“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ah, sorry to bother you, Mr Obama, Sir

Ah, sorry to bother you Mr. Obama, Sir. . ..

Excuse me Mr. Obama, I mean President Obama, Sir. Um . . I know you're busy, and important and stuff. I mean, running the country is very important and -- ah -- I hate to bother you, Sir. I will only take a minute. Ok, Sir?

See, I have these missing pieces that are holding me up, and I was wondering, Sir, if you could take time out of your busy schedule and help me out. You know, no big deal, just some loose ends and things.

Well, anyway, I can't seem to get some information I need to wrap this up. These things seem to either be "Not released" or "Not available." I'm sure it's just an oversight or glitch or something, so if you could you tell me where these things are I have them written down here somewhere

Could you please help me find these things, Sir?

1. Occidental College records -- Not released
2. Columbia College records -- Not released
3. Columbia Thesis paper -- "Not available"
4. Harvard College records -- Not released
5. Selective Service Registration -- Not released
6. Medical records -- Not released
7. Illinois State Senate schedule -- Not available
8. Your Illinois State Senate records -- Not available
9. Law practice client list -- Not released
10. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate -- Not released
11. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth -- Not released
12. Record of your baptism -- Not available
13. Why your wife, Michelle, can no longer practice law as an attorney? (Insurance Fraud?_
14. Why your wife has 22 assistants, when other First Ladies had one?
15. Why were you getting "foreign student aid" as a college student?
16. Which countries "passport" did you have when you visited Pakistan in 1981?
Oh and one more thing Mr. President, I can't seem to find any articles you published as editor of the Harvard Law Review, or as a Professor at the University of Chicago. Can you explain that to me, Sir?

Oh, but hey -- listen! I know you're busy! If this is too much for you right now -- I mean -- tell you what. I'll come back tomorrow. Give you some time to get these things together, you know? I mean, I know you're busy. I'll just let myself out. I'll be back tomorrow. And the day after. . ..
What's that Mr. President? Who wants to know these things?
We the People of the United States of America ! You know, the ones that vote.

hattip: Tiger@The Observer

The Clash of Empires - China and The USA

The United States made a fundamental misjudgement that trade with China would necessarily bring freedom and democracy to China. To date that has not happened and trade with China, never free, has weakened the finances of the US, weakened US industry, and greatly increased Chinese power and stature.

It was an additional colossal error to have ever allowed a foreign government, especially China, to own and hold US sovereign debt. Think about it. Free trade of goods and services never ends in an unbalance. A country can export and bring in dollars by the boat load, but if they cannot buy US debt, they have to spend the dollars. Allowing China to hold US debt permitted the Chinese to export and not buy US products.

During this current period of financial and industrial decline, the US has stubbornly held onto a global military presence that is absurdly expensive and financially unsustainable. No place is that more apparent than in Asia.

We may not like what China is doing, but remember, we did this to ourselves. China would be nowhere without the foolish trade decisions made by our rulers and masters in Washington.

The maintenance of foreign US military bases since WWII should have ended long ago and will have to end in the future because we cannot afford it.

Trade, finance, and military spending are all related. It is time to rethink and remake the US in a way that will make us stronger, richer and safer for a lot less money.


China's strident tone raises concerns among Western governments, analysts
By John Pomfret
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 31, 2010; A01

China's indignant reaction to the announcement of U.S. plans to sell weapons to Taiwan appears to be in keeping with a new triumphalist attitude from Beijing that is worrying governments and analysts across the globe.

From the Copenhagen climate change conference to Internet freedom to China's border with India, China observers have noticed a tough tone emanating from its government, its representatives and influential analysts from its state-funded think tanks.

Calling in U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman on Saturday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said the United States would be responsible for "serious repercussions" if it did not reverse the decision to sell Taiwan $6.4 billion worth of helicopters, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, minesweepers and communications gear. The reaction came even though China has known for months about the planned deal, U.S. officials said.

"There has been a change in China's attitude," said Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a former senior National Security Council official who is currently at the Brookings Institution. "The Chinese find with startling speed that people have come to view them as a major global player. And that has fed a sense of confidence."

Lieberthal said another factor in China's new tone is a sense that after two centuries of exploitation by the West, China is resuming its role as one of the great nations of the world.

This new posture has befuddled Western officials and analysts: Is it just China's tone that is changing or are its policies changing as well?

In a case in point, one senior U.S. official termed as unusual China's behavior at the December climate conference, during which China publicly reprimanded White House envoy Todd Stern, dispatched a Foreign Ministry functionary to an event for state leaders and fought strenuously against fixed targets for emission cuts in the developed world.

Another issue is Internet freedom and cybersecurity, highlighted by Google's recent threat to leave China unless the country stops its Web censorship. At China's request, that topic was left off the table at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank and co-chairman of the event, told Bloomberg News. The forum ends Sunday.

China dismisses concerns
Analysts say a combination of hubris and insecurity appears to be driving China's mood. On one hand, Beijing thinks that the relative ease with which it skated over the global financial crisis underscores the superiority of its system and that China is not only rising but has arrived on the global stage -- much faster than anyone could have predicted. On the other, recent uprisings in the western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang have fed Chinese leaders' insecurity about their one-party state. As such, any perceived threat to their power is met with a backlash.

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington said China's tone had not changed.

"China's positions on issues like arms sales to Taiwan and Tibet have been consistent and clear," Wang Baodong said, "as these issues bear on sovereignty and territorial integrity, which are closely related to Chinese core national interests."

The unease over China's new tone is shared by Europeans as well. "How Should Europe Respond to China's Strident Rise?" is the title of a new paper from the Center for European Reform. Just two years earlier, its author, institute director Charles Grant, had predicted that China and the European Union would shape the new world order.

"There is a real rethink going on about China in Europe," Grant said in an interview from Davos. "I don't think governments know what to do, but they know that their policies aren't working."

U.S. officials first began noticing the new Chinese attitude last year. Anecdotes range from the political to the personal.

At the World Economic Forum last year, Premier Wen Jiabao lambasted the United States for its economic mismanagement. A few weeks later, China's central bank questioned whether the dollar could continue to play its role as the international reserve currency.

And in another vignette, confirmed by several sources, a senior U.S. official involved in the economy hosted his Chinese counterpart, who then made a series of disparaging remarks about the bureau that the American ran. Later that night, the two were to dine at the American's house. The Chinese representatives called ahead, asking what was for dinner. They were informed that it was fish. "The director doesn't eat fish," one of them told his American interlocutor. "He wants steak. He says fish makes you weak." The menu was changed.

Tone with Europe, India
With Europe and India, China's strident tone has been even more apparent. In autumn 2008, China canceled a summit with the European Union after French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama. Before that, it had denounced German Chancellor Angela Merkel over her contacts with the Tibetan spiritual leader. And in recent weeks, it has engaged in a heated exchange with British officials over its moves to block a broader agreement at the climate conference.

