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Florida Enterprise Zone Does Not Work for Immokalee | James Pat Guerréro

Posted in Immokalee FL by James Pat Guerréro on 03/31/2011

The Collier County Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is relieved because the move to delay the review of Enterprise Zones in Florida, including Immokalee, will occur in 2015. The CRA, a government agency, almost lost funding for the Immokalee Enterprise Zone when Florida State Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice/Sarasota) filed S.B. 1296 before the 2011 legislative session. It has been settled that the review shall be held off until 2015 – due to some governmental outcries. Florida State Rep. Matt Hudson (R-Naples) is legislatively responsible for Immokalee.

Marketing government funding with the catchy phrase, “Florida in the 21st Century,” is a far stretch for convincing the public that the economy will improve in Immokalee. The CRA is bold, and IS the governing body, and traps itself in its own economic corner because of poor work on economic development by the whole Collier County government. The real problem with business in Immokalee is that large private businesses and Collier County government do not allow the free market to work nor stay out of selectively choosing businesses because of fear of competition. Immokalee is in economic doldrums because the State government controls business growth through funding (the CRA can also prove its own budget.) The CRA acts like a conduit for the funding, and to substantiate its own existence, it must decry Enterprise Zone, Itech, Immokalee Business Development Center (ImmBiz), and such other government-branded “entrepreneurial agents.” The government and its innovative devising of “entrepreneurial agents” do not work. If the law allows tax credits, businesses should accept them – they would be jeopardizing their own interest not to accept. But legalizing tax credits simply to control and regulate businesses is not right.

Steve Hart is incorrect in the title that Florida legislators have backed off. The Enterprise Zones must go because the concept does not work and intends to keep Immokalee from ever developing economically on its own free market initiatives. But Hart is correct in stating that Immokalee will remain the same, economically, for the whole of the 21st century. The Florida Enterprise Zone Act must go.

Enterprise zones should work in this way: (1) the State should provide tax incentives for businesses to work in the zone. This encourages families to move into Immokalee to live, work, and, hopefully, send their children to good schools. (There aren’t good schools in Immokalee.) The underlying idea is to get families to live in the surrounding area of the zone. If Immokalee can get families in, then good schools will prosper. (2) The State should do away with the CRA’s budget or budgets of any other governing body managing the enterprise zone. Tax credits are forms of opportunity cost to the State. They work if peer-reviewed studies exist that show that certain industries are better than others for enterprising initiatives in the zone.

Read More: Florida legislators back off move to shut down enterprise zones – Immokalee: Florida in the 21st Century.

Reflection on Readings of the Third Sunday of Lent (March 27, 2011) | James Pat Guerréro

Posted in Family by James Pat Guerréro on 03/31/2011

[The writer wants to reflect on Holy Scripture during the Lenten season to help that special group of people who suffer from and fight the many serious forms of depression. Whenever the writer refers to man, he means men and women of human kind, no other.] (more…)

The Final Days of the Glenn Beck Phenomenon? | The Americano

Posted in U.S. Media by James Pat Guerréro on 03/31/2011

 

The left is terrified of Beck. He has become one of the biggest leaders in the conservative movement. His enemies have responded by trying to force him out of his Fox News show.

The mainstream media has been reporting with glee that Glenn Beck may be leaving his Fox News show for a web-only show or his own cable station. Beck’s detractors are hoping he is imploding and this is the end of his superstardom in politics. There have been signs of friction between Beck and Fox News, and the network will not confirm whether his contract will be renewed in December. 

The left is terrified of Beck. He has become one of the biggest leaders in the conservative movement. His enemies have responded by trying to force him out of his Fox News show. The far left group Color of Change organized a boycott of the show in 2009 after Beck called Obama a racist. The group claims that 300 advertisers have left, including Wal-Mart, Geico and Sprint. Liberal rabbis took out a full page ad in the Washington Post earlier this year asking Fox News to sanction Beck over critical statements he had made about them. Some Christian conservatives have kept quiet instead of defending him because of his Mormon faith. His theological differences with mainstream Christians occasionally surface on his television show.

