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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Liberal Paul Krugman: Obama's Economically Conservative

When he's not insulting the innocent or making up facts, New York Times writer (and douchebag extraordinaire) Paul Krugman writes opinion pieces as well:
But let’s be frank. It’s getting harder and harder to trust Mr. Obama’s motives in the budget fight, given the way his economic rhetoric has veered to the right. In fact, if all you did was listen to his speeches, you might conclude that he basically shares the G.O.P.’s diagnosis of what ails our economy and what should be done to fix it. And maybe that’s not a false impression; maybe it’s the simple truth.

One striking example of this rightward shift came in last weekend’s presidential address, in which Mr. Obama had this to say about the economics of the budget: “Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.”

That’s three of the right’s favorite economic fallacies in just two sentences. No, the government shouldn’t budget the way families do; on the contrary, trying to balance the budget in times of economic distress is a recipe for deepening the slump. Spending cuts right now wouldn’t “put the economy on sounder footing.” They would reduce growth and raise unemployment. And last but not least, businesses aren’t holding back because they lack confidence in government policies; they’re holding back because they don’t have enough customers — a problem that would be made worse, not better, by short-term spending cuts.

In his brief remarks after Thursday’s meeting, by the way, Mr. Obama seemed to reiterate the Herbert Hooveresque view that deficit reduction is what we need to “grow the economy.”
A conservative, and we never suspected
Agree?  Disagree?

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Graphic: Average Time of Unemployment Nearly Triples under Obama

And no big surprise, it's still on the rise:
Thanks to WZ

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Jeter Homers for 3,000th Hit

Yankee great Derek Jeter homered to left-field this afternoon to become only the 28th major leaguer, and somewhat surprisingly the first ever Yankee, to reach 3,000 career hits.

Even though I am not a fan of the Yankees, I have always admired Jeter's great athletic ability - and now millions of future baseball fans will when they see his amazing stats, or his plaque at the Baseball Hall-of-Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

What say you?

Wiretap Usage up 34% in 2010, at Highest Use Ever

I'm okay with wiretapping if it is used to catch criminals and keep our country safe.  But just imagine, if you will, if President Bush had done this, what the Left would be saying.  Something a lot less civil.

From the Daily Caller:
The 2010 Wiretap Report said federal and state courts approved 3,194 orders for intercepting wire, oral or electronic communications. That was up from the 2,376 intercepts approved in 2009.

Here’s some more fun facts from the report:

Of all the applications for wiretap intercepts, 84 percent (2,675) cited illegal drugs as the most serious offense under investigation. The top three state wiretaps resulting in the most arrests were all narcotics related.

The average cost of a wiretap was $50,085, down 4 percent from 2009.

The average number of persons whose communications were intercepted rose from 113 per wiretap order in 2009 to 118 per wiretap order in 2010.

Only 26 percent of intercepted communications in 2010 were incriminating. Only one request for authorization was denied.

The top three states with approved wiretap applications were California, New York and New Jersey.

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Tragedy: Seargent James Hackemer Dies in Rollercoaster Accident

An Iraq war veteran who lost both his legs to an IED attack has died after being flung from a roller coaster.

Sergeant James Hackemer, 29, died after falling from the Ride of Steel roller coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park, Syracuse, New York.

He was visiting the park with his daughters, sisters and other members of the family. He was on the ride with his nephew, Ashton, a sophomore at the University at Buffalo, when the tragic accident happened.

According to park officials, Mr Hackemer was travelling at 50 mph in the front row of the roller coaster when he was ejected.

Investigators say nothing mechanical was wrong with the ride and both the safety harness and restraining bar were working.
Our prayers go out to Mr. Hackemer's family.

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Welcome South Sudan

The Republic of South Sudan officially gained their independence today and joined the brotherhood of nations.
South Sudan, which is predominately African and Christian, has hoped for this day to come for several decades, and I am glad former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was there to welcome them to nationhood on behalf of America.

What say you?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Liberal Senators: We May Filibuster if We Don't Get What We Want

From the Hill:
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) warned Friday that President Obama faces turmoil in the Senate and in his reelection campaign if he includes Social Security cuts in any debt-ceiling deal.

The senators said the White House has not communicated effectively to Senate Democrats and they and their rank-and-file colleagues are being frozen out of the process.

“I have talked to some of my colleagues, including some that you might not expect, who say if [White House officials] bring to the Senate a piece of crap that comes down heavy on working families and children and the elderly and they expect me to matter-of-factly vote for it, they'll have another thing coming,” Sanders said. He added that he would filibuster such a deal.
“I do worry that the White House is misreading the Senate and taking things for granted,” Whitehouse said. “There has not been enough communication to alleviate that potential misreading.”

