Monday, June 16, 2008

You don't know me

Rezko and Odinga are important persons in their own right, but it is their connection to Barack Obama that has the press interested. First, Kenyan PM Raila Odinga is not going to meet with Obama when he visits the US. "Mr Odinga has said he is a cousin of Mr Obama’s, although the senator’s representatives deny that the two men are related. The Kenyan-American presidential candidate may wish to avoid meeting with the PM due to concerns that such contact would be used to stoke rumours intended to wound Senator Obama politically. ... Right-wing extremists have been circulating baseless claims on the Internet that Senator Obama is closely allied with Prime Minister Odinga, who is described by the Obama-haters as both an Islamist and a socialist.".

Over in Chicago, Tony Rezko says prosecutors pressured him to talk about Barack Obama. The prosecutors deny it. "In a letter to a judge publicized last week, political fund-raiser Tony Rezko said 'overzealous' prosecutors pressured him to tell them "the wrong things" about presidential hopeful Barack Obama."

The actual text of the letter, which Rezko wrote while seeking bail before his conviction is at this link. In it Rezko denies he is a criminal, portraying himself instead as the epitome of a loyal American. He said:

I am simply an honest, humble immigrant who believes in the American dream. ... I am a die-hard Bears fan ... The White Sox are my baseball team because they are my son's team. Until recently, I was also a season ticket-holder for the Bulls.

But Rezko's apple pie had strange and persistent Middle Eastern spices. The Sun-Times wrote: "Rezko was indicted in October 2006 while on a trip to Syria, and he had returned to face the case. He remained free on bail until Jan. 28, after prosecutors raised an alarm with the judge that Rezko had received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Lebanon. [Judge] St. Eve jailed him until April, when family and friends put up $8.5 million to secure his release."

The $3.5 million was sent by Nahdmi Auchi of all people. The Sun-Times continues.

Rezko opened his letter by apologizing to St. Eve for not informing her of the $3.5 million, which had come to Rezko through Beirut from General Mediterranean Holding SA, a company led by Auchi. He said he took the money in because he was under "tremendous pressure" to pay his legal bills.

Even the $8.5 million bond raised by his Chicago friends had a connection with Iraq. It included $1.9 million put up by Rezko's old classmate and onetime fugitive Aiham Alsammarae. Alsammarae was a former "Iraqi Electricity Minister ... who in 2006 fled from Iraqi prison. Alsammarae's $1.9 million equity in his Oak Brook home and two other properties made up more than one-third of the $8 million in properties postes to ensure Rezko's bond. Rezko was ... arrested Jan. 28 after failing to disclose an overseas wire transfer."

In the letter explaining why he did not disclose the wire transfer, Rezko said he had been told by his attorneys that since the money from Auchi was a "loan" he had no obligation to disclose it to the judge. At any rate his heart was as pure as only a Bears fan could be. "However, your Honor, the thought of making plans to leave the country never crossed my mind." Rezko portrayed himself as just an innocent immigrant who was being pressured by unscrupulous prosecutors to say bad things about honest and decent men.

Your Honor, the prosecutors have been overzealous in pursuing a crime that never happened. They are pressuringme to tell them the "wrong" things that I supposedly know about Governor Blagojevich and Senator Obama. I have never been party to any wrongdoing that involved the Governor or the Senator. I will never fabricate lies about anyone else for selfish purposes. I will take what comes my way, but I will never hurt innocent people. I am not Levine, Loren, Mahru, or Winter. I am simply an honest, humble immigrant who believes in the American dream.

The Sun-Times thinks the letter, written before Rezko's conviction, was his way of saying that he didn't want to make a deal. But now that Rezko is facing a long stretch in jail, he may regret his decision.

The letter sent a clear signal that Rezko was not interested in making a deal. But Rezko's situation changed dramatically after his June 4 conviction. He not only landed right back in jail, but faces significant prison time. Beyond that, Rezko still faces two other criminal trials. If Rezko were to have a future change of heart, the note he sent could end up backfiring on him, legal observers say.

The Chicago Sun-Times is probably right in thinking Rezko was signaling that he wasn't going to make a deal. But the Sun-Times may be wrong to assume the signal was being sent to the prosecutor. As the Sun-Times itself notes, the prosecutors claim they never approached Rezko on the subject. So who was the signal in the letter meant for? Maybe Rezko was signaling To Whom it May Concern on the Outside. The world of Tony Rezko has gotten very small. An Illinois jail is a very confined place for anyone who plans on snitching on powerful allies. Nor is there any safety in fleeing to Lebanon or Syria if he crosses Auchi. Dollars to donuts says Auchi has even more friends in those parts than Tony Rezko. So at all events Rezko has to be the stand up man. It would have been nice if the Judge hadn't found out about the money Auchi sent; the money Rezko wasn't going to use to skip. Then he could have been free and in the good graces of his friends. Maybe. All in all, given the complications of the situation maybe the best Tony Rezko can hope for is life imprisonment in jail. It's possible that there's nothing Fitzgerald can threaten Rezko with that would remotely compare with the downside of making a deal. Which is probably why the prosecutors have denied asking Rezko to turn in any associates.






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71 Comments:

Blogger 3Case said...

Don't need to know him. Already did this trip back in '76. He is his generation's Jimmy Carter, Chicago-style.

6/16/2008 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Note to 3Case:
History repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce.

I remember Carter as president. We are still paying the price today.

6/16/2008 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

More on Aiham Alsammarae at Talisman Gate. He's become a minuteman, Mike Moore style. Pro-Obama Iraqi-American Ex-Convict Supports Increased Attacks on U.S. Troops

6/16/2008 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

The American right's inflamed theorizing that Obama is a secret criminal, guilty by third-hand associations going back as far as his childhood, are providing the candidate with priceless immunity to criticism among swing voters, the only group that really matters.

Before it started getting hung up on Obama's elitism, or his wife's apparently non-existent videotape or his Chicago connections, the right was furiously complaining that any criticism of Obama would be construed as racist.

Now that talkradio and the conservative mainstream are busily marketing the meme that Obama is a Muslim and/or Black Panther and/or Chicago political gangsta, it is clear to swing voters that, indeed, the most persistent criticisms of Obama are ludicrous, if not merely bigoted.

There seems so much the American right could be saying about what Obama advocates for Iraq, his energy policy, his fiscal outlook and so on, but it defaults to wingnuttery and I suppose as a liberal, I should be thankful for that.

This is part of a broader pattern whereby the American right has seized on the Internet not as a way to bring its message to a broader public, but as a way to militate its base.

The results of that paradigm -- the intellectual echo chamber effect -- are coming to fruition now in America, where the Internet grows daily in importance and reach and the conservative movement diminishes apace.

6/16/2008 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

The American right's inflamed theorizing that Obama is a secret criminal, guilty by third-hand associations going back as far as his childhood, are providing the candidate with priceless immunity to criticism among swing voters, the only group that really matters.

Before it started getting hung up on Obama's elitism, or his wife's apparently non-existent videotape or his Chicago connections, the right was furiously complaining that any criticism of Obama would be construed as racist.

Now that talkradio and the conservative mainstream are busily marketing the meme that Obama is a Muslim and/or Black Panther and/or Chicago political gangsta, it is clear to swing voters that, indeed, the most persistent criticisms of Obama are ludicrous, if not merely bigoted.

There seems so much the American right could be saying about what Obama advocates for Iraq, his energy policy, his fiscal outlook and so on, but it defaults to wingnuttery and I suppose as a liberal, I should be thankful for that.

This is part of a broader pattern whereby the American right has seized on the Internet not as a way to bring its message to a broader public, but as a way to militate its base.

The results of that paradigm -- the intellectual echo chamber effect -- are coming to fruition now in America, where the Internet grows daily in importance and reach and the conservative movement diminishes apace.

6/16/2008 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

The results of that paradigm -- the intellectual echo chamber effect -- are coming to fruition now in America, where the Internet grows daily in importance and reach and the conservative movement diminishes apace.
//////////
one would logically conclude from this that you don't need to be here. and yet there you are.

6/16/2008 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

McDaddyo: Can anything good come out of the Chicago Machine?

6/16/2008 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Charles,

I thought the same thing too. Obviously, he and those he networks with consider this forum important enough for his obstreperous presence. And yet, as best I can see, he has not won over any converts to his end of the spectrum. And probably knows it too, which means he places a greater value on trying to get into the big leagues. But, that split fingered fastball and major league slider he just can't hit.

6/16/2008 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Charles and Fred illustrate my point nicely.

Charles concludes that since I believe that the American right retards its own cause by using the Internet largely to militate conservative moderates toward the extreme, I should have no reason to be here.

That is true only if one believes the only motive for discussion is one's own edification or to persuade others. They can't even imagine, apparently, that someone might enter a discussion for the purpose of disproving one's own ideas.

