Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: June 30, 2010


Dale’s Observations For 2010-06-30

Cambridge PD: Prof. Gates and Sgt. Crowley were both a-holes. http://usat.me?39086876 #

Report: Deficit, debt get worse despite health care law http://usat.me?98442 | I'm shocked–shocked!–to learn this! Again. #

RT @markknoller: Obama: Debate isn’t about big or small government, but responsible government." | "Responsible"? *cough* oil spill *cough* #

RT @markknoller: Obama: There are times when "only government" can do what individuals and business cannot. | By "times" he means "always". #

I just learned that Swedish Match has discontinued Claq Qui. Now I have to go through the tedious process of finding a new snus. #

If we really are in for another contraction, and a massive round of money creation by the Fed, then I suggest these… http://bit.ly/dd4FD1 #

http://bit.ly/ceFZSN The ECRI leading indicator plummets to -6.9, pointing to an economic contraction in the US by the end of the year. #

RT @Heritage Morning Bell: Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List http://bit.ly/aW47Gt | At this point "Anything" would be a to-do list for Obama. #

http://bit.ly/cZcdel RBS to customers: We strongly believe that [an economic] cliff-edge may be around the corner…Think the unthinkable." #

VA hospital may have exposed 1800 veterans to HIV. http://bit.ly/b5FNQX #

Elizabeth Edwards is inspired by Sandra Bullock. Yeah, Sandra threw the bum out immediately, unlike Edwards. http://bit.ly/am79Jf #

12-foot waves hamper Gulf oil cleanup. Nature gave us 70 days to jump into action. Instead, Obama dithered. http://bit.ly/9VBLZd #

The ADP Employment Change report shows private employers only added 13k new jobs last month. That implies a negative BLS report on Friday. #


Guantanamo’s lesson for the Obama administration

The New York Times tells us that closing the Guantanamo facility has "faded as a priority." The once adamant insistence by candidate and later President Obama that the facility must be closed to erase the blight on America’s image has now run smack dab into reality. The New York Times prefers to write it off to “political resistance”, implying political foes on the right are responsible for Obama’s inability to close Guantanamo. In fact the Obama Justice Department has been no more successful in determining what to do with the detainees at “Gitmo” than was the Bush administration. That is the problem area that can’t be resolved.

The reality they face is very simple – those incarcerated are very dangerous people whose sole goal in life is to kill as many Americans as they can by whatever means they have at their disposal. Releasing them back into the world would simply allow them to again engage in achieving their goals.

The Obama administration has fretted and fussed over their inability to close the detention center. They’ve installed commissions to study the problem, they’ve explored various possible solutions and none have provided a resolution to the problem of what to do with these detainees.

If you can’t release the detainees, they obviously have to be kept somewhere.  That is the core of Obama’s problem.  His claim that Gitmo is a stain on the image of the United States and is used by our enemies as a recruiting tool presupposes that closing the facility (and, one assumes, releasing the detainees) would remove that stain and the claimed “recruiting tool” Guantanamo provides.

The final attempt at a solution involved Congressional Democrats putting forward a plan to use a closed prison facility in Illinois to house the Guantanamo detainees and allowing the administration to close the detention center there. This idea was certainly met with political resistance when Americans became aware of the plan. Common sense says you don’t move dangerous detainees in an isolated facility off-shore into the heart of your country and provide violent radicals with an opportunity to bring terrorism to America in an attempt to rescue those being held.

But that plan also shifted the debate in a subtle way that many missed. By considering the plan, the administration tacitly admitted that what they saw as a “stain” on America’s image was, in fact, a necessary “stain.” That image, of course, had to do with holding these detainees without trial in an American facility. Its name happened to be Guantanamo. But moving them to an inland prison doesn’t change the image. It merely changes the name and location of the prison. It was clear, at that point, that the administration had no idea how it could close Gitmo safely and remove that “stain.”  The best it could do was transfer the “stain” to Illinois.

So it has chosen to let the closing of the Guantanamo facility “fade in priority.” Another naive campaign promise squashed by reality. The world is full of dangerous people who wish us ill.  The job of keeping us safe falls to the federal government. For an administration which likes to present teachable moments, this should be one for them.

Guantanamo exists for a very important purpose directly tied to the government’s job of keeping us safe. The administration has now explored that point in seemingly every possible way and the facility remains open and functioning. Perhaps it is time they made peace with that fact and turned their concentration toward keeping the citizens of the US safe instead of worrying about imaginary “stains.”


