While millions of Americans cut back on what they can spend on their vacation, Michelle Obama is concluding her last vacation with a new vacation trip along with 40 guests to Spain billed at a cost of 300,000 dollars a day. If Michelle Obama wants to go for a swim, an entire beach in Spain must be closed. Considering her busy working schedule of appearing on talk shows and then appearing on magazine covers, I think we can all agree that nine vacations is very modest. And the real tab gets much higher when you consider how many of the other unstated expenses are being picked up by "friends", which is usually a fancy way of saying people who expect favors in return, again at taxpayer expense.
In some ways it is a relief to export Michelle Obama abroad where she can lecture the Spanish on eating right, before they deport her on the next boat out of there. At least it gives us a break from her, albeit a very expensive break. But what the endless vacations taken by the Obamas really highlight is their detachment from the American people and their determination to take the country for everything it's got. If the Clinton staff stole things from the White House when they had to leave, the Obamas will take the whole building with them if they can.
Juan Luis Rascon, a congressman from Cordoba, wrote critically of the media attention lavished on Bride of Frankenbama: "Idolatry and servility do not sit well with a dignified democracy." He was referring to Spain, but much the same goes for the media's obscene fawning over the Obamas, and their determination that the American people should be forced to follow suit.
And then there's Andrea Tantaros at the New York Daily News...
Perhaps it could be that the Obamas, who seem to fancy themselves more along the lines of international celebrities than actual leaders, espouse a different view of sacrifice. When Michelle Obama accompanied her husband to Copenhagen along with best buddy Oprah Winfrey, she billed the trip - an ultimately unsuccessful bid to bring the Olympics to Chicago - as follows: "As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the President to come for these few days, so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home."
A quick jaunt to Denmark is a sacrifice? What portraits in courage!
The Obama modus operandi is becoming clear. From lavish trips to Spain to reportedly flying Bo, the President's Portuguese water dog, on a separate aircraft to vacation with them in Maine, to a date night in New York City that perhaps cost nearly $100,000, their idea of austerity is really just the lap of luxury, at least for ordinary folks.
Incredibly, the Obamas have long portrayed themselves as precisely such commoners. Just this month, Obama told ABC the First Couple is "not that far removed from what most Americans are going through." And that "it was just a few years ago that we had high credit card balances, we had two kids, thinking about college. We had our own retirement accounts, wondering if we were going to be able to get enough assets in there."
If that's true, why not select a more appropriate destination like the California coast? The scenery is just as gorgeous as that of Spain, and instead of patronizing a foreign country they would be pumping money into an American economy that desperately needs it. Camp David wouldn't exactly be slumming it, either. A long weekend there would really send a message of responsibility, leadership and compassion. For a couple that has sharply criticized former President George W. Bush so widely, they could stand to follow his example for once and select a more low-key locale, as Bush regularly did in his Texas vacations.
But that would be besides the point, because it requires humility and some degree of decency-- qualities that the Obamas simply do not possess, or even understand.
Meanwhile his majesty Prince Hussein himself was hard at work celebrating his birthday party with the rest of the Chicago Corruptacracy like Valerie Jarrett, and Oprah, and of course more Wagyu beef.
With all the hard work the Obamas do, it's a wonder they have any time left for more important things, like golf. And tripling the national deficit so their associates and supporters can bankrupt America. But at least Hillary Clinton showed her generosity by donating a whole 10 dollars to earthquake relief.
Between the lavish heavily hyped Clinton wedding, the Obamas endless parties and vacations, under a cloud of national debt, it's starting to look like pre-Revolutionary France all over again.
But not all was well in Chicago. Senator Burris seems once again set to prove that he can find ways to sabotage Obama's plans. This time Burris is sabotaging Obama's plan to hand over his Senate seat to Alex Giannoulias, who has some minor criminal issues hanging over his head. Burris was allowed to keep the Senate seat Blago gave him, in exchange for agreeing to leave. But anyone who's seen Burris be interviewed had to know that wasn't going to happen so easily. Now Burris is talking about running anyway. Which should be raising alarm bells in the White House.
Between Rezko, Blago, the Romer resignation, the vacations and the parties-- the Obama Administration is looking more and more like the world's most expensive soap opera.