The Glenn Beck Show has become one of the top cable news shows in just a few years. Unlike other prominent conservative talk show hosts, Beck educates his audience about our country’s history and philosophical foundations. He has figured out how to do so in a way that appeals to even our younger generations with their shorter attention spans. He wisely puts on many shows discussing Tea Party concerns that have become front and center over the past couple of years; hammering on the dangers of our expanding debt and deficits that risk economic doom if something does not change. He frequently lays into far left activists and exposes their seedy connections, unafraid to connect the dots when it comes to real conspiracies. His honest, folksy style of speaking with its sense of urgency, accompanied by unusual camera angles, invitingly draws viewers in. People from all walks of life easily identify with him due to his troubled past, which includes overcoming alcoholism, drug addiction and the suicide of his mother when he was only 13.

Lately, Beck’s shows have explored radical Islam, including whether Islamic prophecies coincide with Biblical endtime prophesies. Beck believes there is a possibility that the Antichrist foretold in the Bible will come from radical Islam. Considering around 80% of the U.S. population considers themselves to be Christians, and there are political overtones to Biblical end times prophesy, it makes sense for Beck to cover a topic that many of his viewers are interested in. Fox News viewers are even more likely to be Christians interested in these kinds of issues.

But Beck has become so wildly popular that every thing he says is a potential lightening rod. He has reached Sarah Palin levels of media scrutiny. There is now talk that his plain-talking style of covering controversial topics like radical Islam is hurting him and that his ratings have dropped drastically. Is there any truth to this? The big networks are down double digits, while cable networks have increased their viewers. Last year, Beck had the third most popular show on cable news, and just last week his ratings jumped up to second place, putting him ahead of Hannity and behind the number one O’Reilly Factor. And unlike O’Reilly and Hannity, Beck’s pre-evening time slot is not even a prime spot. O’Reilly has Beck on his show as a guest every Friday, no doubt realizing it helps his own ratings too.

Beck is even more successful outside of Fox News. Forbes Magazine has estimated that Beck’s web operations earn him $4 million per year, twice as much as the $2 million he earns from his Fox News show. He launched the website “The Blaze” last fall. It has more traffic than Fox News’ Fox Nation website.

Beck’s total earnings between March 2009 and March 2010 were $23 million according to Forbes. His radio show is carried by more than 350 stations, and he is the third-most-popular political radio talk show host after Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. He regularly goes on live comedy tours around the nation. He has his own magazine, Fusion. He’s authored six New York Times bestsellers.

He launched the popular 9-12 Project in 2009 and quickly became one of the biggest faces of the Tea Party movement. Over 500,000 attended his “Restoring Honor” rally last August in Washington, D.C., dubbed “Beckapalooza” due to its draw. Unlike most conservative rallies, it wasn’t put on by a conglomerate organization, this was a rally where people came because Beck was the theme. Prominent groups like the National Rifle Association, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots supported the rally. It raised $5.5 million, which went to the veterans’ charity Special Operations Warrior Foundation after costs.

Critics of Beck reveal their desperation at finding a real flaw in him by trying to have it both ways in their attacks on him. They do not like the way he has been able to present the historical and philosophical background underlying political issues in an appealing way that doesn’t bore the average person. But at the same time, they attack his intelligence. They claim he has sold out and gone mainstream. Beck’s website The Blaze criticized investigative filmmaker James O’Keefe for selectively releasing portions of incriminating videotapes of figures on the left. Beck hired former Huffington Post CEO Betsy Morgan to run The Blaze. Yet on the other hand, critics claim he is part of the fringe right for attacking radical Islam, discussing Biblical end times prophecy, and calling Obama a racist.

The efforts to ruin Beck will not be successful. The boycott isn’t hurting Fox News. Those advertisers affected have simply moved to other shows on the network. The controversies Beck has brought while at Fox News are just enough to help the network, not hinder it. Beck is covering mildly controversial issues, he is not behaving like Charlie Sheen or David Duke. The fact he is Mormon means he is not the perfect conservative talk show host for most of Fox News’ base, but he is the only one on the network willing to cover subjects that desperately need to be aired on a popular network. Beck is charismatic, tireless and always coming up with creative new ideas that reflect the times. If Beck and Fox News cannot agree on renewing his contract, Beck will have no problem expanding his empire and drawing viewers elsewhere.

Rachel Alexander is the co-editor of the Intellectual Conservative.

via The Final Days of the Glenn Beck Phenomenon? | The Americano.

Preschool mom worries about Harvard admission

Posted in Family by James Pat Guerréro on 03/31/2011

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Manhattan mom needs a reality check 

Did you hear about the New York City mother who’s suing her child’s preschool because she believes the teachers there didn’t prepare her daughter for admission to an Ivy League university?

