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Friday, June 1, 2012

Lech Snubbed By Obama, Pleases Russian Bosses

Earlier today we posted an article about Obama and his relationship with the Russians and how concerned we were about the relationship and the President's "flexiblity" he would have after the election. Well, it appears as if the White House does not want to upset their "handlers" as they turned down a request for Lech Walesa to accept the Medal of Freedom for a World War II polish underground fighter. Walesa was deemed to be too controversial.

Why would the Russians want the Polish electrician who founded the Solidarity Party to receive this honor? It is a blot on the old Soviet Union that this uneducated gentleman had brought the puppet government to its knees. Having him accept this award would have been a stick in the eye of the Ruskies.  

It appears that when issues involve Europe, the White House uses the red phone to call the mucky mucks in Moscow to determine how they should handle the situation.  Flexibility, paws-haw, it is the Manchurian President come to life!

This whole incident stinks to high heaven. It is a great example of the United States not taking the moral high ground and leading by example. One can only wonder how this incompetent would have reacted to previous crises like the Civil War, WWII, Cuban Missile Crisis or 9/11.  We believe it would not have been what previous leaders did.  

He must go.

Conservative Tom
President Obama Shuns Lech Walesa
The Polish Solidarity leader is “too political” for the administration.
By Rory Cooper
Lech Walesa

Listen to the Audio Version
Lech Walesa was once a trade-union activist. He was often arrested for speaking his mind against Communist oppression behind the Iron Curtain in Poland and for defying the Soviet Union. He was an electrician who, with no higher education, led one of the most profound freedom movements of the 20th century — Solidarity. He became president of Poland and swept in reforms, pushing the Soviet Union out of his homeland and moving the country toward a free-market economy and individual liberty. And President Obama doesn’t want him to set foot in the White House.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Polish officials requested that Walesa accept the Medal of Freedom on behalf of Jan Karski, a member of the Polish Underground during World War II who was being honored posthumously this week. The request makes sense. Walesa and Karski shared a burning desire to rid Poland of tyrannical subjugation. But President Obama said no.
Administration officials told the Journal that Walesa is too “political.” A man who was arrested by Soviet officials for dissenting against the government for being “political” is being shunned by the United States of America for the same reason 30 years later.
Meanwhile, one of the recipients of the Medal was Dolores Huerta, the honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. So socialist politics are acceptable, but not the politics of a man who stood up and fought socialism.

This revelation follows an eruption of outrage in Poland after President Obama referred in his remarks at the Medal of Freedom ceremony to “Polish death camps,” a phrase that Poles have battled since the end of the Cold War. The phrase suggests that Poles were complicit in Nazi concentration camps, which of course is not the case. In fact, Poles were exterminated in the camps.
The White House’s flippant response to the uproar caused the Polish president and prime minister to demand more thoughtful and personal reactions. But White HousePress Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the president has no plans to reach out to his Polish counterparts and has shrugged off the outrage in Poland.
Few observers are suggesting that President Obama’s written remarks noting “Polish death camps” were intentionally malicious. The comment was more likely a result of historical ignorance and careless inattention. This is the same ignorance and carelessness that would cause president to turn away Lech Walesa and label him as “too political.”
Ironically, Lech Walesa shares a distinction with President Obama: They both won Nobel Peace Prizes. Walesa earned his in 1983 after years of fighting for peace and freedom, and being monitored, harassed, and jailed for it. President Obama received his award in 2009. Some may think that this would be enough of a bond for President Obama to set aside political differences for the greater good. But instead, President Obama treated Walesa the same way he treated the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who was ushered out the White House kitchen past piles of garbage in 2010.
The likelihood is that President Obama didn’t want Walesa in the White House because Walesa has made critical remarks toward the president’s policies and in 2010 warned that the United States was slipping toward socialism. But rather than taking the mature and diplomatic path and respecting Walesa’s right to have a differing perspective, Obama chose to shun his lifetime of achievements.
Congratulating Walesa on his Nobel Prize in 1983, President Ronald Reagan said: “For too long, the Polish government has tried to make Lech Walesa a non-person and destroy the free trade-union movement that he helped to create in Poland. But no government can destroy the hopes that burn in the hearts of a people. The people of Poland have shown in their support of Solidarity, just as they showed in their support of His Holiness Pope John Paul II during his visit to Poland, that the government of that nation cannot make Lech Walesa a non-person, and they can’t turn his ideas into non-ideas.”
The White House should not treat President Walesa as a non-person, and they cannot turn his ideas into non-ideas.
— Rory Cooper is director of communications at the Heritage Foundation. You can follow him on Twitter @rorycooper
ppet government

History Teaches Obama Disregards

We are believers that if you do not understand and know history, you are bound to make the same mistakes over and over.  In the following article by Barry Rubin, he aptly displays the ignorance the President is showing on history and that not knowing it opens one up to making mistakes that only cause more problems down the road.

