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SUNDAY, JULY 4, 2010
GORE STORY RISES – AT 6:23 P.M. ET: We take no great pleasure in stories like this, no matter who they involve. Sordid tales of personal misbehavior do nothing to advance the national dialogue.
But we are struck once again by the way in which the mainstream media carries the water for leading Democrats. Even The Politico has noticed:
The story of Al Gore’s alleged unwanted sexual advances toward a Portland, Ore., masseuse, which had been simmering since the National Enquirer first published the allegations last week, broke into the mainstream news cycle Friday after the Portland police announced they would reopen their investigation.
Anderson Cooper did a segment on the story on CNN Thursday night. By Friday, it was all over network television newscasts, while the Oregonian had a front-page mea culpa by the Portland police chief saying his department had mishandled the investigation when it first surfaced in 2006.
The story’s jump from the fringe to the mainstream compounds the problems for Gore, whose family spokesman, Kalee Kreider, has said that Gore “unequivocally and emphatically” denied making unwanted sexual advances. “Further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr. Gore.”
The mainstream media are still smarting from the embarrassment of being scooped by the Enquirer on the story of John Edwards’s affair with Rielle Hunter, which led to much handwringing in media criticism circles — including at POLITICO — about whether the press really vets presidential candidates. Books such as John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s “Game Change” reveal that the affair was well-known to Edwards staffers, who considered leaking to the mainstream media but in the end did not.
Vetting presidential candidates? If you're a Republican, every minute of your life will be examined by news organizations that have the resources to do it. If you're Sarah Palin, reporters will go through your garbage.
But if you're Barack Obama, no serious questioners need apply. Obama was given a pass unprecedented in the modern history of reporting.
Now the networks and papers such as The Washington Post and New York Times are faced with a similar situation. Following the Enquirer’s second blockbuster scoop against a star of the Democratic Party last week, the mainstream media still treated the story as essentially a fringe narrative, with the first question coming from The Washington Post being: Did the paper pay for the story? The answer was yes, but not the $1 million that the masseuse, Molly Hagerty, asked for.
To be fair, Howard Kurtz was asking a legitimate question, since the accuser had claimed to be selling her story. But the fact that the first reported story in the Post asked this question, and not a question about the case itself, is revealing.
COMMENT: We assert, of course, that Gore is innocent until proved guilty, and we are aware that his accuser is no great angel. But the suppression of the story is inexcusable, but another sign that too many journalists see themselves primarily as advocates, rather than as reporters. That, not the internet, is the single greatest disease eating away at journalism.
July 4, 2010 Permalink
THE STEELE CASE – AT 12:29 P.M. ET: I don't recall a similar uproar over the behavior of a national party chairman. Michael Steele is in deep trouble with his own Republican Party over statements he made disparaging the Afghanistan war, and giving a distorted history of how it got started. From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham spoke from the war zone Sunday to condemn GOP chairman Michael Steele's comment that Afghanistan was a ''war of Obama's choosing.''
Neither GOP lawmaker, however, was outraged enough to demand Steele's resignation, as some other Republican have done. Both said from Kabul it was up to Steele to decide whether he could continue to lead the party.
Steele's remarks, a political gift to Democrats in a congressional election year, were captured Thursday on camera, during a Connecticut fundraiser that was closed to the news media, and posted online. The comments would make it difficult for Republican candidates to have Steele campaign for them.
''I think those statements are wildly inaccurate and there's no excuse for them,'' McCain said, adding that Steele sent the Arizona senator an e-mail saying the remarks ''were misconstrued.''
''I believe we have to win here. I believe in freedom. But the fact is that I think that Mr. Steele is going to have to assess as to whether he can still lead the Republican Party as chairman of the Republican National Committee and make an appropriate decision,'' McCain told ABC's ''This Week.''
Graham, R-S.C., described himself as ''dismayed, angry and upset. It was an uninformed, unnecessary, unwise, untimely comment.''
He told CBS' ''Face the Nation'' that ''this is not President Obama's war. This is American's war. We need to stand behind the president.''
Asked whether Steele should quit, Graham said, ''It's up to him to see if he can lead the Republican Party. It couldn't have come at a worst time.''
