Attorney Mark O’Mara took a proper and also a courageous step when he filed a motion yesterday requesting trial judge Kenneth Lester to withdraw from presiding over the prosecution of George Zimmerman on the charge of second degree murder, which carries a possible sentence of life in prison.
As it happens, I had also made such a request in a Spectator article several days ago. However, that was relatively easy for me to do because I have no skin directly in the game. Mr. O’Mara does. He is a practicing attorney and must face this judge in this case and perhaps in future cases. Judges do not like to be told that they are biased.
However, Judge Kenneth Lester must be told that because he is biased, at least in this case. The documentation for that disturbing conclusion is contained in the persuasive text of O’Mara’s motion. That text contains further evidence of the scandalous behavior of other officials sworn to apply the law in an impartial manner, especially Special Prosecutor Angela Corey.
Like Angela Corey, Judge Lester purposely ignored any evidence that tended to support Mr. Zimmerman’s claim of self defense. Remarkably, the judge even ignored the testimony way back at the initial bond hearing of State Attorney Investigator Dale Gilbreath which was quite supportive of George Zimmerman. As O’Mara stated, “Gibreath acknowledged that the State had no evidence to contradict the conclusion that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor and threw the first punch, and no evidence to contest that Mr. Zimmerman was headed back to his car when Mr. Martin attacked him.”
The O’Mara motion also stated, “the evidence provided at this early stage of discovery by the State (and reviewed by this Court) shows that Mr. Zimmerman is likely innocent.” That of course has been my conclusion and it should dominate all proceedings in this tragic matter.
Up to now, it has not, which reflects the bizarre state of race relations today.
If President Obama thinks Mitt Romney has committed a felony, then why hasn’t the Justice Department launched an investigation?
If President Obama, any member of his administration or his re-election campaign has evidence which demonstrates that Romney has broken the law, then let’s see it.
Either put up or shut up.
Wow. Just wow.
In his 3½ years in the White House, President Obama has been blaming “the previous administration” of George W. Bush at every turn. The fact that Obama pulls out the Bush card every chance he gets demonstrates two things - 1) Obama hasn’t much to brag about. 2) Yet at the same time many Americans still don’t exactly have fond memories of his predecessor.
Mitt Romney has little, if any connection to George W. Bush or the Bush family. Whatever enduring distaste Americans might have towards W., it looks rather silly for Obama to accuse Romney of “going back to the previous eight years” when Romney has given no indication he would do so. But picking former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would throw all that out the proverbial window. If Romney picks Rice then Obama could legitimately campaign against Bush in 2012 in the way he did in 2008. Sure Obama has a less than stellar track record but it’s not clear if Americans dislike his less than stellar track record more than they dislike Bush’s less than stellar track record. If that’s the case then picking Rice would be a gamble for Romney unlikely to yield a winfall.
Of course, Rob Portman’s name has been bandied about as a possible running mate for Romney for some time. Before his election to the Senate in the 2010 mid-terms, Portman served in the Bush Administration first as U.S. Trade Representative and later as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Picking Portman could certainly make Romney vulnerable to being tied to the Bush Administration especially concerning fiscal policy. Yes, I know, Obama isn’t in a position to lecture anyone about fiscal policy but he does anyway. In fact, just today while speaking in Virginia, Obama said that Romney is “not serious” about reducing the deficit. Nevertheless, it’s not clear that Americans are any fonder of Bush’s fiscal policy than they are of Obama’s. Yet with that said, unless you a) live in Ohio or b) are a big policy wonk then chances are you have no idea who the hell Rob Portman is. So Romney picking Portman wouldn’t hurt him in the way picking Rice would.
Earlier today, Quin put forward some extensive thoughts on why Romney would not be wise to pick the former Secretary of State to be his number two. Amongst other things, Quin highlighted some of her foreign policy shortcomings with respect to Iraq, North Korea and her support of the Kyoto Protocol. I would add that Rice has long been sympathetic towards the Palestinians. Indeed, as Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary points out, Rice “was a persistent critic of Israel even once falsely comparing the plight of Palestinians to that of African-Americans prior to the Civil Rights era.” Considering that Romney will be going to Israel at the end of the month to host a fundraiser, the idea of putting Rice on the ticket is bound to dampen the enthusiasm of pro-Israel donors.
Now frankly I think this Condi Rice VP business is nothing more than a trial balloon which will, take your pick, never get off the ground, let out a lot of air or just plain burst.
Earlier this week, I wrote about Barack Obama’s desire to return to the top tax rates of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Today his administration has distanced itself from one of Clinton’s key domestic policy successes by allowing states to opt out of the work requirement in the 1996 welfare reform law.
Obviously, the policy move is motivated by the weakness of the economy. But the politics are baffling: signing the welfare reform bill took one of Bob Dole’s last wedge issues off the table in the 1996 election and helped solidify Clinton’s New Democrat bona fides. Obama is effectively repudiating a core component of welfare reform while facing a reelection fight much more competitive than Clinton’s. He has also added to the growing list of areas where he has invoked executive authority as a way of getting around the clear intent of Congress.
Even though it is undoubtedly a response to the chronic joblessness that lingers throughout the country — itself not much of an endorsement of Obama — the optics of this look bad. The actual results of welfare reform did much more to vindicate its center-right supporters than its liberal critics.
Open mouth, insert foot.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has raised a furor over the fact that the uniforms for the US Olympic Team are made in China. Which is to say: outsourced.
Who designed these uniforms? Who actually did the outsourcing of these Olympic uniforms here?
