Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Exceptional speech on foreign policy by Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty delivered this must-read speech on foreign policy to the Council on Foreign Relations today.

Excerpt:

President Obama has failed to formulate and carry out an effective and coherent strategy in response to these events.  He has been timid, slow, and too often without a clear understanding of our interests or a clear commitment to our principles.

And parts of the Republican Party now seem to be trying to out-bid the Democrats in appealing to isolationist sentiments.  This is no time for uncertain leadership in either party.  The stakes are simply too high, and the opportunity is simply too great.

No one in this Administration predicted the events of the Arab spring – but the freedom deficit in the Arab world was no secret.  For 60 years, Western nations excused and accommodated the lack of freedom in the Middle East.  That could not last.  The days of comfortable private deals with dictators were coming to an end in the age of Twitter, You Tube, and Facebook.  And history teaches there is no such thing as stable oppression.

President Obama has ignored that lesson of history.  Instead of promoting democracy – whose fruit we see now ripening across the region – he adopted a murky policy he called “engagement.”

“Engagement” meant that in 2009, when the Iranian ayatollahs stole an election, and the people of that country rose up in protest, President Obama held his tongue.  His silence validated the mullahs, despite the blood on their hands and the nuclear centrifuges in their tunnels.

While protesters were killed and tortured, Secretary Clinton said the Administration was “waiting to see the outcome of the internal Iranian processes.”  She and the president waited long enough to see the Green Movement crushed.

“Engagement” meant that in his first year in office, President Obama cut democracy funding for Egyptian civil society by 74 percent.  As one American democracy organization noted, this was “perceived by Egyptian democracy activists as signaling a lack of support.”  They perceived correctly.  It was a lack of support.

“Engagement” meant that when crisis erupted in Cairo this year, as tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, Secretary Clinton declared, “the Egyptian Government is stable.”  Two weeks later, Mubarak was gone.  When Secretary Clinton visited Cairo after Mubarak’s fall, democratic activist groups refused to meet with her.  And who can blame them?

The forces we now need to succeed in Egypt — the pro-democracy, secular political parties — these are the very people President Obama cut off, and Secretary Clinton dismissed.

The Obama “engagement” policy in Syria led the Administration to call Bashar al Assad a “reformer.”  Even as Assad’s regime was shooting hundreds of protesters dead in the street, President Obama announced his plan to give Assad “an alternative vision of himself.”  Does anyone outside a therapist’s office have any idea what that means?  This is what passes for moral clarity in the Obama Administration.

By contrast, I called for Assad’s departure on March 29; I call for it again today.  We should recall our ambassador from Damascus; and I call for that again today.  The leader of the United States should never leave those willing to sacrifice their lives in the cause of freedom wondering where America stands.  As President, I will not.

I blogged quite a bit about the peaceful protestors in Iran. Remember Neda Soltan who was shot down in the streets? And yet Obama had almost nothing to say about the pro-democracy movements. And Obama was on the wrong side in the Honduras election, as well – he backed Manuel Zelaya. It’s good that Tim Pawlenty has something to say about it.

And a bit more  of his speech:

The third category consists of states that are directly hostile to America.  They include Iran and Syria.  The Arab Spring has already vastly undermined the appeal of Al Qaeda and the killing of Osama Bin Laden has significantly weakened it.

The success of peaceful protests in several Arab countries has shown the world that terror is not only evil, but will eventually be overcome by good.  Peaceful protests may soon bring down the Assad regime in Syria.  The 2009 protests in Iran inspired Arabs to seek their freedom.  Similarly, the Arab protests of this year, and the fall of regime after broken regime, can inspire Iranians to seek their freedom once again.

We have a clear interest in seeing an end to Assad’s murderous regime.  By sticking to Bashar al Assad so long, the Obama Administration has not only frustrated Syrians who are fighting for freedom—it has demonstrated strategic blindness.  The governments of Iran and Syria are enemies of the United States.  They are not reformers and never will be.  They support each other.  To weaken or replace one, is to weaken or replace the other.

The fall of the Assad mafia in Damascus would weaken Hamas, which is headquartered there.  It would weaken Hezbollah, which gets its arms from Iran, through Syria.  And it would weaken the Iranian regime itself.

To take advantage of this moment, we should press every diplomatic and economic channel to bring the Assad reign of terror to an end.  We need more forceful sanctions to persuade Syria’s Sunni business elite that Assad is too expensive to keep backing.  We need to work with Turkey and the Arab nations and the Europeans, to further isolate the regime.  And we need to encourage opponents of the regime by making our own position very clear, right now:  Bashar al-Assad must go.

