"This is their fault!"

March 18, 2009

This has been all over the blogosphere today, but I can’t resist posting it: Fox’s Shep Smith takes a verbal baseball bat to Congress –specifically Barney Frank (D-Fat Pig) and Chris Dodd (D-Waitress Sandwich)– for their hypocritical outrage over the AIG bonuses. Roll’em, Tito!

I’ve never been a big fan of Smith, but he earned major points today. Keep it up, dude. Cowboy

UPDATE: More on Dodd’s serial lies.


Wednesday funnies

March 18, 2009

NewsBusted, with Jodi Miller:


Hee hee


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Tipping point?

March 18, 2009

I wrote before of being aghast at the Obama administration’s idea to make US military personnel buy private insurance to pay for treatment for combat wounds by the VA. I felt certain they’d realize how stupid and insulting this proposal is and would quietly drop it.

I was wrong.

The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization says he is “deeply disappointed and concerned” after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

“It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan,” said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. “He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it.”

The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, “This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ‘ to care for him who shall have borne the battle’ given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm’s way, and not private insurance companies. I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America’s veterans!”

Liberals often protest that they respect and honor the military, that they “care for the troops,” and then they give us garbage like this? Let me put this as plainly as I can: the men and women who serve in our armed forces are volunteers. We ask them to defend our nation’s interests –and our very lives– at the risk of wounding, permanent disfigurement, and even death. And they freely agree to do just that. When they are injured in the course of that service, we owe them the best medical care the nation can provide, at the nation’s expense. This isn’t just a contractual obligation — it is a moral imperative. It is the only decent thing to do, and to even consider making wounded soldiers pay for their own care is obscene.

The Obama administration says they need to raise $540 million dollars and that this is a good way to do it. May I suggest to these geniuses that they could instead cut that much in pork-barrel spending from the stimulus bill alone, and still have plenty leftover for dog runs?

There’s growing discontent and doubt about the administration and its policies, even from its supporters, but it has yet to translate into active anger at Obama himself, who remains personally popular. This, however, could be the tipping point. Whatever people may feel about the wars we’re fighting, the military and its personnel are held in high regard by most Americans — far higher than Congress, for example. As a volunteer force in a democratic republic, Americans feel a sense of ownership over the military and concern for its members that isn’t found in authoritarian states. And they will not be happy with Obama’s slap in the face against their friends and relatives.

President Obama should be careful: a seemingly “little policy change” like this could be the catalyst that turns the public’s growing but still inchoate frustration into a burning anger directed at him and his party, costing them dearly at the ballot box.

LINKS: Fausta, Baseball Crank, AJ Strata, Sister Toldjah, & Ed Morrissey.

JUST WORDS: And here’s what the President himself had to say about caring for our veterans:

Guess this must be another of those seemingly endless Obama Promises(tm) that come with expiration dates. Angry

UPDATE: They’re laughing at you, Mr. President-Messiah

UPDATE II: Faced with bipartisan scorn and contempt, the administration has withdrawn the proposal. Ed Morrissey has the money quote:

If he respected veterans, he wouldn’t have proposed it in the first place.  All this shows is that Obama “respects” the potential for fumbling away any hope of re-election.


Edit 2/27/2012: Fixed a link that referred to the old Typepad site.

If George Bush had done this….

March 18, 2009

The press would be all over it. Due to a teleprompter faux-pas, Obama thanks himself.

Maybe he had been enjoying St. Paddy’s Day a little early…. Good luck


Make room under the bus!

March 18, 2009

President Barack Obama may never find a Commerce Secretary at this rate. The Washington Times reports that former Washington State Governor Gary Locke, Obama’s third choice for the job after New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg both withdrew, has had the Chinese government as a client and been tied to a Chinese influence-buying scandal:

Commerce Secretary nominee Gary Locke, whose job would include approving sensitive exports to China, has performed legal work for companies doing business with Beijing and was forced to refund several political donations that he received in the 1990s from key figures in a Chinese influence-buying investigation.

The former Washington state governor is expected to face questions about both issues during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Senate aides and an Obama administration official familiar with the vetting told The Washington Times.

There are two problems here. First, Commerce has final say over the sale of "dual use" technology (things that have both military and civilian uses) to foreign countries, and China would desperately love to get its hands on American technology, and they engage in extensive industrial espionage in the United States. While it can be argued that Locke’s business ties to China give him a good knowledge of the country and commercial prospects there, they also raise serious questions of conflicted interest in possible sales of dual-use items to China.  While these past ties of themselves aren’t enough to disqualify him, senators at his hearing should question him closely.

More disturbing are the campaign donations he returned because the money was tied to people with connections both to the Chinese government and organized crime:

As for the Clinton-era donations that Mr. Locke received from sources connected to the Chinese influence-peddling investigation, Mr. LaBolt said the nominee had long since refunded the money and was never implicated in any wrongdoing by congressional or Justice Department investigators.


Edward Timperlake, a former congressional investigator who worked on the 1990s fundraising probe, said the Senate should examine Mr. Locke’s ties to fundraisers like John Huang, Ted Sioeng and others who were identified during the 1990s investigation. That probe looked into whether Chinese government cash was illegally routed into Democratic coffers during President Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign.

"The players connected to any examination of Locke and his confirmation are Triad gangsters and Chinese military agents," Mr. Timperlake said in an interview.


According to a 1998 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report, Mr. Locke received $8,700 in contributions from Sioeng family members, business associates and employees. The committee found no evidence showing that Mr. Locke knowingly accepted illegal donations from Mr. Sioeng’s family and associates but outlined "serious questions regarding some of the contributions and their apparent violation of Federal campaign funding laws."

It is illegal for a foreign national to contribute to a U.S. candidate. Mr. Locke told the House committee that he met Mr. Sioeng twice but had no knowledge that donations were funneled from abroad, according to the report.

"Committee investigators identified eight contributions from Sioeng family members and associates totaling $8,700 around July 29, 1996 to Gary Locke’s 1996 campaign for governor of Washington State," the House report said. "Committee investigators traced the funding of five of the contributions totaling $5,500 to a foreign bank account in Hong Kong that the Committee has associated with Ted Sioeng."

Four other payments totaling $4,400 appeared to be illegal "straw donor" conduit payments by employees of companies that the Sioeng family either owned or had business ties, according to the House committee report.

While the Times article doesn’t mention her work, Michelle Malkin has extensively covered Locke’s questionable fundraising both as a blogger and in her former career as a Seattle-based reporter. Her articles here and here are good starts. (A full archive is here.)

I view the tainted money as the more serious allegation, even if Locke has given it back. There are simply too many checks (including some sequentially numbered, but with different payers) and untraceable donors for the claims of "I didn’t know" to be believable. Even if not absolutely damning on the existing evidence, the matter should be reopened and investigated fully, given the sensitive nature of the Commerce Secretary’s job. Doubly so, when one recalls the poor vetting the Obama administration has given its nominees so far and the number who have been revealed to be … ethically challenged.

It’s getting awfully crowded under the Obama bus. Coffee