Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Democrats' dirty little secret

The dirty little secret is that many of those people on Wall Street who are getting ridiculously rich are Obama supporters
writes Erick Erickson.
But then the Democrats are so loudly demagoguing Republicans as tools of Wall Street that they hope you don’t notice that fact.

Stick a Fork in it. It’s Done

If you have to set up programs, and pay people to do journalism, or even think about the specific things that you want them to, then your society is dead. Period.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Observing the Meal-Ticket Left in their Native Habitat

Generous campaign doners have historically been given easy Ambassadorial posts. Knowing full well that the DCM, or Deputy Chief of Mission is really doing they job, the State Department is used to putting up with a lot.

But one of Obama’s appointments really takes the cake.

The situation was so bad that the inspector general recommended that the State Department dispatch medical personnel to Luxembourg to test the stress levels of embassy employees. It said at least four staffers quit or sought transfers to Iraq and Afghanistan during her tenure, unusual steps for diplomats assigned to a modern, Western European capital.
Much as Pelosi, the spouse of a billionaire, first ran as “a Mom in tennis shoes”, Cynthia Stroum has also channeled a lot of that inept, imperious “don’t they know who I am” self-indulgent adolescent behavior that has grown to characterize the wheelers-and-dealers of the gauche-cavier.Nonetheless, even a press that find this kind of thing hilariously juice call this nightmare a “businesswoman and philanthropist”, when in fact she was a personal investor and political action committee boarding party type.

You would think that these Eva Peron wannabees would eventually realize that they they aren’t royalty, and that they aren’t playing out “Upstairs Downstairs” fantasies.
But the report paints a picture of a corrosive atmosphere at the small embassy, with the ambassador running roughshod over staff, threatening to read their e-mails, largely concerned about job-related perks and involved in improper purchases.
When you’re a lefty, politics doesn’t
stop at the nation’s shores.

Protocol be damned: displaying campaign posters in the embassy

The complaints of cronyism, it seems, go back to 2009.
In recent years, Stroum has contributed $10,000 to Cantwell and an equal amount to Murray, as well as making four-figure donations to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina. She gave to the successful 2006 campaign of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana.

Stroum was recently honored as a "Woman of Valor" at a closed-door Cantwell fundraising luncheon.

The Luxembourg embassy has long been used to reward political donors, but also to break barriers.
Barrier. Valor. Whatever. This is the kind of reception this barrier busting, “valorous” dark-pool-style private equity investor elicited:
As an American presently living in Luxembourg, I wonder why this country can never get an ambassador who is actually a diplomat? Granted, Luxembourg isn't France, but is it too much to ask to get someone who has passed the Foreign Service Exam, or who speaks French?
as well as the most logical of comments:
Stroum - a "Woman of Valor?" Only in a society that lacks any virtue. Such titles belong to individuals who risk their lives in order to save the lives of others - not people who shell out their political bribery money to prostituting politicians.
In fact the words success, generosity, understanding, understanding, hard work, success, and valor DO apply to the Stroum family name: her father
[...]he joined the Army Air Corps.But in the fall of 1941, months before the U.S. entered World War II, Mr. Stroum took a leave to attend a sister's wedding, and while he was gone, his squad shipped out to the Philippines. Mr. Stroum became a crew chief and flight engineer, and came to Seattle to ferry Boeing B-17 bombers throughout the nation.When he first arrived in Seattle, Mr. Stroum lived with the other aviators at the Sorrento Hotel. He met his future wife at the nearby Jewish USO center. They were married Aug. 9, 1942, and Mrs. Stroum paid for the $3 marriage license. They were the first couple married by Temple De Hirsch-Sinai's new rabbi Raphael Levine, who became one of Seattle's great religious leaders.Briefly living in Portland, he sold different items including auto parts.He settled in Seattle in the late 1940s and formed several sales companies to representing automotive- and radio-parts makers. In the mid-1950s he became an electronics distributor.He named his main company ALMAC/Stroum Electronics, combining the names of his wife, Althea, and his two daughters, Marsha and Cynthia.He also began distributing parts for Erna Jorgensen and Harry Schuck, who had founded Schuck's Auto Supply. In 1967, when the pair retired, Mr. Stroum bought their business with their help and oversaw expansion of the chain to seven stores.Stroum sold ALMAC in 1974 for some $2 million. He then made his first major charitable gift: $600,000 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. He sold Schuck's to Pay n' Save in 1984 for $70 million, beginning a new career of giving.
So it seems that it isn’t juts genius that seem to skip a generation.

