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That Was Then, This Is Now: The Obama-Hillary Crush

"What exactly is this foreign policy experience? Was she negotiating treaties? Was she handling crises? The answer is no." So said then Democrat primary opponent Barrack Obama of his chief rival for president, Sen. Hillary Clinton. "Campaigns are ever thus."

The man now selected to serve as White House counsel in the Obama administration, Greg Craig, noted, “She did not sit in on any National Security Council meetings when she was first lady. There is no reason to believe ... that she was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton administration.”

But that was then.

Obama adviser Susan Rice shredded the notion that Clinton could acquire foreign policy experience through marital osmosis: “There is no crisis to be dealt with or managed when you are first lady. You don't get that kind of experience by being married to a commander in chief."

In March, adviser to the Obama campaign on foreign policy Robert Gelbard, who once worked for the Clinton…

A Pythagorian Thanksgiving

Connecticut’s legislature and the governor – twin saviors called to lead the state out of its Babylonian captivity to a new promised land – met for a one day special session before Thanksgiving and, as one reporter put it, “adopted only politically painless cuts and revenue enhancements to trim a current year deficit that stands at $302 million.”

Then everyone went home to make merry for the holiday.

However, when the lawmakers sat down at the Thanksgiving table this year, some things were different than was the case in 1991, when then Governor Lowell Weicker and the legislature dug the state out of a gaping red hole by substantially increasing revenue enhancements. That was the year the governor and legislature hung the income tax albatross around the state’s neck.

Time and tide waits for no man, and so here we are 17 years later – back at square one.

Once again, we are knee deep in red ink. But there are differences. The ink this time is deeper and broader, and there is no new income…

al-Zawahiri Disses Obama, Hood Strikes Back

Ayman al-Zawahiri is the second in command of al-Qaeda, a step behind Osama bin-Ladin, whose silence on the American election has led some to suppose that he is indisposed or dead.

Al- Zawahiri is very much alive. He is thought to be biding his time in the badlands of Pakistan until such time as it is once again safe to come out of his hidey-hole.

He has issued a communiqué on the American election and decidedly does not respect the wisdom of the American people in choosing to elect Sen. Barack Obama as president because, among other reasons, he does not compare favorably with Malcolm X.

Obama, said al- Zawahiri, is the direct opposite of “honorable black Americans” like Malcoln X, described in a CNN report as “the fiery African-American Muslim activist from the 1950s and 1960s.”

The sticking point for al-Zawahiri is “Obama's foreign policy positions on Afghanistan and Israel,” according to CNN.

“The posting, an 11 minute and 23 second audio message in Arabic with subtitles in English,…

HEALTH-RISK PERCEPTIONS TRUMP SCIENCE

What is objectionable is that these voluminous and authoritative-appearing documents convey the message that passive smoking is a major cause of fatal disease, which few scientists believe to be the case. -– Geoffrey C. Kabat

It’s a thrill when the author of a new book also served as an expert on a policy-making report with which one is familiar. The subject is ETS, environmental tobacco smoke (i.e., secondhand smoke or passive smoking). The EPA with the help of its Advisory Board in 1992 published its Report which found a very low relative risk of 1.19. It listed ETS as a Class A human carcinogen, which scientists believe it is not. That is the conclusion EPA intended to reach from the beginning, declared Federal District Court Judge Osteen, who discussed at length the Report’s plethora of errors.

The unique, excellent new book is Hyping Health Risks, Environmental Hazards in Daily Life and the Science of Epidemiology (Columbia University Press, 2008). The author, epidemiologist…

CAIR Sued for Fraud

According to a press release issued by the law offices of David Yerushalmi, the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) is being sued by four of its former clients for fraud and racketeering:

CAIR Sued by Former Clients for Racketeering,
Fraud, & Breach of Fiduciary Duties

For more information:
David Yerushalmi, Esq.
Law Offices of David Yerushalmi
ContactYerushalmiLaw@verizon.net
646.262.0500

November 24, 2008 — Washington, DC: Four clients of the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) have filed a federal civil complaint alleging criminal fraud and racketeering against CAIR, a self-described public interest civil rights law firm. The lawsuit also names CAIR’s national leadership as individual defendants.

