January 31, 2010
— Open Blog Sunday night ONT is here.
The New 50 States?
The largest state population is nearly 66 times as big as the smallest state population which is a huge ratio and leads to the occasional Electoral College weirdness. So what if the state borders were redrawn so that the states would have nearly equal populations. So how 'bout them Great Smokey Vols?
— DrewM The Pro Bowl is the Open Thread of the football world so combining the two seems to make sense.
Apparently the Grammys are on as well. I'm pretty sure I've never heard of most of these people, let alone listened to their music, so I'll be skipping that. Yeah, I'm getting old. Now get off my lawn!
— Gabriel Malor Weasel Zippers asks why the President would bow to the mayor of Tampa.
I'm wondering that myself:
Click for the full shot AP caught for posterity. I thought maybe he was reaching down to pick something up (while simultaneously shaking Mayor Iorio's hand, I guess). But the AP caption says he's bowing to her.
I guess I don't mind so much when he's bowing to an American. I'm not happy about it, but bowing to foreign heads of state pegs my OH HE DID NOT meter while this just rises to "what a buffoon"-levels of presidential misbehavior.
Overwrought, but hits the right notes.
— Gabriel Malor Okay, two RNC/Steele stories came out yesterday. One's sorta noteworthy and one's just powerful stupid. So let's start with the stupid one:
For reasons passing understanding, ABC News thought that asking RNC Chairman Steele if he planned to run for the presidency was a good question. Even Steele laughed:
"Come on, don't ask me that," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said when presented with the inevitable question about his 2012 intentions and if his political aspirations included running for the White House next time around.
"In all honest-to-good seriousness, that is such silly Washington talk. It's just not even on my mind," Steele said about a possible presidential run.
I think whoever wrote this up for ABC was a little embarrassed too. Note the editorial "the inevitable question" inserted into the quote. Uh huh. It's all cool ABC, it was "inevitable." Someone had to ask, though, so at least it's done.
Now we can all move on. Right? Right?
Oh, wait. You just won't let it go:
Why not rule it out completely and keep those Washington tongues from wagging?
"I just did. I don't know how many different ways I can do that," Steele said. "How many different ways can you spell 'no'?"
I suspect that this was an attempt to get Steele to say something silly. It's not unprecedented, which makes ABC look that much more idiotic. How's your day going when Michael Steele thinks you're a retard?
Oh, right the second bit of RNC news:
They rejected both of Jim Bopp's "litmus test" resolutions in favor of a more wishy-washy resolution asking the Chairman to "carefully screen" candidates to see how close they stick to the Republican Party Platform.
Jubilant conservatives on the 168-member RNC -- the party's national governing body -- called passage of the resolution a "historic" step designed to make it difficult for Mr. Steele and future party leaders to help finance the campaigns of liberal Republicans.
"The importance of resolution's passage now is that it shows we have taken steps not only to welcome tea-party activists and other independent, small-government champions but also to solve problems within the GOP that caused many of them to abandon the Republican Party," said Morton Blackwell, a veteran RNC member from Virginia.
Opponents of the resolution disputed its importance and uniqueness. "This is not historic, nor is it binding," said Mississippi RNC member Henry Barbour, the nephew of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former RNC chairman who is revered by most Republicans.
Effect of this resolution on this year's elections: ZERO. Exit question: is that a good thing or a bad thing?
— Gabriel Malor On the one hand: well, yeah.
On the other hand: trial? What trial? Since the Democrats have made such a ruckus about giving terrorists criminal trials, it behooves them to not undermine the process at every turn, doesn't it?
Obama already fouled that up when he decided that some terrorists would get criminal trials and some would get military tribunals. Why aren't military tribunals good enough for all if they are good enough for some? He pulverised the legitimacy of the military commissions system created by Congress. And now Gibbsy is casting doubt on the legitimacy of the criminal justice system.
Accused Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is likely to be executed after being tried and convicted, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Sunday.
What's that I hear? Is that a million voices from the Islamic world screaming "showtrial!"?
— Open Blog Looks like another slow day, so here's another thread.
