Monday, March 31, 2008

The Discovery of France With and Without Language

The Discovery of France is a wonderful book that reveals the France I began to discover during a two-year stint as American Vice Consul in Lyon back in the '70s. A bicycle is the best way to allow the real beauty of the paysage impress itself upon you. And the excitement of biking around a corner and coming to the ancestral homestead of Berlioz near Grenoble is one example of the thrills one can experience just pedaling in the rolling hills of the Alpine Piedmont.

French "Culture Minister" Christine Albanel displays the underside of France in its obsessive preoccupation with preserving the glories of its linguistic purity.

Here is where to experience the full grandeur of the grandiosity of la langue francaise.

David Mamet Sees the Light---Expect the "Revisionists" to "reevaluate" Any Day Now!

David Mamet wrote his own Apologia Pro Vita Sua in the Village Voice. He no longer considers himself a liberal, is the gist of the article, and will now judge life from a perspective other than the value-free optic liberals employ on their journey through life.

I'm looking forward to a "reevaluation" of Mamet's work as the hatchet boys begin their "revisionism" which is bound to find that David Mamet is not the immense talent that he appeared to be over the last twenty-five years.

That old Soviet Encyclopedia routine still operates with the Mainstream Media, whose critical faculties are as weak and malleable as their moral integrity---c'est a dire, negligible verging on invisible.

Quel gaspillage!

Prick[ly] Ickes Still Nasty after All These Years

Harold Ickes was my boss in the '68 McCarthy primary campaign run out of Columbus Circle in NYC. He was a very abrasive, inconsiderate, and generally nasty fellow. He assigned me to work in Brooklyn with a very young John Podesta, who was about nineteen at the time, in Bay Ridge, the only New York state congressional district that had gone for Barry Goldwater in the '64 election.

I met John in the late eighties, before he became Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff in the White House, and Podesta agreed with me that those days of working precincts and neighborhoods were among the most joyous of our respective political careers.

It's worthy of note that John Podesta, whose personal affability and generosity are apparent, even when one disagrees with him on issues or general perspective, has become a widely respected political operator frequently interviewed on national TV. While a Hillary supporter, JP might end up in a senior position in an Obama administration, just because of his innate talents.

Whereas Ickes' chief characteristics are a fierce loyalty and a willingness to cut corners, play dirty tricks, and generally do what it takes to scratch out a victory, even if that means scratching an opponents eyeballs out in the process. Unless I'm mistaken, Ickes may have made enough enemies to once again keep him from a significant role in the next Dem administration.

John Podesta is living proof that nice guys don't necessarily finish last.

Triumphs of Socialism---21st Century

Tourism in Socialist/Communist North Korea has drawbacks for sightseers with too much curiosity.

And while the ultra-left US MSM bellyaches about all the travails of Capitalism, Mugabe's Socialist Zimbabwe continues to look like Post WWI Germany. Blacks in the street are hankering after Ian Smith, as a food-exporting country has been transformed into a food-importing country under Mugabe's socialist policies.

Of course, the MSM never mentions that Saddam, Mugabe, Kim Jung-Il, and other flourishing hellholes like Cuba are socialist and have an average income of less than $1000/year.

That would be journalism, and we all know how averse the American media is toward that peculiar institution.

Zucker as Charming as Gum on Your Shoe

Jeff Zucker is the self-absorbed narcissistic bald dwarf in charge of politicizing NBC to the left of Trotsky. He was just on TV making insider jokes that assume anyone watches his fourth-rate TV broadcast network. Ad Age opines:
No doubt, NBC thought this would be hilarious, goofball, even charming. But here's the thing Hollywood writers and New York media suits don't get: The average Joe doesn't give a whit about the media business, and self-referential jokes that promote advertisers and corporate synergy will -- at least I predict they will -- fall flat.

Leftists like Zucker are completely devoid of self-knowledge or any perspective other than the inside of their cocoons. This guy needs intervention to be persuaded to rejoin the human race.

Cordesman on Iraqi Shi'ites

Tony Cordesman was one of my contacts when I had a year-long stint at Georgetown CSIS in 1980-81. His exhaustive research, judicious temperament, and candid straightforward honesty always impressed me.
Even if American and Iraqi forces are able to eliminate Al Qaeda in Iraq, there are still three worrisome possibilities of new forms of fighting that could divide Iraq and deny the United States any form of “victory.”

One is that the Sunni tribes and militias that have been cooperating with the Americans could turn against the central government. The second is that the struggle among Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and other ethnic groups to control territory in the north could lead to fighting in Kirkuk, Mosul or other areas.

The third risk — and one that is now all too real — is that the political struggle between the dominant Shiite parties could become an armed conflict.

Up to now, Maliki and Moqtader Al-Sadr have co-existed, with Sadr's 30 parliamentary seats backing the PM in his efforts to win against the insurgency. But the Basra clean-up threatens that equilibrium: is clear that Basra has become a special case. Since the American-led invasion, it had been under the protection of the British, who opted for a strategy of not-so-benign neglect. Thus the power struggle in the city — Iraq’s main port — differs sharply from that in the other Shiite areas. Basra was essentially divided up among Shiite party mafias, each of which had its own form of extortion and corruption. They sometimes fight and feud, and there are reasons to call them criminal gangs, but they have established crude modus vivendi.

Basra also feels the influence of Iran far more than the other Shiite governorates. Iran’s religious paramilitary force, Al Quds, has been an equal-opportunity supplier of weapons and money to all the Shiite militias, effectively ensuring that it will support the winner, regardless of who the winner turns out to be.

There are good reasons for the central government to reassert control of Basra. It is not peaceful. It is the key to Iraq’s oil exports. Gang rule is no substitute for legitimate government. But given the timing and tactics, it is far from clear that this offensive is meant to serve the nation’s interest as opposed to those of the Islamic Supreme Council and Dawa.

How will it affect America? If the fighting sets off a broad, lasting, violent power struggle between Shiite factions, most of the security gains of the last year could be lost and our military role broadened. There is also no guarantee that a victory by Dawa and the Islamic Supreme Council will serve the cause of political accommodation or lead to fair elections and the creation of legitimate local and provincial governments. Such an outcome, in fact, might favor a Dawa and Islamic Supreme Council “Iraqracy,” not democracy.

Putting Humpty Dumpty together again remains the task that both Americans and the Iraqi government encounter on the way to a post-conflict Iraq.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Steve Clemons: US Democracy Amuses & Edifies World

Steve Clemons left the Note and now resides in Arianna's gigolo pit, but he still has an interesting take on the Dem primary rumpus.
The world is seeing Americans struggle about who U.S. citizens want in the White House. There is no stacked deck, no automatic succession, no heir apparent -- and this political experience of dramatic uncertainty and the pairing of an elder pro-Iraq War POW torture-victim turned leading Senator vs. either the first African-American or female candidate has the feel of a presidential election of a life-time -- the kind that won't be forgotten for a century.

Despite the Dem panjundrums fear of mutual assured destruction, the rock-em, sock-em style of American politics is a wonderful antidote to the formalized and frequently fraudulent "democratic" elections abroad, where entitlement elites play elaborate formal gesture games while the basic outcome of an election usually [but not always] is decided beforehand.

