Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29, 2012

Barack Obama Global 'Has-Been'
by Rick Moran
August 29, 2012

Bret Stephens has penned an oustanding column for the Wall Street Journal on the utter failure of Obama's foreign policy.

Stephens reminds us that "No U.S. president since John F. Kennedy has come to office with more global goodwill than Mr. Obama; no U.S. president since Jimmy Carter has been so widely rebuked."

Mr. Stephens is talking about the trip to Tehran by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to attend the so-called Non-Aligned Conference. The US had begged Ban not to go and he went anyway -- along with dozens of other countries, thumbing their nose at the US sanctions and isolation strategy on Iranian nukes.
Consider the record. His failed personal effort to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. His failed personal effort to negotiate a climate-change deal at Copenhagen in 2009. His failed efforts to strike a nuclear deal with Iran that year and this year. His failed effort to improve America's public standing in the Muslim world with the now-forgotten Cairo speech. His failed reset with Russia. His failed effort to strong-arm Israel into a permanent settlement freeze. His failed (if half-hearted) effort to maintain a residual U.S. military force in Iraq. His failed efforts to cut deals with the Taliban and reach out to North Korea. His failed effort to win over China and Russia for even a symbolic U.N. condemnation of Syria's Bashar Assad. His failed efforts to intercede in Europe's economic crisis. ("Herr Obama should above all deal with the reduction of the American deficit" was the free advice German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble offered this year.) 
In June, the Pew Research Center released one of its periodic surveys of global opinion. It found that since 2009, favorable attitudes toward the U.S. had slipped nearly everywhere in the world except Russia and, go figure, Japan. George W. Bush was more popular in Egypt in the last year of his presidency than Mr. Obama is today. 
It's true that these surveys need to be taken with a grain of salt: efficacy, not popularity, is the right measure by which to judge an administration's foreign policy. But that makes it more noteworthy that this administration should fail so conspicuously on its own terms. Mr. Obama has become the Ruben Studdard of the world stage: the American Idol who never quite made it in the real world.
It really is an astonishingly dismal record. The cost for Obama's childlike naivete? A possible war in the Middle East, a nuclear armed Iran, a resurgent, confident Russia, China paying less and less attention to us, and the Far East running rings around us economically.

Wonder what the world will look like of Obama gets a second term?

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CAFE Kills: Mindlessly imposed fuel-efficiency standards aren’t just costly, they’re deadly
by Michelle Malkin
August 29, 2012

While all eyes were on the Republican National Convention in Tampa and Hurricane Isaac on the Gulf Coast, the White House was quietly jacking up the price of automobiles and putting future drivers at risk.

On Tuesday, the administration announced that it had finalized “historic” new fuel-efficiency standards. (Everything’s “historic” with these narcissists, isn’t it?) President Obama took a break from his historic fundraising drive to proclaim that “by the middle of the next decade, our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today. It’ll strengthen our nation’s energy security, it’s good for middle-class families, and it will help create an economy built to last.”

Jon Carson, director of Obama’s Office of Public Engagement, took to Twitter to hype how “auto companies support the higher fuel-efficiency standards” and how the rules crafted behind closed doors will “save consumers $8,000” per vehicle. His source for these claims? The New York Times, America’s Fishwrap of Record, which has acknowledged it allows the Obama campaign to have “veto power” over reporters’ quotes from campaign officials.

And whom did the Times cite for the claim that the rules will “save consumers $8,000”? Why, the administration, of course! “The administration estimated that the new standards would save Americans $1.7 trillion in fuel costs,” the Times dutifully regurgitated, “resulting in an average savings of more than $8,000 a vehicle by 2025.”

The Obama administration touts the support of the government-bailed-out auto industry for these reckless, expensive regs. What it wants us to forget is that the “negotiations” (read: bullying) with White House environmental radicals date back to the tenure of former Obama green czar Carol Browner — when she infamously told auto-industry execs “to put nothing in writing, ever,” regarding their secret Corporate Auto-Fuel Economy (CAFE) talks.

Obama’s number massagers cite phony-baloney cost savings that rely on developing future fuel-saving technology. Given this crony government’s abysmal track record in “investing” in new technologies (cough — Solyndra — cough), we can safely dismiss that fantasy math. What is real for consumers is the $2,000-per-vehicle added cost that the new fuel standards will impose now. That figure comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

War on middle-class consumers, anyone?

Beyond the media-lapdog echo chamber, the economic and public-safety objections to these sweeping rules are deeply grounded and well founded.

For years, free-market analysts and government statisticians have warned of the deadly effect of increasing CAFE standards. Sam Kazman at the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained a decade ago: “The evidence on this issue comes from no less a body than the National Academy of Sciences, which issued a report last August finding that CAFE contributes to between 1,300 and 2,600 traffic deaths per year. Given that this program has been in effect for more than two decades, its cumulative toll is staggering.”

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RNC Rules Change Upsets Conservatives
by John Gizzi
August 28, 2012 

TAMPA, Fla. — Two hours after the Republican National Convention opened Tuesday, the first boos on the convention floor were heard following acceptance of the party rules on a voice vote. Presiding over the convention, House Speaker John Boehner ruled that the “nos” on the rules package were not sufficient to require debate and a roll call and that the report of the Rules Committee was accepted. This prompted a lusty chorus of boos from many conservatives and supporters of Ron Paul.

Although there are several changes contained in the rules, the one that many opponents said upset them the most was Rule 12, which permits a major change in the timing of rules governing the 2016 convention. Republicans traditionally decide their rules for the next national convention at the close of the last one, and there can be no changes in between.

Rule 12 alters this in an important way. Now, by a vote of three-fourths of the full Republican National Committee, there can be a mid-term convention or another vehicle between presidential election years to make alterations in Rules 1-24, which govern the presidential nomination process.

Party conservatives such as Republican National Committeemen Morton Blackwell of Virginia and Jim Bopp of Indiana voiced strong opposition. Such a change, they warned, could spell “evolving rules” during the four-year period between presidential elections. Moreover, conservatives feel, this is one more step toward the national party forcing its way on state parties—an argument that was pivotal to eliminating another proposed rule that would have given the presidential candidate and not the state party over who actually serves as a national convention delegate.

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