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Our son is a gifted student, though he’s only five. We try not to talk about his achievements too much, but certain family members brag so much about their kids, we tend to jump into the game of “can you top this.” Afterward, we feel terrible that we let ourselves boast and be overly competitive. What can we do to avoid bragging when others go on and on about their children? Post answers on our Family Events Facebook Page.

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Last week we asked Family Events readers to suggest ways to deal with a teen who is respectful and courteous at home, but who morphs into a rude teen when friends are around or when out with the family. Here’s what our experts had to say:

Say something to her in front of her friends when she acts like that. If that doesn’t stop it then she can’t be around her friends until she agrees to behave and be herself everywhere; not just with you.

—LeeAnn

I would prefer not to embarrass my teen in front of his friends — even though he has just embarrassed me! But as soon as I see him at home, I will challenge him then, that there is no need to be rude to anyone in any context. After all, there are ways to be kind to your parents even in front of your friends!
—Dale

The toughest “pressure” there is, is peer pressure! Wish she had learned to make a “stand” for herself, not to emulate others. That training comes from home… She is not being “cool.” Would that she set the far better example and show her peers she is strong enough to do the right thing!

—Linda

Demeaning or confronting the youth in front of there peers will only dent their self-esteem even further. There definitely needs to be consequences for their action. if they are going to act like adults (or thinking this is how adults act and talk) it’s a learning curve that needs guidance. It is called situational behaviors that we all do. This is when honest and open communication really needs to happen.
—”Blue Seahorse”

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I couldn’t make this up. It’s true.

Nicole Imprescia filed a lawsuit against Manhattan’s York Avenue Preschool for a refund of the $19,000 per year she paid in tuition. She claims the preschool didn’t prepare her four-year-old for the entrance exams that would have gained her admission to a premier, private elementary school, and thus, her chances of getting into an Ivy League college already are dashed.

Apparently, the lawsuit claims the school was just “one big playroom.”

The school’s website indicates they offer a curriculum that seeks to develop preschoolers’ social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical skills.

I hate to break it to Ms. Imprescia, but in preschool, that sort of learning looks a lot like play – and it should!

Clearly, this little girl may have bigger issues down the road than college admission. Or, as my husband likes to joke, one of our duties as parents is to give our children something to tell the therapist when they’re adults.

Preschool is another word for “play”

This crazy story reminds me of an urgent email I received a few weeks ago from a friend who had concerns about the messages she was getting from her son’s preschool teacher. Apparently, the cause for concern was his inability to sit still, recite the alphabet, count objects, and manipulate crayons and pencils. The little guy is only four years old.

My girlfriend didn’t think her son was developmentally delayed, but the preschool teacher’s comments caused her to worry she was missing something.

I emailed back right away and told her she was right. She’s missing a preschool teacher with common sense!

The best advice I could offer to my friend was to grab a copy of Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful by Louise Bates Ames, the guru of child development.

Within a day, my girlfriend emailed again to say, “Whew!” Once she learned what is normal and appropriate for a developing four-year-old, she knew that the problem was her son’s teacher, who demanded too much cognitive progress, and not her son. He was as right as rain!

A preschool setting should offer ample opportunities for children to do the “work” of growing, learning, exploring and mastering new skills, and should be staffed by folks who understand that normal development varies among children.

The fast track from preschool to Princeton

If you really want to assure your child has a shot at an Ivy League life – or for whatever the future may hold – the best strategy is to focus on who he is, not what he does.

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When we help our children to grow in virtues such as perseverance, trustworthiness, humility, self-discipline, moderation, honor, civility, reverence and reason, we give them the tools to achieve whatever dreams and goals their ambition suggests.

Instilling these virtues is the most important aspect of parenting and begins when our children are still very young (preschool!). We teach them to try their best to do hard things, tell the truth, follow through on the tasks we assign to them, speak respectfully to others and behave appropriately in various situations. This is how we equip our kids with the competencies and confidence to pursue big plans for themselves.

As they get older, we’ll have lots of chances to help our children enjoy the fruits of these virtues. Getting good grades, achieving in sports or music or the arts, excelling in science fairs and math competitions, or being recognized for public service at a young age are all wonderful accomplishments – for our kids, not for us!

So let’s all take a lesson from that maniacal mom in Manhattan and remember that our job as parents isn’t to plot out some magnificent success story for our kids, but to help them grow up with excellent character and be the best they can be at whatever they set out to achieve.

Thanks for reading and sharing Family Events!

