A member of the Homeland Security Department’s advisory council allegedly leaked sensitive information to the press in hopes of damaging Texas governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. A look at the guy, named Mohamed Elibiary, shows him to be exactly the sort of guy you might expect to do such a thing:
Elibiary’s history includes an appearance at a conference honoring Ayatollah Khomeini; condemning the Justice Department’s successful prosecution of a Hamas-financing conspiracy designed by the Muslim Brotherhood (the Holy Land Foundation case); praise for Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb; and an aggressive email exchange with [journalist] Rod Dreher . . . [in which he warned Dreher]: “Treat people as inferiors and you can expect someone to put a banana in your exhaust pipe or something.”
This guy should never have been given access to sensitive information in the first place.
POSTSCRIPT: We’ll see whether the legacy media hyperventilates over this case they way they did over the allegation (ultimately proven false) that the Bush administration leaked a CIA agent’s name to punish her husband. Ha ha. Just kidding.
A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research looks at how various countries tried to deal with budget deficits. It finds that those countries that focused on spending cuts were successful, while those that attempted a “balanced” approach of tax hikes and spending cuts were not.
This is very timely, since Democrats are pushing the latter strategy. (Of course, even that would be an improvement over the usual Democratic strategy, which is to promise a “balanced” approach, but never deliver the spending cuts.)
The Washington Post reports:
House Democrats on Wednesday called for Congress to expand its investigation into federal loan programs to include a Bush-era loan to the bankrupt broadband Internet firm Open Range.
Open Range went bankrupt earlier this month after receiving the federal government’s biggest broadband loan totaling $267 million. Its collapse has put in jeopardy $74 million in money doled out to the firm. . .
“Your reaction to the Open Range bankruptcy could not be more different than your reaction to the Solyndra bankruptcy,” the lawmakers said in their letter to Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.).
It Democrats think this will counter the Solyndra scandal, just because the loan was made during the Bush administration, they clearly don’t understand the problem. To wit:
- It is not alleged that Open Range exploited personal/political contacts within the Bush administration to get the loan, or that the loan was revived after being shelved under the previous administration, or that the loan was issued in violation of procedure, or that its renegotiation was contrary to law, which are just a few of the many aspects of the Solyndra affair that make it a scandal and not just a bad decision.
- The conservative/libertarian argument that the government should not be trying to pick winners and losers (and is incapable of doing so) is not limited to Democratic administrations. We’re not happy that the Bush administration was in that business either. The Open Range bankruptcy simply underscores that point.
OWS Exposed is a new web site that exposes the nature and misconduct of the Occupy Wall Street protests. It was immediately subjected to a denial of service attack. When it got back up, its servers were hacked, redirecting readers to 127.0.0.1. (I saw this myself.) It’s finally up and running now.
All of which tells us something about the supporters of Occupy Wall Street, without even going to the site.
The FBI field agents concluded that “the relationships between Congressman John Murtha … and employees and partners of KSA Consulting provide for a potential Honest Services Fraud … if Congressman Murtha influenced the awarding of contracts to KSA-controlled entities or clients, in exchange for some personal benefit to the Congressman. KSA principals may also have committed Honest Services Fraud by lobbying Murtha to direct earmarks to KSA clients who ‘passed-thru’ the funds to subcontractor firms that did little actual work and were owned by KSA principles.”
No one was ever charged in the investigation. The reason is not clear from the documents.
The White House describes Russia’s invasion of Georgia as a trade dispute.
Thermal imaging shows that nearly all the tents in the Occupy London protest are left empty at night.
How would an administration behave if it were innocent of wrongdoing? Not like this:
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is investigating to what extent the White House was aware of — or involved in — the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal.
The committee recently requested to speak with former White House National Security Staffer Kevin O’Reilly. According to CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, the Obama administration answered:
O’Reilly is on assignment for the State Department in Iraq and unavailable.
Through a tip, PJ Media learned that Kevin O’Reilly was unexpectedly named director of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau for Iraq (INL-Iraq). Long-time INL-Iraq employee Virginia Ramadan had been expected to get the position — many were quite surprised when she did not.
The previous occupants of the Director, INL-Iraq position — Joe Manso and Francisco Palmieri — were not considered “unreachable” to press or government access. A quick internet search reveals Palmieri, while director, attended a media event on August 23, 2010.
On October 21, PJ Media reporter Patrick Richardson called the number for Office of the Director, INL-Iraq. . . Richardson reached a voicemail message confirming that it was indeed the correct number. He left a message that was not returned.
On Monday Richardson called again, and an assistant answered. Richardson asked to speak with Kevin O’Reilly, and the assistant asked who was calling. Richardson gave his name and stated he was with PJ Media. The assistant said O’Reilly was currently on a conference call, and asked if Richardson wanted to leave a message. Richardson gave his phone number. His call was not returned.
This morning, Richardson called again. He received a prerecorded message saying “this number is not in service.”
This isn’t helping:
A three-year investigation into the police’s habit of fixing traffic and parking tickets in the Bronx ended in the unsealing of indictments on Friday and a stunning display of vitriol by hundreds of off-duty officers, who converged on the courthouse to applaud their accused colleagues and denounce their prosecution.
It’s not the police misconduct that is so damaging to the reputation of the police. It’s the reaction of other police officers, making clear that it’s not just a few bad apples, they really do see themselves as above the law.
And whose bright idea was it to prepare signs printed with the Nuremberg defense (“Just following orders”)? That sure doesn’t help either.
To sum up: Lawmakers don’t follow the law (even when it applies to them, which it usually doesn’t), the administration doesn’t follow the law, and law enforcement doesn’t follow the law either. But they expect us to follow it? No. We’ll just follow our own moral code, thanks.
Perhaps Illinois should just dispense with the pretense of democratic government:
Escalating his war of words with the Legislature, Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday called for an investigation into who cast votes for as many as 18 House members who were off the House floor when utility rate-hike legislation that he opposed passed in the blink of an eye. . .
Shortly before the first part of the rate-hike package surfaced in the House, as many as 18 Democrats were called off the floor to attend a budget briefing. Some of those lawmakers told the Sun-Times they returned from the briefing to see their votes had been recorded, even though they personally hadn’t cast them and, in some cases, opposite of the way they wanted.
POSTSCRIPT: It’s not just Illinois either. We also saw the falsification of a floor vote in the US House of Representatives back when it was under Democratic management.
A Gallup poll of small businesses finds that the biggest problem facing small business is complying with government regulations, not — as the pro-stimulus crowd would have us believe – lack of consumer demand. In fact, lack of consumer demand doesn’t even come in second; it barely edges lack of credit (thanks Dodd-Frank!) for third place.
With the war in Iraq over and all US troops due to leave the country soon, it’s worth reminding ourselves (again) of the cost. Nine years in Iraq have cost less than President Obama’s 2009 stimulus plan.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom is set to be dissolved because of one anonymous senator.
I don’t have a problem with the idea that one senator can place a hold on legislation, but they idea that he or she can do it anonymously is an affront to the entire idea of a republic.
Remember the Ground Zero Mosque? It faded from the headlines when it seemed that all the obstacles to the project were exhausted, but another legal battle has arisen. The mosque developer has a lease on the neighboring property, and its owner, Con Ed, is demanding $1.7 million in back rent.
I hope the mosque developers lose, because what they are trying to do is extraordinarily unseemly. But more than that, I hope that the legal process is carried out without political interference. The terms of the lease (which I have not seen reported anywhere) should govern the dispute.
I love Occupy Wall Street; a richer vein of irony is hard to find. These protesters, who say they want the wealth of the top 1% redistributed, turn out to have quite bourgeois sensibilities when it comes to their property. They don’t like it when people steal their stuff, squat in their tents, or freeload on their labor.
The law requires that Congress pass a budget, but Democrats haven’t done so in years. A few members of Congress are proposing a new rule whereby Congress would not be able to pass any other legislation while the budget is overdue.
I like the spirit of this, but I can see some practical problems. Fortunately I have a simpler idea: Congress should not get paid until it passes a budget.
ABC News reports:
At a million-dollar San Francisco fundraiser today, President Obama warned his recession-battered supporters that if he loses the 2012 election it could herald a new, painful era of self-reliance in America.
Generally, it is not considered correct procedure to revise old press releases retroactively on the Web.
Indeed not. And an Instapundit reader notes that this isn’t even the first time. The Obama administration was also caught revising old State Department reports (from the previous administration even) to replace “Jerusalem, Israel” with “Jerusalem”.