Sanders wants Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to rule out any benefit cuts, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has done.

Whitehouse noted that Democrats can support a $4 trillion deficit-reduction package without touching Social Security. He noted the so-far secret Senate Budget Committee plan has more deficit reduction than the House-passed budget without doing so.

Both men said they have only heard of potential cuts to Social Security through newspaper accounts and they do not know what is on the table.

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The Ratification Debate Part Two

Picking up where I left off in my review of the ratification debate I want to address the question I raised at the end of last week’s essay,What was the problem?”
If the government as established under the Articles had so many successes how did it end up being replaced by the government as established under the Constitution?
There were some perceived and actual weaknesses of the government as established under the Articles of Confederation:
·         The national government was too weak as compared to the State governments.
·         There was only a unicameral legislature and thus there was not a separate executive department to carry out and enforce the acts of Congress.
·          There was no national court system to interpret the meaning of the laws passed by Congress leaving them open to differing interpretations.
·         .Congress didn't have the power to levy taxes. It was instead dependent on State donations, which were levied on the basis of the value of land within the various states.
·         Congress did not have the exclusive right to coin money. Each state retained the right to coin money.  Without a uniform monetary system the coins of one state might not be accepted in another, hampering commerce.
·         There was no mechanism to adjudicate disputes between the states.
·         The Individual States were not precluded from having their own foreign policies including the right to make treaties.
·         Each State had one vote in Congress with no respect to size or population.
·         It required nine out of the thirteen states to approve the passage of major laws, approve treaties, or declare war.
·         The amendment process was cumbersome requiring a unanimous vote.
Some of these weaknesses caused actual problems during the Articles short tenure, and some were merely perceived as possible sources of problems in the future.

So how did we get from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution?
It was commerce that proved to be the catalyst for the transition between the Articles and the Constitution.
Disputes concerning navigation on the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia led the calling of a conference between five states at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1786.  Alexander Hamilton was one of the delegates.  He successfully convinced the delegates that these issues of commerce were too intertwined with primarily economic and political concerns to be properly addressed by representatives of only five states.  Instead he proposed that all of the states send representatives to a Federal Convention the following year in Philadelphia.  At first Congress was opposed to this plan However, when they learned that Virginia would send George Washington they approved of the meeting.  Elections of delegates were subsequently held in all of the States except Rhode Island which ignored the summons.
The Convention had been authorized by Congress merely to draft proposals for amendments to the Articles of Confederation.  However, as soon as it convened they decided on their own to throw the Articles aside and instead create a completely new form of government.
Was the writing of the Constitution legal?  Who gave the Federal Convention authority to discard the Articles of Confederation which had been duly ratified by all thirteen States?  Was this a counterrevolution?
The answers to these questions have been debated by historians and constitutional scholars for hundreds of years, but in reality the answers are moot.  Whether the Federal Convention had any legal sanction to do what they did doesn’t matter. The action was eventually accepted by the Congress, the ratification conventions were held in the various States, and eventually it was ratified becoming the supreme law of the land.
Now we are ready to look at the Great Debate between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.
First, what about the terms, “Federalist” and “Anti-Federalist” how appropriate were they during the debate?
New Speak is nothing new in politics, and the concept of words having power to shape reality was not invented by George Orwell.  Look at the original debate of the ratification of the Constitution, and as a consequence how we have studied, learned, and even shaped the debate in this lecture concerning the ratification of the Constitution.
Think about the central term itself. Federalism refers to decentralized government. Those who supported the Constitution, who advocated that it replace the Articles of Confederation, which if nothing else established a decentralized system of government, called themselves "Federalists," even though they wanted a more centralized government.  This left the supporters of the Articles, who wanted a decentralized government, to be known then and forever as the "Anti-Federalists," when in fact they were the true Federalists.
So much for the straight forward clarity of Historical fact, everything must be examined and everything interpreted.
In the study of the debate for the ratification of the Constitution a common mistake made is the shallowness of the study.  In a good school the average student will be exposed to perhaps two of the Federalist Letters and none of the Anti-Federalist Letters, which is like trying to understand an answer without knowing what the question was.  In this abbreviated look at the subject we will look at both sides in general seeking instead an overview of the topic leaving the specifics to a personal study, which will without a doubt enrich the understanding of any who find the motivation for such an endeavor.
The Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers were actually published as newspaper articles for the general public.  This in itself tells us much about the comparative state of public education and awareness between the American general public in the late Eighteenth Century and the early Twenty-first.  When we examine the two sets of papers and dwell upon the vocabulary and the breadth and depth of the philosophical, political, and economical ideas expressed we are immediately struck by the fact that the average person in America today would not be able to understand the sophisticated and specialized vocabulary let alone grasp the ideas.  And yet these were not published in journals for the educated elite. These were published in general circulation newspapers and were actually debated and referenced across the dinner tables and around the workshops of America.
Next week we will look deeper into these two sets of documents that have had such a profound effect upon America and find out exactly who the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists were and why does it matter to us today?
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

