Obama's long arm is now reaching into America's corporate management offices and is dictating who should be fired. Socialism is stalking the land - wake up America! (See 1 and 1a below.)
This response from a dear friend whose family is very close to our family: Hurray for invoking Freidrich Hayek. This is my favorite quote of his: "We are ready to accept almost any explanation of the present crisis of our civilization except one --that the present state of the world may be the result of genuine error on our part, and that the pursuit of some of our most cherished ideals has apparently produced results utterly different from those which we expected.” Freidrich Hayek, 1944
The beauty of this quote is that it can be applied with equal relevance to every liberal initiative!!
Obama's campaign strategy as explained by his campaign manager.
I suspect one of the reasons Trump is gaining in popularity is because he is willing to come out swinging and all the other supposed Republican candidates, or hopefuls, are reluctant to take Obama on directly. (See 2 below.)
I do not fully comprehend why Democrat Presidents have a history of presiding over the decline in our nation's power and respect. Is it something in their DNA that causes them glee to see our nation decline? Are independents clueless?
Obama demonizes Ryan as radical because Ryan offers a plan that will cause pain as part of the solution as if going bankrupt financially and sinking militarily do not, themselves, carry a certain element of pain. (See 3 and 3a below.)
Caroline Glick does not believe Obama is clueless. She writes he is more like Rhett Butler and frankly does not give a damn! (See 4 below.)
Tom Sowell reviews Walter Williams' new book: "Race and Economics" in which Williams destroys a lot of myths with facts but as Melanie Phillips points out, in her own book: "The World Turned Upside Down," facts no longer carry weight with progressives and those in the intellectual class. Why? Because: "...they know because they are! (See 5 below.)
1)U.S. Effort to Remove Drug CEO Jolts Firms
By ALICIA MUNDY
A government attempt to oust a longtime drug-company chief executive over his company's marketing violations is raising alarms in that industry and beyond about a potential expansion of federal involvement in the business world.
The Department of Health and Human Services this month notified Howard Solomon of Forest Laboratories Inc. that it intends to exclude him from doing business with the federal government. This, in turn, could prevent Forest from selling its drugs to Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration. If the government implements its ban, Forest would have to dump Mr. Solomon, now 83 years old, in order to protect its corporate revenue. No drug company, large or small, can afford to lose out on sales to the federal government, a major customer.
The campaign against drug-company CEOs is part of a larger Obama administration effort to pursue individual executives blamed for wrongdoing rather than simply punishing companies. The government has tried to prosecute Wall Street executives in connection with the 2008 financial crisis, but with limited success.
The Health and Human Services department startled drug makers last year when the agency said it would start invoking a little-used administrative policy under the Social Security Act against pharmaceutical executives. This policy allows officials to bar corporate leaders from health-industry companies doing business with the government, if a drug company is guilty of criminal misconduct. The agency said a chief executive or other leader can be banned even if he or she had no knowledge of a company's criminal actions. Retaining a banned executive can trigger a company's exclusion from government business.
The "action against the CEO of Forest Labs is a game changer," said Richard Westling, a corporate defense attorney in Nashville who has represented executives in different industries against the government.
According to Mr. Westling, "It would be a mistake to see this as solely a health-care industry issue. The use of sanctions such as exclusion and debarment to punish individuals where the government is unable to prove a direct legal or regulatory violation could have wide-ranging impact." An exclusion penalty could be more costly than a Justice Department prosecution.
He said that the Defense Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, have debarment powers similar to the HHS exclusion authority.
The Forest case has its origins in an investigation into the company's marketing of its big-selling antidepressants Celexa and Lexapro. Last September, Forest made a plea agreement with the government, under which it is paying $313 million in criminal and civil penalties over sales-related misconduct.
A federal court made the deal final in March. Forest Labs representatives said they were shocked when the intent-to-ban notice was received a few weeks later, because Mr. Solomon wasn't accused by the government of misconduct.
Forest is sticking by its chief. "No one has ever alleged that Mr. Solomon did anything wrong, and excluding him [from the industry] is unjustified," said general counsel Herschel Weinstein. "It would also set an extremely troubling precedent that would create uncertainty throughout the industry and discourage regulatory settlements."
The pharmaceutical industry has paid billions of dollars in civil and criminal penalties over the past decade, but the government believes they no longer have much deterrent effect.
The new use of exclusion is meant to "alter the cost-benefit calculus of the corporate executives," said Lew Morris, chief counsel for the Department of Health and Human Services's inspector general, in congressional testimony last month.
The move against Forest's Mr. Solomon—its CEO, president and chairman—brings the campaign to a new level. Lawyers not involved in the Forest case said the attempt to punish an executive who isn't accused of misconduct could tie up the industry's day-to-day work in legal knots.
"This 'gotcha' approach to enforcement runs the risk of creating a climate within organizations that is inconsistent with the spirit of innovation that is critical to the industry," said Allen Waxman of Kaye Scholer LLP in New York, who was formerly an in-house counsel at a drug maker.
Mr. Solomon became chief executive in 1977 and built Forest from a maker of vitamin tablets into a global company with more than $4 billion in annual sales.
His son is writer Andrew Solomon, who won a National Book Award in 2001 for his book about struggling with depression. Inspired by his son, Howard Solomon pushed Forest into the antidepressant market and turned Celexa and Lexapro into successes. In the year ending March 2004, the two drugs accounted for about 82% of the company's sales.
In October 2010, HHS outlined how it could use the exclusion tool on individuals without proof of personal misconduct. The first application involved the CEO of a smaller pharmaceutical maker in St. Louis. The executive stepped down. He has since pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor marketing violation and was sentenced to prison and fined.
Forest pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in connection with its marketing of Celexa as a treatment for children and adolescents before the drug won approval for pediatric use from the Food and Drug Administration. The company also paid fines over civil accusations.
Forest assumed it had put the matter behind it after the plea hearing in March. But on April 8, the Health and Human Services inspector general sent the letter declaring its intent to exclude Mr. Solomon from his roles at Forest. Mr. Solomon has 30 days to ask the inspector general to revoke the move, but if he loses and has to take his case to federal court, he may temporarily step down from his job, according to the company. The inspector general's office declined to comment; Mr. Solomon's personal attorney couldn't be reached.
The push to target executives comes in the wake of complaints in Congress that few executives bear the cost for bad corporate behavior. The U.S. has prosecuted only a handful of individuals in the Wall Street meltdown of 2008.
In November 2010, the government indicted a former attorney for GlaxoSmithKline PLC related to allegations of improper marketing of the antidepressant Wellbutrin for weight loss. The lawyer has pleaded not guilty, and her defense counsel has said her actions were based on advice from Glaxo's outside counsel. The company has said it is cooperating with the government.
—Scott L. Greenberg contributed to this article.
1a)Boeing & Obama's War On The Free Markets In Support Of Unions
This from the NYT:
In what may be the strongest signal yet of the new pro-labor orientation of the National Labor Relations Board under President Obama, the agency filed a complaint Wednesday seeking to force Boeing to bring an airplane production line back to its unionized facilities in Washington State instead of moving the work to a nonunion plant in South Carolina.
In its complaint, the labor board said that Boeing’s decision to transfer a second production line for its new 787 Dreamliner passenger plane to South Carolina was motivated by an unlawful desire to retaliate against union workers for their past strikes in Washington and to discourage future strikes. The agency’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said it was illegal for companies to take actions in retaliation against workers for exercising the right to strike.
Although manufacturers have long moved plants to nonunion states, the board noted that Boeing officials had, in internal documents and news interviews, specifically cited the strikes and potential future strikes as a reason for their 2009 decision to expand in South Carolina.
Boeing said it would “vigorously contest” the labor board’s complaint. “This claim is legally frivolous and represents a radical departure from both N.L.R.B. and Supreme Court precedent,” said J. Michael Luttig, a Boeing executive vice president and its general counsel. “Boeing has every right under both federal law and its collective bargaining agreement to build additional U.S. production capacity outside of the Puget Sound region.”
It is highly unusual for the federal government to seek to reverse a corporate decision as important as the location of plant.
But ever since a Democratic majority took control of the five-member board after Mr. Obama’s election, the board has signaled that it would seek to adopt a more liberal, pro-union tilt after years of pro-employer decisions under President Bush. . . .
This is such a vast overreach by Labor and its cronies in the Obama administration - it is such a fundamental attack on capitalism - it is difficult to know where to begin. As a threshold matter, the anti-retaliation provisions of the NLRA protect individuals from being fired or demoted for their union activities. The Obama radicals on the NLRB now seek to vastly expand the scope of those provisions to a point that corporations would become captives of unionized, closed shop states.
Unions are an anachronism of the communist movement near two centuries old - which itself was a response to inequities that arose early in the Industrial Age, something that has long been consigned to the history books. There is a reason unions are drastically declining in the private sector in the U.S.. They do not make economic sense in an age of vast national wealth where competition for labor and the mobility of labor insures that laborers will be able to receive fair market value.
It is beyond any form of contention that, where unions exist, the end product is at best, substantially more expensive than that produced by non-union labor, such as with automakers, or in the worst case, substantially lessens the quality of the service being delivered, as is the case with teachers unions and public education. Further, the reality is that in "closed shop" states, unions create a form of indentured servitude, where to even work in a desired field, a laborer must pay a union for the privilege. The laborer then has no say in how the union uses those dues. Whatever justification for unions existed in 1848, when Marx, in the Communist Manifesto, described unions as the building blocks of his Communist utopia, those justifications do not exist in America today.
The only thing that can possibly save private sector unions in the U.S. is the point of the gun by the government. And indeed, that is what we are seeing today with Obama's NLRB outrageously trying to use the police power of our government to force Boeing to keep all production in Washington.
The only reason unions still exist in America, both public sector and private sector, is that they are economic base of the Democratic party. It is hard to think of a more corrupt or malign situation. When the administrations change in 2012, it is time to go to war on unions - outlawing public sector unions and changing the rules for private sector unions. No place in America should be subject to a "closed shop," the U.S. government should never favor unions in its contracting, and the NLRB should be disbanded.
2)Campaign Manager Gives ‘Sneak Peek’ at Obama’s 2012 Re-Election Strategy
By Kate Andersen Brower
Jim Messina, who is running Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, told supporters in an Internet video released yesterday that they will have to “scratch and claw” to get the U.S. president re-elected.
“We have to act like an insurgent campaign that wakes up every single day trying to get every single vote we can,” Messina said in the video, which was described as a “sneak peek at 2012 strategy.”
Messina, who earlier this year resigned his position as deputy White House chief of staff to manage the campaign, laid out tactics that he said had worked in 2008, including expanding the electorate to register more voters than Republicans. He said campaign workers should reconnect with past supporters through social media sites, along with using more traditional methods such as calling voters on the telephone and knocking on their doors.
“We’ve got to assume every single day that we need to build something new, better, faster and sleeker,” he said in the video message e-mailed to supporters and posted on Obama’s campaign website. “Republicans are going to be fired up to take on President Obama.”
In the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans won control of the House and gained seats in the Senate. Responding yesterday to Messina’s video, Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in an e-mailed statement that “it’s no surprise” Obama’s campaign is “desperately seeking something new, because the American people simply can’t afford four more years of the status quo.” She cited rising gasoline prices as one of the failures of Obama’s first term.
Citizens United Decision
Messina said the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, which gave corporations the ability to use their treasuries to fund political ads through Election Day, has “fundamentally changed the way campaigns are funded.” Republican groups have set a goal of raising $120 million to defeat Obama in 2012, Messina said -- something they could not have legally done before the high court’s ruling.
“We have to compete with that,” he said in the video, sitting in front of a map of the U.S. “What you all are going to build will be even stronger than that.”
Democrats are setting up organizations to counter outside Republican groups such as Karl Rove’s Crossroads Global Policy Strategies. Former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, a former top aide to then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, are forming a group with a goal of raising $100 million on behalf of Obama for his re-election.
Messina asked supporters to summon the level of enthusiasm they had for Obama in 2008, sign up on the campaign’s website and Facebook page, and donate “five or 10 dollars to help us get started.”
Campaign Papers Filed
On April 4 the president filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to begin his bid for re-election. Since then he has traveled across the country in an effort to make the case for a second term by listing the accomplishments of his first, such as overhauling the U.S. health-care system and imposing new regulations on the financial industry while balancing two wars and dealing with an unemployment rate that reached a 26-year high of 10.2 percent nine months after he took office and is now 8.8 percent.
