I have a new piece up at Hudson New York, called "The Popularity Trap." It's here.
Daily Snippets are here.
Answers to the current question are here.
The new current question is here.
We're now on Twitter, where we'll be posting little notes. You can go to http://twitter.com/urgentagenda
We have a new audio clip up: "Obama's First Month." You can hear it here.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2009
AMEN INDEED - AT 11:29 P.M. ET: From The Wall Street Journal, quoting President Obama:
"We sent our troops to Iraq to do away with Saddam Hussein's regime -- and you got the job done. We kept our troops in Iraq to help establish a sovereign government -- and you got the job done. And we will leave the Iraqi people with a hard-earned opportunity to live a better life -- that is your achievement; that is the prospect that you have made possible." Amen.
COMMENT: It is sad that Mr. Obama does not have the graciousness to give credit to his predecessor, who made victory in Iraq possible. Nor does he have the courage to utter the word "democracy." Doing both things would upset the left wing of his party. But at least the president acknowledges what he refused to during the campaign - that we have essentially won in Iraq. With this nod, he vindicates much of what Mr. Bush did. Let's see if any member of the mainstream media recognizes that fact.
TOO GOOD TO IGNORE - AT 6:14 P.M. ET. Some images are just too good to pass over. This, of Hillary Clinton, from the Washington Times:
Yeah, I'm afraid so.
IF TRUE, GREAT - AT 4:47 P.M. ET: From AP:
The United States has decided not to participate in a UN conference on racism in April unless the final document is changed to drop all references to Israel and the defamation of religion, a senior US official said Friday.
The conference is a follow-up to the contentious 2001 conference in the South African city of Durban which was dominated by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery. The US and Israel walked out midway through that eight-day meeting over a draft resolution that singled out Israel for criticism and likened Zionism to racism.
COMMENT: The coming conference is the already infamous Durban II. Besides demonizing Israel, the conference is expected to demand reparations for slavery and to pass resolutions essentially banning criticism of anything Islamic. I am making a guarded guess that the source of this story is our UN ambassador, Susan Rice, which would be good.
DOW CLOSE - AT 4:36 P.M .ET: The Dow closed down 119, to 7063. It is bumping that 7000 mark. A few weeks ago it was bumping the 8000 mark.
GM STALLED - AT 11:40 A.M. ET: From The Detroit Free Press:
GM Chairman Rick Wagoner pressed Thursday to convince Washington to provide more aid as the company revealed a massive loss coupled with a warning that its auditors are likely to question the automaker's viability.
It was a further sign that the century-old automaker is teetering on bankruptcy, a scenario that General Motors Corp. is desperately trying to avoid.
COMMENT: It might be inevitable. There's a limit to what Washington and the American people will do. Constant talk of bankruptcy, of course, is a self-fulling prophecy: Who wants to buy a car from a company that may be going bankrupt? How do you explain it to your neighbors?
WE ARE ALL EUROPEANS NOW?
Posted at 9:53 a.m. ET
Ah, we have suspected it. Charles Krauthammer says what many have been thinking - that the Obamans would like to turn this country into some version of a European socialist state.
Not a great speech, but extremely consequential. If Barack Obama succeeds, his joint address to Congress will be seen as historic -- indeed as the foundational document of Obamaism. As it stands, it constitutes the boldest social democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president.
Reagan came to office to do something: shrink government, lower taxes, rebuild American defenses. Obama made clear Tuesday night that he intends to be equally transformative. His three goals: universal health care, universal education, and a new green energy economy highly funded and regulated by government.
Not much on defense.
These revolutions in health care, education and energy are not just abstract hopes. They have already taken life in Obama's massive $787 billion stimulus package, a huge expansion of social spending constituting a down payment on Obama's plan for remaking the American social contract.
Obama sees the current economic crisis as an opportunity. He has said so openly. And now we know what opportunity he wants to seize. Just as the Depression created the political and psychological conditions for Franklin Roosevelt's transformation of America from laissez-faireism to the beginnings of the welfare state, the current crisis gives Obama the political space to move the still (relatively) modest American welfare state toward European-style social democracy.
With its mediocrity, boredom and lack of innovation.
The spread between Europe and America in government-controlled GDP has already shrunk from 14 percent to 7 percent. Two terms of Obamaism and the difference will be zero.
