Monday, December 31, 2007

Exclusive First Look: New UN Superheroes

Tigerhawk calls it a comic book sacrilege:

Marvel superheroes are apparently going to fight under the auspices of the United Nations. As a longstanding fan with more than 5,000 comics in my attic, I call bull***t. With the possible exception of the Fantastic Four (who have always worked with the Man), there are no important superheroes in the Marvel Universe who would work for the United Nations. Certainly not Spider-Man. Unless, of course, the story requires them to beat up on United Nations soldiers for raping girls and trading sex for favors. But somehow I don't think that's the point...

In his first major scoop, our enterprising cub reporter Biff Spackle offers an initial UN superhero comic book.

IAEA Man: a superhero devoted to helping dictators, terrorists and tyrants acquire nuclear weapons.

Hat tip: Larwyn. Original covers: Superdickery

The Clinton campaign: an appeal to selective nostalgia

Weekend Opinion Journal ('Opening Day'):

...Mr. Obama has begun to challenge Mrs. Clinton on her central claim that her candidacy represents a return to the Age of Pericles, a k a the 1990s. The Clinton candidacy -- everyone knows it is a her-and-his affair -- is at its core an appeal to selective nostalgia. We are supposed to remember the lack of a hot war, not the "holiday from history" as al Qaeda gained strength. We are supposed to recall the late-1990s boom, not that it began only after the GOP took Congress and repudiated many Clinton policies.

And we are supposed to forget entirely about Travelgate, Whitewater, lost billing records, the Rose law firm, the Lippo Group, Johnny Chung, Harold Ickes, miraculous cattle-future winnings and lying under oath. So selective is our memory supposed to be that we are asked to credit Mrs. Clinton as a kind of co-President during her husband's eight years, while her husband blocks public access to his Presidential records that might let us examine her actual contribution...

One also wonders whether the Clinton archivists-cum-reviewers might be purging records that could compromise Ms. Clinton's presidential aspirations.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The mystery: Bill Clinton's role as 'First Husband'

Kyle-Anne Shiver's latest article in the American Thinker deserves an expansive audience. National, actually. Acting as a proxy for interested citizens, she poses a critical question to Hillary Clinton.

Exactly, precisely, specifically... what would define your husband's access and duties in your Presidency?

Bill Clinton is not just any former President... To this day he has the ignominious distinction of being the only sitting President cited for civil contempt by a federal judge, for lying in a deposition. Judge Susan Weber Wright, a former student of Bill Clinton's at the University of Arkansas School of Law, authored the citation... [and Clinton] lost his law license for five years.

...there is [also] the matter of the 177 pardons and commutations Bill Clinton issued as his final act of office, which were not fully investigated at the time... According to then FBI Director, Louis Freeh, no one in the FBI, nor the Attorney General's office, nor the Justice Department was ever even consulted for input before these last-hour pardons were issued...

...The pardon of Marc Rich, an infamous fugitive who had made a fortune dealing illegally with the Iranians, brought a bit of scrutiny and accusations of quid pro quo use of the Presidential pardon... [and] it came to light that Denise Rich, Marc Rich's ex-wife, had given more than $1 million to Democrat causes, and another $450,000 to fund the Clinton Presidential library... The more pressing issue now might be whether the pardoned Marc Rich has resumed dealings with the Iranians, at a time when Iran poses perhaps the gravest danger faced by America...

Then there was the largely ignored pardon of Bill Clinton's own brother, Roger, convicted of possession and dealing cocaine. The act of pardoning a relative would, in itself, seem to substantially weaken the integrity of the Office of the Presidency. But there's quite a bit more to this story...

[In 1984]... both brother Roger and pal [Dan] Lasater were convicted [of] possessing and selling cocaine. [Clinton also pardoned] old pal and co-fleecer of Arkansas taxpayers, Dan Lasater... ...Lasater's chief assistant, Patsy Thomasson... made her way into the Clinton White House. Clinton appointed her to the position of the White House's Director of the Office of Administration, and ironically, put her in charge of its drug testing program...

You must read the entire article. The only nitpick I have is that Hillary's own dealings may be more troubling than her husband's.

Photos of Bhutto's apparent killers released

Dawn TV aired photographs of what appear to be Benazir Bhutto's assassins.

Suspected suicide bomber is identified here.

A wider angle shows how close the person was to Bhutto's vehicle.

A youth holding a firearm.

A wider angle.

Another screencap from Dawn TV.

A photograph from behind a shooter, released by the Pakistani government.

Caution: graphic photo (click to view)

How does Hillary draw the line?

Would it be okay for you to break into an empty home because you wanted a nicer place to stay?

Would it be reasonable for you to break into a family's home because they had a spare bedroom and might be looking for a full-time nanny?

Would it be acceptable to crash a party at the Playboy mansion because Hef had plenty of extra food, drink and some really cute females?

Would it be fair to sneak into the local YMCA to work out because you didn't want the hassle of siging up and paying a membership fee?

