According to a report from the Government Accountability Institute -- based on the official White House schedule, a comprehensive presidential calendar from Politico, and media reports through March 31 of this year -- the President has spent more than twice as much time on vacations and golf than he has on any kind of economic meetings.
For the numerically-inclined, it's 976 hours for vacay & golf, vs. 474.4 hours on the economy.
To add to Daniel's post below highlighting the horrifying (but important) Live Action film: In a fabulous column, Kyle Smith discusses at length another troubling aspect of the abortion industry in this country. Like the old joke about Washington goes, what's shocking isn't what's illegal -- what's shocking is what is legal. The fact is, there's a pretty thin and blurry line between late-term legal abortion and infanticide.
To illustrate his point, Smith relates some real life anecdotes. Read the whole thing, but here's one conversation that ensued after a woman with a 23-week-old unborn child (babies in NY can be aborted up to 24 weeks) asked a clinic employee what would happen if the chlld emerged alive and intact:
The employee assigned to take note of medical history reassured the woman, “We never had that for ages” (a seeming admission that a baby did survive abortion at the clinic at least once) but that should “it” “survive this,” “They would still have to put it in like a jar, a container, with solution, and send it to the lab. . . . We don’t just throw it out in the garbage.”
Oh, and this innocuous-sounding “solution” was, of course, a toxic substance suitable for killing an infant.
“Like, what if it was twitching?” asked the pregnant woman.
“The solution will make it stop,” said the clinic employee. “That’s the whole purpose of the solution . . . It will automatically stop. It won’t be able to breathe anymore.”
As Smith points out, the President has repeatedly denounced the "special interest" gun lobby that, in his view, is responsible for the deaths of innocent children. About the "special interest" abortion lobby, he's been far more enthusiastic.
In Eric Holder's America, there's no Constitutional right to gun ownership, no right to life for the unborn, no right of conscience for Catholics (or other people of faith) who disagree with elements of ObamaCare . . . but there is a "right to citizenship" as a matter of "civil and human rights" for illegal aliens.
Witness Holder's newest utterance, offered in a major-league suck up speech to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund:
"Creating a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country is essential. The way we treat our friends and neighbors who are undocumented – by creating a mechanism for them to earn citizenship and move out of the shadows – transcends the issue of immigration status. This is a matter of civil and human rights. It is about who we are as a nation. And it goes to the core of our treasured American principle of equal opportunity." (emphasis added)
His invocation of "civil and human rights" as a justification for legislation offeriing a path to citizenship is entirely incoherent. Here's why:
What are "civil rights"? They are defined as "the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or 'discrimination') in a number of settings -- including education, employment, housing, and more -- and based on certain legally-protected characteristics."
So what confers a "civil right"? Well, the Constitution can. But nowhere does it require the government to extend citizenship to anyone who wants it, based only on their presence in the country and/or their wish to get it. Read it and see. Obviously, if it had, that would mean every law restricting any immigration at all that we've had since our founding was unconstitutional and hence invalid.
So where else can we go to find a legal source for a "civil right"? "Most laws guaranteeing and regulating civil rights originate at the federal level, either through federal legislation, or through federal court decisions (such as those handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court)." If a path to citizenship were already a "civil right" -- i.e. secured by federal legislation -- there'd be no need for legislation to establish it. Likewise, if the Supreme Court had "found" a new "right" to citizenship for all, federal legislation wouldn't be necessary. Holder argues, in essence, that we need legislation to secure a right that's already been secured. Anyone else detect a whiff of circularity to his argument here?
What about "human rights"? Well, the august office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nation defines "human rights" as "rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status." Under this definition, there might be a "human right" to citizenship in some country. But there isn't a "human right" to citizenship in any country where one wishes to have it, or else every law regulating immigration all over the world is invalid. Clearly, there's no entitlement to citizenship in the USA . . . especially when one's method of entering it -- or continued residence in it --demonstrates a clear contempt for its laws.
"Human rights" are generally understood to encompass freedom from harassment or other mistreatment based on one's (non-dangerous) beliefs or immutable characteristics. By that definition, it would seem that illegal immigrants in the US are doing rather well -- especially given that the Obama USDA is actively advising people they needn't be citizens of this country in order to enjoy its government (i.e. taxpayer-funded) benefits.
Eric Holder has long been an embarassment and a disgrace as this nation's attorney general. Obviously, he invoked the specter of "civil and human rights" in an effort to imbue his message with a moral force that it otherwise lacks. But you can't make things up just because they sound good to you, especially in high government office. It's always painful to wonder whether the nation's highest law enforcement officer simply doesn't understand what he's saying -- or simply doesn't care whether it's true.
Giving credit where it's due, The New York Times had quite the story today about the fraud and unjustifiable use of taxpayer dollars to line the pockets of groups tending to support the Obama administration:
Ever since the Clinton administration agreed in 1999 to make $50,000 payments to thousands of black farmers, the Hispanics and women had been clamoring in courtrooms and in Congress for the same deal. They argued, as the African-Americans had, that biased federal loan officers had systematically thwarted their attempts to borrow money to farm.
But a succession of courts — and finally the Supreme Court — had rebuffed their pleas. Instead of an army of potential claimants, the government faced just 91 plaintiffs. Those cases, the government lawyers figured, could be dispatched at limited cost.
They were wrong.
On the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling, interviews and records show, the Obama administration’s political appointees at the Justice and Agriculture Departments engineered a stunning turnabout: they committed $1.33 billion to compensate not just the 91 plaintiffs but thousands of Hispanic and female farmers who had never claimed bias in court.
The deal, several current and former government officials said, was fashioned in White House meetings despite the vehement objections — until now undisclosed — of career lawyers and agency officials who had argued that there was no credible evidence of widespread discrimination. What is more, some protested, the template for the deal — the $50,000 payouts to black farmers — had proved a magnet for fraud.
Absolutely unbelievable. Ever wonder how Obama can "need" higher taxes despite going on the biggest spending spree in American history? Perhaps this story offers a clue.
I am grateful to live in a country where pictures like this are possible -- because our Founding Fathers, through the grace of God, created for us a democratic republic in which the people elect their leaders and when their terms are over, those leaders surrender their power peacefully. Even in days of deep partisan strife and bitter division, our country's people and leaders have honored these principles. It is a wonderful thing that every living President -- three Democrats, two Republicans -- could and would gather today, in an implicit recognition of all that unites us, to honor George W. Bushand the traditions that transcend this time and place. God bless America -- and thank you, President Bush.
President Obama uses the occasion of the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library to push his own version of immigration reform:
Well, after using George W. Bush for the past five years as a scapegoat, what would keep President Obama from using him again?
President Obama has backed out of plans to keynote the Planned Parenthood gala on Thursday night. No doubt, as Jay Carney insisted, it's just because he wants to spend more time with the victims of the Texas fertilizer plant explosion -- an explanation quickly defended by the Washington Post.
Of course, given the gruesome details emerging daily from the Gosnell trial -- and the fact that the southeastern Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood knew of them yet remained silent -- perhaps the President decided that headlining the gala was a bit unseemly, even for the most pro-abortion President in history:
But not to worry, pro-choicers -- in the words of Jane Austen, Obama's "affections and wishes remain unchanged." He'll still speak at a lower profile gathering Friday morning -- although his passionate embrace of Planned Parenthood has always been more than a little ironic, given the racist symapthies of its founder.
Jihadists have enjoyed some decent success in America during the Obama years -- as this list of attacks from Investors Business Daily shows --including:
6/1/09: After visiting Yemen for 16 months, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad murders a military recruiter;
11/5/09: Nidal Malik Hasan, shouting "Allahu Akbar," kills 13 and wounds 29 on a Ft. Hood army base;
3/4/10: A Muslim convert, John Patrick Bedell, shoots and wounds two Pentagon policemen;
4/15/13: Boston bombings.
Bill Gertz, a reporter long considered to have some of the best sources in the military/intelligence community, sets out what might well explain these failures: An FBI policy forbidding the linking of Islam and jihad created and enforced by Obama administration political appointees:
U.S. officials familiar with the FBI’s counterterrorism training program and its controversial public outreach program to Muslim groups said FBI policy toward Islam—that it should not be used to describe those who seek to wage jihad or holy war against the United States and others they regard as infidels—has prevented both effective counterterrorism investigations and training.
The officials said the problem is that most field agents understand the nature of the threat but have been hamstrung by policies imposed by senior FBI leaders who are acting under orders of political appointees in the Obama administration, including Islamic advisers to the White House. The policies have prevented the FBI from conducting aggressive counterterrorism investigations of Islamic radicals or those who are in the process of being radicalized.
If this is true, it is an outrage. Political correctness shouldn't get in the way of the #1 responsibility of the President (and the executive branch he heads): Keeping America safe.
Yet there are clues that raise legitimate suspicions. Remember how the DoD refused to classify Nidal Malik Hasan's attack as terorrism, referring to it instead as "workplace violence"? Remember how Janet Napolitano tried to re-name (Islamofascist) terrorism as "man-caused disasters"? Ever noticed how -- as Charles Krauthammer points out -- the President goes to comical links to avoid using any words that would even imply a connection between radical Islam and terrorism?
Indeed, in his own book, The Audacity of Hope, the President seemed to view FBI interviews in the wake of 9/11 as a unjustly oppressive to Muslims, writing:
In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."
This exquisite sensitivity to such feelings can be tolerated in a state senator (or even a US senator), but they are a big problem if a President decides that they must be honored at virtually all costs. But is that what's been happening?
There is no doubt that the President and the rest of his appointees are genuinely saddened by the deaths of all of those mowed down by jihadists on their watch. The problem is that they are so enmeshed in a politically correct world-view that they are unwilling to identify hard realities (surprisingly and ably explicated by Bill Maher, of all people) and then act accordingly -- even in the interest of doing their duty to their fellow Americans:
An Al Qaeda-linked plot to attack the rail line between Toronto and New York has been thwarted. Canadian police stated that they do not think it is related to the Boston attack.
At this point, however, isn't it a little bit difficult to know? After all, the media and some "experts" were pushing the line that religion was a secondary consideration in the Boston bombings -- until that line was clearly no longer operative.
So let's wait for the facts.
The first Earth Day was observed on April 22, 1970 -- but the "celebration" was rather, well, funereal. That's because the solons of the age predicted a global apocalypse was imminent -- and like the solons of today, they demanded government control to avert a certain disaster . . . that never happened.
To add some perspective to today's hysterical claims of global warming, behold earlier predictions of environmental catastrophe cataloged by the Washington Policy Center:
“...civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind,” biologist George Wald, Harvard University, April 19, 1970.
By 1995, “...somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.” Sen. Gaylord Nelson, quoting Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, Look magazine, April 1970.
Because of increased dust, cloud cover and water vapor “...the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born,” Newsweek magazine, January 26, 1970.
The world will be “...eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age,” Kenneth Watt, speaking at Swarthmore University, April 19, 1970.
“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” biologist Barry Commoner, University of Washington, writing in the journalEnvironment, April 1970.
“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from the intolerable deteriorations and possible extinction,” The New York Times editorial, April 20, 1970.
“By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half...” Life magazine, January 1970.
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich, interview in Mademoiselle magazine, April 1970.
“...air pollution...is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone,” Paul Ehrlich, interview in Mademoiselle magazine, April 1970.
Ehrlich also predicted that in 1973, 200,000 Americans would die from air pollution, and that by 1980 the life expectancy of Americans would be 42 years.
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes, The Living Wilderness, Spring 1970.
“By the year 2000...the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America and Australia, will be in famine,” Peter Gunter, North Texas State University, The Living Wilderness, Spring 1970.
If you notice, these confident predictions of doom have little in common with those of today's climate cassandras -- except for their utter certainty that doom is upon us. Oh, and it's beginning to look like they have something else in common . . . the spectacular inaccuracy of their apocalyptic predictions.
Reasonable people agree that humans are called to be responsible stewards of the earth. Where agreement stops is when climate alarmists start using hysterical prophecies of disaster as a pretext for significant power grabs -- and where the most vociferous proponents of "green living" (for everyone else) somehow fail to practice what they preach.
Happy Earth Day.