As I have pointed out before, I come here in hope of being corrected. That is the only way I know of to consistently expand the horizons of knowledge and understanding.

One small example would be the discussion here about nuclear war fighting. I had assumed that the inevitability of fallout would rule out nuclear attacks as a strategy, other than in some kind of final battle for survival.

Cedarford pointed out that the threat of fallout is not as large as I had assumed and so I did some further reading and concluded that he was probably correct and admitted as much in a post.

I think liberals tend to be a little more like me, whereas conservatives tend to be more a little more like Charles and Fred, having an insatiable need only for their own edification driven by an inner voice that keeps telling them they must prove that only the insane, the dumb or the evil could possibly disagree with them.

6/16/2008 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

They can't even imagine, apparently, that someone might enter a discussion for the purpose of disproving one's own ideas. ...

I think liberals tend to be a little more like me, whereas conservatives tend to be more a little more like Charles and Fred, having an insatiable need only for their own edification driven by an inner voice that keeps telling them they must prove that only the insane, the dumb or the evil could possibly disagree with them.


It's mighty generous of you to stoop to conversation with the ignorant likes of us. Maybe if we're polite then you'll let us live when you take over the world for our own good.

6/16/2008 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

History repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce.

Alas, I think Carter was the farce, we're heading for the tragedy.

6/16/2008 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

McD quotes Cedarford. Repeatedly.

I had decided some time ago that McD is a Muslim / CAIR plant. Not a Kos Kid at all.

I see no reason to change that perception, and I still see no reason to try to engage him in a lucid exchange because I think he's just a big (stupid) fake.

And, btw, I apologize to Wretchard for allowing him to change the thread's subject ... again.

Said topic being Obama's increasing ties to Middle East money flowing through the Chicago machine and the Nation of Islam.

6/16/2008 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

Have McDaddyo and C-fudd ever been seen in the same place at the same time? Just wondering.

6/16/2008 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Buckets said...

There was a fascinating article on NewsBusters recently looking at differences between conservative and liberal blogs (LGF linked to it). The author started with a few basic observations: conservative blogs are, in large part, dedicated to news reporting and analysis of reported news. This stems from the innate conservative distrust of the American media; something about being a right winger in the U.S. brings out the suspicion that the media aren't simply reporting the facts. A story is being told, and a narrative is being woven, very subtly to be sure. So most conservatives come to the Internets in search of (relatively) unbiased news and analyses.

Liberal blogs, on the other hand, really have no major problems with the American media (unless they start shining too much light on Obama). Liberals don't visit web sites for information, they look to get ACTIVE. They come to the Internet already blessed with the right answers, and thus, getting involved becomes the paramount concern. The single minded purpose of most of these blogs is remarkable. How can we tear down Republicans and conservatives? How can we get our candidates elected?

Visit Daily Kos on any day to see this born out: the site is filled to the brim with voting and election minutiae, targeting "weak" Republicans up for election, constantly raising funds, organizing rallies and meetings, etc. You already have the right answers, McDaddyo. The rest of us aren't so sure, because intellectual honesty doesn't permit us that luxury.

6/16/2008 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

bobal is right about that, because the kind of damage that can occur now will be tragic - horrifically so.

Jimmy Carter II is gonna be a whole lot worse. Thus, I wonder about two things. First, can this under-40 crowd learn the necessary lesson from what is sure to be a painful experience? Second, will we as a nation be able to recover in the crisis? Part of that last one: will there be a groundswell of public movement back towards Reagan's principles? Will leaders emerge to run for office to help the nation come through the crisis?

Obonga's biases seem to be towards the Muslim world, despite his words spoken at that AIPAC meeting last week. Deeds matter more than words.

My gut tells me that if the nation is attacked he will not hold the Islamic Republic and its terrorist organizations accountable and rain a just retaliation against it. Our deterrence posture will erode, putting the nation into the hazard.

I don't think he has a clue as to how a modern economy operates or how to dissect and understand economic policy. Keep in mind that this is something that probably will be ad hoc between him and the Congress. And if Congress has no sensible energy policy to increase the supply of energy and make us less dependent upon oil imports, then we are in deep trouble.

6/16/2008 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

One of the essential problems with the internet is that it fosters a hive mentality among like minded people. One of the unfortunate side effects of such a hive mentality is a certain unwillingness to acknowledge that other people may be capable of thinking for themselves, particularly when those with a hive mentality are apparently unable to do so. It is such a hive mentality that assumes that anybody who supports Israel must do so due to Zionist brainwashing, with the blithe assumption that no thinking person could possibly be capable of thinking up rational arguments in support of Israel.

I strongly disapprove of using the word "moonbat". Although the word is often used as an epithet against a left-wing extremist, it generally functions as a label for its user more than it does for its intended recipient. Moreover, most English speaking people do not have a clue what the word "moonbat" actually means nor do they even want to know. This is an example of how internet jargon can undermine the persuasiveness of one's arguments.

Likewise, the word "wingnut" tends to label the user of the epithet more than the word labels its intended recipient. Despite its intent as a criticism of right-wing extremism, it effectively labels its user as an intolerant jerk of a leftist persuasion.

There are legitimate concerns about Barack Obama just as there are legitimate concerns about John McCain. Neither man is a messiah, at least not a real one. Senator McCain has a long history, a long paper trail, and a number of comments on YouTube that don't necessarily reflect favorably upon him. Senator Obama’s record is not as well known, so it is important for informed Americans to learn more about him. As America is a free country, an informed citizenry should make use of many sources of information. These sources should include not only Senator Obama’s presidential campaign and allied media such as MSNBC, but also other forms of media that are more skeptical about the origins, ideas, and character of Senator Obama. It is wise to base one’s opinions upon facts and not upon prejudice.

The Nation magazine has some useful information. So does the Weekly Standard. Instead of attributing motives to those with oppose Senator Obama, it would be wiser to ask one’s self if their facts are correct. Senator Obama has a website called “Fight the Smears”. Senator Obama can fight quite well on his own behalf. He is so smart that he doesn’t need the help of any internet posse to defend his name.

Some criticisms of Senator Obama are smears. Others are not. For example, I take Senator Obama at his word that he is not a Muslim and is a Christian. However, I am skeptical about his claim that he has never been a Muslim. That is because his father was Muslim. His stepfather was a Muslim. The son of a Muslim father is considered to be a Muslim according to Islamic law. Being born Muslim was not Senator Obama’s choice; converting to Jeremiah Wright’s version of Christianity was Senator Obama’s choice.

Yes, my own research has led me to gain an unfavorable opinion about Senator Obama. Most of the information that has convinced me that opposition against Senator Obama is the most moral course of action has not come from any right-wing sources, but instead has come from Senator Obama’s own words, his own campaign, and his own supporters. I respect those Obama supporters who have rationally decided that Senator Obama is the best candidate for President, even though I increasingly disagree with them. I also hope there are Obama supporters who are willing to respect those who disagree with them.

It is easy to talk about bringing civility to Washington. It is far more difficult to live that civility. Those Obama supporters who are unwilling to be civil toward those they disagree with are those who give lie to Senator Obama’s pronouncements about bringing a new tone to America’s politics. (Isn't this tone supposed to be better, not worse?) If there is to be a new hope for America, it comes not from the election of Barack Obama or John McCain to the Presidency, but a realization that as fellow Americans we need to respect one another, especially if we truly care about uniting against a common foe such as al-Qaeda. Those Obama supporters who are rude, tactless, and uncivil in the name of promoting his candidacy do more to satirize the rhetoric of Barack Obama than any right-wing talk show host ever could.

6/16/2008 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

And if Congress has no sensible energy policy to increase the supply of energy and make us less dependent upon oil imports, then we are in deep trouble.

In one word, we'll be poor.

6/16/2008 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger deepinjuncountry said...

How could Obama be a christian when the church he belongs to lies closer theologically to the Nation of Islam then to any christian church I've ever heard of? And as for his vaunted intelligence, I fail to see the evidence. Cunning and cleverness is one thing, intelligence quite another.

6/16/2008 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Deepinjuncountry said...

"Cunning and cleverness is one thing, intelligence quite another."

I would argue that cunning and cleverness are forms of intelligence. "Intelligence" is one of those slippery words that has a variety of meanings.

In my opinion, B. Hussein is an extremely dangerous demagogue. Not recognizing (and respecting) his intelligence makes him even more dangerous.

6/17/2008 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

It's a good idea to revisit the Carter administration and look at some of the objective indicators.

On economic growth, for example, how do you suppose the Carter years compare with Bush II's?

Average annual GDP growth under Carter: 3.2%

Average annual GDP growth under Bush II: 2.39 percent, and DROPPING...

Put another way, the economy grew 34 percent FASTER under Carter than under Bush.

