Sunday, 16 May 2010

THE DAMN BIRD AGAIN

Ken Berwitz

This morning, about 5:40AM, the damn bird was there again, bouncing itself off the window right over our bed.

Now I escalate.  My wife and I are going to a family gathering today, but on the way there or on the way back we'll stop into Home Depot and see if they have some kind of bird repellant.

Geez I hope it works.

free` You could try a ceramic owl. (05/16/10)


19TH STATE CHALLENGES OBAMACARE'S CONSTITUTIONALITY

Ken Berwitz

Did you know that Mississippi has joined 18 other states in challenging the constitutionality of the health care legislation shoved down our throats in March - often referred to as ObamaCare?

From Bobby Harris, writing for www.nems350.com:

JACKSON As promised, Gov. Haley Barbour has joined a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new health care legislation passed earlier this year by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Barbour officially joined the lawsuit Friday.

The health care law ... is an unprecedented expansion of federal power, Barbour said in a prepared statement. The Constitution does not give Congress or the federal government the authority to force every American to purchase health insurance.

Soon after the health care legislation was passed in March, the Republican governor said he would join in a lawsuit originally filed by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. He said in April he would join the lawsuit on behalf of Mississippi when the lawsuit, which includes at least 18 other states, was amended.

I talk a lot about media bias.  And this is exactly the kind of journalistic malfeasance which causes me to do so.

Almost 40% of all the states in the USA have filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of ObamaCare.  But have you read or heard anything about how extensive this challenge is?  Even one word in, say, the last month or so?

Me neither.

How far are these so-called "journalists" willing to go to run interference for Barack Obama and his Democratic congress?

How can they even call themselves journalists?  How do they have the nerve?


THE BOYCOTT BACKLASH (AND THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING)

Ken Berwitz

Did California seriously think it could imperiously look down its nose at Arizona and its battle against illegal aliens, without repercussions?

Excerpted from Lori Weisberg's article in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Some in Arizona canceling trips to S.D.

Outrage over local censure votes may be a misunderstanding

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.

San Diego tourism leaders and hoteliers fear they could lose a sizable chunk of business this summer from valued Zonies who are so angered by elected leaders recent censure of Arizona for its illegal-immigration law that theyre mounting an informal boycott of their own.

The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau and several hotels report receiving e-mails and letters from Arizona visitors saying they intend to change their plans to travel here in light of local outcry over their home states anti-illegal-immigration stance.

Tourism officials are striking back. In an open letter, they urge Arizona residents to overlook local politics and come to San Diego just as they always have for its mild climate, beaches and attractions. The visitors bureau, in conjunction with the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association, plans to circulate the letter to media outlets and in advertising this weekend in The Arizona Republic.

The bureau says it has received about 25 to 30 e-mails from Arizona residents reacting to resolutions passed last month by the San Diego City Council and school board, which were little more than symbolic protests aimed at the neighboring states lawmakers.

Still struggling from the prolonged economic downturn, San Diegos visitor industry can ill afford to lose any of the 2 million Arizonans it counts on annually, said ConVis President Joe Terzi.

Were in a very tough environment already because of everything else going on, and we dont need another negative impact to our industry, Terzi said. This affects all the hardworking men and women who count on tourism for their livelihoods, so were saying, dont do something that hurts their livelihoods.

Although the summer months typically are an economic bonanza for the San Diego visitor industry, the recession and continued high unemployment have eaten away at lodging revenue as hotels have steeply discounted rates to fill their rooms. The Convention & Visitors Bureau spent $9 million last year promoting the region for the spring and summer months and is dedicating $7 million toward that effort this year.

Ive been approached by a number of hotels who are very concerned because theyve received cancellations from Arizona guests, said Namara Mercer, executive director of the county Hotel-Motel Association. Its a huge piece of business for not just the hotels but for all of San Diego. Everybodys excited because they think occupancies will be stronger this summer, and now this.

In some cases, it appears that Arizona residents misconstrued the votes taken by San Diegos elected leaders as calls for an actual boycott of Arizona as opposed to statements of opposition.

In one letter received by the Sofia Hotel in downtown San Diego, a boycott was cited as the reason for canceling a planned trip to the city.

Nothing against the Sofia; however, wanted to let you know that we were planning on coming out in August and staying for 10-14 nights, read the letter. Since San Diego decided to boycott AZ, we decided to do our part and vacation elsewhere. Really sorry since we truly like staying at your place and will miss it.

In many of the e-mails to the visitors bureau, Arizonans bluntly expressed their displeasure with San Diegos stance on the illegal-immigration law and said that staying away was the best way of registering their protest.

