Mark Steyn: “[Obama’s] arguing …if we ease up on the waterboard, …they won’t use the rusty scimitar when they’re decapitating [our troops]

You really ought to read both President Obama’s speech and Dick Cheney’s speech from yesterday on national security. I always advise reading speeches because it you can cut through all the meaningless fawning bull-crap like, “oh – what great oratory skills presenter X has…,” and get down to the content presented. In my view – once speech consisted of high sounding theoretics – while the other seemed practical and realistic – but that’s just me. You can read them and draw your own conclusions.

Here is some audio of Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewitt discussing some of the aspects of Obama’s speech:

Here is the transcript of the audio. I have emphasized certain parts.

Read the full interview – or listen to the full Podcast

HH: Watched the extensive news coverage of President Obama and Dick Cheney hurling thunderbolts at each other. And to discuss that and other matters, joined by Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. You can read all of Mark’s work at www.steynonline.com. Mark, just generally, quite an extraordinary day on the national security front with these battling giants of the national security world.

MS: Yes. I thought the President’s speech was revolting and contemptible, and one that he really should not have given. In a sense, the Vice President, Dick Cheney, all he had to do, really, was say well look, whatever you feel about these policies, for eight years, they worked, whereas during the 90s, we had attacks on American targets routinely throughout the 1990s, leading up to 9/11. Now obviously, there’s an element of luck in that as the IRA famously said to Mrs. Thatcher, you have to be lucky every day, we only have to be lucky once. But when you’ve been lucky for eight years, I think clearly you’re doing something right. And there was no need for Obama to give this speech, and he should not have given it.

HH: He’s clearly feeling very defensive. And Dick Cheney’s speech today was so sober, so detailed, so specific in its rebuttal of the airy claims about what’s going on in the world that I think it leaves a huge mark. But let’s listen to the worst two passages among many from the Obama speech, cut number 12A:

BHO: All too often, our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight. But all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And during this season of fear, too many of us, Democrats and Republicans, politicians, journalists and citizens, fell silent.

HH: Mark Steyn, this is a deeply dishonest statement. It lacks the specificity that would allow people to rebut it, and it is an attempt to give himself credit for that which he does not deserve, the national security success of the last eight years, and to diminish that success.

MS: Yes, I think that’s true. I mean, let me say first of all, I think it’s entirely improper for him to be giving this speech. It’s far more specific, if you look for example at Jimmy Carter’s famous speech, again, saying that, I think in 1977, saying we were all far too hung up about communism, and we had “an inordinate fear” of it, even that speech, as ridiculous as that was, was not a specific assault on the immediate preceding government. Well, what happened on January 20th was not some coup, was not the successful conclusion of a war of liberation. It’s a two party system, and Party A is out of power, and Party B is in power. But the acts taken in the last year, as far as the world were concerned, were the acts of the government of the United States. And given that they were generally successful for the citizens of the United States, I think this would have been a perfectly understandable speech to give last summer when he was campaigning for president. But it’s a very weird speech, and a contemptible speech to give right now.

HH: Let’s get to the second cut, this on interrogation, cut number 14:

BHO: I know some have argued that brutal methods like waterboarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more. As commander in chief, I see the intelligence. I bear the responsibility for keeping this country safe. And I categorically reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. What’s more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured.

HH: Mark Steyn, there so many falsehoods in this. Go ahead.

MS: Yes, there are, and I think first of all, one thing that is completely absurd is this idea that somehow American interrogation techniques act as a recruitment tool for al Qaeda. This is nonsense. What acts as a recruitment tool for the jihad in general is when it’s seen or perceived to be successful, and the jihadists are seen as the coming men. The idea that some guy in Waziristan or Yemen is encouraged to join the jihad because of waterboarding is preposterous. There’s no evidence for it whatsoever. He’s just concocted that out of his own head, and I think actually betrays either the naïveté of this president, which is one thing, or what’s worse, is the cynicism of him if he knows that this is nonsense and he’s saying it anyway.

HH: Well, the idea that we’re undermining the rule of law as he undermines the rule of law, by making an attack upon the legal conclusions and positions of a previous administration, and adopting what is in essence an ex post facto approach to people who participated in the war on terror. It’s really something I never expected out of someone who purports to have been a scholar of the Constitution. Mark Steyn, the idea also that our methods will increase the degree of bad torture on our troops when they’re caught, it’s absurd. They cut our heads off.

MS: Yes, and I suppose he’s arguing here that well look, if we ease up on the waterboard, then when our troops are captured, they won’t use the rusty scimitar when they’re decapitating them. This is completely preposterous, the idea that somehow what is happening at Guantanamo and other facilities, if we make nice with these fellows, they will suddenly start observing the rules of the Geneva Convention. No, if you’re the kind of target they’re looking for, and they capture you, they will saw your head off and release it as a snuff video on the internet. And nothing that Obama says is going to change that. Now as I said, either he’s a fool who simply cannot understand that not everybody sitting around the world looks at things the way an ACLU lawyer does sitting in Hyde Park, Chicago. But if he’s making that mistake, then he’s actually incapable of the so-called empathy that he prizes as one of his key qualities.