The mistake of eliminating the missile defense shield in Europe (we believe--at the insistence of the Russians) might allow for another invasion of those countries by a resurgent Soviet style government.  Will we be in another cold war with them? 

Additionally, the comment that the President made to Medvedev that after the election "he will have more flexibility" should send chills down the back of any thinking American. Has he structured a deal to sell out our friends? Has he agreed to get rid of all of our nuclear weapons? One can only guess but being flexible with the Russians can only mean one thing--we are giving in and they are taking advantage.

We must get rid of this anti-American, ignorant President in the upcoming election. Otherwise, he will run this country into a third world despotic mess.

Conservative Tom

President Barack Obama’s mistaken reference to Nazi German death camps as “Polish death camps” is being ridiculed by critics as an example of incompetence. That misses the point. His defense is that he was just reading his teleprompter. That misses the point, too.
After all, you don’t need to be a historical genius to have caught that error even if it was on the teleprompter. I am not suggesting that Obama doesn’t know that the Nazi Germans operated the death camps, though, to recall another gaffe of his, he might think that those among them hailing from the country whose capital had been Vienna spoke “Austrian.”
Nevertheless, what this is really about is that Obama does not see himself as emerging from European history and, truth be told and despite his university degrees, doesn’t know much about it. He has no idea, for example, about how the Poles and other Central European people, or Europe itself, think or what they have gone through. And frankly he doesn’t care.
On one level, that is rather obvious. His father was Kenyan. But, of course, his mother was an American of European descent. Still, Obama has not chosen to focus on his simultaneously half-African/half-European parentage. He has identified himself as an African-American, and the word African here has to be taken literally, not just as a matter of ancestry from three centuries ago.  The only exception to this stance, I believe, was a reference to Irish ancestry during a visit to that country and a feeble, rather insultingly stereotyped, attempt at an Irish accent.
Forget about this as a matter of race or skin color. Think of it as a matter of geographical choice. Obama draws heavily from Third World standpoints, something quite evident in his choice of church, for example. I cannot recall his ever quoting a European political philosopher. He has never to my knowledge made any reference publicly to Communism at all. In his books, the emphasis is on feelings, personal experiences, and ideas that come out of his head. But isn’t it also important to have someone who knows about how Africans think? Sure, and I don’t think Obama understands them either, but that’s not the subject of this article.
Obama has claimed that his grandfather was punished as an anti-British activist during the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya. The prime minister at the time was Winston Churchill, and it is no coincidence that one of Obama’s first acts was to return a Churchill bust to Britain in a rude manner. Basically, Obama views himself as an anti-imperialist and sees America, along with Britain, as imperialist. But that, too, is a subject for another time.
 It’s fine to have a president who doesn’t come from a European background personally or physically but not so good to have a president who doesn’t grasp the meaning of modern European history. That’s why they used to have those Western civilization courses required of every college student, a standard whose loss has been devastating in the production of credentialed ignoramuses.
And how is that narrative important? Here are three critical points:
–Historically, America has done better than Europe in terms of economic prosperity, a relatively classless society, and social development. If you don’t understand the basis of American exceptionalism — and Obama rejects that idea — you don’t understand what policies work and which don’t work. By the same token, there are certain elements of Western democratic civilization that are the highest points reached by human society. A number of non-European places — Singapore, Japan, and now China — have recognized those realities and have adapted such institutions and modes of thought. If you focus on the shortcomings of Western civilization and don’t understand its greatness, you are also unable to run a Western society effectively.
–Europe suffered greatly from leftist extremism. Communism was a disaster. The left as well as the right can be brutal, repressive, and an economic disaster. Not knowing this story means that Obama isn’t inoculated against some of the same mistakes. And Obama has never found anyone on the left to be an enemy; never found any leftist ideology to be mistaken.
–Twentieth-century European history showed twice — against Nazism and Communism — the need to stand up to dictators, to be tough, to show one’s credibility, to be ready to go to war, to understand that ideological extremists cannot be bought off or charmed into moderation.
The lack of real comprehension regarding European history thus underpins Obama’s three greatest failings: wrong ideas about society, economics, and foreign policy.
Nor is this the first example where he showed a callous indifference to the experience of Central Europe, where these lessons were most clearly drawn.
Everyone in Central Europe understood the significance of September 17, 2009. It was the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, the Baltic states, and other countries. For the Poles it was a commemoration of a tremendous tragedy, especially since the USSR was then in alliance with Nazi Germany, which 17 days earlier had seized the rest of Poland.
It was that date Obama chose to cancel the placement of U.S. defensive missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic. Those two countries had taken considerable risks — Russia made threats — in agreeing to host the missiles. In cancelling them, Obama didn’t even consult the two countries. The Czech foreign minister said he was only informed of the decision in an early morning phone call that woke him up. The Poles didn’t even get a phone call.
When Obama became president, Central Europe’s most important leaders and most distinguished freedom fighters sent Obama an open letter. It’s worth reading today. They feared that Obama would not protect them from a resurgent Russia. Today, with Obama content to let Russia mediate Syria’s future and Russian leader Vladimir Putin contemptuous of a man he sees as foolish and weak, that danger is even greater.
As I pointed out three years ago:
If Obama had been president in the early 1990s, the letter hints rather subtly, “We would not be in NATO today and the idea of a Europe whole, free, and at peace would be a distant dream.” The United States would have put an emphasis on good relations with Russia rather than supporting the real liberty of the nations in the area.
A few months ago, a leading Czech intellectual told a cheering audience in Prague, “Americans proved they weren’t racist by electing Obama in 2008. Now they must prove they aren’t stupid by voting him out of office in 2012.”
Obama’s gaffe was not just an act of stupidity or incompetence but another sign that he doesn’t understand European history. And given the vital lessons that story has to tell for the management of American foreign and domestic issues, that’s very dangerous.
This article is dedicated to the memory of Arthur Dub, born February 8, 1900, died in Trencin concentration camp; Jozef Dub, born July 17, 1901, murdered in Lublin concentration camp;  Aranka Lowenbein Havas, born 1909, and her husband Miklos (born 1892) murdered in Auschwitz, May 17, 1944; and Richard Lowenbein, born June 29, 1894, murdered in Auschwitz, May 17, 1944.   And to three Polish policemen–Vlodia Maslovsky, Takovitch, and Maletzko—who saved many lives at the risk of their own.

