Wednesday, 08 July 2009

HONDURAS - AND OBAMA'S REACTION TO HONDURAS - MADE SIMPLE

Ken Berwitz

Here, in part three of his series on Honduras, Paul Mirengoff of www.powerlineblog.com (with a major assist from Hans Bader) makes understanding the Honduras situation as simple as it can be:

Coup are you? Part Three

July 7, 2009 Posted by Paul at 10:49 PM

President Obama has claimed that the removal of Honduran president Mel Zelaya is "illegal." However, Hans Bader, senior counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, demonstrates otherwise,

Bader points out that Zelaya flouted court rulings by using intimidation to try to get Hondurans to change their constitution to allow him to extend his tenure in office. In response, the country's Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya, which the military enforced by seizing Zelaya and kicking him out of the country. The country's legislature then voted almost unanimously to replace him with its legislative speaker, in accord with the country's constitution.

According to Bader:

Obama is quite wrong to claim that the removal of Zelaya was "illegal." The Honduran president forfeited his right to rule under Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution, which bans presidents from holding office if they even propose to alter the constitutional term limits for presidents. And the Honduran military, which acted on orders of the Honduran supreme court, expressly had the right to remove the president for seeking to alter the constitutional term limit, under Article 272 of the Honduran Constitution. . . .The Honduran military's role in enforcing the court order does not make it a "coup" anymore than federal troops' role in enforcing the court-ordered integration of the Little Rock public schools in 1957 constituted a military occupation or takeover.

Bader bolsters his analysis by quoting from an op-ed by Octavio Sanchez, a Honduran lawyer and former Minister of Culture, in the Christian Science Monitor. Scott linked to Sanchez's piece last week.

Obama's position on Honduras is part of an emerging, and very sad, pattern. His bogus catchphrases may vary ("meddling," "illegal," or whatever), but the result always seems to be the same. Whether the venue is Honduras, Russia, or Iran, Obama instinctively sides, in the first instance, with the enemies of freedom and the rule of law. And it doesn't hurt at all if that party is also hostile towards the U.S.

Thank you, Paul, for laying this out so plainly on your blog.  Now:  when do our wonderful "neutral" media do the same?

So far, the answer is "never".


CAMILLE PAGLIA ON PALIN HATRED AND MEDIA BIAS

Ken Berwitz

Noel Sheppard of www.newsbusters.org has encapsulated Ms. Paglia's comments for us.  Here they are, in all their intelligence, insight, honesty and excellence. (The bold print is sometimes Noel's, sometimes mine):

Camille Paglia Explains Palin Derangement Syndrome

By Noel Sheppard
July 8, 2009 - 10:23 ET

Salon's Camille Paglia has regularly chided the press for their obvious Palin Derangement Syndrome, and on Wednesday tried to once again explain the malady:

As a Democrat, I detest the partisan machinations that have become standard in Northeastern news management and that are detectable in editorial decisions at major metropolitan newspapers nationwide. It's why I, like a host of others, have shifted my news gathering to the Web.

Responding to a reader's question about the Alaska governor, Paglia referred to the "Northeastern media" as "vultures and harpies" as well as "preening bullies, cackling witches, twisted cynics and pompous windbags" as she took on Vanity Fair's Todd Purdum for the "faux objectivity" throughout his recent Palin hit piece. 

Paglia also attacked the "vicious double standard" concerning how Palin's family have been regular media targets compared to the respect accorded Chelsea Clinton: 

 

Scurrying around Alaska with his notepad, Purdum still managed to find comically little to indict her with. Anyone with a gripe is given the floor; fans are shut out. This exercise in faux objectivity is exposed at key points such as Purdum's failure to identify the actual instigator of Palin's extravagant clothing bills (a crazed, credit-card-abusing stylist appointed by the McCain campaign) and his prissy characterization of Palin's performance at the vice-presidential debate as merely "adequate." Hey, wake up -- Palin cleaned Biden's clock! By the end, Biden was sighing and itching to split.

Whether Palin has a national future or not will depend on her willingness to hit the books at some point and absorb more information about international history and politics than she has needed to know in her role as governor. She also needs a shrewder, cooler take on the mainstream media, with its preening bullies, cackling witches, twisted cynics and pompous windbags. The Northeastern media establishment is in decline, and everyone knows it. Palin should not have gotten into a slanging match with David Letterman or anyone else who has been obsessively defaming her or her family. Let surrogates do that stuff.