That would be the famous American designer Ralph Lauren. Who has a habit of outsourcing his clothes to places like China, Sri Lanka and El Salvador.
That would be the same Ralph Lauren who, according to the Federal Elections Commission, on May 7, 2012 — barely two months ago — contributed $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund 2012.
And the same Ralph Lauren who on May 31, 2012 donated $30,800 to the DNC Services Corporation of the Democratic National Committee. Not to mention $5,000 to the same group in $2009. And $2,300 he gave to the same group in 2008.
In the case of Lauren’s contributions to the DNC in 2009 and 2008? Where was that money going?
That’s right. To someone named — Harry Reid.
Specifically, the DNC gave its money to Reid in this fashion:
• $888,768 on October 19, 2010 for a Media Buy — TV
• $23,000 on October 19, 2010 for a Media Production Estimate
• $13,500 on October 26, 2010 for a Media Production Estimate
• $1,066,954 on October 26,2010 for a Media Buy- TV
So in other words, both President Obama and Harry Reid are and were taking money in the form of campaign contributions that came from outsourcing Ralph Lauren clothes.
File this under the tangled webs they weave category.
SEC Filings Aside, Romney Left Bain in 1999 (CNN)
Navy Starts Underwater Drone Program (CBS)
Anti-Isreal Ad Appears in 50 New York Metro Stations (Breitbart)
LA Riots: Occupy Protestors Clash with Police Over Chalk Art (LA Times)
Cruz Pulls Ahead of Dewhurtz in Texas Senate Race (Daily Caller)
Sununu Rips Into Juan Williams on Hannity Show (Mediaite)
Did Obama Snub the NAACP? (BuzzFeed)
FBI Records Reveal Detective in Zimmerman Case Pressured to File Charges (Miami Herald)
Four years ago, Matt Drudge reported that Barack Obama was likely to select Evan Bayh as his running mate.
Eight years ago, Drudge reported that John Kerry was likely to select Hillary Clinton as his running mate.
Twelve years ago, Drudge reported that George W. Bush’s likely pick was Frank Keating.
Tonight, Drudge says that Condoleezza Rice is the “frontrunner” in Mitt Romney’s veepstakes.
I would suggest that readers treat this scoop with the confidence that Drudge has earned through his track record. (Lest there be any doubt, Erick Erickson tweets: “Multiple assurances from Team Romney tonight that Condi is not happening for Veep.”)
The great and good Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, whose organization has made a point of tracking in considerable detail the leftward tilt of MSNBC, has checked in with his response to my blog post on the imminent divorce of Microsoft (MS) from its longtime media partner.
“I look forward to seeing how Phil Griffin and MSNBC spin getting dumped by Steve Ballmer into a good thing. Of course, if there is one thing MSNBC is good at, it’s spin. While MSNBC may be leaning forward, Microsoft is doing the right thing by leaning away.”
Let’s recall here that it was the MRC and Brent’s “Media Mash” segments on Sean Hannity’s Fox TV show that kept the spotlight squarely on the wackiness, outright bias, and frequent viciousness pouring from an MSNBC formed by the union of Microsoft and NBC News. Hannity would frequently look the camera squarely in the eye and wonder aloud if NBC News journalists Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, and Matt Lauer were really proud of what they were so clearly associated with as NBC anchors.
Obviously, Microsoft was increasingly not happy.
So now they are going.
Doubtless Brent and the MRC will be following the fallout from all of this.
Kudos to Brent and Sean for highlighting all of this nonsense over the years.
I just received an e-mail from Team Romney which reads:
We’re getting ready to share some exciting news. Sometime between now and the Republican convention, Mitt will be announcing his choice for VP.
Know what’s even more exciting? Every week until the VP announcement is made, one lucky supporter will win the chance to meet Mitt and his choice for VP.
So Mitt Romney has already made his choice for VP. Well, whoever the Romney decides to share this with better hope doesn’t have loose lips because it could (depending on the choice) send the air out of the balloon or could peak excitement too soon. Either that or Team Romney will have to somehow erase their donors’ memories of any such encounter à la Men in Black.
The plus side in picking a VP candidate now is that Romney won’t have any surprises during the Convention, assuming, of course, that their vetting is up to snuff. But if they are going to reveal the VP pick before the Convention, I would prefer that they would do it 24 to 48 hours prior to its opening. At least then the VP pick is still a fresh topic of discussion in the news cycle. Romney has little to gain by picking his VP in July, no matter who it is.
Speaking before the NAACP Convention today in Houston, Vice-President Joe Biden said, “Imagine what the Romney Justice Department will look like.”
Well, I can imagine exactly what a Romney Justice Department would look like.
It would be colorblind.
Just as it should be.
A Romney Justice Department would prosecute individuals who intimidate others from voting be they black or white. I would also imagine that the Romney Justice Department would not wantonly use the courts to sue states who pass legislation with which they disagree. And if the Romney Administration were to have a beef with a particular state, he would see to it that his Attorney General had actually read the offending piece of legislation in question rather than merely glancing at it.
Of course, this is not the image that Biden intended to conjure. The Vice-President went on to say:
Imagine when his senior advisor on constitutional issues is Robert Bork. Imagine those incredibly important positions of justice. Imagine, and I mean this, this is to me is one of the most critical issues in this election, imagine what the Supreme Court will like after four years of a Romney presidency.