Some of the defendants were served with the complaint and summons to appear while attending the CAIR 14th Annual Dinner Sunday night in Arlington , Virginia . Congressman Ellison (D-Minn) was a guest speaker at this affair.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Co…

The fishwrap

President Barrack Obama’s cabinet is firming up, and Markos Moulitsas, the progressive firebrand at DailyKos, is not on the list. Aiming for a cabinet of rivals, Obama has included New York Senator Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, an appointment that has caused some controversy in the progressive barracks. It is supposed that Hillary the warrior was chosen to prosecute Obama’s military ambitions in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the government of which – at least that portion of it that remains uncorrupted – is on shaky grounds. Arnaud-de-Borchgrave advises against a re-deployment of troops to Afghanistan and, along the way, provides a delicious quote from outgoing President George Bush: "I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant." Back home in Connecticut, the Journal Inquirer reports that leaders of the Connecticut Community Providers Association, a group of non-profit agencies that del…

White House Council’s Latin American Connections

Politico is reporting that some of Greg Craig’s lobbying connections are questionable. Mr. Craig has been newly named by President-elect Barack Obama as his White House council.

As a top Washington lawyer, newly named White House counsel Greg Craig has represented high-profile clients, from Bill Clinton to John Hinckley to Alexander Solzhenitsyn to Elian Gonzalez’s father.

But less well known is Craig’s work in the 1990s for at least four foreign governments or leaders facing a variety of tricky situations in Washington.

Craig represented Argentina, Bolivia, Panama and the prime minister of Haiti as a “foreign agent,” basically a lobbyist for foreign governments and businesses with issues before the federal government. But those governments, which paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Craig’s power law firm Williams & Connolly, got more than just traditional lobbying from him.

President Obama and Lincoln

President-elect Barack Obama, who may surprise us all, is said to have been much impressed by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s new book on Abraham Lincoln, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.”

Part of the genius of Lincoln, Kearns Goodwin believes, lay in his ability to bend men to his purposes. Lincoln prevailed over his political rivals because he was able to live in their skins and think with their brains. And when it came time for Lincoln to build his cabinet, he put together a “team of rivals” that worked well under his direction because he was able to master men through a respect for his competitors.

“Good leadership,” Kearns said, “requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation. Lincoln placed his three chief rivals for the Republican nomination in crucial positions in his Cabinet and filled the rest of his top jobs with former Democrats. His Cabinet sessions were fiery affairs, but they prov…

Citizen Ayers, the Pedagogue

Bill Ayres has become little more than a radical cartoon. Only pedagogues could take him seriously, and his election as vice president for curriculum of the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association (AERA), the nation’s largest organization of education-school professors and researchers, suggests they have done so.

American education has been deteriorating roughly since early 70’s when Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” became part of the curriculum in teacher’s colleges. Freire’s idea was that the pedagogue or teacher was an oppressive creature so long as he taught his students, for teaching implies the conveyance of ideas or, as Freire would prefer to frame it, propaganda. Learning, however, is a liberating activity. Oppression in the classroom therefore would end when the teacher no longer taught a subject to his students. To become liberators, teachers must become “learning facilitators.” They may shuck off the imputation that they are indoctrinators or pro…

Al-Zawahri vs Obama

Sounding a bit like Jesse Jackson in a bumptious mood, Ayman al-Zawahri, Tonto to Osama bin Ladin’s Lone Ranger, has pulled out all the stops and called President-elect Barack Obama a “house negro.”

The reclusive second in command at al-Quaeda, using the Arab term “"abeed al-beit," which literally means “house slave,” sliced into his latest missive shots of Malcolm X fulminating against black leaders who had failed to standup to whites, according to an Associated Press report written by Maamoun Youssef and Lee Heath:

“The 11-minute 23-second video features the audio message by al-Zawahri, who appears only in a still image, along with other images, including one of Obama wearing a Jewish skullcap as he meets with Jewish leaders. In his speech, al-Zawahri refers to a Nov. 5 U.S. air strike attack in Afghanistan, meaning the video was made after that date.

“Al-Zawahri said Obama's election has not changed American policies he said are aimed at oppressing Muslims and others.

&q…

Why Lieberman is Necessary to Democrats

A blog site populated with progressives asks: “He (Sen. Joe Lieberman) has four years. Can he win those Democrats and independents back? If he can’t, he’ll definitely not be able to win re-election.”

The answer is “yes,” for a number of reasons.