I'm reading several books at the moment about the Founders and their amazing prescience. They would not be amused by some of the silly showmanship of American politics, but all-in-all the American process does demonstrate transparency compared to the opaque manipulations in other so-called advanced "democracies."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Middle Class Millionaire-Populists Obama, Wright, & Edwards

Victor Davis Hanson who wrote so brilliantly of the hypocritical Athenian elites in "A War Like No Other" nails the faux-populists to the wall:
Would somebody do the calculus?

Is "the brilliant" (and I do mean brilliant) Rev. Wright's current purported $1.6 million 10,000 sq. ft. mansion (cum elevator and butler's pantry) under construction in a gated Chicago community a better reflection of his hated black "middle classism," or is the Obamas' $1.65 million stately domicile more indicative of Michelle's former lack of pride in America?

Perhaps kindred populist John Edwards of two Americas and 30,000 sq.ft fame can adjudicate.

Words can't describe this two-faced double-standard hypocrisy and they won't be covered in the MSM, that's for [God Damn America] sure!!!

Simple pop-psych explanation---they hated their parents and now they hate the USA.

Wisconsin Loses Big One---AGAIN

Wisconsin has its virtues, but mental and physical agility on the basketball court aren't among them. I've been in hospital for the last week after an abcessed tooth spread sepsis to my blood after being yanked. I had watched the huge slow-footed Badgers overpower smaller teams, but their three big men seemed happier at the three-point line. Rebounding, especially offensive rebounding, was totally lacking in last night's shellacking by Davidson.

Steph Curry seems another Stefan Marbury. His dad was in the NBA and he seems just right for the Heat, if they're smart enough to draft him [though they'll predictably go for a big center after Shaq's departure.]

After the Packers lost to the Giants in Green Bay, I thought the winter would be even longer in the land of cheese. Then Brett threw in the towel. Now no Final Four.

There's always Wisconsin football. And Marquette B-ball.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tampa Turmoil? Tampa Tunnel? Good Friday Massacre? Where Davids Slay Goliaths...

Siena, Villanova, Western Kentucky, San Diego all used Tampa's first-round venue to turn dreams into nightmares. of the losing coaches had to ruin everyone else's fun with logic. "The nature of the NCAA tournament is about matchups. It's not about seeding," Vandy coach Kevin Stallings said. "Do you get a matchup that is good for you? Siena obviously got a matchup that was good for them. Western Kentucky got a matchup that I thought was good for them. Obviously, San Diego made the most of their matchup."

Stallings is wrong. It's not all about matchups. It's also about mojo. And magic. How else do you explain Siena's dominance, Jackson's rainbow or Rogers' prayer?

"Got to love the NCAA tournament, don't you?" Western Kentucky coach Darrin Horn said minutes after Rogers' shot. "What you just saw out there is why this is the greatest show on earth."

Ready for some better news? The fun isn't over. Because all four double-digit seeds won, two certainly will keep dancing until at least the Sweet 16. Once they get there, history won't be on their side: 12 and 13 seeds are a combined 1-17 in Sweet 16 play. But why worry about that now? Why not just enjoy spring break with Cinderella? The ball lasts all weekend.

"We're going to have some wild games Sunday," Wright said with a smile.

After watching Tiger et al. at the Blue Monster Friday, it looks like Florida fever is burning down the house!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

McCain's "gaffe" Might Be True

The MSMinistry of Agitprop's narrative flow, usually well-orchestrated, is beginning to hit an earth-dam of actual facts, always a problem in the surreality-based community.

You see, Al Qaeda may actually be receiving aid in the form of IEDs and other weaponry from Iran, even though that is Sunnis receiving aid from Shi'ites, which the apodictic left refuses to admit can happen. When Hamas is used as a counter, the clowns at the Center for American Progress whimper:
[Senior CAP cretin Brian] Katulis said "I disagree with the premise of your question, because again it trends towards lumping together threats in a banner of Islamofascism that conservatives tend to do and frankly that type of analytical assessment is what's got us into this mess in Iraq."

And of course, CAP Cretin Katulis has this answer to a rephrase:
"Well, if you're going to ask that question in that sort of way, you can't deny that anything might be possible in those regards, and certainly on the Afghanistan front there has been strong evidence that Iran, feeling pressure and threatened from the U.S. encircling them, has supported some elements in the last few years of the Taliban. But the way that you ask the question is intended to get some sort of answer that fills whatever storyline you're trying to promote."

So we see that storylines are being promoted when one dares question the party line the agitpreppies on the far-left loon fringe are propagating. The blog ends:
Yes, the storyline where Iran, often at odds with Sunni extremists, still assists them when there is a convergence of interests. And if Iran is willing to support the Taliban, whom they almost went to war with, because they feel pressure from the United States, why wouldn't they do the same for AQI? Of course, there is plenty of evidence that they have--but that doesn't fit the storyline at the Center for American Progress.

Like Evan Thomas's Newsweek, which was all over those mean white preppies on the Duke lacrosse team because Socialist Evan said: "The narrative line fit so well, it had to be true....[or weasel words to that effect].

It's really simple, CAP cretins, listen hard and you shall hear: "The enemy of thy enemy is thy friend." Sunni or Shi'ite or Hamas or Hezbollah.

But of course, pinheads can't or won't, hear or listen. Not in their skill set.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Obama Doesn't Think His "Pastor" is "particularly controversial."

Obama's inability to realize that 99.9% of SANE Americans [which evidently excludes his precious vessel and entitlement spouse Topsy Michelle AKA Omarosa] find "Pastor Wright" to be at the very least extremely offensive. And probably a majority consider him a liberal-fascist madman.

James Taranto addresses this black fascist masquerading as a Christian preacher:

Are we wrong to think that Barack Obama's campaign is imploding? For the past few days the national spotlight has been on Jeremiah Wright, pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ and Obama's so-called spiritual mentor, who turns out to be a certifiable America-hating crackpot. As ABC News reported last week:

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda's attacks because of its own terrorism.

"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost," he told his congregation.

Obama's response--which we'll get to in a moment--has been to assert that the most outrageous of Wright's utterances are news to him, and to avoid discussing the pastor's overall theological worldview.

In a set of "talking points" on the church's Web site, Wright proclaims himself an exponent of "black liberation theology." He cites James Cone, a distinguished professor at New York's Union Theological Seminary, whom he credits for having "systematized" this strain of Christianity.

Here is a quote from Cone, explaining black liberation theology (hat tip: Spengler, a pseudonymous columnist for the Asia Times):

Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community. . . . Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.

Could Obama really have been unaware for all these years that his spiritual mentor follows a racially adversarial theology, one that demands of God that he be "for us and against white people" and that he participate "in the destruction of the white enemy"? It doesn't exactly sound like the sort of change we can believe in.

National Review's Rich Lowry notes that Obama's 1995 memoir, "Dreams of My Father," cites a Wright sermon called "The Audacity of Hope," the title of which Obama borrowed for his own campaign slogan. Without evident disapproval, Obama quotes a passage from that sermon in which Wright describes "a world . . . where white folks' greed runs a world in need."

Writing on the Puffington Host, self-described Obama backer Gerald Posner says he finds it hard to believe Obama could not have known about Wright's post-9/11 calumny:

There was no more traumatic event in our recent history than 9/11. Reverend Wright's comments would have raised a ruckus at most places in America, coming so soon after the the attack itself. . . .

If the parishioners of Trinity United Church were not buzzing about Reverend Wright's post 9/11 comments, then it could only seem to be because those comments were not out of character with what he preached from the pulpit many times before. In that case, I have to wonder if it is really possible for the Obamas to have been parishioners there--by 9/11 they were there more than a decade--and not to have known very clearly how radical Wright's views were. If, on the other hand, parishioners were shocked by Wright's vitriol only days after more than 3,000 Americans had been killed by terrorists, they would have talked about it incessantly. Barack--a sitting Illinois State Senator--would have been one of the first to hear about it.

Can't you imagine the call or conversation? "Barack, you aren't going to believe what Revered [sic] Wright said yesterday at the church. You should be ready with a comment if someone from the press calls you up."

And what does Obama have to say for himself? Essentially nothing. In his own Puffington Host post, the senator issues a series of condemnations without troubling himself to specify what he is condemning:

I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue. . . .

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. . . .

Let me repeat what I've said earlier. All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.

In the same post, Obama claims that Wright "has never been my political advisor; he's been my pastor." In fact, as Bloomberg reports, Wright served on an advisory committee for the Obama campaign, from which he was forced to resign Friday.

Why does Obama feel it necessary to resort to these lawyerly--dare we say Clintonesque--evasions? (The American Thinker blog sends them up to great effect.) Why can't he simply speak from the heart and tell us what he really thinks of black liberation theology? Two possibilities come to mind, both of which may be true.

One is that Obama's condemnation and rejection of Wright's appalling statements is not sincere. That is not to say that Obama shares Wright's hatreds; we have no reason to think that he does and would be surprised if he did. It may just be that the whole question is a matter of indifference to him, except inasmuch as it affects his own political ambitions. If Obama doesn't speak from the heart, perhaps it is because his heart has nothing to say.

Obama apparently has been aware for some time that his association with Wright was likely to be a political liability. The New York Times reports:

In the interview last spring, Mr. Wright expressed frustration at the breach in [his] relationship with Mr. Obama, saying the candidate had already privately said that he might need to distance himself from his pastor.

At this point, though, "distancing" himself plainly is not enough. Obama needs to renounce Wright and his noxious beliefs forcefully and specifically, even if he personally is blasé about them.

But this brings us to the second possible reason he hasn't done so: that it may entail a political cost as well. After all, it's not as if the malevolent minister is preaching to empty pews. There is a segment of the black community that embraces Wright-style bigotry, shown anecdotally in this quote from the ABC News story:

"I wouldn't call it radical. I call it being black in America," said one congregation member outside the church last Sunday.

We would like to think this point of view is not terribly common. But Wright's congregation has 8,000 members, the biggest in its denomination, according to the Religion News Service. Possibly Obama has reason to fear losing crucial black support if he expressly repudiates Wright and what he stands for.

One of the Obama campaign's chief selling points has been the promise of "unity" and of rising above racial division. But how can you you unify the nation while countenancing hatred of it? And how can racial division be overcome when those who preach hatred are able to find such a large audience?

It appears that Obama's promise of hope and a brighter future is founded on a basis of political contriving and misleading vaporous exhalations worth the air emitted by his mouth.

So I want to see Hillary again offer him the VP slot on her ticket, which will soon be as valuable as Bear Stearns stock certificates.

Dick Holbrooke is a Double-Dealing A**hole/Pr*ck

Mickey Kaus a nice take on Henry Kissinger's successor---the overbearing obnoxious party-dude who was sleeping with Diane Sawyer and other DC hotties [I have a list!] as well as being a third-rate Assistant Sec State for East Asia {Senior DepAsstSec Oakbrook used to chide the disheveled bleary-eyed Holbrooke from arriving at the EA staff meetings late only to be clueless on what was going on by saying, "Dick, you haven't been reading the take." Kaus quotes an insider:
Speaking of [Richard] Holbrooke, I have it on good authority that, not only does the former UN ambassador believe that he'll be Secretary of State if either Clinton or Obama wins, he genuinely thinks he'll have a comparable position if McCain wins.

I can personally attest from having two or three dinners with Holbrooke [and ConGen Peter Tarnoff] in Lyon, France that Holbrooke is the biggest prick/asshole outside of Henry the K in the foreign policy universe. He simply hasn't a civil or elegant bone in his body [or as Council on Foreign Relations Chief Les Gelb famously quipped "The rumors that Dick Holbrooke is half Jewish are only half-true."

Lil Bobby Zoellick is a nice Jewish kid from Evergreen Park near Obama's digs in Chicagoland and from my State Dept friends, thinks quite highly of himself. During my short stint at the U. of Chicago, his name came up from time to time. A senior State official told me that he is the smartest FSO with political savvy outside of Nick Burns he's come across in a long time.

But back to the rock-star brownie from Brown RH.

Holbrooke is not only self-centered but a complete sleaze-bag. An UnderSecState once told me that he was waiting outside Henry K's townhouse/office in 1980 cadging for a future job when Henry was Republican John Connelly's [remember him?] foreign policy guru. Everyone thought Connelly was the fire-wall the drive-by media had erected that could avert a Reagan nomination---and Henry the K is nothing if not a subservient tool of the MSMinistry of Agitprop.

Whom did my friend see surreptitiously sneaking past him trying to avoid notice than Richard Holbrooke, ready to switch parties in a nano-second. Sam waved at the non-plussed phoney and said, "Hi Dick," or so my friend Sam claims. [He later got the UnderSecState job in a Reagan Administration.]

Tricky Dicky the Prick [as everyone who knows him well calls him] simply has the loyalty of Benedict Arnold and the morals of Mata Hari. He would sell out his native tribe of obstinate Bedouin apostates in a New York minute to appease the mainline Arabs and exalt his power and overarching megalomania.

All this said, RH is a very clever Machiavellian as well as "Texas Hold 'Em" type Cagliostro.

This is in reference to Mickey Kaus's reference that RH would like to be McCain's SecState as well and probably has lines out in that direction!

Camille Paglia Puts Hillary into Postfeminist Perspective

[In Pennsylvania] I saw the first Hillary signs going up this week: a thin, white-haired, but very determined elderly lady was trying to wrestle one into the ground near zipping traffic on a county highway. I thought, "Hmm ... Hillary's demographic?" Obama is certainly a darling of youth, the wave of the future. If he has failed thus far to reach working-class whites, it's because he's a dewy and somewhat reserved newcomer on the national stage. Ruggedly stumping Hillary, warts and all, is a known commodity. Obama's effect has been heaviest on the information class -- journalists, academics and white-collar professionals chained to computers and surfing the Web all day. He's been a flickering media phenomenon for everyone except attendees at his electrifying mass rallies. What's militated against Obama is simply time. The more he is known, the bigger his gains.

Obama (for whom I intend to vote) has the patrician elegance of John F. Kennedy, but JFK also campaigned with the raucous bravura and taunting raillery of a Boston Irishman. (His grandfather, "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, had been mayor of Boston.) Obama has seemed tentative in countering the Clintons' trademark mudslinging, but perhaps coolness and poise are what the nation needs after eight years of George W. Bush's lurching braggadocio. Obama hasn't figured out how to stay classy while delivering wicked stiletto thrusts -- a talent mastered in spades by British politicians produced by the Oxbridge debate culture.

Hundreds of years of parliamentary back-and-forth jeering [as I noted Sunday nite on C-Span as Gordon Brown fended off Liberal Democrats in heat and Conservatives in high dudgeon.] have given the Brits an ineffably literate [oxymoron alert] political culture which long hours spent perusing Hansard's serves to illuminate. Obama's understated charm has thus far offset the overbearing trash-talk that Bubba J. Philanderer and his spouse have thrown in BHO's direction. Camille notes:
Hillary, her shrill voice much improved and lowered through brutal overstrain, has certainly gained confidence and performance skill on the campaign trail, but I still don't trust her. The arrogant, self-absorbed Clintons have shown their unscrupulous hand to all who have eyes to see. Yes, Hillary may know the labyrinthine flow chart of the Washington bureaucracy, but her peripheral experiences as a gallivanting first lady scarcely qualify her to be commander in chief. On the contrary, her constant resort to schmaltzy videos and cheap entertainment riffs ("The Sopranos," "Saturday Night Live") has been depressingly unpresidential. Is this how she would govern? All that canned "softening" of Hillary's image would have been unnecessary had she had greater personal resources to begin with. Her cutesy campaign has set a bad precedent for future women candidates, who should stand on their own as proponents of public policy.

SNL is trying to humanize the android aspects of this machine-inside-a-biyotch, but:
Would I want Hillary answering the red phone in the middle of the night? No, bloody not. The White House first responder should be a person of steady, consistent character and mood -- which describes Obama more than Hillary. And that scare ad was produced with amazing ineptitude. If it's 3 a.m., why is the male-seeming mother fully dressed as she comes in to check on her sleeping children? Is she a bar crawler or insomniac? An obsessive-compulsive housecleaner, like Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest"? And why is Hillary sitting at her desk in full drag and jewelry at that ungodly hour? A president should not be a monomaniac incapable of rest and perched on guard all night like Poe's baleful raven. People at the top need a relaxed perspective, which gives judgment and balance. Workaholism is an introspection-killing disease, the anxious disability of tunnel-vision middle managers.

So much truth, so little time! Finally, there's that hilarious VP canard that the Bubba-child threw out to the scorn of all:
As for the Dems' hybrid "dream ticket" of Hillary and Obama, which Bill Clinton bumptiously declared "unstoppable," are they kidding? Sure, it might resolve a sticky wicket inside the party, but a ticket must be carefully crafted for maximum appeal in the general election. Whoever wins the nomination will need a vice-president who can shore up the leader's perceived weakness on military and national security issues. And besides, neither Hillary nor Obama, who are major divas, should ever be stashed in the V.P. micro-slot, which would humiliatingly limit their political mobility over future years. A V.P. should be deferential and lower wattage and never upstage the head of the ticket. Only a masochist or castrate would want to be Hillary's V.P. anyhow, since Bill would sit on him like a beanbag.

Lots of eunuchs in DC would rush to be Hillary's VP. Bayh comes to mind, but there's a lot of Bob Foreheads in the wings ready to offer their huevos for the cause.

On a serious note, McCain's cranky charm is a good fit versus Obama's soft athletic persona [reminds me a bit of Keith Wilkes on the old LA Lakers] would be a cage-match worthy of attention.

McCain & Hillary are too much inside-the-beltway to make an interesting election.

Crones Attempt to get in Touch With Their Inner Bitch

The NYT has a good piece on how "postfeminism" has not succeeded the bra-burning generation whose mammaries now sag.
...there was the bald outrage of Geraldine Ferraro, who complained that Barack Obama would not have come as far as he had if he were a white man or a woman of any race — comments that led her to resign from the Clinton campaign last week. Ms. Ferraro tripped right into the race minefield in her big rush to make her point about the gender minefield. But all along, many women who fought the first wave of battles for gender equality have seen a bias against Mrs. Clinton — which helps explain why older women form the core of her support.

Along with identity politics which is tearing the Democrat Party into richly-deserved shreds.

And of course, GOP men support Hillary for entirely another reason, as the Boston Globe notes:
Conservative radio giant Rush Limbaugh said on Fox News on Feb. 29 that he was urging conservatives to cross over and vote for Clinton, their bête noire nonpareil, "if they can stomach it."

"I want our party to win. I want the Democrats to lose," Limbaugh said. "They're in the midst of tearing themselves apart right now. It is fascinating to watch. And it's all going to stop if Hillary loses."

He added, "I know it's a difficult thing to do to vote for a Clinton, but it will sustain this soap opera, and it's something I think we need."

Limbaugh's exhortations seemed to work. In Ohio and Texas on March 4, Republicans comprised 9 percent of the Democratic primary electorate, more than twice the average GOP share of the turnout in the earlier contests where exit polling was conducted. Clinton ran about even with Obama among Republicans in both states, a far more favorable showing among GOP voters than in the early races.

Yep, the MSM are going to have to swallow hard [as will boorish oaf semi-pinhead B O'R who is jealous of Rush's pre-eminence and continues to prate that RL had nothing to do with Hillary's victory in Texas] and admit that "radio giant RL" is keeping them in the tizzy they so richly deserve [and hysteria among them is so high that their paranoid elites in the MSM are surely concocting some remedy].

As sexually ambiguous Anderson Cooper notes: "This Obama problem is making us veer off-topic."

Or Newsweek sperm germ Evan Thomas noted of the Durham lacrosse scandal: "The narrative was perfect. Only the facts ended up not quite to fit...[or words to that effect.]

Iraq War Surge Works, MSM Walks Away

The Ministry of Propaganda against America, called the mainstream media, precipitously dropped coverage of the war on Iraq after Gen. Petraeus's testimony last year:
The American "surge" appears to have made progress, and while Iraq is hardly safe, pockets of the country are much safer than before. [Indeed,] it's possible to pinpoint the exact week that the switch turned off. The war averaged 30 minutes per week of coverage last year on the three network evening newscasts up until Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. forces, testified in September about the surge's progress, according to news consultant Andrew Tyndall. In the last 15 weeks of the year, the broadcasts collectively spent four minutes per week on the war.

AP typically goes on with extensive quotes from an NBC toadie, who is the worst "war correspondent" since Tokyo Rose, a lil p.o.s. named Engel whose stories about bad morale and other attitude problems among US troops have been directly refuted by the GIs themselves, who saw Engel's coverage and called him a liar. From NBC, that means a pay raise:
Still, Engel senses a growing dissatisfaction among some correspondents about the lack of air time.

Maybe more treasonous lies from this pile of human garbage might do the trick.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Clinton's Bubba Drags Obama into Identity Politics, as does Ferraro

The Democratic polarity now dividing the party stems from HRC's philandering hubby's South Carolina antics---dragging Obama down from the pedestal which had got Barack his success to date.

Now Barack is having to crawl out of the gutter where Billary has dragged him. Their natural home is a sewer, but a gutter will suffice until something drives them to their natural playing field---Bill and Hillary can't exorcise their crooked ghosts without creating nasty hypothetical alternatives such as Rezko matching Whitewater, etc.

Admttedly the Clintons are dozens of scandals ahead of Barack, given their moral-leper ethos. But the identity ploy and the Rezko mud will serve as rungs on a ladder to pull themselves out of their natural home to the gutter level where they also have natural advantages.

I am close to convinced that Hillary is now consciously considering playing a spoiler---as Chirac did in France to torpedo Giscard d'Estaing in 1980/81, assuring a Mitterrand victory so that Jacques could come back as the Gaullist leader for the next election. The Democratic Party has a near-conscious affiliation with French politics, which have devolved into "les egouts" far deeper than even the Clintons have ventured thus far.

My guess is that if Hillary can't have the nomination, "events will conspire" to deprive Obama of a victory and give HRC one last shot at the nomination/election in 2012.

You heard it here first.

Saddam, Five Years Ago, Terrorists

Whether or not Saddam Hussein had contacts with Al Qaeda is still moot, but The Weekly Standard portrays the multiple multifarious contacts that SH was either financing or organizing to participate in terrorist activities. Oh yeah, the AQ contacts are "moot" unless you are a liberal, in the which case they never existed in
any way, shape, or form. Just consult today's NYTimes for verification of that factoid. An abstract of the Pentagon Study of 600,000 documents notes:
Because Saddam's security organizations and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some way, a 'de facto' link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam's use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime."

Some other findings of that Study:
In 1993, as Osama bin Laden's fighters battled Americans in Somalia, Saddam Hussein personally ordered the formation of an Iraqi terrorist group to join the battle there.

For more than two decades, the Iraqi regime trained non-Iraqi jihadists in training camps throughout Iraq.

According to a 1993 internal Iraqi intelligence memo, the regime was supporting a secret Islamic Palestinian organization dedicated to "armed jihad against the Americans and Western interests."

In the 1990s, Iraq's military intelligence directorate trained and equipped "Sudanese fighters."

In 1998, the Iraqi regime offered "financial and moral support" to a new group of jihadists in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

In 2002, the year before the war began, the Iraqi regime hosted in Iraq a series of 13 conferences for non-Iraqi jihadist groups.

That same year, a branch of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) issued hundreds of Iraqi passports for known terrorists.

The New York Sun finds:
• The Iraqi Intelligence Service in a 1993 memo to Saddam agreed on a plan to train commandos from Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group that assassinated Anwar Sadat and was founded by Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri.• In the same year, Saddam ordered his intelligence service to "form a group to start hunting Americans present on Arab soil; especially Somalia." At the time, Al Qaeda was working with warlords against American forces there.

• Saddam's intelligence services maintained extensive support networks for a wide range of Palestinian Arab terrorist organizations, including but not limited to Hamas. Among the other Palestinian groups Saddam supported at the time was Force 17, the private army loyal to Yasser Arafat.

• Beginning in 1999, Iraq's intelligence service began providing "financial and moral support" for a small radical Islamist Kurdish sect the report does not name. A Kurdish Islamist group called Ansar al Islam in 2002 would try to assassinate the regional prime minister in the eastern Kurdish region, Barham Salih.

• In 2001, Saddam's intelligence service drafted a manual titled "Lessons in Secret Organization and Jihad Work—How to Organize and Overthrow the Saudi Royal Family." In the same year, his intelligence service submitted names of 10 volunteer "martyrs" for operations inside the Kingdom.

• In 2000, Iraq sent a suicide bomber through Northern Iraq who intended to travel to London to assassinate Ahmad Chalabi, at the time an Iraqi opposition leader who would later go on to be an Iraqi deputy prime minister. The mission was aborted after the bomber could not obtain a visa to enter the United Kingdom.

Long ago I and another Washington consultant had lunch with Barhim Salih, whose ravings about his safety and that of his constituents sounded a bit paranoid, if my memory serves.

A veteran CIA type says:
...long time skeptic of the connection between al Qaeda and Iraq and a former CIA senior Iraq analyst, Judith Yaphe yesterday said, "I think the report indicates that Saddam was willing to work with almost any group be it nationalist or Islamic, that was willing to work for his objectives. But in the long term he did not trust many of the Islamist groups, especially those linked to Saudi Arabia or Iran." She added, "He really did want to get anti-American operations going. The fact that they had little success shows in part their incompetence and unwilling surrogates."

Okay, Judith, the enemy of his enemy was his friend. Just admit you were wrong. Swallow deeply, it won't be too hard....
Finally, David Wurmser notes:
"This is the beginning of the process of exposing Saddam's involvement in Islamic terror. But it is only the beginning. Time and declassification I'm sure will reveal yet more," he said. "Even so, this report is damning to those who doubted Saddam Hussein's involvement with Jihadist terrorist groups. It devastates one of the central myths plaguing our government prior to 9-11, that a Jihadist group would not cooperate with a secular regime and vice versa."

In sum:
The report concludes that Saddam until the final months of his regime was willing to attack America. Its conclusion asks "Is there anything in the captured archives to indicate that Saddam had the will to use his terrorist capabilities directly against the United States?" It goes on, "Judging from Saddam's statements before the 1991 Gulf War with the United States, the answer is yes." As for after the Gulf War, the report states, "The rise of Islamist fundamentalism in the region gave Saddam the opportunity to make terrorism, one of the few tools remaining in Saddam's 'coercion' tool box." It goes on, "Evidence that was uncovered and analyzed attests to the existence of a terrorist capability and a willingness to use it until the day Saddam was forced to flee Baghdad by Coalition forces." The report does note that it is unclear whether Saddam would have authorized terrorism against American targets in the final months of his regime before Operation Iraqi Freedom five years ago. "The answer to the question of Saddam's will in the final months in power remains elusive," it says.

But of course, the MSM is burying this story, as my morning perusal of the Sunday Times ["know thine enemy"] ascertains.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Trek Founder Dies, I used to bicycle near his first factory.

The New York Times has the obituary of Mr. Burke, who started Trek bicycles in a barn near Waterloo area, a sunny farmland where I used to cycle on trips home. My sister's home in Genesee Depot is not far away.

I own and have owned several Trek bicycles and hope I can get back on the backroads of Waukesha and Jefferson counties again---God's country where the grass is greener than Ireland's and the drumlins are the gentlest climbs in a scenic version of Hesiod's "Works and Days."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dem Slush Fund Fannie Mae Ready to Tumble?

Mickey Kaus hat-tipped me to the Barron's site where Dem con-men [Jamie Gorelik is indeterminate gender-wise] James Johnson and Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelik [rumored to be Hillary's main squeeze, er..., pick for AG if she slides past "investigators" in a Dem Judiciary process headed by another con named Leahy] are all given credit for mismanagement on a scale worthy of Teapot Dome:
Poole has long been skeptical — correctly it turns out — of Fannie and Freddie's ability to serve both God (their social mission of promoting liquidity and affordability) and Mammon (the shareholder and lush management compensation). At Fannie, a generation of Democratic Party insiders, such as James Johnson, Jamie Gorelik and Franklin Raines, made substantial fortunes in Fannie's executive suite. As Fannie Mae's top regulator, James Lockhart, pointed out in recent congressional testimony, the absence of debt-market discipline (the government guarantee makes Fannie and Freddie all but impervious to credit downgrades) makes pell-mell growth irresistible to shareholders and managers. Have a hunch, bet a bunch.

Johnson achieved a quadfecta of con-man feats of legerdemain, heading up Brookings and the Kennedy Center after mismanaging Target and the Mondale Presidential Campaign. My guess is that he, Jamie and Franklin would have trouble balancing a checkbook, let alone handling a monster-mishmash like Fannie Mae.

Gorelik, who managed to expedite 9/11 by crippling the FBI/CIA sleuthing capabilities, may be averted by Hillary's feckless campaign managing skills from another opportunity to cripple the USA on still another exercise in Dem incompetence at the highest levels.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities: London and Paris, Yin and Yang

The Economist has an excellent article on London and Paris, two cities in which I have lived for various short lengths of time.

Astrologers say London is ruled by Gemini, Paris by Virgo, both ruled by the planet Mercury, and "mercurial" is a good way to describe the zest for life both cities offer. Click on the link and enjoy an interesting analysis that only the Economist could provide.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro----Stuck on Stupid and won't STFU.