Well, until Biden mentioned Bork it hadn’t occurred to me that Romney would seek his counsel nor has he given any indication he would do so. Perhaps Biden was flashing back twenty-five years to chairing Bork’s ill-fated confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and jousting with Thomas Sowell. Given how the late Ted Kennedy claimed how “blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters” in Robert Bork’s America, there should be no doubt what message Biden intended to communicate to his audience and for that he ought to be ashamed.
Frankly, Biden is the next to last person in America (aside from President Obama) who should be complaining about a Republican President appointing Supreme Court justices. Given what a big f#*kin’ deal the passage of Obamacare was to Biden you would think that he would be grateful to President Bush for having appointed Justice Roberts.
Biden also shouldn’t be so eager to tell us to imagine life under a Romney Justice Department because we know what life is like under the Obama Justice Department. Just ask the family of Brian Terry.
“They don’t deserve it. What they’ve done is presumably earned
it by the amount of money they’ve laid out in terms of their
anti-terrorist activity and protecting our lines.”
— Carl Levin, (D-Mich)
“Pakistan on a good day is very hard. It is an unreliable ally.
You can’t trust them, you can’t abandon them. The biggest
beneficiary is the men and women fighting the war. And I want
Pakistan to be stable. And if the money helps them become more
stable, good […] If you cut the money off, what leverage do you
have? There may come a day when we do that, but not yet.”
— Lindsey Graham (R-SC) [h/t AP]
Sens. Levin and Graham recognize the hard truth. We need Pakistan if we are committed to continuing the war effort in Afghanistan, and they’ll persist in demanding our money, to that end. But they don’t trust us, and we certainly shouldn’t trust them. As we all know, they’ve proven an incredibly fickle “ally” in the war on terror, and we should expect more of the same moving forward.
However, both senators grudgingly agree that Pakistan should receive more than $1.1 billion in American taxpayer dollars, held up for months until Islamabad received our apology and reopened critical NATO supply lines into Afghanistan.
To be clear, these routes are vital to the NATO war effort in Afghanistan. Both routes originate in Karachi, which is Pakistan’s principal port on the Arabian Sea. The first crosses the Khyber Pass, terminating in Kabul, and supplies the north of the country.
The second ends in Kandahar, and supports the south. Together (before their closure in November 2011) these routes transported a vast quantity of the gasoline, provisions and equipment desperately needed in an otherwise hostile and inhospitable environment.
Think about it this way… in 2007, coalition forces were burning up to 575,000 gallons of fuel per day. Fuel storage capacity at our bases in Bagram and Kabul could barely stock a week’s worth of petrol, and 80% of that fuel came from Pakistani refineries, along these routes. After their closure, costs skyrocketed — the U.S. found itself paying up to six times as much to send war supplies to troops in Afghanistan through alternate routes.
Sort of puts Secretary Clinton’s apology in perspective.
For his part, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is attempting to cut off future funds to Pakistan — contingent upon the release of Shakil Afridi, the Pershawari doctor who was imprisoned after assisting U.S. efforts to hunt down Osama bin Laden.
Sen. Paul seems to understand what escapes Sen. Graham; namely, “if you cut the money off, what leverage do we have“ isn’t really “leverage” when the tax-dollar spigot springs eternal.
Senators Levin and Graham may want to take a page from the Pakistanis’ book, because when Islamabad turned the pipeline off, it was only a matter of time until they got their apology.
Now, perhaps, it’s time to put our fiscal leverage to use.
For a while all we had to go on were a pair of dueling, contradictory internal polls. But now we have two independent polls that show Ted Cruz opening up a lead over David Dewhurst in the Texas Senate runoff. A Republican poll commissioned by the Cruz-supporting Citizens United Political Victory Fund shows Cruz leading Dewhurst 47 percent to 38 percent. Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, has Cruz up 49 percent to 44 percent.
Among those who are excited about the election, Cruz’ lead in the PPP survey expands to 59 percent to 36 percent. Cruz leads among Tea Partiers by 71 percent to 26 percent, among Hispanics 78 percent to 19 percent, among “very conservative” voters 61 percent to 34 percent, and among evangelicals 50 percent to 42 percent. One interesting note from the release accompanying the poll: “The fact that Dewhurst is leading by 50 points with moderates yet still losing overall is a pretty good sign of how relevant that voter bloc is within the Republican Party these days.”
Cruz appears to have gained enough momentum to be competitive even in a high-turnout race and to be favored if turnout is light and conservative. Vivien Chang recently wrote about this race on the main site.
My friend Paul Cambon, friend and neighbor of the Snow family, reminds me that it was four years ago today that we all lost, and heaven gained, the singular and happy presence of Tony Snow. Just this quick note to say that Tony is, and always will be, very fondly remembered.
Clark Stooksbury says Robert Stacy McCain and I are being naive for praising Mitt Romney’s performance at the NAACP confab. Stooksbury argues that Romney’s intended audience was the Republican base, to whom he did pander, rather than the predominantly liberal black audience he was addressing.
Two points. First, I don’t think I’m setting the bar particularly high here. I’m just asking Romney not to alter the policy specifics of his basic stump speech to ingratiate himself to a particular crowd. As a Massachusetts native who has watched Romney evolve from “progressive” to “severely conservative” right before my very eyes over the past decade, that’s not something to be taken for granted. He stood his ground yesterday for whatever reason and should receive positive reinforcement for doing so.