Messina has asked the top fundraisers to each collect at least $350,000 this year alone -- a significant increase over Obama’s first presidential campaign, for which members of the candidate’s national finance committee were each asked to raise $250,000 in the two-year 2007-08 election cycle.
Last week Obama attended events in San Francisco and Los Angeles that were expected to bring in between $4 million and $5 million, according to a Democratic official who was not authorized to publicly discuss the party’s fundraising. The price of individual admission ranged from $25 for parties for younger voters to $35,800 for exclusive dinners.
The president and his wife, Michelle, will travel to Chicago tomorrow to tape “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Later in the day they will attend fundraisers in New York City.
Analysts say they expect the 2012 presidential election to cost $3 billion, about 50 percent more than the $2 billion the Federal Election Commission said was spent in 2008 by candidates, the political parties and outside groups.
Obama raised a record $745 million in 2007-08, and he was the first major-party nominee to reject public financing for the general election.
So far no clear Republican frontrunner has emerged. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said yesterday that he will not seek the White House in 2012. Former Governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts have established presidential exploratory committees, taking the first official step toward bids for the White House.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia on March 3 announced the establishment of a website to enable him to raise money and possibly run for president. Other prospective 2012 Republican candidates include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee; former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the party’s 2008 vice presidential nominee; Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a former director of the Office of Management and Budget; and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who is stepping down as U.S. ambassador to China this month.
3)'Leading from behind' could doom O
By John Podhoretz
The reliably liberal New Yorker magazine isn't usually in the habit of presenting gifts to the Republican Party, but it has just published three little words that may prove central to the GOP effort to defeat President Obama next year. Those words are "leading from behind," and they appear at the end of a Ryan Lizza article on Obama's foreign policy.
Lizza didn't coin the phrase. "Leading from behind" is a direct quote from of "one of [Obama's] advisers," who is describing his boss' policy on Libya. That same adviser goes on to say that the effort to lead from behind is "so at odds with the John Wayne expectation for what America is in the world. But it's necessary for shepherding us through this phase."
And there you have it: the 2012 campaign against Obama's foreign policy in a nutshell. By the time Election Day rolls around, if the GOP knows what's good for it, the phrase "leading from behind" will be the "yes, we can" of 2012.
The reason the phrase is so devastating is that "leading from behind" wasn't intended as criticism but rather as a sympathetic, even proud, defense of the administration's approach and goals.
Lizza describes it thus: "It's a different definition of leadership than America is known for, and it comes from two unspoken beliefs: that the relative power of the US is declining, as rivals like China rise, and that the US is reviled in many parts of the world."
It is one thing to argue that the United States has made mistakes in foreign and defense policy. Everybody believes that, however deep our disagreements about what those mistakes are.
It is something entirely different, and much more profoundly serious, for a presidency to be operating on the basis that the United States can only lead if it "leads from behind" because the country's power is "declining" and because America "is reviled in many parts of the world."
Is this something that the independent voters Obama will desperately need next year will be pleased to hear? One gets the sense that they are riven with anxiety about their future and the country's future. This is not the sort of talk that will calm that anxiety.
Quite the opposite. It would, rather, seem custom-made to provoke anxiety about Obama's leadership. In the first place, "leading from behind" makes no sense logically or grammatically, so it confuses before it enlightens. And then, once you figure it out, the problems really begin.
A nation's declining power isn't like the moon's effect on the tide, caused by forces beyond our control. It is the result of actions, behaviors, ideas. If the White House truly believes the authority of the United States has suffered a decline, then its paramount responsibility is to reverse that decline.
Even for those who don't care about foreign policy, it should make little sense for the planet's most powerful nation to allow its position in the world to erode.
That erosion isn't bad news because it's good fun to be the Big Man on the World Campus. It's bad news because the continued erosion of America's influence will inexorably lead to military, strategic and economic challenges for the United States that will make the current geopolitical chessboard look like a game of Candyland.
And yet one gets the distinct sense not that Obama has been forced into the position of "leading from behind" by the circumstances in which he finds himself, but rather that he wants to "lead from behind."
In one sense, that's entirely understandable: The burdens of world leadership are exceptionally heavy at the moment, and seem quite thankless. But then, nobody told Barack Obama to run for president, and no one is telling him to run for re-election.
Of course, this article and that pithy three-word closing phrase just made that challenge significantly more difficult.
3a)The Trouble With Independents
What if these voters are just a clueless horde?
By Michael Kazin
No group in American politics gets more respect than independent voters. Pundits and reporters probe what these allegedly moderate citizens think about this issue and that candidate, major party strategists seek the golden mean of messaging that will attract independents to their camp and/or alienate them from the opposing one. Presidential nominees and aides struggle to come up with phrases and settings that will soothe or excite them. But what if millions of independents are really just a confused and clueless horde, whose interest in politics veers between the episodic and the non-existent?
That is certainly the impression one gets from dipping into the finer details of a mid-April survey of 1,000 likely, registered voters conducted by Democracy Corps, the outfit run by Stan Greenberg and James Carville. Beyond the usual questions about Obama’s job approval and that of House Republicans, this poll performed the valuable service of reading out each party’s talking points about the current budget debate and then asking respondents which ones they found convincing.
The results are mildly hilarious. By a margin of over 20 points, voters agree with these GOP lines: “Both Democrats and Republicans have run up deficits, but now they are out of control under President Obama and threatening our economy”; Paul Ryan’s plan “changes the reckless path of over-spending and borrowing”; and, “Over-regulation and high taxes punish companies for success.” At the same time, by slightly higher percentages, they also agree with the Democrats that Ryan’s budget would “eliminate guaranteed Medicare and Medicaid coverage”; “force seniors to negotiate with private insurance companies, which are free to raise rates and deny coverage”; and “decrease taxes for CEOs and big corporations, giving millionaires another huge tax break.”
Since avowed Republicans and Democrats line up consistently behind whichever arguments come from their side, it is the independents who are responsible for the contradictory results: Almost 50 percent agreed first with the GOP positions, and then, with those of the other party. As the pollsters observed, “[I]ndependents … move in response to the messages and attacks tested in this survey.”
To a sympathetic eye, this result might connote a pleasant openness to contrasting opinions, perhaps a desire to give each group of partisans the benefit of the doubt. But I think it demonstrates a basic thoughtlessness. At a time of economic peril, when one party wants to protect the essential structure of our limited welfare state and the other party seeks to destroy it, most independents, according to this poll, appear to be seduced by the last thing they have heard. Scariest of all, come 2012, they just might be the ones to decide the future course of the republic.
Back in the 1920s, Walter Lippmann and John Dewey engaged in a fertile discussion, part of which took place in the pages of The New Republic, about whether ordinary citizens could be trusted to make sound decisions about which policies to favor and which politicians could be trusted to carry them out. Lippmann thought the public was easily manipulated by clever propagandists and ideologues; a complex industrial society required public-spirited experts to run the show. Dewey acknowledged the need for expertise, but he also called for well-informed progressives to involve the citizenry in learning about and participating in the democratic process. The people, Dewey wrote in The Public and Its Problems (1927), in his earnestly awkward way, should “have the ability to judge of the bearing of the knowledge supplied by others upon common concerns.” To advocate this kind of public pedagogy was, at the time, more daring that it sounds today. In the early twentieth century, only a minority of Americans finished high school, and just a tiny elite went to college.
Nearly a century later, governance has only become more complex and consequential. Yet most American adults have attended at least a year or two of college, and the Internet offers limitless ways to inform oneself about government programs and the politicians who embrace or reject them. Of course, misinformation abounds as well, but probably no more than it did in the 1920s, when four million Americans joined the KKK and many others believed the Klan’s charge that Catholics and Jews formed an “alien bloc” that, if unchecked, would topple the democratic order. So, in theory, Dewey’s vision, in updated form, might be easier to realize in 2011. After all, loyal Democrats and Republicans still compose at least two-thirds of the electorate. Both groups tend to follow politics and engage in partisan debates, and they understand there are marked, even irreconcilable, differences between liberals and conservatives.
But then, there are independents, many of whom, according to the Democracy Corps poll on some of the most pressing matters facing the country, seem to be more myopic than moderate. Either they believe, in their ignorance, that slashing the budget and cutting taxes can be accomplished without touching any entitlement program they favor. Or they care little about politics and so are willing to consent to whatever messages get thrown their way, however contradictory they may be. As former Rep. Richard Gephardt once put it, only half-jokingly, “We have surveys that prove that a good portion of the American public neither consumes nor wishes to consume politics.”
Independents vote in lower numbers than do party loyalists, but, in close elections, they nearly always cast the deciding ballots. As in other recent polls, the one conducted by Democracy Corps shows President Obama in a neck-and-neck race with Mitt Romney; it finds the same result for a hypothetical contest between a generic Republican and a generic Democrat running for Congress. This means that, unless the political dynamics change fundamentally over the next 18 months, independents will be critical again in 2012.
Of course, the dynamics could change, giving one party or the other a landslide victory. But I wouldn’t count on it. Indeed, the Democracy Corps poll reveals that our next holders of state power might end up being chosen by a minority that seems to stands for very little—or, perhaps, for nothing at all.
Michael Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University and co-editor of Dissent. His next book, American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation, will be published in August (Knopf).
4)This WH Does Not Care About U.S. Interests
By Caroline Glick
If only in the interest of intellectual hygiene, it would be refreshing if the Obama administration would stop ascribing moral impetuses to its foreign policy.
Today, US forces are engaged in a slowly escalating war on behalf of al-Qaida penetrated antiregime forces in Libya. It is difficult to know the significance of al-Qaida's role in the opposition forces because to date, the self-proclaimed rebel government has only disclosed 10 of its 31 members.
Indeed, according to The New York Times, the NATO-backed opposition to dictator Muammar Gaddafi is so disorganized that it cannot even agree about who the commander of its forces is.
And yet, despite the fact that the Obama administration has no clear notion of who is leading the fight against Gaddafi or what they stand for, this week the White House informed Congress that it will begin directly funding the al-Qaida-linked rebels, starting with $25 million in non-lethal material.
This aid, like the NATO no-fly zone preventing Gaddafi from using his air force, and the British military trainers now being deployed to Libya to teach the rebels to fight, will probably end up serving no greater end then prolonging the current stalemate. With the Obama administration unwilling to enforce the no-fly zone with US combat aircraft, unwilling to take action to depose Gaddafi and unwilling to cultivate responsible, pro-Western successors to Gaddafi, the angry tyrant will probably remain in power indefinitely.
In and of itself, the fact that the war has already reached a stalemate constitutes a complete failure of the administration's stated aim of protecting innocent Libyan civilians from slaughter.
Not only are both the regime forces and the rebel forces killing civilians daily. Due to both sides' willingness to use civilians as human shields, unable to separate civilians from military targets, NATO forces are also killing their share of civilians.
In deciding in favor of military intervention on the basis of a transnational legal doctrine never accepted as law by the US Congress called "responsibility to protect," President Barack Obama was reportedly swayed by the arguments of his senior national security adviser Samantha Power. Over the past 15 years, Power has fashioned herself into a celebrity policy wonk by cultivating a public persona of herself as a woman moved by the desire to prevent genocide. In a profile of Power in the current issue of the National Journal, Jacob Heilbrunn explains, "Power is not just an advocate for human rights. She is an outspoken crusader against genocide..."
Heilbrunn writes that Power's influence over Obama and her celebrity status has made her the leader of a new US foreign policy elite. "This elite," he writes, "is united by a shared belief that American foreign policy must be fundamentally transformed from an obsession with national interests into a broader agenda that seeks justice for women and minorities, and promotes democracy whenever and wherever it can - at the point of a cruise missile if necessary."
As the prolonged slaughter in Libya and expected continued failure of the NATO mission make clear, Power and her new foreign policy elite have so far distinguished themselves mainly by their gross incompetence.
But then, even if the Libyan mission were crowned in success, it wouldn't make the moral pretentions of the US adventure there any less disingenuous. And this is not simply because the administration-backed rebels include al-Qaida fighters.
The fact is that the moral arguments used for intervening militarily on behalf of Gaddafi's opposition pale in comparison to the moral arguments for intervening in multiple conflicts where the Obama administration refuses to lift a finger. At a minimum, this moral inconsistency renders it impossible for the Obama administration to credibly embrace the mantel of moral actor on the world stage.
Consider the administration's Afghanistan policy.
Over the past week, the White House and the State Department have both acknowledged that administration officials are conducting negotiations with the Taliban.
Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the administration's policy. During a memorial service for the late ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who at the time of his death last December was the most outspoken administration figure advocating engaging Mullah Omar and his followers, Clinton said, "Those who found negotiations with the Taliban distasteful got a very powerful response from Richard - diplomacy would be easy if we only had to talk to our friends."
Of course, the Taliban are not simply not America's friends. They are the enemy of every good and decent human impulse. The US went to war against the Taliban in 2001 because the Bush administration rightly held them accountable for Osama bin Laden and his terror army which the Taliban sponsored, hosted and sheltered on its territory.
But the Taliban are America's enemy not just because they bear responsibility for the September 11 attacks on the US. They are the enemy of the US because they are evil monsters.
Apparently, the supposedly moral, anti-genocidal, pro-women Obama administration needs to be reminded why it is not merely distasteful but immoral to engage the Taliban. So here it goes.
Under the Taliban, the women and girls of Afghanistan were the most oppressed, most terrorized, most endangered group of people in the world. Women and girls were denied every single human right. They were effectively prisoners in their homes, allowed on the streets only when fully covered and escorted by a male relative.
They were denied the right to education, work and medical care. Women who failed to abide in full by these merciless rules were beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and stoned to death.
The Taliban's barbaric treatment of women and girls probably couldn't have justified their overthrow at the hands of the US military. But it certainly justified the US's refusal to even consider treating them like legitimate political actors in the 10 years since NATO forces first arrived in Afghanistan. And yet, the self-proclaimed champions of the downtrodden in the administration are doing the morally unjustifiable. They are negotiating, and so legitimizing the most diabolical sexual tyranny known to man. Obama, Clinton, Power and their colleagues are now shamelessly advancing a policy that increases the likelihood that the Taliban will again rise to power and enslave Afghanistan's women and girls once more.
Then there is Syria. In acts of stunning courage, despite massive regime violence that has killed approximately two hundred people in three weeks, anti-regime protesters in Syria are not standing down. Instead, they are consistently escalating their protests. They have promised that the demonstrations after Friday prayers this week will dwarf the already unprecedented country-wide protests we have seen to date.
In the midst of the Syrian demonstrators' calls for freedom from one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East, the Obama administration has sided with their murderous dictator Bashar Assad, referring to him as a "reformer."
As Heibrunn notes in his profile of Power, she and her colleagues find concerns about US national interests parochial at best and immoral at worst. Her clear aim - and that of her boss - has been to separate US foreign policy from US interests by tethering it to transnational organizations like the UN.
Given the administration's contempt for policy based on US national interests, it would be too much to expect the White House to notice that Syria's Assad regime is one of the greatest state supporters of terrorism in the world and that its overthrow would be a body blow to Iran, Venezuela, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida and therefore a boon for US national security.
The Syrian opposition presents the likes of Obama and Power with what ought to be a serious moral dilemma. First, they seem to fit the precise definition of the sort of people that the transnationalists have a responsibility to protect.
They are being gunned down by the dozen as they march with olive branches and demand change they can believe in. Moreover, their plan for ousting Assad involves subordinating him to the transnationalists at the UN.
According to a report last week in The Washington Times, Washington-based representatives of several Syrian opposition groups have asked the administration to do three things in support of the opposition, all of which are consonant with the administration's own oft stated foreign policy preferences.
They have requested that Obama condemn the regime's murderous actions in front of television cameras. They have asked the administration to initiate an investigation of Assad's murderous response to the demonstrations at the UN Human Rights Council. And they have asked the administration to enact unilateral sanctions against a few Syrian leaders who have given troops the orders to kill the protesters.
The administration has not responded to the request to act against Assad at the UN Human Rights Council. It has refused the opposition's other two requests.
These responses are no surprise in light of the Obama administration's abject and consistent refusal to take any steps that could help Iran's pro-democracy, pro-women's rights, pro-Western opposition Green Movement in its nearly two-year-old struggle to overthrow the nuclearproliferating, terror-supporting, genocide-inciting, elections-stealing mullocracy.
Power's personal contribution to the shocking moral failings of the administration's foreign policy is of a piece with her known hostility towards Israel. That hostility, which involves a moral inversion of the reality of the Palestinian war against Israel, was most graphically exposed in a 2002 interview. Then, at the height of the Palestinian terror war against Israel, when Palestinian terrorists from Hamas and Fatah alike were carrying out daily attacks whose clear aim was the massacre of as many Israeli civilians as possible simply because they were Israelis, Power said in a filmed interview that she supported deploying a "mammoth" US military force to Israel to protect the Palestinians from the IDF.