Muslim Brotherhood: Does "a Fact of Life" Mean That Something — That Anything — Has to Be Welcomed and Integrated?

The United States is acknowledging that the hardline Muslim Brotherhood may play a role in Egypt's transition from autocracy if it agrees to a peaceful, democratic process
reports the AP.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley says the U.S. isn't dictating Egypt's shift from President Hosni Mubarak's three decades in power. He says it is up to Egyptians to determine the process, but he called on the Muslim Brotherhood - which is a banned group - to respect democratic processes. …

He acknowledged Wednesday the hardline Islamist movement is "a fact of life in Egypt."

And so? The Mafia is a fact of life in Sicily — as well as in various places in the New York/New Jersey areas… Is that a reason to insist that the Cosa Nostra play a role in Italian and/or in Northeastern politics if it were to renounce violence and agree to a peaceful, democratic process?

Doesn't the term "lip service" ring any bells in the State Department?

Marriage under assault by unilateral divorce, family courts' bias against dads, & taxpayer-paid financial incentives subsidizing illegitimate births

The attack on the institution of marriage is not only the biggest cultural but also the biggest fiscal issue of our times
writes Phyllis Schlafly (who is also telling Congress that We Want Our Light Bulbs).
Marriage is being assaulted by unilateral divorce, feminist hostility toward marriage, the bias of family courts against fathers, and the taxpayer-paid financial incentives that subsidize illegitimate births.

…Sounding a Moynihan-style alarm today is Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. He has assembled figures from U.S. Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control data, and they are downright scary.

…It's a very big money problem because the government is transferring nearly $1 trillion a year in taxpayer-funded handouts to the 40% of Americans who rely on government for all or part of their living expenses.

A lack of marriage causes poverty. … single moms want their babies and confidently expect Big Brother to provide for them.

Rector's solution to the poverty problem is marriage. He urges government policies to promote and strengthen the institution of marriage instead of providing incentives to discourage it.

Marriage drops the probability of child poverty by 82%. Marriage has just as dramatic an effect as adding 5 to 6 years to the parents' level of education.

If single moms were to marry the fathers of their children, the children would immediately be lifted out of poverty. Eight out of ten of these fathers were employed at the time of the births of their out-of-wedlock children.

Government should reduce or eliminate the marriage penalties in welfare programs, in tax law, and even in ObamaCare.

…Ronald Reagan's advice is still pertinent. If we subsidize something, we'll get more of it; if we tax it, we'll get less of it.
From Phyllis Schlafly's (smashing) list — read them all — of New Year's Resolutions for State Legislators:
  • Family Court: "A restraining order for domestic violence shall issue only on proof of clear and convincing evidence" and "divorced parents shall have joint (50-50) legal and physical custody of their children unless proof shows a parent to be unfit." Explanation: The anti-father abuses by family courts must stop. …
  • Child Protective Services: "All rights accorded to criminal defendants shall likewise be recognized for any family targeted for investigation by a child protective agency." Explanation: Why do criminal defendants have more rights than parents?


Topical or not... On what is meant to be an authoritative cartoonist website, what religion having a great deal of difficulty fitting in with the modern European society eradicating relativist outlook do you not see represented under the rubric of “sacrilege” ?

You will, however find this kind of thing all over the site:

Don’t look all surprised, already.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Ailing Jacques Chirac Heading to Court for Embezzlement During his Paris Townhall Days

• Jacques Chirac: Pff… How does that doodad work? I gotta head for the courthouse! Where is that anyway?
• Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (Chirac predecessor and… foe who sits on the Constitutional Council): Easy-weasy! Use Google-map!

