Friday, May 15, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 15, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In Churchill by His Contemporaries, edited by Charles Eade and published in 1955, President Eisenhower recalled Churchill as a wartime leader “of extraordinarily strong convictions and a master in argument and debate.”

About that no one would disagree with Ike, who went on to say:

Completely devoted to winning the war and discharging his responsibility as Prime Minister of Great Britain, he was difficult indeed to combat when conviction compelled disagreement with his views. …

He could become intensely oratorical, even in discussion with a single person, but at the same time his intensity of purpose made his delivery seem natural and appropriate. He used humor and pathos with equal facility, and drew on everything from the Greek classics to Donald Duck for quotation, cliché and forceful slang to support his position. (p.159)
Ike nicely captures the essential Churchill arguing his case. I especially liked his reference to Churchill drawing “support for his case from Greek classics to Donald Duck.”

I once read the memoir of a Churchill aide who said he recalled an instance when Churchill in successive sentences quoted first from Gibbons' Decline and Fall and then in the second sentence from a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta.

I hope you all have a nice weekend.



McClatchy Misleads Readers To Help Pelosi

McClatchy’s David Lightman today reports on Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claims yesterday that the CIA lied to her and misleads Congress and the American people “all the time.”

McClatchy’s posts Lightman’s story under the headline:

”Pelosi says CIA misled lawmakers on torture”
But the story reads more like:
“A Bouquet For Nancy”
Here’s one very important reason why I say that:

A few paragraphs into the story Lightman and his editors tell readers:
In short, the House leader said, "The CIA was misleading the Congress. And at the same time, the administration was misleading the Congress on the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, to which I said the intelligence does not support the imminent threat."

In an opinion piece April 25 in The Washington Post, former Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., who was the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee from 1997 to 2004, wrote that "the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed," which appears to suggest that the CIA briefers didn't tell congressional leaders that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" were already in use.
But when you examine Lightman’s claim Goss “appears to suggest that the CIA briefers didn't tell congressional leaders that the ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ were already in use” by reading Goss’ op-ed – “Security Before Politics” - what do you find?

Goss was very clear:
… A disturbing epidemic of amnesia seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation's intelligence services had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda.

In the fall of 2002, while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA's "High Value Terrorist Program," including the development of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and what those techniques were.

This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers.

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as "waterboarding" were never mentioned.

It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:

-- The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.

-- We understood what the CIA was doing.

-- We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.

-- We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.

-- On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues….
Given Goss’ unmistakable intent, the facts he provides and his biting commentary directed at Pelosi and other Congressional Dems with “amnesia,” how could McClatchy’s Lightman and his editors tell readers Goss’ op-ed:
“appears to suggest that the CIA briefers didn't tell congressional leaders that the ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ were already in use?”
They could do it because:

1) - - - They were willing to be disingenuous.

2) - - - They know very few McClatchy readers will ever catch on to what they did.

3) - - - They know the McClatchy Company will never hold them to account for their deception because it was done to help a leading liberal/leftist Democrat.

The entire McClatchy story’s here; Goss' WaPo op-ed's here.

Sen. Bond on Pelosi's CIA Claim

At TIME's The Page there's a 2+ minute video of Sen. Kit Bond's (R - Missouri) reponse when he's asked if he believes Dem Speaker Pelosi's claim the CIA never told her it had used enhanced interrogation techniques.

Give it a look here.

Hat tip: Drudge Report

CIA Director Contradicts Pelosi

(Welcome visitors from Instapundit. You may also be interested to read Supporters' Follow-Up Make Things Worse For Pelosi.

And thanks, Glenn.)

A day after Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the CIA of lying to her and misleading the Congress, former Clinton White Chief of Staff and current CIA Director Leon Panetta fired back disputing her claims.

The Hill reported just minutes ago - - -

CIA Director Leon Panetta challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accusations that the agency lied to her, writing a memo to his agents saying she received nothing but the truth.

Panetta said that "ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened."

Pelosi infuriated Republicans this week when she said in a press conference that she was "misled" by CIA officials during a briefing in 2002 about whether the U.S. was waterboarding alleged terrorist detainees.

Panetta, President Obama's pick to run the clandestine agency and President Clinton's former chief of staff, wrote in a memo to CIA employees Friday that "CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing 'the enhanced techniques that had been employed,'" according to CIA records.

"We are an agency of high integrity, professionalism and dedication," Panetta said in the memo. "Our task is to tell it like it is — even if that’s not what people always want to hear. Keep it up. Our national security depends on it." …

The rest of The Hill’s report’s here.

Pelosi Wasn't Told Of 9/11 Until 2003 - A Parody

Here's Scott Ott at Scrappleface parodying dissembling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

(2009-05-15) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, under scrutiny for her changing accounts of when she knew about the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, said today that she was not informed until late 2003 that Muslim terrorists had used passenger jets to kill thousands of people in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

“One of my aides mentioned in passing that she had been to a CIA briefing months earlier about these techniques,” said Rep. Pelosi. “At the time, I thought the discussion was theoretical…that this was something that could happen. It wasn’t until October 2003 that I learned that these methods had actually been used on American soil.”

The rest of Ott's wonderful parody's here.

Hat tip: Instapundit

America’s Two Obamas

They both come to us in this Blomberg story.

Obama #1:

He's President Obama, the sound, careful steward on the nation's purse strings who looks to the future and thinks about what’s best for America:

President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”
That all sounds great. I like what Obama #1 says.

But just read further in the same Blomberg story and you meet Obama #2.
In his New Mexico appearance, the president pledged to work with Congress to shore up entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. He also said he was confident that the House and Senate would pass health-care overhaul bills by August. [ Liberals & leftists at Blomberg use “overhaul” for a proposal honest, informed people know will cost trillions the government doesn’t have. “News reporting” in America! - - JinC ]

“Most of what is driving us into debt is health care, so we have to drive down costs,” he said.
How do you drive down health care costs by expanding the involvement government already has of health care?

What Obama is really proposing is government run health care on the model some European countries use. But those governments have had no more success maintaining high quality, affordable health care than our government's had at putting an end to the bloated and growing farm subsidy programs first put in place during the Great Depression as a temporary measure to "save the family farm."

We're talking now about Obama #2, the President whose running up record deficits and still seeks to expand government spending with huge portions of it directed to powerful interest groups that help elect him.

Obama #1 is all talk. That's unfortunate.

Obama # 2 is all action. That's bad for America.

The entire Blomberg story's here.

Supporters’ Follow-up Make Things Worse For Pelosi

After Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday accused the CIA of lying and misleading Congressional leaders including herself, some observers suggested she’d made a grave error and would likely try to dampen the firestorm she’s created.

