George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in
this rapid-fire world of ours. Of course, as in military
a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed
by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction. Charge that to
"the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
SUNDAY, February 28, 2010
Beautiful. I'm happy to say that I'm too action-oriented to be an
Intellectuals Step 'Off The Cliff,'
Drag Rest Of Us Down: Sowell
By DAVID HOGBERG, INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILYPosted 02/26/2010 07:15 PM ET
Smart people should make smart decisions. So why do the best and the
brightest always seem to create more problems than they solve?
This is not just an academic question, precisely because academics
dominate the Obama administration and its approach to such key issues
as health care and Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Renowned
economist Thomas Sowell argues that intellectuals have strong
incentives to step out of their area of expertise and "off a cliff."
Ultimately, everyday people pay the price when intellectuals and
abstract concepts trump real-world specifics.
Sowell explores these topics and more in a wide-ranging IBD interview
regarding his latest book, "Intellectuals and Society."
IBD: How do you define intellectuals?
Sowell: I define intellectuals as persons whose occupations begin and
end with ideas. I distinguish between intellectuals and other people
who may have ideas but whose ideas end up producing some good or
service, something that whether it's working or not working can be
determined by third parties.
With intellectuals, one of the crucial factors is their work is largely
judged by peer consensus, so it doesn't matter if their ideas work in
the real world.
IBD: What incentives and constraints do intellectuals face?
Sowell: One of the incentives is that, to the extent that intellectuals
stay in their specialty, they have little to gain in terms of either
prestige or influence on events. Say, an authority in ancient Mayan
civilization just writes about ancient Mayan civilization, then only
other specialists in ancient Mayan civilization will know what he is
talking about or even be aware of him.
So intellectuals have every incentive to go beyond their area of
expertise and competence. But stepping beyond your area of competence
is like stepping off a cliff — you may be a genius within that area,
but an idiot outside it.
As far as the constraints, since their main constraint is peer
consensus — that's a very weak constraint on the profession as a whole.
Because what the peers believe as a group becomes the test of any new
idea that comes along as to whether it's plausible or not.
IBD: You say that most intellectuals believe in the "Vision of the
Anointed." What does that mean?
Sowell: It's the theory that there is an elite group of people who are
very knowledgeable and their knowledge should be used to guide the
decisions of society. So they are not simply an elite in the sense that
sinecurists might be an elite, but they are elite with an anointed role
in the world. To put it uncharitably, as someone once said, "Born
booted and spurred to ride mankind." Examples of that would not be hard
to find in Washington, D.C.
IBD: Why shouldn't intellectuals make decisions for the rest of us?
Sowell: Because they don't know as much as the rest of us. It's one of
those non sequiturs. They have more average knowledge than the average
person in the limited sense in which knowledge is usually spoken of by
But the knowledge that has consequences in the world includes vast
amounts of knowledge that I call mundane knowledge and probably no one
on earth has 1% of that knowledge. Yet that knowledge is consequential,
and it includes knowledge that is in no way intellectually challenging
but is nevertheless crucial.
In the book, I mention the example of a pilot coming in for a landing
and the control tower notices he hasn't let his landing gear down. I
happen to have been on such a plane once. And as we came into land, I
noticed the pilot suddenly gunned the motor, took off again, circled
back around and this time let down the landing gear. So whenever I'm on
a plane and I hear the landing gear go down, I'm very pleased.
IBD: You have a lot of examples of intellectuals "in action" in your
book. Does any one stand out more than the others?
Sowell: The one that stands out more in my mind is the promotion of
disarmament during the 1930s while Hitler and Japan were arming
themselves to the teeth. Disarmament is one of those things that
probably no illiterate farmer would believe in. But some of the leading
intellectuals, if not most of the leading intellectuals, of the Western
democracies pushed that idea throughout the 1930s.
IBD: What do you think of the Obama administration when viewing it
through the many concepts laid out in your book?
Sowell: It's very hard to answer that without using language that is
totally inappropriate in polite society. But it is quite clear that
they believe it is their job to take decisions out of the hands of the
And there are any number of ways they can do that, including rushing
through huge bills faster than anybody can possibly read them,
including the congressmen who vote on them.
They made statements during the campaign that are totally the opposite
of what they will actually do. One of the more recent examples being
the notion that unlike previous administrations they'd be transparent
and broadcast the hearings on C-SPAN.
In fact, all of the big decisions are made behind closed doors, in one
case locked doors, more so than in previous administrations. They want
to supersede the public and put into operation what the anointed think
should be done.
IBD: You say that intellectuals during Hitler's rise subordinated the
mundane specifics of the nature of the German government to abstract
principles about abstract nations, by which you meant the idea espoused
at the time that "nations should be equal" and thus Germany had a right
to rearm. Does that description apply to the Obama administration's
approach to Iran?
Sowell: I hadn't thought of it, but it certainly does. In fact, there
are other people who have said, "Some countries have nuclear weapons,
why shouldn't other countries have nuclear weapons?" And they say it
with an utter disregard for the nature of the countries and what those
countries have been demonstrably doing for years and show every
intention of doing in the future.
IBD: Do you think also that the Obama administration has abstract
notions that you can negotiate with Iran the same way you can negotiate
with, say, Australia?
Sowell: Oh, yes. And the question is not whether you should negotiate.
We negotiate with all kinds of countries. The question is whether we
think negotiations will be at all effective in carrying out what we
want to do.
Reagan, after all, negotiated a disarmament treaty with Gorbachev, but
he did so only after making it clear in their first meeting that he was
not about to even consider Gorbachev's nonsensical proposal.
There was this marvelous scene, which I cite briefly in the book, where
they are in Iceland when Gorbachev shows him this proviso at the
eleventh hour. Reagan simply says, "The meeting is over, let's go,
George (Schultz, the secretary of state), we're leaving."
That was utterly unthinkable to the intellectuals and utterly
unprecedented in 20th-century democratic nations negotiating with
IBD: Let me read some quotes and you tell me what you think. First,
from Michelle Obama: "Barack Obama will require you to work. He is
going to demand that you shed your cynicism. ... That you push
yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow
you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."
Sowell: This is bringing meaning from the top down into the unwashed
masses. This is a very old idea among the intelligentsia, that they
must bring meaning into the lives of "lesser folks," as if those lesser
folks don't have enough meaning in their lives by their standards and
by the things that matter most to them.
IBD: Next, from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: "There is
only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party
democracy, which is what we have in America today.
"One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by
a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can
also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the
politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move
a society forward in the 21st century."
Sowell: Apparently they made a big mistake at the Constitutional
Convention in 1787. If only Thomas Friedman had been there, he would
have put them on the right path, I suppose. Democracy has
prerequisites, and not all circumstances meet those prerequisites.
