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THURSDAY,  JUNE 11,  2009

OH, NOT AGAIN - AT 9:07 P.M. ET:  We've reported before on how this administration treats America's allies.  Britain, France, Germany and Israel have felt the chill, and Japan and South Korea can't be too excited by our appeasement of North Korea.  Enemies are a different story.  Hey, pal, can we talk?

Well, it's happened again, this time involving Gitmo detainees.  You can't really make this stuff up.  Fox News didn't:

Looks like trouble in paradise.

Though the Obama administration proudly announced Thursday that it had freed and resettled four Guantanamo detainees in Bermuda, the British government is complaining that it was not adequately consulted on the deal.

And since Bermuda is a British territory, that means the prisoner transfer may not be permanent.

"The Bermudan government should have consulted us as to whether this falls into their competence. Foreign affairs and security issues would usually fall under U.K. government," one British official told FOX News, adding that they would pursue a security assessment. "It's unlikely any more (detainees) will go to any British overseas territories."

Bermuda Premier Ewart Brown also released a carefully worded statement confirming that the British colonial governor, after meeting with him Thursday morning, had questions, and is "seeking to further assess the ramifications" on behalf of the United Kingdom before signing off on the deal.

COMMENT:  I guess the White House thinks that the people of Bermuda speak Bermudan, just as the president said recently that Austria speaks Austrian.  (It's German, of course.) 

Didn't someone notice that the British weren't consulted?  The sheer incompetence here is tough to believe.  Will the mainstream media criticize the Obamans for this latest flap?  What do you think?

June 11, 2009   Permalink

UTTERLY DISGRACEFUL - AT 8:14 P.M. ET:  There was a time, there really was, when the Democratic Party was the national-defense party, the party whose presidents built the institutions to defend us against fascism, then Soviet Communism.

No more, no more.

June 11 (Bloomberg) -- Legislation to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan hit a roadblock in Congress over whether to block a lawsuit seeking to force the release of photos of U.S. troops abusing suspected terrorists.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey ended a conference committee meeting today when lawmakers couldn’t agree on whether to include a Republican-backed provision to block the lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. Obey said the measure wouldn’t pass the House with the provision, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it wouldn’t pass his chamber without it.

COMMENT:  The provision to block the photos, a provision that has the tacit support of the White House, was originated in the Senate by Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham.  Senator Graham has expressed open dismay at the fact that anyone who cares about the safety of our troops would try to kill the provision.  Both the Pentagon and the CIA have argued that release of the photos - showing entirely atypical behavior by a few misguided soldiers - could result in a major backlash against American troops in harm's way.

And yet, the hard-left Democrats in the House want that blocking provision removed.  Of course, they also want the photos released.  They will tell you, without much of a smile, that they want them released because "we are a democracy" or "the people have a right to know" or something like that.  The real reason they want them released is that they despise the military, they represent leftist districts, and they believe 9-11 was our fault. 

The hard left was thrown out of the Democratic Party by Harry Truman in 1948.  He won the election that year without them.  They crawled back in the late sixties, and became dominant in many districts in the early seventies.  They are back big time today, with some of their longstanding members emerging as committee chairmen.

What is happening must make Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson turn over in their graves.  The president can step in and influence this, but apparently he declines to do so.

UPDATE - AT 8:33 P.M. ET:  From The Politico: 

House-Senate negotiators reached agreement on a $105.9 billion wartime spending bill late Thursday after last-minute assurances that President Barack Obama will use all his powers to prevent the disclosure of controversial photographs depicting the treatment of detainees held by the U.S. military.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel came to the Capitol in the evening to personally deliver this message to Democratic senators, and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) later read aloud a letter from Obama pledging to use every “legal and administrative remedy” available to prevent the disclosure of the pictures.

COMMENT:  Looks like the desirable provision is out of the bill, based on presidential "assurances."  This, however, may not satisfy Republicans in the Senate.  There's too much of a loophole here.  If courts decide against the administration, the photos can be released.  All the president is pledging is to fight the release, not to prevent it.