WATCH LIVE: Obama responds to lousy June job numbers

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House Passes Pro-Israel Resolution on Palestinian Settlement

The House of Representatives reaffirmed overwhelmingly last evening that the United States is committed to a negotiated settlement between the Israeli's and Palestinians; not the U.N. granting full statehood to the Hamas led territories in September. Well over 95% of Democrats and Republicans supported the House resolution.

However, six Representatives had the gall to stand against our greatest ally, and with international recognition of terrorist backed territories yesterday. Three members of each party are guilty, but none of the names should surprise anyone at this point. Thirteen Democratic Representatives also voted 'present' for some unknown reason.

The six nay votes:

Representative Justin Amash (R-MI 3)
Representative Walter Jones (R-NC 3)
Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH 10)
Representative Earl Blumenaur (D-OR 3)
Representative Ron Paul (R-TX 14)
Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV 3)

Constituents in all six of these districts should replace these congressional disgraces with real men. Men who support the interests of our country and our allies, while working to oppose the interests of meddling liberal multilateralists at the U.N. and islamic jihadists on the battlefield.

I salute the House for passing this very important resolution in support of our Jewish friends.

What say you?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Palin Movie Trailer


The Undefeated Teaser Trailer from Dain Valverde on Vimeo.

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Humberto Leal Executed, Shouts "Viva Mexico"

From ABC:
Texas executed a Mexican citizen Thursday for the rape-slaying of a teenager after he and the White House pleaded in vain for a Supreme Court stay, saying he was denied help from his home country that could have helped him avoid the death penalty.

In his last minutes, Humberto Leal repeatedly said he was sorry and accepted responsibility.

"I have hurt a lot of people. ... I take full blame for everything. I am sorry for what I did," he said in the death chamber.
"One more thing," he said as the drugs began taking effect. Then he shouted twice, "Viva Mexico!"

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UN Human Rights Expert Draws Dog Wearing Yarmulke, Star of David Devouring Infant in a Pool of Blood

And don't forget, American taxpayers subsidize dozens of UN "projects."

Richard Falk, the UN Human Rights Council’s expert on Palestine, decided to draw a cartoon to depict how he saw the world.  Imagining the nations of the world and their interaction with law and liberty, Falk drew a dog wearing a sacred Yarmulke with a Star of David emblazoned on it.

In the dog's mouth were the bloody bones of an infant:
Around the dog's waist is a piece of cloth reading "USA."

The dog smiles as he looks back at a personification of liberty and justice as he urinates all over her.  Considering that the man who drew this is an "expert," I think we can all figure out how much of the United Nations views Jewish people and the United States.

Luckily, UN Watch picked it up and decided to send the United Nations a letter on the subject.  The full letter is below:
Ms. Navi Pillay
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10

6 July 2011

Dear Madam High Commissioner,

We write to convey our grave concern over the publication of an overtly anti-Semitic cartoon by Richard Falk, an expert of the UN Human Rights Council. We urge you—as the highest moral authority of the UN human rights system—to condemn Mr. Falk’s actions, which constitute incitement to hatred and racial discrimination as defined under Articles 1 and 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Mr. Falk published the attached cartoon in his blog post of June 29. As you can see, it depicts a dog urinating on a woman symbolizing justice, and devouring a dead body with blood and bones spewing out of its mouth. The dog is shown in a garment marked “USA” and wearing a Kipa, the Jewish religious head covering, which is marked by a Star of David. The cartoon is manifestly anti-Semitic and, before a worldwide Internet audience, incites hatred against Jews as well as against Americans.

We are aware that mandate-holders are answerable only to the Council, and that Mr. Falk and his supporters will claim that the cartoon was published in his “personal capacity.” As you know, however, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in identical circumstances, unequivocally ruled that Mr. Falk has “a clear responsibility to uphold the high standards of the United Nations and the Council.” Accordingly, the Secretary-General twice condemned Mr. Falk for having propagated the 9/11 conspiracy theory and insulting the memory of the 3,000 victims of that attack. Likewise, in 2005, your predecessor, High Commissioner Louise Arbour did not hesitate to condemn expert Jean Ziegler for what she described as his “inflammatory” and “highly irresponsible” remarks.