At the Chinese Embassy, Wang differed on the climate issue. "China is strongly behind the idea of meeting the issue of climate change," he said, "but at the same time we think that there are some people who want to confuse the situation, and we feel the need to try to let the rest of the world know our position clearly."

China also suspended ties with Denmark after its prime minister met the Dalai Lama and resumed them only after the Danish government issued a statement in December saying it would oppose Tibetan independence and consider Beijing's reaction before inviting him again.

"The Europeans have competed to be China's favored friend," Grant said, "but then they get put in the doghouse one by one."

China's newfound toughness also played out in a renewed dispute with India over Beijing's claims to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which borders Tibet. Last summer, China blocked the Asian Development Bank from making a $60 million loan for infrastructure improvements in the state. India then moved to fund the projects itself, prompting China to send more troops to the border.

David Finkelstein, a former U.S. Army officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency who now runs the China program at the Center for Naval Analyses, said the new tone underscores a shift in China. "On the external front," he said, "we will likely see a China that is more willing than in the past to proactively shape the external environment and international order rather than passively react to it."

An example would be events that unfolded in December when 22 Chinese Muslims showed up in Cambodia and requested political asylum. China wanted to hold seven of them on suspicion of participating in anti-Chinese riots in the Xinjiang region in July.

Under intense pressure from Beijing, Cambodia sent the group home, despite protests from the United States. Two days after the group was repatriated, China signed 14 deals with Cambodia worth about $1 billion.

What the future holds
Whether this new bluster from Beijing presages tougher policies and actions in areas of direct concern to the United States is a key question, Lieberthal said. What China does after the United States sells Taiwan the weapons may provide some clues.

Even before the United States announced its plans Friday, at least six senior Chinese officials, including officers from the People's Liberation Army, had warned Washington against the sale.

Once the deal was announced, China's Defense Ministry said it was suspending a portion of the recently resumed military relations with the United States. China also announced that it would sanction the U.S. companies involved in the sale.

What happens next will be crucial. China quietly sanctioned several U.S. companies for participating in such weapons sales in the past. However, it would mark a major change if China makes the list public and includes, for example, Boeing, which sells billions of dollars worth of airplanes to China each year.

He, the vice foreign minister, warned that the sales would also affect China's cooperation with the United States on regional issues. Does that mean China will continue to block Western efforts to tighten sanctions on Iran? Bonnie S. Glaser, a China security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the answer will probably come soon.

France takes over the presidency of the U.N. Security Council on Monday and is expected to push for a rapid move in that direction.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman in Beijing summoned for a major ass chewing.

I am some what ambivalent about this. It is irritating when the Soviets, (did I just say Soviets?) sell arms to Venezuela. Is China doing anything equivalent in Cuba?

China is cerainly not shy about selling to Iran.

Taiwan has a legitimate right to protect itself and it is probably a good idea for the US to keep it real in dealing with the Chinese, but then I did say I was ambivalent.


China Takes Actions Over US-Taiwan Arms Deal


China is taking action to show its objections to a U.S. plan to sell military equipment to Taiwan.

China said Saturday it is suspending military exchanges and security talks with the United States and threatened sanctions on U.S. firms that sell military equipment to Taiwan.

The official Xinhua news agency carried a strongly-worded statement from the foreign ministry following the U.S. announcement on Friday to sell $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan.

The statement says the arms deal would also affect cooperation between China and the U.S. on key international and regional issues.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei summoned U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman in Beijing Saturday to lodge a protest. He urged Washington to cancel the deal which he described as a threat to China's national security. He also said the arms deal undermines China's effort at peaceful reunification with Taiwan.

The U.S. Department of Defense said Friday it notified Congress of the possible sale to Taiwan of 60 Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot missiles, radar sets and communications equipment.

The package does not include F-16 fighter jets that the self-ruled island had wanted.

The United States has a treaty commitment to help the island maintain its defenses, and wants Taiwan and China to settle their differences peacefully.

China considers self-ruled Taiwan its sovereign territory, and has threatened to use military force if Taiwan attempts to claim formal independence.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told VOA Friday that "providing defensive equipment has actually enabled Taiwan to feel more comfortable in drawing closer to China in commercial interactions."

It's happened to all of us...

Did Obama Snooker the Republicans?

The audio improves after two minutes.

John Edwards Sex Tape

"I was wrong to vote for this war. Unfortunately, I'll have to live with that forever. And the lesson I learned from it is to put more faith in my own judgment."
-John Edwards


Rielle Hunter sex tape?

Rielle Hunter News; John Edwards Sex Tape "Private And Personal"
by Mitch Marconi

Post Chronical

- Just as we began to hold our breath we found out that there truly is a sex tape of Rielle Hunter and John Edwards. Hunter has gotten a temporary restraining order against Andrew Young, Edward's ex-assistant.

She called the matter "Very private and personal." She wants Young to return the video and photos of her and Edwards having sex.

She has been quoted in a affidavit filed in court saying:

"In or about September 2006, using my video camera, I authored a personal video recording that depicted matters of a very private and personal nature. In 2006, I was also having an intimate relationship with Edwards. The decision was made that the video be destroyed."

Instead of throwing it out, in fear of people going through her trash during the affair, she ripped out the tape and put it in a box. Later on she asked Andrew Young to get her passport out the box of personal things she owned; this is when Young stole the tape.

Young's attorney's said they could not immediately turn over the tape. Hunter has filed a lawsuit against Young and his wife for jury trail and damages as well as invasion of privacy. All of which it would seem Young is guilty of. wrote, "The tape, said both our sources, is explicit and reveals that Edwards "is physically very striking, in a certain area. Everyone who sees it says 'whoa'. She's behind the camera at first."

John Edwards only recently assumed the legal role as the father of Hunter's child. He said he hopes his daughter understands one day why he denied being her father. This situation is heating up.


Who would have ever guessed that John Edwards was not the real deal?

Friday, January 29, 2010

If you don't like your face, change it!

The Dude Abides

I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.

After watching The Big Lebowski last night, I have to admit that I am a huge fan of the Coen brothers especially Fargo, The Big Lebowski and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

I guess I like the surreal, the psychedelic, the edgy aspects of the Coens' work. Maybe that's why I keep dropping in at the EB, it can be a surreal experience worthy of a Joel and Ethan Coen movie. It's powerful stuff, best viewed through a window-pane and in small doses.

Obama tells Holder to get out of Gotham

Drudge is reporting that: The White House ordered the Justice Department Thursday night to consider other places to try the 9/11 terror suspects after a wave of opposition to holding the trial in lower Manhattan.

The dramatic turnabout came hours after Mayor Bloomberg said he would "prefer that they did it elsewhere" and then spoke to Attorney General Eric Holder.

"It would be an inconvenience at the least, and probably that's too mild a word for people that live in the neighborhood and businesses in the neighborhood," Bloomberg told reporters.


The handling of the Christmas Day bombing suspect: the scandal grows

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, January 29, 2010

Washinton Post

The real scandal surrounding the failed Christmas Day airline bombing was not the fact that a terrorist got on a plane -- that can happen to any administration, as it surely did to the Bush administration -- but what happened afterward when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was captured and came under the full control of the U.S. government.