Brad Delong sort of summarized Hillary Clinton [and her feckless shambles of a campaign] in a nutshell a while back [h/t: Tom Maguire's astute commenter "porchlight"]:
My two cents' worth--and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994--is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it. She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly.

Although Delong's comments were written almost five years ago, he ends his blog with:
when senior members of the economic team said that key senators like Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have this-and-that objection, she told them they were disloyal. When junior members of the economic team told her that the Congressional Budget Office would say such-and-such, she told them (wrongly) that her conversations with CBO head Robert Reischauer had already fixed that. When long-time senior hill staffers told her that she was making a dreadful mistake by fighting with rather than reaching out to John Breaux and Jim Cooper, she told them that they did not understand the wave of popular political support the bill would generate. And when substantive objections were raised to the plan by analysts calculating the moral hazard and adverse selection pressures it would put on the nation's health-care system...

Hillary Rodham Clinton has already flopped as a senior administrative official in the executive branch--the equivalent of an Undersecretary. Perhaps she will make a good senator. But there is no reason to think that she would be anything but an abysmal president.
[emphasis mine]
Looks like Mr. Delong summed up what's happening to HRC succinctly. Like her husband, she is a complete eff-up. Unlike him, she has no political gifts nor personal charm....

A no-talent crone whose advocate Gerry Ferraro should have been fire yesterday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spitzer Gets Impaled by His Own Spikey Tactics

has an interesting insight into why Spitzer's demise has been greeted with such glee. Spitzer himself got sucked into the very "Everybody Does It" syndrome that he viciously prosecuted Wall Streeters for in a public fashion that was almost sadistic in its shaming rituals.
Many of the Wall Street figures Spitzer nailed were engaging in activities that looked skeevy when exposed to the public but that were generally well-known and accepted by the powers that be. Until Spitzer, investment banks giving buy ratings to their investment banking clients, and spinning shares of hot IPOs to the personal accounts of executives who funneled investment banking fees their way, were common practices at Wall Street's top firms. The executives nailed by Spitzer thought they were engaging in routine activity and never thought they could be indicted for it.

Now Spitzer is being nailed to the cross for a variation on the same theme:
The same holds, to a different degree, with high-end prostitution. In New York, high-end prostitution is widely acknowledged and generally tolerated, though heavily cloaked in euphemism. Ads for high-end escort services fill respectable publications like New York magazine. Fancy gentlemen's clubs and strip joints (where all sorts of services are available upon negotiation or request) operate with full sanction of the law. Comparatively few of those involved in it are arrested, and the johns are almost never prosecuted. Spitzer likely thought that he, too, was engaging in a practice common among men of his social and economic class and that the likelihood of prosecution was exceedingly low.

If Spitzer had confined his philandering to Babylon-on-the-Hudson, he might have skated. But his lack of limits and exuberant hubris drove him to set up assignations in DC, where the Feds can nail him on Mann Act and other charges. Already the feeble cries of Clintonian spinners are whining that the Mann Act is outdated because it was set up in 1910 to stop white slavery. At the same time, Slate points out:
Wall Street executives who ran afoul of Eliot Spitzer earlier this decade found they were in deep trouble because of a peculiar wrinkle in the law. They found their options were limited because they happened to conduct their business in New York. Spitzer had at his disposal the Martin Act, a 1921 piece of legislation that gives extraordinary powers and discretion to an attorney general fighting financial fraud. As Nicholas Thompson noted in Legal Affairs, "people called in for questioning during Martin Act investigations do not have a right to counsel or a right against self-incrimination. Combined, the act's powers exceed those given any regulator in any other state."

Spitzer's allies can hardly argue that the Mann Act is an artifact of an earlier legal culture when Eliot used the Martin Act from the same era to pull off his nastiest legal stunts---and gain a governorship from an absent-minded populace eager to see corruption end in the Empire State.

Now Spitzer is finding out what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

India Crawls Forward Like a Wounded Tiger---In Spite of the Gods

The Economist has a cover article on perhaps the most intriguing country I've ever visited---many times in fact. [The USA is almost equally intriguing and for many of the same reasons.]

A book called In Spite of the Gods by Financial Times DC Bureau Chief Edward Luce has the intriguing subtitle "The Strange Rise of Modern India." Luce was based in Delhi for years and has an Indian spouse, so he has an interesting avenue of examining India most international journalists lack. I recommend the book highly, as India's two main religions, dozens of semi-official languages, vibrant though corrupt democracy and a system of interlocking relationships between past and future, capitalism and socialism, and a foreign policy based largely on keeping its nuclear neighbor Pakistan from any military operations.

Although my acquaintance with China is far less developed, I have lived in an outlier of China's cultural and ethnic diaspora for a year & a half and learned a language whose vocabulary is mostly Chinese-based [Vietnamese]. My brother has had a much broader experience, having worked extensively in China & speaking Vietnamese, Chinese, and Bahasa Malay [Indonesian] as well as working in projects on the sub-continent [Bangladesh & Sri Lanka] for the Asian Development Bank or FAO. He judges India on a par with China because of the advantage democracy confers on the traditional cultures of East Asia, in his opinion.

It so happens that the US Ambassador to India was my squash partner in the far-off days of yore in Saudi Arabia. I'm no longer in contact, but India's interesting volte face toward the US makes America able to pull off some leverage against the economic clout of China.

The Indians I have met are among the most intelligent and wise observers of the human comedy as well as hard-working businessmen and possessing a spiritual dimension that few foreign cultures emanate.

I remain a big fan of India [I have been to Pakistan a half dozen times, at least] and somewhat less enamoured of the Paks, but both are countries that will play larger roles in the future both in US foreign policy and the world at large.

It's Over, and Hillary Won't Leave

The Hill has a piece based on what the reality-based centrists can divine and only superannuated crones, shrews, and philanderers [The Bubba who called a combined ticket "An Unstoppable Force or Farce?] The longer the Clintons prolong their agony of defeat, the more certain John McCain's election will be. Let's cut to reality:

The results are already clear. Obama will go to the Democratic Convention with a lead of between 100 and 200 elected delegates. The remaining question is: What will the superdelegates do then? But is that really a question? Will the leaders of the Democratic Party be complicit in its destruction? Will they really kindle a civil war by denying the nomination to the man who won the most elected delegates? No way. They well understand that to do so would be to throw away the party’s chances of victory and to stigmatize it among African-Americans and young people for the rest of their lives. The Democratic Party took 20 years to recover from the traumas of 1968 and it is not about to trigger a similar bloodletting this year.

John McCain’s nomination guarantees that the superdelegates wouldn’t dare. A perfectly acceptable alternative for most Democrats, McCain would harvest so large a proportion of Obama’s votes if Hillary steals the nomination that he would probably win. Even putting Obama on the ticket would not allay the anger of his supporters; it would just make him complicit in the robbery.

Let's see if the inner posse already tearing themselves and each other apart can help Hillary and her Philandering Bubba accept the math. Settle for VP, or like Jacques Chirac, whose political ethics so mirror the Clintons, undermine Obama in the general election [as Chirac did to Giscard to get Socialist Mitterand the presidency]. That way Hillary could run in 2012, if her wrinkles and bitter personality don't make her unelectable.