Conservatives take a dim view of the regulation-bound, economically sclerotic, socially stagnant, nanny state that is the European Union. Nonetheless, Obama is ascendant and has the personal mandate to take the country where he wishes. He has laid out boldly the Brussels-bound path he wants to take.
Just what the world needs - another Belgium. It won't be long before we are spouting pacifism, and, of course, multiculturalism, and welcoming the destruction of our Constitutional freedoms in the name of social harmony.
February 27, 2007. Permalink
REQUIRED READING - AT 9:30 A.M. ET: One of the blessings I've been given in publishing Urgent Agenda is our remarkable, informed and experienced readership. (It's just got to be one of the best readerships on the web.) Excellent information and insight pours in every day.
The Pentagon has now decided to permit the photographing of the coffins of dead American soldiers as they're returned to the United States. I have no idea why this decision was made. Are not the families entitled to some dignity and privacy? Some shout that this is a "freedom of the press" issue. It is not. You can be sure that those who pressured for this change are determined to shatter American morale, as they did during Vietnam. Some of them say that they want to show Americans "the cost of war," as if Americans don't know that men and women have been killed. Must be a secret somewhere.
I urge you to read this message, sent by an Air Force physician to his father, who is an Urgent Agenda reader with substantial experience in government. This says it:
I see on the news that they are going to allow the photography. Over and over, even in death, the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will be used for political propaganda. It will never be as respectful and full of honor as it was when everyone available stopped work and lined up to pay their respect with salutes and tears to each and every returning hero. No one needed a camera crew to do this. This is what we do for our fallen, out of love and respect, not for a photo op. The ceremony, the dignity, the respect for the families of the fallen has been cheapened by this.
COMMENT: "Cheapened" is exactly the right word.
BAD NUMBERS - AT 9:12 A.M. ET:
Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter at a faster pace than previously estimated as consumer spending plunged, companies cut inventories and exports sank.
Gross domestic product contracted at a 6.2 percent annual pace from October through December, more than economists anticipated and the most since 1982, according to revised figures from the Commerce Department today in Washington. Consumer spending, which comprises about 70 percent of the economy, declined at the fastest pace in almost three decades.
COMMENT: And yet, the "stimulus" package seems to address little of this, opting instead for a liberal wish list that will stimulate only New York Times editorial writers.
QUOTE OF THE DAY, THUS FAR - AT 8:45 A.M. ET: From British writer Vanessa Neumann, in The Times of London, who grew up in Venezuela, the daughter of an oil executive:
When my blue-eyed father drove his Mercedes home to the country club through the Puente de Chapellin slum, the locals waved at him, for they knew that we provided 3,300 jobs and the Neumann Foundation funded poverty reduction programmes from vocational training for single mothers to literacy programmes to free medical and dental care. Last time I drove through the Puente de Chapellin I was surrounded by an angry mob that took a baseball bat to my car. This is Chavez’s great achievement: violence and near civil war.
COMMENT: The image of the foreign executive in Latin America is poor, and often for good reason. But there have been plenty of enlightened executives and companies who've made great contributions to local economies, and who have provided a way up for people who'd had no hope. Chavez is sweeping all that away, not understanding what foreign investment and expertise can do. Naturally, he's been cheered on by a good chunk of the Hollywood crowd, with its vast understanding of international economics.
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DEMOCRATIC UNITY - AT 8:02 A.M. ET: From The Politico:
When it comes to one of the central tax proposals in President Obama’s budget, he may have more to worry about from his fellow Democrats in Congress than from the Republicans.
In a move that reprises several pitched Washington battles, Obama is proposing to limit the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes. He would cap most itemized deductions at 28%, effectively hiking federal taxes further on families making more than roughly $250,000. Taxpayers in higher brackets, whose federal income tax rate is set to rise as high as 39.6% in 2011, would lose up to a quarter of their current deductions.
The limit would have the greatest impact in high-tax states like New York New Jersey, California and Maryland, as well as in the District of Columbia.
COMMENT: How can we do this to all those Wall Street executives, with their Ivy League shingles, who are now among the mainstays of the Democratic Party? Why, if this proposal isn't changed, you may see a Boston Latte Party.
BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE - BUT IT'S ONLY YOUR IMAGINATION: AT 7:38 A.M. Some stories are written in a way that makes extracts difficult, if we wish to maintain accuracy, but the stories remain very worthwhile. I commend to you George Will's column today in which he relates his experience in delving into the global-warming debate. Questioning global warming in Western countries is like questioning a mullah in Iran. Not healthy. Read Will for the details.
RISKY MOVE - AT 7:27 P.M. ET: From Fox News:
WASHINGTON -- An accused Al Qaeda sleeper agent held for 5 1/2 years at a Navy brig in South Carolina will soon be sent to Illinois for trial in civilian court, a move the government has fought for years saying terror suspects caught in the U.S. could be held indefinitely without charges.
Two people familiar with the case of Qatar native Ali al-Marri said Thursday the government plans to transfer him to the civilian court system. One of them said he would be charged with providing support to terrorists. The two people spoke on condition of anonymity because it's a pending criminal case.
COMMENT: A very risky move. Civilian juries are notoriously unreliable in these cases, and can easily be swayed by ethnic arguments - the "I am a victim" defense.
THIS JUST IN - AT 7:15 A.M. ET: We know you've been waiting for this:
OSLO (AP) -- President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy are believed to be among a record 205 nominations for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
The secretive five-member awards committee, which released its final nominations count on Friday, keeps the names of candidates secret for 50 years. But some of the thousands of people with nominating rights do announce their nominees.
COMMENT: Obama? What precisely has he done? Well, wait, Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize, and what precisely did he do? The Nobel Peace Prize - keeping standards low.
THEY CAN'T LET GO - AT 7:13 A.M. ET: -
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Anecdotes, news reports and even the many times ''24'' agent Jack Bauer has saved the country on TV aren't enough to convince the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CIA's harsh interrogation methods actually work.
Lawmakers are investigating the interrogation program begun during the Bush administration in an attempt to inject fact into the public debate over those methods, Senate officials said Thursday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details of the committee's discussions.
COMMENT: Yes, we're absolutely sure they're trying to inject "fact" into the debate, and same "fact" this crowd injected when they chanted "Bush lied, thousands died," regularly and on schedule. Of course we should oppose torture in all but the most exceptional circumstances, but enhanced interrogation techniques are not necessarily torture. Sleep deprivation or playing loud music do not constitute brutality. Thousands of lives may be lost if we fail to get the information we need. The rights of those people count too.
JUMPIN' NANCY, THAT'S TOO MANY! - AT 6:52 A.M. ET: Nancy Pelosi, who spent much of the president's speech to Congress jumping up and down, clapping wildly, and otherwise acting like a cheerleader wannabe trying to make the squad, is now upset with Mr. Obama. The reason? His Iraq withdrawal plan leaves too many troops, an estimated 50,000, in the country after the main withdrawal is completed next year. The troops are needed, the Pentagon believes, for stability. But San Fran Nan, whose congressional district regards Karl Marx as a neocon, isn't buying. "She kicked off the public criticism on Wednesday by saying she did not understand 'the justification' for 50,000 troops," The New York Times reported.
Ironically, some of Obama's strongest support on the issue came from Republicans, especially John McCain.
I suspect the president is secretly happy about the Dem indigestion over the issue. Makes him look tougher.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2009
CLOSINGS - AT 6:30 P.M. ET: From The New York Times:
The Rocky Mountain News in Denver will cease publication on Friday.
E.W. Scripps, which owns newspaper, known locally as The Rocky, announced Thursday that it had failed to find a buyer for the daily. Scripps’s chief executive, Rich Boehne, said in a statement that The Rocky was “a victim of changing times in our industry and huge economic challenges.” Scripps said the newspaper lost $16 million last year.
The Rocky is one of several big-city newspapers that lost tens of millions of dollars in the last few years. Those papers now face a precarious future. Hearst, for example, said last week that it was considering selling or closing The San Francisco Chronicle, and it plans to close The Seattle Post-Intelligencer if it finds no buyer for that paper.
COMMENT: No celebrating, please. The death of a newspaper, including a newspaper whose views we might oppose, is a sad moment. It means a lot of people out of work, and most have tried to do their jobs honestly. But I do believe that improving the news product, and fighting bias, will go a long way toward saving many American newspapers. Loss of credibility has been a serious problem.
