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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Did You Hear What Scott Didn't Say!

Did you hear, Scott (we now all know who he is, no need for last names anymore) "refuses to rule out" running for President in 2012? And he's just been elected to the Senate, OMG, get headline ready:
Brown: 'Humbled' by White House Talk, But Doesn’t Rule Out 2012 Run
How could I have missed this big news. I watched the interview.

I missed it, because Scott never said that he "refused to rule out" running. Here's the transcript:

WALTERS: Yes. You know when I was with you just a little while ago with the crowd, one of the women said -- behind me -- said, "President 2012." And you said to me -- or under your breath, "That's silly." But do you rule it out?

BROWN: I -- I have to -- I have to tell you, I don't even have a business card. I haven't even been sworn in. I don't have any exploratory committees started. I don't have any -- anything -- it's -- it's overwhelming, and it's extremely humbling. I don't know how -- what else to tell you.

Failing to answer directly a question, or answering it in the only sensible way someone in his position would answer it, now becomes "refusing to rule out" a run for the presidency in two years. Slow news weekend, I guess.

Must be because Walters' bombshell gotcha moment with which she opened the interview (that Scott was arrested for shoplifting when he was 12 years old) was too embarrassing (to Walters for asking) even for Walters to hype.

From what I hear, Scott also failed to brush his teeth one night before bed when he was 7, and in junior high school crossed in between, not at the green.

Such is the state of the mainstream media.

(In case you were wondering, I too refuse to answer the question as to whether I rule out running for President in 2012.)

Update: Not to be outdone, Matt Taibbi is excited that Barbara uncovered some startling facts about Scott: "Very funny bit in the news today — Scott Brown giving some interviews, turns out he’s pro-choice and that his mother was actually on welfare once." Yeah, that's breaking news, if you didn't pay any attention to the election, in which Scott said during the widely televised debate that he was pro-choice and his mother was on welfare once.

Related Posts:
A Warning For The Next Scott Brown
Massachusetts Is The Mob
What A Day

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Global Warming Hysteria Bursting Like Other Bubbles

The global warming hysteria is ending the way all hysteria ends, first with a trickle of contrary evidence then with a flood of admissions exposing the underlying fraud.

Part of this phenomenon is the classic madness of crowds, epitomized by the Tulipomania in Holland in the mid-1800s 1600s:
IN READING THE HISTORY OF NATIONS, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.
The other part of this phenomenon is reflected in the recent housing bubble, when artificially low interest rates were perpetuated so as not to upset the markets. When that artificial stimulus proved insufficient to support the markets indefinitely, the underlying frauds in mortgage financing and related government policies were exposed.

So too with the manmade global warming bubble. Highly politicized science was needed to support hysterical claims that we needed to act right now, or it would be too late.

Few thought to connect the dots between the people pushing this hysteria and the financial interests which would profit from this bubble. Al Gore embodied both aspects of this bubble domestically, as he was the person who most singularly hyped fears from which he has profited. Internationally, the UN climate bureaucracy sought to supplant its policies for our sovereignty in order to redistribute wealth.

And as we are learning, politicized scientific grants, which only were given to scientists who agreed with the popular hypothesis, contributed to the silencing of scientific challenge.

Now the bubble is bursting, and the fraud is being exposed.

First there were the revelations of scientific dishonesty at one of the primary climate data centers in Britain, and the related revelations that scientists sought to silence dissenting points of view.

Now there are revelations that the alleged disappearance of glaciers and rainforests -- two key elements in the hysteria -- due to manmade global warming was based on shoddy research:
The fraud in the global warming scientific community does not prove that their conclusions are wrong. But before we base our public policies on those conclusions, these scientists need to open their books and theories to scrutiny and challenge, much as we require of public companies.

We also need to ask why most of this climate fraud is being uncovered by British journalists and bloggers of all nationalities, and why the American mainstream media largely has been a cheerleader for the global warming alarmists.

About the only good thing we can say about the global warming hysteria is that the bubble burst before we implemented Democratic cap-and-trade policies based on that hysteria.

Related Posts:
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Political Tulipomania
Hacked E-mails Skeptic No More

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Krugman the Irrelevant

Paul Krugman is completely clueless.

I'm watching him now on Sunday Morning with Barbara Walters. Krugman bemoans the fact that in our democracy, unlike in western Europe, the House cap-and-trade and health care bills already would be law. Krugman blames it all on that messy thing called the Senate, which effectively requires a 60-vote super-majority to pass significant legislation

Krugman then dismissed Scott Brown's victory as due to Martha Coakley failing to know her Red Sox, and people liking Brown.

Krugman epitomizes everything wrong with the self-appointed intelligentsia, mostly on the left but some also on the right.

The Senate filibuster rule is one of the great things about our democracy. The super-majority rule is one of the things which prevents the extreme on either wing of the political spectrum from running roughshod over the policital minority.

And Scott Brown's victory owing just to the Red Sox and likability? Krugman needs to get out into the country (not just the countryside).

The victory for Brown was a victory for the majority, which rejects the very policies Krugman wishes already were law. Krugman's real objection is not to Coakley's lack of baseball knowledge, but to the audacity of the democratic process to produce a result with which Krugman disagrees.

In these past couple of weeks, as the columnists at the NY Times have digested the Brown victory, I have come to have much more respect for Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins than for Krugman. At least Dowd and Collins, in their own unique ways, acknowledge and understand the what took place in Massachusetts.

