Obama/Berlin redux

I thought President Obama’s “too busy to attend” stance on the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall had quite plumbed his ahistorical depths and fully explored the psyches of his advisers. I considered it the final word, the last polished insult. I thought his refusal to grace the proceedings, contrasted with his daytrip to Denmark to lobby for the Chicago Olympics and combined with his upcoming journey to arrogate a Nobel Peace Prize, had settled the matter of “what is important.” I was wrong.

The President did not think the message had been made quite clear enough. He appeared at the Berlin ceremony, larger than life, via a video. In the accompanying sound track he failed to mention Khrushchev, Gorbachev, Stalin, the Soviet Union or even East Germany. He made no mention of Presidents Truman or Reagan. He similarly neglected British Prime Minister Thatcher, Polish President Walesa and Pope John Paul.

In a speech on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of a signature moment in the history of free men, the din of those omissions is hard to top; but he did manage it. Reflecting on world changing historical events, he said,

Few would have foreseen on that day that a united Germany would be led by a woman from Brandenburg or that their American ally would be led by a man of African descent. But human destiny is what human beings make of it.

Few could have envisaged an American President so self-regarding as to bring himself up in the same context as the fall of the Berlin Wall after 10 months in office on the basis of his melanin content. Besides which, the assumption of such general ignorance and prejudice in those “long ago” days is not credible. I’m quite certain that if you had asked 1000 random Americans and Germans whether a woman from Brandenburg might ever lead Germany or whether a man of African descent would ever lead the United States, more than half of them would have been able to see both. Almost every one of them would have predicted a united Germany. Hell, the WALL JUST CAME DOWN.

A more pertinent question would have been how many people could have imagined the fall of the Berlin Wall from the perspective of 1969. There you have a hook from which to mention the leaders who most contributed to that fall; should you want to acknowledge this achievement.

Or how about this question? If you had asked 1000 Americans on the day after the Berlin Wall fell whether an American President would refuse to show up in person at the 20th Anniversary, how many would have said “yes”?

P. S. “Human destiny is what human beings make of it.”

I like it. So did Obama. In a 3 minute speech he used the line twice. It’s nearly soaring, but its biggest advantage is that it’s clearly contentless. One could use it as an argument against Pelosicare and stimulus packages – or in favor of them.

The President neglects to specify which human beings are empowered to choose human destiny. On the evidence, he is not thinking of you or me. It’s Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama.

The Wall

TOC has mentioned Professor Paul Rahe before. Here is a must read analysis of President Obama’s gestures.

Yesterday, I mentioned the President’s midnight call to the Poles announcing his unilateral abandonment of the missile defense shield they, and the Czechs, had risked much to achieve. I forgot that insult was trebled because it came on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland. This could not have been accidental. It was certainly petty.

Poland has 2,000 troops on the ground with us in Afghanistan. Unlike France and Germany, their mission is to fight. Poland has seen 15 of its soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Professor Rahe’s point today is that President Obama’s refusal to go to Berlin on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is a rejection of an achievement unequaled in the history of free men. Rahe’s list of American leaders who fought to bring down that Wall constitutes a lesson in bi-partisanship, and is a catalog of mistakes from which the West learned hard lessons. The Wall was a powerful symbol of totalitarian thuggery. Fallen, it is an even more powerful symbol of freedom.

In 1963, President John Kennedy speaking in Berlin at the Rathaus Schönebergand said, “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan, at the Brandenburg Gate, demanded of Mikhail Gorbachev, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

In 2008, then Presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke at the Tiergarten, a few kilometers from his preferred location (the Brandenburg Gate, but his presumption was blocked by German Chancellor Angela Merkel). As a mere candidate, the plan to speak at the Brandenburg Gate was widely regarded as unseemly overreach.

During that Tiergarten speech Presidential candidate Obama said this, “I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.” An uttering so bland and general that it need not have been said of any democracy, much less of one’s own on foreign soil.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and President Barack Obama, who wanted to speak at the Brandenburg Gate in 2008 as a candidate, will not attend the ceremony.

This is the same President Barack Obama who found time late last month to take a day trip to Copenhagen to lobby for the 2016 Olympic games in Chicago. He had sent his close adviser, Valerie Jarrett, to lobby for a Chicago Olympics as early as June.

The contrast seems to say something about his priorities.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was the culmination of a decades long defense of liberty against tyranny. The fall of the Berlin Wall represented American leadership and determination in support of free nations’ insistence on the dignity of man in the face of totalitarian butchers. The anniversary is no small thing to us and it is no small thing to our allies in Germany or Europe. Especially Eastern Europe. It’s only a small thing to a small President.

All I can say is, “We’re sorry.”

Berna Lewis is Shocked…

Shocked!

Outraged” by the behavior of her employees, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis said, “all of our employees, if they’re too stupid to understand that they’re not reaching professional standards, we terminate them.”

One might wonder, given ACORN’s history of trying to avoid paying even the minimum wage to its employees, whether inadequate training expenditures combined with exemplary executive thievery were more to blame than staff stupidity. One should wonder how management could hire so many stupid employees, from New York City to San Diego, and then blame the employees for stupidity. One is compelled to wonder what Ms Lewis means by “professional standards.” Does that simply mean “the ability to get away with it?”