As to whether or not China is better off the way it is than under an
alternative system such as the one that governs the same race of people
in Taiwan, is another question entirely.
IBD: The next is from Jacob Hacker, a political science professor at
Yale who has spent his entire career in academia. Here's the title from
one of his recent papers: "How to Structure Public Health Insurance
Plan Choice to Ensure Risk-Sharing, Cost Control, and Quality
Sowell: Third parties will structure how millions of people adjust to
millions of different circumstances. In a sense, it is childish to
imagine they can do this. But central planning has been tried for a
very long time in many countries around the world.
Fortunately, most countries have discovered from bad experience — even
socialist and communist countries have jettisoned it in most cases.
IBD: Would you say his knowledge of political science is seeping into
another area where he has no experience?
Sowell: Not seeping, charging. Charging into another area. Or as I
would put it, stepping off a very high cliff.
IBD: Now, while you note in the book that intellectuals believe that
their superior knowledge in one area can be generalized to other areas,
you state that chess grandmasters, musical prodigies and others who are
remarkable within their respective specialties seldom make that
mistake. But why do so many celebrities these days pop off on matters
of foreign policy or domestic policy? The usual incentives faced by
intellectuals wouldn't seem to apply.
Sowell: To some extent they face the same incentives, but also the same
lack of serious constraints. So Rosie O'Donnell can pop off and it
won't really affect her ability to get her next job. There is no
constraint on that.
Further, fame is fleeting. And so it's not as though you can become
famous at age 25, and you will still be famous at age 50 without
lifting finger. Fame has to be constantly fed. And when the means of
feeding that fame have no restrictions that are seriously placed on it,
then you get all kinds of people popping off.
IBD: How about those who argue that we can use government to move
society in a more conservative direction, like compassionate
conservatism? Do they suffer from the vision of the anointed?
Sowell: To some extent, yes. Compassionate conservatism meant that
Republicans added to the housing problems created by the Democrats
rather than mitigating them.
George W. Bush, for example, was for a law that allowed the Federal
Housing Administration to do away with nuisances like down payments on
houses. And even his father was for the notion that the federal
government should intervene if there were statistical differences among
groups in housing or mortgage approvals.
These are people who seem to think that the way to be clever
politically is to accept some of the premises of Democrats but reach
different conclusions. But if you accept the premises, in many cases
you've accepted the conclusions.
MONDAY through SATURDAY, February
22 through 27, 2010
Sounds good to me... GS
For too long we have been too
complacent about the workings of Congress.
Many citizens had no
idea that Congress members could retire with the same pay after only
one term, that they didn't pay into Social Security, that they
specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed
(such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual
harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws.
latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that is being
considered.in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem
We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care
they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The
self-serving must stop. This is a good way to do&nbs p;that. It is
an idea whose time has come.
Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States
"Congress shall make no law that
applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply
equally to the Senators and Representatives; and, Congress shall make
no law that applies to the Senators and Representatives that does not
apply equally to the citizens of the United States."
SUNDAY, February 21, 2010
Here is a bonus especially for those of you who
this site frequently:
My Executive Summary of an important new book:
“How We Decide”, by Jonah Lehrer,
Filled with the most up-to-date neurological
psychological discoveries regarding how the human mind addresses
decision-making, and illustrated by many real-life examples, this book
can be a
powerful tool for each of us in the future.
- “We weren’t designed to be rational
- “If it weren’t for emotions, reason
would not exist at all”.
- Both systems are vital. “A brain that cannot feel cannot make up its
mind”. (cf. page 13, regarding the patient
who lost an emotion center in his cortex).
- “A significant part of our frontal
cortex is involved in emotion”. This area
is much larger in humans than in other primates.
- “Reason without emotion is
impotent”. Actually, it is much
worse; cf. psychopaths.
- The critical chemical here is
Dopamine, which controls expectations based on past experience:
learning, especially by mistakes.
- The human brain is highly flexible
in this, if it is working properly. And
this learning fuels reason.
- A deficit in Dopamine results in
decreased ability to learn, consequent loss of reason and even mental
- An example is Parkinson’s Disease,
a disease of the Dopamine system: a marked reduction in Dopamine. But too much dopamine agonist treatment (eg.
Requip) produces trouble…especially when faced with randomness. An example is newly developed gambling
addiction after incurring the disease and this replacement treatment. Likewise, an unrestrained Dopamine system
can’t learn from mistakes.
- Another characteristic of our
brain’s function is “Loss Aversion”: a powerful mental habit that
affects our emotions. “Bad is stronger
than good”. A resulting effect is valuing
immediate gains over later pains.
- With proper training, the brain’s
reasoning can be made to overcome errant emotion (ie. in avoiding panic
in a dangerous situation).
- Another problem is “thinking too
much”, thus getting in the way of a balanced decision-making process:
“choking on thought”.
- The author also discusses “the
Moral Mind”. This was the latest in
evolutionary development: a mechanism for avoiding hurting others. In this, emotional reaction comes first;
reasoning comes afterwards.
- Given these mechanisms, “The Brain
is an Argument”, even regarding the most mundane decisions. But if the brain is intolerant of uncertainty,
it can force wrong decisions. It feels
good to be certain. To avoid this trap, add uncertainty / dissonance /
uncomfortable facts. “When making
decisions, actually resist the urge to suppress the argument: take the
time to listen….” An example is Abe
Lincoln’s Cabinet, filled with opposing points of view.
“Use your conscious mind to acquire al the information
you need for making a decision. But don’t
try to analyze the information with your conscious mind.
Instead, go on holiday while your unconscious mind digests
it. Whatever your intuition then tells you
is almost certainly going to be the best choice.” (quoting
a psychologist from the University
- “Complex problems…require the
processing powers of the emotional brain, the supercomputer of the
mind….Always listen to your feelings. They
know more than you do.” (p238)
- However, where there has been no
past experience, emotion won’t help. Thus,
the importance of training…as for example flight simulators.
- Meanwhile, “don’t worry…be happy”. People in a good mood are significantly better
at solving hard problems than unhappy people, in whom the emotional
brain is diverted.
- “You know more than you know”.
- “The reason these emotions are
so intelligent is that they’ve managed to turn mistakes into
educational events…becoming an expert just takes time and practice. But once you’ve developed expertise in a
particular area – once you’ve made the requisite mistakes – it’s
important to trust your emotions when making decisions in that domain. It is feelings, after all, and not the
prefrontal cortex, that capture the wisdom of experience…the one thing
you should always be doing is considering your emotions, thinking about
why you’re feeling what you’re feeling.”. (p249)
So, there it is.
Don’t thank me. Thank Jonah
Lehrer…and read his fascinating book.
SATURDAY, February 20, 2010
THROUGH THE HUBBLE TELESCOPE...