Stand by for more action on this story.

June 11, 2009   Permalink 

THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL - AT 8:06 P.M. ET:  Once again we're seeing the cultural biases of the press in full bloom.  Yesterday there was a disgusting murder at the Holocaust Museum in Washington.  A devoted African-American security guard was murdered by, allegedly, a well-known racist and anti-Semite.  Appropriately, the press has gone into the accused's background, and has done some good reporting.

But there was another incident yesterday.  The not so Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Jr., for 20 years the pastor of our president, said that "them Jews" won't allow him to talk to President Obama.  The sickness of that statement is breathtaking, and yet there is no outrage whatever in the mainstream media, and virtually no coverage, except for terrific, alert sites like Gateway Pundit, which hits the story here.  Oh, by the way, Wright has now apologized and claims he didn't mean all Jews, only Zionists.  America must be so relieved by his generosity.

This man Wright influenced the president of the United States.  He married the president and first lady.  The president named his book, "The Audacity of Hope," after one of Wright's sermons.  And yet, the press is silent on Wright's continued outrages.  No one wants to ask, "How much of this poison was injected into the president's veins?"

Imagine if it were discovered that a Republican president had gone to a church whose minister preached racism.  That minister would have his whole background exposed by the press, and his name would constantly be linked with that of the president.  Except for a few brave journalists - very few - Wright is given a pass.  So was President Obama, who said during the campaign that, although he'd spent 20 years at Wright's church, he'd never realized what the man believed.  No questions were asked.

Double standard?  Huge. 

June 11, 2009   Permalink 

DEMS AGAINST DEMS, AND YOU'LL SEE MORE OF THIS - AT 11:55 A.M. ET: We discussed this at The Angel's Corner last night, the revolt of moderate House Democrats, up for reelection next year.  From The Hill:

More and more Democrats are ready to vote against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s climate change bill, according to a congressional committee chairman who opposes his leader.

The House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that he’s at an impasse with the lead sponsor of a climate change bill strongly backed by Pelosi (D-Calif.), and that his list of Democratic members who would join him in voting against the measure is growing rather than shrinking.

“We’re stuck,” Peterson said regarding a clash he’s had with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) over a number of issues in the bill. “And there’s a lot of issues that haven’t even come up yet.”

COMMENT:  It is a shock to many liberals that there are Democrats who will not buy into an idea simply because it's popular in Manhattan, Beverly Hills, and on campuses in Massachusetts.  Many moderate Democrats represent tough-times districts where people work hard, are frightened about their jobs, and skeptical about "scientific" warnings that seem to be based on some very shaky science.

It is quite possible that we will see Congress dominated by a coalition of Republicans and moderate Democrats, as it was for decades in the middle part of the last century.

June 11, 2009   Permalink

MORE ENLIGHTENMENT AT THE U.N. - AT 11:29 A.M. ET:  For those of you who follow the great reform efforts at the U.N., which will undoubtedly turn the organization into the freedom-loving, peace-seeking organization that we all want, consider:

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The next president of the U.N. General Assembly will be a Libyan politician, marking another step for the once-isolated country as it seeks an increasingly larger role in world affairs.

Ali Abdessalam Treki, who has been in charge of his nation's relationship with the Africa Union, won election Wednesday by acclamation rather than a vote in the General Assembly, the world's forum for debate among 192 member nations.

How inspiring.  And...

The country has continued to re-emerge on the world scene with its current non-permanent seat on the 15-nation Security Council, where the real power at the U.N. is concentrated.

But, Libya's ambassadors have blocked U.S.-proposed remarks on Darfur. The country has also led Arab efforts seeking to open border crossings into Gaza without monitors and to keeping tunnels Hamas has used to smuggle arms.

COMMENT:  Another great day at the U.N.  I don't believe, by the way, that the Obama administration raised any particular objection to this obscenity.  After all, we must reach out and understand.  Can't we all get along?