Second, in the television/Internet era all public speeches by candidates have the base as part of the target audience. The speech in its entirety wasn’t really some reverse Sister Souljah moment. It was partially an attempt to establish common ground with the NAACP and partly a restatement of the same basic pitch he would make to any other group of voters. Maybe his line about the Chamber of Commerce Obamacare survey was canned, maybe it wasn’t. But the content and structure of the speech — including the fact he was clearly ready to say something else immediately after the Obamacare reference — was aimed at getting polite but unenthusiastic golf claps rather than provoking boos.
On another NAACP-related note, the Daily Caller reported yesterday that the group’s leadership (which backed gay marriage after President Obama did) rebuked Romney’s stand on traditional marriage while the crowd seemed to like it. One thing to watch is how much of the increase in black support for gay marriage since Obama’s position changed is actually reflected in the way blacks vote on marriage-related ballot initiatives.
The limited exit poll data we have suggests that blacks were already voting against same-sex marriage by larger margins than national polls on the subject predicted. How much of the increase in black support for gay marriage in national polls reflects support for the president rather than an actual change in position? Maryland and other states might give us a chance to find out in November.
NBC News, the legendary television and news organization that once starred such journalistic pros as Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, John Chancellor and Tom Brokaw was declared officially dead on Wednesday afternoon.
The death was preceded by a stunning divorce announcement between Microsoft and NBC that had resulted in a long, tempestuous televised and website union known as MSNBC.
The details of the divorce are reported by Daily Beast media columnist Howard Kurtz.
In the traditional style of liberal journalism, the real story was buried deep inside the Kurtz piece and revealed this way:
…as the MSNBC channel has forged a separate identity as the liberal home of Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and others, the company has worried about the brand confusion caused by its straight-news site bearing the same name.
There were worries at corporate about “brand confusion” between “the liberal home of Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and others” with the so-called “straight-news site bearing the same name.”
So the obvious question.
Why in the world would NBC be worried about “brand confusion” with a cable version of itself?
That’s right. Because there was nothing “straight-news” about what has evolved at MSNBC.
Let’s take a stroll through some of MSNBC’s greatest hits,Continue reading…
Jesse Jackson the elder is one of my least favorite pols, EVER. His son certainly isn’t of the most stellar character either, and he’s a real left winger. But none of that matters. His current problems, whatever they are, sound serious — and they are of the type that call for compassion and sympathy, not scorn. He is a human being who appears to be suffering; I offer a prayer for his recovery.
As it happens, I know of one particular incident, private in nature so I won’t relay any specifics of it (it was told to me by a first-hand witness; I didn’t see it myself), that speaks well of some basic instincts toward personal decency within the heart of the younger Jackson. Suffice it to say that he reached out, supportively, when somebody across the aisle was down. Conservatives should do likewise for Rep. Jackson. May he find solace and health — so we can go back to opposing him politically when he errs in that realm, which is often, but not opposing him personally or meanly.
And when he comes back to the House, presumably as a healthy man, conservatives should shake his hand and wish him well.
Yet Another Floundering Government Sponsored Solar Company (Breitbart)
Channels Go Black and Online Streamers Suffer as Viacom-DirecTV Dispute Continues (CNN)
Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Absence from Congress Passes the Month Mark as He is Treated for “Mood Disorder” (NY Times)
At Least 275 Dead in Chicago as Gang Warfare Rages (CBS News)
Senate Leader Harry Reid Accuses Romney of Paying No Taxes for 12 Years After The Washington Post Reported on His $3million Tax Returns (Weasel Zippers)
Gingrich Says Obamacare Ruling Might Be Better for America (HuffPo)
How’s this for contradicting one’s own reasoning within the space of a single paragraph?
First Rachel Rose Hartman says two Democrats voted unsurprisingly to repeal Obamacare because they face tough reelection bids in Republican districts. Then she says the next two Democrat votes are also unsurprising because these two guys are retiring so they do not have to consider the consequences of their votes.
Doesn’t she realize she just admitted that two guys who fear nobody went out and voted their consciences? That is a harsh rejection of the bill.
Can’t have it both ways. It can’t be unsurprising because they fear voter rejection and equally unsurprising when they don’t fear voter rejection.
In an interesting turnaround, a Rasmussen telephone survey of 500 likely Florida voters, taken Monday and released Wednesday afternoon, shows Republican Congressman Connie Mack IV leading incumbent Democrat Senator Bill Nelson by 47 percent to 36 percent. Another seven percent prefer another candidate and 20 percent don’t know who they prefer.
This new result is an almost exact reversal of an April survey showing 47 percent inclined to give Nelson a third term while 36 percent wanted to replace Nelson with Mack. Rasmussen, with a good record of predicting political races in Florida, has moved the Florida Senate race to “leans Republican.”
The new result is a bit puzzling, as neither candidate has been much in the news in Florida over the past month. But Obamacare has been in the news, and Nelson may be associated with legislation that 52 percent of Floridians would like to see repealed, 44 percent of those strongly. Only 36 percent of Floridians oppose repeal.
Of those who wish to see Obamacare repealed, 85 percent say they favor Mack for the Senate seat.
If ObamaCare has moved the needle in the Florida Senate race, its effect has not been felt in the Florida presidential race. In today’s Rasmussen Florida presidential tracking poll, Romney leads Obama 46 percent to 45. It has been this competitive for a long time. Another five percent back another candidate and just four percent say they are undecided. If this seems like a low number of undecided voters this early in a presidential campaign, that’s because it is.
The margin or error in both surveys is +/- 4.5 percent.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives again voted to fully repeal Obamacare, by a vote of 244 to 184. Five Democrats voted for repeal. Although two of them are retiring and three face tough reelection fights, this makes the repeal vote more bipartisan than the vote to pass Obamacare in the first place. It’s also more votes, even among Democrats, than any of the president’s budgets have gotten.
Democrats repeatedly pointed out that this was the 33rd House vote to repeal Obamacare, with little to show for it. But after the Supreme Court’s ruling, the purpose is to show who the American people must vote for if they want to be rid of the unpopular health care law.
It’s not easy for a Republican presidential candidate to address a traditionally liberal organization that represents a more than 90 percent Democratic community. Some might argue Republicans shouldn’t bother. But I liked the way Mitt Romney handled himself when speaking to the NAACP convention.
Romney has gained — and indeed earned — a reputation for telling audiences what they want to hear. He was ruthlessly satirized in a Saturday Night Live skit that portrayed him as telling a group of diabetics that if he could have any disease, he would choose adult onset diabetes. That’s how Romney has come to be viewed by many Americans.
Today Romney told the NAACP he would repeal Obamacare (and he called it Obamacare). He also said that the president’s economic policies had failed to create jobs and increase wages, and that they would continue to fail. In both cases, he was booed. In both cases, he stood his ground. Romney challenged the booing crowd by citing a Chamber of Commerce survey showing that Obamacare was hurting job creation. And anything that damages jobs and growth disproportionately harms the black community.
Romney has a long way to go, and perhaps this crowd was paradoxically safer because it contained so few swing voters. But Romney isn’t exactly known for his willingness to communicate unpopular truths. He deserves credit for doing so here.
My friend Deroy Murdock has a superb piece at NRO taking Chief Justice John Roberts to task for, in effect, spinelessness. (He is kind enough to quote me in it, but that’s beside the point.)
But there is one half of one paragraph to which I offer very friendly disagreement. Deroy is making the case that there are ways for a justice to push back against outside political pressure. He’s right. But here’s one of his explanations:
He should have written about this for the Wall Street Journal editorial page and other print outlets. He should have developed these themes on Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday. On these topics, he also should have addressed well-respected, high-profile organizations such as the Manhattan Institute, which invited Supreme Court justices Alito and Thomas to deliver the prestigious Wriston Lecture in 2010 and 2008, respectively. Alito’s and Thomas’s observations were well received by appreciative audiences full of national leaders in journalism, academics, philanthropy, and commerce.
I agree with only the second half of those suggestions. There are ways, usually rather veiled, at academic conferences/ think-tank speeches, and the like, in which the justices can make their case in a respectful but very pointed and effective fashion. Example very aptly provided: those Manhattan Institute lectures.
But there are very, very good reasons why justices (or any
federal judges) do not pen op-eds for the Wall Street
Journal (except perhaps on subjects related to judicial
functioning, such as why the high court won’t allow cameras, or
something like that). There are even better reasons to refuse to do
TV shows such as Meet the Press. Those reasons are
all wrapped together under the broad umbrella of judicial
integrity. The court is not supposed to be a
politicized body. It is not appropriate for
judges/justices to appear to be preening for public approval. They
should not be put on the spot, like ordinary
politicians, to try to defend their decisions in 60-second sound
bites. Judicial independence, institutional majesty (and yes, the
high court’s sense of majesty is important — not for its own sake,
but for the sake of enshrining in the public mind the majesty
of the law, writ large), and the perception of the jurists’
immunity to short-term pressure all must be safeguarded. The idea,
to apply a quote from Alfred, Lord Tennyson, is to inculcate “Some
sense of duty, something of a faith,
Some reverence for the laws ourselves have made.”
But Deroy’s broader point is extremely well taken. To quote from the same Tennyson poem, just two lines later, by seeming to bow to outside pressure, Roberts failed to show “Some civic manhood firm against the crowd.” The result of such failure, Tennyson wrote, could be: “A kingdom topples over with a shriek/Like an old woman, and down rolls the world.”
As Deroy wrote:
Roberts also should have denounced those who not only disagree with SCOTUS’s rulings, but attack it as a body. He should have reminded Americans that the Supreme Court sits atop one of this republic’s three branches of government. The Founding Fathers empowered it to ensure that laws do not overspill the banks established by the Constitution itself. And if the Roberts majority thus rejected Obamacare, then it simply did its job.
I merely suggest that there are ways and forums in which it is appropriate to do this, but that going on Sunday morning shows with David Gregory isn’t one of them.
But do read Deroy’s whole piece. Good stuff!
In the HBO drama “Newsroom,” of which I’ve caught snippets, Jeff Daniels plays an apostle of light, showing a fearless fidelity to the facts as an anchorman exhausted with ratings-driven trivialities. His bottomless integrity leads him to defend the honor of “primaried” Republicans like Bob Bennett, who was the “most conservative” member of the Senate, according to the anchor (this should gives viewers an idea of what his character considers “facts”). Daniels’s character is outraged at crazies within the Tea Party movement who are so addled that they would knock off a worthy conservative like Bennett. Emily Mortimer plays his British-born producer who eggs him on in his crusades, whispering such profundities into his ear as “nothing is more important than a well-informed electorate.” The British are coming, the British are coming, to save our democracy! Sam Waterson plays the flawed but sage executive pleased at his ratings-be-damned news team. He informs his boss played by Jane Fonda that “Media Matters” approved of a recent broadcast. Playing mildly against type, Fonda is concerned that the show is insufficiently respectful to the new Republican Congress and to the rich. After all, she “has business” before these guys and might find herself seated next to one of the Koch brothers at a Manhattan party. So greed, not fairness, is her basis for asking Waterson to tell his news team to “tone” it down. Aaron Sorkin is the “mind” behind this show and it is not a very interesting one: every concept he mouthes through his characters flows from the arrogant assumption that liberalism is the font of all wisdom and thus should serve as the arbiter of any story’s or debate’s parameters. This is “balance.”
