And may Obama have as much success in Canada as he did in Israel

March 27, 2015
x

In the crosshairs?

Via Kathy Shaidle, it looks like Obama wants to interfere in yet another ally’s elections:

When it comes to Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, like Netanyahu, is a political conservative, considerably to the right of Obama.

Harper’s staunch support of Israel — he has replaced Obama as Israel’s strongest defender and ally in the West — can’t have made Obama happy.

Another significant irritant in Canada-U.S. relations has been Obama’s refusal to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta’s oilsands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, which has put Harper and Obama at loggerheads.

Many Americans are perplexed by Obama’s opposition to the pipeline, with both the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal noting recently that Obama’s major arguments against Keystone are simply untrue.

Obama ally and billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said the U.S. should have already approved Keystone, both because it makes economic sense and in recognition of the close relationship between Canada and the U.S.

As for what Obama might be thinking, our media have reported some of his campaign operatives are already working with the Liberals and NDP to help defeat Harper and the Conservatives in October’s election.

(While the Harper Conservatives have used Republican strategists for Canadian elections, that’s obviously not the same as Obama strategists working to help defeat the prime minister of a foreign country.)

The worrisome thing for Harper is that, unlike in Israel, Obama is popular with Canadians.

Yes, we’ve tried to influence elections before, notably in Italy in the 1940s, when it was an urgent necessity to stop the Stalin-aligned Communist Party from coming to power, which would have been a strategic disaster. But, in the case of Israel and Canada, we’re talking about the sitting PMs of allied states whose only offense has been to disagree with Obama on policy.

What am I saying? With Obama, daring to disagree with Him is the greatest sin of all.

Jeez, but this guy is a petty, childish, immature, narcissistic embarrassment.

And those are his good points.


The man, the moment: “Draft Biden” is on

March 23, 2015

Joe Biden

Come on, Democrats. You just know America is yearning for the chance to vote for four years of politics’ answer to Professor Irwin Corey.

John Fund at NRO:

Mark Halperin of Bloomberg News says the buzz is that “if Hillary Clinton fails, he’s the man.” The vice president himself is said to be scrambling for a way to somehow run for president a third time.

Joe Biden? When the next president is sworn in, he will be 74 years old, but that’s only the beginning of his problems. A creature of Washington since he was elected to the Senate at age 29, he personifies the bloviating Beltway that voters have come to loathe. Like the best of bloviators, he can be oblivious to his habit, telling GQ magazine in 2013: “I never speak about anything I don’t know a great deal about.”

But at other times, he can be insightful and revealing about his own career. He told an audience at a 2012 Democratic fundraiser in Chicago: “I never had an interest in being a mayor ’cause that’s a real job. You have to produce. That’s why I was able to be a senator for 36 years.”

Look, Ted Cruz has already declared he’s running a populist, “us against D.C.” campaign; so why not run the ultimate Washington insider against him, should Cruz win the nomination? Can you imagine the debates between them?? Blogging gold!

Fund, of course has to be a bit of a killjoy:

I don’t think Biden is stupid, but I do think he is unserious. Not unserious in quite the same way that Donald Trump is. After all, Trump usually knows when he is being outrageous — and acts in this way consciously to build his brand.

I fear Biden, if not serious, is at least sincere, both when he is on the stump and in the many policy meetings in Washington where he leaves attendees scratching there heads. If so, we should all worry.

Few modern politicians have unfairly vilified their opponents as often as Biden has. In 2012, Biden stood before a Virginia campaign crowd, about half of whom were African Americans, and said of Mitt Romney in a comic, down-home accent: “He is going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street. He is going to put y’all back in chains.” Even Willie Geist, a co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, put it bluntly: “If Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate, said that to an African American audience, there would be calls this morning for him to get out of the race, for Mitt Romney to withdraw from the race. There’s a double standard.” Biden refused to apologize, because he knew the media would let him get away with not doing so.

Just this month, Biden told a union audience that its adversaries were “intent on breaking unions” and wore “blackshirts,” a clear reference to the skull-crackers of Mussolini’s Fascist Italy. As media critic Jack Shafer noted in Politico: “Biden’s political provocation drew slim attention. The near-universal newsroom response seems to have been, It’s only Uncle Joe going off again.”

Yeah, Biden is a boor, and there is some reason to question, if not his intelligence, at least his grip on reality. But, as Fund points out, he’s currently polling better with Democrats than Elizabeth Warren. If Hillary falters, who can the Democrats going to turn to?

Ready for Hillary Joe?


The National Archives “lives in fear” of the White House

March 17, 2015
The President who would be King

“Fear my Royal Wrath!”

Not my words; theirs:

Associated Press president Gary Pruitt reported in an op-ed on government transparency that, during the course of an AP investigation into Michelle Obama’s dresses, NARA used a privacy exemption to redact a line in an email that was actually about the agency’s fear of the White House:

“As the president said, the United States should not withhold or censor government files merely because they might be embarrassing.

But it happens anyway.

In government emails that AP obtained in reporting about who pays for Michelle Obama’s expensive dresses, the National Archives and Records Administration blacked out one sentence repeatedly, citing a part of the law intended to shield personal information such as Social Security numbers or home addresses.

The blacked-out sentence? The government slipped and let it through on one page of the redacted documents: ‘We live in constant fear of upsetting the WH (White House).‘”

What are they afraid of, I wonder? Being yelled at? The DoJ fishing through their private records? A midnight knock at the door? Nah, couldn’t happen.

This is what we get when “the Chicago Way” goes national.

via Power Line


Kingdom of Madness: North Korea’s “village of the dwarfs”

March 13, 2015
"You are too short! banished!"

“You are too short! Banished!”

Is there a regime on the planet more evil than North Korea’s? I’m hard-pressed to think of one:

North Korea’s communist government has created a dwarf village in a remote part of the country where short people it regards as undesirables are prevented from reproducing and forced to fend for themselves within the harsh Stalinist system.

(…)

Several North Korean defectors disclosed the existence of the village, called Yeonha-Ri, and said it is located in Kimhyongjik County, a border region in northeastern Ryanggang Province. The province is named after North Korea’s founding dictator Kim Il-Sung’s father, Kim Hyong-Jik.

Dwarfs are persecuted by the regime under a policy that combines Korean superstitions about physical deformities manifesting from personal or ancestral sin, and the hardline communist regime’s demand that all citizens must work, according to North Korean defectors.

As part of the anti-dwarf measures, all people under 120 centimeters in height, or just under four feet, have been forced to relocate to the farming village at Yeonha-Ri.

One defector, who disclosed details of the village on condition of anonymity, said the North Korean government originally planned to exterminate the dwarfs as part of a policy of eliminating those within the population with undesirable physical traits. But concerns about international reaction to the population “cleansing” instead resulted in allowing the dwarfs to set up the farming village.

How nice. Instead of killing them, they’re allowed to farm for food. Not their own food, though. Don’t forget that this “worker’s paradise” is a Communist tyranny: everything a worker produces belongs to the state — including the food, for  which the government sets your ration.

According to the article, the dwarfs of Yeonha-Ri get smaller rations.

In a state that already suffers from frequent famines.

This should be taken with some caution, since defector reports can be unreliable. That it’s at all plausible, however, is a testament to the lunatic horrors we know have happened.

Like I’ve said many times before: North Korea isn’t a country: it’s the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation.

And the chief warden needs to swing from a lamppost.


Kamala Harris for president? @JimGeraghty is trying to scare me to death. UPDATE: Fake confessions are okay!

March 12, 2015
President Harris?

Ready for Kamala?

It’s been said that the Democratic “bench” in the upcoming presidential race is weak. Desolate, even. A toxic combination of assuming the nomination belongs to Hillary Clinton and the decimation of the Democratic Party at the state and federal levels in the 2010 and 2014 elections have left them with few other choices. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the fake Native American? The Democratic base would love her, but I doubt her act would play well outside of New England and the West Coast. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley? Who? New York Governor Mario Cuomo? Nah, he’ll probably be too busy with his campaign to stay out of federal court. Jim Webb? Maybe, but the champion of the “White working class” voter is going to have a hard time winning the enthusiasm of the modern Democratic Party.

So, really, all they have is Hillary. And yet, with scandals already piling up and considering Clinton’s poor political skills (did you see that press conference of hers at the UN, yesterday?), it’s not inconceivable that Lady Macbeth won’t be the nominee.

But if not her, then who?

Enter California’s Attorney General and likely next federal senator, Kamala Harris. Jim Geraghty gives her qualifications:

How about California state attorney general Kamala Harris? Yes, she’s running for the Senate right now. Part African-American, part Asian-American; first female state attorney general of California; vocal proponent of gun control; tough on those “predatory” banks; she tried to fight evictions of people who stopped paying their mortgages; opposes the death penalty; eager prosecutor of hate crimes; created an “Environmental Justice Unit” in the San Francisco DA’s office, and of course, enthusiastic supporter of EMILY’s List…

Tell me she isn’t the kind of candidate who would have progressive activists doing cartwheels. She’s the “tough D.A.” figure who goes after all of the liberals’ perceived enemies.

Some of you know I’m a lifelong Californian. Having grown up in Northern California, I still have an interest in San Francisco’s affairs, even though I now live in the south part of the state. And there’s something about the politics of the “Special City” that make one want to follow its wacky antics, much the way one can’t stop watching a slow-motion train wreck. Hence I know a little bit about Harris’ career. While everything Jim says above is true, consider the following few points that should have moderates and conservatives reaching for the Pepto:

  • Harris is a dogmatic opponent of the death penalty. While to her credit she defended California’s law (1), as San Francisco’s DA she notoriously refused to seek death for a cop-killer in 2004, an action almost unprecedented in California. Federal law enforcement, President Harris will have your back.
  • She has in the past shown questionable managerial skills and judgment, at best. In 2010, a district judge ripped Harris for her office’s concealment of evidence from defense attorneys in a scandal involving the SF crime lab and shrugging her shoulders over accountability.
  • She hates the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms in self-defense. She sought to intervene in a case in San Diego against the local sheriff’s restrictions on gun permits, even though no state law was challenged and the sheriff said he wouldn’t appeal. The only reasonable explanation is that she is so opposed to gun rights that she will stretch her office’s powers beyond their limits to fight them. Imagine the DoJ and BATF under her control.

Could Hillary’s weaknesses create room for another obscure state-level official who’s only recently come to national attention? Who knows?

But, if she does become president, it’s Geraghty’s fault.

Footnote:
(1) Before anyone says that shows she’s really a moderate, defending that law is her job as AG (2). The LA Times praising her for that is like praising the janitor for taking out the trash — that’s what he’s supposed to do.
(2) Though not doing so is an alarming trend among Democrat state AGs.

UPDATE: I’d forgotten about this one. To make a long story short, a prosecutor in Kern county (Bakersfield and environs) attached a fake confession to the transcript of an interview with a defendant, apparently hoping to coerce a plea deal or score a win in court. He was found out, the judge rightfully dismissed the case, and Kamala Harris appealed the dismissal:

Incredibly, the State of California, via Attorney General Kamala Harris, decided to appeal the case. The state’s key argument: That putting a fake confession in the transcript wasn’t “outrageous” because it didn’t involve physical brutality, like chaining someone to a radiator and beating him with a hose.

Forget a mostly joking reference to Harris running for president; she has no business being in the Senate or holding any office whatsoever. (h/t Crosspatch)


Rahm screams at mental health activists, “YOU’RE GONNA RESPECT ME!”

March 5, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Oh, my. Mayor Rahm is not happy. Probably sees his reelection chances breathing their last gasp. And the people who confronted him should check their mail in the next few days for a dead fish

Originally posted on Fred Klonsky:

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 6.44.58 AM

Photo montage of Rahm at Wicker Park incident: Kenzo Shibata.

- By Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle as posted on the Mental Health Movement’s Facebook page.

Mental Health Movement members Debbie Delgado and Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle just confronted Rahm face-to-face about his mental health clinic closures. Rahm was about to address a small room of developers and residents at the Wicker Park field-house. 3 years after he closed half of Chicago’s public mental health clinics, he may have thought the issue had gone away. But then Debbie, sitting in the front row, a few feet from the mayor, stood up to tell her story. She told of losing her son to gun violence.

She told him how her other son was holding him as he died. She told about how the city’s Northwest Mental Health Clinic in Logan Square saved their lives, helped her and her son deal with the PTSD and depression.

Then…

View original 445 more words


Two reasons why Hillary had the secret email account. Choose one.

