Politico has reported, “Sounding reflective as he heads into a bruising electoral season, President Barack Obama told POLITICO columnist Roger Simon that the Gulf disaster ‘echoes 9/11′ because it will change the nation’s psyche for years to come.” What in the hell is he talking about?! The devastation of 9/11 was due to a terrorist attack on this nation. Perhaps the President got manmade disaster mixed up with enviromental disaster? Since the Obama administration detests the term “terrorism.”
While the oil blowout in the Gulf is devastating, it does not effect the entire nation’s psyche. This comment makes it even more obvious that the President is clueless and out of touch. While we spent the months after 9/11 recovering from the shock of the attack and trying to figure out why terrorists would want to hurt us and even more importantly, living in fear that the next attack could happen at any moment, we will not spend the months following this accident dealing with those same issues. The country will not be going to war over the oil blowout either. And BP is responsible monetarily for this cleanup, while we are on the hook to pay for the War On Terrorism.
Possibly the President is wanting to use 9/11 imagery to tip the American psyche in favor of his Crap & Tax agenda. Obama as much as admitted this by saying, “In the same way that our view of our vulnerabilities and our foreign policy was shaped profoundly by 9/11, I think this disaster is going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come.” If he can convince the nation that the situation is dire and that we can never again let this happen, Americans might be willing to support his agenda and the Green Industrial Complex. That is precisely why he is allowing this disaster to expand and get as bad as it has as well. There is no way that our government and the military are this incompetant. It is obvious they are doing this on purpose.
The author of Arizona’s controversial immigration law is considering a new proposal that would block the children of illegal immigrants from becoming citizens if they are born in the United States.
Critics of the bill Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce is weighing say it would fly in the face of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which grants citizenship to anyone born within the country.
Pearce has been hinting for months that he may introduce legislation targeting so-called “anchor babies” but had not detailed his plan until an interview last week with Time magazine.
“This is an orchestrated effort by them to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we’ve created,” Pearce said of Hispanic immigrants.
Pearce contended that the bill would not violate the 14th Amendment, saying only that “we would write it right.”
Previous efforts to get around the citizenship provisions in the amendment, including one in the late 19th century challenging the citizenship of the children of Chinese immigrants, have been unsuccessful.
Still, Arizona Republicans — including Gov. Jan Brewer — have indicated support for the bill.
“It is illegal to trespass into our country. It has always been illegal, and people have determined that they want to take that chance,” Brewer said during a recent interview with Tucson ABC affiliate KGUN. “They can take their children back with them.”
One Phoenix-area school district is suing the state over the immigration law, contending that families with mixed immigration status would be split up — a concern opponents would continue to highlight if Pearce’s bill were brought for a vote.
In response to the suit, Brewer said during the interview that “we are a nation of laws. That is why we are American. And there are consequences, unfortunately.”
While the rhetoric of the abortion industry relentlessly promises to “empower women” with “information” to make the “best choice” for themselves, pro-lifers know that the “information” always steers clear of educating women about the reality of abortion.
Take the second global Women Deliver conference held last week in Washington. Judging from its website, the conference, co-sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, was designed to concentrate on decreasing maternal mortality in the developing world (something successfully done in the developed world for more than 70 years.) Who could disagree with such a noble endeavor?
But if you dig deeper into the conference’s program and its presenters you’ll discover an inordinate focus on promoting legalized abortion-on-demand in countries whose laws protect the lives of unborn children. The illogic of the conference organizers, like that of pro-abortion non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the United Nations, is that increased access to abortion equals increased maternal health. It is better access to quality medical care, not abortion, that drives down the maternal mortality rate.
Jeanne E. Head, National Right to Life’s vice president for international affairs and a representative at the United Nations, and a crew of staff and interns stood outside the Washington Convention Center early last Wednesday morning to educate the delegates. They handed out pink bags emblazoned with the words “Celebrate Motherhood” as attendees arrived for the morning plenary session.
The bags contained a life-size fetal model of an unborn child at 12 weeks gestation, a scientifically accurate brochure on the development of the unborn child in utero, and a brochure — which struck right at the heart of the conference — discussing the proven means of reducing maternal mortality rates worldwide.
You would think Women Deliver conference organizers would be thrilled by increased access to information. But you would be wrong.