The vicious double standard is pretty obvious. Only the tabloids, for example, ran the photos of a piss-drunk Chelsea Clinton, panties exposed, falling into her car outside London clubs a few years ago. If Chelsea had been the scion of Republican bigwigs, those tacky scenes would have been trumpeted from pillar to post in the U.S. as signals of parental failures or turmoil in clan Clinton. As a Democrat, I detest the partisan machinations that have become standard in Northeastern news management and that are detectable in editorial decisions at major metropolitan newspapers nationwide. It's why I, like a host of others, have shifted my news gathering to the Web.

Amen.

This answers the question "Are there any liberal/left people who are embarrassed by what so many in mainstream media are doing, presumably on their behalf?  Obviously the answer is "Yes".  And Ms. Paglia, I am sure, is not the only one.


KARL ROVE AND THE VINDICTIVE LEFT

Ken Berwitz

Did you think the vindictive left was through with Karl Rove?  Think again.

Three years after then-President Bush removed and replaced 9 of the 93 U.S. Attorneys, Karl Rove is being dragged into DC to answer questions about it. 

Before continuing, a few points should be made:

-President Bush did nothing wrong when he replaced the 9 U.S. Attorneys.  They serve at the President's pleasure and are not - repeat, not - subject to congressional oversight.  So the relentless attacks on Mr. Bush which continued to the end of his presidency and the continued witchhunt against Karl Rove (who may or may not have had a thing to do with their removal) is based on.....nothing.

-EVERY President removes and replaces U.S. Attorneys.  For example, Bill Clinton fired every one of them when he came into office in 1993, and dozens more afterwards.  Do you recall any outcry by Democrats?  Or Republicans?  Do you recall anyone being deposed over those firings?

-The argument against Bush's removal/replacement of the U.S. Attorneys is that it was done for political reasons.  The answer is, so what?  OF COURSE there are political considerations when presidential appointments are made.  Does anyone seriously claim that Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton selected U.S. Attorneys without regard to any political considerations? 

-THE CURRENT President, Barack Obama, will do the same thing.  Read this piece by Josh Gerstein at www.politico.com and see for yourself:

May 15, 2009
Categories: Obama Administration

Obama to replace U.S. Attorneys

President Barack Obama plans to replace a "batch" of U.S. Attorneys in the next few weeks and more prosecutors thereafter, according to Attorney General Eric Holder.

"I expect that well have an announcement in the next couple of weeks with regard to our first batch of U.S attorneys," Holder said Thursday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing which stretched out over most of the day due to breaks for members' votes. "One of the things that we didnt want to do was to disrupt the continuity of the offices and pull people out of positions where we thought there might be a danger that that might have on the continuity--the effectiveness of the offices.But...elections matter--it is our intention to have the U.S. Attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as they can."

Holder's comments begin to resolve questions in the legal community about whether the new administration would hesitate to replace the chief prosecutors en masse because of the intense controversy that surrounded President George W. Bush's unusual mid-term replacement of nine U.S. attorneys in late 2006. In addition, legal sources said some Bush appointees were looking to burrow in, in part to avoid a grim economic climate for private-sector legal jobs.

However, by using terms like "elections matter," Holder seems to be signaling that Obama plans to install new leadership in most offices.

Not only does this demonstrate that Barack Obama is doing precisely what Bush did, but it shows that the selections are being made on a political basis.  What else would the "elections matter" comment mean?  That they won't be political?

Ok, with this in mind let's discuss the real reasons for Karl Rove being deposed.  There are two of them.

One is resentment.  Rove was instrumental in orchestrating both of President Bush's successful election campaigns, and is therefore despised (and, I suspect, envied) by many vindictive leftward Democrats for it.

The other is to send a message.  It is the same message that was sent to Newt Gingrich and is being sent to Sarah Palin.  The message is that anyone to the right of the (increasingly more leftist) Democratic establishment who dares to make a significant difference, either through elective success or dissemination of ideas, is going to be destroyed.  And even when they are out of a position of power (as Rove is) they will continue to be destroyed (a little like Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty, who ordered 24 lashes for a man who was already dead).   The idea is to intimidate people into either downplaying their criticisms or being silent altogether.   And it works.

But I do not want to end this blog by citing only the vindictive left.  That would be unfair.  None of this could be done without the media.

