above”, read on.
Joe Biden first made an impression on me during the summer of 1991, when I, then a young lawyer, was following the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings. I was first drawn to the hearings because I was offended that Bush 41 would nominate a man to the Court solely based on his race – clearly there were more qualified candidates. But my displeasure with Thomas turned to admiration and it became clear that the person who lacked the qualifications, morals and intellect was not Thomas, but Biden, who could best be described in the immortal words of Michael Bolton (of Office Space fame, not the singer, although he might agree), as a “no talent ass clown”. Clearly Biden would stop at nothing to try to destroy an honorable man. And thank goodness his competence in the Thomas hatchet job was what you would expect, so he failed at that too.
My impression of Biden led me to do some investigation of him, which in 1991 was not as easy as it is today (what did we do without the Internet?) And what did I find out? Among other things, that he graduated from a 3rd tier law school where he finished at the bottom of his class (did I mention that he finished 506th in a class of 688 as an undergrad at the University of Delaware?) and failed a law school class for committing plagiarism. And that he had to drop out of the 1988 presidential Democratic nomination race because he plagiarized a Neil Kinnock (Neil Kinnock for God’s sake!) speech. He then practiced law for one year before going into politics. I could not believe his background qualified him to pass judgment on Clarence Thomas (don’t get me started on Robert Bork), let alone be the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee – or do much of anything for that matter.
Over the years I watched Biden become increasingly powerful in Washington (there is a good side to this, as I can now tell my children “if Joe Biden can be one of the most powerful men on earth, just think of what you can do”) and kept mental notes of just how much of a clown he really was. But for all of the character flaws and lack of talent he possessed, it was the area of foreign affairs that really caught my attention. How could a man be so wrong, so consistently and still have a job? Were the people of the fine state of Delaware paying attention to this embarrassment? And when Obama picked Biden to be his running mate to add foreign affairs gravitas, I was horrified. Was Obama paying attention? Now Biden (along with his gravitas) has the President’s ear on foreign affairs and for that reason, we may all be in trouble.
The following is a random (albeit linear) walk through the Joe Biden Foreign Affairs Hall of Fame – and while reading this, keep in mind that “military expert” Biden obtained five draft deferments during the Viet Nam war and later was disqualified from service because of an acute bout of asthma he had as a teenager (see “chickenhawk – definition of”):
1970s – Biden opposes giving South Viet Nam aid against North Viet Nam. The eventual cut-off of funds leads directly to the overrun of South Viet Nam and indirectly to the horrors of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
1980s – Biden opposes aid to the Nicaraguan Contras who are fighting Daniel Ortega and his merry band of Marxist thugs. He also opposes aid to El Salvador so they can fight the Marxist insurgency of the notoriously murderous FMLN. He consistently opposes the Strategic Defense Initiative and pretty much any attempt to upgrade our nuclear deterrent.
1990 – Biden votes against American action to push Saddam Hussein’s Iraq out of Kuwait; a military action that enjoyed the cooperation of a huge multinational coalition.
2003 – Biden votes for the American invasion of Iraq (something that I and many Conservatives were never really thrilled with); a military action that enjoyed a very limited amount of cooperation among other nations and something the Democrats blame for our alienation from the rest of the world (whatever that means).
2006 – Biden advocates a partitioning of Iraq into three states along ethnic lines; a “solution” that most likely would have led to vast bloodshed.
2007 – Biden strongly opposes the “Surge” of American troops into Iraq, an action that ultimately saved the war effort.
Let’s move to the present – 2009. Among the myriad issues that Joe is advising the President on is the increasingly tenuous situation in Afghanistan. Biden strongly advocates a limited footprint in Afghanistan, in contravention of the wishes of General McChrystal and his experienced military staff. This story is not yet over, but given the above history, my only question is “what’s the opposite of ‘limited?’”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Leftist, Statist or anti-Realist?

I have been thinking a lot today about a post from my friend and, dare I say, blogging mentor, who can be found at He copied a great article by Steven Malanga (Manhattan Institute) called "Tax the Rich? How's that Working?" I won't get into the argument, as it makes sense to anyone that is considered "rich" who wonders a) where their tax dollars are going and b) whether they should move to a state that won't try to take away everything they have (friends in California, New Jersey and New York know what I am talking about). He also mentioned how various authors are now starting to describe the more pro-government folks as "statists" or "interventionists" rather than as the "left" or the "right". My friend then goes on to describe the dichotomy as "pro-reality" or "anti-reality". Very thoughtful and thought-provoking.

Change: "An empty vessel waiting to be filled with the details of real life"

There was another nice piece in today's Washington Post by David Ignatius (not exactly a conservative firebrand) talking about Obama's Afghanistan policy from which the above phrase was taken. Read the Piece ( At some point I will stop referring to the writings of others referring to the Obama promise of "change", as they all pretty much say the same thing, to wit, there is/was nothing there. In fact, inasmuch as George W. Bush made mistakes (and he made some whoppers), most of the time he at least he did something - and a lot of the time, just doing something is better than doing nothing. I believe that is what is called leadership.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Is the Bloom Coming off of the Rose?

I don’t read as much as I would like but I make it a point every day to at least read the opinion sections of the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. With certain exceptions, the Journal takes the conservative side of arguments whilst the Post takes the liberal stance. As such, the Journal tends to not like the Obama presidency (specifically its policies but also its “character”) and the Post is more of a cheerleader for the President.

