Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Honduras' Struggle to Remain a Democracy, Despite Obama's Pressure to Reinstate Their Constitutionally Deposed Chavez-like Leader

The simple facts are these: When Honduras' leader tried to seize power in violation of the country's constitution, the Honduran Supreme Court ordered Zelaya to be arrested for treason and abuse of power. He was then deported to Costa Rica.

As this article details, Zelaya's arrest was legal--he was attempting to circumvent the country's constitutional provision that a President's term limit could not be constitutionally amended at any time. So he wanted to throw out that constitution and write a new one. To do that, the Congress would have had to have approved the idea, which it did not. In order to take it to the people for a referendum, he would have had to have garned a 2/3 majority in the Congress on the measure in the first place, which he did not. He nonetheless wanted to have a referendum, calling it a "survey."

A few other salient facts are these: Zelaya is a Marxist and close ally of Hugo Chavez, an America-hating, Marxist totalitarian dictator. He is a bad guy and not a friend of democracy or this nation.

So why is it that Obama not only came out in front on this issue, demanding that Honduras not only readmit Zelaya to the country (arguable), but further demanded that they reinstate him as their leader? Zelaya was ousted in accordance with Honduran law. Plus he is a bad guy who wanted to be Honduras' Chavez. Two good reasons to support the Honduran struggle to maintain their democracy.

In the face of an obvious stolen election in Iran, Obama feels the need to remain very restrained on the matter. Fine. Then he takes his restraint a bit further and makes remarks about how it doesn't really matter who comes to power in terms of our nuclear talks, something that even Obama supporters felt was an unworthy remark.

Yet in a case of a legal ouster, supported by the majority of the Honduran people, of a Marxist dictator-hopeful, Obama is threatening economic sanctions against the poverty-striken country lest it fail to reinstate the man who wants to (illegally) throw out the constitution and write a new one?

I have read a few opinions that he just wants to have a foreign policy win, and that he cannot backtrack from his initial position. Maybe, but that certainly seems unprincipled and a bit illogical. I can't help but wonder if the real reason is far worse: that a hard-left Marxist is someone with whom Obama can identify. This is not to say that Obama is some sort of Manchurian candidate; I only mean that Obama sympathizes with Marxist ideology and will support it in leaders of other nations. If that sounds ridiculous to you, take another look: the only part of that statement that is speculation is with regard to Obama's sympathies, which I cannot know. But as for who he supports, well, calling for Zelaya's reinstatement--he has made what he supports a demonstrable fact.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Enough for Thee But Not for Me

And I am not even referring to Congressional desires to impose a new health care regime on the nation from which they exempt themselves. No, this time I am talking about Obama and school choice in DC.

The wealthy and priviledged Obamas are able to send their daughters to the best school money can buy. So they do. The girls attend Sidwell Friends. Mr. Obama decided this summer, however, that two of his daughters' classmates would not be able to return. They are too poor. They must go to Anacostia High School, where fearing for one's personal safety is part of the daily grind.

Today's Post editorial about two recent studies, one analyzing the efficacy of the voucher system for the kids enrolled in it and the other simply studying crime rates in the DC public schools, indicates that Obama is not living up to his promise to "do what works" when it comes to education.

"The D.C. voucher program has proven to be the most effective education
policy evaluated by the federal government's official education research arm
so far." Equally adamant was his opinion that vouchers paid off for the
students lucky enough to win them: "On average, participating low-income
students are performing better in reading because the federal government
decided to launch an experimental school choice program in our nation's

I know that politics is a dirty world wherein lobbyists and special interest groups with either the dollars or the block voting get to control what happens and where the money goes. One handy example of this is that in all the thousands of pages of health care reform in the House, and the obvious need to cut costs somewhere, there is not a word about medical tort reform. Why? Malpractice lawyers give lots of money to the Democratic Party.

The most pitiable victim of this type of special interest and lobbying are the children stuck in failing public schools. Fascinatingly, the lobbying group most opposed to allowing children escape failing and dangerous schools are the Teachers, and thus it follows that our elected representatives who get money from them are just as opposed. And yet all of those members of the House and Senate who rally behind a cry that we must invest in our public schools, fret that vouchers will destroy them, and do their best to kill off the vouchers in the most politically-amenable way possible, well, they all send their kids to private schools. Just like the Obamas.

The editorial ends posing an interesting question.

As we've said before, vouchers aren't the answer to Washington's school
troubles; we enthusiastically support public school reform and quality charter
schools, too. But vouchers are an answer for some children whose options
otherwise are bleak. In Washington, they also are part of a carefully designed
social-science experiment that may provide useful evidence for all schools on
helping low-income children learn. Why would a Democratic administration and
Congress want to cut such an experiment short?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A trillion here, a trillion there . . .

This graph shows the Administration's revised deficit projections. They are now in line with the CBO's projections from a few months ago. Notice how much longer the lines on the right side are from the grey lines on the left. Those are the deficit outlays from the Bush years.

It is true that Bush was not fiscally responsible, but isn't it about time Obama and his defenders stopped pointing fingers at Bush whenever a conservative mentions the deficit? (I would be fine with that if it meant that Obama were actually changing course, rather than bleeding out money at a wildly unprecedented pace. )

Bear in mind, too, that these projections are based on estimates which, as when I am trying to convince my husband to up his allowance as to how much house we can afford, are often viewed under the very most optimistic assumptions.

Anyway, I will close by highlighting what I call some real hope and change.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Can It Be?

A few random thoughts on the disastrous state of our nation, and the many, many things our President is getting away with.

1) Why did Obama's Dept of Justice dismiss the default judgments it had obtained in the voter intimidation case coming out of Philadelphia? Two new black panther members, one brandishing a billy club, were found to have been in violation of the Voting Rights Act (section 11(b), which prohibits any "attempt to intimidate, threaten or coerce" any voter or poll worker.

The complaint the Justice Department filed in January (before Messrs. Obama and
Holder took over) says the Panthers made "racial threats and racial insults" to
voters and "menacing and intimidating, gestures, statements and movements
directed at individuals who were present to aid voters." One witness, Bartle
Bull, a civil-rights lawyer who worked with Charles Evers in Mississippi in the
1960s, called it the worst voter intimidation he had ever seen.

Justice won the suit by default when the Black Panthers and three individual defendants didn't show up in court to deny the allegations. But instead of following
through and getting an injunction to prevent this behavior in future elections,
the department, now under Mr. Holder, dismissed the lawsuit against all but one
of the defendants (the nightstick holder). Even then, Justice requested only a
watered-down penalty: an injunction to prevent him from carrying a weapon in a
polling place. But only in Philadelphia and only until 2012!

Whose interests does it serve to dismiss a(n already-won) case against a couple of thugs who didn't even bother to attempt to defend themselves from charges that they were intimidating voters at the polls on election day? There is no doubt that these guys were guilty, and the case was over, so it is not as if Obama could argue that he didn't want to waste resources pursuing the case. Instead, he wasted resources pursuing a dismissal of a case that had already been won. (Being repetitive is a bad habit of mine, but I just want to ensure the point is clear.) Why would Obama want them to get away with it? Perhaps most importantly, why is Obama himself getting away with dismissing these charges? Had you even heard about this (it is pretty old news)? Can you imagine if President Bush did the same thing?

2) Why is it that Obama can vote against providing medical care to babies born alive after a botched abortion attempt and then give a false justification for doing so, accusing others of lying for reporting exactly what he said and did, and never get called on it?

The undisputed facts are as follows: Obama voted against a bill in Illinois that would provide medical care to babies born alive after a botched abortion attempt. A virtually identical bill passed the Senate unanimously a year later. During the presidential race, Obama claimed that he would have supported the federal bill. How did he explain this? He lied.

He claimed that his objection to the state bill was that it undermined Roe v. Wade, even though the legislation itself contained language reaffirming Roe. When questioned about whether he had misrepresented his position on the state bills, he said:

Obama: Well and because they have not been telling the truth. And I hate to
say that people are lying, but here's a situation where folks are lying. I have
said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the
federal bill that everybody supported – which was to say – that you should
provide assistance to any infant that was born – even if it was as a consequence
of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state
level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade.

Read the Illinois measure against the federal for yourself. They are the same.

We are simply left with the embarrassing facts. Obama heard testimony from nurses about babies being thrown in bins of dirty laundry and left to die, but was more concerned that a bill to put a stop to this horrific practice would somehow infringe on abortion rights--even though that bill actually contained language to the effect that it would not be construed to undermine Roe. When not a single U.S. senator had an objection to an identical bill (who would, really, aside from our New Great Hope?) Obama was left all alone with abortion rights radicals. When called on it, Obama lied, and accused others of lying to cover it up, the media never reported it and the vast majority of the people in this country voted for the man. And are still wildly happy with him, even though they are of increasing disagreement with his policies. What is going on here?