Simply stated, the only way that a political party can behave this way without paying a price for it is media complicity.  And the Democratic party owns most mainstream media - lock, stock and barrel.

If we had a neutral, evenhanded media, the people would be told about the double standard, the hypocrisy and the actions I've just detailed.  But we do not have a neutral, evenhanded media and, therefore, most people don't have a clue.

Do yourself a favor:  First check my facts for accuracy (don't ever trust what you read on the internet without checking).  Then, ask a few people what they know about any of this. 

You'll see.


OLBERMANN LYING AGAIN (yawn, what else is new?)

Ken Berwitz

keith olbermann is a liar.  And he has lied again.

This time it is about what Michael Scheuer said when interviewed by Glenn Beck on Fox News Channel.

First off, let me say that I am no fan of Glenn Beck's or Michael Scheuer's.  Albeit for different reasons I don't like either of them.  So it's not like I have a horse in this race.

But I do care about someone looking me in the eye and lying to me.  Which brings us straight to keith olbermann.

On June 30th, Glenn Beck interviewed Michael Schueur.  During that interview the following exchange occured:

SCHEUER:  "The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States.  Because it's gonna take a grass roots, bottoms-up pressure.  Because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans.  It's an absurd situation again.  Only osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently and with as much violence as necessary"  

 

BECK:  Which is why I was thinking this weekend, if I were him that would be the last thing I would do right now"

Here is what olbermann had to say about it (the bold print is mine):

Mr. Scheuer has issued a call for the the head of al Qaeda to detonate a major weapon in the United States.  And yet, for some reason, to my knowledge at least, the Department of Homeland Security has not yet been to see him, nor been to see Mr. Beck nor Fox News for having provided him a platform and passive assent, for approving not just a terrorist attack which could kill Americans, but approving of one that might even kill Fox viewers.  If we're going to continue to prevent terrorism in this country, international or domestic, we have to legally stop the people who view terrorism as acceptable means of effecting political change in this country.  People like Michael Scheuer. And we have to legally stop the people like Glenn Beck, the enablers, who simply nod gravely as if the idea, and the speaker are not treasonous.

Er..............

While what Scheuer said was troubling and probably over the top, he did not call for a terrorist attack.  He said that our only chance to force Americans into demanding effective protection from the government would be if bin laden initiated one.

Now you may or may not agree with Scheuer's assessment of what would wake people up.   But there is no argument at all over whether Scheuer approved of or in any way endorsed such an attack.  He obviously did neither.  

So olbermann's entire rumpelstiltskinesque rant, including a demand that we have to "legally stop" Glenn Beck (from doing what?) was based on.....a lie.

In short, business as usual on "Countdown".


THE BUSH DOCTRINE REVISITED

Ken Berwitz

When Charles Gibson "tested" Sarah Palin by asking her about "the Bush Doctrine" he got her good.  Bush spoke in general terms of what he hoped to achieve but it was never a formal entity (by contrast, the Monroe Doctrine and Truman doctrine were specific policy statements) .  Ms. Palin failed that test and was on her way to being mercilessly bludgeoned by our wonderful "neutral" media right through to the present.

(Too bad for Ms. Palin that no one "tested" Joe Biden on what the duties of a Vice President are, since he hopelessly mangled them in his debate with Ms. Palin.  And too bad the media, which loved bashing Palin, gave him a virtual free pass on his ignorance of the job he was seeking.)

In any event, Peter Ferrara, writing for American Spectator, has an excellent piece describing how President Bush's "doctrine" has worked out.  Here it is:

The Bush Doctrine Is Still Working

A central theme of President Bush's administration was to promote democracy in the Middle East. He argued that establishing a full fledged democracy in Iraq in the heart of the Middle East would have transforming effects throughout the Muslim World. Even though the promotion of human rights and democracy had been a central theme of liberal foreign policy for decades, the Left ridiculed Bush's policy as hopelessly nave. Even some on the right echoed this criticism.

But recent trends throughout the Middle East show that this policy is now producing a growing, very powerful effect in countering Islamic extremism and terrorism, just as Bush originally envisioned. The most recent example of this is the elections in Lebanon, where the pro-Western coalition in power there was reelected last month with a slightly increased majority over the Islamic extremist Hezbollah coalition, despite Iranian funding estimated in the billions for Hezbollah.

