Will Benghazi cause the wheels to fall off the Obama bus

Bloody fingerprints in Benghazi

(I wrote another post yesterday for Mr. Conservative that is pure Bookworm Room — so much so that I almost hesitated to put it on the Mr. Conservative site.  I did, though, because I had deadlines.  And now I’m publishing it here, in slightly modified form, so that I can have the conversation I always enjoy so much with you guys and gals.)

Will Benghazi be the Obama administration’s Waterloo? From Day One, the Obama administration has been trying to sweep under the rug a terrorist attack on American soil – and yes, it was on American soil since the consulate was a small piece of America in the middle of Libya. Obama breathed the word “terror” once, in an undertone aside, and then the administration, with the mainstream media’s help, got down to its responsiblity-avoiding narrative: the attack was all because of an obscure YouTube video. Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along.

The administration’s cover-up might have been successful were it not for three things: (a) Special Forces kept the the pressure up, because they refused to see former SEALs’ Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty’s deaths go unavenged; (b) Republicans in Congress began to push hard for hearings, and announced that attack survivors, who have been discretely hidden away, would finally appear in public to testify; and (c) Fox News’ aired an interview with a whistle-blower who revealed that American intelligence has long known who did the attack and could have taken the attackers into custody or otherwise acted against them.

Suddenly, things started moving. First, the FBI finally released photos of three suspects. Second, CNN reported yesterday that those who doubted the administration and media narrative about a film review run riot have been proven right. According to an unnamed senior U.S. law enforcement official, “three or four members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP]” were a part of the attack.

Once having started with a few tumbling rocks, the Benghazi avalanche started going full force. Retired Navy SEAL Billy Allmon wrote a column for The Western Center for Journalism stating that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama deliberately left four Americans to die in Benghazi. Hillary did so by failing to give them adequate security (and then lying about events to Congress). Obama, though, is the one who really has blood on his hands because he refused to send readily available help over to rescue the besieged Americans – despite the fact that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, former SEALS who died at the scene, provided a steady stream of usable information. Instead, he got a good night’s sleep while they were fighting and dying, and then went campaigning the next day.

Today, information came out suggesting that the Benghazi avalanche that may be the thing that finally buries forever the Obama administration’s “bad video” Benghazi spin. It turns out that the State Department whistle blowers who will testify before Congress aren’t low level desk jockeys. They are, instead, extremely highly placed officials who have first hand knowledge of what happened in the lead-up to the terrorist attack and during the attack itself:

• Gregory N. Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and, at the time, the highest-ranking American diplomat in Libya;

• Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for Operations in the agency’s Counterterrorism Bureau; and

• Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the regional security officer in Libya, the top security officer in the country in the months leading up to the attacks (although, as someone who had previously offered testimony, he does not consider himself a whistle-blower).

Nordstrom’s October 2012 testimony before the House oversight committee was an early indicator that the Obama administration wouldn’t be able to run away from its gross culpability. Hillary’s State Department, according to Nordstrom, absolutely refused to provide security for the consulate in the months leading to the attack. As far is Nordstrom was concerned, “For me the Taliban is on the inside of the [State Department] building.”

All these stories, which will continue to grow bigger with Congressional testimony, reveal that something rotten was (and is) happening in the White House. Doug Ross, who runs the Director Blue website, has put together a timeline of everything we know with certainly about the Benghazi attack. His analysis reveals “four inescapable conclusions”:

a) Hillary Clinton lied under oath to Congress.

b) Barack Obama went to sleep knowing that a U.S. Ambassador and other Americans were under terrorist attack.

c) Barack Obama awoke refreshed the next day to begin fundraising.

d) The entire Executive Branch lied repeatedly to the American people to save Obama’s chances for reelection.

Since the attack on the consulate, the administration has lied and the media has run interference. It will be interesting to see how these two branches of the Democrat machine handle earth-shaking testimony establishing that the administrative could have prevented the attack from ever happening and that Obama deliberately left Americans to die. And it will be even more interesting to see whether the American people actually care that their president was responsible for these shocking practical and moral failures.

