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Weekend Download (June 19 – 21)

Monday, June 22, 2009
By Dan

"Iranian democracy will have to wait, Cold Stone don't eat itself!"

The Weekend Download is a synopsis of the news you might have missed if you stopped paying attention after Thursday night. Administrations have a way of releasing bad news on Fridays in the hopes you’re not listening. This administration is no different.  This weekend, however, was all about Iran.

Obama: Ice Cream for the girls. Iran: I scream for freedom.

Obama: Ice Cream for the girls. Iranians: I scream for freedom.

Nero-bama has Ice Cream while Tehran Burns.

In an tone deaf moment that would have sunk a Republican president, President Obama took his daughters for ice cream on Saturday as Iranians, including women, were beaten, shot and killed in the streets protesting a patently repressive regime. Several bloggers have put together side-by-side comparisons of the twittering of Obama’s ice cream social and the nearly simultaneous violence in Iran.

The weekend began, however, with the White House denying there was any split between Vice President Joe Biden and Obama on how to best handle Iran. (Biden thinks we should just raise taxes on their 7-11 and Dunkin-Donuts stores).  Also on Friday, both houses of Congress passed (nearly unanimous) resolutions condemning the Iranian government, adding political pressure on Obama to say something more than “the world is watching.” Congressional Republicans were particularly outspoken in calling for a more forceful statement from the President.

Finally, late Saturday, just before heading out for ice cream, Obama issued a terse written statement. Perhaps the President was afraid to get ice cream on his beloved teleprompter, or maybe he just couldn’t be bothered to wear a suit for the cameras on a Saturday just to denounce the killing of innocent civilians.  In any event, the press release meekly called for Iran to “stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people.” That’ll fix ‘em, sir.  I hope that harsh language isn’t too off putting, though.  Some of the mullahs can be a bit sensitive after a long day of shooting young girls and beheading journalists.  Maybe next time, you’ll be more thoughtful of their feelings.

In Iran, Saturday and Sunday brought more chaos, rioting, Iranian police firing at unarmed civilians and reports of tanks rolling in the streets. As many as 150 people may have been killed, while enemies of the regime, including journalists and students, were arrested.  One young student, Neda Agha Soltan, was shot and killed, allegedly by Iranian police (graphic video).  Both ABC’s Jake Tapper and the BBC have good summaries of the weekend’s events in Iran, as does HotAir here and here.

Obama’s image has been tarnished by his hands off approach to the massacres.  On Sunday, Rasmussen reported that its daily tracking poll for Saturday showed that, for the first time, President Obama’s approval index was negative (-2%).  The approval index is the difference between those who strongly approve of the job the President is doing (32%) and those who strongly disapprove (34%).  This is the first time Obama has had a negative index since becoming President.

Somewhat unrelatedly, JibJab recently came out with a new animation: He’s Barack Obama:

Obama Continues to Lose Ground on Socialized Medicine.

Obama suffered a personal setback of sorts on Friday, when his doctor of 22 years criticized his health care plan. No doubt, this will soon not be the doctor Obama once knew.  Separately, Democrats tried to bolster morale with a biased NYTimes/CBSNews poll out Saturday, allegedly showing support for Obamacare.  The problem, however, was that the poll grossly oversampled Obama voters.  It is not too difficult to find support for Obama’s plan when you ask those who voted for him 2-1.

Meanwhile, fresh off the heels of an embarrassing $1.6-$4 trillion debacle that would cover only 16 million people, Democrats unveiled a half-baked plan to cover 50 million people, including those who have decided to spend their money on things other than health insurance. In order to pay for this health care giveaway, Congress is, of course, considering brand new ways to tax you. Those new taxes may include taxes on soda, a higher tax bracket for families with AGI’s of over $200,000 and taxing employer-provided health care benefits. Funny, I thought someone called that the “the largest increase on middle-class taxpayers in American history.” And that was when McCain was offering an offsetting tax credit with it.

The Congressional Budget Office, after a cursory review of the plan, explained that the new plan would force employers to drop the existing health insurance they provide for employees, contrary to Mr. Obama’s repeated, clear, unambiguous assertions to the contrary. The plan would, in effect, give free health care to 50 million people who don’t now have it (because they don’t want it or can’t afford it), while taking it away from 10 million people who now get it as part of their job benefits.  Exactly the thing Obama said would never, ever happen.  When this was pointed out, the White House said (and I swear I’m not making this up) that Mr. Obama’s promises were not meant to be taken literally. I hope world leaders didn’t hear that, it may damage his credibility. If only he had any.

Global Warming™: Who are you gonna believe Obama, or your lying eyes?