For the UN human rights system to be credible in the fight against racism, its own representatives must not be allowed to incite hatred and racial discrimination with impunity. We urge you to speak out.

Hillel C. Neuer
Executive Director
In the same post by Falk, he also showed off his sub-par photoshopping skills by posting this:
And then in a later post, tried to explain it all away by saying that he was trying to be prejudicial against the United States, not Israel:
It looked like a helmet to me, and the main visible symbol on the dog was the USA midriff covering. I found the cartoon through a Google image search on the page devoted to the International Criminal Court. Almost all the images there were about the Court or justice, and I assumed that this blindfolded goddess of justice was being led around by the USA.
Update- Falk now denies drawing the image, instead saying that he found it on Google.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Massive 8.0 Earthquake Strikes Off New Zealand

The earthquake is a 7.8, and it's that big red dot in the Pacific, near New Zealand.
There are tsunami fears. Warnings are in effect for Tonga and the Kermadec Islands, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
The New Zealand dollar is falling a bit on the news. You can see the big dropoff on the Kiwi on this chart.

From Business Insider

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OBAMA TWITTER TOWN HALL: Watch and participate

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Wednesday Bush-a-Thon

 Consider this an open thread:

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Political Speech; Rhetoric versus Substance

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong” H. L. Mencken

When I was growing up in Canada, I noticed that during the lead up to every national election, the leader of each political party promised to move the Canadian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. For those who are strong pro-Israel advocates, the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is highly significant, and so we welcomed such promises. Within the Jewish community, many were impressed; others, expressing cynicism, ignored the promises. Why? Because once the election was over, the party that prevailed found some reason to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv, a position that was in accord with Arab sympathies against accepting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Somehow, this charade was repeated in election after election, as though no one would notice. This was my introduction to the nature and frequent dishonesty of political rhetoric.

We are entering the 2012 election season, and are about to be bombarded by displays of simple solutions to complex problems, pomposity, verbosity, hyperbole, irrational nonsense, promises that will never be kept, and occasionally a display of eloquence and reason.

Recently , philosopher and columnist Thomas Sowell discussed this phenomenon in a column titled politics versus reality. What he essentially states is that politics is about getting voters to believe certain things that may or may not be true. To do this politicians, media figures, and others, use clever words to advance an idea or agenda while ignoring alternative data (confirmation bias). Those predisposed to these ideas are easily convinced

One example he offers relates to the way in which politicians deal with the national debt. Should we solve this critical problem by reducing spending or by increasing taxes?. It is very tempting to demagogue this issue, to argue against "tax cuts for the rich". Never mind that historical evidence indicates that reducing taxes, by putting more money into the private sector where businesses are built and jobs are created, will in fact stimulate the economy and lead to greater employment. The proponents of higher taxes unfortunately do not care about evidence, about whether or not their proposals will solve the problem. The ideology of “spreading the wealth around” trumps consideration of what actually works.

Another example is that of health care. In Canada, where I grew up and received my medical training, financing of health care is a government function. While there are many advantages to this form of universal coverage, advantages that I myself have often pointed out, there are also many negatives.

The fact that people need to wait long periods to see primary care physicians, and even longer periods to see specialists, is not explored by supporters of government financing. And there is the fact that government in an attempt to save money may not permit newer drugs to be used, relying on less effective agents, or drugs with increased adverse effects. A classmate of mine who currently practices opthalmology in Toronto tells me that when he performs cataract surgery, he must use the lowest cost lens, even though the more expensive ones are far superior.

In other words, to save money, quality is often sacrificed. And so, on the one hand, everyone is covered; on the other hand, many Canadians are crossing the border to get timely health care.

Sowell points out that supporters of government sponsored universal health care often argue that life expectancy is less in the US, implying that this is the fault of our health care system, They simply ignore data that suggest that other factors such as obesity, poor diet, family dysfunction, and narcotic abuse, may be partly responsible. Thus clever rhetoric again trumps accurate analysis.

Those on the other side, opponents of government as insurer, ignore the problem of dealing with those who lack access to health care by virtue of the unavailability of affordable insurance. They insist that health care is a privilege, not a right due to all of our citizens.

So we have a standoff in which politicians and journalists who support or oppose government financing of health care fail to present a nuanced picture. Both sides present studies that support their point of view, ignoring alternative realities.