I have been struck recently by more and more opinion pieces in the Post where reliably liberal writers write increasingly/incrementally critical pieces on Obama. Richard Cohen, who never has a bad word to say about the President (as long as it isn’t Bush), wrote a rather amazing piece on Tuesday entitled “Time for Obama to Act Like a President”, in which he roundly criticized Obama for continuing his presidential campaign in lieu of starting his presidency. In other words, it is time to stop talking and start doing. He focused a good deal on his “handling” of the situation in Iran, but he used that as a proxy for Obama’s performance (or lack thereof) in other areas. The piece struck me as much by its tenor as its content – Cohen seemed angered by the president’s behavior and performance.

I was not moved to write this piece however, until yesterday when I read Thomas Frank’s (the token liberal columnist of the Journal) column and almost fell out of my chair. I always read Frank’s columns with a mixture of shock and awe – I can’t think of a writer with whom I more profoundly disagree. Yesterday’s piece focused on the K Street lobbyists that continue to plague Washington in general and the White House in particular, despite Obama’s promise that lobbyists would hold no sway over his administration. The column’s title said it all: Obama and the K Street Set – Whatever happened to ‘change?’ Frank is clearly not amused, and given that he was questioning one of the core “planks” of the Obama platform – change – I wondered whether he is starting to regret his over-the-top support of Obama since well before the election.

I was at an event sponsored by the Hoover Institute yesterday and mentioned this to a fellow attendee who explained the increasing negativity of the “mainstream” media as Obama being “caught in the middle”. In his mind, Obama is being criticized by the left for not going far enough and the right for trying to go too far. I made the distinction that neither Cohen nor Frank was unhappy for individual policy positions but rather, Cohen blasted Obama for not being presidential while Frank practically accused Obama of being corrupt.

I thought that if Richard Cohen and Thomas Frank were going negative on Obama, who would turn against him next, the French?

Well in fact, yes.

Yesterday I read that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is incredibly frustrated with Obama’s handling of Iran – something that was clear from his statements made to the UN and the G-20. I also read from “reliable sources” that Sarkozy thinks Obama is “na├»ve”, “egotistical” and “utterly immature in foreign affairs”. This is somewhat of a contrast to Sarkozy’s reaction after Obama’s election, when he said, among other things: “in choosing you, the American people have chosen change, openness and optimism”, and “[your election] raises a great hope in France, in Europe and in the world – that of an open, united and strong America that will show a new way…” Contrast that with his sarcastic assessment this week of Obama’s dream of a nuclear-free world and his handling of the Iranian situation in general.

Just after the election I wondered how long it would take for people to understand that “hope” and “change” were not good reasons to elect an inexperienced man to be leader of the free world and frankly, it is happening sooner than I thought. My first glimpse of this was when two of my neighbors approached me individually over the summer and admitted they made a mistake with their votes. Then Obama’s ratings started (and continue) to drop across the country as more and more people woke up and started to pay attention to what Obama was proposing to do with his “mandate”. And the more I listen to people, the more negative comments I hear about the President and the state of our nation – they don’t have to say it, but I know many of them wish they had their votes back.

There will be nowhere for Obama to hide if the media, to which Obama owes much of his success, now starts to pile on. And if the media realizes they were duped into supporting Obama by “hope” and “change”, only to see him for what he really is – a smooth-talking, politics-as-usual, ineffectual president, the piling on could be as ugly as anything George W. Bush ever saw.

Black Swan

I really enjoyed the Black Swan by Nassim Taleb. The author is a pretty impressive guy and even more impressive after saying what he said below. This was sent to me by a neighbor who gave me a hard time for my views before the election and then stopped me in the street a month ago to tell me that he wanted his vote for Obama (and his money) back.

Taleb, ‘Black Swan’ Author, Wants Obama Vote Back


By Joe Schneider Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) --

U.S. President Barack Obama has failed to appoint advisers and regulators who understand the complexity of financial systems, Nassim Taleb, author of “TheBlack Swan,” told a group of business people in Toronto. “I want my vote back,” Taleb, who said he voted for Obama, told the group. The U.S. has three times the debt, relative to the country’s economic output, or gross domestic product, as it had in the 1980s, Taleb said. He blamed rising over confidence around the world. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who was appointed to a second term last month by Obama, contributed to that misperception, Taleb said. “Bernanke thought the system was getting stable,” Taleb said, when it was on the verge of collapse last year. Debt is a direct measure of over confidence, he said. The national debt, according to the U.S. Debt Clock Web site, is at $11.8 trillion. The nation must reduce its debt level and avoid “the moral sin” of converting private debt to public debt, he said. “This is what I’m worried about,” Taleb said. “But no one has the guts to say let’s bite the bullet.” As the founder of New York-based Empirica LLC, a hedge-fund firm he ran for six years before closing it in 2004, Taleb built a strategy based on options trading to protect investors from market declines while profiting from rallies. He now advisesUniversa Investments LP, a $6 billion fund that bets on extreme market moves. --Editor: Josh Friedman

Thank you President Obama

I thought this post was especially well thought out..

Thank You, Barack Obama

Thank you, thank you, thank you. We thought we were down and out,

and now you have given us a fresh start.

-- Stab