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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Reckless, Ineffective & Naive

September 30th, 2009 - 3:19 pm

James Carroll says President Obama is going to put Iran into checkmate tomorrow:

On Thursday, when the United States confronts Iran over its hidden nuclear facility, one move will be as obvious as a jump in a game of checkers—the threat of tougher sanctions to force open the mountain bunker near Qum to international inspectors, combined with a demand for access to blueprints and personnel. The message will be clear: Tehran will not be allowed to weaponize its nuclear operations.

And later in that article:

The nuclear radicalism that animated Reagan, the abolitionist, plays in a lower key with Obama, but it defines the other move that he will make on Thursday. In effect, it is the carrot that will be quietly dangled before Iran: The U.S. is getting serious about nuclear disarmament.

While I’d dearly love to see Obama do a little shah mat number on Ahmadinejad, to me this looks like nonsense squared.

The sanctions threat is an empty one, unless Russia and China are on board. So far, no dice. Russia has made an empty gesture, nothing more. And China’s staying mum. For good reason, too — that oil China buys from Iran gets sold right back to Tehran as gasoline. Nifty.

And I fail to see how American disarmament is any kind of carrot. America’s conventional airpower alone could send Iran back into the Stone Age — or “make the rubble bounce,” as we used to say about nukes. Throw in a few US Army or Marine combat brigades, and it becomes obvious the US would never, ever need to risk the international catastrophe we’d cause by using nukes. All of this, Iran knows already.

So we have a combination of a limp stick and a moldy carrot. What’s that add up to?

Not much, I’m afraid.

Of course, I haven’t even mentioned that all of this daydreaming depends on Iran living up to its word. They’ve lied about their programs. They’ve lied about their intentions. They’ve lied about waging proxy and real war against this country for 30 years. But now they’ll negotiate in good faith, when they have the promise of nuclear toys to play with in just a few years?

So you’ll pardon my cynicism about The One’s apparent ability to dazzle our rivals in Tehran.

You Lie!

September 30th, 2009 - 11:27 am

The latest move in the Senate on health care overhaul and illegal immigrants:

Senate Finance Committee Democrats rejected a proposed a requirement that immigrants prove their identity with photo identification when signing up for health insurance or tax credits under healthcare reform.

Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that current law and the healthcare bill under consideration are too lax and leave the door open to illegal immigrants defrauding the government using false or stolen identities to obtain benefits.

Grassley’s amendment was beaten back 10-13 on a party-line vote.

Joe Wilson is looking more and more right all the time.

Required Reading

September 30th, 2009 - 9:11 am

Welch v. Friedman — I don’t want to give anything away here, but Welch wins.

Pardon the Language

September 30th, 2009 - 8:16 am

Here’s a (very) partial list of the celebrities demanding that Roman Polanski be released:

Martin Scorcese, Woody Allen, David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Pedro Almodovar, Tilda Swinton and Monica Bellucci.

What does this group have in common? Well, they’re all very talented. And also batshit crazy. There’s not one person on this list you would trust your child with. I don’t mean to imply that any of the celebs here in question (Woody Allen possibly excepted) would do something sexual to your daughter. But does anyone really want the creator of “Eraserhead” to spend quality time with their eight-year-old? Do any of the others seem to have a solid enough connection to reality to keep your kid safe and not somehow set him on fire?

Babysitter for Hire?And even if that’s not true, I’d still rather keep Bellucci’s acres of bosom to my adult self, where they belong, thank you very much.

Also on the petition were Darren Aronofsky, Asia Argento, Stephen Frears, Michael Mann, and a busload of Frenchies and Italians I’d never heard of and would rather I hadn’t.

So why the disconnect between flyover country and the entertainment world? (Yeah, I pretty much include all of Western Europe in “entertainment world.” [UPDATE: Wrongly! My apologies.])

What makes it OK to drug and rape a 13-year-old girl, make a deal with prosecutors, then run away? How is that not “rape-rape?” How is that not fleeing-fleeing? What gives Polanski a pass?

My guess is, that general weirdness is so common among entertainment-types, that it’s easy to overlook a little rape now and then. We see what these folks get away with in broad daylight — what could they possibly be doing when the shades are drawn? And so Whoopi sees Polanski in handcuffs and at some level might think, “There but for the grace of God go I.” And you can probably trace a straight line from Whoopi all the way down through the D-list.

