Archive for May, 2008

Democrats Refuse to Allow Domestic Oil Production

May 23, 2008

Gene Dale wrote:

OK, want to know why I detest Chuck Schumer?:

NY Times, 1999, on releasing strategic reserves…

Mr. Schumer said the United States should begin selling a few hundred thousand gallons a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which now contains 571 million gallons. ”A relatively modest amount of oil released from our oil reserves will keep prices flat and actually reduce them,” he said.

April 30, 2008

Senator Schumer, responding to Bush’s ANWR proposal: ““And what does the President do? He takes out the old saw of ANWR. ANWR wouldn’t produce a drop of oil in 10 years, and its estimated that if they drilled in ANWR in twenty years it would reduce the price one penny.

You should know ANWR will produce 1 million barrels a day.
May 14, 2008

“If Saudi Arabia were to increase its production by 1 million barrels per day that translates to a reduction of 20 percent to 25 percent in the world price of crude oil, and crude oil prices could fall by more than $25 dollar per barrel from its current level of $126 per barrel,” Schumer insisted during a speech on the Senate floor.

“In turn, that would lower the price of gasoline between 13 percent and 17 percent, or by more than 62 cents off the expected summer regular-grade price – offering much needed relief to struggling families,” he added.

And that is a pretty darned good reason to detest Sen. Chuck Schumer. A classic example of the twisted logic of a pandering demagogue in action.

First of all, it is important to point out that if President Bill Clinton hadn’t vetoed the Republican measure to drill in ANWR in 1995 – by Schumer’s own 10 year timeframe – we would have oil from those fields stabilizing our energy for a good three years now.

Second, ANWR has a lot more oil than Democrats or their environmentalist “experts” admit, and ANWR is only the tip of the U.S. oil supply iceberg: we have massive sources of oil all over the continent that Democrats won’t allow us to touch, such as the continental shelf.

It is simply a fact that Democrats have been obstructing efforts to increase U.S. domestic oil production for years and years. While Democrats and their many media allies have attempted to phrase this issue in terms of everything BUT oil independence, it remains a fact that the steadfast policy of Democrats has been to oppose every effort to increase our supply of oil.

Last year President Bush again attempted to open up more areas to drilling, but Democrats wouldn’t have any of it. “Whatever pressing energy issue comes before the American people, the Bush administration always responds with the same oil answer: more oil,” said Representative Nick J. Rahall II, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.”

MAYBE THAT’S BECAUSE WE NEED MORE OIL!!!

Shell’s John Hofmeister tried to explain this to Democrats, but Democrats view “hearings” as opportunities to pander, not as opportunities to learn:

While all oil-importing nations buy oil at global prices, some, notably India and China, subsidize the cost of oil products to their nation’s consumers, feeding the demand for more oil despite record prices. They do this to speed economic growth and to ensure a competitive advantage relative to other nations.

Meanwhile, in the United States, access to our own oil and gas resources has been limited for the last 30 years, prohibiting companies such as Shell from exploring and developing resources for the benefit of the American people.

Senator Sessions, I agree, it is not a free market.

According to the Department of the Interior, 62 percent of all on-shore federal lands are off limits to oil and gas developments, with restrictions applying to 92 percent of all federal lands. We have an outer continental shelf moratorium on the Atlantic Ocean, an outer continental shelf moratorium on the Pacific Ocean, an outer continental shelf moratorium on the eastern Gulf of Mexico, congressional bans on on-shore oil and gas activities in specific areas of the Rockies and Alaska, and even a congressional ban on doing an analysis of the resource potential for oil and gas in the Atlantic, Pacific and eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The Argonne National Laboratory did a report in 2004 that identified 40 specific federal policy areas that halt, limit, delay or restrict natural gas projects. I urge you to review it. It is a long list. If I may, I offer it today if you would like to include it in the record.

When many of these policies were implemented, oil was selling in the single digits, not the triple digits we see now. The cumulative effect of these policies has been to discourage U.S. investment and send U.S. companies outside the United States to produce new supplies.

As a result, U.S. production has declined so much that nearly 60 percent of daily consumption comes from foreign sources.

The problem of access can be solved in this country by the same government that has prohibited it. Congress could have chosen to lift some or all of the current restrictions on exportation and production of oil and gas. Congress could provide national policy to reverse the persistent decline of domestically secure natural resource development.

Senator Orrin Hatch also questioned Hofmeister about proven reserves discovered in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming totaling at least 800 billion and as many as 2 trillion barrels of oil, which could be recovered at a cost that would be a powerful offset against the rising cost of oil. The last part of this discussion is insightful:

HOFMEISTER: I don’t know what the exact cost would be, but, you know, if there is more supply, I think inflation in the oil industry would be cracked. And we are facing severe inflation because of the limited amount of supply against the demand.

HATCH: I guess what I’m saying, though, is that if we started to develop the oil shale in those three states we could do it within this framework of over $100 a barrel and make a profit.

HOFMEISTER: I believe we could.

HATCH: And we could help our country alleviate its oil pressures.

HOFMEISTER: Yes.

HATCH: But they’re stopping us from doing that right here, as we sit here. We just had a hearing last week where Democrats had stopped the ability to do that, in at least Colorado.

HOFMEISTER: Well, as I said in my opening statement, I think the public policy constraints on the supply side in this country are a disservice to the American consumer.

Add to that the recent discovery in the Bakken Play, a North Dakota field that stretches into Montana and Saskatchewan, Canada, which is expected to yield 100 – and possibly even 200 – billion barrels of oil, and we truly have an abundance of domestic oil that could easily meet American energy needs for decades to come. If we were only allowed to exploit those resources.

Instead, the United States is forced to rely on countries and regimes that are either hostile to our interests or politically unstable. This dependence is a clear threat to our national security, and – as long as this situation remains – “oil security will continue to be one of the primary drivers of US foreign and military policy.”

In other words, if Democrats really want America out of the turmoil of the Middle East, THEY SHOULD LET US TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR OIL RESERVES.

But these people have long since proven that they would rather pander than produce, would rather demagogue than dialog.

Take a leading Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters.  Her contribution to the Democrat-engineered “show trial” of oil executives was to say, “And, guess what this liberal will be all about? This liberal will be about socializing… uh, will be about, basically taking over and the government running all of your companies.”  That’s right.  That ought to work.  The government that brought us the $1500 toilet seat will undoubtedly do a bang-up job in lowering gas prices.  And the fact that this prominent Democrat is openly proclaiming socialism while calling for a heavy-handed Marxist approach to economics shouldn’t trouble anyone.

The United States has not had a new oil refinery since 1976, due to a pattern of unyielding Democratic opposition, nonstop environmentalist litigation, and one impossibly burdensome environmental regulation after another. Democrats are clearly standing in the way of any kind of increase in refining capacity. In the last effort to increase our refining capacity, 99% of Republicans supported the bill, and 92% of Democrats opposed it.

“Everyone is quick to say “look at these refiners, they’re driving up the price,'” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Alaron Trading in Chicago. “But if I wanted to build a refinery tomorrow, I couldn’t do it.”

Today on Fox News, one industry expert predicted that if we have a single refinery disaster during this hurricane season, we will see $7.00 a gallon gasoline this summer. Why? Because our limited refining capacity is already stretched to maximum, and any delay will send already stressed prices through the roof.

Why? What possible explanation can Democrats offer to account for their incredibly absurd energy positions?

Here’s a couple Democrat’s answers to the question “Why Are Democrats Against Building More Refineries?” that quite accurately reflect the Democrat position:

* “As a Democrat I want alternative fuel not more oil. More refineries = more oil. Let us turn the page and go forward.”

* “We don’t need more refineries, we need alternate and better fuel sources. More refineries is a temporary “fix” to a very big problem. Also, was there anything hidden in the bill?

Democrats dismiss the FACT that increasing the domestic oil supply will have a profound positive impact on the price of U.S. gasoline.  Amazingly, by and large Democrats readily acknowledge that an increase in OPEC production will decrease prices; yet in practically the same breath they claim that a similar increase in American production would have no effect whatsoever.

Democrats demand that we turn away from what has provided well over ninety percent of our energy for a century and instead rely on costly, inefficient, impractical, and unproven alternatives. As one example, “Take out the 51-cents-a-gallon federal subsidy, and the true cost of U.S.-produced ethanol is equivalent to paying $6 a gallon for the same energy as gasoline, calculates Michael B. McElroy, Harvard professor of environmental studies.”

Democrats – who frankly don’t seem to understand much of anything – point to the complexity of the “very big problem” of meeting our energy needs.

And of course, Democrats love to punt to some version of a conspiracy theory rather than allowing any effort that would solve our energy crisis. One Democrat during yesterday’s hearings told the oil executives that, although she had no proof of collusion, believed that oil companies were conspiring to keep prices high, and challenged them to prove her wrong. I’ve actually wanted to pose a similar “when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife”-style question to Democrats by demanding that they prove to me that they are not insane, but I thought it would be unfair to ask until now.

Democrats keep refusing to allow any increase in oil production or refining capability, citing the argument that they want to reduce demand by means alternative energy and by changing American’s behavior. But the problem is, the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t want to change. Not long ago, I set my cruise control to the speed limit on the highway while on a sixty-mile drive, and counted the number of cars, trucks (excluding big rigs), and SUVs that went by me versus the number of cars I passed. The result: 421vehicles passed me, and I passed only 5. And cars and trucks routinely go flying by me on the road.

And while people are currently not buying a lot of gas-guzzling pickups and SUVs, previous gas-spike behavior assures me that once prices come back down, people will quickly go back to their previous ways and go back to buying the guzzlers.

The Democratic Party’s approach is to try to force automakers to produce cars that by-and-large customers don’t want; try to force vehicles to conform to shockingly-stringent environmental standards that will add thousands of dollars to the sticker price of each car; and try to force oil companies to invest in non-oil energy technologies (which is rather like trying to force Microsoft to invest in Apple). Such measures are largely ignored by consumers. What would really be interesting is if Democrats attempted to pass legislation requiring that speed-restricting governors to be placed on every new car sold. THAT would be a nice barometer to gauge genuine public opinion of their approach to energy.

