For the second year in a row, I’ll be going to CPAC. Though I’m still looking for a new laptop to replace the recently-deceased one (it suffered a broken monitor), I will be on Bloggers’ Row this year, which should mean a few more timely posts.
The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.
For the second year in a row, I’ll be going to CPAC. Though I’m still looking for a new laptop to replace the recently-deceased one (it suffered a broken monitor), I will be on Bloggers’ Row this year, which should mean a few more timely posts.
(H/T – Stephen Hayes)
Michael Hayden, the immeidate previous director of the CIA, wrote a scathing critique of the Obama administration’s handling of terrorism. The part dealing with the administration’s handling Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Fruit of the Boom bomber, is telling:
In the 50 minutes the FBI had to question him, agents reportedly got actionable intelligence. Good. But were there any experts on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in the room (other than Abdulmutallab)? Was there anyone intimately familiar with any National Security Agency raw traffic to, from or about the captured terrorist? Did they have a list or photos of suspected recruits?
When questioning its detainees, the CIA routinely turns the information provided over to its experts for verification and recommendations for follow-up. The responses of these experts — “Press him more on this, he knows the details” or “First time we’ve heard that” — helps set up more detailed questioning.
None of that happened in Detroit. In fact, we ensured that it wouldn’t. After the first session, the FBI Mirandized Abdulmutallab and — to preserve a potential prosecution — sent in a “clean team” of agents who could have no knowledge of what Abdulmutallab had provided before he was given his constitutional warnings. As has been widely reported, Abdulmutallab then exercised his right to remain silent.
Hayden then goes on to list a host of other missteps. The takeaway is equally shocking, unless you consider that the ObamiNation’s main class enemy is not Al Qaeda:
There’s a final oddity. In August, the government unveiled the HIG for questioning al-Qaeda and announced that the FBI would begin questioning CIA officers about the alleged abuses in the 2004 inspector general’s report. They are apparently still getting organized for the al-Qaeda interrogations. But the interrogations of CIA personnel are well underway.
Rasmussen Reports delivered some more bad news for Democrats today, specifically Milwaukee mayor and presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Barrett. In a poll of 500 likely voters conducted Tuesday (margin of error 4.5%), he trails both of the main Republican challengers. Barrett trails Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker 48%-38% (with 12% unsure), and he trails former Congressman Mark Neumann 42%-38% (with 13% unsure).
While the public Rasmussen story merely mentions that both Republicans have significant leads over Barrett among those who don’t consider themselves part of either party, the Walker campaign in their press release notes that Walker has a 2-1 lead in that category.
For those playing along at home, Walker’s lead is more than double the margin of error, while Neumann’s lead is almost the margin of error. Moreover, that 38% that Barrett got against both Walker and Neumann is what the Democrats would get if they ran “Insert Candidate Here”, which combined with Barrett’s lack of effort beyond fundraising, is precisely what is running on that side of the aisle.
The favorability ratings are not exactly favorable for either Barrett or Neumann:
While the September WPRI/UW-Madison poll did not address the general election, it did address the favorability of all three candidates. At that time, a majority of those surveyed either had never heard of the three (an option not in the Rasmussen poll) or did not have an opinion on approval:
I guess the “conventional wisdom” that those outstate hate Milwaukee applies mostly to Milwaukee Democrats. At the same time people turned away from city of Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, and had a very mixed reaction to Mark Neumann, they seem to have embraced Milwaukee County executive Scott Walker.
You’ve probably heard about the arrest of James O’Keefe of ACORN scandal fame. He and several associates were arrested at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office. Several of the original reports suggested that O’Keefe and his companions were attempting to bug or wire tap Landrieu’s phones. It turns out that reporting wasn’t exactly accurate.
According to Patterico, the affidavit filed said nothing about bugging, intercepting or wire tapping. It did talk about an allegation that they attempted to access the phone equipment closet.
I believe they pretended to try to access the telephone closet, to tape the reaction of officials: “Why? It’s not like there’s a problem with the phones in Sen. Landrieu’s office!”
I think Patterico is on to something.
With Landrieu getting the “Louisiana Purchase” and the heat of the placebocare debate, there is no doubt that Landrieu’s office was being swamped with phone calls. My personal experience with Senators that didn’t have the profile of Landrieu is that for the several weeks prior to Scott Brown’s election, your odds of getting someone to answer your call were slimmer than getting to talk to Rush Limbaugh.