So you see when people in government start to boycott it goes both ways, said one e-mail. You just lost our visits to our favorite places in your city and the $3,500 we had in our budget to spend there.

In a draft letter yet to be approved by visitors bureau and hotel association leaders, Terzi sought to clarify the citys position on the immigration law while stressing the respect the region has for Arizonas visitors.

While immigration is a complex and sensitive issue for our nation, we believe it needs to be addressed independent of actions that would harm our economies and hardworking residents, states the letter. It implores prospective visitors to look past the political posturing and make your travel decision for all the right reasons.

And this is just the beginning.

If California thinks it can get on its high horse and judge Arizona unworthy, without suffering a backlash from Arizonans (who strongly support those laws), this should serve as a fast, loud wakeup call. 

There are plenty of beaches Arizonans can go to besides the ones in California.  I have a feeling that Texas and Florida, among others, are smiling happily at this fact. 

And if California is so happy to accommodate illegal aliens by the millions, as it seems to have communicated, I'm sure a lot of the illegals currently in Arizona will be happy to head there.  Hey, you cross one border, you can cross another one too.

Maybe they can take advantage of the suddenly-emptier beaches in San Diego.  I'm sure that would thrill the legals no end.

free` As a Californian I would bet that the Arizona law would pass here in California. (05/16/10)


PRESIDENT OBAMA'S FAILED IRAN POLICY, AND WHAT HE NOW MUST DO

Ken Berwitz

With apologizes to John Hinderaker at www.powerlineblog.com (which I strongly recommend that you read every day), here is his entire blog on President Obama's failed Iran policy.  I would do it an injustice to leave out even one word...so I won't:

Time For Plan B

May 15, 2010 Posted by John at 7:04 PM

 

Tom Joscelyn traces, not for the first time, the relationship between Iran and al Qaeda:

As Steve Hayes noted earlier, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman of the Associated Press have published an intriguing account of America's attempts to track al Qaeda operatives living in Iran. Al Qaeda's network in Iran is one of the most underreported aspects of the international terror network's operations. Apuzzo and Goldman deserve credit for digging into a story that relatively few journalists have explored.

The CIA reportedly had a program named RIGOR that tracked al Qaeda's presence on the mullahs' soil, but that program has now been cancelled. Why? We do not know. ...

there is a decades-long pattern of collaboration between al Qaeda, including its predecessors, and the Iranian regime.

You should read it all. Remember when "sophisticated" liberals assured us that it was unthinkable for Sunni and Shia Muslims to cooperate in anti-American terrorism? In fact, Iran's Shia mullahs have been supporting Sunni terrorist groups for decades; al Qaeda is only one of several. That liberal theory has now gone down the memory hole.

Barry Rubin comments on the same AP investigation:

According to a new investigative Associated Press article, President Barack Obama was informed of the close ties between Iran's Islamist regime and al-Qaeda one year ago. Many of the terrorist group's top leaders had taken refuge in Iran after the United States drove them out of Afghanistan in 2003, but only recently had the Iranians given them more freedom to operate in the country. ... [Joscelyn questions the latter conclusion.]

Six weeks ago, General David Petraeus...publicly revealed this information about the al-Qaeda links with Iran.

Iran, he said in congressional testimony, provides "a key facilitation hub, where facilitators connect al-Qaeda's senior leadership to regional affiliates." In other words, Tehran is letting al-Qaeda leaders travel freely back and forth to Pakistan and Afghanistan using its territory as a safe haven. The regime is allowing them to plan terrorist attacks aimed against U.S. targets. He also discussed Iranian help given to the Afghan Taliban and Shia Iraqi militia groups for a similar purpose.

Yet neither the White House nor the top levels of the State or Defense Departments repeated these charges or used them in building a campaign against Iran's nuclear drive.

Of course not. They were too preoccupied with the frightening prospect that Jews might build houses in Jerusalem.

Iran, undistracted by such trivia, continues its efforts to develop nuclear weapons and thereby decisively alter the balance of power in the Gulf region. The Jerusalem Post records Iran's progress:

Iran has set up new equipment that will allow it to boost its efficiency at enriching uranium at higher levels, diplomats said Friday. ...

[D]espite three rounds of Security Council sanctions meant to enforce demands of a freeze, Teheran moved to a new level in February, when it set up a small program to produce material enriched to near 20 percent.

