American Elephants

President Obama’s Terrible, Horrible, Rotten, No Good, Very Bad Week. by The Elephant's Child

Republican Scott Brown was elected to the formerly Democrat seat in Massachusetts, a shocking defeat.   Union members in Massachusetts turned out for Scott Brown.  The president had delayed next week’s State of the Union address to Congress,in the hope he would get his signature healthcare reform bill passed in time.  The vote deprived the president of his 60 seat majority in the Senate.

Scott Lilley, a senior fellow at the liberal Centre for American Progress suggested that the president’s speech should be short and simple and focus on jobs.

President Obama spent his political capital on health care and climate change as unemployment soared.  Now he sees opportunity in bashing Wall Street to satisfy “public anger.”  The stock market promptly dived by around 5.1%  suggesting that investors across the world didn’t care for populist scapegoating. They’d rather see long-term solutions.

The Senate may not have the votes to confirm Ben Bernanke to a second term before his current term expires. Tim Geithner suggested he might not be on board with the bank-bashing strategy.

Bruce Josten, head of government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said “Obama has to decide whether he wants to be a transformational president, which looks optimistic at this stage, or merely an effective president.”

The Supreme Court upheld the first amendment protections for political speech by striking down a blanket government prohibition on corporate  political speech.  Democrats were horrified, for they were sure that such freedom might benefit Republicans.

Obama continues to believe that a new stimulus and lots of green jobs will be the solution to unemployment.  It has been a very bad week.

The Clear Lesson of History: Individual Liberty Requires Constant Defense Against the Encroachment of the State. by The Elephant's Child
January 23, 2010, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Progressivism, Socialism

An overwhelming 72 % of those surveyed on Wednesday say that Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts “reflects frustrations shared by many Americans, and the president and members of Congress should pay attention to it.”  Just 18 % say it “reflects political conditions in Massachusetts and doesn’t have a larger meaning for national politics.”

A 55 % majority of Americans say President Obama and congressional Democrats should suspend work on the health care bill that  has been on the verge of passage and consider alternatives that would draw more Republican support, a USA TODAY/Gallup poll finds.

Rasmussen Reports finds that 61 % of U.S. voters say Congress should drop health care reform and focus on more immediate ways to improve the economy and create jobs.    A new national telephone survey finds that just 30 % of voters nationwide disagree and think Congress should press ahead with health care.

While 71 % of the Political Class think Congress should stay focused on health care, 73 % of Mainstream voters say it’s time for their national legislators to turn their attention to more immediate ways to improve the economy and create jobs.

The White House spin was that “people are angry and frustrated.  Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.” Exactly. People were so frustrated with the Bush administration that they cheered and waved flags at every Scott Brown rally, and rushed off to the polls to vote for a Republican for the formerly Democratic seat in the bluest of blue states.

78% of Brown voters said their vote was intended to stop ObamaCare.  56% of Massachusetts voters said that health care was their top issue.  The White House thought that the president had just not communicated enough with the American people.

In the first 365 days of his presidency, President Obama has given 411 speeches, 58 of them specifically on health care.

Obama’s Political Grandstanding Means Major Costs for New York City. by The Elephant's Child
January 23, 2010, 6:29 pm
Filed under: Economy, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

The City of New York has estimated that security costs for the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial, determined by the Justice Department to be held in New York City to be close to the site of the 9/11 attack, will be about $216 million each year.  They estimate that the trial will last at least two years, but add that each additional year would cost another $206 million.

Political decisions have consequences.  Aside from painting a large target on New York City, it is highly questionable that a show trial is in the interests of the country.  Odd.  We’ve talked so much about billions and trillions that a mere $400 million doesn’t seem so big. New York City officials are worried.

Terrorism: A Trivial Nuisance Or A Continuing Threat? by The Elephant's Child
January 23, 2010, 5:23 pm
Filed under: Islam, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

And back on the National Security front, the Justice Department has announced the release from Guantanamo of a terrorist who conspired to bomb Los Angeles International Airport in the 2000 Millennium plot.  As Andy McCarthy notes:

Hassan Zumiri, who was part of an al-Qaeda affiliated terror cell in Montreal, has been repatriated to his native Algeria — a country so rife with terrorists that it was recently placed on the list of 14 countries whose travelers warrant enhanced screening at airports.  Worse, the Justice Department won’t say whether the terrorist, Hassan Zumiri, and another Gitmo detainee who was also sent to Algeria will be in custody there.  They may be free and clear.

Zemiri later plotted against the U.S. from Afghanistan, where he was captured after 9/11 by the Northern Alliance, near Tora Bora. He’d been held at Gitmo since 2003.

The other Guantanamo detainee transferred to Algeria is Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili.  Hamlili is described from his detention proceedings:

Hamlili is a particularly nasty takfiri, which means he is a hardcore ideologue who believes that not only Christians and Jews, but also most Muslims, are infidels.  In fact, Hamlili allegedly killed Osama bin Laden’s personal representative in Pakistan because Hamlili felt he had violated sharia law. Despite this incident, memos produced at Gitmo note that Hamlili worked for the Taliban, al Qaeda and a variety of other terrorist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Al Qaeda has an active hub in Algeria  (“al Qaeda  in the Islamic Maghreb”).  The group was formerly known as the “Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat”, and has stepped up attacks on Westerners, including Americans.

The most transparent government in the history of the world has not released any information on what the standards for release are, nor how and who makes that decision.  At least 60 of detainees previously released have returned to the fight.

The 200 that remained at Gitmo are considered so hardened that even the Obama administration couldn’t figure out what to do with them.  They had planned to return a large number of native Yemenis to Yemen until they recently discovered that there was a very active al Qaeda branch in Yemen.

One year after Obama eliminated the CIA’s terrorist interrogation program, the administration has not put in place it’s supposed replacement the “High Value Interrogation Group (HIG).  Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said that the HIG should have been called in to question Detroit underwear bomber Abdulmutallab, apparently unaware that there is as yet no HIG to call on.

This is low priority since the administration has limited techniques of interrogation to those listed in the Army Field Manual.  Police detectives and district attorneys across the country use more aggressive techniques daily than those in the Army Field Manual.  Obama, according to Marc Thiessen, has “so denuded our terrorist interrogation capability that the Detroit police department has more tools at its disposal.”

This fits right in with all the leftist commentators who have suddenly been comparing statistics on numbers killed by terrorists to the numbers of people killed on the highways or the number dying from cancer to demonstrate that terrorism is not a big deal.  The old “nothing to see here — just move along” ploy.  We try really hard to save the lives of those who have cancer and we try hard to cut the number of highway accidents.  Trying hard to eliminate terrorist attacks is apparently not worth our time.

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