The Right To A Clear Sidewalk

September 30, 2009

Late yesterday afternoon, I ran a gauntlet on Park Avenue. As I made my way to Grand Central Station, there were approximately 100 filthy, rotten hippies protestors blocking the sidewalk around 51st street. As I made my way towards them I heard the chant “Health care is a right! Fight! Fight! Fight!”

It’s not a very good chant, I know.

The protestors were blocking the sidewalk, marching in a circle, holding signs saying “Medicare For All!” “Single-Payer Now!” and, strangely, “New York Women’s Liberation Movement!” (complete with the old clenched fist with the upside down cross representing the symbol for “woman”). I assume the woman carrying the sign found it in her mother’s attic next to the charred remains of several brassieres. I also noticed several people carrying the “Socialist Workers” newspaper.

Anyway, finding myself in the middle of this protest, I tried to start my own chant: “Sidewalks are a right! Get the hell out of my way!” It didn’t take.

Well, of course it didn’t take. The notion that I have a right to a clear sidewalk is ludicrous. It would impose on the rights of all of these people to assemble. We can’t have rights that force other people to do things for us. I don’t have a right to watch “Criminal Minds” starring Joe Montegna every Wednesday at 9:00 because if that is my right, I have removed the ability of the network to move or cancel the show; I have removed the right of Joe Montegna to leave the show. I don’t have the right to even own a television, because that right would force someone else to make the television I have the right to own.

Somewhat lame analogies aside, this is why the whole argument about whether or not health care is a right is so ludicrous. If health care is a right, does that mean the government has the power to force people to become doctors in order to treat a growing population? If there were 10,000 doctors treating 300,000,000 people in the United States, then there would be a serious shortage of doctors. If those 300 million people have a right to health care, would the government have the power to force people into medical schools in order to treat the sick?

I read recently a doctor expounding on the need for a public option by claiming, “I never said that health care was a Constitutional right; it is a human right.” It’s a stupid argument. Nobody in this world has a right to receive goodies from governments, or private citizens. Look at the Bill of Rights: it is a listing of negatives. All ten amendments that make up the Bill of Rights are limitations on the powers of government. This is not an accident. The Founders believed that human rights came from the Creator, and government needed to be prevented from getting in the way. When we start inventing rights like “the right to health care” or “the right to a clear sidewalk” we are giving government the ability to decide how we live our lives. We are investing in the government a power so profound that there is no end to it. My “right” to health care immediately takes away the right of someone else to not provide me with health care. This is not how a free society works. In a society where health care is a right, doctors and nurses become little more than serfs, forced to do work they may not otherwise choose to do.

A balanced diet and good nutrition are more important for health than doctors…do we now have a right to fruits and vegetables? Should government be in the business of forcing farmers to grow particular crops because they are healthier than other crops? Would government be able to force tobacco farms to become broccoli farms? Do we have a right to shelter? If so then any homeless person can go to any apartment complex with vacancies and move in…it’s that man’s right to shelter, after all.

The simple truth of it is that our “rights” end when they involve other people. My “right” to swing my fist ends at your chin. My “right” to a clear sidewalk ends when it forces you to stay off the sidewalk. My “right” to health care ends when a doctor is forced to treat me.

Once we accept the notion that our rights are derived from government largesse we have completely inverted the entire system upon which the United States was founded: that our rights come from God and government is not endowed with the power to grant rights, it is stripped of the power to infringe on those rights.

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Lord, Hear Our Prayer

September 29, 2009

Lord, in your righteousness, smite them…

Michelle Malkin has lots more on the Gamaliel Foundation and their connection to President Obama and Hot Air also highlights this, with a couple of questions I don’t think pan out. On NRO, from last November, Stanley Kurtz has the entire story and why this is no laughing matter.


Consider The Source

September 25, 2009

From Fox:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez obliquely praised President Obama Thursday in an address to the U.N., saying he has replaced the “smell of sulfur” at the world body with the “smell of hope.”

“It doesn’t smell of sulfur here anymore,” Chavez said in a clear allusion to an earlier insult he foisted on former President George W. Bush from the same podium three years earlier.

“It smells of something else. It smells of hope,” he said, referencing Obama’s presidential campaign.

Question: What does this tell you?


UPDATE: Hot Air has video.


A Sense Of Child-Like Wonder: Obama At The UN

September 24, 2009

The full text of Obama’s speech to the UN, with subtitles and asides:

Good morning. Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to address you for the first time as the 44th President of the United States. (Applause.) I come before you humbled by the responsibility that the American people have placed upon me, mindful of the enormous challenges of our moment in history, and determined to act boldly and collectively on behalf of justice and prosperity at home and abroad.

Anybody else get a little kick in their hearts when Barack Obama talks about acting “collectively” at home and abroad? Assuming, of course, that he means acting in concert with other UN nations and not actual “collectivization”, one must ponder what he means by acting boldly “at home.” Will the UN have a say in domestic policy?

I have been in office for just nine months — though some days it seems a lot longer.

Yeah, to me, too.

I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world. These expectations are not about me. Rather, they are rooted, I believe, in a discontent with a status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences, and outpaced by our problems. But they are also rooted in hope — the hope that real change is possible, and the hope that America will be a leader in bringing about such change.

Standard stump “hope and change” speech. Blah blah blah. He says it’s not about him, but it’s about everything he represents. Nope, no megalomania here.

I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. And this has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for collective inaction.

Now, like all of you, my responsibility is to act in the interest of my nation and my people, and I will never apologize for defending those interests. But it is my deeply held belief that in the year 2009 — more than at any point in human history — the interests of nations and peoples are shared. The religious convictions that we hold in our hearts can forge new bonds among people, or they can tear us apart. The technology we harness can light the path to peace, or forever darken it. The energy we use can sustain our planet, or destroy it. What happens to the hope of a single child — anywhere — can enrich our world, or impoverish it.

First off, an American President should never follow the words “I will never apologize for defending [the] interests [of my country]” with the word “But.” I mean, that’s sort of a given isn’t it? It’s in the orientation at the White House where they show you where the bathrooms are and where the book that tells you about Area 51 is, right? And “what happens to the hope of a single child—anywhere—can enrich our world, or impoverish it” belongs on an outtake of Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey.

In this hall, we come from many places, but we share a common future.

No, we don’t. Different nations have very different futures, just as they had many different pasts.

No longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together. I have carried this message from London to Ankara; from Port of Spain to Moscow; from Accra to Cairo; and it is what I will speak about today — because the time has come for the world to move in a new direction. We must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and our work must begin now.

We know the future will be forged by deeds and not simply words.

This from the man who has a teleprompter intravenously connected to his body.

Speeches alone will not solve our problems — it will take persistent action. For those who question the character and cause of my nation, I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months.

Here it comes…self-aggrandizement with an apology sauce and a side order of implied Bush-bashing…

On my first day in office, I prohibited — without exception or equivocation — the use of torture by the United States of America. (Applause.)

This implies as a de facto concept that the Bush administration knowingly and willingly tortured, as if there were no debate whatsoever about the techniques that were being used. Bush, too, would have said that the United States did not torture and it would not have been a lie, just a difference about what constitutes torture. Obama is playing to the crowd and painting the previous President as a modern-day Torquemada.

I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed, and we are doing the hard work of forging a framework to combat extremism within the rule of law. Every nation must know: America will live its values, and we will lead by example.

And there you have it. Absolute proof that Obama views terrorism as a legal issue.

We have set a clear and focused goal: to work with all members of this body to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies — a network that has killed thousands of people of many faiths and nations, and that plotted to blow up this very building. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, we and many nations here are helping these governments develop the capacity to take the lead in this effort, while working to advance opportunity and security for their people.

Glad to see we’ll be calling on Libya, Syria, North Korea, and Iran to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda. Well, he did say the goal was to work with “all members of this body” didn’t he?

In Iraq, we are responsibly ending a war. We have removed American combat brigades from Iraqi cities, and set a deadline of next August to remove all our combat brigades from Iraqi territory. And I have made clear that we will help Iraqis transition to full responsibility for their future, and keep our commitment to remove all American troops by the end of 2011.

Not a single word about how Iraq is in a much better place now than it was under Hussein. No notion that what we did there was bring democracy and liberty to the country. Even if you don’t believe we accomplished those goals, a simple acknowledgement that those were the goals might be nice. The implication is that the war was irresponsible but we are ending it “responsibly.” No mention of the fact that if Senator Obama had his way back in 2006, Iraq would be an explosive tinderbox of death and devastation today, and that Senator Obama’s desire for Iraq was an irresponsible and shameful retreat.

I have outlined a comprehensive agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. In Moscow, the United States and Russia announced that we would pursue substantial reductions in our strategic warheads and launchers. At the Conference on Disarmament, we agreed on a work plan to negotiate an end to the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. And this week, my Secretary of State will become the first senior American representative to the annual Members Conference of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

I wonder if Iran is privvy to this comprehensive agenda?

Upon taking office, I appointed a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and America has worked steadily and aggressively to advance the cause of two states — Israel and Palestine — in which peace and security take root, and the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians are respected.

A Middle East Special Envoy! Wow! Problem solved. Next!

To confront climate change, we have invested $80 billion in clean energy. We have substantially increased our fuel-efficiency standards. We have provided new incentives for conservation, launched an energy partnership across the Americas, and moved from a bystander to a leader in international climate negotiations.

Translation: To confront climate change, we have invested $80 billion dollars we borrowed from the Chinese in unions. We have shoved restrictions down the throats of automakers. We have bribed people to trade in their old cars for new ones. We have shoved our environmental policies onto Mexican and Central American countries that can’t afford them, and we have put our lunatics in charge of this asylum.

To overcome an economic crisis that touches every corner of the world, we worked with the G20 nations to forge a coordinated international response of over $2 trillion in stimulus to bring the global economy back from the brink. We mobilized resources that helped prevent the crisis from spreading further to developing countries. And we joined with others to launch a $20 billion global food security initiative that will lend a hand to those who need it most, and help them build their own capacity.

We’ve also re-engaged the United Nations. We have paid our bills. We have joined the Human Rights Council. (Applause.) We have signed the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We have fully embraced the Millennium Development Goals. And we address our priorities here, in this institution — for instance, through the Security Council meeting that I will chair tomorrow on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and through the issues that I will discuss today.

Getting sleepy…and nauseated…”the issues that I will discuss today”? You mean he’s just getting warmed up? Holy cats!

This is what we have already done. But this is just a beginning.

(Shudder…shudder…)

Some of our actions have yielded progress. Some have laid the groundwork for progress in the future. But make no mistake: This cannot solely be America’s endeavor. Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone. We have sought — in word and deed — a new era of engagement with the world. And now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.

Now, if we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that we are not living up to that responsibility. Consider the course that we’re on if we fail to confront the status quo: Extremists sowing terror in pockets of the world; protracted conflicts that grind on and on; genocide; mass atrocities; more nations with nuclear weapons; melting ice caps and ravaged populations; persistent poverty and pandemic disease. I say this not to sow fear, but to state a fact: The magnitude of our challenges has yet to be met by the measure of our actions.

Man, is he addressing the wrong crowd. “Talk” is what UN does. “Act,” not so much.

This body was founded on the belief that the nations of the world could solve their problems together. Franklin Roosevelt, who died before he could see his vision for this institution become a reality, put it this way — and I quote: “The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation…. It cannot be a peace of large nations — or of small nations. It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world.”

Wow…so FDR was also as naive as your typical teenager. The “cooperative effort of the whole world” might happen when the aliens descend in their spaceships and threaten us with global destruction, but even then I bet the North Koreans at least will be trying to figure out a way to spare themselves at the expense of Japan, and the Iranians will be drawing huge signs in the sand saying “Point deathrays here” next to arrows pointing at Israel.

The cooperative effort of the whole world. Those words ring even more true today, when it is not simply peace, but our very health and prosperity that we hold in common.

Those words never rang true. It is a fantasy.

Yet we also know that this body is made up of sovereign states. And sadly, but not surprisingly, this body has often become a forum for sowing discord instead of forging common ground; a venue for playing politics and exploiting grievances rather than solving problems. After all, it is easy to walk up to this podium and point figures — point fingers and stoke divisions. Nothing is easier than blaming others for our troubles, and absolving ourselves of responsibility for our choices and our actions. Anybody can do that. Responsibility and leadership in the 21st century demand more.

In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. The traditional divisions between nations of the South and the North make no sense in an interconnected world; nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War.

Is he kidding? No nation can dominate another nation? Did he sleep through the days of the Soviet Union? Nations have been dominating other nations for…well, for as long as there have been nations. This is nearly child-like in its naivete.

The time has come to realize that the old habits, the old arguments, are irrelevant to the challenges faced by our people. They lead nations to act in opposition to the very goals that they claim to pursue — and to vote, often in this body, against the interests of their own people. They build up walls between us and the future that our people seek, and the time has come for those walls to come down. Together, we must build new coalitions that bridge old divides — coalitions of different faiths and creeds; of north and south, east, west, black, white, and brown.

The choice is ours. We can be remembered as a generation that chose to drag the arguments of the 20th century into the 21st; that put off hard choices, refused to look ahead, failed to keep pace because we defined ourselves by what we were against instead of what we were for. Or we can be a generation that chooses to see the shoreline beyond the rough waters ahead; that comes together to serve the common interests of human beings, and finally gives meaning to the promise embedded in the name given to this institution: the United Nations.

All hail the United Nations!

That is the future America wants — a future of peace and prosperity that we can only reach if we recognize that all nations have rights, but all nations have responsibilities as well. That is the bargain that makes this work. That must be the guiding principle of international cooperation.

American peace and prosperity is only attainable if we recognize that “all nations have rights.” Well, so much for that concept of “sovereign nations.” Bring on the New World Order.

Today, let me put forward four pillars that I believe are fundamental to the future that we want for our children: non-proliferation and disarmament; the promotion of peace and security; the preservation of our planet; and a global economy that advances opportunity for all people.

First, we must stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and seek the goal of a world without them.

This institution was founded at the dawn of the atomic age, in part because man’s capacity to kill had to be contained. For decades, we averted disaster, even under the shadow of a superpower stand-off. But today, the threat of proliferation is growing in scope and complexity. If we fail to act, we will invite nuclear arms races in every region, and the prospect of wars and acts of terror on a scale that we can hardly imagine.

A fragile consensus stands in the way of this frightening outcome, and that is the basic bargain that shapes the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It says that all nations have the right to peaceful nuclear energy; that nations with nuclear weapons have a responsibility to move toward disarmament; and those without them have the responsibility to forsake them. The next 12 months could be pivotal in determining whether this compact will be strengthened or will slowly dissolve.

America intends to keep our end of the bargain. We will pursue a new agreement with Russia to substantially reduce our strategic warheads and launchers. We will move forward with ratification of the Test Ban Treaty, and work with others to bring the treaty into force so that nuclear testing is permanently prohibited. We will complete a Nuclear Posture Review that opens the door to deeper cuts and reduces the role of nuclear weapons. And we will call upon countries to begin negotiations in January on a treaty to end the production of fissile material for weapons.

I will also host a summit next April that reaffirms each nation’s responsibility to secure nuclear material on its territory, and to help those who can’t — because we must never allow a single nuclear device to fall into the hands of a violent extremist. And we will work to strengthen the institutions and initiatives that combat nuclear smuggling and theft.

All of this must support efforts to strengthen the NPT. Those nations that refuse to live up to their obligations must face consequences. Let me be clear, this is not about singling out individual nations — it is about standing up for the rights of all nations that do live up to their responsibilities. Because a world in which IAEA inspections are avoided and the United Nation’s demands are ignored will leave all people less safe, and all nations less secure.

In their actions to date, the governments of North Korea and Iran threaten to take us down this dangerous slope. We respect their rights as members of the community of nations. I’ve said before and I will repeat, I am committed to diplomacy that opens a path to greater prosperity and more secure peace for both nations if they live up to their obligations.

But if the governments of Iran and North Korea choose to ignore international standards; if they put the pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of regional stability and the security and opportunity of their own people; if they are oblivious to the dangers of escalating nuclear arms races in both East Asia and the Middle East — then they must be held accountable. The world must stand together to demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise, and that treaties will be enforced. We must insist that the future does not belong to fear.

Translation: We’ll disarm and we hope you do, too.

That brings me to the second pillar for our future: the pursuit of peace.

The United Nations was born of the belief that the people of the world can live their lives, raise their families, and resolve their differences peacefully. And yet we know that in too many parts of the world, this ideal remains an abstraction — a distant dream. We can either accept that outcome as inevitable, and tolerate constant and crippling conflict, or we can recognize that the yearning for peace is universal, and reassert our resolve to end conflicts around the world.

Stop! Stop! Stop! Barry, for many parts of the world, resolving differences peacefully is not an abstraction or a distant dream. Instead, it is seen as a sign of weakness. This is your dream, the dream of most free peoples. But the dream is not shared by everyone. The yearning for peace is not universal. Did Alexander yearn for peace as he made his way through the known world? Did Hitler yearn for peace? Genghis Khan? Stalin? Mao? Ahmadinejad? Kim Jong-Il? Idi Amin? Pol Pot? There are really, really bad people in the world who have an unending libido dominandi, and there are more being born every day to replace the current crop when they die off. This is the way of the world. The real world.

That effort must begin with an unshakeable determination that the murder of innocent men, women and children will never be tolerated.

Unless they are unborn or survived a botched abortion.

On this, no one can be — there can be no dispute. The violent extremists who promote conflict by distorting faith have discredited and isolated themselves. They offer nothing but hatred and destruction. In confronting them, America will forge lasting partnerships to target terrorists, share intelligence, and coordinate law enforcement and protect our people. We will permit no safe haven for al Qaeda to launch attacks from Afghanistan or any other nation. We will stand by our friends on the front lines, as we and many nations will do in pledging support for the Pakistani people tomorrow. And we will pursue positive engagement that builds bridges among faiths, and new partnerships for opportunity.

I suppose it’s too much to talk about terrorists distorting Islam. No, we have to stick with “distorting faith” to make sure that we don’t single anyone out and that vicious terrorist gangs of rabbinical students and Jesuits who blow up trains are taken into account.

Our efforts to promote peace, however, cannot be limited to defeating violent extremists. For the most powerful weapon in our arsenal is the hope of human beings — the belief that the future belongs to those who would build and not destroy; the confidence that conflicts can end and a new day can begin.

And that is why we will support — we will strengthen our support for effective peacekeeping, while energizing our efforts to prevent conflicts before they take hold. We will pursue a lasting peace in Sudan through support for the people of Darfur and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, so that we secure the peace that the Sudanese people deserve. (Applause.) And in countries ravaged by violence — from Haiti to Congo to East Timor — we will work with the U.N. and other partners to support an enduring peace.

I will also continue to seek a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine, and the Arab world. (Applause.) We will continue to work on that issue. Yesterday, I had a constructive meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas. We have made some progress. Palestinians have strengthened their efforts on security. Israelis have facilitated greater freedom of movement for the Palestinians. As a result of these efforts on both sides, the economy in the West Bank has begun to grow. But more progress is needed. We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Applause.)

The time has come — the time has come to re-launch negotiations without preconditions that address the permanent status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem. And the goal is clear: Two states living side by side in peace and security — a Jewish state of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people. (Applause.)

My guess is that the Middle East contingent hasn’t applauded this strongly since 9/11. In one deft stroke, Barack Obama has thrown our number one ally in the Middle East under the wheels of the bus.

As we pursue this goal, we will also pursue peace between Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria, and a broader peace between Israel and its many neighbors. In pursuit of that goal, we will develop regional initiatives with multilateral participation, alongside bilateral negotiations.

Wow, that Israel sure seems to be a real trouble-maker, doesn’t it?

Now, I am not naïve.

Could have fooled me.

I know this will be difficult. But all of us — not just the Israelis and the Palestinians, but all of us — must decide whether we are serious about peace, or whether we will only lend it lip service. To break the old patterns, to break the cycle of insecurity and despair, all of us must say publicly what we would acknowledge in private. The United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians. (Applause.)

Let me back this bus up just to make sure I got them.

And — and nations within this body do the Palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks against Israel over constructive willingness to recognize Israel’s legitimacy and its right to exist in peace and security. (Applause.)

Which won’t stop them, of course.

We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us. It’s not paid by politicians. It’s paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the middle of the night. It’s paid for by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water and no country to call his own. These are all God’s children. And after all the politics and all the posturing, this is about the right of every human being to live with dignity and security. That is a lesson embedded in the three great faiths that call one small slice of Earth the Holy Land. And that is why, even though there will be setbacks and false starts and tough days, I will not waver in my pursuit of peace. (Applause.)

Zzzzz…

Third, we must recognize that in the 21st century, there will be no peace unless we take responsibility for the preservation of our planet. And I thank the Secretary General for hosting the subject of climate change yesterday.

The danger posed by climate change cannot be denied.

Except by the legions of people who deny it, of course.

Our responsibility to meet it must not be deferred. If we continue down our current course, every member of this Assembly will see irreversible changes within their borders. Our efforts to end conflicts will be eclipsed by wars over refugees and resources. Development will be devastated by drought and famine. Land that human beings have lived on for millennia will disappear. Future generations will look back and wonder why we refused to act; why we failed to pass on — why we failed to pass on an environment that was worthy of our inheritance.

And that is why the days when America dragged its feet on this issue are over. We will move forward with investments to transform our energy economy, while providing incentives to make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. We will press ahead with deep cuts in emissions to reach the goals that we set for 2020, and eventually 2050. We will continue to promote renewable energy and efficiency, and share new technologies with countries around the world. And we will seize every opportunity for progress to address this threat in a cooperative effort with the entire world.

Translation: We will tax the crap out of our citizens and bankrupt our economy in pursuit of windmills. Makes me wonder if they realize that Don Quixote was, in fact, crazy. I also love the fact that apparently America has done absolutely nothing for the environment before Barack Obama came along.

And those wealthy nations that did so much damage to the environment in the 20th century must accept our obligation to lead. But responsibility does not end there. While we must acknowledge the need for differentiated responses, any effort to curb carbon emissions must include the fast-growing carbon emitters who can do more to reduce their air pollution without inhibiting growth. And any effort that fails to help the poorest nations both adapt to the problems that climate change have already wrought and help them travel a path of clean development simply will not work.

It’s hard to change something as fundamental as how we use energy. I know that. It’s even harder to do so in the midst of a global recession. Certainly, it will be tempting to sit back and wait for others to move first. But we cannot make this journey unless we all move forward together. As we head into Copenhagen, let us resolve to focus on what each of us can do for the sake of our common future.

I suggest they hold all these meetings at the statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. It will serve to remind them that they are dealing in fairy tales.

And this leads me to the final pillar that must fortify our future: a global economy that advances opportunity for all people.

The world is still recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In America, we see the engine of growth beginning to churn, and yet many still struggle to find a job or pay their bills. Across the globe, we find promising signs, but little certainty about what lies ahead. And far too many people in far too many places live through the daily crises that challenge our humanity — the despair of an empty stomach; the thirst brought on by dwindling water supplies; the injustice of a child dying from a treatable disease; or a mother losing her life as she gives birth.

In Pittsburgh, we will work with the world’s largest economies to chart a course for growth that is balanced and sustained. That means vigilance to ensure that we do not let up until our people are back to work. That means taking steps to rekindle demand so that global recovery can be sustained. And that means setting new rules of the road and strengthening regulation for all financial centers, so that we put an end to the greed and the excess and the abuse that led us into this disaster, and prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.

At a time of such interdependence, we have a moral and pragmatic interest, however, in broader questions of development — the questions of development that existed even before this crisis happened. And so America will continue our historic effort to help people feed themselves. We have set aside $63 billion to carry forward the fight against HIV/AIDS, to end deaths from tuberculosis and malaria, to eradicate polio, and to strengthen public health systems. We are joining with other countries to contribute H1N1 vaccines to the World Health Organization. We will integrate more economies into a system of global trade. We will support the Millennium Development Goals, and approach next year’s summit with a global plan to make them a reality. And we will set our sights on the eradication of extreme poverty in our time.

Now is the time for all of us to do our part. Growth will not be sustained or shared unless all nations embrace their responsibilities. And that means that wealthy nations must open their markets to more goods and extend a hand to those with less, while reforming international institutions to give more nations a greater voice. And developing nations must root out the corruption that is an obstacle to progress — for opportunity cannot thrive where individuals are oppressed and business have to pay bribes. That is why we support honest police and independent judges; civil society and a vibrant private sector. Our goal is simple: a global economy in which growth is sustained, and opportunity is available to all.

For all of his blather about a “global economy” Obama remains extremely protectionist in his financial policies. It makes me believe that Obama’s knowledge of economics is somewhere between that of the average homeless guy and the bartender at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Now, the changes that I’ve spoken about today will not be easy to make. And they will not be realized simply by leaders like us coming together in forums like this, as useful as that may be. For as in any assembly of members, real change can only come through the people we represent. That is why we must do the hard work to lay the groundwork for progress in our own capitals. That’s where we will build the consensus to end conflicts and to harness technology for peaceful purposes, to change the way we use energy, and to promote growth that can be sustained and shared.

I believe that the people of the world want this future for their children. And that is why we must champion those principles which ensure that governments reflect the will of the people. These principles cannot be afterthoughts — democracy and human rights are essential to achieving each of the goals that I’ve discussed today, because governments of the people and by the people are more likely to act in the broader interests of their own people, rather than narrow interests of those in power.

The test of our leadership will not be the degree to which we feed the fears and old hatreds of our people. True leadership will not be measured by the ability to muzzle dissent, or to intimidate and harass political opponents at home. The people of the world want change. They will not long tolerate those who are on the wrong side of history.

This Assembly’s Charter commits each of us — and I quote — “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women.” Among those rights is the freedom to speak your mind and worship as you please; the promise of equality of the races, and the opportunity for women and girls to pursue their own potential; the ability of citizens to have a say in how you are governed, and to have confidence in the administration of justice. For just as no nation should be forced to accept the tyranny of another nation, no individual should be forced to accept the tyranny of their own people. (Applause.)

As an African American, I will never forget that I would not be here today without the steady pursuit of a more perfect union in my country. And that guides my belief that no matter how dark the day may seem, transformative change can be forged by those who choose to side with justice. And I pledge that America will always stand with those who stand up for their dignity and their rights — for the student who seeks to learn; the voter who demands to be heard; the innocent who longs to be free; the oppressed who yearns to be equal.

Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people and in its past traditions. And I admit that America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment; it only reinforces it. There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self-evident — and the United States of America will never waver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny. (Applause.)

Sixty-five years ago, a weary Franklin Roosevelt spoke to the American people in his fourth and final inaugural address. After years of war, he sought to sum up the lessons that could be drawn from the terrible suffering, the enormous sacrifice that had taken place. “We have learned,” he said, “to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.”

The United Nations was built by men and women like Roosevelt from every corner of the world — from Africa and Asia, from Europe to the Americas. These architects of international cooperation had an idealism that was anything but naïve — it was rooted in the hard-earned lessons of war; rooted in the wisdom that nations could advance their interests by acting together instead of splitting apart.

Now it falls to us — for this institution will be what we make of it. The United Nations does extraordinary good around the world — feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, mending places that have been broken. But it also struggles to enforce its will, and to live up to the ideals of its founding.

I believe that those imperfections are not a reason to walk away from this institution — they are a calling to redouble our efforts. The United Nations can either be a place where we bicker about outdated grievances, or forge common ground; a place where we focus on what drives us apart, or what brings us together; a place where we indulge tyranny, or a source of moral authority. In short, the United Nations can be an institution that is disconnected from what matters in the lives of our citizens, or it can be an indispensable factor in advancing the interests of the people we serve.

We have reached a pivotal moment. The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation — one that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations. And so, with confidence in our cause, and with a commitment to our values, we call on all nations to join us in building the future that our people so richly deserve.

After the speech, Obama climbed onto the back of his flying unicorn and flew out over the teary-eyed crowd who stood there crying, “Barry! Come back, Barry!”

I’ve had some fun with this speech, though you can probably tell I ran out of gas long before Obama did. But the fact is that this speech was insipid and naïve. The fundamental flaw, the flaw that undermines everything in the speech, is the assumption that all peoples and all nations have the same goal: to live in peace with dignity and human rights for all.

The word “poppycock” comes to mind. This is the kind of “one world” utopianism that I expect from teenagers and pop stars, not from serious men with serious responsibilities. It is a denial of human nature itself.

In case Obama missed the point of Thomas More’s book, there is no Utopia. The very word comes from the Greek words meaning “no place.”

The speech is the evidence that Barack Obama is a child in a man’s suit.


UPDATE: Hot Air’s select “Quotes of the Day” on Obama’s speech, and also on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s more, uh, “manly” approach. Also a great editorial up on National Review Online.


Suffer The Little Children, Part 3

September 24, 2009

Much was said about the President’s speech to schoolchildren about it being indoctrination. Much of what was said was correct criticism, much of it went way overboard. I commented here and, in a less tongue-in-cheek manner, here, for what it’s worth.

This apparently dates back to June, but it came to my attention today via Drudge:

All I can say is, “Wow.” Notice that the closing stanzas are set to the tune of the “Battle Hymn of The Republic.” You know the one: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” And here’s a bet: the kids don’t know the original lyrics at all.


UPDATE: Michelle Malkin’s on this, too. So is Hot Air.

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin has an excellent syndicated column about this on her site.


For Sale: Free Press

September 21, 2009

Just in case you don’t think that the media isn’t already completely in the tank for President Obama and the Democrats, comes House act S.673, sponsored by Maryland Democrats Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski. What the proposal amounts to is a Federal infusion of cash to struggling newspapers, if the newspapers in question agree to operate as non-profits.

It’s no secret that newspapers, and publishing in general, are going through a very bad time right now. Publishing was extremely slow to react to the growth of the internet, and even now most publishers are still locked into a “print” mentality. After giving away content for free on the Web in pursuit of more eyes on the page (i.e., higher circulation) and believing that Web advertising (banner ads, etc) would create significant revenues just like full page ads do in print, newspapers are stuck with Web sites that are losing money and no clear idea how to make money. Only the Wall Street Journal Web site makes money. Why? Because they understood the new rules of the game early, and charged for their content. The old print publishers never took the Web seriously and it’s currently biting their buns because of it.

On top of this, we have a mainstream media that is growing increasingly out of touch with most Americans. The New York Times, once considered the best, most important newspaper in the world, is little more than a shill for Democratic politicians these days. Ditto the Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, etc. Sure there are newspapers that lean right, such as my beloved New York Post and the Washington Times, but the overwhelming preponderance tilts left. Worse, the “bigger” the newspaper, the further left it tends to lean. Is there really any wonder that newspapers are failing? They became increasingly strident in their politics at the same time they were following out-dated business models for success.

But now here comes Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski to the rescue: What the free press needs is cash from the people the press is supposed to be holding accountable.

To be fair, President Obama has only said he would “look at” the bill, but he expresses concern at the idea that investigative journalism might go away if the newspapers fail. From The Hill:

“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding,” he said.

What’s ironic here is that one of the reasons the blogosphere has exploded in recent years is precisely because newspapers had abdicated their responsiblity to do serious fact-checking and putting stories in context. The incredible growth of the political blogosphere, including The Clampdown, was in part spurred on by watching the fair, impartial, objective press seize every available opportunity to present George W. Bush in a bad light for the past eight years, and then spend the last two years scribbling “I Barry” in their notepads. Remember, it was the blog Little Green Footballs that did the fact-checking that held Dan Rather accountable for his phony Bush/National Guard story, and it was Drudge who broke the Lewinsky story when Newsweek refused to run the story.

There are, unquestionably, blogs that add much heat but little light to the national debate, and those blogs are on both sides of the political spectrum. Even some respectable blogs have comments that cross the line. But the President’s notion that the blogosphere is just a bunch of people yelling at each other is mistaken.

What newspapers need to do is start taking the Web seriously, and recognize that they are now being held accountable for their actions, including their biases. They need to get back to a time when honest reporters reported honestly and saved their opinions for the dinner table or the bar room. They also need to realize that the Web is here to stay and that applying print solutions to an online world is a sure-fire recipe for Chapter 11.

What newspapers most emphatically do not need to do is accept money or tax breaks from the Federal government. The last thing a free press needs is to be in debt to the people they are supposed to be watching. There’s nothing free about that.


UPDATE: Hot Air backs me up.


Is Criticism of Obama Racist?

September 16, 2009

In the wake of Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst at President Obama’s State of the Healthcare Debate address to a joint session of Congress, more critics are coming out and claiming that criticism of Obama is based on race.

On Saturday, Maureen Dowd wrote in her New York Times column:

But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!…Wilson clearly did not like being lectured and even rebuked by the brainy black president presiding over the majestic chamber.

I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.

Today, the Drudge Report is highlighting an AP article that quotes former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter saying “I think it’s based on racism….There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.”

Then there’s this evergreen chestnut from Georgia representative Hank Johnson: “We will probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again, riding through the countryside intimidating people. That’s the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked.”

Yes, there’s a fine line between accusing a President who was, to be charitable, not telling the whole story about something, and hooded Klansmen running rampant through the halls of Congress. The logic is indisputable. Somebody should call Robert Byrd…he’ll know what to do in just such an emergency.

All of this proves several things. The first thing it proves is that if you managed to combine Maureen Dowd and Jimmy Carter into one person, like grafting Ray Milland’s head onto Rosie Grier’s body, you would have something with the intelligence, the wit, and the charm of a giant isopod.

But I digress.

I’ve never heard of Georgia rep Hank Johnson, so I won’t comment on him here except to say that his comments about this subject are so simplistic they actually cross the border into the territory of feeble-mindedness. However, the very concept of Jimmy Carter, an anti-Semitic fool who presided over a failed Presidential term and who toadied up to every monstrous dictator who graciously gave him boot licking privileges, is going to lecture anyone about anything is staggering. Jimmy Carter was, is, and always will be, an absolute embarrassment to this country. At least Maureen Dowd is only an embarrassment to the New York Times and the Pulitzer committee.

But are they right? Is the criticism of Obama, from “You lie” to the town hall protesters, based on race?

While I’m sure that there are people out there who don’t want a black President because of the color of his skin or some perceived “otherness,” the short answer is NO. I’m loath to admit, to borrow MoDo’s phrase, that there are any people out there who think this way, mainly because my admission will be seen by the Left as another conservative conceding their point. But there are racists in the world, and they do have a problem with a black President. Newsflash people: You think Louis Farrakhan disliked George Bush because of his No Child Left Behind policy? Racists come in all colors, and just as there are whites (and Asians, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Inuits, and Arabs) who don’t like Obama because of his skin color, there are also blacks (and Asians, blah blah blah) who didn’t like George Bush or any of his predecessors because of their race. Let’s face it: a lot of the criticism of the Founding Fathers that has emerged in the last twenty years has been of the “they’re Dead White Men” school of non-thought. How is that not racist?

The fact is that people dislike Obama for the same reasons people disliked George Bush. For some it’s strictly party-based. For most it’s based on policy. For a tiny few, it’s based on race.

Accusing Obama’s critics of racism is a vicious trick used by the Left. In the world of politics, accusations of being “racist” carry considerably more baggage than “adulterer” or even “thief.” The charge is the atomic bomb of political accusations and it is designed to end the debate and shut the other side up. That is what Dowd, Carter, Johnson and their ilk are really doing here: they do not like the way the debate over health care (or whatever the current debate may be) is unfolding, and they are trying to stifle anyone who disagrees with them by marginalizing those people as “racists.” Frankly, this says more about the people hurling the accusations than it does the recipients of their phony outrage. With the rarest of exceptions (I’ve never once met anyone who has disliked Obama because of race), the accusations are untrue and should be either ignored or exposed as the political weapons they are. They’re just a way for the operatives on the Left to say “Shut up.”


Michelle Malkin has more on the House rebuke of Joe Wilson while Hot Air brings you video and commentary on Hank Johnson and thoughts on Jimmy Carter. Meanwhile at First Things, The Anchoress beats up on all concerned…deservedly so.


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