“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ignorance In Congress

Yesterday morning I was reading and working while listening to "Helicopter Ben" Bernanke's Congressional testimony. There was the usual droning of statements masquerading as questions by various axe-grinding Representatives of both parties. Amidst this was the typically-nasty Barney Frank gravelling Republicans and prohibiting real exchanges of information, with questions squeezed into impractically small slices of time.

Later on, around lunch time, with the room nearly empty, they got around to a sallow, milquetoast-looking guy with whitish hair.

My God! It's my new Representative, Leonard Lance! I'd only seen the guy in those cheesy campaign mailers with his 2.2 kids and forgettable-looking wife. I do recall it was a vicious, nasty fight on personal bases between him and his Democratic opponent.

In any case, I stopped what I was doing to take the measure of this guy.

Boy, was I disappointed. It was obvious, as his eyes stayed glued to a piece of paper, carefully reading his remarks and questions, that he had absolutely no clue as to what he was saying.

Afraid of even looking up from his crib sheet long enough to make eye contact with Ben as he talked, Lance almost succumbed to running his finger along the text he was clearly reading word for word.

Mind you, this isn't rocket science. I could probably ask better questions of Bernanke off the cuff, as could thousands of business people with degrees and a few economics courses in their past.

But it was clear that Lance's staff intended to quote from his written questions, the better to pretend he had an actual grasp of what he mouthed.

It was a sad, sad performance. Yet another idiot who already needs to be booted out of office.

And he just got there!

Wonderboy's UN Nuclear Whitewash

Tuesday's Wall Street Journal contained an eye-opening account of what was supposed to happen when Wonderboy chaired the UN Security Council meeting last week. According to the Journal,

"But now we hear that the French and British leaders were quietly seething on stage, annoyed by America's handling of the announcement.

Both countries wanted to confront Iran a day earlier at the United Nations. Mr. Obama was, after all, chairing a Security Council session devoted to nonproliferation. The latest evidence of Iran's illegal moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon was in hand. With the world's leaders gathered in New York, the timing and venue would be a dramatic way to rally international opinion.

President Sarkozy in particular pushed hard. He had been "frustrated" for months about Mr. Obama's reluctance to confront Iran, a senior French government official told us, and saw an opportunity to change momentum. But the Administration told the French that it didn't want to "spoil the image of success" for Mr. Obama's debut at the U.N. and his homily calling for a world without nuclear weapons, according to the Paris daily Le Monde."

Wow. In order to protect the image of success, Wonderboy's handlers forbid Britain and France to actually address real nuclear weapon proliferation concerns at the UN, which would be the logical place to do so.

The editorial continues, referring to Sarkozy's modified UN address,

"The address takes on added meaning now that we know the backroom discussions.

"We are right to talk about the future," Mr. Sarkozy said, referring to the U.S. resolution on strengthening arms control treaties. "But the present comes before the future, and the present includes two major nuclear crises," i.e., Iran and North Korea. "We live in the real world, not in a virtual one." No prize for guessing into which world the Frenchman puts Mr. Obama.

"We say that we must reduce," he went on. "President Obama himself has said that he dreams of a world without nuclear weapons. Before our very eyes, two countries are doing exactly the opposite at this very moment. Since 2005, Iran has violated five Security Council Resolutions."

You can't criticize Sarkozy for avoiding reality or being in denial. Like our president. The French PM continued,

"And last but not least, it has resulted in a statement by Iranian leaders calling for wiping off the map a Member of the United Nations. What are we to do? What conclusions are we to draw? At a certain moment hard facts will force us to make decisions.""

Sarkozy pulls no punches about the threat a nuclear Iran will pose to Israel. How's that for irony? A French Prime Minister arguing on Israel's behalf?

Unfortunately, our own leader can't muster the courage to confront the Iranians at the UN, preferring, instead, to continue his imaginary global victory lap undisturbed by the reality of nuclear weapons proliferation in one of the most dangerous reasons on Earth.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Scandal of Chicago's Olympic Bid

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal provided fairly deep coverage of the dynamics of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

There is so much wrong with this initiative, on so many levels, that it's difficult to know where to begin.

Certainly, with all the pressing issues of state calling for solutions by Wonderboy- Iranian nuclear weapons ambitions, North Korean nuclear proliferation, Russian obstinacy on disarmament, Afghanistan, to name just a few- you'd think he has more to do than have taxpayers fund his trip to Copenhagen to plead before the IOC on behalf of his adopted hometown.

Actually, our First Rookie took not one, but two jets over the pond to lobby on Dick Daley's behalf.

Then there is the Valerie Jarrett connection. Here's Michell Malkin's take on it, and Jarrett. Yesterday, Glenn Beck devoted most of his program to Jarrett, Wonderboy and the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid.

About Jarrett, perhaps the most concise way of stating her corrupt involvement is this. Her former company, Habitat, Inc., was and is involved in the mismanagement of what is now a slum housing development. Jarrett simply refuses inquiries made to her on the subject. The slum is believed to be near locations that will become, if Chicago wins its Olympic bid, prime athletic facilities sites. Being in dilapidated condition, the slum development will be ideal for condemnation and rebuilding as athlete housing. Jarrett's old firm actually owns quite a bit of land in Chicago, according to news sources. And the city has mandated that all Olympic venues will be within the city limits.