Clinton average: 3.73 percent

Reagan average: 3.43 percent

Carter/Clinton average: 3.58 percent

Reagan/Bushes average: 2.77 percent

In other words, Democratic presidents outperform Republicans on the broadest measure of economic activity by about 30 percent!

Those espousing the notion that Obama will be bad for the economy are ignoring history.

I don't buy the Obama critics' idea that a president controls the economy to a great enough extent to be held responsible for its performance in a secular sense. However, history does offer a guide here. Over time, the patterns emerge and statistical anomalies are diluted to insignificance. The more data we look at regarding the economy under Republican presidents, the worse it looks from an economic point of view.

The worst annual economic performance since Hoover's Great Depression came under Reagan: the 1.9 percent DECLINE in gross domestic product during his second year in office.

Some observers generously cite the 1982 Reagan economic plunge in explaining the mainstream media's barrage of positive stories about Reagan's "miracle" economy. It wasn't just plain old bias, it was was somewhat miraculous that the economy zoomed from such a deep decline, to 4.5 percent growth the next year, 1983. In hindsight, we can see that the 1983 growth was mostly a result of massive increases in government spending, coupled with the stimulus of tax cuts, which left Reagan's heir GHW Bush with a massive increase in debt and deficit that could only be fixed with a tax hike, sealing his political doom and that of long-term economic performance for Republican presidents in our lifetime so far.

Which brings us to the economic performance since the Great Depression, the cumulative score of GW Bush. What is striking about it isn't that growth has dropped so precipitously, but that it has done so with conservative Republicans so clearly in control. Republicans had full control of Congress for 12 years between 1995 and 2006 and of course controlled the White House for the past six of those. The Supreme Court is also clearly more conservative than at anytime since before WWII, meaning all branches of government were in conservative hands.

Yet the economy underperformed.

There is nothing, per se, to speculate that Obama may be bad for the economy, but to do so, he would have to buck some pretty clear historical trends.

6/17/2008 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Alexis said:

"Despite its intent as a criticism of right-wing extremism, it effectively labels its user as an intolerant jerk of a leftist persuasion."

Hmmm.. "an intolerant jerk of a leftist persuasion", actually I think it's more fun (and quicker) to simply call him a "moonbat".

Then again, maybe I'm an intolerant jerk of a rightist persuasion...

6/17/2008 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger randian said...

an inner voice that keeps telling them they must prove that only the insane, the dumb or the evil could possibly disagree with them.

That's amusing, considering how often I see leftists accusing conservatives of being evil.

The big difference I see between liberals and conservatives is that liberals are militant all the time. This breeds paranoia, hence the frequent references to "right-wing conspiracies", the existence of 9/11 Trutherism, and the supposed right-wing control of major media. If "the personal is political", then any political disagreement with a leftist is a personal attack upon them. This cannot be tolerated, hence the attempted revival of the "fairness doctrine" in order to suppress opposition.

6/17/2008 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

What I remember about Carter was the 22% interest rates, the wheat embargo, and the hostages. And of course young brother Billy. And, Carter saying in a debate, he had just talked that question over with Amy the other night. And, the killer rabbit. And stagflation, malaise, giving away the Panama Canal.

6/17/2008 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wetchard - It's mighty generous of you to stoop to conversation with the ignorant likes of us. Maybe if we're polite then you'll let us live when you take over the world for our own good.

There are some points to mcdaddyo's observations about a hefty part of the Right now being in blind, dogmatic delusion. And appearing on issue after issue - as a spent force. I don't know about Australia, but in America we have:

1. Rightists welcoming fascism in foreign policy, advocating expanded wars for Israel against Syria, Lebanon, and Iran just as it was obvious Iraq was imploding under Bush-Bremer-Rumsfeld-Meyer-Cheny mismanagement.

2. A Christian Taliban intruding in right-to-die decisions and generally scaring traditional values women right into the arms of the Democrats on matters of reproductive freedom and yanking away the social safety net.

3. At a time when the middle class in shrinking, wages stagnant for 30 years, and two-income family is almost obligatory - the Right borrows money from China, outsources good US jobs, and ends revenue sharing with states that end up taxing all with addded fees and regressive taxes - while glorying in tax cuts and earmarked pork that only benefits the rich.

And doing it with a serious "fuck you" attitude towards the poor and working class that the only reason they are hurting is that they lacked the ability and drive to be a mega-millionaire, or have a Daddy who was one...

4. Conservative-led deregulation of airlines, electric rates, banking, wall street hedge funds, mortgage industry, crop price levels - has been a fucking disaster.

5. The Right wing has proved with it's rampant K-Street corruption, it's sex perversion scandals - to be just as bad as the Democrats at their most arrogant and unaccountable.

6. The conservative philosophy that government may not work best has yielded to a public perception that Conservative Republicans, in charge of government - are determined to prove government cannot work at all when they are in charge: Mismanaged war, disastrous cronyism, nepotism, and ineptitude on everything from Katrina to Administration's ability to communicate with the media and public, to an out of control trade and Borders situation.

7. The Right, and the Republicans by inference, are growingly being seen by the public as the "anti-science". anti-environmental people.

8. A sense that the Republicans have dropped trying to deal with all problems but how best to be further enriching their donors with more tax cuts for the rich, how best to help the "noble, purple-fingered, freedom-loving, wannabee secular democrats of Iraq, and the same old 30-year cultural wedge issues that Republicans did little to nothing to deal with once in office.

9. The personal attacks, emphasis on matters of little substance and the dearth of true policy initiatives by McCain and Congressional candidates vs. "more of what Bush did!" goodies on IOUs - shows the intellectual exhaustion and co-option of the Party by corporatists, neocons, and backwards Fundies.

Sometimes things are such that a Party gets so arrogant, so unaccountable to voters, so corrupt, and so dogmatically stale that it is a good thing to throw the bums out of office.

Right now, as a Republican, I see Democrats doing a better job of competency, and on all domestic issues but educrats, crime, and gun ownership. The list would expand with a regular Republican instead of Mccain - but he is just as bad on energy, immigration, terrorist rights - as the Democrats.
Overseas, better though it does come with risk of "noble Iraqis", innocent brown people of the 3rd World, complacent Euros maybe getting whacked in higher numbers than under the hated Bush borrowing trillions from foreign lenders to "keep the world safe". Better some more lessons like 9/11 get written in blood so the rest of the world wakes up and does their part and realizes they won't get any safer cheering Obama effectively doing nothing..

As long as it isn't Americans or a very few true close allies that have been with us for 60 years through thick and thin, I don't care if they get whacked in reasonable numbers.(meaning numbers high enough to stimulate a good learning curve, without 100s of thousands dead or cities nuked)

The Republican Party, the World stand to likely be the better and the wiser after 4 years of the Black Messiah Antidote ...almost enough to make them miss the failed Dubya and his band of bumbling, dogmatic cronies..but not quite.

Just as maybe Australia needed a respite from Howard and his increasingly dogmatic assertions on global warming denial, denial of middle class erosion in the globalism thrust, etc.

6/17/2008 01:24:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

Why don't we get to basics. Obama went over to Kenya to support his relation. Dick Morris went over to Kenya to provide campaign advice.

This information did not originate from the Right Wing it originated from the media.


The real issue with Obama and his followers is th fact that they continue to lie about his background.

6/17/2008 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

AtlasShrugs refers to the media reporting on Obama's work in Kenya.

"La, la, la, I am not listening".

6/17/2008 04:54:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Wretchard writes:
``It's mighty generous of you to stoop to conversation with the ignorant likes of us.''

As I mentioned, I have learned some things here and I expect to learn more.

I'm fascinated by the right-wing mindset and I don't expect to find out about it by readling ligeral blogs.

I also have to admit, this is the first conservative blog that hasn't banned me.

The pattern has been the same every time in the half-dozen other conservative blogs I've tried.

At first, the "regulars" gleefully attack with ad hominem and epithets.

I seldom respond in kind, as it's just not my style.

I keep at it, though, and eventually force the discussion out of the realm of emotion and into facts. That's when the blogmaster usually decides I'm not with their program enough and bans me.

I have to admit at being very surprised Wretchard hasn't done the same. If he continues to let me post, it will be good evidence against the argument that conservatives are unwilling and/or unable to engage dissent.

6/17/2008 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Are we still allowed to call people who wag their finger and lecture "prissy"?

6/17/2008 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Elijah said...

Why did Obama disassociate himself from TUCC?

6/17/2008 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Baldilocks, who is half Kenyan -- half Luo, in fact -- and has strong Kenyan connections puts her finger on what she thinks is the real Obama-Odinga connection. It is not necessarily a blood relationship, but an ideational one. Baldilocks writes that their relationship wasn't invented by a VRWC as alleged by Obama spokesman Kelly; it's something both parties made up themselves.

Dude, it was Odinga himself who claimed that Obama was his cousin. And the two did hang out regularly when Obama made his last trip to Kenya in 2006. And Odinga did get his undergrad in what used to be East Germany. And he did name his first born 'Fidel Castro.' As for the Islamist stuff, read here and scroll down to the bottom for the background.

Kelley is playing to the preconceived notions of Kenyan and other African audiences. However, the jury's still out on what the nature of the relationship is between the two men. And if the purpose of not meeting during the visit is stop the tongues from wagging--as Kelley suggest--then neither of them is any great judge of human nature.

What I think is this: both men have shown a propensity to take on whatever ideology each deems necessary to bring them power. And it doesn't matter what the nature of the ideology is.


This is a very perceptive and striking assessment of the possible relationship between the two men and one that varies slightly from mine.

I actually think Obama isn't wholly cynical. What feeds my view is that the "now you see it, now you don't" nature of who he is close to and what he believes doesn't bother the Left.

Logically, the left should be just as concerned at Obama's propensity to disown whoever happens to inconvenient. But they're not. And the reason I think, is because they believe Barack is practicing a kind of leftist taqqiya; that after he gains the White House, Wright, Ayers, Rezko and Odinga will suddenly be remembered again and ushered in through the front door. Jeremiah Wright said it best when he commented that a candidate had to say "certain things" -- lie in other words -- to be elected; and that was jake by him.

Baldilocks thinks that neither Obama nor Odinga care much for anything except their ambitions. And she's got history on her side. When you watch the Triumph of the Will or all the crowds cheering Lenin remember this: nearly every one of the young men in the adoring crowds would be dead before the decade was over, at the hands of or in consequence of the decisions of their idols.

They all believed. That was their mistake.

Well the Kenyans got their Odinga and America will get it's Obama, like as not. Be interesting to see how both eventually turn out>

6/17/2008 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Are we still allowed to make short, on topic comments, or are extended, off topic rants now mandatory?

6/17/2008 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Baldilocks thinks that neither Obama nor Odinga care much for anything except their ambitions. "
---
Ain't that the truth.
And what more could a Marxist in the guise of a compassionate Christian want?

6/17/2008 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks Alexis for your comments, considerate and intelligent as always.

McDad always has respectable liberal perspectives to add to the conversation. (What is the source of the economic statistics? I like to follow up on those. I mainly remember the interest rates during the Carter years.) His comments regarding the echo chamber are quite true. Republicans can point out ad nauseam to one another that Keith Ellison is a former (?) Nation of Islam guy and cop-killer apologist. And that the press won't discuss this history. This is true. But Ellison won his congressional seat. Politics is about winning.

Fred wrote: "My gut tells me that if the nation is attacked he will not hold the Islamic Republic and its terrorist organizations accountable and rain a just retaliation against it. Our deterrence posture will erode, putting the nation into the hazard."

That is the bottom line issue for me, too. I really don't want a scaredy-cat president in office when the terrorist bomb goes off. Maybe Sen Obama would be a good leader at that time of trouble, maybe not. But his tendency seems to be trust in words not deeds, and those words are usually triangulating ones. That he has political and family connections with Islamists, and a complicated family network, does nothing to assure me that he would be a man of action in the war against radical Islam.

Free-association time. Beowulf (the one in the epic poem, not the movies) lands on the coast of Denmark. The Danish coastguard judges the hero by his appearance and words:

"'The quick-witted one must have skill to know the measure of words and deeds if he means to do well. I gather that this band is of a gracious mind toward the Scylding lord. March then with your arms and armor on the way I show you.'"

Sen. Obama mainly has words, thus far. McCain has deeds, and not unsatisfactory words. I want leaders of words and deeds, but most of all I want a president who is going to grip the clawed hand of the enemy until he rips the skulker's shoulder out of its socket.

6/17/2008 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

Alexis,

I think that you are correct to point out that Sen. Obama is not a Muslim. I never believed any of the stuff that circulates concerning him being a Muslim. In his childhood he was a Muslim, but he is not now a Muslim. That is a solid fact. The other thing I want to point out are the errors in circulation about his biological father. The man was born to a Muslim tribe in Kenya. That means he probably was a nominal Muslim. That's a solid fact. But, there is more to the story that the Obama people cover up and are loathe to reveal. Even in his books, Obama does not tell the truth about his biological father. Fact: Obama's father was an atheist. He no longer was a practicing Muslim. Fact: he was a member of Kenya's Communist Party. It is speculated, and I think it is a reasonable assumption unless proven otherwise, that his Western education, including the costs of being educated in the United States, was paid for with Soviet money. Fact: Obama's mother was a fellow-traveling Marxist anthropologist who was attracted to Socialist/Communist Third World men. Later on in life, when Obama caught up with his biological father it seems that they shared a lot when it came to worldview and ideas. Now, what does that say? There is also undoubtedly his mother's influence in Obama's formation. Fact: Obama's mother was very angry and bitter towards her second husband when they were living in Jakarta because he decided to take employment working for oil companies doing public relations work. Originally Sotero too had been a Communist, but when that regime was overthrown in 1965, his scholarship was pulled by his government and his visa to the U.S. revoked. He had to return to Indonesia with his wife and young stepson and get with the Islamic program in order to survive. So, he got with it and actually made solid attempts to be a cultural Muslim. But, as his marriage was unraveling he began living a double life of boozing and womanizing.

Another fact about Obama's life that he is not forthright about: his adolescent association with Frank Marshall Davis, the poet and member of the Communist Party USA. Other facts: his openly-stated (in his book) preference, while in college, for professors who were socialists/Marxists. His friendship at Columbia University with Prof. Rashid Khalidi, a man with known ties to the Islamic terrorist organization the PLO.

Later in life, he crosses paths with William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, and he gets connected in Chicago through them.

When a man runs for office in a stealth manner, when his political speeches are an insult to any thinking person's intelligence because they offer no meat on the bone, and when the media exerts great efforts to not do their due diligence about his policy advisers, his policy preferences, and his voting record, I do my own search for the truth. I can't rely on the media and I will not rely on his campaign workers.

I have nothing against Obama on a personal level. To all accounts he seems to be a pretty nice guy, better than the usual disposition of most politicians. But he is less than forthright and that is a red flag, for me. And I know some things about McCain's personal faults, but at least he's more transparent (to put it mildly) about his policy preferences and exactly where he stands on issues that are important to me. I know McCain has a bad temper and that he has been known to get ugly at times. I know about his past womanizing years ago after he returned from captivity and his marriage blowing apart. These things are all out there. Nothing's being hidden. But we also know he is not ashamed of the symbols of our nation and that he has suffered much on its behalf. He will be no friend to thugs and totalitarians.

Also, I think we conservatives are being unfairly smeared on this forum by certain guests from the other side.

6/17/2008 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

I forgot to add one more point. Today, if Barack Obama had to apply for a security clearance or an actual job with Homeland Security or the Pentagon he would most certainly be declined a security clearance, because of his close ties with terrorists and ideological enemies of the United States.

No such security clearance is required if the man becomes our next President. And that means he will have access to every single nook and cranny of every classified state secret and program we have.

That should give a lot of people pause before voting for him.

But, hey, the under-40 crowd have to learn the lessons that my generation did when we voted for the other stealth candidate in 1976. Now, I didn't leave the Left until 1987, so I voted for Carter again in 1980. But, I could not help but notice that in the Fall of 1980, when I was a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, most of my classmates voted for Ronald Reagan. So, the kids today, if Obama is our next president, are going to have to absorb some very painful lessons. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that the damage will be even worse this time.

Some of my most valuable lessons in life were learned from my failures. I expect that a lot of the kiddies on the Obama bandwagon will acquire that wisdom too.

P.S. Sen. Obama IS ON RECORD as opposing the continuation of the missile defense program, the F-22 Raptor, and every new weapons program going on right now. He has made promises to various Leftist groups that he will cut these programs out of the budget.

Chew on that.

6/17/2008 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

From hdgreene's link:

In another vein, Alsammarrae also tells Radio Sawa that he’s contributed money to the Obama campaign. I wonder how Obama would react to a paycheck and an endorsement from ex-con buddy of Rezko’s who is now braying for more American soldiers to be killed.

Alsammarrae claimed that he was on his way back to Iraq after being let off the legal hook under the amnesty law, and that he is set to re-join Ayad Allawi’s political coalition.


---
To Current Pronouncements from Mr. Allawi:

The U.S. and Iraq Are Repeating the Errors of a Disastrous 1930 Treaty

WITH only perfunctory debate, the Bush administration is pressuring a divided Iraqi government to approve a security agreement that could haunt Washington’s relations with Baghdad for years to come. The “strategic alliance” that President Bush is proposing eerily resembles, in spirit and in letter, a failed 1930 treaty between Britain and Iraq that prompted a nationalist eruption in Baghdad, a pro-Nazi military coup and a pogrom that foreshadowed the elimination of Baghdad’s ancient Jewish community.

