Another BIG Problem For The President

The General Cartwright problem has surfaced from simply an NBC exclusive, directly to the evening news broadcasts on NBC, CBS and ABC Friday night, plus the Washington Posts, “Worst Week For award was the General.

So the subject is out in the open, but to what effect? Can the Obama-protecting Eric Holder Justice Department bring this investigation to fruition, when it has stonewalled the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS fiasco, and the lists of investigations grow — but the list of indictments remains zero.

This is not a great formula for success. Yes, President Obama announced that he would find leakers in his administration, and indeed he has been fairly relentless in doing so. Now, assuming that the investigation points to General Cartwright, can President Obama support the indictment of someone who Bob Woodward called “Obama’s favorite General,”

Was the leak designed to help the president in his bid for the second term by demonstrating resolve and toughness, and will the General fall on his sword and take the responsibility to avoid a trial that would demonstrate toughness and resolve? Next, and assuming the worst (that he was put up to the leak, and not acting on his own), would he want to risk a trial?

Too Many Coincidences

Let me describe the problem as I see it: Some liberals, and some libertarians have supported the release of classified material by a self -described conscientious objector in the global fight against terrorism — but what to do when the STUXNET information is leaked to the NY Times by  the once second highest military officer who was, according to Bob Woodward, Obamas favorite General.

 Is one good and one bad? Are both good? Are both bad! (I vote for the latter.)

Now, about President Obama. President Obama has both been RELENTLESS in tracking leakers, and dismissive of a strong pushing for Snowden, saying, “But let me — one last thing because you asked the final question. No, I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”

It will be especially interesting to see if the Justice Department presses charges against Obama’s favorite General, even as they have at least filed and said they intend to press charges against Edward Snorden.

And liberals must be meeting in coffee houses around America, to determine how they will treat “Leakers” in general, and Cartwright and Snowden in particular.

Just a brief note on Snowden, Ecuador has ended their treaty on flowers and agricultural products with the US, so that ( they say) they cannot be blackmailed by the US.

This is, of course, a face-saving device since the possibility of the US Congress approving that treaty by Monday, was slim and none. Ecuador is trying to make a virtue out of what is a necessity. There may well be a back channel deal being worked out whereby Ecuador refuses sanctuary, and then some time down the line Ecuador gets the treaty restored — which is a win-win.

This is going to be interesting. General Cartwright is being represented by the former General Counsel of the White House, Greg Craig which would lead to the question: Did President Obama ask that the STUXNET worm story be leaked by his favorite General to his favorite newspaper for political reasons to show he was tough on Iran, before his election to a second term? And now President Obama’s lawyer defends the General?

I am not big on conspiracy, but this is just too many coincidences.

So, Honey, What Did You Do Today?

The answer in the Senate is  —  NOTHING!

The Senate passed a 1,200 page exercise In futility today. Except as political cover, it is meaningless. Senators could just as easily, more easily passed a 1,200 blank page bill and done so months ago without the expelling of so much CO2.

The bill may give Senators something to run on, but I suspect that as it sits and is dissected in the House (and the press), it is going to be more representative of expediency than statesmanship.

 For example, we already know that the Senate bill makes it FAR more economically sensible to hire the newly legalized immigrants (and they will all be legalized on day one), than to hire American citizens. That is because the newly legalized immigrants are not susceptible to employer required healthcare at several thousand dollars a month, while US citizen new hires are required to be covered under Obamacare. As of today, if the bill were law, a business could save tens of thousands of dollars a year for EACH newly legalized immigrant it hires rather than a US citizen. You can hide a lot of “oops” in a 1,200 page, quickly voted-upon bill. (Also, see Obamacare)

The Weekly Standard interviewed five Senators about this inequity, and I Listened to those interviews on KFI — only one said he knew of the problem, and he hoped it would be fixed in the House version. As more and more of these stink bombs are uncovered, and while the Senate passed the bill without reading it there is now time for reflection, the House has zero incentive to quickly act.

It is far more likely that the provisions of the Immigration Bill will be divided into individual bills addressing specific issues, almost none of which will vaguely resemble the specifics of the Senate bill

Why did the Senate bother? Partly it was to get the issue off the table so they can have “done something” and get onto other issues. Partly it was to have a defense in the next election. Partly it was to let the House try to solve the issue and take the heat.

The takeaway is that the Senate bill is dead, wasted a lot of time, and was produced to get the item off the table regardless of the content.

Wonderful!

Equal Justice Under the Law

NBC is reporting that a now retired Marine Corps four-star General, James Cartwright, described as a “close Obama advisor,” leaked the information on the STUXNET worm attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

That former high-ranking officer needs to go to jail, without passing go or collecting $200, and I don’t mean one of those white-collar country clubs available to white-collar crime.

Some leaks are designed help someone or hurt someone, some designed to help a program or hurt a program.

IF the Marine General (Ret) is actually the leaker to the NYTimes, it will be a very interesting to see his defense, which is legally immaterial but politically fascinating.