Thinking about O’Keefe’s warped sense of humor I think they had been working to see how many times they could get through to Landrieu’s office. Finding that the number was only fractionally above zero, they set up the scenario in Landrieu’s office where they would feign working on the phone system under the guise of numerous reports from constituents that the phone system was broken. I’m sure they would have gotten responses on tape denying any malfunction of the phone system and O’Keefe would have his “gotcha” moment.
Hey, I didn’t claimed it was great theatre but I think I’m on the right track. I’m hoping for O’Keefe’s sake that it is that simple. It would be good to have a quick end to this for O’Keefe.
Update: I’m so damn smart! From Hotair.com
The government has now confirmed what has always been clear: No one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieu’s office. Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines. Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false. …
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.
Rasmussen Reports came out with a new poll today that has former governor Tommy Thompson beating Senator Russ Feingold in a hypothetical matchup, 47%-43%. Indeed, that poll, despite involving somebody who has been known to tease us instead of either of the announced challengers, it got a fair amount of national attention, from The Campaign Spot to Hot Air, from Instapundit to Memeorandum, from Politico’s Scorecard to Politics Daily. Of course, that could be because Politico’s Jonathan Martin got an instant post-Brown-win “I’m not saying no” reaction from Thompson (H/T – Kevin Binversie).
This is not the first poll this political season that gave Thompson an advantage over Feingold in the hypothetical matchup. A poll done by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and the UW-Madison Political Science Department had Thompson up 43%-39% in the hypothetical matchup back at the end of September (see tables 33 and 34).
At the time of the first Politico story, Kevin noted the lengthy “Hamlet-Brett Favre” act that Thompson has pulled since essentially the moment he left Madison for DC and the Bush administration. Indeed, Jim Geraghty noted that most of those who have not made a campaign of this magnitude official by this point have decided not to run. Bolstering that line of thinking is the reported 4th-quarter fundraising numbers by both Feingold and the more-conventional Republican challenger, Terrence Wall (both courtesy WisPolitics) – Feingold raised $947,000 to boost his warchest to $3.65 million, while Wall took in $500,000 in the first 7 weeks of his campaign. Despite Thompson’s wide name recognition and the fact that nomination papers aren’t circulated in Wisconsin until June, it’s going to take a lot of money to overcome the messaging money can buy, and there’s not a lot of time to get that money.
However, the timing and release of this poll strongly suggests that Thompson is preparing to jump in the race and overwhelm both the still-unknown Wall and the not-fundraising-and-yet-unknown Dave Westlake. Things are too far along for a major pollster to focus on a hypothetical without a very strong indication that the hypothetical will happen.
The key change in the fortunes of Feingold is that he has lost the independents. In September, he had a 39%-38% lead among “independents”; now, he’s losing them to Thompson 53%-36%. That overwhelms his recapturing of self-described Democrats.
Worse, Feingold’s unfavorables have skyrocketed. In September, his Approval Index (strong approval less strong disapproval) was +9 (23% strong approval, 14% strong disapproval, with the overall at 54% approval-30% disapproval). Now, it’s at -4 (26% strong approval, 30% strong disapproval, with the overall at 47% approval-48% disapproval).
Howard Dean has been the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. Starting with his scream in Iowa and through incidents like:
“I think with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, you can’t play, you know, hide the salami, or whatever it’s called.” –urging President Bush to make public Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers’s White House records
Dean becomes a characitured face of many of the things that are wrong with Democrat thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I want Dean to stay where he is. His frequent foot-in-mouth episodes help crystallize the absurdity of many of the Democrat policies.
On the other hand, I don’t admire the same characteristics from our current RNC chairman!
Michael Steel is also a gaffe machine. From picking a fight with Rush Limbaugh a short time after he became Chair to more recent statements like saying that Republicans aren’t ready to lead and saying:
`Critics should ‘get a life,’ ‘shut up,’ ‘fire me’ … or get out of the way’
after he received criticism about his ability to lead the party.
While verbal gaffes are many times the result of an inexperience or inability to “think on one’s feet” and can be occasionally excused, gaffes of planned events or execution are much less so.
Under the direction of Michael Steele, the RNC decided to have their winter meeting in……..Hawaii!
“Imagine lush tropical gardens, waterfalls, exotic wildlife and priceless artwork,” boasts the website of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa. “This one-of-a-kind Honolulu Hawaii hotel resort is the only true resort property in Waikiki.”
