Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sandy Berger: If the slacks don't fit, you must admit!


bergerdockers
Originally uploaded by punditreview.

Former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Burglar, er, Berger, has pleaded guilty to stealing classified documents from the National Archives prior to his testimony before the 9/11 Commission.

An honest mistake he called it. They all do.

ABC News was kind enough to run the headline, "Berger to Plead Guilty to Taking Materials". Not classified materials, just materials. Paper clips, stamps, pens...what materials? Jeeez.

You remember Sandy Berger. He was the Clinton point man on that mysterious organization that seemingly mushroomed into an international menace overnight.

Washington Post, Feb. 20, 1998, Mary McGrory, "Amid the Monica uproar, a call to arms."

According to George Magazine, "[Clinton] went to the extraordinary length of assigning his national security advisor, Sandy Berger, to be the administration's Scientology point man." Berger even briefed Travolta as would a senior senator, George reports.

Travolta was part of Clinton's efforts to soften his portrayal in the film. Travolta went to Washington to promote Scientology just before Primary Colors began filming, reported George. Travolta told the magazine, "The next day, I met with Clinton. He told me: "Your program sounds great. More than that, I'd really love to help you with your issue over in Germany with Scientology." I was waiting for the seduction that I had heard so much about. I thought, "Well, how could he ever seduce me? And after we talked, I thought, Bingo! He did it. Scientology is the one issue that really matters to me."

Hollywood pretty much has the run of the Clinton White House, even we have learned lately, the National Security Council. National security adviser Sandy Berger parlayed with actor John Travolta on the matter of the Germans being less beastly to the Church of Scientology, of which John Travolta is a member. The Germans say that Scientology is not a religion but a cult, a position that was long held by our government. Time magazine called Scientology "a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner" Embarrassed, overworked White House spinners explain that Clinton is a bear for religious freedom. They are shocked that anyone would think there was any quid pro quo in the equation, even if Travolta plays Clinton in a forthcoming movie, Primary Colors...." (Hat tip: FactNet.org)


The blog No Caliban has been asking the right questions,

I am much more curious to learn whether the appropriate government entities are
going to review his fitness for further access to classified material.

I am not suggesting that Berger misused any information as chairman of Stonebridge, a senior adviser to Lehman Brothers or the law firm of Hogan & Hartson. But in Washington, knowledge is power, and secret knowledge is great power. With no access to secrets, Sandy Berger could be out of business.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Krugman finally concedes: I'm INSANE


krugman
Originally uploaded by punditreview.

Powerline points us to the latest pathetic, paranoid, delusional ravings of Paul Krugman of the NY Times.

Krugman's latest column is a hysterical tirade against conservative Republicans. But you knew that; I'll have to be more specific. Krugman is worried that conservative Christians are about to start assassinating liberals. No, really, I'm not kidding:

"America isn't yet [!] a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren't sufficiently hard line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here."

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Why subscribe to the Weekly Standard?

A Consensus Grows . . . on the future of the dollar, the housing market, and the Fed
by Irwin M. Stelzer


INFLATION IS BACK, or it isn't. The dollar is back, or it isn't. There is a
dangerous housing bubble, or there isn't. The trade deficit is worrying, or it
isn't. The Fed is about to become more aggressive in raising interest rates, or
it isn't. The economy is headed for steady, high growth, or it isn't. That's the
clear consensus of America's economists and market watchers.

Bush's Shake-Up-the-World View
Wolfowitz, Bolton and Hughes understand it--and share it.
by Fred Barnes
Anyone shocked by the nominations of Messrs. Wolfowitz and Bolton doesn't
understand the president's approach to multilateral organizations. The
conventional idea is that these organizations are wonderful, though perhaps
flawed and infused with too much anti-American sentiment. And the chief task
of U.S. representatives is to get along amicably, not buck the system and cause
problems. This idea is popular in the press, the State Department bureaucracy
and diplomatic circles, and with foreign-policy "experts." But not with Mr.
Bush.

The president's idea is simple: No more Mr. Nice Guy. He believes
international organizations have failed largely and must be challenged and
reformed. He was miffed when outgoing U.N. Ambassador John Danforth rushed to
the defense of Kofi Annan in the midst of the Oil for Food scandal. Mr. Annan
opposed the war in Iraq and even declared it illegal. More important, he's
viewed by Mr. Bush as part of the problem at the U.N.

Welcome to Canada: The Great White Waste of Time
by Matt Labash

WHENEVER I THINK OF CANADA . . . strike that. I'm an American, therefore I tend not to think of Canada. On the rare occasion when I have considered the country that Fleet Streeters call "The Great White Waste of Time," I've regarded
it, as most Americans do, as North America's attic, a mildewy recess that adds
little value to the house, but serves as an excellent dead space for stashing
Nazi war criminals, drawing-room socialists, and hockey goons.

