Friday, December 25, 2015

Year End Reflections, Part III (On Obama)

Recently, President Obama said there are "...specific strains in the Republican Party that suggest that somehow I'm different, I'm Muslim, I'm disloyal to the country..." Different? Yes, you are a far left ideologue Mr. President. No one thinks you are different because you are black, as you are implying. As Dennis Prager has pointed out, when he asks a room full of conservatives if they would rather have nine white liberal men on the Supreme Court, or nine black lesbian conservatives, the audience always prefers the nine black lesbian conservative women. Because conservatives care about values; it is the left that is always dividing people into groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, economic status and so on.

But since you raised the issue Mr. President, let's discuss your "I'm a Muslim" comment. No, I am not going to argue that Obama is a Muslim - this blog has never addressed that. What I have said is that just look at the groups with which Obama aligns himself. So, seven years into the Obama Presidency, here is a little recap of Obama's words and deeds.

"Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding generations."

"We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation."

Recall Obama's first telephone call from the White House was to Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas is a Holocaust denier, and refuses to accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. But he is a Muslim. Remember when Obama bowed to the Saudi King. Remember his speech to the Muslim World from Cairo, where he invited the outlawed terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood to attend.

And what's up with the use of ISIL to describe the Islamic State terrorist group? The rest of the world uses ISIS, but Obama uses ISIL. This is not just a personal preference as Obama has clearly instructed his entire Administration to say ISIL. Is it because the 'L' stands for Levant, an area used to describe the eastern end of the Mediterranean that predated Israel? And why has Obama so frequently said the goal is to "degrade" and defeat ISIL? Did Roosevelt or Churchill speak about "degrading" the Nazis?

"Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance."

"I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."

"In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education."

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

Obama ordered the removal of the word "jihad" from FBI and military training manuals. He will not say "radical Islam" or "Islamic terror." Obama has made a deal with the Iranians that will allow them to get nuclear weapons, an existential threat to our greatest Mid-East ally, Israel. He does nothing while Iran keeps developing ballistic missiles. He said he would veto any new Congressional sanctions against Iran.

Groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood have been invited to the White House. Worse, people with radical ties are employed in some of our federal agencies.

Obama wants to bring Syrian refugees to the U.S. I understand the pros and cons of the argument. But the worst thing is that he has had precious little to say about the elimination of Christianity from the Muslim Middle East and North Africa. We are talking about some Christian communities that have lived there since the time of Jesus. Christian holy sites dating to antiquity have been destroyed. What is Obama's plan for the approximately one million Christians who have been displaced?

So, Obama wants to bring Syrian refugees here. He wants to make sure that a new Muslim state of Palestine is created on Israel's border, even as those Arabs continue to proclaim their desire to wipe Israel off the map. But what is Obama's plan for the Christians? Anybody?

Meanwhile, as large numbers of Muslims have been flooding into Europe, that continent has become an increasingly dangerous place for Jews. This year more Jews have left France for Israel than ever before.

Obama wanted to "fundamentally change" our country and the world. The world is indeed fundamentally changed under his watch. The few Christians left in the Muslim Middle Eastern and North African countries will soon be gone. The Jews may last somewhat longer in Europe, but they too may end up leaving. On the other hand, Muslims have moved in increasing numbers throughout the Western world. Part of Obama's plan to fundamentally change the world? You tell me.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Year End Reflections, Part II

In a win for the First Amendment's right to free speech, a Federal Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of the Washington Redskins. In trying to ban "disparaging" trademarks, the government overstepped its authority and violated the Constitution. Said the Court: "It is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment that the government may not penalize private speech merely because it disapproves of the message it conveys." I know many on the left would just as soon do away with the Constitution, so score one for freedom.

Following Obama's speech intended to calm an anxious nation after the San Bernardino attacks, the New York Times saved their criticism for the Republican presidential candidates, not the lack of substance put forth by Obama. Their criticisms are, as is frequently the case for those who engage in such tactics, childlike. For example, Ted Cruz was described as the "Twitter warrior," Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush went on Fox News (the old guilt by association ploy), and Donald Trump was the "bigot without foreign policy experience." What foreign policy experience did Obama or Bill Clinton have? Just asking.

On the 12/22/15 episode of the O'Reilly Factor was a debate between Zuhdi Jasser and Osama Siblani. Jasser is a medical doctor, a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and an American Muslim. He runs the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and is stridently anti-Islamist. Siblani, on the other hand, runs the Arab American News. According to the Anti-Defamation League, that paper has had many articles expressing sympathy and even support for the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. Not surprising, therefore, to hear this ridiculous claim from Siblani: "radicalization is on equal footing among all the religions and ideologies - Christianity, Judaism and Islam." Sure.

Of course there is no war on Christmas. Except in Johnson County, Kentucky the school district did not approve of an elementary school putting on a production of "A Charlie Brown Christmas." According to Fox, schools in that district were "ordered to remove all religious references from their upcoming Christmas productions." Isn't that taking the "Christmas" out of "Christmas?" And in another school district one principal changed Thanksgiving to the "harvest festival" and Christmas parties became "winter celebrations." As Prager noted in a recent column, how often do you hear "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year?" As a Jew I still go with the latter.

What's up with the Republicans? They pass a budget of $1.1 trillion dollars, adding/keeping taxes, funding all of Obama's programs, and put it all in an omnibus bill of over 2000 pages. It passed in the Senate with the support of 27 Republicans. 26 Republicans opposed, including Cruz and Paul. Rubio was apparently on the campaign trail. So, we voted in a Republican Congress to get more Democratic legislation?

After the worst attack on Paris since World War II, nearly every country in the world came together in Paris to fight terrorism. Nope. They came together to fight climate change. Following passage of the non-binding agreement, our President was patting himself on the back for leading the way. Just as Obamacare was a way to redistribute wealth within the country, this climate accord is a way to redistribute wealth internationally. In order to pay for this it will require higher taxes for citizens of the wealthier countries, such as the U.S.

Reflecting the scare tactics of the mainstream media, the USA Today opined in their 12/14/15 editorial that "barring a technological miracle, global warming will continue unabated and wreak havoc on the planet." As I was listening to the local news the other night, they were reporting that this was the hottest month or year since some time in the 1880s. Instead of panicking, I thought - so did the earth burn out then? Did life as we know it end then? Of course not.

In response to the hysteria, Jay Ambrose wrote in the 12/19/15 Ventura County Star: "Cheap, powerfully efficient fossil fuels are one of the best things ever to happen to humanity. Oil, natural gas and coal make the modern, industrialized world go. Without them, we wouldn't have affordable computers, electric lights, TVs, effectively functioning hospitals, machines helping to produce gobs of needed food, transportation that gets you here, there and everywhere and more, much more, endlessly more." (Citing Alex Epstein in "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.")

The Investor's Business Daily concurred. "Sustained economic growth, a necessary prerequisite for scientific and technological dynamism, became possible when humanity was able to rely on 'non-renewable, non-green, non-clean power'," citing Matt Ridley, author of "The Rational Optimist." But the left cares far more for the planet than they do for humanity. And they have almost no concern for the economic consequences of their policies. If they wanted to eliminate carbon-based fuels they would push for more nuclear power, but don't hold your breath on that one.

Year End Reflections, Part I

Following the San Bernardino murders by two Islamic terrorists, one letter writer to the New York Times opined as follows: "I am furious with the gun-crazed National Rifle Association...I am furious with the politicians who caved in to the demands of the N.R.A. I am furious with the Republican Party for making support of the gun lobby an immutable policy position. I am disgusted with the Republican candidates for president when they issue their "thoughts and prayers" comments on the San Bernardino shootings."

To this letter writer, like many leftists, the shooting was all about guns, the N.R.A. and Republicans. I am of a different mindset - I am furious with the shooters, the evil ideology that motivated them, and a President who wants to bring more potential terrorists to our shores. But that's just me.

But as L. Gordon Grovitz noted in a column in the 12/7/15 Wall Street Journal: "The U.S. won't deter Saudi Arabia from exporting its toxic Wahhabi teachings so long as Washington keeps pretending that radical Islam has nothing to do with terrorism." And, I would add, the same applies to any Islamic group dedicated to the spread of Shariah Law.

In support of the aforementioned letter writer, here is another. These letters are, of course, a reflection of the far left readership to which the Times caters. "I despair. Not so much of ISIS, as of our leaders who deny that the unfettered proliferation of guns is a danger to our society." I would ask this letter writer: had the two Islamic terrorists not murdered those 14 people in San Bernardino, are you of the opinion that the guns would have gotten themselves up and gone on a shooting spree on their own?

While I would not give much credence to a presidential poll nearly a year ahead of the election, just for fun here the results of the latest Quinnipiac Poll. Hillary is in a dead heat with Cruz, each garnering 44% support. She edges out Rubio 44% to 43%, which is well within the margin of error. She beats Trump 47% to 40%. I suspect not a single commentator would have predicted that Trump would not only last this long, but would be doing so well.

I have previously used scientific rules to explain the world of politics and international affairs. For example, Obama's "lead from behind" strategy of withdrawing from the world has allowed countries like Russia, China and Iran to assert their influence, because "nature abhors a vacuum." Similarly, another rule of physics is that "for every action there is a reaction, equal in force and opposite in direction." I believe that rule fairly sums up the appeal of Donald Trump.

Yes, Trump can be nasty and abrasive, and unnecessarily insulting. He can be like a tempestuous Junior High School kid. But he is speaking to people's concerns about immigration and terrorists because of Obama's weak stance on those issues. Obama has moved full steam ahead on many issues regardless of the opposition of the American people. From the Affordable Care Act to immigration to fighting ISIS and terrorism, his policies have not been shared by the majority of the citizenry. But Trump speaks to those issues. Trump cannot be bought, given his wealth. And Trump speaks plainly.

What is up with the Democrats, holding their debates on Saturday nights? I have to assume that the party leaders are desperate for a Hillary win. It appears they do not want to risk giving Bernie the media coverage that Trump gets. Keep him out of the spotlight, and keep any potential miscues of Hillary from being seen by a wide audience. I keep seeing more and more Bernie bumper stickers, even on rather costly automobiles. I am trying to work up the courage to ask one of those people if they would share their wealth with me.