Investment Records Not A Winner For Obama

Should the government invest in businesses or people about which it has no investment experience?  That is the question that is answered in the following article. It is an interesting conundum which is answered by the author. Let us know what you think.

Conservative Tom 

How About We Compare the Investment Records of Bain Capital and the Obama Administration?

This really isn't the debate the president wants to have...
June 1, 2012 - 12:05 am
Unbelievably, the Obama campaign seems to want to have a debate about which of the two candidates is more qualified to run the world’s largest economy. Writing earlier this year I considered where the campaign seems hell-bent on going. This is a debate that can prove only disastrous for the forces of O.
To repeat what I said then: if Bain Capital buys and fails on any particular investment, the wreckage is contained to the employees of the business that was bought, the investors, and Bain management. It also means that if Bain does it too often they will be unsuccessful in raising the next round of capital.
Conversely, when the government fails, it fails on a far larger scale, particularly if the investing is done via many entities having a similar industry focus. With government investing, we all become venture capitalists, whether or not it fits our individual risk profiles.
Bain diversified itself by risking capital in a variety of industries and not going all in for any one sector. That way, its eggs are not all in one industry basket and it looks more like the overall economy.
In contrast, the administration’s attempts to invest in “green” technology, no matter what one’s views are about the efficacy of “green” technology, are a fool’s bet. Even were it able to discern winners from losers, the inevitability of bad investing in one sector should be apparent to all.
The problems for The One’s are threefold. First, he has made near-universally bad bets. Second, public entity investing possesses fundamental flaws. And third, the opportunity to make investments with politically connected business ventures has led to charges of corruption and cronyism.
Look around. Can anyone name a successful entity in which this administration has risked billions of dollars of taxpayer money? From Solyndra to LightSquared. All taxpayer money, none of it confined to only one failure and in technology whose merits none of us have any interest, expertise, and time to debate, other than for me to make the observation that Steven Chu’s fervent hope and desire that oil prices climbing much, much higher would be the first necessity for this business model to work in the real world  without needing to be propped up by the government.
Moreover, the folly associated with public entities investing in established businesses (like, say, General Motors…oops!), let alone technologies best evaluated by trained professionals, is manifest for all to see. A private equity (or even venture) investor is a highly experienced individual who has seen, invested in (and/or rejected investment in) many companies in his or her career. His existence is Darwinistic: if he doesn’t know what he’s doing and makes too many bad bets, he doesn’t get to raise the next round of fund capital and is out seeking a new career by the day after that failure.
On the other hand, a public functionary deciding to risk hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars can’t have been through the fire of investment success-or-failure, and, most importantly, doesn’t have the same interests at heart.
By definition, his or her goals are policy-driven, not return-driven, so he feels indifferent to success: he’ll keep his job regardless of failure – unless political pressure forces him out.
Which of these two would you rather see as stewards of your money? After all, it is your money.
And, of course, as Mr. Romney pointed out this week, the government investing in industries it likes has a chilling effect on private investment in those same industries. As he said, “Who wants to compete against the federal government?”
Finally, consider the opportunity for corruption or cronyism. Would it surprise anyone reading this that the largest bets that this administration ever made were to friends and contributors of Mr. Obama’s? None of us can know which of the numerous enterprises that sought public funding failed to obtain it, but would it further surprise anyone if companies owned and managed by those on the right side of the political spectrum were refused funding?
This last point damages the administration the most. By focusing on the mores of investing by private vs. public funds, the campaign opens itself up to scrutiny on charges of corruption and cronyism. Only those dyed-in-the-wool on the Left will be untroubled by the charges that have been legitimately leveled against this ship of fools.
Furthermore, it clarifies the murkiness that surrounds the House investigations into corruption charges, and makes stonewalling on document production appear even more sinister than the underlying offense.
No, if I were deeply entrenched into the den of this gang of thieves, I’d try to go anywhere but Bain v. BO investing.
This entire foray lays bare the inherent panic that must be setting in for Hope and Change 2.0. To raise these issues now plays only to one constituency, the true believers in need of daily stimulus to maintain their enthusiasm. How else to explain this focus?
David H. Horwich is a managing director at the investment banking firm of PGP Capital Advisors, LLC in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When Is A Palestinian A Refugee