Michael Gerson Is Better Than You

Oh, and you’re ugly too:

My political friendships and sympathies are increasingly determined not by ideology but by methodology. One of the most significant divisions in American public life is not between the Democrats and the Republicans; it is between the Ugly Party and the Grown-Up Party.

[...]

The rhetoric of the Ugly Party shares some common themes: urging the death or sexual humiliation of opponents or comparing a political enemy to vermin or diseases. It is not merely an adolescent form of political discourse; it encourages a certain political philosophy — a belief that rivals are somehow less than human, which undermines the idea of equality and the possibility of common purposes.

This distinction came to mind in the case of Washington Post blogger David Weigel, who resigned last week after the leak of messages he wrote disparaging figures he covered … Unlike Weigel, most members of the Ugly Party — liberal and conservative — have little interest in keeping their views private.

[...]

The alternative to the Ugly Party is the Grown-Up Party — less edgy and less hip. It is sometimes depicted on the left and on the right as an all-powerful media establishment, stifling creativity, freedom and dissent. The Grown-Up Party, in my experience, is more like a seminar at the Aspen Institute — presentation by David Broder, responses from E.J. Dionne Jr. and David Brooks — on the electoral implications of the energy debate. I am more comfortable in this party for a few reasons: because it is more responsible, more reliable and less likely to wish its opponents would die.

Well, not in public anyway.

If I had a nickel for every time some hand-wringing, garment-wrenching, media “elite” rides to the rescue of one of their liberal brethren being caught slurring the political opposition, I could buy the entire archives of JournoList.

I’d even have enough money left over for some popcorn and a comfy chair. Then I could release those archives and watch the stampede of “Grown-Up Party” snobs falling all over themselves to explain how sophisticated they all are for only “urging the death or sexual humiliation of opponents or comparing a political enemy to vermin or diseases” in the privacy of their own chatrooms. It will be uproariously entertaining to hear how talking behind people’s backs is the epitome of class, while publicly challenging opponents is so lowly and juvenile.

You know, Mr. Gerson, being a “Grown-Up” douchebag isn’t much of an accomplishment.


It took 70 days to accept foreign help on the oil spill?

Why?

Really – I want to know.  Why did the “we’ve been on the job since day one” crowd take 70 more days to decide they should accept some offers of help that began coming in within 3 days of the spill.

(Via Hot Air):

The National Incident Command and the Federal On Scene Coordinator have determined that there is a resource need for boom and skimmers that can be met by offers of assistance from foreign governments and international bodies.

The United States will accept 22 offers of assistance from 12 countries and international bodies, including two high speed skimmers and fire containment boom from Japan. We are currently working out the particular modalities of delivering the offered assistance. Further details will be forthcoming once these arrangements are complete…

The Department has released a chart of offers of assistance that the U.S. has received from other governments and international bodies. The chart is updated as necessary to include any additional offers of assistance and decisions on accepting the offers.

The chart shows a good number of more offers still under “consideration”.

Why?

Why isn’t that equipment and technology already here and deployed?

What is going on with the “day one” crowd?  Why are we still screwing around deciding what offers should or shouldn’t be accepted?

Meanwhile, the red tape continues to stymie efforts to clean up the spill.

Freakin’ amazing.

This vid sort of sums it all up.

Oil Spill Timeline from RightChange on Vimeo.

~McQ


Consumer confidence dives in June

If you were wondering why the stock market tanked yesterday, look no further than June’s consumer confidence numbers.  Not good:

The Consumer Confidence Index came in at 52.9 in June, a jarring decline from 62.7 in May, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Conference Board, a private research group. It was the biggest drop since February and came on top of several gloomy economic developments in recent days.

Those “gloomy economic developments” of recent days include a 1Q GDP of 2.7%, housing sales that dropped 33% and unemployment numbers that while a tiny bit lower, showed nothing to indicate employers are hiring.  Now consumers are indicating that they’re not willing to buy much of anything at the moment.  That all adds up to bad news for the recovery – if in fact, we’re actually in one.

And the future isn’t looking much brighter:

In another troubling sign, forecasters expect U.S. auto sales to decline for June after growing every month since January. The Conference Board’s report showed that fewer people surveyed plan to make many major purchases, from homes and autos to refrigerators, over the next six months.

Again, not a good sign.  In fact, what it is a sign of is something we’ve all been fearing:

"The more evidence that we get that consumers are losing their confidence and growing more tentative about things, the odds of a double-dip recession start to rise a little bit," said Tim Quinlan, economist at Wells Fargo.

Indeed.  Wait … wasn’t all that stimulus money supposed to fix this?

~McQ