HH: The backdrop to the speech today, Mark Steyn, bad timing for the President, of course, the arrest of four would-be bombers of synagogues and shooter-down of airlines and airplanes in New York. And I don’t believe they converted to radical Islam in prison because of waterboarding being conducted on the jihadists.

MS: No, they didn’t, and in fact if he wanted to make a serious speech, he would have addressed the issue of Islamic recruitment and conversion in American and other Western prisons, which is really the same thing happened to Richard Reid, the shoe bomber. It’s actually by now a tried and tested formula for recruits. It’s a far more effective formula than running around the Middle East saying oh, have you seen, you know, the Americans are waterboarding some of us. This is actually an effective recruiting tool, what they’re doing in Western prisons. It’s sad to see someone with such a September 10th mentality trotting out these old lines.

Obama on Iran being ‘unhelpful’ – Would you like a buttocks massage with that?

I listened to President Obama’s first press event the other night and was disgusted by his weak-sauce answer to an important question about Iran. Hugh Hewitt broke down the asinine statement on his radio show today. Here’s the audio:

Like I said: Iran provides weapons in Iraq that kill American soldiers, Defies America and the U.N. by continuing nuclear weapon development, calls for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map,’ financially backs terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas – and President Obama calls this ‘Unhelpful.’

Wow…I’m sure the Mullahs really felt shaken up being labeled ‘unhelpful’ after all that. Maybe we should send them a few valentine cards with unicorns, butterflies, and rainbows on them. Or perhaps some gift cards for 50% off their next buttocks massage…

Jules Crittenden has the list of most ‘unhelpful’ events:

There are the 241 unhelpfully dead Marines in Lebanon, and years of unhelpful instability and thuggishness there, with ongoing interference by Iranian-backed terrorists who have brought war and destruction down on the Lebanese people. There are several hundred unhelpfully dead American soldiers in Iraq and God knows how many unhelpfully dead Iraqis. There is the unhelpful nuclear program. The unhelpful training and arming of Hamas. There was the unhelpful taking of an American embassy, and 444 unhelpful days of humiliation.

America May Never Recover Unless…

“Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.”

-President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama says the latest jobless numbers demand action and it’s “inexcusable and irresponsible” for Congress to delay on his economic recovery package.

-A.P.

Here is a list from the transcript of Glenn Beck’s show on some of the things that America must pass immediately or we may never recover:

  • We’re never going to recover if we don’t get the $50 million for the National Endowment For the Arts
  • We may never recover if we don’t get $380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children’s program
  • We may never recover if we don’t get $300 million for grants to combat violence against women
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $6 billion for university building projects
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $1.2 billion to provide youth summer jobs, and this bill defines “Youth” to people up to the age of 24. You’ll be paying for those.
  • We will never recover if we don’t have $2.4 billion for neighborhood stabilization activities.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $650 million for digital TV coupons.
  • We may never recover if we don’t get $150 million for the Smithsonian.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $500 million for the improvement projects for the national institute of health facilities.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $44 million for repairs to the Department of Agriculture headquarters or
  • $350 million for agriculture department computers.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building, not for a new building. To help them move to a new building. We may never survive if we don’t have that $88 million for a moving truck!
  • We may never survive if we don’t have the money to convert federal auto fleets to hybrids.
  • This country may never recover if we don’t have a billion dollars for the census bureau.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $89 billion for Medicaid
  • $30 billion for COBRA extensions
  • $36 billion for expanded unemployment
  • $20 billion for more food stamps.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $850 million for Amtrak, a train that hasn’t turned a profit in 50 years.
  • America as we know it may never recover if we don’t have $87 million for a polar ice breaking ship, never recover.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $1.7 million for the national park system
  • $55 million for the historic preservation fund.
  • We may not survive if we don’t have $7.6 million for the rural advancement program
  • $150 million for the agriculture commodity purposes
  • $150 million for producers of livestock, farm-raised fish and honeybees.
  • We may never recover unless we have $160 million for paid volunteers at the Corporation for National and Community Service
  • If we don’t act now and pass $2 billion for renewable energy research or
  • $2 billion for clean coal power plants in Illinois or
  • $6.2 billion for a weatherization assistance program which basically is weatherstrips for underneath your door! We may never survive
  • If we don’t have $3.5 billion for energy efficiency and conservation block grants or
  • $3.4 billion for the state energy program or
  • $200 million for state and local electric transport projects or
  • $300 million for the energy-efficient appliance rebate program or
  • $400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments or
  • $1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries or
  • $1.5 billion for green technology, loan guarantees or
  • $8 billion for innovative loan guarantee program or
  • $2.4 billion for carbon capture demonstration projects or
  • $4.5 billion for the electricity grid or
  • $79 billion for the state fiscal stabilization fund.

We may never recover if we don’t do these things right now.

Read the Full Transcript.

Total Stimulus breakdown here.

