Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mike Gravel's straightforward remarks

Armed Response to 'Climategate' question

Palin parents on the attention in Salt Lake CIty

Gov Palin meets a mom and her Down Syndrome infant

Right wing Bob affirms he's a true believer

Bill Flanagan's Christmas chat with Bob Dylan: 


BF: You really give a heroic performance of O’ LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM The way you do it reminds me a little of an Irish rebel song. There’s something almost defiant in the way you sing, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” I don’t want to put you on the spot, but you sure deliver that song like a true believer.

BD: Well, I am a true believer.

ALSO:

BF: Do you have a favorite Christmas album?

BD: Maybe the Louvin Brothers. I like all the religious Christmas albums. The ones in Latin. The songs I sang as a kid.

BF: A lot of people like the secular ones.

BD: Religion isn’t meant for everybody.

BF: What sort of gifts do you like to give?

BD: I try to match the person with the gift.

BF: Are you a last minute shopper?

BD: Always.

BF: Do you drop any hints about what you hope to get from your family?

BD: Nope. Their well-being – that’s enough of a gift for me.

BF: I know we’re out of time but I have to ask, what’s the best Christmas gift you ever got?

BD: Let me think… oh yeah, I think it was a sled.


Audio Samples from Amazon!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ideal FB Response to Al Gore

Palin Responds to Gore on her Facebook Page:
Steven Hayward has a great article in The Weekly Standard on the Climategate scandal. Be sure to check it out.

The response to my op-ed by global warming alarmists has been interesting. Former Vice President Al Gore has called me a “denier” and informs us that climate change is “a principle in physics. It’s like gravity. It exists.”

Perhaps he’s right. Climate change is like gravity – a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it.

However, he’s wrong in calling me a “denier.” As I noted in my op-ed above and in my original Facebook post on Climategate, I have never denied the existence of climate change. I just don’t think we can primarily blame man’s activities for the earth’s cyclical weather changes.

Former Vice President Gore also claimed today that the scientific community has worked on this issue for 20 years, and therefore it is settled science. Well, the Climategate scandal involves the leading experts in this field, and if Climategate is proof of the larger method used over the past 20 years, then Vice President Gore seriously needs to consider that their findings are flawed, falsified, or inconclusive.

Vice President Gore, the Climategate scandal exists. You might even say that it’s sort of like gravity: you simply can’t deny it.

- Sarah Palin

Michael Steele

Sarah Palin "Going Rogue" in Salt Lake City! (Backstage Pass)

Michelle Malkin Thanks Sarah for Her Strong Advocacy of Life & Patriotism


Sarah in the Springs
By Michelle Malkin • December 9, 2009 12:24 AM



We had frigid weather and several inches of Goreflakes on the ground here in Colorado Springs, but Sarah Palin lit up the town for a Borders signing earlier this evening that drew yet another massive crowd on her nationwide “Going Rogue” book tour.

My family and I had the great honor and pleasure of meeting the governor, her husband Todd, adorable baby Trig, her lovely parents, relatives, and friends from near and far. Sarah’s energy is boundless and her ability to connect is unparalleled with any public figure I’ve met in covering politics over the last 17 years. I spoke, for example, with the first family in line for the book signing. They arrived at 4:30am with four kids in tow. Sarah, the father of the family told me, had written a personal letter sending prayers and good wishes for one of their children battling cancer. On the way out, I ran into a soldier in BDUs rushing through the door with Palin’s book in hand. Breathless, he asked: “Do you think there’s any hope I’ll get my book signed?” Given the special attentiveness Palin’s staff paid to military and their families (several Blue Star families got VIP access), I’m sure he got his autograph. There are countless stories like this in every single city she has visited.

The governor and I talked briefly about Copenhagen (here’s her latest piece in the Washington Post calling on President Obama to stay home in the wake of ClimateGate), left-wing attacks on conservative politicians (Michele Bachmann is the latest target of specious ethics complaints), and the blessings of living outside the Beltway. Most of all, I’m glad I got a chance to simply say “Thank you” in person — for her strong conservative voice, for her relentless optimism in the face of unrelenting attacks, and for her public service as a defender of life and advocate of the American dream.

Post-Modernist at theTimes Hails Sarah's Claim on Her Truth


Sarah Palin Is Coming to Town
By STANLEY FISH




When I walked into the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan last week, I headed straight for the bright young thing who wore an “Ask Me” button, and asked her to point me to the section of the store where I might find Sarah Palin’s memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life.” She looked at me as if I had requested a copy of “Mein Kampf” signed in blood by the author, and directed me to the nearest Barnes and Noble, where, presumably, readers of dubious taste and sensibility could find what they wanted.
Going Rogue cover Alessandra Montalto/The New York Times

A few days later, I attended a seminar on political and legal theory where a distinguished scholar observed that every group has its official list of angels and devils. As an example, he offered the fact (of which he was supremely confident) that few, if any, in the room were likely to be Sarah Palin fans. By that time I had begun reading Palin’s book, and while I wouldn’t count myself a fan in the sense of being a supporter, I found it compelling and very well done.