Take good care until next week,

Marybeth

Articles to Follow
Is teen rebellion inevitable? Preschool lawsuit shows new face of hypercompetitive parents 

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Turning your child into a mature teen Will picture books hurt your kid’s chances for Harvard? 

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Connecting with your kids Raising better citizens and smarter kids 

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Bookstore
This week’s best buys at your local bookstore
Your Four-Year-Old: Your Four-Year-Old:
Wild and Wonderful 

by Louise Bates Ames

Part of an excellent series for every age and stage.

Stop Second-Guessing Yourself - The Preschool Years: Stop Second-Guessing Yourself – The Preschool Years:
A Field-Tested Guide to Confident Parenting 

by Jen Singer

Part of a three-book series on babies, toddlers and preschoolers – like having coffee with the best mom in the neighborhood!

What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: What Your Preschooler Needs to Know:
Get Ready for Kindergarten 

from the Core Knowledge Foundation

An anthology full of delightful stories that teach the basics.

No More Push Parenting: No More Push Parenting:
How to Find Success and Balance in a Hypercompetitive World  

by Elisabeth Guthrie

Helping parents discover the fine line between good parenting and pressure parenting

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Intense USMC Firefight Compilation | Military.com

Posted in Marine Corps by James Pat Guerréro on 03/31/2011

EXCLUSIVE: Governors Barbour, McDonnell, and Perry Call on Congress for a Balanced Budget Amendment – HUMAN EVENTS | Emily Miller

Posted in U.S. Budget Resolution by James Pat Guerréro on 03/30/2011

Governors Haley Barbour (R.-Miss.), Bob McDonnell (R.-Va.), and Rick Perry (R.-Tex.) sent a letter to the Democrat and Republican congressional leaders on Tuesday evening calling on them to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the U.S. Constitution.

“We believe it is time that the federal government be required to live within its means and balance its books every year, just as we are required to do in our respective states,” wrote the three governors in a letter obtained by HUMAN EVENTS.

The governors’ letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R.-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnnell (R.-Ky.), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R.-Calif.).

“Currently, 49 states have some form of a balanced budget requirement. Millions of working families across the country balance their checkbooks every year and we believe that Congress needs to do the same,” the governors wrote.

Because the federal government is not required to balance its budget, this year alone spending will exceed revenue by $1.5 trillion. The accumulation of the years of federal budget deficits has left the U.S. with a national debt of $14.1 trillion. The debt is projected to hit the statutory limit within the next two months, at which point Congress will have to decide to raise the debt ceiling.

“In Mississippi we are required to have a balanced budget. That legal requirement makes a world of difference. And [it’s] getting our legislature to live within our means,” Barbour told HUMAN EVENTS in an interview. “The country would benefit if there were a national Balanced Budget Amendment.”

“The fact that the federal government has no Balanced Budget Amendment is to me one of the great cancers of the republic,” McDonnell told HUMAN EVENTS by phone. “I think that transferring the spending restraints that are required in every state through a Balanced Budget Amendment is what needs to be done at the federal level.”

The governors’ letter supports specific BBA legislation in the House sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R.-Va.) and in the Senate by Senators John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) and Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah). “We support and appreciate their leadership and their effort to solve the deepening budget crisis and ask that you work with them to pass a balanced budget amendment in the 112th Congress,” the governors wrote.

In early February, Cornyn organized a conference call with McDonnell, Barbour, Perry, and Goodlatte to get state support for a BBA. A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, so it would require bipartisan support for passage.

“From my conversation with them, I think they see themselves as a kind of counterbalance to the overreach in Washington,” Cornyn told HUMAN EVENTS of the call with the governors.  “They can use the authority they’ve been given in their states by organizing together and forcing Washington to change.  I think that’s a very constructive development.”

The governors have all been struggling to balance their own states’ budgets during this current legislative term.  Along with a weak economy, the states are also forced to budget for the unfunded federal mandates, especially from the health care law known as ObamaCare, as well as education and environmental regulations.  ObamaCare has forced more people into the Medicaid program, which is split 50/50 between the states and the federal government.

“We have sued the federal government to try to declare ObamaCare unconstitutional.  It would increase our Medicaid rolls by two-thirds.  We already have more than 20% of our population on Medicaid.  And this will put us up to more than a third of our population on Medicaid.  And by the time the program is fully in effect, it will cost us an extra $440 million a year,” Barbour told HUMAN EVENTS.