Perhaps the families of victims of Pan Am 103, which was brought down by the work of Libyan agents, raised some concerns.  But, you know, we must go beyond those emotional people.  We're intellectuals, you know.

June 11, 2009   Permalink

LET THE HYPE BEGIN - AT 8:01 A.M. ET:  Iran votes for president tomorrow.  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces competition from "reformist" candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.  It may be close.  Be careful, though, about words like "reformist" and "moderate," which will be thrown around loosely.  Real moderates tend to be absent from the Iranian leadership.  You have to have the approval of the ruling mullahs to run at all. 

Will the result make any difference to us?  Fox News has a solid report:

But the election -- though highlighting deep political divides -- will have little effect, if any, on Iran's relations with the U.S., says Lawrence Eagleburger, former secretary of state under President George H.W. Bush.

"If the elections mean anything, it will be to force some changes within Iran but will have very little impact on our bilateral relationship," Eagleburger said.

Iran's key policies are dictated by the country's ruling Islamic leaders, who have so far rejected overtures from the U.S. and its allies to suspend uranium enrichment.

The president has control over certain domestic policies and serves as the international face of the country. But the non-elected theocracy, headed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, oversees all major decisions and directly oversees key government posts such as the foreign, intelligence and defense ministers.

Another view:

But former top Iran negotiator and U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns hardly downplayed the significance of Friday's elections. On issues of nuclear enrichment, Burns said that it "does matter who the president of Iran is, but what matters more is the position of the Supreme Leader."

"The election on Friday is going to be consequential in the sense that the candidates are clearly different in ideology and style -- and there seems to be a stronger reformist element in Iranian politics," he said.

COMMENT:  We'll see who's right.  The real danger for the U.S. is that, if the "reformer" wins, the appeasement group within the U.S. will see it as vindication.  It will not be.  A "reform" victory will not shut down one centrifuge in Iran's nuclear program.

June 11, 2009   Permalink

THE CHALLENGE - AT 7:46 A.M. ET:  We now have a new car industry.  The New York Times states very well the situation that industry is in, particularly its former leader:

DETROIT — Fiat will set a new direction at Chrysler, which finished its tour through bankruptcy court Wednesday, completing its deal to join forces with the Italian automaker.

At Ford, a chief executive brought in from the aircraft industry is helping to shake up the company.

But it will be up to the federal government, which will own a majority of General Motors when it emerges from bankruptcy, to tackle what is perhaps the most difficult challenge in Detroit: transforming G.M.’s insular culture — at times as bureaucratic as the government’s — to make the company more competitive.

If the effort fails, the Treasury may never recoup the $50 billion it has provided G.M.

COMMENT:  The GM culture has been legendary for generations - a culture isolated from the world, incapable of change, and almost uninterested in the very cars it was producing.  The idea of the government running a car company that is overly bureaucratic is almost laughable, but I can't deny that it's one of the most fascinating stories around today.

Let's hope the GM execs can get in touch with their inner Buick and make things work.  I wonder how many of them have driver's licenses.

June 11, 2009   Permalink

CAUTION JUSTIFIED - AT 7:26 A.M. ET:  Yesterday we urged readers to be cautious about a widely circulated report that two passengers aboard Air France flight 447, which crashed into the Atlantic off Brazil last week, had the same names as two people on a terrorist watch list.  We noted that identical names do not always translate into identical people. 

Our caution was justified.  It was only the names that were identical:

Meanwhile, two terror suspects who died alongside 226 other passengers on the stricken jet have been ruled out as a cause of the disaster.

The two men only "shared the same name" as known Islamic radicals, posthumous security checks found.

Although their bodies have yet to be recovered, France's Interior Ministry confirmed that a "deep and wide-ranging investigation has allowed us to clear them."

