Civil war on the Left

December 23, 2009

It’s Blue on Blue as the Left goes after Obama for broken promises:

Schadenfreude goes well on popcorn, don’t you think?

(via Hot Air)


The Left’s rude awakening

December 23, 2009

David Freddoso on naive liberals being hit with a clue-bat over ObamaCare:

Principled, respectable liberals are hopelessly naive about government and its inherent shortcomings. When they see government money wasted and large corporations buying influence, they earnestly call for more rules — Transparency! Reform! Campaign finance regulations! — as though no one will find away around the new rules. As though the ongoing game of government plunder in Washington is any less damaging to our nation when we’re able to watch it happen in high definition.

That explains the Left’s rude awakening on Obamacare. In the legislative process, liberals have seen their juicy steaks devoured by savage beasts. They fail to appreciate that they caused this problem by placing their precious cattle in the middle of a wolf pack.


WTF?? Obama gives Interpol powers American cops don’t have?

December 23, 2009

The Obama administration last week rescinded restrictions on the operation of Interpol agents on US soil, giving them privileges US law enforcement doesn’t have and placing it above the US Constitution:

You just can’t make up how brazen this crowd is. One week ago, President Obama quietly signed an executive order that makes an international police force immune from the restraints of American law.

Interpol is the shorthand for the International Criminal Police Organization. It was established in 1923 and operates in about 188 countries. By executive order 12425, issued in 1983, President Reagan recognized Interpol as an international organization and gave it some of the privileges and immunities customarily extended to foreign diplomats. Interpol, however, is also an active law-enforcement agency, so critical privileges and immunities (set forth in Section 2(c) of the International Organizations Immunities Act) were withheld. Specifically, Interpol’s property and assets remained subject to search and seizure, and its archived records remained subject to public scrutiny under provisions like the Freedom of Information Act. Being constrained by the Fourth Amendment, FOIA, and other limitations of the Constitution and federal law that protect the liberty and privacy of Americans is what prevents law-enforcement and its controlling government authority from becoming tyrannical.

On Wednesday, however, for no apparent reason, President Obama issued an executive order removing the Reagan limitations. That is, Interpol’s property and assets are no longer subject to search and confiscation, and its archives are now considered inviolable. This international police force (whose U.S. headquarters is in the Justice Department in Washington) will be unrestrained by the U.S. Constitution and American law while it operates in the United States and affects both Americans and American interests outside the United States.

The author, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy, asks some very good questions, among them why we need to elevate a foreign police service above our own legal protections and why does Interpol need an untouchable repository for documents? Essentially this means that someone arrested under an Interpol warrant in the US can be denied the right to see the evidence used to swear out the warrant against him (presumably at an extradition hearing), a discovery process that’s considered a fundamental protection against tyranny under our Anglo-American system.

Steve Schippert and Clive Middleton at Threats Watch think they see a reason: this amendment of the Reagan-era order may be preparatory to once again subjecting the United States to the International Criminal Court and surrendering sovereignty:

In light of what we know and can observe, it is our logical conclusion that President Obama’s Executive Order amending President Ronald Reagans’ 1983 EO 12425 and placing INTERPOL above the United States Constitution and beyond the legal reach of our own top law enforcement is a precursor to more damaging moves.

The pre-requisite conditions regarding the Iraq withdrawal and the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility closure will continue their course. meanwhile, the next move from President Obama is likely an attempt to dissolve the agreements made between President Bush and other states preventing them from turning over American military forces to the ICC (via INTERPOL) for war crimes or any other prosecutions.

When the paths on the road map converge – Iraq withdrawal, Guantánamo closure, perceived American image improved internationally, and an empowered INTERPOL in the United States – it is probable that President Barack Obama will once again make America a signatory to the International Criminal Court. It will be a move that surrenders American sovereignty to an international body who’s INTERPOL enforcement arm has already been elevated above the Constitution and American domestic law enforcement.

For an added and disturbing wrinkle, INTERPOL’s central operations office in the United States is within our own Justice Department offices. They are American law enforcement officers working under the aegis of INTERPOL within our own Justice Department. That they now operate with full diplomatic immunity and with “inviolable archives” from within our own buildings should send red flags soaring into the clouds.

I don’t know if Middleton and Schippert’s analysis is correct, but I do find it more than a bit disturbing that a foreign law-enforcement agency would be allowed to operate on American soil and not be subject to the same constitutional restraints as the FBI or DEA. That’s an unacceptable slight to American sovereignty. And, to give my inner-conspiracy theorist full sway, isn’t it convenient that there’s now an archive within the Justice Department that’s protected by diplomatic immunity, so that no documents in it are available to Congress or a US court? What a perfect place to lose embarrassing documents Obama and Attorney General Holder would rather never see the light of day.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Obama thinks the Constitution is fundamentally flawed. So what’s the problem with giving extra-constitutional privileges to a foreign police agency?

Is it November, 2010, yet?  At wits end

LINKS: More at Hot Air, The Anchoress, Brutally Honest, Noisy Room, Pax Parabellum , Bob Owens, & Baldilocks.

UPDATE: Welcome readers of Patterico’s Pontifications. Thanks for the link, DRJ!


FAA spends five million on hookers and booze

December 23, 2009

But, don’t worry. It was all part of their training, to make sure they were on the same page. Or something:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spent five million dollars this month to bring 3, 600 managers to a conference in Atlanta that FAA whistleblowers and critics say was little more than an excuse to throw a three-week-long Christmas party.

“It’s the wrong time to spend five million dollars on a Christmas party for anybody’s employees, especially in the government,” said Tom Schatz, the president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a non-profit watchdog group.

Undercover video to be broadcast tonight on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer shows FAA managers drinking heavily and making the rounds of Atlanta bars after a day of meetings.

One FAA manager told an ABC News undercover reporter, “Anytime you get a bunch of FAA guys together, it is nothing but a party.” Another said, “It beats being at work.”

The FAA says the purpose of the December meetings was to train managers on the new contract for air traffic controllers that went into effect on Oct. 1.

“This is worth it because we have to get the frontline managers on-board with what we’re trying to do,” said Hank Krakowski, the chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Operations.

The FAA managers received $81 per day to spend on meals and personal expenses. The hotel room cost was $140 per night.

At the end of one day of meetings, an FAA manager said he and others were about to head out “to dance on tables shortly.” He boasted he was “almost arrested” for being drunk and “dancing on the tables” at the last such FAA managers gathering in St. Louis in 2006.

Another conference attendee asked a female ABC News undercover reporter if she was a “hooker” because “I was ready to reach for my wallet.”

Obviously, I went to work for the wrong employer. The best we get is a plate of cookies; the FAA gets a “spread the wealth” program for call-girls.

And, gee, do you think this will play well with a public already angry at a vastly expanding and expensive federal bureaucracy, in which jobs and salaries are skyrocketing during a severe recession?

Yeah. Me, too.  I dont know


Smart Power! The Top-Ten Obama Foreign Policy Screw Ups

December 23, 2009

Remember when the incoming administration promised us a new era of “smart power,” of foreign policy done right? President Obama, inexperienced but with superior judgment. Vice-President Joe Biden, the wise sage of the Senate with a firm grip on reality. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who braved danger while accumulating vast experience in foreign affairs as First Lady. Enemies would become friends, our friends would respect us again, and all the world’s ills would be solved by engagement without preconditions. It was a foreign policy straight out of the Hundred Acre Wood.

Meet your Smart Power(tm) Team!

Meet your Smart Power(tm) Team!

(I think Tigger is played by Joe Biden…)

We’ve now had nearly a year of enlightened direction of our foreign relations. What have we to show for it? Plenty, if you’re into farce. Nile Gardiner of the Telegraph reviews the last year and presents a list of the Team Obama’s biggest foreign policy follies:

This has hardly been a stellar year for the projection of American global power. Weakness, rather than strength, has been the hallmark of US foreign policy under Barack Obama, from the Iranian nuclear crisis to dithering over the war in Afghanistan. Instead of strong American leadership, the White House has all too often offered humiliating apologies for America’s past and embarrassing gaffes.

Here is a list of the ten biggest foreign policy follies of Barack Obama’s first year in office. I’ve tried to make the list inclusive of all corners of the world, ranging from Tehran to Tokyo to Khartoum, and frankly could easily have expanded it to a top 20 or even top 30 list. There are plenty to choose from, including some of the most cringe worthy moments in modern American history.

I’ve talked about some of Obama’s notable gaffes before: for example stabbing Poland and the Czech Republic in the back over missile defense; backing a stooge of Venezuelan dictator Chavez against the constitutional government of Honduras; and a general policy based on appeasement. Gardiner’s list includes some I’ve overlooked, notably:

9. Embracing Genocidal Killers in Sudan

I’ve included this in the list because it illustrates the extraordinary lengths to which the Obama administration will go to appease the most evil tyrannies on the face of the earth. In October Obama extended the hand of friendship to the brutal regime in Khartoum led by Omar Hassan al-Bashir, responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands in Darfur, offering to lift sanctions if there were “concrete steps in a new direction”. The moral bankruptcy of this approach was summed up by Obama’s hugely controversial special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force Major General J. Scott Gration:
“We’ve got to think about giving out cookies. Kids, countries — they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement.”

Read the whole thing, while I go find a brick wall to bang my head against. In just his first year, President Barack Obama has succeeded in something I thought impossible: making Jimmy Carter look like a tower of strength.

Is it 2012 yet?  Praying

(hat tip: Power Line)


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