Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Iranians troll John Kerry hard

This is just sad now.  Hot Air: "Report: French, German FMs say they’re leaving Iran talks in the morning as U.S. vows to extend into Wednesday."

That's right: the United States is never going to walk away from the negotiating table because Obama has framed the situation thusly: 1) an agreement and diplomatic success or 2) you want war.
When you know that the guy in charge on the other side of the table isn’t going to walk away, no matter what, why not pile on the demands at the last minute? You’ll probably get an extra concession or two out of it.
Known Francophile John Kerry is in no hurry to leave Switzerland where he's trading his time doodling on a legal pad for a couple hours a day before retiring to his favorite restaurant with a fine red wine and steak au poivre vert.  Party on, Johnny boy.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Powerline: "Harry Reid to step down, says not due to 'exercise accident'."

Oh, sure, I totally believe that Harry Reid had an "exercise accident" that broke his eye socket and a couple of ribs in a sequence of Inspector Clouseau-like pratfalls.  And now he's been - ahem - convinced not to run again.

John Kerry makes Lionel Hutz look like a master negotiator

After all, he got two popsicles and the birdcage.

Related - Vodkapundit: "Let's make a nuke deal."

Extra - Ace: "Richard Engel: US Allies in Gulf Won't Tell Obama Anything Because They Believe That Obama Is Leaking Secret Information to Iran to Kiss Up To Them."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Every crash starts the same: "What was that?!?"

Breaking tonight: "Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France."
A senior military official involved in the investigation described “very smooth, very cool” conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.
“The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,” the investigator said. “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.”
He said, “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”
It seems from this description that the pilot in the cockpit is silent ("no answer") as the plane is plunging into the Alps.  This is exactly the situation that occurred with Egypt Air 990 in 1999: the co-pilot just kept repeating "I rely on God" as he pushed the plane into the Atlantic.  Here's Bernard Loeb, head of aviation investigations at the NTSB describing the first couple seconds of every crash:
"Look, first we sit through this cockpit voice recording in which ... " He shook his head. "How many cockpit voice recordings have I heard? Hundreds? Thousands? When someone has a problem with an airplane, you know it. One of our investigators used to say to me, 'These damned pilots, they don't tell us what's happening. Why don't they say, "It's the rudder!"' They don't do that. But I'll tell you what they do say. They make clear as hell that there's something really wrong. 'What the hell's going on? What is that?' Every single one of them. When there's a control problem of some sort, it is so crystal clear that they are trying desperately to diagnose what is going on. Right to when the recorder quits. They are fighting for their lives.

"But this guy is sitting there saying the same thing in a slow, measured way, indicating no stress. The captain comes in and asks what's going on, and he doesn't answer!
This story is scary similar.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Left hates free speech, a continuing series

Federalist: "Reporters Explain Why Balance Isn’t Needed On Global Warming - Elite journalists explain why they have no need for ‘balance’ on the global warming issue. So much for scientific and reportorial inquiry."

If the AGW crowd has the facts on its side, why the need to censor those who disagree?  Oh, right, the facts.  Shut up, they explained.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The greatest dictator of the 20th century

That's how Commentary describes Lee Kuan Yew, the former leader of Singapore, who died today at age 91.  He eschewed democratic values and replaced them with what he called "Asian values" which pressed for stability and growth above all.  As bad as this might sound to freedom-lovin' Americans, it's hard to argue with a guy who transformed a country that was once earning a per capita income of $1.50 a day:
As other Asian economies in the 1960s and 1970s were plagued by social and political upheaval, Mr. Lee’s comparatively stable government was able to establish industrial zones, training colleges for workers, first-class infrastructure and business tax breaks, notably for electronics companies, powering the city-state’s growth as an export hub.
Hundreds of Western companies set up regional headquarters there, with Hewlett-Packard Co. and General Electric Co. among the early investors. Gross domestic product per capita, which stood at $512 in 1965, grew to more than $56,000 in recent years—similar to levels in the U.S. and surpassing those of Japan and Germany.
So the good news, Singapore, is that you have one of the best economies in the world.  Bad news: step out of line and it might be time for a caning.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Iran negotiations going great

The Hill: "Ayatollah: Iran nuke talks 'fraudulent'."
Hot Air: "Fruitful negotiations: Khamenei calls for “Death to America”."
The Corner: "CIA director: Iran Still Funds Terrorism."