COMMENT: As a practical matter, Steele should step down. However, there's a solid argument to be made for him to be dispatched after the election. If he's forced out now, he can turn against the party. As an African-American, he can provide a hefty load of embarrassment.
The idea now is for other campaign committees to do their job, and double that job if need be, marginalizing Steele whether he stays or not.
July 3, 2010 Permalink
SHOCKING AND DISGRACEFUL – AT 10:59 A.M. ET: We wouldn't expect to be reading this on Independence Day, but it's important to alert you to something that is truly outrageous. From The Washington Times:
As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars persist, some employers are becoming increasingly resistant to rehire service members who return from active duty as federal law requires, some legal analysts say.
Washington lawyer Matthew Tully, who specializes in these cases, said that, as the war on terrorism and its heavy reliance on National Guard and Reserve units stretches into its second decade, companies have become more familiar with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
But Mr. Tully, a founding partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC, said some employers have objections with the law and have been upfront with his firm about their failure to re-employ and sometimes even to hire citizen-soldiers. One prime reason is financial. He said, without specifying names, that airline companies have told the law firm that hiring military personnel has resulted in higher labor costs.
"We've seen the number of intentional violations skyrocket in the past three years," he said.
The 1994 law requires employers to rehire workers who return from active military duty and, in the hiring process, prohibits discrimination against those who might become deployed.
A 2008 Labor Department report states that the employment law is entirely "complaint driven" and the government does not bring criminal charges against companies that violate the law.
COMMENT: Well, maybe the government policy should change, and criminal charges be filed against the violators.
And...I would just love to know the CEO salaries of some of the companies who "can't afford" to hire returning vets. Would just love to know them.
Makes the blood boil.
July 3, 2010 Permalink
ANOTHER FINE LEADER – AT 10:38 A.M. ET: Petraeus takes command in Afghanistan:
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gen. David Petraeus formally assumed command of the 130,000-strong international force in Afghanistan on Sunday, declaring "we are in this to win" despite rising casualties and growing skepticism about the nearly 9-year-old war.
During a ceremony at NATO headquarters, Petraeus received two flags — one for the U.S. and the other for NATO — marking his formal assumption of command.
He said it was important to demonstrate to the Afghan people and world that al-Qaida and its extremist allies will not be allowed to again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they could launch attacks on the United States and other countries.
"We are in this to win," Petraeus told a crowd of several hundred NATO and Afghan officials at the ceremony held on a grassy area just outside coalition headquarters. "We have arrived at a critical moment."
"We must never forget that the decisive terrain in Afghanistan is the human terrain," Petraeus wrote Sunday in a memo to his troops, praising their effort. "Protecting those we are here to help nonetheless does require killing, capturing or turning the insurgents. We will not shrink from that."
Petraeus's mission depends on many factors, but most of all he must have the support of the president of the United States, who must be prepared to face down the leftist isolationists in his own party to see this mission through.
We cannot guarantee total success. Afghanistan will probably not emerge, as Japan did after World War II, as a modern democracy. But we can strike a severe blow against those who harbor and nurture terrorism. It is a difficult, almost unique fight. Obama has the right general for the job. The issue is whether the general has the right president.
July 3, 2010 Permalink
ON THIS JULY 4TH – AT 10:21 A.M. ET: We recall that, on July 4th, we celebrate a document, and we are reminded of the importance of words, especially the words of leaders.
On this July 4th we find ourselves poorly led, our president a minor Chicago politician with a silver voice and a cynical morality. We worry that the ideals enshrined in the great Declaration are eroding, worn away by a decadent educational establishment and its product, an equally decadent media.
On July 4, 1940, Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons. It was not for the purpose of reflecting on American independence from Britain, but to inform the Honourable House that he had ordered the destruction of the French fleet, at harbor in North Africa, because it was in danger of falling into Nazi hands. There were now major fears that Britain would soon itself be invaded. America, influenced by its disgusting ambassador to Britain, Joseph Kennedy, himself a Nazi sympathizer, was doing little to help. Churchill concluded his remarks as follows:
The Prime Minister expects all His Majesty's servants in high places to set an example of steadiness and resolution. They should check and rebuke expressions of loose and ill-digested opinion in their circles, or by their subordinates. They should not hesitate to report, or if necessary remove, any officers or officials who are found to be consciously exercising a disturbing or depressing influence, and whose talk is calculated to spread alarm and despondency. Thus alone will they be worthy of the fighting men, who, in the air, on the sea, and on land, have already met the enemy without any sense of being outmatched in martial qualities. In conclusion, I feel that we are entitled to the confidence of the House and that we shall not fail in our duty, however painful. The action we have already taken should be, in itself, sufficient to dispose once and for all of the lies and rumours which have been so industriously 1051 spread by German propaganda and Fifth Column activities that we have the slightest intention of entering into negotiations in any form and through any channel with the German and Italian Governments. We shall, on the contrary, prosecute the war with the utmost vigour by all the means that are open to us until the righteous purposes for which we entered upon it have been fulfilled.