When he does, the mullahs of Iran will find themselves isolated and vulnerable.  Syria is Iran’s only Arab ally.  If we peel that away, I believe it will hasten the fall of the mullahs.  And that is the ultimate goal we must pursue.  It’s the singular opportunity offered to the world by the brave men and women of the Arab Spring.

The march of freedom in the Middle East cuts across the region’s diversity of religious, ethnic, and political groups.  But it is born of a particular unity.  It is a united front against stolen elections and stolen liberty, secret police, corruption, and the state-sanctioned violence that is the essence of the Iranian regime’s tyranny.

So this is a moment to ratchet up pressure and speak with clarity.  More sanctions.  More and better broadcasting into Iran.  More assistance to Iranians to access the Internet and satellite TV and the knowledge and freedom that comes with it.  More efforts to expose the vicious repression inside that country and expose Teheran’s regime for the pariah it is.

And, very critically, we must have more clarity when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program.  In 2008, candidate Barack Obama told AIPAC that he would “always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel.”  This year, he told AIPAC “we remain committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”  So I have to ask: are all the options still on the table or not?  If he’s not clear with us, it’s no wonder that even our closest allies are confused.

The Administration should enforce all sanctions for which legal authority already exits.  We should enact and then enforce new pending legislation which strengthens sanctions particularly against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who control much of the Iranian economy.

Here’s a clip from the discussion with CFR after the speech:

You know, I was listening to a fiscal conservative being interviewed on the radio the other day and the person was saying that he had more fear of Obama’s foreign policy than of Obama’s economic policy. This was after he had laid out a gloomy economic picture.

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UK Telegraph pronounces Michele Bachmann the winner of the debate

From the UK Telegraph, Michele Bachmann is the winner of last night’s Republican  primary debate.

Excerpt:

Tonight, she relentlessly pushed her experience as a tax lawyer, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, a decision-maker not afraid to buck her own party on TARP and a leader of the charge against Obamacare – not to mention being a mother of five and foster mother of 23.

There is often a herd mentality at debates. But I’ve never seen such unanimity as there was this time. In the spin room afterwards, almost everyone flocked initially to Team Bachmann to hear what they had to say.  Their game plan has been simple: 1. Grab the headlines by announcing she was running for president. It was gimmicky but effective. All the wires led with this “news” – I use inverted commas because we all knew she was running and she still hasn’t set a date for the actual announcement. 2. Push details of her broad experience and policy know-how.

Here’s the debate transcript:

Best sound bite from Michele Bachmann:

KING: Congresswoman Bachmann, should the president have supported and jointed more U.S. presence, but now a NATO operation? Was that the right thing to do? Is that in the vital national interest of the United States of America?

BACHMANN: No, I don’t believe so it is. That isn’t just my opinion. That was the opinion of our defense secretary, Gates, when he came before the United States Congress. He could not identify a vital national American interest in Libya.

Our policy in Libya is substantially flawed. It’s interesting. President Obama’s own people said that he was leading from behind. The United States doesn’t lead from behind. As commander in chief, I would not lead from behind.

We are the head. We are not the tail. The president was wrong. All we have to know is the president deferred leadership in Libya to France. That’s all we need to know. The president was not leading when it came to Libya.

First of all, we were not attacked. We were not threatened with attack. There was no vital national interest. I sit on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. We deal with the nation’s vital classified secrets.

We to this day don’t yet know who the rebel forces are that we’re helping. There are some reports that they may contain al Qaeda of North Africa. What possible vital American interests could we have to empower al Qaeda of North Africa and Libya? The president was absolutely wrong in his decision on Libya.

To learn more about Bachmann, check out these profile pieces:

You can also see videos of Michele Bachmann interviews from a previous post.

These are both worth reading to understand her background, policies and voting record.

 

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Michele Bachmann wins Republican primary debate in New Hampshire

From the mainstream media:

From Twitter:

John Hawkins (Right Wing News)
Winner? Michele Bachmann. Last place? Herman Cain. His Muslim answer sounded awful. #cnndebate

Kathleen McKinley (Houston Chronicle, Right Wing News)
Now that Bachmann has proven herself a worthy candidate, the msm will go after her like they did Palin #waitandsee

Erick Erickson (Red State)
That sound you hear is millions of jaws hitting the ground by Bachmann’s stellar answer on Libya. She just did very well with that.

