Toby Harndon Has It Right

It seems the British are figuring out this Obama guy. Why can’t my fellow Americans? Consider this brillant post by him below.

The spectacle of two duelling speeches with a mile of each other in downtown Washington was extraordinary. I was at the Cheney event and watched Obama’s address on a big screen beside the empty lectern that the former veep stepped behind barely two minutes after his adversary had finished.

So who won the fight? (it’s hard to use anything other than a martial or pugilistic metaphor). Well, most people are on either one side or the other of this issue and I doubt today will have prompted many to switch sides.

But the very fact that Obama chose to schedule his speech (Cheney’s was announced first) at exactly the same time as the former veep was a sign of some weakness.

The venues for the speeches said something. Obama showily chose the National Archives, repository for many of the founding documents of the US, and spoke in front of a copy of the Constitution – cloaking himself in the flag, as Republicans were often criticised for doing.

To hear Cheney speak, we were crammed into a decidedly unglamourous and cramped conference room at AEI, favourite think tank of conservative hawks.

The former veep’s speech was factual and unemotional and certainly devoid of the kind of hokey, self-obsessed, campaign-style stuff like this, from Obama’s address today: “I stand here today as someone whose own life was made possible by these documents. My father came to these shores in search of the promise that they offer. My mother made me rise before dawn to learn their truths when I lived as a child in a foreign land.”

In terms of Obama’s purported aim for his speech – to present a plan for closing Guantanamo Bay aimed at placating Congress – he failed. The reception on Capitol Hill was lukewarm with even Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Cheney’s speech wasn’t stylish, there were no rhetorical flourishes and the tone was bitingly sarcastic and disdainful at times. But it was effective in many respects and Cheney showed that Obama is not invulnerable. Here are 10 of the punches he landed on the President’s jaw:

1. “I’ve heard occasional speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11. I wouldn’t say that, but I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.”

Anyone who was in New York or Washington on 9/11 (I was here in DC) was profoundly affected and most Americans understand this. Obama was, as far as I can tell, in Chicago. His response – he was then a mere state senator for liberal Hyde Park – was startlingly hand-wringing and out of step with how most Americans were feeling. This statement by Cheney reminds people of the tough decisions he and Bush had to make – ones that Obama has not yet faced.

2. “The first attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a law- enforcement problem, with everything handled after the fact: arrests, indictments, convictions, prison sentences, case closed.”

This was the pre-9/11 mindset, much criticised after the attacks. Many sense that this is the approach Obama is increasingly taking.

3. “By presidential decision last month, we saw the selective release of documents relating to enhanced interrogations. This is held up as a bold exercise in open government, honoring the public’s right to know. We’re informed as well that there was much agonizing over this decision. Yet somehow, when the soul searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth.”

The release of the documents was a nakedly political move by Obama and Cheney called him on it. This passage from Obama’s speech today came across as completely disingenuous: “I did not do this because I disagreed with the enhanced interrogation techniques that those memos authorized, and I didn’t release the documents because I rejected their legal rationales — although I do on both counts. I released the memos because the existence of that approach to interrogation was already widely known, the Bush Administration had acknowledged its existence, and I had already banned those methods.”

4. “It’s hard to imagine a worse precedent filled with more possibilities for trouble and abuse than to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessor. Apart from doing a serious injustice to intelligence operators and lawyers, who deserve far better for their devoted service, the danger here is a loss of focus on national security and what it requires.”

Obama’s suggestion that Bush administration officials might be prosecuted for legal and policy judgements about what was an was not permissible in interrogations was chilling. I doubt most Americans have any enthusiasm for such a witch-hunt and it flies in the face of Obama’s stated desire not to “re-litigate” the Bush years.

5. “We had a lot of blind spots after the attacks on our country, things we didn’t know about al Qaeda. We didn’t know about al Qaeda’s plans, but Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and a few others did know. And with many thousands of innocent lives potentially in the balance, we did not think it made sense to let the terrorists answer questions in their own good time, if they answered them at all.”

The political climate is very different now from what it was just after 9/11 but it could change again in a heartbeat if and when there is another terrorist attack. Most Americans do not favour torture but do want the CIA and other agencies to question suspected terrorists very vigorously indeed if there is any chance they might know something about an attack on the US homeland.

6. “On his second day in office, President Obama announced he was closing the detention facility at Guantanamo. This step came with little deliberation, and no plan. Now the president says some of these terrorists should be brought to American soil for trial in our court system. Others, he says, will be shipped to third countries; but so far, the United States has had little luck getting other countries to take hardened terrorists.”

Obama’s grand announcement at the start of his administration that Gitmo would be closed within a year was clearly not properly thought out. If he fails to achieve what he promised, he will pay a big political price and Cheney was marking his card on the issue.

7. “The administration has found that it’s easy to receive applause in Europe for closing Guantanamo, but it’s tricky to come up with an alternative that will serve the interest of justice and America’s national security.”

The notion that Obama makes gestures designed to court popularity abroad is one that could find increasing resonance – many Republicans strongly suspect it already.

8. “If fine speechmaking, appeals to reason, or pleas for compassion had the power to move them, the terrorists would long ago have abandoned the field.”

As Cheney said this, sarcasm dripped from his lips. Obviously “fine speechmaking” but no real substance is not a new charge against Obama and it hits home. And Cheney successfully mades the point that much of the rhetoric from the Left tends to suggest that if only the US did not waterboard people, if only the US was viewed as Obama rather than Bush, Venus rather than Mars then it would be universally loved and al-Qaeda would wither away. UNfortunately, that’s not the real world.

9. “It’s worth recalling that ultimate power of declassification belongs to the president himself. President Obama has used his declassification authority to reveal what happens in the interrogation of terrorists. Now let him use that same power to show Americans what did not happen thanks to the good work of our intelligence officials.”

Cheney is pushing Obama to declassify documeents relating to the information gained from terrorist suspects who were subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. This puts Obama in a bind. If he does so, it prolongs an argument he wants to move on from and prolongs the Obama vs Cheney meme that is distracting and doesn’t really help him. if he doesn’t, he looks like he has something to hide.

10. “To the very end of our administration, we kept al-Qaeda terrorists busy with other problems. We focused on getting their secrets instead of sharing ours with them. And on our watch, they never hit this country again. After the most lethal and devastating terrorist attack ever, 7- 1/2 years without a repeat is not a record to be rebuked and scorned, much less criminalized.”

It’s indisputably an achievement of the Bush administration that it prevented the US from being attacked after 9/11. By ramming this point home, Cheney tees things up for some very tough questioning of Obama in the event that the US is attacked again.

Published in: on May 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm  Comments (2)  

Biden Reveals Secret Bunker

It seems that “gaffe-a-minute” Biden is at it again. This time, he revealed the location of a Top Secret Bunker for the VP created after 9/11. Gee thanks, Joe.

Vice President Joe Biden, well-known for his verbal gaffes, may have finally outdone himself, divulging potentially classified information meant to save the life of a sitting vice president.

According to a report, while recently attending the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, an annual event where powerful politicians and media elite get a chance to cozy up to one another, Biden told his dinnermates about the existence of a secret bunker under the old U.S. Naval Observatory, which is now the home of the vice president.

The bunker is believed to be the secure, undisclosed location former Vice President Dick Cheney remained under protection in secret after the 9/11 attacks.

Eleanor Clift, Newsweek magazine’s Washington contributing editor, said Biden revealed the location while filling in for President Obama at the dinner, who, along with Grover Cleveland, is the only president to skip the gathering.

According to Clift’s report on the Newsweek blog, Biden “said a young naval officer giving him a tour of the residence showed him the hideaway, which is behind a massive steel door secured by an elaborate lock with a narrow connecting hallway lined with shelves filled with communications equipment.”

Clift continued: “The officer explained that when Cheney was in lock down, this was where his most trusted aides were stationed, an image that Biden conveyed in a way that suggested we shouldn’t be surprised that the policies that emerged were off the wall.”

In December 2002, neighbors complained of loud construction work being done at the Naval Observatory, which has been used as a residence by vice presidents since 1974.

The upset neighbors were sent a letter by the observatory’s superintendent, calling the work “sensitive in nature” and “classified” and that it was urgent it be completed “on a highly accelerated schedule.”

Residents said they believed workers were digging deep into the ground, which would support Biden’s report of a secret bunker, but officials never confirmed the purpose of the work performed.

The revelation is the latest from Biden, who has a long history of political blunders.

Most recently, he said in a televised interview that if a family member asked him about traveling he’d advise staying away from public transportation or confined spaces to avoid swine flu — a remark described as “borderline fearmongering” by an airline spokesman.

Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

GM to Import Cars from China

So it seems that GM is biting the hand that fed it. Starting in 2011, it will begin importing vehicles from Communist China to the USA. There also has been reports that GM is considering going off-shore in a relocation of its headquarters (China anyone?)

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–General Motors Corp. (GM) plans to start importing Chinese-built vehicles into the U.S. in 2011, according to an outline the auto maker has submitted to members of the U.S. Congress.

GM currently manufacturers vehicles in China for sale in Asia. But the company plans for the first time to ship some of those vehicles to the U.S. to save on manufacturing costs.

A summary of the plan, obtained by Dow Jones Newswires, shows that GM plans to import 17,335 Chinese-built vehicles into the U.S. in 2011. The imports from China would jump to more than 38,000 in 2012 and more than 53,000 in 2013, the document shows. Imports from other countries, including South Korea, Japan and Mexico, would also increase. The plan is part of a broader cost-cutting strategy by GM, which has said it intends to cut 21,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S. while increasing imports into the country.

Those plans are being devised under the guidance of U.S. President Barack Obama’s auto-industry task force as part of GM’s restructuring.

A GM spokesman declined to comment Wednesday, saying that negotiations between the United Auto Workers union and the company are ongoing.

The plans are being strongly opposed by the UAW, which argues that the company, surviving on more than $15 billion in U.S. loans, shouldn’t be using taxpayer money to subsidize U.S. job losses.

-By Josh Mitchell, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-6637;

So why was it that we as taxpayers saved this company again? To save American jobs? How can this company save American jobs if it is making its cars in China? More than $ 15 BILLION have been given to GM in blank check format.

I don’t know who to be more angry at…. GM Leaders…. Our Governemnt….. or Ourselves. GM leaders for biting the hand tht fed it. But in the end they are doing what they need to survive so I can’t be too mad at them. Our Government for writing this company (and the others) a blank check with no safeguards against this kind of manuver. Ourselves for letting our Government do this. I know millions of people wrote and called their Congressman to fight against this, but more may need to be done. We need to stand up and make our will be heard by those who have forgotten who put them in Washington.

Let us make our voice heard people!

Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Black Empowerment Experiment

It appears that there is a new movement to spread reverse racism into American Society.,2933,519965,00.html

Maggie and John Anderson of Chicago vowed four months ago that for one year, they would try to patronize only black-owned businesses. The “Empowerment Experiment” is the reason John had to suffer for hours with a stomach ache and Maggie no longer gets that brand-name lather when she washes her hair. A grocery trip is a 14-mile odyssey.

“We kind of enjoy the sacrifice because we get to make the point … but I am going without stuff and I am frustrated on a daily basis,” Maggie Anderson said. “It’s like, my people have been here 400 years and we don’t even have a Walgreens to show for it.”

I am totally for ignoring skin color and basing your opinions on someone based upon their actions/merits. However, there seems to be a movement building in the African-American community to shop, deal with, patronize only Black owned businesses.

How can this be justified in modern society? If a White group did this, they would be denounced as racist and tracked as a hate group. If Asian groups did this, they would be as well.

We need to unite in America, not divide. As Jesus said, “A house divided cannot stand.” We need to look past our skin colors and look into our hearts. While we indeed have a bad past in race relations, however it does not justify destroying the work of those that fought and died to get us as far as we have come so far in the country in race relations. Would Martin Luther King Jr. have allowed his people to join in this reverse racism? I think not. He was about bringing everyone together under the banner of “Humanity”. We are all human and we are all equal.

That is why it saddens me to see people such as these, stepping backwards in time to perpetrate the same kind of racism that their forefathers fought against.

Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Global Cooling Word Gets Out

Word is finally getting out even to the liberal media that the low sunspot activity will more than likely drive the global temperatures down.

This has alreayd been felt with the Earth cooling over the past 10 years, heavy snows, and frozen canals/rivers across Europe.

As Phil Valentine said: “It’s the Sun stupid!”

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 9:38 pm  Comments (3)  
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Capistrano Unified School District and James Corbett

James Corbett is an AP European History teacher in the Capistrano Unified School District in Mission Vejo, Orange County California. He apparantly hates religion so much that he daily makes it a point to rail against it in everyway possible. After repeated attempts to talk to this guy by parents and students, Chad Farnan has had enough. He brought a tape recorder into class and recorded this guy’s daily rants. He sued the teacher for violating the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.

Here is a sample of the rants, taken from court documents. Keep in mind that this is from just one class period on one day that he said all of this.

a. “How do you get the peasants to oppose something that is in their best
interest? Religion. You have to have something that is irrational to
counter that rational approach….[W]hen you put on your Jesus glasses,
you can’t see the truth.”
b. “Now, the Boy Scouts have said, unless you’re willing to love God, and
unless you’re willing to – unless you’re not gay, um – they are saying,
being gay excludes you. Not believing God or not professing a belief in
God also excludes you….But you see, until they started these rules,
Boy Scouts used to – or Boy Scout troops usually met at schools, and
places like that, parks, government buildings. They can’t do that
anymore. They can’t do that anymore, because now they are, in their
own mind, a homophobic and a racist organization. It’s that
simple….It’s call[ed] separation of church and state. The Boy Scouts
can’t have it both ways. If they want to be an exclusive, Christian
organization or an exclusive, God-fearing organization, then they can’t
receive any more support from the state, and shouldn’t.”
c. “People – in the industrialized world the people least likely to go to
church are the Swedes. The people in the industrialized world most
likely to go to church are the Americans. America has the highest
crime rate of all industrialized nations, and Sweden has the lowest. The
next time somebody tells you religion is connected with morality, you
might want to ask them about that. Um, and let’s see. Is there
something else on that? No.”
d. “U.S. regulators – U.S. regulators say they added new warnings about
the potential risks of sudden hearing loss for men who are using Viagra,
Cialis, or Levitra. So what they have been be telling you all these
years, that you’ll go blind, isn’t true; but you will go deaf. And now
what I think – some Canadian has to get this, but I have a suspicion, if
you went down the list of side effects, of possible side effects, of this
drug, you could – you could really – I mean, somebody who had all the
side effects would be pretty fun. I mean, there is, after all, the fourhour
thing. So, you know, you know, if you run into somebody who is,
you know, deaf and whose pants felt stiff, he’s probably using the
drug….They’re happy, but they’re deaf.
e. “‘After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls,
education officials in the city [of Brooklyn, Maine] had decided to
make birth control pills available at the middle school health
centers….’ [O]ther people say, you know, we shouldn’t be teaching
our kids how to have sex safely. We should be teaching our kids
abstinence. Well, we know abstinence doesn’t work. And we know
one other thing; and that is, once people become sexually active, they
often don’t stop for, like, 40 or 50 years. I mean, generally, when you
start you don’t, like, have a conversion and try to become re-virginized,
you know. It’s not going to happen.”
UNKNOWN STUDENT: “Isn’t it sort of like to urge more girls to have
DR. CORBETT: …Let’s say – and there is a lot of reasons women take
birth control pills, including just, you know, organizing a period so that
it happens – instead of randomly, that it happens at the right time. So,
you know, let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there is a girl in here
that a doctor gave birth control pills to because she needed to regulate
her cycle. Girls, as soon as you start taking those pills, at the moment,
you’re going to be going, ‘Whoopie. Time to have sex.’ I don’t think
so. You know, so the argument that it’s just going to make them have
sex is just absurd. If that were true, girls, then the first time somebody
takes you out on a date and halfway through the date pulls out a
condom, and says, ‘Hey, we’re safe. Let’s go,’ all the girls would say,
‘Sure.’ But they’re not gonna say that, you know. Um, now, uh, you
know, the arguments – the way it works is, parents have to give
permission for their child to go to the health center. But they do not
have to have parental permission to get the birth control pills. And, in
fact, it’s confidential….So, you know, some parents are objecting,
saying it’s taking too much power away from the parents. Parents are
pretty irresponsible. And so is the Bush administration with its
abstinence policy. Spending billions of dollars on something they
know doesn’t work, wonderful. Wonderful. Idiotic. Um, birth control
pills for middle school girls. My mother has a solution to this problem.
And I’m sure the girls were careful. My mother thinks that all the boys,
when they reach puberty, should be given a reversible vasectomy….”
f. “….[C]onservatives don’t want women to avoid pregnancies. That’s
interfering with God’s work. You got to stay pregnant, barefoot, and in
the kitchen and have babies until your body collapses. All over the
world, doesn’t matter where you go, the conservatives want control over
women’s reproductive capacity. Everywhere in the world. From
conservative Christians in this country to, um, Muslim fundamentalists
in Afghanistan. It’s the same. It’s stunning how vitally interested they
are in controlling women.”
g. “Um, freedom of expression, freedom of censorship. It just makes it a
major literary center of activity. Because religious reforms, now, here –
you know, again, boy, I’ll tell you. It does put me in mind of the culture
wars that are going on in the United States today. I mean, here is
Joseph II. He’s trying, for example, to end serfdom. Serfdom in which
the peasants, the Serb class, on these estates worked, literally,
property. They had no rights to speak of at all. He doesn’t just go that
far. I mean, he tries to get them land. He tries to set them – I mean, um
– he really has the interest of this class of people at heart, and the – the
reforms that he makes really are going to make the lives of these
peasants massively better. So why do the peasants oppose him?
…Because he also tried to reform religion, and the peasants love their
church. It’s the same thing here. You know, you go down to Georgia,
Alabama, Mississippi, all these states that are as red as they could
possibly be, as right-wing Republican as you could possibly be. When
you first present these people with the economic policies of the
Democratic party, they are all Democrats. Virtually all the social
programs, they like. They lead the Democratic party on social issues.
That’s it. Social issues, can you imagine what they’re saying on Rush
Limbaugh now? About, ‘Middle school people in New England giving
people birth control pills. My God. What next?’ I love Rush
Limbaugh. A fat, pain in the ass liar. And, boy, is he a liar.
Unbelievable. Um, anyway, the guaranteed freedom of religion for
Jewish people, that upset a lot of Catholics, um, Protestants. That upset
a lot of Catholics, trying to get people to tolerate other religions. But,
come on. The church is there. The local priest is there telling them,
‘Joseph II is satanic. He’s like those Democrats that will be around in
another 300 years.’”
h. “…If you’re poor, and you live in the inner city, um, chances are
actually greater that one parent will be at home, and that you will be
living in an apartment. You guys, most of you, have parents, two
parents, who work. And if you want to smoke a joint, you can walk out
into the backyard, sit down by the swimming pool, and smoke it. You
do not have to worry about some cop driving by and busting you. In
the inner city, you can’t smoke with your mom in the apartment, so you
go down to the street corner. There is no place to hide. They get
busted all the time there. Here, you know, the dealers – I’m sure there
are people in here who know people who will sell pot. That’s one of the
ironies of teaching here and one of the ironies of our own judicial
system is that – every year I ask my class this question, and every year I
know what the answer is. I say, if – I’m not going to do this. Let’s get
that straight. If I made this offer – I am not making this offer. If I
made this offer, and the offer is: The first person who leaves this room
for lunch, who comes back with either alcohol or marijuana will get an
‘A’ for the year. What would I have? Alcohol or pot?
DR. CORBETT: So the illegal substance is more available to you than
the legal substance. Anyway, um, you know, we’ve had several
presidential commissions look into our judicial system, penal system,
and they’ve all concluded the same thing: It simply doesn’t work. And
the systems in other nations do work. Sweden, for example, the longest
you can spend in prison for a crime – machine-gunned a kindergarten
class – the longest you can spend in prison is 10 years.
DR. CORBETT: Why are you outraged by that? They have the lowest
crime rate in the industrialized world. Where would you rather live if
you’re worried about crime? Here or there….There, obviously.”
i. “So we know what rehabilitation works and that punishment doesn’t,
and yet we go on punishing. It really has a lot to do with these same
culture wars we’re talking about. This whole Biblical notion: Sinners
need to be punished. And so you get massively more Draconian
punishment in the South where religion is much more central to society
than you do anyplace else. And, of course, the Southerners get really
upset, as what they see as lenient behavior in the North. You know,
we’re going to solve this problem. Except, guess what? What part of
the country has the highest murder rate? The South. What part of the
country has the highest rape rate? The South. What part of the country
has the highest…church attendance? The South. Oh, wait a minute.
You mean there is not a correlation between these things? No, there
isn’t. Um, in fact, there is an inverse correlation. In those places where
people go to church the least, the crime was the most. And that’s not
just Sweden and the United States. That’s Pennsylvania and Georgia.
It’s not even true.”