After 50 minutes of questioning him, the Obama administration chose, reflexively and mindlessly, to give the chatty terrorist the right to remain silent. Which he immediately did, undoubtedly denying us crucial information about al-Qaeda in Yemen, which had trained, armed and dispatched him.

We have since learned that the decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab had been made without the knowledge of or consultation with (1) the secretary of defense, (2) the secretary of homeland security, (3) the director of the FBI, (4) the director of the National Counterterrorism Center or (5) the director of national intelligence (DNI).

The Justice Department acted not just unilaterally but unaccountably. Obama's own DNI said that Abdulmutallab should have been interrogated by the HIG, the administration's new High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.

Perhaps you hadn't heard the term. Well, in the very first week of his presidency, Obama abolished by executive order the Bush-Cheney interrogation procedures and pledged to study a substitute mechanism. In August, the administration announced the establishment of the HIG, housed in the FBI but overseen by the National Security Council.

Where was it during the Abdulmutallab case? Not available, admitted National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, because it had been conceived for use only abroad. Had not one person in this vast administration of highly nuanced sophisticates considered the possibility of a terror attack on American soil?

It gets worse. Blair later had to explain that the HIG was not deployed because it does not yet exist. After a year! I suppose this administration was so busy deploying scores of the country's best lawyerly minds on finding the most rapid way to release Gitmo miscreants that it could not be bothered to establish a single operational HIG team to interrogate at-large miscreants with actionable intelligence that might save American lives.

Travesties of this magnitude are not lost on the American people. One of the reasons Scott Brown won in Massachusetts was his focus on the Mirandizing of Abdulmutallab.

Of course, this case is just a reflection of a larger problem: an administration that insists on treating Islamist terrorism as a law-enforcement issue. Which is why the Justice Department's other egregious terror decision, granting Khalid Sheik Mohammed a civilian trial in New York, is now the subject of a letter from six senators -- three Republicans, two Democrats and Joe Lieberman -- asking Attorney General Eric Holder to reverse the decision.

Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins had written an earlier letter asking for Abdulmutallab to be turned over to the military for renewed interrogation. The problem is, it's hard to see how that decision gets reversed. Once you've read a man Miranda rights, what do you say? We are idiots? On second thought . . .

Hence the agitation over the KSM trial. This one can be reversed, and it's a good surrogate for this administration's insistence upon criminalizing -- and therefore trivializing -- a war on terror that has now struck three times in one year within the United States, twice with effect (the Arkansas killer and the Fort Hood shooter) and once with a shockingly near miss (Abdulmutallab).

On the KSM civilian trial, sentiment is widespread that it is quite insane to spend $200 million a year to give the killer of 3,000 innocents the largest propaganda platform on earth, while at the same time granting civilian rights of cross-examination and discovery that risk betraying U.S. intelligence sources and methods.

Accordingly, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Frank Wolf have gone beyond appeals to the administration and are planning to introduce a bill to block funding for the trial. It's an important measure. It makes flesh an otherwise abstract issue -- should terrorists be treated as enemy combatants or criminal defendants? The vote will force members of Congress to declare themselves. There will be no hiding from the question.

Congress may not be able to roll back the Abdulmutallab travesty. But there will be future Abdulmutallabs. By cutting off funding for the KSM trial, Congress can send Obama a clear message: The Constitution is neither a safety net for illegal enemy combatants nor a suicide pact for us.

Have you forgotten Obama was black for an hour?

I am not the greatest fan of Glenn Beck, but I do listen to him and enjoy him in short bursts. This should have reprecussions for Chris Tingle, who is embarrassing on a good day.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something.

It is always best to to find an obituary piece written before the dearly daparted actually departed. Such is this:


"That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write "Fuck you" right under your nose." - J. D. Salinger, RIP
J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield, Aging Gracelessly

Tuesday, October 19, 2004; Page C01

An occasional series in which The Post's book critic reconsiders notable and/or neglected books from the past.

Precisely how old I was when I first read "The Catcher in the Rye," I cannot recall. When it was published, in 1951, I was 12 years old, and thus may have been a trifle young for it. Within the next two or three years, though, I was on a forced march through a couple of schools similar to Pencey Prep, from which J.D. Salinger's 16-year-old protagonist Holden Caulfield is dismissed as the novel begins, and I was an unhappy camper; what I had heard about "The Catcher in the Rye" surely convinced me that Caulfield was a kindred spirit.

By then "The Catcher in the Rye" was already well on the way to the status it has long enjoyed as an essential document of American adolescence -- the novel that every high school English teacher reflexively puts on every summer reading list -- but I couldn't see what all the excitement was about. I shared Caulfield's contempt for "phonies" as well as his sense of being different and his loneliness, but he seemed to me just about as phony as those he criticized as well as an unregenerate whiner and egotist. It was easy enough to identify with his adolescent angst, but his puerile attitudinizing was something else altogether.

That was then. This is half a century later. "The Catcher in the Rye" is now, you'll be told just about anywhere you ask, an "American classic," right up there with the book that was published the following year, Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea." They are two of the most durable and beloved books in American literature and, by any reasonable critical standard, two of the worst. Rereading "The Catcher in the Rye" after all those years was almost literally a painful experience: The combination of Salinger's execrable prose and Caulfield's jejune narcissism produced effects comparable to mainlining castor oil.

Over that half-century I'd pretty much forgotten about "The Catcher in the Rye," though scarcely about Salinger, whose celebrated reclusiveness has had the effect of keeping him in the public eye. He has published no books since "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction" in 1963, but plenty has been published about him, including Ian Hamilton's decidedly unauthorized biography, "In Search of J.D. Salinger" (1988); Joyce Maynard's self-serving account of her affair with him, "At Home in the World" (1998); and his daughter Margaret A. Salinger's (also self-serving) memoir, "Dream Catcher" (2000), not to mention reams of lit crit and fanzine fawning. Rumors repeatedly make their way across the land that Salinger is busily at his writing table, that his literary fecundity remains undiminished, that bank vaults in New England contain vast stores of unpublished Salingeriana, but to date all the speculation has come to naught, for which we should -- though too many people won't -- be grateful.

If there's an odder duck in American literature than Salinger, his or her name doesn't come quickly to mind. He started out conventionally enough -- born in Manhattan in 1919, served (valiantly) in the infantry in Europe during World War II, wrote short stories that were published in respectable magazines, notably the New Yorker -- but he seems to have been totally undone by the fame that "The Catcher in the Rye" inflicted upon him. For nearly four decades he has been a semi-hermit (he married for the third time about a decade and a half ago) in his New England fastness, spurning journalists and fending off adoring fans, practicing the Zen Buddhism that seems to have become an obsession with him.

It's weird, but it's also his business. If, Garbolike, he just vants to be alone, he's entitled. But whether calculated or not, his reclusiveness has created an aura that heightens, rather than diminishes, the mystique of "The Catcher in the Rye." It isn't just a novel, it's a dispatch from an unknown, mysterious universe, which may help explain the phenomenal sales it enjoys to this day: about 250,000 copies a year, with total worldwide sales over -- probably way over -- 10 million. The mass-market paperback I bought last summer is, incredibly, from the 42nd printing; for the astonishing price of $35,000 you can buy, online, a signed copy not of the first edition -- a signed copy of that, we must assume, would be almost literally priceless -- but of the 1951 Book-of-the-Month Club edition.

Viewed from the vantage point of half a century, the novel raises more questions than it answers. Why is a book about a spoiled rich kid kicked out of a fancy prep school so widely read by ordinary Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom have limited means and attend, or attended, public schools? Why is Holden Caulfield nearly universally seen as "a symbol of purity and sensitivity" (as "The Oxford Companion to American Literature" puts it) when he's merely self-regarding and callow? Why do English teachers, whose responsibility is to teach good writing, repeatedly and reflexively require students to read a book as badly written as this one?

That last question actually is easily answered: "The Catcher in the Rye" can be fobbed off on kids as a book about themselves. It is required reading as therapy, a way to encourage young people to bathe in the warm, soothing waters of resentment (all grown-ups are phonies) and self-pity without having to think a lucid thought. Like that other (albeit marginally better) novel about lachrymose preppies, John Knowles's "A Separate Peace" (1960), "The Catcher in the Rye" touches adolescents' emotional buttons without putting their minds to work. It's easy for them, which makes it easy for teacher.

What most struck me upon reading it for a second time was how sentimental -- how outright squishy -- it is. The novel is commonly represented as an expression of adolescent cynicism and rebellion -- a James Dean movie in print -- but from first page to last Salinger wants to have it both ways. Holden is a rebel and all that -- "the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life," "probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw" -- but he's a softy at heart. He's always pitying people -- "I felt sorry as hell for him, all of a sudden," "You had to feel a little sorry for the crazy sonuvabitch," "Real ugly girls have it tough. I feel so sorry for them sometimes" -- and he is positively a saint when it comes to his little sister, Phoebe. He buys a record for her, "Little Shirley Beans," and in the course of moping around Manhattan he does something clumsy that gives him the chance to show what a good-hearted guy he really is:

"Then something terrible happened just as I got in the park. I dropped old Phoebe's record. It broke into about fifty pieces. It was in a big envelope and all, but it broke anyway. I damn near cried, it made me feel so terrible, but all I did was, I took the pieces out of the envelope and put them in my coat pocket. They weren't good for anything, but I didn't feel like just throwing them away. Then I went in the park. Boy, was it dark."

Me, I damn near puked. That passage is flagrantly manipulative, a tug on the heartstrings aimed at bringing a tear to the eye. Ditto for Holden's brother, Allie: "He's dead now. He got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18, 1946. You'd have liked him. He was two years younger than I was, but he was about fifty times as intelligent. He was terrifically intelligent. His teachers were always writing letters to my mother, telling her what a pleasure it was having a boy like Allie in their class. And they weren't just shooting the crap. They really meant it."

That's just easy exploitation of the reader's emotion. Give your protagonist a dead younger brother and a cute little sister -- not to mention a revered older brother, D.B., a gifted writer who sounds a whole lot like J.D. Salinger himself -- and the rest is strictly downhill. From first page to last, "The Catcher in the Rye" is an exercise in button-pushing, and the biggest button it pushes is the adolescent's uncertainty and insecurity as he or she perches precariously between childhood, which is remembered fondly and wistfully, and adulthood, which is the great phony unknown. Indeed a case can be made that "The Catcher in the Rye" created adolescence as we now know it, a condition that barely existed until Salinger defined it. He established whining rebellion as essential to adolescence and it has remained such ever since. It was a short leap indeed from "The Catcher in the Rye" to "The Blackboard Jungle" to "Rebel Without a Cause" to Valley Girls to the multibillion-dollar industry that adolescent angst is today.

The cheap sentimentality with which the novel is suffused reaches a climax of sorts when Holden's literary side comes to the fore. He flunks all his courses except English. "I'm quite illiterate," he says early in the book, "but I read a lot," which establishes the mixture of self-deprecation and self-congratulation that seems to appeal to so many readers. In one of the novel's more widely quoted passages he then says:

"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though. I wouldn't mind calling this Isak Dinesen up. And Ring Lardner, except that D.B. told me he's dead."

That Ring Lardner is one of Holden's favorite writers is a considerable, if wholly inadvertent, irony. Lardner was the master of the American vernacular who, as H.L. Mencken wrote, "set down common American with the utmost precision." Salinger, by contrast, can be seen straining at every turn to write the way an American teenager would speak, but he only produces an adult's unwitting parody of teen-speak. Unlike Lardner, Salinger has a tin ear. His characters forever say "ya" for "you," as in "ya know," which no American except perhaps a slapstick comedian ever has said. Americans say "yuh know" or "y'know," but never "ya know."

"The Catcher in the Rye" is a maladroit, mawkish novel, but there can be no question about its popularity or influence. My own hunch is that the reason is the utter, innocent sincerity with which it was written. It may be manipulative, but it's not phony. A better, more cynical writer than Salinger easily could write a book about a troubled yet appealing teenager, but its artifice and insincerity would be self-evident and readers would reject it as false. Whatever its shortcomings, "The Catcher in the Rye" is from the heart -- not Holden Caulfield's heart, but Jerome David Salinger's. He said everything he had to say in it, which may well be why he has said nothing else.

Cool, Jaunty, Flippant, Arrogant and Stubbornly Wrong

The wrong tone at the wrong time. I found it painful to listen to Obama and watch the fools on the hill and the charade in front of him. I was tempted to say we deserve better than this, but then the collective decision was to pick this man at this time and that is proving to be very unfortunate.

I was listening for something hopeful, something different for this time, something that would have a chance at working. Instead, I watched a rehearsed, clipped and pasted attempt of an already failed presidency to save itself.

Obama is scaring people, the Democrats, his supporters and the tens of millions of Americans in deep, deep trouble. He is not strong enough, too inexperienced and has never been qualified lo lead. Obama has spent a year missing opportunities. Last night was no exception.


Obama's State of the Union: damaged but unrepentant

By Janet Daley World Last updated: January 28th, 2010 Telegraph

It was a difficult call: should he go for contrition or proud intransigence? Admit that he had misjudged the national mood, or refuse to give in to what he would characterise as Republican dirty tricks? In the end, Barack Obama veered more toward the latter than the former. The over-riding theme was summed up in one of the closing passages of this first State of the Union speech: “Americans don’t give up. I don’t give up.”

So officially at least, there was to be no backing down on healthcare reform – except that by now it had become health insurance reform. No more talk of a public option or of a genuinely nationalised healthcare programme: just legislation to curb the rights of health insurance providers to refuse cover to people with pre-existing conditions, etc. The great Obama revolution in health was now a matter of guaranteeing that people would be able to choose their healthcare plans “in a competitive market”.

As for those struggling middle class families which his administration has been accused of neglecting, they got a fair helping of reassurance that he felt their pain. But not a great deal that was new in concrete terms. From a British point of view what was most significant was that even this Left-of-centre president proudly boasted that he had cut the taxes of 95 per cent of working families and that he had not increased income tax by a penny. To loud applause he boasted of having cut 25 taxes which meant that “people had more to spend” which in turn helped businesses to retain jobs. And he was also absolutely clear that the way to create jobs was to cut business taxes. He would abolish captal gains tax on investment for small businesses which are the greatest generators of new jobs in the US as they are here. Yes, even the Left gets it in America: the way to promote growth is to reduce taxes.

His manner and tone were always going to be subject to lively scrutiny: had his nerve been broken? Would the “cool” Obama survive the catastrophic defeat in Massachusetts and the collapse of his approval ratings? Well, he was cool enough. Jaunty, even – which may prove to have been a misjudgement. He clearly wanted to look undaunted but he came across as almost flippant. A more sombre delivery might have seemed more in tune with the anger and frustration of voters who still see themselves as beset by crisis. I rather expect that many of them could have done without the high school valedictory peroration on the greatness of American ideals and how “our values are American values” rather than Democrat or Republican values, and that political opponents who just wanted to “say ‘no’ to everything” were underming those values, etc, etc.

Railing against the evils of partisan politics is the last refuge of the failing leader. It’s a bit desperate to be falling back on that tactic after only a year in office – especially when that year was spent with a firm lock on your congressional majority. If Obama is reduced to blaming Washington infighting for his inability to impress the nation after a year in which his party dominated government, what will the next three years be like?
Chris Tingle forgot Obama was black last night.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jumping Jack-Ass Night for our Rulers and Masters

Fire at will.

Live blog if you have it in you.

Take no prisoners, but if you insist don't forget to marandize the Mike Foxtrots.

Count the times Obama says "I".

Don't forget the middle class.

Don't stare at Michelle's ass.

Lest we forget about about the real cause of the housing crisis.

The beat goes on:

"A group led by Tishman Speyer Properties has decided to give up the sprawling Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town apartment complex in Manhattan to its creditors in the collapse of one of the most high-profile deals of the real-estate boom.

The decision comes after the venture between Tishman and BlackRock Inc. defaulted on the $4.4 billion debt used to help finance the deal. The venture acquired the 56-building, 11,000-unit property for $5.4 billion in 2006—the most ever paid for a single residential property in the U.S. The venture had been struggling for months to restructure the debt but capitulated facing a massive debt load and a weak New York City economy that has undercut rents and demand for high-priced apartments." WSJ

American Thinker
January 24, 2010
Barney Frank's flip flop on Fannie and Freddie oversight
Ethel C. Fenig

That was then:

Six years ago, in September 2003, when then President George W. Bush (R) proposed placing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the supervision of a new agency within the Treasury Department because of deep concern whether its $1.5 trillion mortgage debt was properly run and because of charges of accounting irregularities, Rep Barney Frank (D-MA), head of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees these two government backed agencies, retorted, as reported by the NY Times:

''These two entities - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

This is now:

Less then a week after Senator elect Scott Brown (R-MA) overturned politics in Massachusetts (yes, even I can spell it without spell check although I don't live in the state and am not running for office there), including capturing Barney Frank's district , Jordan Fabian of The Hill informs us that Frank now proposes:

"I believe this committee will be recommending abolishing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their current form and coming up with a whole new system of housing finance," he said at a committee hearing. "That's the approach, rather than the piecemeal one."

As Fabian so delicately explains:

Frank's words cast doubt on the future of two two (sic) mortgage giants, which have received over $110 billion in government assistance after they nearly failed during the flood of defaulted mortgages during the housing crisis.
The Massachusetts Democrat earlier this month said that Fannie and Freddie are now serving as a public policy arm of the government.

Is that Bush's fault also?

Grab those tea bags and tea party on! The revolution has begun!
Change so many of us can really believe in.

Washington Auto Show

Monday, January 25, 2010

Middle Class, Middle Class, Middle Class and by the way did I mention Middle Class?

More child care, more elder care, more defined entitlements tor people who have incomes up to $85,000.

Who pays for that? Where does this money come from?

Student loans, federal loan payments will be subsidized by taxpayers. Who pays for that?

What happened to jobs, jobs, jobs?

The government is going to add money to IRA's. Where does that money come from?

Do we borrow it from the Chinese or do we extract it from the productive part of the economy?

Let me make this simple. Any entitlement guaranteeing a payment to an entitled group is a tax on the economy and a transfer payment. It is a burden on production. Any financial burden on the private sector will have a reduction on the purchase of capital or the employment of labor.

Listen to Obama at the latter part of this clip.

He is burdening the economy with entitlements on top of entitlements.

Furthermore he is saying that for people to have real security, he will forgive student debt if they go into government service. He is giving economic incentives to create more government workers, a group that already makes more money than the so called middle class in the private sector.

I can already hear the industry planners rushing to create new jobs in India and China.

If Obama/Biden believe this, they are fools, more than likely they do not and are knaves. Either way Obama is heading a job killing, government expanding, economy wrecking machine. He knows nothing about the working of the American economy or private industry.

Obama talks in the Marxist dialect of class, seeing America in terms of class warfare with the downtrodden and the the middle class against the oppressors above them.

To Obama, it is no longer possible for Americans to get ahead without a government cushion. Better yet, to Obama, he wants special privileges for those that swell the ranks of government, something he actually does understand.

Obama does not have to figure out how to improve the middle class. He needs to understand that the best he can do, is to take away the government impediments to middle class people improving themselves.

Obama and his ilk do not see the long term harm done to people that are trained from pre-school to depend on government welfare. They do not see the connection.

Here is a prime example:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. economic recession has taken a particularly heavy toll on young Americans, with a record one out five black men aged 20 to 24 neither working nor in school, according to research released on Tuesday.

Teenagers have found it significantly harder to get a job since the recession began in late 2007, with black youths and young people from low-income families faring the worst, wrote Andrew Sum of Northeastern University in Boston, a employment researcher commissioned by the Chicago Urban League and the Alternative Schools Network.

"Low-income and minority youth, who depended on part-time jobs as a significant stepping stone to future employment, have been forced out of the job market and economically marginalized," Herman Brewer of the Chicago Urban League said in a statement.

Overall, 26 percent of American teenagers aged 16 to 19 had jobs in late 2009, said the report, which was based on U.S. Census Bureau data. That figure is a record low since statistics began to be kept in 1948, the researchers said.

Employment counts the number of people with a job as a percentage of the entire work force. By contrast, the unemployment rate -- which stood at 10 percent in December in the United States -- does not include people who have grown discouraged and stopped looking for work.

Joblessness was particularly rife among high school dropouts aged 16 to 24 who were neither in school nor holding a job, the report said. Family income also had a influence on joblessness.

Only 13 percent of low-income black teenagers in Illinois held a job in 2008 compared with 48 percent of more affluent white, non-Hispanic teens.