Erick Erickson (Red State)
Newt proved he can handle the debate. Bachmann wins as the strongest non Romney. Romney wins overall as no one knocked him off his perch.

Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post)
@daveweigel and Bachmann exceeded expectations

Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post)
who thinks Palin could have been more impressive than Bachmann?

Kathryn Jean Lopez (National Review)
michelle bachmann wins tonight and i suspect mitt romney is quite comfortable with that. #cnndebate

David Freddoso (National Review)
Lesson 1: Bachmann is a more serious candidate than Gingrich.

Jim Geraghty (National Review)
Bachmann’s performance tonight was so strong, it will take Ed Rollins at least half a week to derail her momentum…

Larry Sabato (Democrat)
Bachmann also pleased with her performance, with reason.

S.E. Cupp (Moderate conservative)
Romney looked good tonight, so did Pawlenty. But it must be said, Bachmann was actually the only rockstar on that stage.

S.E. Cupp (Moderate conservative)
David Gergen also says it was a very good night for Bachmann. So who did you think won the night?

Ezra Klein (Democrat from Washington Post)
Romney won. Bachmann surged. Cain disappointed. Pawlenty whiffed. Gingrich slept. Santorum fretted. Paul scolded. #CNNDebate

Keep in mind that Romney is the establishment candidate, the pick of the moderate Republicans and the Democrats. However, he did do well – it’s his record on abortion, religious liberty, global warming and health care that troubles me. (See related links below)

Debate transcript:

Best sound bite:

KING: Congresswoman Bachmann, should the president have supported and jointed more U.S. presence, but now a NATO operation? Was that the right thing to do? Is that in the vital national interest of the United States of America?

BACHMANN: No, I don’t believe so it is. That isn’t just my opinion. That was the opinion of our defense secretary, Gates, when he came before the United States Congress. He could not identify a vital national American interest in Libya.

Our policy in Libya is substantially flawed. It’s interesting. President Obama’s own people said that he was leading from behind. The United States doesn’t lead from behind. As commander in chief, I would not lead from behind.

We are the head. We are not the tail. The president was wrong. All we have to know is the president deferred leadership in Libya to France. That’s all we need to know. The president was not leading when it came to Libya.

First of all, we were not attacked. We were not threatened with attack. There was no vital national interest. I sit on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. We deal with the nation’s vital classified secrets.

We to this day don’t yet know who the rebel forces are that we’re helping. There are some reports that they may contain al Qaeda of North Africa. What possible vital American interests could we have to empower al Qaeda of North Africa and Libya? The president was absolutely wrong in his decision on Libya.

This is the answer that EVERYONE is pointing to as her finest moment.

Check out this Jennifer Rubin column that was just posted.

Excerpt:

There was some news made Monday night, as Bachmann declared her candidacy and showed herself to be a serious candidate. She often invoked her congressional experience (voting against TARP and against raising the debt limit and introducing a bill to repeal Obamacare). She gave an impassioned speech on the right to life, but said she wouldn’t go into states seeking to repeal their laws on gay marriage. As a federal matter, however, she would support a constitutional amendment if the Defense of Marriage Act doesn’t survive judicial scrutiny.

Read the whole thing. Michele is the candidate we need support.

You can contribute to her campaign right here. You can be her friend on Facebook here and also here.

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Michele Bachmann: hot photos from her vacation on the beach

Rep. Michele Bachmann

Before we see the hot pictures of Michele Bachmann from her vacation on the beach, let’s take a look at this Wall Street Journal article and find out what sorts of economics books Michele Bachmann reads on the hot beach possibly in her bathing suit.

Ms. Bachmann is best known for her conservative activism on issues like abortion, but what I want to talk about today is economics. When I ask who she reads on the subject, she responds that she admires the late Milton Friedman as well as Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. “I’m also an Art Laffer fiend—we’re very close,” she adds. “And [Ludwig] von Mises. I love von Mises,” getting excited and rattling off some of his classics like “Human Action” and “Bureaucracy.” “When I go on vacation and I lay on the beach, I bring von Mises.”

