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FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 19, 2008


By Scott Stantis

Political Cartoons by Scott Stantis




By Ed Morrissey

John McCain shifted gears in Iowa today and reminded voters in Cedar Rapids that he predicted the outcome of the credit crisis two years ago, and few bothered to act.  McCain also aggressively painted Barack Obama as a prime example of do-nothing politicians co-opted by lobbyist money.  His speech pointed out the amount of money Obama has received from Fannie/Freddie donors and the advisers he uses that helped create the crisis (emphases mine):

Senator Obama talks a tough game on the financial markets but the facts tell a different story.  He took more money from Fannie and Freddie than any Senator but the Democratic chairman of the committee that regulates them.  He put Fannie Mae’s CEO who helped create this disaster in charge of finding his Vice President. Fannie’s former General Counsel is a senior advisor to his campaign.  Whose side do you think he is on? When I pushed legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Senator Obama was silent.  He didn’t lift a hand to avert this crisis.  While the leaders of Fannie and Freddie were lining the pockets of his campaign, they were sowing the seeds of the financial crisis we see today and enriching themselves with millions of dollars in payments.  That’s not change, that’s what’s broken in Washington.

He also goes after the Brave Sir Robin Congress:

Those same Congressional leaders who give Senator Obama his marching orders are now saying that this mess isn’t their fault and they aren’t going to take any action on this crisis until after the election.  Senator Obama’s own advisers are saying that crisis will benefit him politically.  My friends, that is the kind of me-first, country-second politics that are broken in Washington.

And he rips Joe Biden and his comment this morning about taxes being “patriotic”:

Today Senator Obama’s running mate said that raising taxes is patriotic.  Raising taxes in a tough economy isn’t patriotic.  It’s not a badge of honor. It’s just dumb policy.

This shows a rapid response capability that could turn this into a solid campaign theme for McCain.  Today is Thursday.  If Team McCain hammers on Biden’s inept comment, especially as a way to show that Obama/Biden would raise taxes as a matter of first recourse in any situation, then he could own the weekend news cycle with both that and Obama’s inaction to, and coziness with, the Fannie/Freddie people who in large part created the problem in the first place.

Full speech follows

I’m happy to be introduced by Governor Palin, but I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington. Let me offer an advance warning to the big spending, greedy, do nothing, me first, country second crowd in Washington and on Wall Street: change is coming.

We need reform in Washington and on Wall Street. The financial markets are in crisis. Times are tough. Enormous strain is being put on working families and individuals in America. I know that the events unfolding can be difficult to understand for many Americans. The dominos that we have seen fall this week began with the corruption and manipulation of our home loan system. The reason this crisis started was the abuses that took place within our home loan agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and within our home loan system.

Two years ago I warned this Administration and Congress that regulations for our home loan agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, needed to be fixed…

But nothing was done.

Senator Obama talks a tough game on the financial markets but the facts tell a different story. He took more money from Fannie and Freddie than any Senator but the Democratic chairman of the committee that regulates them. He put Fannie Mae’s CEO who helped create this disaster in charge of finding his Vice President. Fannie’s former General Counsel is a senior advisor to his campaign. Whose side do you think he is on? When I pushed legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Senator Obama was silent. He didn’t lift a hand to avert this crisis. While the leaders of Fannie and Freddie were lining the pockets of his campaign, they were sowing the seeds of the financial crisis we see today and enriching themselves with millions of dollars in payments. That’s not change, that’s what’s broken in Washington.

There was no transparency into the books of Wall Street banks. Banks and brokers took on huge amounts of debt and they hid the riskiest investments. Mismanagement and greed became the operating standard while regulators were asleep at the switch.

The primary regulator of Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) kept in place trading rules that let speculators and hedge funds turn our markets into a casino. They allowed naked short selling — which simply means that you can sell stock without ever owning it. They eliminated last year the uptick rule that has protected investors for 70 years. Speculators pounded the shares of even good companies into the ground.

The Chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the President and has betrayed the public’s trust. If I were President today, I would fire him.

We cannot wait any longer for more failures in our financial system. Structures like the resolution trust corporation that dealt with the failed savings and loan industry were designed to clean up the system and worked. Today we need a plan that doesn’t wait until the system fails. I am calling for the creation of the mortgage and financial institutions trust – the MFI. The priorities of this trust will be to work with the private sector and regulators to identify institutions that are weak and take remedies to strengthen them before they become insolvent. For troubled institutions this will provide an orderly process through which to identify bad loans and eventually sell them.