My assessment of the book has nothing to do with the accuracy of its accounts. Some news agencies have fact-checkers poring over every sentence, which would be to the point if the book were a biography, a genre that is judged by the degree to which the factual claims being made can be verified down to the last assertion. “Going Rogue,” however, is an autobiography, and while autobiographers certainly insist that they are telling the truth, the truth the genre promises is the truth about themselves — the kind of persons they are — and even when they are being mendacious or self-serving (and I don’t mean to imply that Palin is either), they are, necessarily, fleshing out that truth. As I remarked in a previous column, autobiographers cannot lie because anything they say will truthfully serve their project, which, again, is not to portray the facts, but to portray themselves.

The questions to ask then are (1) Does Palin succeed in conveying to her readers the kind of person she is? and (2) Does she do it in a satisfying and artful way? In short, is the book a good autobiographical read? I would answer “yes” to both.

First, the art. The book has an architectonic structure that is built around a single moment, the moment when Palin receives a call from John McCain inviting her to be the vice-presidential candidate of the Republican party. When we first hear about the call it is as much a surprise to us as it was (at least as reported) to her, because for six pages she has been recounting a wonderful family outing at the Alaska State Fair. When her phone rings, she hopes it might be a call from her son Track, a soldier soon to deploy to Iraq, but “it was Senator John McCain asking if I wanted to help him change history.”

And that’s the last we hear of it for 200 pages. In between we hear a lot about Wasilla, high school, basketball, college, marriage, children, Down syndrome, Alaska politics, the environment, a daughter’s pregnancy. The re-entry of John McCain into the narrative on page 208 introduces Palin’s account of the presidential campaign and its aftermath, especially her decision to resign the governorship before the end of her term. In the epilogue, another 200 pages on, the famous call serves as a bookend: “It is one year ago this week that I got the call from John McCain.”

Paradoxically, the effect of the neatly spaced references to the call is to de-emphasize it as a dramatic moment. It is presented not as a climax, but as an interruption of matters more central to Palin’s abiding concerns — her family, Alaska’s prosperity, energy policy. (She loves to rehearse the kind of wonkish details we associate with Hillary Clinton, whom she admires.)

Indeed, it is a feature of this narrative that events we might have expected to be foregrounded are elided or passed over. Palin introduced herself to the nation with a powerful, electrifying speech accepting McCain’s invitation to join the ticket. It gets half a sentence (“I gave my speech”). Chapter Two ends with Palin, no longer a mayor, wondering what she is going to do next. Four paragraphs into Chapter Three we learn, almost parenthetically, that she had decided to run for governor. (When and how did that happen?) The only event that receives an extended discussion is her resignation. It is important to her because as an act it reflects on her integrity, and she has to be sure (as she eventually was) that she was doing it for the right reasons.

Resigning was a moral act for which she was responsible. The vice-presidential candidacy just happened to her; her account of it reads like an extended “what-I-did-on-my summer-and fall-vacation” essay. For many politicians, family life is sandwiched in between long hours in public service. Palin wants us to know that for her it is the reverse. Political success is an accident that says nothing about you. Success as a wife, mother and citizen says everything.

Do I believe any of this? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that she does, and that her readers feel they are hearing an authentic voice. I find the voice undeniably authentic (yes, I know the book was written “with the help” of Lynn Vincent, but many books, including my most recent one, are put together by an editor). It is the voice of small-town America, with its folk wisdom, regional pride, common sense, distrust of rhetoric (itself a rhetorical trope), love of country and instinctive (not doctrinal) piety. It says, here are some of the great things that have happened to me, but they are not what makes my life great and American. (“An American life is an extraordinary life.”) It says, don’t you agree with me that family, freedom and the beauties of nature are what sustain us? And it also says, vote for me next time. For it is the voice of a politician, of the little girl who thought she could fly, tried it, scraped her knees, dusted herself off and “kept walking.”

In the end, perseverance, the ability to absorb defeat without falling into defeatism, is the key to Palin’s character. It’s what makes her run in both senses of the word and it is no accident that the physical act of running is throughout the book the metaphor for joy and real life. Her handlers in the McCain campaign wouldn’t let her run (a mistake, I think, even at the level of photo-op), no doubt because they feared another opportunity to go “off script,” to “go rogue.”

But run she does (and falls, but so what?), and when it is all over and she has lost the vice presidency and resigned the governorship, she goes on a long run and rehearses in her mind the eventful year she has chronicled. And as she runs, she achieves equilibrium and hope: “We’ve been through amazing days, and really, there wasn’t one thing to complain about. I feel such freedom, such hope, such thankfulness for our country, a place where nothing is hopeless.”

The message is clear. America can’t be stopped. I can’t be stopped. I’ve stumbled and fallen, but I always get up and run again. Her political opponents, especially those who dismissed Ronald Reagan before he was elected, should take note. Wherever you are, you better watch out. Sarah Palin is coming to town.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Audacity of Huck: Pat Toomey's "Pay for Play" keeps him from supporting me



In Mike Huckabee's interview with Politico's Ben Smith he made a pretty wild charge against Pat Toomey.  Smith writes:


Huckabee met in the spring with Pat Toomey, then the president of the Wall Street-backed Club for Growth, which had attacked him during the 2008 campaign for raising taxes in Arkansas.