The outline of the deal, which has not been made public, has been described by a high-level Iraqi insider, Ali A. Allawi, a moderate Shiite who was a post-invasion finance minister. Writing this month in The Independent of London, Mr. Allawi noted a disturbing parallel between the proposed alliance between the United States and Iraq and the earlier treaty that formally ended Iraq’s post-World War I status as a British mandate.

“The treaty gave Britain military and economic privileges in exchange for Britain’s promise to end the mandate over the country,” Mr. Allawi wrote. “The treaty was ratified by a docile Iraqi Parliament but was bitterly resented by nationalists. Iraq’s dependency on Britain poisoned Iraqi politics for the next quarter-century. Riots, civil disturbances, uprisings and coups were all features of Iraq’s political landscape, prompted in no small measure by the bitter disputations over the treaty with Britain.”
---

Trish has long held that Allawi was corrupt, this lends more credence to her evidence. (which I don't recall, at present)

6/17/2008 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 06/17/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

6/17/2008 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Even Gergen Calls Obama's pick a "dumb move."

Commenter:

I don’t know how anyone one will take this move but it sure seems to me that Patti Solis Doyle was the fly in the ointment in the Clinton camp.

It now comes out that she was friends with Axelrod for years, man this is sure looking as if she was in the Clinton camp but letting little bits and pieces out there to the Obama camp, no wonder she got laid off when she did.

Now I guess Obama is rewarding her for a inside job well done on Hillary, seems to me Hillary had a lot of rats on board her ship and she did not know.

6/17/2008 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Buckets said...

"I'm fascinated by the right-wing mindset and I don't expect to find out about it by readling li[b]eral blogs."

Really? This is what it's come to? Conservatives being studied in their natural habitat, observed like wild animals... I thought Wretchard was being overly harsh about McDaddyo, but my mind has changed. Study us, McDaddyo- learn our strange and primitve ways, and report back to your fellow travelers.

Ok, we can go back on-topic now.

6/17/2008 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Obama’s Scorched Earth Policy

New York Observer offered this catchy title, Clinton Bundler on Obama’s Doyle Pick: The Biggest ‘Fuck You’ Ever.

This is one more “tell” of the kind of political player Barack is. Rather than reaching out and seeking Hillary’s help in healing the rift in the Democratic party, he has removed his socks and stuck his stinky feet in the festering wound. I have been told by well connected Democrats that some senior Democrats in the Senate are beside themselves at the petulance and immaturity of Barack.

As the August Convention nears, more Democrats will come to the shocking realization that Barack’s bare knuckles politics may work well in the corrupt confines of Chicago, but are a non-starter for healing a nation wounded by partisan battles. This is not the change folks are looking for.

6/17/2008 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Doug repeated:

"Now I guess Obama is rewarding her for a inside job well done on Hillary, seems to me Hillary had a lot of rats on board her ship and she did not know."

Now that's cute. This reads like something Nixon would have organized pre-Watergate.

Fred said:

"But, hey, the under-40 crowd have to learn the lessons that my generation did when we voted for the other stealth candidate in 1976. Now, I didn't leave the Left until 1987, so I voted for Carter again in 1980. But, I could not help but notice that in the Fall of 1980, when I was a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, most of my classmates voted for Ronald Reagan. So, the kids today, if Obama is our next president, are going to have to absorb some very painful lessons."

I'll do my "mea culpa" along with Fred. I left the "Left" long before 1987 but I was (and still remain) a Reagan Hater (I have no tolerance for demagogues like Reagan or B. Hussein). Consequently (like Fred) I voted for Carter twice.

With the wisdom of greater years, I regret my earlier error (I should have abstained). However I still regard Carter as a moral and honorable man. Carter should never have gone into politics (a good President must be moral and pragmatic). Carter missed his true calling and should have been a Baptist minister.

Also, Fred is correct that the kids today will need to absorb some very painful lessons (We baby boomers experienced that process with McGovern and Carter). It's perfectly natural to be young and stupid. However there's no real excuse for being old and stupid.

6/17/2008 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

You really feel Reagan was a demagogue?

How so?

6/17/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Slade said...

Cedarford writes:

1. Rightists welcoming fascism in foreign policy, advocating expanded wars for Israel against Syria, Lebanon, and Iran just as it was obvious Iraq was imploding under Bush-Bremer-Rumsfeld-Meyer-Cheny mismanagement.

The Surge is working. The cost was steep and the surprises were many. History is still out. But I agree that the perception was marred by the disingenuous concept of purple-fingered nobility. The Right always trips on the maudlin.

2. A Christian Taliban intruding in right-to-die decisions and generally scaring traditional values women right into the arms of the Democrats on matters of reproductive freedom and yanking away the social safety net.

Realistically, hard to imagine the Supremes encroaching on right to choose in the recent context of the Guantanamo rights ruling, but given the unimaginable, the movement of protest would make the Million Man March look like a Peanut Parade in Podunck, New Jersey.

3. At a time when the middle class in shrinking, wages stagnant for 30 years, and two-income family is almost obligatory - the Right borrows money from China, outsources good US jobs, and ends revenue sharing with states that end up taxing all with addded fees and regressive taxes - while glorying in tax cuts and earmarked pork that only benefits the rich.

And doing it with a serious "fuck you" attitude towards the poor and working class that the only reason they are hurting is that they lacked the ability and drive to be a mega-millionaire, or have a Daddy who was one...


Globalization was premature. Free trade agreements with countries that are not yet free (ref A Jacksonian et al) is just not smart. I recall Mickey Cantor (and possibly Carla Hills) having private “concerns” about labor and environmental issues not being properly addressed in NAFTA and I recall Bill Clinton transforming the 200,000 “new and better” jobs provided as an estimate by the academics into 2,000,000. But it finally passed under a Democratic president, for those who like their partisanship direct.

4. Conservative-led deregulation of airlines, electric rates, banking, wall street hedge funds, mortgage industry, crop price levels - has been a fucking disaster.

I happen to agree with much of this - except the hedge funds which are so steeped in risk that regulation would be a joke. Market forces - everyone seems to forget - are volatile. In the old days government regulation dampened the severity of market swings. This primarily to the benefit of consumers and citizens. Somewhere along the way, government crossed a line and became more burden than benefit. Deregulation - like sh^t - happened. Others have made this point elsewhere with moderate to vehement dissension, but the level of corruption is too high and too broad. A systems disequilibrium that is not long-term sustainable.

5. The Right wing has proved with it's rampant K-Street corruption, it's sex perversion scandals - to be just as bad as the Democrats at their most arrogant and unaccountable.

6. The conservative philosophy that government may not work best has yielded to a public perception that Conservative Republicans, in charge of government - are determined to prove government cannot work at all when they are in charge: Mismanaged war, disastrous cronyism, nepotism, and ineptitude on everything from Katrina to Administration's ability to communicate with the media and public, to an out of control trade and Borders situation.

Get over Katrina. This administration’s communication skills are about as close to nonexistent as you can get without being dead. Securing the border is a serious issue that requires immediate attention.

7. The Right, and the Republicans by inference, are growingly being seen by the public as the "anti-science". anti-environmental people.

“We” [silent Republicans too bland for the sexy news media slot] are environmentally agnostic, not atheist, but skeptical because “proof’ relies heavily on complicated analysis based on the comforting foundation of statistics and the known reliability of empirical databases - a rather transparent vehicle to political power in both domestic and global arenas where policy is being developed that reflects ideological suasion more than good science. We’re being asked to put our money where our science is … sort of hovering.

8. A sense that the Republicans have dropped trying to deal with all problems but how best to be further enriching their donors with more tax cuts for the rich, how best to help the "noble, purple-fingered, freedom-loving, wannabee secular democrats of Iraq, and the same old 30-year cultural wedge issues that Republicans did little to nothing to deal with once in office.

Political Talking Points. Chat with yourself.

9. The personal attacks, emphasis on matters of little substance and the dearth of true policy initiatives by McCain and Congressional candidates vs. "more of what Bush did!" goodies on IOUs - shows the intellectual exhaustion and co-option of the Party by corporatists, neocons, and backwards Fundies.

Sometimes things are such that a Party gets so arrogant, so unaccountable to voters, so corrupt, and so dogmatically stale that it is a good thing to throw the bums out of office.

Both parties suffer from a dearth of defensible leadership. Believe it - the American people on both sides of the aisle have noticed. Now we have Nancy Pelosi who has the distinction, at least, of not getting a favorable mortage from Countrywide.

[ … ]

The Republican Party, the World stand to likely be the better and the wiser after 4 years of the Black Messiah Antidote ...almost enough to make them miss the failed Dubya and his band of bumbling, dogmatic cronies..but not quite.

I predict the day will come when you will have a bust of “Dubya” prominently positioned in your foyer. But I exaggerate. The point remains - it’s not over and my money says the West - read the U.S. - has been the better student.