What a fall from grace


aig
Originally uploaded by punditreview.

Things are unravelling fast in the insurance industry. Layer upon layer of shady deals and secret enteties are being uncovered. One Wall Street legend has been crushed, and another is in the crosshairs. Hank Greenberg is out at AIG and Warren Buffet has a date with Elliot Spitzer. This is a fascinating story to follow. It makes me realize how much the deck is stacked against the average Joe.

Hank Greenberg Ends 37-Year Career at Helm of AIG, Faces Deposition With New York Regulators

NEW YORK (AP) -- The man who built American International Group Inc. into one of the world's largest insurers, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, is retiring as chairman, two weeks after board members ousted him as chief executive because of intensifying regulatory probes into the company's past financial transactions.

Buffett Is Called For Questioning In AIG Inquiry; New Evidence of Problems

Regulators expect to question the 74-year-old Mr. Buffett about documents and
witnesses that they believe indicate he was involved early on in discussions
about the transaction between (Buffett's) General Re and (Greenberg's) AIG, including its structure, this person said.

Mr. Greenberg is scheduled to give a deposition the next day.

The transaction between AIG and General Re, which took place in 2000, has
emerged as a focus of a broad regulatory review of "nontraditional" insurance
products that regulators believe may have been used by companies to improperly
boost their financial positions. The transaction involves reinsurance, a type of
insurance for insurance companies.


Old friend Don Luskin has never been fond of Elliot Spitzer and his never ending investigations, as he made clear on Pundit Review Radio. However, he isn't exactly shedding a tear for Warren Buffett,

I hate to see any business fall victim to government's regulatory vultures.
But as long as having the liver of capitalism clawed out is the order of the
day, I'm delighted to see the self-righteous Warren Buffett get bloodied by the
talons.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Don't hear much about Iraq these days

Criticism of the media's coverage in Iraq is nothing new.

There isn't much to criticize these days. You don't hear much about Iraq lately.

Arthur Chernkoff's indespensible roundup of the past two weeks' good news from Iraq is back and worth checking out.

Here is another Iraq resource that seems reasonable to me,

Which is not to say that everything is going spectacularly in Iraq and the
news media is ignoring it. Taking a country from a totalitarian system to a
democracy is a tricky business. It is easy not to get it right, especially not
quickly. Germany didn't have elections until four years after WW II ended.

But for every tragic car bomb that kills a dozen Iraqis (and every death is a
horrible tragedy), there are 24,999,995 Iraqis who are having a relatively good
day - getting married, starting new, higher paying jobs, getting information
from outside their country for the first time, buying appliances they could not
afford previously, traveling to visit relatives outside their hometown for the
first time, practicing their religion as they chose rather than how Saddam
decrees.

All is not lost. Leave it to Bob Schieffer ,

On Thursday's CBS Evening News, Schieffer highlighted how "this was another
fairly quiet day in Iraq: No American casualties reported again. Since January's
elections, the rate of U.S. fatalities has fallen dramatically to half what it
was during the previous three months.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Not again! Powerline smoking out another MSM memo?

Not again! Has another sloppy network news staff jumped at the first incriminating document they could get their hands on? It can't really be falling apart this quickly, can it? When will they learn?

The way these stories are debunked by the bloggers is absolutely fascinating. One thing that runs through every example is that it all starts with the most basic question, "This doesn't seem right?"

Here's how it started.....

A Fishy Story Gets Fishier,

ABC News and the Washington Post have described--but not actually produced--a memorandum relating to the Terri Schiavo case which they have described as "GOP talking points" that were "distributed only to Republican Senators." Many other news outlets have picked up on ABC's and the Post's reporting, such as this Houston Chronicle article, which relies in part on the memo to support a bitter attack on the Republican Party:

Most interesting is a talking-points memo from the Senate side of the Capitol
that spells it right out in stark electoral terms: "the pro-life base will be
excited" and "this is a great political issue, this is a tough issue for
Democrats."

"Talking Points" Story Imploding?

Blogger Josh Clayborn has been talking to ABC representatives, both on and
off the record, and they are now telling him that they never meant to imply that
the "talking points" memo originated with the Republicans--only that it was
given to some Republican Senators.

Friday, March 18, 2005

If it's Friday, it's Krauthammer Time

Another terrific column from one of our favorite columnists, Charles Krauthammer,

What's Left? Shame.

Until now. Now that the real Arab street has risen to claim rights that the West
takes for granted, the left takes note. It is forced to acknowledge that those
brutish Americans led by their simpleton cowboy might have been right. It has no
choice. It is shamed. A Lebanese, amid a sea of a million other Lebanese, raises
a placard reading "Thank you, George W. Bush," and all that Euro-pretense, moral
and intellectual, collapses.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Sign of stock market top?

Al Gore's new bag: Investment adviser
Nov, 2004
Al Gore has a new title to add to those of former vice president and former
presidential contender: chairman of an investment firm that seeks out
companies taking a responsible stance on big global issues like climate change.

Clinton lends name to retail hedge fund
March 9 2005

Bill Clinton is lending his name to efforts by an Austrian company to bring
“hedge funds” to the US retail investor. One of the former president's
first public appearances following his planned chest operation this week will be
at the launch of a retail investment centre on New York's Fifth Avenue by
Superfund Asset Management.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Lying Italian Journalist Defames US Marines


sgrena-car-ap-1
Originally uploaded by punditreview.

What else can one conclude after looking at this photo?

Giuliana Sgrena has claimed her car was hit by 300 to 400 bullets from an armored vehicle and that she was picking up handfuls of spent rounds from the seats.

If your first instinct is to believe that our troops would delibertly fire on civilians, or target her specifically, then read people like Danny Schechter. These are the same people that complain about the lack of armored Humvees because they"care about the troops" yet their natural inclination is to believe the worst about them.

If you find that attitude disgusting then Charles Johnson and Little Green Footballs is the place to go. He had this photo and several others.

This sorry bunch look even worse as news comes out about the conduct of our troops and the truthfulness of this reporter. Things like this are not helping their cause,

A U.S. official said that of all the cars that passed through the checkpoint
that night, the reporter’s vehicle was the only one fired upon. “Something
that car did caused the soldiers to fire,” said the official, who asked not
to be named. The shooting occurred at night at a checkpoint on a notoriously
dangerous road that links Baghdad to the international airport.

UPDATE

Instapundit posted a letter from Joseph Fulvio that sums up my feelings,

Europeans have long been conditioned to assume the worst about Americans. No
surprise there. But it’s interesting how quickly the American Left accepted,
with little reservation, the word of a politically-blinkered writer who openly
crusaded against this war (no bias there!). Yet, it refused to give benefit of
doubt, much less a full hearing, to its fellow citizens, members of the most
highly trained and disciplined military organization in the world. But don’t
question their patriotism – they support the troops™.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Dear Italy

Thanks for helping us in Iraq. We do appreciate that. While we are sorry for the death of your ONE GUY, we have to ask that you understand that we have lost HUNDREDS of young men and women from from road side or car bombs. Hundreds more have been maimed. Go to the Fisher House and talk to wounded troops who had their bodies blown to bits in similar incidents. When you barrel towards our Marines without warning or caution, they will defend themselves.

With 1500 young heroes making the ultimate sacrifice for this monumental undertaking, we cannot listen to another word about this being a deliberate, targeted attack. The communist reporter claims 400 shots into her car? And she lived? Please, enough is enough with the America bashing.

Sorry for your loss, now drop it.

Sincerely,
A Half Italian, Half Irish American

Another Boeing CEO Joins Mile High Club

What is it with the stuffed shirts at Boeing? The second CEO in a row has been fired in a scandal involving inappropriate relationships with women who work for them.

Phil Condit, former CEO, resigned in disgrace. Luckily for him, his private life was not the main reason, just one of many,
  • He oversaw a manufacturing crisis that took Wall Street -- and the board -- by surprise and ultimately caused the company to take a $2.6 billion write-down.
  • The CFO during his tenure is now serving prison time for illegally recruiting a top Air Force official to the company
  • Boeing's stock fell 6.5% under Condit -- while the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 61.8%.
While proving to be a terrible manager, Condit also proved that he had quite a shady private life, including marrying his first cousin (ewwww). This Business Week profile is devastating,

Condit's personal life was similarly prone to excess, and it began to raise eyebrows within the company and among directors.
After his second marriage, to a Boeing secretary, broke up in 1990, Condit
embarked on a relationship with a Boeing receptionist, Laverne Hawthorne. They
dated for about six months -- until Condit got promoted to president in 1992.
About the same time, the company's customer relations department downsized, and
Hawthorne was issued a pink slip. She told BusinessWeek that she immediately
went to see him in his office and reminded him of promises he had made to her.
As Hawthorne recalls it, she looked him in the eye and said: "One of us in this
room has balls, and it certainly isn't you." Then she stormed out. Hawthorne
declines to say whether she filed a wrongful-termination suit against Condit or
received a settlement from the company, but several Boeing executives say both
happened. "

Former Boeing director Charles M. Piggott, retired chairman of Paccar Inc.,
had expressed concern to several senior Boeing executives about Condit's
behavior. Piggott did not return calls seeking comment. Said one Boeing lawyer
to a senior Boeing executive: "We have another Bill Clinton on our hands."

The man that replaced Condit, Harry Stonecipher, was a well respected aersopace executive who was CEO of Northrup Grumman until it was acquired by Boeing. He is pushing 70, gruff, opinionated and known as a good manager. He had done a respectable job of turning Boeing around and helping them get past some of these ethical lapses.