Comparing Inaugural Addresses

In all honesty, I thought President Obama’s address yesterday was so-so. There were certainly good aspects to it, but then again, look at it in comparison to a couple other rather notable Presidential Inaugural Addresses:

President Barack Obama:

John F. Kennedy’s Address, a Democrat:

Republican Ronald Reagan, a Republican:

Baba Wawa -Obama/Bush Interview Compare and Contrast

Here’s some back and forth audio clips from the Larry Elder Show of Barbara Walters interviewing the former Pres.-Elect George W. Bush and the current Pres.-Elect Barack Obama:

That fairly well summarizes the way the media handled this election.

Up next: A federal bailout for the United Drool Moppers Union.

UPDATED: Height of Irony: Obama to Require Youth Involuntary Servitude – ‘REQUIREMENT’ REMOVED

If you’ve already read this – skip down for Major Updates:

serve

“Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.”

Are freedom and liberty things people even desire anymore? Or are these just quaint notions great men used to talk about in a bygone era?

How ironic that I would have to remind President-Elect Obama of the 13th Amendment:

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

In a free American society, the State does not have the power to compel service, only encourage it. Only Tyrannies hand the power of people’s lives to the state. While community service doesn’t seem to have parity with slavery, what is the real difference? Do we not trade individual masters for government? Who decides what service is, or for what institute it must be done? If I choose to serve my church, or through a Boy Scout troop – is that included? What about military service? Who will decide the penalty for non-compliance?

Naturally, The State will choose. 

And what will you do when The State requires you to do something you oppose? A government with the power to impose good – has an equal power to impose evil.

Time to once again quote the great late C.S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

(emph. mine)

I guess so long as the slaves are “doing something good” it doesn’t count as slavery.

More on Soft-Tyranny…if anyone even bothers to care anymore.

Updated: Requirement Romoved from change.gov. 

You can take a look for yourself here:

http://change.gov/americaserves/

“Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free.”

Now this is a much more thought out and reasonable proposal, and as far as change goes – a very wise one. Obviously, how exactly all this will pan out, as well as the ins-and-outs of the idea, still have much room for debate – but this is definitely an improvement over the earlier statement.

This may not have been totally clear above, but it’s not community service that I am opposed to. Clearly, part of growing up and maturing is becoming aware of the needs of those around us. As an Eagle Scout – I spent a great deal of my childhood preforming community service – and this experience helped me to grow in even greater ways than much of what I learned in traditional school. I was taught the value in helping others and volunteering through direct experience. I believe this is a vital thing for people to learn, and greatly benefits a community in the long run.

With that said – I also don’t think that instilling the value of service on citizens is a responsibility that hangs on government mandate. The real value here is learning to serve out of your own choice – rather than compulsion.

As a side note – it bears mentioning that we currently have the luxury of being governed by a (at least somewhat) moral government. What I was writing about in the initial post may have sounded like a knee-jerk reaction – but allowing a government the power to choose how you serve comes with high risk implications in the long run. What would happen if the government decided you needed to serve in a fashion that you opposed? For instance – consider military service: I happen to see value in military service as well as community service – but I hardly think people should be forced to serve militarily. The point I was making above is that a State with the power to force it’s citizens to serve is, in a way, a return to serfdom – (albeit – a benign sudo-friendly form of serfdom. But that’s today – what about 5, 10, 15 years from now?) something America was founded to oppose. 

Back to my main point:  The greater value here for a free people, is to learn and understand the value of service – and so choose to serve – as opposed to serving under pressure. In short, compulsory service (by government) makes slaves, while service by personal volition makes responsible and mature citizens.

In a free society, Government can, and should encourage certain positive behaviors, and rightly enforce punishment (to protecting rights and freedoms) on wrong behaviors. What the government cannot do is force people to do good. Not only does this hinder society in the long run (slaves resent their masters), it also runs contrary to human nature (people will not be ruled) and potentially jeopardizes individual freedom.

I’m very happy that President-Elect Obama has wisely re-considered his policy here and made adequate changes to his proposal. Hopefully, congress can work together to come up with a reasonable application of this idea, sans-coercion.

#44 Another Great Moment in America’s History

Anyone who frequents whatthecrap would know that, as a conservative, Obama was not my first choice for president. That said, my voice is not the only one in this nation (and surely, this is a very good thing). 

President Obama

Barack Obama has been elected as the 44th, and first African American, President of the United States of America. No one can deny that this is yet another amazing moment in American history. This election confirms what I have long believed, that America truly is an inclusive nation for all people, and all races. Though we do have faults – it is our propensity to rectify those problems in short order (in this case – hardly a generation), that makes up this nation’s greatness.

I only have the best of wishes for President Obama in the upcoming years. While I may differ with him on his philosophies and policies, we are all Americans, and he is my president. His position as leader of this nation deserves nothing less than my respect. I wish him, as well as Joe Biden, wisdom and grace as they take on the many challenges to come in this thankless, tireless job, which I would never desire. Also, I wish him good luck!

As Han said, “You’re gonna need it.
HanAndLando

Much more in-depth number analysis here.

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