“Do I want voters to think that Republicans do nothing but go to beach resorts in January? No,” House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters last week.
I’ve had the chance to participate in a few company events in Hawaii. While there is some work done to satisfy the IRS requirements, I can assure you that no meeting on Hawaii is a “working meeting!”
If Michael Steele really believes that his gathering is a “working meeting,” why didn’t he choose some place like Des Moines, Kansas City or even St. Louis? Why wouldn’t Steele have chosen a place that didn’t require an 8+ hour flight for most of the events participants? Couldn’t Steele find a convention hall and some hotel rooms in a city that is more convenient than Hawaii?
Michael Steele is a liability. On so many levels he has shown that he is either clueless or patronizing towards the mood of the country represented by the tea party participants.
It’s time to find someone to lead the RNC who can harness and work with the tea party movement. Michael Steele isn’t the person. It’s time for Michael Steele to go!
I hope you’re not too hung over from last night, because I’ve got the cure-all from Metallica…
Before I turn over the thread, there is a must-read from Erick Erickson that recognizes a state of war now exists between the federal government as headed by Teh Won and the free market.
Now, I’ve got a headache to attend to.
Our twin boys, Thing 1 and Thing2 are in fifth grade. Parenting is a full contact activity at this age. While they aren’t yet old enough to get into major trouble, they are flexing and testing their independence muscles. One of the areas where we’ve had to work with both of the Things is in their choice of friends.
Both of the Things are very social and compassionate boys (Insert “where did they get the from?” here). From a very early age they had a spirit that let them make friends with anyone and everyone. For the most part, this character trait has been a great advantage to them. However, as the saying goes; the greatest strength can be the greatest weakness.
Because the boys accept others so readily, they don’t always use good judgement in determining who they should be friends with. A couple of times they have befriended other boys who did not have the same values regarding school work, school behavior or behavior with other kids. On a couple of occasions, the poor choice of a friend has gotten one of the things in trouble in school. Our counsel to them has always been that while we want them to be friends with as many people as possible, they need to be aware of the behaviors of the people they choose to be friends with. Like it or not, we are judged by and impacted by the company we keep.
Wow, that was a lot of stage setting for this article from WSJ. It seems that the PGA is about to have a really tough season. While the financial situation of some previously large sponsors like GM, Chrysler and Stanford Group Co. have left some holes in the sponsorship line up, the big problem is the loss of Tiger Woods.
The loss of Woods is and will, have a large financial impact on the PGA:
Ticket sales are down, fewer hospitality tents have been sold, and the title sponsor had to be lured with a cut-rate price.
It is a harbinger of what the PGA Tour may be without its most popular player. Three of the Tour’s 46 tournaments scheduled for 2010 don’t have a lead corporate sponsor, nor do 13 of next year’s tournaments. Television viewership of the first two events of this year’s Tour tumbled.
While the PGA will be challenged this year, they have no one to blame but themselves.
It’s become clear that the behavior which caused Tiger Woods to step out of the tour was not a behavior that was hidden from those around him. It’s now clear that Woods’ behavior was well known on the tour. One would have to believe that if not actually assisting in his behavior, people associated with the tour abetted the behavior simply by keeping it from the public and not dealing with it.
What’s all this have to do with my counsel to the Things? Well, like the Things, the PGA had a choice of how closely to embrace their friend, Tiger. They did not remain casual friends. No, the PGA made Tiger their BFF while knowing that his behavior was dangerous to himself as well as the reputation of the PGA.
The result? Because the PGA not only listed Tiger as their BFF but perpetuated the mystic of the clean cut, family guy, knowing that the truth was something far different, when Tiger fell, so did the PGA.
The halcyon days of both Tiger and the PGA may be over, we’ll have to see. The Things have both learned how to be friends without letting the friendship dictate who they are as individuals. It will be interesting to see whether the PGA will be able to learn that same lesson.
Editor’s note – This post will be at the top of the blog until the end of the STF…er, SOTU address. If there are newer posts, they’ll be below this one.
You have spoken, and my liver will be taking the abuse. If you’re expecting genteel discussion, sorry about that because I’ll have my Jules Winnfield impersonation going.
The rules are simple…
- There will be no drinking games because we will be drinking constantly and the only ones that will be gaming are the enemy.
- The language will be extra-salty.
- Paraphrases from Teh Won will be in italics (if I remember to hit the italics button).
- This show will get on the road about 7:45 pm Central.
