Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Anglo Arab Organization and Tony Rezko

Nice to see a crew stand behind a guy facing hard-time in the can even though Rezko's the sole American (and a Chicagoan too) on the Board of Trustees of an organizaton dedicated to Anglo Arab relations.

Still, sending Rezko some appreciation and keeping him on the board in spite of Judge Zagel saying Rezko damages whatever he touches a nice show of solidarity. As Aiham Alsammarae would say, it's the Chicago Way.

Blackfive: British Lieutenant Henry Charles Albert David Wales

Over at Soldiers' Angels Germany.

H/T Blackfive

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kagan Declines To Say Gov't Has No Power to Tell Americans What To Eat

Kind of amazing she wouldn't respond. Great Judge she'll be.

Sen Durbin and General Petraeus

GOP research which has gotta make you wonder how Durbin can look General Petaeus in the face.

Democrats Were Wrong On General Petraeus In 2007,

Can They Be Trusted To Get It Right In 2010?

Gen. Petraeus Seems To Enjoy Broad Support Among Democrats This Time Around. “Gen. David Petraeus is now the darling of the Democrats. Having been picked by President Barack Obama to lead U.S. efforts on the ground in Afghanistan, Petraeus, the architect of the surge in Iraq, is being praised by the Democrats from pillar to post.” (Peter Roff, “The Democrats Were Against Petraeus Before They Were For Him,” US NewsPolitics And Policy, 6/24/10)

BACK IN 2007, HOWEVER, SENATE DEMS OPENLY QUESTIONED HIS HONESTY,

OBJECTIVITY AND STRATEGY IN IRAQ

Twenty-Five Senate Democrats Voted Against Condemning MoveOn.Org Ad Attacking Gen. Petraeus As “Gen. Betray Us.” (S.Amdt. 2934, Roll Call Vote #344: Passed 72-25: R: 49-0, D: 23-25, 9/20/07)

Sen. Harry Reid Said Petraeus “Isn't In Touch” With Reality Of Iraq. “Iraq -- I repeat -- the bloodiest three months of the war have just been completed. We're now back up to a thousand attacks a day in Iraq. And for someone, whether it's General Petraeus or anyone else, to say things are great in Baghdad isn't in touch with what's going on in Baghdad, even though he's there and I'm not.” (Sen. Harry Reid, Press Conference, The Capitol, 6/14/07)

  • Sen. Reid Accused Gen. Petraeus Of Providing Information That “Have Not Proven To Be Factual.” SEN. REID: “I first met General Petraeus when I went to Iraq. At that time he was training the Iraqi troops. He told us at that time it was going great, that they'd be able to take over the country themselves. That was three years ago or thereabouts. He's made a number of statements over the years that have not proven to be factual.” (Sen. Harry Reid, Press Conference, Senate Radio-TV Gallery, 9/7/07)

Sen. Durbin Accused Gen. Petraeus Of “Manipulating The Statistics.” Sen. Durbin: “By carefully manipulating the statistics, the Bush-Petraeus report will try to persuade us that violence in Iraq is decreasing and the surge is working.” (Sen. Durbin, Remarks To The Center For National Policy, Washington, D.C, 9/7/07)

  • And Condescendingly Referred To Gen. Petraeus’ Report As The “Bush-Petraeus Report.” Sen. Durbin: “Now, despite the growing list of independent reports and military experts who say the president is wrong, he is prepared to tell the nation again that his strategy in Iraq is succeeding. We know what the Bush-Petraeus report will say: The surge is working, be patient. The reality? Despite heroic efforts by American troops, the Bush surge is not working.” (Sen. Durbin, Remarks To The Center For National Policy, Washington, D.C, 9/7/07)

Sen. Boxer Accused Petraeus Of Painting A “Rosy Scenario” Of The Iraq War And Told Him To “Consider That Others Could Be Right.” “We are sending our troops where they’re not wanted, with no end in sight, into the middle of a civil war, into the middle of the mother of all mistakes. Please, General, don’t do what you did in 2004 when you painted a rosy scenario. Consider that others could be right.” (Sen. Barbara Boxer, “Boxer Asks General Petraeus To Take Off Rose-Colored Glasses And Face Realities In Iraq,” Press Release, 9/11/07)