A SICKENING CHOICE - AT 5:34 P.M. ET: It's now official. Charles Freeman Jr., essentially a front man for the Saudi regime, an apologist for terrorism, an Israel hater of the first rank, and a man who expressed approval of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China, has been appointed chairman of the National Intelligence Council by Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence.
This appointment is an obscenity. Reportedly, the White House was aware of Freeman's record, but did not want to interfere with Blair's choice. The fact that Blair could choose a man like this calls into profound question Blair's judgment and fitness for office. Freeman will be responsible for overseeing the National Intelligence Estimates, which guide the president.
Let us be blunt. In my view, Freeman is a security risk. He is a man who represents anything but American values. The lame White House concern about "interfering" with Blair is sickening. Who is president, Obama or Blair?
For years the left wing has criticized the "politicizing" of intelligence. Now we have, in the most sensitive position, a man with profoundly disturbing political views.
Something is very wrong here. Our intelligence service is sliding downhill under the direction of Dennis Blair, a retired admiral, and the White House refuses to intervene.
From The Weekly Standard:
The left has defended Freeman's views on Israel -- even when his statements seem designed only to inflame and provoke controversy. What the left is unable to do is defend Freeman's views on China, where he unapologetically supports the bloody crackdown on democracy activists who dare protest in the streets of the capital, and Saudi Arabia, which as far as Freeman is concerned is something like Berkeley in the desert. The left spent years bemoaning the close ties between the Bush family and the Saudi royals -- and it was a relationship that few on the right were eager to defend. Now the left can have their turn defending a man who is so closely tied to the Saudi Kingdom that in the weeks after 9/11 he wouldn't even consider halting his business with the bin Laden family.
It is perfectly apparent that Obama's foreign policy is courting disaster. It favors our enemies, insults our friends, and has no love for human rights or democracy. Change we can believe in?
DOW CLOSE - AT 5:31 P.M. ET: The Dow closed down 89, to 7182. By contrast, it closed at 12685 one year ago.
SAME OLD, SAME OLD - AT 5:26 P.M . ET:
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- President Barack Obama's administration will seek to end Iran's nuclear ambition and its support for terrorism, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Thursday -- drawing an immediate rebuke from Iran's U.N. envoy.
Iran has never and will never try to acquire nuclear weapons, Ambassador Mohammad Khazee said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council immediately after U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice spoke. He dismissed her allegation that Iran engages in terrorism as ''baseless and absurd.''
COMMENT: No progress with Iran, and there won't be.
DOW NOW - AT 3:10 P.M. ET: The Dow is now down 65, to 7206. Obama must have said something.
DOW SO-SO - AT 12:53 P.M. ET: The Dow is up 31.
NOT SENATOR FROM NEW YORK ANY LONGER - AT 12:35 P.M. ET: From the New York Post:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent angry messages to Israel in the past week, complaining that humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip is being blocked by officials in Jerusalem, Israeli media reported yesterday.
COMMENT: We still await a single angry message from this administration directed at an enemy of the United States. But of course, Barack Hussein Obama may have a different definition of "enemy" than we do.
DEFENSE CUTBACKS - AT 11:59 A.M. ET: The administration's new budget is out. We look first to defense funding, but details are scarce. The New York Times reports:
But some clues have emerged, and defense consultants say it seems clear that expensive missile defense systems and parts of the Army’s vast modernization effort will be cut back. Some also say that plans for a new Navy destroyer are likely to be scrapped.
COMMENT: We're going back to the 1970s, when we almost wrecked national defense. With the trillions being spent to bail out various sectors of the economy, you'd think critical defense programs could be kept intact, especially at a time when Iran is building its offensive capability and Russia is resurgent. I hope we don't pay a price.
DOW UP - AT 11:53 A.M. ET: The Dow is up 50, to 7321.
WHY DO THEY HATE US?
Posted at 11:20 a.m. ET:
No, no, no, I'm not referring to other "cultures" (which of course are equal), that are living in the 10th century. I'm referring to liberals. I've held this piece until I had time to address it carefully because it's one of the best articles on the subject of the liberal mind that I've read in years. It's by William Voegeli, of Claremont McKenna College, in The Wall Street Journal:
John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin to be his running mate set off a fiercely contemptuous reaction. The chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party said Mrs. Palin's sole qualification for high office was that she had never had an abortion...