“It wasn’t very productive,” he said of the meeting. “I realized then that these guys are just what I thought they were — they’re Pay for Play, and they do it anonymously on behalf of people who don’t want to be known as the funders of these hit operations. I find that repulsive.” (my emphasis)


Read entire Politico interview...

Huckabee's inability to believe that some of us don't swallow his yarn that he's a fiscal conservative reformer is what's hard to figger...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Don't you have to accomplish something to win that award?


Abood Mohammed, a Baghdad mobile phone shop owner, said President Obama had given hope to many in the Muslim world for improved relations with the U.S. But Mr. Mohammed said the American president had yet to show substantive results on the ground.

"He held out his hand but he hasn't brought anything new to us. The American troops are leaving, but that happened before Obama was elected," Mr. Mohammed said. "Don't you have to accomplish something big to win that award?"

Read more in WSJ about Iraqis questioning the presidents win of the Nobel Peace prize...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ayers really did write Obama's book...


A HarperCollins celebrity biography on the Obama's, "Barack and Michelle: Portrait of a Marriage," breaks the story that Michelle suggested Obama deal with his writers' block while writing his first book by going to their friend Bill Ayers for help.  And that Ayers took over the project.  See American Thinker for details.


Well, if Obama had writers' block, and didn't really write his acclaimed first book in his own voice or a voice that he created in the process, than what does that say about one of the major reasons he impressed the elites--that he could write so much better than other pols... And doesn't it follow that the voice he uses now is partially Ayers as well? Where do speech writers find the voice for their subject? Don't they get voice from current speeches? In Obama's case, I bet they also mined his "well-written" book.  This would partially explain why his interviews in the 90's sound so different from the current ones.  He not only acquired a better grasp of his American black patter and developed the clipped, decisive sound of the proverbial leader, he also adopted the lofty community-constructing rhetoric of Bill Ayers as well.

Confiscación de Tierras en Calabozo Edo-Guarico por parte del INTI (Farm in Venezuela being confiscated)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Visionary Patriot


Bill ' Reilly talks to imaginary Sarah Palin and she "tells him" things...


Bill is putting the heat on John McCain for his weird tolerance of the way members of his staff trashed Palin, telling his viewers that Palin herself filled him in on the tense wind up of the campaign, and arguing that she should be candid in her book regarding McCain's failure. Obviously it's still not likely Palin will snark on McCain. However satisfying this would be for some of us, she obviously believes in him as an American hero and she clearly isn't going to budge in her loyalty toward him.

HarperCollins blurb reads,
"She also opens up for the first time about the 2008 presidential race, providing a rare, mom’s-eye view of high-stakes national politics—from patriots dedicated to "Country First" (that's John) to slick politicos (that's Mr & Mrs Nicole Wallace and Schmidt & Co.) bent on winning (in the eyes of their colleagues) at any cost."

Palin CSLA September 2009 speech: Compilation of all/or most excerpts



Sarah Palin, Hong Kong, CLSA Asia Pacific Markets Conference, Sept. 23, 2009 Speech Excerpts:

Maybe you’re hoping to hear me discuss the derivations of the formula for effective rate of protection, followed by a brief discussion of the monetary approach to the balance of payments, she said. If time allows, a quick summary of factor price equalization. Maybe some thoughts on quantitative easing, but that’s for next time—because I have spent my life closer to Main Street! That’s what I want to talk about, that view from Main Street.

… We have a special place in our hearts in Alaska for the Pacific Rim. You are Alaska’s neighbors and partners. Alaska is one of America’s most trade-oriented states and by providing more than 60% of Alaska’s top ten export markets, Asia plays a key role in sustaining Alaska’s economy.

Personally, I’ve always been really interested in the ideas too about the land bridge, ideas that, maybe so long ago, allowed Alaska to be physically connected to this part of our world so many years ago. My husband and my children, they’re part [unintelligible] Eskimo, Alaskan natives. They’re our first people, and the connection that may have brought ancestors from here to there is fascinating to me. Making our world seem a little bit smaller, more united, to consider that connection that allowed sharing of peoples and bloodlines and wildlife and flora and fauna, that connection to me is quite fascinating.

Alaska exported more than $700 million of goods, $700 million in goods to China during my first year in office, and that increased again in 2008, … minerals, and seafood, Alaskan exports to China, second only to Japan.

No doubt some of the fruits of our labor, even mine and Todd’s, ended up here on dinner tables because we commercial fish in Bristol Bay. And either as whole Salmon or caviar, commercial fishing is really tough business. And in tough conditions, we even used to laugh about this, thinking that we’re putting together such delicacies for the other side of the world, is how we referred to it. Over 70% of our exports came from wild organic fresh Alaska seafood, and our potential for more is massive because Alaska has the world’s richest seafood industry. We have the world’s most abundant salmon spawning grounds right there in Bristol Bay.
We have much in common with Hong Kong. We’re both young and transient, independent and libertarian places that continue to show the world the power and the resilience of the free market system at a time when too many are questioning it. So for Alaska, which is the air crossroads of the world, to this prosperous dynamic force in the world, Hong Kong, I bring good tidings, wishes for more blessing and vibrant life and even more freedom!