Human beings have always known that their lives are finite, and
that this world is finite. But some have always tried to define
the opposite...the Infinite...in finite terms:"billions of this
and billions of that". And they keep being surprised when they
keep failing. Make a stronger Hubble and you'll find more and
more. But you'll never be able to get your arms around the
Infinite - at least perhaps until those fortunates among us
actually end our finite lives and enter the Infinite...thanks to
a very merciful God.
This is what many scientists and others who are atheists refuse to
accept. Call it Pride. Call it ignorance. It doesn't
matter. For even these people have a chance for the Infinite...thanks
again to a very merciful God.
Are there other beings on other galaxies, also made "in the image and
likeness of God" and also endowed with free will? I don't know,
and I don't care, although I suspect that we are God's only
experiment. If there are, I hope to have a drink with them at the
bar scene in Star-Trek when we all are in the Infinite and
with The Infinite.
MONDAY through FRIDAY, February 15
through 19, 2010
This is an important statement on Religion...and Faith and
Faiths. See particularly the next-to-final paragraph quoting Pope
John Paul ll encyclical entitled "Lumen Gentium". GS
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Cardinal Tauran: We Shouldn't Fear Islam
Says Interreligious Dialogue Can Deepen Faith
GRANADA, Spain, FEB. 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The president of the
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is affirming that
Catholics should not fear Islam, but rather welcome the chance for
deepening their faith through interchange with Muslims.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran affirmed this in Granada during his Feb. 10
opening address for a two-day congress sponsored by the Faculty of
Theology of Granada. The congress was titled "Christianity, Islam and
"We must not fear Islam," the prelate affirmed, "but I would say more:
Christians and Muslims, when they profess their own faith with
integrity and credibility, when they dialogue and make an effort to
serve society, constitute a richness for the latter."
He pointed out that "in these five years, the climate of dialogue with
Muslims has improved, although contrasting elements still remain."
Islam is the religion with which the council maintains the most
Among these differences, the cardinal mentioned discrimination of women
and freedom of worship, which is absolutely denied in Saudi Arabia.
Cardinal Tauran said that each one of us must address a "triple
challenge: that of identity -- to have a clear idea of the content of
our faith; that of difference -- knowing that the other is not
necessarily an enemy; and that of pluralism -- acknowledging that God
is working mysteriously in each one of his creatures."
He affirmed that "for a Westerner, Islam is difficult to understand."
"It is at the same time a religion, a society and a state," the prelate
explained, "which brings together 1.2 billion people in one great
worldwide entity, the 'ummah'."
"The members of this community practice the same rites, have the same
vision of the world and adopt the same conduct," he noted. "Moreover,
they do not distinguish between the private and public sphere."
"This religious visibility disturbs secularized societies," the
"However," he said, "the new fact is that in the Western world, Muslims
and non-Muslims are obliged to live together."
"In Europe, for example, we live with third-generation Muslims,"
Cardinal Tauran pointed out.
He observed that "we find Muslims in everyday life," which "does not
impede Christians and Muslims many times being victims of prejudice,
consequence of ignorance."
"It often happens that a Christian has never spoken with a Muslim, and
vice versa," he added.
The council president affirmed that "dialogue alone allows us to
overcome fear, because it allows each one to experience the discovery
of the other and to bring about a meeting, and this meeting is
precisely what the interreligious dialogue is about in reality."
This happens "because it is not two religions that meet, but rather men
and women that the vicissitudes of life, the circumstances, favorable
or unfavorable, have made companions in humanity," he added.
The cardinal stressed the need to "make an effort, on both sides, to
know the religious traditions of the other, to acknowledge what
separates us and what brings us close and to collaborate for the common
good," which "is no easy task."
It calls for "interior liberty that gives place to an attitude full of
respect for the other: to be able to be silent so as to listen to the
other, to give him the opportunity to express himself with all freedom,
and not hide or sweeten one's own spiritual identity," he said.
The prelate continued, "Once trust is established, both sides will be
able to examine freely what separates us and what unites us."
In regard to the differences between Christians and Muslims, the
cardinal explained that we are separated by "our relation with the
sacred books, the concept of revelation -- Christianity is not a
'religion of the book' -- the identity of Jesus and of Mohammed, the
Trinity, the use of reason, the conception of prayer."
On the other hand, he affirmed that the two religions hold several
things in common: "the oneness of God, the sacredness of life, the
conviction that we must transmit moral values to young people, the
value of the family for the emotional and moral growth of children and
the importance of religion in education."
Cardinal Tauran affirmed that "we, Catholics, are guided and animated
by the luminous teaching of Benedict XVI, who has made interreligious
dialogue one of the priorities of his pontificate." He referred, for
example, to the Holy Father's interventions in Cologne, Germany, the
United States, France and the Holy Land.
The council president affirmed that his dicastery has been building
relations with Islam, and since 1976 meetings have been held every two
years with the World Islamic Call Society of Libya.
Moreover, in 1995, the Comite de Liaison Islamo-Catholique was created
and, since 1998, there has been a mixed committee for dialogue between
the dicastery and Egypt's Al-Azhar University, which meets every year.
The council also collaborates with the Royal Institute for Inter-faith
Studies of Amman, Jordan, the Islamic Culture and Relations
Organization of Tehran, Iran and the Catholic-Muslim Forum, created in
"Thanks to these human and spiritual contacts," Cardinal Tauran pointed
out that there have been several achievements such as an interreligious
conference held in July, 2008 in Madrid. It took place at the
invitation of the king of Saudi Arabia, and participants made unanimous
affirmations on common values.
The prelate also recalled the first seminar of the Catholic-Muslim
Forum, held in the Vatican in November 2008. Representatives of the 138
Muslim leaders who signed an open letter to their Christian
counterparts participated in this seminar.
He listed among the recent advances the interreligious meeting
organized last May by the Royal Institute for Inter-faith Studies in
Jordan on the theme "Religion and Civil Society."
This meeting "enabled Christian and Muslim participants to state that
religious liberty can be adequately exercised only in a democratic
society," the cardinal noted.
He added that all this represents progress, although "the great problem
for me is to know how to effect it so that this change will reach the
Cardinal Tauran pointed out that pastors of the Catholic Church and
professors of Catholic schools and universities still rarely take into
account this new context of religious pluralism.
He also lamented that "European Catholics have a very weak knowledge of
"Genuine interreligious dialogue cannot be established in ambiguity or
when the interlocutors do not have a defined spiritual profile," the
prelate asserted. "Thus relativism and syncretism are born."
He noted that "thanks to Islam, or better said, to Muslims who live
with us, we are called to deepen our faith and to renew our catechesis."
The cardinal explained that "to engage in interreligious dialogue is
not to put our own faith in brackets but, on the contrary, to proclaim
it with words and behavior."
