Scott wrote here about President Obama's state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao, and pianist Lang Lang, who played an anti-American propaganda melody from the Korean War: the theme song to the movie "Battle on Shangganling Mountain." The tune is, apparently, universally known in China and many have argued that Lang, and perhaps others, intended a political message.
A liberal radio personality in Madison, Wisconsin ridicules that state's lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, with crude sex jokes, and also mocks the fact that she has suffered from cancer.
Word is that President Obama will focus on jobs in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday. No surprise there: jobs are the American people's top public policy concern. Obama reportedly will propose new and expanded federal spending programs as the means of job creation. No surprise there either: what else do liberals have to offer?
Jennifer Rubin got Judge Michael Mukasey to talk about what has happened to the Department of Justice since he turned it over to Eric Holder. The result is explosive. Mukasey is a sober and distinguished judge and lawyer with first-hand knowledge of many of the relevant facts, so his characterizations should be given considerable weight.
GE got a taste of the good life when it got in on the bank bailout. As the Washington Post reported in a major article in mid-2009, GE had quietly become the biggest beneficiary of one of the government's key bank bailout programs. At the same time GE also avoided many of the restrictions faced by the big banks
The current temperature here in the Minneapolis suburbs is ten degrees below zero. The high today was three or four degrees. Last night it got down to twenty below zero. So it's winter; what else is new? The snow in my neighborhood is piled as much as twelve feet high.
So far, at least, my prediction that the Democrats' effort to exploit the Tucson murders for political gain will fail seems to be accurate. A CBS News poll released this morning finds that by a 57-32 percent margin, respondents don't believe that the nation's "harsh political tone" had anything to do with the murders.
Today, the Washington Post reported that "the Obama administration has abandoned its effort to persuade Israel to renew a construction freeze." Actually, the administration had persuaded Israel to renew the freeze for three months. It did so by offering certain incentives to Israel.
We are living in a historical moment that in some ways represents uncharted territory. In other respects, however, the current moment is a return to a simpler and clearer past, when the hallmark of conservatism was opposition to extravagant spending boondoggles proposed by liberals. For a variety of reasons the fiscal battle lines have been blurred in recent years, but these days we are back to the paradigm that held sway decades ago. Yesterday, Minority Leader John Boehner sent out an email on the House Democrats' ridiculous $825 billion "stimulus" bill. It is worth reproducing in its entirety: A Dozen Fun Facts About the House Democrats' Massive Spending Bill 1. The House Democrats' bill will cost each and every household $6,700 additional debt, paid for by our children and grandchildren. 2. The total cost of this one piece of legislation is almost as much as the annual discretionary budget for the entire federal government. 3. President-elect Obama has said that his proposed stimulus legislation will create or save three million jobs. This means that this legislation will spend about $275,000 per job. The average household income in the U.S. is $50,000 a year. 4. The House Democrats' bill provides enough spending - $825 billion - to give every man, woman, and child in America $2,700. 5. $825 billion is enough to give every person living in poverty in the U.S. $22,000. 6. $825 billion is enough to give every person in Ohio $72,000. 7. Although the House Democrats' proposal has been billed as a transportation and infrastructure investment package, in actuality only $30 billion of the bill - or three percent - is for road and highway spending. A recent study from the Congressional Budget Office said that only 25 percent of infrastructure dollars can be spent in the first year, making the one year total less than $7 billion for infrastructure. 8. Much of the funding within the House Democrats' proposal
In 2007 the Islamic Society of North America was identified by the government as one of the unindicted co-conspirators of the Holy Land Foundation. (So was CAIR.) The government identified ISNA as an entity that is or was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. HLF was of course the chief fundraiser for Hamas in the United States. The government closed down HLF in the aftermath of 9/11. This past November it was convicted along with its principals of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Josh Gerstein covered the HLF prosecution for the late New York Sun newspaper. Yesterday afternoon Gerstein reported for Politico that ISNA president Ingrid Mattson is scheduled to join clerics offering prayers for the new president and his family during the Obama inaugural prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington. Gerstein quotes the HLF prosecutor stating that exhibits introduced at trial established ISNA's intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee that devoted itself to supporting Hamas, and the HLF defendants. The prosecutor advised the court that ISNA was intimately connected with the HLF and its assigned task of providing financial support to Hamas. Winfield Myers has more on Mattson and ISNA. In a sense, the Obama inaugural's inclusion of Mattson represents continuity with the Bush administration. While one arm of the government has blown the whistle on leading American Islamic groups including CAIR and ISNA, other arms of the government have treated the groups as respectable members of civil society. This is one area where change is actu
Eric Holder illustrates the dangers of ambition married to weak character. His subservience to the interests of Bill Clinton in approving the corrupt pardon of Marc Rich and the indefensible pardons of the FALN terrorists was a disgrace. His role in these pardons should disqualify him for higher office. Holder himself does not defend his role in the Rich pardon. He concedes it was a mistake. He claims somewhat paradoxically that he learned so much from his mistake that he will be a better Attorney General. Holder makes no such concession or claim in the case of the FALN terrorists. Joseph Connor is the son of one of their victims. He testified against Holder in the confirmation hearing yesterday. In "Terrorists killed my father," Connor writes: At the time of the [FALN] pardons, Eric H. Holder Jr. was deputy attorney general. In considering his department's recommendation on clemency, he met with supporters of the terrorists but ignored their victims. He pushed staff members to drop their strong opposition to a presidential pardon for the FALN members and alter a report they had prepared for the president recommending against clemency. Today, although two turned down their pardons because they were unwilling to renounce violence, many of the convicted FALN members walk free. And a man who was instrumental in their release may become the highest law enforcer in the land. Holder said at his confirmation hearing Thursday that he thought Clinton's decision to pardon the FALN members was "reasonable." But they were bad people. During their Chicago trial, some of them threatened the life of Judge Thomas McMillen, who was hearing the case. Carmen Valentin, one of those later pardoned by Clinton, told the judge, "You are lucky that we cannot take you right now," and she told other officers
This is Obama's "pragmatism" in a nutshell. He wants to achieve a leftist result -- make it much easier for unions to become the bargaining representative of employees. He ignores the non-leftist objection to the mechanism he has endorsed for achieving this result -- that "card checks" are anti-democratic -- and suggests that the real objection may be the desire to keep workers out of unions. And he says he has no time for this sort of objection.
Israel is likely to expand its operations in the Gaza Strip within the next few days, according to the Jerusalem Post. The IDF apparently has dropped leaflets throughout Gaza warning residents of the expanded operations. The expansion of operations could take either of two forms. The IDF might move deeper into Gaza City or it might push into Southern Gaza. Thereafter, Israel would have to decide whether to attempt fully to reoccupy Gaza and to topple Hamas. In the meantime, an expansion of operations certainly makes sense. Otherwise, Israeli forces will become static targets. As one officer put it, "the troops cannot just stand and wait; they always need to be on the move." And, as always, Israel must take into account that a cease fire may be around the corner. Speaking of static targets, IDF forces reportedly killed killed Amir Mansi, a senior member of Hamas's military wing and commander of its rocket division in Gaza City. Mansi, who had close ties to Hezbollah, was killed while attempting to fire mortars at IDF forces in Northern Gaza. The IDF considers it a good sign that a senior operator like Mansi was personally involved in firing mortars. According to one officer, entire Hamas companies have been wiped out, and some Hamas fighters have gone AWOL or fled the fighting, leaving Mansi to "fire rockets on his own." This may be reading too much into Mansi's demise. Nonetheless, it seems clear that the attack on Gaza is going much better than the 2006 war in South Lebanon, and that Hamas isn't acquitting itself nearly as well as Hezbollah did.
On Friday we noted Victor Davis Hanson's superb column on the parallel lives of the Democrats and Republicans. Professor Hanson employed Plutarch's method to "learn something about modern morality from the contrasts within a few matched pairs of contemporary notables, prominent in the recent news." After comparing Richard Fuld with Robert Rubin, Ted Stevens with Charles Rangel, Alberto Gonzales with Eric Holder, and Christopher Dodd with Trent Lott, Professor Hanson framed the question "why we continuously consider liberal transgressions as misdemeanors and their conservative counterparts as felonies." I thought that Professor Hanson's device of "parralel lives" could serve as everyday inspiration for many chapters yet to be written. In his weekly Washington Times column, Andrew Breitbart adapts Professor Hanson's Plutarchean method to a similar end. Breitbart considers the photo featuring President-elect Obama's chief speechwriter Jon Favreau and his colleague that turned up in the media and on the Internet last week. The photo depicted Favreau groping the breast of a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton while Favreau's unidentified colleague shared his beer with her. On Friday we noted Victor Davis Hanson's superb column on the parallel lives of the Democrats and Republicans. Professor...
We know that former Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn are long-time supporters and allies of Barack Obama. Now Melanie Phillips alerts us to the support of Obama expressed by former Weather Underground terrorists Mark Rudd and Jeff Jones. Rudd and Jones comment on Obama's cabinet-level appointments, predicting that they will provide cover for a leftist agenda where it is politically viable. They anticipate more simpatico second-level appointments. (Compare Paul Mirengoff's analysis here.) Rudd and Jones provide ground for radicals to "Keep the faith, baby" insofar as Obama is concerned. They thus counsel forebearance toward Obama by their radical colleagues who may have felt disappointment reading the ambiguous tea leaves of Obama's prospective administration. Jones concludes: "Even Lenin would be impressed!" Via NRO's Web briefing. UPDATE: Ron Radosh finds Rudd and Jones to be peddling the delusions of the left, and Melanie Phillips to have fallen for them. We shall see. To comment on this post, go here.