To our discussion of the nature and role and defects of the national media, I thought I'd add my two cents by adding someone else's two cents, namely, the two cents of Nixon Vice President Spiro Agnew. Yes, we all of us know he was forced to resign from office in disgrace on corruption charges stemming from his tenure as governor of Maryland, and I'll even stipulate at this point that he was as big a rotter as the MSM kept telling us he was. After he resigned, Nixon never spoke to him again, ever, so maybe they're right.
But, apart from all this, Spiro Agnew did make one remarkable speech. It was in 1969 and was in response to the television news coverage of an earlier speech by Richard Nixon on the Vietnam War.
What's interesting about this speech is that it hits pretty much all the topics we complain about today, to wit:
1. The constant coverage of "bad" news at the expense of "good" news.
2. The content of the news, which influences tens of millions of Americans, is determined by a mere handful of individuals.
3. And, unlike the print media, there are no other alternative TV new sources available.
4. News analysis or news stories that are actually partisan political commentary in disguise.
We recognize all of these as still being problems, except for perhaps #3, which has pretty much been alleviated technologically, thanks to talk radio and the internet.
But here's my favorite bit:
When the President completed his address -- an address, incidentally, that he spent weeks in the preparation of -- his words and policies were subjected to instant analysis and querulous criticism. The audience of 70 million Americans gathered to hear the President of the United States was inherited by a small band of network commentators and self-appointed analysts, the majority of whom expressed in one way or another their hostility to what he had to say.
It was obvious that their minds were made up in advance.
To guarantee in advance that the President's plea for national unity would be challenged, one network trotted out Averell Harriman for the occasion. Throughout the President's address, he waited in the wings. When the President concluded, Mr. Harriman recited perfectly... [H]e twice issued a call to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to debate Vietnam once again; he stated his belief that the Vietcong or North Vietnamese did not really want military take-over of South Vietnam...
All in all, Mr. Harrison offered a broad range of gratuitous advice challenging and contradicting the policies outlined by the President of the United States. Where the President had issued a call for unity, Mr. Harriman was encouraging the country not to listen to him.
This actually sounds somewhat quaint, because what Agnew is complaining about, the "instant analysis" that immediately follows a presidential speech, is now standard journalistic practice, practiced by every news outlet, and no one objects to it. In fact, the media are usually given copies of the speeches beforehand to facilitate this practice.
Agnew goes on:
[T]he President of the United States has a right to communicate directly with the people who elected him, and the people of this country have the right to make up their own minds and form their own opinions about a Presidential address without having a President's words and thoughts characterized through the prejudices of hostile critics before they can even be digested.
I understand what he's saying here, but unfortunately, the 24/7 news cycle makes this basically an impossibility. It probably was an unrealistic expectation even in 1969, but Agnew is wise enough to realize that some things take time to digest. Sometimes I find myself wondering what it must have been like to hear about historical events days or even weeks after they had already happened.
Below the fold is Agnew's speech in its entirety:
January 30, 2010
— Open Blog Hello, hello all M&Ms. Welcome to your weekly Saturday night ONT.
Programming note - I'll be traveling again this week so the ONT may not go up until 10:30PM EST for a while. So hold off for a bit on the
angry mobs search parties.
Four Lions: a Jihadi comedy
Here's a scene from an upcoming mockumentary by British satirist Chris Morris that follows a group of hapless UK Jihadi wannabes. If he has the balls to go all the way with this, it could be really funny.
And yeah I just noticed that ArthurK had posted this in the sidebar earlier. Oh well I guess double posting is part of the moron way.
— Dave in Texas Slow Saturday night. Man I miss making dumb football picks.
Actor Elmore "Rip" Torn was arrested Friday night for allegedly breaking into a Main Street bank intoxicated, armed with a loaded revolver.
Highly intoxicated, according to the story.
Police have declined to specify how Torn allegedly entered the bank. The small bank appeared untouched in the front and on its left and right sides, however one window near the back porch of the bank had a board sitting in front of it. A screen resting adjacent to the window was also torn.