I hope. The Kenya connections are disturbing. So is the fact that it is harder to distinguish fact from misinformation, let alone disinformation. The average person - working, taking care of family - is left with his gut. My gut tells me that globalization, political corruption, taxes, and border security are the issues. If government can fix health care - truly fix it and not pass more prescription drug bills (lobbied by the AARP which is dominated by left-leaning educators and academics so stop blaming Bush for that one) so much the better.

Final word about Obama and his supporters. Misrepresenting a critique composed of substantive issues of serious concern as cartoonish caricatures (scimitar-wielding socialist with Muslim tendencies) is an adolescent debating trick. Obama said it when he described himself as an interesting black guy [that needed a bland white guy to balance to ticket.] He is new to the political scene. Voters have not just the right but the obligation to dig into his background and force him - as required - to articulate his ‘vision‘. I am uncomfortable with his emphasis on collective over individual rights and responsibilities. Don’t like that at all. And I have no clue how he intends to pay for all these collective benefits.

Oh, that’s right. I’ll be paying for it. Using up my carbon emission credits as I hyperventilate.

6/17/2008 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

He must of meant demi-god, Doug.

6/17/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Doug said:

"You really feel Reagan was a demagogue? How so?"

Are you kidding?

Perhaps it's because I'm a second generation Californian. I grew up watching Ronald Reagan's career (I lived in Sacramento while he was governor). I remember cute comments from him like:

"You've seen one redwood tree, you've seen them all".

He actually said this while they were clear-cutting 1000 year old redwood forests near Crescent City (incredible vandalism). However the main thing I remember was his hypnotic power over mobs of people and how the MSM couldn't stick anything on him. That was scary. However B. Hussein is much more frightening. Reagan's saving grace was in not being the sharpest tool in the shed (even Margaret Thatcher recognized that Reagan was no Einstein). Unfortunately B. Hussein has Reagan's oratorical gifts AND he's intelligent.

B. Hussein simply terrifies me.

6/17/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

"I also have to admit, this is the first conservative blog that hasn't banned me." - sayeth esteemed guest "mcdaddyo"

I participate in four weblogs, all which TEND to have a conservative bent. None of them ban Leftists and obstreperous ones at that. On the other hand, I was banned in one Left-wing blog site - and I wrote and said nothing insulting or vitriolic to warrant it. I just posted a contrary opinion based on solid reasoning. I started hearing from others like me who had similar experiences, and putting two and two together I decided it was not worth going "over there" to any of their discussion boards. Shook the dust off my sandals and moved on. I didn't go "over there" to be disruptive. I was naive, however, to think that I could be plugged in to a discussion.

As I stated above (and often), I used to be a budding young Marxist intellectual. I know the other side well, especially the academic side. My experience, even back then before 1987 when I broke with the Left, was that their side is not very tolerant at all of dissenting opinions. This holds true of their behavior here in the West and most certainly was the case behind the Iron Curtain and in other socialist countries.

The Canadian "Human Rights" Court is a perfect example of how the Left deals with dissent. Sorry, but it's the truth and that's the default position of totalitarian ideologies, whether they came to power in 1917 or in 622 A.D., from the newest back to the oldest totalitarian ideologies.

I'm unashamedly on the side of capitalism, individual liberty, and complete freedom of expression and thought. I once was on the other side, "mcdaddyo," and the mental inbox of "cognizant dissonance" just got piled so high with stuff to deal with that my break from Marxism was only a matter of time. Plus, some of the bad behavior and hypocrisy of some fellow Leftists played a role in my decision. I burned my bridges and am not going back.

How old were you, "mcdaddyo," back in 1976-80 and before? We old farts know what it was like. Those of us who were younger know what it was like to try to find a job. Those a little older knew what it was like to try to get a mortgage when rates were in the high teens. And we knew what it was like to see our country attacked by a pissant totalitarian, Muslim cleric who our president helped to get into power. But I'm sure you and your fellow Leftist friends and Islamic friends all sit around the campfire and talk about how repressive and eeeevilll that Shah was, and how eeeeevillll those Joooooos are.

No, you won't be banned here. If C4, our resident Jew-hater, is allowed to hang around and be an organ for Pat Buchanan, I'm sure Wretchard has enough patience for you. So, welcome aboard. Just know that you are not going to have a fun time of it here.

6/17/2008 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

You gonna tell him about that other place, Fred, where they're not nearly as nice to the stoopido's of the world as Wretchard and Belmont Club are?

6/17/2008 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

Anecdote alert:

I live at the crest of a hill with a narrow one-way street as my only access. The street continues past my house on a long downhill at a steep angle. Occasionally a very brave (or very stupid) person will blindly drive the wrong direction up this long hill with nowhere to pull off in case somebody comes flying over the top.

Yesterday I observed a fella doing just that, and he had an "Obama '08" sticker prominently displayed on his bumper.

Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words.

6/17/2008 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

jrod,

Two days ago I was out on the single line highway that runs north and south from where I live out here in rural New Hampshire. I was at a red light and there was a car in front of me. This particular vehicle had been mighty slow, under the speed limit all the way up the fifteen or more miles I had been behind her. Well when the light turned green, as is my habit, I allow the car in front of me to get at least one car length in front of me before I move on. Well, up from behind me out of nowhere comes this car that passes me on the right, using the very narrow breakdown lane to get ahead of me and slides in front of me when there was probably a car and half length to spare. Prominently in many places on the car were large and small Obama stickers. On up the highway, ahead of me, this Obama supporter is RIGHT ON THE BUMPER OF THE CAR IN FRONT OF HIM, with maybe only a couple of feet to spare.

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I wasn't surprised at all.

6/17/2008 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Speaking of history repeating itself:






"Another Bad Deal for Baghdad

By KARL E. MEYER
Published: June 17, 2008

WITH only perfunctory debate, the Bush administration is pressuring a divided Iraqi government to approve a security agreement that could haunt Washington’s relations with Baghdad for years to come. The “strategic alliance” that President Bush is proposing eerily resembles, in spirit and in letter, a failed 1930 treaty between Britain and Iraq that prompted a nationalist eruption in Baghdad, a pro-Nazi military coup and a pogrom that foreshadowed the elimination of Baghdad’s ancient Jewish community.

The outline of the deal, which has not been made public, has been described by a high-level Iraqi insider, Ali A. Allawi, a moderate Shiite who was a post-invasion finance minister. Writing this month in The Independent of London, Mr. Allawi noted a disturbing parallel between the proposed alliance between the United States and Iraq and the earlier treaty that formally ended Iraq’s post-World War I status as a British mandate.

“The treaty gave Britain military and economic privileges in exchange for Britain’s promise to end the mandate over the country,” Mr. Allawi wrote. “The treaty was ratified by a docile Iraqi Parliament but was bitterly resented by nationalists. Iraq’s dependency on Britain poisoned Iraqi politics for the next quarter-century. Riots, civil disturbances, uprisings and coups were all features of Iraq’s political landscape, prompted in no small measure by the bitter disputations over the treaty with Britain.”

Under the 1930 pact, Iraq had to consult Britain on security issues and allow it the use of Iraqi airports, ports, railways and rivers. Two major military bases were leased to the British, who were empowered to station their forces throughout Iraq. British personnel were granted immunity from local prosecution.

Almost 80 years later, the Bush administration seeks a startlingly similar arrangement. While not formally a treaty (having been carefully crafted to avoid the requirement of Senate ratification), the wide-ranging pact that the United States proposes nearly replicates the 1930 accord. According to press reports based on leaks from the Iraqi Parliament, the pact envisions giving the Americans rights to as many as 58 military bases and control of Iraqi airspace. It would grant immunity from Iraqi laws to American military personnel. And it would empower American officials to detain suspected terrorists without the approval of Iraqi authorities.

The agreement, which Washington is pushing Baghdad to sign by July 31, would replace the United Nations mandate that now authorizes the American occupation. Iraq would be freed from Security Council sanctions and would benefit from continued American military and economic aid. Iraq could also receive as much as $50 billion in blocked assets, dating back to the first gulf war, that are now held by the United States.

The 1930 treaty was followed by Iraqi independence and then more than a score of coups, countercoups, massacres and rebellions. Many Iraqis objected to British collusion with the ruling Sunni elite, and protested the use of British warplanes to suppress tribal uprisings. The legal immunity given to British forces generated even more resentment, a history detailed by Elie Kedourie, a British scholar born in Baghdad.

The nationalist uprising culminated in an Axis-backed putsch in April 1941, when Iraqi colonels exploited these grievances to seize power bloodlessly. Following the only pro-German coup in the wartime Middle East, British forces rushed to Baghdad to oust the leaders, who fled as Allied troops approached.