You can call me a common-sense conservative. My approach to the issues facing my country and the world, issues that we’ll discuss today, are rooted in this common-sense conservatism… Common sense conservatism deals with the reality of the world as it is. Complicated and beautiful, tragic and hopeful, we believe in the rights and the responsibilities and the inherent dignity of the individual.

We don’t believe that human nature is perfectible; we’re suspicious of government efforts to fix problems because often what it’s trying to fix is human nature, and that is impossible. It is what it is. But that doesn’t mean that we’re resigned to, well, any negative destiny. Not at all. I believe in striving for the ideal, but in the realistic confines of human nature.

The opposite of a common-sense conservative is a liberalism that holds that there is no human problem that government can’t fix if only the right people are put in charge. Unfortunately, history and common sense are not on its side. We don’t trust utopian promises; we deal with human nature as it is.

[the unnamed President's] campaign promises "nebulous, utopian sounding…Now 10 months later, though, a lot of Americans are asking: more government? Is that the change we want?"

While we might be in the wilderness, conservatives need to defend the free market system and explain what really caused last year’s collapse. According to one version of the story, America’s economic woes were caused by a lack of government intervention and regulation and therefore the only way to fix the problem, because, of course, every problem can be fixed by a politician, is for more bureaucracy to impose itself further, deeper, forcing itself deeper into the private sector.

I think that’s simply wrong. We got into this mess because of government interference in the first place. The mortgage crisis that led to the collapse of the financial market, it was rooted in a good-natured, but wrongheaded, desire to increase home ownership among those who couldn’t yet afford to own a home. In so many cases, politicians on the right and the left, they wanted to take credit for an increase in home ownership among those with lower incomes. But the rules of the marketplace are not adaptable to the mere whims of politicians.

Lack of government wasn’t the problem, government policies were the problem. The marketplace didn’t fail. It became exactly as common sense would expect it to. The government ordered the loosening of lending standards. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates low. The government forced lending institutions to give loans to people who as I say, couldn’t afford them. Speculators spotted new investment vehicles, jumped on board and rating agencies underestimated risks. So many to be blamed on so many different levels, but the fact remains that these people were responding to a market solution created by government policies that ran contrary to common sense.

Now even Milton Friedman, he recognized that the free market is truly free when there is a level playing field for all participants, and good financial regulations aim to provide the transparency that we need to ensure the level playing field does exist, but we need not, we need to make sure that this regulatory reform that we’re talking about is aimed at the problems on Wall Street and won’t attack Main Street.

How can we discuss reform without addressing the government policies at the root of the problems, the root of the collapse? And how can we think that setting up the Fed as the monitor of systemic risk in the financial sector will result in meaningful reform? The words ‘fox’ and ‘henhouse’ come to mind. The Fed’s decisions helped create the bubble. Look at the root cause of most asset bubbles, and you’ll see the Fed somewhere in the background.

Common sense tells you that when you’re in a hole, you have to stop digging! A common sense conservative looks to history to find solutions to the problems confronting us, and the good news is that history has shown us a way out of this, a way forward from recession: Ronald Reagan. He was faced with an even worse recession. And he showed us how to get out of here.

If you want real job growth, you cut taxes! And you reduce marginal tax rates on all Americans. Cut payroll taxes. Eliminate capital gain taxes and slay the death tax--once and for all. Get federal spending under control. And then you step back and you watch the U.S. economy roar back to life! But it takes more courage for a politician to step back and let the free market correct itself than it does to push through panicky solutions or quick fixes…

I can’t wait until we get that Reaganomics sense “supplied” again because we are going to survive, and we’re going to thrive and expand and roar back to life. And as the world sees this, the world will be a healthier, more secure, safer and more prosperous place when this happens.

It seems like some are looking to ever more ways that will actually destroy economic opportunities today. Take for example, Washington’s cap-and-trade scheme. I call it the “cap-and-tax” scheme. Right now we have the highest unemployment rate in 25 years, and it’s still rising. And yet some in D.C. are pushing a cap-and-tax bill that could cripple our energy industry or energy market and dramatically increase the rates of the unemployed, and that’s not just in the energy sector.

American jobs in every industry will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under this cap-and-tax plan. The cost of farming will certainly increase. That’s going to drive up the cost of groceries and drive down farm incomes. The cost of manufacturing, warehousing and transportation will also rise. We are all going to feel the effects. The Americans hardest hit will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet today, much less with this new tax every month…

I am not indifferent to environmental concerns. Far from it. As governor, I created a sub-cabinet to study the impacts of climate change in my state. And I was the first governor to do so. It took us in a new direction…
I’m a supporter of nuclear power and renewables. We can develop these resources without destroying our economy. And we can help the environment and our economy through energy independence.

I seem to have acquired notoriety in national debate. And all because of two words: death panels. And it is a serious term. It was intended to sound a warning about the rationing that is sure to follow if big government tries to simultaneously increase health care coverage while also claiming to decrease costs. Government has just got to be honest with the people about this….