Krugman still is on is a personal jihad to prove that he is smarter than the rest of us. Which is why he is becoming more and more irrelevant.


In a later segment of the show, Krugman stated that the reason the health care legislation failed was that the American people didn't understand the bills due to misrepresentation by Fox News. (Roger Ailes, who was on the show, shot Krugman down on that.) Krugman lamented that people did not read the NY Times more thoroughly.

Krugman not only is clueless, he is so enamored with himself that he is incapable of understanding that the health care legislation failed precisely because the American people did understand the big points. People may not have understood all the nuances and details, but neither did the members of Congress who didn't read the bill and who learned important details only when exposed by bloggers and "right-wing" news organizations.

Related Posts:
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Krugman Plays The Hate Card
So, Mr. Krugman, Who Incited This Violence?

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Night Card Game (Cornish Inbreds)

This is the latest in the Saturday Night Card Game series on the use of the race card for political gain:

Tonight's post proves that the use of the race card does not stop at our shores, and does not depend upon the race of the aggrieved, or there even being a race. So powerful is an accusation of racism, that everyone wants in on the action.

This, from the Mirror in Britain, Insulting people from Cornwall is not racist, say Equality and Human Rights Commission:

Insulting people because they come from Cornwall is not racist, said human rights officials yesterday.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission ruled that mocking the county's folk with names such as "inbred" is not illegal under race laws.

The Kernow branch of the Celtic League asked it to condemn such behaviour in the media and internet.

But Qaiser Razzak of the EHRC said it would be "powerless" to prosecute as the Cornish are not established as a "racial group" under the Race Relations Act.

As further explained in The Telegraph:

In this reply to the Celtic League, Qaiser Razzak, the South West regional manager of the EHRC, said that in order for any remedy to be available in domestic (UK) legal proceedings, the Cornish would need to be defined as a "racial group" under the Race Relations Act, which had not yet been done.

"To date, case law has not established the Cornish as a 'racial group', for the purposes of the Race Relations Act, so currently, it is not clear whether any claim of racial discrimination against Cornish people would be successful."

So it is permissible to call the people of Cornwall "inbred" or anything else you want. It may be rude, but it's not "racist."

Just don't call them Cornwallians.

Related Posts:
Saturday Night Card Game

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Mr. Krugman, Stop The Name Calling

Please, Mr. Krugman, stop all the name calling directed at our President and those who work for him, Cossack Rahm Works For The Czar:

But don’t blame Rahm Emanuel; this is about the president. After Massachusetts, Democrats were looking for leadership; they didn’t get it. Ten days later, nobody is sure what Obama intends to do, and his aides are giving conflicting readings. It’s as if Obama checked out.

Look, Obama is a terrific speaker and a very smart guy. He really showed up the Republicans in the now-famous give-and-take. But we knew that. What’s now in question isn’t his ability to talk, it’s his ability to lead.

Let's follow Krugman's line of thought. Obama is a Czar. The last of the Czars was executed along with his family. Is Krugman trying to incite violence against Obama, Michelle and the kids?

Also, the Cossacks killed Jews. Rahm Emanuel is a Jew. How insenstive. What is the subtext here?

This type of speech has to stop, or else:
What will the consequences be? Nobody knows, of course...
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Krugman Plays The Hate Card
So, Mr. Krugman, Who Incited This Violence?
Because Only The Far Right Incites Violence

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DOJ To Clear Yoo and Bybee?

The conspiracy to undermine the Constitution has taken an interesting turn.

A career prosecutor at the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has determined that John Yoo and Jay Bybee did not violate their professional obligations in analyzing whether certain enhanced interrogation techniques constituted unlawful torture.

As reported in Newsweek:

While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action—which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry....

A Justice official declined to explain why David Margolis softened the original finding, but noted that he is a highly respected career lawyer who acted without input from Holder.

Needless to say, the claims of cover-up and conspiracy are starting to roll in (a little slowly at this time, but sure to pick up as the Newsweek piece was just posted a little after 8 last night):
Mike Isikoff and Dan Klaidman put up a post about an hour ago letting the first blood for the Obama Administration’s intentional tanking of the OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) Report. In light of Obama’s focused determination to sweep the acts of the Bush Administration, no matter how malevolent, under the rug and “move forward” the report is not unexpected.
I'll have more to say on this as more outrage rises to the surface, but I'll repeat what I said before. The bringing of ethics charges against Yoo and Bybee was contrived and purely political. One could disagree vehemently with their analyses and conclusions without raising the matter to the level of legal ethics.

The politicized ethics charges were intended as a pretext to impeach Bybee (not sure it would have been legitimate grounds, but it would have been a pretext for hearings) and to drive Yoo from academia.

I hope the Newsweek report is correct. It remains to be seen whether the leak was part of a slow rollout of the decision (to temper left-wing howls) or to put political pressure on DOJ to rubber-stamp the lower-level finding of professional misconduct.

Update: There still are Bar complaints filed by liberal advocacy groups pending against Yoo, Bybee and other DOJ lawyers, including former AG's Ashcroft, Gonzales and Mukasey. A summary of the complaints with plenty of links is here.

These complaints are frivolous political gestures which will have a chilling effect, along with the already politicized DOJ proceedings, on the ability and willingness of government lawyers to provide legal advice which may not be politically correct from a leftist point of view.