3) The budget deficit and the proposed Government Run Healthcare system. We now have the biggest deficit in the history of the nation. And what do Obama and his supporters have to say? "Bush did it, too!" I will grant that Obama is copying Bush on many things (mainly regarding the War on Terror, but only the ACLU seems to be paying attention to that these days. The rest of the masses are just swallowing his nuances and nodding. Which is ok with me, actually.) And I will grant that Bush was definitely not the deficit hawk that I wish he had been. But I have two responses:

First, does Bush doing something make it appropriate for Obama to do, too? Second, Obama is taking this spending to an unprecedented level. He makes Bush look downright fiscally responsible.

If only I had better computer skills, I could post
these graphs of Obama v. Bush spending.

And he has the nerve to say that his Healthcare system will reduce costs? I can't believe it. And by that I mean, I can't believe he said it. I certainly do not believe that it will reduce costs, and neither do members of his own party in the House and Senate. I don't see how he is getting away with this stuff.

I have put these three complaints in the wrong order, if the proper order is to place the most disturbing facts first. I just let myself go in this one. Perhaps all I wanted to vent about was that our President gets away with having radical views and then lying about them, and yet ordinary people who are so far away from his thinking nonetheless adore him. I don't understand it at all and I believe this President is an absolute disaster for our nation. A dishonest, apologist, blame America first, elitist disaster.

I have never before in my life wanted to be wrong as much as I do now.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Not a bow?

Yes, I realize that this is not the most pressing issue of the day, but I did think it is worth noting. To me, the most significant aspect of the whole thing is that the White House issued a statement denying that Obama did in fact bow.
Come on now. Here's the videotape:
Some might say that this was an appropriate sign of respect. If that is true, why lie about having done it? (Also, why did the Saudi slave-holding King not reciprocate the gesture?)
And that is the most important aspect of all of this: I cannot trust a man who lies so obviously and so thoughtlessly.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Education Reform and Obama

Here is what the President had to say recently about education in America.

Too many supporters of my party have resisted the idea of rewarding
excellence in teaching with extra pay, even though we know it can make a
difference in the classroom…. It’s time to start rewarding good teachers, stop
making excuses for bad ones….let me be clear: If a teacher is given a chance or
two chances or three chances but still does not improve, there’s no excuse for
that person to continue teaching. I reject a system that rewards failure and
protects a person from its consequences. The stakes are too high. We can afford
nothing but the best when it comes to our children’s teachers and the schools
where they teach.

I am impressed and encouraged. It seems to me, though, that President Obama is always saying all the right things (well, except when he is saying things like this and this and this), but his actions don't measure up. Is he saying this to score some easy political points with no intention of actually doing anything? Will he support Ms. Rhee in her efforts in DC schools or will he ignore them? Will he support charter schools or is he going to let them die under the Durbin bill?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Killing Off School Choice in DC, Eliminating Hope for Poor African American Kids

Despite the $1 billion budget that DC's public schools receive each year (roughly $12,000/student, the third highest in the nation*), it ranked last in math and second to last in reading on the 2007 National Assesment of Educational Progress. Only 43% of the students entering 9th grade will actually graduate within 5 years. Only 9% will receive a college degree within 5 years from graduation. There is no doubt that the DC public school system needs major reform.

Unfortunately, DC's school children are about to suffer another injustice. The (Democratic) Senate has undertaken a new bill (proposed by Dick Durbin) to silently kill off the District's voucher program. Essentially, the scholarship program will simply terminate after next school year unless Congress reauthorizes it and DC approves. Whoever supports this measure will throw 1700 poor minority kids back into the failing public schools where it is a demonstrable fact that virtually no learning takes place.

One of the biggest hypocrisies of the left is that of education reform. Teachers, who should be most concerned about educating the kids in their charge, are part of a union that balks at the idea of a merit-based salary system, revolts at accountability measures like No Child Left Behind that insist teachers teach basic skills such that students can pass standardized tests, and riots when anyone suggests that teachers be able to pass such tests themselves. And the teacher's union makes up one of the most powerful forces in the Democratic party, the party that supposedly champions society's underdogs. Would that it were true.

The same liberal politicians who send their own children to exclusive, expensive private schools want to bar the doors of these very schools to poor minority kids whose only hope of getting out of a ghetto school is through a scholarship program like the one Dick Durbin is striving to dismantle. Obama himself sends his own kids to Sidwell Friends. If the DC public schools are not good enough for Al Gore's kids or President Obama's, why do these politicians feel that they should be good enough for anyone else's?

*When you exclude preschool, higher education and charter school expenditures, this per-pupil expenditure jumps to $22,000. In other words, DC spends $22,000 per K-12th grade student each year).

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