...The denunciation of Palin took place 45 years after William F. Buckley Jr. wrote: "I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University."
From Richard Nixon's invoking the "silent majority" to Mrs. Palin's campaigning as a devout, plainspoken hockey mom, conservatives have claimed that they share the common sense of the common man. Liberals—from Adlai Stevenson to Barack Obama to innumerable writers, artists and academics—have often been willing foils in this drama, unable to stop themselves from disparaging the very people whose votes are indispensable to the liberal cause. The elephant-in-the-room irony is that the liberal cause is supposed to be about improving the prospects and economic security of ordinary Americans, whose beliefs and intelligence liberals so often enjoy deriding.
Buckley explained his "two thousand faculty members" quote this way:
I greatly fear intellectual arrogance, and that is a distinguishing characteristic of the university which refuses to accept any common premise. In the deliberations of two thousand citizens of Boston I think one would discern a respect for the laws of God and for the wisdom of our ancestors which does not characterize the thought of Harvard professors—who, to the extent that they believe in God at all, tend to believe He made some terrible mistakes which they would undertake to rectify...
Well said, as always. Voegeli explains:
What sets the people in the phonebook apart from the professors, according to this argument, is that they believe in and defer to profound truths existing outside of history. They are willing, furthermore, to accept that the "democracy of the dead," incorporating the cumulative judgment of people long gone and forgotten, might well have grasped those truths better than people, even very smart people, who happen to be alive at this moment.
The professors, by contrast, expect to be deferred to, not to be the ones deferring.
Our age has seen political disdain become seamlessly integrated into cultural disdain. The prominent novelist E.L. Doctorow showed the way in 1980 when he wrote that Ronald Reagan had grown up in "just the sorts of places [small towns in Illinois] responsible for one of the raging themes of American literature, the soul-murdering complacency of our provinces. . . . The best and brightest fled all our Galesburgs and Dixons, if they could, but the candidate was not among them...
...A third-rate student at a fifth-rate college could learn from the stage, the debating platform, the gridiron and the fraternity party the styles of manliness and verbal sincerity that would stand him in good stead when the time came to make his mark in the world."
Achieving success in his first job out of college, as a radio announcer in Des Moines, Reagan made a number of local speaking engagements, "giving talks to fraternal lodges, boys' clubs and the like, telling sports stories and deriving from them Y.M.C.A. sorts of morals."
Oh, that inferior, unfortunate man. You know, if we all had YMCA sorts of morals, the world would be a much better place.
We see here all the basic elements, employed for the past 28 years, of liberal condescension. Every issue of The New Yorker, Vanity Fair or Rolling Stone makes clear that the policy positions of George W. Bush, Republicans and conservatives in general are wicked and stupid. The real problem, however, is that everything about these people—where they reside, what they believe, how they live, work, recreate, talk and think—is in irredeemably bad taste. To embark on a conversation with one of them, based on straight-faced openness to the possibility of learning something interesting or important, would be like choosing to vacation in Wichita instead of Tuscany.
This disdain is not only inefficacious, however, but unsatisfying. The problem with the superior attitude—either you get the joke, or you are the joke—is that the people being condescended to probably aren't smart enough to realize that they are being mocked. The novelist Jane Smiley calls this "the unteachable ignorance of the red states."
Remember that, all you unteachable people out there.
Intellectuals are the point of the spear. Richard Hofstadter devoted a book in 1963 to examining "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life." He was a war correspondent who confined his reporting to the shots fired in just one direction, however, saying nothing about anti-Americanism in intellectual life.
Ah, the unspeakable subject.
Another part of the program is to confound the complacent assumptions of American patriotism. Not only has America's past been bloody and shameful in ways the uninstructed few must be made to realize, but the supposed depredations of America's "enemies" are, upon examination, understandable and even admirable.
Yes, those beheadings are entirely understandable. Do you feel the righteous rage of the downtrodden masses, especially the ones running the OPEC countries?
The late Susan Sontag was forbiddingly erudite—an essayist, novelist, playwright and critic. There's not a community college dropout in America, however, gullible enough to have traveled to Hanoi and reported back, as she did in 1968, "The North Vietnamese genuinely care about the welfare of the hundreds of captured American pilots and give them bigger rations than the Vietnamese population gets, 'because they're bigger than we are,' as a Vietnamese army officer told me, 'and they're used to more meat than we are.' "
Ask John McCain for a memo on that.