“Medicaid is a budget buster for Virginia and, really, every state,” McDonnell told HUMAN EVENTS.  “This ObamaCare bill not only adds more spending, but it really hamstrings the governors with these maintenance-of-effort requirements.  I mean this is eligibility requirements.  But you really can’t do anything creative or entrepreneurial or try to reduce Medicaid spending in your states.  So it’s a bad situation.  And the federal government doesn’t seem interested at this point in giving us the tools to control the costs.”

According to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, an amendment must get a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, and be ratified by three-quarters of the states.  So in the Democrat-majority Senate, the amendment would need all 47 Republicans votes plus 20 Democrats for passage.

McConnell is expected to launch an all-out push to get grassroots support for a BBA during the debate with President Obama over the terms of raising the debt ceiling.

The Senate voted on March 2 for a non-binding amendment for a BBA, sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee (R.-Utah). The final vote was 58-40. If that test vote would be an accurate measure for vote counting, then only nine more Democrats are needed to pass a BBA this year.

The last time that the Senate voted on a binding Balanced Budget Amendment was in 1997, when the measure sponsored by Hatch, failed by only one vote. The 1997 BBA was supported by 11 Democrats, four of whom are still in the Senate: Max Baucus (Mont.), Tom Harkin (Iowa), Herb Kohl (Wisc.), and Mary Landrieu (La.).

For the March 2 vote, Kohl voted in favor, but Baucus and Harkin voted against it. Landrieu did not vote. The three who voted in favor of the BBA in 1997 are considered good potential supporters of a 2011 BBA, which leaves six more needed for passage.

In the House, Goodlatte’s BBA bill is considered more likely to get bipartisan support for passage.  The House passed a BBA in 1995 as part of the “Contract With America.”

Under the new Senate Republican version of the BBA, the federal government would have to balance federal spending to incoming revenue each year, cap spending at 18% of the gross domestic product (GDP), require a two-thirds vote in Congress to pass a budget that is out of balance or to raise taxes, mandate that the President submit a balanced budget each year, and get a three-fifths vote to raise the debt ceiling.

“Undoubtedly, Washington has a spending problem, and this problem is getting worse,” the three governors wrote in the letter to Congressional leaders.  “Hence, a balanced budget amendment is a common-sense measure that is long overdue and whose time has come.”

via EXCLUSIVE: Governors Barbour, McDonnell, and Perry Call on Congress for a Balanced Budget Amendment – HUMAN EVENTS.

Texas Exes | Author Lawrence Wright Expects Turmoil As ‘Freedom Train’ Steams Through Middle East

Posted in Austin TX by James Pat Guerréro on 03/30/2011

He won the Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower, a deep look into Al Qaeda and what led to 9/11. So what does Lawrence Wright think about the unrest convulsing the Arab world today?

Before a jam-packed audience at the Avaya Auditorium Tuesday evening, at an event sponsored by UT’s Humanities Institute, Wright offered insights into what he calls the “freedom train” speeding through the Middle East.

Wright is a Texan who grew up in Dallas and later worked at Texas Monthly, but he also has deep experience in the Arab world. He both studied and taught at American University in Cairo and has lived in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region.

It’s the countries with less developed civil societies and rule of law, like Libya and Yemen, that Wright said he worries about most.

“Once they get rid of their tyrant, then what? I’m very concerned about the growth of radicalism in certain peripheral areas,” he said. “I think we’re going to be looking at a lot of turbulence and chaos in the next few years, and Al Qaeda will certainly take advantage of that.”

Wright also talked about the United States’ history of involvement in the Arab world, from using air bases to torturing terrorism suspects.

“It would be nice to align our values and our interests as neatly as we would like to. In the Middle East,” he said, “it’s not always easy to do that. If the Saudi royal family were to fall tomorrow, what would happen? What would happen to the price of oil? It would go through the roof. The world economy would be in a terrible crisis. So we have an interest in not letting change happen too rapidly and chaotically in Saudi Arabia.”

At that point, the lecture lived up to its billing as part of the Humanities Institute’s “Difficult Dialogues” series. Associate journalism professor Robert Jensen spoke up forcefully, calling that thinking ethnocentric and entitled. “If I were an Arab, I would be very angry about that,” he said.

“You sound angry, Bob,” Wright responded, lightening the tension.