That didn’t happen. Late yesterday afternoon she had her House allies out talking to the press. Their goals: add credibility to Pelosi’s charges and expand on them.

I believe what Pelosi and her supporters did yesterday was done because they know CIA documents which will contradict what Pelosi and other leading Congressional Democrats have been saying about what they knew about enhanced interrogation and when they knew it will soon be made public.

So in an attempt to shield themselves from the criticism and anger of the public they’ve shamelessly misled, Pelosi and her allies decided on a preemptive strike to damage the CIA’s credibility before the documents become public.

But Pelosi’s attack doesn’t seem to have helped her, at least so far.

And how are her allies doing? Well, consider the following:

“Dems: CIA briefers may have broken law” is the headline of a Politico report today. A better head would’ve been: “Pelosi’s Supporters Make Things Worse For Her.”

Politico begins:

Democrats on the House intelligence committee said Thursday that CIA officers broke the law in 2002 if they told Nancy Pelosi then that they had not yet engaged in waterboarding.

"If they make a false report, absolutely it's illegal," said Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "If they fail to make a report when they're obligated to that is also illegal — a violation of the National Security Act."

Said CIA Spokesman George Little: “It is not the policy of the CIA to mislead the United States Congress.”
Rep. Schiff uses the conditional “if” as in “If they made a false report” and “If they fail to make a report when they’re obligated to …”

If Rep. Schiff has reason to believe the CIA broke the law, why isn’t he calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the matter? Why isn’t he saying Speaker Pelosi would look forward to testifying under oath regarding what the CIA told her about enhanced interrogation and when it told her?

I think Schiff’s attempt to cast suspicion and doubt on the CIA is best understood as playing partisan politics with some of the serious national security matters.

Politco ends its report:
The Democrats also defended Pelosi's decision not to raise objections to waterboarding in 2003, when she says she first learned of the practice secondhand from an aide who attended a briefing with Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), then the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee. Harman wrote a letter of protest — a letter with which Pelosi has said she "concurred," although she is not mentioned in it.

"She's away from Intel now, she's not focused on it, it's not her priority," Rep. C.A. Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said of Pelosi in 2003. "We have all these committees we go to, we get briefed on hundreds and hundreds of things. The specialist, though, was the chairman, or the ranking at the time, Jane Harman. And she did what she had to do, and we couldn't get a response back."

In fact, Harman did receive a response from CIA General Counsel Scott W. Muller; it just wasn’t the one she wanted.

In a February 2003 letter, Miller wrote: "As we informed both you and the leadership of the intelligence committees last September, a number of executive branch lawyers including lawyers from the Department of Justice participated in the determination that, in the appropriate circumstances, use of these techniques is fully consistent with U.S. law."
How did you like Politico’s sentence,
” In fact, Harman did receive a response from CIA General Counsel Scott W. Muller; it just wasn’t the one she wanted,”
following Rep. Ruppersberger’s claim that “we couldn’t get a response back?”

Politco makes sure readers know Ruppersbarger’s “no response” claim is false.

Message to Rep. Ruppersbarger: I think Politco’s telling you it doesn’t want to be flat out lied to.

Folks, Pelosi didn’t help herself yesterday and when her allies came behind her to try to “clean up the mess” they just made matters worse.

Pelosi needs to temporarily step down from the speakership and testify publicly under oath as to what the CIA told her and when.

Politico's entire story's here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 14, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Today we end the “Walk in Churchill’s Steps” series we began Monday.

We're now walking up Whitehall from Downing Street toward the Palace of Westminster, the official name for what is really a group of buildings most often called simply “Parliament.”

An easy few minutes walk takes us to the grass covered square across from Parliament. The square's called - you guessed it - Parliament Square.

We’ll stand on the sidewalk at the southwest corner of the Square. Churchill often stood in that spot waiting for the light to change before crossing the street.

As we look across the street what we see is little changed from Churchill’s time. The part of Parliament closest to us - a one-story building - is Westminster Hall, completed in 1097. Sir Thomas More was tried there. And there in 1982 President Reagan delivered what's come to be known as The Westminister Speech, one of the greatest speeches delivered by any 20th cantury President.

Across the centuries Britain's royalty have lain in state in Westminster Hall. In his latter years Churchill knew he would be given a state funeral and lie there as well.

Now turn to you’re right and look at Westminster Abbey. On June 18, 1886 Churchill, then age 11, stood in the crowd outside the Abbey to watch Queen Victoria and a Golden Jubilee procession arrive at the Abbey for a Thanksgiving Service.

St. Margaret’s Church is also in your view. If a visitor in the 1930’s had stopped to ask Churchill, “What’s that smaller church beside the Abbey?” Churchill could've told him a great deal about it. It’s the parish church of Parliament; and the place where he and Clementine were married in September, 1908.

Churchill might have asked the visitor where he was from. If the visitor had said, “North Carolina,” Churchill would likely have told him Sir Walter Raleigh is buried beneath St. Margaret’s alter.

We’ll end our “walk” still standing on Parliament Square's southwest corner.

When you first arrived there, you noticed a Churchill statue (photo here) just a few feet from the corner. The statue's sparked some controversy. There are those who say it shows an old, brooding Churchill.

But I like it very much. To me Churchill looks resolute, defiant and indomitable, just as he was when he led the fight for Britain and civilization.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about the statue and our series of “walks.”

AP: Pelosi Says CIA Lied, Misleads “All The Time”

The AP reports today on Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s latest denial that she was told in fall 2002 the CIA had used enhanced interrogation techniques.

The AP begins:

Under strong attack from Republicans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the CIA and Bush administration of misleading her about waterboarding detainees in the war on terror and sharply rebutted claims she was complicit in the method's use.

"To the contrary ... we were told explicitly that waterboarding was not being used," she told reporters, referring to a formal CIA briefing she received in the fall of 2002.

Pelosi said she subsequently learned that other lawmakers were told several months later by the CIA about the use of waterboarding.

"I wasn't briefed, I was informed that somebody else had been briefed about it," she said. . . .

In a written response issued moments after Pelosi spoke, an official at the CIA neither disputed nor accepted the California Democrat's statements.

Instead, George Little, head of the CIA office of public affairs, said it would be up to Congress to determine whether notes made by agency personnel at the time they briefed lawmakers were accurate. He said the notes could be made available at the CIA "for staff review." …
Little’s assurance that CIA briefing notes could be made available “for staff review” suggests the CIA’s confident its notes will support its claim Pelosi attended a briefing in fall 202 at which the CIA reported in detail on specific enhanced interrogation techniques it had used.

That would directly contradict Pelosi's previous claims the CIA only told her it might use the techniques in the future.

I think Pelosi believes the CIA’s briefing notes will support what the agency’s been saying; and that the notes will sooner rather than later become public. That IMO explains why she’s now attacking the CIA for what she says is lying and misleading Americans "all the time."

Again from the AP’s story:
Pelosi was particularly harsh in describing the CIA.

"They mislead us all the time," she said. And when a reporter asked whether the agency had lied, Pelosi said yes.

She also suggested that the current Republican criticism marked an attempt to divert attention from the Bush administration's actions.

"They misrepresented every step of the way, and they don't want that focus on them, so they try to turn the attention on us," she said. …
The entire AP story’s here.

Folks, we’ve witnessed so much corruption and party-before-country partisanship from top Dems that I wouldn’t blame people for reacting to Pelosi’s attack on the CIA today with a “so what’s new?” shrug.

That shouldn’t happen.

When someone in Pelosi’s position – co-head of one of the three branches of our federal government and second in the presidential succession line – accuses the CIA of misleading us “all the time” and outright lying, it’s time to get to the bottom of things.

I’ll repeat what I said here about 10 days ago: Pelosi needs to step down temporarily from the speakership and testify publicly under oath as to what she's known about enhanced interrogation, how she learned it, and when.

Pelosi should testify in a setting in which she can be cross examined and in which others with knowledge of the CIA's briefings of members of Congress can also testify.

If we care about our country and its safety, we need to treat Pelosi’s charges today as a very serious matter and not dismiss them as just part of every day life in Washington.

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - May 14, 2009

Obama’s DHS report on “rightwing extremism” has been withdrawn:

“It was not authorized to be distributed. It had not even completed its vetting process within the department. It has been taken off of the intel Web sites and the lexicon that went along with it was similarly withdrawn," she [Secretary Napolitano] said.

"Neither were authorized products, and we have now put in place processes. And it turned out there were really no procedures to govern what went out and what didn't before….”

Ed Morrissey:

Unlike its counterpart report on the left wing, it mentioned no actual threats nor reviewed any specific groups with histories of violent action. Those groups exist, and they do try to recruit people, including but not limited to military veterans. Instead of focusing on the groups, though, the DHS report chose to associate broad policy positions with violence as well as describe returning veterans as a potential national-security threat in and of themselves.

On the excuse that there weren’t any procedures in place for vetting:

…that’s not true either. We already know that civil-liberties lawyers at DHS saw the report before it went out and objected to it. DHS released it over their objections. Obviously, a vetting process does exist; it just got overruled. Who made the decision to send out the report over their objections? Why didn’t the vetting process that apparently took place get taken seriously by senior DHS leadership? Is it because they themselves believe what the report said about conservative positions on federalism and abortion?

Also, Obama has now reversed himself on releasing more detainee abuse photographs. Ed Morrissey, again:

What changed? The decision angered the military, which recalled the hysterics over the Abu Ghraib photos. Even Obama’s allies on the decision admitted that the release would damage security and put American troops in more danger, including John Kerry, who said they made great propaganda for our terrorist enemies. With the CIA already battling the White House after the release of the OLC memos, the last thing Obama needed was a war with the Pentagon.

In the end, it may not make much difference. The Supreme Court could uphold the lower court decision to force their release, and [White House counsel] Craig may not bother to work tirelessly to win this appeal anyway. The initial withdrawal of the White House on this appeal will certainly come under scrutiny by the justices. However, that will then be their problem and not Obama’s, a calculation that one wonders how Obama missed in the first place.

And finally, Obama is now considering yet a third reversal -- detaining terror suspects indefinitely. Do you reckon it’s finally sunk in that he and the Dems – not Bush and the Republicans – now own the War on Terror?

They also own the “torture” memos fiasco:

Barring active intervention by Obama, there will be some further level of document release, Congressional investigations, and public hearings.

This presents a problem mostly for Democrats. Republicans who were briefed on the interrogation methods at least will be consistent, for the most part, in maintaining that the methods were lawful and useful. No Republican is going to be harmed politically by the revelations because most Americans support these methods against people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. If leaks of a Justice Department
report are to be believed, there will be no prosecutions. Republicans are safe politically and legally.

For Democrats, however, the damage could be significant. Nancy Pelosi already has lost a great deal of credibility from her
changing stories. Dozens of other Democrats, including such senior Senators as Jay Rockefeller, apparently also were briefed on the interrogation methods and either were silent, approved, or encouraged the policy.

The irony is that a full blow investigation and hearings will turn mostly on what the Democrats knew, and when they knew it….

This is a very good read if you have some time.

In other news, it appears that the EPA itself is questioning the putative link between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Hopefully this will come up during the Congressional debate on cap-and-trade.

Well, let’s give Ann Coulter the last word for today. She’s weighed in on the Miss California brouhaha. Ann starts off:

Not even Dick Cheney can incite the blood-curdling rage of liberals at the sight of a sexy Evangelical Christian. Paula Jones, Katherine Harris, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and, most recently, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, have all come under a frenzy of attacks from liberals.

Christians are supposed to be fat, balding sweaty little men with bad complexions. It's liberals who are supposed to be the sexy ones. (I know that from watching "The West Wing" and all movies starring Julia Roberts.)

But sadly for liberals, in real life, the fat, balding sweaty little guy with the bad complexion is Perez Hilton and the smoking-hot babe is Carrie Prejean.

This apparent contradiction incites violent anger in liberals, triggering their famous "fight or flight" response….

Like the late Jesse Helms, sometimes you just gotta love her.


USA Today: Obama, Congress "AWOL On Fiscal Responsibility"

Monday a USA Today’s editorial headlined,

Our view on the federal budget: Obama, Congress go AWOL on fiscal responsibility

Only thing sorrier than president’s ‘cuts’ is reaction on Capitol Hill,
began - - -

When it comes to federal spending, there's a pattern emerging with President Obama, and it's not a flattering one. The president says all the right things about the importance of getting the deficit under control, but his actions don't come close to matching his rhetoric.

An early sign of the disconnect was his heavily publicized demand last month that his Cabinet secretaries shave $100 million from their administrative budgets. Obama said the cuts would "send a signal that we are serious about how government operates" and would help close the "confidence gap" with skeptical Americans.

Those cuts amounted to a less-than-confidence-inspiring 0.003% of the 2009 budget, or about 3 cents out of every $1,000.

Then, when he unveiled his 2010 budget last week, Obama made a big deal of his demand for $17 billion in cuts, insisting that the cuts "even by Washington standards ... are significant" and that $17 billion is "real money."

The president got it backward. Out in the rest of the world, $17 billion is a ton of money. But in Washington, where the president is proposing to spend $3.6 trillion next year, $17 billion looks puny — a little less than half a percent of the budget, or the equivalent of cutting a $100 grocery bill by handing back a 50-cent pack of gum. …

The rest of the editorial’s here.

USA Today nails it in the editorial’s first paragraph: President Obama does say all the right things about the importance of getting the deficit under control. But he takes no action to back up that talk .

The $17 billion in cuts Obama’s mentioned is all talk. He not proposed a single major cut in federal spending to reach even that miniscule “50-cent pack of gum” goal.

The governments Office of Budget and Management projects the budgets Obama’s putting in place will balloon the federal deficit $7 trillion by 2020. That will be just as the peak of the baby-boom wave of seniors become eligible for Social Security and Medicaid.

And experts tell us not too long after that, the Social Security program will go broke.

All that’s coming our way while Obama and the Dems run up huge deficits to satisfy unions, welfare advocates and other special interests.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 13, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Today we continue the “Walk in Churchill’s Steps” series we began Monday.

We’re now leaving St. James Park and heading toward Downing Street and Whitehall. It’s about a five to ten minute walk. If your not sure of the best route any Londoner will tell you.

When you arrive you're standing on the Whitehall sidewalk looking down the single block that’s Downing Street. In Churchill’s lifetime you could walk down Downing Street and have your picture taken standing in front of No. 10 but the street is now gated for securitythe street wasn’t gated.

He knew knw Downing Street first as a small boy. His father, Lord Randolph, became Chancellor of the Exchequer when Churchill was about 10. The Chancellor's office and home are at 11 Downing Street.

Churchill was away at school most of the time his father was Chancellor, but he did stay at 11 Downing Street during holidays.

Churchill again lived at No. 11 when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer from Nov. 1924 to June 1929. In a letter to his mother he said No. 11 was his second favorite London address.

From the gate at Downing Street you can see the Parliament building some few hundred yards up Whitehall. The official name for what are really a group of structures is the Palace of Westminster.

Walk up Whitehall toward Parliament, a walk Churchill made on countless days.

May 13, 1940, was one of those days. On that day the 10 year old school boy who use to run up Whitehall to play in Parliament Square was on the 65 year old Commons Member for Epping about to address the House for the first time as Prime Minister.

He told the House he had “nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

But Churchill offered much more. He strengthened the Members' and the nation's courage, defiance, hope and purpose, ending his first speech as PM with:

"But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, 'come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.'"
Tomorrow we’ll end our walk in front of Churchill's statue in Parliament Square
The text of Churchill's May 13, 1940 speech to the Commons can be found here courtesy of The Churchill Centre.

Brit Tabs Best At Ridiculing Government

No one does it better.

You'll see that in this Sun story which skewers PM Gordon Brown and his government before The Sun ends its story reporting - no doubt with wry satisfaction - its concern for the security of Brown and his top aides.



GORDON Brown was red-faced again last night after his MAKE-UP tips were left in a taxi by a bungling aide.

The note, among a pile of sensitive documents, told the craggy-faced PM how to apply layers of slap and fake tan.

It adds to his embarrassment after the MPs’ expenses row. It came as details of Tory expenses emerged. There are also security concerns.

Click here for more on the MPs' expenses row.

Lost ... rucksack and papers

Lost ... rucksack and papers

The file contained details of Mr Brown’s trip to Yorkshire last week.

A white A4 sheet listed Mr Brown’s make-up routine if he has to do it himself. It read:

1. Transparent Brush. Foam all over. This is believed to be an illuminating foam to give the PM’s face that certain glow.

2. Small pot under eyes, dimple, creases, blend in. This refers to the use of concealer to smooth out facial bumps and blemishes.

3. Clinique. Super balanced make-up. All over again, like painting a wall, and ears. Shut eyes over lids then with make-up pad smooth over liquid. This tells the PM to trowel foundation over his whole face.

4. Powder (dark brush) terracotta Guerlain, all over. Slap on fake tan bronzer.

Taking the shine off ... powder

Taking the shine off ... powder

A Westminster insider said: “It’s an idiot’s guide to applying heavy make-up. It will cause deep embarrassment because the PM paints himself as a no-nonsense man’s man.”


Mr Brown, 58, whose claims for a cleaner were revealed last week, has never put cosmetics on expenses.

But No10 officials will be more concerned by other papers in the aide’s rucksack, left in a London black cab after the ministerial party arrived at Kings Cross from Yorkshire on Friday.

It contained discussions on how to handle the expenses scandal — and a schedule for Mr Brown’s trip, marked Confidential.

Times of departure, the cars the PM and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith were in and their train times were detailed. It could have been put to deadly use if it fell into the hands of terrorists before the journey.

The cabbie handed it to The Sun. We returned it to Downing Street last night.

A No10 spokesman said: “The bag was accidentally left by a junior member of staff. We thank The Sun for returning it. The PM, like everyone on TV, is required to wear make-up.”

Yon’s Latest: Gates, Petraeus, The Generals,& Afghanistan

Michael Yon’s one of the best military reporters anywhere.

His latest report begins with a consideration of why General McKiernan was relieved of command in Afghanistan:

. . . I do not personally know General McKiernan. I do know that these ears have never heard someone speak a foul word about him, and I talk with lots of interesting people. If he, McKiernan, was a bad general I would have heard about it.

However, General McKiernan did make some statements about additional troops to Afghanistan, and when he made those statements I remember thinking, “He’s going to get fired.” And so those statements were the first thing that came to my mind. McKiernan has been saying we need more troops than are already on the way.

I do not have the training or experience to say how many troops we need in Afghanistan, but I know we could use a lot more than we have there now. Yet it did seem like General McKiernan was pushing the envelope.

That doesn’t make him a bad general in my eyes. His envelope-pushing speaks of professional courage and honesty, but also one can imagine that leadership might want to keep some opinions in-house.

But another clue is something that Secretary Gates said to me privately. Actually, LTG David Rodriguez was there, and Rodriguez is tapped to take the number two spot in Afghanistan.

Secretary Gates said that his number one concern for Afghanistan is that we will lose the support of the Afghan people. The recent loss of a great number of Afghans was undoubtedly upsetting for Secretary Gates and many others.

If we lose widespread support from the Afghan people, the war will be lost.

Some Russians like to say we are making the same mistakes that the Soviets made, but that’s untrue. Atrocity was their middle name. Many of the Afghans I talk with hate the Russians with incendiary passion.

Contrast this with the fact that I recently drove about a thousand miles around Afghanistan, without the Army. Many Afghans know I am an American yet are very friendly. If our military was treating them badly, I could not have made that trip.

Nevertheless, accidental mass carnage from our side is turning more and more people against us.
Yon goes on to praise Gates’ smarts and knowledge of Afghanistan.