I agree with him, it is very strange that this isn’t seen as a big deal.
Piper Aircraft Inc. on Monday announced it will lay off 150 employees and release 55 contract personnel as a result of a decision to indefinitely suspend its Piper Altaire light business jet program.
The Justice Department is categorically denying that a third gun was recovered from Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder. Or maybe not; the denial seems to be carefully worded to leave some wiggle room:
“The FBI has made clear that reports of a third gun recovered from the perpetrators at the scene of Agent Terry’s murder are false,” the department said in a statement Monday.
Meanwhile, Bob Owens reviews the extensive evidence suggesting a third gun was recovered.
Democrats on the “Super Committee” have come up with a radical new way to cut the deficit:
According to two congressional sources, the Democratic proposal would get to $1.3 trillion in federal budget savings by hiking revenues to raise half of the money. The plan would cut about $400 billion from Medicare — half through benefits cuts and half through provider savings — and proposes raising another $300 billion through stimulus spending.
Raising money through stimulus spending! Brilliant! I’m a little short this month myself, so I’m going to go out and buy a flat-panel TV.
Washington DC is now the nation’s richest metropolitan area. I’m reminded of Imperial Rome, which, it is said, exported armies and imported grain.
Anthony Watts says that the greenhouse-effect lab experiment in Al Gore’s “Climate Reality Project” was faked. He charges that the video was bogus, and that the experiment could not be done the way the narrator (Bill Nye) claimed that it was. I find his evidence very compelling, especially for the former charge.
There’s no question that the greenhouse effect exists; Gore is on completely solid scientific footing for that at least. So why fake the experiment? I think the answer is pure showmanship. He wanted a very simple experiment to illustrate to the viewer how elementary the greenhouse effect is. Unfortunately, a legitimate demonstration of the greenhouse effect would be too complicated to serve the purpose. Rather than settle for reality, Gore preferred to fake the experiment.
POSTSCRIPT: Just to emphasize: Although this is a telling indication of Al Gore’s lack of honesty, it has no bearing on the global-warming debate. There’s no doubt that the greenhouse effect exists. We can calculate the direct effect of rising CO2 levels on the temperature of the Earth. That direct effect is modest. The real question is what happens next: Do the secondary effects amplify or counter the direct effects, and to what degree? It’s impossible to run an experiment, so no one knows.
The Economist had an article (subscription required) earlier this month about Pakistan’s disastrous electricity shortage. In the middle of the article was a little hint as to why the shortage exists:
Insufficient capacity is not even the biggest problem. That is a $6 billion chain of debt, ultimately owed by the state, that is debilitating the entire energy sector. Power plants are owed money by the national grid and the grid in turn cannot get consumers (including the Pakistani government) to pay for the electricity they use. This week, the financial crunch meant that oil supply to the two biggest private power plants was halted, because the state-owned oil company had no cash to procure fuel.
Suppliers aren’t being paid and a shortage results? Imagine that!
Drug reimportation is back on the table, being pushed this time by David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican who ought to know better. Grace Marie-Turner attacks the scheme on the grounds of safety, which could be valid (I don’t know), but the knock-down argument against it is economic.
The short version of the argument is that we cannot realize real savings by shipping a product to Canada and back. The long version is here, the upshot of which is that reimportation would screw Canada over without accruing any discernible benefit to us.
Here’s a good indication that NATO has lost its way. After a NATO airstrike hit Moammar Qaddafi’s convoy, allowing anti-Qaddafi forces to bring him to his long-awaited end, NATO disavowed any intention to do so:
“At the time of the strike, NATO did not know that Qaddafi was in the convoy,” the statement said. “NATO’s intervention was conducted solely to reduce the threat towards the civilian population, as required to do under our UN mandate. As a matter of policy, NATO does not target individuals.”
The stupidity of this astounds me. The leader of the enemy forces is a legitimate military target, and killing him in all likelihood ends the war. But NATO would rather continue to see people die, combatants and civilians, rather than kill one man whose name they happen to know?
The social contract exists so that everyone doesn’t have to squat in the dust holding a spear to protect his woman and his meat all day every day. It does not exist so that the government can take your spear, your meat, and your woman because it knows better what to do with them.
Investor’s Business Daily has an important reminder of who was responsible for the subprime crash:
POSTSCRIPT: IBD also notes:
And the remaining 29% of private-label junk was mostly attributable to Countrywide Financial, which was under the heel of HUD and its “fair-lending” edicts.
Countrywide Financial should ring a bell.
Journalists in the legacy media have been advising the Occupy Wall Street protesters on how to craft their message. Then they’ve been turning around and reporting on those protesters as if they were disinterested observers.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute charges that the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy has been moving discussions to UN servers in order to hide them from Freedom of Information Act requests.
This administration has withheld records on climate change from FOIA requests before.
(Via Power Line.)
Ralph Rossum has an interesting look at Clarence Thomas’s jurisprudence.
David Gregory, the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, doesn’t understand the difference between state taxes and federal taxes.
Fox News reports:
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez likely has less than two years to live, his former doctor said, as the ailing firebrand traveled to Cuba for a checkup following cancer treatment.
It’s good (if this is right) that there may be a light at the end of Venezuela’s tunnel, but Chavez can ruin a lot more lives in two more years.
A Wall Street Journal op-ed takes a look at how well stimulus plans have worked in the past. Answer: not well. But we never seem to learn.
On May 3, Eric Holder said that he had learned of the Gunwalker scandal “over the last few weeks”. But President Obama was aware of the scandal by March 22. That’s six weeks.
It’s just not plausible that the president would be aware of the scandal weeks before the attorney general, so I’m sure they will argue that six weeks counts as a “few weeks”. But that’s certainly not the impression that Holder was trying to give by saying “last few weeks” instead of “last couple of months”.
We are at war with Iran. It’s time we noticed:
A key player in the Iran-backed plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. was a senior military commander linked to the slaughter of U.S. troops in Iraq, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
Abdul Reza Shahlai is the cousin of accused plotter Mansour Arbabsiar, 56, an Iranian-American currently in custody and charged with a string of offenses including conspiracy to commit murder and an act of international terrorism. . . The 54-year-old is a commander in Iran’s Quds Force, the body believed to have been behind the Saudi ambassador plot and described to the Post by a US official as “Iran’s arm for supporting terrorists and planning attacks.”
In 2007 Shahlai ran a group of elite killers within the Iraqi militia of the cleric Moqtada al Sadr, who dressed as US and Iraqi soldiers and launched an attack on official buildings in Karbala — a raid which left five Americans dead.
Good things about iOS5: I like being able to use the volume button to take pictures.
Bad things about iOS5: It’s taken me literally hours to get my phone working about as well as before the upgrade.
In the United Kingdom — the exemplar of government-run health care that Democrats are working to bring to America — hospitals have been issuing do-not-resuscitate orders without consulting patients or their families.
But at least the government jumped all over them, right?
Although at least five hospitals were found by the CQC [Care Quality Commission] to be in breach of medical guidance regarding consultation with families, the watchdog declared four of the five to be “compliant” with its standards on dignity for patients, which cover broader aspects of care.
In a national report published about the checks last week, the CQC made no mention of its findings about the misuse of DNR notices.
Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) says that President Obama should ditch the Constitution:
Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that congressional opposition to the American Jobs Act is akin to the Confederate “states in rebellion.” . . .
“We’ve got to go further. I support what [Obama] does. Clearly, Republicans are not going to be for it but if the administration can handle administratively what can be done, we should pursue it. And if there are extra-constitutional opportunities that allow the president administratively to put the people to work, he should pursue every single one of them,” Jackson suggested.
And the grand purpose to which we should abandon our 224-year experiment with constitutional government? Jackson wants to send every unemployed person a check for $40 thousand.
It’s been pretty obvious for a while that it was going to happen, but the Obama administration has officially pulled the plug on the CLASS program. For those who haven’t been following this closely, the CLASS program was a fraudulent long-term care program in Obamacare.
It could never possibly have worked, but was included in health care nationalization because, the way it was scored, it generated $70 billion in deficit reduction over 10 years. However, although a 10-year horizon can be spoofed, it’s much harder to spoof a 75-year horizon, which is what they had to do in order to bring the program into reality.
BONUS: For further amusement, look through a list of prominent Democrats singing the praise of CLASS. Every one of these people is either dishonest or incapable of basic math.
I’m going to come right out and say that colleges really shouldn’t expel students for criticizing the school’s administration.
Joe Biden says crime will soar if Congress fails to pass President Obama’s
stimulus jobs bill.