Friday, May 1, 2009

Last Call

Pajamas Media columnist John Hawkins is delusional.
Too often today, liberals are using below-the-belt tactics against conservatives and paying no price whatsoever. Meanwhile, those on the right like to pat themselves on the back for being above it all. This is like a boxer priding himself on never taking off his gloves while his opponent nearly beats him to death with his bare firsts. But in the end, there’s not much to be said for lovable losers. Conservatives should realize that fair play isn’t going to pay any dividends.

While we conservatives don’t have to stoop quite as low as the left has, we do need to start giving them a taste of their own medicine, if only to make them think twice about the way they’re treating our side.

For example, look at the media jihad that was shamelessly launched against Sarah Palin’s family. There was a not-so-subtle message being sent: if you’re a Republican woman, you better stay in the shadows or we’re going to destroy your family to get you. The left gave the same kind of intrusive, public scrutiny to “Joe the Plumber,” a private citizen who merely asked an inconvenient question to Barack Obama. While conservatives defended both Sarah and Joe as we complained incessantly about the way they were treated, the reality is that the Democrats paid no price whatsoever for the out-of-bounds attacks.

Instead of continuing to complain, here’s a better idea. Why don’t conservatives do opposition research on the journalists endlessly running stories about Bristol Palin and Joe the Plumber? Have they ever been arrested? Whom do they own property with? Have they ever been paid to do a speech for someone and then run a favorable news story about him? Certainly Keith Olbermann’s personal life is just as newsworthy as Joe the Plumber’s, and the details of Maureen Dowd’s life are just as noteworthy as those of Bristol Palin — are they not?

Yes. That's right folks. The GOP only lost because of the unfair media treatment of Sarah Palin and Joe The Plumber, asking the prospective Vice-President out-of-bounds foreign policy questions like "Do you believe in the Bush Doctrine?" and asking a prospective plumber the hideously inappropriate "Are you actually a licensed plumber in the state of Ohio?"

Republicans don't understand that the reason they lost is given a chance to actually govern the country, they turned America into a third-world country with a third-world junta running the place and refused to take any responsibility for any of it, much less made any attempt to do anything to fix the f'ckin problem.

The simple reality is not a single Republican has stood up and said "We screwed up. We screwed up badly, we're big enough to admit we screwed up badly, so now we're asking your help to fix the problem. The problem is very large and will take all of us to fix it."

Instead, it's everyone's fault but your own. It's the media's fault. It's the netroots' fault. It's the blacks' fault, or the Hispanics, or the gays, or poor people, or the younger generation, or the women, or the atheists, or the Muslims, or anybody's fault but the Republican Party's fault. Your solution to the problem is "We were not evil enough."

The GOP will never recover until it admits that it caused this mess with the same failed policies that they are trying to double down with now.

In other words, take some responsibility.

Until you do that, you are irrelevant. Step aside. The rest of us have a mess to clean up.

In Her Shoes

Michelle Obama apparently owns a $500 pair of shoes, which because she's not Laura Bush, is an unforgivable sin of epic proportions. Attacking the First Lady for her sneakers is about a stupid as judging John McCain for his taste in loafers or John Edwards's famous $400 haircut.

Remember kids, Obama Derangement Syndrome doesn't necessarily mean an insane reflexive irrational hatred for just Barack Obama.

The War To Replace Souter Is On

...and progressives and liberals are already badly outgunned.
"You're already having chatter between conservatives on who is going to be the nominee, what type of nominee is going to be put forward by President Obama," said Brian Darling, the Heritage Foundation's Senate director and a former top Judiciary Committee staffer.

Groups like the American Center for Law & Justice, the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary and the Committee for Justice will all prepare background research on potential nominees, setting up the eventual, inevitable attacks on the nominee as a left-wing extremist.

Those groups are gearing up for the first time since helping doom the nomination of former White House counsel Harriet Miers in President Bush's second term and replacing her with Samuel Alito.

"We'll be organized. We're more organized than ever before," said Jay Sekulow, the prominent conservative lawyer who heads the American Center for Law & Justice. "The reality is we've got quite a challenge here with a Democratic Senate that's virtually filibuster-proof."
Understand here that no matter who Obama nominates, the Republicans will do everything they can to bork the Filthy, Horrible Activist Liberal. The Party of No will launch full force on them, and it will be payback time.

Petraeus Rolls The Dice

It's difficult to interpret this article as anything other than Gen. David Petraeus is quietly hoping for a military coup in Pakistan.
Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, has told U.S. officials the next two weeks are critical to determining whether the Pakistani government will survive, FOX News has learned.

"The Pakistanis have run out of excuses" and are "finally getting serious" about combating the threat from Taliban and Al Qaeda extremists operating out of Northwest Pakistan, the general added.