Uranium at 3.5 percent, can be used to fuel reactors -- which is Iran's avowed purpose for enrichment. If enriched to around 95 percent, however, it can be used in building a nuclear bomb, and at 20 percent, uranium can be turned into weapons-grade material much more quickly than from lower levels.

Similar stories about Iran's nuclear progress come out around once a week. So, one wonders: what, exactly, is the Obama administration's policy toward Iran, a nation that has been bitterly hostile to the U.S. for decades and has spared no effort to kill American soldiers whenever possible? Strange as it may seem, I think President Obama's strategy really was to give a handful of speeches to "the Muslim world" and thereby convince our enemies to beat their swords into plowshares. If that seems impossibly stupid, bear in mind that Obama came of age in a political culture so frivolous that a few speeches filled with fine words actually led to success--in his case, the Presidency.

So maybe it is understandable that Obama thought that giving speeches would constitute an effective Iran policy. Be that as it may, even someone lost in an ideological fog, as Obama often seems to be, must recognize by now that Plan A didn't work. It is time, Mr. President, for Plan B; and Plan B must be something other than more "outreach" to those who are trying to kill us.

Iran, as you know, is the country whose fanatical, radical-islamic "leader" has vowed to "wipe Israel off the face of the earth". 

And this is what the President of the United States has done about it.

According to the exit polls, 78% of US Jews, most of whom presumably support Israel, voted for Barack Obama.  I hope they're happy with what they got.

Speaking as one of the other 22%, I can assure you that I am not.

free` Even if you are not Jewish and even if you could care less about Israel, remember iran is the country that not only supplies the enemies of the USA but also likes to have "death to America" rallies. In irans eyes we the US are the great satan. (05/16/10)


WILL THE EU DISINTEGRATE? WILL THE USA?

Ken Berwitz

The great columnist, George Will, has written a very interesting, very analytical piece on the future of the European Union - and whether it is a canary in the coal mine for the USA.

Here are some key excerpts.  I urge you to click on the link I've provided and read it all:

When Chancellor Angela Merkel decided that Germany would pay part of Greeces bills, voters punished her party in elections in Germanys most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia. How appropriate.

 

The 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War, ratified Europes emerging system of nation-states. Since the end of the Thirty-One Years War (1914-1945), European elites have worked at neutering Europes nationalities. Greeces debt crisis reveals this projects intractable contradictions, and the fragility of Western Europes postwar social model omniprovident welfare states lacking limiting principles.

 

Greece represents a perverse aspiration a society with (in the words of Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan) more takers than makers, more people taking benefits from government than there are people making goods and services that produce the social surplus that funds government. By socializing the consequences of Greeces misgovernment, Europe has become the worlds leading producer of a toxic product moral hazard. The dishonesty and indiscipline of a nation with 2.6% of the eurozones economic product have moved nations with the other 97.4% and the United States and the International Monetary Fund to say, essentially: The consequences of such vices cannot be quarantined, so we are all hostages to one another and hence no nation will be allowed to sink beneath the weight of its recklessness.

 

Recklessness will proliferate.

 

The coining of money, said William Blackstone more than two centuries ago, is in all states the act of the sovereign power.

 

But the EU is neither a state nor sovereign enough to enforce its rules: No EU nation is complying with the EU requirement that deficits not exceed 3% of GDP.

 

The EU has a flag no one salutes, an anthem no one sings, a president no one can name, a parliament (in Strasbourg) no one other than its members wants to have power (which must subtract from the powers of national legislatures), a capital (Brussels) of coagulated bureaucracy no one admires or controls, a currency that presupposes what neither does nor should nor soon will exist (a European central government), and rules of fiscal behavior that no member has been penalized for ignoring. The euro currency both presupposes and promotes a fiction that Europe has somehow become, against the wishes of most Europeans, a political rather than a merely geographic expression.

 

It is said that, two decades after the end of Europes East-West political division, there is a North-South cultural division. But Irelands and, even more, Britains debt problems refute that distinction. Britains debt, Europes worst, is the result of increasing government spending from 37% of GDP to 53% in a decade. The London Spectator says no other European nation has expanded its government as quickly over this or any other decade in postwar history.

 

The U in the EU the unifying thread is indiscipline. Increasingly, it also is the unifying characteristic of the USA.

No one knows the future.  But we can assess probabilities.  And the probability appears to be that the European Union is going to blow apart and the euro is going to be relegated to the dustbin of history.

Unsettlingly, however, the reason these things are probable parallel what is happening in the United States of America.  They have been going on for some time, but are dramatically accelerating under Barack Obama and his lopsidedly Democratic congress.

We have a chance to slow, or even block, this progression in November.

Lets.


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