Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Think They Would Let The Body Get Cold

Winger Stupidity of the Month: Freddie Mac CFO David Kellerman is the new Vince Foster.

I leave that to Sadly, No! boys.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Teabagging jokes are prima facie evidence that liberals are all horrible, coarse, free-speech hating fascists.

No, really. And Malkinvania gets paid for this. The wingers haven't managed to move their arguments past the Jonah Goldberg stage in the last twelve months.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

The winger argument on torture this week is best summed up by Cap'n Ed at Hot Air:
We need to have an honest debate on interrogation techniques and securing America against attack from radical, committed terrorists. Conservatives should stop pretending that waterboarding isn’t a form of torture that the US has opposed for decades when used abroad, especially against our own citizens. But everyone else should stop pretending that it doesn’t work, and that we would have been safer without its use. The real question — the one Obama wanted to avoid in his cover-up of Blair’s memo — is how many American lives is it worth to say we don’t waterboard? Ten? A hundred? Three thousand? Fifty thousand, the intended result of 9/11 and presumably the Second Wave waterboarding stopped?
In other words, "It's torture, yes. But it works. So just how many Americans are you willing to allow to die preserve your precious honor, liberals?"

And the answer to this, as always, is "When presented with two options are equally unacceptable, you must find another option."

Yes, we were not attacked after 9/11. No, it wasn't because of our torture program. Yes, Bush gets credit for us not being attacked again. No, the ends do not justify the means.

Keep Your Friends Close, Keep Your Enemies Closer

Roll Call is reporting at this hour that Nancy Pelosi indeed knew about the wiretap on Jane Harman.
The National Security Agency briefed Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “a few years ago” that they had wiretapped Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Pelosi revealed Wednesday.

But Pelosi said she was not told what federal eavesdroppers picked up on the call — and never alerted Harman to it.

“It was not my position to raise it with Jane Harman,” Pelosi told reporters at the Christian Science Monitor lunch. “In fact, I didn’t even know if what they were talking about was real. All they said was that she was wiretapped.”

Nice. Pelosi knew, and the NSA just may have answered a couple of my ten questions: Pelosi herself knew about the wiretap (which explains why Harman was passed over for chair), and they were wiretapping Harman (a sitting member of Congress) and not the person she was talking to.


Dear America:

"With torture, Republican obstruction on everything, a compliant press still spouting GOP talking points, illegal wiretapping still going on and Democrats stabbing the President in the back, I still can't imagine why anyone on the left would be upset. It is a mystery to me. They're whiners, I guess. Unlike conservatives I know, they have good reason to be angry at Hussein X, who I hear is not 100% Caucasian..."

Byron York, Washington Examiner

The Recession Is Officially Global

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is projecting some very dire economic numbers globally for 2009.
The IMF said the United States remains at the epicenter of the crisis and said it is critical U.S. authorities address mounting toxic debt and uncertainty about banks' solvency.

It revised down its forecast for the U.S. to a 2.8 percent contraction this year and no growth in 2010 as the ravages of a credit squeeze, falling house and equity prices and high levels of uncertainty play out.

Meanwhile, the euro zone economy will shrink by 4.2 percent this year and fall a further 0.4 percent in 2010, the IMF said, criticizing the bloc for weak public policy responses and coordination.

Ahh, but it gets worse for the rest of the world:
It predicted the former Soviet economies would shrink by 5.1 percent this year and grow by just 1.2 percent in 2010, compared with a solid 5.5 percent pace of expansion in 2008.

In Asia, where countries are being harder hit by a drop in global trade than by the financial crisis, the IMF said Japan's recession would be far deeper than previously thought, while China's economy will grow at a much slower pace.

In Japan, the IMF expects 2009 output to fall 6.2 percent, far worse than its January forecast for a 2.6 percent decline.

For China, the IMF trimmed its 2009 growth forecast to 6.5 percent from 6.7 percent, which would be half the growth rate recorded in 2007, and down sharply from last year's 9 percent.

It said the hard-won gains in Africa are being threatened by the global downturn, which is reducing demand for African goods and curtailing worker remittances.

The crisis also has not spared the Middle East, where the large drop in oil prices is hitting the region and reversal of capital flows are also taking a toll.

The same is true for countries in Latin America that are being hit by commodity price drops and where the biggest threat is a protracted financial deleveraging in advanced economies that will lead to a prolonged halt in capital inflows, the IMF said.

It's bad all over, and problems will extend into 2011 for many parts of the world.

The Cost Of The Economic Crisis

CNN is reporting that the acting CFO of Freddie Mac has been found at his home dead this morning of an apparent suicide.
Authorities said there were no signs of foul play when officers were called to Kellermann's home in Vienna shortly before 5 a.m. ET, Caldwell said.

The exterior of Kellermann's brick home was quiet later Wednesday morning, according to video from the scene. A police officer left the home, and two black vehicles were parked in front.

Sharon McCail, Freddie Mac's vice president for public relations, said the company has not yet been officially notified that Kellermann is dead.

Kellermann, 41, who also served as a senior vice president, had been with Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500) for more than 16 years.

With all the grumbling and ranting I do about banksters, you do have to remember that they are human beings with human weaknesses. We all have them, the trick to life is managing them one day at a time. There's a tremendous amount of pressure on the people trying to fix the problems in our economy. It's a massive responsibility.

But in the end, you always have a choice in life. You just have to be willing to pay the costs of that choice.

Blair House

Add Obama's current Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, to the list of torture non-apologists.
President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.

“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.

Admiral Blair sent his memo on the same day the administration publicly released secret Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of interrogation methods that the Obama White House has deemed to be illegal torture. Among other things, the Bush administration memos revealed that two captured Qaeda operatives were subjected to a form of near-drowning known as waterboarding a total of 266 times.

Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday. Also deleted was a line in which he empathized with his predecessors who originally approved some of the harsh tactics after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given.”
If Obama's DNI, the person in charge of the entire US intel community, is basically saying torture worked, and is going over the President's head to the press saying that he clearly disagrees with the White House assessment on these methods, then Barack Obama has a serious problem within his intelligence directorate.

It's one thing to have former Bush officials running around the op-ed pages saying that waterboarding people hundreds of times saved the country when reports exist that say no plots were actually foiled. It's entirely another to have your own appointees stab you in the back like that and say "Yeah, I absolutely believe torture was worth it."

This is about as loud as a public "With all due respect, screw you, Mr. President!" gets in Washington. Ball's in Obama's court now.

[UPDATE] The reality was that Bush pushed torture and it didn't work. It all comes back to that. If Obama's officials insist it did, there's a problem. And from the beginning the military planned to use torture even before it was approved by Bush.

The ends do not justify the means.


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