When is a Palestinian really a refugee is the story of the Middle East and the counting of those who are and are not "refugees." The following post written by Daniel Pipes illustrates the problems with the  "count".  

This issue is one of the seminal issues facing the Middle East peace and as you read the convoluted way things occur in that region.

Conservative Tom

Counting Palestine Refugees

Counting Palestine Refugees
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The fetid, dark heart of the Arab war on Israel, I have long argued, lies not in disputes over Jerusalem, checkpoints, or "settlements." Rather, it concerns the so-called Palestine refugees.
So-called because of the nearly 5 million official refugees served by UNRWA (short for the "United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East"), only about 1 percent are real refugees who fit the agency'sdefinition of "people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict." The other 99 percent are descendants of those refugees, or what I call fake refugees.
Perversely, UNRWA feted its 60th anniversary in 2009, as though this were something to be proud of.
Worse: those alive in 1948 are dying off and in about fifty years not a single real refugee will remain alive, whereas (extrapolating from an authoritative estimate in Refugee Survey Quarterly by Mike Dumper) their fake refugee descendants will number about 20 million. Unchecked, that population will grow like Topsy until the end of time.
This matters because the refugee status has harmful effects: It blights the lives of these millions of non-refugees by disenfranchising them while imposing an ugly, unrealistic irredentist dream on them; worse, the refugee status preserves them as a permanent dagger aimed at Israel's heart, threatening the Jewish state and disrupting the Middle East.
Solving the Arab-Israeli conflict, in short, requires ending the absurd and damaging farce of proliferating fake Palestine refugees and permanently settling them. 1948 happened; time to get real.
I am proud to report that, in part based on the work carried out by the Middle East Forum's Steven J. Rosen and myself over the past year, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on May 24unanimously passed a limited but potentially momentous amendment to the $52.1 billion fiscal 2013 State Department and foreign operations appropriations bill.
The amendment, proposed by Mark Kirk (Republican of Illinois) requires the State Department to inform Congress about the use of the annual $240 million of direct American taxpayer funds donated to Palestine refugees via UNRWA. How many recipients, Kirk asks, meet the UNRWA definition cited above, making them real refugees? And how many do not, but are descendants of those refugees?
The Kirk amendment does not call for eliminating or even reducing benefits to fake refugees. Despite its limited nature, Kirk calls the reporting requirement a "watershed." Indeed, it inspired what a senior Senate GOP aide called "enormous opposition" from the Jordanian government and UNRWA itself, bringing on what Foreign Policy magazine's Josh Rogin called a raging battle.
Why the rage? Because, were the State Department compelled to differentiate real Palestine refugees from fake ones, the U.S. and other Western governments (who, together, cover over 80 percent of UNRWA's budget) could eventually decide to cut out the fakes and thereby undermine their claim to a "right of return" to Israel.
Sadly, the Obama administration has badly botched this issue. A letter from Deputy Secretary of StateThomas R. Nides opposing an earlier version of the Kirk amendment demonstrates complete incoherence. On the one hand, Nides states that Kirk would, by forcing the U.S. government "to make a public judgment on the number and status of Palestinian refugees … prejudge and determine the outcome of this sensitive issue." On the other, Nides himself refers to "approximately five million [Palestine] refugees," thereby lumping together real and fake refugees – and prejudging exactly the issue he insists on leaving open. That 5-million refugee statement was no fluke; when asked about it, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell confirmed that "the U.S. government supports" the guiding principle to "recognize descendants of refugees as refugees."
Also, by predicting a "very strong negative reaction [to the amendment] from the Palestinians and our allies in the region, particularly Jordan," Nides invited Arabs to pressure the U.S. Senate, a shoddy maneuver unworthy of the State Department.
Through all of Israel's 64-year existence, one American president after another has resolved to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, yet every one of them ignored the ugliest aspect of this confrontation – the purposeful exploitation of a refugee issue to challenge the very existence of the Jewish state. Bravo to Sen. Kirk and his staff for the wisdom and courage to begin the effort to address unpleasant realities, initiating a change that finally goes to the heart of the conflict