As Jacques Chirac prepares to go to trial on March 7, for embezzlement when he was mayor of Paris, the former president has been denying rumors that he is ill, perhaps with Alzheimer's. But his wife Bernadette did confirm that he sometimes has hearing problems and trouble walking and that he at times suffers from memory loss (as Plantu suggests).
"J'ai en face de moi chaque jour un homme qui peut être éblouissant et qui en étonnerait plus d'un", a-t-elle dit. Quant à son procès, "il a toujours dit qu'il voulait être traité comme un justiciable comme un autre. Il a dit qu'il irait à son procès et il le fera", a aussi garanti Mme Chirac.

…Olivier Besancenot, porte-parole du Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste, a estimé sur RMC/BFM TV qu'il fallait, "bien sûr", juger Jacques Chirac. "On nous fait le coup à chaque fois (...), à chaque fois qu'il y a un responsable politique qui pèse un peu, qui est dans le collimateur de la justice (...), ça dure, ça dure, ça dure et puis, à un moment, il est trop vieux et puis on nous dit : 'C'est trop tard.'

European External Policy is an Unmanned Drone

EU envoy to Belarus suffered from 'stress,' not beating
Your diplomats aren’t worth beating anyway. For WHAT? Their intelligence? What’s more, is that their guy sounds like someone defending themselves against a workplace sexual harassment claim:
He confirmed that there was "no physical contact" between any Belarusian policeman and himself during anti-government demonstrations in Minsk on the night of 19 December.
Elsewhere, the European Council on Foreign Relations has published a study that confirms the obvious: Europe will not be “a pole” in the popular model of the “multipolar” world. The appeal of thinking the world’s multi-polarity permitting EUtopia to be at the center of all triangulations, but alas ther will be little pole-dancing for them.

Now they take solace in the world evolving into a “post-western” one. In other words, if they can’t run it, there must be a bigger trend cheating them out if it, and it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with their apathy in dealing with strategic risks. There is: they decided that they were too busy hating their allies and themselves to preserve their own well being.

It’s about this simple: now that they have shot western culture in the foot, an expansive weathly, still largely Maoist state who are amateurs in any sort of statecraft that doesn’t involve commerce will soon have the biggest say when it comes to human rights and international relations.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Meet the Morally Repugnant Elite

Aren’t you glad that there are unions to protect “the oppressed” workers such as Miami Elementary School teacher Cheryl Grampa?

Grampa "engaged in inappropriate conduct and contact with a minor student ranging from soliciting and allowing students to massage her, in exchange for rewards, allowing students to touch her in an inappropriate manner and failing to take reasonable and corrective action with respect to improper touching," according to a formal complaint by the School Board.
Thanks to the collective, the disciplinary action taken against this 45 year old who should not be near students of ANY age is more like a vacation.
Grampa, 45, will miss five days of school without pay for her actions, which stems from a massage request during the 2009-2010 school year.
In fact, they’re all rotten and self-absorbed, considering that the School Board’s statement seemed more concerned with maintaining the profile of the teachers than protect the young that they’re entrusted with.
Her actions were "sufficiently notorious to bring [Grampa] and/or the education profession into public disgrace or disrespect," the complaint states.
Elsewhere, related:

He came in peace.

Crossing the Red Sea

Check out this cornucopia of emerging and baleful ironies relating to Iran that might be delighting the mullahs

Excruciating new problems never nullify the old ones
states John Vinocur as the International Herald Tribune pundit notes the difference in the Apologizer-in-Chief's support for Egyptian protesters versus his total lack thereof concerning Iranian demonstrators.
In the case of Iran’s potential nuclear threat, Egypt’s gathering implosion — joined by some new elements of concern — is only more bad news for the West.

… A situation in Egypt where the West, including the Obama administration, looks both challenged in articulating its support for the protesters shaking an apparently futureless regime in Cairo and unwilling to openly assert that it wants a successor to Hosni Mubarak who would hold to his clear line against Iran becoming a nuclear power.

In Tehran, the mullahs have been comparing the wobbling Mubarak regime to the fall of the shah in 1979.

Indeed, a better comparison might be with the circumstances around the mullahs’ stolen election in 2009. At the time — and since — President Barack Obama of the United States didn’t (and hasn’t) offered either verbal or practical backing to the Iranian opposition against a government whose history of oppression and contempt for the law is well documented, and well known.

