May 31, 2012
Obama's Concept Of Governing
Michael Barone suspects that Obama's campaign managers are fooling themselves. He gets it from an article in the New York Magazine by John Heilemann.
The picture Heilemann draws is of campaign managers whose assumptions have been proved wrong and who seem to be fooling themselves about what will work in the campaign.
One assumption that has been proved wrong is that the Obama campaign would raise $1 billion and that, as in 2008, far more money would be spent for Democrats than Republicans.
Heilemann reports the campaign managers' alibis. Obama has given donors "shabby treatment," he writes. This of a president who has attended more fundraisers than his four predecessors combined.
There's a startling little factoid. More fundraisers than his four predecessors combined. It's Obama's concept of governing.
May 30, 2012
Everything You Need To Know About Obama's 'Kill List'
According to a New York Times article, President Obama personally approves the name of every terrorist who is targeted for death or capture.
President Obama, overseeing the regular Tuesday counterterrorism meeting of two dozen security officials in the White House Situation Room, took a moment to study the faces. It was Jan. 19, 2010, the end of a first year in office punctuated by terrorist plots and culminating in a brush with catastrophe over Detroit on Christmas Day, a reminder that a successful attack could derail his presidency. Yet he faced adversaries without uniforms, often indistinguishable from the civilians around them.
“How old are these people?” he asked, according to two officials present. “If they are starting to use children,” he said of Al Qaeda, “we are moving into a whole different phase.”
It was not a theoretical question: Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical.
It would seem our president has painted himself into a corner regarding the "largely theoretical" capture of Al Qaeda terrorists. After promising to close Gitmo as one of his first orders of presidential business, how would it look if he start adding to the prison population now? Besides, he's been trying to get civilian trials for the terrorist inmates, but nobody wanted to conduct them in their cities. What will he do with more of them when he brings them in? There's little point in asking them any questions. He's ruled out any forceful interrogation methods, so what would be the point of capturing anybody? What to do?
Just kill them. But take a nuanced approach about it.
Obama himself, at his weekly "Terror Tuesday" meetings, "[insists] on approving every new name on an expanding 'kill list,' poring over terrorist suspects' biographies on what one official calls the macabre 'baseball cards' of an unconventional war," the Times reports.
But perhaps the oddest revelation in the news story is this: David Axelrod attended Obama's "Kill List" meetings. As the Times notes:
David Axelrod, the president’s closest political adviser, began showing up at the “Terror Tuesday” meetings, his unspeaking presence a visible reminder of what everyone understood: a successful attack would overwhelm the president’s other aspirations and achievements.
"[A] successful attack would overwhelm the president’s other aspirations and achievements" is how the Times explains Axelrod's presence. So are we to believe that President Obama seeks success in killing terrorists off his list because it will help his political goals? Apparently so.
How bizarre. David Axelrod, Obama's top political consultant, attends these meetings. What does that tell you? And why are we finding out now — from the New York Times of all places — about "a top secret 'nominations' process to designate terrorists for kill or capture?"
Walker Arrested For Blogging
Aaron Walker, who blogs as Aaron Worthing, was arrested yesterday in a Maryland courtroom.
Several days ago, convicted bomber and perjurer Brett Kimberlin had obtained a “peace order” against Walker, and today Walker was arrested for violating the order. My information is that the judge claimed that Walker violated the provision against electronic communication with Kimberlin, because Aaron blogged about Kimberlin — thus “inciting” others to contact Kimberlin.
In other words, as best as I can tell, Aaron Walker was arrested today in the United States of America for blogging about a public figure. [Emphasis in the original.]
It's quite a story, and not a short one. Here is a good place to start. Read the whole thing and follow the links.
May 28, 2012
On April 21st of this year the Southington Brass took a shot at the Guinness Book of World Records. The goal was to put together an ensemble of 1200 trumpeters for a performance at Southington High School in Southington, Connecticut. It turned out there were fewer than the 1200 needed, so the new world record was not to be. They did put on a hell of performance, though. Here it is.
May 24, 2012
Where Social Justice Gets Us
Social Justice has nothing to do with justice in any sense of what is right or fair. It's a political concept, contrived for the convenience of a political class who make a princely living by extorting money from anybody who has it and promising it to anybody who can be persuaded that they're entitled to it. Funny how so much of it rubs off along the way. Funny how slow some people are so slow to realize what's going on. Take the Catholic Archbishops, for instance.
The 12 federal lawsuits filed Monday by 43 Catholic plaintiffs against the Obama Administration's birth-control mandate are a big political and Constitutional moment. The nation's most prominent Catholic institutions are saying that the same federal government they have viewed for decades as an ally in their fight for social justice is now a threat to their religious liberty.
This can't have been an easy decision, especially because the plaintiffs are hardly founding members of the tea party. They include the Archdioceses of New York and Washington but also Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and even the University of Notre Dame.
It's as if some people have to be hit over the head before they get it. Liberal politicians, or progressives as they now like to be called, talk the talk about freedom, by which they mostly mean license or entitlement, but it's all about getting and holding onto power.