Then there's the Chicago way.

Do you recall the Big Dig in Boston some years ago? When they decided to move an entire freeway beneath the city? In effect, the largely federally-funded project was a transfer of money from taxpayers everywhere to corrupt unions and organized crime syndicates in Boston.

Well, the Chicago 2016 Olympics will be a lot like the Big Dig. In fact, in yesterday's Journal, one local observer allowed as how the Olympic effort was sure to run over budget. Any guesses as to some of the people who will pocket those overruns?

Then there's the clear split among Chicagoans over the Olympic bid. About half of the city's residents don't want the Games. Some of this is due to the reasonable suspicion that they will be taxed to make good on the city's losses on the 2016 Games.

In fact, Daley first insisted that Chicago would not be liable for any losses on the Olympics. Then, he modified his stance and rammed through the city council a resolution allowing for the city to absorb $500MM in losses on the Games. According to the Journal, the city plans to lay off its risk on this $500MM exposure for about $63MM in insurance premiums.

The Olympics seems to be a sort of capstone for Daley. His poll numbers are at career lows, with approvals down below 40%, and disapprovals above 40%. He's been likened to a banana republic dictator in a local paper, and has been attracting the ire of the city's citizens in recent years.

Anyone remotely knowledgeable about how Chicago operates knows that, if it secures the Olympic bid, much graft will flow into the city and around and through political operatives, organized crime, unions, and anyone else Democrats need to reward.

Since the US president and one of his closest aides are involved in the effort, the mind reels at the added sources of swag being planned for this Olympics, and the additional corrupt mouths which will be fed by those national taxpayer dollars.

But the real lesson may best be summed up by reading one passage in the Journal article. It reads,

"Mr. Daley, who didn't attend the meetings, has responded to questions about the Games' risks by asking rhetorically: If the Olympics are such a bum deal, why are so many cities vying for the 2016 Games?"

That's almost too easy to answer. But also very embarrassing. Here's why.

Like Chicago, it's a good bet that most other cities' residents and taxpayers do not want the Games. That's because they know that, on average, an Olympic Games do not make much, if any money for the city, but carry enormous risk of losses. Those losses will be borne by those taxpayers.

I believe it's the mayors of all of those cities to which Daley refers that want the Olympics.

Those mayors want the Olympics because the Games constitute a new, fresh, large stream of revenues to be skimmed, allocated to unions, crime syndicates, friends, relatives, and various others to whom favors are owed. It builds a politician's prestige, power, and connections.

It may not be a "bum deal" for the mayors, but I think most of the residents of the cities bidding on the Games understand, deep down, that the Games are more than likely going to be a "bum deal" for them.

At least the likes of Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin are already shining bright lights on the people and places where you can expect torrents of Olympic cash to flow if Chicago gets its Olympics.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Acorn Tapes.....& Congress

By now, you've doubtless heard of the ACORN video tapes. These are the set of videos produced by an undercover team- a woman and a producer- who visited several of the group's offices posing as a prostitute and her pimp. They captured video evidence of ACORN workers knowingly assisting them in getting funding, housing and legal help for setting up a brothel of underage foreign girls.

Here's one of the YouTube videos containing the actual footage.

Perhaps the most incredible part of this story is the reaction of members of Congress.

In just about a week since Fox and Glenn Beck broke the story on cable news, pressure increased on ACORN, the renegade community activist/organizing ally of Wonderboy. First, the Census Bureau cut all ties to ACORN for the upcoming decennial census.

Then Congress voted to cut funding for ACORN. However, even with the five explicit videos documenting ACORN staffers' abetting and aiding illegal activities, the group still has friends on the Hill.

A handful of Representatives voted not to cut off funding. Uber-liberal Barney Frank of Massachusetts obfuscated on how he would vote, conveniently ducked the vote, then, after it passed, said he would have voted with the majority.

Illinois' appointed Senator, Roland Burris, captured below on video, supported the group, along with three others in the upper chamber- Dick Durbin, the state's senior Senator, and Hillary Clinton's appointed replacement from New York.

Amazingly, Barney Frank spent most of his energy decrying the team that went undercover to document ACORN's workers using taxpayer money to support illegal activities, including underage prostitution using imported underage girls.

Frank refused to focus on the ACORN activities and, instead, insisted that the real issue was whether the young man and woman, in gathering the video and audio evidence, had violated any state or federal wiretapping laws.

Just incredible.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Iran's Nuclear Weapon Development

The recent disclosure of Iran's additional reactor site brings to the forefront an unbelievable state of affairs in the ineptitude of the Western world's management of this situation for over a decade.

As I sit writing this post, I find myself thinking that this must be what it felt like to read newspapers in the late 1930s, seeing war coming and watching the West's leaders fumble any chance to pre-emptively contain it.