- Depending on how many show up, not all comments will make it (that’s how Cover It Live works – I can only auto-approve so many people).
- No “Ellie Lights” allowed.
Other than that, jump on in…
Oh yeah – drunkblogging is made possible by The Man, The Legend (and no, he’s definitely not a myth) – Stephen Green, who will take his usual place with martinis in hand and in the hold.
Today’s Washington Post reports that Congressional leadership no longer views “health care reform” as something that should be rushed. Boy, it is amazing how Obama’s mere presence in office has taken something that was an absolute crisis one week ago and turned it in to no big deal.
The Democrats are in full blown implosion mode. I offer just a few bits of anecdotal evidence, some circumstantial and some brought on by the Party itself.
1. Unemployment still 10%, and unlikely to change much by November.
2. People are really upset about spending, and the next 7 months will be a parade of more and more red ink.
3. The people are really upset about the attempted government takeover of health care.
4. Democratic candidates are choosing not to run for re-election.
5. Joe Biden’s son decided not to run for his old man’s Senate seat.
6. Polling indicates people are running from the Democratic Party.
7. Obama is screwing up our fight against terrorists.
8. Nancy Pelosi’s approval rating is right in line with Charles Manson’s.
9. The “Louisiana Purchase”, “Cornhusker Kickback,” and last minute sweetheart deal for unions demonstrated a level of corruption that would make Nixon blush.
10. History. The first midterm election for a first term president is generally abysmal, even in the absence of the above factors.
The Democrats have thrown the Republicans a “hanging curve.” It will be interesting to see if the Republicans know how to swing a bat. History is not encouraging.
Hey, guess what? The DHS recognizes my existence!
At day 22 of my captivity, the DHS now says that they have all the information they need to make a determination of whether I am who I say I am!
You’ll love this:
We are currently reviewing the submission to determine if the delays are caused by incorrect information or mistaken identity. We will also coordinate with other Federal Agencies as appropriate to make this determination and to correct any errors.
“If” the delays are caused by incorrect information or mistaken identity? Damn right they are!
Stay tuned. I suspect I’ll be getting a friendly check in from the IRS next!
First it was the “hockey stick.” Next was the “historical” data. Following that was the glaciers melting. Now it appears that all the concern about the horrors of glorebal warmings impact on the Amazon forest was…….wait for it…………….. Also made up!
Watts up has the story. It’s a story that is beginning to sound vaguely familiar: Data “gathered” by advocacy groups, the “peer reviewers” had no knowledge of the Amazon, one of the “peer reviewers” was actually a journalist.
Net result of the recent revelation is that no one can find any basis for the IPCC’s claim that “40 percent” of the Amazon is at risk due to global warming. Is nothing sacred?
A recent Pew poll showed that of 20 potential topics, Americans ranked global warming dead last in importance getting only 30% of those polled to think it had top priority.
In 1996 a Newsweek poll found that 29% of Americans believed that we had made contact by aliens and that the truth was being covered by the government.
If the number of people who are really concerned about global warming are now equal to the number of people who think we’ve been visited by alien, maybe man made global warming has finally reached the point where those who believe in it can show unity by wearing the international symbol of farcical thinking the tinfoil hat!
A story has surfaced over the past week about a prolific OpEd writer by the name of Ellie Light.
Ellie’s OpEd offers support for President Barack Obama. Her OpEd makes the argument that Obama never promised us a Rose Garden. Rather she argues, Obama told us it was going to be a tough slog to fix the economy. She further argues that those who criticize him of not having fixed the economy are guilty of unrealistic expectations.
OK, so MS. Light and I won’t agree on Barack Obama’s economic letter grade. But, that’s not what makes Ms. Light interesting or the subject of my post. Turns out that Ms. Light’s OpEd has been printed in at least 40 newspapers across the country. In nearly every newspaper, she is listed as a reader who lives within the service area of that publication.
Because of her ability to be published in so many papers and portray herself as from the local economic area, a form of sleuthing has begun to determine who exactly Ellie Light is.
In an email to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the paper who uncovered Ms. Light’s country wide travels, Ms. Light gives this defense of her actions:
“I’m flattered, and I must give the Tea Partiers credit for even knowing who [Power] is,” Light’s e-mail said. “But what I want to point out is that, if I were a person trying to imply this huge groundswell of support for our beleaguered president, then I would have signed the letter with different names. However, as you may have noticed, my main point is that absence of support for the president.