The sad truth of the matter is that, unless draconian limitations on individual freedom are imposed, most of the Democrats’ energy policy will do nothing to nothing to reduce the costs of energy for the overwhelming majority of Americans. In fact, by refusing to increase the supply of oil in a global environment that is increasingly demanding a resource in increasingly restricted supply, they are only serving to drive up the cost of that energy.

That is outrageous enough. But to then turn around and attack President Bush, the Republican Party, and oil companies for a problem that Democrats themselves have been creating for over thirty years is nothing short of despicable.

Democrats Deceitful Pandering at Big Oil Hearings

May 22, 2008

Today we saw something we’ve seen four times now in something like 16 months: Democrats dragged big oil CEOs to a “hearing” in which pandering Democrats did all the talking and no “hearing” at all.

And while these eager little media-pigs sought airtime and headlines, absolutely nothing was done to actually solve our energy problems – yet again. Remember Nancy Pelosi promising that if Democrats were elected, they would reduce the price of gasoline back in April of 2006?

Vote demagogue. Vote Democrat.

Any honest hearing would have focused on the word “supply.” You see, economists talk about something that Democrats don’t seem to comprehend: the law (that’s right – LAW!) of supply and demand. If you don’t have enough supply of an item that is in demand, lo and behold the price goes up, and up, and up. What economists see as a routine market phenomenon, Democrats see as a mystery that somehow evokes a massive conspiracy.

But, no, the focus was on profits. Oil company profits, that is. The oil companies – according to Democrats – are doing something that no decent corporation should seek to do: they are earning money.

Contrary to the demagoguing of Democrats, the profits made by oil companies are really not excessive. For example, Exxon’s profit margins are only 10.7%. Profit margins at Microsoft, on the other hand, are 26%.

We routinely get “news” stories on massive oil company profits, but what we never seem to hear is the story of massive taxation upon the oil companies. The plain reality is that the federal goverment gets twice the “profit” from a gallon of gas as the oil companies, on average. And when you factor in ALL government taxes, government makes nearly FIVE TIMES as much as do the oil companies.

Dr. Mark J. Perry, an economist at the Univeristy of Michigan, notes that:

After crude oil costs, gasoline taxes are the second largest contributor to the price paid at the pump. Together Federal and State excise taxes on fuel account for an average cost of approximately 62 cents per gallon. That’s a combined tax of about 20% per gallon of gas.

The federal tax per gallon is 18.4 cents per gallon, see the history of federal gasoline taxes here, and the state tax per gallon varies by state, see the complete list of state gasoline taxes here.

Average profit per gallon of gas for oil companies: 10 cents according to the EIA.

Perry concludes by citing a question posed by Thomas Sowell, that if Democrats really consider oil companies’ profits unconscionable, what do they have to say about the taxes they impose, which add a far greater burden to the costs paid by American drivers than those “obscene” oil company profits?

A little more documentation:

An October, 2005 Tax Foundation analysis, “State and Federal Treasuries ‘Profit’ More from Gasoline Sales than U.S. Oil Industry,” reported: “Federal and state taxes on gasoline production and imports have been climbing steadily since the late 1970s and now total roughly $58.4 billion. Due in part to substantial hikes in the federal gasoline excise tax in 1983, 1990, and 1993, annual tax revenues have continued to grow. Since 1977, governments collected more than $1.34 trillion, after adjusting for inflation, in gasoline tax revenues — more than twice the amount of domestic profits earned by major U.S. oil companies during the same period.”

A September Tax Foundation analysis, “Local, State and Federal Gas Taxes Consume 45.9 Cents Per Gallon on Average,” cited the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax and provided a state-by-state “effective gasoline taxes per gallon” map. Notably, the most liberal states with the most demagogic politicians on the Big Oil profits topic, have the highest taxes. Federal and state taxes, for instance, top 60 cents per gallon in New York. The American Petroleum Institute has posted a PDF, “State Motor Fuel Excise Tax Rates,” with very detailed state-by-state data.

Let’s say a little more about the taxes that oil companies pay.

A study reveals that just one corporation (Exxon Mobil) pays as much in taxes ($27 billion) annually as the entire bottom 50% of individual taxpayers (65,000,000 people!). Moreover, the tax rate for the bottom 50% of taxpayers is only 3% of adjusted gross income ($27.4 billion in income / $922 billion paid in taxes), and the tax rate for Exxon was 41% in 2006 ($67.4 billion in taxable income, $27.9 billion in taxes).

That’s right: the average tax rate of the largest oil companies such as Exxon is 41%. And over the last three years, Exxon Mobil has paid an average of $27 BILLION EVERY YEAR in taxes.

Do you start to get it? They are making huge profits in terms of absolute dollars because their operation is so incredibly massive. However, in terms of their profit margins, they are well within the norm. And they are also paying taxes hand over fist, which increases the cost of gasoline far more than does their reasonable profit.

If big oil’s profitability were artifically restricted, what do you think would happen to investment? Or let me put it to you this way: would you rather invest in a corporation that yielded a 10% profit, or a 5% profit?

This is an IQ test, but unfortunately, congressional Democrats demonstrate themselves to be very, very stupid people.

They seem to think that gutting big oil’s profitability would somehow be good for the energy industry. They seem to think that those investment dollars would just somehow continue to pour in. Apparently, they think investors are as idiotic as they are. But they aren’t. They live in the real world, and they invest their money where the highest profits are. As investment money shriveled up, so also would investment in future energy resources and technologies. And gas would become more expensive.

Democrats – including both Democratic presidential hopefuls – have been threatening to levy a “windfall profits” tax to punish oil companies (because, apparently 41% is just too darn little). These demagogues shrilly yell in outrage over the oil companies’ modest profit, but conveniently and hypocritically ignore the burden that THEY are imposing on drivers.

Is there any reason to think that this totally irrational sounding, counter-intuitive approach would work? History proves it’s every bit as stupid as it sounds.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), is that the 1980s windfall profits tax depressed the domestic production and extraction industry and furthered our dependence on foreign sources of oil.

As Jonathon Williams puts it, “This nation’s experiment with windfall profits taxes in the 1980s proved to be economically devastating. When it was last tried, the windfall profits tax failed to raise even a fraction of the revenue forecasted and crippled the production of the domestic oil industry. But as they say, those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Having said all of this, I am not attempting to “defend” big oil companies. They are corporations, after all, and almost by definition engage in a rather amoral pursuit of profits by exploiting every avenue they can. Oil companies aren’t any better than any other corporation; and given their huge size, they are quite probably worse than average.

What I am saying is that the truly “unconscionable” figures in our energy mess are congressional Democrats, not oil companies that would do far more to solve our problems if only liberals would stop deceitfully imposing one costly burden after another upon them, and then blaming them for the resulting high cost of gas. And what I’m saying is that we need big oil far more than we need Democrats.

Unless you don’t mind riding your bike everywhere you go from now on, that is.

Hillary Clinton Strategy for Remaining in Race Now Obvious

May 21, 2008

If it wasn’t already clear before, Hillary Clinton’s strategy now seems quite obvious.

She is going to avoid bitter personal “mudslinging attacks” that will undermine her own political future along with her rival’s, and instead focus on the issue of her superior general election viability.

She is claiming that she will remain in the race through the bitter end unless the votes and delegates are counted in Florida and Michigan. Rather than presenting herself as the cynical, manipulative, power-hungry, utterly self-centered politician who is determined to stay in the race even if her party burns down around her, Hillary Clinton is presenting herself as the selfless champion of the will of the people. How noble of her!

We see here the schism that too often lies between substance and rhetoric in modern Democratic politics. Normally, Republicans are the ones on the unpopular side of this divide, but here the victim is clearly the more liberal Barack Obama. When Florida and Michigan (seeking to be more ‘relevant’) violated the DNC’s rules by determining to hold their primary earlier, all the Democratic presidential candidates agreed to abide by the DNC’s exlusion of those states’ delegates. But now, regardless of the rules that she personally accepted, Hillary Clinton is claiming that the states’ decision to violate DNC rules has nothing to do with the people of the states that made the decision. They are, in the words of Mongo from Blazing Saddles fame, merely “pawns in game of life.” Obama played by the rules, and is calling for those rules to be followed.

Hillary Clinton gets to throw out the rules that she agreed to accept in what is clearly a self-serving gesture, and take the credit for being the champion of the “victims” in Florida and Michigan. It’s the same play that Democrats relied upon today when they (as the ones who actually caused our current energy crisis by refusing to allow domestic oil production) proceeded to hang the blame on the oil companies and the White House.  On a day like this, it’s frankly fitting that a Democrat would use the same junk rhetoric against her own party.

If Hillary gets Florida and Michigan included, as she demands, she will clearly be able to officially claim that she obtained more of the popular vote than Barack Obama.

And, of course, it is now practically an article of liberal faith – from the 2000 election – that the candidate who wins the popular vote should be president.

Hillary today said, “We believe that the outcome of our elections should be determined by the will of the people. Nothing more. Nothing less. And we believe the popular vote is the truest expression of your will. We believe it today just as we believed it back in 2000 when right here in Florida you learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren’t counted and a candidate with fewer votes is determined the winner.”

Notwithstanding the obvious insult to President Bush, Hillary Clinton’s statement serves to show that the Democratic position is – and has been – that such things as “the rules” shouldn’t matter, and that the process should rather be used in a cynical, self-serving way to attain partisan or personal advantage.

Do you think for a nanosecond that if the roles were reversed, Hillary Clinton would not be demanding that the process both candidates agreed to be followed? For that matter, do you think that if Barack Obama were in Hillary’s shoes, he wouldn’t be demanding the same things that Hillary is demanding now?