March 4, 2015
x

“Emails? What emails?”

Really, you have to wonder why she (and Bill) would do something so dumb, so dangerously likely to come out and potentially cripple her presidential run.

Why, Hillary? Why??

Well, there are a couple of plausible explanations. Let’s look at both.

First, there’s the “facing the truth about herself” argument from National Review‘s Kevin Williamson: Hillary was preparing for her own failure:

Mrs. Clinton knows – she must know, at some level – that she has been grossly unprepared for every position she has held in public life other than that of first lady. She was a New York senator who knew the parts of the state more than 40 miles from a park-view room at the Plaza about as well as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. knows Muleshoe, Texas. She was a presidential candidate whose only recommendations were ovaries and a surname beloved – but not quite enough — by Democratic primary voters. And then she became a secretary of state appointed to the position mainly to appease the bruised feelings of Clintonites and to keep her from making mischief in case of a first-term Obama administration meltdown.

But she was a grossly incompetent secretary of state who knew that she was going to run for president again, and thus she took positive steps in advance to put in place protocols that would help her to mask her inadequacy. It is difficult even for her admirers to make a credible argument that her time in that office was anything other than disastrous. She knows this.

There’s really no denying any of this. Hillary’s sole means of advancing herself has been by riding the coattails of powerful men. It’s the reason she stayed with Bill, even after his serial infidelities, the most famous of which lead to her national humiliation: these men were her key to power. When she bungled the nominating race in 2008 and lost to a more nimble, younger, male candidate what everyone had assumed for years would be hers, her only hope of gaining the presidency she was inadequate to win on her own was to be a good soldier and make “the deal.”

And whenever those powerful men have given her important assignments –Hillarycare, under Bill; Secretary of State, under Obama– she’s been awful at them.

She bungled them all. She just wasn’t up to the task, whatever it was.

So, as Secretary of State, she used a private email account to hide her failings.

Like I said, “plausible.” I was willing to run with this, until further information came out. (More on that in a bit.)

The other theory is Stanley Kurtz’s. Kurtz, who also writes for NR and is a PhD in Social Anthropology, has written a couple of excellent books on President Obama. He’s a trained observer of cultural and political behavior. In his estimation, the news about the secret email account fits with a “Clinton family culture” that ingrained in her a habit, a reflexive need to evade executive responsibility:

The problems go back as far as Bill’s failed congressional campaign of 1974 and extend through a long series of cases in the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion and the Clinton White House. Typically, Hillary appeared on no flow chart and held no official authority, yet she intervened to delay or reverse existing decisions, sowing confusion. Desperate to disguise the extent of her de facto power, Hillary was driven to an obsessive secrecy that only increased the administrative chaos.

When Hillary finally secured a formal role as leader of the health-care initiative in the Clinton White House, the problem simply took on another form. Hillary circumvented the policy-planning apparatus of the White House by creating an unwieldy and hyper-secret parallel health-care bureaucracy of her own. The result was political and administrative disarray.

With direct access to Bill putting her beyond any official White House record-keeping, Hillary grew used to acting without a paper trail. To avoid that eventuality entirely, she began disguising her West Wing activities by using White House staffers as proxies, creating further confusion.

Hillary also forced White House aides to spend endless hours “erasing her fingerprints” from controversial decisions such as closing off the White House press corridor or firing White House travel office personnel to replace them with Clinton cronies. Vince Foster’s suicide may have been a direct result of Hillary’s attempt to evade responsibility for her own decisions. After erasing Hillary’s fingerprints from the travel office firings, Foster knew he’d be vulnerable to charges of having misled congressional investigators while he was under oath.

This is the more credible theory, I think, especially when one considers the news that the Clintons had, not just a private, semi-secret email for her conduct of State Department business, but their own private email servers in their home, set up by a man no one can so far trace. Consider:

Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any emails. And since the Secret Service was guarding Clinton’s home, an email server there would have been well protected from theft or a physical hacking.

Fits to a tee with the “obsessive secrecy” angle, doesn’t it?

I suppose one could argue that both could be true, the secrecy being a protective layer over the awareness of her own incompetence. But, whatever the truth, two things are certain: Where the Clintons are concerned, there is no shortage of popcorn-worthy drama, and there is no way she should ever be let near the Oval Office.

What do you think?


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