Friday, December 04, 2009

Who Is The Enemy?

I suppose you have heard by now that on the night of Pres. Obama's Afghanistan speech given at West Point, Chris Matthews of MSNBC said on air that he found it interesting that Obama had made the decision to speak at "the enemy camp."

It was a despicable thing to say, but coming from "a tingle up my leg" type journalist, it's no surprise.

It was as much of an insult to Obama as it was to West Point. Why would a fellow liberal want to endorse the stereotype that people on the left see the military as "the enemy." I know that the Democrats and liberals that I know do not see it that way. The West Point cadets certainly don't see it that way. The only enemy to them are the ones who wish to hurt or kill Americans.

A cadet at West Point addressed this point here:

(Chris Matthews) Later acknowledging the potential ramifications of such a controversial statement, he attempted to assuage critics by stating that “maybe earlier tonight I used the wrong phrase, ‘enemy camp,’ but the fact of the matter is that he went up there to a place that’s obviously ‘military.’”

This is perhaps the most vapid response one could muster, especially in an attempt to retract such a scathing statement. The President came to West Point because he desired to address those whom his decision would affect the most. From my experience, West Point cadets are one of the most polite audiences in America.


Indeed, the President came to West Point because of the non-partisan nature of the institution, which truly exemplifies the beauty and finesse of the civil-military relationship. The Corps was reminded to be reserved, restrained, and respectful, as any military audience ought to be.


Cadets are trained in acceptance of orders, and the Commander-in-Chief was effectively issuing an order to all who were present. No cadet will be spared from the effects of President Obama’s remarks — his message has been received and internalized by all who were present in Eisenhower Hall. I am humbled by the President’s decision to announce his new strategy at my school and completely reject the notion of any who suggest that West Point is in any way “the enemy camp.” The enemy camps are in Helmand province, where soldiers are currently engaged in the President’s mission.

These young men and women are the best of the best. I am more proud of them than I can say. This young man answers the shameful Chris Matthews perfectly.

MSNBC has no journalistic integrity to begin with. It's so called 'journalists' are constantly crossing the line with insults and dirt. Chris Matthews is an embarrassment. The only one worse than Matthews is Kieth Olbermann. The only thing that gives me comfort is that so few people watch it.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Meet Lt. Col. Allen West

This fine gentleman is running in Florida District 22 for the U.S. Congress. It is with men like this the GOP will thrive. Listen to the end. It's worth it.

Love it. Love it.

via ACE

Inner City Kids and The Politics That Abandons Them

We are all aware of the dismal condition of our inner city schools. These children, largely composed of minorities, are trapped in schools that have become little more than lousy daycare centers. Dropping out seems a more reasonable option for many of these children.

We all agree that education is the key to lifting kids out of poverty and a cycle of dependency on the government.

When I was in 3rd grade I was part of the integration of black and white schoolchildren in Mississippi in the 1960's. Black children finally had access to the same educational opportunities as white children. And yet here we are, decades later, and we still have schools exactly like the ones black children were trapped in all those years ago.

Imagine if there was a way to give these children an opportunity to excel in academics. Imagine if parents who yearn for a safe learning environment could actually choose a better school for their kids despite all the odds.

Well, we don't have to imagine it. We have it in many states. But they are about to lose it in Washington D.C. because of the Obama's administration's refusal to support it.

Some 1,700 Washington D.C. schoolchildren rely on the District's school voucher program. This program works.

As the Washington Examiner points out:

Studies of the six-year-old Opportunity Scholarship Program by Georgetown University, the Manhattan Institute and the Department of Education itself have found that vouchers foster tremendous parental satisfaction, impressive educational results and a greater degree of voluntary racial integration than in regular public schools in Washington.

