April 30, 2008

Faith, Politics, and Mr. Obama

Timothy Birdnow

This about Barack Obama`s friendship with Weatherman Underground terrorist Bill Ayers:

Asked why he would be friends with the likes of Weatherman Bill Ayers, Obama said: ‘The notion that... me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense.’ That’s a slick answer, even ‘Clintonian’!` but the problem is, Ayers and his Weatherman wife, Bernadine Dohrn, won’t stop boasting about their days as Weathermen. It’s not simply that they haven’t repented. To the contrary, those were their glory days! And Ayers isn’t just someone who lives in the neighborhood: He and Dohrn were there at the inception of Obama’s political career, hosting a fundraiser for Obama at their home back in 1995. Besides wanton violence, including a dozen bombings of buildings such as the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, historic statues and various police stations, the Weathermen’s ‘revolutionary’ activity consisted primarily of using the word ‘motherf*****-’ a lot, dropping LSD, coming up with cutesy phrases, like ‘the Weather Underground’, and competing over who could make the most offensive statements in public. (I also believe Dohrn may have set the North American record for longest stretch without bathing.) At one rally, Dohrn famously praised the Manson family for murdering Sharon Tate and others... Would that Timothy McVeigh had been so inept! If he had only said he bombed the building in Oklahoma City to protest American ‘imperialism,’ McVeigh, too, could be teaching at Northwestern University, sitting on a board with and holding fundraisers for presidential candidate B. Hussein Obama.

Ann Coulter, courtesy of the Federalist Patriot

I believe Mr. Obama`s failure to adequately address this issue speaks volumes, because he has always had the key to dealing with this-if he was willing to take the proper steps.  His failure is, to me, an illustration of the realities of Mr. Obama, of his larger problem.  Let me explain.

What started Barack on the long slide was his pastor, Jeremiah Wright.  Wright made numerous anti-American and racist statements, and it was quite clear that Barack sat quietly in the pews while listening to inflammatory rhetoric from the man he chose to perform his wedding ceremony and baptise his children.  The impression that any ordinary bystander is left with is that Mr. Obama either has no problem with such rhetoric or actually agrees with it.  Obama, fearful of offending the radicals-and his good friend-tried to straddle the fence, distancing himself from the good parson while not disavowing him-something that offended everyone. This, coupled with the Ayers story, his refusal to wear a flag pin, and his wife`s comments about America (and her college thesis) has sent the Big O into freefall.

But this could have been taken care of had Mr. Obama come out as a devout Christian.  Early on, Mr. Obama should have admitted that there were problems at Trinity, and said that he chose to stay because he wanted to try to change things.  He could have finessed this by quoting from scripture about forgiveness and remaining firm, arguing that Trinity had many good things with some bad, and that he was fighting to reform it from within. 

The same could be said of Ayers; he could have claimed that he was trying to minister to a man who was evil in his youth.  This would have been simple to do; discuss the many sinners whom Jesus associated with, explaining that Christians are called to fellowship with those who have fallen.  Jesus, after all, hung around with prostitutes, thieves, Roman soldiers (like hanging with Al Qaeda would be today), and Tax Collectors (nuff said!)  Barack could easily have made the same claim.

Why didn`t he?  I think Mr. Obama is 1.afraid to offend his radical supporters, many of whom are atheist, black muslim, regular muslim, or black liberation theologians like the good Reverend Wright and 2.I`m not sure how much he believes-or knows-these things himself.  Barack was undoubtedly raised in the Moslem fashion if he never was one-which is highly debatable.  He most assuredly has ties to the faith of the Prophet via his family in Kenya, and he was registered in school in Indonesia as a Moslem.  Now, he may have become a Christian when he came back to America (which makes him an apostate to Islam) but look at the outfit that he chose!  Black Liberation Theology is aberrant and abhorent, and is more about Earthly power than Eternal Salvation.  It may be that Barack simply could not-and cannot-bring himself to make these arguments, since they are alien to his entire view of things.

Now Barack is in a catch-22, unable to extricate himself without offending a considerable number of people and coming across as just another scheming politician.  I don`t think the press did him any favors by throwing underhanded wiffle-balls at him all of these months. He needed to learn how to deal with these issues, and he simply didn`t do it because there was no need.  The press treated him like little Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  Well, Hillary is the mean bully who steals lunch money from sweet little girls, and Obama was never ready to play in her league.  She has pulled Obama`s pig tails, rubbed his face in the dirt, and stole his favorite dolly. 

Obama tried to toss Rev. Wright under the bus in a desperate attempt to break the spiral, but it is too little too late and nobody has any reason to believe he is doing anything but saving his political skin. The New Politician turns out to be the same old same old.

The long campaign season has been a disaster for Democrats; they have had too much time to pick at one another, and they have opened the sores that the Republicans would have been hard-pressed to open.  If Republicans mention Rev. Wright or Bill Ayers it`s dirty politics, but if Hillary mentions these, how can anyone complain?  The Democrats have developed a case of Lesche-Nyhan Syndrome.  (LNS is a horrifying genetic disorder in which the fully intelligent, rational person is overcome with the desire to abuse himself, biting off his tongue and fingers and doing horrible damage to himself.)

Unless something radically changes the course of this campaign, I think Obama may well lose.  If the Democrats nominate him, they will be hard pressed to sell him to the general public.  I may have very little enthusiasm for His Cheatin` Heart John, but this is a delightful thing to watch!


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Sowing by Fiat, Reaping Famine

This is particularly pertinent today, with government`s biofuels initiative causing famine worldwide:

``Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.``

Thomas Jefferson

(Courtesy of the Federalist Patriot.)

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April 29, 2008

Walking Backwards and Imperial Fiddling with Barack Obama

Another piece courtesy of Wil Wirtanen:

An Old Newness
By Thomas Sowell
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Many years ago, a great hitter named Paul Waner was nearing the end of his long career. He entered a ballgame with 2,999 hits -- one hit away from the landmark total of 3,000, which so many hitters want to reach, but which relatively few actually do reach.

Waner hit a ball that the fielder did not handle cleanly but the official scorer called it a hit, making it Waner's 3,000th. Paul Waner then sent word to the official scorer that he did not want that questionable hit to be the one that put him over the top.

The official scorer reversed himself and called it an error. Later Paul Waner got a clean hit for number 3,000.

What reminded me of this is the great fervor that many seem to feel over the prospect of the first black President of the United States.

No doubt it is only a matter of time before there is a black president, just as it was only a matter of time before Paul Waner got his 3,000th hit. The issue is whether we want to reach that landmark so badly that we are willing to overlook how questionably that landmark is reached.

Paul Waner had too much pride to accept a scratch hit. Choosing a President of the United States is a lot more momentous than a baseball record. We the voters need to have far more concern about who we put in that office that holds the destiny of a nation and of generations yet unborn.

There is no reason why someone as arrogant, foolishly clever and ultimately dangerous as Barack Obama should become president -- especially not at a time when the threat of international terrorists with nuclear weapons looms over 300 million Americans.

Many people seem to regard elections as occasions for venting emotions, like cheering for your favorite team or choosing a Homecoming Queen.

The three leading candidates for their party's nomination are being discussed in terms of their demographics -- race, sex and age -- as if that is what the job is about.

One of the painful aspects of studying great catastrophes of the past is discovering how many times people were preoccupied with trivialities when they were teetering on the edge of doom. The demographics of the presidency are far less important than the momentous weight of responsibility that office carries.

Just the power to nominate federal judges to trial courts and appellate courts across the country, including the Supreme Court, can have an enormous impact for decades to come. There is no point feeling outraged by things done by federal judges, if you vote on the basis of emotion for those who appoint them.

Barack Obama has already indicated that he wants judges who make social policy instead of just applying the law. He has already tried to stop young violent criminals from being tried as adults.

Although Senator Obama has presented himself as the candidate of new things -- using the mantra of "change" endlessly -- the cold fact is that virtually everything has says about domestic policy is straight out of the 1960s and virtually everything he says about foreign policy is straight out of the 1930s.

Protecting criminals, attacking business, increasing government spending, promoting a sense of envy and grievance, raising taxes on people who are productive and subsidizing those who are not -- all this is a re-run of the 1960s.

We paid a terrible price for such 1960s notions in the years that followed, in the form of soaring crime rates, double-digit inflation and double-digit unemployment. During the 1960s, ghettoes across the countries were ravaged by riots from which many have not fully recovered to this day.

The violence and destruction were concentrated not where there was the greatest poverty or injustice but where there were the most liberal politicians, promoting grievances and hamstringing the police.

Internationally, the approach that Senator Obama proposes -- including the media magic of meetings between heads of state -- was tried during the 1930s. That approach, in the name of peace, is what led to the most catastrophic war in human history.

Everything seems new to those too young to remember the old and too ignorant of history to have heard about it.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy.

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Race and Crime

Wil Wirtanen:

This from Investor`s Business Daily

High Incarceration Rate Of Blacks Is Function Of Crime, Not Racism
By HEATHER MAC DONALD | Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 4:20 PM PT

The race industry and its elite enablers take it as self-evident that high black incarceration rates result from discrimination.

At a presidential primary debate this Martin Luther King Day, for instance, Sen. Barack Obama charged that blacks and whites "are arrested at very different rates, are convicted at very different rates, (and) receive very different sentences . . . for the same crime."