Consider Thomas Sowell’s “The Housing Boom and Bust”. Here’s a photo of that book which Michele Bachmann reads on the hot beach possibly in a swimsuit:

Picture of book Michele Bachmann reads on the hot beach

Picture of a book Michele Bachmann reads on the hot beach

The Wall Street Journal explains more:

As we rush from her first-floor digs in the Cannon House Office Building to the House floor so she can vote, I ask for her explanation of the 2008 financial meltdown. “There were a lot of bad actors involved, but it started with the Community Reinvestment Act under Jimmy Carter and then the enhanced amendments that Bill Clinton made to force, in effect, banks to make loans to people who lacked creditworthiness. If you want to come down to a bottom line of ‘How did we get in the mess?’ I think it was a reduction in standards.”

She continues: “Nobody wanted to say, ‘No.’ The implicit and then the explicit guarantees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were sopping up the losses. Being on the Financial Services Committee, I can assure you, all roads lead to Freddie and Fannie.”

Consider Walter Williams’ “Liberty vs the Tyranny of Socialism”. Here’s a picture of that book which Michelle Bachman reads on the hot beach possibly in a bathing suit:

Photo of a book Michelle Bachman reads on the hot beach

Photo of a book Michelle Bachman reads on the hot beach

The Wall Street Journal explains more:

Ms. Bachmann voted against the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) “both times,” she boasts, and she has no regrets since Congress “just gave the Treasury a $700 billion blank check.” She complains that no one bothered to ask about the constitutionality of these extraordinary interventions into the financial markets. “During a recent hearing I asked Secretary [Timothy] Geithner three times where the constitution authorized the Treasury’s actions, and his response was, ‘Well, Congress passed the law.'”

Insufficient focus on constitutional limits to federal power is a Bachmann pet peeve. “It’s like when you come up to a stop sign and you’re driving. Some people have it in their mind that the stop sign is optional. The Constitution is government’s stop sign. It says, you—the three branches of government—can go so far and no farther. With TARP, the government blew through the Constitutional stop sign and decided ‘Whatever it takes, that’s what we’re going to do.'”

Does this mean she would have favored allowing the banks to fail? “I would have. People think when you have a, quote, ‘bank failure,’ that that is the end of the bank. And it isn’t necessarily. A normal way that the American free market system has worked is that we have a process of unwinding. It’s called bankruptcy. It doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the industry is eclipsed or that it’s gone. Often times, the phoenix rises out of the ashes.”

Consider Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom”. Here’s a pic of that book which Michelle Bauchman reads on the hot beach possibly in a bikini:

Pics of a book Michelle Bockman reads on the hot beach

Pics of a book Michelle Bauchman reads on the hot beach

The Wall Street Journal explains more:

“For one, I believe my policies prior to ’08 would have been much different from [President Bush's]. I wouldn’t have spent so much money,” she says, pointing in particular at the Department of Education and the Medicare prescription drug bill. “I would have advocated for greater reductions in the corporate tax rate and reductions in the capital gains rate—even more so than what the president did.” Mr. Bush cut the capital gains rate to 15% from 20% in 2003.

She’s also no fan of the Federal Reserve’s decade-long policy of flooding the U.S. economy with cheap money. “I love a lowered interest rate like anyone else. But clearly the Fed has had competing goals and objectives. One is the soundness of money and then the other is jobs. The two different objectives are hard to reconcile. What has gotten us into deep trouble and has people so perturbed is the debasing of the currency.”

That’s why, if she were president, she wouldn’t renominate Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman: “I think that it’s very important to demonstrate to the American people that the Federal Reserve will have a new sheriff” to keep the dollar strong and stable.

[...]Ms. Bachmann attributes many of her views, especially on economics, to her middle-class upbringing in 1960s Iowa and Minnesota. She talks with almost religious fervor about the virtues of living frugally, working hard and long hours, and avoiding debt. When she was growing up, she recalls admiringly, Iowa dairy farmers worked from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Her political opponents on the left portray her as a “she-devil,” in her words, a caricature at odds with her life accomplishments. She’s a mother of five, and she and her husband helped raise 23 teenage foster children in their home, as many as four at a time. They succeeded in getting all 23 through high school and later founded a charter school.

Michele Bachman is actually willing to pass a lower corporate tax rate than even Tim Pawlenty’s 15% rate:

If she were to take her shot, she’d run on an economic package reminiscent of Jack Kemp, the late congressman who championed supply-side economics and was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 1996. “In my perfect world,” she explains, “we’d take the 35% corporate tax rate down to nine so that we’re the most competitive in the industrialized world. Zero out capital gains. Zero out the alternative minimum tax. Zero out the death tax.”