Would it be justifiable to sneak onto a large corporate campus because they had advertised some jobs in the paper?

Would it be advisable to allow millions of non-citizens to enter the country without sanction, while paying for their health-care and use of public services?

* * *

I'm just wondering how that line gets drawn by folks like Hillary Clinton?

Presidential candidates among "Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" of 2007

Judicial Watch announced its Top Ten List of "Most Wanted Corrupt Politicans for 2007" (hat tip: Powerline). Included among the ten: four presidential candidates. You'll never guess who hit the top of the chart.

8. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL): A “Dishonorable Mention” last year, Senator Obama moves onto the “ten most wanted” list in 2007. In 2006, it was discovered that Obama was involved in a suspicious real estate deal with an indicted political fundraiser, Antoin “Tony” Rezko. In 2007, more reports surfaced of deeper and suspicious business and political connections It was reported that just two months after he joined the Senate, Obama purchased $50,000 worth of stock in speculative companies whose major investors were his biggest campaign contributors. One of the companies was a biotech concern that benefited from legislation Obama pushed just two weeks after the senator purchased $5,000 of the company’s shares. Obama was also nabbed conducting campaign business in his Senate office, a violation of federal law.

6. Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR): Governor Huckabee enjoyed a meteoric rise in the polls in December 2007, which prompted a more thorough review of his ethics record. According to The Associated Press: “[Huckabee’s] career has also been colored by 14 ethics complaints and a volley of questions about his integrity, ranging from his management of campaign cash to his use of a nonprofit organization to subsidize his income to his destruction of state computer files on his way out of the governor’s office.” And what was Governor Huckabee’s response to these ethics allegations? Rather than cooperating with investigators, Huckabee sued the state ethics commission twice and attempted to shut the ethics process down.

5. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY): Giuliani came under fire in late 2007 after it was discovered the former New York mayor’s office “billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons…” ABC News also reported that Giuliani provided Nathan with a police vehicle and a city driver at taxpayer expense. All of this news came on the heels of the federal indictment on corruption charges of Giuliani’s former Police Chief and business partner Bernard Kerik, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to accepting a $165,000 bribe in the form of renovations to his Bronx apartment from a construction company attempting to land city contracts.

1. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY): In addition to her long and sordid ethics record, Senator Hillary Clinton took a lot of heat in 2007 – and rightly so – for blocking the release her official White House records. Many suspect these records contain a treasure trove of information related to her role in a number of serious Clinton-era scandals. Moreover, in March 2007, Judicial Watch filed an ethics complaint against Senator Clinton for filing false financial disclosure forms with the U.S. Senate (again). And Hillary’s top campaign contributor, Norman Hsu, was exposed as a felon and a fugitive from justice in 2007. Hsu pleaded guilt to one count of grand theft for defrauding investors as part of a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.

As Powerline observes, the omission of John Murtha is a major blunder. For that matter, Allan Mollohan and William Jefferson also spring to mind as swamp-dwellers.

Hillary Clinton demands more bloodshed in Pakistan

James Lewis at the American Thinker observes that Hillary Clinton is doing her best to completely destabilize Pakistan.

While the world holds its breath to see if Pakistan will explode, Senator Hillary Clinton tossed a fragmentation grenade into the fireworks factory yesterday. It may be the most irresponsible and selfish act by a presidential candidate in history:

"I don't think the Pakistani government at this time under President Musharraf has any credibility at all. They have disbanded an independent judiciary. They have oppressed a free press," she said.

Naturally, she also said, "I don't think politics should be playing a role in how our country responds ... to the tragedy."

Well, she just did exactly that by denouncing President Musharraf, who has been targeted by four assassination attempts himself, and is desperately trying to keep Pakistan from falling apart. He's the one who controls those nukes that we don't want Al Qaida to get. You don't have to like him to realize that weakening his position right now is wildly irresponsible. It plays right into the hands of those who want civil war.

Some people say that Hillary Clinton is an irresponsible, power-hungry hack who would do or say anything to get elected. And in this case, some people appear to be right.

Hugh Hewitt reminds us of the gravity of this particular situation.

Governor Huckabee might want to read The Nuclear Jihadist by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins. This book will keep most thinking people awake at night, and it reminds all voters why the U.S. can't vote for the nice guy, but must vote for the candidate with the capacity to deal with the world as it is -- a very, very dangerous place. That means a vote for either Romney, Giuliani or Thompson. I will almost certainly vote for Mitt in the California primary, but I can enthusiastically support Rudy and get behind Fred with energy as well... I think Mike Huckabee is not ready for the presidency, and that John McCain is burdened with too much baggage to win, though I would vote for either of them over any of the Dems.

In The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World's Most Dangerous Secrets...And How We Could Have Stopped Him, Frantz and Collins deliver a brusque reminder: It wasn't just Iran that the naif Carter lost, but Pakistan as well. The coup that took down Benazir Bhutto's father -- with all his nuclear ambitions -- occured on July 5, 1977. A. Q. Khan's network, already established, flourished under Jimmy Carter, another former governor of a small southern state, and metastasized under Bill Clinton, another former governor of a small southern state. Reagan and Bush, the book makes clear, are not blameless in this slowly exploding crisis, but Carter and Clinton [were] completely clueless and erratic throughout their presidencies...