Somewhat more interesting is the little covered John Limbert resignation. John Limbert headed the State Department's Iran desk and reportedly resigned because America just wasn't appeasing Ahmadinejad hard enough to please him.
Limbert should never have held the job in the first place, since Limbert was sitting on the board of an Iranian lobbying group tied to the Iranian regime. Limbert was another Chas Freeman, except he didn't have the same record of statements, which is what got him a pass. Limbert's resignation is welcome, but his presence shows how much house really needs to be cleaned.
John Limbert will be the senior Iran official at the State Department, replacing Dennis Ross, who has moved to the National Security Council (and who has not been heard from publicly since). Should America be concerned? Yes. Limbert is not a neutral arbiter; he serves on the advisory board of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).
What is the National Iranian American Council?
The Council is widely considered the de facto lobby for the Iranian regime in America. It opposes sanctions on Iran, soft-pedals any controversial events in Iran, and counsels "patience" regarding Iran's stance towards its nuclear program. The NIAC has been at the forefront of lobbying against continued congressional funding of the Voice of America Persia service, Radio Farad, and grants for Iranian civil society. To top it off, the NIAC has reportedly received funding from anti-Israel advocate George Soros, who at the very least was an honored guest and speaker at one of its symposiums. (He called for a more equitable Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and advocated for America to renounce regime-change as a goal).
The NIAC staunchly opposes any military attacks on Iran. In other words, it all but serves as Iran's embassy in Washington -- though the NIAC vociferously disputes this characterization. However, there is very little sunlight between the views of the regime and the NIAC.
The NIAC is also headed by the controversial Trita Parsi. Who is Trita Parsi?
Parsi also is the author of the book The Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the United States, which was an expanded version of his dissertation thesis. The book was warmly endorsed and recommended by none other than John Mearsheimer, Zbigniew Brzezinski (who served as Parsi's dissertation adviser), and the former Foreign Minister for the State of Israel who has become an appeasement-focused dove, Shlomo Ben-Ami -- recently seen speaking at the J Street conference. Treacherous Alliance delves into anti-Semitic canards regarding Jewish control of policy in Washington.
The Treacherous Alliance also traffics in conspiracy-mongering, blaming neo-cons (you know who they are) for trying to push America into war with Iran. Parsi distorts history and willfully mistranslates the Iranian call for Israel to be "wiped off the map." He omits Iranian responsibility for the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed so many Americans. He characterizes Iranian rhetoric against Israel as just words. He also blames the West for ignoring and dismissing numerous efforts by the Iranians to accommodate the West and blames the problems between America and Iran on Israeli machinations to turn nations, including our own, against Iran. The book is replete with errors and misinformation. Both Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard and Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic take a skeptical view towards Parsi and the NIAC: Goldfarb calls him "the Iranian regime's man in Washington," while Goldberg accuses him of "doing a lot of leg-work for the Iranian regime."
The NIAC also has an ambitious plan that it unwittingly disclosed just a few years ago: enhance its power in Washington in order to help steer American foreign policy.
One curious fact is that board members of the NIAC contribute to J Street, the anti-Israel lobby that tries to pass itself off as "pro-peace" and supportive of Israel (just as the NIAC tries to palm itself off as being pro-American and pro-peace). Not so coincidentally, Trita Parsi himself was on a panel at the recent J Street conference.
But there are bigger issues in play also. While Obama has been gutting the military and racking up interest for China-- the Chinese have been building up their military with our money. China will be deploying the Dong Feng, a carrier killer missile, aimed at checkmating US naval power in the Pacific.
China is developing a powerful new missile that can take out aircraft carriers, a development that AP says could go a long way toward finally ending US dominance at sea and make it riskier to intervene in any potential dispute over Taiwan or North Korea. Final tests are expected this year for the Dong Feng 21D, would could be launched from land to destroy a carrier 900 miles away.
"The Navy has long had to fear carrier-killing capabilities," says an expert at the nonpartisan Center for a New American Security. "The emerging Chinese antiship missile capability, and in particular the DF 21D, represents the first post-Cold War capability that is both potentially capable of stopping our naval power projection and deliberately designed for that purpose."
The Navy had been worrying about a carrier killer missile for some time now. And just the supposed existence of one, regardless of effectiveness will force changes in US naval strategy. It's the reverse of the Star Wars tactic we used against the USSR.