As fast as staff and volunteers handed out materials to many of the more than 3,000 (mostly female) attendees outside the convention center, conference staff inside the convention center confiscated the pink bags from surprised attendees as they walked in the main doors.
According to one Ugandan attendee (who came outside to get a second bag because her first had been commandeered), the conference staff were telling attendees that the “pro-lifers are trying to ruin our conference,” with information that was “anti-human-rights,” “anti-choice,” “anti-life,” and “anti-woman.”
Anything that might even hint that abortion is not the answer to the world’s problems must be confiscated and destroyed. Dissent must not be tolerated — a familiar pattern not just at the UN but around the country.
Just look to the states and you’ll find the same obfuscation. Common sense laws, supported by a majority of Americans, seek to inform women about the risks associated with abortion, the biological development of the unborn child, and alternatives available, even provide the opportunity to view a real-time ultrasound image of their child. And they are inevitably challenged in court by the pro-abortionists.
Such laws have been held as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court as far back as the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey case. But that doesn’t stop the abortion industry from filing brief after brief to keep these laws from taking effect.
It all begs the question: why? Simple. When women are given all of the information about abortion and know that there are alternatives, they are far more likely to give their child life. And that cuts into the abortion industry’s bottom line.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider and promoter of abortion, is a billion dollar industry. In its 2007-2008 annual report, PPFA said that their clinics performed over 300,000 abortions in 2007 — more than 25% of the annual number of abortions performed in the United States. The average cost of a first trimester abortion is roughly $400. Do the math.
Tragically, abortion has become a big business worldwide. And for the international abortion industry — including many of the Women Deliver cosponsors — the women of the developing world represent an untapped market full of profit potential.
I got this email from Barack Obama this morning, oh, sorry, from barackobama.com. I hope they are joking. They want me to stand with arguably the worst president in the history of the United States to pass more legislation that will further destroy the American economy?
They want me stand with a president that is mocked internationally, that has singlehandedly almost bankrupted our country by quintupling our national debt, who is a self-avowed student of Marx? No thank you sir. You are not my president.
Yes the BP oil spill is enraging but even more so is the lack of help that obama has given to the Gulf states by not cutting red tape so they can get their relief projects underway faster. Sending out one email does not make up for his continued inability to manage anything. Best campaign, worst President.
The BP oil spill is the worst environmental disaster of its kind in our nation’s history. My administration has deployed every tool at our disposal for the response efforts. Thousands are working around the clock, including some of the top scientists and engineers from around the world.
We are working to hold BP accountable for the damage to the lands and the livelihoods of the Gulf Coast, and we are taking strong precautions to make certain a spill like this never happens again.
But our work will not end with this crisis. That’s one of the reasons why I invited lawmakers from both parties to join me at the White House to discuss what it will take to move forward on legislation to promote a new economy powered by green jobs, combat climate change, and end our dependence on foreign oil.
Today, we consume more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but have less than two percent of the world’s oil reserves. Beyond the risks inherent in drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth, our dependence on oil means that we will continue to send billions of dollars of our hard-earned wealth to other countries every month — including many in dangerous and unstable regions.
In other words, our continued dependence on fossil fuels will jeopardize our national security. It will smother our planet. And it will continue to put our economy and our environment at risk. We cannot delay any longer, and that is why I am asking for your help.
Please stand with me today in backing clean energy. Adding your name will help Organizing for America create a powerful, public display of support for making this change happen.
The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a new future. That means continuing our unprecedented effort to make everything — from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks — more energy-efficient. It means rolling back billions of dollars of tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development.
But the only way the transition to clean energy will ultimately succeed is if the private sector is fully invested in this future — if capital comes off the sidelines and the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is unleashed. And we can do that by finally putting a price on carbon pollution.
Many businesses have already embraced this idea because it provides a level of certainty about the future. And by pouring resources into research and development, by building new markets, we will reinvent our economy — creating opportunities for entrepreneurship, for new companies and new jobs all across the country.
There will be transition costs and a time of adjustment. But if we refuse to take into account the full costs of our fossil fuel addiction — and if we refuse to heed the warnings from the disaster in the Gulf — we will have missed our best chance to seize the clean-energy future we know America needs to thrive in the years and decades to come.
