The CIA’s Aquatic Sports Program and Obama’s Real Agenda

Posted on Fri 04/24/2009 by

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From Friday Digest – Vol. 09 No. 16

THE FOUNDATION

“If a nation expects to be ignorant — and free … it expects what never was and never will be.” –Thomas Jefferson

PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE

The CIA’s Aquatic Sports Program and Obama’s Real Agenda

By Mark Alexander

Leon Panetta was certainly not appointed Director of Central Intelligence because of any related professional qualifications for the post. However, as the former White House Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, Panetta has the political gravitas to run interference for the Obama regime, to best ensure that nobody will depart the Agency reservation with anything that poses a problem for Obama’s agenda.

Of course, what could possibly pose a problem for a pathological socialist who launched his political career a few years back in the home of his terrorist neighbors, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn — and is now president?

Though Panetta lacks an intelligence background, at least he passed muster for the requisite DCI clearances. His boss, however, wouldn’t qualify for the clearance level required of a desk clerk at the Social Security Administration. (Is this a great country, or what?)

This week, Panetta greeted Obama in the lobby of the CIA’s Original Headquarters Building in advance of Obama’s teleprompted regurgitation of the most overtly partisan pile of political horse pucky in CIA history. Feigning impartiality, Panetta said, “We must be careful not to spend so much time and energy in laying blame for the past that it interferes with our ability to focus on the fundamental mission we have for today and for tomorrow.”

Notice Panetta did not say that we shouldn’t lay political blame. He just qualified how much time should be spent doing so.

Blame for what?

Last week, Obama released some carefully chosen top-secret memos regarding “enhanced interrogation” techniques used to interview a few al-Qa’ida guests at the fashionable “Chez Gitmo” resort located on the southeast shore of a nearby Caribbean island getaway. (OK, that may not be a fair representation of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp — and certainly not Castro’s island concentration camp — but the food, sanitation and amenities at Gitmo are much better than that of the detainees’ former dwellings in the dark, dank caves of mountainous Afghanistan.)

The memos pertained to the treatment of three particularly evil Gitmo detainees, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. These three were subjected to waterboarding — the forcible introduction of water to the mouth and nasal passages in order to coerce a captive’s submission and cooperation. (It’s worth noting that thousands of our Special Forces and clandestine operators have been subjected to waterboarding as part of their “Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape” training, and, like the Gitmo detainees, they survived.)

However distasteful you might find this practice, I would argue it is a bit more humane than al-Qa’ida’s terminal interrogation practice, decapitation.

While Obama released the information about the interrogation techniques, the information obtained by those techniques was redacted. Why, you ask?

Both the CIA and the Justice Department have confirmed that intelligence gathered from these detainees, particularly that from KSM (architect of the 9/11 attacks), saved American lives and property, especially information that thwarted planned attacks on Los Angeles and New York, as well as actionable intelligence that led to the arrest of an al-Qa’ida cell in the U.S. and the capture or death of a succession of al-Qa’ida principals in the Middle East and Africa.

Call it selective transparency. Despite the fact that the Bush administration succeeded with the interrogation policy in question, when it comes to Left-partisan politics, no good deed goes unpunished.

Speaking to CIA employees, Obama said, “I have put an end to the interrogation techniques described in those OLC memos, and I want to be very clear and very blunt. I’ve done so for a simple reason: because I believe that our nation is stronger and more secure when we deploy the full measure of both our power and the power of our values — including the rule of law.”

“Values”? Like the values which form Obama’s “vision for America.”

“Rule of law”? Everything the Obama administration has done and plans to do is an affront to constitutional Rule of Law.

In fact, the timing of the memos’ release has nothing to do with “values” or “rule of law.” Let me offer a different rationale for their release from any you’ve heard or read thus far.

While this memo folly seems to be another candidate for the Obama regime’s “ready, fire, aim” botched policy bin, it has a clever, if not obvious, purpose.

First, it serves to both appease and re-energize Obama’s ultra-Leftist cadres, those who made “waterboarding” a rallying point for their anti-Operation Iraqi Freedom protests. Indeed, withdrawal from Iraq was the most prominent theme of both Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign and his 2008 presidential campaign platform.

Second, and more than re-energizing his anti-war base, however, Obama timed and staged this political shenanigan to reignite the anti-Bush sentiment among a much broader cross section of his constituents. To accomplish this, he has left the door open for prosecution of Bush officials, including Condoleezza Rice, who approved of the policy.