Not to be outdone, Sen. Hillary Clinton promptly denounced the "disgrace of a criminal-justice system that incarcerates so many more African-Americans proportionately than whites."

If a listener didn't know anything about crime, such charges of disparate treatment might seem plausible.

After all, in 2006, blacks were 37.5% of all state and federal prisoners, though they're under 13% of the national population. About one in 33 black men was in prison in 2006, compared with one in 205 white men and one in 79 Hispanic men. Eleven percent of all black males between the ages of 20 and 34 are in prison or jail.

The dramatic rise in the correctional population over the past three decades — to 2.3 million people at the end of 2007 — has only amplified the racial accusations against the criminal-justice system.

The favorite culprits for high black prison rates include a biased legal system, draconian drug enforcement and even prison itself. None of these explanations stands up to scrutiny.

The black incarceration rate is overwhelmingly a function of black crime. Insisting otherwise only worsens black alienation and further defers a real solution to the black crime problem.

Racial activists usually remain silent about that problem. But in 2005, the black homicide rate was more than seven times higher than that of whites and Hispanics combined, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.

From 1976 to 2005, blacks committed more than 52% of all murders in America. In 2006, the black arrest rate for most crimes was two to nearly three times blacks' representation in the population. Blacks constituted 39.3% of all violent-crime arrests, including 56.3% of all robbery and 34.5% of all aggravated-assault arrests, and 29.4% of all property-crime arrests.

The advocates acknowledge such crime data only indirectly: by charging bias on the part of the system's decision makers. As Obama suggested in the Martin Luther King debate, police, prosecutors and judges treat blacks and whites differently "for the same crime."

But in fact, cops don't over-arrest blacks and ignore white criminals. The race of criminals reported by crime victims matches arrest data. No one has ever come up with a plausible argument as to why crime victims would be biased in their reports.

Racial activists also allege that prosecutors overcharge and judges oversentence blacks. Backing up this bias claim has been the holy grail of criminology for decades and the prize remains as elusive as ever.

In 1997, criminologists Robert Sampson and Janet Lauritsen concluded that "large racial differences in criminal offending," not racism, explained why more blacks were in prison proportionately than whites and for longer terms.

A 1994 Justice Department survey of felony cases from the country's 75 largest urban areas discovered that blacks actually had a lower chance of prosecution after a felony than whites did and that they were less likely to be found guilty at trial. After conviction, blacks were more likely to receive prison sentences, however — an outcome that reflected the gravity of their offenses as well as their criminal records.

Unfair drug policies are an equally popular explanation for black incarceration rates. Legions of pundits, activists and academics charge that the war on drugs is a war on minorities.

They point to federal crack penalties, the source of the greatest amount of misinformation in the race and incarceration debate. Under a 1986 law, five grams of crack triggers a mandatory minimum five-year sentence in federal court; powder-cocaine traffickers get the same five-year minimum for 500 grams.

The media love to target the federal crack penalties because crack defendants are likely to be black. In 2006, 81% of federal crack defendants were black while only 27% of federal powder-cocaine defendants were.

Since federal crack rules are more severe than those for powder, and crack offenders are disproportionately black, those rules must explain why so many blacks are in prison, the conventional wisdom holds.

But consider that in 2006, only 5,619 crack sellers were tried federally, 4,495 of them black. It's going to take a lot more than 5,000 or so crack defendants a year to account for the 562,000 black prisoners in state and federal facilities at the end of 2006 — or the 858,000 black prisoners in custody overall, if one includes the population of county and city jails.

Moreover, the press almost never mentions the federal methamphetamine-trafficking penalties, which are identical to those for crack. In 2006, the 5,391 sentenced federal meth defendants were 54% white, 39% Hispanic and 2% black. No one calls the federal meth laws anti-Hispanic or anti-white.

The press has also served up a massive dose of crack revisionism aimed at proving the racist origins of the war on crack. Crack was never a big deal, the revisionist story line goes. The belief that crack was an inner-city scourge was a racist illusion.

The assertion that concern about crack was motivated by racism ignores a key fact: Black leaders were the first to sound the alarm about the drug, as Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy documents in "Race, Crime, and the Law." These politicians were reacting to a devastating outbreak of inner-city violence and addiction unleashed by the new form of cocaine.

The crack market differed radically from the discreet phone transactions and private deliveries that characterized powder-cocaine distribution: Volatile young dealers sold crack on street corners, using guns to establish their turf. The national spike in violence in the mid-1980s was largely due to the crack trade, and its victims were overwhelmingly black inner-city residents.

It takes shameless sleight of hand to turn an effort to protect blacks from harm into a conspiracy against them. If Congress had ignored black legislators' calls to increase cocaine-trafficking penalties, the outcry among the groups now crying racism would have been deafening.

To be sure, a legislative bidding war drove federal crack penalties ultimately to an arbitrary and excessive point; the current movement to reduce those penalties is appropriate. But it was not racism that led to the crack sentencing scheme.

Critics follow up their charges about crack with several false claims about drugs and imprisonment.

The first is that drug enforcement has been the most important cause of the overall rising incarceration rate since the 1980s. Not true.

Violent crime has always been the leading driver of prison growth, especially since the 1990s. In state prisons, where 88% of the nation's inmates are housed, violent and property offenders make up over 3 1/2 times the number of state drug offenders.

Next, critics blame drug enforcement for rising racial disparities in prison. Again, the facts say otherwise. In 2006, blacks were 37.5% of the 1,274,600 state prisoners. If you remove drug prisoners from that population, the percentage of black prisoners drops to 37%.

Finally, race and anti-incarceration activists argue that we are sending harmless low-level offenders to prison, disrupting communities. To the contrary: In the overwhelming majority of cases, prison remains a lifetime achievement award for persistence in criminal offending.

The JFA Institute, an anti-incarceration advocacy group, estimated in 2007 that in only 3% of violent victimizations and property crimes does the offender end up in prison. And taking criminals out of poor inner-city communities has allowed the many law-abiding residents there to get on with their lives, freed from constant fear.

When prominent figures such as Barack Obama make sweeping claims about racial unfairness in the criminal-justice system, they play with fire. The evidence is clear: Black prison rates result from crime, not racism. The dramatic drop in crime in the 1990s, to which stricter sentencing policies unquestionably contributed, has freed thousands of law-abiding inner-city residents from the bondage of fear.

The continuing search for the chimera of criminal-justice bigotry is a useless distraction that diverts energy and attention from the crucial imperative of helping more inner-city boys stay in school and out of trouble.

Mac Donald is a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and a contributing editor to its magazine, City Journal. This piece is adapted from the spring 2008 issue.

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Flunking Environmental Math

As usual the environmental math does not add up.

A Wall Street Journal article.

Wil Wirtanen


The Real Cost of Tackling Climate Change
April 28, 2008; Page A19

The usual chorus of environmentalists and editorial writers has chimed in to attack President Bush's recent speech on climate change. In his address of April 23, he put forth a goal of stopping the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2025.

"Way too little and way too late," runs the refrain, followed by the claim that nothing less than an 80% reduction in emissions by the year 2050 will suffice, what I call the "80 by 50" target. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have endorsed it. John McCain is not far behind, calling for a 65% reduction.

We all ought to reflect on what an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 really means. When we do, it becomes clear that the president's target has one overwhelming virtue: Assuming emissions curbs are even necessary, his goal is at least realistic.

The same cannot be said for the carbon emissions targets espoused by the three presidential candidates and environmentalists. Indeed, these targets would send us back to emissions levels last witnessed when the cotton gin was in daily use.

Begin with the current inventory of carbon dioxide emissions, CO2 being the principal greenhouse gas generated almost entirely by energy use. According to the Department of Energy's most recent data on greenhouse gas emissions, in 2006 the U.S. emitted 5.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, or just under 20 tons per capita. An 80% reduction in these emissions from 1990 levels means that the U.S. cannot emit more than about one billion metric tons of CO2 in 2050.

Were man-made carbon dioxide emissions in this country ever that low? The answer is probably yes, from historical energy data it is possible to estimate that the U.S. last emitted one billion metric tons around 1910. But in 1910, the U.S. had 92 million people, and per capita income, in current dollars, was about $6,000.

By the year 2050, the Census Bureau projects that our population will be around 420 million. This means per capita emissions will have to fall to about 2.5 tons in order to meet the goal of 80% reduction.

It is likely that U.S. per capita emissions were never that low, even back in colonial days when the only fuel we burned was wood. The only nations in the world today that emit at this low level are all poor developing nations, such as Belize, Mauritius, Jordan, Haiti and Somalia.

If that comparison seems unfair, consider that even the least-CO2 emitting industrialized nations do not come close to the 2050 target. France and Switzerland, compact nations that generate almost all of their electricity from nonfossil fuel sources (nuclear for France, hydro for Switzerland) emit about 6.5 metric tons of CO2 per capita.

The daunting task of reaching one billion metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2050 comes into even greater relief when we look at the American economy, sector-by-sector. The Energy Department breaks down emissions into residential, commercial (office buildings, etc.), industrial, and transportation (planes, trains and automobiles); electricity consumption is apportioned to each.

Consider the residential sector. At the present time, American households emit 1.2 billion tons of CO2, 20% higher than the entire nation's emissions must be in 2050. If households are to emit no more than their present share of CO2, emissions will have to be reduced to 204 million tons by 2050. But in 2050, there will be another 40 million residential households in the U.S.