When the pro-Western coalition was first elected in Lebanon in 2005, it soon chased the Syrian army out of the country, ending the occupation started over 20 years ago during the Lebanese civil war. That was a huge victory for America and the West for which Bush received no credit.

Another recent example comes from Kuwait, where the public mostly voted for secular parties, rejecting the Islamic extremists in even electing women to the legislature for the first time, contrary to extremist strictures. Elections in Pakistan have probably been the most important of all, with the public overwhelmingly choosing secular parties over Islamic extremists. In the 2002 election, the extremists were revealed as a fringe element with only about 11% of the vote. In the more recent election in 2008, they got only 2%, winning only 6 out of 270 seats. This was another big victory, revealing the lack of appeal by the Taliban and Al Qaeda in that critical country.

In Iraq itself, we have seen the same results. The public votes for secular parties, not Islamic extremists. Indeed, despite all the talk from the Left about how Bush only alienated the Islamic street, we don't see anti-American candidates in Iraq even running let alone winning.

Another big turning point came in Morocco in 2007. The Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) was projected to win the parliamentary elections. But when the votes were counted, PJD had won only 14% of the vote, and a conservative party aligned with the traditional King had won. In municipal elections this past April, the PJD sunk to 7% of the vote. In Jordan in 2007, the Islamic Action Front won just 6 of the 22 seats it contested, down from 17 seats in the previous parliament.

Absent democracy, the roughly 10% of the public in Middle Eastern, Islamic countries willing to shoot their way into power in the name of Allah seems dominant. Actual elections reveal them to be fringe, extremist groups, greatly diminishing their power in favor of reasonable, secular leaders. As a result, the Bush doctrine of advancing democracy and human rights is now increasingly successful in combating terrorism and Islamic extremism.

Now we are seeing these same results in Iran. Where did the people of Iran get the idea that they were entitled to an honest election? They haven't had an honest election there in over 50 years. Maybe it comes from watching their Shiite brothers voting in honest, free elections in neighboring Iraq. And maybe it comes as well from watching the same in neighboring Afghanistan, which had formerly been seen as hopelessly backward for centuries.

Iran's recent sham election fiasco is the biggest victory of all for America and the West, again courtesy of the Bush doctrine of promoting democracy and human rights in the Middle East. All of a sudden, the Islamic theocracy in Iran has been discredited and exposed as illegitimate. Now that the ruling mullahs have had to turn to shooting their own people in the streets to stay in power, it is only a matter of time until their theocracy falls, and the popular will regains power. That result will be enormously beneficial for America, because Iran's theocratic regime is the central power in the Middle East supporting and spreading Islamic radicalism, terrorism, and continued war against Israel and the West. Once Iran's theocracy falls, and is replaced by a secular government, peace between Israel and the Palestinians will be possible and increasingly likely over time.

In this environment, the right policy for America would be to do what it can to promote regime change in Iran. Organizing an international gas embargo would greatly undermine the security forces by creating a shortage of fuel for their vehicles, as Iran has minimal refinery capacity and must import virtually all of its refined gasoline. International sanctions and isolation for the theocratic regime would also help. Covert financial and even military aid to the rebels may be desirable as well

But President Obama is committed to the opposite course. He is committed to still negotiating with the mullah dictators to get a deal to stop Iran's nuclear program. There is zero chance any such negotiations will succeed. The mullahs have already said they are not interested in the materialist incentives of aid and trade packages, or concerned about the materialist harm of sanctions. They are committed to their extremist religious views, which call for wiping Israel off the face of the earth, as they have put it (Holocaust 2.0). President Bush actually carried on diplomatic negotiations with Iran for years regarding its nuclear weapons program through a European coalition and in other forums, and all this did was enable the Iranians to buy time to develop their nuclear weapons.

All Obama's negotiations will achieve is provide legitimacy to the mullah dictators as the real government of Iran, which will delay their fall for years. This reveals the fundamental weakness of Obama's foreign policy. It is weak on the traditional liberal theme of democracy and human rights. Obama's foreign policy is more like Nixon's Realpolitik in its willingness to negotiate and deal with reigning dictators, from Iran to Russia to China to Venezuela, and around the world.

Is President Obama smart enough - and humble enough - to follow and expand on President Bush's legacy?  Or is he determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?  Can he and the people around him be that obtuse? 

We'll find out soon enough.  First indications, sad to say, are not good.


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