And now it begins in earnest:
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Maybe Jay Bybee and Jamie Gorelick Should Be In The Dock Together
Can We Also Impeach Law Professors For "Legal Distortions"?

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Look Who's Surrendering To Terrorists Now

When the Obama administration announced in November its intention to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and several other 9/11 plotters on trial in a civilian court in downtown Manhattan, the decision was met with derision on the right.

There were two parts to that decision which were inextricably intertwined. First, was the decision to have a civilian trial, rather than a constitutionally acceptable military tribunal (under rules promulgated the prior spring by the Obama administration); second, was the location in downtown Manhattan, closest to the scene of the crime.

I say these justifications were inextricably intertwined because the decision was political from the get-go, to prove to the world that we could treat this case as any other criminal trial. And any other criminal trial would take place in the venue where the crime was committed (except in rare circumstances, such as where it was impossible to get a fair jury).

The concerns from the right about both the decision to hold a civilian trial and to locate that trial in downtown Manhattan were met with scorn by the left-blogosphere as a caving in to terrorists. Glenn Greenwald wrote (emphasis mine):

[T]he Right's reaction to yesterday's announcement -- we're too afraid to allow trials and due process in our country -- is the textbook definition of "surrendering to terrorists." It's the same fear they've been spewing for years. As always, the Right's tough-guy leaders wallow in a combination of pitiful fear and cynical manipulation of the fear of their followers. Indeed, it's hard to find any group of people on the globe who exude this sort of weakness and fear more than the American Right.

People in capitals all over the world have hosted trials of high-level terrorist suspects using their normal justice system. They didn't allow fear to drive them to build island-prisons or create special commissions to depart from their rules of justice.

When Sarah Palin issued a statement criticising the decision both as to holding a civilian trial and holding that trial in Manhattan, Spencer Ackerman demanded to know Who’s Afraid Of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed?

What’s an actual insult to the victims of 9/11 is the idea that America is not strong enough to withstand the blatherings of a mass murderer....

Glenn Greenwald, in a post that surpasses his usual high standards, diagnoses her very well: she’s given in to terrorism.
Looks who's surrendering to terrorism now:
The Obama administration on Friday gave up on its plan to try the Sept. 11 plotters in Lower Manhattan, bowing to almost unanimous pressure from New York officials and business leaders to move the terrorism trial elsewhere.
This must mean that the vast right-wing, soft-on-terrorism conspiracy controls New York, which necessarily will result in both Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand being defeated in November, to be replaced by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

Or maybe it means that common sense has prevailed, at least as to trial location.

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Scalia Was Right About Releasing Gitmo Detainees
Schumer Right Before He Was Wrong

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Really Low On Patience Post

Do you even need to read this story to get the picture? Just look at the photo. The only thing missing is the cable spool table.

Ladies, care to comment?

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Strategery Behind Dem Attacks On The Sup Ct

Why the sudden slew of attacks on the Supreme Court, specifically Justices Alito and Roberts, by leading Democrats?

The decision in the Citizens United case, which struck down on First Amendment grounds some legislative restrictions on campaign speech by corporations, is the excuse but not the reason.

The Citizens United decision is not a clear victory for either political party, since corporate spending will be matched if not exceeded by union spending, and as we have seen in the health care debate, large corporate interests often support Obama's agenda. Nonetheless, Pat Leahy (D-Vt) has declared the decision the "most partisan decision since Bush v. Gore."

Yet numerous Democratic leaders, not just Obama, are on the offensive against Alito and Roberts, claiming that they "misled" Congress during their confirmation proceedings as to whether they would respect case precedent.

This assertion is patently false. Neither nominee (nor any other nominee in history) ever commits to never overturning an incorrect prior decision of the Court. Many of the most historic Supreme Court decisions, such as Brown v. Bd. of Education, overturned longstanding precedent.

So why the anger and fury?

Let me suggest it has something to do with likelihood that Justice Stevens will be retiring at the end of this term. Democrats are attempting to paint Alito and Stevens Roberts as extremists who misled Congress in order to pressure Obama to pick an activist liberal justice to replace Stevens, and then to justify confirmation.

The argument will go that since Alito and Roberts are activist on the right, there must be an activist on the left appointed as a counterbalance.

There is method to Democrats' madness in attacking the Citizens United decision and in demonizing Alito and Roberts. But it's still madness.

Update: Not surprisingly, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), whose unhinged rant on the floor of the Senate last month launched his career as the Senate's Alan Grayson, has taken a lead in attacking the Supreme Court's "right-wing" activism:

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., for instance, said on the Senate floor Friday that he sees the court's recent decision to allow unfettered corporate and union spending on elections (though not as direct aid to candidates) as an overt bid by the majority conservative bloc to pursue "Republican political goals." ...

"Connect the dots," said Whitehouse. "Republicans are the party of the corporations. The judges are the appointees of the Republicans, and the judges just delivered for the corporations. It is being done in plain view."

Tellingly, both Leahy and Whitehouse are on the Senate Judiciary Committee (Leahy is the Chair).

Related Posts:
Alito Was Not "Rude" Enough To His Arrogancy
A Window Into His Divisive Soul
Yes To Sotomayor

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Challenge to Obama - Request Special Counsel As To Foreign Contributions

During the State of the Union address, Barack Obama singled out the Supreme Court for ridicule on its recent campaign finance ruling, which Obama asserted could open the door for foreign campaign contributions:
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.) I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. (Applause.) They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.
As I previously posted, Obama was wrong on the holding of the case at issue and engaged in unjustified demagogory by confronting the Justices on the issue at the State of the Union address. Justice Alito's act of mouthing the truth to power in response has dominated the post-SOTU discussion.