If this Battle for Richmond continues, the last dog will die along with Dem chances in 2008.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Hillary & Obama Square Off to Duke it Out---or is it Patty-cake?

John Dickerson has a lot to say on the impasse that the two remaining Dem candidates find themselves in. Basically, Obama is going to win and the Clinton Camp, who a month ago expected the nomination as a Divine Right, is flailing and thrashing and threatening, Samson-like, to tear down the Dem temple around their ears.

Clinton Inc. has several white males at the top who are in equal parts nasty and incompetent. Ickes, Penn, Wolfson, and Mandy Grunwald [an honorary male] all delight in the circular firing squad Dem habitually resort to. As the old saw goes, the Revolutionaries devour their young---and the living-fossil Clinton Inc crowd is chasing Obama with choppers clacking & Polident at the ready. Their Ken Starr comment demonstrates how silly & incompetent Wolfson is, ready to dredge up Bubba's philandering just to make a cheap shot on Obama more resonant with the deranged Dem left. In response, Obama's to start with the conventional attack on Clinton's tax returns. Hillary's campaign has no substantive reason for not releasing the returns she's filed since she left the White House. They're presumably in a drawer in Chappaqua, N.Y., or in an accountant's office. It seems that she could present them in an afternoon if she wanted to.

The good news for Obama is that Clinton also may run into trouble if she looks too mean. It's not so much that primary voters in future contests might get turned off—they've proven to be pretty resilient this cycle. It's that Clinton's path to the nomination is highly volatile, and she'll only increase the chance for a political explosion if it looks like she won by playing ugly. Barring some extraordinary event, Clinton is not going to catch Obama in the race for pledged delegates. To win the nomination, she'll have to persuade superdelegates to upend the pledged-delegate totals. Her best chance at making this case may come if she wins the popular vote, at which point she could say that the people are with her. Absent that, she's going to have to argue that while Obama has the people and the pledged delegates, she's more electable because Obama is deeply flawed.

And Obama could reach lightly on some of the following arrows in an anti-HRC quiver:
she’s never been exonerated about the cattle futures windfalls, since there was never full disclosure. And she’s never been exonerated about having her so-called health care task force operate in secret in direct violation of the law. In fact, that was confirmed. Of course, she’s never been exonerated about any of the Castle Grande lies and overbillings - or how the missing Rose Law billing records just happened to show up near her office, conveniently, right after the statute of limitations expired. Although Bubba claimed she was, she’s never been exonerated for her role in the Whitewater development…but hey, that was only a simple resort scam designed to fleece seniors.

She’s never been exonerated about her role in the disgraceful Travel Office scandal, where nonpartisan career government employees all lost their jobs to make room for her friends, nor for trying to cover it up with a fraudulent IRS audit and criminal charges against Billy Dale - charges which took a jury only minutes to laugh out of court. And of course, the Vince Foster suicide, which had her rummaging through his office while his body was still warm.

How about the FBI files on her political opponents, which were illegally obtained by her chosen aide, Craig Livingstone? How much of that information did she copy? How much does she still have and plan to use? Exonerated? I don’t think so.
As I recall, one of the deputy independent counsels during Whitewater even prepared a draft indictment of her for perjury, which Janet Reno quashed. That’s not exoneration either.

And the Hsu campaign donation "bundling," which hasn't really been seriously investigated. Her husband was disbarred for perjury, but so far she hasn't had to undergo Grand Jury proceedings for dozens of serious felonious charges.

And of course, her own tax returns, her husband's Presidential Library donators, the White House correspondence on the scandalous pardons, including Marc Rich, whose wife Danielle practically lived under the Oval Office desk seeking a pardon. Wonder if Marc or his holdings made a significant donation to the Bubba Library in Little Rock. The Phirst Philanderer won't release the records. Dickerson eds on a querulous note:
According to the exit polls from Tuesday, two-thirds of Democratic voters said the superdelegates should vote based on the outcome in the caucuses and primaries, which means they should choose Obama. Clinton would be asking the party that thinks of itself as the protector of voting rights to unseat an African-American candidate who, if he stays ahead in the popular vote, has the voters' will behind him.

The strongest argument Clinton aides make on this score is that it's completely legal and fair for the superdelegates to choose whichever candidate they think is better. But legal and fair doesn't mean people will buy it. They'll be even less pleased if they think Clinton cheated or attacked Obama unfairly. According to those Tuesday exit polls, two-thirds of voters already do. That's why the Obama campaign will up the public umbrage they take at each little Clinton jab. Time to start sounding that alarm.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Colombia Surrounded by Terrorist Clown States

The Economist has its usual lucid comprehensive analysis of why Fat Hugo is revving up the air raid sirens. The potlatch clientele of this pumped-up caudillo with megabucks is echoing his bleats as he tries to pre-empt the fact that he is supporting the terrorist FARC with all sorts of subventions. But the colonelissimo is thwarted by the dauntless policies of the Colombian president:
Mr Uribe's “democratic security” policy has achieved a dramatic change. By expanding the security forces, he has driven the FARC from populated areas, while persuading most of the paramilitaries to demobilise. Officials reckon they have reduced the FARC's ranks to fewer than 11,000.

The FARC is demoralized and the canaille racaille mini-Hugos barking at Uribe's heels [including the kleptocratic narco-state Mexico] only serve to point out the contrast between terrorist-coddling Ecuador/Venezuela/Argentina and civilized polities like Chile and Colombia. But the most important victory was data:
Almost as important as the killing of Mr Reyes may be the capture of his laptops. Apart from inside information on the FARC, according to Colombian officials, they contain documents which—if true—are embarrassing to Mr Correa but highly damaging to Mr Chávez. As the FARC's top negotiator, Mr Reyes appears to have met representatives of many governments. According to one e-mail, he met Gustavo Larrea, Mr Correa's security minister last month. Mr Larrea is alleged to have proposed a formal meeting in Quito to discuss securing the border and negotiating the release of some of the FARC's 700-odd hostages. Mr Larrea said that Colombian officials knew of his meeting, which was purely to talk about the hostages. ...Another document allegedly on Mr Reyes's computer showed that Mr Chávez paid (or planned to pay) the FARC $300m. An (unrelated) e-mail to Mr Reyes suggested that the FARC were trying to obtain uranium for a “dirty bomb”. All this prompted some far-fetched exchanges. Mr Uribe said that he would denounce Mr Chávez for “financing genocide”; in return, Venezuela accused Colombia's police chief, who revealed the contents of Mr Reyes's laptop, of being a “drug trafficker”.

So all the sound and fury will probably subside with Colombia's rep up a notch and the silly Ven Prez and his potlatch allies looking even sillier. The real game?
So what is Mr Chávez's game? One possible answer is his obsessive search for an external enemy to shore up his waning popularity at home. In December, his political blueprint for a socialist Venezuela, with indefinite presidential re-election, was defeated in a referendum. This came only a year after he won a second six-year term with 63% of the vote, and was the first time he had lost a national vote.

In November Venezuelans are due to vote for mayors and state governors. They are increasingly discontented about crime, an inflation rate that has surged to 25% and shortages of basic goods, including food and cooking gas. Because of Mr Chávez's mismanagement of agriculture, Venezuela imports much of its food from Colombia. Any lasting interruption of trade would hurt both countries (see chart). Reputable pollsters say that Mr Chávez's popularity has fallen well below 50%. Visible faction fights have broken out in his newly formed Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela.