That's pretty much all a ninja needs, a bottle of Jim Beam and a board.
andylevy via Twitter. Andy, to his friends. Mr. Levy to me.
— Ace I see none here in Gallup, where he returns to his worse ratings in the daily tracking (47/47).
He did get a moderate blip in Rasmussen, from 45% to 49%, owing to his solidification of the Democrats (going from 81% to 90% with that subset). But, you know, Scott Rasmussen is Hitler and can't be trusted.
More troubling for Obama is Rasmussen's findings that a majority of the public just doesn't believe his wild claims about "2 million jobs created" and the rest of the nonsense.
— Open Blog Perhaps it's time for another thread.
Most of you aren't going to know who Gary North is, and that's probably just as well. He's a somewhat marginal figure on the Christian right best known for making wild predictions of apocalyptic disasters which always fail to materialize, culminating ten years ago in him going all in on Y2K. North has a smallish band of devoted followers, but most everyone else on the Christian right thinks of him, if at all, as a nutcase. He's kind of like the stereotypical mad scientist. I can well imagine him with a crazy glint in his eye and screaming "Mad, am I!? I'll show them! My theories are sound!" He likes to dabble in things perhaps best left alone and his failed experiments wreak havoc.
His political beliefs most closely resemble those of the paleocon right. He's written many articles that appear at LewRockwell.com.
But just when you're about to write him off completely, he comes up with something that makes such perfect sense that you wonder why it hasn't been thought of sooner.
Therefore, I am intrigued by his views and so I subscribe to his newsletter.
Below the fold, I have cut and pasted North's latest newsletter, which contains his advice for Sarah Palin. I thought it was, well, intriguing, as it is a blueprint for taking back the country, one small step at a time. Discuss among yourselves, if you feel so inclined.
January 29, 2010
— Gabriel Malor As voted by Empire readers. It's one of those awful things where you have to click through every damn page to see each one, so I've summarized the top (bottom) ten for you (you see how much I care?):
(10) THE ROOM
(9) HIGHLANDER 2: THE QUICKENING
( THE HAPPENING
(7) SEX LIVES OF THE POTATO MEN
(6) HEAVEN'S GATE
(5) EPIC MOVIE
(4) RAISE THE TITANIC
(3) THE LOVE GURU
(2) BATTLEFIELD EARTH
(1) BATMAN AND ROBIN
The page-by-page list is interesting, I suppose. It's got "reedeming features" for most of the films, at least; though nothing that would really make you want to watch them. There are a lot of genre flicks on this list.
I'm a little surprised that Transformers 2 appears at number 25, 'cause I rather liked it. Unashamedly pro-America, pro-humankind, pro-military. It's got the three things I like in a movie: (1) it's gorgeous; (2) it's loud; (3) SHIT BLOWS UP. I gave it one-and-a-crooked thumbs up. Not quite as enjoyable as the first one (too long), but still a fun movie.
I'm also surprised that Uwe Boll films don't make up the top (bottom) 5.
Oh, why not: Lemme tell you one of the other things I liked about it. The usual cliche where the protagonist breaks up with the love interest from the first film to get with new tail in the second? Not present. Bay nodded to it and then tried for some actual character development. Not bad for a popcorn flick.
First movie: boy.
Second movie: boy becoming man.
Third movie: man.
And I even hate that chirpy little bastard Shia LeWhatever.
— Open Blog Woohoohoo...welcome to the monstrous ONT.
— Ace She "came unglued." Unstitched might be a better metaphor.
In mid-2004, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi learned something from a CIA briefing that made her blood boil. Pelosi reportedly "came unglued" at the revelation and had "strong words" with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, demanding that the CIA abandon its plans. As a result, a top-secret finding that President George W. Bush signed to authorize the CIA's activities was revised. Pelosi succeeded in stopping the agency from moving forward with the controversial operation.
What drove Pelosi to action? Not the CIA's waterboarding of suspected al-Qaeda terrorists. In a 2009 interview, a former senior Bush administration official directed me to a little-noticed item from Time magazine. According to this 2004 report, Pelosi objected to a CIA plan to provide money to moderate political parties in Iraq ahead of scheduled elections, in an effort to counter Iran, which was funneling millions to extremist elements. "House minority leader Nancy Pelosi 'came unglued' when she learned about what a source described as a plan for 'the CIA to put an operation in place to affect the outcome of the elections,' " Time reported. "Pelosi had strong words with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in a phone call about the issue. . . . A senior U.S. official hinted that, under pressure from the Hill, the Administration scaled back its original plans." (Her role was also reported on this page by David Ignatius in 2007.)
Why is this important? Because on May 14, 2009, Pelosi, now speaker of the House, declared in a Capitol Hill news conference that she had opposed CIA waterboarding but was powerless to stop it. A former senior intelligence official told me in 2009 that he was shocked by Pelosi's claim because, he said, "Speaker Pelosi herself has stopped covert action programs that she has been briefed on by going to the White House. In that very same time frame [after she learned about waterboarding] Pelosi had gone back to the White House [over] a separate covert action program, expressed strong opposition to it. And the remarkable part to me, the White House backed off the program, changed one aspect of the program . . . she was particularly opposed to. And literally, the finding was pulled back and revised." If Pelosi had truly opposed waterboarding, he said, she had numerous ways to stop it -- but she didn't try.
That move -- stopping the funding of moderate parties -- seemed to have no other point than to try to sabotage the entire war effort, by the way.
No, Madame Speaker, I'm afraid I'm not terribly shaken up by the idea that the CIA attempts to influence elections with money. How old are you, for crying out loud? Your face says 90, but you seem stuck in 2nd grade.
Thanks to Mark Thiessen, who wrote this book right here.
— Ace Hey, let's be non-partisan, and just agree, you guys suck and are being too partisan.
"I'm just sayin'."
It's funny how our Post-Partisan President only gets around to addressing Republicans when he needs their votes. Funny how he didn't do that for a year.
The anger here is pretty palpable.
One point he makes is just stupid: He claims Republicans' rhetoric has denied them the tactical room to maneuver or compromise on this issue, because their brain-dead, bitter-clinger supporters are so stupid as to believe these horror stories and so of course will not permit them to compromise.
First of all: The GOP was, we all kinda know, ready to roll over and compromise, or at least enough of our Reps and Senators were to give Obama his win. It was only agitation from the grassroots that put some steel in their spine. And not, how Mr. Top-Down Command-and-Control You-Little-People-Listen-To-Your-Leaders would have it, the other way around, wherein our "leaders" told us what to think and what to say.
Second of all: The complaint he makes actually applies ten times as much to himself. It is this asshole who's telling everyone WE'RE ALL GOING TO FUCKING DIE, this asshole telling tales of foot-hungry amputating jigsaw surgeons, this asshole who sold his nutroots on the notion that the public option was the only path to single payer, and single payer is the only path to equality and wonderfulness.
And it is this asshole -- President "I Won" -- who has staked his young and now failed presidency on nothing but winning and steamrolling the opposition and ignoring critics and demonizing dissenting voices, all to "win" on this issue, to prove he could win, and so to prove that he was El Supremo Jefe and we all had to buckle under his benevolent dictatorship.
It is this asshole who has denied himself the wiggle room to compromise, and so it is this asshole who is now attempting to persuade us to compromise, because he can't.
— Ace Sorry: I oversold the headline on a tip before seeing the story. It's not an all-caps sort of thing -- just speculation.
So here's the speculation, and apologies for getting up the screamer headline too quickly.
As you can probably guess, there is a lot of Bonus Points if I can be the first blog you've read giving you news, and I try to do that, and in this case, I let me Wanna Be First get ahead of my Wanna Be Accurate.
Is Florida Governor Charlie Crist the next Arlen Specter?
Some people, including MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and former Florida Rep. Mark Foley, are starting to say so. As Mr. Crist's poll numbers sink, he may have no choice but to drop out of the GOP Senate primary and run as an independent or Democrat.
Rumors that Mr. Crist may switch parties were furthered by his appearance with Mr. Obama in Tampa on Thursday to promote a $2.5 billion Florida high-speed railway that the federal government is funding. "I want to thank him on behalf of my fellow Floridians. To be able to generate tens of thousands of jobs right now is mission Number One," said Mr. Crist.
The two didn't engage in a hug as they did last February -- which Mr. Rubio has since capitalized on in his campaign ads. But Mr. Crist made a point of warmly shaking Mr. Obama's hand for a full 27 seconds. Three months ago, Mr. Crist was just as eagerly distancing himself from the president and the stimulus legislation. "I didn't endorse it. I didn't even have a vote on the darn thing," he said.
Thanks to AQ.
No I Won't Either: Crist's campaign says he won't run as an Independent or a Democrat.
For what that's worth.
Snarlin' Arlen said the same sort of thing, IIRC, right until it became obvious he was radioactive in the GOP.
— Ace I didn't deal with this because all I have to say is so friggin' obvious it pains me to say it. I don't like boring you with the obvious.
It's not that Chris Matthews is a racist per se. It's that he's never viewed Obama as anything but black, and therefore not as a human being, nor as a politician, but as a Symbol (capital S intended).
There is a tradition in film, as Spike Lee and, frankly, I, have pointed out. The tradition of the Magical Negro.
Often called the "Numinous Negro."
The Numinous Negro is not really a character. He's not really a person, not even in the fictive world of the film. He is simply a walking Symbol of hopes about racial conciliation, or black achievement, or, especially, redemption for White Sin.
Chris Matthews has never seen Obama as anything except a Numinous Negro. Nothing except a Symbol. Nothing except a Dramatic Plot Contrivance to advance the world's script ahead a few scenes. Nothing except a stand-in for additional Meaning.
When Jack Walsh gives Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukis his watch at the end of Midnight Run, of course, he's not just giving him a watch. The watch is triple symbol for more important matters. (I won't bore you listing them -- if you've seen the film, you know what they are. If you haven't, this is irrelevant.)
To Chris Matthews, Barack Obama has never been anything but that symbolic watch passed from a white guy to a black guy, nothing but a token indicating a Redemptive Act.
And the problem is, of course, Barack Obama is not that, and never was that. He is a human being, with all the usual flaws -- and some very unusual and dangerous ones -- and furthermore he was not being elected to the office of Symbol in Chief of the United States of America, but to a position where he'd have to do things beyond merely Signifying.
Oh, he's awesome as a Signifier. One can say he is the best Signifier of any politician we've ever elected.
Trouble is, the president has many responsibilities beyond executing the power of Signification. In fact, one could say Signification and/or Reification is rather low on his list of responsibilities.
So -- for one hour, for precisely one hour, Chris Matthews finally forgot Obama was black, finally forgot he wasn't just a Numinous Negro, not just a Symbol, not just a Signifier, not just a walking breathing Metaphor for the Closure of (Also Metaphorical) Racial Wounds From the Bull Connor days, and realized -- Shit, this guy is President, he does things besides serve as quasi-literary plot device for redeeming my own racial sins and the racial sins of my father and grandfathers.
For one hour.
I'd like to go on record as noting that 99% of conservatives saw him this way -- as a person, as a candidate, and then as a president -- for, like, ever.
So good on you, Chris Matthews. After two years, and for one single hour, you actually managed to evolve past Numinous Negroes and Symbols into appreciating that Barack Obama is a human being and currently holding the most important office in the world.
After two years, and for one single hour, you managed to become every bit as advanced in your thinking and enlightened as any conservative you might bump into in the street.
Kudos. Good work.
— Ace Guy has virtually endorsed the entirety of the Democrats' agenda.
Well, Obama did say he wanted to be a uniter.
Apparently speaking in his second audio broadcast of the month, Bin Laden criticised George W Bush, the former US president, for not signing the Kyoto Protocol on regulating carbon emissions, and spoke out against excessive corporate influence in the United States.
Demonstrating a surprising concern for the environment, Bin Laden voiced his dismay at recent international efforts to tackle global warming.
"Discussing climate change is not an intellectual luxury, but a reality," he said. "All of the industrialised countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global warming crisis."