The House of Representatives has already passed a comprehensive energy and climate bill, and there is currently a plan in the Senate — a plan that was developed with ideas from Democrats and Republicans — that would achieve the same goal. This week, I met with congressional leaders to determine a path forward. But this is an issue that Washington has long ignored in favor of protecting the status quo.
So I’m asking for your help today to show that the American people are ready for a clean-energy future.
They blow each other up by mistake. They bungle even simple schemes. They get intimate with cows and donkeys. Our terrorist enemies trade on the perception that they’re well trained and religiously devout, but in fact, many are fools and perverts who are far less organized and sophisticated than we imagine. Can being more realistic about who our foes actually are help us stop the truly dangerous ones?
In the years after 9/11, the images we were shown of terrorists were largely the same: shadowy jihadists who, even when they were foiled, seemed always to have come terrifyingly close to pulling off a horrific attack. We’ve all become familiar by now with the stock footage of Talibs in black shalwar kameezes zipping across monkey bars or, more recently, perfecting kung fu kicks in some secret training camp. Even in the aftermath of the botched Times Square bombing earlier this spring, the perception persists that our enemies are savvy and sophisticated killers. They’re fanatical and highly organized—twin ideas that at once keep us fearful and help them attract new members.
But this view of the jihadist community is wildly off the mark. To be sure, some terrorists are steely and skilled—people like Mohamed Atta, the careful and well-trained head of the 9/11 hijackers. Their leaders and recruiters can be lethally subtle and manipulative, but the quiet truth is that many of the deluded foot soldiers are foolish and untrained, perhaps even untrainable. Acknowledging this fact could help us tailor our counterterrorism priorities—and publicizing it could help us erode the powerful images of strength and piety that terrorists rely on for recruiting and funding.
Nowhere is the gap between sinister stereotype and ridiculous reality more apparent than in Afghanistan, where it’s fair to say that the Taliban employ the world’s worst suicide bombers: one in two manages to kill only himself. And this success rate hasn’t improved at all in the five years they’ve been using suicide bombers, despite the experience of hundreds of attacks—or attempted attacks. In Afghanistan, as in many cultures, a manly embrace is a time-honored tradition for warriors before they go off to face death. Thus, many suicide bombers never even make it out of their training camp or safe house, as the pressure from these group hugs triggers the explosives in suicide vests. According to several sources at the United Nations, as many as six would-be suicide bombers died last July after one such embrace in Paktika.
Many Taliban operatives are just as clumsy when suicide is not part of the plan. In November 2009, several Talibs transporting an improvised explosive device were killed when it went off unexpectedly. The blast also took out the insurgents’ shadow governor in the province of Balkh.
When terrorists do execute an attack, or come close, they often have security failures to thank, rather than their own expertise. Consider Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab—the Nigerian “Jockstrap Jihadist” who boarded a Detroit-bound jet in Amsterdam with a suicidal plan in his head and some explosives in his underwear. Although the media colored the incident as a sophisticated al-Qaeda plot, Abdulmutallab showed no great skill or cunning, and simple safeguards should have kept him off the plane in the first place. He was, after all, traveling without luggage, on a one-way ticket that he purchased with cash. All of this while being on a U.S. government watch list.
Fortunately, Abdulmutallab, a college-educated engineer, failed to detonate his underpants. A few months later another college grad, Faisal Shahzad, is alleged to have crudely rigged an SUV to blow up in Times Square. That plan fizzled and he was quickly captured, despite the fact that he was reportedly trained in a terrorist boot camp in Pakistan. Indeed, though many of the terrorists who strike in the West are well educated, their plots fail because they lack operational know-how. On June 30, 2007, two men—one a medical doctor, the other studying for his Ph.D.—attempted a brazen attack on Glasgow Airport. Their education did them little good. Planning to crash their propane-and-petrol-laden Jeep Cherokee into an airport terminal, the men instead steered the SUV, with flames spurting out its windows, into a security barrier. The fiery crash destroyed only the Jeep, and both men were easily apprehended; the driver later died from his injuries. (The day before, the same men had rigged two cars to blow up near a London nightclub. That plan was thwarted when one car was spotted by paramedics and the other, parked illegally, was removed by a tow truck. As a bonus for investigators, the would-be bombers’ cell phones, loaded with the phone numbers of possible accomplices, were salvaged from the cars.)