It looks like we're heading for another Middle East success story like Yemen.

Early onset Clinton fatigue

Today's Boston Globe main editorial: "Elizabeth Warren, run for the White House."

I think this is a great idea.  Elizabeth Warren might be the only politician in America with fewer accomplishments than Hillary.  I look forward to her national campaign of studied victimology and brain-dead legislative proposals.  Are you feeling "hammered" and "squeezed", America?  Yes we are!

Extra - From Legal Insurrection, natch.

Friday, March 20, 2015

And the Mafia thanks you for that

Hit and Run: "New York Creates Massive Cigarette Black Market, Wants Virginia to Fix It - Because lowering taxes to reduce the incentive for smuggling is out of the question."

I forget where I saw it but this story confirms that well over 50% of all the cigarettes in New York City are black market.  The news story I saw showed a guy walking the streets of the Big Apple picking up stray cigarette wrappers, which are marked with the state of origin.

"How many packs ya want?"

The end of "Glee"

I predict the whole show is in fevered imagination of the mute piano guy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dick Durbin's selective racial demagoguery

Hot Air: "Durbin: These Republicans are putting Loretta Lynch at the ‘back of the bus,’ if you know what I mean."  (If you want to know where this showdown is coming from, read this Federalist article.)

Yeah, we get it, Durbin.  Remember when Bush judicial nominee Miguel Estrada needed to be stopped because, dammit, we simply can't have conservative Hispanics on the Federal bench:
One Nov. 7, 2001, memo from staff to Sen. Richard Durbin, R-Ill., suggested that the "groups" would help stall the nomination of Miguel Estrada, a Bush nominee to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The memo called him "dangerous," in part because he "has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment."
Why does Dick Durbin hate Hispanics? Tsk tsk.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Great moments in business

What happens when you combine self-regarding moral preening with marketing?  You get the current trainwreck at Starbucks and their "Race Together" nonsense, complete with a healthy dose of ridicule and deleted Twitter accounts.

I'm reminded of a quote by Jerry Seinfeld when he said there will never be a "very special episode" of Seinfeld, the point being is that his show was designed for entertainment and not social commentary.

Sometimes people just want to have a cup of coffee.

Al Gore's green

Politico: "Al Gore, richer than Romney."

That's how he can afford an electricity usage rate 20 times the national average.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Low oil prices sink crazy state

The cash cow is running low: better call out the military.  Hit and Run: "Is Venezuela a Dictatorship Yet?
The answer, if you need a hint, is "yes.""

Yeah, I didn't buy this one

WashPost: "White House blasts New York Post article on Clinton e-mail scandal: ‘It’s utter baloney’."  Valerie Jarrett didn't have to leak about Hillary's emails because the Benghazi select committee knew about them back in 2014.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sweet fancy Moses

This "open letter" from Maureen Dowd (or "America") to Hillary Clinton is just absolutely brutal.  An excerpt:
Instead of raising us up by behaving like exemplary, sterling people, you bring us down to your own level, a place of blurred lines and fungible ethics and sleazy associates. Your family’s foundation gobbles tens of millions from Saudi Arabia and other repressive regimes, whose unspoken message is: “We’re going to give you money to go improve the world. Now leave us alone to go persecute women.”

That’s an uncomfortable echo of a Clintonian trade-off, which goes: “We’re going to give you the first woman president who will improve the country. Now leave us alone to break any rules we please.”
Read the whole thing, as they say.  I can't believe the NY Times allowed this.

