Nancy Pelosi wants a witch hunt. Give it to her.

April 27, 2009

witch burning

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is at the forefront of Democrats who want to prosecute and persecute former Bush Administration officials for the "enhanced interrogation methods" used on al Qaeda prisoners in the wake of 9/11. You know, those methods that likely enabled us to prevent a second-wave attack on Los Angeles. Whereas the Obama White House and Senate Majority Leader Reid want to limit the farce to congressional hearings, La Nancita wants a full-bore truth commission, as if the United States were a nation recovering from a brutal dictatorship, like Argentina or South Africa.

Then again, in Nancy’s Leftist fantasyland, maybe that’s just what she believes.

But she should be careful, since the flames she seeks to fan against those eeeevvviiillll BushChimpHitler officials might burn her, too. Pelosi herself was ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee during the time in question and, as former CIA Director and former Chair of that same committee Porter Goss, pointed out, the chairs and ranking members of both the House and Senate committees were briefed several times by the CIA on terrorist interrogations and fully supported them.

Yet now Nancy is shocked, shocked to discover that wars are nasty — she wants her witch hunt, blast it. She can just smell the political hay to be made from bashing Bush and the Republicans some more, but they are not going to let her get away with this case of convenient amnesia.

You want a truth commission, Mrs. Pelosi? Fine. Bring it on. Let’s have that full-throated discussion of "harsh" interrogation of terrorists who believe they’re doing Allah’s work when they carve off heads or fly planes into buildings and who’d dearly love to set off a nuclear weapon in the US. Let’s clear away the cobwebs of convenient amnesia to let the world know just how much you and your party members supported those same techniques, funding them year after year and even wondering why we weren’t doing more. Let’s bring out all the details of how those techniques saved Americans from horrible deaths and find out what the American people support: a government that recognizes that its highest, first duty is to protect and defend its citizens, or one willing to gut its intelligence service and put the people at risk, all in the name of a preening sanctimony that’s nothing more than a cover for a partisan hack job.

So, let’s have that truth commission, Speaker Pelosi. Just remember, truth hurts.

RELATED: Noemie Emery has an excellent article with the same message: Let the hearings begin! Victor Davis Hanson worries about the damage the Leftist witch-hunters will do to the nation, and not just to its security: The Damnation of Memory.

 

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Sunday links fiesta

April 26, 2009

It’s a busy weekend here at Public Secrets Secret HQ(tm), but I thought I’d point out a few links worth following:

Gird Your Loins Watch:

Is Pakistan in danger of collapse? Proving once again that appeasement is futile when the other fellow wants everything, the Taliban are now within 60 miles of Islamabad and closing. Questions of the day: Can the Pakistani government hold out for even six months, and what happens to Pakistan’s nukes when the state finally fails?

On a related note, Mark Steyn recalls that Britain once transferred global dominance and the defense of civilization to America. Now that President Obama seems intent on ushering in a post-American era, who leads now?

 

WTF??

Former CIA director and head of the House Intelligence Committee Porter Goss blisters the Obama Administration for putting partisan political gain ahead of our national security. (Related: Should President Palin prosecute former Obama Administration officials? It’s only partly tongue-in-cheek.)

Has the Obama Administration declared war on the practice of law, itself?

And are they moving to end the right to counsel for individuals facing police interrogation? The answer is no; Patterico has the details. What the administration is doing is bad enough — we have to be extra careful not to fall prey to Obama Derangement Syndrome.

 

Miscellaneous:

Did you know the six states with the highest unemployment rates also have the highest tax rates, while the six with the lowest unemployment also have the lowest taxes? Correlation or causation?  Thinking

Congressman Henry Waxman shows a scary ignorance of basic science. And, in the economy-killing cap and trade bill he’s pushing for the administration, is Waxman bribing giving incentives to his colleagues? Finally, to follow up on an earlier global warming entry, here’s more on that quiescent sun.

 

Needed laughs:

Some chuckles to bring the weekend to a close. The latest NewsBusted, starring Jodi Miller:

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks. Happy

 


The President must be proud

April 25, 2009

Iowahawk has just announced that President Barack Hussein Obama is the winner of the coveted 2009 Iowahawk Earth Week Virtual Cruise-In Grand Champion Carbonator award for his fuel-guzzling, carbon-spewing trip to Iowa to lecture us all on … energy conservation on Earth Day. The money quote from the award’s announcement:

The sheer, mindboggling nerve it took to pull off a eco-prank like that simply shames anything I’ve ever accomplished, and I daresay you. And the best part: most of the clueless ecoweenie marks still don’t realize they’ve been punked!  Now that’s what I call "The Audacity of Carbon."

Rolling on the floor

Well done, Mr. President. Just as you did on election day, you proved Mr. Barnum right.

 


Global warming cultists discover basic science

April 5, 2009

mad_scientist

That is, increasing levels of CO2 actually help plants, which consume the carbon dioxide via photosynthesis and provide us with oxygen. As Don Surber points out, the atmospheric CO2 levels were 20 times higher 500 million years ago. That was during the Ordovician period, when life flourished.

Of course, the Cultists of the Goracle will claim that’s irrelevant, because increasing CO2 levels lead to the dread greenhouse effect, trapping radiated heat and making life unbearable for us, regardless of the plants. (At this point they usually pull out a dog-eared copy of An Inconvenient Truth and begin a dramatic reading from it. Feel free to walk away; they’re too wrapped up in themselves to notice.)

One problem, there is no greenhouse effect. And that’s an "inconvenient truth" the global-warming alarmists would prefer to ignore: the utter failure of their vaunted computer models to predict anything — for example….

But never let facts interfere with Holy Writ, for Al Gore has spoken. Amen.

AlGore

 

(Cross posted at Sister Toldjah, where I’m guest-blogging this week.)


1932 or 1923?

April 3, 2009

When the housing bubble burst last summer, people started worrying about more than just the values of their homes. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed and, in their wake, took down major banks like Bear, Sterns and legendary insurance giants like AIG. If you're an investor, you can recall when these stocks were among those considered to be as close to "sure things" as any investment could be. Their collapse, and the threatened fall of other big banking houses, was and is frightening.

On top of that, the Big Three automakers -GM, Ford, and Chrysler- entered what may well be their death throes. Think about it: three of the biggest symbols of American wealth and power, indeed, of a uniquely American lifestyle, looked like so much fodder for the vultures. Again, scary. Nailbiting

And, of course, our leaders didn't help dispel that sense of impending doom. President Bush proclaimed he had to abandon capitalism to save it. And President Obama has spent the last two months since his inauguration telling us we're in the worst crisis since the Crash of '29 and the Great Depression. (Not to mention the repeated attempts to cast him as a new FDR.)

So, we're moving from the New Crash to the New Great Depression, right? It's 1932 again, isn't it? Time to figure out what to wear to the breadline, eh? Not so fast. You might need a wheelbarrow, instead. If the Telegraph's Martin Hutchinson is right, we should be worried that instead of 1932, it's 1923:

…look at the Weimar government. Suffering from the trauma of defeat in the First World War and the burden of reparations, it was too weak to raise taxes. It ran large budget deficits instead. Interest rates were kept far below the rate of inflation, while money supply expanded rapidly. About half of government expenditure was funded by newly printed money.

The great economist John Maynard Keynes provided an acid comment in 1920. "The inflationism of the currency systems of Europe has proceeded to extraordinary lengths. Governments, unable, or too timid or too short-sighted to secure from loans or taxes the resources they required, have printed notes for the balance."

In Germany, the result was hyperinflation. By November 1923, the mark was worth one trillionth of its 1914 value. Pay packets were collected in wheelbarrows. Foreign depositors in German banks were wiped out.

Think about how President Obama and the progressive Democrats are spending like drunken sailors on payday: How are they going to pay for it? There are three ways: borrow the money ("Hello, Beijing? I'd like two trillion in take-out money, to go, please. Just charge it."), tax the people until we bleed, or print a lot of new money. That last is the 1923 or "Weimar" option. Think it won't happen? Think again:

The Federal Reserve ramped up its effort to revive the economy, declaring it would buy as much as $300 billion of long-term U.S. Treasury securities in the next few months and hundreds of billions of dollars more in mortgage-backed securities.

The Fed had already cut its benchmark interest-rate target to near zero. Unable to go lower, the central bank now is essentially printing money to raise the supply of credit and thus push down the longer-term rates paid by families and companies on mortgages and other key loans. The impact was immediately felt.

Prices on Treasury debt soared, pushing the yield on 10-year Treasury notes down to 2.53% from above 3% the day before — the largest one-day drop since the aftermath of the 1987 market crash. The rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for credit-worthy borrowers fell to about 4.75%. But the value of the dollar sank, a reminder of the risk the Fed is running by printing money to give the economy a jolt.

The declining value of the dollar is inflation: as more dollars are pumped into the system to pay for our national spending spree, the value of your money -your paychecks, your savings, the loose change lost in your couch- goes down. A buck just won't buy as much as it did. Some inflation is normal and easily lived with; we've done just that since Reagan and Volcker conquered the beast of 1970's inflation nearly 30 years ago. But government policy can create much worse inflation. If you're like me and lived through the 70s, you know what I mean. While the Journal author calls this "a risk," I think it's guaranteed. The federal government will have to print money to meet the obligations it's taking on, and that means an increasing and increasingly painful rate of inflation.

Back to Hutchinson's article, he thinks Weimar-style hyperinflation may be the greater risk, rather than Depression-era levels of unemployment. I don't know: it's possible President Obama can achieve both. He reminds me (and not just me) of Jimmy Carter, and Carter during his term achieved what many economists had thought impossible, combining a stagnant economy with inflation to create stagflation. It's possible that Obama's new New Deal will stabilize the economy at some high, but "acceptable" level of unemployment, have slow to no growth, and high inflation.

In other words, we could be in for both 1932 and 1923.

I wonder if they allow wheelbarrows in the breadline?I dont know

HERE WE GO: the Senate just passed the Obama budget, following approval in the House earlier today, Thursday.

RELATED: Leisure-suit government.

(Cross-posted at Sister Toldjah, where I'm guest-blogging this week.)


Leisure-suit government

March 31, 2009

leisuresuit

You remember the 1970s, don’t you? Nixon, Ford, and Carter? Disco and pet rocks? For some strange reason, some people look with nostalgia on those times. Barney Frank (D-Fannie Mae) must be one of them, since he wants to bring back wage controls:

…in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the "Pay for Performance Act of 2009," would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

The purpose of the legislation is to "prohibit unreasonable and excessive compensation and compensation not based on performance standards," according to the bill’s language. That includes regular pay, bonuses — everything — paid to employees of companies in whom the government has a capital stake, including those that have received funds through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is "unreasonable" or "excessive." And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate "the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates."

The bill passed through the committee on a party-line vote (How will Blue Dog Democrats on the committee explain this to their constituents?), and there had better be no defectors among House Republicans during the floor vote. Governments have tried price controls (and wages are the price of labor) since the time of Emperor Diocletian, and they have never worked, only hiding inflation, not eliminating it. And with the US government now following a borrow-and-spend policy guaranteed to ramp up inflation, this House bill promises us the worst of both worlds: government control over wages while the real cost of goods and services spirals out of reach.

The audacity of the government’s grab for power over the economy is breathtaking. Far beyond any reasonable measure to stimulate the economy or cure the banking crisis, this bill and the effective takeovers of AIG, General Motors, and Chrysler are just the first stages in a radical transformation of our nation from a free-market republic with a government of limited powers as defined by the Constitution to social-democratic and statist regime that manages everything — including your car’s warranty. It makes a mockery of the law of contracts –one of the foundations of our banana republic– and further crushes any reason to invest in American businesses or America itself.

This bill will likely pass the House, but the Republicans in the Senate had better fight it tooth and nail if they want to have any hope of regaining their reputation as the party of free markets and limited government.

For now, however, it’s back to the 70s, folks! Break out those leisure suits!

LINKS: Sister Toldjah

 


Dissent is not racist

March 31, 2009

Angie Harmon, conservative heroine? Well, I don’t know her politics, but she’s just earned much love from the Center-Right by shoving a large grapefruit in the face of the White-guilt crowd.