Nonetheless, if Obama really is concerned about foreign campaign donations, then Obama should request that Attorney General Eric Holder (or an Acting Attorney General since Holder likely has a conflict) appoint a special counsel with the power to investigate, and if justified, prosecute violations of the laws, and conspiracies to violate the laws, forbidding foreign contributions.

And the place the special counsel can start is with Obama's 2008 campaign, which disabled security features in its credit card web portal so as to allow donors to evade restrictions on numerous aspects of the federal campaign laws, including the prohibition on foreign contributions:

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed....

The problem with such cards, campaign finance lawyers said, is that they make it impossible to tell whether foreign nationals, donors who have exceeded the limits, government contractors or others who are barred from giving to a federal campaign are making contributions.
That the Obama campaign received foreign donations as a result of this scheme may be the only thing agreed-upon by both Pamela Geller and Charles Johnson. Indeed, Obama for America has admitted receiving foreign contributions. The fact that the Federal Election Commission is not investigating the allegations necessitates a special counsel.

These laws barring foreign contributions remain untouched by the recent Supreme Court ruling, so Obama need not worry about the validity of the relevant laws on the books. (If Obama didn't understand that prior to the SOTU, he surely understands that now.)

The federal conspiracy laws surely could be used to prosecute such a scheme, if the investigation bears out the necessary elements of a criminal conspiracy to violate the campaign laws. The fact that some or all of the contributions were returned after negative publicity does not negate any criminal conspiracy.

So President Obama, with all due respect, I call upon you to request that Attorney General Holder appoint a special counsel to investigate and prosecute any and all crimes committed in connection with foreign campaign contributions during the 2008 presidential election cycle.

Or was your attack on the Supreme Court just words?

Related Posts:
Alito Was Not "Rude" Enough To His Arrogancy
A Window Into His Divisive Soul

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Best One-Line Description of SOTU

From The Gail Collins (yes, again):
Looking out at the motley crew seated before him for the big speech, the president seemed at times to be pretending that he had never seen these people before in his life.
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Alito Was Not "Rude" Enough To His Arrogancy

The stupid meme of the day is that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was "rude" to Obama during the State of the Union address because Alito grimaced and mouthed the words "not true" when Obama stoked the crowd with a lie about a recent Supreme Court decision:
  • The AP headlines its article Alito disparages Obama's Supreme Court criticism, which is as clear a case of getting something ass backwards as there ever were.
  • Glenn Greenwald, the self-appointed guardian of free speech (with which he agrees)[see update below], proclaims that Alito's conduct "was a serious and substantive breach of protocol that reflects very poorly on Alito and only further undermines the credibility of the Court."
  • Professor Adam Winkler of UCLA Law writes at HuffPo that Alito was Rude (but Right).
Interesting spin considering that it was Obama who by almost all accounts was wrong in his criticism and who intentionally sought to intimidate the Justices.

Obama embarrassed himself in ways he is incapable of appreciating from atop his mountain hideout. Having Chuck Schumer lean forward towards the Justices wildly clapping his hands at the attack on the Court was abhorrent.

The visual of the Justices sitting as the crowd (dare I say "mob") of Democrats around them jumped to their feet in exultation of Obama's prevarication was a low point in this already lowly presidency.

Alito was correct to react to Obama's attack, if for nothing else than to preserve that separation of powers for which Obama claims to have "all due respect."

Alito's reaction, though, was far too reserved. Alito should have risen to his feet and walked out on His Arrogancy.

Which is exactly what millions of disgusted voters did in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Update: I like this post by Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog, A sound bite too far:

Last night, Justice Alito reportedly responded to Obama's sound bite by quietly saying something like "that's not true." Alito was right at least two levels. First, as noted above and as Linda Greenhouse acknowledges, Citizens United did not disturb any principles that date back 100 years.

Second, as Shannen Coffin points out, the decision in Citizens United is quite clear that it does not address whether the government can regulate improper foreign influence over our electoral process. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy stated: "We need not reach the question whether the Government has a compelling interest in preventing foreign individuals or associations from influencing our Nation's political process."

Presidents should feel free to criticize important Supreme Court decisions with which they disagree. It's bad form, however, to do so at an event where Justices are in attendance by invitation. And it is unconscionable to do so by blatantly misrepresenting what the Court has said.

It was more than bad form. It was a deliberate attempt by Obama to intimidate the Court. A coach yells at the referee not out of an expectation that the completed call will be changed, but in the hope of influencing the next call.

It also was a cowardly act, because Obama knew that the Justices would be constrained in responding, both then and later. Indeed, a mere grimace and alleged mouthing of a few words has brought the legal apparatchiks down on Alito's head.

Update No. 2: In comments to this post, Glenn Greenwald takes issue with my use of the words "with which he agrees." To the extent those words are construed as a sweeping interpretation of Greenwald's career, then the words did not convey properly that I was focusing on Greenwald's position as to the Alito reaction (other commenters understood this distinction).