Another example is that of "shovel-ready projects" advanced by President Obama as a solution to economic stasis and unemployment. In this scenario, the administration’s spokespersons would have you believe that there are construction projects where the shovels would immediately go to work as soon as the stimulus money was available. Guess what? It didn't happen. Now we don’t have the construction projects, but we are saddled with the debt resulting from the stimulus

We are facing high unemployment despite the promises of "stimulus" spending. Further, government hiring means transferring funds from the private to the government sector, resulting in job loss in the private sector. This is why government job creation does not lead to lower unemployment. However, the talking heads and politicians talk about government coming to the rescue by creating jobs. This is simply rhetoric that ignores the realities.

A final example; in San Francisco and Berkeley we have rent control. According to the politicians who profit off such beliefs, “Rent control rescues helpless tenants from the high rents charged by greedy landlords”

But what is the reality? We have housing shortages, as developers are discouraged from developing. We have reduced maintenance and amenities as landlords are forced to deal with rent increases that lag behind the increased costs of maintaining housing. Once again, political figures profit on the perception that lack of adequate maintenance must be the fault of “greedy landlords”, rather than an inevitable consequence of freezing housing rents.

And price controls in general, often advocated by political and media figures, have unintended negative consequences, Imagine price controls on health care services, where costs are continually rising, but the health care providers are forced to absorb the increased costs. How many will stay in business? How many physicians have taken early retirement, or refuse to accept Medicaid patients?. Is this why it is getting harder to find a primary care physician? Is this why price controls generally lead to shortages?

As we approach the upcoming elections, we have a responsibility as voters to carefully scrutinize political talking points. This is not a progressive or liberal issue. It is an equal opportunity problem, applicable to conservatives also.

The lessons? First, beware of simple solutions to complex problems. Secondly, try to anticipate unintended consequences. And finally, seek out nuanced arguments that present data, not language designed to simply stir the juices.

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Only 25.4 Million Watch Obama's Afghanistan Speech

Remember President Barack Obama's speech several weeks ago about withdrawing 33,000 troops from Afghanistan?

You don't? Well, you're not alone.

The Hollywood Reporter reported this morning that a record low 25.4 million Americans tuned into Obama's national address, which is almost 40% less than his 2009 counterpart address that announced the surge in the first place.


This isn't something new, as fewer and fewer Americans have tuned into Obama's various disaster, economic and military speech's since his inauguration in January 2009. But this is simply pathetic. President Obama can no longer attract more citizens to wartime addresses than to American Idol season finales.

What say you?

P.S. - The only thing Americans missed Wednesday night was a headache. Trust me.

Perry 2012 Mania - Avoid Bandwagoning

The hottest commodity in 2012 Republican politics is no longer former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, or showman Donald Trump, but decade long Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has fired up activists across America hoping for a political savior.

His record of executive accomplishment and experience appeals to a Conservative base seeking someone who will both be able to competently run the federal government and rollback the liberal apparatus of ever increasing entitlement spending.

But we shouldn't all jump on the Perry bandwagon.

We have only heard two-thirds of Perry's policies - hard nosed fiscal conservatism and passionate social conservatism.

Embrace Minnesota Nice

Most Republican voters want our 2012 nominee to have the decibel levels of Oregon's Autzen Stadium, but that desire has caused many to discount former Minnesota Governor Timothy Pawlenty, and his friendly attitudes, which is commonly referred to as "Minnesota Nice" as some sort of derogatory word.

They shouldn't.

America does not want someone to shout from the bottom of their heart that President Obama is a failure; what we need is someone who understands our economic situation is troubling and that leadership trumps political posturing any day.

Tim Pawlenty is that someone.

He will never be accused of stirring passionate devotion among supporters (just ask me), but after two years of good speech making and no results to show for it, America might just need a President who is, frankly, boring and able in office.

Minnesota nice is exactly what we need now.

What say you?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Global Warming Debunked, AMA Hardest Hit

In February, 2011 medical and public health groups began banding together to explain how global warming has and will take a profound toll on human health. The American Medical Association has been one of several esteemed and respected associations that have bought fully and put their name and reputation behind this theory.

In a Thursday conference call with reporters, the heads of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Public Health Association (APHA) joined with a pediatrician and a scientist to lay out what they say is a major public health issue: climate change caused by global warming.

The "evidence has only grown stronger" that climate change is responsible for an increasing number of health ills, including asthma, diarrheal disease, and even deaths from extreme weather such as heat waves, said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the APHA.

