Video: And now, the Obamacard

May 15, 2009

Money Eyes

 

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Let’s see your cards, Nancy

May 15, 2009

Legal Insurrection points out that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is just two heartbeats away from being President, that she wields enormous power in our government, and that she has made bombshell charges of criminal misconduct against our primary intelligence agency.

It's time to put up or shut up, Madame Speaker: either prove your allegations under oath, or resign.


Quote of the day

May 15, 2009

Newt, on Nancy:

He continued: "I think this is the most despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort I’ve seen in my lifetime."

"She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowist of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior."

Read -and enjoy- the whole thing. Go, Newt. Dancing

 


Smoot-Hawley-Obama

May 15, 2009

President Obama has already ignited a trade war with Mexico, but you ain’t seen nothing yet:

Ordered by Congress to "buy American" when spending money from the $787 billion stimulus package, the town of Peru, Ind., stunned its Canadian supplier by rejecting sewage pumps made outside of Toronto. After a Navy official spotted Canadian pipe fittings in a construction project at Camp Pendleton, Calif., they were hauled out of the ground and replaced with American versions. In recent weeks, other Canadian manufacturers doing business with U.S. state and local governments say they have been besieged with requests to sign affidavits pledging that they will only supply materials made in the USA.

Outrage spread in Canada, with the Toronto Star last week bemoaning "a plague of protectionist measures in the U.S." and Canadian companies openly fretting about having to shift jobs to the United States to meet made-in-the-USA requirements. This week, the Canadians fired back. A number of Ontario towns, with a collective population of nearly 500,000, retaliated with measures effectively barring U.S. companies from their municipal contracts — the first shot in a larger campaign that could shut U.S. companies out of billions of dollars worth of Canadian projects.

This is not your father’s trade war, a tit-for-tat over champagne or cheese. With countries worldwide desperately trying to keep and create jobs in the midst of a global recession, the spat between the United States and its normally friendly northern neighbor underscores what is emerging as the biggest threat to open commerce during the economic crisis.

Rather than merely raising taxes on imported goods — acts that are subject to international treaties — nations including the United States are finding creative ways to engage in protectionism through domestic policy decisions that are largely not governed by international law. Unlike a classic trade war, there is little chance of containment through, for example, arbitration at the World Trade Organization in Geneva. Additionally, such moves are more likely to have unintended consequences or even backfire on the stated desire to create domestic jobs.

This is a disaster in the making. The passage of the protectionist Smoot-Hawley tariffs under Herbert Hoover took the severe recession of 1929 and turned it into a full-blown global depression by choking off international trade. The last thing you want to do in a recession is put barriers in the way of people making money, which is just what Smoot-Hawley did – and now the Democrats and the President want to repeat the Republicans’ mistake? The last three decades have seen a massive expansion of globalized, interlocked capitalism, in which jobs in Ohio might be dependent on sales in India of products made with parts from Canada. Obama’s boneheaded move takes a giant ax to that structure and threatens to chop it to pieces — along with any hope of real recovery, which depends on trade.

I just don’t get it. You would think a Columbia and Harvard-educated lawyer, whose campaign and supporters told us time and again that we should vote for him for his thoughtfulness and superior judgment, would remember what he should have learned in basic economics: trade generates wealth. But then this is another example of Barack Obama’s disturbing ignorance of History, not just Economics.

I can’t believe he’s this stupid; no one gets to the Presidency who’s that dumb (no matter what ever so tolerant liberals say about conservatives). Is it just the naive arrogance of one who assumes he (and we) will suffer no consequences for his actions, as Dan Riehl suspects? Or is it, as Jim Geraghty argues, all about the taking, expanding, and retention of power?

You tell me. I dont know

(hat tip: Tigerhawk)

 

RELATED: Instapundit gives a graphic example of how Obama preaches one thing and then does exactly the opposite. Maybe he thinks we’re the stupid ones?

 


Obama getting it right in Afghanistan?

May 15, 2009

During the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama promised to focus our war efforts on Afghanistan, claiming that was where the real fight lay and that the Bush Administration had made a grave mistake by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein. It was, in essence, the "good war," as opposed to the Republicans' "bad war" in Iraq. We'll ignore the strategic reality right now, which was just about the opposite of the Democrats' claims. Since then, however, Iraq has dramatically improved with al Qaeda being almost annihilated there and a functioning democracy taking root, while Afghanistan seems to be growing worse by the day: the Taliban and al Qaeda are operating from safe havens in Pakistan and their reach is spreading throughout Afghanistan; the Afghan Army is too small for the job; many of our NATO allies are mostly useless, with the exception of the Brits, French, Canadians, Danes, Lithuanians, and a few others; the central government is weak; and its legislators at times seem little better than the Taliban themselves.

Given the foreign weakness President Obama has shown since taking office, one might expect him to be equally feeble facing the challenges posed in Afghanistan. One apparently would be wrong. As Max Boot reports, the President has ordered a change in command there. With these changes, in Boot's opinion, PBO is right on target:

McKiernan, an armored officer, was not able to articulate and impose such a counterinsurgency strategy on his command. McChrystal, a Special Forces officer, is more likely to succeed. He spent an unusually long time (2003-2008) heading the Joint Special Operations Command, which is responsible for "black" counter-terrorism operations using elite units such as Delta Force. His longevity in that difficult job at a critical time after 9/11 was a testament to his effectiveness. He did a particularly impressive job at his forward headquarters in Iraq of integrating intelligence with operations to take down high-value targets such as Abu Musab Zarqawi.

I would not go as far as to claim, as Bob Woodward did in "The War Within," that it was the special operators rather than the "surge" that turned around Iraq. Victory in a counter- insurgency depends more on securing the populace than on targeting enemy leaders. I am told that McChrystal realizes that, even if Woodward does not.

McChrystal also apparently grasps what McKiernan did not: Running the Afghanistan war cannot be a one-man show. There is a need to replicate the Iraq model with a four-star general focusing on strategic issues while a three-star deputy overseas daily operations. That role was filled in Iraq by Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, but McKiernan resisted such a setup in Afghanistan. Now McChrystal is expected to make Rodriguez the Odierno of Afghanistan.

Lest we forget that counterinsurgency is as much a political as a military undertaking, on the very day of McChrystal's appointment, a new U.S. ambassador arrived in Kabul. Karl Eikenberry, himself a retired general and former commander in Afghanistan, will have to coordinate the civilian side of the war effort, as Ambassador Ryan Crocker did so ably in Iraq.

While Afghanistan isn't in the dire straits that Iraq was in 2005-06, it is getting worse and poses its own unique problems, not the least of which will be bringing to heel a large number of obstreperous allies.

I've been critical of Obama's approach to the war with jihadist Islam –in my opinion, he still thinks it's September 10th– and I'm willing to bet that this move to strengthen the Afghan theater is motivated more by ensuring his domestic agenda isn't derailed by a foreign defeat than by any desire to just win the war. Regardless, Boot's is a voice I respect in foreign and military affairs, and if he sees Hope in these Changes, then that's good enough for me and I'll congratulate the President for a good move.

Now, let's win this thing.

RELATED: Two excellent sources on Afghanistan and Pakistan are the writings of Michael Yon, who often embeds with the soldiers in the field (and who also is impressed with this new team), and The Long War Journal, Bill Roggio's blog. It keeps up to date with developments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other fronts of this war, and is an invaluable resource. You should bookmark both.