“I am not surprised that an article that tends to discredit a pro-Obama letter-writer has lots of readers. I understand that there are 10 million dittoheads that daily scour the airwaves, print and online press for something nasty to say about the president, so I’m sure your article will get more hits,” she wrote in another e-mail later Sunday. “I’m not sure why you would write me that people would probably be interested in what I have to say. My impression is that my letter could contain Chinese food recipes with a Pro-Obama subject line, and the event would be interpreted as fodder for that same highly-motivated, but narrow class of people.”
Ms. Light closes her defense with the following:
“If my letter were boilerplate [White House senior adviser David] Axelrod dribble, as has been suggested by your new fan club, it would not have been published. Many of my friends have written letters to the editor and bemoan the fact that they never get published. I reply that everything they wrote in their letters has been said before by others. I think, however, this one letter that I wrote, is unique enough, that it was worth widespread attention, simple as that.”
After reading Ms. Light’s OpEd and her defense article, I commissioned a clandestine NoRunnyEggs operative to investigate Ms. Light. My goal was to determine who “Ms. Light” actually is.
After untold minutes of investigation that included a couple of rereadings of “her” letters, I believe I have the answer.
It’s clear that “Ms. Light is a supporter of President Obama. That observation reduces us to only about 40% of the population. Based on the words used, and the phraseology, I think it’s safe to say that “Ms.” is actually a Ms. That takes us to about 20% of the population. Ms. Light specifically slights David Axlerod. The general public has no idea who or where David Axlerod is since he hasn’t been seen in about 4 months. From this we can conclude that Ms. Light is a Washington insider. Finally, Ms Light seems to ascribe to the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy theory as she belittles the tea parties and those affiliated with them.
Yes, Ms. Light is none other than Hillary Clinton! You doubt me? Can you think of anyone who is more concerned about Obama completely screwing things up than Hillary Clinton? Let’s see, Clinton is a part of the Obama administration; can you think of a bigger blotch on a presidential hopeful’s resume than to be a part of a catastrophic administration? Really? You don’t think this is a problem? Does the name Walter Mondale mean anything to you?
The other possibility is that it Barack Obama himself. I considered that but there weren’t references to “I” every other point. No, it has to be Hillary. Case closed!
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so the liver is recovered enough. The question is, has the sanity recovered? That’s where I need your help – do I break out the liquor and drunkblog Obama’s Shut The Fuc…er, State Of The Union speech or not?
Do vote quickly – the polls close at 17:00 Central (that’s 5 pm for those of you who can’t convert from a 24-hour clock).
Do I drunkblog the STF...er, SOTU speech?
Up to 1 answer(s) was/were allowed
Total Voters: 11
Editor’s note – if you don’t get the STFU reference, see today’s Day by Day cartoon.
I do not believe Sarah Palin is presidential material at this time. I do, however, believe Sarah Palin is a person who has a combination of characteristics that equip her well to be the charismatic leader of a movement. But the movement I want here to lead is the anti-John McCain movement. I want her to stand for conservative principles. John McCain has never worried about conservative principles.
That raises the question, why on earth is Palin spending time supporting the candidacy of John McCain against a real conservative like J.D. Hayworth, who is challenging McCain for the Republican nomination for Senate in Arizona. For the record, Hayworth is a real conservative.
It might be as simple as loyalty. McCain, after all, did make Sarah Palin a vice presidential candidate. But I think it goes beyond that. You may recall that during the presidential campaign Palin pressed the “maverick” label to the point of absurdity. Merriam-Webster defines a maverick as, “an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party.” So when you think about it, being a maverick is not in and of itself a virtue. People who engage in deviant behavior are “mavericks” to the extent they don’t go along with the group.
There are many times when going along with the group or party is the right thing to do. I hope Ms. Palin understands that her popularity among her followers is the result of going along with the group when the group is right, and being a maverick when the group is wrong. Her friend Senator McCain does not do a very good job of that. If Sarah Palin wants to maintain her influence with the followers she currently has, she would do well to distance herself from the good Senator.
Adam Andrzejewski, who is running for Illinois governor, cut a new commercial…
John Hawkins conducted a straw poll of 68 of the most-influential right-of-center bloggers plus me, asking who we would vote for if the 2012 GOP Presidential primary was held today. I was tempted to take the Shoebox approach and ask for a “none of the above”, but since that wasn’t on the menu, I decided to make a selection. Let’s review what we as a group chose:
12) Mike Huckabee: 0% (0 votes)
I would have thought that the guy who finished third in the 2008 primaries, who has almost all of the social conservative values one could want, and who was the biggest advocate for the “Fair”Tax would have picked up at least a couple votes. However, the message from him that government needs to be bigger and from us that government is just too damn big is an overriding one.