Picking a fight with Colombia and supporting the FARC are unlikely to win him friends. One poll, by Hinterlaces, showed 89% opposed to a war and 87% opposed to the FARC. So the reason for his military mobilisation may be to deter Colombia from moving against the FARC camps in Venezuela where some Colombian officials believe that Mr Marulanda is based. A more worrying, though improbable, hypothesis is that Mr Chávez, a former army officer, is throwing off all pretence at being a civilian democrat and, fearing that he may not remain in power for long, wants to launch an assault on what he sees as American imperialism and its regional stooge, Mr Uribe.

But the thrashing and flailing of the increasingly unstable Hugo may indicate that his grandiosity is making the transition to megalomania---even as his house of cards begins to collapse around him.
Although George Bush gave public support to Mr Uribe, other governments in the region, led by Brazil, tried to drive a wedge between Mr Correa and Mr Chávez. There were signs that this might work. On March 5th Ecuador agreed to an OAS resolution criticising but not formally condemning Colombia. The OAS also agreed to investigate the bombing. Once the region's diplomats have patched things up between these two countries they face another, more intractable problem: Mr Chávez, still with oil money but politically on the defensive, may have thrown in his lot with an outlaw army of drug-traffickers.

So as Castro exits stage-left, his chubby protege may also be making an early unplanned exit.

AFTERTHOUGHT:[As a digression, today's Sun-Sentinel Sports Page speculated that golf courses might make a reappearance in Cuba after Castro banned them---famously losing a golf match to Che Guevara and in a typical megolomaniac tantrum, closing all four golf courses in Cuba. This life-long loo-zer was especially bad when news of the loss was publicized. The sports writer was fired and the newspaper closed soon thereafter. That beard probably hurt his swing, and his temperament is hardly suitable for a game requiring focus and concentration.]

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Can the Clintons Spin Victory Out of New Math?

Hillary and Bill Clinton used to chant the mantra that "every vote counts." But that was before Obama amassed about a million more votes than HRC & her bumbling Bubba-spouse. Now it's superdelegates must vote the way a majority/plurality of their state went and give HRC a three delegate lead over BHO if she gets her petulant way. [Oh yeah, and wins all the rest of the primaries by big margins.] <
BHO played the game as an NFL contest, with caucuses as field goals and huge primaries as touchdowns. That's how he got his lead---hard work on the ground, not hundred-thousand-dollar deli bills in Des Moines. Not top-down autocratic East German Border Guard Volkspolizei discipline ala Hillary---with Five Year Plans and policy pronunciamentos coming out on a weekly basis.

The detestable Harold Ickes
is trying to strongarm Mark Penn out of the campaign cockpit---my long-ago stint working directly under Ickes reminds me that he has no personable genes, only manipulative back-stabbing skills. Mandy Grunwald may help him in the Byzantine court cabals now surrounding HRC.

Her "35 Years of Experience" now boil down to smearing Obama over the next several weeks, although Ickes characterizes this slime-throwing strategy as "shedding light" on BHO's record. But if HRC expects the American people to accept her racist husband "roaming around the White House with nothing to do" and rule with a kitchen cabinet that looks like a circle-chain of backstabbers, she is wrong. [She thinks Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals" should typify her cabinet---the way her inner posse is acting now, it already looks like another Civil War!]

For all her vaunted "experience," her shambles of a campaign ends up demonstrating her absolute lack of human resources ability. What other abilities can we infer that she lacks?

She'd better clean house soon---and if she does, odds are she'll throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

HRC on Obama: Oh, He's Got Charm, if You Like Charm!

The Financial Times deconstructs, as many are doing, Hillary's campaign from the sincerity/authenticity perspective:
[HRC is in] a position few expected her to be in. Not long ago, success in the primaries and victory in the general election were regarded as almost inevitable. What went wrong?

For the answer, one should turn (as always) to the teachings of Marx. “The secret of success in life is sincerity,” Groucho once famously observed. “If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

FT elaborates on the facade HRC has erected around her inner East German Border Guard persona:
[...For] most of the time she has veered from one false personality to another, often during the course of a single debate or interview. One moment she would be acting tough, the next warm; now aloof, now approachable; now a fun person, fond of a joke (that was the worst), now stern and serious. In every moment of repose came that scary rictus smile, to emphasise the lack of authenticity and remind one irresistibly of Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

Bingo!! The semi-autistic obsessive chasing a dream to the exclusion of relationships---an overachiever, as we used to say before that became "hurtful."
FT points out the dirty little secret that Obama's bullet points on Health Care & stance on NAFTA are as well thought-out as Clinton's:
But mistakes in reporting this story did not all go in Mr Obama’s favour. The press has picked up the line that he is all style and no substance as eagerly as the Clinton campaign could wish. Mrs Clinton’s position on healthcare, for instance, is reverently acknowledged as a working blueprint, with every last detail nailed down. Not at all: it is a set of bullet points, no more detailed than Mr Obama’s outlined proposal. Mrs Clinton has not even said how her individual health-insurance mandate – the crucial difference, she tirelessly insists, between her plan and Mr Obama’s – will be enforced. And consider her “time out” on trade. Could you have a vaguer policy than that?

In another blog today, I read one fellow named Henry blaming Penn for understaffing the field offices in Iowa until Obama's tireless enthusiasts and better ground game had made catch-up impossible in the Iowa Caucuses, giving Obama the priceless opportunity to market his narrative against hers---the personal dimension and bravo!:
The main thing, however, is that in choosing between Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama, character is key because their differences on policy are trivial. This is why the complaint about style over substance falls flat. Moreover, it is no expression of bias to say that Mr Obama has grown more confident and effective in the debates; or that he is a more likeable and appealing politician than Mrs Clinton; or that audiences respond to him with far greater enthusiasm. These things just happen to be true. The Clinton campaign only made matters worse by striving to deny what was obvious to everybody else.

Her mechanistic bullet-point style couldn't match up with his loftier approach---HRC tried to batter his "style," but only pointed out the great difference in the CHARM & LIKEABILITY sweepstakes.

That is where Obama became Secretariat to her spavined nag.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Feminazi Steinem Scoffs at McCain's POW Status

Gloria Steinem is probably going to help Hillary as much as Bubba did in S. Carolina with his racist musings.

If there's any doubt that this superannuated never-was is over the hill, her statement about McCain may rank as one of the dumbest things said in this primary season filled with very many stupid observations"
Steinem raised McCain’s Vietnam imprisonment as she sought to highlight an alleged gender-based media bias against Clinton.

“Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years. [The media would ask], ‘What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?’” Steinem said, to laughter from the audience.

McCain was, in fact, a prisoner of war for around five-and-a-half years, during which time he was tortured repeatedly. Referring to his time in captivity, Steinem said with bewilderment, “I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don’t think so.”

This crone once upon a time said she'd give up having kids, although "I might be sorry later."

She's sorry alright for more than simply being a childless hag. A very sorry specimen indeed.

[We know that for libtards, it's always all about them. But John McCain was offered an early release after a year in the Hanoi Hilton after the vicious Commie torturers found out he was the son of the Admiral in charge of CINCPAC.]

Unlike the solipsistic narcissists like Steinem, McCain declined any special treatment and stayed with his buddies for four & a half more years enjoying torture than makes Guantanamo look like a Sunday School picnic.

Kind of difficult for the self-centered lefties to grasp, as self-sacrifice by THEMSELVES never is part of their program. It's always taxing successful people, not loo-zers like themselves.