Monday, December 31, 2012

Reckless Abandonment But Obama Builds Constitutents!

Feb 18, you have the unique opportunity of having dinner with John Fund, one of our nation's most incisive observers of the current political scene. More details to follow regarding the SIRC annual President's Day Dinner.

I urge you to mark your calendar.

E mail from a friend: 
Dear God,
My prayer for 2013 is for a fat bank account and a thin body.
Please try not to mix them up like you did last year.
Obama likely to win Fiscal Cliff debate and thus be able to drive another nail into the nation's fiscal coffin.

Money obtained  from an interim agreement will be used for more spending not deficit reduction. (See 1 below.)

At some point within the next year or so Obama's spending train will run out of steam and the issue of spending beyond a sustainable level will have to be faced.

It is only a matter of time before the market responds to economic fundamentals and less to politics because what drives stocks is economics, ie. earnings etc and politics is more theater. Many years ago I noted that if you wanted to understand Wall Street you had to pass through D.C and that is still true because government has grown from a benign force to an enormous bully but even government must eventually yield to economics. Government can delay the inevitable through reckless printing of money but when the dollar is destroyed interest rates rise the dodge game will end.

It is obvious to me Obama really has no interest in fiscal responsibility and simply wants to spend money, grow government and build dependent constituents. His management style is dangerous but against Republicans, who are in disarray, he can be effective, has been and will continue to be.

As long as the press and media continue to convince the unwashed Republicans control the economy, Obama can avoid blame and perpetuate his gamesmanship.

Painful, contentious  and unpleasant days lie ahead.
A General who was awarded the Medal of Honor states his point of view. (See 2 below.)
Who is Kerry? Does it matter?  (See 3 below.)
Happiest, Healthiest New Years to you and yours. !

1)Graham: ‘Hats Off to the President, He Won’

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that chances for a small "fiscal Cliff" deal in the next 48 hours were "exceedingly good" and that President Barack Obama had won.

"I think people don't want to go over the cliff if we can avoid it," Graham said on Fox News Sunday.

But Graham stressed that Republicans must hold firm on the debt ceiling.

"This deal won't affect the debt situation, it will be a political victory for the president and I hope we'll have the courage of our convictions when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling to fight for what we believe as Republicans, but hats off to the president, he won," Graham said. “He stood his ground. He’s going to get tax-rate increases.”

Graham’s comments represent a blunt assessment of the political environment on Capitol Hill now less than 48 hours before massive spending cuts and tax increases on most Americans go into effect on Jan. 1.

He also said that he’ll likely vote for a deal to avoid the cliff “even if I won’t like it,” stressing that GOP support for a compromise measure in the Senate will make it far easier for House Speaker John A. Boehner to rally his troops, something he was unable to do when promoting his “Plan B” solution to the fiscal cliff crisis.

As for specifics, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said she and other Democrats would be willing to compromise on the income limit for tax increases. Most Democrats, along with Obama, have in the past drawn the line at $250,000, but Feinstein and others — including the president — have bent on that figure in an effort to attract Republican support.

“What makes this government work is compromise. I could certainly live with it,” she said, also appearing on “Fox News Sunday.

Exclusive: Gen. Patrick Brady explains why president abandoned Americans in Benghazi
By Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady , U.S. Army (ret.)

Now I understand! For years, many veterans and active military have been alarmed about the idiocy of the changes in battlefield aeromedical evacuation known as ‘Dustoff’. For reasons having nothing to do with patient care, Dustoff has been removed from the control of the professionals, the medics, and put under the control of amateurs, aviation staff officers, or ASOs. This is the first such change since the Civil War.

I document the unparalleled excellence of Dustoff, and the effects of the changes, in my book, “Dead Men Flying.”; Needless to say, it was the most outstanding battlefield operating system of that war – some one million souls saved and unprecedented survival rates. No warrior of Vietnam is more revered than the Dustoff crews.

In the words of Gen. Creighton Abrams, former U.S. Army chief of staff and former supreme commander in Vietnam: “A special word about the Dustoffs … Courage above and beyond the call of duty was sort of routine to them. It was a daily thing, part of the way they lived. That’s the great part, and it meant so much to every last man who served there. Whether he ever got hurt or not, he knew Dustoff was there. It was a great thing for our people.”;

Fast forward to current battlefields. We hear horror stories about patients waiting and dying because Dustoff didn’t launch or came too late. The launch standard in my unit in Vietnam was two minutes; today it s 15 minutes! Can anyone imagine a fire truck taking 15 minutes to get under way? I could go on and on, but one has to ask, why? Why the changes to an excellent, proven system? The answer is the Obama-Panetta Doctrine. In response to the horrible abandonment of dying Americans in Benghazi , Defense Secretary Panetta said: “(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.”;

On its face, that is a remarkable, indeed incomprehensible, change from America ’s doctrine in past wars. By that standard, there would have been no Normandy or Inchon . In fact, I can’t think of a war we fought in which we didn't go into harm’s way without real-time information or to save lives – something the president refused to do in Benghazi. Dustoff would never launch in Vietnam under that doctrine.

To fully understand the doctrinal change, one has to understand President Obama. He has a dearth of understanding of our military and military matters. We hear he is uncomfortable in the presence of ranking military and seldom meets with them. He is not a person who can make decisions, and he takes an extraordinary amount of time to do so, leading to such unseemly labels for a commander in chief as “Ditherer-in-Chief.”;

President Obama may have set records for voting “present” on important issues. He cowers from crisis decisions. He is a politician who thinks only in terms of votes, and his own image. Although I was a psychology major back in the day (I’d love to hear a professional analyze risk and Obama), I won’t try to define his insides, but I believe he is risk-averse – fearful of risk – and that is the basis of the Obama-Panetta doctrine.

This aversion for risk dominates Dustoff rescue operations where, in addition to an unconscionable reaction time, risk assessment is the primary consideration for mission launch – not patient care. In two years flying Dustoff inVietnam , I never heard that term, nor did any Dust pilot I know. The ASOs, remote from the battle, have developed time-consuming algorithms to analyze risk while the patient bleeds, something that’s impossible to do by anyone other than the pilot and the ground forces at the scene.

Obama’s aversion to risk contributed to the massacre of Americans by terrorists in Benghazi . We hear that the president did not even convene the Counter-terrorism Security Group while the Benghazi terrorist massacre was visually and verbally available in real time. That is like ignoring FEMA during Hurricane Sandy. But once you bring in a group labeled anti-terrorist, you have to acknowledge terror exists, something the president is loath to do.

My veteran friends are horrified by the Obama-Panetta doctrine. At least 359 retired flag officers supported Mitt Romney – only five that I know of supported Obama. Some 150 former prisoners of war also supported Romney; I know of none who supported Obama.

America needs to listen to these veterans. They understand leadership. They know how to deal with risk in war. They would not want this man with them in combat or crisis. They never left a needy comrade behind. Obama did.

Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, retired from the U.S. Army, is a recipient of
the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.
3)Kerry's 'realism' slips into callousness
By Jeff Jacoby

When it comes to foreign policy, John F. Kerry is no John F. Kennedy.