As I said, it’s just common sense to realize that government’s attempts to solve large problems like the health-care challenges that we have, more often create new ones, and a top down one size fits all plan will not improve the workings of a nationwide health-care system that accounts for some one-fifth of our economy.
Common sense also tells us that passing a trillion dollar new retirement program, that’s not the way to reduce health-care spending. Real health-care reform is market oriented, patient centered and result driven. It would give all individuals the same tax benefit, that an ideal plan that I would have in mind, same tax benefits as those who get coverage through their employers. And give Medicare recipients vouchers so that they can buy their own coverage. And reform tort laws and change regulations to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Rather than another top down government plan, we should give Americans themselves control over their own health care with market friendly responsible ideas.

So far, I’ve given you the view from Main Street, USA. But now I’d like to share with you how a Common Sense Conservative sees the world at large.

Later this year, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – an event that changed not just Europe but the entire world. In a matter of months, millions of people in formerly captive nations were freed to pursue their individual and national ambitions.

The competition that defined the post World War II era was suddenly over. What was once called “the free world” had so much to celebrate – the peaceful end to a great power rivalry and the liberation of so many from tyranny’s grip.

Some, you could say, took the celebration too far. Many spoke of a “peace dividend,” of the need to focus on domestic issues and spend less time, attention and money on endeavors overseas. Many saw a peaceful future, where globalization would break down borders and lead to greater global prosperity. Some argued that state sovereignty would fade – like that was a good thing? – that new non-governmental actors and old international institutions would become dominant in the new world order.

As we all know, that did not happen. Unfortunately, there was no shortage of warning signs that the end of the Cold War did not mean the end of history or the end of conflict. In Europe, the breakup of Yugoslavia resulted in brutal wars in the Balkans. In the Middle East, a war was waged to reverse Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. North Korea’s nuclear program nearly led to military conflict. In Africa, U.S. embassies were bombed by a group called al Qaeda.

Two weeks ago, America commemorated the 8th anniversary of the savagery of September 11, 2001. The vicious terrorist attacks of that day made clear that what happened in lands far distant from American shores directly affect our security. We came to learn, if we did not know before, that there were violent fanatics who sought not just to kill innocents, but to end our way of life. Their attacks have not been limited to the United States.

They attacked targets in Europe, North Africa and throughout the Middle East. Here in Asia, they killed more than 200 in a single attack in Bali. They bombed the Marriott Hotel and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. Last year in Mumbai, more than 170 were killed in coordinated attacks in the heart of India’s financial capital. In this struggle with radical Islamic extremists, no part of the world is safe from those who bomb, maim and kill in the service of their twisted vision.

This war – and that is what it is, a war – is not, as some have said, a clash of civilizations. We are not at war with Islam. This is a war within Islam, where a small minority of violent killers seeks to impose their view on the vast majority of Muslims who want the same things all of us want: economic opportunity, education, and the chance to build a better life for themselves and their families. The reality is that al Qaeda and its affiliates have killed scores of innocent Muslim men, women and children.

The reality is that Muslims from Algeria, Indonesia, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries are fighting al Qaeda and their allies today. But this will be a long war, and it will require far more than just military power to prevail. Just as we did in the Cold War, we will need to use all the tools at our disposal – hard and soft power. Economic development, public diplomacy, educational exchanges, and foreign assistance will be just as important as the instruments of military power.

During the election campaign in the U.S. last year, you might have noticed we had some differences over Iraq. John McCain and I believed in the strength of the surge strategy – because of its success, Iraq is no longer the central front in the war on terrorism. Afghanistan is. Afghanistan is where the 9/11 attacks were planned and if we are not successful in Afghanistan, al Qaeda will once again find safe haven there. As a candidate and in office, President Obama called Afghanistan the “necessary war” and pledged to provide the resources needed to prevail. However, prominent voices in the Democratic Party are opposing the additional U.S. ground forces that are clearly needed.

Speaker of the House Pelosi, Defense Subcommittee Chairman Murtha, the Senate Armed Services Committee Chair, and many others, recently expressed doubts about sending additional forces! President Obama will face a decision soon when the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan requests additional forces to implement his new counterinsurgency strategy.


We can win in Afghanistan by helping the Afghans build a stable representative state able to defend itself. And we must do what it takes to prevail. The stakes are very high. Last year, in the midst of the U.S. debate over what do to in Iraq, an important voice was heard – from Asia’s Wise Man, former Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who wrote in the Washington Post about the cost of retreat in Iraq. In that article, he prophetically addressed the stakes in Afghanistan. He wrote:

“The Taliban is again gathering strength, and a Taliban victory in Afghanistan or Pakistan would reverberate throughout the Muslim world. It would influence the grand debate among Muslims on the future of Islam. A severely retrograde form of Islam would be seen to have defeated modernity twice: first the Soviet Union, then the United States. There would be profound consequences, especially in the campaign against terrorism.”

That statesman’s words remain every bit as true today. And Minister Lee knows, and I agree, that our success in Afghanistan will have consequences all over the world, including Asia. Our allies and our adversaries are watching to see if we have the staying power to protect our interests in Afghanistan. That is why I recently joined a group of Americans in urging President Obama to devote the resources necessary in Afghanistan and pledged to support him if he made the right decision.

That is why, even during this time of financial distress we need to maintain a strong defense. All government spending should undergo serious scrutiny. No programs or agencies should be automatically immune from cuts.