I explain why, here.
Barclays’ Reputation Tainted as Parliamentary Interrogation Continues (The Economist)
Eric Holder will Remain ‘Aggressive’ in Challenging Voter ID Laws (WaPo)
NL Beats AL 8-0, Melky Cabrera Wins MVP (ESPN)
Where is Jesse Jackson Jr.? (USA TODAY)
Southern GOP Governors Reject Medicaid Expansion (Politico)
New Leaks Reveal Penn State Cover-Up of Sandusky Abuse (The Daily Beast)
What Obama’s Second Term May Look Like (New Yorker)
Did Obama Know Supreme Court Decision Before Public? (WSJ)
The National League won its third consecutive All-Star Game in an 8-0 laugher over the American League in Kansas City tonight.
AL starting pitcher Justin Verlander displayed little form from his 2011 MVP/Cy Young season giving up five runs in the first inning. The Tigers righty surrendered a RBI double to reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun, a bases loaded triple to San Francisco Giants Pablo Sandoval and a RBI single to Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla. Both hits went into right field where Jose Bautista could not see them in the sun. Bautista would later make a spectacular sliding catch off the bat of Ryan Braun in one of the few bright spots for the AL tonight.
The NL added three runs in the fourth off Texas Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison. Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals singled in a run and then Harrison surrendered a two run homerun to Giants centerfielder Melky Cabrera who was named the All-Star Game MVP. Cabrera went 2 for 3 with a homerun and two RBI.
It was the last All-Star Game for Braves legend Chipper Jones who singled in his only at bat. It was the first All-Star Game for Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper. However, it was an All-Star Game he’d rather forget as he lost a flyball either in the lights or in the dusk on a ball hit by Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko. Fortunately for Harper and the NL, the AL did not take advantage of the extra out.
Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants, the NL starting pitcher, got the win while Verlander was tagged with the loss.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field in New York.
Kofi Annan has invited Iran to join the adult table at the Syria talks. This is the UN envoy’s latest misstep, as he wades, haphazardly, into regional power politics.
The United States, her NATO allies, and Sunni Gulf Arabs are all equal parts opposed to the involvement of the Islamic Republic, for various reasons. However, the fact that Iran has proven a most tireless supporter of the current regime has led all parties to question the wisdom of any plan that banks on Tehran’s commitment to peace, security and a post-Assad Syria.
With a tip of the hat to AP reporting, Karim Sadjapour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace suggested, “Inviting Iran to discuss how to best transition to a post-Assad Syria is akin to inviting vegetarians to a barbecue.”
Put plainly, Iran cannot be part of any solution so long as the opposition sees the Islamic Republic as part of the problem. As well they should. Tehran has been supplying Assad’s cronies with political and military support for years. But Annan should understand that the ongoing crisis in Syria isn’t just a humanitarian priority.
It’s a proxy war fought over Iranian influence. As I wrote in early June:
…The conversation that’s happening in Washington about what to do with Syria doesn’t have anything to do with a growing humanitarian crisis.
Make no mistake — this is all about Assad’s strategic relationship with Iran. Syria serves as international conveyor-belt for those tools of terror deployed by the Islamic Republic to its militant proxies in Gaza and southern Lebanon. The collapse of the Assad regime would critically undermine Iran’s ability to threaten Israel’s security.
As such, expect Annan’s commitment to Iran, as “part of the solution in the Syrian crisis” to be ignored with the same alacrity all parties have chosen to disregard his six-point peace plan, that quickly fizzled earlier this year.
Make no mistake — America and her allies (both Western and in the Gulf) are committed to removing the current regime. With Iran’s assistance, Assad can hold on for a while, but he won’t last forever.
The Syrian fulcrum isn’t particularly difficult to grasp. The United States and her NATO partners want Assad gone — his ouster would likely cut Tehran’s supply lines of terror. It would also weaken Iran, the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions and the mullah’s regional muscle. Already isolated internationally, the Iranian leadership would suddenly face a conspicuously less friendly neighborhood. Remember, the removal of the Alawite regime (through “kinetic” force, or diplomacy) would greatly benefit the Saudis —as the contending, Sunni hegemon and bitter rival of Iran.
I’ve written, ad nauseam, why I’m not inclined to advocate regime change in Syria. The opposition is shadowy (at best) and “the grass will surely prove greener…” theorizing is chronically short-sighted. To be perfectly honest — and more than a little insensitive — I’d suggest we respond to the humanitarian crisis in Syria the way we respond to most other international distress signals: informed inaction.
Regardless, Annan should understand that rousing commitments to our collective humanitarian conscience don’t mean squat when it comes to the situation in Syria. This is international relations by means of blunt force trauma. Adding Iran to the mix will only retard the inevitable outcome.