11) Ron Paul: 1% (1 votes)
The fifteen minutes of fame is over.
T-9) Newt Gingrich: 3% (2 votes)
Gingrich is the poster child of a double-talking politician (see his endorsements of Gorebal “Warming” with SanFranNan and of Dede Scozzafava)
T-9) Haley Barbour: 3% (2 votes)
Barbour is proof that a blind elephant finding a nut (his response to Katrina) is not enough to overcome a love of big government.
8) Rick Perry: 4% (3 votes)
That had to be the Lonestar Sympathy Vote.
T-6) John Thune: 7% (5 votes)
The last good thing I remember out of Thune was his removal of Tom Daschle from the Senate Majority Leader’s office.
T-6) Jeb Bush: 7% (5 votes)
If there’s one thing more damaged than the GOP brand, it’s the Bush brand. It is, in this case, very unfortunate.
5) Tim Pawlenty: 9% (6 votes)
The middle of the road is a great place to get high-lowed.
4) Mitch Daniels: 10% (7 votes)
It truly is a shame that Daniels is not more well-known outside Indiana. Of note, he is the highest current executive office-holder (of course, there’s only 3 on the list).
3) Mitt Romney: 12% (8 votes)
Next In Line™ lives.
2) Mike Pence: 14% (10 votes)
Pence is proof that making the right call on TARP is a winning play (full disclosure – I voted for Pence)
1) Sarah Palin: 29% (20 votes)
I have to wonder how much was knocked off by the fact that Palin will be stumping for her former running mate in his Arizona Senate primary.
The Weekly Standard‘s Stephen F. Hayes skewered White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ claim that we learned all we could from the Fruit of the Boom bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, in a single 50-minute FBI interrogation before he was Mirandized and clammed up:
The FBI did not ask about the information in these intercepts. Wouldn’t it be helpful to do so now? The CIA dossier on Abdulmutallab has grown by orders of magnitude since his detention a month ago. Wouldn’t it be useful to ask him questions about its contents? Abdulmutallab lived in Yemen for four months. How many details about his life there did the FBI get in their 50-minute interview? He was involved with pro-jihadist groups as a student in London. Did the FBI even know to ask about this?
Perhaps more important, the FBI has lost the opportunity to ask Abdulmutallab about intelligence that U.S. government is collecting now. In the weeks leading up to the attack, the intelligence community had information on “Umar Farouk” and on “the Nigerian” and on an attack being planned in Yemen. There is, without a doubt, the same kind of raw, uncorrelated intelligence among the vast collection of NSA intercepts today. It’s entirely possible that Abdulmutallab would be in a position to give meaning to these pieces of information in a way that would at least help us understand al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and, at best, help prevent a coming attack.
This reminds me so much of the Clinton Administration’s response to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Everybody was led to believe that the FBI had rolled up the entirety of the network, while Osama bin Laden was busy plotting his reattack.
Speaking of bin Laden, there’s this gem that Stephen recalls from Attorney General Eric Holder’s confirmation hearing:
It may be worse than that. The question may not be who would interrogate him but whether we would even have that opportunity. Senator Lindsey Graham asked Attorney General Eric Holder about this at a congressional hearing in November.
“Let me ask you this. Let’s say we capture him tomorrow. When does custodial interrogation begin in his case? If we captured bin Laden tomorrow, would he be entitled to Miranda warning at the moment of capture?”
Holder responded: “Again, I’m not — that all depends.”
After months of saying “no” and “hell no,” the American people, represented by the voters of Massachusetts, sent a clear message to President Obama; quit your head long run towards Socialism! While I’m not sure they’ve gotten the message, the election of Scott Brown has clearly taken the wind out of the Administration’s sails.
From his interview with George Stephanopoulos where he claimed that he and Scott Brown were elected under the same “hope” agenda, to his blatant and obvious attempt at populism when he introduced his bill to penalize banks on the day following the repudiation of placebocare, it’s clear that the Obama administration has lost their momentum and is seeking a way to get it back.
