Monstrous, one in a series

July 31, 2009

One of the darkest aspects of Stalinist Russia was its willingness to punish not only those who had offended it, but their friends and families, too. Otherwise brave men and women were coerced into obedience and false confession for fear that their children or grandchildren would suffer Stalin’s anger.

Well, Stalin lives on in the form of the wretched little man who rules North Korea and the loathsome toadies who serve him. Not only can one be sent to the gulag for the most capricious reasons, but they’ll get your family, too:

Kim Young Soon, once a dancer in Pyongyang, said she spent eight years in Camp 15 during the 1970s. Under the guilt-by-association rule, she said, her four children and her parents were also sentenced to hard labor there.

At the camp, she said, her parents starved to death and her eldest son drowned. Around the time of her arrest, her husband was shot for trying to flee the country, as was her youngest son after his release from the camp.

It was not until 1989, more than a decade after her release, that she found out why she had been imprisoned. A security official told her then that she was punished because she had been a friend of Kim Jong Il’s first wife and that she would “never be forgiven again” if the state suspected that she had gossiped about the Dear Leader.

She escaped to China in 2000 and now lives in Seoul. At 73, she said she is furious that the outside world doesn’t take more interest in the camps. “I had a friend who loved Kim Jong Il, and for that the government killed my family,” she said. “How can it be justified?”

And yet time and again America has naively tried to appease Pyongyang’s rulers, both under administrations Republican and Democratic. That makes us complicit in this nightmare, too.

(hat tip: Weekly Standard)


Pelosi’s in a panic

July 30, 2009

That’s the only reason I can think of for her unleashing her inner socialist for all the world to see in this rant to reporters at Capitol Hill:

“It’s almost immoral what they are doing,” Pelosi said to reporters, referring to insurance companies. “Of course they’ve been immoral all along in how they have treated the people that they insure,” she said, adding, “They are the villains. They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening.”

Emphasis added. And if you think I’m exaggerating with the “inner socialist” remark, consider this: one of her political heroes and mentors in San Francisco politics was the Stalinist head of the Longshoreman’s Union:

The point of rehearsing all of this ancient history is that one of those he influenced and who still goes out of her way to honor that influence is Nancy Pelosi. In 2001, she took to the pages of the Congressional Record to effuse her sentiments on the hundredth anniversary of Harry Bridges’s birth, an occasion celebrated only by a gnostic few.

Here is what she said: “Harry Bridges [was] arguably the most significant labor leader of the twentieth century,” who was “beloved by the workers of this Nation, and recognized as one of the most important labor leaders in the world.” She added: “The International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union [was] the most progressive union of the time.” In other words, this Communist-run union was more admirable than all of the anti-Communist unions.

Pelosi delivered this encomium a full nine years after Bridges’s membership in the CP Central Committee had been revealed. Nor was this just a single moment. As recently as this February she visited ILWU headquarters to deliver this homage: “It is very special to me, any occasion that I can come to the ILWU hall and acknowledge the leadership of this great union. . . .”

Anyway, the Democrats’ internal polls on ObamaCare must be frightening, perhaps even worse than the public polls showing the electorate turning solidly against the idea. So what does the Speaker of the House do when she finds herself in a jam? Same thing she always does: find a scapegoat and demonize it. First it was the CIA, now the insurance companies – admittedly a decent choice, since they’re not popular with most Americans. What, then, must she think of her leader in the White House, since Barack Obama was the biggest recipient of insurance-company donations in 2008? Is he sleeping with the enemy for taking money from the villainous insurance companies?

This tells me the Democrats are close to panic over over one of their long-desired programs: with solid, filibuster-proof majorities in both chambers, they can’t even control their own members enough to pass the president’s signature issue. The moderate-conservative Blue Dogs won’t accept the so-called public option, while the hard-Left progressives won’t vote for a bill without it. They may get the bill out of committee, but there will be no final vote before Congress adjourns tomorrow. And don’t forget the problems in the Senate.

Of course, during the recess they get to hear from those increasingly restive voters in the many, many swing districts across this great country.

If I were Speaker Pelosi, I’d be panicking, too.

LINK: More at Hot Air, The Hill.

UPDATE: Well, what do you know? Nancy Pelosi herself has taken money from these evil, villainous insurance companies, to the tune of $120,000 in the last election cycle. I’m sure she’ll be giving it back any moment now, since she wouldn’t want to be tainted by dirty money.  Rolling on the floor


Good advice

July 30, 2009

From Victor Davis Hanson, some words of wisdom for America’s elite hypocrites:

Do the wealthy and the powerful lecture us about our wrongs because they know their own insider status ensures that they are exempt from the harsh medicine they advocate for others? Millionaire Gore is not much affected by higher taxes for his cap-and-trade crusade.

Or does the hypocrisy grow out of a sort of class snobbery? Do elites hector the crass middle class because it lacks their own taste, rare insight, and privileged style? Judging from the police report, Gates seemed flabbergasted that the white Cambridge cop did not know who he was “messing” with.

Or is the new hypocrisy an eerie sort of psychological compensation at work? Perhaps the more Al Gore rails about carbon emissions, the more he can without guilt enjoy what emits them. The more Professor Gates can cite racism, the more he himself is paid to spot it. And the more a Tom Daschle wants to tax and spend for health care, the less badly he feels about his own chauffer and tax avoidance?

Here’s a little advice for all of America’s aristocratic critics: a little less hypocrisy, a little more appreciation of your good lives — and then maybe the rest of us will listen to you a little more.

Read the whole thing. Applause


A true victim of the housing crisis

July 30, 2009

From reader Porkchop comes a link to a special report on a true victim of the housing crisis.

My heart bleeds for him.


Now this guy should be in Congress

July 29, 2009

At a townhall on ObamaCare somewhere in Missouri, a soldier explains the role of Congress under our Constitution better than most current members of the House and Senate could:

I’m not sure, but I think Senator McCaskill herself was there. She certainly got an earful if she was, and it was something she needed to hear.

Well done.  Applause

(via Hot Air)


And if you don’t like that lie, I have another

July 29, 2009

Corruption isn’t unique to one party or another (Duke Cunningham, anyone?), but sometimes it seems the Democrats are so deeply mired in it that they’ve lost any ability to feel shame or to recognize that they should feel ashamed.  Or even to keep their lies straight. Jim Geraghty at National Review reports that Chris Dodd is again changing his story about the sweetheart loans he received from defunct lender Countrywide:

Sen. Chris Dodd, defending himself from accusations that he received improper special treatment on his mortgage, in June of last year: “I guess so, yeah, I don’t know what the rates are today.”

Mrs. Dodd, in February: “Mrs. Dodd said she did most of the negotiations regarding the loans and when she asked about what the VIP program was she was told it meant nothing more than getting an actual person on the phone when she called. She said she never met any of the loan officers in person. She said in 2003 they decided to stay with Countrywide because ‘it was easier to stay with our current lender than move to a new one.'”

Those two comments suggest that the Dodds didn’t look around for other options, and preferred the simplicity of staying with Countrywide.

Sen. Chris Dodd, defending himself from accusations that he received improper special treatment on his mortgage, today: “We negotiated loans. We shopped.”

So Dodd, longtime member of the Banking Committee, didn’t know the rates, and he and his wife chose Countrywide out of simplicity, until now, when they say they chose them because they shopped around?

Next Dodd will claim Angelo tricked him into taking those special rates as part of a Karl-Rove plot. Yeah, that’s it…

Senator Dodd isn’t the only donkey Democrat caught up in this mess: Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) also got special treatment from Countrywide. (Fair disclosure: so did Bush HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson) Like Dodd, he claims not to have known he was getting the “friends rate” on his mortgage interest.  In an editorial linked to the Geraghty piece, the editors of National Review call foul on both men by quoting the testimony of the man who handled their accounts:

Senators Dodd and Conrad have protested that they did not know that they were being given preferential treatment. We therefore are implicitly asked to believe that the gentle souls at Countrywide were forgoing profits on loans to influential politicians out of a sense of public-spiritedness, and were carefully concealing the sweetheart deals from their beneficiaries. One might hope that the two men who would go on to chair the Senate Banking Committee and the Senate Budget Committee would recognize unusual financial arrangements when they saw them — and signed their names to them. But whether either of these two possesses the financial acumen to assess the sweetness of a mortgage, their banker, Robert Feinberg of Countrywide’s VIP operation, now informs congressional investigators that both men knew they were getting preferential treatment.

“Who you know is basically how you’re coming in here,” Feinberg said. “You don’t say ‘no’ to the VIP.” Pressed directly about whether Senator Conrad was aware of the arrangement, Feinberg said, “Yes, he was aware.” Dodd, too? “Yes, yes.”

Corruption at any time is unacceptable, but it’s especially so when the Federal government is moving heaven and earth (and spending vast sums of money) to take over large segments of the economy. When the stakes are so great, the temptation to make a deal for oneself is almost irresistible. Corruption and venality are inevitable somewhere in the system.

At the same time, there is nonetheless an obligation of honor and responsibility to the public. (Oh, stop laughing.) These leaders oversea important areas of the government and the economy: they spend our money, wield great power, and are demanding more of both as part of President Obama’s New-New Deal. Yet they’ve been revealed to be petty, self-dealing wretches and liars who treat their responsibilities as their right – public servants who see themselves as the public’s masters.

Again, this is unacceptable in any politician at any time; it’s too much to expect the Senate in it’s current configuration to expel Conrad and Dodd for corruption (and with their party engaging in so much of it), but one can hope that their constituents will remember this in 2010 and 2012. If not, then the voters will get the republic they deserve.

UPDATE: Reader TLC in the comments offers a link to a Huffington Post article that disputes whether Dodd knew he was getting special treatment or even if he got special treatment at all.


Quote of the Day

July 28, 2009

William Jacobson takes a needed clue-bat to the birth-certificate Truthers:

Who are the primary beneficiaries of the conspiracy theory? Not the people pushing it; they remain on the fringe. Not the Republican party.

No, the primary beneficiary of the Obama birth certificate conspiracy theory is Obama. He is running the country into the ground at break-neck speed, but the conspiracy theory has handed Democratic operatives like Media Matters, Think Progress, and all the left-wing blogs which jump when the whistle blows, a great way of distracting the public from the damage being done.

(…)

So stop looking for the birth certificate, and start reading the health-care-reduction bill, the cap-and-tax fiasco bill, the unemployment numbers, the national debt and deficit analyses, and the latest Obama speech apologizing for who we are. And contact your Congressman and Senator and demand they read legislation, and give the public opportunity for comment, before they vote on it.

Bravo!  Applause