Greenwald's post, to which I linked, is completely ideological in expecting that Alito should have sat like a stone statue while Obama politicized the Court ruling in a situation meant to embarrass and humiliate the majority of the Court before almost the entirety of the nation's political leadership and tens of millions of Americans who otherwise would know nothing about the Court ruling at issue. Yet Greenwald spends much of his post defending Obama's conduct and belittling criticism of Obama. Greenwald's own post leads to the reasonable conclusion that whatever he thought of the underlying Court ruling giving rise to this dispute, Greenwald's antipathy towards Alito's judicial philosophy and rulings colored Greenwald's view of this event. That's what I meant by "with which he agrees" and I stand by it.

Providing he stayed within the bounds of the judicial cannons of ethics (which he clearly did), Alito had every bit as much right to express his displeasure with Obama's confrontational conduct as did anyone else, and it did not bring shame on the Court or lessen the stature of the Court.

And as to Greenwald's point, in his post, that Justices and the Joint Chiefs of Staff "never applaud or otherwise express any reaction at a State of the Union address," Greenwald is in error, see Joe My God.

Related Posts:
A Window Into His Divisive Soul
First Take on SOTU - A Small Speech

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A Window Into His Divisive Soul

State of the Union speeches regularly infuriate the opposing party, and to that extent Barack Obama met and exceeded expectations last night.

One aspect of the speech deservedly is receiving most attention: The crude attempt to intimidate the Supreme Court in front of the Congress and the nation. Here's the relevant text:
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.) I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. (Applause.) They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.
The video shows the Supreme Court, surrounded by cheering and standing Democratic Congressmen and Senators, sitting mostly stone-faced in the face of the Congressional mob, except for Justice Alito who apparently mouthed the words "not true."

The details are well publicized, and Instapundit has a good round-up of why the President's attack was both false and unprecedented.

Put aside for the moment that this is the same President who had his campaign disable credit card security features on his campaign website so that there would be no way to ensure compliance with federal campaign laws. This post is not about mere hypocrisy, which is a common trait in politicians.

The attack on the Supreme Court during the State of the Union was a window into Obama's divisive soul. I have posted numerous times before about Obama's need to identify and campaign against enemies. He did it during the campaign and he does it every day in office.

Last night it was (mostly) the bankers and Wall Street (which donated more money to his campaign than to Republicans) and the Senate Republicans who were his target. But it those were the only attacks, it would have been merely another typical political speech.

The attack on the Supreme Court exposes the intolerance of this President. The politician who campaigned and allegedly champions the rule of law actually has very little use for the rule of law when it does not advance his political agenda.

Last night was an attempt at intimidation, a chance to work the referees on the sideline during a home game with the guarantee of crowd approval.

Bob Herbert in the NY Times asked recently "Who is Barack Obama?" We found out last night, again.

Barack Obama is a divider, not a uniter.

Update: Here is an historical perspective as to how unprecedented it was to confront the Supreme Court Justices during a State of the Union speech:

President Barack Obama's pointed criticism of the Supreme Court in tonight's State of the Union address, which we reported on here and here was beyond unusual; it was almost unprecedented. The third branch rarely even merits a mention in the State of the Union speeches, according to a search we've made going back to Woodrow Wilson's speech in 1913 in this University of California Santa Barbara database. (Thanks to editor David Brown for the research.)

Presidents have mentioned the Supreme Court by name only nine times since that Wilson speech nearly a century ago, according to the search, and it would be hard to categorize many of those nine as criticisms. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had a lot of grievances with the Court, never mentioned it in any of his State of the Union messages. And Richard Nixon, who campaigned against the Warren Court, mentioned the Supreme Court in a State of the Union talk only once, in 1972, in a bland, welcoming way.

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Barack Got Enemy
A Clintonian Defense of Our Nixonian President
Obama and Rahm Emanuel: When Will You Stop Being Surprised?

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First Take on SOTU - A Small Speech

I'll leave it to others to do the fact check. Here's my first impression of the State of the Union speech tonight:

This was a small speech. A lot of petty pot shots, including at the Supreme Court. Very Nixonian, in that regard.

The verbiage was anything but soaring. The joke about root canal must have been off-teleprompter.

I really don't think he gets what is happening in Massachusetts and across this country. He is living in a bubble.

Obama seemed like someone lost at sea, grasping at everything. This was not the Obama of the campaign, because the campaign stump speeches cannot work anymore.

The blame Bush theme is tired.

The nation is tired of hearing these speeches and the whining.

I'm tired. Good night.

Update 1-28-2010: Here's some next day fact checking - AP’s ten whoppers from the SOTU speech
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How About A Shout-Out To The People of Venezuela?

There still is time to input new text into the teleprompter for tonight's State of the Union address.

After throwing the Venezuelan people under the bus at the Summit of the Americas last April, now would be a good time for Barack Obama to give the people of Venezuela support as Hugo Chavez destroys the last vestiges of freedom of the press and students are dying in the streets in protest.

Fausta's Blog has more links and a round up.

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Obama Throws Venezuelans Under The Bus
He Who Cannot Stop Talking, Is Silent On Iran
I Hope Obama Fails In Honduras

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Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! (h/t daily timewaster via Daily Telepgraph):

Rescued eight years ago during a police drugs raid in Atlanta, Georgia, the three friends were only cubs at the time and barely two months old.

They had been kept as status symbol pets by the drug barons.

Delivered to the Noah's Ark animal rescue centre in Locust Grove, Georgia, the decision was made to keep the youngsters together.