In doing so, he hopes to regain the allegiance of his largest and most loyal constituency, Bush-haters, with the objective of deflecting a growing chorus of “buyer’s remorse” among those who elected him but are now increasingly disillusioned.

A charade it may be, but based on the media play it is receiving, Obama is accomplishing his shrewd political objective, which again, has nothing to do with waterboarding.

Obama’s Veep, Joe Biden, primed the pump for this farce in February, when he met with Panetta and CIA employees, and told them that Obama was going to “reverse the [waterboarding] policies that in my view and the view of many in this agency caused America to fall short of its founding principles and which gave al-Qa’ida a powerful recruiting tool.” (Note to Joe: No detainee had been subjected to waterboarding since 2003.)

On Monday, Obama stood in the same location at which Biden delivered his remarks, and completed the act.

CIA Memorial Wall

To be more specific, both Obama and Biden staged their remarks in front of the north wall in the CIA’s Original Headquarters Building lobby. On the marble wall behind them is an inscription: “In honor of those members of the Central Intelligence Agency who gave their lives in the service of their country.” Under those words are 89 stars representing some of the CIA officers who have been killed in covert actions.

Watching that photo op, I was struck by Obama’s unmitigated “audacity,” that he would defile this solemn memorial by using it as a backdrop for delivering remarks to a handpicked audience — comments which served no other purpose than to amplify his anti-American political agenda.

At the entrance to the CIA’s OHB, not far from Obama and his teleprompters, there is another marble wall with the inscription “And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free” (John 8:32). The fifth and longest serving DCI, Allen Dulles, had those words from Scripture inscribed there, and they would become the CIA’s motto.

One would hope that our nation would “know the truth,” and moreover, recognize that Obama and Biden are al-Qa’ida’s “powerful recruiting tool,” before our nation suffers another catastrophic attack.

Quote of the Week

“What the president has given to our enemies is a treasure chest of defensive weapons. Within the caves of the mountainous Pakistan/Afghanistan border, Islamofascist plotters must wonder how self-destructively corrupt their American adversaries have to be to allow such materials to land in their hands. The piece of information that may be of most value to terrorists is the government’s assessment that waterboarding was ‘the most traumatic of the enhanced interrogation techniques and implicitly the most effective. …Presumably the issue is academic since the Obama administration has officially prohibited waterboarding. There is no more valuable tool for subjects of interrogation than to know what they will be subjected to. How in good conscience could our president have given this gift to those trying to destroy us?” —Investor’s Business Daily

On Cross-Examination

“It is axiomatic that ideas have consequences, a theme being played out by the Obama administration’s turning a blind eye to the magnitude of terrorist evil and seeing a rough moral equivalence between beheadings by terrorists and aggressive American interrogation techniques to extract lifesaving information from terrorists. Commentators who believe Obama only released the ‘torture memos’ to appease his bloodthirsty, Bush-hating, leftist base, which would be bad enough, are missing the point that Obama shares his base’s beliefs. Obama is commander in chief, and his guiding foreign policy doctrine is ‘peace through weakness.'” –columnist David Limbaugh

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

News From the Swamp: Phantom Budget Cuts

“One of the messages that I delivered today to all the members of the cabinet was, uh, ‘As well as you’ve already done, we’re going to have to do that.’ I’m asking for all of them to identify, uh, at least a hundred million dollars in additional cuts to, uh, pare administrative budgets, separate and apart from, uh, the work that Peter Orszag and the rest of our team are going to go line by line in the budget and identify programmatic cuts that need to be made.” So declared Barack Obama on Monday. He promised during the campaign to slice money from the federal budget “line by line” with a scalpel, but no one believed he was serious when his big cost-cutting measure this week would amount to 0.003 percent of the $3.5 trillion budget. That’s a set of tweezers, not a scalpel.

As Dr. Greg Mankiw, a Harvard economics professor, noted, “To put those numbers in perspective, imagine that the head of a household with annual spending of $100,000 called everyone in the family together to deal with a $34,000 budget shortfall. How much would he or she announce that spending had to be cut? By $3 over the course of the year — approximately the cost of one latte at Starbucks. The other $33,997? We can put that on the family credit card and worry about it next year.”