"We proclaim that Jesus is the Light that illumines all men who live in
this world," he continued. "Hence, all the positive aspects that exist
in religions are not darkness, but participate in this great Light
which shines above all lights."
In the Church, Cardinal Tauran stated, "we do not say that all
religions have the same value, but that all those that seek God have
the same dignity."
He quoted John Paul II, recalling that the formed Pontiff affirmed that
"other religions constitute a positive challenge for the Church of
"In fact, they lead her to discover and recognize the signs of the
presence of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit, and also to
deepen her identity and to witness the integrity of revelation, of
which she is trustee for the good of all," the prelate affirmed.
He said that "'Dominus Iesus' reminds us that we must keep two truths
together: the possibility, for all men, to be saved by Christ, and the
necessity of the Church for salvation."
"For those who do not belong to the Church, Christ is accessible in
virtue of a grace that illumines them mysteriously and that comes from
Christ," the cardinal said.
He pointed out that "Lumen Gentium" affirms that "those who without
fault are ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and his Church but yet seek
God sincerely and, with the help of grace, make an effort with their
works to fulfill his will, known through the dictate of conscience, can
obtain eternal salvation."
The cardinal affirmed that truth is proposed and not imposed, and
"interreligious dialogue and the proclamation of Christ are not
Other participants in the congress included Archbishop Javier
Martínez of Granada and Bishop Adolfo González Montes of
Almeria, Spain, who delivered a lecture entitled "Christianity,
Enlightenment, Laicism: Reason and Faith Before Transcendent
FRIDAY through SUNDAY, February 12
through 14, 2010
LEST WE FORGET...OR NEVER
east from Carthage on Mississippi 16 toward Philadelphia and after a
few miles a sign says youre in Edinburg .
a good thing the signs there, because theres no other way to tell.
On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg . Probably didnt
make much news.
Twenty-five years later, on May 23, 1944, near Carano , Italy , Van T.
Barfoot, who had enlisted in the Army in 1940, set out to flank German
machine gun positions from which fire was coming down on his fellow
soldiers. He advanced through a minefield, took out three enemy machine
gun positions and returned with 17 prisoners of war.
If that wasn’t enough for a days work, he later took on and destroyed
three German tanks sent to retake the machine gun positions.
That probably didn’t make much news either, given the scope of the war,
but it did earn Van T. Barfoot, who retired as a colonel after also
serving in Korea and Vietnam , a Congressional Medal of Honor.
What did make news last week was a neighborhood associations quibble
with how the 90-year-old veteran chose to fly the American flag outside
his suburban Virginia home. Seems the rules said a flag could be flown
on a house-mounted bracket, but, for decorum, items such as Barfoot’s
21-foot flagpole were unsuitable.
had been denied a permit for the pole, erected it anyway and was facing
court action if he didn’t take it down. Since the story made national
TV, the neighborhood association has rethought its position and agreed
to indulge this old hero who dwells among them.
the time I have left I plan to continue to fly the American flag
without interference, Barfoot told The Associated Press.
As well he should.
if any of his neighbors still takes a notion to contest him, they might
want to read his Medal of Honor citation.
indicates he’s not real good at backing down.
T. Barfoot’s Medal of Honor citation:
1944 Medal of Honor citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor
Society, is for Second Lieutenant Van T. Barfoot, 157th Infantry, 45th
conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and
beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano , Italy . With his
platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well
entrenched on commanding ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot moved off alone
upon the enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of 1 machinegun
nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing 2 and
wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German defense line to
another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun killed 2 and
captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew then
abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot.
Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to
mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and
bringing his total count to 17. Later that day, after he had
reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the
enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon
positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed position
directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks. >From a distance of
75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank,
effectively disabling it, while the other 2 changed direction toward
the flank. As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot
killed 3 of them with his tommygun. He continued onward into enemy
terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a
demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his platoon
position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean
efforts, assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a
position of safety. Sgt. Barfoots extraordinary heroism, demonstration
of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of point
blank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.
for Kickin' Ass
for the Non-Military
sure you read #13
Civilians, 'We know that the current state of affairs in our great
nation has many civilians up in arms and excited to join the military.
those of you who can't join, you can still lend a hand. Here are a few
of the areas where we would like your assistance:
The next time you see any adults talking (or wearing a hat) during the
playing of the National Anthem - kick their ass.
When you witness, firsthand, someone burning the American
Flag in protest - kick their ass.
Regardless of the rank they held while they served, pay the highest
amount of respect to all veterans. If you see anyone doing otherwise,
quietly pull them aside and explain how these veterans fought for the
very freedom they bask in every second. Enlighten them on the
many sacrifices these veterans made to make this Nation great. Then
hold them down while a disabled veteran kicks their ass.
If you were never in the military, DO NOT pretend that you were.
Wearing battle dress uniforms (BDUs) or Jungle Fatigues,
telling others that you used to be 'Special Forces'.
Collecting GI Joe memorabilia might have been okay when you were seven
years old, now, it will only make you look stupid and get your ass
Next time you come across an *Air Force* member, do not ask them, 'Do
you fly a jet?' Not everyone in the Air Force is a pilot. Such
ignorance deserves an ass-kicking (children are exempt).
If you witness someone calling the *US Coast Guard* 'non-military',
inform them of their mistake - and kick their ass.
Next time Old Glory (the US flag) prances by during a parade, get on
your damn feet and pay homage to her by placing your hand over your
heart. Quietly thank the military member or veteran lucky enough to be
carrying her - of course, failure to do either of those could earn you
a severe ass-kicking.
'Your mama wears combat boots' never made sense to me - stop
saying it! If she did, she would most likely be a vet and
therefore would kick your ass!
'Flyboy' (*Air Force*), 'Jarhead' (*Marines*), 'Grunt' (*Army*),
'Squid' (*Navy*), 'Puddle Jumpers' (*Coast Guard*), etc., are terms of
endearment we use describing each other. Unless you are a service
member or vet, you have not earned the right to use them. Using them
could get your ass kicked..
Last, but not least, whether or not you become a member of the
military, support our troops and their families. Every Thanksgiving and
religious holiday that you enjoy with family and friends, please
remember that there are literally thousands of soldiers, sailors,
marines and airmen far from home wishing they could be with their
families. Thank God for our military and the sacrifices they make every
day. Without them, our Country would get it's ass kicked.
'It's the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of
the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.'
the Veteran, not the community organizer, who gives us the freedom to
the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and
whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn
If you ever see anyone singing the national anthem IN SPANISH -
KICK THEIR ASS.
LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!
GOD WE TRUST
THURSDAY, February 11, 2010
Rep. Paul Ryan tackles Obama's path to deficit disaster
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The new era of Democratic bipartisanship, like cut flowers in a vase,
wilted in less than a week.