In his 1961 inaugural address, the 35th president of the United States declared that Americans would "pay any price, bear any burden" in their ongoing defense of liberty and human rights "at home and around the world." Like other presidents before and since � Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush � JFK believed that it was America's destiny to advance freedom and democratic self-government, and oppose the world's tyrants. This is the "idealist" approach to US foreign policy.
Kerry sees America's role differently. For nearly half a century, the man poised to become the 68th secretary of state has generally frowned on the belief that American muscle should be flexed in order to promote liberal democracy. As early as 1966, Kerry wanted America to lower its profile on the international stage.
"What was an excess of isolationism has become an excess of interventionism," he said in a speech at his Yale graduation. It was one thing to defeat Nazi Germany, but that didn't mean America had to try to win the Cold War too. "The United States must, I think, bring itself to understand that the policy of intervention that was right for Western Europe does not and cannot find the same application to the rest of the world."
There have been exceptions. Kerry originally supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and last year backed a no-fly zone in Libya to prevent Moammar Qaddafi from slaughtering the civilians rising against him.
But on the whole, Kerry prizes order and stability over liberty and human rights. He prefers to accommodate and engage America's foes than to deem them enemies who must be defeated. He thought the horrors of 9/11 justified not a military war on terror, but only better "intelligence gathering, law enforcement, public diplomacy." During his run for the White House in 2004, Kerry told The Washington Post that "as president he would play down the promotion of democracy" -- not because he denied the lack of freedom in places like Pakistan, China, and Russia, but because other issues "trumped human rights concerns in those nations."
Again and again, Kerry has shown a remarkable indulgence toward the world's thugs and totalitarians. Within months of becoming a senator in 1985, he flew to Nicaragua in a show of support for Marxist strongman Daniel Ortega, a Soviet/Cuban ally; he returned to Washington talking up the Sandinistas' "good faith." More recently Kerry earned a reputation as Bashar al-Assad's best friend in Congress. Against all evidence, Kerry described himself as "very, very encouraged" by the Syrian dictator's openness to reform; he repeatedly flew to Damascus to visit Assad, describing him afterward as "my dear friend" and assuring audiences that engagement was working: "Syria will move; Syria will change as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States." By the time Kerry finally changed his tune, thousands of Syrian protesters were dead or behind bars.
Kerry's foreign policy views � like those of President Obama � are typical of the so-called "realist" school, which regards considerations of human rights or democracy as a sentimental distraction from the ruthless business of power-balancing and national self-interest. President Nixon and the first President Bush were firmly in the "realist" camp, too. "I have enormous sympathy for the foreign policy of George H.W. Bush," Obama said as a candidate in 2008. And indeed, his reluctance to speak out when pro-democracy protesters were being bloodied in the streets of Iran in 2009 was strikingly reminiscent of Bush the elder's refusal to protest China's savage crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square 20 years earlier.
Both realism and idealism have a role to play in US statecraft, but the problem with the "realist" approach is that it too easily slips into callousness. Autocratic regimes may brush off mass murder or violent repression as other countries' "internal affairs," but such coldness is unworthy of the United States.
"I am very high on John Kerry," says Brent Scowcroft, who was national security advisor to Bush 41 and remains a prominent "realist" exponent. "He is not beset by illusions or campaigns on behalf of abstract principles. His instincts are solid."
If only they were. As Kerry's prolonged willingness to defend a monster like Assad suggests, however, his "realist" instincts are all too fallible. Of course idealists make mistakes too. But the next secretary of state might bear in mind what that other JFK understood: American foreign policy is most truly realistic when it is rooted in the ideals that have made America such a beacon.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Why America Is Four F!

I have posted the above before but individually.
Why America is Four F:

Liberals Fixed what Functioned and now we are F------ Forever!

From Wilson-FDR Socialism, to Carter-Johnson Progressivism to Obama Entitlement Egalitrarianism - consequence:

A once great and productive nation is economically dimmed because:

Increased debt will result in increased carrying costs which will suck the wind out of private sector sails.

Inane rules, regulations and bureaucratic red tape will impact private sector margins and earnings.

Efforts to elevate the bottom by transferring from the top will result in increased entitlement seekers at the cost of dispiriting  the successful, and finally

Increased taxation at all levels will dis-incentivise resulting in either a prolonged period of GDP undergrowth or a permanent one.

Employment growth is accomplished when shackles are removed from the private sector but since the goal of Obama adherents is to enlarge government dependency employment will remain challenged.

Welcome to The New Year and Obamaism!
I do not endorse NFL players playing after concussions as they seem to do each week but I find it most ironic that they do so and yet Hillary Clinton is incapable of coming out from hiding to testify why her  mis-management of the State Department cannot investigated.

The State Department's internal report was a white wash, concluded there were deficiencies but blamed no one. Four people supposedly resigned only to wind up across the aisle in new jobs and so the cover up continues.  Just another lurid example of Obama's open government.

Word is, Hillary has recovered from intestinal flu and will soon testify.
Even the concept of knowing your enemy can be carried to the point of lunacy.  Obama has gone beyond what is rational in his desire to burden our military with crippling demands (See 1 below.)
History is rife with broken promises by nations.  When so, it becomes diplomacy by deception.  (See 2 below)

1)LYONS: Draft of new U.S. Army handbook must be scrapped

Military supposed to defend First Amendment rights

After the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the erosion of our military’s moral principles, regretfully, continues.
A recent Wall Street Journal article described the U.S. Army’s final-draft handbook, which indoctrinates our military personnel heading to Afghanistan in how to be sensitive to and accept Muslim and Afghan 7th-century customs and values — or possibly be killed by our Afghan partners.

Unbelievable. This is being done to prevent the so-called “green-on-blue” attacks, which have cost 63 American lives this year.
According to the Army’s Combined Arms Center at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., it is our military’s ignorance and lack of empathy for Muslim and Afghan cultural norms that is the basic cause for our Afghan military partners to react violently and kill our troops.
For example, if our military personnel hear or witness an Afghan soldier sodomizing a young boy, the handbook tells U.S. service members to voice no objection, accept it or ignore it, or they could be killed. If an Afghan beats, rapes or kills a woman in the presence of a U.S. serviceman, they are not to interfere or stand up for women’s rights or else they might be killed.

What the Army is saying, in effect, is that if Afghan partners conduct violence against U.S. service personnel, it is the serviceman’s fault. This is mind-boggling. We know, according to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, that nine out of 10 Afghan military personnel are illiterate and cannot be counted on in combat. Endemic corruption is embedded in Afghan culture and certainly extends to their military. They cannot be trusted.

Other cultural norms our professional U.S. military must accept without reservation by our Afghan partners is desertion, drug use, thievery, dog torture and collusion with the enemy, the Taliban. Also, U.S. military members must not discuss Islam in any form.
All of this guidance is un-American. It is totally against our core principles and everything we stand for as Americans. It threatens to further diminish our military principles, stature and fighting spirit. As columnist Diana West stated in a recent article, if this handbook directive is implemented, we will be forcing our military to submit to Islam and its governing Shariah law or die — exactly the choice offered to infidels who have been vanquished by jihad. Our military’s silence and acquiescence would be the humiliating price for their existence.

This should be seen as another attempt to undercut our professional military and our warrior reputation that has guaranteed our freedom and way of life for the past 236 years.

