Friday, January 20, 2012

No Need for Such Friends

I don't know how accurate this report is, but if it's correct, the man who made these remarks is either an idiot, or he's despicable, or he's still in middle school.

The editor of a small-circulation Jewish newspaper in Atlanta, a man named Andrew Adler, allegedly opined that given the existential threat to Israel from its enemies and given Mr. Obama's apparent coldness toward Israel's danger, the tiny nation has three choices (it seems more like two choices but never mind that):

They can either attack Hamas, attack Hezbollah, or assassinate the president of the U.S. (presumably to get someone more favorable to Israeli interests in the Oval Office). Mr. Adler went on to amplify:
Yes, you read "three" correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence. Think about it. If I have thought of this Tom Clancy-type scenario, don't you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel's most inner circles?

Another way of putting "three" in perspective goes something like this: How far would you go to save a nation comprised of seven million lives ... Jews, Christians and Arabs alike? You have got to believe, like I do, that all options are on the table.
If Mr. Adler is indeed an adult and didn't realize the significance of what he was saying he's unimaginably obtuse. If he did realize what he was saying then he's morally contemptible. In either case, he should, if the situation is being reported accurately, be anathematized by the community of those who support Israel's right to exist and who believe the U.S. should be strongly committed to Israel's security. Israel has enough enemies. It doesn't need friends like Mr. Adler.

Why It's Hard to Take Them Seriously

There was a day when people actually respected the media and put a lot of faith in what they told them, but that day - at least for the major print, cable, and broadcast media - is long past. To understand why one need only look at how the media is treating Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich and compare that to how they've treated Democrats over the years.

Mitt Romney, for instance, is being ridiculed by many in the major media for being rich and out of touch with the common man, but I don't recall the same ridicule being leveled at the Democrat candidate for president in 2004 John "Where can I get me a huntin' license" Kerry who is just as rich - if not richer - than Romney and certainly just as out of touch.

The media is also guffawing at revelations of Newt Gingrich's various marital woes and affairs, but I don't recall similar merriment being enjoyed by media liberals at the expense of Bill Clinton who was arguably the most sexually licentious and irresponsible president in the last 100 years. Indeed, when word of his escapades became public we were told that character doesn't matter, only competence matters.

Nor did the media even mention the affair of John Edwards who fathered a child with his mistress and then ran for president. The media sat on the story until it was publicized by a tabloid.

Nor did the liberal media have much to say about Al Gore's frolic in a hotel room with a woman who testified that Mr. Gore forced himself upon her, demanding that she release his "third chokra," or some such thing.

Folks in the major print and network media have subjected every detail of Mitt Romney's taxes and Newt Gingrich's marriages to microscopic scrutiny, but for the last three years they've been completely disinterested in questions about Mr. Obama's qualifications for office, not to mention his constitutional eligibility for it.

They're so obviously in the tank for the Democrats that it's very hard to believe much of what they say, and most people don't.

Why Kill the Pipeline?

President Obama has for some time been saying that:
  • We need to be energy independent of the Middle East
  • We need to create jobs
  • We need to do more for the poor
If the president really believes these three propositions why did he kill the Keystone XL pipeline?

As Ronald Bailey tells us at
The 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, would daily transport more than 500,000 barrels of oil derived from oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. already imports about 2 million barrels of oil per day from Canada. Since the pipeline crosses our border the president has the responsibility to decide if it is in the national interest. President Obama under pressure from the environmental lobby punted on approving the pipeline - bravely putting off his decision until after the elections in November. In December, the Republicans in Congress passed legislation that required the president to make his decision by February 21st. Apparently, he now has.
The pipeline would have increased the amount of petroleum we buy from our friends and reduced our dependence upon foreign markets. Its construction would have created 20,000 jobs directly and thousands more indirectly. It would have kept low the cost of fuel - gasoline, home heating fuel, etc. - which would have been a great benefit to those most vulnerable to rises in energy costs. Low fuel cost means that every other thing we buy would be cheaper than it otherwise would be. This would have been a special blessing to the poor.

So, why did the president decide we weren't going through with it? How is constructing the pipeline not in our national interest. Mr. Obama claims that it's because there wasn't enough time to study the environmental impact, but this is hard to credit. They've been studying this pipeline for three years. Here's Bailey again:
Proponents of the pipeline point out that the project is shovel-ready and would create 20,000 construction jobs. In addition, the pipeline has passed environmental muster twice already. And the company has agreed to re-site a portion of the pipeline in order to allay exaggerated fears that a leak from it might harm the Ogallala aquifer.
Some have complained that tar sands oil is particularly dirty and we shouldn't be putting its combustion products into the atmosphere, but this claim is also hard to place any confidence in. The pipeline will still be built, and the oil will still be burned but now instead of building the pipeline to connect the wells with refineries in the Gulf coast the pipeline will be built to the Pacific and the oil sent by ship to China where it will be burned with far fewer environmental safeguards than had it been burned in the U.S.

Whatever the liabilities and risks of the pipeline are they don't seem to outweigh the benefits of more jobs, more energy independence, and cheaper fuel. So why did the president turn down these benefits and kill the pipeline?

Economist Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post, a newspaper which strongly supports this administration, pulls no punches:
President Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is an act of national insanity. It isn't often that a president makes a decision that has no redeeming virtues and -- beyond the symbolism -- won't even advance the goals of the groups that demanded it. All it tells us is that Obama is so obsessed with his re-election that, through some sort of political calculus, he believes that placating his environmental supporters will improve his chances.

Aside from the political and public relations victory, environmentalists won't get much. Stopping the pipeline won't halt the development of tar sands, to which the Canadian government is committed; therefore, there will be little effect on global warming emissions. Indeed, Obama's decision might add to them. If Canada builds a pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific for export to Asia, moving all that oil across the ocean by tanker will create extra emissions. There will also be the risk of added spills.
Samuelson isn't done excoriating the president for what he sees as pure folly and detrimental to our national interest. There's much more in the column, and anyone interested in the issue really should read it.