A similar streak of ineptitude has been on display in the United States, where many of those arrested on terrorism-related charges possess long criminal records and little sense of how to put a nefarious idea into action. A group of Miami men schemed (often while smoking marijuana) to attack targets in South Florida as well as the Sears Tower in Chicago, but they couldn’t get their hands on explosives and were uncovered when the FBI easily penetrated their ranks.
If our terrorist enemies have been successful at cultivating a false notion of expertise, they’ve done an equally convincing job of casting themselves as pious warriors of God. The Taliban and al-Qaeda rely on sympathizers who consider them devoted Muslims fighting immoral Western occupiers. But intelligence picked up by Predator drones and other battlefield cameras challenges that idea—sometimes rather graphically. One video, captured recently by the thermal-imagery technology housed in a sniper rifle, shows two Talibs in southern Afghanistan engaged in intimate relations with a donkey. Similar videos abound, including ground-surveillance footage that records a Talib fighter gratifying himself with a cow.
Pentagon officials and intelligence analysts concede privately that our foes also have a voracious appetite for pornography—hardly shocking behavior for young men, but hard to square with an image of piety. Many laptops seized from the Taliban and al-Qaeda are loaded with smut. U.S. intelligence analysts have devoted considerable time to poring over the terrorists’ favored Web sites, searching for hidden militant messages. “We have terabytes of this stuff,” said one Department of Defense al-Qaeda analyst, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “It isn’t possible that they are encrypting messages in all of this stuff. Some of these guys are just perverts.”
Tawdry though this predilection for porn may be, it is not necessarily trivial. There is, after all, potential propaganda value in this kind of jihadist behavior. Current U.S. public diplomacy centers on selling America to the Muslim world, but we should also work to undermine some of the myths built up around our enemies by highlighting their incompetence, their moral failings, and their embarrassing antics. Beyond changing how the Muslim world perceives terrorists, we can help ourselves make smarter counterterrorism choices by being more realistic about the profile and aptitude of would-be attackers. More and more, as we work to disrupt training efforts, the jihadists we face are likely to be poorly prepared, and while that won’t always ensure a bungled attack, it suggests that terrorists are likely to select targets that are undefended and easy to hit. The United States has spent billions on port security since 9/11, even though terrorists have shown little interest in ports as targets and even less ability to actually strike them. In contrast, even small investments in training for police and airport-security personnel can make a big difference, as these are the people most likely to encounter—and have a chance to disrupt—an unskilled attacker.
The difference between a sophisticated killer like Mohamed Atta and so many of his hapless successors lies in training and inherent aptitude. Atta spent months learning his trade in Afghanistan and had the help of al-Qaeda’s senior leadership—a fact that underscores the importance of rooting out al-Qaeda havens in Pakistan. After all, fighting terrorism is a chore made simpler when we can keep the terrorists as inept as most of them naturally are.
Residents of the Bayou State may be forgiven for wondering what they’ve done to deserve this: Just in the past five years, they’ve been slammed by four of the worst natural disasters ever recorded, including Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Gustav and Rita. Now with the Gulf oil spill at BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform 53 miles off the state’s coast, Washington politicians and bureaucrats are inflicting a man-made disaster of epic proportions on them. The degree of official mismanagement seen so far in the 54 days since the platform exploded, killing 11 workers, is truly mind-boggling.
As soon as it became clear the explosion had created a spill capable of pouring thousands of barrels of raw crude into the Gulf, foreign governments began offering aid to the United States. Three days after the explosion, the Netherlands offered to send ships capable of skimming oil off the water and submitted a plan to begin building sand dikes to protect the many environmentally fragile marshes along the Gulf Coast. “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ ” Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston, told the Houston Chronicle. Only now, seven weeks and millions of spilled barrels of crude later, Washington has finally emergency airlifted four of the booms from the Netherlands to be fitted to U.S. vessels.
As for the sand dikes, which Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been begging Washington for weeks for permission to build, the bureaucrats finally approved construction of a tiny portion of the total requested. But taking advantage of the Netherlands’ vast experience in building such devices is difficult because of the Jones Act, a protectionist U.S. law that requires all goods transported by water between domestic ports to use U.S.-owned, -flagged and -built ships with U.S. crews. The law was waived by the Bush administration during Katrina, but it is still in force, preventing Dutch ships from entering U.S. coastal waters and precluding Dutch contractors, who have vast experience building dikes, from displacing U.S. dredging firms that don’t. One of the Dutch companies has a plan to erect 60 miles of dikes on the Louisiana coast within three weeks. Washington had that plan in hand for nearly two months before acting on it last week.
Devastating hurricanes like Katrina are unpreventable natural events. But man-made catastrophes created by Big Government’s bureaucratic incompetence, regulatory inefficiency and political infighting don’t have to occur. How much more damage has to be inflicted on the people, economy and environment of Louisiana before Washington gets the message?
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama demanded that BP set up a compensation fund for the oil-tainted Gulf Coast and prepared for his first Oval Office address to the nation as he tried to get a handle on the environmental disaster threatening to overwhelm his administration.
White House officials announced the steps Sunday as Obama prepared for his fourth visit to the tortured Gulf. They came at a pivotal moment in the catastrophe, with the enormity of the oil spill in sharper focus from more accurate measurements and no end in sight until relief wells are completed in August.
That means the nation must settle in for a long, hot summer of oil and gas spewing relentlessly from the ocean floor, driving residents to anger and despair, ruining precious marshlands, and poisoning pelicans, turtles and other wildlife.
For Obama, it is imperative that he try to help guide the country through the anguishing weeks ahead. After returning Tuesday from a trip to Alabama, Mississippi and Florida he will deliver a prime-time address from the Oval Office. It will be the first time he has used that most presidential of settings as a backdrop, underscoring the urgency of the moment.
“We’re at a kind of inflection point in this saga, because we now know that, what essentially what we can do and what we can’t do, in terms of collecting oil, and what lies ahead in the next few months,” senior adviser David Axelrod said on NBC’s “Meet the Press. “And he wants to lay out the steps that we’re going to take from here to get through this, through this crisis.”
Obama is expected to use the speech to reiterate the need for Congress to pass comprehensive energy legislation stalled in the Senate.
The next day, Wednesday, Obama will convene his first meeting with BP PLC executives, expected to include the company’s much-criticized CEO, Tony Hayward, who will also be grilled on Capitol Hill this week. At the meeting the president will tell company officials he expects them to establish a major compensation fund for people and companies damaged by the spill, to be administered by an independent panel, and that he will use his legal authority to ensure BP complies, White House officials said.
The White House said the size of the fund was to be determined, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., circulated a letter to other senators Sunday to be sent to BP asking for a $20 billion set-aside.
BP spokeswoman Sheila Williams in London said the company was aware of the White House’s plans for an escrow account, but she declined to comment further.
Almost two months since BP’s leased drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf, triggering the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the steps add up to Obama’s most concerted efforts so far to wrest control of the calamity. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to win back the confidence of a skeptical public that’s already seen potentially more than 100 million gallons of crude expelled into the Gulf, far outstripping the Exxon Valdez disaster. Estimates of the size of the spill have ratcheted up time and again even as BP tries to collect some portion of the spewing oil into containment ships at the surface.
With Gulf residents hurting and criticism raining in from Republicans, Obama will try to regain control of a story line, generated by residents and governors of the affected states among others, that he’s not in command.
It’s a hallmark of Obama’s presidency that he’s arriving with deliberation at the point where he tries to seize the moment, not reacting from the gut like President George W. Bush grabbing a bullhorn in the rubble of the Twin Towers after the Sept. 11 attacks. Bush’s speech in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina came sooner into that disaster than Obama’s planned Oval Office speech, but it yielded miserably few results, a negative verdict that Obama still has a chance to avoid.
His Gulf trip Monday and Tuesday will take him to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, the three Gulf states he has yet to visit, since his first three Gulf trips were all to Louisiana, the most heavily impacted state. He planned public events, visits to beaches and talks with local officials and residents. For the White House the next several days amount to exercising every tool at its disposal—an on-scene visit by the president, a speech from the Oval Office, the use of the power of the presidency to extract concessions from BP.
Alabama’s governor, Bob Riley, complained Sunday that the response to the spill still amounted to “trying to manage this through a committee form.” But Florida’s governor, Charlie Crist, offered a note of thanks.
“You know, whether you’re in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana or in my Florida, it’s important to have the leader of the free world come down here and pay attention to what’s happening,” Crist said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “So we’re grateful that he is.”
The White House can only hope that sentiment will resonate with—and perhaps be echoed by—the public in the months ahead.