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ponzi Is Coming To Europe

One has to wonder where all the bright people have gone. It seems like we go from one economic disaster to the next and the theme from every one of these tragedies is "print more money."  Whether it is Greece, the US or now Spain, that has been the same answer. Turn on the presses and that will solve all of our problems.

That could not be further from the truth. As we learned in the 20's in Germany, one cannot print your way out of a financial mess, it only makes it worse.  Yet that is the way all these current crises have been "solved."  

In the latest one, the fourth largest bank in Spain "Bankia" is going to be bailed out by a giant $24 billion windfall. We use that word as it makes about as much sense as the other things governments are doing these days.  It does not make financial sense, it is only a temporary band aid that will soon come off as we go further down the road.

All governments seem allergic to taking the medicine that they need. Take the hard hit, solve the problem and recover. Instead we see things being pushed into the future where "someone else" can solve it. The problem is that the size of the issue continues to grow exponentially to a point where we see nothing good happening.  We fear a global economic depression of a size and scope that most cannot even imagine.

We sure to hope that we are not right, however, we hold little hope that the political classes, their "smart financial advisers" and the people of the effected countries will wake up in time to forestall the tsunami that will result from an upcoming tremor.

Conservative Tom

When Does the Ponzi Scheme Collapse?

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Inquiring minds are interested in the recapitalization plans for the Bankia. Please consider this chain of posts.

ABC News reports Spain's Bankia set for massive bailout.
Spain's fourth-biggest bank Bankia says it is certain of securing the 19 billion euros ($24 billion) in state aid it is seeking in the largest bank bailout in the country's history.

Bankia is considered key to the country's financial system, and a failure would contaminate the entire banking sector.

The plight of Bankia - which holds some 10 per cent of the nation's bank deposits - has added to the concerns over the massive debt crisis gripping Spain and the rest of the eurozone.

Bankia president Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri has sought to reassure investors and the public about the future of the struggling bank at a press conference called the day after it announced huge losses, and asked for a government rescue.

"I am certain that the Spanish state will obtain the financing so we will receive the 19 billion euros. That's the commitment," said Mr Goirigolzarri, adding that he expected to get the funds in July.
Devil in the Details

Inquiring minds just may be asking "Just where is this money coming from?" That's a good question.

Reuters reports Spain may recapitalize Bankia with government debt.
Spain may recapitalize Bankia with Spanish government bonds in return for shares in the bank which last week asked for rescue funding of 19 billion euros ($24 billion), a government source said on Sunday.

Bankia could use the sovereign paper as collateral to get cash from the European Central Bank, forcing the ECB to get involved with restructuring Spain's banking sector, laid low by lending to property developers in a boom that ended in 2008.

ECB policymakers, who have pumped over 1 trillion euros into Europe's financial system in recent months, are resisting pressure to do more to shore up the euro zone.

"The biggest problem here is that the ECB could object. That's a legal issue, but technically it is possible," said Jose Carlos Diez, economist at Intermoney Valores.
Ponzi Financing

Got That? A Spanish government source says the plan is to float what amounts to junk bonds, pawn them off to the ECB and use the proceeds to "recapitalize" Bankia.

Of course the ECB (bankrolled by Germany) is at enormous risk were this preposterous scheme to actually happen.

This is what I want to know: When does Germany say it has had enough of these preposterous schemes?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock