Saturday, January 10, 2009

Barack OBlago Obambi

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Like a true potentate, Obama plans to issue edicts and then to let Congress to fulfill his wishes.

When I first read this report, something struck me as familiar about the style. Then it hit me. Barack Obama is just like Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich!

One of the many jokes commonly said about Blago by Illinois legislators is that he “gives good press conference” but little else. The reason legislators were so fond of saying this is because Blago would come up with some wild idea, call a press conference, tell the state that he was going to “do” something or start some new program, then happily go home for a neighborhood jog. Blago, it appeared, felt that his job was to imagine every crazy program that he could come up with, announce it as a fact on TV, but leave it to everyone else to actually do the hard work of making laws.

Well, it appears that Obama is operating on an “all hat, no cattle” operating procedure similar to Blago’s style.
Barack is a Blagoist. He’s Barack OBlago, even

Bush Turns Down Israel. Whew! Lucky The Iranians Can't Read English!

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And not even direct military help. Just materiel and permission to fly over Iraqi airspace. But no worries: Bush "authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons." And no doubt it is working like a charm. "U.S. Rejected Aid for Israeli Raid on Iranian Nuclear Site," by David E. Sanger for the New York Times, January 10 (thanks to all who sent this in):

WASHINGTON — President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons, according to senior American and foreign officials.

I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday

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But Madoff’s scheme has a host of culpable look-alikes and one has only to begin with the mortgage market to understand the similarities. Option ARMs or Pick-A-Pay home loans allowed homeowners to make monthly payments that were so small they did not even cover their interest charges. Two million mortgagees either chose or were sold this Ponzi/Madoff form of skullduggery, believing that home prices never go down and that shoppers never drop. One can add to this the trillions in home equity/second mortgage loans that extracted “savings” in order to promote current instead of future consumption, and one begins to realize that Bernie Madoff and  our cartoon’s Wimpy had company all these years.

Municipalities with begging bowls now extended for over a trillion of Federal taxpayer dollars, based their budgets and their own handouts on the perpetual rise in home prices, the inevitable upward slope of sales taxes, and the never-ending increase in employment and personal income taxes.
And where was Bill Gross in the run-up to disaster?

Scriptless And Witless

But, what about hope and change?
There is no terror threat. It's Bush's fault. Bush is the warmonger.
You're not supposed to threaten Obama.
That's not in the script.
Mullah Omar and the Taliban have released a letter to Barack Obama prior to Inauguration.
The Islamist leaders already warned Obama to cut-&-run or face the consequences.
MEMRI provided the translation:

In advance of Barack Obama’s upcoming inauguration as U.S. President, the Taliban in Afghanistan led by Mullah Omar have released an open letter. Entitled "An Open Letter to the White House from the Peaks of Tora Bora," the letter notes that Obama has created history by becoming the first African American to control the White House.

The letter, dated December 27, 2008, urges him to create another history by accepting Islam.

A New Lamb

You need to be a Tip O'Neill, a Teddy Kennedy, a Richard Daley, a Bill Clinton at the very least. And you don't seem to be a big, fat anything--literally or otherwise. You seem to be .  .  . smart and organized. Like Jimmy Carter!

So we may speak without compunction of the failed Obama presidency. What a blessing that it's a failure. Things are bad enough the way they are. There's already a huge ongoing government intervention in

the economy. Bringing the government in to run Wall Street is like saying, "Dad burned dinner, let's get the dog to cook."

Barack Obama is not a P.T. Barnum of the Washington Big Top. The real P.T. Barnum had a side-show attraction where a lamb, a wolf, a leopard, and a lion had been trained to stay with each other in one cage. Asked if this was difficult Barnum said, "No. But every now and then we have to get a new lamb."

"No Evidence" Reprise

But even if ailing, a veteran terrorist like Abu Nidal ought not to have needed to empty his magazine in order to end his life. If Iraqi security services helped him out, the question is why?
But there is another plausible explanation.
Nidal's specialty was airplane hijacking and sabotage. At least two Iraqi defectors have said Saddam maintained at Salman Pak, a military base 21 miles from Baghdad, a Boeing 707 on which "Islamicists" practiced hijackings.

Ziad Jarrah was at the controls when United Flight 93 crashed in Somerset County. He had come to Germany as a student in 1996, where his apartment was paid for by his great-uncle, Assam Omar Jarrah. Assam Jarrah has been identified by German intelligence as an operative for both the old East German secret police and the Abu Nidal organization. Assam disappeared two months before Sept. 11.

Could Saddam have been eliminating a piece in the chain of evidence linking him to the 9/11 attacks?

Pallywood Live!

As he is about to be laid to rest, the shroud falls away, leaving his arm exposed to gravity. Conscientious even as a corpse, the young victim holds his arm tightly against his woundless body as the camera pans away. I suspect his family is celebrating his miraculous resurrection even as you read these words.

And what of his family?

His brother's grief was never too strong to keep him from documenting his brother's death, and he will cope by burying himself in his work. Considering that he is the general manager of the company that runs web sites for Hamas while they are at war, I'm sure he is quite busy, indeed.

As for CNN, they have carried on exactly as you would expect they would as the kind of company that would hide the torture of even their own employees just to retain favorability among despots.

The story is no less fraudulent, and the cover-up is far more damning.

This, truly, is CNN.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Normal Risk Assessments Need Not Apply

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And this was from a NYT editorial in 2003:

The Bush administration is rightly pushing for the Treasury Department to regulate the two giants, along with the network of federal home loan banks. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae provide financing to lenders by creating a secondary market for mortgages. All told, these two institutions’ debt portfolio exceeds more than $1.5 trillion. Their current regulator is ill equipped to keep tabs on Freddie’s and Fannie’s sophisticated hedging strategies and the other financial moves they use to manage their huge investments.

Lax regulatory oversight of these companies is made more worrisome by confusion over the extent to which Uncle Sam backs them up. An ”implied guarantee” gives Freddie and Fannie a competitive advantage in the marketplace, part of which is passed on to home buyers. But there is a danger (remember the savings and loan crisis?) in having the marketplace complacently assume that normal risk assessments need not apply to these players.

Securing The Land

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It is difficult to exaggerate the nasty role of the Soviet Union but suspicion of the Soviets had nothing to do with Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Despite the ridiculously casual way the fool Dayan gave away Jerusalem the more thoughtful Israeli leaders understood several things: while Arabs had an absolute right to live in Palestine, they had no right to sovereignty. They had a right to be there which was equal to that of the Jews but the West Bank as it came be known only after 1967 was part of the Mandate.
The Allon Plan formulated in 1968 I believe called for extensive Israeli settlements on the hilltops of the Judean hills, settlements on the aquifers under the Hills and complete control of the Jordan Valley. And that is what happened. Religious fanaticism had nothing to do with this. This is what is called securing the land. It is why the idea of a two state solution is not workable.

Soviets In The Middle East Memory Hole

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One thing I find interesting in reading various authors who discuss the history of the Arab-Israeli or Israeli-Palestinian conflict is how the role of the USSR in exacerbating the conflict, and the role of its demise in providing an opportunity for a potential settlement of the conflict, is generally completely, or almost completely, ignored.

Then consider that the East bloc secret services recruited, trained, and financed Yasser Arafat to create the violent Palestinian nationalist movement that became the PLO, starting around 1964.

the fall of the USSR was one of the major factors that allowed the Oslo negotiations and agreements to move forward. Without the backing of a superpower, Yasser Arafat seemed less like a potential destroyer of Israel and a lot more like a has-been terorist who would be willing to settle for what he could plausibly get.

Who Is John Galt?

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Galt: "You want me to be Economic Dictator?"

Mr. Thompson: "Yes!"

"And you'll obey any order I give?"


"Then start by abolishing all income taxes."

"Oh no!" screamed Mr. Thompson, leaping to his feet. "We couldn't do that . . . How would we pay government employees?"

"Fire your government employees."

"Oh, no!"

Abolishing the income tax. Now that really would be a genuine economic stimulus. But Mr. Obama and the Democrats in Washington want to do the opposite: to raise the income tax "for purposes of fairness" as Barack Obama puts it.

David Kelley, the president of the Atlas Society, which is dedicated to promoting Rand's ideas, explains that "the older the book gets, the more timely its message." He tells me that there are plans to make "Atlas Shrugged" into a major motion picture -- it is the only classic novel of recent decades that was never made into a movie. "We don't need to make a movie out of the book," Mr. Kelley jokes. "We are living it right now."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

No Change In Management

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Although I have no way to quantify my conjecture, I suspect that at least part of malaise is due to a lack of confidence in the institutions which had charge of the economy. When a company goes bankrupt getting it back on its feet normally requires making changes to management. But in this case its unclear what has fundamentally changed in the ways of doing business. The same old faces and the same old spending, with minor differences, are on order just like last time. If anything the bailouts suggest that the game of musical chairs will continue, but this time with publicly borrowed money.

The Clattering Train

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One man who knew the feeling of watching, helplessly, as things went to hell in a handbasket was Winston Churchill

Although the House listened to me with close attention, I felt a sensation of despair. To be so entirely convinced and vindicated in a matter of life and death to one’s country, and not to be able to make Parliament and the nation heed the warning, or bow to the proof by taking action, was an experience most painful. … There lay in my memory at this time some lines from an unknown writer about a railway accident. I had learnt them from a volume of Punch cartoons which I used to pore over when I was eight or nine years old at school at Brighton.

Who is in charge of the clattering train?
The axles creak and the couplings strain,
And the pace is hot, and the points are near,
And Sleep has deadened the driver’s ear;
And the signals flash through the night in vain,
For Death is in charge of the clattering train.


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Conservatives, led by the Wall Street Journal have been complaining about this problem for at least 15 years, and what was the reaction? The Democrats and their allies, the thugs of the financial industry, disparaged and in one case the head of Fannie Mae attempted to get a Journal editor fired. Sounds like Blagojevich doesn't it?

Me Too

But today's news is that Obama, often treated by the national media as the gentle Mr. Tumnus of American politics, got privately hardball with Reid over the Tombstone issue.

According a story in the Tribune by Rick Pearson and Mike Dorning, Obama didn't want the Chicago Way on parade in Washington, less than two weeks before his inauguration, when he formally becomes the agent of the change we can believe in.

Obama is perfectly within his rights to try to wriggle out of an embarrassing political situation, and what could be more embarrassing for him than to have Illinois political corruption constantly on the news in Washington?

People might start asking questions, wondering how Obama could come out of a city run by the wrought-iron fists of the Daley machine but smell like the neck of a baby after a bath.

I'm still wondering.

The "Crime"

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Wilson became an instant hero to critics of the Iraq war in the mainstream media. The impression was widespread that the Bush administration-- specifically Vice-President Dick Cheney-- had sent him to Niger and then rejected his report.

This was news to officials of the Bush administration, who scrambled to find out who this man was and who sent him to Niger. Among those scrambling to find out was Scooter Libby.

What Libby and others discovered was that Wilson had been sent by the CIA, on the recommendation of his wife, Valerie Plame.

In reality, Robert Novak got his information from Richard Armitage, not Scooter Libby. Moreover, Novak was a critic of the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq, so he was very unlikely to be part of a plot to retaliate against Wilson.

Neither Novak nor Armitage nor anybody else was prosecuted for revealing Valerie Plame's name, for it was no crime.

Fauxtography Today (Part 56,826)

The taps on the chest that he’s doing are the sort of thing you see in bad TV dramas, when you don’t want to make the poor actor playing the victim uncomfortable by really pushing on his chest. I think the man in the white coat knows this child is actually alive, and is making the simulated chest compressions gentle so as not to hurt the child. My guess is that he assumed the videographer, like those on better TV shows, would have been smart enough not to film as far down as the man’s hands on the chest.

UPDATE at 1/8/09 12:43:55 pm:

Well, well. CNN has removed the video from the page linked above, with no explanation or retraction.

And Watch For More Of The Same Cr*p From Obambi

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The presidential merit award, equal to 35 percent of Chief Aguilar’s $172,000 annual pay, is 1.7 times larger than the base starting salary of $36,658 for a Border Patrol agent. The bonus has angered many field agents, some of whom told the chief in a terse, unsigned letter that the agency has been damaged and field agents jeopardized by his “politically expedient decisions.”

The letter, a copy which was obtained by The Washington Times, challenged Chief Aguilar’s job performance since his May 2004 appointment, saying there had “never been a time when our chief has been so out of touch with the field, or a time when our chief has become a politician and lost sight of his most important responsibility: to be an advocate for the agency and its mission.”

This is, of course, in keeping with the Bush tradition of rewarding incompetence , security-undermining negligence, and cronyism, and malpractice at DHS.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Retread Update

Denizens of Slashdot's copylefty comment boards are reacting to Obama's appointment of music industry litigator Tom Perrelli as Associate Attorney General. And they are not pleased with The One for tapping someone Slashdot terms "The Recording Industry of America's favorite courtroom lawyer." A collection of some of my favorite Slashdotter comments:
  • Congratulations on electing a politician. Please enjoy the next 8 years of corporate whoring.
  • Obama wants to change the system. But in order to do that, he needs insiders, clinton retreads, lobbyists, and big corporate stooges that know how to get shit done. Once he's surrounded by them, he'll be able to change the system.
  • Now I'm laughing at all the drones here that fell for the Messiah's clever PR campaign.

Memory Holed (Part 7,896,376)

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MICKEY KAUS BUSTS REVISIONIST ACCOUNTS of the Iraq Study Group: “I must have missed the part of the blueprint where the Iraq Study Group called for the Petraeus ’surge’ strategy.”

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Let us hypothesize a small man, weighing 150 pounds, who is unarmed. Facing him is an Arnold Schwarzenegger type, 250 pounds of sinew and muscle, who also has a machine gun slung over his broad shoulders. Since the two don’t like each other, you would expect the smaller man, as an act of self-preservation, to act in such a way so as not to rile the bigger man. But instead, throwing caution and IQ to the wind, the little man begins throwing rocks -- some of which are sharp enough to lacerate -- at the bigger man. He repeats the rock throwing the next day and then the next, seemingly intent on making a rite of a wrong. A neutral observer would conclude that only someone intellectually deficient would expect his bigger and more heavily armed adversary, now bleeding, to do nothing indefinitely, that at some point the big man is going to say enough is enough and pick up the little guy and hurt him bad, which is what he is doing now, in Gaza – without apology.


Compounding our problems, the West has been in an extended ideological slide of its own.  It is not just that our elites have become unmoored from the traditional anchors of our ethics and morality (religion, tradition) but they have adopted as their ideological underpinnings a new variant on the Marxist mantra.  We have gone from "to each according to his need, from each according to his ability" to a more nuanced and contemporary "to each according to his desires, from each according to his willingness to donate (sometimes under coercion) his time, energy, and money."
Most young people of my children's generation have thousands of mp3's on their iPods and yet have paid for none of them.   In my own field, Medicine, the idea that the "consumer" should actually pay for their health care has become an outmoded object of ridicule.

Be Confident

Rather than tackle the source of the problem, the people running the bailout desperately want to reinflate the credit bubble, prop up the stock market and head off a recession. Their efforts are clearly failing: 2008 was a historically bad year for the stock market, and we’ll be in recession for some time to come. Our leaders have framed the problem as a “crisis of confidence” but what they actually seem to mean is “please pay no attention to the problems we are failing to address.”
In its latest push to compel confidence, for instance, the authorities are placing enormous pressure on the Financial Accounting Standards Board to suspend “mark-to-market” accounting.
This will have the double effect of reducing transparency and increasing self-delusion (gorge yourself for months, but refuse to step on a scale, and maybe no one will realize you gained weight). And it will fool no one. When you shout at people “be confident,” you shouldn’t expect them to be anything but terrified.