All the above is, of course, pure speculation. But I have a little more of it for you before I set this topic aside — hopefully never to bring it up again.

America was willing to forgive Hollywood’s obscene salaries, comically high divorce rate, the sexual escapades, and all the rest. After all, here in the heartland, we wouldn’t mind having tons more money and sex. Hollywood, like the movie screen, shines with our own desires, embiggened.

But child rape? There’s a line there even hardened criminals won’t cross — and we’re supposed to forgive and forget?

Because Tilda Effing Swinton said so? And who is she again?

And let’s not mess around here. What Polanski did wasn’t simple statutory rape. There was no, “She sure looked 18, your honor!” This was a kid who Polanski got drunk, drugged and anally raped. And then he fled justice — a plea he copped to — like a coward. Not that it takes a brave man to slip ‘ludes to a 13-year-old.

Most of Hollywood, of course, hasn’t come anywhere near that petition. And good for them — although it’s strange, feeling the need to praise people for not putting their names to a demand to release a child rapist. But enough of them did sign that the rest of us were forced to sit up and take notice — and we couldn’t help but notice that we recognized more than a few of those signatures.

I mean… Martin Scorsese? Marty, you broke my heart.

I’m not sure the gulf between the entertainment world and the real world has ever been wider. And after this, I don’t think the rift can ever be healed.

UPDATE: Melissa Clouthier asks, “Is the contribution to art sacrificed? Maybe. Don’t be a pedophile rapist, then.”

The Chicago Way-High Jump

September 30th, 2009 - 5:16 am

O-Lympics

O, no.

One of Three

September 29th, 2009 - 6:34 pm

It’s the first of this week’s Trifecta segments on PJTV. I’m the host this time around, challenging Scott Ott and Bill Whittle to answer some tough questions on Afghanistan. So tough, not even the President will ask them.

Squeal Like an (Infidel) Pig

September 29th, 2009 - 10:49 am

Obama — willing to meet Iran’s vicious thugs “without preconditions.”

Iran’s vicious thugs — unwilling to return the favor. Read:

Iran has said it is not willing to discuss its “nuclear rights” during an upcoming meeting with the five permanent UN Security Council members.

The head of the country’s atomic energy body also ruled out a suspension of Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme.

But Ali Akbar Salehi said he would set out when and how inspectors could view Iran’s second uranium enrichment plant.

This is what you get when you practically beg dictators to come negotiate.

He’s Big in Germany! Japan! India! Somewhere!

September 29th, 2009 - 9:38 am

Smart diplomacy” rattles south Asia:

There has been a remarkable absence of clarity on Mr Obama’s strategic goals. In the early months, it was easy to pretend he was making up his mind. Now, it would seem he has no mind. His confusion on AfPak and constant shifting of tactical milestones would suggest he has little understanding of the nature of the challenge there and, behind those engaging phrases, is thoroughly confused. If the Obama Administration’s most recent thoughts on AfPak are taken as final, the American President is looking to cut and run. He would want to begin bringing troops home by early 2012, in time for his re-election. This would mean delegating Afghanistan to the Pakistani Army, and asking it to control the Taliban. It would also activate a lethal Saudi-Pakistani-Taliban alliance. This formidable combination of wealth, geography, religious appeal, unending foot-soldiers and nuclear weapons would create a monster power straddling south and west Asia. To some degree, it could be offset by a strong India and a stable Iran, which would flank AfPak. However, Mr Obama is determined that Teheran must not pursue its Bomb and India should be pressured to sign the NPT. Strangely, he has not considered asking Pakistan to give up its nukes in return for billions of dollars of “sustained and expanded commitment”.

Given the intensely and admirably egalitarian nature of the United States presidential election process, it has always been a theoretical possibility that the country will send to the White House a person inexperienced in global affairs and unequal to the international situation before him. Often this has not been the case, and incumbents have risen to the job. Sixty years ago, Harry S Truman had limited first-hand knowledge of great power bargaining but turned out to be farsighted enough to anticipate the Cold War. Mr Obama is the antithesis of this phenomenon. He is completely out of his depth and will probably leave behind a dangerous and unsure legacy.