Yon reports Gen. McKiernan’s successor, Gen. McChrystal, has an “enviable” reputation as does McChrystal’s as does LTG. Rodriquez.

And there’s much more to Yon’s report. You can read it all here.

Yon is an independent reporter supported by reader contributions. Please consider contributing to support this outstanding military reporter so we don’t have to rely entirely on the mostly mediocre, often biased liberal-leftist reporters MSM news orgs foist on us.

Sowell: Obama Interrogation Talk “Scary”

In his latest column Thomas Sowell says:

It is scary when the President of the United States is not being serious about matters of life and death, saying that there are "other ways" of getting information from terrorists.

Maybe this is a step up from the previous talking point that "torture" had not gotten any important information out of terrorists. Only after this had been shown to be a flat-out lie did Barack Obama shift his rhetoric to the lame assertion that unspecified "other ways" could have been used.

For a man whose whole life has been based on style rather than substance, on rhetoric rather than reality, perhaps nothing better could have been expected.

But that the media and the public would have become so mesmerized by the Obama cult that they could not see through this to think of their own survival, or that of this nation, is truly a chilling thought . . . .
Sowell’s entire column’s here.

President Obama’s talk and actions with regard to national security intelligence matters are, to say the least, “scary.” But I think the principal reason so many in media and the public have gone along with him has less to do with mesmerization and more to do with self-righteous hypocrisy.

For media-based political partisans like Andrew Sullivans, Frank Richs and Keith Olbermanns, enhanced interrogation techniques as used by the CIA represent an opportunity to preen self-righteously as they go about their real work: attacking President Bush and his administration.

For them and others, opposition to “torture” is just a no-cost, feel-good, look righteous opportunity.

Such people remind me of those in New York who say they’re “outraged” by cab drivers who won’t at night take fares to Harlem, but who themselves wouldn’t do so, either.

Wash. State Newspapers Get Sweetheart Tax Break

The Seattle Times reports - - -

Gov. Chris Gregoire has approved a tax break for the state's troubled newspaper industry.

The new law gives newspaper printers and publishers a 40 percent cut in the state's main business tax. The discounted rate mirrors breaks given in years past to the Boeing Co. and the timber industry.

Newspapers across the country have resorted to layoffs and other cost-cutting moves to deal with a wounded business model and a recession-fueled drop in advertising.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer printed its final edition earlier this year and was converted to an Internet-only publication with a much-reduced staff.


Yes, Gov. Gregoire’s a Dem.

I wonder how the liberal-leftist, Gregoire-supporting P-I will square this tax break with its decades-long policy of railing against tax breaks for oil companies and other corporations.

Easy prediction: Washington State's tax break is an early sign of things to come in other sates and from the Obama administration as well.

The Dems will want to prop-up MSM newspapers, most of which support the Dems loudly on their editorial pages and shamelessly in their news columns.

Hat tips: Mike Williams and Matt Drudge

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - May 13, 2009

This shouldn’t surprise you:

the fact that the federal workforce numbers will skyrocket [15.6% increase in FY 2010] under Barack Obama is the best way to show the American people how drastic the changes [are that] the president is trying to implement….

More bureaucrats not only means more regulation, more wasteful spending, more interference in our lives, it also means more loyal Democratic voters. It would be interesting to see a map of where most of these hires took place….

This either:

Jake Tapper reports on the discovery of an internal EPA memo that admits what everyone knows about cap-and-trade systems and regulation of CO2. The memo advises the White House that any attempt to regulate output of CO2 in energy production [check this out] will likely have “serious economic consequences,” an admission that will boost criticism of the EPA’s proposed regulation of the industry. …

Or this:

Obama Breaks With Gates, Cancels Nuke Program.

Instapundit: "So, a question: If Obama were trying to wreck America as a superpower, what would he be doing differently?"

George Soros, no doubt, is ecstatic. Meanwhile, Ray Robison at American Thinker asks, “How's Obama's foreclosure policy working out?”

It has been nearly three months since a newly sworn in President Obama stepped forward with a plan to rescue underwater homeowners from foreclosure. Now, we learn that the President's $275 Billion foreclosure fix has floundered and failed.

The professional media slobbered over Obama's homeowner bailout under the pretext that they cared about the little guy/gal losing the family home.

Yet as foreclosure numbers climb to a record, breakneck pace the media stubbornly refuses to note this enormous failure of the Obama administration. The foreclosure "surge" has been lost.

CNN is reporting that April saw a record 342,000 homes slip into the foreclosure process. And the worst is yet to come. According to the article, government intervention did slow down the process, for a moment. Some major lenders took a pause last February to see what the foreclosure bailout plan would bring. But the delay is over. According to CNN it will get worse next month as even more homes move into repossession….

And, just as Bush told us in 2006, Social Security is in deep trouble. (I vividly recall the Dems howling Chicken Little then.) Ed Morrissey’s opinion: The “US [is] speeding towards financial crash.” This is a very good read if you have some time.

So, will the MSM start running up any red flags? Probably not in Washington State, anyway.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 12, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

We continue today a “walk in Churchill’s footsteps” which we began yesterday at The Savoy Hotel where Churchill often dined. From there we walked East along the strand past Charing Cross Station and to Trafalgar Square, an easy walk from the Savoy of less than 10 minutes.

Across the square is The Admiralty building. It was there on the evening of May 10, 1940 that Churchill received the call summoning him to Buckingham Palace where he knew the King would ask him to serve as his Prime Minister.

If you walk under Admiralty's famous arch you'll see the palace less than a mile ahead.

As you walk in the direction of the palace look to your left. You’ll see one of London’s loveliest parks, St. James. It has a lake which at its end closest to the Admiralty contains an area called Duke Island because - well, you can guess why.

Churchill loved St. James Park. When he was First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 to 1915 and again from 1939 to 1940, the park was “in his backyard” because the First Lord lives as well as works at the Admiralty.

During the years 1911 to 1915 Churchill often took his young children to see and feed the ducks, geese, swans and birds that nest on Duke Island and the lakeshore.

During WWII Churchill frequently took his walks in St. James Park, which is also close to Downing Street. His principal bodyguard, Inspector Walter Thompson, tells a number of stories about those walks, often taken during blackouts. Thompson would beg Churchill not to go out in the blackout but off they went. One evening Churchill almost walked into a tree trunk.

The next day, a desperate Thompson convinced Churchill to let him make an adaptation to Churchill’s walking stick.

Thompson taped a flashlight (or as the Brits say “a torch”) to the end of Churchill’s walking stick. Then he taped a kind of “collar” around the light end of the torch so only a narrow beam shone from it. With the aid of that device, Churchill had no more close encounters with tree trunks in St. James.

Tomorrow, well turn away from Buckingham Palace and walk toward Churchill’s two favorite London destinations: Parliament and 10 Downing Street.

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - May 12, 2009

According to the AP, Secretary of Defense Gates has fired replaced the commanding general in Afghanistan. Gates reportedly said we need “fresh thinking” in the theater, but, like the AP, I wonder if this had anything to do with it.

Even with 24/7 covering fire from the MSM, Obama can’t tolerate civilian casualties on this kind of scale and remain the anti-Bush. And it won’t matter that the Taliban were probably using the civilians as human shields, and may have murdered many themselves with hand grenades.

Chalk up another one under Obama’s bus. [For an alternate analysis, go here.]

Well, this should come as no surprise:

The director of the Congressional Budget Office today updated his projections for the budget and economic outlook and is now anticipating a $1.8 trillion deficit this year, and $1.4 trillion in 2010.

This is up from CBO director Douglas W. Elmendorf’s January 2009 projection of a $1.2 trillion deficit this year. In short, the US government is borrowing 50 cents for every dollar it spends.

The new projected deficit is four times the 2008 deficit, which was a record high for its time….

You may have seen this graphic bouncing around the blogosphere:

Projected Deficit

This isn’t surprising, either:

Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary under President Bill Clinton and advised the Obama campaign, said on Sunday that the rate of growth would have to be higher — 4.5 percent — to reverse rising unemployment….

President Obama’s chief economics forecaster said on Sunday that the country was not likely to see positive employment growth until 2010, even if the economy began to grow later this year.

Speaking on C-SPAN, Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said that she expected the G.D.P. to begin growing in the fourth quarter of this year. Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, made a similar prediction last week.

But Ms. Romer also said that she expected unemployment to rise even after the economy turns, saying that the G.D.P. has to grow at a rate of about 2.5 percent before unemployment will fall. Before that happens, she said, it is “unfortunately pretty realistic” that the unemployment rate could reach 9.5 percent. A reasonable estimate for the G.D.P.’s growth rate in 2010, she said, is three percent.

Ed Morrissey:

Talk about lowering expectations! We just got done hearing Obama take credit for saving 150,000 jobs — which his administration never documented. Now we’re hearing that the stimulus package demanded by Obama and passed over near-unanimous Republican objections won’t actually make any difference at all. The cure, Obama and his team now admit, is private-sector growth.

Finally, there’s this:

The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration is cutting the Department of Defense’s recruiting budget by $800 million, or 11%, and the budget for enlistment and re-enlistment bonuses by $338 million, or 26%.

As the pundits keep saying, we’re in the very best of hands….


Monday, May 11, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 11, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: This week I'm posting tweaked versions of a five-post series that ran in Sept. 2006. I hope you enjoy it.


I hope the series which begins today will interest you all and perhaps make a future visit to London more memorable.

You may have heard of The Other Club, a social and dining club which Churchill co-founded in 1911; and in which he held membership until his death.

When Parliament was in session the club, whose bylaws state it's sole purpose is "To dine," met fortnightly in the Pinafore Room of London's Savoy Hotel .

Let's now take a short “Churchill” tour of selected sites in London

If you begin at the main entrance to The Savoy you are at the end of a very short dead-end street that exits on to the Strand.

As you walk toward The Strand, you’ll notice on your left the entrance to a theatre. Fittingly enough it’s The Savoy, once home to the D’Oyle Carte Opera Company, producer of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas of which Churchill was so fond. He often sang G&S songs in his bath. And, of course, he attended many productions at the Savoy.

Since Churchill’s time, the Savoy Theatre has been gutted and rehabbed but the basic interior layout remains essentially the same as in his lifetime.

When you come out onto The Strand, turn left in the direction of Trafalgar Square, an easy five-minute walk down The Strand.

You are on the left side of The Strand as you approach Trafalgar and taking the same walk Churchill often took to head back to the Admiralty or Charing Cross station where he’d catch a train to Seven Oaks, the station closest to his Chartwell home.

You’ll come to Charing Cross in just a few minutes. If at that point you look across to your right, you’ll see Saint Martin-in-the-Fields. Its crypt now contains a gift shop and popular cafĂ©. During WWII, it served as a bomb shelter.

Continue past Charing Cross another few blocks down The Strand and you’ll find yourself on the Southeast side of Trafalgar Square. Look to the North side where sits the National Gallery. Churchill sometimes took his children there.

Directly across from you on the West side of the square is The Admiralty. Through Admiralty Arch you can look up the roadway and see Buckingham Palace. It was from The Admiralty in the early evening hours of May 10, 1940 that Churchill, alone except for his bodyguard Inspector Thompson, rode to the Palace in response to the King’s summons.

(Continued tomorrow)

"The Mom Song" Is Great Fun

Don't miss it and pass it on to a friend.

At the end the audience gives her a well-deserved standing ovation.

Hat tips to Sondra K and AC.

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - May 11, 2009

The Air Force One flyby is starting to percolate up to the blogosphere’s heavy hitters.

The reason? After classifying what were reportedly PR pictures to update AF1 and Lady Liberty, the White House eventually released this one photo. Blogger Ann Althouse comments:

But look at the picture. Why would people going to all this trouble and expense to get a photograph that looked so awful?
Louis Caldera, the White House official putatively in charge of this fiasco, dutifully fell on his sword and resigned. But it seems unlikely that the mission originated at his level.

And there’s more. Spook86 at In From The Cold:
In our latest article for, we note that "official" accounts haven't explained several details, such as how an Alabama Guard unit was selected for the flight (despite the presence of other F-16 units closer to New York), and how much the mission actually cost.

By our calculations, the official price tag doesn't seem to include deployment costs associated with sending the Alabama jet to Andrews AFB, Maryland, the staging point for the photo mission.

And, there's the added expense of flying an Air Force photographer from South Carolina to Andrews to participate in the mission, and the disposition of images he recorded from the backseat of the F-16….
If you follow Spook’s Examiner link, you’ll read this: has confirmed that the F-16 that served as the photographic platform deployed from Dannelly Field in Montgomery, Alabama, home of the Air National Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing. Initial reports suggested that both F-16s came from the Washington, D.C. ANG, based at Andrews AFB in suburban Maryland.

But an Air Force spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Tadd Sholtis, said that the Alabama guard was tasked to provide a two-seat F-16 because a similar “D” model from the D.C. unit was unavailable. The F-16D from Alabama deployed to Andrews before the flight.

At the Maryland base, the Alabama pilot was joined by another member of the team, a military photographer from the 1st Combat Camera Squadron at Charleston AFB, South Carolina. The only active-duty photographic unit of its type in the USAF, the Charleston combat camera is charged with acquiring still and visual images in support of various air, sea and ground military operations….
My professional instincts [ Mike's a retired pilot. -- JinC ] tell me that the two-seat F-16 was the photo bird, and that the single-seater was part of the photo-op. Carmichael’s Position has a possible explanation for this here (and I stress the word “possible”).

Whatever, Obama seems to think he has put this one to bed. We’ll see.

In other news, you golfers are probably familiar with CBS Sports commentator David Feherty, who reportedly finds himself in the crosshairs of Media Matters for this little zinger:
From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this though: despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death.
I know, I know – It’s undeniably in poor taste. But so was this.


Duke Lax Parent Recalls Graduation 2006

Shortly after The Chronicle published President Brodhead’s eloquent memorial tribute to the esteemed historian and Duke Professor John Hope Franklin, I received the following email from a parent of a member of Duke’s 2006 Men’s lacrosse team. It’s published with the parent’s consent:

Attached is Brodhead's column paying tribute to the late John Hope Franklin. Brodhead specifically mentions Mr. Franklin speaking at Duke's 2006 commencement.

Brodhead does not identify the lacrosse incident by name but rather refers to the Spring of 2006 when " the city and campus were gripped with controversy with a racial dimension. " He also praises, justifiably, Mr. Franklin's commencement address by saying that he did not play to " divisive passions. "

My son and a number of his teammates graduated in 2006 and attended the commencement. My wife and I also attended and sat with the other lacrosse parents/families.

Graduation was a terrible time for us. Collin and Reade had been indicted and we all knew that Dave Evans, a graduating senior, would be indicted the day after graduation. When all the other graduates were enjoying celebratory graduation parties, our gathering the night before felt more like a wake as Collin, Reade and Dave were facing the prospect of 30 years in prison for crimes that never occurred -- and Nifong had threatened the other players with similar sentences for aiding and abetting.

We did not know what to expect at the commencement. We feared that there would be protests against the players and/or that the commencement speakers might single out our sons in a bad way. There were no protests and Mr. Franklin , to his credit, showed good judgment and compassion by not mentioning the lacrosse incident in his remarks.

When the commencement was over we felt relief , not joy like the other graduates and their families. We were also concerned that Duke might withhold our sons' diplomas and did not feel comfortable until we saw the diplomas in our sons' hands.

But now to Brodhead who, unlike Mr. Franklin, used his very influential position to evoke the passions of racism and dangerously prejudice the case against the lacrosse players.

Below are some excerpts from Brodhead's April 5, 2006 letter to the Duke Community which was issued concurrently with his firing the coach and canceling the season.

At the beginning of the letter Brodhead says " Rape is the substitution of raw power for love, brutality for tenderness and dehumanization for intimacy. It is also the crudest assertion of inequality, a way to show that the strong are superior to the weak and can rightfully use them as objects of their pleasure. When reports of racial abuse are added to the mix, the evil is compounded, reviving memories of the systematic racial suppression we had hoped to have left behind us."

He goes on with this type of passionate and inflammatory language for four more paragraphs. He later states :" ... there have been reports of persistent problems with the men's lacrosse team including racist language..."

That statement is unsubstantiated and irresponsibly false. There is no historical evidence that the lacrosse players had persistently, or ever, used racist language. In fact the Coleman Report stated that:

" By all accounts the lacrosse players are a cohesive, hard working, disciplined and respectful athletic team .... Their reported conduct has not involved fighting, sexual assault or harassment, or racist behavior."

Except for possibly Nifong, I believe Brodhead did more to fan the flames of racism in the lacrosse incident than anyone, particularly when one considers his very influential position at Duke.
Just as the lacrosse players and their families had anticipated, David Evens was indicted the following day, May 15.

On what had to be one of the hardest days of his life, Evans delivered a stirring statement in which he told the public:” I am absolutely innocent of all charges brought against me. You have all been told some fantastic lies. I look forward to seeing them unravel."

Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann would remain under indictment until April 11, 2007 when NC Attorney General Roy Cooper declared Nifong a “rogue” prosecutor and the players “innocent.”

During the almost one year Evans remained under indictment his grandfather and namesake passed away.

Three days after Evans’ indictment Reade Seligmann was targeted by a racist hate group
that shouted threats, including death threats, at him outside and within the Durham County Courthouse.

Brodhead said nothing critical of the racists or supportive of Seligmann and his family.

In October 2006 on CBS’s
60 Minutes Brodhead pouted to the late Ed Bradley that the Duke lacrosse case had been very difficult for him.

It was a confusing time, he told Bradley, because “the facts kept changing.”

Brodhead is still Duke’s President.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It’s OK Because Friedman’s A Liberal

Tom Friedman’s advocacy of failed liberal policies is the only reason I can think of for why there isn’t “a firestorm” of criticism from Greenies and Progressives following this report by Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross at the San Francisco Chronicle's SF Gate blog - - -

Judging by the $75,000 speaking fee it paid to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has plenty of green to burn even in these lean times.

The agency, which gets its money from business permits and federal and state sources, booked the Pulitzer Prize-winning pundit to appear this past week at its big climate summit in downtown Oakland's Fox Theater, attended by 500 invited bureaucrats.

In addition to Friedman's speaking fee, the air board picked up his tab for a night at the
Claremont Resort.

Air district spokeswoman Lisa Fasano put the summit cost at $200,000 - or about $400 per participant.

Fasano said the idea was to bring together managers and planners to "spark even greater movement" in the effort to reduce the Bay Area's greenhouse-gas footprint.

Friedman spent about two hours with the group, including answering questions and autographing copies of his latest book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded" - in which he argues that a national strategy of "geo-Greenism" is needed to save the planet from global warming and to make the country more productive.

As for reports that Friedman's talk was almost identical to a speech he gave in November in Florida at a National League of Cities confab - which is available online for free?

"That very likely may be," Fasano said. "But this certainly is much more moving and inspirational to see and hear in person."

For that price, we hope so.


Question for Tom Friedman: What should your readers do who’ve saved those columns you’ve written about the need for the government to spend money wisely?

Another question for Tom Friedman: What’s that you’re always saying about the need for America to stop “lavishing money on itself” and instead spend it helping underdeveloped countries?

Suggeted title for Matier and Ross’ post: “Liberals in action.”

NYT’s Rich's Silence On Pelosi

NY Times columnist Frank Rich has had a lot to say lately regarding members of the Bush administration who said waterboarding was permissible or knew of the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques and raised no objection.

Rich, a preening, angry, self-righteous partisan has until just this week been spewing stuff like the following with which he ended his April 26 column:

[Sen. Carl] Levin suggests — and I agree — that as additional fact-finding plays out, it’s time for the Justice Department to enlist a panel of two or three apolitical outsiders, perhaps retired federal judges, “to review the mass of material” we already have.