During his question time at the House Republican retreat, President
Obama elevated congressman and budget expert Paul Ryan as a "sincere guy" whose budget
-- which, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO),
eventually achieves a balanced budget -- has "some ideas in there that
I would agree with." Days later, Democratic legislators held a
conference call to lambaste Ryan's plan as a vicious, voucherizing,
privatizing assault on Social Security, Medicare and every
non-millionaire American. Progressive advocacy groups and liberal
bloggers joined the jeering in practiced harmony.
The attack "came out of the Democratic
National Committee, and that
is the White House," Ryan told me recently, sounding both disappointed
and unsurprised. On the deficit, Obama's outreach to Republicans has
been a ploy, which is to say, a deception. Once again, a president so
impressed by his own idealism has become the nation's main manufacturer
of public cynicism.
To Ryan, the motivations of Democratic
leaders are transparent.
"They had an ugly week of budget news. They are precipitating a debt
crisis, with deficits that get up to 85 percent of GDP and never get to
a sustainable level. They are flirting with economic disaster." So they
are attempting some "misdirection," calling attention to Ryan's
recently updated budget road map -- first unveiled two years ago --
which proposes difficult entitlement reforms. When all else fails,
change the subject to Republican heartlessness.
From a political perspective, Democratic
leaders are right to single
out Ryan for unkind attention. He is among their greatest long-term
threats. He possesses the appeal of a young Jack Kemp (for whom both Ryan and I once worked). Like
Kemp, Ryan is aggressively likable, crackling with ideas and shockingly
But unlike Kemp -- who didn't give a rip for deficits, being focused
exclusively on economic growth -- Ryan is the cheerful prophet of
deficit doom. "For the first generation of supply-siders," he explains,
"the fiscal balance sheet was not as bad. The second generation of
supply-siders needs to be just as concerned about debt and deficits.
They are the greatest threats to economic growth today."
Fiscal Obamaism is not just a temporary,
spike in spending; it is deficits to infinity and beyond. "It is the
interest that kills you," Ryan says. In a few weeks, he expects the CBO
to report that, in the 10th year of Obama's budget, the federal
government will "spend nearly a trillion dollars a year, just on
interest! This traps us as a country. Inflation will wipe out savings
and hurt people on fixed incomes. A plunging dollar will make goods
more expensive. High tax rates will undermine economic growth. It is
the path of national decline."
But unlike other deficit hawks, Ryan
courageously -- some would say
foolhardily -- presents his own alternative. His budget road map offers
many proposals, but one big vision. Over time, Ryan concentrates
government spending on the poor through means-tested programs, patching
holes in the safety net while making entitlements more sustainable. He
saves money by providing the middle class with defined-contribution
benefits -- private retirement accounts and health vouchers -- that are
more portable but less generous in the long run. And he expects a
growing economy, liberated from debt and inflation, to provide more
real gains for middle-class citizens than they lose from lower
government benefits. Ryanism is not only a technical solution to
endless deficits; it represents an alternative political philosophy.
For decades, culminating in the Obama
health reform proposal,
Democrats have attempted to build a political constituency for the
welfare state by expanding its provisions to larger and larger portions
of the middle class. Ryan proposes a federal system that focuses on
helping the poor, while encouraging the middle class to take more
personal responsibility in a dynamic economy. It is the appeal of
security vs. the appeal of independence and enterprise.
Both sides of this debate make serious
arguments, rooted in
differing visions of justice and freedom. But the advocates of
security, including Obama, have a serious problem: They are on a path
to economic ruin.
In his Kemp-like way, Ryan manages to
find a bright side. "The way I
look at it, we were sleepwalking down this path anyway. The Democratic
overreach woke people up. It was a splash of cold water in the face of
every voter. Now we have a new, more serious conversation. And I'm not
going to back down."
WEDNESDAY, February 10, 2010
HERE IS ANOTHER VIEW REGARDING ROOT CAUSES OF THE CURRENT GREAT WORLD
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Vatican Economist: Recession Caused by Low Birthrate
Blames Small Families, Poor Savings Habits
ROME, FEB. 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Bankers are not the cause of the
global economic crisis, according to the president of the Institute for
the Works of Religion. Rather, the cause is ordinary people who do not
"believe in the future" and have few or no children.
"The true cause of the crisis is the decline in the birth rate," Ettore
Gotti Tedeschi, said in an interview on Vatican Television's "Octava
He noted the Western world's population growth rate is at 0% -- that
is, two children per couple -- and this, he said, has led to a profound
change in the structure of society.
"Instead of stimulating families and society to again believe in the
future and have children  we have stopped having children and have
created a situation, a negative economic context decrease," Gotti
Tedeschi observed. "And decrease means greater austerity."
"With the decline in births," he explained, "there are fewer young
people that productively enter the working world. And there are many
more elderly people that leave the system of production and become a
cost for the collective.
"In practice the fixed costs of this economic and social structure
increase. How dramatically they increase depends on how evidently
unbalanced the structure of the population is and how much wealth it
has. The fixed costs however increase: The costs of health increase and
the social costs increase."
When this happens, the economist stated, "taxes can no longer be
Gotti Tedeschi went on to say that another phenomena impacting the
economy due to the stagnation of the population is a decline in savings.
"Young people who do not have jobs upset the cycle of accumulation of
savings that has gone on for years; families are not formed; often
families are not formed that have a certain number of commitments to
children and so savings are liquidated," he explained.
The Vatican official said a decline in development due to a lack of
population growth is worrying.
"An effort is made to compensate for this decline in development
through financial activities and above all through de-localization --
we try to move all production to Asia to bring the goods back at a
lower cost, and with greater productivity, but greater productivity has
its limits," he said.
The economist reflected on the growth of debt in American families over
the last decade.
He noted that it was "already quite high" at 68% of the Gross Domestic
Product around 1998; and it "went from 68% to 96% of the Gross Domestic
Product in 2008, an increase of 28 points."
"If you take 28 percentage points of growth over 10 years and divide it
by 10 years, you have a median growth rate of 2.8% per year due
exclusively to the consumerism of debt of American households," Gotti
"In practice," the economist contended, "this was the origin of the
crisis, which eventually led to the so-called 'sub-prime' excesses. The
financial instrument of debt leverage, the expansion of credit, was
used to compensate the lack of growth in the economy caused by the 0%
"The origin of the crisis is not in the banks or finance," he affirmed.
"The banks and financial firms helped to aggravate the crisis, trying
to compensate for problems that were already there, namely, the decline
in economic development, which some tried to camouflage through
"If I might, indeed, be quite polemical, I would say that certain
government leaders had more responsibility than the bankers since the
former pushed, supported and justified the expansion of credit that was
used to sustain a growth rate that was recognized as fictitious."