Then he added: “I am who I am. I don’t apologize for that. I go out in the world and I try to understand other perspectives. Certainly America has engaged in a lot of things I’m ashamed of, and I don’t deny that either. But I’m proud to be an American. When it fails to live up to those ideals, I’m ashamed of it. But I wonder, Bob, if America were not involved in the Middle East at all, would it be more democratic or free than it is now?”

via Texas Exes | Author Lawrence Wright Expects Turmoil As ‘Freedom Train’ Steams Through Middle East.

Measuring Obama’s Speech | Newt Gingrich

Posted in Libya by James Pat Guerréro on 03/30/2011

Monday morning, I posted to Facebook a five question checklist by which to measure President Obama’s speech on our military engagement in Libya.

Here is my analysis of how effectively the president answered those questions:

1. Does President Obama cite working with Congress more than working with the Arab League or the United Nations?

No. President Obama mentioned Congress just once in a 3,400 word speech. In contrast, he mentioned the United Nations Security Council and Arab league eight times. Furthermore, he dedicated a significant portion of his speech to the importance of cooperation between Western and Arab allies.

As I have said, I do think having allies in this effort is valuable, especially Arab ones. However, that desire must be appropriately balanced against the obligation the president has to respect Congress’ role, as well as the objectives of the mission at hand (more on this later).

President Obama made it remarkably clear in his speech that he places a much higher value on gaining the approval of the United Nations and the Arab League than he does on consulting Congress. By his own account, he committed the United States to action with a United Nations resolution before consulting with Congressional leaders, which he did only just before the bombing began.

The president also never seemed to consider the fact that allies – including Arab ones – could have been assembled faster in a way that bypassed the corruption of the United Nations.

“Underground” Video Gets 10 Million Viewers

Stansberry & Associates

Click here to watch the full video presentation…

2. Does President Obama define replacing Qaddafi as our clear and explicit goal? Having said Qaddafi “needs to leave” that has to be the goal of this war.

No. In fact, he said quite the opposite, that our mission was to stop an imminent humanitarian catastrophe and that “broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.”

There are two problems with the president’s argument.

The first goes back to the disproportional value the president places on gaining the approval of the United Nations.

The president tried to make the case Monday night that our military engagement was justified in order to protect human life. Yet, the first reports of Qaddafi’s forces firing on the Libyan people, including with his air force, arose in late February. On March 5th the Libyan dictator’s army fired on unarmed protesters. On March 6th, his forces laid siege to the rebel-held town of Zawiyah.

The president, however, chose to wait almost two weeks, until March 19th, for a diplomatic consensus to emerge and resolutions to be passed in the U.N. Security Council before taking action.

The disturbing conclusion one can draw from President Obama’s actions is that he believes the special duty he spoke of, for the United States to not turn a blind eye to atrocities committed by dictators, ranks lower on his list of priorities than gaining approval from the United Nations to do something about them.  He clearly favors muddled coalition consensus to moral leadership.

The second problem is that leaving Qaddafi in power will not stop the humanitarian crisis; it simply drives it underground. In the face of overwhelming military superiority, Qaddafi will most likely conclude that his best option is to retaliate in ways that cannot be stopped with air power.  In fact, hearing the President of the United States publicly say he would not use the military to drive him out of power will almost certainly convince Qaddafi his best option is to dig in.

The United States is signaling that all he has to do is wait it out because the president has explicitly told Qaddafi that we are not going to force him to leave power.  This leaves us with an open ended commitment to enforce a no-fly zone. The Iraq no-fly zone lasted a dozen years and did not remove Saddam Hussein from power.

The simple fact is that so long as Qaddafi remains in power, the people of Libya remain at risk of violence by their government.  That’s why the president’s “mission accomplished” message rings so hollow.

3. Does President Obama pledge to send a request to Congress to pay for the cost of the war so our men and women in uniform are not asked to take it out of an already stretched budget while they are still engaged in two other wars and several small campaigns?

No.  The president did not mention how this effort was going to be paid for.  All indications are that it will come directly from the Pentagon’s budget, leaving our men and women in uniform who are already stretched with even fewer resources.

4. Does President Obama acknowledge the danger of Al Qaeda allies among the anti-Qaddafi forces and pledge to work for a moderate replacement government without extremist factions?

Partial credit.  The president never acknowledged the likelihood of the presence of al-Qaeda within the rebel forces but did speak vaguely about diplomatic efforts to “support a transition to the future that the Libyan people deserve.”  He then concluded his speech with a more specific commitment that the United States would find ways to help those around the world that believe in core American principles. 

5. Does President Obama describe clearly the coalition command structure, the American role, and an allied commitment to defeat Qaddafi?