David Catron, who blogs at Healthcare BS, commented at the time that:

The American Medical Association is determined to drive its membership down to some point even lower than the 17% of practicing physicians remaining in the group.

His suspicions were proven true when the AMA disclosed that it lost 12,000 dues-paying member physicians last year. Most observers believe this loss of membership is due to the group's support for President Obama's overhaul of the American health care system. They would be only partially correct.

H/T Healthcare BS, Declaration Entertainment

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Obvious Limitations to Interstate Commerce

Are there limitations? Evidently this depends upon who you ask. In this case George Will asks a simple question meant to clarify the absurdity of the Obamacare power grab. The geniuses sitting at the Amanpour's round table illustrates why the MSM has such a hard time clearly reporting the facts surrounding the various Obamacare lawsuits:

Has the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce been so loosely construed that now Congress can do anything at all … Let me ask the three of you. Obviously, obesity and its costs affect interstate commerce. Does Congress have the constitutional power to require obese people to sign up for Weight Watchers? If not, why not?

H/T Newsbusters

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Happy Independence Day- "We Got Him"

Thank you, President Bush:

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Happy Independence Day!

Hundreds of millions of Americans will be celebrating our 235th anniversary as an independent nation today!

There will be several readings of the Declaration (Old Stone Fort in Schoharie, New York), family events, fireworks and parades. The colours will be proudly displayed through out the entire United States in honor of our heritage past and present.

We must spend this day not only in celebration of our country, but in awe of our Founding Fathers. They did not sign a document of independence alone; but one of treason and of death if they failed to succeed. They were our first heroes.

Remember them proudly.


Happy Independence Day- President Bush's Perfect Pitch at Yankee Stadium

A strike that rivals any pitch ever thrown in Yankee Stadium.  Feel free to compare with President Obama, who comes second in the video:

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Happy Independence Day- President Bush's Bull Horn Speech at Ground Zero

A two minute speech that is lightyears beyond the vacuous speeches President Obama gives and a speech that is innumerably more touching and meaningful than anything Mr. Obama has ever said:

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chavismo and the Dictator! Hugo Chavez has Colon Cancer?

Want to know about hitting someone when they are down? Ask Noam Chomsky.

Hugo Chávez has long considered Noam Chomsky one of his best friends in the west. He has basked in the renowned scholar's praise for Venezuela's socialist revolution and echoed his denunciations of US imperialism.

The president may be about to have second thoughts about that, because his favourite intellectual has now turned his guns on Chávez.

Speaking to the Observer last week, Chomsky has accused the socialist leader of amassing too much power and of making an "assault" on Venezuela's democracy.

"Concentration of executive power, unless it's very temporary and for specific circumstances, such as fighting world war two, is an assault on democracy. You can debate whether [Venezuela's] circumstances require it: internal circumstances and the external threat of attack, that's a legitimate debate. But my own judgment in that debate is that it does not."

This type of speech has to leave a bit of a mark, particularly when going through a new diagnosis of cancer and still trying to run a country from afar.

Much has been speculated over the past few weeks regarding the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez after a prolonged absence from his country seeking treatment for an mostly unspecified medical ailment requiring surgical intervention. By accounts, Chavez urgent surgery in Havana Cuba for a pelvic abscess. Turns out there is much more here than a pelvic abscess.

A very thin and clearly gravelly ill Hugo Chavez finally addressed the Nation tonight from Havana, Cuba and once again lied and raised questions in a clear change of heart about whether to tell or not the truth about what ailment he has been suffering and how it has been handled. Chavez, the eternal improviser, actually read the speech, saying he had a malignant tumor that was discovered after a second operation, which had not been revealed until today

Much speculation at first was related to the possibility of metastatic prostate cancer. This never fit very well for me as prostate cancer generally affects men much older and doesn't generally result in radical prostatectomy, particularly after metastasis. This line of reasoning was bolstered by Chavez himself as he lamented to the Venezuelan people that he hadn't undergone routing health care maintenance. Many speculated that this was in reference to digital rectal exams. This line of reasoning fits better with colorectal screening though. DRE's are still part of the process, but are accompanied by the dreaded colonoscopy. That is a 3 foot tube with a camera on the end that is inserted into one's backside in order to "screen" for potentially malignant polyps. Really not something someone with the perceived ego of Chavez would submit himself to without some profound provocation.

My suspicions were given some credence yesterday when Bloomberg cited Spanish newspaper El Periodico, stating that:

Chavez will have to use a colostomy bag for at least three months, the Barcelona-based newspaper reported. Chavez, who is recovering from two surgeries in Cuba, isn’t able to begin chemotherapy due to the infection, the paper said. The situation is serious because the tumor may have metastasized, El Periodico reported, citing the diplomats.