None of this humiliating guidance should come as a surprise. The Obama administration has had a massive purge under way to remove all training manuals, lectures and instructors who link Islamic doctrine and its governing Shariah law in a factual way to Islamic terrorism. These manuals are being removed from all government agencies, including the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies. All our training manuals have been purged of the true nature of the threat from Islam and Shariah.
The degrading of our military’s fundamental principles should be viewed in a much broader perspective. We cannot overlook the fact that with or without sequestration, we are unilaterally disarming our military force. This is happening in spite of an uncertain world situation with the Mideast still in a state of turmoil and evolving threats posed by China, Russia and Iran.

Separately, we see our First Amendment rights being trashed by our secretary of state through her participation in the Istanbul Process championed by the 57-member-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC is sponsoring a United Nations mandate that would make it a crime to express anything they consider blasphemous against Islam or the Prophet Muhammad. This same theme was expressed by President Obama in his September speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

If these attacks on America’s exceptionalism and core principles are collectively analyzed, it appears that there is an insidious agenda at work to fundamentally change America. All of these negative factors must be challenged and defeated. As a first step, the Army’s draft handbook should be trashed.

Second, Congress must take positive action to protect our First Amendment rights and force the Obama administration to withdraw from any further participation in the Istanbul Process. Third, the unilateral disarmament of our military must be reversed. It’s time for members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to take a position that supports the oath they took to protect and defend our Constitution.

Retired Adm. James A. Lyons was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.


Implementing the Balfour Declaration


T.E. Lawrence on British-Jewish- Arab cooperation

Lord Arthur James Balfour
Photo by: Courtesy
You won’t find this truth in the lengthy biography of Thomas Edward Lawrence, the legendary “Lawrence of Arabia” in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Don’t expect to hear about this on the BBC. The world remembers Lawrence as a guide, friend and champion of Arabs, but hardly knows that he believed in Zionism as a force to restore Palestine to its ancient glory, brought about by active British-Jewish-Arab cooperation.

T.E. Lawrence, an English officer, an Arab hero, an archeologist, orientalist and author who, precisely because he was such a devoted champion of the Arab cause, supported the Jewish settlement in Palestine.

LAWRENCE, BORN on August 15, 1888, in Caernarvonshire, Wales, knew prewar Turkish-occupied Palestine much better than most European Zionist leaders, including Chaim Weizmann. Already at Oxford he had submitted a thesis on the subject of Crusader castles in France, Syria and Palestine, which won him first-class honors in history in 1910. As a protégé of Oxford archeologist D.G. Howard, he excavated from 1911 the Hittite settlement of Carchemish on the Euphrates.

Lawrence used his three-year scholarship to travel throughout Palestine, learning the language, customs and people. Early in 1914, he and Sir Leonard Woolley explored the northern Sinai extensively, in what was actually a strategic drawing and map-making of the Negev sponsored by the Palestine Exploration Fund. World War I found him in London as an expert on the Middle East and Arab affairs, employed in the map section of the War Office. Delegated to join the staff of the British HQ in Cairo, he persuaded the Arabs to revolt against the Turkish regime under the protection of British forces.

Lawrence, with his knowledge, experience and enthusiasm, and the aid of gold sovereigns, organized an Arab fighting unit commanded by Emir Feisal, son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca, to whom the British had addressed the McMahon Declaration of 1916 pledging the liberation of Arab countries from Turkish rule and support for Sherif Hussein as king.

Lawrence served Emir Feisal in this unit as a British liaison officer and political adviser, and was successful in capturing Aqaba in 1916. The unit entered Damascus in 1918. During the summer of 1918 it was still carrying out sabotage behind the Turkish lines when a historic meeting between Emir Feisal, Lawrence and Dr.

Chaim Weizmann took place.

WEIZMANN RECALLS in his memoirs, published in his book Trial and Error, how he arrived in Cairo in the spring of 1918 as the head of the Zionist Commission, charged with advising the British Government on the implementation of the Balfour Declaration.

In Cairo, Weizmann was advised by General Edmund Allenby, the CO of British forces in Egypt, to try to make direct contact with the Arab leaders and seek their support for the common development of Palestine.

Allenby suggested Weizmann approach Emir Feisal “for a least a tentative agreement on the Zionist program for Palestine.” Feisal, in Allenby’s opinion, was the only Arab representative of influence, who could be regarded as the sole Arab leader.

Thus in June 1918, Weizmann, assisted by a British liaison officer, Major Ormsby- Gore, embarked on a difficult journey to meet Emir Feisal. However, on the way Ormsby-Gore became ill with dysentery.

Another British officer was appointed to accompany Weizmann to Feisal’s camp in Trans-Jordan. This unexpected substitution made Weizmann’s task all the more difficult, since Ormsby-Gore was sympathetic to Zionism.

It was a pleasant surprise to Weizmann, exhausted after a most tiring journey, when upon his arrival at Feisal’s camp he was greeted by Lawrence, friendly to the Zionist cause. Lawrence instructed Weizmann on how to approach Emir Feisal and how to present his cause, and proved himself to be not only a good translator, since Weizmann did not know Arabic, but a trusted friend who persuaded Feisal that the Jewish settlement in Palestine would be of great benefit to the country and the Arab people.

To Lawrence, who had met Jewish pioneers and admired their zeal, the formula of Jews and Arabs joined together under the British aegis in a common effort to rebuild Palestine after centuries of neglect, sounded most promising.

Lawrence, well aware of Palestinian poverty and neglect under Turkish rule, was convinced that Jewish effort and money would be of ultimate benefit to both peoples.

He presented this idea again after the end of World War I, when he served with the British delegation to the Paris Peace Conference and as a representative of Emir Feisal, representing Arab interests.

Lawrence assisted in the editing of the Weizmann-Feisal agreement by which the national and historic rights of Jews in Palestine were recognized. Britain was to become the trustee power in Palestine, expected to absorb millions of Jews who would extend financial and technical aid to the Arabs.

During the 1919 Paris Peace Conference Lawrence was present at the crucial meeting between Emir Feisal and the American Zionist Felix Frankfurter. A historic letter was published on March 3, 1919, on behalf of the Hedjaz delegation, signed by Emir Feisal. The letter had clearly stated the Arab position: 
“Dear Mr. Frankfurter, I want to take this opportunity of my first contact with American Zionists, to tell you what I have often been able to say to Dr. Weizmann in Arabia and Europe. We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins by race, suffering similar oppression at the hands of powers stronger than themselves, and by happy coincidence have been able to take first step towards the attainment of their national ideals together. We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement...”

As Weizmann commented, “this remarkable letter should be of interest to the critics who have accused us of beginning our Zionist work in Palestine without ever consulting the wishes or welfare of the Arab world... Of equal interest to the critics should be the agreement into which Emir Feisal, as the head of the Arab delegation to the Peace Conference, entered with me on January 3, 1919.”

This agreement stated that the Palestine Administration would carry into effect the British Government’s (Balfour) Declaration of November 2, 1917, encouraging Jewish immigration to Palestine.

HOWEVER, EMIR Feisal’s goodwill was hardly shared by a vast majority of the British military authorities or the Administration of Palestine, which largely ignored the Balfour Declaration. It was hostile to Jews, in particular to the Jewish immigrants from Russia, whom they regarded as Bolshevik emissaries acting according to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

This attitude surely affected Arabs and assisted Syrian Muslim fanatics in spreading their anti-Jewish propaganda. The British policy of divide and rule was an obstacle to any conciliation.

Emir Feisal failed to become the king of Syria. The Supreme Allied Conference, which met at San Remo on April 20, 1920, gave Britain a mandate for Palestine, with the obligation to establish in it the Jewish National Home, promised in the Balfour Declaration. France received a mandate for Lebanon and Syria.

This proved to be a disappointment to Lawrence and the Arabs, many of whom felt betrayed and their interests set aside by Britain and France. Emir Feisal quit the Peace Conference in anger.

Lawrence went home, but he returned to the Middle East in March 1921, as a personal adviser to Winston Churchill, the colonial secretary, who pacified Arabs by offering Feisal the Kingdom of Iraq, and his brother Abdullah the Emirate of Trans-Jordan.

In 1922, Churchill severed Trans-Jordan from Palestine, hoping that this would satisfy Arab demands for a separate state. After a few months in Amman, Lawrence returned to London where, in 1926, he published his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which appeared in 1927 in a shorter version.

Lawrence, who missed adventure, enlisted in the British forces twice as a private.

He died on May 19, 1935, in Dorset. His other books were published posthumously.

His work on behalf of the possibility of joint British-Jewish-Arab development in Palestine has been almost completely forgotten.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Booklet, Home vs Out Physical Therapy, Quid Pro Quo

As the year draws to a close I still appeal to those who have not purchased my booklet, and thereby support my effort to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, to consider doing so. The cost is $10.99 plus postage, should any be due.

I continue to argue, my booklet offers practical child rearing advice which could help re-establish a pattern of behavior that might help reverse, what I believe is a pernicious trend towards ignorance of what being an American means and a growing public acceptance of a  life of dependency and sense of entitlement

I also  want to offer some advice and observations  about my recent experience regarding my own knee replacement situation. I do so in the hope it might help guide others recognizing that everyone is different.

Knee replacement has advanced but remains an intricate surgery involving a lot of post surgical therapy.

Fortunately, in my case, the surgery was successful meaning the new knee was properly size, seated and without complications, ie. infection etc

I have nothing but praise for my surgeon, his PA, my out patient therapist but do believe , in my own case, I should have started with a week or two of home therapy before beginning out patient therapy.

In retrospect, through no fault of anyone, I chose to begin outside physical  therapy after my operation instead of first doing home physical therapy. Why? I just thought being aggressive was the right path.  Not necessarily a wrong decision but in my case I missed  information beneficial which would have been useful when I  eventually  began outside physical therapy. Medicare pays for both. However, you must choose  one. You can stop  and then  undertake the other.  Medicare also will grant extensions if so required and approved.

Immediate post operative therapy begins after surgery while you are still in the hospital and takes the form of mechanical movement of your leg as well as walking. All of this is to prevent scar tissue development. Scar tissue is the body's normal reaction to trauma.  If allowed to persist, scar tissue can cause restriction thus preventing  an acceptable recovery and  if allowed to become excessive, as in my case, so restrictive that the hope of complete recovery is impeded if not placed  out of the question..

I submit, the discharge process should involve more explanation of the why's and wherefore's of what post operative therapy entails.  This would permit a greater  exploration of a home versus outside  therapy discussion. Alas,  discharge, as I experienced it, is more for administrative purposes. I focus on this because the surgeon has every right to assume, once his job is over, the consequences of his efforts depend upon the patient knowing what to do and why, in an  understandable manner, so he/she can make a decision best suited for their own  personal situation and personality vis a vis post operative therapy.

In my case, I began aggressive post operative 'out patient' therapy with an excellent therapist but I noted, probably  should have first undergone a week or so of 'home' therapy. Why? Because when I had post operative therapy after my recent scar tissue operation I finally had explained to me a great deal of information that was significant, at least for me, thus giving me a better understanding of  the rigors of post surgery physical therapy.

I consider myself intelligent and dedicated I believe my out patient therapy, though excellent and aggressive, was not as  effective because I never understood fully my own role.
Let me give you a simple example. I understood the need to ice at least 20 minutes at a time but did not comprehend I should not exceed 20 minutes. I know understand tissue needs time to heal so more than 20 minutes  is counterproductive. Only twenty minutes, quit and then you can restart for another 20 etc. Duh! Stupid me.

After 5 weeks of out patient therapy it became evident my knee was not responding so my surgeon reluctantly agreed to manipulation under total sedation. The home care therapist expressed such is more likely to increase scar tissue than eliminate same. A risk my surgeon explained was a possibility. I believe the home care therapist  is right and that the window of eliminating scar tissue, in my case, had probably passed.  

As noted, I am now undergoing home therapy after scar tissue surgery, have a greater appreciation of what therapy means and why and believe my recovery will be successful.

I have nothing but praise for my surgeon, his PA, my hospital care, out patient therapist but, I repeat, in my own case, I should have started with a week or two of home therapy before beginning out patient therapy.

Communication, understanding and self-advocacy are critical. We are blessed with excellent medical care but government focus is on needless paperwork documentation and there is a failure of simple communication and explanation. My home therapist explained how much she could improve the system if allowed  but is thwarted and how important her own role is because the surgeon is relying upon her and her associates to carry out their critical post surgery function.

As 'Obamascare' takes over matters will only worsen. I also learned we are one million short of physical therapists and within five years this deficiency will double.

As fine as the medical care I have received , I underwent more problems than I should have because  I failed myself. No doubt I produced more scar tissue more quickly. That said, I do believe, in my case,  I should have undertaken home therapy first and recommend exploration of same prior to discharge.

 I did not write this to lay blame. In life some things fall through the cracks and as we make more demands on an already stressed system and the government gets more involved things will only worsen. This is the history of government involvement and I see no reason why anything will change. I believe, any future knee replacement  patient, must pursue the distinction between various available options.

The first weeks after surgery  should be exclusively devoted to physical therapy involving straightening and bending and eventually flexing  will follow.
Hope to visit the author and renew our friendship in October 2013 as we plan a trip to Israel.  (See 1 below.)
At least we were warned.  (See 2 below.)
Motley investment  advice for 2013. (See 3 and 3a  below.)
Kim Strassel offers advice to Republicans.

It appears Boehner and others mistakenly assume/seem to believe Obama is a quid pro quo president when in fact he negotiates like the Palestinians. By this I mean, Obama pockets what is offered, then disavows that to which he had already agreed. Bob Woodruff pointed this out in his latest book (which I reviewed many memos ago) involving Obama and Boehener's previous negotiation episode which ended in failure. Obama had agreed to $800 billion in spending increases before he walked away from the deal and now has escalated that demand to $1.6 trillion in new spending but has yet to be specific.

I discussed with a very dear friend and fellow memo reader why politicians  walk away from their principles and have such a hard time adhering to their beliefs and I thought he provided some interesting insights.

He suggested politicians generally belong to a particular party and must pay loyalty to that party.  Thus, they are referees but not totally unbiased ones. Over time, the demands of the system and constituencies force them to choose sides, ie. align with unions, Greens, industrialists etc. and thus they become corrupted by reason of the fact that  the nation's interests get lost because their refereeing becomes fractured.

No one reason can explain the philosophical  gridlock we are experiencing but I submit my friend's thinking is food for thought.

All this Cliff Talk shenanigans is theater because if those engaged wanted to do right by the nation, instead of their individual constituencies, it is clear that we must have a more equitable and broader tax base, less spending and entitlements and live within our means.  (See 4 below.)