With his mojo deflated, pundits and talking heads have been filling airwaves and electronic and printed media asking what will Obama do next. In general, their question comes down to this; is Obama an ideologue who will not take no for an answer and continue to push his extreme left agenda or, will Obama become the reincarnation of Bill Clinton and learn the art of triangulation. This skill that will be required if he wants any success with what will surely become a much more Republican filled House and Senate.
I’ve claimed from the start that Obama is an ideologue. I have seen nothing in his character or agenda that suggested to me that he had anything other than a hard left perspective. From Jeremiah Wright to Van Jones to his full bore tilt to have government control or dictate to all major American industries, it looked like he was an ideologue’s ideologue.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been reading the book “The Argument” by Matt Bai. The book largely outlines the progression of the far left from theory on a slide show post 2002 elections, to the core of the Democrat party, and ultimately the presidency, by 2008. In this book, Bai reports on one of the first encounters that then, Senator Barack Obama, had with the nutroot bloggers.
In 2005, while debating John Roberts for chief justice, Patrick Leahy had come out to support Roberts. Obama said he would vote against Roberts but then supported Leahy’s position saying that those who didn’t accept diverse opinions were knee-jerk, amongst other things. As the story goes forward, Obama is roundly criticized by the nutroots for not being “pure” on this issue. Obama couldn’t handle the criticism so after brooding over it for a while, he wrote a two thousand word plus response which was posted on the nutroot’s holy site.
In this missive, Obama started by laying out the argument that the nutroots and their kind, were interested only in purity and that through enforcing this, eventually they would elect enough officials and the public would see just how right their positions are/were. He then explained why this philosophy was flawed. As quoted in the book, part of Obama’s response was:
I think this perspective misreads the American people. From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are suspicious of labels and supicious of jargon. They don’t think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent. They don’t think that corporations are inherently evil (a lot of them work in corporations), but they recognize that big business, unchecked, can fix the game tot he detriment of working people and small entrepreneurs. They don’t think America is an imperialist brute, but are angry that the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated…
Bai follows up this section of Obama’s letter with his own interpretation and further Obama quotes:
If Democrats really wanted to win the trust of these voters, Obama lectured, they couldn’t go around demonizing those who disagreed with them, nor could they impose some kind of purity test on their elected leaders. “To the degree that we brook no dissent within the Democratic Party, and demand fealty to the one, “true” progressive vision for the country, we risk the very thoughtfulness and openness to new ideas that are required to move this country forward,” he said. Citing Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., Obama said the country’s most compelling voices had been those who could “speak with the utmost conviction about the great issues of the day without ever belittling those who opposed them, and without denying the limits of their own perspectives.”
Note that the bolded items are my embellishments.
Look back at the bolded items. Note how Obama, when addressing the nutroots was arguing directly against the attitude and policies that he has implemented as President! “Bush is a good man but wrong”, “Don’t blame corporations” and “America is not a brute” has been replaced by the exact opposite talking points in Obama’s presidency. “Recognizing, appreciating and considering diverse perspectives” has been replaced by a dogmatic “I won” mentality on every topic and approach.
What’s my point?
While I believe his core is that of a hard left ideologue, there have been times where Obama has at least, “talked” the game of a pragmatist. I don’t know whether the “talk” was just that, “talk”, and he never was a pragmatist, or whether perhaps, he really did/does view his election and the corresponding sweep of Congress, as a mandate for a hard left transformation of the country and thus believed being an ideologue was what the people voted for.
If Obama took 2008 as a mandate, I suspect we will see some moderating of his hard left agenda. I don’t think he’s going to recommend a reduction in taxes as a solution to our economic challenges. However, it’s possible that some of the talk of extending the Bush tax cuts for a year could be just this kind of pragmatism coming to the fore. On the other hand, if Obama is the ideologue he has portrayed in the first year of office, it will be a long three years.
If Obama continues to lead the nation believing that solutions come from the hard left, the results will be further increases in spending with little to no economic recovery. If Obama continues as an ideologue, we will see damage done that could well cause the United States to cease being a world economic power.
That last sentence is a pretty sobering thought and not one that I wrote just as hyperbole. The Obama presidency is at a cross roads. If Obama recognizes that the American people are not with him, at least on his approach, and with a bit of humility leads the Democrats back to a plan that Independents support, he may yet have a chance to shape America. If he doesn’t, any reshaping will result in long term damage to America. While Obama regularly refers to “the last eight years,” if Obama doesn’t understand the implications of the Brown election, we may have Presidents for a generation referring to “the four years of Obama” as the cause for the problems they then face!