Sen. Kent Conrad Accused Petraeus Of Being “Overly Optimistic” In His Report On The Iraq War. “Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., says Gen. David Petraeus' report on Iraq is ‘overly optimistic.’… Petraeus, the commanding general of the war, told Congress on Monday that last winter's buildup in U.S. troops had met its military objectives "in large measure," and said he envisions the withdrawal of roughly 30,000 U.S. troops by next summer… Conrad said he sees little progress.” (Mary Clare Jalonick, “North Dakota Democrats Criticize Iraq Report,” The Bismarck Tribune, 9/10/07)

Sen. Jack Reed Accused Petraeus Of Not Being Objective In His Report Surge. DAVID WELNA: “And Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed, who also visited Iraq during the break, said he does not expect an independent assessment from the architect of the troop surge, General Petraeus.” SEN. JACK REED: “Ultimately, it'll the president's report - the president views. I can't see him coming in here and differing from the president. So, I don't think he'll be objective. I think what he'll be is careful to argue that the surge has been a success.” (Michele Norris and Melissa Block, “Democrats Question Credibility Of Iraq Reports,” NPR, 9/5/07)

  • Reed Also Accused Petraeus Of “Playing A Political Role For The President.” DAVID GREGORY: “Critics charge it has fallen on Petraeus to sell a strategy that a weakened president no longer can.” SEN. JACK REED: “In many respects, I think Petraeus is playing a political role for the president. He is a splendid officer, a good soldier.” (NBC’s “Nightly News,” 9/7/07)

Sen. Whitehouse Suggested That Petraeus Had “Conflicting Loyalty” In Serving The White House And Serving The Country. “[P]eople who are appointed to high positions in government by a president, sort of inherently have a conflicting loyalty between the desire to please the president who appointed them and to stay on the team because it’s wonderful to be important and on the team and all that good stuff. And on the other hand, particularly where the president’s view is in conflict with the interests of the country … [H]ow General Petraeus chooses to balance those conflicting prerogatives is up to him…” (Nico Pitney, “Sen. Whitehouse: Petraeus Has ‘Conflicting Loyalty,’ Independent Iraq Report Needed,” Think Progress, 6/8/07)

Sen. Schumer Issued A Press Release Stating “The Bush-Petraeus Surge Had Failed To Meet Its Objective.” “Schumer noted that by the President's own measure-Bush originally declared the goal of the surge was to give Iraq's central government ‘breathing room’ to make progress on political reconciliation-the Bush-Petraeus surge had failed to meet its objective. ‘The government is suffocating while the surge goes on. It doesn't have breathing room,’ Schumer said.” (Press Release, “Sen. Schumer: Bush Hype On Anbar Doesn't Vindicate Surge Strategy,” Office Of Senator Schumer, 9/5/07)

  • And Described The Surge As “A Policy Of Last Resort. This Is A Policy Of Desperation.” (Press Release, “Sen. Schumer: Bush Hype On Anbar Doesn't Vindicate Surge Strategy,” Office Of Senator Schumer, 9/5/07)

Sen. Sherrod Brown “Lashed Out” At Petraeus’ Testimony Saying “Stay The Course Is Not A Plan.” “Sen. Sherrod Brown, the region's only Democrat, lashed out at Petraeus' testimony, saying the government has lost its focus on the war on terrorism… ‘Stay the course is more of the same. Stay the course is not a plan,’ said Brown, of Lorain.” (Malia Rulon, “Local Lawmakers React To Progress Report On Iraq War,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, 9/11/07)

Sen. Blanche Lincoln Said Petraeus’ Plan For Iraq Was A “Nonstarter.” “Count Sen. Blanche Lincoln among the unimpressed. Petraeus' plan is ‘too small a step,’ she said. ‘It's kind of a nonstarter.’ Lincoln called the proposal a ‘forced hand,’ noting that the military cannot sustain the escalation past July.” (Alex Daniels, “Testimony On Iraq Fails To Satisfy State Democrats,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 9/12/07)

Senator Webb Said He Would Ignore Petraeus’ Report. WEBB: “I don't care what the report says next week. I don't care what the report says in September.” (Press Conference, Senate Democrats Hold A News Conference On Iraq, 7/9/07)

During Hearing, Then-Sen. Biden Told Petraeus That The Surge Was Failing And That It Was Time To “Start Bringing Troops Home.” “General Petraeus: the American military cannot sustain a war in Iraq with no end in sight. The American people will not support an indefinite war whose sole remaining purpose is to prevent the situation in Iraq from becoming even worse. It is time to turn the corner… We should stop the surge and start bringing troops home.” (Sen. Joe Biden, “BIDEN: We Should Stop The Surge And Start Bringing Troops Home,” Press Release, 9/11/07)

  • Biden Said Petraeus Was “Dead Flat Wrong” On His Iraq War Strategy. “Biden, signaling that tough questioning awaits the pair from majority Democrats and moderate Republicans, said Petraeus' assessment missed the point… ‘I really respect him, but I think he's dead flat wrong,’ Biden said.” (“Biden: Petraeus ‘Dead Flat Wrong’ On Iraq,” The Associated Press, 9/9/07)

Then-Sen. Obama Told Petreaus “The Time To End The Surge And To Start Bringing Our Troops Home Is Now – Not Six Months From Now.” (Sen. Barack Obama, “Obama Addresses Foreign Relations Committee Hearing With General Petraeus And Ambassador Crocker,” Press Release, 9/11/07)

During Hearing Sen. Hillary Clinton Called Petraeus “The De Facto Spokesmen For What Many Of Us Believe To Be A Failed Policy.” (Sen. Hillary Clinton, “Senator Clinton Questions General David Petraeus And Ambassador Ryan Crocker On Iraq At Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing,” Press Release, 9/11/07)

Sen. Kerry Said Petraeus’ Iraq Strategy Was “Military Version Of The Movie ‘Groundhog Day.’” “Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, said yesterday that Petraeus's plan puts the United States ‘back to the starting line… It's the military version of the movie “Groundhog Day” to return to the troop levels before the president launched an ill-advised escalation,’ Kerry said.” (Farah Stockman and Bryan Bender, “Bush Set To Endorse Plan For Troop Cuts - Conditions In Iraq Must Be Favorable, Aide Says,” The Boston Globe, 9/12/07)


Tamara Holder: Crazy Or Reasonable Belief: Blagojevich Appointed to Ambassador of India In Exchange For Valerie Jarrett Senate Appointment


Holder blogs on the appointments of Louis Susman aka"The Vacuum" as Ambassador to Britain, John Roos to Japan, and Charles Rivkin to France and concludes,

I am not suggesting Obama engaged in quid pro quo appointments. But, instead, I am suggesting that before we laugh at Blagojevich for what appears to be, on the surface, completely delusional ideas, we must look at the entire appointment process as a whole.

It is becoming more and more clear that Blagojevich sought the counsel of many of his staff members. Thus far, we have not heard one advisor tell him, "No, you cannot seek something in exchange from Obama. That is illegal and you will go to prison." Not once.

Maybe that's because his desire for an exchange is not illegal...

No kidding, it seems the weakest of the cases. Now, the deal for that power plant in Iraq, or what in the world was the Guv doing with Nadhmi Auchi and Ayhim Alsammarae at the Four Seasons? Now those seem like the potential for deals coming down 'cause these aren't the kinda guys who just exchanged appreciation.

Global Protest Against the Stoning Verdict of Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani

June 29, 2010 at 3:25pm
Subject: ATTENTION: Friday July 2nd: Global Protest Against the Stoning Verdict of Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani
Global Protest Against the Stoning Verdict of Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani!

Those responsible for stoning should be prosecuted in an International court.

In response to the plight of the children of Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Campaign to Save Sakine calls upon you to protest against this verdict in any possible way.

Sakine’s life and her children’s future are in danger. How could a child witness its own mother’s death by stoning and live a normal life? What is this savagery and barbarity which interferes in the most private matters of an adult individual’s life then judges and condemns that individual to a most violent death by stoning? This act of savagery must be confronted by a wave of opposition by everyone who has heard this horrendous news.

Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani is confined in Tabriz prison, her two applications for pardon have not been answered, and her stoning verdict has been transmitted to Tabriz prison to be executed. The only way to save Sakine is through intensive global protest.

An appeal from Sakine’s children has so far been translated into 12 languages and published in hundreds of blogs. Numerous Farsi sites have echoed their letter and the interview with Sakine’s lawyer, Mr. Mohammad Mostafayi. During the past 24 hours, the Islamic regime’s officials have received 600 letters of protest with copies addressed to us.

We once again call upon all women rights organizations, advocates of human rights, and everyone across the world to assist us to save Sakine’s life. We must prevent this human catastrophe from happening.

Join us in protest on Friday, everywhere – in Iran, in Europe, Canada and the USA – everywhere in the world join us against stoning, this pure barbarity. We can not allow them to torture Sakine to death by stoning. This is savagery and should be stopped by any means possible.

Save Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani Campaign
June 28th 2010

Contacts
+491775692413

http://www.facebook.com/l/fa8c5tFJMM-8NY-8hD1MxkbVMAw;stopstonningnow.com/sakine
http://www.facebook.com/l/fa8c5lbuHRLCZbWCBm3cXln_RMw;missionfreeiran.wordpress.com
http://www.facebook.com/l/fa8c5_qU4IDSjVFQqKS3ZmajMvg;iransolidarity.org.uk

Monday, June 28, 2010

Judge Zagel: You can't see President Obama's interview with FBI

Via the Blago Blog. A ruling that certainly turned Lincoln over in his grave.
Judge James Zagel denies a defense request to gain access to the FBI report summarizing then President-Elect Obama's 2008 interview with federal investigators.

Defense lawyers argued in a filing last week that the government minimized Obama's knowledge of the then-Governor's attempts to horsetrade for the Senate seat appointment. They said that testimony by government witness John Harris contradicted that portrayal by federal prosecutors.

Harris testified last week that Blagojevich believed Obama knew about Blagojevich's request for a presidential cabinet appointment in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat.

Zagel said there was nothing relevant concerning Harris's testimony that would allow the defense access to Obama's interview.

"There's just nothing there," Zagel said.
That's sorta Blago's point Judge Zagel: there's nothing there. And covering the interview up certainly creates the impression there very well is something there.

Free Press: House icon Conyers steers clear of his wife's troubles

Detroit Free Press via Arlene Jones on FaceBook,
U.S. Rep. John Conyers was cloistered in his office.

In a courtroom in the same building, his wife — former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers — was being sentenced to more than three years in prison.

Counseled that it would be a mistake — as chairman of the committee that oversees the prosecutors who extracted a guilty plea from his wife on corruption charges — to be in the courtroom, John Conyers stayed away.

To this day, as his wife awaits a September incarceration date, he has said nothing about it.

The 81-year-old congressman was cleared of any involvement in his wife’s crime and no one — Republican or Democrat — has suggested he give up his chairmanship of the powerful Judiciary Committee.

After nearly a half century in Congress, much is known about Conyers as a civil rights legend, even as a jazz aficionado. But he remains an enigma, a man who has studiously separated his private and public lives.
Seems keeping things a puzzle the wise move to do.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Harris: Obama knew of Blagojevich plot

Via today's Sun Times. No kidding Obama knew because making the deal the only way these guys know. Naming a Senator good for Illinois, or even good for Progressive Politics really outside their scope. They're all about cutting deals... for themselve and can't concieve of anyone thinking any other way. Of course Obama knew...

A top aide to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he believed Barack Obama knew of Blagojevich's plot to win himself a presidential Cabinet post in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the U.S. Senate.

John Harris, Blagojevich's former chief of staff, testified Wednesday in the former governor's corruption trial that three days after the Nov. 4, 2008, presidential election, the ex-governor told Harris he felt confident Obama knew he wanted to swap perks.

[***]

Defense lawyers say Harris' testimony contradicts the government's previous public statements that Obama knew nothing about deal-making involving the Senate seat appointment.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ayers Protest Thursday in Chicago

Backyard Conservative channeling Bill Kelly. I'm ashamed Beacon Press publishes this bum.
The information on the Benefit's website was INCORRECT. The correct information is 430 S. Michigan Avenue. It is outside of this building that we will be holding the protest.

Please join Reform Chicago Now for this important protest and spread the word by inviting at least one friend to come with you. Let’s send a strong message that terrorism will not be tolerated – even if the terrorist is a friend of Barack Obama’s.

Here’s the link to the protest information:

http://www.facebook.com/?sk=events#!/event.php?eid=133676199985487

Or for non-Facebookers:
http://kellytruthsquad2.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/thursday-activists-protest-bomber-bill-ayers-at-roosevelt-university-in-chicago/

In any case, here are the details: There will be a protest THIS THURSDAY at 5:45 pm of terrorist-turned-university professor Bill Ayers. Weatherman bombing terrorist and friend of President Barack Obama is holding a fundraiser this Thursday at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. The benefit is for the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. The admitted bomber and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn planned multiple terrorist bombings in the late 1960s, bombings that resulted in the murder of a San Francisco police officer, the blinding of another with nail shrapnel, and other murders and the injury of many others.

Ayers, a bomb designer, has boasted publicly that he participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. In all, the Weatherman claimed responsibility for more than 25 other bombings in its infamous reign of terror.

Currently, Ayers is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Email williamjkellyrebuild@gmail.com for information and to coordinate.

Natasha Korecki: BLAGOJEVICH LAWYERS WANT PRESIDENT OBAMA'S FBI INTERVIEW

Via Korecki's must read Blago Blag,
Rod Blagojevich's lawyers say they should be privvy to remarks that President-Elect Obama made to FBI agents in December, 2008.

The defense team has filed a motion asking for written reports of Obama's two-hour interview with prosecutors and the FBI, saying that testimony by key government witness John Harris has opened the door to possibly new information concerning Obama.

They say that testimony contradicts the government's previous public statements that Obama knew nothing about deal-making involving the Senate seat appointment.

"Testimony elicited by the government from John Harris and wiretaps played in court raise the issue of President Obama's direct knowledge and communication with emissaries and others regarding the appointment to his senate seat," lawyers wrote in the filing.
Yep, and what about Obama's most recent visit to Chicago just before the start of the trial? Tell me there was no meeting between DOJ and the Prez then too.

From Betray Us to Petraeus

What gross cowards America's elected. How does Obama, Biden, and Clinton dare look the General in the face? Dec 21, 2007.....

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a measure condemning MoveOn.org for a newspaper ad it ran last week attacking Gen. David Petraeus. The move came as President Bush accused Democrats of cowering to the liberal political action group.

The measure passed in a 72-25 vote, with none of the Democratic presidential candidates supporting it. Sponsored by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, never one to shy away from forcing Democrats to go on record on politically sticky issues, the amendment to the defense authorization bill did win the backing of 23 Democrats.

Sens. Joe Biden and Barack Obama were absent from the vote, though Obama had voted 20 minutes earlier on a Democratic effort to circumvent the amendment. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd voted against the measure.

The amendment did not specifically name MoveOn.org, but expressed "the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, commanding general, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn(s) personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces."

But supporters made clear the measure was about MoveOn, and was aimed at giving senators "a chance to distance themselves from the notion that some group has them on a leash, like a puppet on a string."

"Who would have ever expected anybody to go after a general in the field at a time of war, launch a smear campaign against a man we've entrusted with our mission in Iraq?" Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asked on the Senate floor. "Any group that does this sort of thing ought to be condemned. Let's take sides. General Petraeus or MoveOn.org. Which one are we going to believe? Which one are we going to condemn?"

Partisans also took the opportunity to slam Clinton and Obama for not voting on the amendment.

As we should slam them.

Rod Blagojevich: "I'd like to get the f*** out of here"

Visit the DOJ website and you can hear Illinois's Progressive leader --and that's exactly what Blagojevich was: the darling of the Sierra Club, SEIU, and other Progressives throughout the State-- bluntly saying he wanted out. Listen to all of these tapes and you'll never hear our Progressive Guv talking once about the people of Illinois. It's all about making the deal for Blagojevich and friends.

Whether the jury will finds a crime here, the tragedy is the making-the-deal mode. It is all these Progressive Democrats from Chicago knew how to do. It's why Obama seems so incompetent now. Unable to lead our nation in containing a spill or waging a war. No deals to be made there so the administration's stalled.

They think of America as a giant Metropolitan Water Reclamation district. A guv machine that brings in cash that can be let in contracts to friends and family to cement political dynasties. That's the only way they can think.

If only America could help the whole crew get the f*** out of here.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in 2007: BP is Going to Help Us Save the World

My bet on the rocket scientist who told Obama deep sea drilling "absolutely safe". BP, formally Amoco with that big white sky scraper in Chicago, has thrown money at Pols and Academics for years. H/T Illinois Review

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What Took So Long?

HT Randy Hultgren's FaceBook page,

Roskam Bill Saves Medicare Tens of Billions

Kinda geek stuff but credit card companies have proved it works.

Byron York: Who told Obama drilling is 'absolutely safe'?

York writes,
There was one particularly striking moment in President Obama's widely panned Oval Office speech on the Gulf oil disaster. About midway through his talk, Obama acknowledged that he had approved new offshore drilling a few weeks before the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion on April 20. But Obama said he had done so only "under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe."

Absolutely safe? Even before the Gulf spill, few defenders of offshore drilling would go that far. And when the president announced his drilling plan, on March 31, he said it was "not a decision that I've made lightly" and that he and his advisers had "looked at [it] closely for more than a year." Surely he was told of the possible risks.

"If you can find anything that's absolutely safe, I sure want to find out about it," says Robert Bea, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. "There is no engineering system that I am aware of that has zero likelihood of failure.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Who-told-Obama-drilling-is-_absolutely-safe__-96603724.html#ixzz0rIzLV3i3
Wanna bet it's an old Amoco contact from Chicago?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blagojevich and Emil Jones deal on Obama's Senate Seat


I thought Jones the likely guy for Blagojevich to appoint and said so somewhere on Capital Fax to some guffaws. Turns out I wasn't all that far off. Now, I wonder if Jones told Obama that he had cut a deal with Blagojevich? Put Jones in a heck of a bind not too mention giving up a seat in the US Senate. Picture is Jones and Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi around the time of that dinner at the Four Seasons. Below per The Blago Blog,
Lon Monk just gives a new angle on the most compelling storyline of the Rod Blagojevich trial: horsetrading for the senate seat.

Monk described Blagojevich as a man so consumed by raising money, and thus power, for himself, that he was willing to trade a Senate seat appointment to kill an ethics bill.

Monk testified that a call from Barack Obama in 2008 unwittingly derailed a deal hatched by Rod Blagojevich and Illinois Senate President Emil Jones.

Monk testified that Blagojevich told him that Jones (who has since retired) would not call an ethics bill that Blagojevich strongly opposed if "Rod named him to Obama's Senate seat if Obama won in November."

"Did you understand he was serious?" prosecutor Chris Niewoehner asked.

"Yes," Monk said.

Obama himself then called Jones and told him to call the bill for a vote, Monk said. Jones then called to tell Blagojevich he was going back on the deal.

Fedblog: What Happens When Congress Abdicates to the Agencies?

Fedblog channeling Ezra Klein getting one exactly right.

Ezra Klein has an interesting long piece in Newsweek about the fact that Congress is broken (which should come as a surprise to no one) and that it's pushing off a great deal of its work onto the agencies and other bodies:

The architects of the health-care-reform bill, for instance, couldn't bring themselves to propose the difficult reforms necessary to assure Medicare--and the government's--solvency. So they created an independent panel of experts who will have to propose truly difficult reforms to enable the Medicare system to survive. These recommendations would take the fast track through Congress, protected from not just the filibuster but even from revision. In fact, if Congress didn't vote on them, they'd still become law. "I believe this commission is the largest yielding of sovereignty from the Congress since the creation of the Federal Reserve," says Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, and he meant it as a compliment.

Cap-and-trade, meanwhile, is floundering in the Senate. In the event that it dies, the Environmental Protection Agency has been preparing to regulate carbon on its own. Some senators would like to block the EPA from doing so, and may yet succeed. But those in Congress who want to avert catastrophic climate change, but who don't believe they can pass legislation to help do so, are counting on the EPA to act in their stead.

One thing I would be interested to know, however, is whether Ezra sees discernibly different outcomes when these issues are given over to the agencies. In other words, do bureaucrats make different decisions than lawmakers would if they were pursuing this work? And are those decisions demonstrably worse? No matter the answer, it's obviously still a problem that Congress isn't particularly functional, but I would be curious to see the results.

Roskam v Barney Frank: so why should Fannie Freddie Execs make more than a General?

Great video of Roskam asking why in the world the US Gov pays mega Salaries to Execs at Fannie and Freddie. A whole lot more than we pay our troops at war.

Is Obama Underwater?

War, oil spill, his mentor Rezko in prison, Blagojevich on trial, and now he's probably underwater on that big house in Kenwood. Via Political Calculations.

Using that revised and updated data, we found that the value of President Barack Obama's Chicago house is nearly $500,000 underwater compared to the amount he paid for it back in the second quarter of 2005.

If accurately reported at the time, this housing transaction would have provided the clearest indication that American voters would have had before the 2008 election of then presidential candidate Barack Obama's tendency for extremely wasteful spending where his own finances were concerned, a trait we now confirm also applies to the nation's public finances.

Representative, 1939–1947, Republican from Illinois

A type of politics once very popular in the Midwest and the GOP...now sort of forgotten. Via House dot Gov's Women in Congress.
While opposition to domestic policies got her elected, the imperatives of military preparedness absorbed Sumner’s attention in Congress. After World War II erupted in September 1939, Sumner opposed amending the Neutrality Act to lift the arms embargo in favor of a “cash and carry” policy, whereby belligerents could buy American war materials and transport them in their own ships. In the fall of 1940 she opposed the Burke– Wadsworth Selective Service Bill, which established the first peacetime draft in the country’s history. A year later she voted against its extension and against the arming of American merchant ships ferrying war materials to Europe. She also rejected direct American aid to the British, expressing grave reservations that the President was nudging the country to war, having struck a secret alliance with London. Sumner laced her speeches with anglophobia and subtle admiration for Nazi Germany’s militarization.9 In 1939, she introduced a joint resolution to prevent U.S. participation in foreign combat without congressional consent. “We have more to fear from an American invasion of Europe,” Sumner declared, “than from a European invasion of America.”10

President Roosevelt was Sumner’s target of opportunity, but her attacks also sought to rouse Congress to preserve its oversight powers and prerogative to shape American foreign policy. Sumner hoped to rein in FDR’s powers by using the House’s authority to originate and pass appropriations, even over the President’s veto. “Today when the White House endeavors to control your votes as Representatives, by promising to approve or threatening to withhold projects for your district, they are using a power which you delegated to the Executive very recently,” Sumner warned colleagues. “It is an abuse of that power. It robs you of your right and duty to vote your convictions.”11

Sumner’s isolationism mirrored that of her constituency. In her first bid for re-election in 1940, Sumner again defeated Meeks with 53 versus 47 percent of the vote. She won against two other candidates by even wider margins in 1942 and 1944, with 62 percent and 57 percent, respectively.12 Increasingly, however, the Illinois Congresswoman found herself moving against the current in Washington.

Sumner’s strident attacks on the FDR administration were only amplified after America joined the war. Most significantly, she opposed opening a Western Europe front to relieve pressure on the Soviet Union. In March 1944, Sumner took to the House Floor to declare that it made no difference whether Hitler or Stalin dominated Europe and warned an invasion might cost a million lives. “The difference between these two ambitious tyrants is not worth the life of a single American boy,” she declared.13 That spring Sumner offered an amendment to postpone the long anticipated D-Day, calling the proposed invasion a “quixotism.” Simultaneously, she submitted a bill to enlarge the Pacific campaign, vesting all military authority in General Douglas MacArthur.14

Former Shell Oil Chief, Engineer: Supertankers Could Save the Gulf, So Why Won't BP Listen?

I don't know if it's money or what, but I don't understand why the US not following up on stuff like this. Via Fast Company...
According to Hofmeister, oil supertankers could be used to suck up massive amounts of oil--possibly millions of barrels at a time.

In an interview with FastCompany.com, Hofmeister explained that a little-known Saudi oil spill from an offshore platform in the early 1990s dumped more crude into the sea than any spill in U.S. history (think hundreds of millions of gallons). But the government and local press kept it quiet. And that's why one of the big fixes in the Saudi oil spill--the oil-skimming supertanker--hasn't been publicized.

"[They] figured out how to deploy supertankers that had the ability to both intake and discharge liquids in vast quantities with huge pumps," Hofmeister explained. "The supertankers could simply suck in seawater and oil simultaneously--they can hold millions of barrels--and when full, they could discharge oil at a port into tanks where they could separate oil from water. The idea is novel in that you can get massive of oil amounts quickly." Once the supertankers make it to to the port, water can be treated and discharged, and oil can either be used or destroyed.

Pozzi saw the technique used in the Middle East, where it recovered 85% of the oil from the Saudi spill. And he thinks it could work in the Gulf of Mexico. "The only downside is that you tie up oil tankers. That's why we think that BP won't listen to us. They don't want to spend that extra money."