The 3.8 million-word U.S. tax code may be irreparable, she says, a view she’s held since working as a tax attorney at the IRS 20 years ago. “I love the FAIR tax. If we were starting over from scratch, I would favor a national sales tax.” But she’s not a sponsor of the FAIR tax bill because she fears that enacting it won’t end the income tax, and “we would end up with a dual tax, a national sales tax and an income tax.”

Her main goal is to get tax rates down with a broad-based income tax that everyone pays and that “gets rid of all the deductions.” A system in which 47% of Americans don’t pay any tax is ruinous for a democracy, she says, “because there is no tie to the government benefits that people demand. I think everyone should have to pay something.”

On the stump she emphasizes an “America-centered energy policy” based on “drilling and mining for our rich resources here.” And she believes that repealing ObamaCare is a precondition to restoring a prosperous economy.

[...]Ms. Bachmann also voted for the Republican Study Committee budget that cuts deeper and faster than even Mr. Ryan would. “We do have an obligation with Social Security and Medicare, and we have to recognize that” for those who are already retired, she says. But after that, it’s Katy bar the door: “Everything else is expendable to bring spending down,” and she’d ax “whole departments” including the Department of Education.

Below are some links to learn more about Michele.

Campaign speeches, interviews and debates

Speeches:

Reactions from her recent debate performance:

Profiles of Michele Bachmann:

And here are some of her media interviews and speeches in the House of Representatives.

You can contribute to her campaign right here. You can be her friend on Facebook here and also here.

This post was linked by:

And tweeted by Kathleen McKinley and Robert Stacy McCain.

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Tim Pawlenty lays out bold, conservative tax plan to create jobs

Remember on Sunday when I recommended some policies?

Excerpt:

Let me add this tort reform law (loser pays) to the other list of policies we need at the national level:

  • National right-to-work law
  • National photo ID required for voting
  • National voucher system for education
  • National voucher for health care
  • Nation cap on damages for lawsuits
  • allow Opt-out of Social Security
  • allow Opt-out of Medicare
  • allow Opt-out of Medicaid
  • allow Opt-out of unemployment insurance
  • Flat income tax at 10% below 50,000 and 25% over 50,000, with no deductions except for charity and retirement contributions
  • Zero capital gains tax, phased in over four years
  • Tax-free savings accounts with no restrictions on withdrawals, limit $5,000 per year

In the comments, I added that the limit would be $100,000 for married couples, in response to a challenge from a commenter. And I should have mentioned that I wanted corporate taxes cut to 25%.

Well, guess what Tim Pawlenty went and did?

Excerpt:

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will propose significant reductions in the corporate and individual tax rates Tuesday while calling for deep spending cuts that could see the federal government abandon its role delivering the mail or backstopping home loans.

The proposals are part of an economic plan Mr. Pawlenty will unveil later today in remarks at the University of Chicago. The plan, according to excerpts provided by Mr. Pawlenty’s campaign, is tailored to the business community and fiscal conservatives as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination, but its impact on the deficit is unclear, given the potential drop in tax revenue.

Mr. Pawlenty wants to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15% and create just two tax brackets for individuals and families: a 10% rate on the first $50,000 of income for individuals – or $100,000 for married couples – and a 25% rate for all other income. In addition, he will call for the elimination of taxes on capital gains, dividends, interest income and inheritance.

Hey, some of that sounds familiar!

And there’s more:

In order to offset any lost tax revenue — and to tackle the deficit — Mr. Pawlenty calls for something called “The Google Test” to determine whether the government should be involved in a program.

“If you can find a good or service on the Internet, then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it,” Mr. Pawlenty says. “The post office, the government printing office, Amtrak, Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac], were all built in a time in our country when the private sector did not adequately provide those products. That’s no longer the case.”

He calls on Congress to freeze spending at current levels and impound 5% of spending until the budget is balanced. “If they won’t do it … I will,” he plans to say.

The former governor will call for terminating all federal regulations, unless Congress votes to keep them individually.

I feel that I must make clear that the Wintery Knight is not Tim Pawlenty. However, he may be reading the Wintery Knight. One can’t know for sure.

OK, so right now I am still favoring Bachmann overall, with Cain in second place, and Pawlenty in third place. Feeling better about Pawlenty now. Three strong conservative candidates! WOOHOO!!! I would be happy with ANY of these three candidates.

You can read excepts of Pawlenty’s speech right here on his web site. Awesome stuff!

 

 

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