"We could have separated them, but since they came as a kind of family, the zoo decided to keep them together," said Diane Smith, assistant director of the Noah's Ark zoo.

"To our knowledge, this is the only place where you'll find this combination of animals together, they are our BLT, (bear, lion and tiger).

And I thought it was great that cats and dogs were living together.

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NY Times New Business Strategy: NObama

I'm actually enjoying reading NY Times columnists these days. The wonders never cease, this time from MoDo:

The New One is the shimmering vessel that we are pouring all our hopes and dreams into after the grave disappointment of the Last One, Barack Obama.

The only question left is: Why isn’t Scott Brown delivering the State of the Union? He’s the Epic One we want to hear from. All that inexperience can really be put to good use here.

Obama’s Oneness has been one-upped....Why settle for a 48-year-old, 6-foot-1, organic arugula when we can have a 50-year-old, 6-foot-2, double waffle with bacon?

Good stuff. Not quite as good as when Gail Collins was lying under the bed on her side in the fetal position on the night of the Epic One's victory, but satisfying nonetheless.

Add to it Bob Herbert questioning "who is Barack Obama?" and Paul Krugman admitting Obama was not The One we were waiting for, and the NY Times might be onto a winning strategy.

After all, everything else has failed, and it worked for Fox News.

Related Posts:
Nude Swiss Hikers Rescue NY Times
NY Times New Business Strategy: LOVE
NY Times New Business Strategy: DEATH

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wake Me When It's Over

We had Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

They now have the doofus triplets committing the sin of felony all over Mary Landrieu's phone.

Thanks for giving comfort to the enemies of my enemies who therefore are my friends, just when they had nothing to look forward to except the faint glow of reconciliation flickering on the horizon like a candle in the wind, or something.

Thanks for nothing, geniuses.

You deserve what you get.

(Screen shot via Memeorandum)

Update 1-28-2010: Various accounts are suggesting that the motive was to document that Landrieu's office had disabled or otherwise was not answering its phones so as not to receive hostile calls regarding health care legislation. The intial report by The Washington Post that this was an attempt to 'bug" the offices has been withdrawn.

It remains to be seen what exactly was the crime involved, but it does not change the stupidity of the alleged "sting" operation, which at best was seeking to prove something (that Landrieu was ignoring phone calls) which could have been shown through other means, and at worst was a criminal act. The political damage has been done.
Update 1-29-2010: James O'Keefe now has issued an explanation, which does not change my view of the incident (emphasis mine):
I learned from a number of sources that many of Senator Landrieu’s constituents were having trouble getting through to her office to tell her that they didn’t want her taking millions of federal dollars in exchange for her vote on the healthcare bill. When asked about this, Senator Landrieu’s explanation was that, “Our lines have been jammed for weeks.” I decided to investigate why a representative of the people would be out of touch with her constituents for “weeks” because her phones were broken. In investigating this matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieu’s district office – the people’s office – to ask the staff if their phones were working.

On reflection, I could have used a different approach to this investigation, particularly given the sensitivities that people understandably have about security in a federal building.
The sole intent of our investigation was to determine whether or not Senator Landrieu was purposely trying to avoid constituents who were calling to register their views to her as their Senator. We video taped the entire visit, the government has those tapes, and I’m eager for them to be released because they refute the false claims being repeated by much of the mainstream media.
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Why Is Paul Kirk Still Voting?

From Hotline On-Call (h/t):

Aides to Sens. Paul Kirk (D-MA) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) tell Hotline OnCall they will vote for Bernanke's confirmation.
There is an elected and qualified successor to Paul Kirk. His name is Scott Brown. Martha Coakley has conceded the race, and there are not enough absentee ballots to change the five-point spread.

Brown reportedly will be sworn in next Monday or Tuesday, although other reports put it later.

As Brown said the night of the election, Kirk's service is completed:
Interim Senator Paul Kirk has completed his work as a senator by appointment of the governor, and for the work he has done, I thank him. The people, by their votes, have now filled the office themselves, and I am ready to go to Washington without delay.
Paul Kirk should not be voting on anything, period.

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CBO: Stimulus Plan On Target To Increase Deficits

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), commonly called the Stimulus Plan, is widely discredited as having done little to stimulate private sector job growth.

But one thing the Stimulus Plan has created is long-term deficits. The Congressional Budget Office just released a budget report which analyzes (at page 95 of the report, page 113 of the pdf.) the effect of the Stimulus Plan (emphasis mine):
Through last September (the end of fiscal year 2009), ARRA’s effects on spending and revenues appear to have been close to what CBO and JCT had anticipated. The law’s budgetary impact for 2010 is also expected to be near the original estimate. Looking ahead, it appears that ARRA will have larger effects in later years than originallyestimated. All told, CBO now anticipates that the law will increase deficits by $862 billion between 2009 and 2019.
We often hear Barack Obama complain that the deficits are Bush's fault. And I'm sure that tomorrow night we will hear more of the same during the State of the Union address.

But reality is that the ineffective Stimulus Plan has increased deficits by an average of $86 billion per year, with little to show for it.

Even worse, much of the current year spending went towards subsidizing state budgets. When the funds run out, these states will have to make the hard choices they have avoided for this year, and the "jobs saved" category will disappear because no sustainable long-term economic growth was stimulated.

Which, of course, is Bush's fault, because examining one's own failures is not what this administration is about.