Gotti Tedeschi asserted that debt must be reduced -- in governments,
households, financial institutions and non-financial institutions and
"In developed countries like those of Europe and the United States this
debt reduction will take about five to seven years to be
re-dimensioned, to return to acceptable criteria," he theorized.
The economist further recognized that "the United States, as we know,
has also had complex times -- we think of Sept. 11, 2001 -- having to
rebuild an attitude with regard to terrorism, as the great guardians of
humanity, probably having to notably increase defense spending too."
"Here we see where the demand for growth in the GDP comes in," he
pointed out. "Major defense spending for weapons after Sept. 11, which
grew in the succeeding years by a rate of 14% [or] 15% per year, had to
be sustained by growth in GDP.
"And how was the GDP supposed to be increased? Here we have the
American habit: leave it to the individual to take care of; he is given
the conditions to do it: low and attractive rates to stimulate
"After 10 years the American households became poor, they lost a large
portion of their liquid investments, their houses lost a great deal of
value -- houses that they had not yet paid for, they lost part of their
pension -- which is notoriously private, they built up debt for two or
three years and risked losing their jobs."
Now, Gotti Tedeschi confirmed, "the only way to rebuild
economic-financial balance is austerity."
TUESDAY, February 9, 2010
Alright, that's the diagnosis. Now what's the treatment? Or
are we all de facto volunteers in the U.S. Armed Forces? (Answer:
Yes). And what are our weapons...besides indispensable
intelligence (including profiling) and acting on that intelligence with
pre-emptive self-defense anywhere in the world...with or with
permission from our "allies" and the U.N.? This is War. And as occurred
after Dec. 7, 1941, we're again in the broom-handle training
phase. Except this time we have a slow learner in the White
So, be on guard...everywhere and at all times. And Pray.
Juval Aviv was the Israeli Agent
upon whom the movie 'Munich' was based. He was Golda Meir's bodyguard,
and she appointed him to track down and bring to justice the
Palestinian terrorists who took the Israeli athletes hostage and killed
them during the Munich Olympic Games.
In a lecture in New York City he shared information that EVERY American
needs to know -- but that our government has not yet shared with us.
He predicted the London subway bombing on the Bill O'Reilly
show on Fox News stating publicly that it would happen within a week.
At the time, O'Reilly laughed, and mocked him saying that in a week he
wanted him back on the show. Unfortunately, within a week the terrorist
attack had occurred.
Juval Aviv gave intelligence (via what he had gathered in Israel
and the Middle East ) to the Bush Administration about 9/11, a
month before it occurred. His report specifically said they would use
planes as bombs and target high profile buildings and monuments. Congress
has since hired him as a security consultant.
Now for his future predictions. He predicts the next terrorist
attack on the U.S. will occur within the next few months.
Forget hijacking airplanes, because he says terrorists will NEVER
try and hijack a plane again as they know the people onboard will never
go down quietly again. Aviv believes our airport security is a joke
-- that we have been reactionary rather than proactive in developing
strategies that are truly effective.
1) Our airport technology is outdated We look for metal, and the new
explosives are made of plastic.
2) He talked about how some idiot tried to light his shoe on fire.
Because of that, now everyone has to take off their shoes. A group of
idiots tried to bring aboard liquid explosives. Now we can't bring
liquids on board. He says he's waiting for some suicidal maniac to pour
liquid explosive on his underwear; at which point, security will have
us all traveling naked!
Every strategy we have is reactionary.
3) We only focus on security when people are heading to the gates.
Aviv says that if a terrorist attack targets airports in the
future, they will target busy times on the front end of the airport
when/where people are checking in. It would be easy for someone to take
two suitcases of explosives, walk up to a busy check-in line, ask a
person next to them to watch their bags for a minute while they run to
the restroom or get a drink, and then detonate the bags BEFORE security
even gets involved. In Israel, security checks bags BEFORE people can
even ENTER the airport.
Aviv says the next terrorist attack here in America is imminent
and will involve suicide bombers and non-suicide bombers in places
where large groups of people congregate. (i.e., Disneyland, Las
Vegas casinos, big cities (New York, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.) and
that it will also include shopping malls, subways in rush hour, train
stations, etc., as well as, rural America this time. The hinterlands (
Wyoming, Montana, etc.).
The attack will be characterized by simultaneous detonations around
the country (terrorists like big impact), involving at least 5-8
cities, including rural areas.
Aviv says terrorists won't need to use suicide bombers in many of the
larger cities, because at places like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, they
can simply valet park a car loaded with explosives and walk away.
Aviv says all of the above is well known in intelligence circles, but
that our U. S. government does not want to 'alarm American citizens'
with the facts. The world is quickly going to become 'a different
place', and issues like 'global warming' and political correctness will
become totally irrelevant.
On an encouraging note, he says that Americans don't have to be
concerned about being nuked. Aviv says the terrorists who want to
destroy America will not use sophisticated weapons. They like to use
suicide as a front-line approach. It's cheap, it's easy, it's
effective; and they have an infinite abundance of young militants more
than willing to 'meet their destiny'.
MONDAY, February 8, 2010
Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St.
Paul , Minnesota , points out some interesting facts
- Number of States won by: Obama: 19 McCain: 29
- Square miles of land won by: Obama: 580,000 McCain:
of counties won by: Obama:
McCain: 143 million
rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:
13.2 McCain: 2.1
Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory
McCain won was mostly the
land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country.
Obama territory mostly encompassed
those citizens living in low income tenements
and living off various forms of government welfare..."
Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the
"complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of
democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already
having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.
Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal
invaders called illegals and they vote, then we can
say goodbye to the USA in
fewer than five years.
SUNDAY, February 7, 2010
As I already posted in this section
about a year ago, the facts
about the decision and rationale
to invade Iraq in 2003 - a few days after I initiated this
section - will take five to ten years to be revealed. What are
relevant are facts,
not the accusations regarding "lies" and other criticisms of the Bush
and Blair administrations.
The history and facts surrounding that period are beginning to be
uncovered. See the
recent NYTimes article entitled: "Citing 9/11, Blair Defends Legacy In
Iraq Inquiry", by Jonh F. Burns and Alan Cowell, in Europe,
1/29/2010, See also the WSJ Editorial, Monday Feb. 1,
2010 entitled "Tony Blair's Iraq Statesmanship", pA16.
There are many lessons to be learned from events of this past decade,
as they apply to a "new world order" engaging us during the next
several decades. But first, THE FACTS.
SATURDAY, February 6, 2010
AND MORE ON HAITI. If
the military experience is not convincing, see the report of three New
York surgeons ("Haiti:
Obama's Katrina", WSJ Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, Opinion, pA17).
These trauma specialists had a team organized to travel to Haiti on the
day following the earthquake...but were denied landing rights for
nearly four days. And the story gets worse from there.