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Bill Foster Blog: Tax bills in 2009 at lowest level since 1950

My Congressman wants us to know Tax bills in 2009 at lowest level since 1950 but any common sense Midwesterner will tell Bill, it's the spending Congressman; borrow and ya gotta pay back some day.

Alexi's pal Michael Jaws Giorango didn't get the name Jaws 'cause he let guys forget to repay their debts. There's sharks out there waiting for a United States that won't pay. Let Foster keep borrowing and spending away and we'll all meet 'em.

Pat Hickey: Jan Schakowsky and Helen Thomas to Open a Turkish Bath?

Pat Hickey channeling Joel Pollack again. Pollack writes,










Rep. Schakowsky and her guests were well aware of Thomas’s record of anti-Israel rhetoric, and were invited to distance themselves from her views. None did. Instead, Rep. Schakowsky declared proudly of Thomas: “She’s so awesome!”

Thomas’s comments are also problematic for Giannoulias, whose family foundation funds radical anti-Israel groups such as Electronic Intifada, which it honored at a benefit last year.n the days ahead, the media establishment will likely condemn Thomas’s explicit antisemitism, and distance itself from her views (with a few protestations, no doubt, about the supposed differences between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism). Yet for Democrats in Illinois and beyond, who have placed Thomas on a pedestal, Thomas is a problem that will not go away. Antisemitism is ascendant on the left. Voters are noticing.
I've noticed. Wonder what Bill Foster will say?

Blago Trial: Tamara Holder looks at the Case

Tamara Holder had a good column in Huffpo.
In spite of the rulings and prosecution's tactics, I believe Rod Blagojevich has the greatest defense lawyers on his side. Be careful, Mr. Fitzgerald: I don't think Lincoln is going to be so quick to roll over in his grave.
Fitz also seems to have omitted all the interesting connections with Auchi, Alsammarae, the Iraq Power Plant deal, training all those Iraqi's on AK-47s in Savanna Illinois (nine weeks in Baghdad and I got the impression every Iraqi male understood an AK-47...what do they need to go to Savanna Ill of all places for?) Fitz settled on the Obama Senate seat and that seems the weakest charge given Sestak and the rest of WH SOP for horse trading. If that's legal, what in the world is the Guv guilty of?

The Blagojevich Trial

Well, it's started... looks like four months of it.

Here's an interesting post by Joel Pollack quoting Jan Schakowsky (H/T Chicago News Bench) who's got plenty of her own problems with Helen Thomas quotes thanks to Pat Hickey. Pollack writes,
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich starts his federal trial today. And the Illinois Democrats who clung to his coattails for years are desperate to pretend they don’t know him. Back in 2003, Rep. Jan Schakowsky proclaimed of Blago: “He really is very smart. I don’t laugh at the idea [of his running for President] at all.” She added that when he walked into a room, “there was this crackle of electricity. Everyone wanted to touch him.”

That electricity prompted Rep. Schakowsky to donate $28,000 to Blago’s campaigns for governor. Her husband, convicted felon and political strategist Robert Creamer, made $541,000 helping Blago get elected in 2002. She lobbied him heavily in November 2008 in the hope that he would appoint her to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama, and is thought to be “Senate Candidate 3” in the original criminal complaint.

Now she is trying to laugh it off, nervously telling the Politico that the trial will be a “soap opera.” She and other Illinois Democrats are trying to pretend that even though Blago’s alleged crimes involved prominent figures in federal, state, and local government, he was a lone wolf. But they are nervous, because the connections are there. (Is it just a coincidence that President Obama chose last weekend, of all others, to visit Chicago?)
Last weekend's visit was almost certainly prompted by the need for a deposition from Obama. The Blagojevich crackle still there it's just be amped up to a lethal charge. Touch the Guv now and it's fatal.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Chicago Stand with Israel rally Thursday at 5PM

via a fellow Chicago Blogger,
Friends help each other when one of them is in trouble. Israel of course is a close friend of America, and yes, our dearest ally in the Middle East. If you want to help out a friend, then show up at 111 E. Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago on Thursday at 5:00pm. The Israeli Consulate is located there, and strangely enough, so is the Turkish Consulate.

Bring your American and Israeli flags, but don't worry about signs. You can pick one out at the rally site.

Most of the Chicago establishment media is located within walking distance of East Wacker Drive--let's give them something to shout about.