Now check out this cornucopia of emerging and baleful ironies relating to Iran that might be delighting the mullahs:

• The man mentioned in Washington as a possible leader of a caretaker government in preparation for an election in Egypt is Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the global nuclear watchdog.

Over the weekend, the French newspaper Le Figaro described Mr. ElBaradei’s tenure as bent on minimizing the danger of Iran’s nuclear program. Its security affairs writer quoted a former French high representative at the agency as saying of the Egyptian, who was given the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership at I.A.E.A.: “He systematically underestimated the progress of the Iranian program, used deliberately vague language, and concealed certain essential elements. He contributed to delaying sanctions against Iran.”

Washington provided the irony: An American official, referring to the Egyptian, said: “He’s shown an independence from us that will squelch any argument he’s doing our bidding.”

• Russia’s moment of seeming helpfulness involving Iran may be replaced by another attempt by Moscow to wield its cooperation on the issue as a new quid pro quo.

… The possible maneuver: Over the past two years, Russia could regard that it had some success in trying to leverage its position on Iran in exchange for modifications in NATO’s plans for a missile defense shield or the New Start nuclear arms agreement with the Americans. Now, just as it refashions its view on Iran, it is making clear, according to articles last week in the Russian newspaper Kommersant, that its view of cooperating with NATO on missile defense must involve “sectorization,” or giving Russia responsibility for an area in Eastern and Northern Europe that NATO believes would recreate a Soviet-type zone of influence.

All this has the look of renewed Russian hardball, with Iran potentially reappearing in the game as a pressure point. Irony? Mr. Medvedev, everybody’s pal in the Kremlin, chose a tone of friendly regret last week to say that if there’s no acceptance of Russian terms on missile defense, “In the future, we’ll have to take unpleasant decisions on the deployment of nuclear strike units.”

• The French, who uncovered the Iranians’ secret nuclear reactor in Qum in 2009, are now making the case to the allies that they have hard evidence that North Korea has exported significant quantities of highly enriched uranium to Iran.

That is an assertion that wilts irony. Basically, it seems to mean: How can anyone say there’s a lengthened timetable for dealing with Iran and less urgency for tougher unilateral measures that skirt the U.N. Security Council?

Bantustan Begging for Crumbs

A European blogger on Obama’s State of the Union Address finds his Eurocentrism would normally not permit him to observe the activities in the wild of non-Euros. Nonetheless, mere mentions are still longed for:

As I am currently living in the US who heard throughout the media for the past weeks how much this would be an important speech , I could not not watch it ; and as a Euro-blogger, I could not not look for references to the old continent.
Newsflash Mr. Henning: it wasn’t an important speech. It was a platform using Kabuki and forced seating arrangements to raise the President’s profile. It’s eroding unavoidably due to public observation of the predictability and mediocrity of the POTUS and his political entourage.
The SOTU surpassed my expectation with TWO mention of Europe. The first about our rail and road infrastructures, the second as a NATO ally.

Those two mentions have to be compared to China (4 mentions), India of Chile (3 mentions both) or South Korea (6 mentions). We (Europe) are on the same level as Russia (2 mentions also) and just before Brazil (1 mention).
This certainly speaks to an anxiety, if not a level of self-absorption in the continental brain trust. The question that goes unasked is: how is it that the wealthiest entity on earth, one with a population of half a billion, not be up to anything worth noting outside of the usual pedantries about state subsidized high-speed trains, inefficient windmills, and the like?
Let’s just notice the Energy goals stated by B Obama: 80% of the US power from clean energy by 2035. Hard to say if this will become reality, but that’s a courageous goal.
Giving away other people’s resources is courageous? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Look at who Finally Grew Up

Carla Bruni finally purged herself of a disease of the mind.