But Petraeus also said wearily that "we've heard it all before" from the Pakistanis and he is looking to see concrete action by the government to destroy the Taliban in the next two weeks before determining the United States' next course of action, which is presently set on propping up the Pakistani government and military with counterinsurgency training and foreign aid.

Petraeus made these assessment in talks with lawmakers and Obama administration officials this week, according to individuals familiar with the discussions.

They said Petraeus and senior administration officials believe the Pakistani army, led by Chief of Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, is "superior" to the civilian government, led by President Ali Zardari, and could conceivably survive even if Zardari's government falls to the Taliban.

American officials have watched with anxiety as Taliban fighters advanced earlier this month to within 70 miles of the capital city of Islamabad. In recent days, the Pakistani army has sought to reverse that tide, retaking control over strategic points in the district of Buner even as the Taliban struck back by kidnapping scores of police and paramilitary troops.

Translation of the good General: "Will no one rid me of this troublesome civilian government in these next, oh, let's say two weeks?"

This is amazing. Petraeus is publicly saying that it's better to have a military coup and an army strongman in charge of Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal than the legitimately elected civilian government. Not only that, the article strongly implies that the US military would not only rather see Gen. Asfaq Kayani running the country, but that we wouldn't defend that democracy from Kayani should he take over.

Matt Yglesias has more:

I think it’s worth at least considering the possibility that part of the reason the Pakistani military has been performing so poorly against the Taliban is that they’re hoping the United States will react this way and start welcoming a coup to replace the “ineffective” civilian government. After all, United States pressure played an important role in easing the military out of power recently. But the American security establishment seems to have hit upon the slightly bizarre notion that the appropriate response to the Pakistan military’s unwillingness or inability to effectively provide security for the country is that we should welcome them taking over all government responsibilities. Call me skeptical.
It seems obvious to me. This is our brilliant plan in Pakistan: to stand by and possibly allow a military coup to take over the country because it's the only way to convince the Pakistani Army to take out the Taliban.

Which means either the Pakistani army doesn't have a problem with the Taliban being around, or the Pakistani Army is 100% sure the US military is backing them.

More Bunning Silliness

Yesterday it appeared that Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) must be retiring, for he had given his blessing to Kentucky's Republican SecState, Trey Grayson, to form an exploratory committee. Only, that's not the case it seems.
Here's where it gets tricky. It was reported that Bunning gave Grayson permission to do this -- seemingly a giveaway that he'll retire and anoint Grayson as his preferred successor, thus giving the GOP a much more electable candidate. The problem is, Bunning's spokesman is publicly indicating otherwise: "Senator Bunning has every intention of running."

Bunning's spokesman would not comment to the Courier-Journal on whether Bunning had met with Grayson. A call I have placed to him on this same question has not been returned.

I asked a Grayson spokesman for confirmation on whether Bunning gave such permission, and he would not comment further beyond Grayson's original statement: "I have formed an exploratory committee to allow me to formally raise and spend funds as I seek support for a bid for U.S. Senate. I have no plans to run against Senator Bunning. This exploratory committee will allow me to travel the Commonwealth, meet with potential supporters and lay the foundation for a campaign."

Knife, meet back. It looks like Bunning may be told he is retiring whether he wants to or not. Nice guys, those GOP. Not only are they purging moderates, they are purging the faithful who may not be able to get re-elected.

AIPAC-ing It In

JTA is reporting that the AIPAC spy case has indeed been dropped by the Justice Department.
Prosecutors asked a judge to drop charges against two ex-AIPAC staffers accused of passing along classified information.

In a statement Friday, the acting U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia said restrictions on the government's case imposed by Judge T.S. Ellis III made conviction unlikely.

"Given the diminished likelihood the government will prevail at trial under the additional intent requirements imposed by the court and the inevitable disclosure of classified information that would occur at any trial in this matter, we have asked the court to dismiss the indictment," Dana Boente said.

The motion all but guarantees a dismissal.

"Intent requirements" refers to an earlier Ellis ruling that the government must prove that Keith Weissman, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's former Iran analyst, and Steve Rosen, its former foreign policy chief, intended not only to assist Israel but to harm the United States.

Weissman and Rosen were charged under a rarely used section of the 1917 Espionage Act that makes it a crime for civilians to receive and distribute closely held defense information. Both men were later dismissed by AIPAC, with the organization claiming the two had violated its rules; Rosen, in turn has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against AIPAC.

Reached by phone, Rosen told JTA he was "ecstatic" and was "still absorbing a life-changing moment." He had been on the phone Friday morning non-stop with family and friends.

"There was a great injustice here, but thank God we live in a country where the courts can correct this kind of injustice," he said.

For the immediate future, he said, he would focus on a book he was writing on government leaks.