NBC. Is reporting that the Justice Department is considering whether to charge General Cartwright, but I cannot imagine how this administration — ANY administration can charge Snowden and not charge General Cartwright. Just because Cartwright was called “Obama’s favorite General” does not, or should n0t give him a pass.

The ONLY way to stop the sieve that is this administration, is to send people to jail. John Anthony Walker is in jail for life for leaking information to the Russians, and Russia is not our only “enemy.”

Monument To Dems Economic Stupidity

The Washington D.C. City Council, collectively as dumb and as criminal a City Council group as you can find in America (outside San Diego, Chicago, and Detroit), has made what the Washington Post calls a “nod” toward requiring “Big-Box Stores” (read Wal-Mart”) to pay a minimum wage of $12.50 an hour.

The definition of a “Big-Box Store” is any store with 75,000 square feet or more. Initially, the amendment to another bill would have defined eligible businesses as those selling $1 billion in sales or more, but after finding that would include Apple and Nike, and wanting specifically to target non-union Wal-Mart, the City Council settled on the square footage definition.

Wal-Mart, wooed by the City Council to open in Washington, which like in many minority-dominated areas has a lack of stores selling groceries, now finds itself partially on the way to open six stares – only to be hit with a
super minimum wage” requirement.

Two Wal-Mart stores are under construction, but having been sand-bagged by the City Council yesterday, it is certainly questionable if the remaining four will be built. Wal-Mart is not saying anything, yet, but why would they build even if the City Council buries the proposal – the mere suggestion shows their intent, and Wal-Mart could face the proposal once again, when the six stores are in place.

For all Wal-Mart knows, the City Council could demand a $30 super-super-super minimum wage! (Yes, they are that dumb!)

If I were Wal-Mart, I would cease  construction on the existing two stores and leave the partially finished stores as a monument to Democratic Party economic stupidity.

Wal-Mart can afford it.

Can Brother and Sister Now Marry?

I am still trying to digest the Supreme Court rulings this morning, and, as usual it is a mixed bag.

I agree that DOMA was unconstitutional from the get-go – marriage has always been a state issue and the federal government had no right to interfere.

I also agree that all people deserve equal rights under the law  The problem is that marriage, once a religious rite, became a civil and legal issue. That placed marriage a government issue, and eligible for the government to grant – or deny – the ceremony. IF marriage had remained a religious issue, the churches could perform, or refuse to perform, whatever their rules called for.

But – I also agree with Justice Scalia’s pungent dissent, as reported by the National Journal. His remarks about the majority opinion and attitudes is exactly correct, – about which more in due course.

Under the government control of the issue, and this ruling which confers to all individuals, the “right” to marry. Now brothers and sisters can marry, fathers and daughters can marry, sisters and sisters can marry – all of them are currently proscribed by government.

 

Their rights have been denied. It’s time for them to make the exact same arguments that gays have successfully argued.

 

Presidential Magic Act

With economic recovery problems, NSA problems, IRS problems, Justice Department problems, Supreme Court decisions…the president gives a speech on…Climate Change?

The respected Pew Foundation did a reality check on the Top 21 issues most concerning Americans, and absolutely last on the list was Climate Change.

I suppose that is because Americans realize that even if there is carbon dioxide global warming, pauperizing the US economy will not have any effect if we can’t get everyone else on board.

(Yes, I know that there has been no earth warming since 1996, but facts do not matter to ideologues.)

So, what does the president do yesterday? He doubles down on Global Whatever. Now, there is hardly a president in recent memory who has put as much CO2 or carbon into the air with his travels, but, it’s “do as I say, not as I do” for this president — although he is just barely ahead of the major Hypocrite, Al Gore.

A Man Without A Country

The Snowden affair has brought the demise of the power of the United States under Obama to the fore. China and Russia have lost so much respect — and fear — that they stick their thumb in our eye over nothing, or at least nothing if you listen to Snowden supporters.

Snowden supporters say that his positive action in alerting the populace to the totality of NSA searching and storing of data. Of course there is absolutely zero proof that the collection and storage goes beyond the limits set by the FISA court.

But, for the sake of argument, lets say that whether the claims are true or not, those claims are in the public. Now the question is, what else does Snowden know and how damaging could that be to individuals serving in undercover points, worldwide, and exactly to whom does he intend to deliver that information. So far the potential recipients include China, Russia, Cuba and Ecuador — not exactly nations in the Pantheon of Freedom from Government Snooping.

Ecuador appears to have discovered the fact that the US treaty giving Ecuador a favored nation status on flowers and a number of agricultural products comes up for ratification MONDAY. These are products that a major shipping executive says cannot be sold easily to any other nation. Cuba has a treaty to return some felons, and wants removal of the existing embargo an embargo Obama wants to ease or end and neither will happen with Snowden in Havana.  We sent back eight Russian spies to Russia just last year, and that will not happen again any time soon, even now, with the intransigence of Putin on this matter.

But the Obama administration is not respected or feared like the Reagan administration, so it makes everyones calculations chancy, regardless of treaties or commercial arrangements. Political administrations change in the US, and in other nations as well.