Obama’s cost-cutting measures defy reality when compared to the $3.5 trillion budget for fiscal 2010. It is such a small cut that it will be completely invisible beside the projected $9.3 trillion deficit the federal government will rack up between 2010 and 2019. Furthermore, most of the belt tightening won’t happen in a single fiscal year. Some of it has already been under way, and the rest will continue through 2012. Which means the cuts are even more meaningless than they seem, if that’s possible.

The president defended the measure by noting that the small cuts will amount to something if they are taken together. “[T]hey send a signal that we are serious about changing how government operates,” Obama said. Indeed, that signal is loud and clear, judging by the way spending is completely out of control.

Climate Week Comes to Washington

A series of highly publicized hearings and testimonials were held surrounding Earth Day this week to draw as much attention as possible to the liberal sham that is climate legislation. Even Al Gore showed up on Friday, though, oddly enough, it didn’t snow.

The heads of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Transportation Department and the Energy Department testified on climate change legislation — a bill that is 648 pages in draft form — before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. According to The New York Times, “The House measure, the most far-reaching piece of energy and environmental legislation to come before Congress in years, would require large changes in the way the United States generates electricity, manufactures products, heats and lights its homes and offices, and moves people and goods.”

Political grandstanding was the main order of the week, but passing the cap and trade bill will top the agenda over the coming weeks — with the hope that it will clear the full House before Memorial Day. Some more radical elements, though, would include stricter measures that limit emissions and heavily fine those deemed to be polluters. Either way, the economy will suffer the consequences for actions taken based on dubious theories. As Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) put it, “The debate is not about whether cap-and-trade legislation will raise energy costs; the only dispute is by how much. With a cap-and-trade scheme like that proposed by Chairmen Waxman and Markey, households can expect energy cost increases up to $3,128 per year. Your electricity bill will increase by 77 to 129 percent. Filling up your gas tank will cost anywhere from 60 to 144 percent more. The cost of home heating oil and natural gas will nearly double.” So much for Barack Obama’s oft repeated pledge to “cut taxes for 95 percent of workers and their families.”

In related news, Obama burned about 9,000 gallons of jet fuel on Earth Day to make his speech in Iowa about saving the planet.

This Week’s ‘Alpha Jackass’ Award

This exchange occurred as part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings this week:

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL): “Last September you [Energy Secretary Steven Chu] made a statement that somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe, which at the time exceeded $8 a gallon. As secretary of energy, will you speak for or against any measures that would raise the price of gasoline?”

Sec. Steven Chu: “As secretary of energy, I think especially now in today’s economic climate it would be completely unwise to want to increase the price of gasoline. And so we are looking forward to reducing the price of transportation in the American family. And this is done by encouraging fuel-efficient cars; this is done by developing alternative forms of fuel like biofuels that can lead to a separate source, an independent source of transportation fuel.”

Rep. Stearns: “But you can’t honestly believe that you want the American people to pay for gasoline at the prices, the level in Europe?”

Sec. Chu: “No, we don’t.”

Rep. Stearns: “No. But somehow, your statement, ‘Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe’ — doesn’t that sound a little bit silly in retrospect for you to say that?”

Sec. Chu: “Yes.”

New & Notable Legislation

The much-trumpeted but rarely heard from AmeriCorps program (started by former president Bill Clinton) got a big boost from President Obama Tuesday. He signed a $5.7 billion bill into law that will triple the size of the program over the next eight years. Leave it to the world’s best-known community organizer to begin bribing the citizenry into “voluntary” public service. The program is laced with incentives to get people to volunteer for community projects, including education awards that can be transferred to young family members. The projects will cover categories like improving education, helping the poor and encouraging energy efficiency, and the government will likely have the final say as to which projects will count for the incentives.

The House Judiciary Committee is taking up H.R. 1913, the so-called “hate crimes” bill. Pushed mainly by homosexual activists and their allies, the bill would greatly restrict free speech, which liberals claim to support. There are two other problems with the bill: First, it would provide unequal justice in that two criminals will be treated differently for the same crime based on their motive. Second, a pastor speaking about homosexuality could be guilty for having “counseled” or “induced” a hate crime based on existing federal law.

Judicial Benchmarks: Second Amendment Ruling

On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, one of the questions left open by the U.S. Supreme Court in its District of Columbia v. Heller decision last June. In short, this means that the Second Amendment applies to state and local law as well as federal law, though the right is subject to such “reasonable regulation” as the Supreme Court allowed in Heller.