This will get the treasury and other financial regulatory authorities in a proactive position instead of reacting in a crisis mode to one situation after the other. The MFI will enhance investor and market confidence, benefit sound financial institutions, assist troubled institutions and protect our financial system, while minimizing taxpayer exposure. Tomorrow I will be talking in greater detail about the crisis facing our markets and what I will do as President to fix this crisis and get our economy moving again.

Senator Obama has never made the kind tough reform we need today. His idea of reform is what his party leaders in Congress order him to do. We tried for bipartisan ethics reform and he walked away from it because his bosses didn’t want real change. I know how to make the change that Senator Obama and this Congress is afraid of. I’ve fought both parties to shake up up Washington and I’m going to do it as President.

Those same Congressional leaders who give Senator Obama his marching orders are now saying that this mess isn’t their fault and they aren’t going to take any action on this crisis until after the election. Senator Obama’s own advisers are saying that crisis will benefit him politically. My friends, that is the kind of me-first, country-second politics that are broken in Washington. My opponent sees an economic crisis as a political opportunity instead of a time to lead. Senator Obama isn’t change, he’s part of the problem with Washington.

When AIG was bailed out, I didn’t like it, but I understood it needed to be done to protect hard working Americans with insurance policies and annuities. Senator Obama didn’t take a position. On the biggest issue of the day, he didn’t know what to think. He may not realize it, but you don’t get to vote present as President of the United States.

While Senator Obama and Congressional leaders don’t know what to think about the current crisis, we know what their plans are for the economy. Today Senator Obama’s running mate said that raising taxes is patriotic. Raising taxes in a tough economy isn’t patriotic. It’s not a badge of honor. It’s just dumb policy. The billions in tax increases that Senator Obama is proposing would kill even more jobs during tough economic times. I’m not going to let that happen.

I have seen tough times before. I know how to shake-up Wall Street and Washington. I will get this economy moving. I will lead us through this crisis by fighting for you, and when I am President we will be stronger than ever before.


By Ed Morrissey

Adam Nagourney of the New York Times laments the fact that John McCain just isn’t the same free-wheeling, fun-loving guy on the campaign trail with reporters and looser on the stump.  Perhaps he should do an archive search at his own newspaper to figure out why.  No sooner did McCain win the primaries than the Gray Lady began smearing McCain, and did so repeatedly.

First, Nagourney’s cri de coeur:

Senator John McCain’s campaign events were once free-wheeling journeys marked by flashes of humor, candor and arch observations from the candidate about presidential politics — and John McCain. Oh, and moments that left no doubt that Mr. McCain was not working from any script.

“Thanks for the question, you little jerk,” Mr. McCain said to a New Hampshire high school student who inquired about his age last year, raising his eyebrows as he chortled at his own joke. “You’re drafted.”

Not these days. As Mr. McCain worked his way through Florida and Ohio as the Republican Party’s nominee for president this week, he was a candidate transformed. …

Mr. McCain’s once easy-going if irreverent campaign presence — endearing to crowds, though often the kind of undisciplined excursions that landed him in the gaffe doghouse — has been put out to pasture. He takes far fewer chances, meaning there are fewer risqué jokes, zingers at a familiar face in the crowd, provocative observations on policy or politics, or exercises in self-derogatory humor. By every appearance, this Mr. McCain is, or at least is struggling to be, disciplined and on message in a way befitting of American politics today, if not quite befitting of the McCain of yesterday.

Let’s take a stroll down Smear Memory Lane, shall we?

  • February 21: The Times publishes a story that accuses him of having an affair with a lobbyist — or at least wanting to have an affair with her — based on the word of two disgruntled former staffers, who tell a ridiculous story about confronting McCain without any of his senior advisers ever knowing about it.  (I wrote extensively about this at Captain’s Quarters.)
  • March 7: Elisabeth Bumiller writes a story about McCain exploding in anger over a question she asked; video later shows she lied.
  • March 10: The Times has Dr. Lawrence Altman issue a prognosis on McCain’s skin cancer with the handicap of never having been in his presence.  They also criticize him for not releasing his medical records, despite the fact that he did in 1999, and that no other candidate had, either.  In fact, Barack Obama still has not released his medical records.
  • April 10: Continuing in its tradition of fortunetelling in its news sections, the Times tells its readers that McCain may come under the influence of dreaded neocons.  Its source?  Another person who doesn’t talk with McCain.
  • May 4: The editorial board scolds McCain for not releasing his medical records — even though they note that he planned to do so on May 23rd. To date, they still have not once demanded that Barack Obama release his medical records, nor Joe Biden.
  • May 21: After the editorial, the McCain campaign refused to invite a reporter from the Times to the press conference in which McCain would release his records.  The Times tell the campaign that they will write a negative story about the records unless they get their invite.  I publish the story and ask for a response; the Times refuses to comment.
  • May 22, 24: The hit piece comes out, and it’s a weak complaint about the release of the records being “tightly controlled.”  In 1999, though, McCain had fewer media outlets and earned the praise of the Times for his openness.
  • July 30: The paper that ran the “General Betray-Us” ad scolds McCain for his negative campaigning, failing to mention that Obama actually started running negative ads first.