We need to go back to fiscal discipline and unfortunately that has not been the view of the current Administration. They’re spending everywhere and with disregard for deficits and debts and our future economic competitiveness. Though we are engaged in two wars and face a diverse array of threats, it is the defense budget that has seen significant program cuts and has actually been reduced from current levels!

First, the Defense Department received only ½ of 1 % of the nearly trillion dollar Stimulus Package funding – even though many military projects fit the definition of “shovel-ready.” In this Administration’s first defense budget request for 2010, important programs were reduced or cancelled. As the threat of ballistic missiles from countries like North Korea and Iran grow, missile defense was slashed.

Despite the need to move men and material by air into theaters like Afghanistan, the Obama Administration sought to end production of our C-17s, the work horse of our ability to project long range power. Despite the Air Force saying it would increase future risk, the Obama Administration successfully sought to end F-22 production – at a time when both Russia and China are acquiring large numbers of next generation fighter aircraft. It strikes me as odd that Defense Secretary Gates is the only member of the Cabinet to be tasked with tightening his belt.

Now in the region I want to emphasize today: The reason I speak about defense is because our strong defense posture in Asia has helped keep the region safe and allowed it to prosper. Our Asian allies get nervous if they think we are weakening our security commitments. I worry about defense cuts not because I expect war but because I so badly want peace. And the region has enjoyed peace for so long because of our security commitment to our longstanding allies and partners.

Asia has been one of the world’s great success stories. It is a region where America needs to assist with right mix of hard and soft power. While I have so much hope for a bright future in Asia, in a region this dynamic, we must always be prepared for other contingencies. We must work at this – work with our allies to ensure the region’s continued peace and prosperity.

I know that you all -- like all of Asia and indeed the whole world – have a keen interest in the emergence of “China as a great power.” Over the past few decades China’s economic growth has been remarkable. So has the economic growth and political liberalization of all of our key allies in Asia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Asia’s economic growth and political development, together with our forward military presence in the region and strong alliances, have allowed the region to prosper in peace for a long time. We hope that Asia will continue to be an engine of world economic growth, will continue to democratize and will remain at peace.

Our future is now deeply linked to Asia’s success. Our children’s future. We must continue to strengthen our key alliance with Japan, a country going through its own democratic change. Together the U.S. and Japan built the security umbrella under which so many Asians prospered. While there is so much attention to China these days, we cannot forget the importance of Japan in helping to make this the “Pacific Century.”

The recent elections in Japan demonstrated that voters wanted reform and an end to debt and stagnation. We have a substantial stake in Japan’s success -- our alliance with must continue to be the linchpin of regional security.

With its open political system and vibrant democracy, South Korea wants to play a larger role on the international stage as well. Of course it wants us to work together toward a future where the peninsula is irreversibly denuclearized, and unified. But it also wants to play a global role. We need to work together with Japan, South Korea and our steadfast ally to the south, Australia, to make sure Asia remains peaceful and prosperous.

Australia rightly reminds us to keep our eye on Southeast Asia, where Indonesia has proved that Islam and democracy can co-exist. Indonesia has fought extremism inside its own border and is consolidating a multi-ethnic democracy that is home to hundreds of millions of Muslims. Those who say Islam and democracy are incompatible insult our friends in Indonesia.

Our great democratic friend India is also “looking East”, seeking a greater role in East Asia as well. Together with our allies we must help integrate India into Asia. If we do so we will have yet another strong democracy driving Asia’s economy and working on shared problems such as proliferation and extremism. And we must continue working with the region’s most dynamic economy, China. We all hope that China’s stated policy of a “Peaceful Rise” will be its future course.

You know better than most the enormous change that has taken place in China over the last thirty years. Hundreds of millions of Chinese have been pulled out of poverty as China has undertaken economic reforms that have resulted in unprecedented growth. Even today, China’s economy is projected to grow by some 8%. It is helping to edge the world out of recession.

China has amassed huge financial reserves. Chinese diplomats are engaged on every continent and, through its vote on the United Nations Security Council, China has become critical in gaining UN support on multilateral issues from Darfur to Iran to North Korea.

Just four years ago, then-Deputy Secretary of State Bob Zoellick urged China to become a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system. He observed the many benefits to China of a “benign international environment.”

The peaceful regional environment that China has enjoyed was created through the hard work of Americans, Japanese, South Koreans and Australians. Secretary Zoellick urged China to step up and play its role too. We are working with China to de-nuclearize North Korea. But to be a responsible member of the international community China should exert greater pressure on North Korea to denuclearize and undergo the fundamental reforms it needs. Zoellick urged China to play a greater role in stabilizing the international energy market by ceasing its support of dangerous regimes.

China could play a role in stabilizing its ally Pakistan, and working for peace in Afghanistan. There are many areas where the U.S. and China can work together. And, we would welcome a China that wanted to assume a more responsible and active role in international politics.

But Secretary Zoellick also noted that many of China’s actions create risk and uncertainty. These uncertainties led nations to “hedge” their relations with China because, in Zoellick’s words: “Many countries HOPE China will pursue a ‘Peaceful Rise’ but NONE will bet their future on it.”

