Archive for May, 2009

Over the past couple of months I’ve been astounded by the stock market’s rise.  Some of my reasons for doubt are outlined by Nouriel Roubini in Forbes.  But my biggest worry isn’t any of those.  Nor is it just that “the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed,” as Pravda warns (!).  It’s that a Middle East war now seems inevitable.

Caroline Glick links the North Korean nuclear test to Iran, and notes the implications for Israel:

THE OBAMA administration’s impotent response to Pyongyang’s ICBM test last month and its similarly stuttering reaction to North Korea’s nuclear test on Monday have shown Teheran that it no longer needs to even pretend to have an interest in negotiating aspects of its nuclear program with Washington or its European counterparts. Whereas appearing interested in reaching an accommodation with Washington made sense during the Bush presidency, when hawks and doves were competing for the president’s ear, today, with the Obama administration populated solely by doves, Iran, like North Korea, believes it has nothing to gain by pretending to care about accommodating Washington.

This point was brought home clearly by both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s immediate verbal response to the North Korean nuclear test on Monday and by Iran’s provocative launch of warships in the Gulf of Aden the same day. As Ahmadinejad said, as far the Iranian regime is concerned, “Iran’s nuclear issue is over.”

There is no reason to talk anymore. Just as Obama made clear that he intends to do nothing in response to North Korea’s nuclear test, so Iran believes that the president will do nothing to impede its nuclear program.

Of course it is not simply the administration’s policy toward North Korea that is signaling to Iran that it has no reason to be concerned that the US will challenge its nuclear aspirations. The US’s general Middle East policy, which conditions US action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program on the prior implementation of an impossible-to-achieve Israel-Palestinian peace agreement makes it obvious to Teheran that the US will take no action whatsoever to prevent it from following in North Korea’s footsteps and becoming a nuclear power….

As for Israel, it is a good thing that the IDF has scheduled the largest civil defense drill in the country’s history for next week. Between North Korea’s nuclear test, Iran’s brazen bellicosity and America’s betrayal, it is clear that the government can do nothing to impact Washington’s policies toward Iran. No destruction of Jewish communities will convince Obama to act against Iran.

Today Israel stands alone against the mullahs and their bomb. And this, like the US’s decision to stand down against the Axis of Evil, is not subject to change.

Israel’s survival depends on eliminating the Iranian bomb; it has no choice but to attack preemptively. It’s possible that Iran, despite Ahmadinejad’s bellicose anti-Israel tirades, has no intention of acting aggressively– but would you bet your and your country’s life on it? It’s possible that negotiations will bear fruit– but the probability seems ridiculously small. There is no likelihood of effective international action. As Richard Fernandez notes, the nonproliferation idea is dead: “the West did it to itself, by progressively undermining its authority until it has reached this nadir. It was Kim’s very insignificance that underlined the totality of the collapse.” The Obama administration will do nothing but hurl adjectives.  By the end of the year, Iran will have nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking Israel. Israel has to attack within the next six months or face annihilation.

Fernandez observes that rearmament among our allies is already beginning, and predicts:

The real driver of actions in the coming months will be crisis. Now one may believe that the crisis was provoked by President Obama sending absolutely the wrong signals and leaving blood in the water or one may believe that the crisis was caused by George Bush or someone else. None of that changes the fact that a crisis is a crisis. At some point it will create a huge strain on Obama’s presidency, not in the least because I think his priority is the defeat of his domestic political enemies. If the international crisis becomes bad enough, he’ll be forced into creating what is effectively a government of national unity, something that I think he is not really capable of. Yet he may be forced to do it, or delay for so long that it increases the danger.

I think Obama’s assuming dictatorial powers is more likely than any national unity government.  Churchill he ain’t.


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Auto DealersDoug Ross and Gateway Pundit have been hammering the theme that the choice of Chrysler dealerships to close has been driven by politics.  Read the statistical and anecdotal evidence here.