In periodic attempts to convince credulous pro-Israel writers that she doesn't actually support invading Israel, Power has claimed that her statements calling for just such an invasion and additional remarks in which she blamed American Jews for US support of Israel were inexplicable lapses of judgment.
But then there have been so many lapses in judgment in her behavior and in the actions of the administration she serves that it is hard to see where the lapses begin and the judgment ends. Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Israel are only the tip of the iceberg. Everywhere from Honduras to Venezuela, from Britain to Russia, from Colombia to Cuba, Japan to China, Egypt to Lebanon, to Poland and the Czech Republic and beyond, those lapses in judgment are informing policies that place the US consistently on the side of aggressors against their victims.
Back in the pre-Obama days, when US foreign policy was supposed to serve US interests, it would have mattered that these policies all weaken the US and its allies and empower its foes. But now, in the era of the purely altruistic Obama administration, none of that matters.
What does matter is that the purely altruistic Obama foreign policy is empowering genocidal, misogynist, bigoted tyrants worldwide.
5)Race and Economics
By Thomas Sowell
Walter Williams fans are in for a treat-- and people who are not Walter Williams fans are in for a shock-- when they read his latest book, "Race and Economics."
It is a demolition derby on paper, as Professor Williams destroys one after another of the popular fallacies about the role of race in the American economy.
I can still vividly recall the response to one of Walter's earliest writings, back in the 1970s, when he and I were working on the same research project in Washington. Walter wrote a brief article that destroyed the central theme of one of the fashionable books of the time, "The Poor Pay More."
It was true, he agreed, that prices were higher in low-income minority neighborhoods. But he rejected the book's claim that this was due to "exploitation," "racism" and the like.
Having written a doctoral dissertation on this subject, Walter then proceeded to show why there were higher costs of doing business in many low-income neighborhoods, and that these costs were simply passed on to the consumers there.
What I remember especially vividly is that, in reply, someone called Walter "a white racist." Not many people had seen Walter at that time. But it was also a sad sign of how name-calling had replaced thought when it came to race.
The same issue is explored in Chapter 6 of "Race and Economics." The clinching argument is that, despite higher markups in prices in low-income neighborhoods, there is a lower than average rate of return for businesses there-- one of the reasons why businesses tend to avoid such neighborhoods.
My own favorite chapter in "Race and Economics" is Chapter 3, which I think is the most revealing chapter in the book.
That chapter begins, "Some might find it puzzling that during times of gross racial discrimination, black unemployment was lower and blacks were more active in the labor force than they are today." Moreover, the duration of unemployment among blacks was shorter than among whites between 1890 and 1900, whereas unemployment has become both higher and longer-lasting among blacks than among whites in more recent times.
None of this is explainable by what most people believe or say in the media or in academia. But it is perfectly consistent with the economics of the marketplace and the consequences of political interventions in the marketplace.
"Race and Economics" explains how such interventions impact blacks and other minorities, whether in housing markets, the railroad industry or the licensing of taxicabs-- and irrespective of the intentions behind the government's actions.
Minimum wage laws are classic examples. The last year in which the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate was 1930. That was also the last year in which there was no federal minimum wage law.
The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was in part a result of a series of incidents in which non-union black construction labor enabled various contractors from the South to underbid Northern contractors who used white, unionized construction labor.
The Davis-Bacon Act required that "prevailing wages" be paid on government construction projects-- "prevailing wages" almost always meaning in practice union wages. Since blacks were kept out of construction unions then, and for decades thereafter, many black construction workers lost their jobs.
Minimum wages were required more broadly under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, with negative consequences for black employment across a much wider range of industries.
In recent times, we have gotten so used to young blacks having sky-high unemployment rates that it will be a shock to many readers of Walter Williams' "Race and Economics" to discover that the unemployment rate of young blacks was once only a fraction of what it has been in recent decades. And, in earlier times, it was not very different from the unemployment rate of young whites.
The factors that cause the most noise in the media are not the ones that have the most impact on minorities. This book will be eye-opening for those who want their eyes opened. But those with the liberal vision of the world are unlikely to read it at all.