Meanwhile under pressure from Obama, Sec of Defense Gates is talking about cutting down the number of existing Carrier groups, and the Littoral Combat Ship, which the US is going to need in any confrontation with Iran, are still nowhere to be found.
US Naval forces are already below strength. Zumwalt is still a mess, and they would be crucial in any confrontation with China. The Obama Administration meanwhile keeps pushing for Navy budget cuts, to fund parts of their spending spree. But while to a lot of politicians everything can look like pork, the difference between not passing some ridiculous green initiative and the difference between not giving the Navy what it needs to do its job, are the lives of thousands of US military personnel, and millions of people in Taiwan, Japan and elsewhere.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, Petraeus is tying soldier's hands even more than McChrystal.FrontPage Magazine however says otherwise.
In Israel, Elder of Ziyon and Carl in Jerusalem, have extensive coverage of the Hezbollah\Lebanese armed forces\UNIFIL attack.
A few of the highlights
Lebanese claim order to shoot came "from the top" (updated)
UNIFIL ran away during Tuesday's battle
A New Map of the Attack
Who decided to Attack the Soldiers on Tuesday?
Reuters had 5 photographers plus stringers to cover a tree being cut
Omri Ceren asks if American weapons were used
The bottom line is the situation stems from a series of bad decisions, beginning with the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, which was supposed to prevent IDF soldiers from dying in incidents like this, to trusting UNIFIL, to failing to finish off Hezbollah.
Naturally Comedy Central's repulsive pseudo-Jewish clown, Jon Stewart, weighed in on it by mocking the murder of Dov Harari, and bashing Israel, as usual. Of all liberal television personalities, Stewart is the most repulsive, second only perhaps to David "Lonesome Rhodes" Letterman (Aww shucks, Gosh I'm just an ordinary guy like you living in a Connecticut mansion.). But Stewart is particularly repulsive because he hawks his second-rate vaudeville Jewish imitation shtick as a cover. It's like a black entertainer who talks ebonics while shilling for the Klan. It's not only fake, it's a fakeness in the service of promoting hate against the very group he's built a career on pretending to be part of.
Finally, “The Greatest Collection of Nightmares on Earth”
Turning to Japan, the State Department's decision to send an envoy to Hiroshima doesn't sound that bad at first glance, if you don't know that the Hiroshima observations are revisionist history, as bad as anything you find among the Neo-Nazis, which makes absolutely no acknowledgment of Japan's own actions in the war. Instead there's a cloying "poor me" victimhood about the whole thing, with America as the crazed foreign devil dropping nuclear bombs on Japan for no reason at all.
Hillary Clinton acknowledged that the marching orders for this decision come from Obama.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that U.S. President Barack Obama "thought it appropriate" to recognize Japan's atomic bomb anniversary as he wants to rid the world of nuclear arms.
"I think that the Obama administration and President Obama himself believe that it would be appropriate for us to recognize this anniversary and has proceeded to do so," she said.
The U.S. ambassador to Japan, John Roos, is due to attend and lay a wreath "to express respect for all of the victims of World War II," the State Department said.
Victims? Unless those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki opposed the Japanese government's horrifying massacres in China, they were not victims, but perpetrators. And the same kind of moral idiocy that has taken hold in the UK, with apologies for the bombing of Germany, is now taking hold at the highest levels of government.
Andrew Cohen at the Ottawa Citizen is a rare voice of sanity, among all the media echoing the Tojo narrative.
Strange thing about the Peace Memorial Museum, though. It is about peace more than war, about victims more than perpetrators. When I saw it five years ago -- and I doubt it has changed much -- you could read the interpretation of history and leave thinking that nothing could have been done to the civilized world by the Empire of Japan that could have led to what happened on Aug. 6, 1945, let alone justified it.
There was a conflict called "the Pacific War" (as the Japanese call it) but not the Second World War. There was no Nanking, no Bataan Death March, no Pearl Harbor. The calamity that befell Hiroshima just seemed to fall from the heavens.
Meanwhile the push is still on for an apology, and for Obama to join in the Hiroshima circus.
On Fuji TV, one of Japan's main networks, footage was shown of Ban Ki-moon speaking to survivors of the atomic bomb. The commentator on the show said "we really want President Obama" to attend the ceremony next year.