China, Russia, Cuba and Ecuador may give sanctuary today, but the chance of a 30 year old continuing to live in one of those nations without a regime change that makes those nations less receptive to keeping a burr under the saddle of the world’s dominant economic and military power is a fool’s bet.

But making good decisions is not a Snowden strongpoint. If he actually causes harm to just one of our operatives, he would make himself eligible to a drone strike in my book.You do not have to have a Middle Eastern name to be a terrorist.

Snowden Purposely Sought Position To Release Files

According to Rachel Maddow and USA Today, the South China Morning Press is reporting that Snowden told them in an interview that he didn’t just run across the information he has released, but that he took the position with Booze Allen Hamilton to GET the information to release.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/06/24/edward-snowden-nsa-leaker-russia-cuba-flight-asylum-ecuador/2451403/

Espionage is the correct charge!

The anger of the White House with China, and therefore Hong Kong is palpable — and well deserved.

I will know if it is real or just for show in the next few days. The first indication will be if ships and submarines destined for a “Port Call” in Hong Kong are redirected to Singapore.

Then we will see if British naval ships and submarines are also redirected. This could be  a strong financial message to the Hong Kong bar and bar girl community but also much wider.

I have no idea how many US ships and submarines currently visit Hong Kong, but the number once was huge.

But Hong Kong is not the only nation that might suffer economically. Ecuador, even though it is aligned with Venezuela, Cuba, and even Iran, has special economic ties with the United States. As the Washington Post puts it:

Now, with the Snowden affair, Correa is risking the jobs of tens of thousands of working-class Ecuadorans who benefit from a preferential trade agreement under which the United States imports flowers, asparagus, broccoli, tuna and other products tariff-free from the country. A peeved U.S. Congress might not renew the accord which no other South American nation has with Washington and which is set to expire July 31 if Snowden ends up on Ecuadoran soil, said analysts in Quito and in Washington.

 

You can forget about trade preferences, Shifter said. You can forget about cooperation.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/through-snowden-ecuador-seeks-fight-with-us/2013/06/24/2229ad52-dd07-11e2-a484-7b7f79cd66a1_story_1.html

Ecuador apparently is wiling to pay that price, although uniquely among Central/South American nations, President Correa has welcomed foreign investment and he knows that keeping a strong economy keeps crowds off the streets.

However, Ecuador has a dismal reputation for press freedom. This makes the selection   of that nation as a sanctuary for people who release government information to members of the press, REALLY suspect. If an Ecuadorian government person released secret information to the press, both the leaker and press people would “disappear.”

Great selection, Wikileaks, which has its founder, Assange (who is in the London Ecuadorian Embassy to escape a rape charge), and Snowden who says he is supporting openness.

We don’t know where Snowden will alight, but just the first two, China and Russia are a pair to draw to , and the rumored alternatives, Ecuador, Cuba and Iceland are hardly an improvement

Not everyone gets to chose the hill they will die upon, but Snowden does. In Central and South America he risks a new regime seeking investment and cooperation from the US, not to mention that he doesn’t speak the language or understand the culture.

As just a fleeing charged felon, he would have little to fear from rendition but as an man charged with espionage, he really does have to live in a spider-hole. Living in a cramped apartment in a third world country in which you are literally a stranger in a strange land can’t be too much better than a federal prison.

Is Wikileaks an “Enemy Of The State?”

The question now is, what to do about Wikileaks? Is it a journalistic endeavor or an “Enemy of the State?”

We now know that a Wikileaks representative is traveling with Snowden, and has been the vehicle for the release of secrets for Pvt. Manning, who has revealed the names of US cooperators in Iraq through Wikileaks.

I have written an entire précis on my website of Soviet espionage against the US beginning in the early 30s, (http://www.allenhemphill.com/new_page_26.htm) and I can tell you that many of those traitors sincerely believed they were serving a greater cause. They truly believed that the Soviet Union was a route to a better world, and they had many liberal supporters who supported them, believing those working for the Soviets were simply .”visionaries.”

The liberal support for Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg lasted until the late 1990s (a few refuse to believe it even today) but those few treasonous individuals swam in an ocean of liberal supporters, much as the current crop of those who harm the interests of the US have tacit support from “civil libertarians”  of the left and the right.

Just as it took future events to prove to liberals of the 30s — at least most of them —  it may take some time, and many deaths, for “civil libertarians” to recognize that with their naïveté (which mirrors the naïveté of liberals of the 30s), they have made a pact with the Devil.

 Those who plea that Civil Libertarians are just protecting the Constitution need to remember the (rephrased) words of Associate Justice Robert Jackson, that the Constitution is not a “suicide pact.” Protection of the nation is paramount, because the nations enemies are hardly offering a future of more freedom the US provides.

Does government overstep? Often, and egregiously, unfortunately. Do we need whistleblowers to keep it honest? Absolutely!

When does a whistleblower become a traitor? When that person hurts his or her home country and helps that country’s enemies.

That is where we are. Russian journalists say that Snowden is e route to Ecuador:  China to Russia to (Venezuela or Cuba) and then to Ecuador, a route the Senator Graham has described as hardly the route of free countries.

Exactly.