Including the delegates from Florida and Michigan will not affect Barack Obama’s lead in the ultimate measure that determines the winner – the delegate count. But it will undermine Obama as the nominee who failed to win the popular vote.

Rather than attempt to chop Obama down with bitter attack ads, Clinton will continue to focus on Obama’s inability to build a coalition capable of winning in November.

Her remaining in the race (oh so selflessly for the sake of those tired, poor huddled masses yearning to have their primary votes counted in Florida and Michigan) will have its own culminative effect on the Obama run, as the fractured Democratic convention bears the same fruit as all the fractured conventions that have occurred before.

Hillary’s plan is to allow Obama to be the latest McGovern-Dukakis-type fiasco, and then loudly trumpet to Democrats, “I told you so.”

She will claim that she was trying to point out Obama’s manifold weaknesses as a candidate for the good of the party, but Democratic leaders refused to listen to her wisdom.

Which will position her – as the wise leader who understood the dynamic all along – to make her own run from a superior political position in 2012.

NBC’s Deceptive Editing Reveals Why Bush Right and Obama Wrong

May 20, 2008

A May 19, 2008 post titled “We Help ‘The Hill’” provides illumination all too-often lacking in today’s distorted and biased media:

Matt Drudge links to a Hill story that badly needs supplementation:

The White House on Monday sent a scathing letter to NBC News, accusing the news network of “deceptively” editing an interview with President Bush on the issue of appeasement and Iran.

At issue were remarks Bush made in front of Israel’s parliament earlier this week.

Specifically, White House counselor Ed Gillespie laments that the network edited the interview in a way that “is clearly intended to give viewers the impression that [Bush] agreed with [correspondent Richard Engel’s] characterization of his remarks when he explicitly challenged it.

“This deceitful editing to further a media-manufactured storyline is utterly misleading and irresponsible and I hereby request in the interest of fairness and accuracy that the network air the President’s responses to both initial questions in full on the two programs that used the excerpts,” said Gillespie in the letter to NBC News President Steve Capus.

That does not present much with which to opine on the merits of the dispute.

Here is a transcript of the interview in question via Newsbusters, the White House release of the full interview, and Bush’s Knesset speech. [Marc Ambinder reprints the White House letter.]

Gillespie objected to “both initial questions”; here is the first as presented by NBC:

RICHARD ENGEL: Good morning, Meredith. I started by asking the President about his controversial comments he made in Israel, which Democratic candidates interpreted as a political attack. You said that negotiating with Iran is pointless and then you went further. You’re saying, you said that it was appeasement. Were you referring to Senator Barack Obama? He certainly thought you were.

GEORGE W. BUSH: You know, my policies haven’t changed, but evidently, the political calendar has.

Left on the cutting room floor was this:

People need to read the speech. You didn’t get it exactly right, either. What I said was is that we need to take the words of people seriously. And when, you know, a leader of Iran says that they want to destroy Israel, you’ve got to take those words seriously. And if you don’t take them seriously, then it harkens back to a day when we didn’t take other words seriously. It was fitting that I talked about not taking the words of Adolph Hitler seriously on the floor of the Knesset. But I also talked about the need to defend Israel, the need to not negotiate with the likes of al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas. And the need to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon.

But I also talked about a vision of what’s possible in the Middle East.

So Bush did in fact dispute Engel’s characterization of the speech. Here is the next question as presented by NBC:

ENGEL: Negotiations with Iran. Is that appeasement? Is that like appeasing Adolf Hitler?

BUSH: No my, my, my position, Richard, all along, has been that if the Iranians verifiably suspend their enrichment, which will be a key, key measure to stop them from gaining the know-how to build a weapon, then they can come to the table and the United States will be at the table.

Omitted:

…then they can come to the table, and the United States will be at the table. That’s been a position of my administration for gosh, I can’t remember how many years, but it’s a clear position. We’ve stated it over and over again.

But I’ve also said that if they choose not to do that — verifiably suspend — we will continue to rally the world to isolate the Iranians. And it is having an effect inside their country. There’s a better way forward for the Iranian people than to be isolated. And their leaders just need to make better choices.

Like a body after an autopsy, it’s them parts that got cut out tend to matter most.

President Bush states that it’s not “talking” to dictators that qualifies as “appeasement,” but rather the failure to take the evil intentions repeatedly stated by evil regimes seriously. But that got cut from NBC as being an irrelevant point.

I posted an article titled Iraq War Justified. I begin with the fact that the “experts” in both the intelligence community and the media utterly failed to understand Saddam Hussein’s evil and therefore refused to comprehend his repeatedly stated intentions until after he invaded Kuwait.

In the 1930s, the world failed to take Hitler seriously. They simply refused to believe that he would push the world into war. In the 1990s, the world failed to take Saddam seriously. They simply refused to believe that he would push the world into war. And now we have Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly stating that they intend to annihilate Israel, and the world is failing to take them seriously. We are taking lightly an Iranian administration that buys into a cataclysmic Armageddon theology, whose president has said, “I Have a Connection With God, Since God Said That the Infidels Will Have No Way to Harm the Believers”; “We Have [Only] One Step Remaining Before We Attain the Summit of Nuclear Technology”; The West “Will Not Dare To Attack Us.”

And there’s that legitimate question that Obama has not been pressed to answer, namely: if you meet with these people, what do you intend to say to them? Just what is it you think you can accomplish with your words that a legitimate, longstanding American foreign policy position has failed to achieve?

Also omitted were two-thirds of his answer to the question, “Negotiations with Iran. Is that appeasement? Is that like appeasing Adolf Hitler?”

President Bush’s answer: “No my, my, my position, Richard, all along, has been that if the Iranians verifiably suspend their enrichment, which will be a key, key measure to stop them from gaining the know-how to build a weapon, then they can come to the table and the United States will be at the table.”

And combined with the part that got left out by NBC: “Then they can come to the table, and the United States will be at the table. That’s been a position of my administration for gosh, I can’t remember how many years, but it’s a clear position. We’ve stated it over and over again.

But I’ve also said that if they choose not to do that — verifiably suspend — we will continue to rally the world to isolate the Iranians. And it is having an effect inside their country. There’s a better way forward for the Iranian people than to be isolated. And their leaders just need to make better choices.

Clearly, the editorial intent was not to clarify the president’s position, but to leave it as murky – and thus as easy to mischaracterize and attack – as possible.

The question is, if we are NOT going to declare war and launch a massive invasion of Iran, just what ARE we going to do? And the position of the United States – along with most of the civilized world throughout the course of modern history – has been to attempt to isolate dangerous and offensive regimes as a course to force them into change.

That has obtained far superior results to “I’m going to give them a nice, long moral lecture.”

Some years back, liberals cheered and encouraged the use of the isolation policy to bring about the downfall of apartheid South Africa.

But we’re going to change course now, and – instead of trying to force a regime to come into line with a policy acceptable to the world – and – instead of trying to repudiate a despicable regime’s depraved record by refusing to dignify their policies – we are going to start reaching out and talking to them.

Barack, before you try to put your policy to work in Iran, why don’t you go to some of our state prisons and try to have a nice chat with a few of our most violent inmates? [“Guard, will you release this man from his shackles before you leave? I want to have a real conversation with him, without preconditions”]. Tell me how it works out for you.

There are plenty of countries that would love the prestige and influence of a dialog with the leader of the most powerful nation in the history of the world. The privilege of such a visit – which brings status, legitimacy, and benefits – should now be accorded to the most vicious, murderous regimes bent on terrorism and quite possibly even Armageddon.

Neville Chamberlain talked with Adolf Hitler three times, and all it got him was the title of the worst APPEASER in human history. But you know what they say: records are meant to be broken.

Hey, maybe all those countries who have wanted a state visit with the President of the United States but haven’t gotten one should start massively supporting global terrorism and building their own nuclear weapon. Call it ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’ diplomacy.

More Americans would probably realize just how stupid Obama’s policy really is compared to the Bush policy he has been vilifying, but we have media like NBC to insure that they don’t get the full story.

Trinity Magazine a Trumpet Call to Obama’s Link to Extremism

May 20, 2008

The ties between Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright and the Trinity United Church of Christ are not going away – because they shouldn’t. There’s just too much meat on that rotting carcass.

Prior to the revelations of Obama’s associations with the Rev. Wright and Trinity, I was one of the substantial majority of conservatives that feared and distrusted a Hillary Clinton administration far more than an Obama presidency. Other than his documented liberalism, I had no axes to grind with the junior senator from Illinois.

But as soon as I started hearing the words of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and started to understand the twenty year relationship Barack Obama had with a purveyor of hatred, bitterness, and racism, that changed like a dirty diaper.

I immediately knew that: 1) I’d never heard anything remotely so vile come from any pastor I’ve ever sat under; and 2) that I would have got up and walked out of any church in which I ever did hear anything so vile.

And right from the start, I simply could not believe that a man as intelligent and articulate as Barack Obama clearly is – a graduate of Harvard Law School and editor of the Harvard Law Review – could be so completely ignorant of the basic theology and teaching of a church he attended for over twenty years.

The progress of this story is telling:

In a campaign appearance in early March, Sen. Obama initially said, “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial.” He said Rev. Wright “is like an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with,” telling a Jewish group that everyone has someone like that in their family.

In a statement made to ABCNews.com the day the Wright “statements” began to come out, Obama’s press spokesman Bill Burton said, “Sen. Obama has said repeatedly that personal attacks such as this have no place in this campaign or our politics, whether they’re offered from a platform at a rally or the pulpit of a church. Sen. Obama does not think of the pastor of his church in political terms. Like a member of his family, there are things he says with which Sen. Obama deeply disagrees. But now that he is retired, that doesn’t detract from Sen. Obama’s affection for Rev. Wright or his appreciation for the good works he has done.”

The attitude of the Obama camp was really more selective outrage that the press would cover Wright’s outrageous remarks than over the nature of the remarks themselves.

But within days, it was evident that Barack Obama had to distance himself from his longtime pastor.

In his Philadelphia speech, delivered March 18, Obama said:  Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.”

He went on to say of Wright, “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.”

But Jeremiah Wright proceeded to go from forum to forum to prove that Obama’s characterization of Wright’s remarks was a flat-out lie.  Rather than “the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube,” Wright proceeded to defend every single one of the hateful “soundbites” that had been seen coming out of his mouth.  It turned out that Trinity United Church of Christ really HAD “conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators.”  It turned out that those commentators had been far more accurate and honest than Obama was.

And as Jeremiah Wright repeatedly and passionately defended his views – and demonstrated that they had represented his key beliefs all the time – Barack Obama finally did come out and denounce the man who had been his spiritual advisor for over twenty years.  We can only surmise that he has not yet denounced his grandmother (a.k.a. that “typical white person.”

The question is not whether Obama believes exactly the same things that Jeremiah Wright believes (we frankly don’t know what Obama believes, given the massive disconnect between his words and his actions).  The thing that bothers me is the fact that Wright said one hateful thing after another, and somehow nothing seemed to trigger sufficient outrage to walk out and denounce the pastor as well  the church that gave this pastor his pulpit.

What would it take to make you vote with your feet and say, “That’s it.  I’m out of here”? The fact is that somehow, in this absolutely toxic environment, Barack Obama never heard anything that reached his threshold.

I have never heard the kinds of things that Wright has said come out of the mouth of any pastor I have ever heard.  And if I ever were to hear such remarks, I would be out of that church as fast as I would be out of a toxic dump facility.

Obama has continued to maintain that – although he heard certain “controversial remarks” (being careful to never ever mention the specific content of said “controversial remarks”) – he has never heard any of the outright hate that he now acknowledges have “outraged” and “saddened” him.

But that story has seemed so implausible.

And now its even more implausible.

Now we know that Obama has repeatedly appeared in a church publication called Trumpet Magazine, a magazine that has repeatedly featured one Barack Obama on its pages, and even on its cover.

Now it’s not just a matter that Obama didn’t bother to hear.  It’s that he didn’t bother to read either.

Stanley Kurtz has a devastating piece titled, “Jeremiah Wright’s ‘Trumpet’“: The content of the magazine produced by Barack Obama’s pastor reveals the content of his character.

Kirtz says, “Wright founded Trumpet Newsmagazine in 1982 as a “church newspaper”–primarily for his own congregation, one gathers–to “preach a message of social justice to those who might not hear it in worship service.” So Obama’s presence at sermons is not the only measure of his knowledge of Wright’s views. Glance through even a single issue of Trumpet, and Wright’s radical politics are everywhere–in the pictures, the headlines, the highlighted quotations, and above all in the articles themselves. It seems inconceivable that, in 20 years, Obama would never have picked up a copy of Trumpet.”

Kurtz provides a littany of the absolute poison that this magazine contains.

Another arcticle is titled, “Obama Featured With Farrakhan MANY Times on Trinity’s “Trumpet” magazine cover.”

The article – after linking Obama to the Black Panthers by way of statements from the Panthers – concludes: “This is the disaster of Barack. Instead of transcending race, he has embraced and lived in the heart of a radical theology that preaches racial division and black dominance. I’ll stick with Martin Luther King. I want to be judged by the content of my character, not the color of my skin. Malik Shabazz certainly does not believe that.”

Another article on the same vein is title, “Obama, The Fulfillment of Black Liberation.”

A very valuable resource of Barack Obama’s future electibility problems is titled, “Barack “I-didn’t-know” Obama.”

Now, it’s bad enough that Barack Obama is linked to all of this.  But now it turns out that someone at Trinity has been scrubbing the church webstite to delete embarassing ties between Barack Obama and the church, prompting ABC’s Jake Tapper to ask the question, “Who’s Scrubbing the Trinity United Church of Christ Website?

Interestingly, Trumpet used to have a web presence and now it doesn’t seem to.

Here’s the Google cache of the Trumpet Magazine heralding Louis Farrakhan (“When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens,” says the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright,likening the Minister’s influence to the E. F. Hutton commercials of old. “Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen…Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African American religious experience.”)

Through a web archive search I also found THIS ARTICLE from the September 2005 Trumpet, in which Rev. Wright wrote: “Conservative fanatics line up on the side of al-Qaeda or they line up behind George Bush. Both are terrorists! Both believe that war is the answer. Both believe in murdering innocent people…”

Who’s scrubbing the web to sanitize this story?

Ever hear of Watergate?

Duane R. Patterson posts a longer story detailing more information.

An article by Aaron Klein subtitled, “Magazine’s reinforcement of anti-American rhetoric
casts doubt on senator’s insistence he was not aware
” contains still more ammunition.

Most Americans have only seen the tip of the iceberg of facts establishing a connection between Barack Obama and all kinds of hateful ideas, people, and groups.

Let’s hope that the Democratic Party – which is well on its way to anointing this man as its presidential nominee – is in the process of pulling off a modern day “Titanic.”

Malignant Brain Tumor: Say a Prayer for Ted Kennedy

May 20, 2008

I don’t mind saying, I hate Sen. Ted Kennedy’s politics.

But I don’t hate the man.

Today is a day to put politics aside and come together to pray for the man. Ted Kennedy is – by all accounts – a beloved patriarch of a family that has witnessed much greatness and endured much pain.

Over the past several years I have seen shocking hatred expressed when conservative figures have been diagnosed with serious illnesses, and glee expressed in their passing. It is hard to believe that so many people are willing to sink to such a level, but we’re seeing more and more of it in our deteriorating culture.

I’m sure that a few “right wing” sites might express the same glee today over Ted Kennedy, but I don’t subscribe to any such sites, and would walk away from any sites that offered up or tolerated such hate.

Ted Kennedy – and for that matter such men as Charlton Heston, Tony Snow, and William Buckley – are human beings, and all these men deserve the fundamental dignity and respect due to ALL human beings.  And even as we disagree over politics and as we fight to advance our positions, we should always recognize that there is a line that we should dare not cross.

I have, in my articles, attacked Democrats on their positions and on their worldview. And I will continue to do so. But I have never wished them harm or suffering.

I will do everything I can to prevent Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton from being elected President of the United States. But if one of these individuals IS elected – as a religious person and as an American citizen – I will continue to pray for the wisdom, judgment, safety, and health of my leaders. There comes a point when despising your leaders is tantamount to forming a circular firing squad.

So I will be praying for the health and recovery of Ted Kennedy and the strength of his family while he goes through this crisis. And I hope you will join me.

How to Demagogue the Economy

May 17, 2008

Want some good news that you probably haven’t heard? The United States has the best economy on the planet!

Here’s the May 15, 2008 story by CNN.Money.com:

GENEVA (AP) — The United States topped world competitiveness rankings for the 15th straight year, but its economy is showing the same signs of weakness that sank booming Japan in the early 1990s, according to an annual survey released Thursday.

Asian tigers Singapore and Hong Kong ranked just behind the U.S., as they did last year. Switzerland jumped two places to fourth, while Luxembourg rounded out the top five most competitive national economies, said the Lausanne, Switzerland-based IMD business school, publisher of the World Competitiveness Yearbook.

“The big question is whether the United States will be No. 1 after this year,” project director Stephane Garelli said, adding that the report was based on 2007 data that do not fully reflect all of the problems in U.S. financial markets. “Everyone is catching up very quickly, but so far the U.S. economy is showing a lot of resilience.”

The study lists 55 economies according to 331 criteria that measure how the nations create and maintain conditions favorable to businesses.

The U.S. position was cemented by its domestic economy, which is the world’s strongest, topping all others in its amount of investments, stock purchases and commercial service exports. The U.S. also ranks as the easiest place to secure venture capital for business development and dominates all other economies in key technology criteria such as computers in use, according to the report.

But Garelli warned that U.S. economic health is vulnerable because of its heavy reliance on the financial sector for corporate profits.

The 2008 report says there are parallels between now and two decades ago, when the business school first started to study competitiveness and “Japan’s competitiveness seemed unassailable, with a strong domination in economic dynamism, industrial efficiency and innovation.”

“Then all hell broke loose,” it added. “The stock market went into reverse in 1989, land prices collapsed in 1992, credit cooperatives and regional banks came under attack in 1994, large banks teetered on the edge of bankruptcy in 1997, and a major credit crunch occurred in 1998. Does this ring a bell?”

While the report called the similarities “frightening,” Garelli said there are important differences between the Japan that stagnated for nearly a decade and the U.S. economy teetering on the brink of a recession now.

Japan’s decision-makers were bureaucrats or politicians who reacted too slowly. The U.S. administration, by contrast, is full of business and financial experts that know when things need to be shaken up.

“The U.S. always seems to find the means to reinvent itself in ways that Japan – and much of Europe – often lacks,” he said.

Rounding out the top 10 most competitive nations were Denmark, Australia, Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands. Slovenia rose eight places to 32nd – a jump matched by Poland, which is now 44th. Greece slipped the furthest, six places down to 42nd.

China and India both dropped two places in the report, to 17th and 29th, respectively. Russia fell four spots to 49th.

Venezuela was ranked last for the third year in a row, immediately preceded by Ukraine, South Africa, Argentina and Indonesia.

The United States economy is rated as the strongest and most competitive in the world for the fifteenth year in a row. This is frankly astounding news, given the fact that we are routinely told that President Bush has horribly mismanaged the economy, that we are in a terrible recession, and that no president has been this incompetent since Herbert Hoover (and go ahead and have one from the Washington Post for the road).

Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich is actually talking about a depression, proving he’s diminutive in more than just height. Goodness sakes people, it’s really quite remarkable how stupid and irrational people with average to above-average IQs can become when they buy into a completely warped view of the world.