Believe me, this is not a comprehensive list.  If Nagourney wanted to spend a few more minutes and report on the treatment McCain has received from his paper and the media in general honestly, he could come up with enough fodder for ten blog posts or more.  With a track record like this, small wonder McCain doesn’t cozy up to reporters — and the Times of all outlets should be the last to whine about it.  Thursday, September 18, 2008




By Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne




By Charles Johnson

One of the useful idiots in that “Free Gaza” group is Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Tony Blair, and now she’s stuck there. And ranting about Nazi concentration camps to Israeli media.

The British left-wing activist arrived in the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave as part of the dozens of ‘Free Gaza’ activists who set out on two boats from Cyprus last month with the intent of “breaking” the Israeli naval blockade imposed on the Strip. Booth is one of the 10 activists who chose to remain in Gaza while her companions set sail back to Cyprus. Since then she has been stuck in Gaza, unable to exit through Israel or Egypt. ...

She spoke of the situation in Gaza and said, “Yesterday, I visited mothers of children under the age of five. Nutrition here has deteriorated threefold over the last two years because it is impossible to bring food through the crossings. Unemployment has risen, so people can’t even afford to buy what food there is left.“

When asked about Israel’s right to respond to incessant attacks emanating from Gaza, Booth evoked Holocaust-related rhetoric. ”There is no right to punish people this way. There is no justification for this kind of collective punishment. You were in the concentration camps, and I can’t believe that you are allowing the creation of such a camp yourselves.”

“The Palestinians’ suffering is physical, mental and emotional,“ she went on, ”there is not a family here in which someone is not in desperate need of work, shelter or food. This is a humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur.“

To show how abysmal the conditions are, here’s a photo of Booth taken in Gaza shortly before the interview above, buying candy bars and soft drinks at a fully stocked supermarket.

(Hat tip: Lisa Goldman, via PJ Media.)  Thursday, September 18, 2008




By Ed Morrissey 

You have to hand it to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  Once they decide on a strategy, they stick with it.  Bloomberg reports that the Democratic Congress will take action in the face of this economic crisis — by beating a hasty retreat:

The Democratic-controlled Congress, acknowledging that it isn’t equipped to lead the way to a solution for the financial crisis and can’t agree on a path to follow, is likely to just get out of the way.

Lawmakers say they are unlikely to take action before, or to delay, their planned adjournments — Sept. 26 for the House of Representatives, a week later for the Senate. While they haven’t ruled out returning after the Nov. 4 elections, they would rather wait until next year unless Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who are leading efforts to contain the crisis, call for help.

One reason, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday, is that “no one knows what to do” at the moment.

The stench from this hypocrisy is overwhelming.  Reid, Pelosi, Barack Obama, and every Democrat who could bitterly cling to a microphone over the last four days has spewed invective at the Bush administration, blaming the credit-market meltdown on Bush’s policies.  Now, at the height of the crisis, not only do the Democrats admit they haven’t a clue as to how to address it, to whom do they turn to solve it?

The Bush administration! After all, Henry Paulson serves on the Bush administration Cabinet, and has been Bush’s Treasury Secretary for over two years.  In fact, Paulson was one of the CEOs that Democrats love to demonize, having run Goldman Sachs for years at salaries over $15 million a year for the two years prior to his appointment.  Joe Biden just got done blaming the meltdown on people like Paulson.  Now Democrats want him to rescue America.