The first operation for a pelvic abscess was performed by a Cuban surgeon while the second operation to remove the tumor was performed by a Spanish surgeon in Havana the newspaper said.

The Real Cuba adds thoughts and a translation. I don't speak, read, or translate Spanish into English, so I cannot account for the veracity, but it seems in accordance with other sources. Still, it is worth reading over the official source for this. Even in spanish, it is not hard to pick up on the significance

The first operation was a mistake because it was performed after it was erroneously diagnosed that Chávez only was suffering from a pelvic abscess.

Here is my translation of what the Spanish newspaper is reporting: "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is suffering from colon cancer that has perforated the intestinal wall and has caused an infection in the abdomen. Chávez will need, at least for the next three months, a colostomy bag (a bag for stool), according to information from Venezuelan diplomatic reports that El Periodico has been able to review.

These same sources have reported that Chavez was first operated by a Cuban surgeon, who made the mistake of operating him as if he was suffering from a pelvic abscess. A few days later, the tumor fistulized. Given the seriousness of the situation, the Cuban authorities required for a second operation the services of a Spanish surgeon, which was probably José Luis García Sabrido, chief of surgery at the hospital Gregorio Marañon of Madrid, but this could not be confirmed by this newspaper. (My note: This was the same surgeon who traveled to Cuba to check on Castro)

The same report notes that, for now, Chavez can not receive chemotherapy because the infection produced by the first intervention prevents it. After seeing the medical reports, the same diplomatic sources suggest that the patient's condition is "serious" because there are chances that the tumor has caused metastasis."

The speculation is all coming from this video where the Venezuelan president addressed his nation. Interestingly and very much out of character he is addressing the nation by reading a speech.

This was a stilted announcement that was read by Chavez, the first time I can remember him reading from a piece of paper. Coming from him who makes fun of people who prefer to read prepared statements, him the great improvisor never at a loss for words, it can mean only one of two things: he is really sick and was propped for that speech made short and sort of direct; or he did not write the speech at all and somehow was coaxed into reading it. For me it is yet more evidence that we are a Cuban colony.

There is much more to be found and considered at Venezuela News and Views.

Via The American Thinker, Miami Herald reporter Frances Robles adds some interesting tidbits to the saga:

“What struck me is that at one point during his announcement, he misspoke and said ‘evolution’ instead of ‘evaluation.’ He corrected himself, but it was odd that in a video that was so staged — complete with props of the Venezuelan flag and a painting of Simon Bolivar — they did not do a retake,” said Douglas Leon, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation. “What does that say? To me, it says he can only stand up for about 20 minutes, and they couldn’t let him stand for the time it would take to do it over.”

The presence of an abscessed tumor is not a good sign, said Dr. Thomas J. George Jr., an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Florida and a specialist in gastrointestinal cancers.

“This is usually because the cancer is fairly aggressive,’’ he said. “This could be a variety of different cancers — none of them good.”

The top possibility, he said, would be colorectal cancer, followed by prostate, bladder, or perhaps a sarcoma — a soft tissue cancer.

“Prostate would probably be the best option in terms of prognosis,” George said.

He also said it’s possible that the original abscess drainage procedure itself could have contaminated the area with cancer cells. Treatment, doctors agreed, would be aggressive radiation and chemotherapy.

“Prostate tumors normally do not cause this kind of abscess,” said Leon Lapco, president of the Venezuelan-American Doctors Association and a surgeon at Mercy Hospital. “I would say it’s his colon, the large intestine. It’s the most likely to cause diverticulitis, perforations and abscesses."

If you are at all interested in the goings on in Venezuela consider following the following blogs whose first hand knowledge, insight and cultural perspective will prove to be invaluable in the days and weeks to come.

Fausta's Blog

Venezuela News and Views

The Devil's Excrement


Caracas Chronicles

If you have other sources, please add them in the comments! Thanks.....

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Thomas Friedman and Israel

Thomas Friedman has been honored many times over. He has won three Pulitzers for international reporting. He is the foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, a reward for his yeoman work in eloquently promoting the anti-Israel message of the Times.

President Obama reportedly relies on him for advice about Israel. For many years, Friedman has been recognized as an expert on the region and its conflicts. What is usually ignored is how frequently he gets matters wrong, but does so with great style Few journalists have his record of cute and seemingly clever phrases that sound good, but say little. These statements clearly reveal Friedman’s antipathy toward the Jewish state.