That’s from an editorial in New Delhi’s Pioneer yesterday. If you choose to read the whole thing, you might want to first hide any sharp objects. And pour yourself a stiff one.

The Call is Coming from Inside the (White) House

September 29th, 2009 - 8:09 am

Richard Cohen on last week’s revelation from Iran:

For a crisis such as this, the immense prestige of the American presidency ought to be held in reserve. Let the secretary of state issue grave warnings. When Obama said in Pittsburgh that Iran is “going to have to come clean and they are going to have to make a choice,” it had the sound of an ultimatum. But what if the Iranians don’t? What then? A president has to be careful with such language. He better mean what he says.

SecState Hillary Clinton was on Face the Nation on Sunday morning, only her second Sunday morning appearance that I can recall, since she was sworn in back in February. President Obama appeared on more shows than Clinton, just the Sunday before. He’s everywhere, saying everything. Clinton’s appearance — she had very little new to say — seemed almost like a demand: “I’m still here!” Obama is simultaneously debasing his own currency while wasting one of the stronger assets in his cabinet.

There was a terrible ’80s horror flick called “The Unnamable.” How bad was it? It’s never had a DVD release. It’s so bad that, if I remember correctly, despite the title the monster had a name.

Anyway, that’s the movie that popped into my head this morning. Because if President Obama was a bad ’80s horror flick, it would be called “The Inescapable.”

The Manchurian President

September 29th, 2009 - 5:06 am

It’s a little early in his administration to draw any broad conclusions, but the evidence is clear: As a younger man, Barack Obama was kidnapped and brainwashed by evil Republican operatives, then sent deep undercover to destroy the Democratic Party and perhaps even the entire liberal worldview.

How else do you explain:

• Obama leaving his signature domestic reform — health care — in the hands of people least likely to come up with a plan palatable to a majority of Americans.

• Within six months of assuming office, the Democrats’ left and center wings are at each other’s throats.

• A cap and trade bill so horrendously corrupt and mismanaged that its passage in the House marked the first time in years that Republicans out-polled Democrats on the generic congressional ballot.

• A candidate who called Afghanistan “the necessary war,” is now on his second major review, just since March, of how to fight it.

• Never meeting once face-to-face with the general in charge of commanding that “necessary war.”

• Telling the world Gitmo was evil, then leaving it open for business.

• Sitting on intelligence, until just this Friday, showing that Iran’s WMD program is more advanced than feared.

• Selling out Eastern Europe to the Russians. We haven’t had a Democrat do that since Roosevelt.

• A foreign policy initiative for Iran which relies on the idea of both China and Russia not selling stuff to somebody with cash to spend?

• Bailing out banks with hundreds of billions of dollars, yet still without removing a single toxic asset.

• Signing a non-stimulating stimulus so massive that Americans are afraid of deficits for the first time since Ross Perot went around screaming about his crazy aunt.

• A Democrat under threat of scaring off the AARP vote? I mean, what the hell?

• Jebus, the Republicans are starting to look good. (Oops — I couldn’t find a link for this one.)

• Most anything involving Joe Biden.

The only detail I can’t figure out is, why didn’t Karl Rove send me the memo on this back in ’07?

Physician, Heal Thyself

September 28th, 2009 - 7:37 pm

I don’t know medicine, but I know what I like.

Make Mine a Double

September 28th, 2009 - 5:29 pm

Don’t miss the all-new “Hair of the Dog,” where I poke fun at the Sunday morning chat shows, so you don’t have to. On this week’s episode:

Diane Feinstein talks Afghanistan, shakes like Nathan Thurm.

Hillary Clinton could use a good plumber.

And Bill Clinton hasn’t changed a bit.

Plus, discover the who knew the news about Iran’s new nukes.

Stand!

September 28th, 2009 - 4:28 pm

President Obama is voting “present” on the New York City mayor’s race.

Just a Question

September 27th, 2009 - 8:27 pm

If it’s wrong to draft people into the armed forces — and I believe it is — then where’s the right in drafting people into the insurance system?

An insurance “mandate” is an insurance industry draft, plain and simple. But there’s no deferment, the certainly no 4F, and running off to Canada would only make things worse.

Promises, Promises

September 27th, 2009 - 5:54 pm

Sell out your friends, and you’re a cretin. Sell them out and get nothing in return, and you’re a cretin and a fool. Well, here’s what our Poland & Czech Republic sell-out bought us:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev may have joined the U.S. and other Western powers last week in threatening Iran with tough new sanctions, but he left plenty of room for the Kremlin to break ranks when it comes to making them stick.

U.S. officials rejoiced at the strong Russian rhetoric during Mr. Medvedev’s visit to the U.S. last week. The Russian president seemed to drop Moscow’s usual opposition to sanctions, saying they might have to be used if Iran doesn’t come clean about its nuclear program.

But analysts and Western diplomats noted the Kremlin has shifted its rhetorical tone in the past, as well, only to slip back to its traditional opposition to any moves that seriously increase pressure on Iran.

And the Chinese were never on board, meaning even Russian help — real, not counterfeit — wouldn’t have amounted to much.

“I just met Joe Biden.”

September 27th, 2009 - 11:38 am

Pray nothing happens to President Obama. Pray hard.

Rule Five Sunday — The Bo Derek Edition

September 27th, 2009 - 5:52 am

As we continue taking longing looks at the women I grew up lusting after.

Cover Girl

From the last ’70s to the mid-’80s, Bo pretty much owned the cover (and the inside) of Playboy. And for good reason. I mean, if you could get Bo to take off her clothes, you would. Girls, included. Bo was Angelina v1.0.

Get a better look after the break.

(more…)

Must-See Radio

September 26th, 2009 - 12:43 pm

The new PJM Political has been transmogrified into podcast form and made available for your downloading pleasure. On this week’s show:

Scott Ott and Alfonzo Rachel of PJTV Salutes Rep. Charles Rangel — Mr. Tax-Law-Writing-Tax-Evader.

James Lileks on former eBay CEO Meg Whitman’s run for the California governorship, and the filthiest Microsoft commercial that never was.

From last weekend’s “Smart Girl Politics” conference in Nashville, Dr. Helen Smith interviews Michelle Malkin on the surprising impact of Twitter as a social media.

Roger L. Simon interviews Norman Podhoretz, longtime editor of Commentary magazine on his new book, Why Are Jews Liberals?

From PJTV’s weekly “Poliwood” series, Roger L. Simon and fellow Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Lionel Chetwynd on the overt politicization of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Plus, überproducer Ed Driscoll and I talk about last week’s UN antics, then slit our wrists.

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

September 26th, 2009 - 9:07 am

“It’s not a tax,” but you can be fined or jailed for not paying it:

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) received a handwritten note Thursday from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold confirming the penalty for failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance.

Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it “Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold.”

The Big Lie, of course, is that mandatory health insurance is somehow analogous to mandatory auto insurance. Not so. Auto insurance is the price you pay for for driving on public roads. Don’t drive, don’t pay.

But this? Americans required to purchase insurance as the price to keep their asses out of jail? You know, this one time we launched a revolution rather than pay a few small taxes and fees, which weren’t enforced very well and were pretty easy to avoid.

And now this? Have we become such sheep that we’ll gladly trade our liberty for the illusory security of socialized medicine?

Tax THIS!

September 26th, 2009 - 9:05 am

Under the Obama Plan, 95% of Americans won’t pay higher taxes, except for the ones who buy stuff.

I’d be happy to switch to a consumption tax and abolish the income tax. But, no — we’d likely get both.

The Week in Blogs — The Links!

September 26th, 2009 - 8:11 am

As Seen on TV™, here are the links to the new “Week in Blogs” picks.

Don’t go to Vegas with Megan McArdle, even if she was my first-ever blogcrush.

For the first time ever, I’m in favor of waterboarding.

Mathematically, you’re a proven racist.

Frank apologizes for his egregious error.

Freebird!

No love lost in the production booth.

Required Reading.

Dave Barry Alert: Not a booger joke, but the other one.

All sham, no wow.

What, no sockpuppets?

Find out what all the fuss is about on PJTV.

Nukes for Me But Not for Thee

September 26th, 2009 - 7:03 am

Sarkozy disses Obama on nukes, press snoozes:

I've Forgotten My Own Name Again“President Obama dreams of a world without weapons … but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite.

