BAGHDAD (AP) – The top U.S. military commander in Iraq on Tuesday accused Iran of continuing to support and train militants who are carrying out attacks, including most of the ones in Baghdad.
Gen. Ray Odierno said the attacks have fallen in number but are still a problem. He made the comments just after the U.S. relinquished security for Baghdad and other urban areas to Iraqi forces, part of a security agreement that will see all American soldiers out of the country by the end of 2011.
"Iran is still supporting, funding and training surrogates who operate inside of Iraq. They have not stopped and I don’t think they will stop," Odierno told reporters at the U.S. military headquarters outside Baghdad. "I think many of the attacks in Baghdad are from individuals that have been in fact funded or trained by the Iranians."
Odierno said the attacks were mainly indirect fire—a term usually reserved for mortars, rockets and artillery—and EFP’s. That last weapon, also known as an explosively formed penetrator, is designed to attack armored vehicles such as Humvees and is among the main killers of U.S. troops in Iraq. U.S. officials have said the main component of the EFP is manufactured in Iran.
Odierno directly implicated groups supported by Iran in recent rocket attacks against the walled-off Green Zone in central Baghdad.
"Those are being done by groups that have been trained in Iran, been funded by Iran. Usually their leaders are still in Iran and they have surrogates doing operations in Iraq," he said.
But, he said, the number of such attacks was "significantly smaller" due to security measures making them more difficult to carry out.
Speaking later to Pentagon reporters via videoconference, Odierno said work done by U.S. and Iraqi forces to go after Iranian surrogates, uncover weapons caches and control the flow of weapons across the border has made it much harder for Iran to maintain the explosives supply.
He also said intelligence hasn’t detected any changes since Tehran has been gripped by massive street protests following charges of fraud in the June 12 presidential election. "They have kind of maintained themselves in a steady state as we’ve moved forward," he said.
On Monday, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill said he was concerned about military reports showing that illegal arms continue to flow into Iraq from Iran, although he could not say if they had been reduced or increased amid the recent security gains.
"Certainly we’ve seen examples of this which are not consistent with a good neighbor policy," he told The Associated Press.
"The Iraqi government is also very concerned about this and I think the Iraqi government is taking a very tough minded view of some of these insurgent groups that the Iranians have clearly been supporting over the last year or so," he added.
Hill also said that Iran was still trying to exert a "malevolent influence" over neighboring Iraq but said he was hopeful Iraqis aren’t responding.
The U.S. military accuses Iran of backing Shiite militias in Iraq with training and weapons and says it remains a major threat to Iraq’s stability as American combat troops pull back from cities in a first step toward a full withdrawal by the end of 2011.
President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, announced today she may sue her potential future colleagues for racial bias over yesterday’s 5-4 ruling that overturned her own decision in the New Haven fire fighters discrimination lawsuit.
The Supreme Court ruled in Ricci v. DeStefano Monday that an employer could not throw out the results of a promotion exam simply for fear of a lawsuit from racial minorities who fared poorly on the test.
Sotomayor accused the high court’s "Constitutional literalists" of bias and an "abject lack of wisdom" in tossing out the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ prior ruling in the case which she joined.
"In their majority ruling in Ricci, Justices Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas failed to take into account the cultural forces exerted on a Latina appeals court judge," said Sotomayor. "Historical, entrenched institutional prejudice can cause a person, even a wise Latina, to make emotional decisions which, while consistent with the cultural norms of the aggrieved ethnic group, might not comport entirely with the specific language of the Constitution — a document of questionable practical value due to the Anglo-Saxon cultural bias of its authors."
Sotomayor said she hopes the threat of a lawsuit will be enough to persuade the Supreme Court to reverse its ruling.
"The court’s rejection of my opinion proves, ipso facto, the kind of bias that President Obama will eliminate by placing me on the court," she said. "The all-male, non-Latino court majority lacks the sympathy to set aside the cold rationality of the Constitution for the good of the people."
Examiner Columnist Scott Ott is editor in chief of ScrappleFace.com, the family-friendly news satire site, and anchor of ScrappleFace Network News, seen on YouTube
When the head of RCA Records was told that Elvis had died, he is said to have remarked: ‘Great career move.’
His modern counterpart at Sony must have entertained similar sentiments after being informed that Michael Jackson had popped his pumps.