P.J. O'Rourke and Brent Bozell offer somethoughts on Obama and his culture.  (See 5 and 5a below.)

The next four years will be unlike any in our history as the nation, like a pin ball, bounces from one crisis to another. 
The Happiest and Healthiest of New Years.


Why Arabs Hate And Kill Palestinians

by Khaled Abu Toameh          
The Arab League did not hold an emergency meeting to discuss what Palestinians describe as "massacres " against the refugees in a Syrian camp, home to more than 50,000 people. Those who meddle in the internal affairs of Arab countries should not be surprised when bombs start falling on their homes. Palestinians are not always innocent victims. They bring tragedy on themselves and then want to blame everyone else but themselves.

More than 800 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds others injured since the beginning of the crisis in Syria nearly two years ago.

In the past two weeks, thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus after Syrian jets bombed their homes, killing dozens of people.

More than 3000 refugees have fled to neighboring Lebanon, where some politicians and cabinet ministers are already calling for closing the border to stop the influx of Palestinians into their country.

The Arab world, meanwhile, has done nothing to help the Palestinians in Syria.
The Arab League did not hold an emergency meeting to discuss what Palestinians described as "massacres" against the refugees in Yarmouk, home to some 50,000 people.

This is not the first time that Palestinians living in Arab countries find themselves caught in conflicts between rival parties. Those who meddle in the internal affairs of Arab countries should not be surprised when bombs start falling on their homes.

The Palestinians have a long history of involving themselves in the internal affairs of Arab countries and later complaining when they fall victim to violence. They complain they are being killed but not saying why they keep getting into trouble.

Palestinians are not always innocent victims. They bring tragedy on themselves and then want to blame everyone else but themselves.
In Syria, a Palestinian terrorist group called Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, which is headed by Ahmed Jibril, had been helping the Syrian regime in its attempts to suppress the opposition. Jibril's terrorists are reported to have kidnapped, tortured and murdered hundreds of anti-regime Syrians over the past two years.

The last time an Arab army bombed a Palestinian refugee camp was in Lebanon. In 2007, the Lebanese army destroyed most of the Nahr al-Bared camp after another terrorist group, Fatah al-Islam set up bases there and attacked army checkpoints, killing several soldiers.

In the 70s and 80s, Palestinians played a major role in the Lebanon civil war, which claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people.

The Palestinians also payed a price for meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq. After the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime, thousands of Palestinians were forced out of Iraq for helping the dictator oppress his people for many years.

After the liberation of Kuwait more than 20 years ago, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from the tiny emirate and other Gulf countries. Their crime was that they had supported Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait -- a country that for many years had provided the PLO with billions of dollars in aid.

Jordan was the first Arab country to punish the Palestinians for meddling in its internal affairs. In 1970, the late King Hussein ordered his army to crush armed Palestinian organizations that had severely undermined his monarchy. The violence resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians and ended with the expulsion of the PLO to Lebanon.

What happened in the Yarmouk refugee camp in the past few days shows that the Palestinians have not learned from their previous mistakes and are continuing to meddle in the internal affairs of Arab countries. That is perhaps why the Arabs are reluctant to help the Palestinians overcome their financial hardships.

Arab League foreign ministers recently promised to provide the Palestinian Authority with $100m. per month to solve its financial crisis. But the Palestinians have not yet seen one dollar from the promised aid. And if they continue to meddle in the internal affairs of their Arab brothers, the only thing they will see is more bombs falling on their homes and thousands of people forced out of their refugee 

2)  We told you so...

The following was originated by a financial planner who has conservative core values, and backs up what he says with verifiable facts.  He's knowledgeable and honest, from my perspective. - JB

There are 51% of voters who owe the other 49% a huge apology, again.  Is it too late for a recall?

From IBD:
With Election Over, Americans Find They Were Duped By Democrats And Obama

 Posted 12/24/2012 06:36 PM ET
Politics 2012: It hasn't been two months since Barack Obama won re-election, but already we're finding out things that were kept from us during the campaign. Expect to hear more in the coming months.

Elections are clarifying events, we're told. But sometimes what they clarify is merely the gap between what we were told during the campaign and the reality on the ground. Often, the two don't match. That's certainly true with Obama.

How often in recent weeks have we learned that what we heard on the campaign trail from the Obama camp, and which were echoed by a cowed and subservient press, were either distortions or outright lies — enough to keep a majority of us fooled, and help win a second term for the incumbent?

Now, we're finding the reality to be something different. And to jog your recollection, here are just a few:

• Economy: "The economy's getting stronger ... confidence is growing." The media and Obama repeated these like a mantra. But as IBD reported earlier, real weekly earnings for American workers have fallen 3.5% since Obama took over, a declining trend that has continued post-election.

How about other signs of well-being? The Census Bureau reported after the election that the number of Americans in poverty grew by 712,000 people in 2011. A far-more pro-Obama biased report issued in September said it had fallen by 96,000. Oh yes, and a record 47 million people today are on food stamps — up 47% since Obama took over.

Meanwhile, we also heard that consumer confidence was strengthening — and that would lead to a spurt of new economic activity in the new year. But in December, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index tumbled to 72.9, its lowest reading since June, from 82.7 in November.

Our own IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index fell 7.6% in December to 45.1, a pessimistic reading and the lowest since December 2011.

For small businesses, whom Obama regularly claimed to be helping while on the stump, the picture's no better. The National Federation of Independent Business' Small Business Optimism Index fell 5.6 points in December to 87.5 — one of its lowest readings ever.

"Between the looming 'fiscal cliff,' the promise of higher health care costs and the endless onslaught of new regulations, owners have found themselves in a state of pessimism," said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. Remember: Small businesses create 80% to 85% of all jobs.

• Employment: Yes, unemployment has dropped to 7.7%. But only because hundreds of thousands of Americans have left the workforce. In September and October, nonpayroll farm jobs were reported as rising 148,000 and 171,000, respectively, solid gains. The mainstream media played it up as a major turnaround for the economy, giving Obama a boost.

In early December, a new government jobs report highlighted that job growth was a 146,000 in November, less than the 151,000 average since the start of the year. And it revised September and October job growth down by 49,000, proving that employment numbers had been biased upward to favor Obama.

Yes, the total number of people with private-sector jobs has grown by 2 million over the last year, as the White House proudly trumpets — and did on the campaign trail. But what never gets reported is that 2.4 million people have left the workforce entirely over the same stretch — so there is no net real job growth.

• Regulations: President Obama stayed virtually mum on the topic of regulation during his campaign. Smart move. The EPA is set to release a tidal wave of new rules to slash CO2 that will close as many as 332 energy plants, while costing the U.S. economy $700 billion, according to the Manhattan Institute. The rules will hit Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia — states that voted for Obama — especially hard. Think they might have liked to know that before voting?

• Budget: Obama promised a "balanced" approach to taxes and spending. But data from the CBO and OMB show spending will surge 55% over the next 10 years under Obama — nearly $2 trillion in added spending — swamping Obama's promised "cuts" of $880 billion.

• Taxes: Remember how Obama and his Democratic surrogates taunted Republicans repeatedly, saying they wanted to raise taxes only on "millionaires and billionaires" while cutting taxes for the middle class?

When Republicans proposed to do just that, Obama said no thanks. In fact, he has major tax hikes in store for middle-class Americans — starting with ObamaCare's 18 or so new taxes, and ending with the admission of key Democrats such as former presidential candidate Howard Dean, that taxes on everyone must rise dramatically to pay for the Democrats' spending orgy.

• Benghazi: The White House described the early- September attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, as a reaction to an anti-Muslim film clip that appeared on the Internet.

In recent weeks, we've found that the film played no role at all — and that Obama and his national security staff did nothing to save the lives of those under attack, even though they knew the attack was ongoing.  Obama lied while letting Americans die.

• War On Terror: Obama claimed the war against al-Qaida was basically over. Now we find out that isn't true. Governments friendly to al-Qaida, if not its aims, have taken over in Libya and Egypt. Syria may be next.

For those who think the fight's done, think again. Quietly, Obama is sending troops back to Iraq to help stabilize the country. And he plans to send Army teams to as many as 35 countries in Africa to battle growing terrorist threats — mainly from al-Qaida.

So were Americans duped? Sure. They were told to believe one thing only to discover right after the election reality was something else.  51% foolishly believed the lies and thereby made all of us victims to the con-game.

But with another four years of hope and change, you can be sure of one thing: Americans have many more "surprises" in store.

3)What You Must Do in 2013 (Even if You Don't Want To)

The financial crisis four years ago wiped out trillions of dollars in wealth. Yet even though the stock market has recovered nearly all of its losses from its pre-crisis highs, the real damage has been done in the time since stocks started recovering from their 2009 lows.
As bad as the economic losses from the market meltdown were, the more lasting impact has come from the loss of confidence among investors in stocks. With some investors staying out of the stock market entirely and many more reducing their asset allocations to stocks, investors on the whole haven't taken full advantage of the massive recovery in the market over the past four years.
You can't afford to make that mistake. No matter how scary the market may seem, coming up with a plan to get into riskier assets like stocks in 2013 is essential if you want to reach your financial goals.
Locking in permanent losses In the aggregate, the price tag of that loss of confidence is staggering. According to figures from Bloomberg, U.S. investors have left a whopping $200 billion on the table by retreating from stocks at exactly the worst moment. With the S&P 500 having gained 94% since its March 2009 lows, assets in funds that invest in equities have only seen an 85% gain. Moreover, despite the fact that stocks have risen so far in so short a time, overall allocations of retirement-oriented funds to stock investments actually declined by half a percentage point -- suggesting that investors were far more active than usual in rebalancing to lock in gains on the way up in order to protect the money they'd recouped from their past losses.
Meanwhile, investors are gravitating toward fixed-income investments. Despite the fact that bond funds have produced massive returns in recent years, nearly all of that performance has come from capital appreciation as bond rates have continued to fall. With 10-year Treasury bonds having been locked below the 2% mark for most of 2012, income will play only a tiny role in overall bond returns. Moreover, if rates start to rise, then capital losses will become a definite possibility for the future, which has prompted some investors to make bets against bonds using the ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury ETF (NYSEMKT: TBT  ) .
Bucking the performance-chasing trendInterestingly, the refusal of investors to get back into the stock market flies in the face of past behavior. Usually, after several years of market gains, investors would be clamoring to get into stocks as they rise toward new highs. But even recently, fears about the fiscal cliff, Europe, and other global macroeconomic concerns have kept investors on the sidelines. Bloomberg cited figures showing that the bull market is the first in 20 years in which investors have cut back on stocks, and the percentage of households owning mutual funds has declined as well.
Part of the issue may be that pockets of the market are still seeing huge levels of volatility. For instance, in 2011, financial stocks Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , AIG (NYSE: AIG  ) , and Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) all plunged on worries that their attempts to sell off non-core assets and retrench their core businesses would fail, exposing investors to further dilutive capital-raising methods and leaving existing shareholders without any future growth prospects. Investors likeFairholme Fund's Bruce Berkowitz were ridiculed for buying financials and suffering huge losses for fund shareholders.
Yet in 2012, after many had abandoned the fund and financial stocks more broadly, B of A, AIG, and Citi all rallied. Those gains, combined with a bounce-back in shares of Sears Holdings(NASDAQ: SHLD  ) , helped vault Fairholme to the top of the performance charts this year. Those who sold at the lows again suffered those losses while missing out on the subsequent gains.
Don't wait any longerOf course now, with stocks already having risen so much, you might be reluctant to get in at what could be the highs. Yet even if you don't commit all your spare cash to stocks right now, what youneed to do is recognize the necessity of committing some of your current and future financial resources to risk assets of some sort. Whether you think stocks, real estate, or other productive assets are your best bet for financial success, get a strategy in place now that will help guide you toward putting more of your money where it can work harder for you.
2013 will be just as unpredictable as 2012 was. But to succeed in the long run, you must put together a strong investing strategy. Even if you don't want to, buying stocks will most likely be a key element of that strategy going forward.
AIG may well be the pinnacle of Bruce Berkowitz's career, but is it still a smart investment today? We'll help you sort fact from fiction to determine whether AIG is a buy at today's prices in our premium analyst report on the company. Just click here now for instant access.

3a)Picture a skinny 18-year-old with a high metabolism. He can eat anything he wants -- doughnuts, ice cream, pizza -- with virtually no harm. His weight stays the same, his blood pressure remains low, and he faces no immediate risk of heart disease. So he keeps on gorging. Why change when the food tastes this good?
Later in life, this catches up with him, and he puts on a few pounds. Unsettled, he tries dieting and exercises more. His growing waistline now serves as an incentive to change habits.
Then, in his 60s, he has a heart attack. He survives, but he's terrified. He hires a nutritionist and a personal trainer, and downs a daily cocktail of pills to keep his heart ticking. His near-death experience is a powerful incentive to drastically change behavior. His life depends on it.
This is an appropriate analogy to understand why the fiscal cliff debate has dragged on so long. America's finances are not the 60-year-old heart attack victim, highly incentivized to change behavior. We are the 18-year-old with the fast metabolism, loving our bacon cheeseburgers with no current incentive to do anything differently.
Two events -- and only two events -- will prod legislators into wide-reaching, permanent budget reform: Rising interest rates, or the threat of not being re-elected. Both are (for now) completely out of sight. 
Take interest rates. They're currently at all-time lows. The impact this has on financing government deficits is massive. In 1995, the national debt was $4.8 trillion and interest payments were about $230 billion. In 2011, the national debt was $15 trillion and interest payments were about ... $230 billion. We tripled the national debt without paying a penny more in annual interest. Interest payments on the national debt as a percent of GDP are at multidecade lows.
And interest rates on Treasuries are now below the rate of inflation, so in real terms, creditors are actually paying the government to borrow. Why would any congressman choose to stop spoiling their constituents with borrowed money when there is no (current) cost of doing so? As long as the market is this friendly, the odds of comprehensive budget reform are extremely low.
Next, consider this statistic from Campaign for Primary Accountability: "During the past decade, House incumbents were as likely to die in office as to lose a primary election." Despite record-low approval ratings, the reelection rate of politicians is off the charts. According to Bloomberg, "90 percent of House members and 91 percent of senators who sought reelection in 2012 were successful." That wasn't a fluke. Re-election rates have rarely dipped below 70% or 80% for the last half-century. Long-term deficit deals could get done with low interest rates if the mechanism for keeping politicians in line -- elections -- enforced discipline. Alas, they rarely do.
The last time we had comprehensive budget reform was 1993, when taxes were raised by $240 billion, and spending cut by $250 billion. The political climate then was no more friendly than it is today. The key difference was that interest rates were rising, with yields on 10-year Treasury bonds jumping by 3 percentage points in just over a year. That prodded legislators into action. Former Clinton advisor James Carville quipped at the time:
I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter. But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.
It's totally different today. The U.S. bond market hasn't intimidated anyone in more than a decade. If anything, it is begging legislatures to keep borrowing. 
Someday that will change. Interest rates will rise, markets will protest, and then -- and only then -- will there be comprehensive budget reform. No one knows when that day will come. It could be tomorrow or decades off. When it does, it will likely be the equivalent of weight gain or even heart attack, prompting quick action -- a reality that actually makes me optimistic. Until then, expect more symbolic, short-term budget deals, more bickering, and more fiscal cliffs. There is no incentive for anything else.
As Charlie Munger put it: "Never, ever, think about something else when you should be thinking about the power of incentives."
4)Cliff-Top Lessons for the GOP

The party's only leverage is unity. Obama turns any division in the ranks to his advantage.

By Kim Strasel
We still don't know whether this nation will take a dive off the economic cliff. What we do know is that in recent weeks Republicans have been in their own political free fall. Why?

Ignore the conventional wisdom about the GOP's current difficulties. This line holds that President Obama is in the position of strength, and that the Republicans' refusal to acknowledge as much—its blind adherence to a rigid ideology on taxes—is the reason we are about to head off the cliff. So the White House says, and so the press repeats.

Certainly Republicans were dealt a tough political situation. Yet there are still two big lessons they can take away from this most recent round of failed debt talks—lessons that might aid them in the immediate future

The first is that Mr. Obama is not, and will never be, a serious negotiating partner. House Speaker John Boehnercame out of the election assuming his counterpart—faced with a dramatic economic moment—would act the statesman. With working-class taxpayers on the line, the military on the chopping block and the economy in the balance, Mr. Boehner found it impossible to believe the president would fail to see the risks at hand.

Then again, this was the same president who in 2011, during the debt-ceiling negotiations, proved willing to risk national default if it meant he could keep spending. His strategy was to drag Mr. Boehner into backroom talks and demand the GOP roll over on taxes, all the while nickel-and-diming Republicans on even the barest of spending cuts. The only thing that has changed since then is that Mr. Obama won another election.

In that context, it seems no surprise that Mr. Boehner's worthy offer, in November, to offer Mr. Obama the tax revenue he sought—by closing deductions on higher earners—was treated with derision. Mr. Obama's only response was to pocket that offer and demand more.

The GOP's hope that this White House would walk the plank with it on entitlement reform was equally fanciful. Mr. Obama won't willingly agree to any serious cuts, to any meaningful entitlement reform, ever. He will risk everything—the "middle class" he claims to want to protect, his economic legacy—to continue growing government.

That is lesson one.

Lesson two: A house divided is a losing house.

Mr. Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to rally their members around a common message that tax rates should not go up for anyone. But their party's freelancers, ever eager for a quick headline, ran for the exits. This allowed Mr. Obama to make the past seven weeks all about the GOP's tax divisions.

Democrats—the party whose members have the real divisions and liabilities on taxes—watched with glee as every Republican Tom, Dick and Harry staked out a different position on the cliff. Democrats skated away from the far more pressing problem of overspending, while Mr. Obama felt no pressure to corral his own party on that issue.

Contrast this to recent history, when the GOP stood together against Mr. Obama's proposals. Unified Republican opposition to the White House's stimulus legislation and ObamaCare helped crystallize in the public's mind the partisan nature of those ventures, leaving the president to fully own his mistakes.

The GOP would do well to internalize these recent experiences, because no matter what happens next, the political dynamic won't much change. If we go over the cliff, Mr. Obama will use the drama again to pressure Republicans to enter into negotiations for a big deal. Even if Congress does a small "fix" in the coming days—one that raises taxes on some Americans—the president will look to the coming debt-ceiling fight to push for more big talks.

At that point, Republicans will face a choice. They can continue the folly of believing this president will compromise. Or they can realize that he will never be reasonable on taxes—and so they can't give anything away. They can realize that he won't hold hands with them on entitlement reform—and so they'll have to state their own big demands and force him to explain his lack of leadership. They can realize that backroom talks are a sucker's game.

If they intend, meanwhile, to use the debt ceiling as their leverage to force Mr. Obama into spending cuts, they'll have to be united. This president will pounce on any sign of weakness, and he is adept at using the press to highlight GOP cracks. Mr. Obama is in fact counting on such a scenario, already positioning himself as the guy who won't budge, the better to spook GOP members into breaking—as they did in this recent tax fight.

For all the ugliness of this lame-duck session, it did have one merit: It has exposed how President Obama intends to govern in a second term. He's intent on narrow political victories and on damaging his opponents. Republicans can be grateful at least for that insight, and proceed accordingl

P.J. O'Rourke: Dear Mr. President, Zero-Sum Doesn't Add Up

Is life like a pizza, where if some people have too many slices, other people have to eat the pizza box?

Given that hypocrisy is an important part of diplomacy, and diplomacy is necessary to foreign policy, allow me to congratulate you on winning a second term.
I wish I could also congratulate you on your conduct of international affairs. I do thank you for killing Osama bin Laden. It was a creditable action for which you deserve some of the credit you've been given. Of course the intelligence was gathered, and the mission was undertaken, by men and women who, although they answer to your command, answer to duty first. And it is difficult to imagine any president of the United States who, under the circumstances, wouldn't have ordered the strike against bin Laden. Although there is Jimmy Carter. Thank you for not being Jimmy Carter.

But even though it violates the incere amity that creates a period of calm following national elections, no thank you for the following, and it is only a partial list:
• Telling the Taliban to play by the rules or you'll take your ball and go home;
• Leaving Iraq in a lurch (and in a hurry);
• Watching the EU go down the sink drain and into the Greece trap and wanting to take America along on the trip;
• Miscalculating human rights and strategic engagement in the Chinese arithmetic of your China policy;
• Being the personification of bad weather during the Arab Spring with your chilly response when you encountered its best aspects and your frozen inaction when you encountered its worst;
• Playing with Russian nesting dolls, opening hollow figurine after hollow figurine hoping to find one that doesn't look like Vladimir Putin;

• Sitting and doing nothing like a couch potato watching a made-for-TV movie as the Castro and Chávez zombies continue their rampage;
• Hugging the door on your date with Israel;
• Putting the raw meat of incentives in your pants pocket when you go to scold the pit bulls of Iran and North Korea;
But the worst thing that you've done internationally is what you've done domestically. You sent a message to America in your re-election campaign. Therefore you sent a message to the world. The message is that we live in a zero-sum universe.
There is a fixed amount of good things. Life is a pizza. If some people have too many slices, other people have to eat the pizza box. You had no answer to Mitt Romney's argument for more pizza parlors baking more pizzas. The solution to our problems, you said, is redistribution of the pizzas we've got—with low-cost, government-subsidized pepperoni somehow materializing as the result of higher taxes on pizza-parlor owners.
In this zero-sum universe there is only so much happiness. The idea is that if we wipe the smile off the faces of people with prosperous businesses and successful careers, that will make the rest of us grin.
There is only so much money. The people who have money are hogging it. The way for the rest of us to get money is to turn the hogs into bacon.

Mr. President, your entire campaign platform was redistribution. Take from the rich and give to the . . . Well, actually, you didn't mention the poor. What you talked and talked about was the middle class, something most well-off Americans consider themselves to be members of. So your plan is to take from the more rich and the more or less rich and give to the less rich, more or less. It is as if Robin Hood stole treasure from the Sheriff of Nottingham and bestowed it on the Deputy Sheriff.
But never mind. The evil of zero-sum thinking and redistributive politics has nothing to do with which things are taken or to whom those things are given or what the sum of zero things is supposed to be. The evil lies in denying people the right, the means, and, indeed, the duty to make more things.
Or maybe you just find it easier to pursue a political policy of sneaking in America's back door, swiping a laptop, going around to the front door, ringing the bell, and announcing, "Free computer equipment for all school children!"
However, domestic politics aren't my first concern here. The question is whether you want to convince the international community that zero-sum is the American premise and redistribution is the logical conclusion.
I would argue that the world doesn't need more encouragement to think in zero-sum terms or act in redistributive ways.
Western Europe has done such a good job redistributing its assets that the European Union now has a Spanish economy, a Swedish foreign policy, an Italian army, and Irish gigolos.
Redistributionist political ideologies, in decline since the fall of the Soviet bloc, are on the rise again. Will you help the neo-Marxists of Latin America redistribute stupidity to their continent?
The Janjaweed are trying to redistribute themselves in Darfur. The Serbs would like to do the same in Kosovo. The Chinese have already done it in Tibet. Al Qaeda offshoots are doing their best to redistribute violence to places that didn't have enough.
And Russia and China would like the global balance of power to be redistributed. Since China has plenty of money to lend and Russia has plenty of oil to sell, your debt and energy policies should go a long way toward making the balance of power fairer for the Russians and Chinese.
While redistribution—or "plagiarism," as we writers call it—is a bad idea, zero-sum is even worse. Zero-sum assumptions mean that a country that doesn't pursue a policy of taking things from other countries is letting its citizens down. That's pretty much the story of all recorded history, none of which needs to be repeated. It has taken mankind millennia to learn that trade is more profitable than pillage. And we don't have to carry our plunder home in sacks and saddlebags when we're willing to accept a certified check.
The Chinese don't seem to understand this yet. They think trade is a one-way enterprise, the object of which is for China to have all the world's money. They've got most of ours already. Mr. President, validating China's economic notions isn't a good thing.

A zero-sum faith in getting what's wanted by taking it can extend to faith itself. In some places there is only one religion. If other people have a religion of their own they must be taking away from my religion. Give up that faith, infidels.
Speaking of infidel faiths, Mr. President, please consider the message of this Christmas week—a message of giving, not taking. And consider your prominent position as a messenger of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. When you embrace a belief in the zero-sum nature of what's under the Christmas tree and propose to redistribute everything that's in our Christmas stockings, you're asking the world to go sit on the Grinch's lap instead of Santa's.
Mr. O'Rourke is an author and correspondent for the Weekly Standard. This article is adapted from the forthcoming Jan./Feb. issue of World Affairs (

5a)The Obama Culture Arrives

The year 2012 was a depressing time for people who are already pessimistic about the state of our common culture. Conversely, the re-election of Barack Obama, in large measure made possible by the heavy financial support of Hollywood, projects the optimism of the cultural Left. They anticipate increased blue-state voting patterns in favor of gay "marriage," legalized pot, gun regulations, and what next? Legalized prostitution? Euthanasia subsidized by Obamacare?
So let's just line up the cultural winners of Obama's America, where the only impediments to progress are those who believe in religion, manners and "family values."
Winner: Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the sick "Family Guy" cartoon and other Fox animated smutcoms on Sunday nights. He'll mock anything to shock the viewer, from portraying Jesus as a lying drunk, to joking Ronald Reagan was gay, even to making fun of domestic violence. Tinseltown loves this man. He guest-hosted "Saturday Night Live" in their season debut, was named host of the 2013 Academy Awards telecast and ABC's Barbara Walters named him one of the year's 10 "Most Fascinating People."
"Seth is the vision and the sensibility behind America's most popular and profitable cartoon series," Walters cooed. "Seth is a hands-on mastermind." She proclaimed, "The 'Family Guy' franchise is said to be worth nearly 2 billion dollars." She concluded by promoting his Oscar hosting gig: "In two months, hundreds of millions will be watching this writer, producer, actor, cartoonist, singer, multi-millionaire and all-around genius, and we'll all find out just how far Seth MacFarlane can go."
MacFarlane's filthy semi-animated movie, "Ted," grossed (literally grossed) $218 million at the box office. This was the movie described efficiently as "a boy's teddy bear comes to life and becomes a profane slacker who practically lives inside a bong and hires hookers in groups." The most unnecessary scene of the year was this teddy bear coming on to a sleazy fellow employee by not only doing pelvic thrusts, but also by spraying himself in the face with hand lotion -- a porny orgasm shot on a child's toy.
That's "sensibility," says the Obama culture.
Winner: MacFarlane's older sidekick, Bill Maher, the toxic atheist HBO star and the epitome of self-indulgent Hollywood liberalism, a man who shamelessly denounces the rest of America as a nation of idiots.
Maher wrote a million-dollar check to Obama's Super PAC Priorities U.S.A. The liberal media labored mightily to connect Mitt Romney to Donald Trump, but have said almost nothing to connect Maher to Obama.
Maher had another year of vicious commentary. Late in the campaign, he joked, "If you're thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, I would like to make this one plea: black people know who you are, and they will come after you." After Obama's victory, Maher joked about Karl Rove, "It was a little Hitler's bunker, wasn't it? I wanted to rush in with a cyanide capsule there."
He summed up the election this way: "It is your choice, America, because for me it is a win-win. If it's Obama, America wins, and if it's Romney, comedy wins." Maher has set the tone: Comedy is strictly deployed against the people who don't like Obama. If that feels like a Third World backwater to you, welcome to the Obama culture.
Winner: Roseanne Barr. She just won't go away. She was honored as comedic trailblazer for women with a Comedy Central roast. Katey Sagal, who played a foolish bimbo mom on "Married with Children," used the occasion to whack at Ann Romney: "Roseanne, I feel honored that you and I broke new ground as TV moms who didn't cook, didn't clean and didn't make any money. In the '90s, that made you a bad mom. But today it makes you Mitt Romney's wife."
Roseanne also exemplified the Obama culture's reaction to Chick-fil-A, in several Christian-bashing Twitter rants in July, including: "Anyone who eats S--t Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ". Then came the geopolitics: "Off to grab a s--it fil-A sandwich on my way to worshiping Christ, supporting AIPAC and war in Iran."
Winner: Howard Stern. NBC parted with $20 million to bring in the old shock-jock as a sharp-tongued judge on their summer show "America's Got Talent." The ratings dropped, but in the Obama culture, that's not really the point. NBC just announced Stern signed a new contract for 2013 to repeat his "towering presence and opinions," because his "dedication comes across in a genuine way to our viewers who share his passion."
The slogan for Team Obama in 2012 was "Forward." There's nothing forward about the Obama culture, however. It is down, down, straight down, into the abyss.