9-11: George W. Bush and his bullhorn

September 11, 2014

Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:

That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.

Note: This is a re-posting, slightly updated, of something I wrote for the tenth anniversary; I think it’s a moment that needs recalling.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


George W. Bush predicted the rise of ISIS in 2007, if we left Iraq

September 5, 2014

Okay, he didn’t mention ISIS/ISIL/the Islamic State specifically, but watch this clip from Megyn Kelly’s show on FOX and tell me this man, often derided as an idiot, wasn’t damn prescient:

So first Romney was proven right about Obama’s feckless foreign policy and the geopolitical threat posed by Russia, and now we see that W saw far better than his predecessor what would happen if we pulled out of Iraq too soon.

Time and again the Right has been… well, right about the state of the world, and the left-liberals and their “foreign policy by wishing it so” dangerously wrong.

There’s a lesson in there, for those willing to learn.

via Donald Douglas


Perry indictment: So, a mere accusation costs you your constitutional rights?

August 27, 2014

Not likely to be bullied.

Unlike our president, I’m not a famed constitutional scholar (1), but it seems to me that this is just plain wrong:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, is no longer permitted to carry a concealed handgun after being slapped with a felony indictment for alleged abuse of power, according to state law. Further, federal law also apparently prohibits the governor from purchasing firearms or ammunition.

The Austin American-Statesman brings up the federal law referred to as 18 USC 922(n):

“It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person (1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.”

Perry, who previously claimed he shot a coyote with a concealed firearm while jogging in 2010, is supposed to have his state-issued concealed carry license revoked if he still has one — at least until his case is concluded.

Assuming Perry’s concealed carry permit has been or will be revoked, he can “reapply two years after the date of revocation,” Reuters reports.

Really? An indictment is an accusation, but we operate under the English system, that demands the accused be considered innocent of a crime until proven guilty. You don’t lose your right to vote when indicted, you don’t lose your rights against unlawful search and seizure, you don’t lose your rights of free speech (2) — why on Earth should you lose your natural right to bear arms for self-defense, a right guaranteed in the Second Amendment? (3) There may be a reason for this when dealing with potentially violent suspects, such as a spouse-abuser, but Perry’s “crime” is a nonviolent case of corruption (4). And then he has to wait two years to get his concealed-carry permit back, even if cleared?

Maybe there’s sound legal and constitutional logic behind these rules suspending a citizen’s constitutional rights, but it sure seems unjust to me.

Footnote:
(1) Insert sarcastic tone as needed.
(2) Unless you happen to be in Wisconsin and find yourself subject to a John Doe investigation.
(3) And before anyone starts babbling about “well-regulated militias,” do some reading.
(4) It’s also utter garbage.


Gov. Perry indictment: when even David Axelrod says it looks weak…

August 16, 2014
"A prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich"

“A prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict even a ham sandwich”

You might have heard yesterday that a Travis County, Texas, grand jury has indicted Governor Rick Perry for allegedly abusing his powers to try to force the Travis County DA, Rosemary Lehmberg, a convicted drunk driver, to resign.

This is the same “lawfare” strategy that’s been used in recent years to try to destroy the political careers of other Republicans: former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the late Senator Ted Stevens, and Wisconsin Governor Walker. (In Walker’s case, thankfully, it doesn’t seem to have worked.) I’m sure you can think of others.

The idea is to get charges in the media and drag out the “investigation” and court proceedings long enough to do the needed damage. The legal results don’t matter so much as the public traducing of the target. Even if cleared on all counts, the people will have been treated to months of allegations and rumors and denials, all meriting front page treatment, while the exoneration gets mere passing mention. In the mind of a cynical (but perhaps not cynical enough) public, all those charges must indicate the target was doing something wrong, right? We can’t vote for them, now, right?

But it may not work this time. When even one of President Obama’s closest advisers says publicly that the case looks weak, you know they’ve got problems:

“Sketchy” is being nice. It’s an utter BS charge, a perversion of the legal process designed to take down a strong potential 2016 candidate. The Governor was clearly acting within his authority under the Texas constitution, in this case vetoing money for the state’s Public Integrity Unit to force a personnel change: the removal of the convicted drunk driver District Attorney who heads the office.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this gets resolved quickly in Governor Perry’s favor.


Hillary Clinton does not want to be compared to Mitt Romney

June 26, 2014

800px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop

Lady Macbeth sure stuck her foot in it when she claimed she and Bill were “broke” when they left the White House — just before moving into a multi-million dollar home in Chappaqua, New York, that is. Now even liberal PBS is giving her a Spockian raised eyebrow at her claims to know what it’s like to struggle financially, to be one with the middle class. Hot Air has the video, but I want to call your attention to this bit:

“I shouldn’t have said the five or so words that I said, but my inartful use of those few words doesn’t change who I am,” Clinton told PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill on Wednesday, referring to comments she made that she and her husband Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House. She later tried to clarify her comments by saying the couple was different from others who are “truly well off” and don’t pay “ordinary income tax.”

In the interview, Clinton accused others of taking her comments out of context or trying to “create some caricature.” When Ifill noted that such a strategy “sticks sometimes—ask Mitt Romney,” Clinton emphatically rebuked the connection.

“That’s a false equivalency,” Clinton said. “People can judge me for what I’ve done. And I think when somebody’s out in the public eye, that’s what they do. So I’m fully comfortable with who I am, what I stand for and what I’ve always stood for.”

