Daily Archives: December 31, 2009

Schooling the president on what is a ‘terrorist act’

Dec. 31, 2009

American Thinker

Cliff Thier
“A full investigation has been launched into this attempted act of terrorism.”
–Barak Obama


No, Mr. President, it was not an “attempted act.” It was in fact a real, bone fide, actual, real-life, genuine, authentic, honest-to-goodness, factual, concrete, you-betcha act.

Man with bomb gets on a plane. That’s it. That’s the act. Right there. See it? It’s jumping up and down and waving a flag. It’s yelling “Yoohoo!” Hey, over here. I’m the act. Look at me!”

That, Mr. President, is what you failed to prevent. You do not get a B+ grade. This is pass-fail. Prevent man with bomb getting on plane = pass. Permit man with bomb to get on plane = fail.

Furthermore, it was quite successful terrorism in that people are more afraid to fly today than they were a few days ago. So, by the only criteria that matters for the terrorism-making people afraid-what happened over Detroit on Christmas Day was in fact quite successful. I for one wouldn’t be more frightened of flying had the plane been blown out of the sky and hundreds of lives lost than I am today. I’d be considerably sadder, but no more frightened.

Hell. I’m more afraid today when a plane flies overhead.

Because a man with bomb got on a plane.

I’m certainly more frightened of flying, Mr. President, than I was during those dark years when the apparatus of intelligence and defense was in the hands of your constitution-shredding not-as-articulate-as-you predecessor.

It was a long time ago, back in November in fact, when another terrorist was successful attacking innocent Americans at Fort Hood, Texas. That was an act, too. A successful terrorist act.

The penetration of our defenses by a terrorist a few days ago, was the second successful attack on the United States in the last few weeks.

And, Mr. President, those weeks belong to you.

Bankers Get $4 Trillion Gift From Barney Frank:

Bloomberg

Commentary by David Reilly

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) — To close out 2009, I decided to do something I bet no member of Congress has done — actually read from cover to cover one of the pieces of sweeping legislation bouncing around Capitol Hill.

Hunkering down by the fire, I snuggled up with H.R. 4173, the financial-reform legislation passed earlier this month by the House of Representatives. The Senate has yet to pass its own reform plan. The baby of Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, the House bill is meant to address everything from too-big-to-fail banks to asleep-at-the-switch credit-ratings companies to the protection of consumers from greedy lenders.

I quickly discovered why members of Congress rarely read legislation like this. At 1,279 pages, the “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” is a real slog. And yes, I plowed through all those pages. (Memo to Chairman Frank: “ystem” at line 14, page 258 is missing the first “s”.)

The reading was especially painful since this reform sausage is stuffed with more gristle than meat. At least, that is, if you are a taxpayer hoping the bailout train is coming to a halt.

If you’re a banker, the bill is tastier. While banks opposed the legislation, they should cheer for its passage by the full Congress in the New Year: There are huge giveaways insuring the government will again rescue banks and Wall Street if the need arises.

Nuggets Gleaned

Here are some of the nuggets I gleaned from days spent reading Frank’s handiwork:

– For all its heft, the bill doesn’t once mention the words “too-big-to-fail,” the main issue confronting the financial system. Admitting you have a problem, as any 12- stepper knows, is the crucial first step toward recovery.

– Instead, it supports the biggest banks. It authorizes Federal Reserve banks to provide as much as $4 trillion in emergency funding the next time Wall Street crashes. So much for “no-more-bailouts” talk. That is more than twice what the Fed pumped into markets this time around. The size of the fund makes the bribes in the Senate’s health-care bill look minuscule.

– Oh, hold on, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Secretary can’t authorize these funds unless “there is at least a 99 percent likelihood that all funds and interest will be paid back.” Too bad the same models used to foresee the housing meltdown probably will be used to predict this likelihood as well.

More Bailouts

– The bill also allows the government, in a crisis, to back financial firms’ debts. Bondholders can sleep easy — there are more bailouts to come.