Another interesting story is the economic mythology that we are continually presented about the Clinton years. If you believe what you are routinely spoon fed, you know that President Clinton left President Bush with a budget surplus and a strong economy. False and false again.

First of all, President Clinton did not balance the budget; what he did was fiddle with the numbers by paying off the public debt by borrowing from the intergovernmental debt (particularly from the Social Security Trust Fund). If you think that’s a legitimate way to balance the budget, kindly check yourself in to the nearest mental health facility for evaluation. But even with such shenanigans, the last Clinton budget was $133.29 billion in the red.

It is simply not true that President Bush balanced the budget in anything resembling a meaningful or legitimate sense.

Furthermore, President Clinton left President Bush an economy that was already stumbling into recession.
The GDP declined into the negative range in the third quarter of the year 2000.

Wikipedia points out, “The U.S. economy shrank in three non-consecutive quarters in the early 2000s (the third quarter of 2000, the first quarter of 2001, and the third quarter of 2001).

Using the stock market as an unofficial benchmark, a recession would have begun in March 2000 when the NASDAQ crashed following the collapse of the Dot-com bubble.”

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the GDP was at a negative growth of 0.5% in the third quarter of the year 2000. There was another 0.5% negative GDP growth in the first quarter of 2001, and a -1.4% quarter in the third quarter of 2001.

A document from the state of Ohio says, “In the second half of 2000, traditional manufacturing has experienced negative growth, which qualifies as a recession using the definition of two consecutive quarters of decline.”

Media Matters, the well-funded liberal hate site and attack operation, has cried foul over the National Bureau of Economic Research’s revision of economic data to indicate that there really was a “Clinton recession” that began in the latter half of the year 2000. But, even if the original figures of negative growth given as March-November 2001, it’s still on President Clinton’s record. The simple reality is that the Bush administration’s first fiscal year did not begin until October 1, 2001. There is simply no getting around the fact that Clinton most definitely did NOT leave Bush a strong economy.

Why is there such an overwhelming belief in things that are simply false?

Because the media – which is and has been firmly on the side of the left – is routinely disingenuous with statistics, which can often be tricky even for people who aren’t trying to lie.

The research confirms it:

During the 2000 election, with Bill Clinton as president, the economy was viewed through rose-colored glasses. According to polls, voters didn’t realize that the country was in a recession. Although the economy started shrinking in July 2000, most Americans through the entire year thought that the economy was fine.

But over the last half-year, the media and politicians have said we were in a recession even while the economy was still growing.

Gas prices are going up. The economy is slowing. Talk of recession is seemingly everywhere. While the majority of people rate their personal finances positively, consumer confidence in the economy has plunged to a 16-year low, well below what it was during the last year of the Clinton administration when we were in a recession.

A Nexis search on news stories during the three-month period from July 2000 through September 2000 using the keywords “economy recession US” produces 1,388. By contrast, the same search over just the last month finds 3,166. Or, even more telling, take the three months from July through September last year, when the GDP was growing at a phenomenal 4.9 percent. The same type of Google search shows 2,475 news stories.

Over 78 percent more negative news stories discussed a recession when the economy under a Republican was soaring than occurred under a Democrat when the economy was shrinking.

A little perspective on the economy would be helpful. The average unemployment rate during President Clinton was 5.2 percent. The average under President George W. Bush is just slightly below 5.2. The current unemployment rate is4.8 percent, almost half a percentage point lower than these averages.

The average inflation rate under Clinton was 2.6 percent, under Bush it is 2.7 percent. Indeed, one has to go back to the Kennedy administration to find a lower average rate. True the inflation rate over the last year has gone up to 4 percent, but that is still lower than the average inflation rate under all the presidents from Nixon through Bush’s father.

Gas prices are indeed up 33 percent over the last year, but to get an average of 4 percent means that lots of other prices must have stayed the same or gone down. On other fronts, seasonally adjusted civilian employment is 650,000 people greater than it was a year ago. Personal income grew at a strong half of one percent in just February.

Despite all that, this last week, Barack Obama proclaimed “As most experts know, our economy is in a recession.” Hillary Clinton made similar staements last fall. Yet, as any economist knows, a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth, and we haven’t even had one single quarter of negative growth reported. The economy slowed down significantly during the end of last year, but that was after a sizzling annual GDP growth rate of 4.9 percent in the third quarter.

Housing has obviously been a big drag on the economy, but many other sectors of the economy, such as exports, have been doing well, some extremely well. For example, aerospace exports increased by over 13 percent last year.

The media’s focus on the negative side of everything surely helps explain people’s pessimism. In a recent interview Fox’s Neil Cavuto claimed this bias “is all part of the media’s plan to get a Democrat in the White House.”

Indeed, research has indicated that media bias is real. Kevin Hassett and I looked at 12,620 newspaper and wire service headlines from 1985 through 2004 for stories on the release of official government releasing numbers on the unemployment rate, number of people employed, gross domestic product (GDP), retail sales, and durable goods.

Even after accounting for how well the economy was doing (e.g., what the unemployment rate was and whether it was going up or down), there was still a big difference in how positive or negative the headlines were. Democratic presidents got about 15 percent more positive headlines than Republicans for the same economic news.

Yet, the hysteria created by this coverage can have another cost. It creates pressure for government to “do something,” even if that rush to do something actually ends up hurting the economy. For example, Obama’s promises last week “to amend our bankruptcy laws so families aren’t forced to stick to the terms of a home loan” will only further drive down the value of mortgage-backed securities, making any unstable financial institutions that hold them even more likely to fail. In the long term, who is going to want to loan money when the contract can be rewritten at a later date?

The news media have generated a lot of fear. Ben Stein has a point when he says “The actual economic conditions are not that bad. I think if we have a recession, if we have a serious recession, a great deal will lie at the media’s feet.” Hopefully a little perspective will enter the picture before even more harm is done.

John Lott is the author of Freedomnomics and a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland.

In particular we can see the fudging of economic perception by one particular media outlet – CNN – in a recent poll they did.

Fox News reported the story this way under the title, “The “R” Word“:

It appears that CNN has decided the U.S. is in a recession even though the economic data do not support that claim.

On its Web site, CNN posted the exit poll results from Tuesday’s West Virginia primary which asked voters if and how the “recession” has affected their family. All the major television networks use the same exit poll questionnaire.

And, while that generic survey asked voters, “Has the current recession or economic slowdown affected you and your family?”

Other networks, including this one, used the term “economic slowdown” when reporting the results. A recession is defined as at least two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. The last quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 were marked by slow, but positive economic growth.

A blogger is a little angrier about this bias, and backs his temper up with solid data:

Adolph Hitler described the propaganda technique known as the “big lie” in his Mein Kampf as a lie so colossal that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

The liberal American media have mastered this technique in a way that would have had Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels slapping his forehead and saying, “I should have thought of that!”

The History of Past Appeasement Serves As A Warning For The Future

May 16, 2008

In light of the furor over President Bush’s speech at the Knesset and the Democrat’s response, I thought it appropriate to provide a history of the appeasement that preceded World War II.

Under the terms of the first World War and the subsequent 1925 Locarno Treaty, the Germans were not allowed to militarize the Rhineland. Hitler abolished the agreement in 1935 and began to militarize. Hitler’s tiny army would have been no match for France alone, let alone Britain, and Germany’s generals feared that the two countries would react to oppose them. Germany’s War Minister, Field-Marshall Werner von Blomberg, issued orders that if the allies opposed the re-occupation of the Rhineland, German troops were to withdraw immediately.

There was no opposition from either war-wearied allied country. Hitler was allowed to gain not only an incredibly valuable military advantage, but he also achieved a huge political victory against his cautious generals. He had been right and they wrong in assessing the Allies’ weakness. But most of all, the revelation of the Allies’ shocking display of apathy and weakness would be a huge asset to Hitler over the next three years.

A major part of Hitler’s strategy to reunify Germany as a military power was the Nazi takeover of Austria. Austria had been supported by France, but that support was nowhere to be found when Austria most needed it. Germany staged a coup that, although bloodless, was completely based on genuine intimidation. Hitler essentially declared that if his Nazi movement was not given power in Austria, he would invade the country and impose it by force. The new Nazi Austrian Chancellor’s first act (12 March 1938 ) was to ask for the German army to be sent in “to establish peace and order… and to prevent bloodshed.”

The Allies sat idly by and allowed Germany to increase its power.

In May 1938 Hitler began to prepare to invade to forcibly annex the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. As German divisions began to move in, France and Britain announced that any invasion of Czechoslovakia would be met with a military response, and Hitler backed down. But throughout the summer, the Nazis engineered a series of “incidents” in the Sudetenland which forced a response by the Czech government. Hitler, now able to present his case in terms of the safety and self-determination of the ethic Germans in the Sudetenland, again threatened invasion.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, went to Germany expressing his desire to discuss a peaceful settlement with Hitler. Britain and France informed the Czechoslovakians that they would not go to war over the Sudetenland and so informed Hitler. But Hitler, smelling weakness, said this was no longer enough. After more negotiations, in which Britain and France backed down entirely from their previous positions, Germany was allowed to occupy the strategically important Sudetenland beginning on 1 October 1938 – the day Hitler had fixed as the date he would have invaded should diplomacy fail – in exchange for an agreement from Hitler that this would be “his last territorial demand in Europe.”

Jan Masaryk, the Czech Minister in London, called on British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax on the eve of the Munich Conference and said, “If you are sacrificing my nation to preserve the peace of the world, I will be the first to applaud you. But if not, God help your souls!”

Britain and France had betrayed Czechoslovakia for an empty promise, that Neville Chamberlain naively believed would bring “peace in our time.” Edouard Daladier took a more realistic view: “The fools,” he said bitterly, acknowledging the cheers of the crowds. “If only they knew what they are cheering.”

Poland and Hungary greedily took their share of Czechoslovakian land along with the Nazis in an agreement to cede territories. The land seized from Czechoslovakia had left it strategically exposed to invasion. But when it came time for Czechoslovakia to seek its share in the agreement that had been imposed upon it, they were met with elusive double talk.