She’s right, it is a false equivalency. Mitt Romney, after all, made his wealth the Evil Way(tm)(1): he earned it by starting his own business, working long hours, taking risks until he found himself a multi-millionaire, at which point he turned himself toward public service.

Hillary, on the other hand, earned her money the Good Way(tm)(2): by marrying herself to a rising star of a politician, perhaps the most skillful of his age, and sticking with him through thick and thin — ignoring that he was a randy old goat of a serial philanderer who humiliated her publicly and, per Christopher Hitchens, may be a rapist — until she reached the White House. After some nondescript years in the Senate, she got her next big break, becoming Secretary of State… by the grace of the man who beat her in the 2008 primaries. Over all these years, from wife of a governor to wife of a president to chief diplomat for another president, any fortune she’s made and power she’s accumulated has been based on her dependence on men.

Yep, it is wrong to draw an equivalency between Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.

And unfair to Mitt.

PS: Yes, this was mean of me, but her faux-feminism, her hypocrisy about wealth, and her ludicrous “woman of the people” act makes me ill.

Footnote:
(1) If you’re a progressive.
(2) See above.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Really? Lois Lerner thought of investigating Senator Grassley (R-IA)??

June 25, 2014
No way!!

No way!!

Real smart. Let a United States Senator find out you were planning a fishing expedition into his finances? Try it, and just see how fast the hammer gets dropped on you once he’s in the majority, again:

New emails reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in the IRS targeting investigation revealed something that might knock the probe up another notch: IRS manager Lois Lerner allegedly sought to have the circumstances surrounding a speaking invitation to Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, referred for IRS examination.

“We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” said Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) in a written press release.

According to the Ways and Means Committee, and the email chain released today, Lerner and Sen. Grassley were invited to speak at the same event in Dec. of 2012, but their invitations got mixed up. When Lerner received Grassley’s invitation, she suggested to others in her office that the invitation should be referred for examination.

“Looks like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife,” Lerner said. “Perhaps we should refer to Exam?”

Lerner’s idea was dropped after another employee politely said (I’m paraphrasing) “Are you nuts??” Still this is another example of the arrogance that infects the bureaucracy, much of which seems to have forgotten who employs whom around here.

BTW, Grassley sits on the Finance, Budget, and Joint Taxation committees, all of which have jurisdiction over the IRS. He had no comment about this story, but I’m sure he will have plenty to say in early 2015.

RELATED: My blog-buddy is already on the case.


Paul Ryan to #IRS commissioner: “No one trusts you.”

June 20, 2014
"Liar"

“Liar”

Well, gee after over a year of revelations about government harassment of conservative groups applying for non-profit status, and after recent claims that convenient computer crashes wiped out emails demanded by investigating congressional committees, what reasonable person wouldn’t trust the IRS?

Paul Ryan, for one, when questioning IRS Commissioner Koskinen:

“This is unbelievable,” said Ryan, a Republican, at a Friday hearing. “The apology that ought to be given is to the American taxpayer, not to a government agency that is abusing its power. I am sitting here listening to this testimony, I don’t believe it. That’s your problem. Nobody believes you.”

“You are the Internal Revenue Service,” Ryan added. “You can reach into the lives of hard-working taxpayers and with a phone call, an e-mail or a letter you can turn their lives upside down. You ask taxpayers to hang onto seven years of their personal tax information in case they are ever audited and you can’t keep six months worth of employee e-mails? And now that we are seeing this investigation, you don’t have the e-mails, hard drives crashed. You learned about this months ago. You just told us, and we had to ask you on Monday.”

Clearly, Congressman Ryan’s lack of faith in the bureaucracy’s honesty is rooted in anti-Obama racism. (1)

Once again, we’re left with a choice when it comes to an Obama administration scandal: either the IRS is massively incompetent and is unintentionally violating federal records retention laws, in spite of getting all the money and IT help it wants, or a bunch of people are lying through their teeth and deliberately violating those same laws (as well as others).

I’m usually willing to blame stupidity before malice, but the IRS and the Obama White House are making that awfully hard.

RELATED: An interesting reminder from Ed Morrissey — as part of a larger article on abuse of power and the missing emails, he mentions an odd meeting between the IRS Chief Counsel, William Wilkins, and President Obama, himself, just days before Wilkins sent Lerner new guidelines for dealing with Tea Party applicants for 501(c) status:

There are are numerous differences between [Watergate and the IRS] scandals, too. For one thing, no one has tied this to the White House or any of President Barack Obama’s advisers. The closest insinuation between the IRS targeting scandal has been an unusual meeting between the IRS’ chief counsel, William Wilkins, and Obama on April 23, 2012. The chief counsel for the IRS would have no discernible reason for a private meeting with the president; his job would be to brief the IRS commissioner – at the time Douglas Shulman – who met with Obama the very next day.

The day after that, Wilkins sent a revised set of guidelines to Lois Lerner for the tax-exempt unit to use when applying extra scrutiny. To this day, no explanation for this meeting has been made public, even though records show that Wilkins spent hours at the White House with “POTUS” as his host.

Nor was this the first time that Wilkins appears in the targeting narrative. Carter Hull, a retired high-ranking IRS official with 48 years’ experience at the agency, testified that after he approved a Tea Party-related tax-exempt application, it got routed to Wilkins rather than finalized.

I noted this and another curious meeting with the head of the anti-Tea Party Treasury employees union last July. I’d suggest both these are potentially fruitful avenues of investigation for a House select committee.

Footnote:
(1) You just know some MSNBC talking head is dying to say just that.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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