The Administration’s focus on farmers: The bloodless version of the Soviet Ukrainian experiment? *UPDATED*

To date, I haven’t been paying that much attention to the Obama administration’s Big Government effort to keep America’s young down on the farms, now that they’ve seen TV.  Or can see TV . . . or should see TV, since the Obama administration is barring farm kids from actually working on the farm:

Last year, DOL Secretary Hilda Solis proposed rules that would restrict family farm operations by prohibiting youth under the age of 18 from being near certain age animals without adult supervision, participating in common livestock practices such as vaccinating and hoof trimming, and handling most animals more than six months old, which would severely limit participation in 4-H and FFA activities and restrict their youth farm safety classes; operating farm machinery over 20 PTO horsepower; completing tasks at elevations over six feet high; and working at stockyards and grain and feed facilities. The language of the proposed rule is so specific it would even ban youth from operating a battery powered screwdriver or a pressurized garden hose.

The internet has lit up with stories of young people who learned about responsibility on farms, who had happy hours and years working on 4H projects, and who were trained to take over the family farm.  It’s that last type of story that got my attention.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m reading (or, more specifically, listening to) Timothy Snyder’s excellent, and deeply depressing, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.  Snyder makes clear from the beginning that one cannot understand the killing fields of central Europe (the lands between Germany and Soviet Russia) without understanding Russian Communism.  The original Bolshevik’s were fundamentalist Marxists.  Lenin and his crew believed in the truth of every word that Marx and Engel put down on paper.

These words, of course, included the theory that Marxism was the inevitable byproduct of industrialization.  For Marxism to reach its apogee, the workers of the world needed to unite — with the understanding that workers were those who worked in the factories, not those who worked on the land.  Peasants might labor, but they didn’t work.  For that reason, Marx and Engels pretty much ignored the peasants in their writings.  Who needed ‘em?

What Lenin and his crew couldn’t understand was why the first successful Marxist revolution happened, not in industrialized Germany, where they expected it to happen, but in primarily rural Russia.  The whole notion that, after the first labor pains of industrialization ended, industrialization would improve life, lessening the worker’s desire for socialism, eluded these true believers.  Instead, they concluded that theirs was an incomplete revolution, one that could reach fruition only if Russia was de-ruralized and properly industrialized. And so the Russians went after those pesky peasants.  (And do I remember Pol Pot’s minions and Mao’s crew doing precisely the same?)

Starved Ukrainian peasants 1933

In China, Cambodia, and the Soviet Union, the socialist purge of pesky peasants cost millions of lives.  People were shot, imprisoned and, in China and the Soviet Union, starved to death in the millions.  The politburos considered the cost in human lives to be a mere nothing compared to the glories of an inevitable socialist paradise on earth.  Moreover, in Mother Russia, those pathetic peasants still clung to an outdated religion that posited a paradise in the hereafter, so the politburo was just helping them towards their ultimate goal, in order to pave the way for the Soviet’s ultimate goal.

As for the fact that these irritating small farmers produced the food that fed the workers, the Soviets had the answer:  they would industrialize farming, making it just another cog in the socialist machinery.  The fact that the dead peasants took their hard-earned farming wisdom with them was irrelevant.  The collective brilliance of the state would have the answer.  Starvation was the inevitable result.  (And for a more recent example of this same thinking, take a peek into Zimbabwe, which went from lush bounty to starvation within less than a decade after Mugabe took the land from the farmers and gave it to the state’s friends, all of whom know nothing about farming.)

Remnants of Pol Pot's Killing Fields

Consistent with the Obama’s soft, loving view of socialism, it isn’t using round-ups or mandatory collectivism.  Instead, it’s simply ensuring taking steps to ensure that the current generation of small farmer is the last generation of small farmer.

Need I add that it’s time for voters to throw the bums out before the damage they inflict on this nation is irremediable?

UPDATE:  The Obama administration has dropped this proposed regulation — for now.  As reading Bloodlands reminds me, Leftists never abandon an initiative; they just retrench.  This one will return if Obama is reelected, albeit in somewhat different form.

 

Our diversity minded administration marks the end of the Iraq war in its own peculiar fashion

One of the most iconic British World War I recruiting posters had as its goal shaming slackers into enlisting by reminding them that, at some future time, their children would want to look up to them for their war service:

The Obama administration has just added a whole new twist to the concept of what constitutes memorable, boast-worthy service during war time.  The administration is putting together a special dinner party to mark the war’s end.  Since it obviously can’t invite every one of the men and women who have served over the past nine years, it’s put together a checklist for qualities the putative dinner guests should meet.

Now, if I were putting together this checklist, I might look at such things as bravery in battle, contributions to moral, dedication, etc.  Apparently, though, I’m stuck in the wrong war, in the wrong century.  Blackfive sets me right:

The military was always the place for people to succeed in ways that they may not have had the chance to in civilian society.  Whether grunt, medic or quartermaster, the military was a place where you succeeded based on the merits of your ability, your hard work.