Baruch Weiss, Weissman's lawyer, told JTA that the decision was a "great victory for the First Amendment and for the pro-Israel community."

Anything the defendants did "was to the benefit of Israel and the United States," he said.

You mean like helping stovepipe false info to get us into a war with Iraq? Sure it was to our benefit.

If there's anyone who has been covering the AIPAC case and the Israel lobby, it's been's Justin Raimondo. Ironically, he had just written a column on Israel pushing Obama for war once again at next week's AIPAC conference.

The focus of the conference, and the legislative centerpiece of the event, will be passage of the Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act, which would ban US companies from providing Iran with refined petroleum products, and seeks to punish European companies — particularly the Swiss, who come in for two specific mentions in the text of the bill — for doing so.

To begin with, the name affixed to this piece of legislative legerdemain is a prime example of congressional doublethink: will it really enhance diplomatic relations with Iran to impose draconian sanctions, the equivalent of an economic chokehold and a prelude to a military blockade? Hardly, and that is very far from its clear intent.

This bill is all about provoking the Iranians, effectively sabotaging efforts to engage in a mutual dialogue with Tehran. Why the egregious packaging? Well, it seems the American people are sick and tired of war, and preparations for war, and so it is far less incriminating if a member of Congress can say he (or she) voted for "the Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act" than it is to admit they supported isolating Iran economically.

While it’s true that the Swiss provide up to 80 percent of the Iranians’ refined petroleum imports, as stated in the bill, what’s really at stake here is a spat between the Israelis and the government of Switzerland over a recent meeting between Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the UN’s recent anti-racism conference held in Geneva.

Reflecting the new hysteria that’s been injected into the Jewish state’s relations with the rest of the world, Israel recalled its ambassador to Switzerland in protest. Even talking to the Iranians, in any context, is considered by the Israelis to be an "existential" threat to the Jewish state, and anyone who engages in such conversation is considered an enemy — thus the clauses of the bill that target the Swiss. The message this is sending is clear: if you cross the Israelis, you cross the Americans, too — yes, even under the Obama administration.

Speaking of Obama, this campaign to isolate Iran is aimed at him just as much as it is at the Iranians, and the Swiss — it is a shot across the bow, a flexing of legislative muscle on the part of the Lobby that shows the newly-elected American president even he can’t stand up to the Lobby’s power. If he tries to reach out to the Iranians, and short-circuit the march to war, he’ll be subverted, opposed, and reined in by the American Congress, which is, as Pat Buchanan famously — and accurately — observed, "Israeli-occupied territory."
And now we have the Weissman-Rosen case dropped just days before the AIPAC conference opens.

What the banksters aren't running in this administration, Israel is.

[UPDATE] Both Glenn Greenwald(!!!) and Matt Yglesias say dismissing this case was the right thing to do, as the only reason this ever got through the Bush DoJ in the first place was to set a precedent to prosecute journalists for having classified material, the stuff of government leaks everywhere.
On an unrelated topic: I have numerous emails asking me to comment on the decision of the Obama DOJ to drop its prosecution of two former AIPAC officials for alleged violations of the Espionage Act. I have no time to write about this today, but despite being as vigorous a critic of AIPAC as can be, I absolutely believe the Obama DOJ did the right thing. From the start, the Bush DOJ's prosecution of these non-government-employees (as opposed to its prosecution of DOD employee Larry Franklin) was abusive, dangerous and wrong -- clearly an attempt by the Bush administration to criminalize the core activity of investigative reporting. I wrote about my reasons for finding that prosecution so pernicious back in 2006 (here), and I largely agree with what AIPAC critic Spencer Ackerman wrote today about this matter (here). No matter how harmful one might believe AIPAC to be, the end of this prosecution is something everyone who cares about press freedoms and even free speech should cheer.
I have a hard, hard time admitting AIPAC is going to skate for a good reason, but I can't really find a solid rebuttal to the Double G's legal logic on this.

As much as it pains me to say it, the Israel lobby may have actually ended up doing America good here.

Quite a complex world we live in.

Following Souter

The Wingers are already licking their chops at the concept of eternally obstructing "unacceptable" candidates to replace retiring SCOTUS Justice David Souter, and the notion is that it's time for payback for the Specter switch.
Huh, you say. Here's the explanation, from Professor Michael Dorf of Cornell Law School at his excellent blog, Dorf on Law, written two days ago before Souter's retirement was in play:
Does Arlen Specter's defection from R to D strengthen the President's hand in Congress? Perhaps overall but not on judicial appointments because breaking (the equivalent of) a filibuster in the Senate Judiciary Committee requires the consent of at least one member of the minority. Before today, Specter was likely to be that one Republican. Now what?
The link in Dorf's post is to Congress Matters, which has the Senate Judiciary Committee rule:

The Chairman shall entertain a non-debatable motion to bring a matter before the Committee to a vote. If there is objection to bring the matter to a vote without further debate, a roll call vote of the Committee shall be taken, and debate shall be terminated if the motion to bring the matter to a vote without further debate passes with ten votes in the affirmative, one of which must be cast by the minority.