Based on some feedback I’ve received today, the “Obama is the lowest spending president in sixty years” meme is still taken seriously in some circles. It is nonsense. Don’t want to take my word for it? How about the Associated Press:
Obama rests his claim on an analysis by MarketWatch, a financial information and news service owned by Dow Jones & Co. The analysis simply looks at the year-to-year topline spending number for the government but doesn’t account for distortions baked into the figures by the Wall Street bailout and government takeover of the mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The MarketWatch study finds spending growth of only 1.4 percent over 2010-2013, or annual increases averaging 0.4 percent over that period. Those are stunningly low figures considering that Obama rammed through Congress an $831 billion stimulus measure in early 2009 and presided over significant increases in annual spending by domestic agencies at the same time the cost of benefit programs like Social Security, Medicare and the Medicaid were ticking steadily higher.
And don’t forget the spending bills:
But Obama’s role in 2009 spending was much bigger than that. For starters, he signed nine spending bills funding every Cabinet agency except Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. While the numbers don’t jibe exactly, Obama bears the chief responsibility for an 11 percent, $59 billion increase in non-defense spending in 2009. Then there’s a 9 percent, $109 billion increase in combined defense and non-defense appropriated outlays in 2010, a year for which Obama is wholly responsible.
Washington Post fact-cherk Glenn Kessler also gave the low-spending Obama claims three Pinnochios.
At the Center for Individual Freedom, Renee Giachino absolutely eviscerates Eric Holder, here. Devastating. Video gold.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that President Barack Obama gets no bounce from his decision to offer a conditional administrative amnesty to some young illegal immigrants. He still runs even with Mitt Romney on immigration and his approval rating on the issue hasn’t budged.
In the Post’s key eight toss-up states — which include burgeoning Hispanic populations in Colorado, Florida and Nevada — Obama’s disapproval on immigration still tops 50 percent. And he does not enjoy any wider lead over Romney on the issue in those states than in any others.
Polls in specific swing states indicate that Obama’s shift on immigration policy, while widely popular, could be a net vote loser come November. More than twice as many voters said the policy made them less rather than more likely to support Obama in June Quinnipiac University polls in Ohio and Pennsylvania — despite the fact that over half of all voters in those states support the policy.
Contra the conventional wisdom, people who oppose amnesty can vote too and their votes count just as much.
A multistate identity theft scam that claims President Barack Obama will pay your utility bills appears to have widened.
According to MSNBC.com, more than 2,000 customers in Tampa, Fla., fell for the fake offer last week.
The scheme was first reported in May, when Dallas-based Atmos Energy warned its 3 million customers in 12 states that scammers had been asking for Social Security numbers to enroll in the faux federal program. According to the pitch—distributed via email, Facebook, text message, phone and, in some cases, door-to-door sales—the government would pay a month of energy costs through credits offered by the Obama administration.
PSE&G, the New Jersey gas and electric delivery utility, issued a similar warning the same month. According to MSNBC, there were 10,000 reported victims in New Jersey in recent weeks, and thousands more in North Carolina, Indiana and Pennsylvania.
The election will hinge on how many millions fall for a larger version of this scam. The idea that politicians will pay your bills for you — stealing your liberty, if not your identity, in the process — is the scam that drives politics.
Obama’s Faces Opposition from House Dems on Taxes, Health Care (Politico)
The Left Criticizes Obama’s Outsourcing Record (WaPo)
Democrats Fear Romney’s Financial Advantage (The Hill)
Why Supreme Court Nominations in 2012 is Crucial (WSJ)
Romney May be First President to Hold Joint Law and Business Degree (NY Times)
The Party Continues as Syria is Embroiled in Civil War (Newsweek)
Obamacare’s Mandates Not Enforceable (Fox News)
It was billed as a major announcement on taxes, but President Barack Obama didn’t say anything new: he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 a year while letting them expire for the upper income earners. He is challenging congressional Republicans to act now — all the tax cuts expire in January absent congressional action — so he can pose as a middle-class tax-cutter and proponent of tax fairness.
The real question is what Obama would do come January if Congress sends him a renewal of the full tax cut. Would he veto it and let taxes go up on everyone? Or would he once again agree to extending all the tax cuts like he did at the end of 2010? Naturally, the president is trying to avoid that scenario with a congressional vote now, though his deficit reduction plans add up better if he lets taxes go up on everybody.
While polls suggest Obama’s tax fairness argument has some takers among the American people — and make no mistake, it is purely a fairness argument; the deficit reduction case for allowing only the tax cuts on the wealthy and investors to expire is weak — Democrats are divided too. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wants to move up the threshold at which the cuts expire to $1 million a year. Some Democrats want all the tax cuts to expire, while others want them all extended. Obama’s attempt to thread the needle is nothing new.
Last week, the word in the art and literary world was transgression. This week, it’s technology.
I join Aaron in paying tribute to Ernest Borgnine, dead over the weekend at 95. I add this: I think one of the most underrated acting jobs in history was the job he did as the cop, Rogo, in The Poseidon Adventure. Say what you will about the movie as a whole (I think it was superb, most film snobs think it was ridiculous), the acting of Borgnine, Gene Hackman, and Shelley Winters was first-rate. Adtually, while Winters got most of the plaudits when it came out, I always thought her role was one of the easier ones. Borgnine had to be more “on the edge,” more nuanced, deeper, because he had to walk the line between likeable and dislikeable, a lovable blowhard, a tough guy with a heart of gold, a tremendously flawed semi-hero. I thought he pulled it all off terrifically well. The first two minutes of this clip, involving his wife Linda right as the movie’s climax approaches, is acting at its best: believable, fully in character, raw.
