Friday, June 04, 2010

Stimulus Was a Clunker

The dotted line simply averages the sales for the month of the clunkers program and the month after.  I think it is pretty clear that we spent a few billion dollars making some used car owners happy (by overpaying for their vehicles) but did absolutely nothing to move the trend line in auto sales, as the program appears to have just pulled forward purchases rather than stimulated new ones.

Posted via email from The Blue Pelican

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Muslim Brotherhood's Flotilla

Western press accounts have enumerated the many left-wing human rights activists who were among the Gaza-bound flotilla’s passengers earlier this week. But there were other, more conspicuous passengers aboard the ships. The Muslim Brotherhood, in particular, was well-represented.

In fact, the more one looks into the details of the flotilla the more it becomes clear that the Brotherhood used the humanitarian mission for its own purpose, namely, to assist its Palestinian branch -- Hamas. The Brotherhood used the flotilla as a propaganda operation with the intention of increasing international pressure on Israel to the point that the Jewish state lifts its blockade on Gaza and therefore Hamas. Simply put, the Brotherhood saw the flotilla as a public relations weapon that could be used to assist their fellow Ikhwan (Muslim Brothers).

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Michael Rubin: Erdogan’s Turkey Is Not a Friend

But in recent years Erdogan has shown his true colors, ratcheting up the hostility toward Israel and extending a friendly hand to Hamas. The Turkish government’s behavior during the recent flotilla affair is consistent with the path Erdogan has forged.

The Turkish government voiced its clear support for the Gaza flotilla’s effort to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas. In light of Turkey’s mounting hostility toward Israel, it is not surprising that Israeli commandos came under fierce assault on a ship owned by a Turkish Islamist charity allied with Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party.


It is in this context that Turkey’s official support for the Gaza flotilla becomes so problematic: Not only were the ships financed by a Turkish charity that belongs to a Saudi umbrella organization linked by the U.S. Treasury Department to terrorism, but if the ships succeed in opening a trade route bypassing Israeli inspections, they could end up giving Hamas an unfettered supply of weaponry.

I think it's time to kick Turkey out of NATO.  Better yet, just end NATO completely.  I think West Germany is probably safe from invasion by the East (or it's too late to stop them, depending on your point of view.)  The US can have a separate alliance with the Baltic states to keep Russia in check.  Other than that, what good is NATO?

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Leno on Sestak Scandal

Jay Leno:

Republicans claim President Obama had Bill Clinton offer a job to Joe Sestak in exchange for dropping out of the Pennsylvania Senate race against Arlen Specter. Republicans are saying it may be an impeachable offense and are even comparing it to the Clinton impeachment.

Close ... but no cigar.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Fight Bigotry Without Government

America's fundamental political philosophy has deteriorated quite a bit if we can't distinguish between government and private conduct. I enthusiastically support the parts of the civil rights act that struck down Jim Crow laws, which required segregation in government facilities, mass transit, and sometimes in private restaurants and hotels. Jim Crow was evil. It had no place in America.

Racist policies in private restaurants are also evil, but they do not involve force. Government is force, so it should not be used to combat nonviolent racism on private property, even property open to the public.

I just don't trust government to decide what discrimination is acceptable. Its clumsy fist cannot deter private nonviolent racism without stomping on the rights of individuals. Today, because of government antidiscrimination policy, all-women gyms are sued and forced to admit men, a gay softball team is told it may not reject bisexuals and a Christian wedding photographer is fined thousands of dollars for refusing to take photos of a homosexual wedding.

Posted via email from The Blue Pelican

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Sestak ‘Job’ Offer: A Hatch Act Violation

Another law was broken by the White House’s job offer to Sestak, and the proof lies right in Bauer’s memo. The Hatch Act makes it illegal for a federal employee to use his official position or authority to interfere with or affect the result of an election. Unquestionably, the chief of staff’s offer of a presidential appointment to get Congressman Sestak to drop out — even if conveyed through his emissary Bill Clinton — constitutes the use of his official position to interfere with the result of an election. It could cost him his job.

The Hatch Act, which is enforced by the independent Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”), carries a penalty of removal from one’s government position for engaging in improper political activity. It applies to all federal employees except the president and vice president.

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White House can't get its Sestak story straight

In the first place, nobody can seriously believe that a wizened con man like Bill Clinton would agree to offer such rotten bait to a deep-water fish like Sestak, a former three-star admiral. [...] As a sitting member of Congress, Sestak was barred from serving on such a federal panel and thus would have been required not only to give up his Specter challenge but also his House seat in order to agree to the White House offer.

We're now in the middle of perhaps the most incompetent cover-up since Watergate.

Rahm may have to throw Obama under the bus to save himself.

My theory is that Karl Rove engineered Arlen Specter's switch to the Democratic party as a way to lure Obama into this fiasco.  Bill Clinton played along only to spring the trap, which may ultimately allow Hillary make another run in 2012.  (Just kidding. :-)

Posted via email from The Blue Pelican