To preserve the fiction that Iraq’s liberation was indigenous, however, the British held back from crossing the Tigris and entering downtown Baghdad. That May, absent any occupying authority, two days of looting and rioting broke out as the capital’s Jews were celebrating the festival of Shavuot, while the British troops looked on. This pogrom, called the farhud, claimed hundreds of lives and presaged the wholesale destruction after 1948 of the largest and oldest Jewish community in the Arab Middle East.

After its 1930 treaty with Iraq, Britain proved unable to ensure order during the decade of nationalist tumult that followed. Rarely has the proverb about repeating history been more vividly signaled.

Karl E. Meyer, a former member of The Times editorial board and the editor at large of World Policy Journal, is the co-author, with Shareen Blair Brysac, of “Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East"

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/opinion/17meyer.html?hp

6/17/2008 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

Must have been a Mass transplant that passed you Fred. I've never driven anywhere--except in Massachusetts--where traveling in the breakdown lane seems to be acceptable.

6/17/2008 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

In additional to the insightful analysis by our host and commenters alike, it's the little things, the lines like this, "But Rezko's apple pie had strange and persistent Middle Eastern spices" that make reading this blog such an exquisite pleasure and donating to it a privilege.

6/17/2008 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger AV said...

Inflation - the great thief of wage earners and pensioners - was 57.7% worse under Carter/Clinton than under Reagan/Bush. If one considers the 6 years when Democrats controlled both the White House and both Houses of Congress under Carter/Clinton, which would be the case under President O, then inflation was 89.6% worse.

Given that the Democrat prescription for the currently weak economy is massive tax increases - more than an 80% increase on capital gains, no telling how much on income, plus a whoppingly large increase on many tens of millions of Americans earning above $100,000 for Social Security, coupled with nationalizing healthcare, worse-than-Republican spending on pet projects and rewards for friends, relatives, and party hacks, get ready for chaos. If this isn't enough, and you really want to get the trembles, remember the Democrat president before Carter, when both Houses were also controled by Democrats - LBJ.

While SEN O could well become the second term of Carter, he might even be worse and become a new LBJ. Unless fiscally conservative Republicans take back Congress, there is no chance whatsoever for a re-run of 1995-2000, when Clinton and the worst angels of the Democrat nature were kept under a modicum of opposition control on spending.

6/17/2008 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Ash shared:

"Another Bad Deal for Baghdad

By KARL E. MEYER
Published: June 17, 2008"

That pushes my 'NYT really burns me' button.

So there may be similarities with the 1930 treaty, but are there not some stupendous differences? Like, for example, the British installing a monarchy and securing a favorable oil deal but the U.S. negotiating with an elected government?

Could Meyer at least provide some examples of other U.S. security treaties, e.g., with other Arab countries such as Qutar? Or our security agreements with allies? I guess that is too much to ask of a columnist of the newspaper of record.

6/17/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

Doug,

"Are we still allowed to make short, on topic comments"

Does this mean you're turning over a new leaf????

6/17/2008 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

I'll note Obama is ceding Ohio and Florida in presentations to fundraisers, which seems that the candidate's people concede reality is intruding.

Obama has already defined himself as a radical leftist who hates whites and America. The power of the Michelle Obama Whitey Tape rumor was that it was credible given his church, 20 year attendance, and initial comfort with the things said and done there. Everyone saw the YouTube videos, and working/middle class white Americans decided against him.

America is a very segregated society, with most whites in private decisions deciding to stay well away from "Black" communities which they know are full of violence, crime and hatred against them. "Cross-over" personalities who carefully purge any Farrakhan type radicalism from their personas do well, such as Will Smith, Oprah, and Bill Cosby. Angry Black Nationalists like Spike Lee are marginal figures depending on the hipster crowd.

Whites spend considerable amount of time and effort to stay away from Blacks: they do not live in Black Neighborhoods, have Black friends at work, attend Black Churches, or evince much interest in them save sports celebrities. It's interesting to note that the most popular black sports celebrities are carefully composed, Middle-class sounding guys who could be interchangeable with Bill Cosby, such as Tiger Woods, or stern authoritarians such as KC coach Herm Edwards or Bears coach Lovey Smith who enforce traditional values of hard work and teamwork.

Obama is already publicly defined as the stealth Angry Black Radical and he's heading for McGovern style defeats against a guy most voters respect but don't love. That's OK, Dems once again bought a damaged goods thinking it was a magic wand.

Obama's sudden running away from Odinga and Rezko only increases suspicion. People suspect he is a stealth Muslim by his shyness. If he seriously understood the Nation he would have met with Odinga and lectured him publicly (to humiliate Odinga, personally) about how awful Islam is, socialism as well, and how he as President will make sure to oppose both in any form being imposed on Kenyans like Nazism.

Obama wants to win, but has no idea whatsoever that most White Americans by their own private actions show they want as little to do as possible with Blacks, and certainly won't elect someone they view as a "stealth Farrakhan." He's already sunk. When his campaign openly says they have "alternative electoral strategies" for Ohio and Florida, that's serious trouble showing up already in polling. Don't forget the "Bradley Effect," i.e. voters already deciding to vote against the "black" candidate but not saying to pollsters for fear of being accused of "racism."

Obama's 90% support by Blacks only increases racial fears of whites who don't want suddenly a Farrakhan-style President "punishing" them for stuff other white people did 50 years.

6/17/2008 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Dash said...

Whiskey,

Your point is as one sided as it is crude. The truth is that there are any number of cultural differences that keep blacks and whites in seperate neighborhoods in America.

Drive through an "average white" neighborhood in suburban America after 9 pm and you will see a very quite neighborhood where everyone is inside and the place looks deserted. Turn on a boombox here and expect to meet the local police who will explain the local noise ordinance. Visit an "average black" neighborhood at the same time and you will see people out on their porches, socializing on the street corners and in the streets and you will hear loud music from multiple sources. It's loud and lively. That those two groups don't mix has little to do with skin color and everything to do with lifestyle.

6/17/2008 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger baldilocks said...

"A kind of leftist taqqiya." Thanks, W. I'll use it a some point.

BTW, someone referred to the Luo tribe as a "Muslim" tribe.

The Luo tribe is 80 percent Christian, mostly SDA.

6/17/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Reagan at least backed nuclear energy, for all his failings on redwoods, and thinking trees cause pollution. The alternative adopted was coal fired, which has caused more problems that Reagan's lack of insight into mother nature and her creations. Reagan also had one of the worst Interior Secretaries, James Watt.
--

It's loud and lively.

And sometimes deadly too.

6/17/2008 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

If JC Watts, Colin Powell are thinking of voting for Obama, can Thomas Sowell be far behind? Race may trump everything for black Americans this year. Obama might get 100%.

6/17/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger "Mindles H. Dreck" said...

For those citing economies under various presidents, consider the Misery Index.

6/17/2008 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Bobal said:

"Reagan at least backed nuclear energy, for all his failings on redwoods, and thinking trees cause pollution."

President Carter was way ahead of his time concerning energy policy and conservationism. Jimmy Carter had previously trained as a nuclear reactor technician. He understood the importance of nuclear energy and the technological danger of liquid metal breeder reactors. Carter also foresaw Peak Oil and attempted to establish a synthetic petroleum industry within the United States. One of the Reagan administration's many idiotic decisions was to reverse Carter's prescient energy programs. Carter also set aside a huge amount of land for national parks. This was convervationism very much in the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt. Ironically, President Carter was not a hero of the Green Movement despite the huge amount of land that he set aside as wilderness. Unfortunately the Green Movement was dominated by moonbats. They hated Carter because he was pro-nuclear and sought energy independence through use of our vast coal reserves. This moonbat hatred manifested itself in bizarre ways. The Sierra Club actually published an editorial saying there was no real difference between President Carter and Reagan in terms of environmental policy (Can you imagine that?). Such blatant stupidity was breath taking. After exchanging some angry letters with the Sierra Club's leadership, I terminated my membership. The Sierra Club had noble beginnings after being founded by John Muir. Unfortunately by the late 1970s the moonbats had taken over. A pity really...

6/17/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Fred writes:
``I was banned in one Left-wing blog site - and I wrote and said nothing insulting or vitriolic to warrant it.''

Does that mean you didn't write that your wife ``hates Muslims'' because she had a bad experience with one?

Does that mean you didn't call Allah Satan?

You're a bigot, Fred, plain and simple. Not because you oppose Islam -- I, as an atheist, oppose it as well -- but because you insist on attributing the behavior of a small minority of Muslims to the entire religion and all who follow it. That is what all bigots do. None simply say they hate blacks or whites or Jews "just because." They all use isolated examples of bad behavior, then generalize it to the group they target for hatred.

That is exactly what you do as regards Muslims and exactly why you can fairly be described as a bigot.

Were I operating a blog I would allow you one warning against religious bigotry and if you repeated it, I would have no choice but to ban you.