Evolution of Hillary's emails

1) All emails were saved, per the law
2) Emails were saved if they contained the search word "Benghazeee"
3) They gone

Thursday, March 12, 2015

That escalated quickly

I know this is just another right-wing teabagger website but, well, here you go:
So it doesn't matter what Colin Powell or Condi Rice did with their emails. Put aside Karl Rove's use of a private GOP party email account when he was a White House official. Hillary Clinton screwed up. Voters, as the Clinton protectors argue, may not care about this. But the email controversy has breathed new life into the never-ending House GOP Benghazi crusade led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), which before this had all but flat-lined. Now the probers and their conservative cheerleading squad can claim—with some basis in fact—that the public will never know for certain that Clinton and her lieutenants handed over every single email related to Benghazi.
Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hillary's lies didn't survive the press conference

Hot Air: "Hillary trainwreck: It was “inconvenient” to carry two devices for two e-mail accounts. Also, I destroyed tons of e-mails."

A nanosecond after she said it was inconvenient to carry two phones, everybody found this clip from only two weeks ago talking about all the devices she carries.  What difference does it make?

Extra - Legal Insurrection: "Hillary’s email explanation is self-contradictory – here’s how (#TurnOverTheServer)"  That is, she erased all the personal emails but nobody can see the server.  Well, why not?

More - PJ Media: "Politico Sums Up Hillary’s Message at Press Conference: ‘Go to Hell’"

Monday, March 09, 2015

The debt is too damn high!

Hit and Run: "The Congressional Budget Office is still worried about the federal debt."  "Such high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences for the nation."

Media bias, part 2

Here's the laughable folks at Politifact getting stuff wrong again:
A couple months after the request, Clinton turned over 55,000 emails from a personal email account created on a self-operated server, according to the New York Times. 
And here's the NY Times article linked:
All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department.
How do we know it's 55,000 pages (not emails)?  Because Hillary's flunkies printed them out.  Ace: "Shock: Hillary Clinton Sent Over 55,000 Physical Paper Pages of Email Print-Outs to State, Which (and I'm Sure This Is Just a Happy Incident) Cannot Be Searched Except by Hand."

Well, we can just flip forward and focus on the Benghazi emails, right?
SCHIEFFER: [B]y using this private account on a private server, she could not only keep those e-mails from the reach of the government, as I understand it, but she could delete the e-mails without anybody knowing it. So she has sent you some e-mails, but are there any gaps in the e-mails you have received so far from her?
GOWDY: Yes, sir. There are gaps of months and months and months. And if you think to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya, she has sunglasses on and she has her handheld device in her hand, we have no e-mails from that day. In fact, we have no e-mails from that trip. So, it's strange credibility to believe that if you're on your way to Libya to discuss Libyan policy that there's not a single document that has been turned over to Congress
The ribbon on their dot-matrix printer was getting pretty old by that point.

Media bias, pure and simple

New York magazine has a long article about the decline and fall of NBC News from David Gregory's train wreck at "Meet the Press" culminating with Brian Williams' departure.  It seems that Williams was adverse to stories that were "divisive" that also just happened to be critical of the Obama administration:
In February 2013, Isikoff failed to interest Williams in a piece about a confidential Justice Department memo that justified killing American citizens with drones. He instead broke the story on Rachel Maddow. That October, Myers couldn’t get Williams to air a segment about how the White House knew as far back as 2010 that some people would lose their insurance policies under Obama­care. Frustrated, Myers posted the article on NBC’s website, where it immediately went viral. Williams relented and ran it the next night. “He didn’t want to put stories on the air that would be divisive,” a senior NBC journalist told me. According to a source, Myers wrote a series of scathing memos to then–NBC senior vice-president Antoine Sanfuentes documenting how Williams suppressed her stories. ­Myers and Isikoff eventually left the network (and both declined to comment).
I remember when the Hillary Clinton email scandal first broke, the joke around the conservative blogs is that Scott Walker would be hardest hit.  Keep it up, jerks.  I'm sure this poll showing Americans trust Fox News is just more propaganda from Faux News and that liar Bill O'Reilly.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Yeah, magnets, Mr. White!

WashPost: "House committee subpoenas e-mails from Clinton’s personal account."

Remember that episode of Breaking Bad when they set up a truck with an industrial magnet to erase evidence on Gus's computer?

Yeah, that's going to happen.

Extra - National Interest: "Hillary Clinton's wild sense of entitlement."