The world is in danger of attacks that could send it spinning out of any ordinary cycle. The West needs a leader that has the character and capacity to absorb and act on the many information flows that inform the Oval Office. He (or she) will have to be able to project sunny optimism about the decade ahead while practising a steely resolve to survive...

And reading polls on an hourly basis doesn't count as a critical information flow, which should disqualify Ms. Clinton from consideration.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Panel discussion: Mainstream Media Pundits wrap up 2007

Bill Maher: Panel, what was the biggest story of 2007? I mean, other than the United States having a mentally retarded president?

Keith Olbermann: It's obvious what the big story was: the Greatest crime of the 21st Century... the Bush Administration's outing of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame... and the subsequent pardon of criminal Scooter Libby. That story is one that our grandchildren will be discussing decades from now.

Richard Cohen: True dat.

Helen Thomas: No, no, no... the big story is the murder -- the murder! -- of millions of innocent Iraqis by the Bush administration and the U.S. military...

Chris Matthews: Helen, you raise a good point. The fact that more people are recognizing that the Bush Administration could be charged with war crimes... you know, it's no longer far-fetched to envision a modern version of the Nuremberg Trials and we could see that happen.

Bill Maher: Well, just remember how close Dick Cheney came to being killed in Afghanistan.... I mean, if that happened, it would be a really, really positive development and save the time and expense of a trial...

George Stephanopolous: I have to disagree. Not about Cheney being killed, but that the situation with oil prices strikes me as the most important story of 2007. And the fact that government can help push conservation by raising gas taxes even higher... and hasn't done so... is, to me, a huge issue. We need to raise taxes and that could save us from having to intervene in the Middle East.

Meredith Vieira: Well, a related story, that's even more important to me, is global warming. I mean, I'm running in the park in January in shorts... are we all gonna die, or what? We've really made a tremendous mess of the planet... it would probably be better if humans never existed!

Katie Couric: Those are all important, but don't forget the work of Jimmy Carter, what with his election monitoring, his winning the Nobel Peace Prize, equating Israel's treatment of Palestinians as apartheid... even at age 82, he's really done it all.

Dan Rather: Please, folks, don't gloss over the Bush Air National Guard Story that I broke on Sixty Minutes... now that the story has been corroborated --

Bill Maher: Hell, that was 2004! Oh man, he's really lost it all, hasn't he?

Dan Rather: You know, Bill, I'm sitting right here. I can hear every word you say.

* * *

Bill Maher: Okay, it's time to discuss presidential politics. What's your take on the primaries, which begin in a matter of a few days?

Chris Matthews: The person who has strengthened their hand most is Bobby Kennedy, I mean Barack Obama. His voice, his teeth, his charisma... I mean, it send shivers down my spine, all the way to my tuchus.

George Stephanopolous: Yeah, but Obama really doesn't have much of a shot in the general election. Think about it -- what Republican would ever vote for a black man? You know that they're all racists... every single one.

Amy Sullivan: Hillary has really distinguished herself. She's shown that she's truly a moral conservative, advocating for the rights of the unborn, and making real headway in Red States.

Chris Matthews: Many would argue that the Bhutto situation has strengthened Hillary's hand... after all, she met with Bhutto once when she was First Lady... you can't teach that kind of experience...

George Stephanopolous: It's the right time and place for Hillary. Some Democrats argue that John Edwards is a cynical opportunist, he's never visited Iraq, he won't admit a mistake, he voted for No Child Left Behind, he was affiliated with Hedge funds like Fortress... all of his positions seem to be conversions of convenience.

Richard Cohen: True dat, G.

* * *

Bill Maher: Thoughts about how the media changed in 2007?

Keith Olbermann: Most Americans feel as I do: that the danger of Al Qaeda pales in comparison with that posed by Rupert Murdoch and Fox News. Fox News is the real terrorist group that we must defeat.

Richard Cohen: True dat. Word to your Moms.

William Arkin: Well, not to toot my own horn, but I feel that NBC has transformed the reportage of war. We've exposed America's mercenary -- oops, sorry, volunteer -- military that has murdered, raped and pillaged its way across the Middle East.

Bill Maher: William, we'll have to leave it at that. We've run out of time, but I want to thank our panelists for their fair and balanced positions.

Just a reminder that we'll see you next week, when we host Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Michael Moore, Vladimir Putin, Maureen Dowd, Muqtada al-Sadr, Rosie O'Donnell and Osama Bin Laden in a panel discussion on "Influencing American Media for Fun and Profit."

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The hyperlinked statements, while obviously paraphrased, represent what the parties in question have said publicly. Click each hyperlink to see the original quote. Special thanks to the Media Research Center and NewBusters for collecting these statements.