It began to become increasingly obvious that the Munich Agreement of 29 September 1939 had not put an end to Hitler’s ambitions. All that the agreement had accomplished was to provide a springboard for further German advances. On 21 October 1938, Hitler issued a directive to his army to prepare for the final liquidation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia. By the end of November, Italy’s fascist dictator Mussolini publicly stated his intent to launch territory-grabbing invasions in North Africa in a speech.

A new and vicious pogrom in Germany caused revulsion. In the “Week of Broken Glass” begining on 9 November 1938, the Nazis encouraged the most brutal excesses of Germans against Jews. A cry of outrage came from the opponents of appeasement, who had criticized Chamberlain from the outset of the Munich Agreement.

During strategic conferences with his generals, Hitler gauged Chamberlain’s naivety and lack of resolve and concluded that Britain would write off Czechoslovakia without war. German generals Field-Marshall Werner von Blomberg, Colonel-General Freiherr von Fritsch, and Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurath objected, stating the “need to avoid having Britain and France as enemies.” But Hitler, emboldened by his successes and smelling weakness in the Allies, had already determined to go to war.

The Nazis forced Czechoslovakia to make concession after concession across political, military, and economic fronts. Ultimately, without allies, the Czech government was intimidated into signing a joint declaration which placed the fate of Czechoslovakia into the hands of the Fuhrer. Hitler was the only leader who was willing to fight for what he wanted. The Czech army was disbanded and its equipment taken over by the Wehrmacht, and Bohemia-Moravia was occupied. Hitler exulted, “This is the greatest day of my life! I shall go down as the greatest German in history!”

Even as the Munich Agreement was being signed, Hitler was not only planning the liquidation of Czechoslovakia, but also of Poland. Reich Foreign Minister Ribbentrop presented Poland with an impossible agreement, and then began to exert pressure on Poland to comply.

On 31 March 1939 Neville Chamberlain pronounced the death of his failed policy of negotiation and appeasement when he declared before the House of Commons that Britain had given a guarantee of immediate military support to Poland in the event of any threat to its independence. France already had a similar agreement with Poland which had never lapsed.

After Italy invaded Albania on 6 April 1939, Chamberlain pledged that Britain would fight against future Axis agression. But the French were quick to point out that Britain – which had refused to militarize – lacked the wherewithal to do much fighting. Chamberlain had gone to Germany three times to avoid a military crisis, but had done nothing to prepare his country for the eventuality of one. As an evidence of new British determination, a bill to introduce conscription was presented to Parliament. Despite staunch Labour Party opposition, the bill was passed on 27 April 1939.

In response to the British conscription bill, Hitler – who knew that Britain would not have any significant battleworthy army available throughout 1939 – made some declarations of his own. He renounced the naval accord with Britain, and renounced a 1934 pact with Poland.

William Shirer, an American journalist, wrote in his Berlin Diary, “Still much doubt here among the informed whether Hitler has made up his mind to begin a world war for the sake of Danzig [the region in Poland demanded by the Nazis]. My guess is he hopes to get it by the Munich method.”

In Russia, the Communist dictator Joseph Stalin had made several attempts to form an alliance against German aggression. But all were rejected by Britain and France, who did not trust the Russian and did not want to give Russia the equal status Stalin sought. The Nazis seized their chance. Hitler sent Ribbentrop to negotiate with Stalin, and on 20 August 1939 the Russians – who were seeking their own best interests and who could have been tempted to go either way – signed an agreement with Hitler. As part of their agreement, the two dictators agreed as to how to slice up Poland, whose invasion Hitler had fixed for 26 August.

On 22 August, Hitler summoned his senior Wehrmacht commnanders to brief them on his plans. He noted that as far as Germany’s enemies were concerned, it was providential that the men holding the reins of power were mediocre vacillators. Britain and France were in no position to go to war. The Royal Air Force was only a third of the Lugtwaffe. And it had only five or six divisions to put into the field. And France had neither an adequate army or an economy capable of fielding one. And with the pact with the USSR, Germany would not have to pursue a two-front war.

On 25 August, when Hitler met with British Ambassador Sir Nevile Henderson, he announced his plan to seize Poland, and said that any war between Britain and Germany would be Britain’s fault. The same day, he met with French Ambassador Coulonder and similarly blamed the break in French-German relations on France. It was similar to the thinking of a criminal who blames the police and the victims of his crimes for everything that followed.

On 1 September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. The world war which followed would consume some 72 million human lives.

In President Bush’s speech before the Israeli Knesset, he is clearly describing the mindset of appeasement on the part of the allied powers that led up to World War II. The question is whether he was consciously using this history to denounce Senator Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats.

First, the question seems to be this: was President Bush accurately describing the history of appeasement? Here are his words:

Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

It seems clear that he is correct in his historic assessment of the Nazis under Hitler, and with his description of Western leaders – whom Hitler described as “mediocre vacillators” – who pursued a policy of appeasement that ultimately served no other purpose than to allow Hitler to build his power even as it gave Allies a false sense of security.

Am I wrong in this assessment? The phrase “hell bent” could have been created to describe Hitler’s ambitions. Did Neville Chamberlain’s three separate meetings with him do anything to change his mind? Did the leaders of France and Britain recognize that they were confronted with genuine evil? did they stand up against that evil and powerfully state that they were prepared to confront it with force? Did they prepare their nations to meet that threat? Did they respond directly as soon as the violent evil that Hitler represented began to manifest itself? No. No. No. And no.

President Bush does something in his speech prior to the paragraph I quote above. He describes the fight against terrorism as “the defining challenge of our time,” as “a clash of visions” against “those who pursue a narrow vision of cruelty and control by committing murder, inciting fear, and spreading lies.” And he points out that “this struggle is waged with the technology of the 21st century, but at its core it is the ancient battle between good and evil.” He describes our enemies as remorseless murderers who “blow up guiltless guests at a Passover Seder” and “fly planes into office buildings filled with unsuspecting workers.”

He describes terrorists as evil men who have clearly stated their evil and despicable agendas to the world.

President Bush says, “That is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the “elimination” of Israel. That is why the followers of Hezbollah chant “Death to Israel, Death to America!” That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that “the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties.” And that is why the president of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.”

He could have also mentioned that Iran has announced that it is bent upon attaining its goal of becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, and that American military officials describe that American casualties are increasingly a direct result of Iranian weapons.

And he says, “There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain their words away. This is natural. But it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.”

Is the President right? Have we seen an inability to fathom genuine evil in the past lead to disasterous consequences? Can anyone sustain the argument that Neville Chamberlain fully understood the determination of Hitler to carry out his evil plans unless directly stopped by force?

Let me further say that the President has the recent history lesson learned by his own father, who was President of the United States when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. In spite of the fact that Saddam Hussein massed tens of thousands of troops and military assets on the Kuwait border, and in spite of his own clearly expressed intentions, somehow nobody believed that Saddam Hussein would actually invade (as I substantially document in Part One of my article, “Iraq War Justified“).

Evil is utterly determined to seek its own way. Evil doesn’t care about who gets hurt, or how many die. Evil is an addictive aphrodesiac that demands more and more – and which uses every available means at its disposal to get it – until it is finally stopped by force. The more evil is allowed to grow, the more sacrifice it will ultimately require to overcome it.

The only meaningful check against human evil in the world is force, and the willingness to use it. Appeasement can never satiate the appetite of evil, and any attempt to reason with evil or negotiate with evil – unless backed up with overwhelming power and the willingness to use it – will never succeed against it.

There is also a mystery to evil. Can we understand the mindset of the military junta in Myanmar, which clearly prefers to let tens or even hundreds of thousands of its own people die rather than allow foreign aid workers to enter the country? Can we understand the mind of Kim Jung Il, who allowed two million of his people to die rather than open up his regime?

Can we fathom the thoughts of men such as Osama bin Laden who plotted to kill thousands? And who was able to comprehend the mind of Saddam Hussein, who waged a war against Iran that claimed six million lives, who repeatedly used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, who brutally invaded a fellow Arab state when everything should have necessitated against such an act? is it not a fact that United Nations officials – naively ignorant of Saddam Hussein’s nature – allowed the UN-administered oil for food program to be perverted and corrupted into the largest economic scandal in human history? How do we deal with such men? How do we deal with the evil leaders who will surely rise in the future?

The second question is, if President Bush is in fact indirectly asserting that Barack Obama and Democrats are guilty of the same mindset as Neville Chamberlain, does the allegation have merit?

It is interesting to ask oneself why Barack Obama and the Democrats were so quick to see themselves in President Bush’s words.  But rather than accusing Barack Obama of a mindset that he frankly hasn’t had the chance to exemplify, I would prefer to offer an assessment and a warning.

Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats have attempted to phrase their objection in a frankly misleading manner. The ultimate issue at question isn’t one of “talking to leaders of rogue nations,” but rather one of pursuing a firm policy of being prepared to use whatever force is necessary to keep such leaders in check.

It wasn’t that Neville Chamberlain went to Germany to talk with Hitler that made his very name an object lesson in weakness and appeasement; it was that he went to Hitler as a naive and gullible fool who refused to deal with his adversary from any position of strength until it was far too late.

There is a legitimate argument that states that the best way – short of war – to deal with rogue states bent on evil is to isolate them politically and economically. It is a way of reinforcing that there is a real cost to the country that would use evil and violence in its foreign and domestic policies. While isolation is hardly a perfect strategy, there is no question that it undermines both the foreign policy and economic strength of a regime. The question that those who dismiss this view and insist on engagement with rogue and terrorist nations must answer is, “What is your alternative?”