Most people don’t realize it, but The Poseidon Adventure was deliberately designed with a Biblical allegory as subtext. (I could cite, ahh, well, chapter and verse, so to speak, to show what I mean, but it would take too long and is mostly beside the point of this blog post.) Hackman’s renegade preacher, of course, was the Christ figure. And, notice the name of Borgnine’s character: Rogo. Ignore the Latin root, which means “to ask.” As a homonym, it’s closest kin is “rock.” Borgnine is the story’s rock, its cephas — its Peter. And that’s exactly the role Borgnine plays — like Peter, often pulling in the wrong direction, often misunderstanding, often getting in the way, but still chosen to be the gatekeeper to ultimate redemption.
Of course, one of the criticisms of The Poseidon Adventure was that it was so full of clichés, and this Biblical allegory approach is of course one of the most common clichés around. Still, let’s forget the movie criticism, but just focus on how well Borgnine carried it off. It was an extraordinary performance, in an extraordinary career. R.I.P. And in joy.
Ed Klein reports in The Amateur that the Obama camp tried in 2008 to bribe Jeremiah Wright into silence. The mainstream media has studiously ignored this claim, even though Klein’s source for it is Jeremiah Wright himself.
Wright’s disgust for Obama as a back-stabbing phony is still raw, as evident in this report from Politico on a sermon Wright delivered in DC this last weekend. Wright talked about Ivy-League educated “sheep dogs” and “biscuits,” a category into which he apparently places Obama, who pursue the safe course of white liberalism and turn on black prophets who refuse the “milky white way of life.” Woe to those who “only know Oprah and Obama,” said Wright, and not the uncompromising greats like “Paul Robeson.”
So, the gravest threat facing our country is… Mitt Romney’s Swiss bank account? Is that really what this election is going to be about — Swiss francs and change?
Swiss Francs And Change
By Asher Embry
We watched the Sunday shows aghast.
(And was it David Gregory’s last?)
Of course, we really weren’t surprised
That Mitt’s Swiss bank monopolized.
With all our monstrous problems, that’s
The talking point from Democrats!
Our jobless rate’s still through the roof.
We watch as Keystone jobs go poof;
The GDP’s anemic growth;
Ballooning debt and spending, both
Are threatening prosperity
And weakening security.
If we let O-Care take effect
Our splendid health care will be wrecked.
O’s Dream Act fails? No need to pause;
He simply won’t enforce the laws.
For sure, these crucial issues must
Have been the things the shows discussed?
Why, no. The non-Fox press again
Ignored the weighty substance, then
It followed Axe’s lead to pounce
On Romney’s overseas accounts.
O’s only hope is to distract.
So, it’s a sad, depressing fact
That this election, Mitt might lose
‘Cause O convinced us not to choose
A man whose sole “vice,” let’s be frank,
Is money in a Swiss-based bank.
(You can read more of Asher Embry’s Political Verse at www.politicalverse.com.)
6 Americans Killed in Taliban Bombing (WaPo)
Romney and RNC Raise $106 Million in June (Politico)
Poll: Majority Think Obama Changed America for Worse (The Hill)
Pentagon Plagued by Fear of Sequestration (The Economist)
The Rise of China’s New Right (BBC)
Why America is Already Europe (WSJ)
Obama’s New Proposal: Tax Hikes for Top Earners, Bush-era Rates for Others (Fox News)
Federer Beats Murray, Wins 7th Wimbledon Title (ESPN)
Obamacare’s Individual Mandate ‘Too Weak’? (Forbes)
Actor Ernest Borgnine died today of renal failure. He was 95.
Borgnine’s career lasted more than six decades. He first came to fame in 1953 playing the thuggish Fatso in From Here to Eternity. Two years later, Borgnine was cast in a role that was 180 degrees awat from Fatso. He was casty as Marty Pigelli, the 30-something bachelor who feared he would be alone for the rest of life in the Paddy Chayefsky penned Marty. Borgnine’s performance would win him an Academy Award for Best Actor beating out the likes of Jimmy Cagney, Spencer Tracy, James Dean and his From Here to Eternity co-star Frank Sinatra.
Yet Borgnine is perhaps best known for his work in TV with the lead role in McHale’s Navy. Younger viewers will recognize his voice as The Mermaid Man in Sponge Bob Square Pants.
Borgnine was also amongst Hollywood’s most Republicans.
I leave you with a classic scene from Marty which remains as resonant now as when it was filmed nearly sixty years ago.
1. RealClearPolitics is reporting that Mitt Romney’s short list may be down to four people: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte remain wild cards, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is supposedly being vetted.
2. The House will vote Wednesday on a bill to repeal Obamacare. The measure should pass and then die in the Senate, but it is intended to send a signal that if you want to get rid of the health care law, you must vote Republican in November.
3. Barney Frank became the first sitting member of Congress to be part of a same-sex marriage. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick officiated the ceremony.
4. President Barack Obama urges voters to look ahead on the economy, says the New York Times. This after three straight disappointing jobs reports and 41 consecutive months in which the unemployment rate was at least 8 percent.
5. It looks like Charlie Rangel will survive a recount in his Harlem congressional district. Rangel prevailed on eletion night but state Senator Adriano Espaillat alleged Hispanics were discouraged from voting. Rangel’s lead at one point declined to just 802 votes before growing again.
6. Thad McCotter’s resignation from the House could boost the candidacy of former state Sen. Nancy Cassis for his congressional seat. Cassis has the backing of the state and national party but is only a write-in candidate for the primary. She could presumably appear on a special election ballot, however, boosting her name recognition. The only candidate currently on the primary ballot is Ron Paul Republican Kerry Bentivolio.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?