I guess killing people is his idea of reducing the world's carbon footprint -- which is not, in fact, so very different from the agenda of Obama's science czar.
It's almost pointless to even mention this -- we all know this -- but a new study says that global warming, yup!, is responsible for the cold winters we've been having.
This winter's extreme weather -- with heavy snowfall in some places and unusually low temperatures -- is in fact a sign of how climate change disrupts long-standing patterns, according to a new report by the National Wildlife Federation.
It comes at a time when, despite a wealth of scientific evidence, the American public is increasingly skeptical that climate change is happening at all. That disconnect is particularly important this year as the Obama administration and its allies in Congress seek to enact legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions and revamp the nation's energy supply.
"It's very hard for any of us to grasp how this larger warming trend is happening when we're still having wintry weather," said National Wildlife Federation climate scientist Amanda Staudt, the new report's lead writer.
We're still having wintry weather? What the fuck did they expect would happen, even if their fanciful ersatz religion had some basis in reality?
It gets hot, it's global warming. It gets cold, it's global warming -- err, we'll call it "climate change" in such circumstances, to disguise the still-painfully-clear irony.
If it rains, it's global warming. If there's a drought, well, duh, that's global warming.
I am having a hard time distinguishing any of this from "Lightning is Thor throwing his hammer at Loki, and we have winter because Persephone is kidnapped by grim Hades for three months each year."
Basically the gods are angry or happy, and that's why we have weather.
You do know -- primitive religions do not start out talking about the soul and metaphysics. That comes later, if at all.
All primitive religions begin the exact same way: As an attempt to explain the weather. 90% of primitive magic is about the crops, making it rain, making it stop raining. Appeasing the gods so they do not visit calamity on humans with typhoons and floods and hurricanes and tornadoes and droughts and long hard frosts.
And so it goes. And so it goes.
— Ace I never gave this much play because I figured it was likely bullshit. Anyone selling a tell-all book has a huge financial incentive to claim as many explosive, lurid details as possible.
So, if there was a tape, Andrew Young had a strong reason to claim there was.
But, if there was not a tape, Andrew Young had an equally strong reason to claim there was.
There was no way to say which of those two was at work here, so I just sort of ignored the sex-tape claim. Well, I mentioned it, I think. But I didn't have any reason to believe it was a real claim.
The two-time failed presidential candidate's former mistress, Rielle Hunter, has obtained a court order demanding that a former Edwards aide turn over videotapes and photos Hunter says belong to her, reports CBS News Correspondent Tara Mergener.
Andrew Young's tell-all book, "The Politician," which is slated to hit stores Saturday, makes the explosive claim that Young found a sex tape made by Hunter and Edwards just months before the January 2008 Iowa caucus, Mergener says.
Do the materials Hunter is after include that tape?
According to the Maj. Charles Blackwood of the Orange County, N.C. Sheriff's Office, the restraining order "speaks to video recordings and photographs that depict matters of a private and personal nature."
Young refused to hand over the tapes and photos to the Sheriff's Office on Thursday, reports Mergener.
Supposedly, Edwards is clearly identifiable on the tape, but the woman he's with isn't. Whatever that means. We know it's Rielle. (Or... we think we know that.)
Shocker, huh? Edwards makes a sex tape and makes sure he's the only one in frame and the woman he's banging is barely visible. I never would have guessed that. Ever.
I'm not sure Young will comply. He may want to hold on to the tape as evidence should one of these two solid citizens launch a defamation suit.
He may turn the tape over only if he extracts a signed legal admission from Rielle that the tape is real and therefore no defamation suit can flow from his mention of it.
Either way, though, I don't see him releasing it. His book will sell well enough and I don't think he wants to invite legal troubles or suits here.
So it may exist, but you'll never see it.
Praise the Creator.
Incidentally, what I hear? I hear John Edwards fornicates like a symphony.
Thanks to Lord Raiden.
— Ace A statement at BigGovernment.
The government has now confirmed what has always been clear: No one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieus office. Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines. Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false.