Today, the average residence in the U.S. uses about 10,500 kilowatt hours of electricity and emits 11.4 tons of CO2 per year (much more if you are Al Gore or John Edwards and live in a mansion). To stay within the magic number, average household emissions will have to fall to no more than 1.5 tons per year. In our current electricity infrastructure, this would mean using no more than about 2,500 KwH per year. This is not enough juice to run the average hot water heater.

You can forget refrigerators, microwaves, clothes dryers and flat screen TVs. Even a house tricked out with all the latest high-efficiency EnergyStar appliances and compact fluorescent lights won't come close. The same daunting energy math applies to the industrial, commercial and transportation sectors as well. The clear implication is that we shall have to replace virtually the entire fossil fuel electricity infrastructure over the next four decades with CO2-free sources, a multitrillion dollar proposition, if it can be done at all.

Natural gas- the preferred coal substitute of the moment- won't come close. If we replaced every single existing coal plant with a natural gas plant, CO2 emissions from electric power generation alone would still be more than twice the 2050 target. Most environmentalists remain opposed to nuclear power, of course. It is unlikely that renewables wind, solar, and biomass, can ever make up more than about 20% of our electricity supply.

Suppose, however, that a breakthrough in carbon sequestration, a revival of nuclear power, and a significant improvement in the cost and effectiveness of renewables were to enable us to reduce the carbon footprint of electricity production. That would still leave transportation.

Right now our cars and trucks consume about 180 billion gallons of motor fuel. To meet the 2050 target, we shall have to limit consumption of gasoline to about 31 billion gallons, unless a genuine carbon-neutral liquid fuel can be produced. (Ethanol isn't it.) To show how unrealistic this is, if the entire nation drove nothing but Toyota Priuses in 2050, we'd still overshoot the transportation emissions target by 40%.

The enthusiasm for an 80% reduction target is often justified on grounds that national policy should set an ambitious goal. However, claims on behalf of alternative energy sources biofuels, hydrogen, windpower and so forth, either do not match up to the scale of the energy required, or are not cost-competitive in current form.

How on God's green earth will we make up the difference? Someone should put this question to the candidates. And not let them slide past it with glittering generalities.

Mr. Hayward is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of the annual "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators," from which this article is adapted.

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On the Trail of Raoul Wallenberg

Jack Kemp (not the politician):

My friend Dana in Minn. just forwarded this to me. The Wallenberg OSS & USA connection is all news to me - and probably to millions of others who haven't studied his story in detail.
Here is one of the interesting quotes:
Some time around 1994, Susan Mesinai, who had by then been researching the Wallenberg case for five years, visited Lucette Colvin Kelsey, Wallenberg's cousin, at her home in Connecticut. After lunch, Kelsey caught up with Mesinai as she got into the car and told her: "Raoul was working for the highest levels of government."
"So I said to her, 'How high? Do you mean the president?' And she nodded her head," Mesinai said, disclosing to AP a conversation she had kept confidential for 14 years.
Kelsey's father, Col. William Colvin, had been the U.S. military attache in the Swedish capital around the time of World War I. Wallenberg spent vacations in the 1930s with the Colvin family while he earned a degree in architecture at the University of Michigan. Kelsey, who was a year younger than her cousin, died in 1996.'

Scholars run down more clues to a Holocaust mystery
By ARTHUR MAX and RANDY HERSCHAFT, Associated Press Writers Sun Apr 27, 3:51 PM ET

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Budapest, November 1944: Another German train has loaded its cargo of Jews bound for Auschwitz. A young Swedish diplomat pushes past the SS guard and scrambles onto the roof of a cattle car.

Ignoring shots fired over his head, he reaches through the open door to outstretched hands, passing out dozens of bogus "passports" that extended Sweden's protection to the bearers. He orders everyone with a document off the train and into his caravan of vehicles. The guards look on, dumbfounded.

Raoul Wallenberg was a minor official of a neutral country, with an unimposing appearance and gentle manner. Recruited and financed by the U.S., he was sent into Hungary to save Jews. He bullied, bluffed and bribed powerful Nazis to prevent the deportation of 20,000 Hungarian Jews to concentration camps, and averted the massacre of 70,000 more people in Budapest's ghetto by threatening to have the Nazi commander hanged as a war criminal.
Then, on Jan. 17, 1945, days after the Soviets moved into Budapest, the 32-year-old Wallenberg and his Hungarian driver, Vilmos Langfelder, drove off under a Russian security escort, and vanished forever.

And because he was a rare flicker of humanity in the man-made hell of the Holocaust, the world has celebrated him ever since. Streets have been named after him and his face has been on postage stamps. And researchers have wrestled with two enduring mysteries: Why was Wallenberg arrested, and did he really die in Soviet custody in 1947?

Researchers have sifted through hundreds of purported sightings of Wallenberg into the 1980s, right down to plotting his movements from cell to cell while in custody. And fresh documents are to become public which might cast light on another puzzle: Whether Wallenberg was connected, directly or indirectly, to a super-secret wartime U.S. intelligence agency known as "the Pond," operating as World War II was drawing to a close and the Soviets were growing increasingly suspicious of Western intentions in eastern Europe.
Speculation that Wallenberg was engaged in espionage has been rife since the Central Intelligence Agency acknowledged in the 1990s that he had been recruited for his rescue mission by an agent of the Office of Strategic Services, the OSS, which later became the CIA.

About the Pond, little is known. But later this year the CIA is to release a stash of Pond-related papers accidentally discovered in a Virginia barn in 2001. These are the papers of John Grombach, who headed the Pond from its creation in 1942. CIA officials say they should be turned over to the National Archives in College Park, Md.

In February, the Swedish government posted an online database of 1,000 documents and testimonies related to Wallenberg's disappearance. In a few months, independent investigators plan to launch a Web site with their nearly 20-year research into Russian archives and prison records. Russia is building a Museum of Tolerance that will feature once-classified documents on Wallenberg. And the CIA last year relaxed its guidelines to reveal details of its sources and intelligence-gathering methods in the case.

Despite dozens of books and hundreds of documents on Wallenberg, much remains hidden. The Kremlin has failed to find or deliver dozens of files, Sweden has declined to open all its books, and The Associated Press has learned as many as 100,000 pages of declassified OSS documents await processing at the National Archives.

The Russians say Wallenberg died in prison in 1947, but never produced a proper death certificate or his remains.

But independent research suggests he may have lived many years — perhaps until the late 1980s. If true, he likely was held in isolation, stripped of his identity, known only by a number or a false name and moving like a phantom among Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric institutions.

In 1991, the Russian government assigned Vyacheslav Nikonov, deputy head of the KGB intelligence service, to spend months searching classified archives about Wallenberg.
"I think I found all the existing documents," Nikonov e-mailed The Associated Press last month. The Soviets believed Wallenberg had been a spy, he said, but unlike many political detainees he never had a trial.

Nikonov's conclusion: "Shot in 1947."

Later in 1991, Russia and Sweden launched a joint investigation that lasted 10 years but failed to reach a joint conclusion.

The 2001 Swedish report said: "There is no fully reliable proof of what happened to Raoul Wallenberg," and listed 17 unanswered questions.

The Russian report bluntly said, "Wallenberg died, or most likely was killed, on July 17, 1947." It named Viktor Abakumov, the head of the "Smersh" counterintelligence agency, as responsible for the execution and cover-up. It said the Russians consider the Wallenberg case "resolved."

Unsatisfied, independent consultants and academics have kept digging, analyzing, reassessing old information and pressing for the Kremlin to release missing files.
Wallenberg arrived in Budapest in July 1944. With the knowledge of his government, his task as first secretary to the Swedish diplomatic legation was a cover for his true mission as secret emissary of the U.S. War Refugee Board, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a belated attempt to stem the annihilation of Europe's Jews.
In the previous two months, 440,000 Hungarian Jews had been shipped to Auschwitz for extermination. They were among the last of six million Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust.
Of the 230,000 who remained in the Hungarian capital in mid-1944, 100,000 survived the war.
After the Red Army arrived in January, Wallenberg went to see the Russian military commander to discuss postwar reconstruction and restitution of Jewish property. Two days later he returned under Russian escort to collect some personal effects, then was never seen in public again.

And what did his country — or his influential cousins — do about it?
Looking back a half century later, the Swedish government acknowledged that its own passive response to the detention of one of its diplomats was astounding, and that it had missed several chances to win his freedom.

"The worst mistakes were done in the first two years," said Hans Magnusson, the Swedish co-chairman of the 10-year investigation with the Russians. Sweden felt intimidated by the mighty Soviets and unwilling to challenge them, he said.

In the mid-1950s, the Swedes pursued the case more aggressively, prompting a memorandum from Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in 1957 that Wallenberg had died of heart failure in detention 10 years earlier — at age 34.

As more testimony came in that Wallenberg was still alive, Stockholm periodically raised the issue with Moscow — but without results, said Magnusson, interviewed in the Netherlands where he is now ambassador.

Sweden could have pushed harder, he said, "but I doubt it would have achieved more."
"It is inconceivable," says Wallenberg's half-sister, Nina Lagergren. "Here is a man sent out by the Swedish government to risk his life. He saved thousands of people — and he was left to rot."
Some time around 1994, Susan Mesinai, who had by then been researching the Wallenberg case for five years, visited Lucette Colvin Kelsey, Wallenberg's cousin, at her home in Connecticut. After lunch, Kelsey caught up with Mesinai as she got into the car and told her: "Raoul was working for the highest levels of government."
"So I said to her, 'How high? Do you mean the president?' And she nodded her head," Mesinai said, disclosing to AP a conversation she had kept confidential for 14 years.
Kelsey's father, Col. William Colvin, had been the U.S. military attache in the Swedish capital around the time of World War I. Wallenberg spent vacations in the 1930s with the Colvin family while he earned a degree in architecture at the University of Michigan. Kelsey, who was a year younger than her cousin, died in 1996.

Rather than clarify anything, Kelsey's cryptic remark only deepened the fog.
Wallenberg's rescue mission inevitably placed him in a vortex of intrigue and espionage involving the Hungarian resistance, the Jewish underground, communists working for the Soviets, and British, U.S. and Swedish intelligence operations. He also had regular contact with Adolf Eichmann and other Nazis running the deportation of Jews.
Whether or not he himself was passing on intelligence, Russia had plenty of reason to suspect him of spying, either for the Allies or Germany — or both.
"Wallenberg had ties to all the major actors in Hungary," says Susanne Berger, a German researcher who collaborated with the Swedish-Russian research project.
The Stockholm chief of the War Refugee Board, Iver C. Olsen, was also a key member of the 35-man OSS station in the Swedish capital, and it was he who recruited Wallenberg, who in turn kept the U.S. connection secret by sending his communications through Swedish diplomatic channels.
Olsen's OSS personnel file — unpublished until the AP viewed it at the National Archives — revealed that the American was cited for using his position at the War Refugee Board "in gathering important information for the OSS and for the State Department."
In 1955 Olsen denied to the CIA that Wallenberg ever spied for the OSS, and Mesinai and Berger offer a different likelihood: that the Swede was a source for the Pond, which was a rival to the OSS known only to Roosevelt and a few insiders in the War and State Departments.
A small clandestine intelligence-gathering operation, the Pond relied on contacts in private corporations and hand-picked embassy personnel. It worked closely with the Dutch electronics company N.V. Philips, "which had access to 'enemy' territory as well as a far-flung corporation intelligence apparatus in its own right," said former CIA analyst Mark Stout who wrote a brief unofficial history of the Pond.
So far, no evidence has emerged that Wallenberg worked for the Pond, and Stout said in an interview he had not seen Wallenberg mentioned in any papers he has reviewed.
But their circles of contacts intersected at several points, including members of the Hungarian resistance and possibly the Philips connection.
"The Pond was centered around President Roosevelt's office and rumors of a special mission, intelligence or otherwise, for Raoul Wallenberg have persisted through the years," said Berger, who suspects the Soviets knew about the agency.
It may have been just one more reason for Stalin to order his arrest, she said. Regardless of whether Wallenberg was involved, "the Pond's activities clearly would have served to enhance Soviet paranoia about Allied activities and aims in Hungary."
Hungarian historian Laszlo Ritter, of the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, said the Philips company also was providing cover for Britain's MI6 intelligence service. One of its crucial agents in the Balkans was Lolle Smit, who was knighted after the war by both Britain and his native Holland.
One month before Wallenberg arrived, Smit fled Budapest for Romania, from where he continued to control his network, Ritter said, but he left his family behind.
Smit's daughter, Berber Smit, worked with Wallenberg in his rescue efforts — and "had a romance with him," according to her son, Alan Hogg.
Ritter said Hungarian war files show no direct tie between Wallenberg and Smit, or between the diplomat and British intelligence. At the same time, MI6 used the Swedish legation at least twice to smuggle out information, and helped give false papers to Jews and the anti-fascist resistance, he said.
When the OSS wanted to dispatch a radio to the Hungarian underground leader Geza Soos, it sent the transmitter with a Swedish intelligence officer and told him Wallenberg would know how to contact Soos.
Wallenberg's very name may have been enough to arouse Russian distrust. Throughout the war, his cousins Marcus and Jacob Wallenberg, the czars of a banking and industrial empire, had done business in Germany, producing the ball bearings that kept its army on the move.
The Wallenbergs also were involved in discreet, unsuccessful peace efforts between the Allies and Germany, which Stalin feared would leave him excluded — a foretaste of global realignment that would lead to the Cold War.
In December 1993, investigator Marvin Makinen of the University of Chicago interviewed Varvara Larina, a retired orderly at Moscow's Vladimir Prison since 1946. She remembered a foreigner who was kept in solitary confinement on the third floor of Korpus 2, a building used both as a hospital and isolation ward.
Though it was decades earlier, the prisoner stood out in Larina's memory. He spoke Russian with an accent and "complained about everything," she said. He repeatedly griped that the soup was cold by the time Larina delivered it. Prison authorities ordered her to serve him first.
"This is very unusual," Makinen said in an interview. Normally, such complaints would condemn an inmate to a punishment cell. "The fact that he wasn't means he was a very special prisoner."
When shown a gallery of photographs, Larina immediately picked out Wallenberg's — one never published before, Makinen said.
She recalled he was in the opposite cell when another prisoner, Kirill Osmak, died in May 1960.
That was enough for Makinen and Chicago colleague Ari Kaplan to roughly pinpoint the cell of Larina's foreigner. Creating a database of cell occupancy from the prison's registration cards, they found two units opposite Osmak's that were reported empty for 243 and 717 days respectively.
Normally, cells were left vacant for a week at most, Makinen said. The researchers concluded that those two cells likely held special prisoners, namelessly concealed in the gulag.
Mesinai and others reviewed hundreds of accounts over the decades of people who claimed to have seen or heard of someone who could have been Wallenberg. They established a pattern of sightings, even though many individual reports were considered unreliable, uncorroborated, deliberate hoaxes or cases of mistaken identity with other Swedish prisoners.
Some stories, like Larina's, ring particularly true.
One compelling account came in 1961. Swedish physician Nanna Svartz asked an eminent Russian scientist about Wallenberg during a medical congress in Moscow. Lowering his voice, the Russian told her that Wallenberg was at a psychiatric hospital and "not in very good shape."
The Russian, Alexandr Myasnikov, later claimed he had been misunderstood, but Svartz stood firm. His remark, she later reported, "came spontaneously. He went pale as soon as he said it, and appeared to understand that he had said too much."
A few years later the Soviets sent out feelers for a possible spy swap. Envoys indicated Moscow was ready to "compensate" Sweden if it freed Stig Wennerstromm, a Swedish air force officer who had spied for the Kremlin for 15 years.
Though Wallenberg's name was never mentioned, he was considered the only prize worth exchanging for such a high-value spy. The intermediary was Wolfgang Vogel, an East German lawyer who engineered many Cold War prisoner exchanges. But years of halfhearted negotiation ended in no deal.
Nina Lagergren keeps a small wooden box in the cellar of her comfortable Stockholm home. The Russians gave it to her in 1989 when she visited Moscow. It contains her half-brother's diplomatic passport, a stack of currency, a Swedish license for the pistol he bought but never used, and two telephone diaries. Among the entries are Eichmann and Berber Smit, the daughter of the Dutch spy.
They also gave the family a copy of Wallenberg's "death certificate," handwritten and unstamped.
"They anticipated that I would get very moved and understand there was no more hope," Lagergren said.
Instead it reinforced her belief that Wallenberg had lived beyond 1947 and perhaps was even then alive. "This proved we could go on," she said. Today he would be 95, and she concedes he must be dead.
If indeed Wallenberg's death in 1947 was a lie, the question remains: Why was he never freed?
The 2001 Swedish report speculated that the longer he was held, the harder it was for the Soviets to release him. Still, "it would have been exceptional to order the execution of a diplomat from a neutral country. It might have appeared simpler to keep him in isolation," the report said.
The search continues.
Berger, the independent researcher, has submitted a new, detailed request to Moscow to release files on prisoners who shared cells with the missing diplomat and on other foreigners in the gulag; Mesinai hopes to study psychiatric facilities where Wallenberg may have been confined; Ritter, the Hungarian researcher, is tracing the British spy network of Lolle Smit; and historians are awaiting the release of the Pond papers.
Whatever any of this reveals, a 1979 State Department memo puts these questions into perspective: "Whether or not Wallenberg was involved in espionage during World War II is a moot point at this stage in history. His obvious humanitarian acts certainly outweigh any conceivable 'spy' mission he may have been on."
Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft reported from Washington, D.C.
On the Net:
Wallenberg Association: http://tinyurl.com/55p7y5
Swedish government Web site:
International Wallenberg Foundation: http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/?en/wallenberg/
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum:
National Archives: http:http://www.archives.gov/iwg (point of contact for CIA, OSS, Pond docs)
CIA Docs: http://www.foia.cia.gov (type in wallenberg in search field)
CIA "Pond" article: http://tinyurl.com/3ar3rx

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April 28, 2008

U.N. Grills Poland, Obama Supports the Hopes of Planned Parenthood

A couple of interesting articles:

First, the United Nations got after Poland for its ``human rights`` record. The U.N. Human Rights Council grilled the Polish government in Geneva at their annual Universal Periodic Review.  What was it that Poland was doing?  Imprisonment without charge?  Death Squads?  Intimidation of political candidates? Nope.  It seems that the U.N. considers Poland`s policies restricting abortion to be violations of human rights.

According to the piece;

"At the meeting on April 14th, the Polish delegation was questioned by various members of the committee about Poland's human rights record," Golubiewski wrote.

During the meeting, a Norway UN representative said Poland should "facilitate access to abortion for women who qualify for this under Polish law."

So, life is not a basic human right, but abortion is-at least as far as our would be overlords at the United Nations believe!

Also at Lifenews, Barack Obama opposes a ban on partial birth abortion.

Once again, the big O is playing politics; he claims to support the right of states to restrict PBA, but demands a ``health`` exemption.  Now, there is absolutely no health reason why this ``proceedure`` should be performed; the baby is already delivered, except the head. (The butcher, er, doctor inserts a forseps into the baby`s brain through the back of the skull just before the head comes out).  The demand for a health exemption is an attempt to keep the abominable practice legal; the ``emotional health`` of the mother will always outweigh the state`s interest in saving the almost-born baby. 

Obama isn`t stupid; he knows this to be true.  He is trying to pretend to be reasonable and caring, when he is nothing more than a classic objectifying leftist.  Only someone who ultimately believes in the purely material nature of Man could support PBA.

This is the man who claims the mantle of Hope?  Whose hope is being supported by this viewpoint?  Certainly not the babies, nor the mothers, who will live with the guilt of having murdered the babies they nearly delivered into this world.  I guess the primary hope being upheld here is that of Planned Parenthood.

That`s change we can do without!

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Climate Warriors and the Carbon Cult

``Today's climate warrior will have performed a 180 degree turn from twenty years ago: rainforests are now being felled in the rush to create biofuels, a strategy which is causing the world's poorest people to go hungry, and toxic substances banned from the home are creeping back in. The justification for each move is CO2. No wonder Greenpeace's co-founder Patrick Moore wrote recently that "the environmental movement I helped found has lost its objectivity, morality and humanity." Moore frowns on using the term "environmental" for the Global Warming campaigners. I can see his point.
Perhaps it's time to hear from "traditional" environmentalism for a change, instead of its successor, the Carbon Cult?``
--Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 23 April 2008 

Courtesy of CCNET

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 06:07 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 27, 2008

The New York Times' "Jet BlueState"

By Jack Kemp (not the politician):
Harry Truman, in his biography of his post presidential years "Mr. Citizen," told a story about his homespun Missouri philosophy, learned from his dad. Truman quoted his father, in a "Missoura" version of Shakespeare's "The Lady Doth Protest Too Much," as telling him, "When someone gets up in church and talks about how people aren't moral these days, that's the time to go home and lock your smokehouse."
The recent New York Times article complaining about about Sen. McCain using his wife's corporate jet
caused me to not lock my smoke house (I don't have one), but to smoke out some (more) New York Times' hypocrisy.
And it didn't take long. The website Gawker, reporting on the early primaries in January 2008, stated that:
'Getting out of Iowa today was a complete bitch, thanks to the throngs of reporters fleeing frozen Iowa for frozen New Hampshire. The airport is supposedly 50% busier than usual and nearly 2,000 rental cars were returned. Luckyduck New York Times reporters on the other hand, had no reason to fret. They got a ride home in Daddy Sulzberger's corporate jet! A Times rep told Politico that "for The Times Company, it was 'most cost-effective.'" Anyone know how much jet fuel for several round-trip cross-country treks will set you back? Finding out involves math and you know, work, so we have no idea, but we suspect the answer is: a hell of a lot more than coach fares on JetBlue.'
This is positively...Clintonesque. The Times accuses someone else of exactly what they are doing. No wonder they endorsed Hillary for president.
Birds of a feather fly to airports together.

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This Week`s Ozark Hilton Tale

Ah, the Ozark Hilton, luxurious spot of pamper and high living!  This week`s episode highlights my attempt to build a front deck, and the problems that go with such an endeavor.

I took a few vacation days this week for the express purpose of working on the cabin.  For new readers, the legendary Ozark Hilton is a tarpaper shack in the deep woods of southern Missouri, a place built with my own hands from scrap materials scavanged from dumpsters and alleys in St. Louis.  About 8 years ago I purchased 20 scruffy acres near Clearwater Lake, an Army Corps of Engineers project on the Black River.  The property had an overgrown logging trail and numerous young hardwood trees (primarily oak) which I cleared out with the help of my long-suffering wife (she hates the outdoors).  I first built a tipi from some saplings and old tarps, and this structure worked beautifully for a couple of years.  It could even be heated with an open bonfire inside!  This was not really a tipi but an eastern-woodlands Indian shelter sometimes called a Wickiup; it did not have an inner drip liner, nor large lodgepoles.  After a couple of years the poles began sagging and the tarps started dripping when it rained.  Every creature on the property-mice, rats, opossums, wasps, etc. settled into the structure.  When I dismantled it, I found whole families of mice and possums underneath the wooden pallets I used for a floor!  The little family of opossums were darling, and I felt bad about destroying their home, but it had to be done.

At any rate, I began building a cabin.  I sunk treated lumber posts into the ground, attached cross members, floor joists, and home-made roof trusses, then nailed plywood to the floor and walls.  A peeling wooden door and some old windows went in next.  I didn`t have the roofing material I needed, so tarps covered the palace for three years (I just put a steel roof on it last year.)  Sometimes the tarps leaked, and a squirrel settled between two layers of tarps, tearing a hole in the outer one (what a dufus!) and ripping up the cabin interior in search of nesting material.  I smoked that little muther out-she was furious, croaking at me as she left! 

I had an enormous rodent settle in there, too, and, although cute as a button with BLUE eyes, he tore the H E double hockey sticks out of the place.  I finally had to poison him-I hated to do it, but had no other option. 

Wasps have also settled inside occasionally, and I had one who decided to be my pet.  He would land next to me and sit like a faithful dog much of the night at my side. 

I`ve been stung by hornets, and what I suspect was a scorpion. 

I heat with a fire, and have set the place on fire several times.  I`ve had hail, an invasion of coyotes, lightening, floods, in fact, the place would be a wonderful setting for some Biblical epic; I`ve encountered the plagues of Egypt there at one time or another.

I`ve also fallen off the roof, fallen out of trees, been impaled with big nails, etc.  It has not been an easy task.

At any rate, the first phase of the project was completed, and I began building a deck to sit outside on.  Previously, my deck consisted of pallets on the ground, and I wanted a covered structure where I could leave some furnishings and relax after a busy day.  I began building the deck a few weeks ago, and went there this week to finish the task. I had a collection of 2X8`s and asundry materials, and began fitting them together jigsaw-puzzle fashion.  I used a LOT of nails; more than I had anticipated, so I secured many of the floorboards just at one end, and some not at all.

Bad decision.  At night, I sat outside in an easy chair I found in the alley behind my house, with a propane lamp on the table next to me.  I have a board sticking out onto the porch, and my electric light was hanging from a nail on the board.  I got up to do something (the knock on my noggin made me forget what) and the board shot up, tossing the propane lamp over.  It fell onto the cloth chair, extinguishing the fire (fortunately; I thought it would light up the chair).  I wheeled around and hit my head on the board, knocking over-and breaking-the electric light.  So, it was pitch dark and no lights, except in my skull! 

Fortunately, I have kerosene lanterns, and one was full.  I found my lighter and managed to get it lit.  Without lights it is pitch dark in that forest.

The next day, I ran out of nails, and tried to no avail to buy some in town (which is 15 miles away).  It began raining and so I decided to just go home.  The porch still awaits a roof, which isn`t going to be easy to build. 

And glad to get out of there, too!  This was the first week of a major bug convention, and I spent my entire time picking ticks off of my epidermus.  I suspect chiggers got me, too; I am peppered with horribly itching red patches on ankles, knees, stomach, arms, buttocks.  Many wasps were about, and I am allergic to them, although they don`t seem to bother me. 

The rest of this week I have been puttering around the house, trying to avoid annoying my wife.  Fat chance.

At any rate, this wasn`t much of a story next to my many exploits, but I promised to tell of my adventures.  SOMETHING always happens down there! 

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April 26, 2008

Chilly in Chile; the Little Ice Age and Global Warming Mythology

Global Warming Alarmists have tried to eliminate the Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age from temperature records for years; they suggest a greater natural climate variability, and the fact that the LIA coincided with first the Maunder then the Dalton Minimum-strongly suggests that solar variability is more important to climate warming and cooling than atmospheric effects. 

Despite the efforts of Michael Mann and others, the Medieval Warming Period and the LIA have refused to go away, so they have tried the next best thing; claiming it was a local phonomenon in the Northern Hemisphere, not a global event.

As they might say in South America, Gato-doodoo!  Work at Chile`s Universidad de Concepción and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso strongly suggest that the LIA was every bit as chilly in Chile!

According to the article in World Climate Report:

The research team concludes ``The major contribution provided by the documentary evidence has been to confirm the occurrence of a cold period in the Laguna San Rafael area, which would be within the temporal window defined for the European LIA.`` Furthermore, they conclude that ``the sole historical evidence suggests that warm conditions prevailed around 1675, a date in which the front of the San Rafael glacier did not extend beyond the eastern shoreline of the lake. Later, a cooling period occurred from 1766 to 1898, with a peak between 1857 and 1871, during which the glacier advanced up to 8 km into the interior of the Laguna San Rafael. This cooling period declined after 1898, as evidenced by the decrease of the San Rafael glacier, which had retreated 1 km by 1904.`` Most importantly to us at World Climate Report, they clearly state at the end ``The recognition of the LIA in Northern Patagonia, through the use of documentary sources, provides important, independent evidence for the occurrence of this phenomenon in the region.``

So, the LIA was more than a European or northern phonomenon.  Just one more brick falling from the wall of Global Warming mythology.


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An Anti-Ethanol Rant

By Jack Kemp (who is getting tired of that politician usurping his name):
If liberal alarmists like Ellen Goodman can call Global warming nonbelievers the equivalent of holocaust deniers...
If PETA can liken the killing of chickens to a holocaust in 2003...
Then let me be the first to call the program(s) subsidizing cars operating on ethanol, which has forced the price of food up so high that the world's poor have rioted in many countries, to be the Green Holocaust. Or, if you "prefer," the Holistic Holocaust.
Never have I seen - after the facts have been known - such total disregard for the welfare of the poor both in this country and in countries overseas where a huge percentage of the population has other than white skin. It is as if this were a plan to kill off the populations overseas, keeping those awaiting starvation in turmoil - or as a permanent supply of cheap illegal alien servants for the rich trendies in America.
The Big Government liberals have solved the paper-plastic-cloth shopping bag problem. By the poor not being able to afford food, they don't even go to the grocery store and the only "landfill" they create are their dead children and elders. And what's even worse, as the liberals drive around in their hybrids, they believe they are saving the earth. A fitting bumper sticker for their hybrids would be "Drive on ethanol and starve a Mexican" or "Drive on ethanol and starve an African."
Perhaps E-85 pumps at gas stations should have the slogan "Ethanol Macht Frei" above them in bold letters. Once again, a liberal plan to Save the World, created by people who never manages so much as a convenience store, has created a totalitarian program of killing off the poor peasants for the good of the (green) party line and The State.
I propose that now, when the effects of diverting food production to ethanol are known, that any politician not repealing the ethanol farm subsidies be tried for War Crimes - Crimes Against Humanity - at the International Court in The Hague.
This government diversion of food to fuel is the reincarnation - make that the recycling - of Pol Pot's policies by other means.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 09:25 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Laura Bush Derangement Syndrome

By Jack Kemp (not the politically active former Veep candidate):
When Mrs. Laura Bush and her daughters came to New York's 92nd Street YMHA a few days ago to speak, a nut outside the building protested with obscenitites about the Iraq War. When someone told him to be quiet, he punched a teenage girl with cerebral palsey - in a wheelchair - even as her father came to her defense. The protester was arrested by police.
Such is the mentality of these unhinged characters.
Around ten years ago, I was on a local New York company's day bus tour outing. I had traveled with them many times and knew most of the customers were liberal Democrats and civil, middle class citizens. All of a sudden, during our meal at a suburban restaurant, one woman stands up and yells how much she hates LAURA Bush. You could have heard a pin drop in the room. I'm sure most of the people on the tour were against the policies of President Bush, but were more than willing to leave Laura Bush alone - especially when they out for a day in the country. And the wingnut knew the political leanings of most of her fellow bus riders. But when the shouter saw that no one supported her rant, she sat down and was quiet the rest of the trip.
I do not believe these very unhappy and unstable characters will give up their Bush Derangement Syndrome habits anytime soon, no matter who wins the presidency. I'm sure they will find some target to justify their rage, be it the banning of clog dancing in hospital hallways or some front page political issue.
These people will not get happier with time.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 09:19 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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The Bitter American Middle and White Elitist Snobbery from the Obamas

This piece by Mary Grabar at Townhall illustrates Barack Obama`s problem in a nutshell:


Yes, Barack Obama, We Are Bitter
By Mary Grabar
Sunday, April 20, 2008

We know who youâ`re talking about, Barack Obama, when you talk about Pennsylvania and the Midwest, about small towns where the jobs have left. We know who you`re talking about when you talk about those who ``get bitter`` and ``cling to guns or religion.``
You`re talking about ``those people.``

You`re talking about white people who have neither the family connections nor the racial credentials to gain entrance to the world that you inhabit. Many of the people you`re talking about are those whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe who came to these places to work in steel mills, coal mines, and factories. We know the code words.
You`re talking about people whose culture is little known. We have been pretty quiet. We never tried to impose our culture on everyone. We never insisted on putting pictures of ourselves in our native dress into schoolbooks or mandating that our stories and songs be part of the curriculums.

We tried to maintain our culture without government aid, by forming our own churches and groups, and building Polish, Ukrainian, and Slovenian halls.

We never wore buttons declaring ``Slav Power`` or grouped together for purposes of intimidation or violence.
The power we asked for was the power of the paycheck which we earned in factories, steel mills, coal mines, or by cleaning houses. Yet, we were taken aside and told that because of affirmative action it was no use trying to advance off the assembly line; we were told in ``diversity workshops`` that people of color had to be promoted over more qualified white people. I know this, Barack, because I have family members and friends who worked in factories.

We used to trudge in to work and change into work clothes, like my father did. He began by knowing only one word of English, ``Okay,`` which he found to be the most useful one in the language. When the boss man handed him a broom or pointed to a piece to be welded, he fairly leapt to the task. My uncles were injured in construction and mining accidents, and went back to work.

But what did we get for that, Barack? We paid cash for our houses and kept impeccable yards, yet saw the value of our homes plummet after marauding hoodlums came into our neighborhoods in riots that were celebrated by the intelligentsia in Manhattan penthouses, who saw such violence as justified expressions of outrage over past discrimination.
We went to public schools in those same neighborhoods only to be accosted for our skin color and the presumed ``privilege`` that teachers said we had. Rather than teach us what was good and beautiful about Western Civilization and the country to which our parents had fled, teachers gave us Marxist nonsense, if they bothered to teach at all. Our schoolmates saw the evening news, mimicked their elders by wearing ``Black Power`` buttons and felt justified in roughing the white kid who didn`t seem tough. Because we were ``privileged`` despite washing our fathers` sooty work clothes while our mothers went off to clean offices and houses in the suburbs, we were not eligible for scholarships, not even to the Catholic schools. Teachers never cut us any slack. Guidance counselors told us to be secretaries or work in the factory, despite our volunteering and demonstration of academic abilities. Our brothers, cousins, and uncles went off to fight in Vietnam, while those from your class took up arms against their campus administrators.

True, we had our problems, as all people do, with such things as alcoholism and family violence, but we handled those ourselves, and never blamed ``society`` or a history of oppression. Still, many of us did carry legacies from the old country, of hunger and persecution, of watching family members and villagers murdered by atheistic regimes. So we were grateful for the opportunity to work and buy our own little patches of the American Dream.

We were happy to use a welding torch, shovel, or broom to get them. We didn`t insist that we should all get college degrees. We didn`t have our documents translated for us or get bilingual instruction. If we didn`t know English we made sure our children did and we relied on them.

Your white friends in San Francisco, Barack, probably had cleaning women like my mother (and me when I accompanied her and then had my own cleaning jobs from age 12). As white people from a certain class and with certain connections, your donors knew that their futures would be secure because of their inheritances and the connections they could make in the media, politics, and business. In fact, it would benefit them in the world of `radical chic` to hang around those like you and support your policies. (Great opportunity to be photographed next to a black person!)

Your black friends there, like your wife, see no end to the amount that this country owes them because of what happened to their ancestors. It makes no difference that many of the whites in previous generations also had experienced persecution and hunger and worked in dangerous, dirty, and degrading jobs. Or that blacks and Native Americans were among the slave owners.

In fact, you and those wealthy donors sneer at white people who have had to do manual labor and who have paid for tuition at community colleges with the money earned that way, while our classmates received special scholarships and government grants from our taxes.
You sneer at those like us who put our faith in God and not in those like you who would presume to know what`s good for us and tell us what to do with our money and our children, and leave us with no ability to defend ourselves.

Well, Barack, coming from your Ivy League world, you would not know much about us. You would not have learned that because we come from people who, rather than letting their communist benefactors redistribute the food, burned the crops in their little fields before they were forcibly ``collectivized.`` In Slovenia, they fought Tito`s Partisans from the woods and held mass at night when the Communists banned church services. They remember what it`s like to be hungry, ill, and living in little more than huts, while Marshall Tito and his communist cronies lived in villas. Now you live in a Chicago mansion and sneer at those like us who simply want to keep and defend our little three-bedroom ranches. You don`t know what it`s like to have family members die for the right to attend mass.

I know your liberal cronies, Barack; they make me check off my skin color on job applications and ask me during job interviews of how I teach multiculturalism, yet don`t know where Slovenia is on the world map. They couldn`t care less about my culture, nor about Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, or Lithuanian culture. Your supporters often feel free to mock my Slovenian heritage in letters and comments on the Internet when they disagree with me. I guess it`s like being called a ``dumb Polack`` something that has never gained quite the opprobrium of other ethnic epithets.

See, Barack, we know the system: Some are more ``equal`` than others.
And we know how you really feel about the ``proletariat.`` We know this from our experience either directly or as an inheritance from our parents and grandparents. And that is why we came to America.
Addendum: Many of my non-European correspondents, like those who came from Cuba, agree, as their letters to me indicate.

Thanks, Jack Kemp!

A note from Tim:

I`ve always said Obama is not an African-American in any cultural way; he is half white and his black father was from Kenya, not an urban American community.  He was raised by his white mother, lived in Indonesia and Hawaii, went to the best schools, etc.  His blackness was self-adopted; like all good liberals, he found value in identity politics and ``radical chic``.  Fortunately for Barack, his black genes qualified him for the exclusive club of minority-unlike his white friends, who could only wish they could claim such noble status. Like any good white liberal he became a ``community activist``, drowning his white guilt in working with his adoptive ``brothers`` in the poor neighborhoods of Chicago.  Why Chicago, by the way?  I think it likely that Obama had his eye on politics, and thought he`d have a good chance with support from the Daley machine.  At any rate, he and his prima donna Buppie wife settled into a life of activism and lucrative employment, seeking to purge the ``whiteness`` from their respective experiences.  This is white liberalism to the core.

And most white liberals love impoverished blacks in an idealized fashion, while utterly despising impoverished-or working class-whites.  Scratch any elite white liberal and you will find a bigot.  That bigotry happens to be aimed at working class whites, that`s all.  Actually, that bigotry is also aimed at blacks, but to make themselves feel superior, they have to pretend they don`t hold the blacks in contempt as well, so their bigotry masquerades as ``tolerance``, ``diversity``, and ``compassion``-all viewpoints predicated on the assumption that the black man isn`t good enough to succeed on his own. Theirs is a contemptuous paternalism, a self-aggrandizing hautiness that belittles those ``schlubs`` who so need their help.  Obama showed his true colors in Frisco.

The poor and the working class do not need the gifts of eternal dependency that an Obama (or Hillary) offer; they need the do-gooder types to get out of the way and let them succed on their own.

But that very success would weaken the power of men like Obama, so they must remain in their dependency.  Oh, and it gives them something to feel smugly superior over; that alone is worthwhile, at least to elitist white snobs like Barack.  

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Redemption Through Military Service

In a recent post courtesy of Jack Kemp, those champions of the military in San Francisco complained about the declining standards of the military, particularly their willingness to accept petty criminals into their midst.  I disagreed with that philosophy (that only the best should be allowed to serve their country) and threw the floor open for discussion.  Over at Timothybirdnow.com a soldier on active duty posted this reply:

I am a current member of the Army who is stationed in a location that has direct knowledge of these waivers. The rise in the number of waivers has not lowered the quality of the Army. It has allowed individuals who made a mistake early in life to do something good with their lives. So many things are considered felonies that we would not make a big deal about. Any of you ever play with matches as a kid? If you did and happened to burn down the shed or a tree, you are an arsonist, and a felon. Don’t you think you may still be able to serve honorably in the military? Not all felon mistakes are so terrible as to make someone unfit for service. If society is willing to let them walk the streets, why should the military not allow them to serve their country? One of the problems is the shrinking pool of people the military can pull from. Of the 17-24 demographic that the military aims to recruit from, less than 3 in 10 are fully qualified to join. That means, healthy, no police trouble, and a high school graduate. That pool is shrinking because our society is having a problem with obesity and poor health; and more and more kids are dropping out of school. Where should the military get its people from then? The pool needs to get larger, so the standards get changed or loosened ato allow more people in from categories that were normally kept small. That does not mean the quality of the force will be lower. It means that the raw recruit that the Drill Sergeant has to make a Soldier out of, is a little more raw than he would have liked. The end result will still be a quality Soldier, trained and ready to fight the Nation’s wars that so many of the complainers about these waivers will not.

Comment by Mark — April 24, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

I responded:

Thank you so much for such a thoughtful reply, Mark, and thank you for your service to our country!

I`ve not served, so I`m not in a position to speak authoritatively, but you have confirmed what I suspected; historically it has been true that military service has been the road to redemption for many, and the “attitude adjustment“ given to wayward youths is exactly what they need. I agree with your view on the law, as well; a person who gets caught urinating outside could end up registering as a sex offender, when all the fellow was doing was emptying his overful bladder, or a person could be in the wrong company and get arrested along with someone. Before computers many people were able to reformt their lives. Consider the most famous lawman-Wyatt Earp. Earp was arrested for horse theft in Arkansas (a serious crime in those days) and jumped bail. Back then, states still meant something, so Earp went to Kansas and became America`s most revered Cop. Today he would serve his time, be parolled as a felon, and never accomplish anything.

That doesn`t mean we shouldn`t have punishment for crimes, but it does mean a certain opportunity for redemption should be at hand in certain circumstances. The military is the logical vehicle for that redemption; the lawbreaker is under military discipline, meaning he is not simply wandering around loose. He is under martial law, not civil, so it is easier to punish him if need be. He is CONTROLLED for his own good, and what he learns from the military is invaluable-pride, honor, courage, self-reliance, working as part of a team for a cause greater than himself.

It really is a good deal.

Thanks again, Mark! God bless!

Comment by admin — April 26, 2008 @ 8:48

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The Mad Animal?

"If man is not a divinity, then man is a disease. Either he is the image of God, or else he is the one animal which has gone mad."
-- G. K. Chesterton, London Illustrated News, January 12, 1907

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April 24, 2008

Shuttin` Down for My Shack; a One Day Hiatus for the Hills

Timothy Birdnow

There will be an operational pause at Birdblog tomorrow; I, the editor-in-chief, sometime writer, grand poo-bah, and all around good guy will be taking a brief hiatus to visit the palace known to all as the Ozark Hilton.  Spring has sprung, and likely the OH has sprung a leak or two, so I intend to put some elbow grease into the tumbledown shanty. 

Our contributors-Jack Kemp, Wil Wirtanen, Mike W., Tom Joseph, Craig Willms, etc.-have all turned tail and run when I have suggested they may post directly, so fearful are they of the daunting position of editor (a Herculean task, to be sure!), so the position must remain vacant while I frolick among the trees deep in the Ozarks.  Fear not, oh wise and noble readers!  I will return on Saturday, although posting may be a bit late. 

I have constructed a deck, and intend to roof it this weekend, thus giving myself a comfortable, dry outdoor spot.  Currently I have to remain indoors if it rains, and cannot keep any furniture outside permanently-meaning the cabin is jammed with stuff I have to move every visit.  I`m also planning on adding a back room, then, eventually, a whole new cabin connected to that room, tripling the size of the place. There is currently one room 11x16, and I designed it to be cool, so it is too cold in winter.  I`ll make the back room a warm room (low ceiling, small windows) and the new cabin will be mixed use.  I`m also planning on turning the treehouse I built nearby into a screened porch, which should be fun.  It only sits about 5 feet off the ground, and is about 12 feet in diameter, built into four trees and overlooking the west hollow. 

All of this requires work, and every time I plan to go it seems to rain, snow, hail. There are fires, floods, earthquakes, and blizzards conspiring against your humble wilderness workman, and my progress has been glacial, at best! I hope to someday have a place large enough to accomodate family and friends, and civilized enough to get family and friends to allow me to drag them down.  (I guess I`ll have to build a real outhouse, not just some cinder-blocks and a toilet seat as at present.)  Of course, it looks to rain for the next few days, so my work may be limited. 

At any rate, I could come back with some more good yarns about my experiment in Thoreauian living.  Stay tuned!

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An Ecumenical Reconciliation

Jack Kemp

Tim, my short blog piece on the Time Magazine Earth Day cover showing environmentalists using the sybmol of the flag raising on Iwo Jima brought a response, in the form of an email from Mr. Lifson of American Thinker, showing a serious pagan blogsite characterizing me as a Christian attacking pagans. They had a point, that I needed to clarify what I thought and said in a follow-up. This lead to the following exchanges of emails between myself and the pagan blogsite.

Dear Wild Hunt Blog:
My editor pointed out to me that your Earth Day story today refers to me as a Christian who objects to pagan practices because of a short blog comment I wrote at American Thinker, critical of the Time Magazine green cover that you link to in your Earth Day article:
"The Pagan notion of a sacred and interconnected Earth still persists today, and continues to make some people, both Christian and secular, uncomfortable."
I want to discuss what I said further and modify some of my words. Firstly, I was reacting primarily to Time magazine's attempt to reimage a historical icon, the flag raising on Iwo Jima, as a green symbol. What I said was dashed off in a few minutes before going to
breakfast on vacation in Washington and leaving for sightseeing, at a hotel business center rental internet terminal costing $30 an hour. Had I been at home, I probably would have sent a version #2 modified copy to American Thinker. Reflecting on my original thoughts days
later, I would have clairified my words to explain that the liberal media at Time is hiding behind a pagan image not because they believe in paganism but because they want to cover up the fact they believe in nothing but their own self-importance in the material world.
As for religion, I am not a Christian, but am a Jew. I generally respect people who have real religious beliefs precisely because they believe in something beyond their own ego, materialism and self-importance. A true pagan, from what little I know of your beliefs, at least respects something other than their own immediate gratification and wants to be a worthy steward of the earth. You celebrate holidays religiously. There is a joke I once saw that asked, "Why do pagan women make the best wives?" The answer is: they
literally worship the ground their husbands walk on.
A day after I wrote that blog piece critical of Time magazine's cover, I noticed a Weather Channel promotion for Earth Day, calling for the end of using plastic grocery bags and calling a group of their station's fans "Weather Warriors." Once again, my objection to the Weather Channel is their attempt to cheapen the word "warrior" and equate shopping with a cloth bag the equivalent to the bravery of being in the Armed Forces. Their phrase also sounds similar to the 1960s radicals, The Weather Underground.
But although I suspect The Wild Hunt and I have very different political viewpoints, I didn't mean to insult people who truly worship a different religious belief than a Judeo-Christian one.
Jack Kemp
American Thinker contributor

Jack Kemp,

Thanks for writing. Glad to know that your references to "Druids" and "pagans" weren't specific slurs against modern Pagan faiths. I understand that your post comes from a place of indignation over the misuse of an iconic military/patriotic symbol. I have removed the link
and replaced it with a different one.

As for confusing you with a Christian, it was an honest mistake. Usually when environmentalists are branded as "pagans", it is coming from someplace within the conservative branches of Christian faith.

Thanks for coming forward to clarify your thoughts and intentions. I wish you and your family the best for Passover.

Jason Pitzl-Waters
The Wild Hunt blog

A note from Tim:

I have written several things which have offended the pagan community in the past, yet I have found the pagans far more courteous and forgiving than many others (ahem, that means many of you in the Darwin/Atheist crowd).  They are definitely a much more pleasant people than the Prophet P.Z. Myers and his minions. 

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Declining Standards in the U.S. Military?

Would any current military like to comment on this one?  In bygone days the military was the place for second chances, and military discipline often worked wonders on rotten scoundrels. 

This from contributor Jack Kemp:

I believe it would take someone with more immediate background knowledge of the current military than myself to offer a counterargument to their conclusions - even though some of this is probably true. The military took in misfits back in the draft era. If you or someone you know has a detailed knowledge of the military these days, they could address this article, I believe it would be a public service.

U.S. is recruiting misfits for army
Felons, racists, gang members fill in the ranks
Nick Turse

Sunday, October 1, 2006

After falling short of its goals last year, military recruiting in 2006 has been marked by upbeat pronouncements from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, claims of success by the White House, and a spate of recent press reports touting the military's achievement of its woman- and manpower goals.
But the armed forces have met with success only through a fundamental transformation, and not the transformation of the military -- that "co-evolution of concepts, processes, organizations and technology" that Rumsfeld is always talking about either.

While the secretary of defense's longstanding goal of transforming the planet's most powerful military into its highest-tech, most agile, most futuristic fighting force has, in the words of the Washington Post's David VonDrehle, "melted away," the very makeup of the armed forces has been mutating before our collective eyes under the pressure of the war in Iraq. This actual transformation has been reported, but only in scattered articles on the new recruitment landscape in America.

Last year, despite NASCAR, professional bull-riding and Arena Football sponsorships, popular video games that doubled as recruiting tools, TV commercials dripping with seductive scenes of military glory, a "joint marketing communications and market research and studies" program designed to attract, among others, dropouts and those with criminal records for military service, and at least $16,000 in promotional costs for each soldier it managed to sign up, the U.S. military failed to meet its recruiting goals.

This year, those methods have been pumped up and taken over the top in several critical areas that make the old Army ad tagline, "Be All You Can Be," into material for late-night TV punch lines of the future.

In 2004, the Pentagon published a "Moral Waiver Study," whose seemingly benign goal was "to better define relationships between pre-Service behaviors and subsequent Service success." That turned out to mean opening more recruitment doors to potential enlistees with criminal records.

In February, the Baltimore Sun wrote that there was "a significant increase in the number of recruits with what the Army terms 'serious criminal misconduct' in their background" -- a category that included "aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats." From 2004 to 2005, the number of those recruits rose by more than 54 percent, while alcohol and illegal drug waivers, reversing a four-year decline, increased by more than 13 percent.

In June, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that, under pressure to fill the ranks, the Army had been allowing into its ranks increasing numbers of "recruits convicted of misdemeanor crimes, according to experts and military records." In fact, as the military's own data indicated, "the percentage of recruits entering the Army with waivers for misdemeanors and medical problems has more than doubled since 2001."

One beneficiary of the Army's new moral-waiver policies gained a certain prominence this summer. After Steven Green, who served in the 101st Airborne Division, was charged in a rape and quadruple murder in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, it was disclosed that he had been "a high-school dropout from a broken home who enlisted to get some direction in his life, yet was sent home early because of an anti-social personality disorder."

Recently, Eli Flyer, a former Pentagon senior military analyst and specialist on the relationship between military recruiting and military misconduct, told Harper's magazine that Green had "enlisted with a moral waiver for at least two drug- or alcohol-related offenses. He committed a third alcohol-related offense just before enlistment, which led to jail time, although this offense may not have been known to the Army when he enlisted."

With Green in jail awaiting trial, the Houston Chronicle reported in August that Army recruiters were trolling around the outskirts of a Dallas-area job fair for ex-convicts.

"We're looking for high school graduates with no more than one felony on their record," one recruiter said.

The Army has even looked behind prison bars for fill-in recruits -- in one reported case, they went to a "youth prison" in Ogden, Utah. Although Steven Price had asked to see a recruiter while still incarcerated, he was "barely 17 when he enlisted last January" and his divorced parents say "recruiters used false promises and forged documents to enlist him."

While confusion exists about whether the boy's mother actually signed a parental consent form allowing her son to enlist, his "father apparently wasn't even at the signing, but his name is on the form too."

Law enforcement officials report that the military is now "allowing more applicants with gang tattoos," the Chicago Sun-Times reports, "because they are under the gun to keep enlistment up." They also note that "gang activity maybe rising among soldiers." The paper was provided with "photos of military buildings and equipment in Iraq that were vandalized with graffiti of gangs based in Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities."

Last month, the Sun-Times reported that a gang member facing federal charges of murder and robbery enlisted in the Marine Corps "while he was free on bond -- and was preparing to ship out to boot camp when Marine officials recently discovered he was under indictment." While this recruit was eventually booted from the Corps, a Milwaukee police detective and Army veteran, who serves on the federal drug and gang task force that arrested the would-be Marine, noted that other "gang-bangers are going over to Iraq and sending weapons back ... gang members are getting access to military training and weapons."

Earlier this year, it was reported that an expected transfer of 10,000 to 20,000 troops to Fort Bliss, Texas, caused FBI and local law enforcement to fear a turf war between "members of the FolkNation gang ... (and) a criminal group that is already well-established in the area, Barrio Azteca." The New York Sun wrote that, according to one FBI agent, "FolkNation, which was founded in Chicago and includes several branches using the name Gangster Disciples, has gained a foothold in the Army."

Another type of gang member has also begun to proliferate within the military, evidently thanks to lowered recruitment standards and an increasing tendency of recruiters to look the other way. In July, a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, found that because of pressing manpower concerns, "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" are now serving in the military. "Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members," said Scott Barfield, a Defense Department investigator quoted in the report.

The New York Times noted that the neo-Nazi magazine Resistance is actually recruiting for the U.S. military, urging "skinheads to join the Army and insist on being assigned to light infantry units." As the magazine explained, "The coming race war and the ethnic cleansing to follow will be very much an infantryman's war. ... It will be house-to-house ... until your town or city is cleared and the alien races are driven into the countryside where they can be hunted down and 'cleansed.' "

End excerpt

Don`t miss the rest!

A note from Tim:

This illustrates the hypocrisy of the Left; they are the first to demand second chances for people, first to demand light prison sentences and ``understanding `` for criminals yet they are angered by this leniency being given when it is the U.S. military doing the giving.  They would prefer to have these individuals dealt with by liberal judges in the courts, given probation or ridiculous psychological counseling and turned loose on the general public.  Why?  I suspect they fear the military will straighten them out, disproving their crackpot ideas about crime and punishment and redemption. They also loathe the military to the point that the concept of success is detestable to them-despite their love for the criminal element. 

The French (whom most liberals idolize) made a habit of enlisting criminals and cutthroats in their Foreign Legion; if you signed up there would be no questions about your past-provided you behaved.  The Legion was a spectacular success, but they were ruthless to unrepentent criminals in their midst. Shouldn`t America take a page from the French?  Aren`t we always told that we should emulate them? Don`t these poor misguided children deserve a second chance, at least by the liberal`s own standards?


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Old and Tired Questions

Jack Kemp (not the politician):

In the Wall St. Journal this Wednesday, Dorothy Rabinowitz's perceptinve analysis of how the media treats Sen. Obama states:

"Moderators Charles Gibson's and George Stephanopoulos's offense was to ask questions Mr. Obama didn't want to address. Worse, they'd continued to press them even when the displeased candidate assured them these were old and tired questions."


Old and Tired Questions? Why didn't we all think of that before?

1.Mother: Your report card was due home today, Billy (or Mary). Where is it? How were your grades?

Child: Oh, Mom, those are old and tired questions.

2. Marine Drill Sergeant: Recruit, when was the last time you cleaned this rifle?

Recruit: Sarge, that's an old an tired question.

I won't repeat the what the sergeant said before ordering the recruit to do a quick 50 pushups.

3. Boss: Do you have that report I wanted written by this morning?

Employee: Gee, that's an old and tired question.

4. Customer: How many miles per gallon does this car get?

Car Salesman: Now that's an old and tired question.

5. Customer: Does this drug have any side effects?

Pharmacist: That's an old and tired question.

You get the idea. Sen. Obama has been living in an alternative reality from the rest of us. He finds it hard to relate to the requests and demands of the general public - and vice versa.


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