Wednesday, May 27, 2009

That Cocky Lift of the Head...

In the comments of Memorial Day post below two readers pointed out that it was that lift of the chin, that arrogant "better than you" look that he has when he speaks that bothered them the most in President Obama's speech last Thursday in which he proudly pointed out how wrong the Bush national security efforts were for the eight years following 9-11 when we had no further attacks on our homeland.

I'll let these recently exhibited photos of "Barry the Freshman" speak for themselves. Since he was only 19 at the time, we may want to cut him some slack, but it is worth noting that that cocky lift of his head has been part of his "feeling cool" persona for many years.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

On This Memorial Day... Let's Not Forget

If you did not hear this entire speech, go to this link to watch the video clips in sequence (begin with part 2 since part 1 was above.) Please listen to that entire speech and then come back.

The full text of the speech can be read here.

In the hour prior to Cheney's address, President Obama gave an inspiring speech about ideals. Parts of his speech were like the Atticus Finch closing argument in To Kill a Mockingbird, but other parts of the speech were as Cheney said, "recklessness cloaked in righteousness." Never has a sitting president more unfairly and naively characterized a previous presidency and a congressionally-approved policy. But most Americans did not hear this excellent Cheney rebuttal, perhaps the most important speech of this former vice president's lifetime. They heard only liberal late-night pundits and tangled exchanges like this one when Cheney's daughter tries to untwist the continued spin of Obama and his puppet press:

Notice how many "jump cuts" happen to Liz Cheney. I wish I had her unedited comments. Second, notice how O'Donnel completely manipulates the facts (e.g. Cheney does not want more documents released, he wants the "whole story" of the documents Obama already released. O'Donnel kept saying "There is zero evidence that the three instances of water-boarding were effective..." Duh.... that evidence (the thwarted plans learned of by enhanced interrogation) is the part of the documents Obama refuses to release.) O'Donnel is just one in a media legion eager to say anything to reshape reality in Obama's favor.

Believing that we are at war and knowing that war is an ugly business, we can assume it is never pleasant to know the details. It was not meant to be shown on television, and is not fit for courtroom drama. It is not an abandonment of our ideals when we do not grant the rights of the U.S. Constitution to enemy combatants who hate us because of those rights and that constitution.

Never have two speeches more clearly presented different approaches on matters of national security, but I believe former Vice President Cheney won this debate hands down last Thursday. I say this out of respect for the generation who knows first-hand the ugliness of war and for those who currently serve. I say it because the respect I have for the people who protect us soars high above the feelings I have for the thousands of lawyers who will be steadily employed in defense of known terrorists if Obama get his way.


Update: Here is just one Pollyannish example of the kind of spin I knew would come from these two contrasting speeches. What the liberal cheerleader fails to note is that one of the worldviews prevented yet-untold attacks on this country; the other one hope people are basically good at heart and that the tens of thousands of militant Muslims who hate America will tap into their spark of divinity and start cheering for the Yankees.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Laughing Matters...

Update 5-17-09: Word to Biden. "Loose Lips Sink Ships!" But, hey, as long as you get a laugh, I guess the rest is just about national security. And then there's David Axelrod, Obama's campaigne cheif, who couldn't resist a joke connecting Miss California to a dog. I have not touched the Miss California story because it has saturated the news cycle (and she said nothing wrong in the first place), but I mention it here because Axelrod tried to make it a laughing matter.

I know that the speech at the Whit House Correspondents Dinner is a time when presidents have typically used self-deprecating humor, but if you listen carefully, this is different than such occasions in the past. Listen to how many seriously controversial issues Obama glibly mocks. Since my last post was about his Chief of Staff, I'll mention that at about the 3:20 mark on this video he confirms the reputation of Rahm Emanuel's foul mouth. He later seems to joke about seeking a gay marriage in Iowa and about "people of color." He is truly enjoying his close ties to the press.

Granted, this speech was written by writers, and Obama delivers it well for laughs, but at the 12:30 mark, his remarks turn serious toward the press in the room. He talks about the need for newspapers and complains about cable news (which means Fox News. He left talk radio alone since Wanda Sykes had already gone there as you'll see in the bottom screen.).

In the middle of these serious closing remarks (at 14:55), he says:"We look to you for truth even if it's always an approximation." And the room full of reporters whom he already revealed had "all voted for him" all laughed. But he was not trying to be funny. Truth to Obama is an approximation, a commodity forged when the heat of reality as he sees it is dipped into the "cool" he exudes.

But before all that, our president sat and listened to gay-activist-comedian Wanda Sykes completely twist the truth about some remarks made by Rush Limbaugh months ago when he said he hoped that the socialist ideas forced upon the nation in Obama's first 100 days would not succeed so that America could return to being a free enterprise country without the government taking everything over. In other words, "quit bailing out things doomed to fail. When government "fixes it" (ala the "affordable housing" fiasco) they ruin it."

Rush's true statement and the media's twisting of it has been written about ad nausium and every person in that room knows what was truly said and meant. They know Sykes is flat-out lying. Not to mention that nearly every news outlet in that room covered countless remarks against President Bush from antagonists who hoped his initiatives would fail, and that was never called treason. But that is because Bush was not the "Chosen One." That is the only explanation of why Sykes can get a presidential laugh from her public "hate crime."

It's shameless, but look at the audience reaction and the ever-cool smile on the president's face. I don't care what a person thinks of Rush Limbaugh, this is public hate in the face of the president. Is this what Obama means when he says "truth is an approximation"? That one of his followers can twist someone's words into a lie; repeat it often to the fawning press; laugh at it collectively; and thereby it becomes truth?

In fairness to Wanda Sykes, her opening 7 minutes poked playful fun at those in the room for fawning over Obama. She also lampooned Joe Biden, but is his endless blather a laughing matter? During a time of war "loose lips sink ships" is not funny.

I used to tell my students that you can tell a lot about a person's character when you take note of the things that make him laugh and the things that make him cry. Those emotions spring from the heart. (The same can be said of a room full of people.) Since we have not yet seen Obama "moved to tears" at the death of his grandmother, or at the bedside of a wounded soldier, or while handing a widow a traiangular flag. Thus far, we only have these "cool" occasions to go by, and that’s why his laughing matters
Since the president had a few laughs at our expense Saturday night, let's take a moment to have a few at his.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Shoud We Trust This Man?

The time I heard of Rahm Emanuel he was President Bill Clinton's campaign finance director who later became his senior advisor. Stories of his shrewd "craftiness" made him seem like an epic villain loved only by those who used him (not knowing it was the other way around).

Then in 2002, when Emanuel pursued the U.S. House seat in the 5th District of Illinois previously held by Rod Blagojevich, disgraced Governor of Illinois, my suspicions that Emanuel was a crooked Chicago insider only grew. (And grew deeper as he seemed embroiled in both the Blagojevich corruption and the merger of Clinton-Obama power in the 2008 campaign.)

My long affection for Israel and those who defend that state are a matter I'll take up in a different post. So why my feelings of distrust for a man whose Jewish roots go so deep in his father's homeland that some have alleged he has dual citizenship in Israel. But Emanuel's deep roots in Israel and Chicago's Jewish community have always seemed a bit self-serving. Once you know his background from, in, and with Israel (links above), he becomes even more mysterious in that his loyalties are hard to ascertain.
The fact that he is a "wait and see who's likely to win" politician was made clear in 2008 when he slithered from under the Clinton's rock (where he'd lived for over a decade) over to the Obama camp. And thus, he continues a long record of being a "master mind" behind people who hold enormous power on the world stage.

Considering what is waiting in the wings of that world stage; considering that Israel will be center stage; and considering that some would argue that the world stage is a place for puppets, it may be wise to follow the words and actions of this man who pulls so many strings.

Over the weekend, Emanuel seems to have given Israel a veiled threat that unless they appease the Palestinians, the Arab world will step back and let Iran "take her out."

This article in the Jerusalem Post said: "Israeli TV stations had reported Monday night that Emanuel had actually linked the two matters, saying that the efforts to stop Iran hinged on peace talks with the Palestinians. The remarks were reportedly made in a closed-door meeting previous day with 300 major AIPAC donors on Sunday."
Next Day Update: "Obama Take Tougher Tone Against Israel"

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