Case 8:07-cv-01434-JVS-AN Document 7 Filed 01/15/2008

Let me take the time to set Mr. (yes I know he is a Dr. but I don’t think he deserves that title) Corbett straight on some things.

a) How do you get someone to oppose something that is in their best interest? Get them to vote for “Change”. Afterall isn’t that what the Democrats did in 2008? They duped 55% of the country to vote for “Change” without telling them what the change was going to be or else out and out lying about it. And how is the world like through your Atheist goggles? You should try taking them off and opening your mind once in a while.
b) The Boy Scouts are indeed Homophobic. For that I am thankful because I won’t have to worry about my son going out in the woods with someone who finds him sexually attractive. And where do you get racists from? How does a believe in God decree a race? Maybe in your world of spouting Democratic Dogma it does. Also, there is a Freedom of Religion in the US and you just crossed the line Mr. Corbett.
c)Sweden is also a Socialist State with a population around 50 million. The United States is (or was until most recently) a Free State with a population of 300 million. You do the math (if you can).
d)You have a terrible sense of humor. Figures.
e)Abstinence does work if *gasp!* applied in conjunction with Religion. However, if you don’t have the self control to hold it in, then please don’t promote and advocate young people do the same. Also you complain about Bush’s billions, what do you think about Obama’s trillions? Also, you want to forcibly sterilize young people. How very totalitarian of you! Josef Stalin would be proud!
f)Yes we Conservative want to control women. That is why we have people like Gov. Sarah Palin and Condelezza Rice leading our movement right now. Yup. Control the women! *roll eyes*
g)Actually Southerns have been Democratic in the past because the Democrats under JFK and before were Conservative! Get yoru facts straight, Mr. Corbett. Also, why are you afraid of Rush Limbaugh?
h)So you want all murderers of children to get free after 10 years? Great idea! Let’s let them off the bus right next to your home.
i)You are woefully ignorant. Not surprising. The Bible does not advocate punishing sinners. It advocates spreading the Gospel and forgiving sinners. Those who say otherwise don’t know their Bible. Also, did you bother to back your assertions with facts about the murder rate etc? No? No wonder seeing hwo facts don’t get in the way of your diatribes.

This guy is sick hate monger who spews filth about things completely unrelated to his class. He should be fired.

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 6:37 pm  Comments (2)  
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Arlen Specter Shows His True Colors

It seems that Arlen Specter is finally able to show his true colors after years of maskerading as a Republican.

It turns out that he is indeed a Tax and Spend Democrat at heart who refuses to allow the people who voted him in for 29 years to have a say in Congress. He is a sham! If Democrats are smart, they would run far far away from this character. He will turn tail on anyone if he thought it would let him stay in office longer.

Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment