Links for 11-21-2011

  • Peter Schweizer alleges in his book Throw Them All Out that George Soros advised the Obama White House on how to spend “stimulus” dollars, then invested in the companies that would benefit from it. Given Obama’s record on crony capitalism, this shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  • It’s not often that you read this in a Los Angeles Times article: “According to the source, CIA case officers met a series of Lebanese informants at a local Pizza Hut, allowing Hezbollah and Lebanese authorities to identify who was helping the CIA. U.S. officials strongly disputed that agents were compromised at a Pizza Hut.” The upshot is that the CIA’s Beirut station is “out of business,” which restricts the intelligence it can gather on Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah.

Links for 11-18-2011

  • Herman Cain’s political action committee, the “Hermanator PAC,” raised more than $220,000 for the 2010 election but donated only $2,000 to candidates. The rest was spent on airline tickets, hotels, and restaurants. Left unsaid in the article but probably at the forefront of mainstream media investigative efforts: money spent on hookers and blow.

  • Meanwhile Cain is the first Republican candidate to be protected by the Secret Service. Initially his campaign suggested that they requested this to protect Cain from the media. Apparently realizing that statement was like waving a red cape in front of a bull, the campaign changed its story. Cain explained it himself this way: “‘It was just that it was time because of the popularity of the campaign. It was just time to go to that next step. And I’m just glad we were given that opportunity so we’re delighted to have it.’ ‘We had private security for a while before we asked for Secret Service protection,’ he went on to say. ‘But we wanted to move to that next level because of my ranking in the polls and the additional scrutiny that I’ve been getting.’” Unfortunately for Cain, the additional scrutiny worked and his poll numbers have been down, not up, for the past couple of weeks. The campaign has also said Cain received unspecified threats. I guess you get to pick the reason you believe.

  • The Obama administration’s laser-like focus on jobs led it to cancel a mineral lease auction for a national forest in Ohio. As you’d expect, they canceled it because environmental groups are opposed to the use of hydraulic fracturing in the area.

Links for 11-17-2011

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense will tell Israel that they shouldn’t attack Iran’s nuclear facilities because it will damage the world economy. When did the Obama administration start caring about the our economy, let alone the world economy?

  • Mitt Romney’s staff erased all of his administration’s emails when he left the Massachusetts governor’s office. And I thought only Democrats did this sort of thing.

  • Nancy Pelosi replied to Rick Perry’s debate challenge with snark: “‘He did ask if I could debate here in Washington on Monday. It is my understanding that such a letter has come in,’ Pelosi said in the Capitol Thursday. ‘Monday I’m going to be in Portland in the morning, I’m going to be visiting some of our labs. I’m in California in the afternoon, that’s two. I can’t remember what the third is.’” Perry’s campaign replied via Twitter with more snark: “@NancyPelosi Perhaps the third activity that you have forgotten is the ongoing insider trading?”

Newt at the Crossroads

Ned Ryun’s Twitter stream directed me to a New York Times article on Newt Gingrich by Andrew Ferguson that was published on June 29, 2011. (An aside: Andrew Ferguson’s writing is too good for The Weekly Standard (where he’s an editor), so what’s he doing publishing articles in a rag like The New York Times?) Andrew waded through all of Newt Gingrich’s books and not only lived to tell the tale, but made some pithy observations:

The ghosts [ghost writers] for that first book served him unevenly. They got him in metaphor trouble from the first sentence. “We stand at a crossroads between two diverse futures,” he wrote. This crossroads, it transpired, faced an open window. That would be the window of vulnerability, which is widening. Three paragraphs later, the crossroads, perhaps swiveling on a Lazy Susan, is suddenly facing another window, also open. The important point, Gingrich writes, is that this window of opportunity is about to slam shut. And if it does? “We stand on the brink of a world of violence almost beyond our imagination.”

Admitting mistakes comes easily to no public man — as memoirs from figures like Bill Clinton and Donald Rumsfeld demonstrate — but in “Lessons Learned,” Gingrich gave it the old West Georgia College try. This didn’t work, either. There’s lots of mea in “Lessons Learned,” but the culpa is all on the other side.

One lesson Gingrich claimed to learn the hard way was, as a chapter title has it, “Don’t Underestimate the Liberals.” As speaker, Gingrich discovered that Republicans are too good for their own — um, good. “The difference between the well-thought-out, unending and no-holds-barred hostility of the left,” he wrote, “and the acquiescent, friendship-seeking nature of many of my Republican colleagues never ceases to amaze me.” Democrats flatter themselves with the mirror image of this fantasy, of course, pretending to be envious of the robotic efficiency of Republicans and the freedom of action allowed them by their utter lack of conscience or shame. Self-awareness is not listed in the catalog of traits required for faithful partisanship. About the true nature of their enemies, however, if about nothing else, professional Republicans and Democrats are both exactly right.

Callista is unavoidable in all of Gingrich’s current endeavors. Having married a powerful man and suddenly blossomed in fields in which she earlier showed seemingly no interest or professional skill — writing books, taking photographs, making movies, overseeing her husband’s not-for-profit company — Callista has emerged as the Linda McCartney of the conservative movement.

As I was reading Ferguson’s article I thought about blog posts and tweets I’ve read advocating for a Gingrich + Cain ticket. Gingrich’s mixed metaphors also reminded me of the car metaphors that keep recurring during this election cycle. I imagine Gingrich and Cain could extract the national car from the ditch, empty it of Slurpees, and turn it away from the cliff we’re always hurtling toward at 100mph (can a Chevy Volt go that fast?). Then we’d find ourselves at a crossroads, with the windows of opportunity closing. But never fear! Gingrich will steer a course for a technology-laden future where government actually works, and Cain will fill the tank with 9–9–9 octane fuel and we’ll be off! But, alas, the tires won’t be touching the road. Neither Gingrich nor Cain has a head for details; their ideas float in the aether, untethered from reality on the ground. I’m looking for a candidate who will study how the federal car is constructed and then ruthlessly cut every bolt and wire and hack and slash until we’re left with something small, something that more closely resembles the limited federal government described in the Constitution. Maybe a horse-drawn wagon.

Gingrich and Cain are not the mechanics I’m looking for. But they could probably deliver a high-falutin’ pizza.

Links for 11-16-2011

  • Newt Gingrich moved into a statistical tie with Mitt Romney in a national Fox News poll, so naturally the mainstream media went on the attack. Bloomberg ran a story claiming Freddie Mac paid Gingrinch between $1.6M and $1.8M for consulting work performed over a period of eight years. Here is Gingrich’s response.

  • Australia rented space at a desert satellite tracking station used by the U.S. to China Satellite Launch & Tracking Control General (CLTC), a Chinese company that’s tied to the People’s Liberation Army. This is probably a very bad idea since China treats all of its space assets as dual-use technologies — even though China is claiming their use of the station is for space exploration, there’s nothing preventing them from using it for their military, too.

  • A couple bugged their 14 year developmentally disabled daughter before sending her to school and recorded her teacher and a school aide bullying her. This has to be a scary possibility for the parents of any disabled kid.

  • Ben Domenech wrote a great piece entitled “Rise of the Conservative Thumbsucker Class” for his daily email newsletter The Transom. He subsequently published it on Ricochet. Among the better quotes:

…it’s one of the reasons that story-breaking on the right about the left has been almost entirely conceded to the amateur or semi-pro class online, or the select handful of less-biased journalists within old media. The biggest story of the year on the right is Solyndra — a story broken by ABC News. The second biggest story of the year on the right is Fast & Furious, which is now resulting in Congressional investigations and calls for Eric Holder’s resignation — it’s a story broken by CBS News. In a just world, these stories would’e been broken first on the cover of a major conservative publication.

Instead of a citizen-journalist revolution, we’ve had for the most part a citizen-pundit revolution, where experience and shoe-leather matters less than quips and regurgitation.

Writers on the right mostly don’t do journalism; they do play-by-play. We need good writers doing more of the former, and less of the latter.

Links for 11-15-2011

  • This Washington Post story received a lot of attention today. Newly released White House emails show that the Department of Energy asked Solyndra to delay a layoff announcement until the day after the November 2010 midterm elections, presumably to limit the political fallout. John Hayward writes at Human Events that the same email dump showed that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was involved with Solyndra, contrary to his public denials. Moreover it looks like the Obama administration is preparing to throw Energy Secretary Steven Chu under the bus to contain further damage.

  • To offset the early onslaught of Newt Gingrich criticism, here’s Jeffrey Lord comparing Gingrich to Churchill.

  • John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, wrote an editorial for tomorrow’s edition of the Wall Street Journal. In it he describes himself as a political independent, but his suggestions for restoring economic growth and lowering unemployment are very similar to those proposed by the conservative candidates for President. He calls for a significant government downsizing, a top individual tax rate of 15 to 20% with no deductions, a business tax rate of 26%, and a sunset provision for all federal regulations. The sunset provision appears in Governor Rick Perry’s “Uproot and Overhaul Washington” plan, which he announced today. Perry’s plan also calls for making “Senator” and “Representative” a part-time job, which drew a predictable reaction from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. The best aspect of the Texas Legislature is that it meets for only 140 days every two years, significantly limiting the damage it can do. A similar model for the Congress would be a Good Thing.

Links for 11-14-2011

  • If Governor Rick Perry’s brain freeze during a debate was a gaffe, this Herman Cain screw up on Libya is an act of self-annihilation. There’s a chaser video where Cain gets public sector collective bargaining wrong. And he did it in Wisconsin of all places. Apparently he wasn’t paying attention during the weeks and weeks of protests in Madison, or last week’s election in Ohio. Oy vey.

  • Obama at the APEC conference: “But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted – well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.” Perhaps if the Obama administration wasn’t actively working to punish businesses (other than those owned by their cronies), the U.S. would be more competitive. It’s astounding how out of touch with reality this guy is.

  • An interesting essay on the subject of big government and how it affords hiding places for the corrupt, which in turn breeds more corruption. Yes, there is a moral imperative to shrink government.