Friday, March 06, 2015


Hit and Run: "Fresh Out of Bankruptcy, City Announces Multimillion-Dollar Housing Project."  "A judge may have approved the bankruptcy reorganization plan for Stockton, California, but he forgot to cut up the city's credit card."

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Flashback: Safire called it in 1996

William Safire in the NY Times: "Blizzard of Lies."  "Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady -- a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation -- is a congenital liar."

Right on cue!

As predicted, Hillary Clinton's initiative to piss on your leg and tell you it's raining is afoot:
Come on, man. No one’s this gullible, right? Hillary Clinton violated the Federal Records Act for four years, hid all of her e-mails as Secretary of State for nearly six years, and only began giving some of those communications to State a couple of months ago. Now that the FOIA dodge has been exposed, Hillary wants everyone to believe that she’s a paragon of transparency.

No one’s buying this, are they?
No, they're not, so the new strategy is to say "What difference does it make?"

By the way, if you want to get a taste for what a security disaster this is, check out this post by an IT professional who uses something called DomainTools to pull up information on servers and such:
To summarize: according to DomainTools.com, the domain clintonemail.com has been hosted by Confluence Networks since 12/22/2011, more than three years. Confluence Networks, based out of the British Virgin Islands, has only existed as a domain (confluence-networks.com) since April 2011, appears to be closely related to a Dubai-based media advertising firm, and has always had its domain name managed by PrivacyProtect.org, a registration privacy firm that lists addresses out of Luxembourg and Australia, but gives a phone number apparently out of Denmark, and that shows up repeatedly in connection with fraud, scam, and spam-related domains.
No, no questions or issues there.
Caribbean tax shelters, Luxembourg and Dubai?  Oh, heavens no, there's no shakedowns going on here.

Extra - From Vodkapundit: "It just get worse."  FOIA dodging and security breaches, oh my!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Influence peddler Hillary Clinton and her untraceable emails

I see that Charles C.W. Cooke came to the same conclusion as me:
“Rarely, if ever,” the Post noted drily, “has a potential commander in chief been so closely associated with an organization that has solicited financial support from foreign governments.” But the infringement is made even worse when one acknowledges that these donations were never so much as reviewed for eligibility by the powers that be within the State Department. There really is no other way of putting it than to record bluntly that, while she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was making private deals with foreign governments via private e-mail, and then declining to request the requisite approval from the U.S. government. Who, one wonders, does she think she is?

The answer to that question is as it ever was: She is Hillary Clinton, and she believes, with some justification, that she will get away with anything and everything she tries. 
Hillary's explanation, when she makes one, is bound to be so lame that Americans will be dumber for having heard it.

Kennedy throws cold water

The general consensus is that ultimate swinger Justice Kennedy is leaning towards the defendants in King v. Burwell.  Hot Air: "Supreme Court oral argument: Kennedy leaning towards White House’s view on ObamaCare subsidies?"  Although I fancy myself an armchair lawyer, I don't get the line of his reasoning.  He seems very concerned about federal coercion of the states but views removing subsidies from the federal exchanges somehow exacerbating this coercion because the states would be under tremendous pressure to set up their own exchanges.  Um....OK.  Then, as if to jerk us around some more, Reuters tells us he said: "Kennedy added that the challengers may win anyway based on the plain meaning of the provision at issue."

None of the liberal justices gave the slightest consideration to the textualism argument so it's (probably) all on Kennedy and the signs are not good.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Hillary solicited kickbacks from foreign nations via private email

Before we get to the topic of Hillary's illegal use of personal email accounts, let's stipulate that there is zero chance a former First Lady and Presidential candidate will face any kind of legal jeopardy, for this or the Clinton Foundation's unethical collection of foreign contributions.  Ron Fournier asks:
The rest of us are required to play by the rules. Why does Clinton think she's above them?
Good question!  Isn't "playing by the rules" a fetish of the Elizabeth Warren left?  In fact here's Obama just this past Saturday with his weekly address:
That’s what middle-class economics is all about—the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everybody does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules
Well, rules were meant to be broken and, besides, we're pretty sure Sarah Palin did the same thing.