By the same token, whatever the correct assessment of Sarah Palin's abilities and limitations, it's impossible to imagine that it would have taken her 20 years of close contact with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to notice that he sincerely believes a number of toxic, lunatic ideas.
Barack Obama's degrees from Columbia and Harvard law school may be proof of intellectual agility, but they do not guarantee good sense. For this, as William Buckley suggested 45 years ago, we are better advised to rely on graduates of the University of Idaho, or even the opinions of stewardesses.
Great piece. Read the whole thing, and send it to a friend.
February 26, 2009. Permalink
GRIM - AT 8:35 A.M. ET: If you think we've got problems, consider this, from Bloomberg:
The worst recession since 1975 is eroding the wealth of elderly Italians and forcing them to do something they had never before considered: sell family homes to strangers at a discount on the condition that they can stay on until they pass away.
But get this:
History provides a cautionary tale.
In 1965, French lawyer Andre-Francois Raffray was 47 when he bought 90-year-old Jeanne Calment’s apartment, expecting to move in with his family within a few years. Instead, she went on to become the oldest woman in history, dying at 122 in 1997. By then, Raffray had already been dead for two years.
COMMENT: Count your blessings.
MORE GREAT VETTING - AT 8:29 A.M. ET: President Obama has presented his third nominee for commerce secretary, and already there's a problem. From The Politico:
President Barack Obama on Wednesday tried for the third time to fill the vacant commerce secretary position, tapping former Washington Gov. Gary Locke for a Cabinet post that two previous nominees have backed away from.
But Locke’s post-gubernatorial efforts to drum up business for an array of companies in the rapidly expanding Chinese market may require steps to reconcile with the administration’s ethics policy...
...The problem is that Locke, a partner in an international law firm’s China division, has advocated for Microsoft, Starbucks, and banking, timber and shipping interests in recent years, raising potential conflicts for him as head of a department charged with promoting U.S. trade around the globe.
One of Obama’s first acts as president was to sign an executive order barring executive branch officials for two years from working on issues “directly and substantially related” to their former clients or employers.
COMMENT: How many Americans do you think would easily qualify for the post of secretary of commerce? A thousand? Ten thousand? A hundred thousand? We're not talking brain surgery. Couldn't Obama find someone who was completely clean? What is wrong with this crew? Can't they get past the Chicago style of politics? I hope they examined this bird's tax returns.
EUROPEAN HARD-LINERS? - AT 7:50 A.M. ET: Some stories make you blink twice. This is one of them. From the Jerusalem Post:
France, Germany and the UK are planning to present US President Barack Obama with a list of increased sanctions against Iran, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.
That other nations should be compiling such a list should be embarrassing to us. But there is no embarrassment for this administration, in foreign policy, that's too great. Consider this:
The Financial Times said that while diplomats in Europe confirmed that the EU3 (France, Germany and the UK) had compiled such a list, they gave different reasons for it. Some reportedly explained that the list aimed to beef up the current "carrot-and-stick" approach, while others said the reason was to push for "a more hard-line outcome of Washington's current review of its Iran policy."
COMMENT: Say what? Europe is pushing for America to be more hard-line on Iran? What does that tell you about Obama? The Europeans are catching on. They may complain about us, but, in the end, they want a strong America, and the sane Europeans understand the Iranian threat - much better than the Obama crowd apparently does.
OH, SWELL - AT 7:34 A.M. ET: From The Washington Times:
The board of governors of the world's nuclear watchdog meets next week in Vienna, Austria, to discuss Iran, but the Obama administration may not have much to say.
Focused on domestic economic issues and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the administration is still putting in place the personnel to draft policy on Iran.
COMMENT: Doesn't that give you confidence? Douglas MacArthur once said that all tragedies begin with two words: Too late. Obama was elected almost four months ago. Iran's nuclear program can have devastating consequences far beyond the Iraq or Afghanistan problems. Yet, personnel are still not in place. It's the same old story: The left-wing Democrats have no interest in national-security policy, only in domestic policy, with lots of cash flowing. That we don't yet have an Iran policy is a disgrace. Note the sense of outrage in the mainstream media.