Since the news of Wacko Jacko’s death Twittered out of Los Angeles, his albums have gone platinum all over again. The megastore shelves have been stripped bare, the Amazons and eBays looted of Jackson memorabilia.
People who hadn’t bought a Michael Jackson CD for a quarter of a century, some who had never possessed a Michael Jackson record, were suddenly overcome with a compelling urge to fill their boots with his back catalogue.
For some unfathomable reason, they felt a primeval need to touch the hem of his garment, to lay their hands on a piece of the legend, to be able to tell their grandchildren that they were there; to give them something to occupy their attention until the next series of Britain’s Got Talent.
The inconvenient fact that this was someone they didn’t know, who lived on a compound thousands of miles away, wasn’t going to stand between them and their inalienable right to emote in public.
He was, like, awzum. We love you, Michael!
Tributes for Michael Jackson were seen around the world
While there were displays of sympathy across the world, no one managed to pull it off with quite such sphincter-tightening mawkishness as the British.
In Central London, the provisional wing of the Friends of Dorothy and the usual coven of madwomen took to the streets in a vomit-inducing display of sentimentality and exhibitionism.
Given that they couldn’t afford to fly out to California to flaunt their compassion, they manufactured their own Glastonbury of Grief in the West End.
Half of them didn’t even know the words. Bobby Jean, you’re not my mum!
Seized with the spirit of Lady Di, Old Compton Street clones and bovine birds with pierced navels in Matalan crop tops united in the hedonistic pursuit of vicarious grief.
If ever a crowd needed ‘kettling’ this was it. I’d have even turned a blind eye to a baton charge and the judicious application of a water cannon.
Michael Jackson: The whole world has gone wacko on Jacko
Television brought us interminable vox pops of assorted non-entities explaining how much Michael had meant to them, with the emphasis on them.
We used to do mourning well in Britain and we still do in some circumstances – think the Queen Mum and the recent 60th anniversary of D-Day.
But there is a frighteningly substantial section of the population which grasps a celebrity death as an excuse for an open air festival of self-pity and self-indulgence.
This is mob grief. There’s even a shrine in Piccadilly, for pity’s sake.
I couldn’t help wondering how many of those on the streets proclaiming their sadness at the death of Saint Michael would have been banging on the side of the prison van if he’d been convicted of child-molesting – just as those who screamed ‘racist pig’ at Jade Goody were first in the conga line behind her cortege when it came to burying her.
On one level, Michael Jackson was Gary Glitter with money, which enabled him to buy off the parents of his alleged victim Jordie Chandler with $22million.
If he’d tried that in Britain, the same self-appointed mourners singing ‘Beat It’ out of tune this weekend would have been standing outside his front door, throwing petrol bombs and chanting ‘Kill the Paediatrician!’
That’s not to say that Jackson was without talent – although as someone steeped in the history of Motown, I’d argue that he’s a fairly minor figure compared with Smokey, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Holland-Dozier-Holland, the Tops and the Temps.
The Jacksons were little more than a novelty act churned out at the fag end of the Motown production line – the black Osmonds.
Michael’s global fame and fortune was predicated upon a single album, Thriller, which owes as much to Quincy Jones’s brilliant production and John Landis’s groundbreaking video as it does to the songs themselves.
Elvis, he wasn’t. Nor was he Sam Cooke, James Brown or Otis. None of that matters to his fans, nor should it. But a sense of perspective is in order.
There’s no accounting for madwomen, but what the hell were Gordon Brown and Call Me Dave doing paying their own personal tributes? Was Gordon trying to recreate Tony Blair’s Lady Di moment? ‘He was the People’s Paedophile.’
As usual, the BBC went bonkers, with one reporter even wearing a black tie. Newspapers followed suit. Rainforests have been felled to churn out special souvenir supplements, which will end up as cat litter.
Soon, it will all be over. We can only give thanks that the funeral isn’t in London, otherwise someone might get their head kicked in for not showing enough ‘respect’. And thank heaven the football season hasn’t started, otherwise it would be a minute’s silence all round.
Michael Jackson’s global fame and fortune was predicted on the album Thriller, produced by Quincy Jones
A few days before Jacko died, some of us were discussing how many of his scheduled 50 shows at the 02 Arena he would actually perform. Estimates varied between none and zero.
Now, instead of the deranged prima donna who didn’t show up and let down his adoring fans, he is immortal.