No.  In fact, his explanation of handing off command to NATO made it seem as if NATO was some sort of separate country with its own military resources.  In fact, NATO is simply a military alliance and command structure through which our allies conduct joint military operations.  In practice, handing off control of the operation to NATO only means that command will be transferred from American General Carter Ham (Commander of U.S. Africa Command) to American Admiral James Stavridis (Supreme Allied Commander-Europe).

The president also failed to mention there is currently another engagement being commanded by NATO – the mission in Afghanistan.  Of course, mentioning that would have exposed the smokescreen he was trying to create, since the United States continues to pay a heavy financial and human toll in Afghanistan every day.

The president’s long overdue explanation to the country was unsatisfactory in providing clear objectives for Libya.  He did not explain why he valued the consensus of the international community over the Congress.  His previously stated goal of removing Qaddafi is not in line with the goals of the coalition.  He has placed the U.S. military in the position of refereeing a civil war under the auspices of a humanitarian effort without a definition of success.  Lastly, the president cannot say today when our commitment to enforcing the no-fly zone might end.

What Should Have Been Done versus What Must Be Done Now

On February 24, I stated that U.S. military force was not necessary to remove Qaddafi.  He was clearly in a weak position and we could have worked with our allies, particularly our Arab allies, who want to see a post-Qaddafi Libya, using quiet, covert, and indirect action to get rid of Qaddafi.

On March 3rd the president took that option off the table when he unambiguously declared that Qaddafi must step down from power and leave.  This statement put the authority and prestige of the United States against a dictator, committing the United States to that objective.  Anything less would be seen as a defeat for the United States.

In that new reality, I commented on March 7th that we should declare a no-fly zone in support of the president’s public commitment to oust the dictator.

By March 19th, however, the president had dropped his objective of getting rid of Qaddafi and adopted the U.N.’s objective of enforcing a no-fly zone for a humanitarian cease-fire. I said at that time I did not support using the U.S military if it was not for the expressed purpose of removing Qaddafi from power.  I reiterated that prior to March 3rd, I would not have intervened militarily, but after March 3rd the only reason to use military force was to get rid of Qaddafi.

World events are becoming more complicated, intertwined, and fast paced.  As such, our leaders need to be able to adjust their analysis and prescriptions as the facts dictate.

You can watch and read a complete timeline of my statements on Libya here.

Your Friend,

Newt

P.S. Because this newsletter only comes once a week, I have been posting notes on my Facebook page to react to events as they happen.  I also post videos of my speeches and provide updates from my travels. You can follow me on Facebook here.

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The Libyan Psychodrama – HUMAN EVENTS | John Hayward

Posted in Libya by James Pat Guerréro on 03/30/2011

The long-awaited Obama address on Libya contained many of the expected points. We knew he would remind us about what a rotten guy Qaddafi is, and the world can always use another hard look at the sins of its monsters.

There was an attempt to explain how it was imperative to “stop Qaddafi’s advance” before his evil spilled beyond the borders of Libya. President Obama offered no theories for why it had not done so during the previous forty years. He also repeated the threadbare talking point that Qaddafi had “lost the confidence of his people,” without suggesting a point during the last four decades when it was his to lose.

The mystic chords of memory were plucked, with encomiums to America’s unique history as a child of revolution, and how “the world’s most powerful nation will always be called upon to help.” We do not hear these luminous hymms when politically inconvenient oppressed people call upon us to help. We have a sacred duty to “prevent genocide,” except for the one in Darfur, or Saddam Hussein’s obliteration of the Marsh Arabs.

The president made some entirely reasonable points about how the cold reality that we cannot act everywhere should not prevent us from acting anywhere. Foreign policy is made from such grim choices, a lesson the more mature President Obama of 2011 would have found challenging to explain to the childlike Candidate Obama of 2008.

The rest of the President’s address was an exercise in psychodrama, a weird journey through the mind of a narcissist who can’t believe all the nasty things people are saying about him.

Obama’s id is wrestling with the comparisons between his Libyan intervention and George Bush’s action in Iraq.  He made a point of criticizing Iraq, which had a vastly larger international coalition behind it than Obama does now, united in the struggle to depose an even more gruesome and sadistic monster than Qaddafi.  He warned us that we might be stuck in post-Qaddafi Libya for a while because “40 years of terror left Libya fractured.”  The left never cut Bush any slack for trying to rebuild a country traumatized by decades of terror from Saddam Hussein.