The National Rifle Association gives the background: “In 1999, the Alameda County [California] Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that made it a misdemeanor to possess a firearm on county property, effectively banning gun shows. This ordinance affected a local business, owned by Russell and Sallie Nordyke, which promotes gun shows throughout California. In an attempt to continue holding their gun shows on the Alameda county fairgrounds property, the Nordykes filed suit to strike down the ordinance. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the ordinance banning guns on county property, but found, consistent with the views of most Second Amendment scholars, that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for all law-abiding Americans.” We in our humble shop are still a bit stunned to hear that the wacky Ninth Circuit has correctly interpreted the Second Amendment.

In many ways, this case goes to the heart of the Founders’ debate over the very existence of the Bill of Rights. Some argued that it was necessary to define the rights and so constrain the government; other argued that by listing them, the rights would be subject to misinterpretation. It turns out both sides had a point.

In other Second Amendment news, the Obama administration — surprise — will not appeal a Federal District Court ruling striking down the Bush administration’s policy of allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry firearms in national parks. The Interior Department did, however, promise to conduct a full review of the “environmental impact” of such a policy. The NRA has filed a separate appeal of the ruling.

Deciphering the Obama Doctrine

President Obama took his road show south of the border this week to the meeting of the Organization of American States in Trinidad and Tobago. While he didn’t get the admiring throngs he received on his pre-election European trips (with the exception of the press), there was at least one positive result from his trip south.

First the President sat through a nearly hour-long diatribe on our perceived past foreign policy sins, courtesy of Sandinista Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua. Obama also meekly accepted another anti-American screed disguised as the gift of a book, “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent,” from Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez. Obama did not consider his chummy conversation with Chavez as a move endangering the strategic interests of the United States nor did he condemn Ortega’s rambling anti-American tirade — a talk that also lamented Cuba’s longtime exclusion from the Organization of American States. Perhaps Obama felt as if he were back in Reverend Wright’s church.

Former GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, for one, was critical, saying, “[E]ven as American soldiers sacrificed blood in Afghanistan and Iraq to defend liberty, President Obama shrank from defending liberty here in the Americas.”

On the other hand, one possible triumph for Obama was little noticed. He invited Colombia’s trade minister to visit Washington this week, perhaps putting new impetus into a stalled trade agreement between the United States and the former narcostate — a nation that has seen vast reform since its election of Alvaro Uribe as its president. Obama also promised a Colombian visit soon and invited Uribe to the White House, more signs of a developing bond between the two nations that could counter neighboring Venezuela’s influence in the region.

Still, this may be the lone achievement on a trip in which Obama delivered little but pathetic apologies to dictators for American foreign policy and denials of responsibility for actions taken before he was born.

Move Along, Folks, Nothing to See Here…

On the first day of the 111th Congress, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a bill designed to help the FDIC reduce the number of home foreclosures to the tune of $25 billion in TARP money. This would seem to be typical feel-good liberal legislation until two facts are considered. First among the oddities is that the California Democrat doesn’t sit on the Senate committee that oversees the FDIC. More important, a major benefactor for the money would be the real estate firm CB Richard Ellis — where Richard Blum, Feinstein’s husband, works as the chairman of the board.

More interesting still, according to The Washington Times, is the timing of the purchase of more than 10 million shares of CB Richard Ellis stock by Blum’s investment firm. This buy occurred just days before CB Richard Ellis was awarded a multi-million dollar contract by the FDIC to help liquidate foreclosed properties.

The contract itself is unusual because it allows CB Richard Ellis to collect setup and management fees for properties the FDIC wants to sell. In addition, the commission rates allowed in the deal were up to three times higher than those found in conventional real estate deals, even on foreclosed properties.

Needless to say, Sen. Feinstein, who is among the wealthiest senators thanks to her husband’s investment firm, Blum Capital Partners, denied any effort at lining the family coffers. A spokesman for the senator said the bill was simply in response to the vast number of foreclosures in California, a state which accounts for a third of the national foreclosure toll, and that she complies with all required disclosure requirements. In this era of fed-up taxpayers and their tea parties, though, even $25 billion contracts raise eyebrows, and Feinstein thus has some serious ethical questions to answer.