The insanity, the ’sleepovers’ with young children, the ludicrous pet monkey, all forgotten.
He will live on through his music, which post mortem is on course to outsell even the 100 million copies of Thriller shifted when he was alive.
Like much of the country, you may have spent your time last week snickering about the peccadilloes of yet another hapless politician who couldn’t keep his pants zipped. Or maybe you were captivated by the untimely but predictable passing of the most talented musical freak of the last quarter century.
Perhaps while watching the ABC-Barack Obama dog-and-pony show purporting to deal with the future of your health care system, you were deceived into thinking that this was the big issue of the week. If so, you would be wrong. Make no mistake, it is on the agenda, but the real threat of the moment was simmering up on Capitol Hill in the United States House of Representatives.
Far too many Americans were distracted by other things to notice that on Friday, June 26th, 211 House Democrats and 8 Republicans defiantly thumbed their noses at the will of their constituents and passed the largest tax increase in the nation’s history.
The “Cap-and-Trade” bill will likely kill two or three real jobs for every so-called green job it creates. If this bill passes the Senate, the president’s signature will make it the law of the land. If that happens, look for your utility bills to increase by fifty percent. Expect gasoline to rise to last summer’s levels and above. Count on the cost of food, clothing and anything else affected by fuel prices — in other words, everything — skyrocketing.
In fact, “skyrocket” was the exact word Obama himself used last year to describe the inflationary effects of this legislation, even as he promoted the idea during his presidential campaign. Obama told voters at that time that his cap-and-trade proposal “will necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket.” That was a striking admission from a presidential candidate, on a par with Walter Mondale’s startling statement at the 1984 Democratic National Convention that he would “raise your taxes.” (The fact that John McCain is no Ronald Reagan has a great deal to do with Obama not losing every state but his own like Mondale did, but that’s a column for another day.)
Barack Obama hates America
As we look back on Barack Obama’s first six months in office, one of two things must be true: the man either believes his policies are good for the country (in which case he is a fool), or he knows those policies are destructive to our economy and he is promoting them anyway (in which case he is every bit the autocrat and Marxist many of us warned he was during the campaign). I have come to believe the latter, but either way we have a long, expensive ride ahead of us.
For those who supported this president out of frustration with either John McCain or with George W. Bush, is it not obvious to you yet that Barack Obama hates America? Those of you who thought Jeremiah Wright was an anomaly in this man’s life, can you now see that this preacher of hate was just part of a long chain of negative, anti-American influences on Obama?
Rather than the Founders of this country, Barack Obama’s heroes have always been terrorists, felons and anarchists. Where most presidents revere Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, the father of the Constitution, this president’s role models have been domestic bomber Bill Ayers and Marxist Saul Alinsky, whose “Rules for Radicals” contains the blueprint for tearing a free America from its underpinnings and replacing it with a repressive nanny state.
As militant as this president is, he is not alone in his extremism. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, a woman two heartbeats away from the presidency herself, is perhaps even more radical than Obama, if that is possible. Pelosi and her counterpart in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, have thus far done this president’s bidding. That may change, especially in the Senate, but one thing is clear. These people hate the America you and I love, and they will do whatever they can to alter it forever.
The federal government is carving out public land in Colorado and five other Western states for fast-tracked development of commercial solar power plants, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday.
The goal is to have 13 commercial- scale solar power plants under construction by the end of 2010, Salazar said.
"We are putting a bull’s-eye on the development of solar energy," Sal azar said during a teleconference from Las Vegas.
A total of 670,000 acres in six Western states are being divided into 24 "Solar Energy Study Areas" — including nearly 21,000 acres in Colorado.
The Colorado solar sites, located in the San Luis Valley, could generate up to 4,100 megawatts of electricity — equal to 10 medium-size coal-fired power plants, according to federal estimates.
A $60 million solar plant operated by SunEdison LLC already is generating 8.22 megawatts in the San Luis Valley, and a second, 17-megawatt plant is slated to be built by SunPower Corp. The area receives the highest solar radiation in the state, according to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study.
Some environmentalists and energy analysts, while praising the initiative, questioned whether speeding the process will allow wildlife and environmental values to be adequately addressed.
"We just went through the Bush administration pushing through oil and gas permits," said Steve Belinda, energy policy manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a sportsmen’s group.
"What gives us some heartburn is the idea that giving the industry access to land and permits will solve our energy problems," Belinda said.
Even with expedited permits, the commercial solar industry faces financial challenges, said Paul Komor, a lecturer at the University of Colorado at Boulder and an energy consultant.
Commercial solar plants use acres of photovoltaic panels to turn the sun’s energy into electricity or concentrating mirrors to focus the energy on a boiler to create steam for a turbine.
The cost of generating energy with a natural-gas-fired turbine is 5 cents to 10 cents a kilowatt-hour. Solar generation, even with federal tax breaks, is about 20 cents a kilowatt-hour for either process, Komor said.
"The cost of land and permits aren’t the biggest hurdles," Komor said. "Still this is a good step. The more plants built, the better at it the industry will become and the more costs will drop."
Under the program, comprehensive planning will be done for the study areas — in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado — that will speed the permitting and siting of solar development.
The Interior Department also will open renewable-energy coordination offices across the West to expedite permits.
The federal Bureau of Land Management has received applications for 158 solar projects on 1.8 million acres capable of generating 97,000 megawatts, enough to power 29 million homes, according to federal estimates.
"It’s about time to make the permitting process more efficient and provide greater guidance to solar developers," Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association trade group, said in a statement.
"In 2007, more than 7,000 permits on BLM lands were approved for oil and gas energy developers," Resch said. "To date, zero permits have been approved for solar energy projects."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, joined Salazar at the Las Vegas news conference, saying: "It is really time we did something for solar."
Video of NYS Senate Democrats sitting defiantly through the Pledge of Allegiance in protest after losing political control of the Chamber to Republicans.
Only one courageous Senator tried to stand to honor the flag, but he was immediately pulled down into his seat by fellow Democrats.
The video is from WCBS-2 TV on 6/23/09, taped during a "special session" of the Senate called by Democrat Gov. David Paterson in an effort to end a three-week walkout by Democrats that has brought government to a screeching halt.
Grim-faced Democrats refused to acknowledge even their presence in the Chamber, failing to answer when their names were called, or join in a silent prayer that traditionally begins each session.
The first Senator pictured seated is Antoine Thompson of Buffalo. The Senator attempting to stand is Martin Dilan of Brooklyn, and he looks clearly uncomfortable when he is pulled down by Kevin Parker of Brooklyn and Ruth Hassell-Thompson of Westchester.
When it comes to crime and illegal aliens, it is absolutely essential that local law enforcement work in close cooperation with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
I speak from experience, having spent ten years as a senior special agent of the INS assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). I also spent nearly four years as the INS representative assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division (UID) of the DEA in New York. In fact, for about half of the time I was at UID, my immediate supervisor at the DEA was a New York City Police Sergeant. Many of the members of the OCDETF units were city and state police officers. What made these operations so successful could be summed up by one word: synergy.
What is the definition of synergy?
1: synergism; broadly: combined action or operation
2: a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct business participants or elements (as resources or efforts)
When government officials say that police officers should only inquire about the immigration status of an individual being arrested if it is believed that the person’s immigration status is relevant to the investigation frankly causes me to wonder at the qualifications of that "leader" to hold his position of authority.
When a police officer makes an arrest, his first order of business is to attempt to determine the true identity of the person he has arrested. I like to say that when you arrest someone you are not unlike the fisherman who has cast his line and hook into the ocean and has reeled in a fish. The question that remains is, "What fish has he caught?"
This is why when a police officer pulls a car over for a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law he generally runs the license plates. His immediate concern is to determine if the car is stolen or wanted in conjunction with a crime. He also wants to know if the owner of the vehicle may have outstanding warrants.
The major area of concern is that if the car is stolen or wanted in conjunction with a crime, the driver may pose an immediate threat to the police officer and he may want to call for backup. Vehicle stops are among the most dangerous activities a police officer can engage in. The prudent police officer acts in the most effective manner possible to do his job as effectively and safely as possible.
There are two major reasons for fingerprinting someone when he is arrested: to determine the true identity of the person arrested and to also determine if he is the subject of any outstanding warrants in any jurisdiction.
Because criminals will do anything to escape, include attempt to do bodily harm to the police officer who arrests him, he then searches the person he arrests for weapons and identity documents. He’ll also use handcuffs to further attempt to immobilize the suspect. These steps are prudent and necessary to enable the arresting officer to fulfill his primary obligation – to return home in one piece at the end of his tour of duty that day.
Once a suspect is booked and the paperwork is completed, the next in the process is for the suspect to be brought before a judge or magistrate (in the federal system) to have bail set. The judge determines how high bail should be on the basis of two primary issues: Danger to the community and risk of flight. Presumably, the arresting officer can provide insight into the issue of danger to the community based on the nature of the crime the individual committed and other issues such as weapons possession and previous arrests for various crimes.
Risk of flight may be a bit more nebulous, but I can tell you from my personal experience that often an immigration alien file can prove to be a veritable "treasure trove" of information about the likelihood that an alien my flee. The file may contain information about the individual who has used multiple false names and provided false or even non-existent addresses on previous occasions. An alien who has failed to appear for immigration court proceedings and forfeited immigration bonds has already established a "track record" of being prone to abscond. Aliens who have been previously deported and then returned to the United States illegally provide yet more evidence of risk of flight, as might information in his file about his lack of ties to the community. If the alien in question has filed applications for benefits that turned out to contain fraudulent information also helps to flesh out a clear picture about the credibility of the individual and his risk of flight.
When I was an INS special agent I often attended bail hearings in federal court and also in state court. I was often called upon to provide evidence that was contained in the suspect’s immigration file. In fact, a number of federal prosecutors with whom I had worked frequently often asked me to argue bail because I had become intimately familiar with the suspect’s immigration history. I did so in approximately two dozen cases and in each and every one of those cases, the bad guy was remanded without bail. This would not have been possible without the vital information contained in those immigration alien files.
So my question is: when would such information not be important to a police officer or a prosecutor in dealing with any alien who is accused of committing a crime?
The problem here is that the politicians who obstruct the enforcement of the immigration laws are grammatically challenged. They can only conjugate verbs in the first person singular. The three most important these politicians think about are "Me, myself and I."
They seek campaign contributions and votes and don’t give a damn about anything else.
This is not about being anti-immigrant; it is about making certain that law enforcement is made as effective as possible. There are many reasons that can be articulated that a law enforcement officer may become concerned about the immigration status of an individual he encounters during the performance of his duties. Part of the point of 287(g) training is to provide police officers with an understanding of the immigration laws and the way that those laws can be effectively and fairly enforced.
I spent roughly 26 years as an INS special agent and while I believe I was quite effective in carrying out my duties, I was never accused of "profiling," nor were my colleagues at the INS.
The issue of diversity is raised in the article linked above – all I can say is that I have lived and worked in New York City for my entire life and you will not find a more diverse city anywhere in the United States. Being pro-immigration enforcement does not mean that you are anti-immigrant or anti-diversity. It simply means that you believe that the immigration laws must be enforced effectively because the failure of our nation to secure its borders and effectively enforce and administer the immigration laws have had a huge impact on many of the greatest challenges that confront our nation. Among those issues are national security, criminal justice, the economy, the environment, health care and education.
We have heard so many arguments about what illegal aliens and their supporters want.
When will the time come when the concerns of the citizens of our nation will be taken into account by our elected "representatives?"
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today in response to the reversal of a decision that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge:
The Ricci decision today is further confirmation that Judge Sotomayor should not be confirmed for the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found that Judge Sotomayor helped uphold an action that was in violation of our nation’s anti-discrimination laws. The question for the United States Senate is whether to confirm someone who thinks it is appropriate to discriminate based on race simply to protect oneself from a lawsuit. Justice Alito, in a concurring opinion, noted that New Haven firefighters have "a right to demand…evenhanded enforcement of the law—of Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on race. And that is what, until today’s decision, has been denied them." Judge Sotomayor did not apply our nation’s anti-discrimination laws in an evenhanded way and her confirmation should be rejected.
For much of the Bush administration, the media splashed stories of neoconservative conspiracies and cabals. Exposés about mostly Jewish liberals-turned-conservatives charged that they were adherents of the philosopher Leo Strauss and embraced the Platonic notion of the “noble lie.”
In his Republic, Plato outlined an elaborate, ranked utopia, a good city (“Kallipolis”) run by a sort of benign natural selection. The philosopher-kings sat atop hierarchies in which occupations were assigned for the citizenry. To justify arbitrary selections, the rulers would make up “noble lies” about divine edicts, making clear that the occupations chosen for lesser folk were god-given.
Once the inferiors understood that there were divine sanctions behind their lot in life, they would feel happier. And society at large would benefit by each worker’s having the proper aptitude for his occupation. The larger point Plato was making was simply that sometimes an all-knowing elite must hedge on the truth to convince the ignorant public what is good for it.
Other Greek authors likewise were willing to give an educated elite wide latitude. Many aristocrats, such as the historian Thucydides, felt that religion was a sort of superstition of the ignorant masses. But he tolerated it as something deserving support by rational leaders, inasmuch as it provided a valuable bridle on the dangerous appetites of the mob. Some of our own Founding Fathers were deists — rationalists who may have believed in a creator, but believed even more that adherence to religious ritual among the more ignorant and potentially dangerous classes was critical for a good society.
The Left charged that President Bush was surrounded by wannabe Guardians who, via the work of Leo Strauss, bought into Plato’s argument. Therefore, according to their critics, they played fast and loose with the truth (Saddam’s ties with al-Qaeda, WMD in Iraq, etc.) in order to scare clueless Americans into accepting the invasion of Iraq and waging a war on terror. These “noble lies” were deemed necessary, since the authoritarian threats from the Middle East after 9/11 were, in fact, real, and the public otherwise would never have appreciated the mortal danger to our country.
No accuser, however, was ever able to demonstrate a pattern of sustained, premeditated prevarication on the part of neoconservatives. How, after all, had Platonic Straussians taken over the government from WASP or African-American realists like Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, and Rumsfeld? In most cases, “neo-con” ended up simply as an acceptable anti-Semitic slur to describe Jewish intellectuals who supposedly put Israel’s national security on a par with, or above, our own.
The irony is that during the Obama administration’s first six months, we have seen ample evidence of noble lies.
The first category is the historically inaccurate statement designed to bolster the spirits of the Islamic world. This type of lie offers proof of Obama’s noble intentions and conduces to the greater good. Obama, of course, seems to know little history. And to the degree he is interested in the past, history becomes largely a melodramatic, rather than tragic, story, in which we are to distinguish victims and oppressors based on modern moral standards, and allot sympathy and blame accordingly.
That said, I still cannot quite believe Obama thinks that chattel slavery in America was ended without violence. Or that Islam was responsible for unprecedented breakthroughs in advanced math, sophisticated medicine, and printing, let alone that it served as a catalyst for the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.
Instead, Obama seems to believe that fudging on facts is not fudging, but simply offers a competing narrative that gains validity by its good intentions. Most Americans, Obama further believes, are either too dense or too uneducated to discern his misinformation. But they will at some future date appreciate the global good will that results from his feel-good mytho-history.
No one in the Arab street is going to object when Obama assures us all that Islamic felonies — religious intolerance, gender apartheid, coercive government — are equivalent to American religious and gender misdemeanors. Hitler made up stories about World War I and German minorities in Eastern Europe for murderous racist reasons. His ignoble lies are in no way similar to present-day noble lies that are offered for exactly the opposite goal of promoting religious tolerance and global brotherhood.
A second type of noble lie is more personal. Obama as a Platonic philosopher-king advocates all sorts of exalted aims that he himself will probably never fulfill. That he is hypocritical matters little, given the fact that his bromides are unquestionably for the public good. Obama apparently speaks no foreign language, yet he deplores the lack of foreign-language fluency on the part of less sophisticated Americans. He is unable to quit smoking entirely, but emphasizes the role of preventive medicine and healthy lifestyles in his radical health-care reform initiatives.
He wisely calls for racial transcendence and an end to racial identities — even as he excuses Judge Sotomayor’s clearly racialist belief that race and gender inherently make one a better or worse judge. Obama, the healer, jumpstarted his own political career through religiously listening to and subsidizing the racist hate-speech offered by the charlatan Reverend Wright.
Obama deplores Wall Street greed and CEOs who take junkets to the Super Bowl and Las Vegas, even as he serves $100-a-pound beef, flies in his favorite pizza maker from St. Louis, and goes on a lavish “date” with Michelle to New York. Philosopher-kings accept certain protocols for themselves, others for the less sophisticated — knowing that if most people tighten their belts in time of recession such parsimony is good for the country, but it is irrelevant to the occasional indulgences by an all-knowing elite.
We saw earlier examples of such elite personal exemptions with an array of Obama’s appointees. The most brazen called for higher taxes while, as gifted technocrats, they obviously felt that such taxation did not, and should not, apply to their own exalted 1040s.
The third sort of noble lie is the deliberately incomplete truth. Obama sincerely believes that “stimuli” and vast new budget-breaking programs are critical for the welfare of hoi polloi, but he also knows that the mob is suspicious of record-breaking deficits. So he signs the record-breaking deficits into law, while promising to be a deficit hawk — by cutting one half of one percent of the federal budget. In his Platonic mind, the mindless public is both pacified and shepherded in the right direction.
Obama knows that our country needs to be protected from radical Islam by renditions, tribunals, wiretaps, intercepts, Predator assassinations, and persistence in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he also knows the public feels bad when some (like an earlier Obama himself) demagogue the issue, alleging a war against constitutional rights.
So he offers the noble lie of denouncing these Bush protocols that his antiwar base abhors — even as he maintains or expands them. He is certain that the average Joe cannot quite figure out what is going on, and would never suspect that a charismatic, postracial Guardian would ever deceive the people.
Obama plants soft questions at news conferences, lies about earlier promises of posting pending legislation on government websites for public perusal, feigns populist unease with his radical government expansion, fires public auditors who uncover liberal transgressions, and in general adopts a hardball politics that the Left claimed was innate to George W. Bush. These again are lies that are noble, in that they facilitate progressive politics that help the people — and they are presumably indiscernible by a fawning media and an unaware electorate.
So why does President Obama so often get history wrong, so often call for utopian schemes he would hardly adopt for himself, and so often distort by misinformation and incomplete disclosure?
Partly the culprit is administrative inexperience, partly historical ignorance. But mostly the disconnect comes because Barack Obama believes he is a philosopher-king, whose exalted ends more than justify his mendacious means.
In other words, Obama is our first truly postmodern president. And the Guardians who form his elite circle — in the very manner that they once falsely accused neo-cons of doing — deliberately, but “nobly,” distort the truth on behalf of us all.
The so-called "military coup" in Honduras was a successful effort by Honduran patriots to preserve their constitutional system of government from an international alliance of communists and socialists backed by Iran. Not surprisingly, America’s Marxist President has come down on the anti-American side.
If all of this is news to you, consider yourself a victim of the "state-run media," as Rush Limbaugh calls it. We are being bombarded with liberal media propaganda that a "military coup" took place in Honduras, and that the U.S. should therefore oppose it.
Fox News, which has been trumpeting news about the "military coup," should be ashamed of itself for following the liberal media line.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, noted that the problem was that the deposed president, Manuel "Mel" Zelaya, was "moving to re-write the Honduran constitution to extend and expand his power, while retaliating against those who stand in his way."
The leftist Zelaya was democratically elected in 2005 in a narrow win (with less than a majority of the vote) but he has been attempting to unconstitutionally and illegally undercut the conservative majorities in the Congress. His main purpose has been to circumvent a prohibition on serving more than one term as president.
With his departure, Honduras may have been spared a communist future.
Nevertheless, Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quickly issued statements saying that his removal was somehow a violation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. This was a clever ruse designed to disguise the fact that all of the major elements of constitutional power in Honduras, except for the increasingly unpopular and power-hungry president, acted on behalf of the people.
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has joined with the U.N. General Assembly President, Communist Priest Miguel D’Escoto, to demand that Zelaya be restored to power.
The new president, Roberto Micheletti, has made it clear that Zelaya was removed because he had behaved in an unconstitutional manner. "I did not reach this position because of a coup," Micheletti said. "I am here because of an absolutely legal transition process." Micheletti was a member of Zelaya’s Liberal Party but opposed his illegal and unconstitutional actions.
What happened is that the Legislative and Judicial branches of the government in Honduras, in conjunction with the armed forces, acted to maintain and defend their constitution from a power-mad president who was a puppet of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.
Blogger Jason Poblete commented that the Obama Administration "was quick to call the events in Honduras a coup. What has gone underreported, or not reported at all in the media or recognized by the Obama Administration, is that the democratically-elected Congress unanimously approved the change in leadership and impeached the President. If this was a constitutionally correct action why has the Obama Administration been so quick to judge and condemn?"
Claims of a "military coup" have appeared in the press because that is the way far-left officials of the Obama Administration have described it. The Administration has been just as quick to undermine freedom and democracy in Honduras as it was late in supporting the pro-freedom and pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran.
On June 28, a "Teleconference Background Briefing" was held with the major media by "two senior officials" who were guiding coverage of the events in Honduras but whose identities were protected from disclosure by the lapdog press.
The transcript shows a New York Times reporter asking, "Is the U.S. Government calling this and considering this a coup d’état? Can you talk about the use of language? Some other governments have called it that."
The answer was, "…I would certainly characterize a situation where a president is forcibly detained by the armed forces and expelled from a country an attempt at a coup. We-I mean, we still see him as the constitutional president of Honduras. So it was an attempt at a coup. We don’t think it was successful."
The official is saying it wasn’t successful because the Obama White House wants to work with the Marxist governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua (backed by Iran) to bring Zelaya back to power.
At the same time, however, the official conceded that the controversy in Honduras stemmed from the effort by Zelaya to maintain himself illegally and unconstitutionally in power through a referendum or "survey" he had no right to initiate. He explained, "The fundamental political divide within Honduras was whether or not this effort by President Zelaya was seen as constitutional and legal, or whether it was seen as illegitimate and unconstitutional. And several institutions, including the public ministry, which is their equivalent of Attorney General, the Supreme Court, and the Congress had declared this survey to be illegitimate and illegal."
Notice how the U.S. official said that "the public ministry, which is their equivalent of Attorney General, the Supreme Court, and the Congress had declared this survey to be illegitimate and illegal."
He went on to say, "Obviously, it was the armed forces that detained the president today and expelled him from the country. But as we’re seeing now with the naming of an interim president by the congress, this was an effort that has included other political institutions."
Indeed, this was not a "military coup" in the traditional sense of the army acting unilaterally to depose a popular president. The Army was acting in accordance with the dictates of the other political institutions.
Not only did the Congress and the Supreme Court act against Zelaya, the Catholic Church of Honduras-which is not under the sway of Marxist-oriented Liberation Theology-had opposed his illegal acts.
One question from a CNN reporter helped illustrate the incoherent nature of the Obama policy: "You said that you felt other institutions felt that it was illegal and unconstitutional, but did you think it was and did you advise the president not to invoke it?" The official replied, "Again, it’s not up to us to determine what’s legal or not within the context of Honduras. It was important for us to leave this to Honduran institutions to try to resolve."
But that is exactly what happened when those institutions acted to remove the Marxist president, who is an ally of Castro and Chavez.
Asked if what Zelaya was doing "was in line with the constitution," the official answered in the negative. The official further added that "…from our point of view, what was important was not inserting ourselves and trying to make a determination of what was legal or illegal, but trying to insist that the Hondurans find a way to resolve this in a way that was in accord with their constitution."
But the Hondurans have resolved it. Why doesn’t the Obama White House stay out of it?
In the New York Times story about the "coup," the reporter waited until the fifth paragraph to note that "the [Honduran] Supreme Court issued a statement saying that the military had acted to defend the law against ‘those who had publicly spoken out and acted against the Constitution’s provisions.’"
So it wasn’t really a coup.
The headline over the Washington Post story said, "Honduran Military Ousts President," but the article noted that "the Honduran National Congress defiantly announced that Zelaya was out, and its members named congressional leader Roberto Micheletti the new president on Sunday afternoon. The Honduran Supreme Court also supported the removal of Zelaya, saying that the military was acting in defense of democracy."
So rather than destroy democracy, this action restored it. This is hardly a "military coup." There is no military official running Honduras today. And the former president wasn’t shot but given exile. He’s been told he can return but without the outside backing and interference of Chavez.
There is some question about whether Zelaya was impeached before or after the military removed him. But the point is that democratic forces acted together for the sake of their country. The timing is a matter that should be properly left to the people of Honduras and their democratically-elected institutions.
What the Obama Administration should be doing, under the circumstances, is protecting this democratic government from external threats from Chavez and Castro. Instead, it is working with Chavez and Castro to bring back to power a Marxist puppet.
Calls are already being heard from Obama’s far-left base to destabilize Honduras by cutting off U.S. military aid to the government. Human Rights Watch, the George Soros-funded group, has come out with a statement denouncing the "military coup."
Some of these far-left activists are claiming that Obama was behind the "coup," but this is obviously propaganda designed to force the Administration to use international bodies, such as the U.N. and the Organization of American States, in an effort to restore Zelaya to power.