First Pelosi adjourns the House in the middle of an energy supply crisis that hammered the working class with sharp hikes in fuel and food costs.  Now both Pelosi and Reid want to adjourn both chambers of Congress rather than deal with the credit crisis that Washington created with its heavy-handed mandates to issue credit to marginally qualified borrowers and lack of oversight over government-guaranteed entities.  Given their ineptitude, we probably should be grateful — as Bloomberg notes.  But considering their rhetoric over the last few days, their retreat may be one of the most cowardly acts in domestic policy seen in a very long time.

I hearby dub this … the Brave Sir Robin Congress.




By John Hinderaker

Barack Obama's thuggish campaign has exceeded itself with a Spanish-language ad that is dishonest at several levels. ABC's Jake Tapper blows the whistle:

Sen. Barack Obama has launched a new Spanish-language TV ad that seeks to paint Sen. John McCain as anti-immigrant, even tying the Republican to his longtime conservative talk-radio nemesis Rush Limbaugh.

As first reported by the Washington Post, Obama's ad features a narrator saying: "They want us to forget the insults we've put up with...the intolerance...they made us feel marginalized in this country we love so much."

The screen then shows these two quotes from Limbaugh:

"...stupid and unskilled Mexicans."
--Rush Limbaugh

"You shut your mouth or you get out!"
--Rush Limbaugh

The narrator then says, "John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One that says lies just to get our vote...and another, even worse, that continues the policies of George Bush that put special interests ahead of working families. John McCain...more of the same old Republican tricks."

I don't think I've ever seen a more deeply contemptible political ad. Apart from the fact that the ad slanders Rush Limbaugh--the second statement, for example, describes Mexico's immigration policy--Limbaugh and McCain were opponents on the subject of immigration.

McCain's stance on immigration, more than anything else, alienated him from his party's conservative base, precisely because he put the interests of illegal immigrants ahead of a commitment to enforce our laws. McCain's position on illegal immigration, rightly or wrongly, is the opposite of Limbaugh's--as, for that matter, is that of President Bush, whom the ad casually maligns.

In the mainstream media, the last week has been consumed by tut-tutting over the supposed "lies" perpetrated by two McCain ads--which, however, were inconveniently true. It will be interesting to see how liberal pundits react to what must be the most dishonest, racist and hateful campaign ad published in many years.


By Paul Mirengoff

Today, the Washington Post's news section ran the following headlines relating to the presidential campaign:

"McCain Embraces Regulation After Many Years of Opposition"

"McCain Able to Skirt Limits of Federal Financing"

"McCain BlackBerry Easily Connects With Gore Internet"

"Palin Exaggerates Alaska's Energy Role"

The Post has no headlines or stories about Obama. It probably recognizes that, as John noted today, Obama is a spent force in any positive sense, and that the best it can do for him now is to remove the spotlight while amping up the attacks on McCain.

The story about McCain "embracing regulation after many years of opposition" appears on page 1. Author Michael Shear, who has emerged as a top anti-McCain hatchet man for the Post (he also wrote the silly BlackBerry piece), makes no mention of the fact that in 2005, McCain cosponsored the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act, the strongest legislation introduced up to that time to control Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Given recent developments, no fair story about McCain's position on regulation could omit this fact. But Shear (who was assisted on the story by fellow Democratic partisan Anne Kornblut) was not about to let it stand in the way of his hit piece, as the Washington Post pursues its relentless campaign to help elect Barack Obama.  Wednesday, September 17, 2008




By Charles Johnson

Every once in a while a “progressive” gets tired of maintaining a false front, and comes right out and says what they really feel about the military and about America. Today’s self-unmasking is by Steve Almond, for the Boston Globe: Supporting our troops.

PERHAPS the most insidious byproduct of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has been a reflexive sanctification of the military. To put this in bumper stickerese: Support the Troops.

Well, I have an ugly confession to make: I don’t support the troops - at least not unconditionally. When somebody tells me they serve in the military, my first impulse isn’t to say, “Thank you for your service!” like those insufferable chickenhawks on talk radio.

My first impulse is to say, “I’m sorry to hear that.” Because I am. I’m sorry to know that the person I’m talking to might someday be maimed or killed on the job, or might someday kill someone else. Or refuel a plane that drops bombs on buildings.

I can’t see how anyone who calls himself or herself Christian - or human, for that matter - wouldn’t be sorry.

The fact that we have an army, that we need an army, is inherently tragic. It’s an admission that our species is still ruled by fear and aggression.