That’s why I get really really pissed at the Obama Administration when I see things like this – this posting at the Daily Beast POLITICO via This Ain’t Hell about the guest list of enlisted military members for a dinner party to mark the end of the Iraq war (OIF):

The list is being assembled by the senior enlisted representative for the five service chiefs, and the goal is a mix that is racially diverse, old and young, gay and straight.

What the hell?!

Hey, congrations Master Chief, you’ve been selected to dine with the President because you’re the oldest Sailor in DC area who served in Iraq?!

Hey, Gunney, because you’re gay and worked at Balad, you get to meet the President?!

(Read the rest here, both ’cause it’s really good and because it suggests a much more appropriate guest list.)

Can you imagine the hysterical laughter and disbelief in the British War Office during WWI if the correct answer to the child’s question (“Daddy, what did you do in the Great War?”) was “I was gay” or “I was the oldest person in my unit” or “I had a Hispanic surname.”  There’s nothing wrong, of course, with being gay or old or Hispanic, but they are not the primary indicia of noble service to ones country — except, of course, in Obamaland.

I’m sorry to say this, but our Commander in Chief is a joke — a very bad joke.  I’m pretty sure, though, that this is one joke that would not make Martin Luther King laugh.  I believe it was he who thought the best criterion for judging a person wasn’t by looking at the color of his skin (or his sexual preferences or his age), but by examining the content of his character.  That sure goes double and triple for those who have served and who, unlike most of us, have been given the rare opportunity to learn about and put to use the best part of their characters.

Obama’s war on Catholics (and other faith-based organizations)

Jonathan Last has as good a summation as any I’ve seen of the now open warfare between Barack Obama and his erstwhile ally, the fairly liberal American Catholic Church.  The article ends with an effort to understand why Obama would pick this battle, and why he would pick it now.  It’s certainly an interesting fight to pick during election year.

Last points out that, while the Catholic Church was blindsided, and most middle-of-the-road Americans were completely unaware that anything at all was happening, the MoveOn.org left has been agitating for comprehensive birth control and abortifacient coverage for months now.  In other words, forcing all employers to cover birth control and abortion drugs mattered to the base.   Did Obama not realize that being forced in that way would also matter to the Catholic Church?

Was Obama (and when I say “Obama” I’m referring to the president and all his minions) thinking that, when push comes to shove, Catholics, like Jews and blacks, will vote Democrat no matter what?  In that regard, Obama appears to be unperturbed by the fact that small, but significant, numbers of Jewish voters are shifting Republican.  It’s unclear if this shift is because even liberal Jews couldn’t take Obama’s continuous assaults on Israel or because even liberal Jews, looking at their white-collar world, are beginning to realize that Obama’s policies are not improving their situation.

Alternatively, was Obama thinking that an energized base is the most important thing of all, as that will be the engine that powers his election train?

Or, as some here have speculated, is this simply an example of Obama’s hostility to Western religious institutions?  After all, the man lives in a liberal bubble, and I don’t think he has the wit or imagination to understand how deeply committed religious organizations and religious people to the right to life.  To him, they’re wrong, and he’ll bring them to the light.  (This is a point Michael Ramirez nailed in his latest editorial cartoon.)

I’m asking here, not answering.  What do all of you think?  What would make Obama pick this fight in an election year?

How dare a private organization spend its money the way it wants to? Liberals opine about ObamaCare and the Susan G. Komen Foundation

In the past week, two decisions came out regarding the way in which private organizations spend their money.  The first decision was the Obama administration’s announcement that businesses in America must provide their employees with insurance that covers birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients.  The only exception was for businesses that had no employees other than those dedicated to a core religious mission (i.e., a convent that doesn’t employ any janitorial or gardening staff, but only nuns, who serve in all capacities, both religious and non-religious).

One year from now, by government diktat, religious organizations that are doctrinally opposed to any forms of birth control, abortion, or sterilization must nevertheless fund these activities.  This will affect every religiously run school, health care center, or other charity in America, of which there are many.  It will also affect most parishes, to the extent that the only employees aren’t priests and nuns.

The other decision that hit the news regarding the way in which private entities can spend their money came, not from the government, but from an actual private entity.  The Susan G. Komen foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer, announced that it will cut its ties to Planned Parenthood.  As an aside, Susan G. Komen is privately funded; Planned Parenthood, of course, receives substantial monies from the government.

Komen claimed that it cut funding because Planned Parenthood is running afoul of Congress, a problem that makes it impossible for Komen, under its charter, to provide funding.  Planned Parenthood claims that Komen, under the leadership of one of Sarah Palin’s friends, is punishing Planned Parenthood for providing abortions and abortion counseling.

In the conservative world view, those stories are bass ackward.  When it comes to the Church, the government should not be telling religious institutions to spend their money on activities antithetical to their core doctrines.  And with regard to business, conservatives believe that private foundations have the perfect right to withhold funds from organizations that engage in activities they find offensive.  It’s very different in liberal land.

My insight into liberal land comes through my “real me” Facebook account.  Because I’ve spent most of my life in the Bay Area, I’d say that roughly 90% of my Facebook friends are liberal leaning.  I therefore get to see what energizes them (and why), as well as what they ignore completely.

I can tell you that what my friends ignored completely was the Obama administration’s assault on religious freedom.  Not a single person I know commented upon the fact that the Catholic Church is outraged, and on the move, because of the requirement that it fund birth control and abortions.  As far as my friends were concerned, this was a non-issue.

Liberal pundits are equally unable to see why this matters.  Megan McArdle hones in on the liberal argument supporting the administration’s mandate, which is that if religious institutions are going to go into business (i.e., healthcare or education, both of which are activities in which they’ve engaged for millennia), they need to play by big boy rules, which translates to bowing down to government diktats that touch upon doctrinal issues.  If they don’t want to play by those rules, they shouldn’t be doing anything more than administering the sacrament:

[From the liberal viewpoint] the regulations seem to have nothing to do with whether the Catholic hospitals or other charities take public money; rather, it’s the fact that they provide services to the public, rather than having an explicitly religious mission.

I’ve seen several versions of Kevin’s complaint on the interwebs, and everyone makes it seems to assume that we’re doing the Catholic Church a big old favor by allowing them to provide health care and other social services to a needy public.  Why, we’re really coddling them, and it’s about time they started acting a little grateful for everything we’ve done for them!

McArdle shreds this argument with a little real world logic:

In the universe where I live, some of the best charity care is provided by religious groups–in part because they have extremely strong fundraising capabilities, in part because they often have access to an extremely deep and motivated pool of volunteers, and in part because they are often able to generate significant returns to scale and longevity. And of course, the comparative discretion and decentralization of private charity, religious or secular, makes it much more effective in many (not all ways) than government entitlements.

In this world, I had been under the impression that we were providing Catholic charities with federal funds mostly because this was the most cost-effective way of delivering services to needy groups.

Simply put, the religious organizations that run charitable programs are doing the government a favor, not vice versa.  Nevertheless, the Obama government has just decided to bite the hand that feeds it — not that my Facebook friends care.

What my Facebook friends do care about, deeply, is Komen’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.  They are outraged and are furiously sharing Facebook links from Planned Parenthood and other pro-Choice advocacy groups that find it morally wrong that a private entity, offended by Planned Parenthood’s approach to a core moral issue, might have rethought its charitable outreach.  Some examples:

Tell the board of Susan G. Komen: Don’t throw Planned Parenthood under the bus!
act.credoaction.com
The Republican plan to defund Planned Parenthood is working — but if we take action now we may be able to stop the latest attack on women’s right to health care. It was just announced that Susan G. Komen for a Cure will no longer fund free or low-cost breast cancer screenings for millions of women.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure: Don’t Succumb to Right Wing Attacks. Restore Planned Parenthood Relatio
signon.org
I just signed a petition to Nancy G. Brinker, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure: Stand firm for women and restore your relationship with Planned Parenthood immediately.

Women’s lives vs. politics
pol.moveon.org
Susan G. Komen for the Cure just bowed to anti-choice pressure and eliminated breast health funding for Planned Parenthood, even though this means thousands of women could be denied the screening and early detection that saves lives. Tell them to put women’s lives ahead of politics.

Most of my Facebook friends, in posting these links, announce that they’ll never give money to Komen again, but are at that very minute cutting a check to Planned Parenthood.  In other words, they understand how the marketplace works; they just don’t like it.

What I especially love about all the comments I’ve seen is the moralizing:  “Breast cancer isn’t pro-choice or anti-choice.”  “It’s immoral to stop funding breast cancer research.”  “How can Komen put politics ahead of morality?”  In making these arguments, my friends are oblivious to two pertinent points.

First of all, Komen isn’t stopping its funding for breast cancer research.  It’s simply finding a new partner with which to work, either because its current partner is corrupt and in trouble with Congress (the official Komen line) or because its current partner engages in acts that the Komen organization finds morally wrong.  By making breast cancer screening available through a morally corrupt entity, Komen understands that it is essentially funding that corruption, a nuance that eludes the liberals.

Second, it’s the Komen Foundation’s own money.  Last I heard, and despite the Obama administration’s most recent assault on the Church, in America people (and corporations) have a Constitutional right to spend their money (or not spend their money) as they please.

People should think long and hard about the pairing of the ObamaCare/Catholic Church battle, and the Planned Parenthood/Komen battle, because these two fights perfectly represent two sides of the same coin:  namely, the liberal belief that there is nothing, including the Constitution, to stop the government and the liberal elites from dictating how individuals and private entities should spend their money.

Why can’t we fight to the finish this time, so we’ll never have to do it again?

A friend sent me a link to an editorial bemoaning the fact that, by abruptly pulling out from Iraq and, soon, Afghanistan, the Obama administration is ensuring that we’re leaving a job undone — something that invariably means one has to do it again.  If history is going to keep repeating itself, why can’t we just repeat the good parts?

World War I ended with a definitive American victory, but a dangerous, un-managed peace, one that pretty much made World War II inevitable.  By 1942, my favorite songwriter, Irving Berlin, pretty much summed up the WWII mindset, which was “do it right this time.”

[Verse:]
‘Twas not so long ago we sailed to meet the foe
And thought our fighting days were done
We thought ’twas over then but now we’re in again
To win the war that wasn’t won

[Refrain:]
This time, we will all make certain
That this time is the last time

This time, we will not say “Curtain”
Till we ring it down in their own home town

For this time, we are out to finish
The job we started then

Clean it up for all time this time
So we won’t have to do it again

Dressed up to win
We’re dressed up to win
Dressed up for victory
We are just beginning
And we won’t stop winning
Till the world is free

[Coda:]
We’ll fight to the finish this time
And we’ll never have to do it again

Trust old Irving to hit the nail on the head. And, in fact, that’s what the Allies did.  First, they destroyed entirely the totalitarian states in Germany, Japan and Italy.  Then, in those regions over which they had control (as to those the Soviets held), the Americans carefully rebuilt the nations into democratic allies.  It was a tough, long-haul job, but it prevented post-war massacres and ensured that (so far) we haven’t had to “do it again” with Germany, Italy or Japan.

Clearly, we’re a whole lot dumber now than we were in the mid-20th century. In 1991 we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq (which is one of the reasons I’ve never liked Colin Powell, whom I’ve always blamed, fairly or not, for being the architect of that foolish retreat). Now, with Obama’s help, we’re doing it all over again, only worse. Does any nation get a third chance to remedy its chronic stupidity? I doubt we will, especially because Obama is also choosing to repeat the disarmament mistakes of the 20s and 30s. Ain’t those fancy Ivy League educations grand? They go in smart and come out stupid.

I’m an armchair warrior (aka a chicken hawk) and I’m disgusted and frustrated. I can only imagine how the troops — the ones who sweated and bled — feel as they watch their Commander in Chief dismantling all of their good work.

Is the administration being penny wise and pound foolish?

My earlier post was about the fact that the US spends and spends and spends, and saves very little.  We definitely need to stop spending, but we need to be smart when we do it.  Because our current administration tilts Left, it is reluctant to slow the hemorrhage but, to the extent it will cut programs, it wants to cut our defense spending.  Bruce Kesler suggests, quite rightly too, that this approach fits neatly into the penny wise and pound foolish category.

Jennifer Rubin sums up why the Obami face public mistrust on security

Jennifer Rubin riffs off of a Politico article which comments on Obama’s peculiar reaction to the Flaming Panties bomber, but professes bewilderment was to why the reaction was as strange as it was:

The Obami don’t believe in their heart of hearts that we are on a war footing. The president wouldn’t label Fort Hood, where thirteen died, as an act of jihadist terror. His administration has systematically worked to denigrate the sense of urgency that the Bush administration displayed and to propound policies that treat these instances as discrete, ho-hum, and unexceptional. The Bush administration was scorned for reacting with a sense of alarm or out of fear following a terrorist attack — one which killed 3,000. Not the Obami. They told us they’re above all that and have an entirely new approach.

