Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012

The Wrong Response in Cairo
by Robert Stephenson
September 12, 2012

September 11, 2012 was a sad day for our country.  A group of radical Islamists attacked the American embassy in Cairo, tore down the American flag, and burned it in the street.  Reuters reported that about twenty young men scaled the walls of the embassy and tore down the flag, which was then torn apart and burned by around two thousand people who were also protesting around the embassy.  The American flag was then "replaced" with a black flag carrying the words, "There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his messenger."

Taking into consideration how outrageously disrespectful and insulting this act was, an immediate condemnation would be expected.  And considering that American service members have fought and died for that same flag which was trampled and burned in the streets of Cairo yesterday, it would be expected that the American government make very clear that what happened was completely unacceptable and intolerable.  Instead, this was the response issued by the United States embassy:
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims - as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.  Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy.  Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy.  We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
The protesters in Cairo claimed to be acting out in response to a film, tied to Gainesville, Florida pastor Terry Jones, which is critical of Islam and Mohammed.  The American Embassy felt compelled to apologize for the acts of the film makers, instead of condemning the acts of the violent protestors who desecrated our flag.  In short, we apologized for making them mad.
This situation displays some of the current administration's most dangerous beliefs, namely the belief that radical Islam will hold no ill-intent toward America as long as we don't make them angry.  It also represents the belief that Muslims can't be held to the same standards of behavior and tolerance as are people of other religions.  This type of naiveté is rampant in liberal politics, but it is especially damaging and dangerous when applied to foreign policy.

Radical Islam's hatred for America is an ideology, not a reaction.  A human being is not absolved of responsibility because of a certain religious following.

What happened in Cairo yesterday was unacceptable, and no film changes that, regardless of whether or not is critical of Islam.  The American Embassy has no reason to offer an apology, but it does have a duty to demand one.

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The Democratic Party and a Second Holocaust
by Roger L. Simon
September 12, 2012

I admit the title of this article is incendiary, but these are incendiary times — not just because the U.S. consulate in Benghazi has been torched and the embassy in Cairo attacked by Islamic fanatics protesting a movie no one ever heard of, let alone saw, but because, in the midst of this, the president of the United States declined to meet with the prime minister of Israel when Benjamin Netanyahu is in the U.S. next week for the convening of the General Assembly.

Not surprisingly, the White House has branded this a false report and — mirabile dictu in this election season — Obama did speak with the Israeli prime minister for an hour Tuesday evening.

Was this a hurried arrangement to avoid a public relations debacle for the president?

Most likely. The result was a fairly bland announcement by the White House. And we all know Obama despises Netanyahu. He said as much to Sarkozy on an open mike. Our president prefers the likes of the charming Russian leadership (also available on open mike) and the quasi-Islamist prime minister of Turkey who massacres Kurdish civilians and opposes the equality of the sexes.

But Netanyahu, like him or not, has a weight on his shoulders far greater than has the president of the United States. For the prime minister of Israel, it’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the preservation of his people. In other words, it’s genocide, stupid.

At the same time as Obama is refusing or not refusing to talk with Netanyahu, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is arriving in New York for his annual pilgrimage to the UN, once more undoubtedly to spew his propaganda before the world as the centrifuges continue to whirl back in Iran, bringing the Islamic Republic closer and closer to a nuclear weapon.

As we all know, the bien pensants at the New York Times and elsewhere think that this is natural evolution, that the Third World (okay, the developing world) will all be getting the bomb soon — that we should just learn to live with it and ignore statements of racial and national extermination made on a daily basis by the mullahs. They have to be kidding, right? It’s just a pose. No one would actually do that.

Of course, people did — and they were “civilized” Europeans — not so very long ago. And for Benjamin Netanyahu to ignore that would be criminal madness. No wonder, at this point, practically every Israeli, right or left, has lined up behind him on the issue. It would be insane to do otherwise.

Barack Obama, as we also know, has not. He has refused Netanyahu’s request for a nuclear “red line” beyond which Iran cannot cross, even though, without such a line, sanctions are meaningless. (Iran clearly treats them that way.) And, at least according the Jerusalem Post, Obama has continued this refusal in his latest conversation with Netanyahu, no matter how that was arranged. The resulting statement has no reference to it.

(BTW, isn’t it odd that Obama would suddenly be having a conversation with Netanyahu in the evening in D.C.? That would make it roughly one or two AM in Jerusalem, depending on when they started.)