The fundamental truth is there, as it long has been. The panel can recommend a legal path that will insure accountability for this wholesale betrayal of American values.
President Obama can talk all he wants about not looking back, but this grotesque past is bigger than even he is. It won’t vanish into a memory hole any more than Andersonville, World War II internment camps or My Lai.

The White House, Congress and politicians of both parties should get out of the way. We don’t need another commission. We don’t need any Capitol Hill witch hunts.
What we must have are fair trials that at long last uphold and reclaim our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.
What Rich means by “fair trials” is expressed in the old, satiric line: “Let’s give him a fair fair trial and hang him in the morning.”

Rich has already convicted in his mind those he'd see put on trial. Were they found innocent, he'd scream, "Travesty!"

People who aren’t fooled by Rich’s preening blather about the need to “at long last uphold and reclaim our nation’s commitment to the rule of law” won’t be surprised to learn Rich has had nothing to say about recent revelations Speaker Nancy Pelosi, despite her previous denials, was briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques before the CIA used them.

If Pelosi were a Republican, Rich would now be howling for her resignation and trial.

One of the things I find most loathsome about Rich is his shameless invocation of Andersonville, World War II internment camps and My Lai to justify his vengeful partisanship.

Rich's April 26 column's here; his column today is here.

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - May 10, 2009

So why is Obama busy throwing lifelines to Iran while turning up the heat on Israel?

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line:

…Obama …intends to make Israel, which until now has been viewed as a major reason for dealing with the Iranian threat, into his excuse for ignoring it.

This strategy was in evidence this week when Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoelle called on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The idea is (a) to shift attention away from Iranian nukes to Israeli nukes and (b) to promote an inference of moral equivalence (Obama can't make the argument explicitly) under which Iran's possession of nukes seems reasonable enough. Never mind that Iran favors the elimination of Israel, while Israel has never questioned Iran's right to exist.

Even more cynically, Obama apparently intends to make the "Palestinian track" a higher priority than the Iranian track issue. His absurd pretext is that only if the Palestinians get their state will Obama, Europe and the grateful Arab world be able to pressure Iran into abandoning its nuclear program.

By giving himself a pass on dealing meaningfully with Iran until such time as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is resolved, Obama virtually guarantees that he will never have to tackle Iran.

As I say, there is plenty of cynicism here. But I doubt that cynicism is the only force at play. I suspect that, like his spiritual mentor Jeremiah Wright (though of course not nearly to the same degree) and like much of the American left from which he springs, Obama, while entirely indifferent about Iran, affirmatively dislikes Israel.
Closer to home, ObamaCare looks to be on the way, whether we want it or not.

James C. Capretta and Yuval Levin have a good tutorial on what’s involved here, while Hugh Hewitt (HH) and Mark Steyn (MS) discuss the really scary part. An excerpt:
HH: Well now, this all is a roundabout way of coming, because I’m trying to figure this out, I’m spending the month of May on American medicine, asking doctors, posting their e-mails at, why do the Democrats want to do this? We have no evidence that it works anywhere.

They call it a government option, but it’s really single payer, and it really means rationing.

Everywhere you try it, you just mentioned Bulgaria, Great Britain and Canada, it is a disaster. Why do they want to do it?

MS: Well, what is does is, if you’re a Democrat, what it does is it changes the relationship between the citizen and the state. It alters the equation.

If you provide government health care, then suddenly all the elections, they’re not thought about war and foreign policy, or even big economic questions. They’re suddenly fought about government services, and the level of government services, and that’s all they’re about, because once you get government health care, the citizens’ dependency on government as provider is so fundamentally changed that in effect, every election is fought on left wing terms.

And for the Democratic Party, that is a huge, transformative advantage….
In other news, California, you may have heard, is in danger of going broke in July. So the Governator and the state legislature worked out a compromise “to erase the state's giant budget deficit with a mix of tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing.”

But Washington, in effect, vetoed it:
The Obama administration is threatening to rescind billions of dollars in federal stimulus money if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers do not restore wage cuts to unionized home healthcare workers approved in February as part of the budget.

Schwarzenegger's office was advised this week by federal health officials that the wage reduction, which will save California $74 million, violates provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Failure to revoke the scheduled wage cut before it takes effect July 1 could cost California $6.8 billion in stimulus money, according to state officials.
Dafydd at Big Lizards takes up the thread:
(Do we detect a pattern here? Once again, as with the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies, we see the president personally intervening to tip the scales in favor of unions and against creditors, shareholders, and now, the entire citizenry of the largest state in the United States.)

But evidently, the president had no legal grounds to issue such an order to the state. How do we know this? Because he did not issue an executive order, nor did he ask Solicitor General Elena Kagan to file for an injunction in federal court. He didn't even ask [Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen] Sebelius to issue an administrative ruling.

Nope; Obama has chosen a method more suited to his powers as Capo di Tutti Capi...
And finally – we’ve mentioned that the last word on the “torture” probe was that Justice had punted to the states for any disciplinary action against the authors of the memos Obama declassified.

Paul Mirengoff, again:
The Washington Post editorial board purports to call for "fairness in the torture probe." I'll have more to say about this editorial later, but for now I want to focus on this passage regarding the Justice Department's investigation, through its Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), into legal analysis performed by Jay Bybee and John Yoo:
Investigations of this type are usually kept secret unless and until the investigating entity determines that wrongdoing has occurred. There's a certain logic and decency to this: Mere news that someone is under investigation is often enough to tarnish that person's reputation -- even if charges ultimately are not brought.

Yet the existence of the investigation and many details of the OPR report have already found their way into the public arena. For example, The Post and other news outlets have reported that the OPR will recommend that Judge Bybee and Mr. Yoo be referred to their respective bar associations for possible sanctions.
The Post makes it sound like the leaks of the OPR report…are nothing more than a deviation from the usual way of doing things. In fact, they are a violation of OPR's rules and, it would appear, a criminal violation of the Privacy Act.
Mirengoff goes on to describe these rules:
Here, the key conditions for disclosure have not been satisfied. For example, the draft was leaked before Bybee, Yoo, or their lawyers had an opportunity to comment and before the Department of Justice determined that the preliminary report should become final….
Mirengoff concludes:
The "fairness" the Washington Post calls for is, I assume, out of the question on this issue with this administration. But is it too much to ask that the Obama-Holder Justice Department comply with the law?

It seems to me that DOJ should consider the appointment of a Special Counsel to look into this matter. Surely this is what the Democrats, and the Washington Post, would be calling for if leaks like these had occurred under a Republican administration.
Happy Mother’s Day!