Arrest him, book him, Mirandize him, call the FBI — what’s the big deal? It is not a mystery at all as to why Obama behaved as he did. This is his anti-terror policy on full display. What we now see (and what the “shocked, shocked to see there is cluelessness” crowd is reacting to) is what that bizarre stance toward the war on terror looks like up close and in real time when played out in the context of actual events. Think it’s odd for the president to call Farouk Abdulmutallab a “suspect”? Think it’s weird that the terrorist isn’t being interrogated but has lawyered up? Well, that’s the Obama anti-terror policy. It isn’t supposed to be a big deal when these events occur. For if it were, we wouldn’t be treating the terrorists like criminal suspects.

It turns out that the Obami’s approach is entirely off-putting and inappropriate to virtually everyone. That the media has finally clued in to just how politically untenable it is, tells us something about the media’s own willingness to ignore the implications of Obama’s declared policy and previous rhetoric. The solution is not to make sure after the next incident that the president puts on a tie, drops the grumpy-guy demeanor, and orders Janet Napolitano to stay off the air (although all that would be swell): it is to get a new policy on the war on terror – a policy that regards these incidents with the gravity they deserve and employs responses appropriate to the war in which we are engaged.

In SF Bay Area, stimulous creates 7 jobs at a cost of $16,142,857 per job — sort of

The Chronicle was always first in line for the Obama slobber fest, but the bloom is apparently wearing off of that well-drooled upon rose too.  Today, the Chron has a front page story vigorously attack the myriad accounting errors on the administration’s boastful website about its economic chops:

Nine months after President Obama promised that his $789 billion stimulus package would be the most transparent spending bill in history, much of the information available to the public for the Bay Area and the rest of the nation is incomplete or inaccurate.

The White House’s Recovery Act Web site – www.recovery.gov – shows that $660 million has been awarded to Bay Area transportation projects to create 997 jobs, which amounts to a staggering $661,986 per job.

Last week, the site showed that California Congressional Districts 00 and 99 received millions of dollars in stimulus funding even though neither district exists.

The Bay Area’s total also included $1.8 million to purchase buses in Duluth, Minn., which the federal Web site pinpointed with a dot just below San Leandro, and $4.8 million for road work in Laredo – which is in Texas.

[snip]

A month ago, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled to the White House and stood beside Vice President Joe Biden as Biden proclaimed that the stimulus had created 110,000 jobs in the state.

But it would take hundreds of clicks on the interactive map to verify the claim, and even then there is no accounting for the quality or duration of the jobs.

[snip]

However, a $65 million BART “tunnel hardening” project and a $48 million grant to the Santa Clara County Transportation Authority have so far created only seven jobs. State officials said that is probably because the money has been awarded but not yet spent.

Overall, the White House claims the stimulus is creating far more jobs than it had expected. The initial estimate was that 396,000 jobs would be created in California. The White House says 110,000 jobs have already been created although only a fraction of the stimulus dollars have yet to reach the state.

Job numbers are squishy, and there is disagreement over what should count. The White House counts not only new jobs but also those that might otherwise have been lost. They also include short-term employment in their totals.

Read the rest here.

Apropos the highlighted language above, I’m no math whiz, but I’m calculating that this means the American taxpayers are on the hook for $16,142,857 per job over the last nine months.

I’m not a fool, and I’m not being intentionally naive here.  I appreciate that, as the article itself says, the jobs may yet be created because the projects are still theoretical, not real.  I’m also willing to concede that the projects may be good ones, and that people currently employed may have stayed employed as a result of the project awards.  Nevertheless, the fact remains that Obama promised us that his stimulous would immediately save and create jobs.  The key was immediate relief, not long-term relief.  And yet here we are with $113 million promised — meaning $113 million ear marked in the public coffers and needing to be paid for by taxes — AND NO JOBS.

This is a perfect paradigm of the problem with government works programs.  They are too slow.  Had Obama taken a leaf out of Bush’s 2001 tax refund plan, and instantly gotten money into the hands of American citizens, people would quickly have created jobs.  The market is enormously responsive; the government is not.  All we get are higher taxes, more government control — AND NO JOBS.

The yin and yang: Obami insanity and military strength *UPDATED*

These are a matched set, and you must read them, one after the other:

Janet Napolitano, the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, having thought long and hard, decides that the real victims of the Fort Hood massacre are  . . . wait for it . . . Muslims.