– The legislation does create a council of regulators to spot risks to the financial system and big financial firms. Unfortunately this group is made up of folks who missed the problems that led to the current crisis.

– Don’t worry, this time regulators will have better tools. Six months after being created, the council will report to Congress on “whether setting up an electronic database” would be a help. Maybe they’ll even get to use that Internet thingy.

– This group, among its many powers, can restrict the ability of a financial firm to trade for its own account. Perhaps this section should be entitled, “Yes, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., we’re looking at you.”

Managing Bonuses

– The bill also allows regulators to “prohibit any incentive-based payment arrangement.” In other words, banker bonuses are still in play. Maybe Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. shouldn’t have rushed to pay back Troubled Asset Relief Program funds.

– The bill kills the Office of Thrift Supervision, a toothless watchdog. Well, kill may be too strong a word. That agency and its employees will be folded into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Further proof that government never really disappears.

– Since Congress isn’t cutting jobs, why not add a few more. The bill calls for more than a dozen agencies to create a position called “Director of Minority and Women Inclusion.” People in these new posts will be presidential appointees. I thought too-big-to-fail banks were the pressing issue. Turns out it’s diversity, and patronage.

– Not that the House is entirely sure of what the issues are, at least judging by the two dozen or so studies the bill authorizes. About a quarter of them relate to credit-rating companies, an area in which the legislation falls short of meaningful change. Sadly, these studies don’t tackle tough questions like whether we should just do away with ratings altogether. Here’s a tip: Do the studies, then write the legislation.

Consumer Protection

– The bill isn’t all bad, though. It creates a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, currently head of a panel overseeing TARP. And the first director gets the cool job of designing a seal for the new agency. My suggestion: Warren riding a fiery chariot while hurling lightning bolts at Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

– Best of all, the bill contains a provision that, in the event of another government request for emergency aid to prop up the financial system, debate in Congress be limited to just 10 hours. Anything that can get Congress to shut up can’t be all bad.

Even better would be if legislators actually tackle the real issues stemming from the financial crisis, end bailouts and, for the sake of my eyes, write far, far shorter bills.

Troubling INTERPOL questions remain; White House stonewalls

Examiner.com

Troubling questions remain concerning the secretive Executive Order Obama signed in the dead of night on December 17, which grants INTERPOL, the International Police Organization, full immunity from U.S. law.

In the face of these questions, the White House is engaging in stonewalling.

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan).

Of the major network news organizations, only ABC News reporter Jake Tapper has expressed an interest in the issue, as Michelle Malkin reports late this afternoon.

Malkin says that Tapper has asked the White House on two separate occasions within the last week about the executive order, but Obama officials have so far refused comment.

Despite the asinine contention of some that the executive order is innocuous and poses no threat at all, the order actually gives INTERPOL broad latitude in conducting its operations on U.S. soil–even exceeding some of the most troubling aspects of the Patriot Act.

Yet the Left continues to attempt to make the issue about the Patriot Act and George W. Bush, although this particular order has absolutely nothing to do with the former President, the Patriot Act, or, as one numbskull stated, ‘This does nothing more than grant INTERPOL agents immunity from parking tickets.’

As Ed Morrissey at Hot Air states,

I seem to recall the Left getting hysterical over the Patriot Act extensions that Obama finally backed. This gives Interpol a much wider operational latitude than anything contemplated in the Patriot Act, and with no accountability at all.

In addition, confusion seems to reign supreme among some on the Internet with regard to INTERPOL’s supposed heavy restrictions and limitations on U.S. soil.  Some suggest that merely reading the organization’s history and official mode of operation will be enough to clear up any lingering doubt over the agency’s role in law enforcement in the United States.

This is all well and good…on paper.

But we all know that there is the official, public statement of purpose and then there is the actual, behind-the-scenes reality of how such organizations work apart from public view.

And with INTERPOL such a reality is even more pronounced given that it is not a U.S. agency and thus is not ultimately accountable to anyone in the U.S. government.

