April 17, 2011
Did We Hitch Our Wagon to a (Death) Star?By Clarice Feldman
Vittorio Arrigoni, who had devoted several years of his life to the Palestinian cause, is dead -- murdered by those he thought he was helping.
Arrigoni is not alone in making a fatal error about the Palestinians.
Daniel Pipes point out that:
In the same vein Western women who travel to Gaza to throw in their lot with the Gaza residents are routinely sexually abused and raped and the practice hushed up by the organizations that sponsor their work there.
While Western civilization seems ever more determined to preserve in the gene pool those who like these volunteers haven't the slightest survival instinct or talent for intellectual discrimination, the rest of the world seems to operate under a more atavistic scheme.
Poor Vittorio, seen earlier swaggering smugly about Gaza for the cameras with relief supplies, met his untimely death because he misjudged his environment and the limits of non-violent action in barbarian territory.
As Vittorio fatally misjudged Palestine, so does Obama misjudge the inexorable and sometimes brutal laws of economics. His address this week on the budget makes that clear. He and his party continue down the path of some nonsensical, hippy dippy 1960's notions about the role of government, the desirability of income redistribution schemes, and the efficacy of unlimited federal power and spending. And if we do not succeed in imposing some sanity on government spending and programs the U.S. will find that in electing this poseur we hitched our wagon to a death star.
The national debt is now 16 million tons worth of one dollar bills, as Iowahawk shows us graphically.
At the moment the president's budget shortfalls are $1.6 trillion annually. He tried to slough the problem off -- as he always does -- as the fault of his predecessor, but Obama himself signed on to those exact same tax policies last December that he attacks in April. In any event, no reputable economist believes that raising the tax rates will either improve the economy or make a substantial dent in the shortfall. To the contrary, many credibly believe a rise in taxes will further stifle growth and, relying on experience, argue it will result in a revenue reduction. When this was posed to Obama some time ago he responded that even if higher taxes result in lower revenue, the rich nevertheless had to pay more taxes for "fairness" sake alone.
Many took particular issue with his dishonest characterization of tax cuts and present deductions -- many of which he hopes to cancel -- as "spending reductions in the tax code." They misunderstand him I think. This was the only honest part of the speech -- revealing his belief that all that is produced in this country belongs to the federal government for it -- that is to say him -- to dispose of as he sees fit.
On the spending side he is as much a class warrior and as inconstant as he is on the revenue side.
Jake Tapper captures the essence of the Obama intellectual schizophrenia well:
Mark Steyn pithily notes how puerile the entire speech was:
The people who elected him should not be the least surprised that he cannot handle the reins of his office. At the time they elected him there wasn't any evidence he had the slightest capacity for the position. Jay Cost tags Obama as an "inexperienced faker" whose only demonstrable talent was successfully gaming the nominating process.
I think Cost has a point but I'd go further. Obama is an "inexperienced faker" without even the possibility of growing into the office.
Think of it. He blew off recommendations of the bipartisan deficit commission he just appointed, he savagely and rudely attacked Paul Ryan's plan in an address which offered the invited Ryan no opportunity to respond, and now proposes to balance the budget by a series of make believe cuts and fantasized revenue enhancements. The Wall Street Journal's Review and Outlook:
Vice President Biden slept through the big address.
Was he silently expressing the depth of his enthusiasm for Obama's plan to create yet another fictitious deficit reduction commission with the vice president in charge this time?
In the end, we have a major crisis and a president who doesn't understand its magnitude and lacks the political skill to deal successfully with it even if he did. In that sense the people of Guatemala are a lot smarter than we are. A wildly popular autobiography about a Guatemalan peasant, Rigoberta Menchu, with an appealing but fake life history (written by a ghost author) was promoted by all the usual elites and garnered a Nobel Prize. The subject of the work became an international figure and ran for President of Guatemala in 2007. She lost handily-winning only 3 % of the vote.
We should have been so lucky.