On the flip side, Cassandra, at Villainous Company, talks about the solid courage and real values that characterize the American military.

Just to get things laid out nicely and neatly:  our current administration coddles our enemies, fears and denigrates our own military, and is actively seeking to destroy our economy.  Can anyone here remind me why we have this administration?

The only sort-of solace I have right now is the 2010 election, but even that doesn’t inspire great hope.  The Republican Party is so inept and out of tune, being neither Democratic fish nor Republical fowl, that I am not sanguine about its ability to provide voters with an exciting, or even viable, alternative to the Democratic march into the Marxist ocean.  Really, the only hope is that these trials are sent to us for a purpose, as the Anchoress, in a very uplifting way, believes.

UPDATE:  Rick, himself a religious man, has taken the Anchoress’ message and run with it.  As I told my mother (who, like me, can best be described as an atheist), those of my blog friends who are religious have a serenity we lack.  Even when things are bad, they feel that there is a purpose, although they might not be able to see it.  They can be upset, but they still feel they’re in God’s hands.  I mentioned that they manage to have this attitude without being condescending, antisemitic (which is what my Mom so fears in religious Christians), or fatuous.  They are very, very lucky in their faith.

As for me, while I can’t seem to beg, borrow or steal spirituality, I find comfort knowing that those I respect see a bigger, more important picture than I do.

I’ll add here as a random aside, given Cassandra’s point about the military, that I find it a good thing, not a bad, that our military has so many religious people in it.  Aside from the fact that my experiences with American Christians have been uniformly good, I also find it wonderful that those who are willing to put their life on the line for the preservation of my life and liberty, have a faith that they can turn to as they take the risks that go with their jobs.

What Obama really seeks to destroy by destroying Fox News

Charles Krauthammer identifies the enormous damage the Obami risk doing as they attack and try to destroy national entities associated with conservatives (the Chamber of Commerce, talk radio, Fox news):

There’s nothing illegal about such search-and-destroy tactics. Nor unconstitutional. But our politics are defined not just by limits of legality or constitutionality. We have norms, Madisonian norms.

Madison argued that the safety of a great republic, its defense against tyranny, requires the contest between factions or interests. His insight was to understand “the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties.” They would help guarantee liberty by checking and balancing and restraining each other — and an otherwise imperious government.

Factions should compete, but also recognize the legitimacy of other factions and, indeed, their necessity for a vigorous self-regulating democracy. Seeking to deliberately undermine, delegitimize, and destroy is not Madisonian. It is Nixonian.

But didn’t Teddy Roosevelt try to destroy the trusts? Of course, but what he took down was monopoly power that was extinguishing smaller independent competing interests. Fox News is no monopoly. It is a singular minority in a sea of liberal media. ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, CNN, MSNBC vs. Fox. The lineup is so unbalanced as to be comical — and that doesn’t even include the other commanding heights of the culture that are firmly, flagrantly liberal: Hollywood, the foundations, the universities, the elite newspapers.

I long for the Bush days. If nothing else, Bush was ever the gentleman, and he presided over a remarkably civil administration.

First they came for Fox News *UPDATED*

Kudos to the major news networks for refusing to allow the Obama administration to blackball Fox:

Here’s how Pastor Martin Niemöller would have seen it, if he was alive today:

First they came for Fox News, and we did not speak out—because we did not have openly conservative commentators as part of our news program;
Then they came for CBS, and we did not speak out—because we figured that Katie Couric had it coming to her;
Then they came for CNN, and we did not speak out—because we’d always been jealous of their monopoly in airports;
Then they came for the MSNBC, and we did not speak out—because we had to admit that Olbermann had crossed a few lines there;
Then they came for the rest of us —and, First Amendment or not, there was no one left to speak out for us.

UPDATE: Tucker Carlson gives a fine epitaph in a scolding post (scolding the MSM) pre-dating the above fine display of stiffened spines:

Since when does the federal government get to make programming decisions, much less decide what is and what is not a legitimate news organization? Where did political consultants—people who spend their lives lying to reporters—get the moral standing to make pronouncements about journalistic ethics?

Ronald Reagan gets his due — in England

An ardent Thatcherite in England has gotten approval for a statute of Ronald Reagan to be erected outside the U.S. Embassy in London.  Unsurprisingly, given the world in which we live, feelings are mixed — not from the British, but from the current administration:

An interior designer from Chelsea who is a leading light in the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward group has won approval for a statue of the great American conservative Ronald Reagan to be erected outside the US Embassy in London. The project was given the nod on Thursday night by Westminster City Council’s planning sub-committee in a break with its policy of allowing memorials only to people who have been dead for at least ten years.

[snip]

The 10ft bronze statue of the man hailed by Margaret Thatcher for winning the Cold War without firing a shot will be placed on a 6ft plinth of Portland stone outside the embassy building in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, near an existing statue of Dwight D Eisenhower, the war hero President, unveiled by Mrs Thatcher in 1989.

The architects behind the project, the same firm responsible for the statues of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square and the Queen Mother near Buckingham Palace, say that it was enthusiastically backed by the former ambassador, Robert Tuttle, who left office in February.

[snip]

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the current inhabitants of the embassy — who are still waiting for President Obama to confirm Mr Tuttle’s replacement — appear less keen to have a larger-than-life statue of the darling of the American Right on their doorstep.

“This is not something that we have requested or actively tried to get brought about,” an embassy spokesman said yesterday. “We’re happy to have our presidents honoured but this statue was not a US Government initiative.”

Asked whether the mission would take the statue with it when it leaves Grosvenor Square for its new head-quarters in Nine Elms, south of the Thames, he replied: “It’s not our statue.”

The only person who sounded an even less gracious note than the Obama administration was a representative from the Green party:

But Jenny Jones, the Green who chairs the London Assembly’s planning committee, expressed her “disbelief” at Westminster’s decision. “What a ridiculous person to put on top of a monument,” she said. “I can’t remember anything particularly clever that he said, I can’t remember anything good he did.”

What about ending the Cold War? “I think there were other factors involved in the Cold War. It would be the same as putting up a statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger — will they do that next?”

Excuse me?!  Did she just insult both my current and past governor, as well as my past President?  I’m shocked! Shocked!

But on a more serious note, is it me, or is there something deeply disturbing about the new administration’s bone deep hatred and disrespect for those past administrations that don’t comport with its statist, Leftist view of the world?

Now, I freely admit that I’ve probably said a few unkind things in the past about that idiotic, antisemitic fool, Jimmy Carter, but I’m a private citizen.  I’m not the representative of all of the people of the United States of America, nor of the continuity of American government in England, dating back to John Adams’ first appearance there.  I can afford low standards; the official American administration can’t.

On the positive side, I think that it’s crass demontrations such as these, not to mention the disconnect between media adulation and facts on the ground, that is seeing the bloom come coming off the rose.  For my Mom, an ardent, aged Jewish Democrat, the tipping point is the relentless media assurance that Michelle Obama is a beauty.  Since my Mom’s own eyes tell her this is a lie, she’s wondering what other untruths the media is peddling.  I helped hasten this process by showing her Sally Quinn’s ridiculous Mother’s Day article about Michelle’s arms, which left my Mom reeling.  For the first time ever, Mom is beginning to suspect that she’s been had.

More doors close in Israel’s face

A friend sent me an email entitled “I thought this might interest you,” along with a link to this article:

Last year, Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi had no problem setting up meetings with top officials in the U.S. government.

On his current trip to Washington, Ashkenazi sought to meet the administration of President Barack Obama, but most officials were unavailable.

Diplomatic sources said Ashkenazi failed to obtain access to any Cabinet member, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The Israeli military chief, who sought to discuss the Iranian nuclear threat, won’t even meet his counterpart, Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“The administration is sending a very clear message to Israel, and this is we want to talk about Palestine and not Iran,” a diplomat who has been following U.S.-Israel relations said.

On March 12, Ashkenazi left for a five-day visit to the United States meant to lobby the Obama administration to abandon the planned U.S. dialogue with Iran. Ashkenazi, scheduled to meet with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, was expected to have brought new Israeli intelligence on Iran’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

But the diplomatic sources said the administration made it clear that nobody in a policy-making position was available to sit with Ashkenazi. This included the president, Vice President Joseph Biden, Gates, National Intelligence director Dennis Blair or Mullen.

You can read the rest of the article here.

As I said in my reply email to my friend, I still haven’t recovered from the vast number of American Jews who cast their votes for Obama.  There is a running debate in the conservative community about whether American Jews no longer care about Israel or whether they’re simply such reflexive Democratic voters they were incapable of recognizing the danger Obama posed for Israel.  Articles like this depress but but he was right about one thing — I am interested.