As a new media form, blogs are having to redefine the boundaries between free speech and responsibility.

I think it's reasonable not to tolerate religious bigotry, bet it against Christians, Jews or Muslims or any other group.

It's fine to criticize individual Muslims or even to critique Islam itself, as a matter of theology or spiritual values. But what is out of bounds is commentary that blurs the distinction between violent extremists and ordinary Muslims.

6/17/2008 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

I think the nation did not really know much about where we were headed for foreign policy under Jimmy Carter. It was not a strong suit of his during his campaign, and truthfully he was every bit as vague and stealthy as Obonga is. So, when Carter decided to permit the Shah being removed and approved of his replacement, even facilitating it, it took awhile for the country to begin to grasp what a monstrous mistake this was. We are still paying for it. Also, his bias in favor of the Arabs over Israel reinforced the perception in the Islamic world that this was a guy we can put it over on. The word also is that on many occasions he was heard to exclaim in the White House, "Those f***ing Jews!" His Jew-hatred is legendary, and that vile prejudice of his has had far-reaching, negative consequences for our world today and in the future.

His "human rights" policy was astoundingly one-sided, and averted its gaze away from the abuses of the Socialist world. He was remarkably naive about the Communists.

A very important clue about a presidential candidate's future policies can be discerned in his choice of advisers. In the present, not enough attention has been focused on Obonga's choice of advisers. Quite involuntarily, because the spotlight had been cast on them, two of his foreign policy advisers, chosen for him by George Soros, had to be "let go." But they will come back when he wins in November. Bet on it.

Because Obonga is particularly weak in his grasp of economics and foreign policy, he is going to rely very heavily on his advisers rather than his own judgment.

I voted for Jimmy Carter twice, but I am not one of those people who puts Ronald Reagan down as some sort of dunce. He was not. Even when I was on the Left I respected him, however much at the time I disagreed with his policy preferences. I now know I was wrong about that. I have no problem admitting error of judgment or ethics when clearly wrong.

I see so much of the Carter kind of disaster lurking in an Obonga Presidency that right now my earnest hope is that we can survive it and recover from it with the right kind of energy and leadership facing the future - from ourselves and from our elected representatives in that crisis-ridden future.

6/17/2008 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

People change. Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace, is now For Nuclear Energy
Better late than never.

6/17/2008 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Fred,
It's pretty hard to see RR as a "dunce" when you realize that hundreds of speeches he delivered over the years were written by him alone.

...or his comprehensive understanding of the workings of the communists, both here and abroad.

And who was ever better at articulating the damage done by big govt?
---
I'm not so sure Barry is all that bright.

I AM sure he's quite ignorant, has seen only a sliver of the World around him, and, of course, is a narcissistic Marxist.

...not that that's very hard to figure out.

6/17/2008 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Fred said:

"[Carter's] "human rights" policy was astoundingly one-sided, and averted its gaze away from the abuses of the Socialist world. He was remarkably naive about the Communists."

Again, Jimmy Carter should have been a
Baptist minister. He had no business
being President. Carter's big problem
was he didn't understand evil. Comprehending monsters like Leonid Brezhnev or the Ayatolla Khomeini was way over Carter's head.

Fred also said:

".. not enough attention has been focused on Obonga's choice of advisers. Quite involuntarily, because the spotlight had been cast on them, two of his foreign policy advisers, chosen for him by George Soros, had to be "let go." But they will come back when he wins in November."

I'm convinced that George Soros is the power behind B. Hussein. I'm also convinced that Hussein's trump card is the economy. Hussein won't need to cook up an October surprise like the forged Texas Air National Guard documents of Dan Rather fame. Hussein will simply ask his old buddy George to pull a few strings at the right time and the economy will take a dump (it's already very brittle). It might cost Soros a couple billion to do this but Hussein will make it right after he's in office.

Fred then said:

"I voted for Jimmy Carter twice, but I am not one of those people who puts Ronald Reagan down as some sort of dunce. He was not. Even when I was on the Left I respected him, however much at the time I disagreed with his policy preferences."

Here we must disagree. I respected Reagan's skill as a demagogue but he was no Einstein. Truth to tell, Reagan didn't need to be an Einstein. He had sharp guys like Ed Meese and Caspar Weinberger to do the thinking. Reagan's job was to neutralize the MSM and he did that brilliantly.

6/17/2008 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

eggplant,

The other day the Saudis announced that they were going to increase their output of oil production. Prior to that the Fed has been talking about the next move probably being up on the Fed Funds rate, and there was some strengthening of the dollar as the currency markets were factoring that in. Indeed, I believe the Fed's next move will be up, as it should be. However, some bad news about the economy - consumer spending and jobs came out, causing the stock market to drop some.

Then, an amazing thing happened. The dollar lost ground against the Euro, and thereby got priced into oil. Clearly, some investors/speculators were betting the Fed's next move would be DOWN. Inflation is clearly a worry of the Fed right now. So, why the bet that the Fed is going to drop rates? Something is amiss with that perception.

This contrarian move flies in the face of logic.

I am not by nature one given to conspiracy thinking, but the convergence of so many linked events in the financial markets to put the economy in a vise is eerie.

Who can make significant trades to move currencies and thereby affect the oil futures' markets? Thereby affecting the economy at a time of political decision?

6/17/2008 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I think most of those opposed to Senator Obama’s candidacy for President have serious disagreements with his policy positions, concerns about his loyalties, or moral outrage against his endorsement of black racism at the Trinity United Church of Christ. There are plenty of excellent reasons to oppose Senator Obama.

There is plenty of evidence pointing to Senator Obama’s racial bigotry and the racial bigotry of his closest associates. Yet, for some people, that is not enough. They insist on indulging in the politics of George Wallace and Frank Rizzo, even if such conduct materially helps Obama.

Senator Obama benefits whenever his opponents base their opposition against him upon a solid foundation of racial hatred against black people. He thrives on such racial hatred, particularly when it distracts attention from his own flaws. Many of Senator Obama’s supporters sorely want to equate any opposition against Obama with blatant white lynch mobs who seek to murder every black person in sight. The Obama campaign would like nothing better than to equate all those who oppose Obama with advocates of race war and those who regard black people as a plague to be avoided at all costs.

Perhaps now is a time for celebrating diversity. The forces of political correctness call for celebrating diversity, so why not celebrate the name “Hussein”? “Hussein” is a beautiful name for a Muslim man or boy. Barack Hussein Obama should either be proud of his middle name or he should change it to a name such as “Harrison”. And yet, isn’t it supporters of Barack Hussein Obama who act as Islamophobes when they refrain from saying the word “Hussein”? Must “Hussein” be a name that nobody dares utter? If there were ever a time for “celebrating diversity”, shouldn’t it be now? Why doesn’t Senator Obama say “Hussein” with pride rather than treating it as if it were a dirty word?

As for myself, I take Senator Obama’s profession of his Christian faith at face value. Yet, despite his website’s emphatic denial that he was ever a Muslim, many Muslims from the Middle East don’t seem to believe him. Apparently, many Egyptian Muslims support Barack Hussein Obama because they think he is one of them. So, if Barack Hussein Obama is having trouble convincing working class Americans that he is not a Muslim, he seems to be having precisely the same difficulty convincing Arab Muslims.

This can lead one to wonder if some of Iran’s missing billions may have been invested in speculation on oil futures with the purpose of putting sufficient pressure upon the American economy to ensure the election of Senator Obama to the Presidency…

Barack Hussein Obama will not be an easy candidate to defeat. He can be defeated. He ought to be defeated. Yet, his defeat is not certain. He is capable of victory when those opposed to him are drunk with their own complacency. I don’t want Senator Obama to merely be defeated this fall; a close defeat would merely leave Barack Hussein Obama emboldened to run for President four years from now just as Andrew Jackson did after he was defeated in the Electoral College in 1825. I think it is important to defeat Senator Obama by the most lopsided margin in modern American history.

6/17/2008 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Alexis,

I've wondered that too about the missing billions in Iran. Also, I think Russia and Venezuela have been shoving a lot of money at the oil futures' markets. The Chinese have been dumping their dollars by buying more oil than they are consuming and putting a gargantuan amount of it in their hundreds of strategic storage facilities.

Is it entirely within the realm of possibility that an alliance of those above players with Soros and his coterie of super billionaires may be at work? The coincidence of so many factors falling into play is amazing to be more than just random chance.

6/17/2008 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

"How old were you, "mcdaddyo," back in 1976-80 and before? We old farts know what it was like. Those of us who were younger know what it was like to try to find a job. Those a little older knew what it was like to try to get a mortgage when rates were in the high teens."

Don't confuse him with the facts, Fred. By the way, aren't you glad he doesn't engage in ad hominem attacks? He must have read in the encyclopedia that you are a "bigot".

6/17/2008 10:01:00 PM  

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