Then compare the smug dismissal of all this on the left.  88% of auto dealers’ political contributions have gone to Republicans over the past few years; 92% of the contributions of the dealerships slated to be closed went to Republicans (actually, it seems to be more like 98%, with only .1% going to Obama); the difference is “insignificant”; so, no problem!  No distinction between owners and employees; no attempt to get data on sales, profitability, etc.; no questioning of the process, which is mysterious but seems to include no one from Chrysler.

Daniel Greenfield looks at the bigger picture.

But while this kind of abuse of government power is shocking, it really shouldn’t be.

Government is an engine of wealth redistribution, and when it gains control of businesses, it redistributes wealth in a way that benefits its supporters. That is what government always does, no matter how it disguises it.

That is why despite all the leftist wishful thinking in the world, centrally planned economies are corrupt, inept and inefficient….

No doubt there is a long list of industries that Obama will be happy to “bail out”, and by bail out, we mean of course spend billions in taxpayer owned debt to take over, carve up and hand out to their supporters.

The rape of the American auto industry by Obama and his henchmen was a classic case of a gang of politicians robbing the country blind in order to provide patronage to their backers, both at the union and the dealership level. But that is par for the course.

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Bret Stephens illumines Obama’s logic on, well, just about everything:

Consider the 1998 “Gnomes” episode — possibly surpassing Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” as the classic defense of capitalism — in which the children of South Park, Colo., get a lesson in how not to run an enterprise from mysterious little men who go about stealing undergarments from the unsuspecting and collecting them in a huge underground storehouse.

What’s the big idea? The gnomes explain:

“Phase One: Collect underpants.

“Phase Two: ?

“Phase Three: Profit.”

That’s perhaps why Dr. Sanity points out the importance of listening to what Obama doesn’t say.  He offers a rather conventional description of the problem as if it’s somehow novel and uniquely profound.  Then he offers a description of how nice it would be if it were solved.  Then… the end!  He never tells you how he plans to get from here to there.

Who knew politics could be so easy?

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North Korea tests a nuclear weapon about as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima; Iran proceeds apace toward a bomb of its own—or was the one detonated a proxy test for Iran already?—while Israel, realizing that it’s on its own, contemplates an attack on Iran and tells its citizens to prepare for all-out war.  Funny how George W. Bush’s departure from office has made the world much less safe, and how quickly.

Wretchard asks: Is President Obama becoming an international laughingstock?

Saul Alinsky taught his disciples that authority figures could survive anything except public ridicule. Once people began to laugh at you, things were heading downhill. The recent actions and rhetoric from North Korea and Iran openly mock the Obama administration. Ahmadinejad was dismissive of Obama’s offer of direct negotiations and has challenged the US President to appear in a freakshow debate of his own device before the UN. If the news reports of Ehud Barak’s remarks are accurate, then even the Israeli Defense Minister, who would ordinarily be diplomatically correct and deferential towards an American President is practically characterizing his trip to Washington as a waste of time. Is President Obama, the sweep of whose hands it was once believed could silence the world, in danger of becoming an object of derision? He is in any event, in the middle of the challenge which Joe Biden predicted he would face.

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Lindheimer Senna

Lindheimer Senna

Lindheimer Senna

Some idiot in my neighborhood has been going around ripping out all the Lindheimer Senna growing wild near the end of our street.  I’m trying to save it—gathering the uprooted plants, putting them in water, and then replanting them—but I don’t know how successful I’ll be.  Lindheimer Senna is a beautiful native plant with delicate, velvety, silver-tipped leaves and lovely yellow flowers. It’s dangerous for cattle, but to the best of my knowledge we don’t have any cows roaming the neighborhood.

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Arlington National Cemetary

Arlington National Cemetary

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Four Lies a Day

That’s what the average Briton tells, according to the Mail Online.  Right speech is item three on the Buddha’s Eightfold Path; it’s hard to tell the truth, even for a day.  How many lies have you told today?

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