Despite record low temperatures throughout much of the United States, predictions of a lost summer, and an increasing skepticism of anthropogenic (or even natural) global warming, the White House on Friday released a report claiming that Global Warming™ is causing damage now. The report, which contains no new research, claims that the unproven theory may lead to an 11 degree increase in global mean temperature by the end of the century. Over the past 10 years, the average mean global temperature has not increased. Not one tenth of one measurable hair’s breath of a degree.

Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats, who have free reign to destroy the economy as they tilt at their imaginary windmill of Global Warming™, are beginning to bicker amongst themselves. The always unreasonable Henry Waxman (D-Neptune) is trying to run roughshod over Democrats from agricultural and other real-economy states, causing the legislative negotiations to “blow up” on Thursday. Hopefully the explosion was carbon-neutral.

In an irony-meets-bureaucracy moment, the Obama administration suggested Friday that the federal government create a national zoning board to deal with the NIMBY do-gooders on Cape Cod who want others to pay higher electric bills, but don’t want wind turbines spoiling their view (or property values).  Federal zoning board. That should be a hoot.

Hope-ocrisy: Secret is as Secret Does.

In a dizzying, flip flop that would make even John Kerry proud, the Obama administration announced on Friday that it would not, after all, release the CIA report on interrogations. It had promised earlier to release the report on Friday, but as always, if you don’t like an Obama policy, just wait five minutes.

In a related, but shocking lapdog bites man story, Newsweek (also known as the Obama Fan Club Newsletter), who’s editor in chief, last week, called Obama “kind of a God”, published a story criticizing Obama’s blatant hypocrisy on issues of secrecy and transparency. We are assured Newsweek’s position in the kennel is not in danger.

Obama is following the Bush administration’s policy on state secrets to such a degree that, on Friday, even a federal judge expressed surprise that he was requesting confidential treatment of remarks former Vice President Dick Cheney made regarding the Valerie Plame matter. Obama’s attorneys argued that the remarks could be used politically and would discourage officials from cooperating with future investigations.  Obama had mercilessly criticized Bush and Cheney when they made the exact same argument in the exact same case.

Separately, as proof that the NY Times does, in fact, know how to keep secrets, it was announced this weekend that the Times had withheld reporting on one of its reporters, who had been kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan. (The reporter escaped and is now safe).  We suppose that, had it been William Kristol or an American soldier, results may have varied.

“Unproven” Missile Defense System Rushed to Defend Obamaland

As Hawaiian residents, businesses and tourists braced for North Korean sponsored fireworks on July 4th, President Obama ordered a missile defense system to the tropical island. You may recall that the last time North Korea tested long range missiles, Obama’s immediate response was to cut funding for the missile defense programs that he is now relying on to defend Hawaii. If consistency is a hobgoblin of little minds, Obama’s giant, hobgoblin–free, but chronically inconsistent mind cannot reasonably be relied on by either our allies or our enemies in global affairs.

Bermuda? I hardly know ‘er!

President Obama’s fly-by-night (literally) dumping of four Uighurs in Bermuda is still causing an international incident as Bermudans forced a no confidence vote on Premier Ewart Brown. The Premier survived the no confidence vote on Saturday, but Al Sharpton is flying down to Bermuda, ostensibly to meet the Uighurs and lend support to Brown (and for the boondoggle on the dime of whomever is dumb enough to be paying for his trip). The divisive Sharpton is more likely to cause problems than solve them, so Brown may not be in calm seas just yet.  And any white police officers in Bermuda would be well advised to take a vacation while Sharpton is in town.

Dishonorable Mention

  • On Friday, the White House announced the appointment of more campaign contributors to posts as Ambassadors, bringing the average cost of an Obassadorship to roughly $253,000 in bundled campaign contributions. That’s not Change, and it doesn’t seem much like Hope.
  • Also on Friday, the United States Senate unanimously apologized for slavery. Senator Byrd (D-Old), the only sitting Senator with a known connection to the KKK and who may just be old enough to have owned slaves, did not make the vote.
  • Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, waited until Friday to cave to political pressure and resign from an all-women’s club in California. I suppose it took the richness of her experiences a while to catch up. That, or she was hoping no one would notice on a Friday in the summer.
  • After a week of being embarrassed by gay rights groups, a White House official expressed regret for having compared same sex marriage to incest and bestiality in an official legal brief supporting the Defense of Marriage Act.  Of course, like all admissions of guilt from the Obama administration, this was really a deflection of blame onto the Bush administration. Apparently the Bush DOJ password protected their legal briefs, or something, and Obama’s DOJ didn’t want to start from scratch. Crafty Republicans.
  • In a story that should have been, but wasn’t, in The Onion, Obama promised not to take lobbyist money at a fundraiser held Thursday night. Instead, he held a second fundraiser Friday morning, where the lobbyist cash was officially collected. That is the Audacity of Bullshit.

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