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Where Have You Gone, Obamamania?

Look who is asking, Who Is Barack Obama?

Americans are still looking for the answer, and if they don’t get it soon — or if they don’t like the answer — the president’s current political problems will look like a walk in the park....

Mr. Obama is in danger of being perceived as someone whose rhetoric, however skillful, cannot always be trusted. He is creating a credibility gap for himself, and if it widens much more he won’t be able to close it.

I said something similar in the very first post at this blog, on October 12, 2008:

Obama may be everything good, or the promise Obama embodies may just be a figment of our own imagination.

Obama is the perfect vehicle for imagining hope, because he has almost no record. Obama is a blank canvas upon which we can paint our imagined hope.

And again on October 19, 2008:

Barack Obama also reminds me of many lawyers I have dealt with in my career. He's the smooth talking lawyer on TV who will get you "the settlement you deserve." ... He is a paper lawyer who fools only his own clients.
You see, I was against Obamamania before it was cool to be against Obamamania. Lucky me.

For these missives I earned this e-mail:

My final comment is that I am becoming increasing amused these days by the lengths that some McCain supporters like yourself are going to in this last days of the campaign in producing shallow pieces like your own in order to cover up their own bigotry.

The good news about pieces like yours is that they motivate those of us who arrived at supporting Obama for the reasons he would make a great president to work harder for him, now that we know people like you are out there hoping to spread our infectious viruses. Thanks for identifying yourself.

Why anyone would want to put a piece like you wrote in the public domain is beyond me.

So if I am a supposed racist bigot for questioning "Who is Barack Obama?," what does that make the person who penned the article linked at the top of this post?

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Depends On The Meaning Of "Really Good"

We can agree on the one-term thing; the "really good" part we'll have to talk about.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

A Special Guest At SOTU?

I've been preoccupied the past few weeks, so I have not followed closely enough the end of the saga in Honduras.

Manuel Zelaya, the one-term President of Honduras who wanted to be the forever-term President, will be leaving the country very soon:
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya will end his four-month refuge in the Brazilian embassy and leave the country next week, when his term would have ended, his closest adviser said on Thursday.
Zelaya will leave Honduras on January 27, the same day Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address. I know it will not happen, but given how hard Obama worked to return Zelaya to office....

It certainly would be a fitting gesture, from one really good one-term President to another.

Related Posts:
Thank You, Honduras
I Hope Obama Fails In Honduras
Let them come to Tegucigalpa

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The Transparency President Now Feels Your Pain

The transparency President is now the President who feels your pain.

According to the NY Times, in the State of the Union address Obama will unveil some highly targeted tax credits aimed at families, and some caps on student loan repayments:
By focusing on what one White House official calls “the sandwich generation” — struggling families squeezed between sending their children to college and caring for elderly parents — Mr. Obama hopes to use his speech on Wednesday to demonstrate that he understands the economic pain of ordinary Americans. The proposals also include expanded tax credits for retirement savings and money for programs to help families care for elderly relatives.
These don't sound like the sort of tax cuts which will get the economy moving. Individually some of these credits and caps may be appealing, but they will do nothing to create private sector job growth.

People need private sector jobs more than anything, and this President appears to remain clueless. At least that much is clear.

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Dems' Strategy of Crazy

What would one call a political strategy which depended upon portraying the majority of Americans as crazy extremists? The answer is: The current Democratic Party strategy which ignores the meaning of the Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts races, and focuses on smearing opponents as extremists and "Birthers."

We saw this template throughout the summer as the public protested against the Democratic health care plans. Peaceful protesters were called terrorists and facists, and falsely accused of fomenting violence.

We saw this template again in the Scott Brown campaign, when prominent left-wing bloggers such as Steve Benen pushed the demonstrably false story that Scott Brown was a "Birther."

Now Benen is pushing hard for this sort of rhetoric to become a focus of Democratic efforts to stem the tide of electoral upsets.

In addition to the usual blame Bush meme, Benen urges Democrats to define Republicans as the "Party of Crazy":
Republicans have spent a year trying to drive away moderates, and taking orders from a drug-addled radio talk-show blowhard. Instead of moderating its message and direction in the wake of humiliating failures in 2006 and 2008, today's GOP moved even further to the right -- becoming the home to Tea Partiers, Birthers, Deathers, Oathers, and "Freedom Fighters."
In fact, Brown, with his vow to be the 41st vote against Obamacare and cap-and-trade, won independents by a 3-1 margin, and even won the union rank-and-file vote. Brown won Barney Frank's congressional district, and Ted Kennedy's hometown on Cape Cod. Brown won over 20% of Democrats.

Virginia. New Jersey. Massachusetts. In overwhelming numbers independents and centrist Democrats are rejecting the current Democratic agenda.

The gig is over for those political strategists on the left who think that calling people names can overcome the weakness of the Democratic agenda. The best days are behind Media Matters and Think Progress, and the bloggers who feed off their handiwork.

The strategy of smears worked before the country experienced a year of Democratic ineptitude and duplicity, broken promises, backroom deals, and the toxic soup of government-gone-wild packaged in the House and Senate health care bills.

The smear tactics will not work again because we are on to you, will respond quickly, and no one in the vast center believes you anymore. While you call us names, we will keep talking about your agenda.

Now you will have to run on your ideas of bigger government, more spending, higher taxes, higher debt and deficits, weak national security, and increased government control over the lives of ordinary citizens.