For example, here are three statements about the manner in which Israel has responded to US demands:

“Well, first there’s Israel’s prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, who has been telling everyone how committed he is to peace with the Palestinians while refusing to halt settlement building as a prerequisite for negotiations”

“ When America asks Israel to do something that in no way touches on its vital security but would actually enhance it, there is only one right answer: “Yes.” It is a measure of how spoiled Israel has become that …. Israel feels no compunction about spurning an American request for a longer settlement freeze”

“Israel, when America, a country that has lavished billions on you over the last 50 years and taken up your defense in countless international forums, asks you to halt settlements for three months to get peace talks going, there is only one right answer, and it is not “How much?” It is: “Yes, whatever you want” .

This is eloquent and powerful language. It is also wrong. Friedman ignores the fact that Netanyahu did precisely what he is recommending when Israel halted settlement building for nine months at the request of the US administration. The result? The Palestinian Authority, led by Prime Minister Abbas, refused to enter negotiations during that period. At the end of the nine months Abbas asked for an extension and Netanyahu, seeing that the freeze had accomplished nothing in the way of encouraging negotiations, said no. (The administration and much of the media condemned Israel for this, but had no criticism of the Palestinians for failing to negotiate while the freeze was in place)

Surely Friedman knows this. The only conclusion possible is that Friedman, given his words, is “speaking flattery–not truth–to power ”

Another example of Friedman’s cleverness disguising persistent fallacy occurred at a recent presentation at the Aspen Institute. On that occasion, he made the comment. (later confirmed in a tweet), that “Mubarak had 30 years to reform Egypt, then he tried to do it all in six days. Netanyahu is Mubarak of Israel”

Never mind that Mubarak’s record in Egypt consisted of 30 years of autocratic rule, while by contrast Netanyahu has been elected by Israeli citizens twice and the vast majority of Israelis think he has done a good job. (The Israeli experience over the last few decades of suffering from terrorist acts by her neighbors is reason enough for Netanyahu’s election)

So Friedman apparently believes that Israel has not changed in thirty years. Really? Thirty years ago, Israel rejected dealing with the PLO, and rejected a Palestinian state. Today, if favors a two-state solution; and accepts negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Thirty years ago Israel controlled a large swath of southern Lebanon and the Gaza strip. Not today. Thirty years ago West Bank settlements were expanding; last year there was a nine month freeze. Under Ehud Barak Israel offered a Palestinian state that would include most of East Jerusalem. No change in thirty years?

Many critics of Israel claim they are not against Israel, only against its government. (never mind that as a democracy, its government is a mirror of what its people want). Friedman has joined in propagating this supposed distinction when in fact his comments are anti-Israel, and have two goals. They are designed to undermine policies needed for Israel’s survival, and to divide the American Jewish community and destroy support for Israel by American Jews.

Friedman repeats the false line that “if only Israel took more risks and made more unilateral concessions peace would be possible, even quick to arrive.” Rubin points out that we “learned eleven years ago that this was nonsense.” All the risks in the Israel-Palestinian conflict have been taken by Israel; only angry and reflexive anti-Israeli observers believe otherwise. The reality? The real roadblocks to peace are based on actions by the Palestinian Authority

Here is another Friedman distortion, as revealed by Omni Ceren. Friedman stated that “the Israelis and the Palestinians” are the people in the Middle East “most” in need of an Arab Spring. Does this mean that Israel, one of the world’s most robust democracies, needs a democratic housecleaning more urgently than Syria, Libya or Egypt?

And here is another dangerous recommendation. Friedman reportedly suggested that the U.S. “get out of the way” in September when the Palestinians seek unilateral statehood in the United Nations. Friedman has not paused in his clever utterances to consider what such a betrayal might mean with respect to trusting the U.S. on its most ironclad assurances. Or to consider how such a move would further harm the already badly compromised U.S.-Israel relationship.

Friedman is not only wrong, he is hopelessly inconsistent. How can he acknowledge on the one hand that the Palestinians aren’t interested in peace, but still insist that we should tilt the diplomatic playing field away from Israel, our last stable Middle East ally.

Friedman has either not learned the hard realities in that part of the world, or more likely deliberately ignores them. Not so the American people, as demonstrated by polls and by the overwhelming bipartisan enthusiasm expressed toward Netanyahu by the US Congress.

Once again we are told that the people of Israel simply don’t know what’s good for them, and so they need the great wisdom of President Obama, J Street, and Thomas Friedman to tell them how they must come to their senses. We need accurate and honest journalists, not individuals who distort facts to serve those in power.

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