In any case, this refusal is not in the slightest bit surprising. Obama, after all, is the man who had no discernible feeling for the brave democracy demonstrators in Tehran, abjuring them in favor of self-serving (and ultimately useless) dialogue with Ahmadinejad. The way Obama ignored the Iranian Green Movement is the most morally and emotionally disconnected act by an American president in my lifetime. Why should Netanyahu trust a man like that?

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The Definition of Stupid: Another Legislative Surrender
by Daniel Horowitz
September 11, 2012

Get ready for another weak ground out into a double play in the upcoming budget battle.

Shortly before the August recess, we reported that Republicans planned to pass a clean 6-month CR which funds Obamacare and appropriates $1.047 trillion in spending – commensurate with Obama’s request instead of the House budget.  The idea behind the “deferment” strategy was twofold; to delay the major battles to 2013 in the hopes of winning back the Senate and to preclude the need for the lame duck session, when wayward members would use the must-pass budget bill to pass extraneous bad legislation.

At the time, we weighed both the pros and cons of this strategy.  Now we learn that some of our concerns have come to fruition, as the proposed CR is neither clean nor will it prevent the lame duck session.  Here are some things to consider.

  • Welfare Reform: Earlier this week, we pointed out that Republicans have an opportunity to force Obama’s hand on his gutting of welfare work requirements.  The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is set to expire September 30.  Even with control over just one-half of……etc, Republicans can force Obama’s hand by simply refusing to pass a TANF reauthorization without an agreement to reinstate the work requirements.  They can pass a reauthorization with a provision banning Obama’s state waivers of the work requirements, ship it off to the Senate and dare Reid and Obama to rail against an 80/20 issue.  This would literally provide us with an opportunity to contrast a paycheck president vs. a food stamp president.

Instead, House Republicans have cooked up a ‘dirty’ CR that contains a ‘clean’ extension of TANF without the work requirement provision.  This will allow Democrats in the Senate to pass the CR, while concurrently consummating Obama’s violation of welfare reform without engaging in a standalone fight on the issue.

But fear not, House Republicans plan a cover vote next week on a resolution of disapproval of Obama’s HHS waiver.  That would be fine if they wouldn’t be approving it this week.  We’ve seen this rodeo a million times before.  They punt on their only consequential opportunity to force an issue, while opting for a vacuous gesture that won’t go anywhere, especially without a parallel commitment from McConnell to bring up the resolution in the Senate.  This resolution vote provides House Republicans with a worthless talking point.  They can make believe they are fighting against the Obama Administration’s waive of work requirements, when they are actually surrendering the policy at a time when they have the power to undo the waiver.

  • Extra Spending: This is the first CR in history that actually slightly increases spending as opposed to “continuing” current levels.  To begin with, the agreement for this CR is a funding level of $1.047 trillion, not the current level of $1.043 trillion.  Moreover, as we pointed out a few weeks ago, CBO is now projecting that discretionary spending will only reach $1.039 trillion in FY 2013 based on the current budget.  As the housing market begins to recover, CBO is predicting that FHA receipts from premiums for loan guarantees will increase, netting much of that extra revenue and offsetting up to $8 billion in spending.  Yet, amazingly, instead of pocketing the savings and calling it a day at $1.039 trillion, both sides have agreed to plus up the rest of the spending accounts by 0.6% in order to “comply” with the $1.047 topline number.  You read the correctly.  Once they agreed to spend more money, they are incapable of saving it even when CBO shows that their budget could result in $8 billion less than expected.  Leave no spending behind!
  • Disaster Relief: This is an old trick that has already been used during this Congress.  This bill contains $6.4 billion in unpaid for disaster spending over and beyond the above mentioned spending cap.
  • Lame Duck: Not surprisingly, despite passing a CR funding government until March 27 2013, Congress still plans to come back for the lame duck session, when outgoing “suicide bombers” are willing to vote for terrible legislation.  The whole point of this strategy was to eliminate the lame duck session and prevent tacking on bad bills to the CR.  Now we are tacking on a bad bill to the CR….and still incurring the dangers of the lame duck session!
The House plans to vote on this bill some time this Thursday.  Please call your Republican members and tell them to abide by their promise to cut spending.  More importantly, ask them if they are willing to stand up to Obama on welfare reform.

Some people are saying that Republicans should close up shop if they can’t win in this environment.  More aptly said, they should close up shop if they are unwilling to embrace a fight against Obama on an 80/20 issue – one that cuts to core of the election.

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