Obama, therefore, has removed what little safeguards were put into place by President Ronald Reagan that insured INTERPOL’s adherence to U.S. law and the Constitution.

Some have suggested that the reason for this highly disturbing move is to make it easier for international charges to be brought against George W. Bush, members of the U.S. military, and other politicians who are deemed by the puppet emperors of the International Criminal Court in the EU to be guilty of ‘war crimes’ for merely protecting U.S. interests.

But is this really where we wish to go as a nation?  Do we actually want the U.S. President to be accountable to a foreign criminal court for any military action he/she orders?  Do we want our military personnel subjected to the political whims of a court in Europe that views practically any U.S. military action to be ‘a crime against humanity?’  Do we want the ICC (via INTERPOL) going after U.S. Senators for voting in favor of certain military operations that are designed to thwart Islamic Jihadists?

And much more importantly, do we want INTERPOL probing into the private lives of U.S. citizens on our own soil?  And remember, if they can do it to our elected officials, they can do it to ANY citizen

Report: Rush Limbaugh taken to Hawaii hospital

AP

HONOLULU (AP) – A Honolulu television station is reporting that conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been taken to a hospital with chest pains.

KITV reported Wednesday that paramedics responded to a call at 2:41 p.m. from the Kahala Hotel and Resort where Limbaugh is vacationing.

The station, citing unnamed sources, said paramedics treated Limbaugh and took him to The Queen’s Medical Center in serious condition.

Queen’s spokeswoman N. Makana Shook says the hospital is unable to comment on the report.

Television station KHON quoted unidentified sources saying Limbaugh was taken from the hotel in an ambulance.

Limbaugh was seen golfing at Waialae Country Club earlier this week. The country club is next to the Kahala Hotel and Resort.

___

Information from: KITV-TV, http://thehawaiichannel.com

White House Visitors Log: ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis In Obama Residence Week Before Sting Videos Launched

Big  Government

by Publius

This afternoon, on arguably one of the slower news day of the year, the Obama White House released another document dump of “visitor records.” According to the White House, today’s batch total more than 25,000 records, covering meetings between September 16-September 30th.

ACORN.Bertha.Lewis

You can scroll through the list of records on the White House site OR you can download the raw data. Interestingly, the full download uncovers almost 30,000 records, including many from outside the mid-September time-frame detailed on the White House site. In other words, only the records from the specific two week time period are viewable on the White House site. Many other visitor records were released today…they are just much harder to find.

Like, for example, the visitor records for Bertha Lewis.

According to the visitor logs, on September 2nd Bertha E. Lewis made an appointment on to visit the White House on September 5th at 12:30. (We usually need to plan further ahead to get our hair cut.) On the evening of the 4th, that appointment was cancelled so Bertha could move her appointment earlier, to 10am.

And it doesn’t seem to have actually been a work visit, as her appointment indicates she was visiting the Residence within the White House. Also, September 5th was a Saturday. Nice.

In addition, the record notes that she was to receive a STAFF TOUR, which are different-and more special-than the regular Group Tours available to others.

Ms. Lewis doesn’t seem to have returned to the White House after this visit. Of course, just 5 days after this visit, James O’Keefe would release the first video of his undercover journalism on the systemic corruption within ACORN.

After the firestorm that erupted from O’Keefe’s reporting, President Obama was asked by Fox News for his opinion on the scandal. Despite long-standing ties to ACORN, Obama acted almost as if he’d never heard of the group.

Of course, at that point, it had been…several…days…since ACORN’s CEO was in the Residence at the White House. Who can keep up?

Of course, it is possible that this isn’t ACORN’s Bertha Lewis. After a previous dump of visitor records listed the name, Jeremiah Wright, the White House said, ‘oh, that was a different Jeremiah Wright.’ The media, of course, said, ‘okay,’ and never followed up. So, maybe the Bertha Lewis listed here isn’t the CEO of ACORN. Just another Bertha Lewis who gets special weekend access to the White House Residence, complete with an extra-special staff tour. Sure, possible, but we’d love to see a bookie’s odds on that.