American Elephants

Budgets and Energy, Dishonesty and Demagoguery. by The Elephant's Child

The 2011 Budget to keep the government running was supposed to have been passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress by October 2010.  They couldn’t be bothered, or they thought all the big spending they were planning to do would make them look bad, or they were too busy with ObamaCare.  The leadership expected from President Obama also did not appear.  He spoke out about the budget for the first time on Monday, April 5, 2011.

It’s pretty clear that they wanted the Republicans to go first, so they could lie and demagogue. President Obama has done his usual passive bit, waiting for others to argue and debate, so he could pop up at the last-minute appearing decisive and controlling the situation.  He spoke again Tuesday, promising hard work trying to reach a budget compromise and hightailed it out-of-town to speak at a wind turbine factory. But he wasn’t through talking about the 2011 budget.  He said:

So I asked Congress to send me a budget that makes some serious spending cuts but still invests in things like clean energy; still invests in research; still invests in infrastructure; still invests in education — investments that are critical for us to be able to compete with any country in the world.  That’s what I asked for.  I asked for it several months ago.

In other words, he’s fine with “serious spending cuts,”  but he still plans to keep right on spending on everything he’s been squandering money on in the last two years.

The lies and demagoguery started right on schedule, from all the usual suspects.  And the president did his share:

We’re not going to always agree with each other on everything.  We live in a big country.  We’ve got a robust democracy, and that’s fine.  But we should agree on some basic things.  We should be able to agree on developing clean energy and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  We should be able to agree that we need to invest in things like our roads and our bridges and our infrastructure — because we used to have the best infrastructure in the world, and we don’t right now; other countries have gone past us.  And if we were investing in our infrastructure we’d be putting more people to work.

You know, I don’t expect everybody to always agree with me.  But coming here today, I was reminded of what I said right here three years ago, back when it wasn’t sure that I was going to win the election.  I mean, you guys couldn’t pronounce my name.  (Laughter.)  But here’s what I said.  I said, “I am not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president.  But I can promise you this:  I will always tell you where I stand.  I will be honest with you about the challenges we face and how we can solve these problems.  And I will take what I hear from you — your voices, your struggles, your hopes, your dreams — that’s what I’m going to be thinking about every single day when I’m in the White House.”  And I have kept that promise.  (Applause.)  I have kept that promise.  I’m thinking about you guys every single day when I’m in the White House.  And I’m going to keep pushing, and I’m going to keep fighting for you.

I find this shocking. He has not learned a thing. This is what he said he was going to spend the stimulus on when he promised that was the way to provide all those “shovel-ready” jobs on our roads and bridges, that he admitted didn’t exist.  That’s where all those jobs created and saved were going to come from, except that there were no jobs created and no jobs saved, except in the federal government.

“Reducing our dependence on foreign oil” is nonsense that every president since Nixon has claimed.  Oil is an international commodity, and we are a major exporter as well as importer.   “We don’t have the ‘best infrastructure’ any more, other countries have gone past us.” What on earth is he talking about? He doesn’t know, it just sounds good.

“I will be honest with you about the challenges we face and how we can solve those problems.” The words from this president’s mouth are designed to sound good to his audience.  They have no relation to his actions or to his decisions.  This president has whined for 2½ years about the debt left to him by George W. Bush, which he promptly tripled, and put us in this terrible position.

The speech that prevented President Obama from carrying on with the budget discussions was at a town hall discussion on clean energy while visiting Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania on April 6.

The reason Mr. Obama was speaking at the turbine manufacturing company was because it was bailed out with stimulus cash before it went under.  The company is being bailed out again so it can bring back the workers it laid off last November and hire 50 more people, with a handout from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The Spanish owned company is to receive $22.8 million in grants from the stimulus program.  The funding will pay for wind turbines for three large wind projects in the state.

A  John Muir Trust study, reported by the BBC concluded that wind turbines cannot be relied upon to produce significant levels of power generation. They are much less efficient than claimed, producing below 10% of capacity for more than a third of the time.  The average frequency and duration of a “low wind event” was once every 6.38 days for 4.93 hours. The study concluded that wind behaves in a “quite different manner” from that suggested by average output figures or wind speed records. “There is an urgent need to re-evaluate the implications of reliance on wind for any significant proportion of our energy requirements.”

Detainees Will Be Tried by Military Commission at Guantanamo. by The Elephant's Child

One of the strangest phenomena of recent years has been the Left’s attitude towards the prison at Guantanamo, and the terrorists imprisoned there.

There are difficult dilemmas involved in handling captured killers who refuse to obey the rules of war, let alone the rules of civilized society.  Find a way to let them go, try them and sentence them to prison terms or death, or detain them indefinitely.  Those are the choices. Over 25% of the detainees who have been released have returned to the battlefield, and those are only the ones we can identify.

In declared wars, as in World War II, when the war was over the POWs were released. And when will the war on terror end? Nazis Hermann Goering and Adolf Eichmann were sentenced to hang for their crimes. KSM and Ramzi bin al Shibh get three halal meals a day and hope that they will be released someday. As the Wall Street Journal said:

The Obama policy against military tribunals also devalues a legal wartime paradigm developed over centuries. This paradigm distinguishes between lawful combatants who wear a national uniform and obey the rules of war and unlawful combatants who do not. Without military justice, terrorists will know that, unless they are killed on the battlefield, the worst that can befall them is detention. We will have degraded the punishment for engaging in barbaric behavior against all civilized norms.

The President’s political mess over detainees is his own creation. To win the Democratic nomination, Mr. Obama sided with the anti-anti-terror left against Bush policies, only to discover the world is more dangerous and complicated than he imagined.

The president has pretended for two years that terrorism is a crime.  That collided with his responsibility to protect the nation. Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempt to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other 9/11 criminal defendants on U.S. soil was halted by a Democrat controlled Congress and New York senators who refused to fund any move of suspects to American soil. These captured killers have no right to the constitutional protections that apply to citizens.

Attorney General Eric Holder exposed the strange thinking —or lack thereof—of the Left on Monday as related by the New York Times in an editorial:

The attorney general was all scowls yesterday when, according to a poignant New York Times editorial, “Mr. Holder’s dream . . . crumbled.” The somnolent fantasy in question was the “federal court trial for the self-professed mastermind of Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed,” which Holder “described . . . as ‘the defining event of my time as attorney general,’ ” although it did not happen and will not happen.How fitting it would have been to put the plot’s architect on trial a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, to force him to submit to the justice of a dozen chosen New Yorkers, to demonstrate to the world that we will not allow fear of terrorism to alter our rule of law.

So KSM is presumed guilty,  he is forced to “submit to the justice” of a dozen chosen New Yorkers.  The purpose is to “demonstrate to the world” so the proceeding is to be a show trial.  The Times assumes that the world would be impressed by “our rule of law.” The piece was titled “Cowardice Blocks the 9/11 Trial.  Apparently the idea is that Americans are cowards to fear KSM when there are home-grown mass murderers.  Strange thinking.

Guantanamo was the best solution available for a difficult problem. Military commissions are the proper form of trial, and they should be conducted at Gitmo, the model prison facility.  Bush was right.

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