Here we are at the root of the problem of poverty and despair in the inner city. Here we give these children opportunity they would never have otherwise. Is anything more important than this to advance the standard of living for so many minorities? Yet, Pres. Obama, our first African American President, refuses to intervene to save this popular program from congressional Democrats who, along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, are determined to kill it. They should be ashamed. They are literally turning their back on the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., who saw a day when all children, no matter what color, would be able to have access to the best education possible.

The program is affordable and it works. The reading effects of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program show the largest achievement impact of any education policy program yet evaluated in a randomized control trial by the U.S. Department of Education. Why would the Obama administration be against this? Simple. The NEA. With voucher programs this powerful teacher's union loses control and power. Heaven forbid we give parents more control.

Could there be anything more important in the black community than finding ways for urban children to get a decent education? Where is Jesse Jackson? Where is Al Sharpton? They should be leading marches for this voucher program. They should be demanding more programs like this throughout the country.

But as The Washington Examiner points out, liberal politics trumps principle. A Democratically controlled Congress voted in March not to fund the program, but local leaders protested loudly. Teachers unions say vouchers are a waste of tax money that could be better spent improving public schools. Oh yes, right. Since all the money we've spent so far as done so much. We spend more and more every year, yet nothing ever gets better for the urban schools. The voucher program has proven that with less money it can give students what they need. It needs to be expanded, not killed.

The program was created as a five-year pilot project by a Republican-controlled Congress in early 2004, the Opportunity Scholarship Program is the nation's only federally funded voucher program. And there is the rub. I believe that many Democrats just refuse to give credit to a program that works that was created by Republicans. That might dispel the Democrats narrative of Republicans not caring about the inner city poor. A narrative that is false to begin with.

To see what these scholarships mean to these parents, look at Joe Kelly:

Joe Kelley entered his oldest son, Rashawn, in the first Opportunity Scholarship Program lottery in 2004, fearful about violence at the public middle school. Rashawn, now 17, received a voucher, and so have his three sisters. All attend a small, private Christian academy where they have been earning A's and B's. "It's a lot of worry off of me," said Mr. Kelley, a retired cook and youth counselor.

I think Kelley speaks for so many parents. Taking "the worry" off of them is a profound and wonderful thing. The Obama administration is letting these parents and students down. And that's a crying shame.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

We Are In The Twilight Zone of Politics

Really. We are. I was on twitter during the President's speech and my lefty twitter friends are so upset at Obama. The "F" word is everywhere. On the right I see support, suspicion, and relief. The arguments I am hearing from the right seem pretty weak to me. They argue that we shouldn't do a "surge and leave," and you don't let the enemy know when you are exiting the stage. They will just wait you out. There is also the point that with the 18 month timeline just about the time we get all our troops in there, it will be time to start pulling them out. These things take time, you know. 18 months doesn't seem long enough. But despite all that, I still support the President and I am glad he made the decision he did. Like I said before, he sees the big picture that we don't have access to.

We have come into the twilight zone of politics though. Here are some statements by other leaders. The liberals are not happy. Republicans like Orrin Hatch say it isn't enough, and John McCain thinks the decision is just right. Obama is practically Goldilocks here.

As Andrew Ferguson points out in the Weekly Standard blog, Obama is the first Democratic president in forty years to call for a significant deployment of American troops in the national security interest of his country. This is big. It's historic actually. As I said yesterday, let's support our troops and back this President, even if we don't agree with him on anything else.

Here is the disgruntled Arlen Specter's statement tonight:

“I oppose sending 30,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan because I am not persuaded that it is indispensable in our fight against Al Qaeda. If it was, I would support an increase because we have to do whatever it takes to defeat Al Qaeda since they’re out to annihilate us. But if Al Qaeda can operate out of Yemen or Somalia, why fight in Afghanistan where no one has succeeded?

I disagree with the President’s two key assumptions: that we can transfer responsibility to Afghanistan after 18 months and that our NATO allies will make a significant contribution. It is unrealistic to expect the United States to be out in 18 months so there is really no exit strategy. This venture is not worth so many American lives or the billions it will add to our deficit.”