The parting of the ways with Lieberman and the progressive community came as a result of the senator’s position, pro-Bush, on the war in Iraq. Lieberman also laid waste their plans to vacate his seat and replace him with a senator that courted their support during a hard fought primary and general election, which Lieberman won, much to the dismay of the progressive community. Ned Lamont, the heartthrob of the progressive movement, having disappeared in a puff of smoke, Lieberman proceeded on his merry way, spurning the opposition from his left. In politics, the left does not like to be so loftily ignored; it makes them feel small and negligible and wounds their dignity.

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leah…

The Fishwrap

The Guardian, a British newspaper, is reporting that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton will accept the cabinet position offered her by President-elect Barack Obama. The diminutive French President Nicholas Sarkozy says that what the world needs is a modern equivalent of Bretton Woods; he draws a sharp rebuke from Pat Buchanan. Democrats, under the leadership of the resourceful Nancy Pelosi, have been unable to persuade outgoing president George Bush, not a tightfisted guy when it comes to bailing out FOD’s (Friends of Democrats), to load the US auto industry with tax dollars, wealth that the industry intends to spread around to workers who are far from poor. But Nancy promises to revisit the issue once Republicans vacate the halls of power. Another British publication, the MailOnLine, has some vivid shots of the outskirts of LA being burnt to a crisp. And British import Christopher Hitchens, America's favorite atheist, is still roving the countryside scaring the wits out of Catholic…

Real Change for a Change

If state Republicans could adopt a slogan that might be useful to them in the future, it might be: “Real change for a change.”

The “change” slogan worked well for president-elect Barack Obama, and not only because the heavens smiled upon him when Wall Street took a bath. When a person’s perceived wealth – say, his 401k is diminished – he becomes ready and eager to herald in change. But Americans like change for change’s sake the way artists like art for art’s sake. To become perfect, Emerson said somewhere, is to have changed often. That is typically an American perception. Our political progenitors came to these shores to begin anew. Americans then are prejudiced in favor of change, or at least they do not fear it, which is why Obama struck a responsive chord with his slogan “change you can believe in.”

It is still very much an open question whether the changes Obama will inaugurate will usher in fundamental change, but that is a different matter for a different day.

Here in Connecticut…

Surprise!!! We’re Broke

It’s Sunday, and everyone knows what this means: A brillig day, the fierce wind shaking the last leaves from now barren trees stripped for winter; church bells sounding in the cold air, summoning all but a few sour atheists to the Lord’s supper; and, peering out the window, what is that lying like a beached white whale in the clustered leaves just under the blue container marked The Hartford Courant?

Why, it’s the Hartford Courant. Wrapped in the fat of ads is this precious paragraph from the editorial page:

“Ironically, the state income tax, begun in 1991, was supposed to stabilize state revenues, which were then fluctuating wildly with the volatile sales tax. Connecticut's treasury, however, is now dependent on a wildly volatile Wall Street — so volatile that on Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average dipped below 8,000 but finished the day up 553 points. The state income tax depends on the stock market for a quarter of its revenue. Greenwich alone — home to many whose liveli…

What Future for the Laugh Machine?

Jim Shea, the funnybone tickling guy at the Hartford Courant, spoke for the entire paper when he said in a recent column:

“After shooting fish in a barrel for so long, Obama is going to be tough. Right now, other than the jug ears, I got nothing. Hopefully this will change. In the meantime ... I don't know about the economy, but right now, people in my business are about to enter a depression. We're going to have a hard time trying to put food on our families.”
That little prepositional confusion was a black tribute to outgoing President George Bush, who tended to slur his ideas.

But really, this comedy stuff is serious business. Asked by some tortured politician in the golden age of Greek comedy whether he “took anything seriously,” Aristophanes responded, “Of course, I take comedy seriously.”

Twenty percent of voters this year followed the election through the rose colored glasses of comics, usually liberal ones like Gary Trudeau, the star studded cast of Comedy Central and Vice…

The Red Tide

The notice in the Hartford Courant was mercifully brief, somewhat like a sentence of execution.

National economic problems, Governor Jodi Rell said, have decimated state revenues and the state is facing “"massive budget deficits," nearly $6 billion over the next two fiscal years.

The governor is being forced, she said, to institute budget cuts that will “hurt people and hurt programs." Will that include laying off state employees? “Everything is on the table, every single item."