Iran wants to be recognized as a legitimate force in both the Islamic world and in the greater world. Being recognized by the most powerful country in the world and having direct dialogue with its president is a sign of prestige and respect. Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, presidents from both parties have continued to isolate Iran until it abandons its support for terrorism. President George W. Bush has stated that he would hold direct talks with Iran if it abandons its nuclear program. Again, if you don’t want to go to all-out war with Iran, and you don’t want to isolate them, what exactly do you intend to do? In what way do you believe that direct talks with genuinely evil leaders will accomplish any meaningful objective?

Finally, as we come to grips with an Iran that seems determined to become a full-fledged nuclear power, how do we deal with this crisis? How do we prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons? How do we assure Sunni Arab countries that they should not be developing their own nuclear weapons programs to serve as a deterrent against Shiite Iran? Raise your hand if you want to see a nuclear arms race in the craziest region of the world.

According to the available intelligence, Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. What else happened in 2003? The United States invaded its immediate neighbor over weapons of mass destruction. Iran didn’t want to be next on that list.

Going back to the Gulf War in 1991, PBS reports that “In summary, the IAEA report says that following the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq launched a “crash program” to develop a nuclear weapon quickly by extracting weapons grade material from safe-guarded research reactor fuel. This project, if it had continued uninterrupted by the war, might have succeeded in producing a deliverable weapon by the end of 1992.”

We got lucky in 1991. No one had any idea that Saddam Hussein was so close to a nuclear bomb. And – as much as liberals would never acknowledge it – we may have got lucky again in 2003 by putting a (at least temporary) stop to Iran’s nuclear program. But there is a determination on the part of the Iranians that demands constant vigilance and the willingness to employ force.

Iranian leaders appear determined to develop a nuclear weapons program.

The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said, “Have you not tested the Iranian nation? We will vehemently continue our path and will not allow the oppressors to trample upon the nation’s rights,” Khamenei said. “Our enemies assume that by masterminding economic sanctions they can bring our nations to its knees but to no avail.” [Islamic Republic News Agency].

If we ultimately attack Iran over its continued determination to pursue nuclear weapons, at what point should we do so? Based on what intelligence? And what do we do about countries such as Russia – which has veto power in the United Nations – that are actively selling Iran nuclear technology and expertise?

Should we stand idly by and wait for a consensus from the world? What if that consensus never comes? It sure didn’t come in 1939, and there is no indication whatsoever that it was going to come prior to any meaningful action against Iraq.

Should the United States be willing to “go it alone” if necessary? If so, how do you continue to justify criticism of President Bush for being so willing to invade Iraq?

Whether one meets with Iranian leaders or not, it seems clear that we must pursue a policy that states, “If we believe you are on your way to developing nuclear weapons, we will attack you and overthrow your regime. We were willing to invade Iraq, and you can take it to the bank that we will do the same to you.” And as we try to prevent Sunni states (such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt) from developing their own nuclear weapons arsenals, it is important that we are able to say, “We stood by Iraq against the forces that threatened it, even when it was difficult, and you can count on our promise to stand by you against Iran.

Obama, Democrats attack of Bush Knesset Speech Reveals Appeasement

May 15, 2008

President Bush gave a speech on 15 May 2008 before the Israeli Knesset that has drawn condemnation and outrage from Democrats. The most “outrageous” position he expressed – in context – is presented here:

Some of the reactions:

Obama communications director Robert Gibbs said, “Obviously, this is an unprecedented political attack on foreign soil. It’s quite frankly sad and astonishing that the President of the United States would politicize the 60th anniversary of Israel with a false political attack. … We have come to expect, and seen from this administration over the last eight years, this type of cowboy diplomacy. We’ve come to expect it, but over the past eight years it’s made this country far less safe than we were. … I think people are going to ask themselves in this election, are we safer than we were eight years ago, under this president, and I think the answer is going to be a resounding no” (“American Morning,” CNN, 5/15).

A listing of similar cries of angst and outrage:

It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence to launch a false political attack,” Obama said in the statement his aides distributed. “George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president’s extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel.”

Senator Joe Biden responded with unusual eloquence:

This is bullshit, this is malarkey. This is outrageous, for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, to sit in the Knesset . . . and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”…
“He is the guy who has weakened us,” he said. “He has increased the number of terrorists in the world. It is his policies that have produced this vulnerability that the U.S. has. It’s his [own] intelligence community [that] has pointed this out, not me.

Senator John Kerry said, “[Bush] is still playing the disgusting and dangerous political game Karl Rove perfected, which is insulting to every American and disrespectful to our ally Israel. George Bush should be making Israel secure, not slandering Barack Obama from the Knesset.”

There is no escaping what the president is doing,” said [Dick] Durbin, who supports Obama. “It is an attack on Sen. Obama’s position that we should not be avoiding even those we disagree with when it comes to negotiations and diplomacy.

“I am shocked and, actually, very, very saddened by what the President has done,” [Tom] Daschle said during an interview he gave to Fox News.

“This is an unprecedented political attack that we’ve never seen a president do before.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she, “would hope that any serious person that aspires to lead the country, would disassociate themselves from those comments…

The tradition has always been that when a U.S. president is overseas, partisan politics stops at the water’s edge. President Bush has now taken that principle and turned it on its head: for this White House, partisan politics now begins at the water’s edge, no matter the seriousness and gravity of the occasion. Does the president have no shame?”

What on earth did the President say? I mean, it must have been really, really awful. He must have said that Democrats were all direct descendants of Satan, or that Barack Obama was secretly in direct communication with Osama bin Laden to plot against the United States or something. I mean, it had to be really despicable to generate such a reaction, right?

Wrong. We are dealing with people who have no moral compass, and think only in terms of self-serving political rhetoric.

Here is the statement that President Bush actually made, in context (the full speech is available online):

We believe that targeting innocent lives to achieve political objectives is always and everywhere wrong. So we stand together against terror and extremism, and we will never let down our guard or lose our resolve.

The fight against terror and extremism is the defining challenge of our time. It is more than a clash of arms. It is a clash of visions, a great ideological struggle. On one side are those who defend the ideals of justice and dignity with the power of reason and truth. On the other side are those who pursue a narrow vision of cruelty and control by committing murder, inciting fear, and spreading lies.

This struggle is waged with the technology of the 21st century, but at its core it is the ancient battle between good and evil. The killers claim the mantle of Islam, but they are not religious men. No one who prays to the God of Abraham could strap a suicide vest to an innocent child, or blow up guiltless guests at a Passover Seder, or fly planes into office buildings filled with unsuspecting workers. In truth, the men who carry out these savage acts serve no higher goal than their own desire for power. They accept no God before themselves. And they reserve a special hatred for the most ardent defenders of liberty, including Americans and Israelis.

That is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the “elimination” of Israel. That is why the followers of

Hezbollah chant “Death to Israel, Death to America!” That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that “the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties.” And that is why the president of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.

There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain their words away. This is natural. But it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

Some people suggest that if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of our enemies, and America rejects it utterly. Israel’s population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you.

America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary. And America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. Permitting the world’s leading sponsor of terror to possess the world’s deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

Ultimately, to prevail in this struggle, we must offer an alternative to the ideology of the extremists by extending our vision of justice and tolerance, freedom and hope. These values are the self-evident right of all people, of all religions, in all of the world because they are a gift from Almighty God. Securing these rights is also the surest way to secure peace. Leaders who are accountable to their people will not pursue endless confrontation and bloodshed. Young people with a place in their society and a voice in their future are less likely to search for meaning in radicalism. And societies where citizens can express their conscience and worship their God will not export violence, they will be partners for peace.

In an article titled, Appeasement, the Democrats, and Shakespeare, posted Democratic Representatives Jim McDermott (Wash.), David Bonior (Mich.) and Mike Thompson (Calif.) going to Iraq to attack President Bush from foreign soil – in a visit that turns out to have been financed by Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service.

He cites former President Jimmy Carter’s statement from England.

And he cites remarks made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she took it upon her self to go to Syria.

Given the fact that President Bush did not name a single Democrat by name, given the fact that his only allusion to any American political figure was an unnamed American senator back in 1939, and given the fact that Barack Obama claims the remark did not in any way resemble his own foreign policy position, why say anything at all? Why all the outrage?

President Bush didn’t attack Democrats or Barack Obama. They attacked themselves, and blamed him for it.

These Democrats shrilly proclaim that President Bush is beyond contempt for attacking them, when he didn’t, and then demonstrate that they are not in the least beyond launching vicious personal attacks themselves. It’s really a quite remarkable act of hypocrisy.

While watching Fox News with Megyn Kelly interviewing an Obama spokeswoman this afternoon, I heard the Obama camp first claim that Bush’s policy of refusing to talk with our enemies was causing political instability, and then almost immediately thereafter claim that Bush had dialogued with leaders of countries such as Sudan to show that it’s Bush – and not Obama – who is dialoguing with enemies. You wonder how these people’s heads don’t explode trying to contain all the contradictions.

Barack Obama has famously said that he would be willing to have direct dialogue with leaders of state sponsors of terrorism, such as Iran, without any preconditions. His website says, “Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.” It was a position that her Democratic rival Hillary Clinton repeatedly pointed to as an example of his inexperience and naiveté. It is a substantial departure from the policy of every American president over the last fifty years.

I point out in an earlier article that:

The Bush administration – like all U.S. presidential administrations before it – had the policy of refusing to directly engage with terrorist states and rogue totalitarian dictatorships. Doing so, they argued, gives these states credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the world while doing little to change their despicable ways.

In other words, by dialoguing with terrorists, we implicitly recognize them, and thereby recognize the acts that they commit. We abandon the belief that some acts are so heinous, and so deplorable, that anyone who commits them should be shunned and reviled instead of being rewarded with recognition and legitimacy. Instead, we tacitly acknowledge that using violence and suffering to advance one’s cause is a valid path to international recognition. Otherwise, we would not have allowed their violent approach to succeed.