2)From Sen. Orrin Hatch sees politics involved in the timing of this:

It is evident the President's plan for Afghanistan has not maximized our forces' chances of success. Though the forces to be deployed have important capabilities that will have a meaningful effect on our counterinsurgency operations in the south and east of Afghanistan, the President has handicapped our forces by failing to provide the number of troops requested by his hand-picked commander, General McChrystal. Also concerning, the President's plan appears to set arbitrary withdrawal deadlines. History shows withdrawal decisions must be determined by the conditions on the ground, not arbitrary deadlines. Coincidentally, the President's arbitrary deadline assumes the war will be winding down and troops returning home just when the Administration is ramping up its campaign for re-election.

Sen. John McCain agrees with Obama:

“The President has made the right decision to embrace a counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan and to resource it properly. I think the 30,000 additional U.S. troops that will deploy as part of this mission, plus greater allied commitments, will enable us to reverse the momentum of the insurgency and create the conditions for success in Afghanistan. I support the President’s decision, and I think it deserves the support of all Americans, both Republicans and Democrats.

Then there are the Republicans who see a lack of commitment on Obama's part. I find that hard to believe. Obama can't possible WANT to fail. He wants to have victory in Afghanistan. I can't imagine a scenario where Obama would choose to be mired in a war that we are losing. But here is this Republican's take from NRO:

Jason Chaffetz, the freshman Republican congressman from Utah, who yesterday called for a troop pullout from Afghanistan — he's worried that this White House will simply not give our military there the resources they need and deserve — tells me tonight that President Obama “did not justify his case for 100,000 troops in Afghanistan” in his speech at West Point.

“Announcing the date of withdraw will give most a sense of his lack of commitment,” Congressman Chaffetz tells The Corner.

Echoing his comments yesterday, Chaffetz says: “I still worry he is trying to cut the cake in half. Mr. President, go big or go home.”

In the speech, the president “sounded like the bigger threat is in Pakistan and yet he offered no definitive solutions,” Chaffetz observes.

The congressman adds: “His praise of the United Nations would be laughable, if it wasn't so sad.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer:

"I support the president's mission and exit strategy for Afghanistan, but I do not support adding more troops because there are now 200,000 American, NATO and Afghan forces fighting roughly 20,000 Taliban and less than 100 al Qaeda."

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter:

"What I would have preferred to hear from the president is how he will bring our forces home within the next year. I see no good reason for us to send another 30,000 or more troops to Afghanistan when we have so many pressing issues – like our economy – to deal with in this country.

The U.S. government is already spending $3.6 billion a month on the war in Afghanistan. Sending an additional 30,000 troops will cost an extra $30 billion a year, which works out to roughly $1 million per soldier or Marine. The people who are complaining about the cost of health care reform should be more concerned about how much we are continuing to spend on these wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Gen. McChrystal seems to be saying that Obama has given him what he needed:

“The Afghanistan-Pakistan review led by the President has provided me with a clear military mission and the resources to accomplish our task. The clarity, commitment and resolve outlined in the President’s address are critical steps toward bringing security to Afghanistan and eliminating terrorist safe havens that threaten regional and global security.

“We face many challenges in Afghanistan, but our efforts are sustained by one unassailable reality: neither the Afghan people nor the international community want Afghanistan to remain a sanctuary for terror and violence. The coalition is encouraged by President Obama’s commitment and we remain resolute to empowering the Afghan people to reject the insurgency and build their own future.”

But it is Pelosi's statement that is the most amusing to me. First of all this chick cannot let go of Bush. She hardly knows what to do without him to push around anymore. Second of all, you can tell the rest of the statment is said through gritted teeth. You will notice that she does not say she agrees or that it's a good thing. She just points out bascially that Obama said what needed to be said. Then she says congress will take a good long look at it. Then she throws in a little kissy face to the troops for good measure. Such gobbly gook. Really:

"President Obama inherited a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan because the Bush Administration did not have a plan to get the job done.

"Tonight, the President articulated a way out of this war with the mission of defeating Al Qaeda and preventing terrorists from using Afghanistan and Pakistan as safe havens to again launch attacks against the United States and our allies. The President has offered President Karzai a chance to prove that he is a reliable partner. The American people and the Congress will now have an opportunity to fully examine this strategy.

"Our troops in Afghanistan and around the world have performed excellently; they have done everything that has been asked of them. As always, we are grateful and respectful of the enormous sacrifices our men and women in uniform, and their families, have made."

So there we have it. It's a mixed reaction. All we can do now is pray for our troops and our President.

Supporting President Obama

I'm going to get a head start on Obama's Afghanistan war speech, because after he speaks it will be all people are talking about.

It looks as if Obama is going to give Gen. McChrystal just about all he wanted in troop levels (30,000 troops). Obama tells us he has a plan and we just need to listen to it and we will understand.

Several weeks ago I called for Obama to bring all troops home. I just don't believe that we should send troops to a war that our Commander In Chief has no interest in winning. What led me to believe that was when Obama's own General tells him that if he doesn't get these additional troops the war will be completely lost in 12 months, Obama then waits 3 months to even make a decision. So now we are 9 months away from total failure and the deployment of additional troops will just be beginning. Better late than never I suppose.

Liberals like Bob Hebert of the New York Times are very angry. The liberal commenters there are depressed and regretting their decision to vote for Obama. I have little sympathy for them, because Obama did call this "the necessary war" when he campaigned. Did they think he was lying at the time?

No, they imagined that Obama was saying what he needed to get elected. And that is probably true. But what Obama discovered was that being President is much more difficult than running for President. Why did Obama betray the left by keeping warrantless wiretapping, the Patriot Act, and rendition? Because once you are sitting in that chair in the Oval Office you see the big picture. You see the real threat.

I am frankly surprised that Obama has decided to send these troops to Afghanistan. I am sure he will give us a timely exit plan to prove he is different from Bush. But reasonable people understand that plans change as war changes.

I think this comment from Nick summarizes what many on the left feel:

I have been betrayed by this man I came to love. The man I lectured all of my Republican "friends" would be the greatest president of modern times...a brilliant scholar, a chess player in the world of international political football. They laughed at me, derided me, told me he wasn't up to the job. Now I actually avoid these people, it's too humiliating to admit they were right. I'm just sick over it.

We were right. Obama isn't up for the job. But in truth, he is proving that in every way except for this decision. The leftwing of the blogosphere is already beside itself over this. I think Obama will be shocked at the vitriol that will be thrown at him from his own party.

We on the right need to do what the left never did with Bush. We need to support our troops and back Obama up on this, because it is the right thing to do. If Obama has the courage to send the additional troops against the wishes of his party, then we on the right need to have the courage to be behind him 100%. This is not "Obama's war," this is OUR war. As long as our soldiers are fighting in foreign lands we should support them no matter who is President.

I know it's going to feel strange to be on the side of this President when we disagree with everything else that he does, but it's important. Is Obama interested in winning this? Right now it looks like he is. And as long as that is the case, then I will be supporting Pres. Obama in this war.

Monday, November 30, 2009

"You've Come A Long Way, Maybe"

Leslie Sanchez, a Republican strategist and former advisor to President George Bush, has written a timely book about politics and the American woman. In "You've Come A Long Way, Maybe," she takes a hard non partisan look at three woman in particular. Sarah Palin, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton.

It is fascinating to compare such three distinctly different women, the paths they chose, and the paths which were chosen for them. Sanchez gives us an overview of what this means for the future of women in high office, and she asks the difficult questions on sexism and politics.

One truism throughout the book is that when it comes to these three women and women in politics in general, we seem to turn into "mean girls." Much like the movie, we turn on each other in response to fashion, hairstyles, and the choices these women made.

But it is the stereotypes and blatant insults from the media, and even the male candidates, that we see the double standard with women in politics. The best example Sanchez gives is during the Democratic primary when many people were wanting Hillary to concede the race to Obama. Keith Olbermann on MSNBC was talking with Newsweek's Howard Fineman and said this about Hillary:

"Right. Somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out."

This violent image would have been treated much differently if it had been about Obama. Yet, it hardly caused a ripple when said about Hillary. Mike Barnicle on MSNBC remarked, "She reacts to Obama with just the look, the look toward him, looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court." And who could forget Chris Matthews saying, "the reason she's a U.S. Senator, the reason she is a candidate for President, the reason she may be a front runner, is that her husband messed around." The last two statements reduces Hillary to nothing but a wife, as if her career meant nothing.

There are hundreds of examples of what Hillary and Palin endured. From the "Hillary Nutcracker" to Palin's photoshopped bikini picture holding a gun.

There is just no denying the unique pressure put on female candidates. Heck, even I was feeling sorry for Hillary Clinton at the end of the Democratic primary. But isn't that a statement in itself? I felt sorry for what she had to go through, not as a candidate, but as a woman. Which brings us to Sara Palin.

I will give credit to Hillary for one thing. Sanchez points out in the book that Hillary refused to go after Palin like her campaign staff wanted her to. Hillary was not going to be a part of the vitriol aimed at Palin. But I did notice that although Hillary wasn't a part of it, she didn't defend Palin against it either.

As much as Hillary went through during the campaign, it was a picnic compared to what Palin endured. Sanchez writes how Palin was pilloried by the inside the Beltway Democrat feminist establishment:

"Bottom line: you are not a feminist until we say you are. And there you have the formula for diminishing what was a once a great and important mass social change movement to an exclusionary club that rejects women who sincerely want to joint and, God forbid, grow to lead."

Sanchez drives this point home here:

"As Palin said in her convention speech, "among the many things I owe my parents is one simple lesson: that this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity." Well, Palin found herself on the threshold of the doorway to power only to find herself blocked by the very same people who should have been standing off to the side cheering."

Amen to that. Feminism should be about women making it on their own, equal rights, and equal opportunity. It shouldn't matter what political party they belong to. But feminism gave that up long ago. Feminist leaders dismissed Palin out of hand. And that is the saddest commentary on them yet.

Michelle Obama tells a us a different kind of political story. She decided to take on a traditional role as first lady. She did not insist on an office in the West Wing as Hillary did. She told "The View" that she was taking cues from Laura Bush saying, "There is a reason people like her-it's because she doesn't, sort of, you know add fuel to the fire." Gee, I wonder who Michelle was talking about there? Heh.

But don't think that Michelle Obama putting her family first and taking issues such as helping military spouses hasn't drawn criticism from feminists. Once again it seems with feminists that if you make more traditional choices for yourself, you made the wrong choices to them. Sanchez quotes one pundit in The Boston Globe:

However politically strategic and privately compelling, Obama's decision to be foremost the "first mom" potentially sends a wrong message: that high-level paid work and motherhood don't mix, or that women need to be the ones to step down to care for family......The point is, Michelle Obama has been a highly successful working mother and will be again some day. To hear her try to distance herself now from that role does a disservice to our children-and to our country."

Really? A disservice? Good grief.

I think the one thing that stands out to me in this book is the amount of energy spent on what Hillary, Michelle, and Sarah look like. Countless articles and discussions on appearances, shoes, dresses, hairstyles, and makeup. I don't think that will change anytime soon. It's almost as if it is in our genetic code. Women politicians will always be judged more on the way they look than male politicians. I think we might as well get used to it. But what we shouldn't get used to is how women in politics treat each other. We don't have to be "mean girls." We can respect each other for our achievements, accomplishments, and choices no matter what our political affiliation. That is what must be changed.

There are so many good things in this book. When you look at politics and women it is truly admirable and wonderful that women like Hillary and Sarah can bring in the big money just as their male counterparts. These women have proven they can bring home the bacon to their parties.

I've only touched on a few points in the book. I encourage you to go buy it and read for yourself how far we as women have come in politics, and how far we have to go. I think it would make an excellent gift for the young women you know. In this book they will see themselves, and they will see their mothers and all that came before, to where we are today.

Politics and Science

I've always said that it was sad that people can't trust climate change data because it has been politicized. Now, leaked e-mails prove what I have always believed. That scientists manipulate data to the outcome they wish it to be.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was started in 1988 and "is the world's leading authority on climate change. It advises governments on the science behind the problem and was awarded the Nobel peace prize along with Al Gore in 2007."

Hacked e-mails have shown that Scientists reject whatever data doesn't reflect their world view:

"one email from 2004 in which Professor Phil Jones, the head of the climatic research unit at UEA, said of two papers he regarded as flawed: "I can't see either … being in the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

In other words, since the papers revealed things about climate change that didn't fit their political agenda, he was going to make sure they were not included in the next Climate Change report.

Now, this doesn't dismiss climate change out of hand, but it certainly proves there is a political agenda behind the data and studies of scientists.

And that is a crying shame.

No problem. We will just get the data and find reputable scientists and get them to give us an unbiased look at the studies.

Oops. The data is no longer available:

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

So let me get this straight. All the data that people have relied on to prove global warming has been "thrown away." Isn't that special?

Consider that Cap and Trade legislation, which will impose crushing costs on businesses and consumers, was created in response to climate change data from the CRU and is likely to be the biggest tax in American history.

Just unbelievable.

Update: NRO points to this:

In response to all this, Eduardo Zorita, a scientist who contributed to the fourth IPCC report:

I am also aware that in this thick atmosphere -and I am not speaking of greenhouse gases now- editors, reviewers and authors of alternative studies, analysis, interpretations,even based on the same data we have at our disposal, have been bullied and subtly blackmailed. In this atmosphere, Ph D students are often tempted to tweak their data so as to fit the 'politically correct picture'. Some, or many issues, about climate change are still not well known. Policy makers should be aware of the attempts to hide these uncertainties under a unified picture. I had the 'pleasure' to experience all this in my area of research.

Here is a scientist involved in the studies, requesting that the scientists involved in the "tweaking" be barred from the IPCC process. That should go without saying. Nothing they do now will have any credibility.

Update II: In related news:

The Head of the European Carbon Exchange admits what we've known for some time, that Europe's cap-and-trade scheme has not reduced greenhouse-gas emissions since it began in January 2005:

The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission even believes that within five years, carbon could surpass crude oil as the world's most traded commodity. Mr Birley is the first to admit that the European system "hasn't actually reduced emissions" so far.

This complete failure to meet its supposed objective comes at a high cost. The Taxpayers Alliance in the U.K. estimates that cap-and-trade cost European consumers around $140 billion last year, and possibly much more. That's a high price to pay for not actually reducing emissions. Just wait till it starts actually working, then we'll see real money being spent!

Update III: I forgot to add this Wall Street Journal story which quotes e-mails that shows clearly that they were trying to hide the decline of temperature and deleting files so they won't be obtained by the freedom of information act:

Of particular note has been the exchange between Professor Phil Jones, the head of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia, and Professor Michael E. Mann at Pennsylvania State University.

Among the emails tapped by a hacker is one in which Jones talks to Mann about the "trick of adding in the real temps to each series ... to hide the decline [in temperature]."

"If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone," Jones allegedly told Mann.

From the NYT:

In several e-mail exchanges, Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and other scientists discuss gaps in understanding of recent variations in temperature. Skeptic Web sites pointed out one line in particular: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t,” Dr. Trenberth wrote.

Michelle Malkin has the e-mails here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009