That as a leader.
The speech made clear to the world, especially the United States, that Britain would fight, that it had no intention of surrendering.
You will note that there was no mention of multiculturalism, or of "understanding the Nazi narrative." There was a mention of a Fifth Column, something we should be mindful of today, as some "dissent" in America crosses the line.
We could use a Churchill today. What we have is an Obama.
July 3, 2010 Permalink
SATURDAY, JULY 3, 2010
ILLINOIS STOPS PAYING ITS BILLS – AT 8:15 P.M. ET: Illinois, home state to President Obama, we think...well, after Indonesia, Hawaii, Kansas, and maybe downtown Kenya...is on the verge of financial ruin, and has stopped paying its bills. The New York Times reports:
CHICAGO — Even by the standards of this deficit-ridden state, Illinois’s comptroller, Daniel W. Hynes, faces an ugly balance sheet. Precisely how ugly becomes clear when he beckons you into his office to examine his daily briefing memo.
He picks the papers off his desk and points to a figure in red: $5.01 billion.
“This is what the state owes right now to schools, rehabilitation centers, child care, the state university — and it’s getting worse every single day,” he says in his downtown office.
Mr. Hynes shakes his head. “This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services,” he says. “That is obscene.”
For the last few years, California stood more or less unchallenged as a symbol of the fiscal collapse of states during the recession. Now Illinois has shouldered to the fore, as its dysfunctional political class refuses to pay the state’s bills and refuses to take the painful steps — cuts and tax increases — to close a deficit of at least $12 billion, equal to nearly half the state’s budget.
COMMENT: Uh, say guys, right next door is Indiana, run by a governor named Mitch Daniels, and Indiana's state government isn't sinking, and is paying its bills.
You think it has something to do with responsible government and careful planning? Nah. Whoever heard of that in the People's Democratic Party Republic of Illinois.
In the meantime, up north in Illinois, the city of Chicago has spent this week writing and adapting the most severe gun-control law in the country. Why? Because, as all truly enlightened people know, if you take guns away from law-abiding citizens, the murder rate goes down.
That's true, isnt it? It is true, no? Could you give me some coaching on this?
July 3, 2010 Permalink
OBAMA AND BP BOTH GET THUMBS DOWN ON GULF SPILL – AT 8:38 A.M. ET: I admire the American people. No matter how much the establishment media tries to protect The One (And Only), Americans see through the haze.
A new Fox poll makes it clear that our people do not approve of Obama's handling of Katrina II, the sequel, the oil spill:
Large majorities of American voters think the federal government and the oil company BP could be doing more to halt the disaster on the Gulf Coast.
A new poll released Friday by Fox News shows that few voters -- less than one in four -- think the federal government (24 percent) and BP (23 percent) are doing everything possible to combat the oil spill.
About 7 in 10 think there is more each organization could be doing to stop the leak and clean up the mess.
Even so, about twice as many voters approve of the how the Obama administration (41 percent) is dealing with the spill than with how BP is handling it (19 percent).
But approvers are in the minority. Just over half of voters disapprove of how the administration is handling the spill, while most voters -- 73 percent -- rate the job BP is doing negatively.
COMMENT: We've speculated here, and I believe the facts support the speculation, that the radicals behind Obama rather like the oil spill. The more damage, the better. More damage, more support for environmental extremism. Some will call that a conspiracy theory, but how else do we explain the utter sluggishness and marked indifference of the federal response?
