Patterico's Pontifications


President Obama Will Not Be Joining 3,000 Dignitaries At The 70th Anniversary Of The Liberation Of Auschwitz

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:14 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This coming week marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Approximately 300 remaining survivors are expected to attend a commemoration ceremony on Tuesday. Due to most survivors being 90 years or older, it clearly marks the last major anniversary where such a significant number of survivors will be in attendance.

With that, the 300 survivors will be part of a larger group of 3,000 dignitaries attending the ceremony. This would also include heads of state and royalty:

A preliminary list of those attending includes President François Hollande of France, President Joachim Gauck of Germany and President Heinz Fischer of Austria, as well as King Philippe of Belgium, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Unfortunately, President Obama will not be in attendance to represent the United States as he is due to arrive in India on Sunday. Instead, representing the United States will be Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.

It’s a shame that our president will once again not be representing the United States before the world at an historic occasion. This especially as the opportunity comes on the heels of the recent tone-deaf decision made by the White House not to have the president attend the unity march in Paris and publicly stand in solidarity with other world leaders supporting a traumatized France. Further, in light of increasing antisemitism sweeping across Europe and the large number of Jews leaving Paris and points beyond because they no longer feel safe, it would seem a most opportune moment for the President of the United States to personally express to the world America’s unwavering support of the Jewish people who have endured so much – both then and now. And not lost from view, this happens as the White House announces that neither the president nor John Kerry will be meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu when he is in Washington next month.

Anyway, how pressing is this trip to India? Well, Associated Press White House correspondent Julie Pace suggests maybe not that pressing:

“President Obama crosses into one of the indisputable stages of a lame duck presidency this week. That is the non-essential foreign travel stage,” Pace said on CNN. “He’s going to India basically for a parade and a visit to the Taj Mahal.

“Yes, there are strategic interests with India, and those will be on the agenda, but think about the timing of this. The president is going to India three days after his State of the Union Address. A period of time when he normally would be out trying to rally Congress and the public behind his agenda. I think this says all you need to know about the likelihood that anything he announces on Tuesday actually gets done.”

And some of what is on the agenda: climate change; counterterrorism cooperation; stability of the Asia-Pacific region and defense trade and technology.


UPDATE: Commenter happyfeet notes that President Obama has decided to cut short his trip to India so that he can pay official respects to King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the family of late King Abdullah. Vice-President Biden was originally scheduled to make the trip.

It’s a bitter irony that the president has chosen to make the special trip to Saudi Arabia to pay our country’s respects, given the kingdom’s historical and continuing grim record on human rights violations and yet chose not to make the trip to Auschwitz to pay respects to the survivors and families who suffered some of the world’s most horrific human rights violations on record.

Friday Night Music: Kevin Kane from the Grapes of Wrath

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:17 pm

Kevin Kane from the great Canadian band The Grapes of Wrath, performing an acoustic version of one of their classics: “All The Things I Wasn’t”:

These days, Kevin is touring with Bryan Potvin of The Northern Pikes, another long-time favorite. (The two bands have played several gigs together recently; I saw them play together in 2001, nearly fourteen years ago . . . as proved by this photo, which I first published in 2009 in this post.

Marquee -- good quality picture
April 26, 2001: Barrie, Ontario

Kevin tells me that he and Bryan Potvin are headed into the studio next month to record their first album together. I can’t wait to see what comes of it . . .

Romney: We Need International Agreements to Deal with Climate Change

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am

It’s a matter of record that he believes climate change is real and that humans contribute to it, although some of you may have forgotten that. The part about needing international agreements to deal with it seems to be new, though. Here’s a quote from an AP story that was excerpted at Hot Air:

While hitting familiar Republican points criticizing the size of the federal debt, Romney at times sounded like a Democrat, calling for President Barack Obama and other leaders in Washington to act on common liberal priorities such as climate change, poverty and education.

“I’m one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that,” he said of climate change, charging that federal leaders have failed to enact global agreements needed to tackle the problem

“Let’s deal with poverty,” he said Wednesday night. “Have we done it? No. Let’s do it.”…

Romney had previously acknowledged that climate change is real, noting in his 2010 book that “human activity is a contributing factor.” But he questioned the extent to which man was contributing to the warming of the planet and said throughout his 2012 campaign that America shouldn’t spend significant resources combating the problem — particularly with major polluters like China doing little.

The AP has apparently changed the story since Hot Air quoted the above passages, but remnants of it remain findable (see here, for example).

My own position is probably familiarly infuriating to long-time readers: I think the planet is warming (although there has been an odd “pause” in the data), and I think it stands to reason that humans might be contributing to that — but (and this part is very important) I don’t have a clue how much that contribution is, and I don’t think the “scientists” do either.

Increasingly, climate change “science” seems to bear a greater resemblance to a field like economics than it does to actual hard sciences like chemistry and physics. Look at the similarities. Both constitute a human effort to describe and predict systems that are so complex that prediction seems impossible. Both have become so partisan that one simply can’t trust the messengers to accurately describe the data, much less provide meaningful conclusions from that data. And both have lefty priests whose pronouncements lead to government actions that cost us billions that we can’t afford.

This, seemingly, was Romney’s position last time around as well. But now it seems that he has “evolved” to the point where (unlike me) he wants international agreements to address this horrible issue that he previously said he doesn’t know whether we contribute to or not.

(Plus, he seems to want to “deal with poverty” — and I am concerned that he is talking about using the government to do so, rather than getting government out of the way so that the free market can address the problem. What is he talking about there? We already know he wants to raise the minimum wage, a stupid idea that will increase unemployment. What other “poverty-fighting” programs might he propose to trash our economy further?)

So, you Romney supporters who are far more skeptical of global warming than I am . . . how do you like him now?

Unnamed Obama Official: Netanyahu Will Pay a Price for This

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:24 am

Haaretz (via Hot Air):

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” a senior American official said. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”

I don’t know; maybe Netanyahu is just trying to show that he’s not a “chickenshit.” That’s the label that an unnamed Obama administration official pinned on Netanyahu last October with no real blowback from the administration. If this is all about petty revenge for personal slights, well, I suppose two can play that game. That ever occur to you, Obama?

I guess it didn’t, because guess what? You also seem to be making the same mistake in complaining that this is a breach of protocol. It’s also kind of a breach of protocol (to put it mildly) to go around handing out work permits to people that Congress has said are here illegally and should be removed from the country. (It’s also unconstitutional, in my opinion, but let’s just talk “protocol” for now.)

In Rome, not long before the fall of the Republic, there was a fella named Tiberius Gracchus who breached “protocol” and bypassed the Roman Senate (and violated several other traditional norms of collegiality) in an effort to address inequality in society. Things didn’t end well for him. Namely, he was beaten to death with clubs and bench legs. Nobody is talking about doing any such thing to Obama, of course — nor should they be. All they’re doing is inviting a foreign leader to make a speech — and showing that breaches of protocol run both ways.

The sowing is done. It’s reaping time. Enjoy the harvest, pal.

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