Now this is interesting. Specter could allow a nominee out of committee if Specter was a member of the Republican minority, but as part of the majority, he's just another vote. Here are the other Republicans: Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Jon Kyl, Jeff Sessions, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Tom Coburn.

The weak link is Lindsey Graham, who was a member of the Gang of 14. If Graham says the course, the Republicans may not be able to stop runaway spending, military retrenchment, and an interrogation witch hunt. But Specter may have handed Republicans a gift.
In other words, Specter's switch makes it easier to obstruct a nominee in the Senate Judiciary Committee because at least one Republican has to vote for the nominee for it to pass the committee stage. Of course, the odds are this would have happened without Specter's switch in the first place, but now the GOP can exact no small matter of petty revenge and keep on going with the Party Of No theme.

You stay classy, San Diego.

Global No Confidence Vote: Flunking Out

The banks are fine!

So wonderful in fact that the banks are arguing that the stress test results shouldn't actually be released.
U.S. officials are leaning toward announcing the "stress test" results of individual banks next week instead of just summary results, a source familiar with administration talks said Thursday.

The source, speaking anonymously because talks are ongoing, also said officials will likely release the capital requirements of the 19 firms at their holding company level, not just the needs of their banking units. Some of the banks being tested, such as Bank of America, have large non-bank subsidiaries that were included in the assessments, the source said.

Regulators have stress-tested the 19 largest U.S. banks to determine their capital needs should economic conditions deteriorate further. The source said the announcement of the results has been pushed back, possibly to May 6.
Note the language. "Possibly" we could see stress test results on Wednesday. They are leaning towards "individual" results too, instead of releasing all the results publicly and at the same time.

I'm betting strongly that the banks that are hurting the most, the ones that truly are uncapitalized to the point of being insolvent? You'll never know who they are. The banks will refuse to let the government release the results to us. Forget Wednesday. The banks are angling for "never."

Such a last minute delay in the results the banks knew were coming for weeks now indicates strongly that the banks are in serious trouble. If the results are made known to the public it could cause a run on the banks. I was worried that the tests given the banks were indications that they couldn't fail, they were so easy. But the reality is that the banks have now failed the cream puff tests given to them so badly that they are warning the Fed of systemic collapse brought on by financial panic, and the banks don't want the results to be released at all. The Obama administration is clearly going along with this charade.

Officials said at the time the banks would learn how much extra capital regulators wanted them to have, and then they would have six months to raise that amount in the private market or could tap a new government capital facility.

Since then, the market appetite for the results has reached a fever pitch, forcing the Treasury Department to rethink its plan to keep detailed results of individual banks private.

The source said officials are well aware of the market's sensitivity to the information, evidenced by the punishment some bank stocks have endured from leaked reports of the results and outside analysts' versions of the tests.

"Everyone's being very sensitive," the source said.

Nobody could have predicted! Here's what happened, folks. The Obama administration sold the bank stress tests too well! Now the investing public actually believes these results are "objective and meaningful", and in a way they are. When Timmy and his crew rigged the tests so that any bank could pass, they never counted on a number of banks failing the test anyway.

Even a cursory look at the books shows America's major financial instutuions are zombie banks that should have gone into government recievership months ago. And the banks are now so terrified of the results that they are playing the systemic collapse extortion card yet again.

I have been saying for months now that a receivership plan continues to be the only solution. The banks must be made to give in, because right now any possible efforts to work with the Obama administration results in the banks getting 100% of what they want and the American taxpayer getting no accountability, no stake in the game, and no idea what is really going on. The first real public accounting of the banks is now being all but scuttled before our eyes.

These bad banks must be forced into recievership. They must be Chryslerized: given a firm date and when they fail, taken over and restructured. But that will never, ever happen. The banksters that run the country will never allow it and Obama has no intention of doing it, he has already been given his orders.

Now the last chance of public accountability is being dismantled. We've gone from all stress test results on May 4 to maybe some banks, maybe on May 6th...which of course will become no results whatsoever. Our course towards disaster is now all but locked in. The Fed will simply throw money at the banks extorting taxpayer money, and the creditor nations that own the US will throw money at us...or else.

That is until they run out of money and our economy collapses anyway. There's a reason Obama is trying to frantically implement popular social programs as soon as possible. He knows what's coming.

Now, so do you.

Be prepared.


Related Posts with Thumbnails