The legislative session opens in February, at which point the governor is expected to present her two year budget to a Democrat dominated legislature that has not shown itself eager to slash budgets.

The legislature this time will not be able to rely on its usual bromides: taxing the rich through a more steeply progressive income tax and relying on one time sources of revenue to plug the $6 billion hole in Connecticut’s ship of state.

Owing to the Wall Street business slowdown, Connecticut’s upp…

Remembering Veterans: General Douglas MacArthur at West Point

General Douglas MacArthur gave the speech below at West Point when he was 82 years old. His address was delivered without notes.

General Westmoreland, General Groves, distinguished guests, and gentlemen of the Corps. As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, "Where are you bound for, General?" and when I replied, "West Point," he remarked, "Beautiful place, have you ever been there before?"

No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this, coming from a profession I have served so long and a people I have loved so well. It fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily for a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code — the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. That is the meaning of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated i…

WHAT SHOULD WE TEACH THE CHILDREN?

Jefferson said of education that it “enables every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom.”

Historian Rick Shenkman in his new book, Just How Stupid Are We? concludes that in the November 4 election, people were clueless without 15-second infomercials in deciding whom to vote for.

How can ignorant people make such judgments, asks Chester Finn, Jr., in his introduction to Terrorists, Depots, and Democracy, What Our Children Need to Know. Finn asks, “How does it strengthen America for the future if it is raising a generation of ignorant citizens whose teachers are urged not to inform them of the truth about events for which they have no context, background, or information base”?

The Fordham Foundation’s monograph (no relation to Fordham University), which deals also with what teachers need to know about America and the world, contains short essays by William J. Bennett, E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Lynne Cheney, James Q. Wilson, Stanley Kurtz, Tony Blair, and two dozen …

Whither the state Republican Party?

The state Republican Party has been decimated by decades of bad advice proffered by those who do not have the party’s interests in mind. That is why it is a small, negligible party.

During the Weicker years, in a moment of rare candor, Weicker was heard to say, “Why doesn’t somebody take it [the state party] over; it’s so small.” To this end, Weicker the maverick managed to convince the Republican state party machinery to appoint his chief aide, Tom D’Amore, as party chairman. D’Amore lately was advising the Ned Lamont campaign in its struggle to unhorse Sen. Joe Lieberman. Ned Lamont, one must suppose, is D’Amore’s idea of a boffo senator; but he is not a Republican, not a moderate and not – no thanks to D’Amore – not a senator.

Now, are we permitted to reason from the present back to the past? If D’Amore was comfortable supporting Ned Lamont, have his political preferences changed in any significant respect from the time when he was Republican Party chairman? The truthful answer is “…

The Last Days of the Sunshine Patriot

"These are the times that try men's soul's. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and women" – Thomas Paine

In calling for Sen. Joe Lieberman’s head, many of his eager executioners have lost their own. One blogger headlines his usual spit and piddle with the title “Lieberman Must Be Destroyed,” while a statewide columnist refers to him contemptuously as Uriah Heap.

Now that we can speak with bowed heads and chastened hearts of President Barack Obama, an early anti-Iraq war enthusiast, it is supposed by ardent Democrat Party activists -- many of whom, the modern equivalent of Paine’s sunshine patriots, spend their days in bathrobes writings blogs -- that present leader of the Democrat Party in the US Senate Harry Reid should deprive Lieberman of his perks, take from him a quick confession, lead the repentant sinner to the executioners block…

The Fishwrap

Rinker Buck of the Hartford Courant goes to church and finds the Rev. Jeremiah Wright tolerable. Wright was taken out of context.

His compatriot Rick Green finds Fairfield, full of yuppies and “smart growth” illuminati, going moderate. He suggests that Republican politicians in the state follow their lead, so they may be picked off by illuminati like Green and Colin McEnroe and Bill Curry and the entire editorial board of the Hartford Courant. Mr. Green, a recent import, hardly notices that there are no “moderate” Republicans left in New England’s US congressional delegation pews. Where have they all gone? They have been replaced by liberal Democrats. And why? Because asked to choose between a faux Democrat and the real thing, people generally will choose the real thing.

Fearing conservatives – and mislabeling moderate Republicans as conservatives -- is a tradition among Courant commentators, all of whom are unapologetic liberals. Charlie Morse, the chief political correspondent for the…