Only two years ago Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy had claimed that she was "instinctively left-wing" after at one stage supporting her husband's Socialist rival in the 2007 presidential elections.
It isn’t an instinct. It’s actually called operant conditioning, and it’s why leftists expel the demonizing, divisive invective that they do, and feel a burning need to overwhelm institutions that groom the young, and make every effort to turn them into ideological monocultures.
But in Monday's interview with Le Parisien newspaper, she said her previous political persuasion was only due to her belonging to a "community of artists." "We were bobo (bourgeois bohemians), we were left-wing but at that time I voted in Italy (her native country)." I have never voted for the Left in France and I can tell you, I'm not about to start now. I don't really feel left-wing anymore," she said.
Some hang on as if HAVING the delusions of the left’s paradise will somehow bring it on. Most others, on genuine reflection, find their paradise dystopic.

However, looking honestly at their buffoonish ideas and reactions is usually sufficient for the unprogrammed to come to Bruni’s conclusion.
She said her political U-turn was down to the recent behaviour of the French Left. "I have heard Socialist officials say the same kinds of things as the National Front say, and I have been really shocked," she claimed.

Another Canal for a Holier-Than-Thou Democrat to Lose

Actually, Chris Matthews' mention of Egypt's Panama Canal (sic) may turn out, in a way, to be prescient, since there is a way of comparing Egypt with Panama as well as with Iran, and both of them related to Jimmy Carter to boot.

Because it turns out that the Apologizer-in-Chief's channeling of Jimmy Cartera comparison which was predicted by some of us prior to the 2008 election — may not just come in the form of Barack Obama's losing Egypt like the 39th president lost Iran.

It may also show up in Obama's handing away, willingly or otherwise, the Suez Canal just like Carter — another we-can-all-live-together-if-we-just-make-an-effort type — gave away the Panama Canal…

Let us take a minute to pause and remember how Frank Gaffney defined the Obama Doctrine:
  • Abandoning our allies,
  • emboldening our enemies,
  • and diminishing our country

Good-Bye, Friend

John Barry, 1933-2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

I Don’t Think You’ll Get a Visa Either ‘Ugo

It’s comic to see an authoritarian budding Marxist decry “meddling”.

Chavez scoffed at what he said was the United States' chameleon-like foreign policy.
Because even when the accusations are fake, he assumes that he is accurate.
"See how the United States, after using such-and-such a president for years, as soon as he hits a crisis, they abandon him. That's how the devil pays," he said.

"They didn't even give a visa or anything to the president of Tunisia," he said, referring to President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who lost power this month after failing to quell the worst unrest of his two-decade rule.
This, from a man using his population as a crash-test dummy, retesting a century of Socialist failure.

I really believe that Chávez the fact that he will suffer from the same kind of blowback that Ben Ali and Mubarak are. I’ll bet he’s pooping his Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Pol Pot Underoos right now.

What’s even more hilarious, even proud former pederast Daniel Cohn-Bendit thinks Hugo is an ass.
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban was compared on Wednesday with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. "You are becoming a European Chávez," said the leader of the Greens parliamentary group, Daniel Cohn-Bendit.
Mm. Not Quite. It’s Chávez who’s actually becoming a rather typical European politician of the 20th century. He’s only saying what most of the European left wish it could, despite their praise for ‘Ugo’s ideas and methods.

The question remains: If Obamacare is such a great law, why does the White House keep protecting its best friends from it?

If you would like to know what the White House really thinks of Obamacare, there’s an easy way
opines Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and a medical director who happens to be cousin of Barack Obama.
Look past its press releases. Ignore its promises. Forget its talking points. Instead, simply witness for yourself the outrageous way the White House protects its best friends from Obamacare.

Last year, we learned that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had granted 111 waivers to protect a lucky few from the onerous regulations of the new national health care overhaul. That number quickly and quietly climbed to 222, and last week we learned that the number of Obamacare privileged escapes has skyrocketed to 733.

…Not only are the payoffs an affront to our democracy and an outright assault on our taxpayers, the timing itself of the latest release makes a mockery of this administration’s transparency promises. More than 500 of the 733 waivers, we now know, were granted in December but kept conveniently under wraps until the day after the president’s State of the Union address. …

For this administration, transparency promises last only until the teleprompter is unplugged. …

Backroom deals and cover-ups may be business as usual for Washington, but understanding why the Obama administration protects its friends from Obamacare offers special insight into what the purveyors of the mandate themselves think about their own law. This is key: The waivers aren’t meant to protect victims from unintended consequences of Obamacare; they are meant to exempt them from the very intentional increased costs of health insurance that the law causes. …

In short, the administration has decided that you will face increased health insurance premiums, but special friends in the unions will not. …

The question remains: If Obamacare is such a great law, why does the White House keep protecting its best friends from it?