Neither Should Be Left In Charge

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“From the article: “We should begin by breaking the cycle of deteriorating housing values and resulting foreclosures…”

I have my own take on this. We should begin by breaking the cycle of lies, obfuscation, and resulting bullshit.

Anyone who believes the solution to the problem of artificially high home prices is to keep the home prices artificially high is either: 1) in complete and total denial that artificial demand created the artificially magnified prices to start - in other words, an idiot or 2) is a thief and liar who knows the truth but continue the lies and thievery anyway - in other words, pathological.

In either case, neither should be left in charge.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Nazi Nancy

Speaker Pelosi plans to erase House rules that were written around Newt Gingrich’s "Contract with America" which would effectively silence the minority.
Connie Hair at Human Events reported:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to re-write House rules today to ensure that the Republican minority is unable to have any influence on legislation. Pelosi’s proposals are so draconian, and will so polarize the Capitol, that any thought President-elect Obama has of bipartisan cooperation will be rendered impossible before he even takes office.

Pelosi’s rule changes -- which may be voted on today -- will reverse the fairness rules that were written around Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.”
After decades of Democrat control of the House of Representatives, gross abuses to the legislative process and several high-profile scandals contributed to an overwhelming Republican House Congressional landslide victory in 1994.
So... this is what hope and change looks like.
Ain't she grand? Of course, she could be right that the American public has now become as stupid as she is. (Natural gas isn't a fossil fuel you know.) God help us all if so.

Don't Be Rude Now...

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BUT DON’T CALL THEM “BARBARIANS,” because that would be rude. Comparing Hamas to the Nazis. “The Hamas founding covenant explicitly calls for the extermination of all Jews. Hitler never made total extermination an official plank of the the Nazi party platform.”

UPDATE: Rand Simberg wonders why so many on the left are indifferent to Hamas’s intentions. “What are the Israeli intentions? To live in peace, without a threat to their lives and nation, and to minimize casualties, on both sides, in any war waged against them. What are Hamas’ intentions? Their intentions (and not secret ones, but stated openly and proudly, as Ron Rosenbaum points out) are the most evil imaginable (other than the extinction of the human race itself). Their explicit goal is the extinction of all Jews in creation.”

Malodorous Chutzpah Thy Name Is Bill

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On Dec. 19, 2008. at 2 p.m., the New York-based Alavi Foundation, which supports Iranian causes, contributed between $25,000 and $50,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation. This can be best described as the ultimate chutzpah, for on the very same day, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted the president of the Alavi Foundation, Farshid Jahedi, "on a charge of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying documents required to be produced under a grand jury subpoena concerning the Alavi Foundation's relationship with Bank Melli Iran and the ownership of a Manhattan office building."

Although the Alavi contribution to Clinton is legal, it is malodorous. However, as long as the U.S. government continues to treat different Iranian entities as though they are separate from the state it recognizes as a sponsor of terrorism, the mullahs will be free to advance their agenda in the U.S.

Pay To Play (D-How Ya Doin'?)

With tongue planted firmly in cheek David Kahane “boasts” about the Democratic party:

We are the party of Barack Obama and the Daley Machine; the party of the Clintons and their amazing alchemistic Library, which turns Saudi dross into altruistic gold; the party of Tony Rezko and Norman Hsu; the party of vaporizing fundraisers, absconding bagmen and sitting New Mexico governors (and a recent presidential “candidate”) currently under federal investigation for allegedly steering a state contract in the direction of one of his big backers, David Rubin of CDR Financial Products in Beverly Hills. Now comes word that Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state-designate, Congress and the Emoluments Clause willing, got millions of dollars for a mall in Syracuse shortly after the developer coughed up a hundred grand for the Bill Clinton “Foundation.” That’s what I call commerce!