Their conclusion: "The U.S. response
to the earthquake should be considered an embarrassment. Our
operation received virtually no support from any branch of the U.S.
government, including the State Department...For all the outcry about
Katrina, our nation has fared no better in this latest disaster".
Another in an increasing list of failures by this government. Do
Americans deserve better? Some of us do. For the rest: "In a democracy, the people always
get what they deserve."
FRIDAY, February 5, 2010
Exactly as I had anticipated, suspected and and also wrote about within
two days of the earthquake. Total incompetence in
Washington. God help the Haitians...no one else will. GS
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO KNOW WHAT
IS REALLY GOING ON IN HAITI, YOU'LL FIND THIS INTERESTING. PARDON
SOME OF THE LANGUAGE -- IT'S FROM A MILITARY GUY. MUCH OF IT IS
Subject: Haiti Diary
BG Mike Seely (U.S. Army - Ret.) forwarded this from a friend
that just returned from Haiti.
> Date: Monday, January 25, 2010, 5:47 AM
> News back from Nic Brockhausen. He and Dennis Hebler made it
back somewhat safe and sound.
> To All,
> I just returned from Haiti with Hebler. We flew in at 3 AM
Sunday to the scene of such incredible destruction on one side, and
enormous ineptitude and criminal neglect on the other.
> Port o Prince is in ruins. The rest of the
country is fairly intact.Our team was a rescue team and we carried
special equipment that locates people buried under the rubble.
There are easily 200,000 dead; the city smells like a charnal house.
The bloody UN was there for 5 years doing apparently nothing but
wasting US Taxpayers money. The ones I ran into were either incompeyent
or outright anti american. Most are French or french speakers,
worthless every damn one of them. While 1800 rescuers were ready
willing and able to leave the airport and go do our jobs, the UN and
USAID ( another organization full of little OBamites and communisrts
that openly speak against America) These two organizations exemplared
their parochialism by:
> USAID, when in control of all inbound flights, had food and
water flights stacked up all the way to Miami, yet allowed Geraldo
Rivera, Anderson Cooper and a host of other left wing news puppies to
> Pulled all the security off the rescue teams so that
Bill Clinton and his wife could have the grand tour, whilst we sat
unable to get to people trapped in the rubble.
> Stacked enough food and water for the relief over at
the side of the airfield then put a guard on it while we dehydrated and
wouldn't release a drop of it to the resuers.
> No shower facilities to decontaminate after digging or
moving corpses all day, except for the FEMA teams who brought their own
shower and decon equipment, as well as air conditioned tents.
> No latrine facilities, less digging a hole, if you set
up a shitter everyone was trying to use it.
> I watched a 25 year old Obamite with the USAID shrieking
hysterically; berate a full bird colonel in the Air Force, because he
countermanded her orders, whilst trying to unscrew the air
pattern. "You dont know what your president wants! The military
isn't in charge here we are!"
> If any of you are thinking of giving money to the Haitian
relief, or to the UN don't waste your money. It will only go to further
the goals of the French and the Liberal left.
> If we are a fair and even society, why is it that only white
couples are adopting Haitian orphans? Where the hell is that vocal
minority that is always screaming about the injustice of American
> Bad place, bad situation, but a perfect look at the new world
order in action. New Orleans magnified a thousand times. Haiti doesn't
need democracy, what Haiti needs is Papa Doc. Thats not just my
opinion, that is what virtually every Haitian we talked with said. The
French run UN treat us the same as when we were a colony, at least Papa
Doc ran the country.
> Oh, and as a last slap in the face the last four of us had
to take US AIRWAYs home from Phoenix. They slapped me with a 590 dollar
baggage charge for the four of us. The girl at the counter was almost
in tears because she couldn't give us a discount or she would lose her
job. Pass that on to the flying public.
THURSDAY, February 4, 2010
<>“If anyone from either party
better approach…let me know.”
<>President Barack Obama (January 27, 2010)
<>Dear Dr. Sprecace,
<>In his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama urged
Congress to “take another look” at the Democrats’ health care reform
plan and claimed that “many doctors, nurses, and health care experts
who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over
the status quo."
<>I have a different view than the President. While the
health care system is the best in the world, serious issues still exist
within the system that need to be addressed. However, I
don’t think physicians believe the Democrats’ proposed government
takeover of our health care system is the answer.
<>Yes President Obama – we do have a better approach. And
the ideas are ready to go in proposed legislation. They include:
- Coverage for individuals with
preexisting conditions: High risk pooling mechanisms would take
individuals with serious preexisting conditions out of the general
insurance pool, reducing health care costs for all Americans, and place
them into separate high risk pools which would receive Federal aid.
- Portability: Allowing
individuals to purchase health insurance in one state and carry that
insurance with them across state lines would increase competition
amongst all insurance providers, and lower premiums. This single
reform would protect Americans who lose their jobs or are forced to
move from losing their health insurance.
- Improving Medicare: Start by
eliminating the SGR. It’s time to switch over to a system, such
as an Medicare Economic Index (MEI), that will more accurately reflect
the costs of services and put a stop to the continued call for cuts to
- Tort Reform: One of the most powerful driving forces
behind the high cost of health care is frivolous lawsuits. Meaningful
medical liability reforms, such as caps on noneconomic damages,
absolutely have to be implemented as part of any true health care
WEDNESDAY, February 3, 2010
HAITI. Just as I suspected from the beginning. The Haitian
government, the U.S. and all those aid agencies have done the reverse
of what was needed. And the people continue to suffer. We
should have insisted on and assumed control of both security and
communications at the outset, instead of allowing politics as usual to
play "Alfonse and Gaston"...and worse. Another job by "Brownie"?
frustration at Haiti aid bottlenecks
Haiti – Hunger turned to anger in Haiti's capital on Wednesday as
hundreds of protesters marched through the streets accusing local
officials of demanding bribes for donated food.
workers say that food and other supplies are now flowing into the
country three weeks after the Jan. 12 quake, but red tape, fear of
ambush, transportation bottlenecks and corruption are keeping it from
many people who need it.
Hungry protesters jogged along a broad
avenue in the Port-au-Prince
suburb of Petionville waving
branches and chanting, "They stole the rice! They stole the rice!"
of the protesters, 17-year-old Danka Tanzil, said a local official was
demanding a bribe in return for coupons that entitle people to bags of
donated food from the U.N. World Food Program.
"For us to get the coupon, we must give 50 Haitian dollars (US$7) so we
can get the rice," she complained.
