The fourth man 1

The president of the United States does not like the country he leads. He may sometimes feel the need to say or do something to suggest that he has America’s interests at heart, but the weight of evidence that he does not accumulates and becomes too massive to miss. Not only does he apologize for America abroad, he even has his envoys deplore its laws in talks with foreign regimes, as Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner did recently to the Communist Chinese. And he personally endorsed the criticism of the same laws – Arizona’s new legislation dealing with illegal immigration – made by Mexico’s President Calderon, when the two of them stood side by side on the White House lawn.

And now it emerges that he initiated or at the very least advocated the agreement that Iran made with Brazil and Turkey to have some uranium enriched for it – a ploy that his administration condemns as an effort to stall new UN Security Council sanctions against Iran. The sanctions would be weak, and very unlikely to stop Iran making nuclear bombs, but the administration boasts of getting Russia and China to vote for them.

Obama performed this outrageous, underhand act last month in a letter to President da Silva of Brazil.

The New York Times reports:

Brazilian officials on Wednesday provided a full copy of the three-page letter President Obama sent to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil in April, arguing that it laid the groundwork for the agreement they reached in Tehran.

“There continues to be some puzzlement” among Brazilian officials about why American official[s] would reject the deal now, a senior Brazilian official said. “The letter came from the highest authority and was very clear.”

So there was a fourth party to the agreement, which was announced one day before the US presented its draft resolution on Iran sanctions to the Security Council.

As it was the work of all four leaders, Prime Minister Erdogan and Presidents Ahmadinejad, da Silva, and Obama, it should rightly be called the Iran-Brazil-Turkey-US Agreement.

Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary-Contentions, points out:

If the mere fact of this new deal wasn’t enough to undermine international support for sanctions, the revelation that Brazil acted with the express written permission of Obama must be seen as a catastrophe for international efforts to restrain Tehran. Why should anyone take American rhetoric about stopping Iran seriously if Obama is now understood to have spent the past few months pushing for sanctions in public while privately encouraging third parties who are trying to appease the Iranians?

Discrimination and abuse in law enforcement 3

Q: The Obama administration constantly insists that Mexico must help stop illegal migration from its side of the border into the US, doesn’t it?

A: ?

Q: The Mexican government is in any case doing all it can to help, isn’t it?

A: What, with huge amounts of money being sent back to Mexico by illegal Mexican workers in the US?  Are you crazy?

Q: But Mexico sets a great example of tolerance and humane treatment of migrants who come illegally into Mexico, doesn’t it?

A: Let’s read what Humberto Fontova writes at Canada Free Press:

Mexican President Felipe Calderon can hardly contain his revulsion and rage against Arizona’s SB 1070. He’s “deeply troubled” reports the Associated Press over a law he denounces as “discriminatory and racist,” not to mention: “a dire threat to the whole Hispanic-American population.”

This new Arizona law, “opens the door to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse in law enforcement,” sputters the Mexican President.

Indeed, this “threat to Hispanics” and these “abuses in law enforcement,” have been ongoing for years. The Associated Press carried a story where a Maria Elena Gonzalez, reported how female migrants were “forced to strip by abusive police officers, supposedly to search them, but the purpose is to sexually abuse them.”

Jose Ramos, 18, reported “that extortion by border police occurs at every stop on their migratory route. Until migrants are left penniless and begging for food.”

According to this Associated Press story: “Others said they had seen migrants beaten to death by police, their bodies left near the railway tracks to make it look as if they had fallen from a train. “If you’re carrying any money, they take it from you,” said Carlos Lopez. “Federal, state, local police—all of them shake you down. If you’re on a bus, they pull you off and search your pockets, and if you have any money, they keep it all and say, get out of here.”

All of the above “hate” and “abuses in law enforcement” as reported by the Associated Press, befell Central American migrants who enter Mexico. So perhaps Mexican President Calderon knows what he’s talking about?

But what he’s also talking lately—rather than getting his own house in order—is an economic boycott of Arizona.

“Commercial ties between Mexico and Arizona will be affected by this law,” vowed President Calderon in a speech last week to the Institute for Mexicans Abroad. “We are going to act.”

Fewer US dollars may be remitted to Mexico, it’s true. But will Calderon be able to administer the coup de grace to the ailing US economy?  We wait to see.

A pointless yakfest 0

Why did the Dictator hold his “nuclear summit” with heads of state flocking to Washington to pay homage to his great leadership? Since it was about nothing of importance, and nothing of importance came of it, it was probably only to have heads of state flocking to pay homage to his great leadership. Just something His Modesty desired.

With his usual clear sight, Mark Steyn writes:

In years to come – assuming, for the purposes of argument, there are any years to come – scholars will look back at President Barack Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit and marvel. For once, the cheap comparisons with 1930s appeasement barely suffice: To be sure, in 1933, the great powers were meeting in Geneva and holding utopian arms-control talks even as Hitler was taking office in Berlin. But it’s difficult to imagine Neville Chamberlain in 1938 hosting a conference on the dangers of rearmament, and inviting America, France, Brazil, Liberia and Thailand …but not even mentioning Germany.

Yet that’s what Obama just did: He held a nuclear gabfest in 2010, the biggest meeting of world leaders on American soil since the founding of the United Nations 65 years ago – and Iran wasn’t on the agenda.

Granted that almost all of Obama’s exciting innovative “change we can believe in” turns out to have been exhumed direct from the sclerotic Seventies to stagger around like a rotting zombie in polyester bell-bottoms from some straight-to-video sequel, there’s still something almost touchingly quaint in the notion of an international summit on nuclear “nonproliferation” in the 21st century. Five years ago, when there was still a chance the world might prevent a nuclear Iran rather than pretending to “contain” it, I remember the bewildered look from a “nonproliferation expert” on a panel I was on after I suggested non-proliferation was a laughably obsolescent frame for this discussion. You could just about enforce nonproliferation back in the Cold War when the only official nuclear powers were the Big Five at the U.N. Security Council and the entry level for the nuclear club was extremely expensive and technologically sophisticated. Now it’s not. If Pakistan and North Korea can be nuclear powers, who can’t? North Korea’s population is starving. Its GDP per capita is lower than Ghana, lower than Zimbabwe, lower than Mongolia. Which is to say its GDP is all but undetectable.

Yet it’s a nuclear power.

That’s what anachronistic nonproliferation mumbo-jumbo gets you. If you read in the paper that New Zealand had decided to go nuclear, would you lose a moment’s sleep over it? Personally, I’d be rather heartened. It would be a sign that a pampered and somnolent developed world had woken up and concluded that betting your future on the kindness of strangers is a helluva gamble. What Obama and his empty showboaters failed even to acknowledge in their “security” summit is the reality of the Post-Big Five nuclear age: We’re on the brink of a world in which the wealthiest nations, from Canada to Norway to Japan, can barely project meaningful force to their own borders while the nickel ‘n’ dime basket-cases go nuclear.

How long do you think that arrangement will last? Iran has already offered to share its nuclear technology with Sudan. Sudan? Ring a vague bell? Remember that “Save Darfur” interpretative-dance fundraiser you went to, where someone read out a press release from George Clooney, and you all had a simply marvelous time? Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed – with machetes. That’s pretty labor-intensive. In the Congo, five and a half million have been slaughtered – and, again, in impressively primitive ways.

But a nuclear Sudan would be a model of self-restraint?

By the way, that’s another example of the self-indulgent irrelevance of Obama. The mound of corpses being piled up around the world today is not from high-tech nuclear states but from low-tech psycho states. It’s not that Britain has nukes, and poor old Sudan has to make do with machetes. It’s that the machete crowd are willing to kill on an industrial scale, and the high-tech guys can’t figure out a way to stop them. Perhaps for his next pointless yakfest the president might consider a machete nonproliferation initiative.

The Obama Happy Fairyland Security Summit was posited on the principle that there’s no difference between a Swiss nuke and a Syrian nuke. If you believe that, you’ll be thrilled by the big breakthrough agreement of the summit: Canada, Chile, Mexico and Ukraine have agreed to reduce their stocks of enriched uranium. Peace in our time! I have here a piece of paper from the prime minister of Canada!

This is the nuclear version of Janet Incompetano’s initial reaction to the Pantybomber – when she banned passengers from having paperback books on their laps for the last 45 minutes of the flight. In an age of freelance nukes, we shouldn’t be banning items but profiling threats. For 30 years, Iran has acted with extraterritorial impunity and without even the minimal courtesies of international relations – seizing embassies, taking out mob contracts on British novelists, seeding terrorist proxies in Lebanon and Gaza, blowing up community centers in Latin America. Washington’s pathetic fallback of “containment” is intended to prevent Tehran using a nuke, in the Middle East, Europe or anywhere else within range. There is no strategy for “containing” Iran’s leverage of its nuclear status to advance its interests more discreetly, and no strategy for “containing” the mullahs’ generosity to states and groups more inclined to use the technology. …

As we learned the hard way in Iraq and Afghanistan, stupid, ill-trained illiterates with primitive explosives who don’t care who they kill can inflict quite a lot of damage on the technologically advanced highly trained warriors of civilized states. That’s the “asymmetric warfare” that matters. So virtuously proclaiming oneself opposed to nuclear modernization ensures a planet divided into civilized states with unusable weapons and barbarous regimes happy to kill with whatever’s to hand.

So another grand week’s work for a president pressing full steam ahead into the post-American global order. The good news is that at least you don’t have to worry about a nuclear blitzkrieg from Winnipeg. Sleep easy.

Less free, therefore less prosperous 0

We agree wholly with the opinion we quote here, though the author does not seem to believe as we do that Obama does not want America to be free. He is a collectivist, a redistributionist, a socialist. To reduce individual freedom, to replace the free market with centralized control of the economy, to expand government is what he is about.

From the Washington Times:

Consider our recent economic policy. In late 2008, the specter of a financial meltdown triggered dangerous decisions under President Bush. He approved an unprecedented intervention in the financial sector – the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program – which actually fed the crisis. Instead of changing course, President Obama not only doubled down on those decisions, but went even further, in the belief that only bigger government can “lift us from a recession this deep and severe.” …

In December, the U.S. economy lost an additional 85,000 jobs. Despite all the bailouts and stimulus spending, the economy shed 3.4 million net jobs in 2009. But while employment has shrunk, the federal deficit has ballooned. One year after Mr. Obama took office, the deficit has grown to $1.4 trillion. His 10-year budget will add $13 trillion to the national debt by 2019. …

The bad news is that the United States is falling behind. The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, released Wednesday, finds that the U.S. experienced the most precipitous drop in economic freedom among the world’s top 20 economies (as measured by the gross domestic product). The decline was steep enough to tumble the U.S. from the ranks of truly “free” economies. We are now numbered among the ranks of the “mostly free” – the same as Botswana, Belgium and Sweden. Canada now stands as the sole beacon of economic freedom in North America, getting a higher score on the economic-freedom Index than the United States.

On the index’s 100-point scale of economic freedom, the U.S. fell 2.7 points. Canada’s score dropped, too, but only one-tenth of a point. Meanwhile, countries such as Germany, France, Poland, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Indonesia managed to maintain or even improve their scores, despite the economic crisis.

Why? In large measure, it’s because of the way Washington has exacerbated the financial and economic crisis since 2008. By June of last year, when we cut off data collection in order to begin our analysis, Washington’s interventionist policies had already caused a decline in seven of the 10 categories of economic freedom we measure. Particularly significant were declines in financial freedom, monetary freedom and property rights.

Conditions attached to large government bailouts of financial and automotive firms significantly undermined investors’ property rights. Additionally, politically influenced regulatory changes – such as the imposition of executive salary caps – have had perverse effects, discouraging entrepreneurship and job creation and slowing recovery. On top of this, we had massive stimulus spending that is leading to unprecedented deficits….

We are heading the wrong way. The index, co-published annually by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, has become a “leading indicator” of economic vitality, but other surveys also show that when economic freedom drops, falling opportunity and declining prosperity follow. Unless Washington takes steps to reverse the poor decisions it has made, Americans can expect a long and difficult time ahead.

The good news is that we’ve been here before, and we’ve turned things around before. There’s no reason we can’t do that again. Poll after poll demonstrates that the American people understand this, even if their politicians don’t. They clearly want Washington to gather up the political will to do things such as lowering taxes and reducing regulation and massive spending that feeds the federal debt. We need to unleash the power of the market to create jobs and to reclaim our competitive edge in the global economy. …

The less government intervenes in our lives and our economy, the freer and more prosperous we can become. The choices Mr. Obama takes in the future will determine whether America remains a land of opportunity and can reclaim its international reputation as “the land of the free.”

View the Index of Economic Freedom list here.

Aux armes, citoyens! 0

 From an article (find it all here) in Front Page Magazine:

The Obama administration has turned the Mexican government’s gun-violence problem into a “blame-America-first” crisis in order to advance a gun-control campaign that will be spearheaded by the likes of Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton. The gun-control lobby fully understands this and consequently has lauded Obama’s quest to prevent civilians from obtaining so-called “assault weapons” (which, as noted above, are often nothing more than semi-automatic shotguns). American citizens at large also understand this instinctively, as evidenced by the frenetic pace at which they have been purchasing guns and ammunition ever since Obama was elected President last November.

When Hillary Clinton laments that America’s “incapacity” to limit gun access has “unfair[ly]” led people to hold “the Mexican government and people responsible” for the violence of its drug cartels, she is merely laying the groundwork for further encroachment on Americans’ right to bear arms. Her modus operandi is to depict the U.S. as the cause of gun violence in Mexico, and to characterize her mission as a pure-hearted quest to save innocent lives.

But in reality, the Clinton-Obama approach will have a number of undesirable consequences. It will hurt the United States by imposing ever-stricter gun-control laws, thereby making it increasingly difficult for law-abiding Americans to protect themselves. It will be ineffective in curbing the violence of the Mexican drug cartels, who clearly can obtain the guns they desire from a host of sources. And, ultimately, it will hurt Mexico by failing to pressure the Mexican government to acknowledge the real cause of its problems and to institute meaningful reform.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 2, 2009

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