That was until the shocking news this morning that he too could not keep his pants on, at least around the hotties who apparently work within the Boeing coprorate offices,

Boeing Fires CEO for Improper Relationship
CHICAGO, Mar. 7, 2005
(AP) Boeing Co. abruptly forced out its president and chief executive officer, Harry Stonecipher, for what the company said Monday was a violation of the company's code of business conduct stemming from a relationship the married, 68-year-old Stonecipher had with a female Boeing executive. The stunning ouster makes Stonecipher the second CEO to depart the Chicago-based airplane maker and defense contractor in disgrace in the past 15 months.

Speaking of Bill Clinton, how long before he tosees his hat into the ring as the next CEO?

Friday, March 04, 2005

Jesse Jackson Actually Left $$ On Table! Miracles do happen


JesseJackson
Originally uploaded by punditreview.


By now many of you are aware of how Jesse Jackson makes a living. Shaking down corporate America. It has been well documneted by people like best selling author Kenneth Timmerman in his book Shakedown as well as here and here.

When the Boston Herald ran an article about the state's unclaimed property list there were naturally some pretty interesting names,

  • Former Gov. Michael Dukakis of Brookline: Department of Revenue check for $312; $230 check from the state's Delta Dental plan.
  • Ben Affleck and brother, Casey Affleck: joint account for less than $10.
  • The New England Patriots: uncashed check for $1,974.
  • Fidelity's Peter S. Lynch: more than $6,000 from a CD that matured in 2000; and a 23-cent check from Fidelity.

The last name I ever thought I would see on a list of people who were leaving money on the table was,

  • Jesse Jackson: $5000 from the Trustees of Boston College.

Pundit Review Flashback

Celebrity A-Hole of the Year 2001: Jesse Jackson

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Two responses from liberals to Lebanon developments


How are the liberals responding to the fast-moving developments in Lebanon, not to mention Egypt and Iraq?

It seems as though they have two basic responses.

#1: Bush deserves no credit.

It just happened on his watch, that’s all. This is the same thing they said when Libya cried uncle and agreed to voluntarily give up their weapons program. In that instance, it was the years of sanctions that did it, not the Bush Doctrine, Afghanistan or Iraq.

Ed Kilgore writing on Talking Points Memo shows us the way,




Now I am aware the State Department made the appropriate noises, as its
predecessors would have done, after the Hariri assassination, about Syrian
dominance of Lebanon, and I also know the Bush administration has been
generally hostile towards the Syrian government, as has been U.S. policy for
as long as I can remember. But it literally never crossed my mind that
Bush's fans would credit him with for this positive event, as though his
pro-democracy speeches exercise some sort of rhetorical enchantment.
#2 Disgust that good things are happening on George Bush’s watch. Retired blogger Andrew Sullivan has an example,

I had lunch today with a friend - a really smart, knowledgeable, accomplished
guy, who also happens to be very liberal and is active in state Democratic
politics. I mentioned to him that Lebanon's government had just fallen. You
would have thought I told him his dog had died. He chewed his sandwich slowly,
thought for a while, and finally said, "You know, Assad's a bastard, but he was
right when he said the problems in Iraq are the fault of America, not
Syria."

There wasn't any happiness that Lebanon is marching toward freedom.
This kind of sulky non-sequitur, to me, exemplifies well why the Democratic
Party cannot be trusted right now with our national security.

That sums it up nicely.

For those actually excited by these developments,

Dean Esmay: We see you, we hear you
Michael Leeden: Freedom, our most lethal weapon against tyranny

So Obvious Even the NYT Gets It

Today's NYT editorial,

Still, this has so far been a year of heartening surprises - each one remarkable
in itself, and taken together truly astonishing. The Bush administration is
entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances. It
boldly proclaimed the cause of Middle East democracy at a time when few in the
West thought it had any realistic chance. And for all the negative consequences
that flowed from the American invasion of Iraq, there could have been no
democratic elections there this January if Saddam Hussein had still been in
power. Washington's challenge now lies in finding ways to nurture and encourage
these still fragile trends without smothering them in a triumphalist embrace.

I would say to the Times, it's a surprise to some.
Instapundit points us to this analysis from blogger Dale Franks,

Finally, the NYT is on board with Democracy promotion in the Mideast. Glad
to have you aboard, guys.They are certainly hedging on the side of pessimism,
and only giving grudging credit to the Bush administration, but it seems to be
getting into their heads that they may have been on the wrong side here, it
seems to me.And that bit about the Bush Administration taking a "healthy" share
of the credit? Nice understatement. Without the Bush Administration, none of
this would be happening. They deserve the primary share of the credit, along
with the governments of Tony Blair, John Howard, Alexander Kwasniewski and
others.