Iran is a regional bully. It's a poorly-run theocracy that crushes its own citizens' dissent. Properly economically embargoed, the current regime might collapse in a year or so. Certainly, the lack of refined petroleum products and hard currency would make ordinary life and the continued progress of its nuclear weapons ambitions very difficult to sustain.

Instead, eight years of accommodation and lack of response by the Bush administration let Iran make substantial progress on both uranium enrichment and missile delivery systems. By turning a blind eye to Iran's single-minded pursuit of nuclear weapons, President Bush missed a golden opportunity to take the program out when it was still in its infancy.

Apparently, Bush's infatuation with Vladimir Putin prevented him from unilaterally halting Iran's nuclear weapons program. Further, inexplicably, when Iran was proven to be aiding those in Iraq attacking US forces, Bush, again, failed to take advantage of the opportunity to destroy substantial parts of Iran's nuclear capability.

With the 1930s as a reasonable example from which to learn, it should be obvious that rogue nations like Iran, now, and Germany, then, are secretly scared of being stopped via military force during their arming phase. But they treat every diplomatic threat as a signal to proceed.

Using major powers' values and diplomatic processes against them, these rogue nations merrily put on a show of diplomacy while racing ahead with rearmament. While everyone watches their clear displays of duplicity, leaders of the major powers continue to behave as if what everyone knows is, in fact, not true.

In the 1930s, it resulted in world war of epic proportions and loss of millions of lives.

Now, we are talking nuclear weapons with missile delivery systems. In the face of this, Wonderboy has just backed down on deploying the Bush-planned theater anti-missile defenses in Eastern Europe.

How can this be happening? How can we actually be watching our own elected president, and the heads of the major European powers, and Russia, simply sit and watch a renegade state approach the point of capability of launching a nuclear weapon at Israel or southern Europe?

Are these elected leaders mad? Insane? Or merely so pompous and egotistical that because they, or, in our own case, he, believes in his rhetorical skills, he is willing to bet several million lives and the use of land in several Mediterranean or European countries for thousands of years on them?

I read this past weekend's two-page piece on Israel's options for destroying Iran's nuclear weapons program. Two things struck me as I read the article.

First, we have a cold-blooded, analytical piece concerning how Israel, a regional power, might take out Iran's nuclear threat, when the world's most effective and strongest military power, the US, stands nearer Iran, with greater assets. Yet I was reading a serious piece about how Israel would have to contemplate doing the job itself in order to avoid nuclear annihilation.

Second, with such a serious, world-changing possibility in the offing, i.e., Iran acquiring and launching nuclear weapons that will, for all practical purposes, change the face of the world for decades to come, the US isn't even considered in the running to stop it.

It's now a foregone conclusion that our own government will not use our considerable military advantage to simply attack and destroy anything necessary inside Iran, until it has no hope of recreating a nuclear weapons program for the next four or five decades.

Instead, we have the UN, NATO, and the US all behaving as if Iran already has active nuclear weapons in a deliverable state.

Whatever political and human costs a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear weapons facilities would entail, in hindsight, after the detonation of the first Iranian nuclear weapon on another country's soil, those costs will seem laughably small and affordable.

But, then, it will be far too late.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kent Conrad's Arrogant Remarks

Two Representatives from opposing parties, Brian Baird of Washington and Greg Walden of Oregon, have proposed a bill to require a 72 hour waiting period before Congress can vote on any non-emergency legislation. Such bills would be posted, in final form, on a publicly-accessible website for a minimum of 72 hours before Congress could pass such bills.

Predictably, Frisco Nan Pelosi has shunted the bill aside. It now lays in a limbo from which it will not exit, unless a discharge petition is signed by 218 members, or a majority of the House. Nan has placed aides of the Democratic House leadership on the floor to intimidate members from signing the petition.

This is all bad enough. But it gets worse. Much worse.

We've all seen, by now, Michigan liberal Democratic Representative John Conyers famously admitting, on camera, that he had no intention of reading the stimulus bill. That it would take him and two lawyers more time to read it than he had before the vote.

Thus, the two Representatives' proposal.

But liberal doofus and Senator from North Dakota, Kent Conrad, weighed in on the matter. Remember, this is one of the guys who received favorable treatment from Countrywide Credit's
Angelo Mozillo, but denied he knew of it. Never the less, Conrad helped make it very easy for Countrywide to participate in the process that gutted residential real estate finance last year.

Conrad, according to the Wall Street Journal, claims that Baird's and Walden's proposed bill won't matter because,

"only 5% of Americans will be able to understand the legalese in bills."

The Journal quotes Politico as quoting Conrad further saying,

"Anybody who thinks that is going to be transparent to the American people is really not telling it like it is."

Can you believe Conrad's nerve?

Maybe we voters don't want Congress writing bills we, their paymasters, don't understand.

Maybe we don't want Congress passing laws for which we will all need to hire attorneys to determine when and how we will be in compliance.

It takes a pretty arrogant public service to essentially say that it's not worth trying to let voters understand the laws their elected legislators pass. That few care, and few could possibly understand these matters, anyway.

Boy, I wish I were running against Conrad in his next election. I can't believe North Dakotans want to return a Senator who is so arrogant, grafted-up, and pompous.