An editorial in the Nikkei newspaper, Japan's leading business daily, said the U.S. representative's attendance is "a far cry from the apology to bombing victims that both cities are hoping for," but that the Obama administration's decision to send a representative "is a golden opportunity to harness the moving power of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We hope that Obama will visit the bombing sites himself before his tenure is over."
And I wouldn't bet against that happening. It probably would have happened already, if not for Obama's party and vacation plans getting in the way. Ki Ban Moon of course is already on the spot.
The Hiroshima commemorations are part of the historical revisionism that paints the atom bomb as bad, not the Rape of Nanking. Similarly in Europe, Dresden was supposed to be the moral focus, not Auschwitz or Warsaw. This same kind of perverted reasoning is at work every time some leftist Saddam apologist begins blathering about the post-liberation death toll in Iraq, or the relative numbers of dead in Gaza, as proof of some kind of moral superiority.
The revisionist history which treats death as proof of victimhood, even when it is the death of the perpetrators is an obscene calculus of moral idiocy that should not be tolerated. That should never be tolerated.
The problem is not the atom bomb, the problem is those who murder and make war on other countries, and then hide behind the death toll they receive as a result.
A minor note, Roos' qualification to be ambassador to Japan is that he raised money for Obama. That is how seriously Obama takes the US relationship with Japan.
The nuclear argument itself is not that simple even in Japan, which needs a US nuclear umbrella against North Korea, now more than ever...
The row is between Japan's Prime Minister and Hiroshima's popular anti-nuclear Mayor over the need for a continuing US nuclear deterrent.
Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba used yesterday's anniversary ceremony -- where the US government was represented for the first time -- to call for the elimination of nuclear arms during the lifetime of at least some of the survivors of the bombing, and for Japan to step out from under the US nuclear "umbrella".
However, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who spoke at the ceremony, said afterwards a nuclear deterrent remained necessary for Japan "at a time when there are unclear and uncertain factors" -- an apparent reference to North Korea.
And how exactly would Akiba propose protecting Japan, without a nuclear bomb or a military. Civil disobedience? There's no serious answer to the question, because the question may not even be asked.
The final word should belong to Gene Tibbets...
Gene Tibbets, son of Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., says Friday's visit to Hiroshima by U.S. Ambassador John Roos is an act of contrition that his late father would never have approved.
Tibbets, whose father died in 2007 at the age of 92, said he receives dozens of calls from veterans every year around this time thanking him for his father's service.
"'If it wasn't for your dad, I wouldn't be here,'" Tibbets said many veterans tell him. "This has been going on since he dropped that bomb."
Tibbets said he sees Roos' impending visit -- it will be the first time the U.S. has sent a delegation to the anniversary commemoration in Hiroshima -- as an attempt to revise history.
"It's making the Japanese look like they're the poor people, like they didn't do anything," he said. "They hit Pearl Harbor, they struck us. We didn't slaughter the Japanese -- we stopped the war."
Kia Tibbets, Gene Tibbets' daughter, said her grandfather would be disappointed with Friday's ceremony if he were alive today.
"Embarrassed might be the word, that the government wasn't backing him up anymore," said Tibbets, 35, of Columbus, Ohio. "But then again, that's politics for you."
The government isn't in the business of defending America anymore.
But perhaps instead of merely remembering Hiroshima, the day should also be used to remember the "Comfort Women", the dead of Nanking, the torture and murder of American, Dutch, Australian and British prisoners. The atrocities committed in the Philippines and throughout Asia. The torture and murder of nurses, the cannibalism of American soldiers, or at least the victims of Unit 731.
Next time someone mentions how horrible Hiroshima was, mention Unit 731 to them. Unit 731 was tasked with developing biological weapons against the United States. Its research involved vivisection performed on live men, women and children. Including 11 American POW's
This was the sort of thing that went on in Unit 731
"After infecting him, the researchers decided to cut him open to see what the disease does to a man's inside. I cut him open from the chest to the stomach and he screamed terribly and his face was all twisted in agony. made this unimaginable sound, he was screaming so horribly. This was all in a day's work for the surgeons, but it really left an impression on me because it was my first time."
The next time someone tells you about Hiroshima. Tell them about Unit 731.