From Dr. Milton R. Wolf's blog:

Good Job, Dillweed

The EU’s “we started it, but it isn’t really oursanswer to the existence of the blogosphere yields hits about Australia under the Austria tab. This, of course is one of the many mythical bugaboos that European HateRz have about the U.S., something that I have never personally witnessed, which is the narrative that “all Americans cannot tell Australia from Austria”.

That someone, somewhere saw one child mix up Austria and Australia is the likely source, but the meme required hate to remain alive for decades.

Just in the interest of the edification of those who run the omni-loquasious blog-feed-plex, Australia is NOT, I repeat NOT, a nation in Europe, nor is it a member of the EU.

The linked article itself is a bland rehashing of the [INSERT WEATHER EVENT] is due to your thoughtlessly living in the 21st century.

You get the drift.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is the problem with conservative media outlets that they content themselves with commenting on the news that the MSM create?

The problem with conservative media outlets, if Jack Cashill is to be believed, is that
they content themselves with commenting on the news that the mainstream media create. Too often, … they turn this commentary on those who would challenge mainstream orthodoxy.

Without intending to perhaps, these "respectable" conservatives have created a firewall around the White House and serve as something of a Republican Guard for its chief inhabitant.

EU to Give Uzbek President Islam Karimov “The Lukashenko Treatment”

Which is to say: doing nothing about a thuggish regime on the fringe of the supposed “Human Rights paradise”., and benignly ignoring them while playing something out to the EU’s domestic audience.

The Commission's spokespeople have said that one aim of the discussion is to sign an energy memorandum, as part of a wider programme of "constructive engagement" with Uzbekistan, which also includes issues on which the EU and Uzbekistan do no see eye to eye, such as human rights. Even if a few references to human-rights abuses do sneak onto the agenda, it is doubtful that this high-level discussion will be much more "constructive" than any of the annual human-rights dialogues between the EU and Uzbekistan, or indeed that the Commission is really motivated by this aspect of the meeting. What matters here is energy.

The EU’s efforts to confront Uzbekistan over the May 13 2005 Andizhan killings - when Uzbek government security forces fired on a demonstration, killing hundreds of people - have been characterised by these knee-jerk changes of priority, and a failure to see any policy through in a consistent way. In the immediate aftermath of the killings, the EU’s priority was indeed human rights. An arms embargo and other smart sanctions were placed on Uzbekistan, and the EU’s "partnership and cooperation agreement framework" was partially suspended.

In 2007, the EU launched a human rights dialogue with Taskhent. But only two years later, its sanctions were dropped despite a lack of commitment from the Uzbek side, a reported worsening of repression in the country in 2008 and 2009, and no credible investigation being allowed into the Andizhan events. Strong pressure came from Berlin to do so, because the Germans were reluctant to allow the sanctions to jeopardise their use of a strategic airbase in Uzbekistan.
The timeline say it all.
- In 2005 they wanted to confront Karimov (verbally), but didn’t.
- Two years later, they talked about possibly confroting him (verbally) again, but didn’t.
- 2008-09: with further handwringing over deepening repression, but no mention is made of it.
- 2011: the brave and bold lights of the EU-3 flap their gums at ONE ANOTHER again, but not at the Uzbeks.

To underscore just how naïve they are, the excuse used is the use of an air base. In reality, that’s as much of an instrument of leverage for the Germans than anything else, not to mention the fact that they hardly want a resurgent Taliban seeding the population with fresh ideas for how to dispose of the Karimov regime, if nothing else.

The article’s seemingly unintentionally probing title, “A backdoor guest?” is more apt than it would seem. Having set this as another precedent in the eyes of Iran and Russia, the Bunga-Bunga is on Europe.