“Iran since 2005 has flouted five security council resolutions. North Korea has been defying council resolutions since 1993.

“I support the extended hand of the Americans, but what good has proposals for dialogue brought the international community? More uranium enrichment and declarations by the leaders of Iran to wipe a UN member state off the map,” he continued, referring to Israel.

The sharp-tongued French leader even implied that Mr Obama’s resolution 1887 had used up valuable diplomatic energy.

“If we have courage to impose sanctions together it will lend viability to our commitment to reduce our own weapons and to making a world without nuke weapons,” he said.

Mr Sarkozy has previously called the US president’s disarmament crusade “naive.”

Honestly, if Sarkozy ever needs to get more attention from the American press, he should enlist the aid of his wife. And that sofa. And maybe those boots.

I’ll be in my bunk.

“Bite me, Jew Boy.”

September 25th, 2009 - 5:22 pm

Under different circumstances, I might find that a turn-on.

DC Takes One in the Nads

September 25th, 2009 - 3:28 pm

The best political ad ever. Period.

(Hat tip, Swish.)

I’m Sorry My Face Got in the Way of Your Shovel

September 25th, 2009 - 1:34 pm

Big surprise, Iran might not have been completely, totally, 100% up front about its nuclear program. So they forget to mention until now that they had that second plant. But here’s the big takeaway from the WaPo story:

“If I were [President] Obama’s adviser, I would definitely advise him to refrain making this statement because it is definitely a mistake,” Ahmedinejad told Time magazine Friday in an interview in New York that took place even as Obama was publicly revealing the plant’s existence. “It would definitively be a mistake.”

Ahmadinejad dismissed the accusations from Obama and the other leaders.

“This does not mean we must inform Mr. Obama’s administration of every facility that we have,” he told Time. It “simply adds to the list of issues [over] which the United States owes the Iranian nation an apology.” [Emphasis added.]

This is what happens when you start apologizing to nutjobs like Ahmedinejad. Once you do, they get it in their heads that you need to apologize for everything, including stuff they did.

Where does it all end? That’s what I’m afraid we’re going to find out.

The Stepford President

September 25th, 2009 - 10:49 am

Now this is just creepy.

Barack Obama’s amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

This Will Only Hurt the Entire Time

September 25th, 2009 - 10:41 am

Four things you should know about the Baucus version of health nationalization, collected by NRO:

First, the mandate really is a tax increase, despite the president’s protestations. The penalty for violating the mandate will be collected by IRS. In addition, the “fees” on manufacturers will be passed on to consumers, which is another form of tax.

Second, the effect of the bill will be to raise the price of insurance for healthy individuals, especially the young, who voted in heavy numbers for Obama. This will hurt low-income people as well by making it harder for them to purchase insurance.

Third, some of the amendments exposed some real weaknesses that the Democrats will have to work through; as K-Lo noted earlier, all but one of the Democrats voted to strike the Bunning amendment, which would have required that the bill text be available online for 72 hours before the vote on it.

In addition, Democrats also rejected the Hatch amendment, which would have stopped implementing the bill’s provisions if 1 million Americans lost “the current coverage of their choice.” This is effectively an admission that Democrats believe many Americans will lose their health insurance as a result of the bill. If they didn’t fear the possibility, it would have been easy to vote for Hatch.

And this is the most conservative of the seventeen jillion bills all fighting for the right to be called “Obamacare.”

They Were Asking For It

September 25th, 2009 - 9:26 am

I don’t know who commissions these polls sometimes, but here’s the latest from Rasmussen:

No more Mr. Nice Guy, apparently. Seventy-five percent (75%) of adults say Americans are becoming ruder and less civilized, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

The other 25% told the pollsters to go get hanged.

Watch It

September 25th, 2009 - 9:12 am

On today’s Trifecta — it’s the idiots, stupid.

Or at least that’s my take. But host Bill Whittle was at least trying to get Scott Ott and me to talk seriously about government spending, Milton Friedman, and why government is doomed to fail.

So what’s the stimulus do, anyway? It stimulates paperwork and threatens to murder the Vice President.

That can’t be good.