The United States of America was a good country before 9/11, just as we are today. List all the things that make us a force for good in the world – for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences – and what you end up with is a list of the reasons why the terrorists hate America. If fine speech-making, appeals to reason, or pleas for compassion had the power to move them, the terrorists would long ago have abandoned the field. And when they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations, or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don’t stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along. Instead the terrorists see just what they were hoping for – our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.
There is also no question that Guantanamo set back the moral authority that is America’s strongest currency in the world. Instead of building a durable framework for the struggle against al Qaeda that drew upon our deeply held values and traditions, our government was defending positions that undermined the rule of law. Indeed, part of the rationale for establishing Guantanamo in the first place was the misplaced notion that a prison there would be beyond the law – a proposition that the Supreme Court soundly rejected. Meanwhile, instead of serving as a tool to counter-terrorism, Guantanamo became a symbol that helped al Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause. Indeed, the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.
I’d say moral authority versus moral preening. Obama still doesn’t have a clue, nor want one, when it comes to defeating radical Islam.
In his convention victory speech Obama read the following words from his teleprompter:
“… I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal;”
The new CAFE standards are going to reduce CO2 emissions, slow global warming and slow the rising of the oceans. Just how much impact will the new standards have on global warming and ocean levels? Instapundit linkee KEITH HENNESSEY does the math, based on MAGICC computer model projections. His conclusion:
Both options [Bush’s and Obama’s] would reduce the global mean surface temperature by one-thousandth of one degree Celsius by 2030. The Obama option would reduce the global temperature by seven thousandths of a degree Celsius by the end of this century.
The effects on sea level are too small to measure by 2030. By 2100, the Obama proposal (technically, the TC=TB proxy) would reduce the sea-level rise by six hundredths of a centimeter. That’s 0.6 millimeters.
In American, 0.6 mm is 0.0236 inches. What is the cost of the new CAFE standards? According to Keith Hennessey:
NHTSA estimated that a similar option [to Obama’s] would cost almost 150,000 U.S. auto manufacturing jobs over five years.
Do the new owners of GM and Chrysler realize this? Consumers would pay as much as $1,300 extra for vehicles that meet the Obama’s proposed standards. The extra costs come from more expensive technology (hybrids, diesel engines, dual clutch gear boxes, lighter materials). Further costs would come from additional safety gear to compensate for the loss of vehicle mass.
Obama claims consumers will save $2,800 over the life of the vehicle. This figure seems to be based on a vehicle life of 10 years, an annual mileage of 15,000, and gas priced at $2.00 per gallon. If gas prices double, the savings double.
In-sourced manufacturers, such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan and VW, are in a much better position to meet the standard than GM or Chrysler. Ford actually has a good hybrid on the road, so it is in a better position than the bankupt 2. The Japanese manufactuers have viable hybrid technology and small cars, while VW has very efficient diesels and dual clutch gear boxes.
I’m beginning to think Obama is more interested in destroying the domestic auto industry rather than running it. At least that is what his policies and proposals indicate.
Instapundit links to a post by Les Jones that points out:
The actual [unemployment] numbers aren’t just worse than the rosy picture Obama painted for a world after his magical stimulus took effect. They’re worse even than the doomsday scenario he outlined if Congress didn’t pass his stimulus plan.
The unemployment figures are going to get a lot worse as the Obama administration rams through a massive raft of new taxes and tax increases on the productive sector of society. Tigerhawk quotes extensively from a write-up produced by Deloitte Tax. The Obama administration is casting a wide net to catch the little fry in the tax system. Small business is going to be squeezed as hard as big business. Of course, the only result of such brute force attempts to raise tax revenues is to reduce them. As one of Tigerhawks commenters wrote:
In the recent past I’ve been busting my chops, have made a damn good living, and have paid over $200k annually in taxes. No more. I’m not going work myself to death to fund this socialist experiment. I’ve slowed down my law practice, laid off my help, and abandoned most of my office space. I’m targeting my income to $234k, and should pay about $100k in taxes.
In sum, just in my little world Obama’s tax plan resulted in the loss of two part-time jobs (about $40k in comp each), the abandonment of 1600 square feet of office space in the middle of the worst commercial real estate market in modern history, and a REDUCTION in tax revenue of approximately $100k. Nice work, Obama.
I suspect there are several million other small business owners out there who are doing the same thing. This is where the Democrats learn that the Supply Siders were right: incentives matter.
Perhaps Obama thinks that increasing taxes on business instead of individuals will spare him any electoral consequences. A rapidly increasing unemployment rate that hits his base hard — at the top as well as the bottom — should disabuse him of that notion.
A Corner reader posed the question:
Now that the UAW has an ownership stake in GM and looking good to have an even bigger position in Chrysler, how is this market power going to be addressed. While the obvious question is the role of ownership in two competitors, there is a more significant question. How can the UAW continue to be certified to conduct collective bargaining with Ford? You would have an instance of them being in a position to negatively impact a major competitor. There are all sorts of anti-trust concerns raised by this.
Ford is the only one of the Big Three that hasn’t (yet) received any tax-payer funded bail-out money. So it is already at a disadvantage compared to GM and Chrysler. Now it has to negotiate its labor contracts with the largest shareholder of its two American competitors. That’s going to put Ford at an even bigger disadvantage. Us poor tax-payers can do a little bit to level the playing field: boycott GM and Chrysler.
The Hammer, quoted on the Corner:
Well, when you hear him airily say that we could have gotten the information from other means, you have to ask yourself, isn’t that exactly what was attempted. And the reason they resorted to the enhanced interrogation is because it didn’t work.
And in the case of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the guy who they knew was the mastermind behind 9/11, the man who boasted of personally beheading Daniel Pearl with a butcher knife, he was asked politely about the plans that he knew about, and his answer was “Soon you will know,” meaning you will be looking in the morgues, counting the American dead, looking in hospitals at those who were destroyed, bodies destroyed in a future attack of which he will tell you nothing right now.
That’s why they used enhanced interrogation, which worked.
How many Danny Pearl’s would it take, how many more 9/11s, before the One stops his moral preening and starts doing his job as CIC?