July 3, 2010 Permalink
WHY WOULD THEY DO A LITTLE THING LIKE THAT? – AT 8:16 A.M. ET: There's been an ominous development in the Middle East, one that proves once again that Obama's grovel & appease policies are not working. From AFP:
Iran has moved radar to Syria that could provide early-warning against a possible surprise Israeli air attack against Tehran's nuclear sites, a US defense official said on Friday.
The radar transfer was first reported in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday and prompted the State Department to voice concerns about cooperation between Syria and Iran.
I just love this constant voicing of concerns. If we go on voicing concerns like this, we'll all wind up dead.
The sophisticated radars were deployed in Syria last year, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
The move could bolster Iran's position amid long-running speculation that Israel might stage a bombing raid against Tehran's nuclear enrichment facilities.
Information from new radar also could potentially help the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah with its missile arsenal and air defenses.
Israel and the United States have refused to rule out military action against Iran over its nuclear program, which Washington says is designed to secure atomic weapons.
Iran has insisted its enrichment effort is purely peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley on Thursday said Washington had concerns about the relationship between Iran and Syria.
"We don't believe that Iran's designs for the region are in Syria's best interest," Crowley told reporters.
In Syria's best interest? What about our best interest? Is State ever concerned about that in the age of Outreach Obama?
While acknowledging that all countries "have the right to protect themselves," the spokesman said the reported radar delivery would be of concern due to Syria's relationship with Hezbollah.
Oh please. That's our concern? Why shouldn't we be concerned about Iran's growing influence, as we fiddle with sanctions?
We're losin'. The rest of the world knows it, and hostile nations are doing what hostile nations do.
July 3, 2010 Permalink
A WARNING FROM RECENT HISTORY – AT 7:59 A.M. ET: Is it possible that the Obama administration is instructing Supreme Court nominees to lie, during confirmation hearings, about their view of the Second Amendment?
I think it's distinctly possible. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor this week joined the other liberals on the Court in specifically rejecting the usual interpretation of the Second Amendment, that Americans have an individual right to keep and bear arms. But she sang a different tune entirely during her confirmation hearings. Reason magazine has the facts:
During last year’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor, one of the most controversial issues centered on the would-be justice’s approach to the Second Amendment. As I argued at the time, her 2nd Circuit vote in the case of Maloney v. Cuomo, where she held that the Second Amendment did not apply to the states, did not bode well for her future treatment of gun rights on the Supreme Court. It turns out those fears were well-founded. On Monday, Sotomayor joined the dissent of Justice Stephen Breyer in McDonald v. Chicago. As gun rights expert David Kopel explains in today’s Washington Times, Breyer’s dissent did not just oppose extending the Second Amendment to Chicago, it opposed the Second Amendment itself:
Not only did Justice Stephen G. Breyer vote against extending the Second Amendment to state and local governments, he also argued forcefully and at length for overturning Heller and, therefore, for turning the Second Amendment into a practical nullity. Ominously, Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the Breyer dissent - contradicting what she told the U.S. Senate and the American people last summer....
The Breyer-Sotomayor-Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissent urged that Heller be overruled and declared, "In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self defense."
Contrast that with her Senate testimony: "I understand the individual right fully that the Supreme Court recognized in Heller." And, "I understand how important the right to bear arms is to many, many Americans."...
...To the SenateJudiciary Committee, Justice Sotomayor repeatedly averred that Heller is "settled law."
Sotomayor lied, plain and simple. I will be blunt in saying that some modern liberals, as opposed to the traditional liberals of the Paul Douglas stripe, feel they have a right to lie because they're superior creatures who must violate the minor rules of society to create a paradise on Earth.
Which brings us to Elena Kagan, whose confirmation hearings have now been completed. Kagan swore under oath that she believed that the Second Amendment embraced a personal right to keep and bear arms. She had never expressed such a view before. In fact, there is some evidence that she actually holds an entirely different position.
Did she lie too? I suspect so. And I suspect it was part of the strategy to take the issue off the table.
Kagan's nomination is now being opposed by top Republicans in the Senate. I join their position. She is the Barack Obama of 2010. We're asked to put a question mark on the Supreme Court, and to believe statements that she made during confirmation hearings that seem to contradict everything we know about her.
She'll be confirmed anyway, and I would hope that conservatives would brush up on the Constitutional amendment process, because we're going to need it.
July 3, 2010 Permalink