We promised to follow the investigation into this crash because it was mysterious, and terrorism is always a concern.  The clearing of the two passengers does not absolutely rule out terrorism, only that the two passengers had no problematical backgrounds.

At the same time, the mysteries build.  The bodies of passengers have been found more than 50 miles apart, indicating that the plane broke up in the air in stages, not in one big burst.  But why the plane broke up is still unknown.

June 11, 2009   Permalink




WEDNESDAY,  JUNE 10,  2009

ANOTHER PROMISE UNKEPT - AT 7:22 A.M. ET:  During the campaign, President Obama promised to repair our relations with the universe, claiming that President Bush had destroyed them.  Why, why, even the people of Mars were angry with us, as our NASA probes apparently learned. 

Well, it turned out our relations were actually in pretty good shape.  Mr. Bush had produced a better relationship with India, the world's largest democracy, than we'd ever had.  Nations of Africa admired him for his AIDS program.  Japan had become an even closer ally.  Eastern Europe was in the pro-American camp.

But then there was Western Europe, playground of the political elites.  The Europeans were frowning, but Barack would wave his wand and cure that problem.  After all, he drew big crowds over there.

But, as Ralph Peters points out, the only thing Obama has produced among the governments of Western Europe is dismay:

WHEN Europeans wish upon a star, they get an American president with a huge Third World chip on his shoulder.

Those "sophisticated" Europeans dismissed "cowboy" Bush as a rube beneath their contempt. If the continent's opinion-makers could've changed their voter registrations, they would've flown to Chicago to vote for Barack Obama last fall.

And Chicago would have registered them.  But what did the European elites get?

President Obama may be the least Europe-friendly occupant of the White House since James Monroe (the guy who put up a "Keep Out!" sign on our hemisphere). Bam clearly doesn't like Europeans.

A big chill has hit the trans-Atlantic atmosphere.

Of course, the Europhiles in the mainstream media haven't noticed, so in love with The One are they.

In France, Obama brushed off Nicolas Sarkozy, the most pro-American president to occupy the Elysée Palace in my lifetime. Sarkozy had to beg for a meeting.

And Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been treated as though the British just burned the White House -- or a Kenyan village -- last week.


Even in his blame-us Cairo speech, Obama's mention of women's rights was aimed not at Middle Eastern savagery, but at France -- where headscarves can't be worn in public schools.

That's rich. Our president praised the "wisdom" of King Abdullah, ignoring Saudi Arabia's hideous treatment of women, but whacked Europeans for insisting that heads -- and identities -- should go uncovered in free societies.

Oh, I'm liking this.

In the past, our policy often has been too Euro-centric. But we need a useful balance, not a trans-Atlantic Cold War.

Obama just seems to have it in for Europe on a personal level.

Much of our president's youth was spent in the Third World; his closest relatives viewed events through a wacky leftist lens -- and he sat for decades in a church whose pastor ranted against Jews, "racist" America and our foreign policy. It would be astonishing if Obama hadn't internalized such views by sheer osmosis.

By the way, that pastor - Rev. Wright - just surfaced again today, charging that Jews would prevent him from speaking with Obama.  What a great man of God.

Our president not only identifies with the Third World, but with a romanticized Third World whose failings are all the West's fault. It's the typical view of an undergraduate leftist -- in 1979.

Europe is going to miss George W. Bush.

COMMENT:  And not just Europe.  Imagine what the South Koreans and Japanese must think of our tough-as-marshmallows response to North Korea. 

People are noticing.

June 10, 2009   Permalink

SICKENING - AT 6:31 P.M. ET:  Andrew Malcolm at Top of the Ticket reports on a David Letterman political "joke" that has to win some award in the bad taste category:

Noting that Alaska's Republican Gov. Sarah Palin and her daughter attended a New York Yankees game over the weekend with famous Yankee fan Rudy Giuliani, Letterman said:

"One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez."