See: this is the heart of the issue with China: we engage with the hope Beijing becomes a responsible stakeholder, but we must takes steps in the event it does not. See? We all hope to see a China that is stable, peaceful, prosperous and free. But we must also work with our allies in the region and the world in the event China goes in a direction that causes regional instability.

Asia is at its best when it is not dominated by a single power. In seeking Asia’s continued peace and prosperity, we should seek, as we did in Europe, an Asia “whole and free” – free from domination by any one power, prospering in open and free markets, and settling political differences at ballot boxes and negotiating tables.

We can, must and should work with a “rising China” to address issues of mutual concern. But we also need to work with our allies in addressing the uncertainties created by China’s rise. We simply cannot turn a blind eye to Chinese policies and actions that can undermine international peace and security.

China has some 1000 missiles aimed at Taiwan and no serious observer believes Taiwan poses a military threat to Beijing. Those same Chinese forces make our friends in Japan and Australia nervous. China provides support for some of the world’s most questionable regimes from Sudan to Burma to Zimbabwe. China’s military buildup raises concerns from Delhi to Tokyo because it has taken place in the absence of any discernable external threat.

China, along with Russia, has repeatedly undermined efforts to impose tougher sanctions on Iran for its defiance of the international community in pursuing its nuclear program. The Chinese food and product safety record has raised alarms from East Asia and Europe to the United States. And, domestic incidents of unrest -- from the protests of Uighurs and Tibetans, to Chinese workers throughout the country rightfully make us nervous.

It is very much in our interest and the interest of regional stability that China work out its own contradictions – between a dynamic and entrepreneurial private sector on the one hand and a one party state unwilling or unable to adjust to its own society’s growing needs and desires and demands, including a human being’s innate desire for freedom.

I do not cite these issues out of any hostility toward China. Quite the contrary, I and all Americans of good faith hope for the Chinese people’s success. We welcome the rise that can be so good for all mankind. We simply urge China to rise responsibly. I simply believe we cannot ignore areas of disagreement as we seek to move forward on areas of agreement. Believe me, China does not hesitate to tell us when it thinks we are in the wrong.

I mentioned China’s internal contradictions. They should concern us all. We hear many Chinese voices throughout that great country calling out for more freedom, and for greater justice. Twenty years ago, many believed that as China liberalized its economy, greater political freedom would naturally follow. Unfortunately that has not come to pass.

Ummm, in fact, it seems China has taken great pains to learn what it sees as “the lesson” of the fall on the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union: any easing of political constraints can inevitably spin out of control. But, in many ways, it is the essence of China’s political system that leads to concerns about its rise.

Think about it. How many books and articles have been written about the dangers of India’s rise? Almost as large as China – and soon to be more populous – virtually no one worries about the security implications of India becoming a great power – just as a century ago the then-preeminent power, Great Britain, worried little about the rise of America to great power status. My point is that the more politically open and just China is, the more Chinese citizens of every ethnicity will settle disputes in courts rather than on the streets. The more open it is, the less we will be concerned about its military build-up and intentions. The more transparent China is, the more likely it is they we will find a true and lasting friendship based on shared values as well as interests.

I am not talking about some U.S.-led “democracy crusade.” We cannot impose our values on other counties. Nor should we seek to. But the ideas of freedom, liberty and respect for human rights are not U.S. ideas. They are much more than that. They are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many other international covenants and treaties. They apply to citizens in Shanghai as much as they do to citizens in Johannesburg or Jakarta. And demands for liberty in China are Chinese, not American, demands. Just last year, many brave Chinese signed Charter 08—a Chinese document modeled on the great Czech statesman Vaclav Havel’s Charter 77. Charter 08 would not be unfamiliar to our Founding Fathers, and was endorsed by Havel himself. No, we need not convince the Chinese people that they have inalienable rights. They are calling for those rights themselves. But we do have to worry about a China where the government suppresses the liberties its people hold dear.

Nothing of what I am saying should be seen as meaning conflict with China is inevitable. Quite the contrary, as I said, we welcome China’s responsible rise. America and China stood together against fascism during World War II, before ravages took over in China – we were ready to stand together with China to shape international politics after World War II. Much has been accomplished since President Nixon’s fateful visit. And again, we stand ready to work with what we hope will be a more open and responsible China on the challenges facing the 21st century.
All of you here know how deeply integrated the economies of the United States’ and China’s are. We rely on each other, sometimes unfortunately in unhealthy ways. America spends too much that we don’t have, and then we go to China as a lender of first resort. Our fiscal policy, lately, seems to be: Tax, spend, borrow, tax some more. Repeat. And then complain about how much debt China holds! America needs to gets its own fiscal house in order. That’s a Common Sense Conservative perspective. We can hardly complain that China holds so much of our debt when it’s over spending that created the debt.

But here’s the reality. If in fact the United States does the “right” thing – if we spend less and save more – then China will also have to rebalance its economy. We need to export more to China – and we’d like China to consume more of our goods – just as we need to save and invest more. This vital process – so crucial to both countries – is impeded by problems of market excess.

We must talk about these issues with more candor. If China adopts policies that keep our highest value products out of their markets, by manipulating technical standards or licensing requirements, our economic relationship suffers.

Our economic interdependence drives our relationship with China. I see a future of more trade with China and more American high-tech goods in China. But in order for that to happen, we need China to improve its rule of law and protect our intellectual property. We need to avoid protectionism and China’s flirtation with state-assisted “national champions.” On our part, we should be more open to Chinese investment where our national security interests are not threatened. In the end, though, our economic relationship will truly thrive when Chinese citizens and foreign corporations can hold the Chinese government accountable when their actions are unjust.

I see a bright future for America in Asia. One based on the alliances that have gotten us this far, one based on free and open markets, one that integrates democratic India into East Asia’s political life and one in which China decides to be a responsible member of the international community and gives its people the liberty – the freedom – they so desperately want.

Sadly, however, our largest free trade agreement ever in Asia, with South Korea, sits frozen in the Congress. In contrast, China is behaving wisely in negotiating free trade agreements throughout Asia. We want an Asia open to our goods and services. But if we do not get our free trade act together, we will be shut out by agreements Asians our making among themselves.
[Calls imputation of new duties on Chinese tires a “mistake”.]

All of you here follow global financial markets and economic policy closely. I know that it will come as no surprise to you that United States leadership on global trade and investment is being sorely tested at this moment. We are struggling with a monumental debate on whether fiscal discipline, or massive government spending, will drive a sustained recovery. We are struggling to repair the excesses that grew in our own economy and served as a trigger to a catastrophic collapse in the global financial system. And we are attempting to do so under the weight of a global imbalance of debt and trade deficits that are not only unbearable for the world’s mightiest economy, but also unacceptable in that they foster tensions between global economic partners like the United States and China.

I am proud to be an American. As someone who has had the tremendous opportunity to travel throughout the United States and listen to the concerns of Americans in towns and cities across the country, I can tell you that there is a sense of despair and even crisis afoot in America that has the potential to shape our global investment and trade policies for years, and even decades to come. Never has the leadership of our government ever been more critical to keeping my country, and the world, on a path to openness, growth and opportunity in global trade and investment.

It would of course be a mistake to put the entire burden of restoring the global economy on the backs of America’s leaders. There is plenty of work for all of us to do in this matter. Governments around the world must resist the siren call of trade protection to bring short term relief during a time of crisis.

Those who use currency policy or subsidies to promote their nation’s exports should remain acutely aware that if there ever were a time in which such policies could be viewed as “tolerable,” that time has now passed. All participants who seek to find benefit in the global trading system must also take the responsibility of playing by the rules.

The private sector has responsibilities as well. For instance, it should not be the responsibility of government to dictate the salaries of bankers or the ownership of companies. And yet, due of the excesses committed by some, this is exactly where we find ourselves now because government now owns substantial portions of the private economy – even, unbelievably, in the United States.

These are challenging times for everyone, but we in the United States must humbly recognize that if we are to lead and to set the direction for the rest of the world, it must be by our example and not merely our words. And we must tread lightly when imposing new burdens on the imports of other countries.

Well, CLSA: My country is definitely at a crossroad. Polling in the U.S. shows a majority of Americans no longer believe that their children will have a better future than they have had...that is a 1st.

When members of America’s greatest generation – the World War II generation – lose their homes and their life savings because their retirement funds were wiped after the financial collapse, people feel a great anger. There is suddenly a growing sentiment to just “throw the bums out” of Washington, D.C. – and by bums they mean the Republicans and the Democrats!
Americans are suffering from pay cuts and job losses, and they want to know why their elected leaders are not tightening their belts. It’s not lost on people that Congress voted to exempt themselves from the health care plan they are thrusting on the rest of the nation. There is a growing sense of frustration on Main Street. But even in the midst of crisis and despair, we see signs of hope.

In fact, it’s a sea change in America, I believe. Recently, there have been protests by ordinary Americans who marched on Washington to demand their government stop spending away their future. Large numbers of ordinary, middle-class Democrats, Republicans, and Independents from all over the country marching on Washington?! You know something’s up!

These are the same people who flocked to the town halls this summer to face their elected officials who were home on hiatus from that distant capital and were now confronted with the people they represent: big town hall meetings, video clips circulating, coverage. People watching and feeling not so alone anymore. The townhalls and the Tea Party movement are both part of a growing grassroots consciousness among ordinary Americans who’ve decided that if they want real change, they must take the lead and not wait to be led. Real change! And you know, you don’t need a title to do it.

The “Tea Party Movement” is aptly named to remind people of the American Revolution – of colonial patriots who shook off the yoke of a distant government and declared their freedom from indifferent – elitist – rulers, who limited their progress and showed them no respect. Today, Main Street Americans see Washington in similar terms!

When my country again achieves financial stability and economic growth – when we roar back to life as we shall do – it will be thanks in large part to the hard work and common sense of these ordinary Americans who are demanding that government spend less and tax less and allow the private sector to grow and prosper.

We’re not interested in government fixes; we’re interested in freedom! Freedom: our vision is forward looking. People may be frustrated now, but we’re very hopeful too. And, after all, why shouldn’t we be? We’re Americans—we’re always hopeful.

Thank you, for letting me share some of that hope—and a view from Main Street—with you.

God bless you.