The "disconnection rate" -- Americans aged 20 to 24 who were neither in school nor working -- jumped to 28 percent last year from 17 percent in 2007.

"If you included those in prison it would be a couple of points higher," the report's co-author Joseph McLaughlin of Northeastern.

Among the proposals the report supported were government-funded jobs programs directed at the young, additional funding to help re-enroll school dropouts, and government-funded expansions of work internships.

Catch and Release

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is Osama bin Laden a Criminal or Master Terrorist and Enemy of the US?

All right, bin Laden is claiming the Christmas bombing attempt of a US carrier over US territory is his doing. He goes on to threaten other attempts by al-Qaeda, yet the bomber designated shit bird, " the heroic warrior Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab" sits in a US prison marandized by our own General Eric Holder.

There is no doubt that Abdulmutallab is an illegal enemy combatant. He is claimed as such by bin Laden.

Obama should have Holder withdraw the criminal charges against Shit Bird I and send him to Guantanamo, where he belonged in the first place. American lives are at stake and valuable time has already been lost. However, as this video shows, Eric Holder has other priorities. He is distilled in his victimization and his priorities are not exactly as an American firster.

In audio message, bin Laden says he endorsed Dec. 25 airline bomb plot

Washington Post
By Jason Keyser
Monday, January 25, 2010

Osama bin Laden endorsed the failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner Christmas Day and threatened new attacks against the United States in an audio message released Sunday that appeared aimed at asserting that he maintains some direct command over al-Qaeda-inspired offshoots.

U.S. officials and several researchers who track terrorist groups, however, said there is no indication that bin Laden or any of his top lieutenants had anything to do with or even knew in advance of the plot by a Yemen-based group that is one of several largely independent al-Qaeda franchises.

A State Department spokesman said al-Qaeda's core leadership offers such groups strategic guidance but depends on them to carry out missions.

"He's trying to continue to appear relevant" by talking up the attempted attack by an affiliate, P. J. Crowley said.

The one-minute message was explicit in its threat of new attacks. Bin Laden said such attacks, like the airline plot, would come in response to U.S. support for Israel.

"God willing, our raids on you will continue as long as your support for the Israelis continues," bin Laden said in the recording, which was released to the al-Jazeera news channel.

"The message delivered to you through the plane of the heroic warrior Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a confirmation of the previous messages sent by the heroes of the September 11," attacks, he said of the Nigerian suspect in the Dec. 25 botched bombing.

"If our messages had been able to reach you through words, we wouldn't have been delivering them through planes."

Directing his statements at President Obama -- "from Osama to Obama," he said -- bin Laden added: "America will never dream of security unless we will have it in reality in Palestine."

The message, which White House officials said could not immediately be authenticated, raised again the question of how much of a link exists between al-Qaeda's top leadership along the Afghan-Pakistani border and the handful of loosely affiliated groups operating in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa and Iraq.

The al-Qaeda leader, who was last heard from in September, seemed intent on showing that he remains more than an ideological figurehead, as most analysts have suggested he has become during the terrorist network's evolution into decentralized offshoots. But some questioned whether al-Qaeda's core leadership was involved.

"They weren't putting the final touches on this operation," said Evan F. Kohlmann, a senior investigator for the New York-based NEFA Foundation, which researches Islamic militants.

Still, the Saudi and Yemeni leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which formed in Yemen a year ago, have a long history of direct personal contact with bin Laden. It is plausible that, if they were able to, they would have informed bin Laden of the airliner plot and sought his approval, Kohlmann said.

The Yemen-based group's leader, Nasir al-Wahishi, was once bin Laden's personal secretary. The group's top military commander, Qassim al-Raimi, trained in bin Laden's main camp in Afghanistan, Kohlmann said.

Two of the group's top members were detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and were released in November 2007.

The Yemen offshoot is largely self-sustaining, with its own theological figures, bomb-makers and a network for funneling in recruits.

"The training and the definition of the attack was by the local leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," said Rohan Gunaratna, author of "Inside Al-Qaeda: Global Network of Terror."

"So, in many ways you can say bin Laden is exploiting for his benefit this particular attack. Bin Laden still wants to claim leadership for the global jihad movement."

U.S. investigators say the Nigerian suspect in the Dec. 25 attempted bombing told them he had been trained in Yemen and given the explosives there by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Bin Laden's message came four weeks after the Yemen-based group made its own claim of responsibility for the bomb plot with a different justification: linking it to Yemeni military attacks on al-Qaeda targets with the help of U.S. intelligence.

-- Associated Press

Ronald Reagan's Warning on Socialised Medicine

Since this is the subject of an on-going "dialogue" this morning, I thought it appropriate to post.

Listening to Reagan in his prime reminded me of how the man was vilified as an empty suit. To the left he was a hack, has been, B-movie actor. The left said that he was a shill for the right. That's the kind of Alinsky propaganda that the left employs to discredit the well reasoned arguments of conservatism. It's funny that recently, even the left have begun to admit that Reagan was much more than they gave him credit for. Here's his warning on the slippery slope of socialised medicine. It's somewhat lengthy for today's attention spans, but please listen to the end.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yo fool, git yo pants off the ground

OMG - Get it Off!

NZ army to remove Bible citations from armaments
By RAY LILLEY, Associated Press Writer Ray Lilley, Associated Press Writer 9 mins ago

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Biblical citations inscribed on U.S.-manufactured weapon sights used by New Zealand's troops in Afghanistan will be removed because they are inappropriate and could stoke religious tensions, New Zealand said Thursday.

The inscriptions on products from defense contractor Trijicon of Wixom, Michigan, came to light this week in the U.S. where Army officials said Tuesday they would investigate whether the gun sights — also used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq — violate U.S. procurement laws.

Australia also said Thursday its military used the sights and was now assessing what to do.

Trijicon said it has had such inscriptions on its products for three decades and has never received complaints about them before. The inscriptions, which don't include actual text from the Bible, refer numerically to passages from the book.

New Zealand defense force spokesman Maj. Kristian Dunne said Trijicon would be instructed to remove the inscriptions from further orders of the gun sights for New Zealand and the letters would be removed from gun sights already in use by troops.

"The inscriptions ... put us in a difficult situation. We were unaware of it and we're unhappy that the manufacturer didn't give us any indication that these were on there," Dunne said. "We deem them to be inappropriate."

The Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight rifle sights used by New Zealand troops, which allow them to pinpoint targets day or night, carried references to Bible verses that appeared in raised lettering at the end of the sight stock number.

Markings included "JN8:12," a reference to John 8:12: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,'" according to the King James version of the Bible.

The Trijicon Reflex sight is stamped with 2COR4:6, a reference to part of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," the King James version reads.

Dunne said New Zealand's defense force has about 260 of the company's gun sights, which were first bought in 2004, and will continue to use them once the inscriptions are removed because they are the best of their kind.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the government was not aware of the inscriptions when the defense force bought the equipment.

"Now we are in discussions with the company in the United States who will ensure the inscriptions are removed, and we wouldn't want them on future sights," he told reporters.

Earlier, Defense Minister Wayne Mapp said with New Zealand soldiers in Muslim countries, the Bible references could be misconstrued.

"We all know of the religious tensions around this issue and it's unwise to do anything that could be seen to raise tensions in an unnecessary way," he said.

Trijicon said it has been long-standing company practice to put the Scripture citations on the equipment. Tom Munson, Trijicon's director of sales and marketing, said the company had never received complaints until now.

"We don't publicize this," Munson said in a recent interview. "It's not something we make a big deal out of. But when asked, we say, 'Yes, it's there.'"

Trijicon said biblical references were first put on the sites nearly 30 years ago by the company founder, Glyn Bindon, who was killed in a plane crash in 2003. His son Stephen, Trijicon's president, continued the practice.

The references have stoked concerns by critics in the U.S. about whether they break a government rule that bars proselytizing by American troops. But U.S. military officials said the citations don't violate the ban and they won't stop using the tens of thousands of telescoping sights that have already been bought.

The Australian Defense Department, which with 1,550 troops in Afghanistan is the largest contributor to that campaign outside NATO, said Thursday that it also used the sights but had been "unaware of the significance of the manufacturer's serial number."

"The Department of Defense is very conscious of the sensitivities associated with this issue and is assessing how to address these as soon as practicable," the department said in a statement.

Socialism vs. Capitalism

Obama has returned to moralizing on greed. Of course the greed that offends Obama is private greed. Government greed is something not mentioned. Obama is offended that the private sector is greedy by taking up too many resources for health care. He wants to redistribute the resources from the greedy to the needy.

Obama and his supporters cite that too much of the economy is spent on health care. They never explain what is the right amount. If it is 16%, so what? Why not 30%? Is it better to buy goods we don't need from China than spending for something that keeps you healthier and helps you to live longer? Who is better to make that choice, the individual collective decisions of the private sector or the government and social engineers?

Always, the justification to take and redistribute wealth is that it was accumulated by greed.

This is nothing new for Obama. In his book, "Dreams for My Father," Page 293, Obama refers to The Rev. William Wright's "The Audacity of Hope" sermon.

Obama quotes:

"It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere…That’s the world! On which hope sits!"

We will hear more and more about Obama's distaste for greed as justification for his policy of redistribution of wealth in his desperate attempt to force America to do what the majority does not want to do.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Obama the Unilateralist

This is really choice!

Obama's Plan May Fail European Test


President Obama is making a habit of springing financial surprises. His latest plan to stop certain banks from trading on their own account or investing in hedge funds and private equity follows last week's announcement of a bank wholesale-funding levy. Despite repeated efforts by European governments to engage the U.S. in a global financial-overhaul agenda, both proposals appear to have been launched unilaterally without consultation with international partners.

Nonetheless, Mr. Obama's plans have had global repercussions. European bank stocks sold off following the announcement, with Barclays, the biggest decliner, down more than 10%. But this may be an overreaction. To the extent it is possible to guess what will emerge from Mr. Obama's two-paragraph plan, European banks don't look particularly vulnerable. Few take U.S. deposits or have access to the Federal Reserve discount window, making it hard to see how they could be caught by the new rules.

Many, including UBS, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland Group, already have largely exited proprietary trading. None are big investors in hedge funds, although some such as Deutsche Bank and Barclays continue to invest in private equity. Barclays probably is the most active in proprietary trading, but it is likely to account for less than 5% of group revenue, according to UBS.

Mr. Obama's plans to limit the size of banks and curb their use of wholesale funding, both through caps on funding and a proposed levy, may be a bigger threat to European banks, if adopted globally. True, there is no clarity on how these proposals might work in practice. Wholesale funding can take many forms, and how one measures market share of liabilities is unclear. But a global levy along the lines outlined by Mr. Obama could cost Barclays roughly half its forecast 2011 profit before tax, according to Credit Suisse.

Mr. Obama's vague plans have created uncertainty for the banking sector and, by fueling the populist backlash, heightened the regulatory risk for the whole industry. Mr. Obama's proposals may mark the start of a global debate on how to tackle the problems raised by too-big-to-fail banks, leading to a coherent international overhaul agenda.

Just as likely, Mr. Obama, by politicizing the debate and pinning his colors to one plan of action, may instead have pulled the rug from under his potential allies, making global agreement harder to achieve. No European country is likely to follow Mr. Obama's lead without global agreement. That would open up the prospect of new opportunities for regulatory arbitrage from which European banks may yet be winners.

Arlen Specter Shows His Verility to PA Voters

Arlen Specter single handedly with this audio clip reminded every Pennsylvania voter that he is old, pathetic and grumpy. Arlen has, as they say in Scotland, "not proven" that he is the man that Pennsy needs in Washington.


Toomey Widens Senate Race Polling Lead


Republican Pat Toomey is continuing to show well in early polling for the 2010 Pennsylvania Senate race, according to Rasmussen Reports polling .

The former congressman, who is not yet being challenged in the primary, holds a 49-percent-to-40-percent margin over Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter.

And polling also shows Toomey has a 43-percent-to-35-percent lead over Democratic challenger, Congressman Joe Sestak.

Those leads have doubled over the span of a month.

In the Democratic primary battle, Specter is ahead of Sestak by 21 points.

According to Rasmussen, just 41 percent of Pennsylvania voters favor the health care reform legislation currently before Congress, while 57 percent are opposed. Those attitudes are similar to the national average.

Favorable and unfavorable ratings for each candidate by poll participants have changed little over the past several months, which leads the pollster to say Toomey's improving prospects are likely due more to the political environment than the candidates.

Can a US State Secede from the United States?

South Carolina Senate Affirms 10th Amendment
19. JAN, 2010

On Tuesday, the South Carolina Senate became the 2nd legislative body in the country to approve a resolution affirming State Sovereignty. The resolution, S424, was originally introduced in the 2009 session, but was brought back for additional debate once the new session began last week.

The following states have bills introduced reaffirming the principle of delegated powers:

Sovereignty Resolutions: HJR298 HJR403 HJR10 – introduced 08-10-09

Sovereignty Resolutions: HJR27 (Passed 37-0 on 04-06-09) (Senate Passed 19-0, on 04-19-09 – Awaiting Transmittal to Governor) Signed by Governor on 07-10-09

Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR2024 (Committee voted Do-Pass on 04/14/09) Passed House, 34-24 on 06-10-09

Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR1011 (failed in committee on 03-04-09 passed committee 04-01-09 failed House vote, 54-34)

Sovereignty Resolutions: SJM09-011 (postponed by committee)

Sovereignty Resolutions: HM19

Sovereignty Resolutions: HR280 HR470 HR773 SR632 (Passed Senate 43-1 on 04/01/09)

Sovereignty Resolutions: HJM004 (Passed House 51-17 on 03-23-09 Passed Senate on 04-07-09)

Sovereignty Resolutions: SR0181

Sovereignty Resolutions: SCR37 SR42 (SR0042 Passed Committe 8-0 on 04-01-09) (SR0042 Passed Senate 44-3 on 04-09-09)

Sovereignty Resolutions: SCR-1

Sovereignty Resolutions: SCR1609

Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR168 HCR172 HCR10 (pre-filed for 2010 session)

Sovereignty Resolutions: SCR-2 (Passed Senate, 32-0 on 05-11-09, transmitted to House) (Passed House 59-12 on 06-24-09)

Sovereignty Resolutions: Introduced 05-26-09

Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR4 SCR4 September 17, 2009 – Senate unanimously passed 2 sovereignty resolutions – click here for details

Sovereignty Resolutions: HF997

Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR69 House – passed committee 05-06-09, scheduled for vote (HCR-69, Amended, Passed 80-39 on 05-07-09 – new text to follow)SC630 (SC-630 Passed 05-07-09) (HCR69 – Motion to R…

Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR13 (passed house on 03-23-09) (senate public hearing 04-07-09)

Sovereignty Resolutions: HJ26 (Failed 51-49 on 02-24-09) Resolution reintroduced as HR3 (HR3 Passed House Committee on 04-21-09) (HR3 failed to pass in house, 50-50)

Sovereignty Resolutions: AJR15 (Committee 04-11-09: “No Further Action Allowed”)

New Hampshire
Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR-6 (resolution failed in house on 03-04-09: 216-150)

New Jersey
Sovereignty Resolutions:ACR238 – introduced 06-22-09

New Mexico
Sovereignty Resolutions: HJR27 (tabled in committee)

North Carolina
Sovereignty Resolutions: H849 Introduced and referred to committee

North Dakota
Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR3063 (passed house 52-40 on 04-07-09) (passed senate 25-20 on 04-20-09 – returned to house, amended) (passed House by voice vote on 04-27-09)

Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR11SCR13 Passed Senate, 19-12 on 09-29-09

Sovereignty Resolutions: HJR1003 (passed house on 02/18/09) (senate version passed 25-17 on 03-04-09) (Joint version passed Senate, 29-18 on 04-15-09 – awaiting signuture of governor) (Vetoed by Gover…

Sovereignty Resolutions: HJM0017

Sovereignty Resolutions: HR95 SR51

South Carolina
Sovereignty Resolutions: H3509 (passed house on 02-26-09) (senate – referred to subcommittee)S-424

South Dakota
Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR1013 (passed house on 03-03-09 by a vote of 51-18) (passed senate on 03-05-09 by a vote of 20-14)

Sovereignty Resolutions: HJR108 (Senate version passed 31-0 on 05-04-09) (Passed House 85-2 on 05-26-09) (Senate Passed HJR108 31-0 on 06-12-09) Signed by Gov. on 06-23-09

Sovereignty Resolutions: SCR-35SCR-39HCR-50 (05-19-09, HCR50 returned to committee) (HCR50 Passed committee on 05-20-09) (HCR50 passed 98-36 House on 05-30-09)

Sovereignty Resolutions: SCR2 pre-filed for 2010

Sovereignty Resolutions: HR61

Sovereignty Resolutions: HJM4009

West Virginia
Sovereignty Resolutions: HCR49

Sovereignty Resolutions: SR-6

2010 HJ1, HJ2

The Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution is simple:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Is there growing support in the US for the states and the people to reestablish their original rights taken by the federal government?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Only a Hard Leftist Ideologue Would Read a Terrorist His Miranda Rights. Fire Eric Holder.

Go back a couple of months and see the real Eric Holder, and by the way, he is not a fine man.

On bombing suspect, tough questions for Eric Holder
Chief Political Correspondent
Washington Examiner
January 22, 2010

After all, Abdulmutallab was trained by al Qaeda, equipped with an al Qaeda-made bomb, and dispatched by al Qaeda to bring down the airliner and its 278 passengers. Even though the Obama administration has mostly abandoned the term "war on terror," the president himself has said clearly that the United States is at war with al Qaeda. So who decided to treat Abdulmutallab as a civilian, read him the Miranda warning, and provide him with a government-paid lawyer -- giving him the right to remain silent and denying the United States potentially valuable intelligence that might have been gained by a military-style interrogation?

This week that simple question -- Who? -- became more complicated after several of the administration's top anti-terrorism officials testified on Capitol Hill. The director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter, said he wasn't consulted before the decision was made. The director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, said he wasn't consulted, either. The secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, said she wasn't consulted. And the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, said he wasn't consulted.

"The decision was made by the agents on the ground," Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, referring to the officials who apprehended Abdulmutallab when the plane landed in Detroit. American agents questioned the accused terrorist briefly before he was taken to a hospital to be treated for burns suffered in the attempt to set off explosives hidden in his underwear. After that, Mueller testified, "in consultation with the Department of Justice and others in the administration," the agents read him his rights.

And that was that. "Isn't it a fact, that after Miranda was given ... the individual stopped talking?" Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions asked Mueller.

"He did," Mueller answered. But Mueller declined to say who made the decision to grant Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent.

The issue is enormously important because Abdulmutallab, newly trained by al Qaeda in the terrorist group's latest hot spot, Yemen, likely knows things that would be very useful to American anti-terrorism investigators. He's not some grizzled old terrorist who's been sitting in Guantanamo Bay since 2003 and doesn't have any new intelligence. He's fresh material. Yet he is protected by U.S. criminal law from having to answer questions.
Why? Republicans on the Judiciary Committee increasingly believe there is only one person who can answer: Attorney General Eric Holder.

It was Holder who made the decision to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a criminal trial in New York. It is Holder who has expressed his desire to grant full American constitutional rights to foreign terrorists. It is Holder who is leading the administration's sputtering effort to move some Guantanamo inmates to the United States. And it is Holder who is apparently cutting other parts of the government out of crucial terrorism decisions like the treatment of Abdulmutallab.

"These days, all roads lead to the attorney general," says one well-placed Republican source in the Senate. "They seem to have aggregated quite a bit of power inside Main Justice." The problem is, the Holder Justice Department appears to be handling terrorism issues from a defense-attorney perspective, and doing so without the input of the government's other terrorism-fighting agencies.

That was the message of Wednesday's testimony from Blair, Leiter, Napolitano, and Mueller, all of whom were out of the loop on the Adbulmutallab decision. Their accounts left a number of Republican senators shaken; as the GOP lawmakers see it, the decision to read Abdulmutallab Miranda rights was a dreadful mistake, one that could have serious consequences down the line. There should be some accountability.

So on Thursday all seven Republicans on the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Holder asking for a full explanation: Who made the decision and why, and whether the administration now has "a protocol or policy in place for handling al Qaeda terrorists captured in the United States."

Republicans were troubled by the decision even before Wednesday's testimony showed that major administration figures knew nothing about it. Now, the lawmakers want to know what happened, and they believe the only person who can tell them is Holder.

Byron York, The Examiner's chief political correspondent, can be contacted at His column appears on Tuesday and Friday, and his stories and blog posts appears on

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