President Obama made a calculation that the tipping point had arrived. The Republican massacre in the 2006 mid-term elections, followed in 2008 by the historic election of our first African-American president signalled that the time was at hand when Social Justice could finally take priority over free markets. Barack Obama would focus the agencies federal government, and with Democrats in control of congress they would make it happen.
Of course, imposing Social Justice is an exercise in the use of power, a fact which early on seemed to escape everybody but the Tea Party. But it shouldn't have been so hard to notice that with every bailout and reform he proposed, Barack Obama had set about establishing a new federal dominance and the preeminence of Democratic party influence.
With the automobile industry President Obama took over the bankruptcy reorganization, injecting tax dollars into GM and Chrysler with the condition that the United Auto Workers Union would be given an equity stake in the companies while bond holders, who by law were first in line for repayment, were brushed aside. Had the bankruptcies been allowed to follow the normal legal process, the companies might well have escaped from onerous union contracts and liabilities, which would have been a blow to the UAW. Federal intervention preserved the UAW income stream for Democratic party coffers. That was the primary objective.
Health care reform could have been implemented in any number of ways, but it was devised with an individual mandate that would impose a penalty in the form of a fine for failure to buy a private health insurance policy. Justice Kennedy said this during Supreme Court oral arguments over the law's constitutionality.
The government is saying that the federal government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act. And that is different from what we have in previous cases, and that changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in the very fundamental way.
Justice Scalia asked:
The federal government is not supposed to be a government that has all powers; it’s supposed to be a government of limited powers. And that’s what all this questioning has been about. What is left? If the government can do this, what else can it not do?
The Affordable Health Care Act is was crafted in a way that was intended to expand federal power to the point where there are virtually no limits on it. By removing the severability clause that would leave most of the bill intact in the event that the court struck it down, Democrats in congress and the president issued a deliberate challenge to the Supreme Court, a dare if you will. If you strike down the mandate, you must invalidate the entire law.
Obama has done almost nothing on the domestic policy front that hasn't had an overriding political objective, either to obliterate limits on his own power, to pay off big campaign bundlers, to reward political allies, or to punish enemies. The Catholic Archbishops just found out they're the enemy.
Obama and the Democrats are determined to let nothing stand in the way of Social Justice, and if Obama wins another term it could spell the end of America as we know it. Social Justice means the entrenchment of progressive majorities. If we're stuck with a second Obama administration, it could become all but impossible to get the scoundrels out.
May 22, 2012
Hope And Change
Presidents who have to take their own party allies to the woodshed for the offense of telling the truth don't tend to win re-election.
Cory Booker, the Democratic Mayor of Newark, dared to disagree with Obama's campaign strategy of attacking Bain Capital and the private-equity business.
May 15, 2012
Power Line Remembers...
Valerie Plame. Valerie Plame, for those who may not remember, is the former CIA employee who was supposedly "outed" by the Bush White House in retaliation for a New York Times op ed by her husband, Joseph C. Wilson.
When George Bush said in a State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein had been trying to acquire large quantities of uranium from Africa, Wilson countered in his editorial that in his opinion the African country of Niger could not possibly have gotten away with selling uranium to Iraq. Therefore George Bush was lying.
The couple have been glorified by Hollywood, but the glory isn't sticking so well.
“Fair Game” starred Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. It grossed $9.4MM domestically, against a production budget of $22MM. Fewer Americans than anticipated, it seems, wanted to view the sweeping drama of a couple of D.C. mediocrities sipping poorly selected wine at the Four Seasons Georgetown and falling backwards into a glorious victimhood.
As you may or may not remember, it was not the Bush White House who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame. A higher up State Department official, Richard Armitage, was the leaker. I don't think I ever knew exactly why, but he revealed to the late Robert Novak that Wilson's wife had helped to arrange the trip her husband made to Africa upon which he based his Times op ed. Armed with that information Novak looked up the double top secret name of Wilson's wife in "Who's Who in America" and published it in a story of his own about Wilson's trip and his editorial. A witch hunt ensued.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald conducted a grand jury inquisition into possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Fitzgerald learned early in the investigation that it was Richard Armitage who revealed the identity of CIA "operative" Valerie Plame, but he concluded that no crime had been committed. Still, he kept the investigation going until he finally netted Scooter Libby, Vice President Richard Cheney's chief of staff, for lying.
In grand jury testimony Libby said he thought he had first heard of Valerie Plame from the late Tim Russert of Meet the Press fame. He later amended his testimony, based on notes he had showing that he must have heard her name earlier, but he said hadn't recalled the notes, nor the meetings in which they were made. Patrick Fitzgerald argued that he did too recall them. Libby was convicted of lying. Lying about a non-crime, actually.
So why does the subject of Valerie Plame resurface? Just recently another agent — this time a real honest to god covert agent — was outed. But this time, news outfits tripped all over themselves celebrating an Obama administration intelligence coup.
WASHINGTON — The suicide bomber dispatched by the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda last month to blow up a United States-bound airliner was actually an intelligence agent for Saudi Arabia who infiltrated the terrorist group and volunteered for the mission, American and foreign officials said Tuesday.