When I worked in TV the networks had something called Standards and Practices.  Maybe they still do, but you'd never know it.  Anyone telling a joke like that would have been hustled out the door in three seconds.  And the joke, if on tape, would have never made it to air.  Standards today have been adjusted downward.

Fortunately, Sarah Palin is every bit the pit bull she claims.  She struck back:

In a statement to Fox News, Palin called the comments "inappropriate" and "sexually perverted" and ones Letterman would not "dare make" about anyone else's daughter.

The governor added:

"Acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone's daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others."

COMMENT:  Good for Sarah.  The "feminist" movement has yet to be heard from.  Don't hold your breath.  But where is the outrage at CBS, once the "family network"?

June 10, 2009   Permalink

STUNNING - AT 6:24 P.M. ET:  You read this and wonder if it can be serious.  Apparently, it is.  From Steve Hayes at the Weekly Standard:

...the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. “The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement. Here’s the problem. You have foreign fighters who are targeting US troops today – foreign fighters who go to another country to kill Americans. We capture them…and they’re reading them their rights – Mirandizing these foreign fighters,” says Representative Mike Rogers, who recently met with military, intelligence and law enforcement officials on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan.

Rogers, a former FBI special agent and U.S. Army officer, says the Obama administration has not briefed Congress on the new policy. “I was a little surprised to find it taking place when I showed up because we hadn’t been briefed on it, I didn’t know about it. We’re still trying to get to the bottom of it, but it is clearly a part of this new global justice initiative.”

COMMENT:  Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought the U.S. Constitution applied only to American citizens.  Is the Obama administration arguing that it applies to foreigners as well?  Weren't the Obamans the ones who ridiculed George W. Bush for trying to spread democracy?  What do you call this?  Oh, Obama is trying to spread democracy, but only to captured terrorists.  Now I understand.  I guess I was just a little slow.

June 10, 2009   Permalink

CAUTION!! - AT 8:57 A.M. ET:  From Britain's Sky News:

Two passengers with names linked to Islamic terrorism were on the Air France flight which crashed with the loss of 228 lives, it has emerged.

This may get some play today, but it's a story to be read very carefully.  When you scroll down below you get this:

Agents are now trying to establish dates of birth for the two dead passengers, and family connections.

COMMENT:  The same name does not mean the same person.  There are common Arabic names, the equivalent of John Smith.  This story is premature.  If the identities are confirmed as two people actually linked to Islamic terrorism, there's a real story.  Even then, it might be a bizarre coincidence.  And I find it difficult to believe that two people on a watch list would fly under their own names, when false papers are easily obtainable.  Let's wait on this one.

June 10, 2009   Permalink

VIRGINIA STUNNER - AT 8:21 A.M. ET:  Three candidates ran for the Democratic nomination for governor.  Who won?  The most conservative of the three:

R. Creigh Deeds will celebrate his come-from-behind victory in yesterday's Democratic gubernatorial primary by appearing this morning with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and the two opponents he trounced at the polls, former delegate Brian Moran and longtime Democratic operative Terry McAuliffe.

Deeds, a longtime state legislator from rural Bath County, beat the better-funded Moran and McAuliffe in every region of the state, including vote-rich Northern Virginia, despite a pro-gun stance and relatively conservative positions that are out of line with many of the area's voters.

COMMENT:  I love that last line.  How dare these mere voters choose someone with those views!  Why, the nerve of these peasants. 

There is a moderate wing of the Democratic Party, and, increasingly, it's asserting itself  That is good because the alternative wing within that party is so bad. 

We reported yesterday that Rasmussen's survey shows an increase in support for the GOP's handling of some key issues, like the economy.  That may extend to greater support for Democratic moderates, who know how to read a budget report. 

Next year is shaping up to be a major political battle, the most critical midterm election in modern history.

June 10, 2009   Permalink

A WARNING WE CAN BELIEVE IN - AT 8:06 A.M. ET:  Yes,it comes up all the time, but we tend to forget it.  The rising debt the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress is inflicting on Americans is unsustainable, and threatens, not only the nation's economy, but national security, as foreign nations increasingly control our economic fate.  From Fortune, which notes that liberal economist Paul Krugman and the conservative Congressman Paul Ryan normally disagree, but on this they agree:

So when the two combatants agree on a fundamental threat to the U.S. economy, Americans should heed this alarm as the real thing. What's worrying both Krugman and Ryan is the rapid increase in the federal debt - not so much the stimulus-driven rise to mountainous levels in the next few years, but the huge structural deficits that, under all projections, keep building the burden far into the future to unsustainable, ruinous heights. "The long-term outlook remains worrying," warned Krugman in his New York Times column. Krugman strongly supports President Obama's spending plans but bemoans the shortfall in taxes to pay for them.


What the Obama administration isn't telling Americans is that the only practical solution is a giant tax increase aimed squarely at the middle class. The alternative, big cuts in spending, aren't part of the President's agenda. To keep the debt from wrecking the economy, the U.S. would need to raise annual federal income taxes an average of $11,000 in 2019 for all families that pay them, an increase of about 55%.

COMMENT:  What we're looking at is potential national trauma, social disruption, and revolt.  Eventually, Americans are going to realize what's been done to them.

Of course, if the economy grows dramatically, the issue may ease, as more taxes, in total dollars, are paid.  But the current administration isn't pursuing high-growth policies, and it will be around for a time.

Of course, another way of getting out of this is through inflation, paying back the debt with cheaper dollars.  But that will destroy the new generation, as inflation always does.  However, I suspect that, out of selfishness and the need to cover up its mistakes, those who influence the economy will see inflation as the solution.  It never is.

June 10, 2009   Permalink

BARONE ON GLOBAL WARMING - AT 7:39 A.M. ET:  Following on our first story, just below, the great Michael Barone, who has more common sense in his little finger than most pundits have in their entire brains, provides a gem about the mentality of some global warmists:

I have compared global warming alarmism as a kind of religion, complete with its own versions of sin, repentance, atonement, ritual (kids go through recycling drills) and indulgence (purchase carbon offsets to compensate for your private jet travel). Now it turns out that there’s another element: a desire to kill heretics. Here’s a collection of calls for executions of “global warming deniers.” I don’t see any specifics on what method should be used. Burning at the stake, an old favorite, might produce too much in the way of carbon emissions. Lethal injection might require use of petrochemicals produced from carbon-emitting fossile fuels. Perhaps hanging by the neck until dead with a noose made of natural fibers produced on a certified organic farm which was not reclaimed from rain forest.

COMMENT:  Well done.  If you go to the link Barone provides, and read down, you find this observation:

As the science behind man-made global warming fears utterly collapses, many of the biggest promoters of the theory and environmental activists are growing increasingly desperate. Looming Question: If the promoters of man-made climate fears truly believed the "debate is over" and the science is "settled", why is there such a strong impulse to shut down debate and threaten those who disagree?

Wonderful question.

June 10, 2009   Permalink


BONN, Germany (AP) -- A report says climate change is becoming a major driver in the migration of tens of millions of people battered by storms, droughts and the inundation of their lands by sea water.

Hmm.  Sounds serious...until you get to the next paragraph:

Estimates of the number of climate migrants are difficult to assess, but the new report by CARE International and the U.N. University cites estimates by the International Organization for Migration that 200 million people will be driven from their homes by mid-century for environmental reasons, including climate change.

Ah yes, some truth telling:  Estimates are difficult to assess.  And the report is based on projections, the lifeblood of the global-warming religion.  And millions will be driven from their homes by environmental reasons, including climate change.

But people have always moved because of climate and environmental factors.  How many people do you know who've moved south, especially as they age, because they like the weather down there.  And they often do it after a particularly bad winter.

More brilliance from the U.N.  The reporter should have asked some very tough questions.  Apparently that did not happen.

June 10, 2009   Permalink



"What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.



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