Earlier today President Obama gave a speech in Ohio, reasserting his claim that he took office during an economic collapse of such magnitude that we should all be happy about the current economic conditions. He then went on to point out (for approximately the 3,459th time) that the banking system was saved, which prevented the recession from becoming a depression.
Then something interesting occurred to me. The only piece of legislation passed specifically to address the banking problem was the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”). (For the record, I opposed TARP). So it is worth noting that TARP was signed into law on October 3, 2008, long before Barack Obama became President. So, Mr. President, if TARP actually saved us from a depression on your watch, you better thank Mr. Bush. Fat chance.
The Brits have always had a difficult time separating reality from fiction. Watching shows like “Dallas” or later, “90210,” shaped much of the British view of what America, and in turn Americans, was and were.
I think in some similar ways, Americans pick up on stereotypes of the the Brits. Fawlty Towers was a long running british farce about a hotel manager played by John Cleese, and his hapless staff running a hotel. If you haven’t seen the show, please do. John Cleese is incredibly funny and as a hotelier getting into odd situations with his staff, was years ahead of Bob Newhart.
While at the time, Fawlty Towers may have given us the false impression of the Brits as hospitality idiots, it now looks like it was just ahead of its time.
A Holiday Inn in London is now “offering a human bed warming service!” Yup, you read that right! You can get somebody on their staff to put on an all-in-0ne “sleeper suit” and have them crawl into your bed to warm it before you hop in!
Apparently, there are benefits to a warm bed. According to some scientist who knows about this stuff, a warm bed helps us fall asleep.
Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said the idea could help people get off to sleep.
I was thinking that if the right person crawled in to some beds, you could drop the last two words of the Dr. Idzikowski’s statement!
Listen, I live in Minnesota and know all about the desire for a warm bed. From late November until as long as I can get Mrs. Shoe to leave them on, I like my flannel sheets! I hate crawling in on cold percale sheets! Better yet, at least in my world, is to get both of our dogs to lay on my side of the bed while I’m getting ready for bed. About five minutes of the two hounds laying where I’m about to crawl in and the temperature of the sheets is just right for my winter’s nap!
Now, I’m not suggesting that Holiday Inn should go to putting dogs in each of their rooms. However, I suspect that with some of the dental problems that the Brits still have, it’s entirely possible that that would inadvertently happen, if you catch my drift!
No, no need for dogs but before they went down the path of human bed warmers, did anyone consider the possibility of an electric blanket? I suppose they might have, unless the “bed warmer” is just code for something else? Hmmmmmmm?
“The Work of the House of Lords”, the UK’s official Parliament document that outlines the functions of that august body states, “The House of Lords does not have a general power of veto over the Commons, but its strength lies in the careful examination and expert input of its Members, asking the Government to ‘think again’.”
America’s House of Lords, otherwise known as the U.S. Senate, performed this function perfectly in the context of the health care debate. It took a long time to craft a bill that was grudgingly signed on to by the 60 senators necessary to break a filibuster. America, via a Massachusetts Senate election, forced government to “think again.” Thank God.
You will soon hear calls for elimination of the filibuster rule. In addition, you will hear about how silly it is for North Dakota and California to have the same representation in the Senate, despite the fact that California has 57 times the population of North Dakota.
But this is precisely how a representative republic is designed. Whims of the majority are tempered by geographical representation and procedural intricacies in the Senate.
Delay allowed the public to register its will. Procedure will prevent the Senate from thwarting that will with a simple majority. That is exactly how it is supposed to work.
Yesterday, President Obama was interviewed on ABC. When asked about the Scott Brown victory, President Obama responded:
“Here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country: the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office,” the president said. “People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.”
According to Barack Obama, he and Scott Brown are actually brothers involved in the same fight. Both he and Scott Brown were elected because people are so mad at Buuuuuuuuuuuuush!
On Sunday with his only trip to Massachussetts to stump for Martha Coakley, President Obama called Scott Brown:
On Sunday, Obama nearly picked up Caesar Chavez’s meme to call Scott Brown “satan!” On Wednesday, after being firmly rebuked by the Massachusetts, and as a proxy, my the American people, Obama claims they are part of the same struggle against “the man!”
Does he really think we’re that stupid?
His HE really that obstinate that he can not accept any level of criticism?
I think the answer to both questions, sadly, is yes!
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