NATIONAL SECURITY

Immigration Front: Napolitano is Ignorant of Law

How does one go about becoming the Secretary of Homeland Security when one does not know the laws? Just ask someone who’s done it — Janet Napolitano. During a recent interview with CNN’s John King, the former Arizona governor, among a string of outrageous comments, claimed that “crossing the border is not a crime per se,” but rather a civil matter. Needless to say, she is 100 percent incorrect. Section 8, Title 1325 of the U.S. Code clearly states that “improper entry into the United States” is a crime — a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for each subsequent offense.

Besides, Napolitano says, the “real evildoers” are not the illegals themselves, but “the employers who consistently hire illegal labor.” So, in other words, we should penalize the employers and allow illegals to stay in this country, unemployed … until they are sued by the government in civil court? Perhaps this is just the first shot across the bow regarding soon-to-come immigration “reform.”

Napolitano’s comments are not a surprise, however, considering the secretary’s equally ignorant views on the terrorist threat. As we noted last week, a report released by the Office of Homeland Security speaks to Napolitano’s concern that our returning soldiers, presumably disgruntled after being sent to war, may be susceptible to joining extremist right-wing groups. Clearly, this administration views our own veterans as more of a threat than the Islamofascists who could sneak across our porous borders from another country. Welcome to Obama-nation.

Obama Rejects Gitmo Report

Speaking of immigration, we may soon be welcoming a new group of residents to the U.S. Human Events editor Jed Babbin reports, “White House lawyers are refusing to accept the findings of an inter-agency committee that the Uighur Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay are too dangerous to release inside the U.S., according to Pentagon sources familiar with the action.” Obama has long promised to close Gitmo, but he recently ordered the review by all the national security agencies to determine the status of all detainees. The 17 Uighurs, for example, are members of the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement,” a terrorist cell, and were captured at an al-Qa’ida training camp. After review, the ruling on the field is that these terrorists are too dangerous to be released. But apparently, the White House has demanded that the review group re-do its findings to come up with Obama’s desired answer.

As Babbin writes, “Gitmo holds three classes of terrorist detainees: first, those that are held for prosecution of terrorist acts such as Khalid Sheik Muhammed; second, those who cannot be prosecuted and will be released or transferred to another country for trial or incarceration; and third, those who cannot be prosecuted (because the information against them is intelligence information inadmissible in court) but who pose such a danger that they cannot be released. The last category encompasses a large number of the Gitmo detainees.” Yet Obama thinks these nice folks would make great neighbors for some Americans — just not in the vicinity of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Department of Military Readiness: Army Recruiting

Amid the downturn in the economy, more young Americans are looking for career opportunities in the military. One benefit of this shift is that the Army can now be more selective in its recruits — for example, it no longer accepts felons or drug abusers. Waivers for such behavior and records classified as “adult major misconduct” reached a high of 511 in 2007, but are not available now. Also, for the first time since 2004, the Army reached the Pentagon’s goal of having 90 percent of recruits with at least a high school diploma. Meanwhile, the Army is cutting its recruiting budget, which worries some. Curtis Gilroy, the Pentagon’s top recruiting official, pointed out, “It may be easy and quick to cut recruiting budgets; it is difficult, time consuming and expensive to ramp back up when recruiting becomes difficult once again.”

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Income Redistribution: A TRAP by Any Other Name

In their unrelenting drive to nationalize, well, pretty much the planet, Obama administration officials leaked (i.e., trial-ballooned) their latest conspiracy, converting the government’s (read: taxpayers’) preferred shares in 19 of the nation’s largest banks into common equity. Recall that the government gained those shares through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a plan supposedly designed to restore confidence in the nation’s banks.

With TARP funds now “invested” in banks, insurance companies, automobile manufacturers and who knows what else, the government has its hands deep in America’s business. That problem is compounded, of course, by further muddying of the stakeholder waters, generating government tendrils that will reach even further into the heart of the nation’s banking system.

The market reacted predictably to the balloon, with financial stocks tanking 9 percent, driving a market decline of 3.5 percent. The Treasury’s implausible excuse for the conversion is that the plan will generate “up to an extra $100 billion in common equity.” This is like saying that turning a dollar into change will generate “up to an extra 100 cents in cash” — the move is nothing more than balance-sheet jujitsu.

Real damage is done, however, in that the conversion will result in the government’s owning an even greater share of financial institutions, resulting in even more meddling into their operations. The Wall Street Journal notes, far from restoring confidence in the nation’s banks, “[g]iving Barney Frank more voting power is more likely to induce panic than restore confidence.”

Nationalization schemes resonate in the American breast much like Obama’s campaign-trail query did with farmers in Iowa: “Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” The response: a) what’s “arugula,” and b) what’s “Whole Foods?” Iowa’s farmers don’t typically eat the snobby class’s leafy green of choice, and there are no Whole Foods in Iowa.

Unfortunately, Iowa’s farmers — along with the rest of America — are now footing the bill for Obama’s arugulance, enduring yet another round of such conceit. Rest assured, however, they’ll have a keen understanding of what happens when they fail financially, and, hint: It’s not a bailout.

IMF Gets Obama Boost

President Obama has requested that Congress appropriate $100 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of the $750 billion in commitments offered by the G-20 at its London Summit. After all the talk of trillion-dollar stimulus packages, a mere $100 billion seems like a footnote to the balance sheet. In his letter to congressional leaders, the president assured them that this would not be a “budgetary expenditure” as it represents only an exchange of assets. Nice try. When Joe and Jane Citizen buy a new house, they engage in an exchange of assets — they exchange their financial asset (cash) for a physical asset (house). But when the exchange involves borrowed funds that will require ongoing debt service, the matter becomes a “budgetary expenditure.”

The $750 billion committed by the G-20 represents the initial funding of the IMF’s New Arrangements to Borrow, or NAB fund. A multinational organization with a spotty track record and no accountability to the American electorate is going to “NAB” our tax dollars to address and resolve economic crises around the world. We realize that it’s passé, but we cite again the axiom that free markets work if they are allowed to work.

The IMF has been flexing its rhetorical muscle during the current economic crisis. It seems to believe that as an extra-governmental organization, it can help to smooth out the economic bumps in our financial road. The IMF sees an opportunity to become an international fiscal and monetary mediator along the lines of the United Nations with regard to foreign policy. Now there’s an organization worthy of emulation.

Regulatory Commissars: EPA Labels CO2 a Hazard

It’s official. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified increasing carbon dioxide emissions as a threat to human health, specifically labeling high CO2 concentrations as the “unambiguous result of human emissions” and defining the gas’s threat as one linked directly to its contribution to global warming.

According to the EPA, “natural variations” in climate could not be the source of rising temperatures — a conclusion also reached by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose research the EPA supports. Incidentally, the IPCC’s charter doesn’t even leave open to scientific inquiry the question of human impact on climate change, instead outlining as founding principle the “scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.”

Never fear, though. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson found the silver lining in “a solution … that will create millions of green jobs.” Sort of like the Spanish “solution” we mentioned last week that has kept that country in economic turmoil because the policy actually destroys jobs.

Perhaps even more disconcerting, however, is Rep. Edward Markey’s (D-MA) observation that the EPA’s ruling now leaves “a choice between legislation and regulation.” Talk about a Hobson’s choice.

Another Loan to GM, Chrysler Considered

The Obama administration is considering “lending” billions more to GM and Chrysler, knowing that taxpayer funds may neither be returned nor affect either company’s bankruptcy prospects. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department has reached an agreement with the United Auto Workers to preserve their pensions and retiree health benefits in the event of bankruptcy. Undeterred by the utter failure to secure a meaningful bailout of either company, or the lack of discernable potential to return the corporations to viability, the Obama administration once again proposes the same failed bailouts as before, only this time knowing the companies could break from the political process and go through bankruptcy anyway. In fact, the Obama administration will push Chrysler to file if the deal with Fiat doesn’t happen by 30 April. And The Wall Street Journal reports, “Chrysler LLC is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as soon as next week, whether or not it reaches a deal with its lenders or forges an alliance with Fiat SpA.”