(Hat tip: Michael Graham.)  Thursday, September 18, 2008


By Charles Johnson

Islamic clerics in Saudi Arabia have been on a crusade (can I use that word?) to shut down Western-influenced media, and now their wrath is turned upon the heathen astrologers: The MEMRI Blog - Saudi Sheikh: Kill Hosts of Horoscope Programs.

Member of the High Judicial Council in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Salah Al-Fawzan, has called to kill the hosts of TV horoscope programs on the grounds that they “practice magic.” Al-Fawzan contends that, according to Islam, they are guilty of “a crime whose perpetrators must be put to death by the sword,” and that “it is forbidden to pray over their bodies.”

Religion of peace!  Wednesday, September 17, 2008




Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the tribal areas. Map from PBS' Frontline. Click to view.

The US has conducted another cross-border airstrike inside Pakistan's tribal areas. The attack occurred in South Waziristan just as a senior US military commander completed a visit to Pakistan and urged the government to reform Pakistan's intelligence agency.

The attack occurred in the Baghar Cheena region of the South Waziristan tribal agency, anonymous Pakistani intelligence sources told Geo TV. This is the same area where the US has conducted several strikes during this past week. At least four missiles were fired from unmanned Predator aircraft. The US military has not commented on the latest strike, but rarely admits to conducting cross-border attacks.

The target of the strike was a Taliban camp, according to reports. "There are a few militant training camps in the area and no civilian population around the site of strikes," an official told Geo TV. Five Taliban fighters were killed and a weapons storage site was destroyed in the attack, Reuters reported.

The strike was the "result of US and Pakistani intelligence sharing," a senior Pakistani official told Reuters. "It shows improving intelligence coordination on the ground."

The report of coordinated action occurs as Pakistan's president, prime minister, and other senior politicians and senior military leaders said Pakistan would not tolerate violations of Pakistan's borders. Yesterday, the chief spokesman for the military said the military had orders to "open fire" on US forces attempting to cross the border.

Today's strike follows an unannounced visit to Pakistan by Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mullen met with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, Pakistan's Army Chief of Staff to discuss the situation in Pakistan's tribal areas and assured them the US respects Pakistan's sovereignty.

The US has also ratcheted up pressure on the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, Pakistan's primary military intelligence agency. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher upbraided the ISI for having direct links to and aiding the Taliban and al Qaeda. Mullen urged the government to reform the ISI and purge the agency of extremist supporters.

The US has stepped up attack in Pakistan's tribal areas this year after the Taliban and al Qaeda consolidated control in the tribal regions and settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province. There have been nine recorded cross-border strikes since Aug. 31. There have been 17 recorded cross-border attacks in Pakistan in 2008, compared to 10 strikes during 2006 and 2007 combined.

Three senior al Qaeda leaders have been killed in the attacks. The Haqqani Network, the powerful al Qaeda and Taliban-linked group run by Jalaluddin and Siraj Haqqani has been heavily targeted as well.

The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terrorist groups have established 157 training camps and more than 400 support locations in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province, US intelligence officials have told The Long War JournalWednesday, September 17, 2008

US attacks inside Pakistan in 2008:

US strikes Taliban camp in South Waziristan
Sept. 17, 2008
Report: US helicopters fired on while crossing Pakistani border
Sept. 15, 2008
US hits compound in North Waziristan,
Sept. 12, 2008
US targets Haqqani Network in North Waziristan,
Sept. 8, 2008
US airstrike killed five al Qaeda operatives in North Waziristan,
Sept. 5, 2008
Report: US airstrike kills four in North Waziristan,
Sept. 4, 2008
Pakistanis claim US helicopter-borne forces assaulted village in South Waziristan,
Sept. 3, 2008
US hits al Qaeda safe house in North Waziristan,
Aug. 31, 2008
Five killed in al Qaeda safe house strike in South Waziristan,
Aug. 31, 2008
Al Qaeda safe house targeted in South Waziristan strike,
Aug. 20, 2008
Cross-border strike targets one of the Taliban's 157 training camps in Pakistan's northwest,
Aug. 13, 2008
Six killed in strike in South Waziristan,
July 28, 2008
Senior Algerian al Qaeda operative killed in May 14 strike inside Pakistan,
May 24, 2008
Missile strike kills 20 in South Waziristan,
March 16, 2008
Unprecedented Coalition strike nails the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan,
March 13, 2008
Missile strike on al Qaeda meeting in South Waziristan kills 13,
Feb. 28, 2008
Senior al Qaeda leader Abu Laith al Libi killed in North Waziristan,
Jan. 31, 2008


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