In an extraordinary intelligence coup, the double agent left Yemen last month, traveling by way of the United Arab Emirates, and delivered both the innovative bomb designed for his aviation attack and inside information on the group’s leaders, locations, methods and plans to the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi intelligence and allied foreign intelligence agencies.
Officials said the agent, whose identity they would not disclose, works for the Saudi intelligence service, which has cooperated closely with the C.I.A. for several years against the terrorist group in Yemen.
Apparently there are a couple of problems with that narrative.
It turns out that wasn’t true. The double-agent hadn’t been recruited and placed by the CIA, but by British intelligence, who also managed the operation. In fact, the Americans had only recently been made aware of the joint British-Saudi effort.
The leaks about the operation from the American side have infuriated British intelligence officials, who had hoped to continue the operation. The leaks not only scuttled the mission but put the life of the asset in jeopardy. Even CIA officials, joining their MI5 and MI6 counterparts, were describing the leaks as “despicable,” attributing them to the Obama administration.
Compare press coverage of this blown cover to the trumped up case over Valerie Plame, a CIA employee who commuted to an office at CIA headquarters in Langley every day, and whose name was listed in "Who's Who in America." Ms. Plame, who was in no way endangered by publication of Novak's story, became a media celebrity, victim of an imagined retaliatory leak from the Bush White House.
This time, though, the life of a British agent is threatened, opportunities for more intelligence have been thrown away, and from all outward appearances it's because of the Obama administration's compulsion to score political points wherever they may be had. And this time the press is too busy touting Obama's supposed "evolution" on gay marriage to report on anything else.
May 14, 2012
Turning The CO2 Adjustment Knob
German physicist and meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls recently voiced his skepticism of current climate change theory in an interview by Bettina Hahne-Waldscheck of the Swiss magazine “factum“. A translation of the interview, which can be found here, concludes with this:
factum: So we don’t need to do anything against climate change?
Puls: There’s nothing we can do to stop it. Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob. Many confuse environmental protection with climate protection. it’s impossible to protect the climate, but we can protect the environment and our drinking water. On the debate concerning alternative energies, which is sensible, it is often driven by the irrational climate debate. One has nothing to do with the other.
Via Power Line.
May 11, 2012
Kimberly Strassel describes what we might call America transformed. Frank VanderSloot, CEO of Melaleuca Inc., gave $1 million to a Super PAC that supports Mitt Romney.
Three weeks ago, an Obama campaign website, "Keeping GOP Honest," took the extraordinary step of publicly naming and assailing eight private citizens backing Mr. Romney. Titled "Behind the curtain: a brief history of Romney's donors," the post accused the eight of being "wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records." Mr. VanderSloot was one of the eight, smeared particularly as being "litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement."
About a week after that post, a man named Michael Wolf contacted the Bonneville County Courthouse in Idaho Falls in search of court records regarding Mr. VanderSloot. Specifically, Mr. Wolf wanted all the documents dealing with Mr. VanderSloot's divorces, as well as a case involving a dispute with a former Melaleuca employee.
Mr. Wolf sent a fax to the clerk's office—which I have obtained—listing four cases he was after. He would later send a second fax, asking for three further court cases dealing with either Melaleuca or Mr. VanderSloot. Mr. Wolf listed only his name and a private cellphone number.
Some digging revealed that Mr. Wolf was, until a few months ago, a law clerk on the Democratic side of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He's found new work. The ID written out at the top of his faxes identified them as coming from "Glenn Simpson." That's the name of a former Wall Street Journal reporter who in 2009 founded a D.C. company that performs private investigative work.
The website for that company, Fusion GPS, describes itself as providing "strategic intelligence," with expertise in areas like "politics." That's a polite way of saying "opposition research."
When I called Fusion's main number and asked to speak to Michael Wolf, a man said Mr. Wolf wasn't in the office that day but he'd be in this coming Monday. When I reached Mr. Wolf on his private cell, he confirmed he had until recently worked at the Senate.
When I asked what his interest was in Mr. VanderSloot's divorce records, he hesitated, then said he didn't want to talk about that. When I asked what his relationship was with Fusion, he hesitated again and said he had "no comment." "It's a legal thing," he added.
In Barack Obama's America there are political prices to be paid for having the wrong opinion. In Barack Obama's America, there are not more ways than one to approach a problem. Pick an issue — energy, health care, you name it — there is Barack Obama's way and there is heresy. If you don't support Barack Obama's way you are the enemy. Enemies must be punished in Barack Obama's America.
The Magic Number?
Rasmussen has Mitt Romney with 50% to Barack Obama's 43% in the Presidential Tracking Poll today.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Mitt Romney earning 50% of the vote and President Obama attracting 43% support. Four percent (4%) would vote for a third party candidate, while another three percent (3%) are undecided.
This is the first time Romney has reached the 50% level of support and is his largest lead ever over the president. It comes a week after a disappointing jobs report that raised new questions about the state of the economy.
It's too early to predict an outcome, but 50% seems to me to be a pretty significant number.