People at small protests elsewhere had a
simpler message, holding up banners reading, in English: "Help us,
World Food Program began distributing the coupons to bring order to the
aid distribution and prevent strong young men from forcing themselves
to the front of food lines. Aid officials say it has largely worked,
despite scattered reports of abuses.
agency "is aware of reports that our coupons have been resold, and
we've also heard allegations of forgeries," WFP spokeswoman Jennifer
Parmelee said. "However, all evidence from our cooperating partners who
are managing the distributions ... is that this is not a widespread
The agency said it has reached more than
300,000 people through the coupon program but needs to reach 2 million.
In other key developments:
• U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
asked former U.S. President Bill Clinton to expand his role as special
envoy for Haiti by taking a stronger role in coordinating relief and
• Haiti's Ministry of
Health, backed by the U.N. and other agencies, began a campaign to give
vaccinations against key diseases to 250,000 children under age 7
living in temporary settlements. It said 200,000 other injured people
will get tetanus vaccines.
• Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade
told Radio France International that dozens of Haitians have asked
about taking advantage of his offer of free land for Haitians who want
to "return to their origins" in Africa following the earthquake.
Associated Press Writers Martha Mendoza
and John Rice in Mexico City and Todd Pittman in Dakar, Senegal,
contributed to this report.
MONDAY and TUESDAY, February 1 and
Palin: The Credibility Gap
While I don’t wish to speak too harshly about
President Obama’s state of the union address, we live in challenging
times that call for candor. I call them as I see them, and I hope my
frank assessment will be taken as an honest effort to move this
Last night, the president spoke of the “credibility
gap” between the public’s expectations of their leaders and what those
leaders actually deliver. “Credibility gap” is a good way to describe
the chasm between rhetoric and reality in the president’s address. The
contradictions seemed endless.
He called for Democrats and Republicans to “work
through our differences,” but last year he dismissed any notion of
bipartisanship when he smugly told Republicans, “I won.”
He talked like a Washington “outsider,” but he runs
Washington! He’s had everything any president could ask for – an
overwhelming majority in Congress and a fawning press corps that feels
tingles every time he speaks. There was nothing preventing him from
pursuing “common sense” solutions all along. He didn’t pursue them
because they weren’t his priorities, and he spent his speech blaming
Republicans for the problems caused by his own policies.
He dared us to “let him know” if we have a better
health care plan, but he refused to allow Republicans in on the
negotiations or consider any ideas for real free market and
patient-centered reforms. We’ve been “letting him know” our ideas for
months from the town halls to the tea parties, but he isn’t interested
in listening. Instead he keeps making the nonsensical claim that his
massive trillion-dollar health care bill won’t increase the deficit.
Americans are suffering from job losses and lower
wages, yet the president practically demanded applause when he
mentioned tax cuts, as if allowing people to keep more of their own
hard-earned money is an act of noblesse oblige. He claims that
he cut taxes, but I must have missed that. I see his policies as paving
the way for massive tax increases and inflation, which is the “hidden
tax” that most hurts the poor and the elderly living on fixed incomes.
He condemned lobbyists, but his White House is filled
with former lobbyists, and this has been a banner year for K Street
with his stimulus bill, aka the Lobbyist’s Full Employment Act. He
talked about a “deficit of trust” and the need to “do our work in the
open,” but he chased away the C-SPAN cameras and cut deals with
insurance industry lobbyists behind closed doors.
He spoke of doing what’s best for the next generation
and not leaving our children with a “mountain of debt,” but under his
watch this year, government spending is up by 22%, and his budget will triple our
He spoke of a spending freeze, but doesn’t he realize
that each new program he’s proposing comes with a new price tag? A
spending freeze is a nice idea, but it doesn’t address the root cause
of the problem. We need a comprehensive examination of the role of
government spending. The president’s deficit commission is little more
than a bipartisan tax hike committee, lending political cover to raise
taxes without seriously addressing the problem of spending.
He condemned bailouts, but he voted for them and then
expanded and extended them. He praised the House’s financial reform
bill, but where was Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in that bill? He still
hasn’t told us when we’ll be getting out of the auto and the mortgage
industries. He praised small businesses, but he’s spent the past year
as a friend to big corporations and their lobbyists, who always find a
way to make government regulations work in their favor at the expense
of their mom & pop competitors.
He praised the effectiveness of his stimulus bill,
but then he called for another one – this time cleverly renamed a “jobs
bill.” The first stimulus was sold to us as a jobs bill that would keep
unemployment under 8%. We now have double digit unemployment with no
end in sight. Why should we trust this new “jobs bill”?
He talked about “making tough decisions about opening
new offshore areas for oil and gas development,” but apparently it’s
still too tough for his Interior Secretary to move ahead with Virginia’s offshore oil
and gas leases. If they’re dragging their feet on leases, how long will
it take them to build “safe, clean nuclear power plants”? Meanwhile, he
continued to emphasize “green jobs,” which require massive government
subsidies for inefficient technologies that can’t survive on their own
in the real world of the free market.
He spoke of supporting young girls in Afghanistan who
want to go to school and young women in Iran who courageously protest
in the streets, but where were his words of encouragement to the young
girls of Afghanistan in his West Point speech? And where was his
support for the young women of Iran when they were being gunned down in
the streets of Tehran?
Despite speaking for over an hour, the president only
spent 10% of his speech on foreign policy, and he left us with many
unanswered questions. Does he still think trying the 9/11 terrorists in
New York is a good idea? Does he still think closing Gitmo is a good
idea? Does he still believe in Mirandizing terrorists after the
Christmas bomber fiasco? Does he believe we’re in a war against
terrorists, or does he think this is just a global crime spree? Does he
understand that the first priority of our government is to keep our
In his address last night, the president once again
revealed that there’s a fundamental disconnect between what the
American people expect from their government, and what he wants to
deliver. He’s still proposing failed top-down big government solutions
to our problems. Instead of smaller, smarter government, he’s taken a
government that was already too big and supersized it.
Real private sector jobs are created when taxes are
low, investment is high, and people are free to go about their business
without the heavy hand of government. The president thinks innovation
comes from government subsidies. Common sense conservatives know
innovation comes from unleashing the creative energy of American
Everything seems to be “unexpected” to this
administration: unexpected job losses; unexpected housing numbers;
unexpected political losses in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey.
True leaders lead best when confronted with the unexpected. But instead
of leading us, the president lectured us. He lectured Wall Street; he
lectured Main Street; he lectured Congress; he even lectured our
Supreme Court Justices.
He criticized politicians who “wage a perpetual
campaign,” but he gave a campaign speech instead of a state of the
union address. The campaign is over, and President Obama now has
something that candidate Obama never had: an actual track record in
office. We now can see the failed policies behind the flowery words. If
Americans feel as cynical as the president suggests, perhaps it’s
because the audacity of his recycled rhetoric no longer inspires hope.
Real leadership requires results. Real hope lies in
the ingenuity, generosity, and boundless courage of the American people
whose voices are still not being heard in Washington.
- Sarah Palin
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