The President’s ego is very sensitive to the criticism that his handling of the Libyan situation was lazy and disengaged.  He’s constructed a new narrative in his own mind, where he “created the conditions for others to step up,” leading the Europeans to declare “a willingness to commit resources.”  Thus does Obama retroactively become the hero of a military operation France, England, and Hillary Clinton dragged him into, and which he authorized with a few peevish phone calls from a South American junket.

Obama is clearly working through some deep issues about the Clintons.  He took a few unexpected, oblique shots at Bill Clinton, noting that “the international community waited more than a year” before intervening in Bosnia, while Obama got ordinance dropped on Tripoli “in 31 days.”  He also congratulated himself for refusing “to wait for images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”  You might want to put some ice on that, Mr. Clinton.

As he always does, the President sought refuge in the shadow of straw men, and worked to erase serious opponents of his policies from the debate.  He declared his vindication over “those who doubted our ability to carry out this operation.”  Did anyone seriously doubt we could take out the crappy little Libyan air force?

Obama portrayed his critics as offering a “false choice” between those who “question why we should intervene at all,” and others who “support broadening our involvement.”  What about those of us who thought we should have intervened weeks ago, when Qaddafi was bottled up in Tripoli, after a proper debate in the United States Congress?  It is possible to believe an intervention was necessary, or at least arguable, without supporting the way it was actually conducted.

Of course this President’s fragile self-image and political durability could not survive a failure in Libya, so he was careful to set the terms of success so he can escape responsibility for any outcome.  A simple “Qaddafi must go” would set up a verifiable test for success next year.  Instead, we’re going to work at getting him out of power through “non-military” means, but regime change is not our current military objective.  It would be easy to write both the speech where Obama takes credit for killing or deposing the dictator, and the speech where he explains what a great success our no-fly zone has been even though Qaddafi is still there.  In fact, you could probably do it by cutting and pasting lines from the address he gave tonight.

Obama concluded with a clumsy attempt to tie Operation Odyssey Dawn into his perpetual presidential campaign, waxing poetic about “deeply held principles” and how “young people are leading the way.”  Well, young people in Palestine are firing rockets into civilian populations, and slashing Israeli families into bloody shreds while they sleep.  Young people are indulging their bloodlust by helping to suppress demonstrations in Syria and Iran.  It would be nice if all of their victims could find the same “friend in the United States” that Libyans have.  We needed hard answers about that situation tonight.  Instead, we got a journey through the tortured mind of a politician.

via The Libyan Psychodrama – HUMAN EVENTS.

Obama On The Hook

Posted in Tradition by James Pat Guerréro on 03/30/2011

OBAMA ON THE HOOK

By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN

Published on DickMorris.com on March 29, 2011

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With each of his policies, Obama takes a gamble. If they work, he’s OK. If they don’t, he’s on the hook for the outcome. Consider the extent of his exposure:

* His involvement in Libya makes him responsible if Gaddafi stays in power and slaughters his own people and/or renews his connections with international terrorism. Obama will be equally responsible should Gaddafi be toppled and an Iraqi-style civil war erupts between his deposed supporters and the new government. As General Powell said "you break it, you own it."

Discover What Warren Buffett Is Doing Right Now to Defeat Inflation and Prosper Safely * His support for the rebellion in Egypt and his action in forcing Mubarak from power makes him responsible should the Muslim Brotherhood take over the nation and use it as a basis for promoting terrorism and battling Israel, undoing the Camp David accords.

* Obama’s anti-oil drilling policies make him vulnerable should oil prices resume their upward march, particularly so if the Saudi monarchy is toppled and prices surge. In that event, he will be subject to blame for encouraging the wave or revolutions on the one hand and neglecting our domestic energy resources on the other.

* Attorney General Eric Holder’s weakening of our domestic anti-terror efforts and his curbs on investigatory tactics make Obama responsible for any major terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

* Should the economy enter a double dip recession, it will be Obama’s recession. No longer will the public blame Bush, but they will realize that it is Obama’s policies which have led to disaster.

That’s all a lot for a president to have on his plate. But Obama keeps helping himself to more responsibility without clear exit strategies and with only a hope and a prayer standing between him and disaster. He is now so dependent on the actions of other players — Egyptian Muslims, Libyan rebels, Saudi insurgents, domestic terrorists, and global economic forces — that he is no longer in control of his own destiny.

He is now truly the hostage of events. Not a good place for a president facing re-election to be.

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