In an article detailing Jimmy Carter’s recent visit to the terrorist entity Hamas, Katarina Kratovac wrote the following:

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who brokered Israel’s historic peace agreement with Egypt three decades ago, is on what he calls a private peace mission. He contends the U.S., Israel and other Western states should stop isolating Hamas if they want peace efforts to succeed.

Heading the Hamas delegation in Cairo were Gaza leaders Mahmoud Zahar and Said Siyam. “This meeting is a message to those who don’t recognize Hamas’ legitimacy as a movement,” Zahar said as he left for Egypt, according to Hamas’ Web site.

In Cairo, Hamas spokesman Taher Nuhu told The Associated Press that the purported Thursday meeting would be “a recognition of the legitimacy” of Hamas’ victory in the Palestinians’ parliamentary election in 2006.

Hamas obtained the desired prestige and international attention it wanted, and gave up absolutely nothing in return, which is exactly what American conservatives and Israelies said would happen.

Barack Obama – and prominent Democrat’s – argument that the President of the United States must be willing to talk directly to our enemies because otherwise there will be no communication and no possibility for compromise or peace is simply a straw man. In reality, the United States has constant lines of communications with countries such as Iran through other countries, through lower level diplomats, and through various other “back channel” sources. A meeting with the President of the United States should be reserved as a conditional reward for abandoning behavior harmful to the interest of the United States; not as a reward for engaging in that very behavior we find despicable.

Do you want to know the real reason why all these Democrats are so livid?

Because – in talking about the colossal errors of the past – President Bush showed why liberals are so terribly wrong in the present.

In a speech by Newt Gingrich which I have available on this blog (under the title, “Fighting For Survival Means Fighting For Truth – by Newt Gingrich”), Gingrich, in discussing what he learned from his reading of a book titled, Troublesome Young Men, says, “And we tend to understate what a serious and conscientious and thoughtful effort appeasement was and that it was the direct and deliberate policy of very powerful and very willful people. We tend to think of it as a psychological weakness as though Chamberlain was somehow craven. He wasn’t craven. Chamberlain had a very clear vision of the World, and he was very ruthless domestically.”

Ultimately, Bush wasn’t attacking Barack Obama or any other Democrat for being willing to speak to this leader or that, even without preconditions. Such is the allegation by Democrats attempting to divert attention to what Bush really was criticizing, which was: the historic tendency to dismiss genuine moral evil on the part of leaders of rogue regimes, and the historic tendency to be all-too-willing to appease to such leaders.

If Democrats truly agreed with these two basic positions, they merely had to affirm that they too embrace these ideas, and will be true to them if elected.

In demonizing Bush’ position, they implicitly proclaim that the spirit of appeasement from 1938 is still alive and well in 2008.

Obama’s Pastors Don’t Preach the Bible

May 14, 2008

Let me describe the kind of guy whom Senator Barack Obama considers “a wonderful young pastor.”

He’s the kind of man who calls the biblical patriarch Abraham a “pimp,” and says that Noah and Moses were thugs. He’s the kind of pastor who says that Jesus has a “soft spot for thugs,” and assures his congregation that everyone has some “thug proclivities.”

You buy that? Here are some highlights of Barack Obama’s new pasor, the Rev. Otis Moss III:

# “Jesus has a soft spot for thugs.”

# “God is always using thugs to do God’s work.”

# “Everyone has a little bit of thug in them.”

# Noah was a “thug” who “was drinking much gin and juice and got drunk on the eve of reconstruction.”

# Abraham “pimped his own wife.”

# Jacob was a “hustler” who “stole his own brother’s birthright.”

# Moses was a “thug” and “if he got mad would give you a royal beatdown.”

# Sampson was a “thug” and a “player.”

# David was a “thug,” a “shot caller,” and a “player,” and a man after God’s own heart.

Strangely, most of these statements actually have a certain legitimacy to them (although Jacob did NOT “steal” his brother’s birthright; Easau sold it to him as per Genesis 25:29-34; Moses gave that “beatdown” early in his life prior to hearing God’s call as per Exodus 2:11-14; and the account of Abraham “pimping” his wife was actually more a tale of a frightened sojourner concealing his marriage in order to save his life as per Genesis 12:10-13.

And I would even acknoweldge the statement that “Jesus has a soft spot for thugs” in the sense that He has a “soft spot” for sinners in need of a Savior.

But – from these relative high points – the sermon goes down hill pretty fast from there.

Ronald Kessler, the chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com, has it this way:

While Moss has not expressed hatred of America and of whites, as Wright did, in a sermon on YouTube, Moss derides middle-class America for not accepting the “prophetic brilliance” of thugs.

Referring to these thugs, Moss says sardonically, “There are times when our prejudice keeps us from hearing ghetto prophets, who preach a brand of thug theology which keeps us from hearing the truth from their lips because of their course language and ragged subject-verb agreement.”

To applause, Moss approvingly cites Tupac Shakur, a “gangsta” rap star with a long arrest record. Before being fatally shot in a drive-by attack in Las Vegas in 1996, Shakur faced a 120-day sentence for probation violations stemming from offenses including assault and battery and a 1994 sexual abuse conviction in New York. Shakur served 11 months in prison for his involvement in the sexual attack on a 21-year-old woman in a New York hotel room.

Judge Daniel P. Fitzgerald of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan described it as “an act of brutal violence against a helpless woman.”

Shakur had also been convicted in Los Angeles of assault and battery on a music video producer and for carrying a loaded, concealed weapon.

Most Americans look to places of worship for inspiration and moral and spiritual guidance. Moss’ message is the opposite. Claiming Shakur’s message speaks to our “current condition,” Moss blurs the distinction between right and wrong: He says those who don’t get that a rapper like Shakur is a prophet and biblical figures are thugs are confined by “bourgeois paradigms.”

Instead of condemning those who break the law, Moss says to exuberant applause, “Our society creates thugs. Children are not born thugs. Thugs are made and not born.” He adds, “This is good news for somebody who has a proclivity for ‘ghettoistic’ conduct.”

Indeed, it is good news for those who do not want to be held accountable for their own conduct. In making that statement, Moss endorses the message of many black leaders who encourage blacks to see themselves as helpless victims of a bigoted society. As outlined in the Newsmax article “Rev. Wright Furthers Black Victimhood,” the victim mentality limits blacks’ aspirations and torpedoes their chances at success.

I agree with Kessler’s assessment, and add to his observations the following:

Contrast Rev. Moss harsh, nearly vindictive assessments of these great men from the Bible with his overly gracious (to say the least!) view of Tupac Shakur as “a prophet.” And then the Reverend Moss – who called the prophetic composer of many of the songs in the Book of Psalms a “thug,” a “shot caller,” and a “player” – proceeded to quote at length his version of “prophetic song.”

Psalms is the longest book in the Bible, with 150 chapters. Maybe it’s just me, but somehow I don’t see this ditty making the cut and becoming the 151st Psalm.

I want you to understand something about the Bible; it is a story of God’s people, who are viewed warts and all. We know how these men started out; we even know how they managed to slip and fall down mid way through the journey of life. But ultimately, these stories are not about the men and women who slip and fall into the mud, but about the glorious God who is at work in their lives, and who brought life after life to triumph after triumph.

So Christians are aware of the dark side of its saints; but they are far more aware of the side that God created and developed in them.

Read Hebrews chapter 11, “the Faith Hall of Fame,” for the contrast of the spiritual Christian view with that of Obama’s new pastor:

# “It was by faith that Noah built an ark to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about something that had never happened before. By his faith he condemned the rest of the world and was made right in God’s sight” (Heb 11:7 NLT).

# It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. he went without even knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith – for he was like a foreigner, living in a tent. And so did Isaac and Jacob, to whom God made the same promise. Abraham did this because he was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. It was by faith that Sarah [the woman Abraham allegedly “pimped out”] together with Abraham was able to have a child, even though they were too old and Sarah was barren. Abraham believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man, Abraham, who was too old to have any children – a nation with so many people that, like the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them…. It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his ownly son, Isaac, though God had promised him, ‘Isaac is the son through whom your descendendts will be counted. Abraham assumed that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” (Heb 11:8-12; 17-19 NLT).

# It was by faith that Isaac blessed his two sons, Jacob and Esau. He had confidence in what God was going to do in the future. It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed down in worship as he leaned on his staff.

# It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be treated as the son of Pharoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasure of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of the Messiah than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the great reward that God would give him. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt. He was not afraid of the king. Moses kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons” (Hebrews 11:24-28 NLT).

# Well, how much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death” (Hebrews 11:32-35 NLT).

These aren’t stories about “thugs”; these are stories about the God who transforms life after life when those lives come into contact with the living God. Trinity United Church of Christ fixates on where the saints of the Bible were at their worst, and leaves them there in an artificial portrait of negativity. And then it’s pastors paint a picture of victimhood and blame to justify that bleak portrait of the world.

Genuine Christianity – whether believers are red or yellow, black or white – fixates on the God who brings His saints to ultimate glory through faith. And when believers see that God, they can look beyond their circumstances and find the positive.

That’s the real problem with Trinity United and with its pastors former and current: there is a presentation of constant, unrelenting resentment, racism, and victimology, a seeing of the world through the prism of Marxist (i.e. liberation theology) thought rather than through the eyes of faith in the Christ of hope.

I don’t know what Trinity United Church teaches, but it isn’t the Christianity of Jesus Christ.

Let me share the real message of hope and change found in the message of Scripture:

Ephesians 1:12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Philippians 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

Colossians 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,

2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,

1 Timithy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope;

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;

Hebrews 3:6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

Do you see the difference between what the Bible proclaims – and what Christian pastors preach to congregations of every race under heaven all over the world – with the message that Jeremiah Wright and Otis Moss preach?

It’s strange that Barack Obama – as the “candidate of hope and change” – chose to spend so much of his life surrounded by such a toxic congregation, filled with the despair of abandonment and the stagnation of racism, instead of seeking a congregation that genuinely understood the true hope and change found in the Christ he claims to worship.