The question arises because this “fired if they’re too stupid to reach professional standards” criterion was not applied to Dale Rathke, brother of ACORN founder Wayne Rathke. Dale embezzled a million dollars from ACORN, and Wayne covered it up for 8 years. When the board was informed, some directors demanded a comprehensive investigation. They were fired. They have their own website, ACORN 8, founded to help bring some accountability to ACORN.

Ms Lewis promised that ACORN would announce the identity of a “independent investigator” today. This has not worked well in the past, so perhaps she can tell him or her to start here (RTWT):

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has repeatedly and deliberately engaged in systemic fraud. Both structurally and operationally, ACORN hides behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan political agenda and to manipulate the American electorate.

Emerging accounts of widespread deceit and corruption raise the need for a criminal investigation of ACORN. By intentionally blurring the legal distinctions between 361 tax-exempt and non-exempt entities, ACORN diverts taxpayer and tax-exempt monies into partisan political activities. Since 1994, more than $53 million in federal funds have been pumped into ACORN, and under the Obama administration, ACORN stands to receive a whopping $8.5 billion in available stimulus funds.

Operationally, ACORN is a shell game played in 120 cities, 43 states and the District of Columbia through a complex structure designed to conceal illegal activities, to use taxpayer and tax-exempt dollars for partisan political purposes, and to distract investigators. Structurally, ACORN is a chess game in which senior management is shielded from accountability by multiple layers of volunteers and compensated employees who serve as pawns to take the fall for every bad act.

The report that follows presents evidence obtained from former ACORN insiders that completes the picture of a criminal enterprise.

…First, ACORN has evaded taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in self dealing, and aided and abetted a cover-up of embezzlement by Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke.

…Second, ACORN has committed investment fraud, deprived the public of its right to honest services, and engaged in a racketeering enterprise affecting interstate commerce.

…Third, ACORN has committed a conspiracy to defraud the United States by using taxpayer funds for partisan political activities.

…Fourth, ACORN has submitted false filings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor, in addition to violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

…Fifth, ACORN falsified and concealed facts concerning an illegal transaction between related parties in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

Reading that paper would give an independent investigator a leg up in figuring out why 5 ACORN offices felt that they were not only qualified, but that it was their duty, to give advice on the specific lies necessary to get Federal funds for the purchase of a house where 13 year old illegal aliens would be used as sex slaves – and to avoid taxes on the proceeds.

The leadership is outraged at the staffers? Why aren’t they handing out bonuses?

Insufficently COI

COI is another acronym for ACORN.

The fact that ACORN employees in Baltimore MD, Washington DC, Brooklyn NY and San Bernardino, CA all gave the same advice to a couple looking for a housing loan is not surprising and is certainly evidence of organizational practice and preference.

If the New York Times is your news source, or if you watch any of the TV networks for news, you would not know the couple were openly posing as pimp and madam looking for a loan to open a brothel, using underage illegal immigrants and to avoid taxes on the proceeds. In all 4 cities ACORN reps gave essentially the same advice: Lie on the loan application, lie about the nature of your business, lie to the IRS, and avoid certain behaviors likely to attract the attention of immigration authorities or vice squads looking for sex slave operations. Not one ACORN rep questioned the morality of the business plan, or even demurred on the concept.

In light of these revelations ACORN has taken several actions. First, they fired the employees who were exposed. This is consistent with the “ACORN defense,” established in the dozen or so cases where they are charged with voter registration fraud: “It was individual employees, not the organization.” This is SOP.

Second, they accused the people who did the filming and anyone who reported it of “smearing” ACORN. The “vast right-wing conspiracy,” don’t you know, tends to be racist. This is a standard ACORN response.

Third, ACORN says workers conduct ‘indefensible’
Suspends, plans audit, in wake of videos

ACORN, calling the actions of some of its employees “indefensible,” has suspended advising new clients as part of its service programs and is setting up an independent review to see what happened.

ACORN chief executive Bertha Lewis said in a written statement that she was “ordering a halt to any new intakes into ACORN’s service programs until completion of an independent review.”

The actions were taken, she said, “as a result of indefensible action of a handful of our employees.”

Videos of ACORN workers giving tax advice to people posing as prostitutes and other revelations have led to growing criticism of the organization in recent days.

Now, I think I’d suspend operations, too. But it would not be because I thought any reasonable observer (even the Senate has voted 83-7 to withhold funding from ACORN) would think an “independent investigation” would change organizational practices extending from New York to California, or even identify organizational practices as a problem. If that were the result of such an investigation, the “ACORN defense” disappears.

No, I would do it because I wouldn’t want any more of my employees caught on tape telling people how to obtain funding for a prostitution ring using underage illegal immigrants, avoid the law and cheat on taxes – or dispensing extra-credit advice about how to murder a husband and get away with it.

Let us forget

Obama’s Plan to Desecrate 9/11

Sadly, that headline is neither fanatic nor fanciful. RTWT

9/11 is to become the “National Day of Service,” so we will no longer focus on external danger or the 3,000 who died. 9-11 is a past crisis which must be wasted away by Presidential edict.

Despite this attempted revisionism, 9-11 will remain a day of somber reflection, attenuated mourning and thoughts of “never again.” Americans aren’t the dupes Barack Obama and his fringe-left friends imagine them to be. 9-11 is sacred. Attempting to make it a day of celebration of the advent of carbon taxes and ACORN/SEIU/AFL-CIO/FoE/Color of Change organizing is reprehensible.

What’s next, designating December 7th as the “Day of Pan-Oceanic Multiculturalism?”