As an investigative journalist, my goal is to expose corruption and lack of concern for citizens by government and other institutions, as I did last year when our investigations revealed the massive corruption and fraud perpetrated by ACORN. For decades, investigative journalists have used a variety of tactics to try to dig out and reveal the truth.
I learned from a number of sources that many of Senator Landrieus constituents were having trouble getting through to her office to tell her that they didnt want her taking millions of federal dollars in exchange for her vote on the healthcare bill. When asked about this, Senator Landrieus explanation was that, Our lines have been jammed for weeks. I decided to investigate why a representative of the people would be out of touch with her constituents for weeks because her phones were broken. In investigating this matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieus district office the peoples office to ask the staff if their phones were working.
Why he wanted to get into the telephone closet isn't clear -- it's possible, though I don't think likely, he wanted to do a visual inspection.
It's possible he didn't even really want to get into the telephone closet at all -- since he was posing as phone-guy, he would be expected to ask for access to the closet, and he may well have been just saying he wanted to take a look in order to keep the ruse up. It might have been his intention to just continue the ruse as he asked Landrieu's people if the phones had really been jammed, or were in fact simply not being answered at all.
I mean, if I'm posing as a Dog Whisperer, at some point I have to ask to see your friggin' dog.
A third possibility is that he had some kind of widget to test the lines' integrity/capacity/whateverity so he could report back "The lines are fine, easily able to handle large numbers of calls without jamming."
If that last one's the case, I still don't see how that could possibly qualify as "interfering" with the phone lines. Testing a phone line isn't interfering with it.
Still, there is the rinky-dink beef (and yes, I do think it's rinky-dink, under the circumstances) of entering a federal office under false pretenses. There doesn't seem to be any "malice" here.
What a judge will do with this, I don't know. I suspect this will be pled out for some community service. Because, if these are the facts, I have a hard time believing 12 members of a jury would convict him. Sure, the liberals on the jury will want to sentence him to death, but their passion doesn't change the fact you need unanimity And someone on the jury is going to say, "This is bullshit, they are attempting to punish him for crap Big Media does every week."
As someone else pointed out, Big Media routinely tries to smuggle fake explosives through airport security. Now, they're fake explosives, but I'm 99.99% sure there is some law on the books about merely interfering with or obstructing the work of airport security -- and giving them a batch of fake explosives to delay their work on real security inspections does qualify, in a ticky-tack way, as obstruction or interference.
The usual save here is that such laws demand "malicious intent," a vague sort of thing, but it's pretty clear the media doesn't have whatever "malicious intent" is supposed to mean. We generally say that exposing useful and relevant information to the public about the workings of our government is decidedly non-malicious.
So that should save O'Keefe, or at least save him from a serious prosecution.
The fact that he's tipping his legal hand publicly -- something lawyers scream up and down to never do (leave the government entirely in the dark about your defense so they can't prepare adequately for it) -- seems to indicate he's pretty confident of his legal position, or at least believes the consequences here to be fairly minor.
I hope he's right in that regard.
— Ace We already knew that Gruber testified before Congress, shilling for Obama, without thinking he needed to mention he'd received almost $400,000 from Obama (via the HHS), and was speaking with his de facto paymaster, Peter Orszag, all through this process. While Orszag was pimping his "independent analyses" to the sleepy-headed media.
That we knew.
What we didn't know is that Congress asked HHS to disclose all of its consultants. And the HHS refused to do so.
In July, Senator Enzi write to HHS Secretary Sebelius requesting among other information, a list of all outside consultants with the Department and copies of their agreements. HHS was unresponsive to this request, which should have revealed your relationship with the Department. Senator Enzi recently wrote again to reiterate this request to HHS Secretary Sebelius and to ask for additional information concerning your relationship with the Department. Senator Grassley also wrote to Secretary Sebelis requesting that HHS require any individuals under contract with the Department to disclose that fact publicly prior to any testimony before Congress. Additionally, Senator Grassley requested that HHS provide a complete list of individuals who are currently under contract, or have been under contract at any point last year, to assist the Department in any aspect of the health care reform process.
Just wait until we take back one (or two) houses of Congress and can investigate for real, with the power of the subpoena.
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