I, for one, am going to take a page out of the Harry Reid playbook.  In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we can only conclude that Hillary was looking for big kickbacks in exchange for quid pro quo influence from the State department.  Hell, let's just say she's behind the Nigerian price email scam.  She has no accomplishments of note during her tenure at Secretary of State.  Why?  Because she was too busy squeezing everybody for cash.

It's a real shame that Hillary used her position and private email to shake down foreign governments.  Tsk tsk.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The New York Times editorial page is simply awful

How's that for a straightforward blog post title?  And before I continue, let's link to this NY Observer article about how the rest of the newsroom is embarrassed by the editorial page.

Forget the content of today's NY Times editorial on Obamacare, which I'll address in a moment.  The rumors that the Gray Lady is now a high-school newspaper are true.  This editorial has all the emotional maturity of a middle-school tweener complaining about changes at the vending machine.  "Diet Dr. Pepper!  Eww....gross!"  It is a strident and tendentious mess.  Away we go:
The central claim of the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of four Virginians by a small group of conservative activists who have long sought to destroy Obamacare, is that the law does not allow tax-credit subsidies to be made available to anyone living in the 34 states whose health care exchanges are operated by the federal government, which stepped in when those states declined to set up their own.
This is, to put it mildly, baloney.
Baloney!  Phony baloney, according to plaintiffs who probably don't even have standing, doncha know.  Let's cut away all the emotional appeals and focus on the legal arguments.
The four words — “established by the State” — appear in a subsection of the law dealing with the calculation of tax credits. The law’s challengers say this means that credits are available only in the 16 states that have set up their own exchanges.
Yeah, funny thing about that, it's because it's true:
First, Section 1311 expressly requires that an authorized Exchange must be “established by a State.” Section 1304(d) also expressly defines “state” as “each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.” Later amendments to the PPACA also provide that Exchanges created by territories are to be treated as the equivalent of state-run Exchanges, but there is no such language concerning federally run Exchanges.
Oh those crazy sub-sections with their explicit definitions.  This part of the NYT editorial is, well, it's simply darling:
Reading the Affordable Care Act as a whole, it’s clear that Congress meant to provide subsidies on both federal and state exchanges. For one thing, why establish a federal exchange that doesn’t actually work? As an amicus brief submitted by a group of legal scholars put it, “Congress does not write statutes to fail.”
OMG, guys, it's totally clear Congress totally meant to activate the federal subsidies.  A bunch of partisans said so, you guys!  Do you know who was fooled?  The IRS who initially drafted their policies based on the wording of the legislation passed in that only state-run exchanges would receive subsidies.  But then when only a handful of states established exchanges - surprise! - they suddenly discovered they were wrong.  A year after the legislation was passed they found - oh snap! - the federal exchanges get subsidies too.
So why did the IRS wait nearly 16 months to spring this new interpretation on the public? That’s also an easy one. As of August 17, 2011, when its rule was first proposed, only ten states had passed laws establishing their own exchanges. Seventeen had outright rejected the Obamacare exchanges. All told, 40 states had by that point failed to do the administration’s bidding and set up state-based Obamacare exchanges.
Without exchanges in every state, Obamacare would surely fail as a policy matter. And without massive subsidies to offset the costs of Obamacare’s health plans, Obamacare would fail as a political matter. The IRS maneuver was a last-ditch attempt to paper over the law’s serious structural flaws.
I've been reading the comments the NY Times slam book and everybody thinks it's totes crazy that the Supreme Court might interpret words to mean what they say.  Here's the thing, though: if there's an infirmity to the language of the law, it can only be remedied by a legislative repair:
Furthermore, actual “drafting errors” have to be corrected by new laws, not by executive fiat. Even when they are plainly obvious to everyone who sees them, that 3015 that should’ve been 2015 still has to be amended via a new law: passed by both Houses, and signed by the president. Yet, that’s not what this administration did.
No, because Republicans managed to gain the largest majority in Congress since the Hoover administration, so let's just make stuff up.

Hey, I made it through this entire post without mentioning Jonathan Gruber!  Yay me.