Friday, February 29, 2008

Russia Under Czars, Stalin, Putin: The Once & Future Autocracy

Theodore Dalrymple has the best book about the Decline of the West, called Our Culture, What's Left of It, and perhaps one of the most illuminating chapters concerns Custine's famous monograph La Russie en 1839, an imitation of De Tocqueville's smashing bestseller of 1835 Democracy in America.

The Marquis de Custine arrived in Russia not speaking the language, stayed only three months, but wrote a book Alexander Herzen called the best ever written on the Czar's Empire---simply because the Marquis had lived through the totalitarian catastrophe of the French Revolution, in which his parents perished simply because of their aristocratic background.

Custine reminds me of Peter Fleming, Ian's more talented younger brother, in an amazing book called News From Tartary, in which Fleming and an Austrian female skier traversed China in the late '30s.

How to Read a Society is worth a look on just how the Soviet Union was made possible by Czarist autocracy.

All Hail the Lowly Spud!

The United Nations isn't my favorite organization, but they may have got one thing right.
The United Nations has declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato (see article). It hopes that greater awareness of the merits of potatoes will contribute to the achievement of its Millennium Development Goals, by helping to alleviate poverty, improve food security and promote economic development.

The Economist has much more in an article on my preferred veggie:
Unlikely though it seems, the potato promoted economic development by underpinning the industrial revolution in England in the 19th century. It provided a cheap source of calories and was easy to cultivate, so it liberated workers from the land. Potatoes became popular in the north of England, as people there specialised in livestock farming and domestic industry, while farmers in the south (where the soil was more suitable) concentrated on wheat production. By a happy accident, this concentrated industrial activity in the regions where coal was readily available, and a potato-driven population boom provided ample workers for the new factories. Friedrich Engels even declared that the potato was the equal of iron for its “historically revolutionary role”.

The potato promoted free trade by contributing to the abolition of Britain's Corn Laws—the cause which prompted the founding of The Economist in 1843. The Corn Laws restricted imports of grain into the United Kingdom in order to protect domestic wheat producers. Landowners supported the laws, since cheap imported grain would reduce their income, but industrialists opposed them because imports would drive down the cost of food, allowing people to spend more on manufactured goods. Ultimately it was not the eloquence of the arguments against the Corn Laws that led to their abolition—and more's the pity. It was the tragedy of the Irish potato famine of 1845, in which 1m Irish perished when the potato crop on which they subsisted succumbed to blight. The need to import grain to relieve the situation in Ireland forced the government, which was dominated by landowners who backed the Corn Laws, to reverse its position.

This paved the way for liberalisation in other areas, and free trade became British policy. As the Duke of Wellington complained at the time, “rotten potatoes have done it all.”

Erin Go Bragh!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Medvedev Transition from Putin Czarism to Democracy?

Dmitri Medvedev may have been the author of a note to me concerning a nasty blog excoriating Vladimir Putin as a warmed-over Czarist/Politburo autocrat in December. It was signed in his name from his official-looking weblog and was almost certainly penned by a helper, but curiously didn't defend Putin, but advised me to give Medvedev himself a chance after he was elected. Curious, because I didn't attack Dmitri, but was very harsh on little Vlad The Empoisoner. His blog has the perfect winning line for a skeptic like myself:
"We are well aware that no non-democratic state has ever become truly prosperous for one simple reason: freedom is better than non-freedom."

I hope Dmitri continues to think along these lines and eventually gets enough political power to actually implement a return to more representative government.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yemen's Functioning Medieval Society

An NYT article points out another facet of Yemen's endlessly fascinating panoply of ethnic & religious caste/sects.

In the half-dozen times or so that I was able to visit this ancient complex country, I was able to visit the Red Sea Coast mentioned in the article above. On a visit to Mocha, eponymous town where coffee of the same name was grown, I was unable to get a cup of java---coffee plantations long ago were replaced by the national narcotic, qat, which gives the effect of a dozen cups of coffee when chewed.

As a footnote, the Ethiopian army with elephants referred to in the Quran which was defeated despite overwhelming superiority was the inspiration for Saddam's decision to stand up to GHWB. In one of his narcotic reveries, the brutal thug discovered that GHWB was a Republican, whose party was represented by a pachyderm. His confused conclusion was that another Quranic miracle would ensue, and the army "led by elephants" would be miraculously defeated. But I digress.

Another anecdote deserves recounting. In 1990, when JCS Chief Colin Powell & DoD SecDef Dick Cheney flew to Riyadh with Ambassador to the US Bandar bin Sultan, Bandar asked them to bring aerial photos of Iraqi MiGs on an airfield and leave the closure pitch to himself. When the meeting with King Fahd took place on whether to allow American troops into Saudi Arabia, the reluctant Fahd was finally persuaded when Bandar showed the aerial reconnaissance photos and said they were of Iraqi jets parked in North Yemen---meaning the Saudis were pincered already militarily. Remembering how the Yemenis single-handedly kicked Nasser's troops out of Yemen in the early sixties [helped by covert US airstrikes engineered by the Saudis in cooperation with JFK], Fahd immediately consented to American forces being based for Operation Desert Shield inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I was told this story by someone accompanying Prince Bandar in the Saudi delegation from DC.

Of course, the follow-up is that Osama bin Laden went over to the dark side when the US & KSA decided to retain US bases in King Khalid Military City and elsewhere near the Iraqi border---pushing the religious UbL and his fervent AQ cadres into terrorist acts against the US and KSA.

Yemen of course, has a Jewish population of at least 4000 living in the old Royalist stronghold north of Saada. Ambassador Tom Pickering and David Ransom and myself discovered this group [I have photos from our '76 Jidda/Sana overland expedition] and Ransom & I spoke to the Jews in Arabic to ascertain their demographic and geographic extent. At the time, the Israeli-backed Near East Journal was claiming that all Jews had emigrated or been forcibly evicted from Yemen. The '76 State Dept discovery of Jews in Yemen was on Wikipedia, but mysteriously vanished a year ago.

I managed to travel with the German Ambassador Held and a Saudi friend Bernhard Von Der Planitz on another trip around Yemen. The city of Ibb was unique, as was Taiz where I purchased a lot of Bedouin jewelry.

Finally, the President of Yemen flew Ambassador [to Jordan at the time] Pickering and the rest of our small party to Marib, where we were able to purchase Himyaritic artifacts from BC and visit the famous dam. Here was where Solomon's bride Bilqis ruled and the Temples of Venus and the Moon were partly excavated by Albright before brigands chased them out in the early 20th century. The site is almost inaccessible now because of both terrorists and well-armed highwaymen who prey on wealthy foreigners attempting to visit the pre-Quranic civilization.

Now the PDRY [Peoples' Democratic Republic of Yemen] in Aden has united with North Yemen, but the Royalist Far North is still under the control of Abdullah Al-Ahmar & his Saudi-funded tribal alliances---I saw his cavalcade brazenly driving in downtown Sana once.

Yemen is Usama bin Laden's original family home, and the Yemenis still have a grudge about young Prince Faisal [later King] conquering Sana in 1930 and annexing most of Yemen [Asir, Baha, Najran, and other KSA areas] in the Treaty of Taif. Of the 15 "Saudi" passport holders in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, about a dozen were of Yemeni ethnic extraction co-opted by the strong Yemeni contingent in AQ.

This functioning medieval society has over 20 million people on an arid mountainous landscape populated by a male caste of narcotic-addicts who eat qat until noon and then "come down" drinking Scotch all afternoon. The deadly murderous knives with their rhinocerous-horn handles ["zambiyas"] are then deployed to settle scores and resolve disputes.

Oh, and by the way, better watch what you eat and drink. Montezuma's Revenge and Delhi Belly have nothing on the violent diarrhea eating on the economy can induce.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

North Korean Genocidal Maniacs Garner NYT Plaudits

The NYT doesn't mention today the two million deaths by starvation in the nineties due to Dear Leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il's guns-with-no-butter-or-rice-or-comestibles policies to strengthen the N. Korean armed forces and build a nuclear device.

Indeed, the NYT more or less likes the sort of coercive social engineering that Communist autocrats like Castro, Saddam, Arafat, Kim Jung Il, Chairman Mao and earlier during the NYT's Walter Duranty days, old Uncle Joe and his Purge Trials, where millions died because to cook an omelet, you had to break eggs. But it was for a cause many NYT readers on the Upper West Side have a soft spot for, so as for the journey by the NY Philharmonic to the capital of mass-murderer Kim Jung-Il, Loren Maazel's little foray into Mordor is covered by NYT ink-stained wretches with its customary moral indifference.

Just by chance today, while the power outage raged, I was sitting in the sun at my backyard pool reading the stemwinder [from a moral outrage position]Our Culture, What's Left of It by Theodore Dalrymple. On p. 114 of the paperback version, TD recounts his visit to Pyongyang in 1989 when he was approached surreptitiously by a young Korean who said:
"I am a student at the Foreign Language Institute. Reading Dickens and Shakespeare is the greatest, the only pleasure of my life."

Dalrymple writes that the kid melted back into the crowd and called it "the most searing communication I have ever reeived in my life."

This in Dalrymple's chapter on Huxley and Orwell called "The Dystopian Imagination."

North Korea remains hell on earth and the NYT functions towards Kim Jung Il more as an enabler than a therapeutic intervention agent.

Monday, February 25, 2008

End-Game Analysis of Clinton Campaign Stool Samples

The Washington Post analyzes the Hitler's-Bunker mentality of liberal fascists like Harold Ickes and Phil Singer [Mandy Grunwald was kept in her death cage] as the metaphor of slowly swirling Clinton-campaign remnants in the porcelain bowl prepare for the tunnel trip to where Bubba's love-life dwells.
First came Harold Ickes, who gave a presentation about Hillary Rodham Clinton's prospects that severed all ties with reality. "We're on the way to locking this nomination down," he said of a candidate who appears, if anything, headed in the other direction.

But before the breakfast crowd had a chance to digest that, they were served another, stranger course by Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer. Asked about an accusation on the Drudge Report that Clinton staffers had circulated a photo of Barack Obama wearing Somali tribal dress, Singer let 'er rip.

"I find it interesting that in a room of such esteemed journalists that Mr. Drudge has become your respected assignment editor," he lectured. "I find it to be a reflection of one of the problems that's gone on with the overall coverage of this campaign." He went on to chide the journalists for their "woefully inadequate" coverage of Obama, "a point that has been certainly backed up by the 'Saturday Night Live' skit that opened the show this past Saturday evening, which I would refer you all to."

The brief moment explained everything about the bitter relations between Clinton's campaign and the media: Singer taunting the likes of Broder, who began covering presidential politics two decades before Singer was born, with a comedy sketch that showed debate moderators fawning over Obama.

"That's your assignment editor?" responded Post columnist Ruth Marcus.

"That's my assignment editor," Singer affirmed.

Perhaps having a campaign spokesman who believes SNL more influential than Drudge reveals why the Clinton folks seem about ready to suffer the old stage hook and get yanked off the proscenium.

Ickes is in a certified-dotage mode as he plaintively inquires which month the PA primary is going to be held. He was old when I worked for him in '68 in NYC---now he is far beypnd the alloted biblical three-score and ten:
Yesterday, Ickes played the good cop. "We think we are on the verge of our next up cycle," he reported, even suggesting the apparent impossibility that Clinton "may be running even" with Obama when all the contests are over. "This race is very close," he judged. "This is tight as a tick."

The reporters were dubious. The Monitor's Dave Cook mused about the consequences of Clinton "battling after there's not much chance."

"For the love of God, we can't say there's not much chance here," Ickes maintained.

David Chalian of ABC News reminded Ickes that Obama's lead in delegates is now of the size Ickes had said would be "significant."

"As we all know in this city, I have a very short memory," Ickes answered.

At one point, he warned of "a bitter and potentially very divisive credentials fight" at the Democratic convention. At another point, he compared the race to 1972, when a strong front-runner, Ed Muskie (now played by Clinton), was upended by an antiwar candidate, George McGovern (now played by Obama), who lost to the Republicans. "The fact is he could not carry his weight in the general election," Ickes argued.

But Ickes could suspend reality for only so long. He referred to Clinton's opponent at one point as "Senator Barack," swapped 1992 for 1972 and Michigan for Vermont, and said of the Pennsylvania primary: "Um, what month is it?" Eventually, Carl Leubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News drew a confession out of Ickes: "I think if we lose in Texas and Ohio, Mrs. Clinton will have to make her decisions as to whether she goes forward or not."

Ickes's return to Earth seemed only to further outrage Singer.

Read the link on top for the entire freaking over-the-top meltdown.

Meanwhile a national CBS poll shows Obama 16 points up over Clinton and pulling away. Even more interesting:
When all registered voters were asked who they favored in a head-to-head general election match up between Obama and McCain, Obama led by 12 percentage points, 50 to 38 percent.

In a Clinton-McCain match up, registered voters were evenly split, with 46 percent backing each candidate.

Obama beats McCain by 10 points among independents, while McCain beats Clinton by 17 points among that group.

And the New York Times describes a five-point "kitchen sink" fusillade about to be unleashed on Obama from the Clinton armada.
Clinton advisers said the attacks were partly an effort to knock Mr. Obama off balance before the debate on Tuesday.

They also said they were sending a signal to supporters that Mrs. Clinton was still resolutely fighting to win the presidential nomination, despite news reports in recent days about her dispirited campaign operation and her own somber outlook on the race.

To bolster her case at the George Washington speech, Mrs. Clinton stood on stage with a half-dozen retired military officials, including Gen. Wesley K. Clark, who introduced her. “I’m convinced that when the going gets tough, Hillary Clinton will never let America down,” General Clark said.

Mrs. Clinton pointed to her time in the Senate and in the White House as the first lady as evidence that she was the candidate who was most knowledgeable and prepared for the presidency.

However, this evening's cable and network news all comment on just how little impact Clinton's claim of "35 years of public service" and counting her First Lady as "experience" is having on audiences, Democratic audiences. Indeed, the touting of being the wife of a governor [while practicing law for a top-notch Arkansas firm] and tallying her White House years as "experience and public service" appears to be having a backlash effect, as it reminds prospective voters that Hillary's candidacy, like her "experience," comes attached to the outsized and controversial Bubba---who as Mitt Romney reminded viewers, would be lurking in the White House "looking for things to do," surely the most subtle euphemism for his bad habits and lack of discipline yet devised.

The Lincoln Bedroom werewolf has yet to be dispatched with a silver bullet.

Many voters appear to think that Obama will relieve us of this national disgrace with a wooden stake or silver bullet that allows Bubba to shuffle off his political mortal coil.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Myer-Briggs and the Candidates: Obama another Lincoln? Jefferson? Eisenhower?

Slate blogress Emily Yoffe does an MBTI [Myer-Briggs personality type] piece and got my attention, along with many readers in a n online Q&A follow-up:

You have to read the entire piece, but I can attest from my days in the corporate stratosphere at Amoco, at least, that the MBTI is taken mighty seriously by people who can boost or deflate your career tire-pressure.

Yoffe says that Hillary is a "Guardian Supervisor" according to the David Keirsey Corollaries to the MBTI, which sort out the Jungian personality types the Myer-Briggs typology derive from a further declension.

According to Keirsey, 85% of Americans are either Guardians [Hillary] or Artisans [McCain], while a tiny fragment are Idealists [Obama]. But the 15% "Rational/Idealist" slice of the presidential pie has yielded two Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, and Eisenhower. Or as Yoffe notes:
Chicago: Have there ever been a Rational president? Why do you think there have been so few?

Emily Yoffe: Yes, according to the book, Presidential Temperament by Ray Choiniere and David Keirsey, there have been a few: John Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, Eisenhower. For one thing, there aren't very many Rationals in the general population. Eighty-five percent of people are either Artisans or Guardians according to Keirsey. For another, rationals are more abstract thinkers, so they can be kind of a baffling type to more concrete thinkers.

Interestingly, the MBTI has 16 "types" and the ESTP that McCain has is shared by Teddy R. & FDR, JFK, GWB, and Winston Churchill, just off the top of the deck. Again, the MBTI has about 60% of all leaders in the USA [other countries and cultures have vastly different configurations] in the tiny 4% of the population who are INTJ or ENTJ. The USA is lucky to have so many Guardians and Artisans, but the Rational Idealists like Obama are the "out of the box" types who dream dreams---only in exceptional circumstances do they rise the top:
Taking the ESTJ example above:

* Extraverted function is a Judging function (T-F) because of the overall J preference
* Extraverted function is dominant because of overall E preference
* Dominant function is therefore extraverted Thinking (Te)
* Auxiliary function will be the less dominant Perceiving function - intraverted Sensing (Si)
* Tertiary function is the opposite preference to the Auxiliary - Intuition (N)
* Inferior function is the opposite preference and attitude to the Dominant - intraverted Feeling (Fi)

The dynamics of the ESTJ {Hillary, par excellence] then, are founded in the primary tension between the extraverted Thinking dominant and introverted Feeling inferior: The dominant tendency to order the ESTJ's environment, to set clear boundaries, to clarify roles and timetables, and to direct the activities around them, is underscored by an attraction to the sentimental, the heartwarming, and the precious. ESTJs, for instance, may enjoy making memory scrapbooks or other such personal crafts. Though the ESTJ can seem insensitive to the feelings of others in their normal activities, under tremendous stress, they can suddenly express feelings of being unappreciated or wounded by insensitivity.

Looking at the diametrically opposite four-letter Type, INFP:

* Extraverted function is a Perceiving function because of the overall P preference
* Introverted function is dominant because of the overall I preference
* Dominant function is therefore introverted Feeling (Fi)
* Auxiliary function is extraverted Intuition (Ne)
* Tertiary function is the opposite of the Auxiliary, Sensing (S)
* Inferior function is the opposite of the Dominant, extraverted Thinking (Te)

The dynamics of the INFP rest on exactly the same fundamental tension of introverted Feeling and extraverted Thinking, though in reverse. The dominant tendency of the INFP is toward building a rich internal framework of values and toward championing human rights, often devoting themselves to causes such as saving the environment or civil rights. However, because of their tendency to avoid the limelight, their inclination to not rush into decisions, and to maintain a reserved posture, they rarely are found in executive director type positions of the organizations that serve those causes. Normally, the INFP dislikes being "in charge" of things. When not under stress, the INFP exudes a personal warmth that is unspoken and sympathetic, but under extreme stress, they can suddenly become rigid and directive, exerting their extraverted Thinking erratically.

Hillary is the Field Marshal Supervisor [ESTJ or ESTP], Obama is almost the dynamically opposite ENFP, an INFP with pizzazz.

No wonder Obama's success is driving Hillary nutso bananas!

Check out the multiple links, which are fascinating in their different takes. And the "cognitive psychology" moonbats are in a tizzy to be sure!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Upper West Side Robbery of $150K in front of Starbucks

WNBC-TV has the most hilarious article about a broad-daylight robbery in midtown Manhattan. But if you read it, the robber is described as everything except his skin color. A cab driver is not quoted in the NBC version:
Police were searching a suspect they described as a man between 25 and 30 years old who was wearing a black parka, black pants is about five feet 9 inches tall.

Zafer Incekara, a limousine driver from Lyndhurst, N.J., said the gunman fired a shot at the man before he fled.

"I saw the guy running out to Sixth Avenue" with the black bag after leaving the man in the street, said witness Amado Delacruz, 34, of Bayonne, N.J.

"You don't expect this. Not on 56th Street. Especially in front of Starbucks," Delacruz said.

A woman who answered the telephone at the Starbucks hung up on a reporter's call Friday.

The investigation is on-going. will provide more details as soon as they become available.

Compare the NBC-TV version with the CBS-TV version:
"My heart is just racing … The black man was dragging the guy with the bag," said limo driver Zafer Incekara, who witnessed the bizarre scene. "And all of a sudden he just started hitting him with something. I didn't see at first but then I saw it was a gun and he shot the guy in the head."

So it was a "BLACK MAN" in the CBS version, while the NBC version has every detail except one.

Last night, an ABC-TV 20/20 piece on peoples' willingness to report a crime turned into a race issue by a weird reporter from Mexico---blacks were reported as being more suspected of perpetrating a crime than other ethnic persuasions in the scripted gotcha "journalism" piece.

Any study of crime statistics will show that it is no urban legend that blacks commit more crimes than other ethnic groups, with Hispanics a close second.

TV "news" reports that try to gloss over that fact---and south Florida is rife with the same sort of evasive reporting on ethnic background and illegal immigration status---demonstrates again that "news" is not what the MSM conveys in it propaganda war on reality.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Obama and Ayers/Dohrn Criminals Old Buddies?

Bill Ayers was someone I knew slightly back during a silly session I spent with SDS for a couple of months in early '69. I even met his beautiful girl-friend Diana Oughton shortly before her life ended when a bomb went off in the West Village just down the street from a rent-control apartment of an aunt of mine.

Anyone who knows him knows Ayers is a colossal asshole/prick so self-centered and morally autistic that this spoiled-brat son of the head of Chicago's ConEd resembles Joran Van Der Sloot in complete solipsistic autonomy. To give you an idea of the mindset of Ayers and his biyotch slut ho' Dohrn [whom I never met though the slut hails from Milwaukee like myself]:
"Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's really at." He also omits any discussion of his wife Bernardine Dohrn's famous reaction to the Manson killings, as conveyed by journalist Peter Collier: "Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach! Wild!"

Obama might want to share his impressions of these two rich spoiled maggots who of course have jobs in the Academicide elite of Chicago---such as it is.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chavez Strangling the Golden-Egg Goose PdVSA?

The Economist continues to be the best magazine, bar none, on the planet for clear, concise, lucid explanations of tortuously complex political and economic issues. Here is the best explanation of the almost suicidal position Hugo Chavez is approaching as he turns Venezuela into a subsidiary of its oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.
AFTER winning a new term as president by a landslide a year ago, Hugo Chávez decided that it would be a nifty idea to squeeze the remaining private oil companies operating in Venezuela. So he ordered the tearing up of the contracts they signed in the 1990s, under which they were investing to develop deposits of super-heavy crude. In their place would come joint ventures in which Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the state oil company, would wield the controlling share. A year on, however, one of the multinationals, Exxon Mobil, is fighting back. This has prompted Mr Chávez to complain that the United States is waging “economic warfare” against his country. But such fiery talk cannot disguise the fact that both he and PDVSA are in a swamp of trouble.

On February 7th Exxon announced that it had obtained interim court injunctions in the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and the Dutch Antilles preventing PDVSA from disposing of over $12 billion in assets. It had sought the freeze as a preventive measure, to ensure that PDVSA could pay Exxon's claim for compensation for the seizure of its operation in the Orinoco heavy-oil belt.

Several rivals accepted the government's new terms. Exxon, along with ConocoPhillips, another American firm, chose to invoke the arbitration clause in its contract (which had over two decades to run). More than the money, it is reputed to want to send a firm message to the world's resource nationalists. Or, as Venezuela's deputy oil minister, Bernard Mommer, put it, to “intimidate other producers”.

Such procedures grind slowly. The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, a body linked to the World Bank, has yet to convene the panel that will hear the case. In parallel, and seemingly without PDVSA's knowledge, Exxon sought the court rulings. The Venezuelan government insists that the freeze applies directly only to one American bank account (with $315m) belonging to PDVSA. That ruling was upheld at a full hearing in New York on February 13th.

Mr Chávez responded, not for the first time, by threatening to halt oil exports to the United States. These run at around 1.2m barrels a day (b/d) and represent about three-quarters of Venezuela's total export earnings. Under Mr Chávez, Venezuela's economy has become heavily dependent on imports, especially of food. Few believe he can afford to implement his threat, and the oil price rose only slightly.

Not so PDVSA's bonds, whose value dipped sharply on investors' fears that lenders may face a higher risk of eventual default. On the face of things, that makes little sense. With around $100 billion in assets worldwide, including refineries in the United States, the Caribbean and Europe, PDVSA can easily pay any compensation award, which is unlikely to total more than $6 billion at most.

But there are many signs that the once-mighty PDVSA may be running short of cash. Since January 8th, for instance, its customers have been required to settle their bills eight days after shipment, rather than 30 days after receipt, as is customary. By the end of the month it was offering eight super-tanker loads of fuel oil at below market price for cash. In 2007 the company's debt burden rose from under $4 billion to over $16 billion. The uncertainty caused by the Exxon dispute means its borrowing costs may rise.

PDVSA is no longer just an oil producer. Mr Chávez has made it into what Elie Habalian, a former Venezuelan governor of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), calls a “parallel state”. The company has transferred billions of dollars to funds controlled by the president, and directly finances and runs a range of social projects. “There's a ministry of education—but PDVSA educates too,” says Mr Habalian. “There's a housing ministry, but PDVSA builds houses, and so on.” In response to shortages of basic foodstuffs, last month Mr Chávez ordered PDVSA to create a new subsidiary to distribute food, most of it imported.

At the same time, PDVSA's investment spending has been slashed, leading to a decline in oil output, the motor of the economy, for ten consecutive quarters, according to José Guerra, a former Central Bank director. A much-trumpeted government plan to increase oil production to 5m b/d by 2012 does not seem to have got off the ground. Officials claim that daily production is holding steady at over 3m barrels, but other sources (including OPEC) put the figure at less than 2.5m, and falling. Venezuelans use more oil themselves, thanks to a consumer boom and Mr Chávez's reluctance to raise the price of petrol. Officially, consumption is 600,000 b/d; it may be a third higher, reckons Ramón Espinaza, a former chief economist for PDVSA. Meanwhile, Mr Chávez is shipping 300,000 b/d to Caribbean neighbours (notably Cuba) at subsidised prices.

No important new deposits have been found since the president took office in 1999. Officials admit that PDVSA is short of drilling rigs for exploration (though Mr Chávez recently loaned two rigs to Ecuador). Much therefore hangs on the development of the Orinoco belt, with its estimated 250 billion barrels of heavy crude. But many of the companies recently invited (without competitive tender) to take part in these projects are state-owned outfits from countries, such as Iran and Belarus, whose governments are friends with Mr Chávez; most lack both the expertise and the financial muscle to develop them.

Several years of high and rising oil prices, along with PDVSA's policy of secrecy, have helped conceal its difficulties. With a slowing world economy making a further rise in the oil price unlikely in the short term, concealment will get harder. Waiting in the wings is ConocoPhillips, with a compensation demand much higher than that of Exxon. Venezuela's oil company will “fall apart the moment that prices drop to realistic levels,” Mr Habalian says. Unless he changes course, so might Mr Chávez's government.

Back in the day, I used to visit Venezuela while Int'l Editor of the Oil Daily with Jim Tanner, the fabled oil editor of the Wall Street Journal. The joke then was that PDVSA was an Italian arm of the country of "Little Venice." Now it appears the latest "caudillo" foisted on the Ven people is turning the oil company into a parallel state-within-a-state. My Ven experts, who are populating Westonzuela in Miami-Dade County at a rapid rate, tell me that the army despises the little mestizo and he must count on PdVSA to balance against elements in the military who want him gone---with extreme prejudice.

Even EU-Mandarinate Questions Ethanol & other Biofuels

Ethanol made with corn [maize] is widely seen as a political scam by farm-belt states to boost the price per bushel. Hence Bob Dole was called the Senator from Archer-Daniel Midlands behind his back. Here's a tidbit on how the ever-so-politically-correct Euroweenies are sorting it out:
ARE WE living at a high point of support for biofuels, at least in Europe, as a means of tackling climate change? The signs are pointing that way. Officially, the 27 nations of the European Union are still committed to a (wildly ambitious) target of using fuel from plants to provide 10% of all the fuel needs of EU's transport sector by 2020 (biofuels account for about 2% of transport fuel at the moment, and even that is concentrated in a handful of countries).

The agriculture lobby remains gung-ho for this target, part of the wider EU climate change package agreed with much fanfare last March. Whole swathes of central Europe are turning yellow, as farmers ramp up production of oilseed rape, with a view to selling to biodiesel manufacturers.

But the chorus of dissenting voices is not just growing, it is changing in nature. At first, the main opposition came from NGOs and environmental groups, worrying that biofuels were not as green as they were cracked up to be, and backed by a number of scientists. Then the scientific credentials of the doubters started to improve, with some serious journals publishing worrying findings about previously unsuspected indirect damage caused by planting biofuel crops on grasslands, or scrubby areas.

Last month, a leaked report by scientists from the European Commission's own research body said there was it was impossible to say with any reasonable degree of certainty that biofuels actually saved on greenhouse gas emissions. The same month, a House of Commons committee in Britain came out against biofuels. Now, it emerges that the British government is launching a major review of biofuels, and whether they do any good. The review comes from the transport ministry, and the wording of its announcement makes pretty clear that the government is having second thoughts about the whole EU target.

According to the British government announcement:

"A number of new research papers have come out in recent weeks and months (including in particular a recent article in Science magazine "Use of US croplands for biofuels increases greenhouse gas emissions through emissions from land use change") which suggest that the indirect impacts of biofuel production have not always been taken into account in earlier carbon saving calculations."

Officially, the European Commission (under heavy pressure from farmer-friendly nations in the block), is still keen on the biofuels target. But leaders left themselves a get-out clause when they agreed the plan last year. The biofuels target kicks in only if environmentally sustainable biofuels are available. The commission and the current holders of the EU rotating presidency, Slovenia, are reportedly working on sustainability criteria at the moment. Expect serious horse-trading, and much lobbying, as those criteria are worked out: the way they are worded will probably make some forms of fuel viable in the EU, and others not. Battlecamps are already forming. There is the biodiesel lobby, the lobby for buying ethanol from hot and sunny places like Brazil, the lobby for palm oil from Asia, and all the rest of them.

It would not be astonishing if Britain ended up leading one of the opposing factions in this debate. As a big country that likes to think of itself as a leader, generally, in the climate change debate, it is also run by a government that is pretty deaf to appeals from its domestic farming lobby.

If this reporter had to make a prediction, the EU will still end up with some sort of biofuels target, because the farm lobby in Europe is so powerful, but it will not be anything close to 10%. Talking to an official about all this today, they made the good point that any big cut in the biofuel target would cause another, follow-on problem, because it would put the transport sector under pressure to find another way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. We have not heard the last of this.

Even the much more cost-effective Brazilian ethanol made from sugar cane costs close to the petroleum equivalent, and US corn-based ethanol costs more to make than it delivers in BTUs. God gave the Euros an attitude, but little natural resource bases onshore except coal.

And the US is the Saudi Arabia of coal.

US Elections All Part of a French Plot? Or Vice Versa?

French President Sarkozy is either masterminding American politics, or remarkably prescient:
AS Barack Obama widens his lead over Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination, it is worth recalling a trip that Nicolas Sarkozy made to Washington DC in September 2006. That visit is remembered in France mostly for the photograph that Sarkozy managed to arrange of himself with George Bush at the White House. He was then the French interior minister, and not even officially a presidential candidate, so for him it was a real coup. For the French back at home, however, it was baffling: why did Sarkozy want to cosy up to a leader widely reviled in France?

What is less well-known about the trip is who else he met. I've just looked up the official programme that I brought back, as one of the journalists accompanying him on that visit, to make sure my memory isn't playing tricks. Besides other members of the Bush administration, while in Washington Sarkozy met only two other American politicians: astonishingly, they were Barack Obama and John McCain.

According to my hastily scribbled notes from the time, after Sarkozy met the American senator in his office on Capitol Hill, Obama stood in front of us and said: "I shouldn't be predicting French elections, but I've been following the minister's career, and I know that he has a good opportunity to lead France in the future."

In Paris-Match magazine recently, Obama recalled that visit, and promised to return the favour if he won the nomination. It looks as though both had impressive foresight, or at the very least were well advised. That Sarkozy picked two men, neither of whom at the time were front-runners as presidential candidates, is pretty remarkable. I suspect that it reflects the advice of Jean-David Levitte, French ambassador to Washington at the time and in charge of Sarkozy's schedule for that trip; he is now Sarkozy's diplomatic adviser at the Elysée in Paris.

A bon chat, bon rat.

UMiami Stuns Duke Blue Devils 96-95

Duke committed 23 turnovers en route to a loss to U of Miami in Coral Gables. Miami's slim hopes for an NCAA invitation to the 64-team big dance stayed alive with the win.

Bob Bennett Refutes NYT McCain Smear: Jon Stewart Tells Larry King Dead Story Sux

McCain doesn't need to worry much as serendipitously the huge audience of Hannity/OtherWeirdDud had booked Robert Bennett to tout his new book. Democrat Legal Beagle Bennett had been Chief Counsel to the hilarious oxymoron known as the Senate Ethics Committee when the original Keating Five investigation came up over twenty years ago. Bennett found that Republican McCain & Dem John Glenn were not involved enough to prosecute---leaving three Democrats [DeConcini, Riegle, Et Al] to sleuth after. Since the Dem Senate didn't want to prosecute or investigate its own criminals, the three presumably guilty Dems were let off the hook. Bennett says this is the only time such an event has ever occurred in the Senate Ethics Committee, dropping a case after cranking it up [because a halfway-honest lawyer was Dem Counsel].

Bennett called the story a complete smear based on anonymous sources.

Jon Stewart all but told Larry King when abruptly presented with the breaking news that the McCains were "fine people" and the NYT had "used up its integrity capital" or some words like that.

When two leftish types agree that the Gray Lady is an over-the-hill hooker, that's a notable day for truth, justice, and the American way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NYT Downloads Toxic Sludge on McCain, Rielle Hunter Still Preggers

Liberal Death Star has devolved or "suffered a declension" as historians once put it, to a nadir where being used in an outhouse as backwipe paper suits it best.

The toxic-waste dump on the Hudson unloads its entire cargo of sludge into the political slipstream, hoping that some will stick to McCain.

Nothing new here, nothing McCain has to respond to. Capt. John has more integrity in his left pinkie cuticle than most Senators, and far more than the loathesome spouse of Bubba, whose high negatives have earned her an "also ran" in the history textbooks. She earned those negatives over her years of "public service. Now that she's road kill, Obama's path ahead only has McCain to avoid.

Will someone at the NYT use the superior investigative journalists at the National Inquirer to ascertain just when Rielle Hunter is coming to term with John Edward's baby?

And Michelle may not keep getting away with her Omarosa moments much longer. She seems to have a chip on her shoulder & Barack could be harmed if she doesn't mind her tongue.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wisconsin Primary Forty Years Ago

William Kristol makes a semi-disparaging remark about finding an Orwell classic in a Milwaukee airport bookstore, as the cosmopolitan disdain almost drips from the New Yorkese columnists lips.

Kristol doesn't realize that the average Wisconsin native is probably more widely and more quantitatively read than citizens of the black Gotham he lives in and writes from. But I digress....

Forty years ago, I was a grad student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on a draft deferment. I was very anti-war and joined the Students for McCarthy [Gene] and due to the fact that I was ancient at the age of 26, was deemed and anointed "Head" of Students for McCarthy. Our first project was raising money for a bus to take Michigan students to actually canvass several precincts in Wisconsin, which was my native state, having been born and raised in Milwaukee's environs.

We set up buckets for contributions on The Diag, the long diagonal walk from the Engineering School past the UGLI across a huge student green where undergrads congregated on good-weather days. We were hoping for about $500 dollars to send about fifty students in a rented Trailways bus which I was delegated to rent for a four-day round trip to Milwaukee. Then the news of Gene McCarthy's stunning second-place, but-oh-so-close finish in New Hampshire and suddenly the buckets went from $15/day to $200/day and we were looking at enough money to send five busloads and over 200 "Clean For Gene" kids to Wisconsin to canvass. But where would the kids stay, who would feed them, and other logistical snarls began appearing as the project grew like Topsy.

There was no Iowa Caucus nor South Carolina primary nor any other primary after New Hampshire and before Wisconsin in those days. Nada. Rien de tout. Kein stuecke... Wisconsin suddenly loomed as the first real head-to-head front-page over-the-top confrontation between LBJ and lonely Gene McCarthy. And suddenly also, Bobby Kennedy started talking non-stop about running, and may have already announced his intention to run by the time the wheels-up roll-out to Wisconsin took place on Friday the weekend before the Tuesday voting.

By this time, I was being interviewed by Nan Robertson of the NYT and a fellow named Shumacher for ABC-TV News as the Student Rep for Clean-for-Gene Kiddie Korps legion heading for Wisconsin. The air was electric with the aura of change----more-so than anything I've seen since until Barack Obama this year......

Sunday night, my mother agreed to host a party at our Wauwatosa home for some of the McCarthy kids from Ann Arbor, who by this time were spread all over Milwaukee County and Waukesha County canvassing the urbs, suburbs, and exurbs like Waukesha and Elm Grove---a few places my memory harks to. I had a car and was constantly shuttling kids around and recall trying to find one frightened girl her crash-shack in Elm Grove for over two hours after midnight. But enough kids showed up at our house to make the party attendance close to one hundred young hungry thirsty party-party crew slurping down beer [the drinking age in Milwaukee was eighteen, unlike 21 in Michigan] and the students dug into their pockets repeatedly as I went several times to our local liquor/beer store and bought dozens of six-packs on top of a few cases for the thirsty kiddees. No carding going on in our basement....!

Finally the five buses began the return trip to Ann Arbor Sunday afternoon, as I recall, and we were at a stop near Battle Creek Michigan on I-94 in a Bob's Big Boy when the ugly mug of LBJ came on the TV screen and announced he would not be a candidate in '68 for president. THE EPIPHANY OF THE COMBINED MAGIC OF MOMENT AND MOMENTOUS VICTORY OVERWHELMED US AND THE BOB'S STAFF HAD TO EVICT US AFTER FIFTEEN MINUTES OF NON-STOP CHEERING!! As I recall. Or so it seemed.

The final three hours of the ride back to Ann Arbor were full of singing "We shall overcome" and other radical or movement hymns and ditties. The adrenaline didn't subside for days, and I was soon asked to join the McCarthy National Staff and head down to Indianapolis to staff up for the Indiana Primary where Gene and Bobby would go head-to-head for the first time.

From then on, it was an unbroken string of defeats as McCarthy lost, but not overwhelmingly, each primary that I participated in, including Indiana, Nebraska, California [where Bobby met me in Watts/Compton where I was inexplicably appointed chief organizer until a revolt by Gene's black staffers finally replaced me with, a fatal mistake, with a black woman instead of one of the black males---a woman who makes Hillary's most obnoxious distaff staffers look tame in comparison. I was made a "troubleshooter" and given a vehicle and worked out of Westwood HQ on the UCLA campus & was invited to the RFK victory celebration by Rick Grandjean---I demurred and was at the Beverly Hilton ballroom when Bobby's assassination was announced just minutes after his victory speech had been projected on a giant movie screen. Eva Marie Saint was next to me and burst into hysterical tears----a bunch of other stars including the entire cast of Mission Impossible, the #1 TV show back then, broke into tears. We were on a jet plane back to NYC when RFK's death was announced by the pilot, and slept in El Morocco Restaurant on banquettes against the zebra-skinned walls that night. I went to the funeral at St. Patrick's three days later. And then on to the Chicago Convention, where I was in the Hilton Hotel on the fifteenth floor when the Chicago cops dragged the McCarthy workers out of their rooms [mine was double-locked] and beat them up, with unforeseen consequences.

But of course, the wonderful three-day canvass of the Wisconsin Primary will always remain as a sort of Wordsworth-type
"twas bliss to be alive..." experience. Forty years ago. But only yesterday....!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Robert Fisk Freaks Out on a Writer Worse than He is.

Robert Fisk is a notorious Brit auto-hater and has at one point joined blogosphere language for a verb meaning "bogus" or "inaccurate," as his Arab-loving, West-hating pieces are chock-ful1 of rumor, innuendo, and plain BS.

But he does get his snoot out of joint when someone writes a book even worse than his spurious prose and puts "Robert Fisk" on it as the author. Click the link & see him get his dander up.

Denmark Happy as It Burns---60 Minutes Morley Safer Says

has experienced eight [8] nights in a row of firebombing in its Islamic neighborhoods.

Hilariously, last night 60 Minutes had Canadian fraud Morley Safer spew his unctious potty-mouth on a how bad the USA is about human services [on a piece concerning how "happy" Denmark comes up in a world-wide poll].

We should send that spurious joker to Denmark and have him live in a Muslim neighborhood with the ragheads. Bet he'd skedaddle back stateside in an instant.

60 Minutes again outed as a completely anti-American liberal robo-spew auto-massage vibrator.

[Of course, those nasty cartoons of the M-prophet were not noted, as that would be journalism, and sybarite Morley stays away from journalism.]

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Harold Ickes is a Lying P.O.S.

Hillary Clinton is surrounded by people of low character and dubious morals, as her lying cheating husband typifies. People like Grunwald and Penn and Wolfson simply are hacks who deserve banishment into political limbo.

But Harold Ickes is a special case. Way back in the day I worked for him in the N.Y. Primary out of a Columbus Circle office. I was sent by Ickes with young John Podesta as my assistant to work in the most conservative state district in New York, we were told, Bay Ridge where the Norwegian population almost outnumbered Oslo and the shipping magnates had huge palatial estates facing the Verrazano Bridge.

Back then, Ickes was touted as a Karl Rove of the left. However, his skill level never exceeded mediocre and his nasty personal politics left him the perpetual bridesmaid as the Democrats again and again missed the brass ring. And when they did succeed, as in '92, much more talented and personable types like John Podesta were elevated to the senior levels, while Ickes was relegated to a backstairs junkyard dog role doing summary executions, carving up the political cadavers, and disposing of them with his customary ruthlessness.

I'm happy to see him still out there punching while the media barely conceal their contempt for this nasty piece of work. It's no secret the media despises Ickes:
Ickes also said Clinton didn't vote on the DNC rules. But Ickes did. And he voted in August to strip Florida and Michigan of their delegates as a sitting member of the Rules and Bylaws Commission.

“There’s been no change,” Ickes said, adding that he was then acting as a member of the Rules and Bylaws Committee “not acting as an agent of Sen. Clinton. We had promulgated rules -- if Florida and Michigan violated those rules” they’d be stripped of their delegates. “We stripped them of all their delegates in order to prevent campaigns to campaign in those states.”

In fact, however, that was not why Florida and Michigan were stripped of their delegates. They were stripped of their delegates because they violated party rules by moving up their contest dates before Feb. 5. A pledge to not campaign in those states did not come about until one was put forward by the four early states allowed to go before Feb. 5 by the DNC -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Clinton was the last to sign this pledge.

“Those were the rules, and we thought we had an obligation to enforce them,” Ickes acknowledged today on the call even while trying to convince members of the media that Florida’s and Michigan’s delegations should not only be seated at the convention, but should also have full voting rights and that delegates should be allocated based on voting that took place in those states -- even though in Michigan, Obama’s name did not even appear on the ballot and uncommitted got 41% of the vote to Clinton’s 55%.

My guess is that even if Hillary were somehow to lie, cheat, and finagle her way to get the Democratic nomination through the dirty tricks of scumbags like Ickes, she would not win the general election.

And in the ultra-remote possibility she won, Ickes would once again be kept in the back room, unlike his distinguished father who served as FDR's Secretary of the Interior.

You really want to keep sausage-making gurus like Ickes behind the scenes...

Indian Head Highway Smashup Kills Seven

The midnight drag race that killed seven last night took place on Hwy 210 or Indian Head Hwy, just south of where I lived for two years in Ft. Washington MD. The folks 'round Accokeek sort of reek of trailer-park chic. These would be descendents of the side that lost the Civil War, though they lived north of the Potomac. Now that high school football season is over....

One of the victims was an adult male, 61 yrs. old. Should've been home watching the Wizards or Jay Leno.

Strangely, my only memory of Accokeek is riding a bicycle down the Indian Head Hwy and coming across a large turtle with a cracked shell still crawling down a side road. Also, the male Maltese father of our dog Dexter, named after Dexter Manly, lived near Accokeek. As the mother of our cat Dumpling lived near DeKalb IL before we bought her as a kitten [Marengo, to be exact].

Life goes on within you and without you.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hezbollah Terrorist-in-Chief Burns in Hell

Imad Mughniya was finally given his just desserts, and I recall how terribly I felt when this pork-eating dog murdered an American Navy Diver captured on an international flight, or when 241 US Marines were murdered in October 1983. When I hear the Al-Qaeda /Hezbollah subsidiary in the US House of Representatives is trying to deep-six the FISA controls aiming to protect the country from acts of terrorism, I think of I-Mug and Zawahiri cheering Pelosi and the dhimmi-Dems in the House as they subvert US national security with vapid specious spurious concerns about "privacy" which overlooks the real danger Islamic fanatics pose to the USA. Even 68 Senators think that FISA should be renewed. But I think back to Col Higgins cruelly tortured as he wore a UN beret and William Buckley tortured to death in Beirut [or the Bekaa Valley?] and laugh about the dhimmis' hand-wringing over waterboarding. Just what kind of airhead bimbos does the US House of Representatives answer to? Here's the Economist:
Despite America's offer of a $5m reward, Mr Mughniya escaped numerous attempts to capture or assassinate him. One of his brothers perished in a car bomb in 1994 that was widely believed to have been an Israeli near-miss. Mr Mughniya's death has produced a wealth of speculation. “After a life of jihad, sacrifice and achievements, and with a longing for martyrdom, Islamic Resistance [ie, Hizbullah] leader Haj Imad Mughniya was assassinated at the hands of criminal Israelis,” read Hizbullah's statement. Others surmise that he may have been hit by Lebanese operatives working for the CIA or perhaps even by his Syrian hosts. Yet another theory holds that Mr Mughniya has not been killed at all but that the bombing has provided a clever way for him to go still deeper underground.

Hopefully, this murderer of Americans burns in Hell for his crimes against humanity. It would be sad if this bombing were a clever ruse to gin up fervor among the kennel-crew in South Beirut to achieve further crimes against humanity.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

State Dept. & US Embassy Baghdad Stink

Jerry Bremer established the nadir of American diplomatic & management incompetence in State Dept history, one would think, but a document coming out of Baghdad's Embassy indicates that the FSOs in Baghdad have yet to hit bottom.

Of course, a few months back, FSOs complained about being sent to Baghdad en masse. The State Dept's union fights US foreign policy & GWB just sits there with the chimp grin. Where's Condi? Here's the laundry list of faux pas and misdemeanors:
# The U.S. embassy in Baghdad is wasting taxpayer funds due to “a deeply entrenched bureaucracy with a unionized attitude” that fails to “think outside of the box.”

# The U.S. Embassy has little institutional memory, and no system for data retrieval, so that the embassy is “in a constant state of revisiting the same ground.”

# Instead of responding to Petraeus’ call for a “civilian surge,” the U.S. embassy has been “doing a bureaucratic imitation of the Keystone Cops, counting chairs and desks and reviewing decisions over and over again.”

His memorandum was greeted with a chorus of “Amens” from private U.S. contractors operating in Iraq, who told Newsmax they had been complaining of the same problems at the embassy for the past three years.

More damaging than the waste and lack of management skills was the failure of the embassy to understand the critical needs or even the functioning of the Iraqi State Council in crafting new legislation, as mandated by the U.S. Congress.

The State Council “is the most legitimate institution in the Iraqi law-making process,” Miranda wrote. “Yet from 2003 through 2007, not a single America dollar was spent to develop the capacity of that institution to process legislation in a timely fashion.”

Crocker never asked for a briefing on the State Council’s role until he had been in Baghdad for several months. The immediate past head of the embassy’s political section only asked for such a briefing one month before she left Iraq, Miranda revealed.

“It is for good reason that one minister forcefully asked that he no longer be sent embassy political officers to speak about legislation, and would only meet with a credentialed lawyer,” Miranda wrote.

In summary, he argued that the last thing the U.S. needs in Baghdad is more Foreign Service officers. “We need experts, experienced human capital managers, and leaders who can think outside the box.”

I can remember in San Diego having to listen to a Raytheon exec named Carver bitch at a conference on how messed up the US Embassy in Jidda was---Carver absconded to Brazil shortly thereafter with about $20 million in embezzled Raytheon monies.

I myself had a check for $30 million land on my desk at the Embassy from MODA, the Saudi Defense Dept. A lot of things go awry overseas.

Donald Rumsfeld famously told the Iraq Task Force that Iraq needed "fresh thinking" and sent Jerry Bremer, a consummate State Dept bureaucratic fuck-up, to Baghdad. Bremer's first order of business was to keep Khalilzad out of a co-Ambassador position, as Zal knew too many Iraqi political personalities. Europeanist Bremer instantly treated Iraq as though it were Nazi Germany, crippling the government and economy at one fell swoop.

State has mustanged and diversified itself into imbecility and incompetence. Sad that a George Kennan nowadays would be lost in the thickets of PC mediocrity.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Camille on Target

Camille Paglia emits scathing but highly literate and well-informed commentary about both sides every month. This month, she notes that both establishments have been eviscerated:
Disemboweling is evidently the theme du jour. As the political wars rage in this amazingly acrimonious primary season, the skin has been ripped off the establishment in both parties, and their guts have been exposed. We're seeing the pulsing inner workings of partisan ideology as never before.

On the Republican side, conservatives marshaled by leading radio hosts have hotly rebelled against the onrushing nomination of Sen. John McCain, who has been vilified for years for his slippery positions and his schmoozing with liberals. On the Democratic side, rank-and-file party members have been shocked to discover that there is a ruling elite of 800 superdelegates, who have the power to crown the presidential nominee and who can be easily swayed or corrupted by lobbying.

As usual, Camille serves the choicest shots for the loathesome crones populating Hillary's peanut gallery on the degenerate distaff side, including childless not-so-golden-oldie Steinem.
The old-guard feminist establishment has also rushed out of cold storage to embrace Hillary Clinton via tremulous manifestoes of gal power that have startlingly exposed the sentimental slackness of thought that made Gloria Steinem and company wear out their welcome in the first place. Hillary's gonads must be sending out sci-fi rays that paralyze the paleo-feminist mind -- because her career, attached to her husband's flapping coattails, has sure been heavy on striking pious attitudes but ultra-light on concrete achievements.

Yes, those "35 years of public service" have also been ultra-light on their very existence, since she practiced as a lawyer for a Little Rock law firm for over fifteen years of those "thirty-five." Of course, as Camille notes later on:
...the three-faced Hillary, that queen of triangulation, would be a nice big gift to Republicans, who are itching to romp all over the Clintons' 20-volume encyclopedia of tawdry scandals.

Camille is fair to the talk-radio shows, who have a much larger audience than the lightweight crews on cable news and broadcast TV news and are thus despised by the mamma's boys and Katie:
The angst and fury boiling on talk radio, from both hosts and callers, have been truly operatic in drama and intensity. It's been a riveting spectator sport. But this eruption would come as no surprise to longtime listeners. What the mainstream press has failed to realize is that nationally syndicated hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, have always drawn a very firm distinction between their views and those of the party establishment in Washington. They have consistently maintained, and supported it in detail, that they are conservatives first and Republicans second. They have fiercely denounced the party when it has strayed from conservative principles. McCain, who has co-sponsored liberal legislation and courted and flattered Beltway journalists, has been a longtime target.

As Laura Ingraham, the most intelligent and best-looking of the radio hosts avers, the reason that listeners tune in is precisely because the talk-shows answer to no known establishment and are eclectically sincere in their observations on politics, culture, and public morality.
This disarray among Republicans, which may depress voter turnout or even spawn a protest splinter party, offers a fantastic opening to Democrats, if the party can only seize it. The galvanizing energy aroused by Barack Obama's thrilling coast-to-coast victories gives Democrats a clear shot at regaining the White House.

But Obama is not a member of any establishment, not even the Black Caucus, and Uncle Toms like the NAACP's Julian Bond, BET's Johnson, Andy Young, Ed Rendell, and other hacks rush to offer aid and comfort to Hillary in her Gethsemane of abandonment. But McCain doesn't get a free ride from Camille:
John McCain's courage under torture during the Vietnam War deserves everyone's gratitude and respect. But as a national candidate, the stumpy, uptight McCain is a lemon. Oy, that weaselly voice and those dated locutions and stilted intonations. Who needs a weird old coot with a short fuse in the White House? This isn't a smart game plan for the war on terror.

Yes, a Leadership candidate with Anger-management issues might not be the best way to go in foreign policy, but matched against Obama's apparent cluelessness with Iran & Pakistan, I myself will side with McCain's tantrum-prone hard-headedness.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hillary's "Family Drama" Reasserts Itself

Dr. Sanity has a long and extremely lucid commentary on the decade-and-a-half psychodrama Hillary and Bill have played out on the national stage---jam-packed with dozens of anecdotal examples of the severe dysfunction operating at the center of their relationship. Although she has not examined Hillary personally, she just as the dozens of psychiatrists who adjudged Barry Goldwater "insane" or "mentally unbalanced" back in '64 working with much less evidence has a perfect right to look at Hillary and find her psychologically, well..., a narcissistic compulsive obsessive. There follows a nugget on narcissism:
Far too often, narcissistically flawed individuals are hopelessly attracted by the grandiose opportunities of the political arena (as well as the Hollywood arena) like moths to a flame. Their sense of self is starkly invested in the desire for power over others (always, of course, "for their own good") , constant admiration and adulation and grandiose ambitions. This makes them remarkably adept at what is called the "politics of personal destruction".

Certainly, both sides of the political aisle suffer from excesses of narcissism. But I think it is reasonable to predict that we will see no "Mitt-Romney-for-the-good-of-the-party" moment from Hillary, when and if she is eclipsed by Barack.

For the narcissist it is always a zero-sum game she plays with other individuals. From the perspective of the narcissist, if someone else "wins", the narcissist "loses". It cannot be otherwise, since on some level they know that their own talent and skills are way overblown. Hence, they cannot hope to "win" based on those talents alone. Thus, the behavior of the classic narcissist is mostly directed toward making others lose so they can win by default. To that end, there is no behavior or tactic that is considered out -of-bounds or over-the-top.

The mini-event that brought up my own intense reaction to Dr. Sanity's piece occurred just a few minutes ago when I watched Hillary on the tube righteously playing the victim card over a silly remark about her daughter ["I'm a mom first and a candidate second"], and saying that MSNBC should "be held accountable" for David Shuster's stupid remarks about Chelsea.

Hmmm..... Accountability and Hillary are often in an adversarial relationship:

So many little episodes in Hillary's career have erupted that she’s never been held accountable for, such as the cattle futures windfalls, where she magically turned $1000 investment into $100,000 overnite on her very first fling into the futures market. There was never full disclosure of this totally fraudulent transaction.

And she’s never been held accountable about having her so-called health care task force operate in secret in direct violation of the law, a fact that was subsequently confirmed, but never followed up upon.

Of course, she’s never been held accountable 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 Bill claimed she was, she’s never been held accountable for her role in the Whitewater development…but hey, that was only a simple resort scam designed to fleece seniors.

She’s never been held accountable 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, she was never held accountable for the events surrounding the Vince Foster suicide, which had her brand new campaign manager Maggie Williams rummaging through his office while his body was still warm, according to a Secret Service officer.

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? Held accountable? 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 being held accountable either.

And she hasn't been held accountable for 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.

Dr. Sanity follows up Carl Bernstein's excellent book "A Woman In Charge," in which the family drama of the Rodham household was examined and Hillary's relationship with her stern, overbearing and seriously sociopathic father was examined, but Carl never pulled the trigger on Hillary's obvious serious problems with frankness, candor, and basic honesty in any professional manner. Even her spurious specious claim of "35 years of public service" is a laughable contortion of the facts.

I think Dr. Sanity's piece accurately outlines some of the major problems with the Clinton/Rodham hegemony in a certain slice of the Democratic Party's spectrum.

The flaws in this hegemony are gigantic and she is beginning to replay her greatest flops again in full public view.

I hope the MSM continues to defrock this chronic serial fraud and her husband---himself in a continuous binge of lying as he tries even today to play the race card with the Latino community.

Both husband and wife are despicable specimens of overweening narcissistic grandiosity, and should be put aside while true grown-ups like Obama and McCain contest the presidential election.

Bravissima for Dr. Sanity's lucid analysis of Hillary and her endless repetition of her inner conflicts---conflicts she seems to paper over and hide with a super-nanny exterior persona in an endless feedback loop of lies and deceit.

Shrillary and Billary Double Down on Race & Ethnic Cards

Arianna Huffington answers the question about Hillary's new campaign chair Maggie Williams by pointing out the Williams-Johnny Chung connection where Maggie persuaded Chung to cough up money to pay the DNC for money they owed the WH for an Xmas Party!!! Puffington Host Prima Donna AH also reminds readers how, according to a Secret Service officer, Williams helped “clean out” Vince Foster’s office after he allegedly killed himself and before his office could be secured by law enforcement. Maggie is a woman of color who will succeed Patti Solis Doyle, an Hispanic/Latina, as campaign manager. Lots of compost for investigative reporters to pitchfork through!!

Ex-Broadway Reviewer Frank Rich comments on the comedy verging on tragicomedy that aptly describes the Dem primary slapstick cavalcade as it marches across the nation on its way to a second Civil War. Rich points out that [Hillary's expensive Hallmark Channel “Voices Across America: A National Town Hall”] looked like it was produced "in Stepford" and that the booooring tightly-scripted canned and planted questions
[were] a dramatic encapsulation of how a once-invincible candidate ended up in a dead heat, crippled by poll-tested corporate packaging that markets her as a synthetic product leeched of most human qualities. What’s more, it offered a naked preview of how nastily the Clintons will fight, whatever the collateral damage to the Democratic Party, in the endgame to come.

For a campaign that began with tightly monitored Web “chats” and then planted questions at its earlier town-hall meetings, a Bush-style pseudo-event like the Hallmark special is nothing new, of course. What’s remarkable is that instead of learning from these mistakes, Mrs. Clinton’s handlers keep doubling down.

Less than two weeks ago she was airlifted into her own, less effective version of “Mission Accomplished.” Instead of declaring faux victory in Iraq, she starred in a made-for-television rally declaring faux victory in a Florida primary that was held in defiance of party rules, involved no campaigning and awarded no delegates. As Andrea Mitchell of NBC News said, it was “the Potemkin village of victory celebrations.”

The Hallmark show, enacted on an anachronistic studio set that looked like a deliberate throwback to the good old days of 1992, was equally desperate. If the point was to generate donations or excitement, the effect was the reverse. A campaign operative, speaking on MSNBC, claimed that 250,000 viewers had seen an online incarnation of the event in addition to “who knows how many” Hallmark channel viewers. Who knows, indeed? What we do know is that by then the “Yes We Can” Obama video fronted by the hip-hop vocalist of the Black Eyed Peas had been averaging roughly a million YouTube views a day. (Cost to the Obama campaign: zero.)

Two days after her town-hall extravaganza, Mrs. Clinton revealed the $5 million loan she had made to her own campaign to survive a month in which the Obama operation had raised $32 million to her $13.5 million. That poignant confession led to a spike in contributions that Mr. Obama also topped. Though Tuesday was largely a draw in popular votes and delegates, every other indicator, from the candidates’ real and virtual crowds to hard cash, points to a steadily widening Obama-Clinton gap. The Clinton campaign might be an imploding Potemkin village itself were it not for the fungible profits from Bill Clinton’s murky post-presidency business deals. (The Clintons, unlike Mr. Obama, have not released their income-tax returns.)

Nor of course, have they revealed the donation list for the ex-POTUS Presidential Library & probably won't "until 2012." Of course, like Maggie, Patti Solis Doyle will have her past investigated, but not by fawning Hillary-idolator Karen Tumulty whose deep insight into the cattery of crones surrounding Hillary is:
The greatest benefit Williams may bring to the Clinton organization is a clarity in decision making. The operation has long functioned much as the UN Security Council does, with everyone in the top spots having an effective veto power over every move. That kind of cautious structure works for the near-incumbent campaign that they originally expected to be running at this point, but not for the long and tough race this has become.

Whew, journalism at its most profound.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Repulsive Jerk Philip Roth Shares His Nuances

Philip Roth is our worst national novelist, beating actual writers like Don Delillo out of National Book Awards by sheer academicide ethnic crapola. Here's this phony's take on the 2004 election:
SPIEGEL: What will remain of the current president, George W. Bush? Could he be forgotten once he leaves office?

Roth: He was too horrendous to be forgotten. There will be an awful lot written about this. And there's a lot to be written about the war. There's a lot to be written about what he did with Reaganism, since he went much further than Reagan. So he won't be forgotten. Someone has said he's the worst American president we've ever had. I think that's true.


Roth: Well, the biggest thing would be the war, the deceptions surrounding the entrance into the war. The absolute cynicism that surrounds the deception. The cost of the war, the Treasury and the lives of the Americans. It's hideous. There is nothing quite like it. The next thing would be the attitude towards global warming, which is a global crisis, and they were utterly indifferent, if not hostile, to any attempt to address it. And so on and so on and so on and so on. So he's done a lot of harm.

SPIEGEL: Since your book is set in that week during the 2004 elections, can you explain why Americans voted for Bush once again?

Roth: I suspect it was the business of being in a war and not wanting to change, and political stupidity. Why does anybody elect anybody? I thought highly of John Kerry when he began, but he couldn't stand up against Bush. The Democrats aren't brutes, which is too bad, because the Republicans are brutes. Brutes win.

As when this prancing impostor won the National Book Award.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Clinton Tricks Just Get Dirtier

Some idiot with a Nobel [not Al Gore, though he fits the category] shoots off its mouth demonstrating that Bill Clinton isn't the only boorish oaf sleazing up Hillary's campaign:
If Barack Obama becomes the next US president he will surely be assassinated, British Nobel literature laureate Doris Lessing predicted in a newspaper interview published here Saturday.

Obama, who is vying to become the first black president in US history, "would certainly not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would murder him," Lessing, 88, told the Dagens Nyheter daily.

Of course, she is senile and decrepit at 88 years old. How a libtard with a UK passport knows anything about the US she hasn't read in the Hate America [BBC] press defies description.

Plus she's being interviewed by a Scandanavian paper, so the stupid-gene transference is at work.

They don't call them Dumb Swedes for nothing.

Commissar Waxman & His Show Trials

The Wall Street Journal has the lowdown on the latest outrage by repulsive dwarf Waxman & his tiny tribe of Orcs in the House of Representatives.
Howard Krongard worked his last day at the State Department recently, having learned a hard lesson in the ways of modern Congressional "oversight." To wit, if you don't follow Henry Waxman's orders, he'll try to ruin you.

Comfortable after four successful decades in private life, Mr. Krongard thought he'd do a turn in public service by taking a job in 2005 as State's Inspector General, a supposedly "independent" role. Little did the political rookie realize that Congressional barons like Mr. Waxman think that the IGs work for them.
[Henry Waxman]

In July, Mr. Krongard testified before Mr. Waxman's House oversight committee about a non-scandal involving allegedly poor treatment of foreign workers at the construction site of the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Mr. Krongard said he had inspected and found no evidence of human trafficking or human-rights violations. That's not what Mr. Waxman wanted to hear. In his opening statement, the California partisan insisted that State's approach to the inquiry was evidence of a "full bunker mentality."

Mr. Krongard soon found a bull's-eye on his back. As if on cue, "whistleblowers" emerged to accuse him of being too cozy with top State officials, failing to pick up counterfeit computers in Afghanistan, and even of being a high-handed boss. The principal complainers were not under oath, nor did they offer much evidence. One accuser admitted that, "I have no proof, I want to make that clear it is just my opinion."

Democrats howled that Mr. Krongard had intervened in the audit of State Department books to help the department get a "clean" result. What really happened? He argued that the auditors should get extra time to complete their work -- a position supported both by the Office of Management and Budget and Government Accountability Office.

Mr. Krongard was also said to have "impeded" a Justice Department probe into allegations of weapons smuggling by Blackwater Inc., the civilian contractor in Iraq. In fact, he was coordinating as far back as July on a civil audit of Blackwater contracts with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Later that month, he learned that employees in his office were cooperating with a criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney in North Carolina of weapons smuggling affecting the same contracts.

To avoid the conflict of parallel proceedings within the office, Mr. Krongard instructed the employee to "stop immediately" any further work until Mr. Krongard could speak to the U.S. Attorney's office, which he offered to do right away. In short, he was doing his job, which is to make sure investigations aren't tainted by conflicts of interest. Mr. Waxman also made much of the fact that Mr. Krongard has a brother who served on a Blackwater advisory board. But Mr. Krongard immediately recused himself on learning of his brother's Blackwater tie.

Every specific charge against Mr. Krongard was examined and refuted in a report by the committee minority. And as Mr. Krongard noted, he was not a big political donor, had never met President Bush, and had never been to the White House except as a tourist. Yet none of these facts interfered with Mr. Waxman's public smears that Mr. Krongard's "partisan political ties" had led him to "halt investigations, censor reports, and refuse to cooperate with law-enforcement agencies."

Mr. Waxman doesn't much care if any of this is true, because his larger goal is to send a message to every Inspector General in government: They answer to him. Mr. Waxman expects them to tee up political scandals in the executive branch and serve as witnesses for his prosecution whether or not the facts support it. Mr. Krongard's mistake was telling the truth.

As a State Dept retired FSO, I can attest that many loathesome degenerates in the Department funnel their gripes to "Congressional Barons" like Waxman to circumvent State policy or prejudice investigations on a regular basis.

Between the lines, one can infer that Condi Rice is unable to muster enough clout to head off creepy empire builders like Waxman---or doesn't have the energy to do so.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Clinton ex-POTUS Still a Thuggish Brute

The biggest reason to be opposed to Hillary Clinton if you're a Democrat is theCreepy Non-Stop Motormouth she's married to. Here is another demonstration of his narcissistic solipsistic self-absorbed take on the true love of his life = himself, of course. Here's another example of serial chronic liar Bill masturbating in public:
Former President Clinton says he's learned a valuable lesson from the dustup over his remarks on the campaign trail—he can promote his wife's presidential candidacy, but he's not free to defend her.

Clinton also said that everything he said in South Carolina about Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was "factually accurate," but a lot that has been said about what he said is "factually inaccurate."

"I think the mistake that I made is to think that I was a spouse like any other spouse who could defend his candidate," Clinton said, referring to his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is waging a hard-fought contest with Obama for the Democratic nomination.

Of course, his accusations about Obama were as dishonest as his assertion that he opposed GWB's invasion of Iraq. He cannot tell the truth, as his megalomania doesn't permit him ever to be wrong, not even once. The

href="">New Republic has a good apercu on this piece of human garbage & his non-stop dishonesty:
the tension (if it is a tension) between Clinton the smart and charismatic progressive and Clinton the brutal bare-knuckles campaigner was such a common trope coming out of the 1992 campaign that it could get put at the center of Joe Klein's Primary Colors. Clinton may have beat Bush in the fall of 1992 by feeling the audience's pain--but he beat Paul Tsongas in the spring by blanketing Florida in lies and deceptions about Social Security and Israel. Nothing Bill's done in the last several weeks should come as any surprise to anyone who remembers Florida '92. Later, he dispatched Jerry Brown with one of those strategic shows of temper, exploding at him in a debate that Brown had crossed the line by mentioning the corruption charges involving shady deals between the Arkansas state government and Hillary's law firm: "You ought to be ashamed of yourself for jumping on my wife. You're not worth being on the same platform as my wife." (Because, of course, it turned out that neither Whitewater nor Hillary had any drag effects on Bill in the future that Democratic voters in 1992 might have wanted to think about, and so both were off-limits as topics, right?)

When the first comparisons between Obama and reformist eggheads of past Democratic primaries (Tsongas, Stevenson, Paul Simon, Gary Hart) started surfacing, my thought was, "Bill Clinton's very first lesson in national politics was how to eat a candidate like that for lunch." Now, either it turns out that Obama has a cannier sense of politics than those others, or that Bill's lost his touch, because it's not working so well this time. But I have limited patience for those who are now shocked, shocked! that Bill can be a mean guy on the campaign trail.

This is to say nothing, of course, of Clinton's brutal effectiveness at crushing Republican adversaries--Newt Gingrich in roughly calendar year 1995, Ken Starr in calendar year 1998. (And throughout he was quite willing to brutalize--or to authorize his deputies like James Carville to brutalize--the names and reputations of the women involved in his various sex scandals.) I understand that most who are flocking to Obama's defense now are glad Clinton so ruthlessly crushed his GOP opponents in the 1990s. But that shouldn't blind them to the reality that he did so with no particular regard for niceties or honesty
This former admirer of POTUS Clinton has managed to soil his wife's campaign with his own skid-mark underwear tactics. She is only slightly less paranoid, but a whole lot less in love with the person in the mirror.

Peggy Noonan a High Class Version of Skanky Dowdy Dowd

Peggy Noonan again scores with a thoughtful, well-reasoned thought piece on Hillary Clinton's pernicious inability to consider anyone else entitled to the Democratic nomination:
Does her sense of toughness mean that every battle in which she engages must be fought tooth and claw, door to door? Can she recognize the line between burly combat and destructive, never-say-die warfare? I wonder if she is thinking: What will it mean if I win ugly? What if I lose ugly? What will be the implications for my future, the party's future? What will black America, having seen what we did in South Carolina, think forever of me and the party if I do low things to stop this guy on the way to victory? Can I stop, see the lay of the land, imitate grace, withdraw, wait, come back with a roar down the road? Life is long. I am not old. Or is that a reverie she could never have? What does it mean if she could never have it?

We know she is smart. Is she wise? If it comes to it, down the road, can she give a nice speech, thank her supporters, wish Barack Obama well, and vow to campaign for him?

Peggy has a deeper sense of Hillary's psychological make-up than most men would have:
One part of the Clinton mystique maintains: Deep down journalists think she's a political Rasputin who will not be dispatched. Prince Yusupov served him cupcakes laced with cyanide, emptied a revolver, clubbed him, tied him up and threw him in a frozen river. When he floated to the surface they found he'd tried to claw his way from under the ice. That is how reporters see Hillary.

And that is a grim and over-the-top analogy, which I must withdraw. What I really mean is they see her as the Glenn Close character in "Fatal Attraction": "I won't be ignored, Dan!"

Bill Clinton as live-in spouse employing the Lincoln Bedroom as his personal boudoir will put a target on Hillary's back as big as all outdoors:
Mrs. Clinton would be easier for Republicans. With her cavalcade of scandals, they'd be delighted to go at her. They'd get medals for it. Consultants would get rich on it.....The Democrats have it exactly wrong. Hillary is the easier candidate, Mr. Obama the tougher. Hillary brings negative; it's fair to hit her back with negative. Mr. Obama brings hope, and speaks of a better way. He's not Bambi, he's bulletproof.....Mrs. Clinton is stoking the idea that Mr. Obama is too soft to withstand the dread Republican attack machine. (I nod in tribute to all Democrats who have succeeded in removing the phrase "Republican and Democratic attack machines" from the political lexicon. Both parties have them.) But Mr. Obama will not be easy for Republicans to attack. He will be hard to get at, hard to address. There are many reasons, but a primary one is that the fact of his race will freeze them. No one, no candidate, no party, no heavy-breathing consultant, will want to cross any line--lines that have never been drawn, that are sure to be shifting and not always visible--in approaching the first major-party African-American nominee for president of the United States.

The Democrats are counting on the black voters to be simple loyal constituents as they have been since the LBJ Great Society scam tried to welfare them into total dependency paying back welfare checks with a vote every two or four years. That didn't work as most inner-city welfare recipients are too degraded to get out of their drug-sex-crime environment to return their benefactors to office.

If Hillary manages to deep-six Barack's candidacy, she'll bring the Dem party down around her ears---a sort of Female Samson with Spousal Delilah tempting the gullible.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Reminder: Politicians Love Global Warming

Sen. Kerry inserts himself into a tragedy---still the skunk at the picnic.
“[I] don’t want to sort of leap into the larger meaning of, you know, inappropriately, but on the other hand, the weather service has told us we are going to have more and more intense storms,” Kerry said. “And insurance companies are beginning to look at this issue and understand this is related to the intensity of storms that is related to the warming of the earth. And so it goes to global warming and larger issues that we’re not paying attention to. The fact is the hurricanes are more intensive, the storms are more intensive and the rainfall is more intense at certain places at certain times and the weather patterns have changed.”

Sound-bite whore Kerry is refuted by scientists:
Kerry’s assertion tornado activity is related to any type of climate change is questionable based on the writings of at least one meteorologist. Roger Edwards, a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Center in Norman, Okla., has doubts about any global warming and tornado relationship.
“As of this writing, no scientific studies solidly relate climatic global temperature trends to tornadoes,” Edwards wrote on the Earth & Sky Web site in April 2007. “I don’t expect any such results in the near future either, because tornadoes are too small, short–lived, hard to measure and count, and too dependent on day to day, even minute to minute weather conditions.”

A bloviating hair-do on wheels who happened to serve 3.5 months in Vietnam & made a living off the people ever since to the contrary notwithstanding.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Where'd Hillary Get Enuf to Write a Check for $5 Million?

The Mainstream Media has never exonerated Hillary, nor has any Grand Jury investigated her forays into making money during "35 years of public service." Some observations/questions:
First, 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 Bill 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.

The Democrats control the mainstream media with a few exceptions. Even those exceptions like Fox & WSJ are trying to pitch leftward for market share.

Sure, her huckster spouse has earned hundreds of millions peddling snake oil, but where did SHE get the $5 million?

Inquiring minds want to know.

UPDATE:Newsweek also wants to know.

McCain Veep Choice Dangerous?

Mary Katherine Ham has a cautionary aside in her Townhall piece on McCain's Super Tuesday victories:
[Concerning a] Huckabee vice-presidency for McCain (or Romney). That makes some more sense for Romney, I think, although the two of them don't care much for each other. For McCain, doesn't the Huckabee vice-presidency knock the legs out from under all his independent support? Although it would seem to be a decent choice on paper since he's Southern and evangelical, every moderate/libertarian Republican or Independent I know would seriously consider sitting out instead of voting for a ticket with Huckabee on it.

The thing about McCain, though, is he has this self-destructive political tick, which would not surprise me if it kicked in and compelled him to pick Huckabee as his veep. After all, Mac likes Huck, and in Mac's mind, that's usually reason enough to make a huge decision. After all, "politically unpopular" is akin to validation for every decision for McCain isn't it?

And, if Huckabee doesn't get a veep slot, does it tick off evangelicals enough to sit home? The party surely can't afford to spurn a guy with this much natural support in such an important constituency too easily. There are reasons people are for him, even though I don't agree with them.

Looks like a Hobson's choice for McCain, whichever way he goes in the Veep hunt.