Making matters worse, President Obama believes secured creditors, who by law receive full recovery in bankruptcy (assets permitting), voluntarily should limit their recovery to only 15 percent on the dollar because the government squandered taxpayer dollars trying to beat a dead horse. The government is also trying to force GM to further pursue green vehicles that have no hope of being profitable. In fact, GM will idle 13 assembly plants over the summer because of decreased demand. Obama’s administration continues to bring President Reagan’s observation to life: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

CULTURE & POLICY

Faith and Family: Connecticut Marriage Law

The Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation this week that will conform to the state Supreme Court’s October ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. Because of the court ruling, the Nutmeg State was already on the small but growing list of states legalizing same-sex marriage, but the bill “cleans up” the law to phase out civil unions and ensure conformity. The state senate passed the bill 28-7 and the House followed suit, 100-44. Democrat Governor M. Jodi Rell said that she will sign the bill. One concession in the legislation to opponents of same-sex marriage is an exemption for churches and other religious organizations from providing services, goods or facilities for same-sex wedding ceremonies.

From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently signed the 2009 Joint Statement of Exchange and Cooperation, an educational partnership, with his Chinese counterpart, Zhou Ji. Duncan waxed, “It amazes me how absolutely similar the challenges are and the huge sense of urgency that we both share.” That may be truer today than ever, given the regime change here in November. China is a Communist regime that “re-educates” political dissidents in labor camps. The agreement “includes the sharing of best teaching practices,” but are “re-education camps” really the kind of practices we want to emulate?

Not according to Nobel Peace Prize nominee Harry Wu, who has documented many of China’s human rights abuses and crimes. “The United States cannot learn anything from China,” he said. In this instance, it would be more accurate to say that the U.S. shouldn’t learn anything from China.

Village Academic Curriculum: Berkeley Discovers the Right

If one is interested in studying left-wing social movements such as organized labor, civil rights or feminism, there are dozens of universities and colleges that have created special programs and research centers devoted to the subject. But hardly any similar institutions exist in academia for those looking for a place to study the right wing in America and abroad. Now, with backing from an anonymous donor, the University of California, Berkeley, not exactly known as a bastion of conservatism, is creating a Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements. Apparently, it’s the first of its kind in higher education.

So why do we get the feeling that the profs there will not be as sympathetic to right-wing movements as they are to left-wing movements? Look no further than Paola Bacchetta, an associate professor at Berkeley who heads the center. She edited the book “Right-Wing Women: From Conservatives to Extremists Around the World.” At the end of one article, Bacchetta insists that researchers’ own political orientation is irrelevant. “It’s a question we always get asked,” she said. “But we really like to think of ourselves as scholars in the academy,” working on evaluating these groups without any agenda. “We’re not a political organization.” Of course, that statement is factually disproved by looking at the content and orientation of the book. Sounds like there’s not really any hope for change at Berkeley after all.

Frontiers of Science: Pros and Cons of Brain Research

In a good news-bad news story, neuroscience researchers have discovered a critical memory molecule that permits erasing certain memories such as a chronic fear, a traumatic loss or even a bad habit. Researchers have recently accomplished comparable feats, with a single dose of an experimental drug delivered to areas of the brain critical for holding specific types of memory, like emotional associations, spatial knowledge or motor skills. The drug blocks the activity of a substance that the brain apparently needs to retain much of its learned information. And if enhanced, the substance could help ward off dementias and other memory problems.

That’s the good news. As readers might expect, however, there are potential ethical problems. “This possibility of memory editing has enormous possibilities and raises huge ethical issues,” said Dr. Steven E. Hyman, a neurobiologist at Harvard. As The New York Times reports, “Yet any such drug, Dr. Hyman and others argue, could be misused to erase or block memories of bad behavior, even of crimes. If traumatic memories are like malicious stalkers, then troubling memories — and a healthy dread of them — form the foundation of a moral conscience.”

Not discussed in the Times’ article is the potential use of such a family of drugs for mind-control by a malevolent autocratic regime where, as with Winston Smith in “1984,” the populace will learn to love Big Brother through government-administered drugs.

And Last…

In some interesting military news, and in honor of Earth Day on Wednesday, we thought it worth a mention that the U.S. Army has stopped making its “eco-friendly” tungsten-based bullets. A study by University of Arizona Research Professor of Pediatrics Mark Witten (sponsored by the EPA) found that exposure to tungsten may increase the risk of cancer. The Army began using tungsten as an alternative to lead in order to protect the environment better, and soldiers have fired roughly 90 million rounds of the ammo in the last 15 years. American tungsten is also used in anti-tank rounds, missiles carried by drones and Phalanx anti-missile Gatling guns. At the risk of stating the obvious, we should note that the material has been shown to produce deleterious side effects in our nation’s enemies, including localized bleeding and, in some cases, rigor mortis.