You have nothing to fear but your own agenda. Pretty crazy, huh?

Related Posts:
A Warning For The Next Scott Brown
Ghouls Preparing To Dance on Sparkman's Grave
We're All Political Terrorists Now

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Please Tell Me This Is Not So, Please

Via Jammie Wearing Fool, Obama Needs TelePrompter to Talk to Schoolkids:

No matter what I have said in the past, I want this to be a bad PhotoShop. Honestly.

Update 1-26-1020: It's kinda so, but not completely. Read the comments.

Related Posts:
Please Tell Me This Is Not So, Again
Please Tell Me This Is Not So

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Get Out of the Way While We Clean Up Your ObaMess

I really have very little patience for the "oh, I didn't realize what I was getting with Obama, he seemed so cool, and I was caught up in the hype, and now I realize that he talked a good game but doesn't know what he's doing, and I'm so smart and witty, that when I admit my mistake, I'll be sure to blame it on Sarah Palin" crowd.

In fact, I have less than a little patience with people like Jill Dorson, who pens this masterpiece for Real Clear Politics, Why I Regret Voting For President Obama:

I am a registered Independent. I voted for Barack Obama. And for that, I am sorry.

I'm not sorry for you. I'm sorry for me. Because I voted for Obama for me, not for you. I voted for hope and change and all the intangibles that Obama was peddling in the wake of the financial crisis, Sarah Palin, Sept. 11 and all the other ills that shook our country in the last decade. I wanted something new. Something different. What I got was, I suppose, exactly what I voted for - a spin doctor. And not a very good one at that.

Before John McCain unwittingly picked a tabloid-magazine cover girl for his running mate, I was leaning toward going Republican this time around. I did the second time Bush was on the ballot and I very nearly did the first time, too. But as soon as Palin climbed out of her igloo and onto the national scene, well, there was no turning back for me.

This is a classy blog, so I'm not going to tell you what I really think you should do with your apology. Let's just say apology not accepted.

And if you ever again try to blame Sarah Palin for your mistake, I may have to stop the "this is a classy blog" schtick.

We're cleaning up your ObaMess, so get out of the way. And stop apologizing.

Update: Another Black Conservative is not as reserved as I was, although he did us an asterisk.

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Warning: This Politico Story Has Nothing To Do With Reality

My new favorite source of screen shots has outdone itself, with this post and headline The first senator of the reality show era:

The text of the Politico post has nothing to do with reality:

Brown’s arrival reflects a fundamental change in American politics, the most complete embodiment of an ethic shaped by reality TV in which there’s no such thing as overexposure and no real line between public and private....

The Brown family reality show isn’t the slick “Real World” or the freak show “Jersey Shore.” Boston political commentator Jon Keller describes it as more “Table for 12,” the new show that seems set to inherit the larger-than-life, middle class normalcy after “Jon & Kate Plus 8” spun out into tabloid sex scandal. The Brown’s live ordinary lives, only entirely in public, in the embodiment of the ordinary, middle class Boston suburb, Wrentham.

In reality, other than a 25-year old Cosmo photo shoot and music video, we really didn't know much about the Brown family. Ayla was on American Idol, but so what? Mrs. Brown (Gail Huff) stayed away from the campaign because she was a TV news reporter, and her old music video only came out of hiding after the election.

The real narrative of this election was the issues-based campaign Brown ran. Brown campaigned on being the 41st vote against Obamacare, cutting taxes, and strong anti-terrorist policies.

There was nothing "reality show" about the Brown campaign. So don't try to "Palinize" Brown and his family after the fact.

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What Don't You Understand About The Internet

In order to justify China's crackdown on free speech on the internet, including banning YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, a Chinese communist newspaper posed this question:
The People's Daily editorial asked rhetorically if obscene information or activities promoting terrorism would be allowed on the internet in the US.
Good point. Because as we all know, nothing like that would be permitted on the internet in the U.S.

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Exclusive State of the Union Preview

A lot of people have been playing Waterloo in the wake of the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts. That's history.

Here's the future. An exclusive preview of Obama's upcoming State of the Union address this Wednesday (btw, we'll be "live" again):
Where are those happy days, they seem so hard to find
I try to reach for you, but you have closed your mind
Whatever happened to our love
I wish I understood
It used to be so nice, it used to be so good

(full lyrics here)
Related Post: Sunday Morning Dance Party

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Night Card Game (Nikon Camera)

This is the latest in the Saturday Night Card Game series on the use of the race card for political gain:

A follow up to the "technology is racist" twist explored in the last of the series, HP Face Tracking Software Racist?

Now, it's Nikon's photo correction technology, which allegedly has difficulty with with Asian faces, leading to this post:

We got our Mom a new Nikon S630 digital camera for Mother's Day and Iwas playing with it during the Angels game we were at on Sunday.As I was taking pictures of my family, it kept asking "Did someoneblink?" even though our eyes were always open. Sheesh! RACIST! :P
The post was the subject of a Time magazine story, and now has gone viral.

As with the HP facial recognition technology, there is nothing "racist" about facial recognition technology just because it may not be as effective with some faces or in some lighting conditions.

People really need to stop throwing around the word "racist," which has been cheapened beyond meaning because it is overused (which is the point of this series).

And yes, it's that Nikon, the one from Japan. If anyone has anti-Asian animus, it's likely to be a Japanese company, right?

Related Post:

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