Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: January 6, 2010


Why Are We Closing Guantanamo?

It remains a mystery, to me at least, why closing Gitmo is such a priority to this president.  In fact, it seems like it is the only campaign promise he actually plans on keeping, although to this point he’s been spectacularly unsuccessful.

But seriously, other than location, what does closing Gitmo and moving these “detainees” to a prison in Illinois accomplish?  Does Obama and the left actually believe that doing so will kill jihadi propaganda about the prison in Cuba which they claim is used as a recruiting tool?

“Make no mistake,” he said. “We will close Guantanamo prison, which has damaged our national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for al-Qaeda.”

Realistically, all the jihadis will do is change the name to the new prison and it will be recruiting propaganda as usual.  Do you think they really care where their fellow terrorists are held?  Of course not – the propaganda value isn’t in the place, its in the fact that they’re “suffering under the power of the infidel”.  Whether that “suffering” takes place in Cuba or Illinois is absolutely irrelevant to them.

And the Obama administration can run the best prison in the world, but the propaganda they seem so worried about will still characterize it as a infidel hell hole and torture chamber.  The depth of naivete necessary to believe that closing Gitmo will solve some sort of perception problem throughout the world and hurt jihadi recruiting is rather disturbing when you consider who it is that supposedly believes it.  In fact, the only thing I see this closure of Gitmo bringing is the expenditure of more money we don’t have for no apparent gain – not that government isn’t quite good at that anyway.

Today we learn that 20% of those poor goat herders who were innocently swept up in Iraq and Afghanistan have engaged in terrorist activities after their release. And we’ve supposedly kept the really bad one’s. Wasn’t the fact that they were terrorists the reason we stuck them in Gitmo to begin with?  So, if we now stick them in Thompson Correctional Center and keep them “indefinitely” without trial if it determined that is necessary (as promised by President Obama) how does TCC become any different in the eyes of jihadi’s (or, for that matter, the rest of the world) than Gitmo?

The short and simple answer is, it doesn’t.  All of that is a smoke screen. In fact what the move does accomplish is to transfer the terrorists from military control and custody to civilian control and custody and, by the way, into the US legal system – the real reason, I believe, behind the desire to close the Cuban facility.

~McQ


And The Answer To Obesity In America? More Government Regulation, Of Course

You see, you can’t help it – becoming obese I mean.  You just don’t understand enough about it all and besides our life styles have changed quite dramatically in such a way that you just can’t help puffing up.  And to top it all off,  you won’t change your eating habits and you won’t exercise, so what’s a government to do?

Why “stringently regulate” the food industry, per the “experts”, of course.

The point to this depressing analysis, the authors say, is to clarify that modern lifestyles contribute significantly to obesity and that it will be nearly impossible to reverse obesity trends on a grand scale without major societal changes.

“[S]mall changes in lifestyle would have a minor effect on obesity prevention,” they write. But the huge energy imbalance most Americans experience is “far beyond the ability of most individuals to address on a personal level.” Instead, they say, changes in the food supply and social infrastructure and more stringent regulations of the food industry will be needed.

Katan elaborated in an e-mail: “Studies show that even the most motivated, thoughtful, strong-willed people have a hard time losing weight when huge portions of cheap, tasty, convenient food are available at every turn of the road, and when walking and other forms of exercise are superfluous or impossible.”

“Cheap, tasty, convenient food” that’s readily available?!” What is this world coming too? How dare the food industry create food we want!?

But since Martijn B. Katan of the University of Amsterdam, and Dr. David S. Ludwig of Children’s Hospital, Boston have decided there isn’t much we’re able to do about it our selves (poor little helpless proles) and since we’re about to turn our health care over to government anyway, what the hell – let them decide what’s good for us, okay?

And we’ll all get nifty buttons to wear saying “WON” for “Whip Obesity Now!”. Can daily pep talks on a huge screen from our Big Brother in the White House be far behind?

[HT: Meg]

~McQ


Liberals, Green Energy, Environmentalists and Petards

The New York Times carries a story today that is chock full of irony and hypocrisy and frankly, pretty darn funny.

Seems the Cape Wind Project – you know the “green energy project” proposed for the waters off the liberal enclaves of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard – has run into even more resistance. This time it’s “spiritual”.

Indian tribes, who said the 130 proposed wind turbines would thwart their spiritual ritual of greeting the sunrise, which requires unobstructed views across the sound, and disturb ancestral burial grounds.

The tribes — the Mashpee Wampanoag of Cape Cod and the Aquinnah Wampanoag of Martha’s Vineyard — sought the listing last fall, shortly before a final federal decision on the project was expected. The project has been in the works since 2001 and is strongly supported by Gov. Deval Patrick.

Of course, for the Mashpee Wampanoag of Cape Cod, the area that the wind turbines would be is south of them. So it seems rather doubtful that it would thwart their requirement for an “unobstructed view” across the sound – and frankly that sounds pretty fishy to me to begin with. I can just see an ancient dictum handed down through the generations which ends with “… and the view must be unobstructed”, can’t you?

Of course that caveat would probably apply more readily to the Aquinnah Wampanoag of Martha’s Vineyard, where the 24 miles of wind turbines might obstruct their view – if the sun has begun rising in the northeast now. Hey with global warming, I guess anything is possible. But if the Wampanoag look due east, where most of us expect the sun to rise, no problem according the map accompanying the article.

But, of course, now that these folks have been enlisted to raise objections, it’s just not the liberal NIMBY types protesting this. We’re into real, honest to goodness desecration, by gosh. And the fact that the Aquinnah Wampanoag’s land is on the west side of Martha’s Vineyard is just not relevant to any of this. We have Native Americans complaining for heaven sake!

And, they’ve revealed, those are their ancient sacred grounds that the evil corporation wants to build their turbines on (wow, how convenient, no?). Yeah, they’re underwater and have been for hundreds and hundreds of years, but they’re pretty sure that’s where they were before the waters rose (ancient global warming brought on by burning excessive buffalo chips) and the grounds should be left undisturbed.

The result?

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar set a deadline of March 1 for the tribes and the project’s developer, Energy Management Inc., to reach a compromise.

If they do not — a distinct possibility given the acrimony surrounding the project — Mr. Salazar can decide the project’s future himself after seeking suggestions from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent group. But even if Mr. Salazar lets the project move forward, the park service finding could help the tribes and opponents build a legal case against it.

So let’s review – if you polled the liberal enclaves of Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, you’d most likely find overwhelming support for “green, renewable energy” and a desire to see that sort of energy source developed and deployed post haste. Well, except in their back yard. Because aesthetics are much more important than renewable energy and they’ve paid a lot of money for the views they enjoy. They still want that “green renewable energy”, but they’d prefer it be stuck in places like Texas and off the coast of South Carolina where people have the aesthetics of (sniff) NASCAR fans.

Yup, every time I hear about the liberal commitment to “green renewable energy” I’m drawn back to this controversy. And it recalibrates my thoughts about their real commitment, or, actually, apparent lack thereof. Obviously what is good enough to be plopped in front of your view of the sunrise is not something they’ll tolerate, whether green and renewable or not.

~McQ



“Tom Delay” Democrats

The Wall Street Journal as tagged the present majority Democrat Congress “Tom Delay Democrats” as they have now, plainly, become everything they complained about when Delay was running the show and more. And at least some of them (Pelosi excepted for being terminally clueless and claiming the present system of passing health care reform is the “most transparent” in history) are hitting the exits knowing their day is done.

First Senator Byron Dorgan announces his retirement and now Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-CT, is expected to announce his. As Rich Lowery says, while it is good news, it probably saves Connecticut for the Democrats. But you never know. Maybe Dodd’s next stop is “Dancing With The Stars”.

But back to the Democrats in general. This monstrosity of a health care bill has shown them for the hypocrites they are:

Evading conference has become standard operating procedure in this Congress, though you might think they’d allow for the more open and thoughtful process on what Mr. Obama has called “the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act passed in the 1930s and the most important reform of our health-care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s.”

This black-ops mission ought to be a particular embarrassment for Mr. Obama, given that he campaigned on transparent government. At a January 2008 debate he said that a health-care overhaul would not be negotiated “behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-Span so the American people can see what the choices are.”

There are no “choices” for Americans in this bill. Plans for these “negotiations” are not at all based in transparency and they certainly won’t be bringing “all parties together”. In fact, precisely the opposite will be the case. Republicans will be purposely excluded (don’t want them “gumming” up the works, by gosh) as will progressive Democrats as I pointed out yesterday. In fact, a very select group of Democrats only will “negotiate” the compromise behind closed doors and without input from anyone outside their chosen circle.

And they certainly don’t plan on doing this in the sunlight and in front of the American people via C-Span – so Brian Lamb ought to just shut up and quit asking. The darkness is where legislative cockroaches work best, and they like it for a reason:

Democrats know that a conference forces the majority party to cast votes on awkward motions and would give the Republicans who have been shut out for months a chance to participate. This sunlight, and the resulting public attention, might scare off wavering Democrats and defeat the bill. Ethics rules the Democrats passed in 2007 also make it harder to “airdrop” into conference reports the extra bribes they will no doubt add to grease the way for final passage.

Now that the inconvenient charade of getting CBO to score the previous bills and get them below the threshold necessary to pass them (even though the projections are based on data manipulated to score well in the statutory 10 year window in which the CBO must work), they are free even from that constraint. Once they cobble together their final bill “informally” in the dark, they can rush it through both the House and Senate for final passage and on to the desk of the president for signature. No telling, at that point, how much it will really cost .

Democrats howled at the strong-arm tactics Mr. DeLay used to pass Medicare drug coverage in 2003, and so did we. But they’ve managed to create an even more destructive bill, and their tactics are that much worse. We can’t even begin to imagine the uproar if the Republicans had tried to privatize Social Security with such contempt for the democratic process and public opinion.

Yes we can imagine the uproar. But as the WSJ points out – this is nothing new, just worse. Both sides play these destructive and ridiculous games when they’re in power. They make a mockery of the process, destroy the legitimacy of their institution, alienate the people and then wonder why there’s so much anger out there in flyover land.

Surely they can’t be that clueless, can they?

UPDATE: WordPress is giving me fits this morning, so please excuse all the workaround attempts I’m having to take to post

~McQ