Dan Margalit: The world is pulling a fast one
What is left to talk about, now that the IAEA chief himself has given the Iranians his seal of approval?
British Ambassador to Israel tells Army Radio that the current time is not right for an attack on Iran, suggesting instead tougher sanctions and an open channel of communication as a means of blocking Iran's nuclear aspirations.
FP: Why should anyone expect support of Israel from those who cave in to Iran just so Israel will not try to defend itself?
Edward Klein: Who is Valerie Jarrett?
Trying to figure out Valerie Jarrett’s mysterious hold on Barack and Michelle Obama is a favorite guessing game in the parlors and dining rooms of Washington. No other White House official in history has enjoyed such a unique relationship with both a president and a first lady, and yet the mainstream media have ignored Jarrett’s enormous influence over the shape and direction of the Obama administration.
Throughout her career, Jarrett has failed upward. Today she is at the pinnacle of power as Michelle Obama’s closest confidant and Barack Obama’s political soul mate. Though she is the White House official responsible for “public engagement,” she has conspicuously failed to engage. I heard this complaint about Jarrett from practically everyone I interviewed — Republicans and Democrats, African Americans and Jews. They all blamed Jarrett for keeping the president isolated even from those whose good opinion he needed the most.
Despite her lack of international experience and background in economics and fiscal policy, she is in many ways the de facto president. Against the advice of more seasoned advisers, Jarrett steers the president toward decisions that make our economy less robust and our nation less safe.
“I was at a dinner where Valerie sat at our table for ten minutes, and I wasn’t particularly impressed,” a major Obama donor told me. “She didn’t say anything interesting. I expected her to be smarter. She ain’t no Karl Rove. Karl Rove would eat her for breakfast.”
FP: This is a must read if you want to understand a core factor in Obama’s incompetence and failures, and then read Klein’s book:
Inability to learn from mistakes is a hallmark of intellect deficiency. Lack of experience can be resolved via correction of errors, but without the latter the consequences can be lethal.
Obama’s record suggests that he may suffer from this defect, but if Klein is correct, Jarrett’s upward failing indicates that she does and her influence and the way she operates prevents Obama from learning from mistakes even if he has the ability for it. On the other hand, the fact that Jarrett’s continuing influence persists despite her repetitive bad advice record suggests a similar flaw in Obama.
Failing upward is often a consequence of explicit or implicit affirmative action, which inhibits rather than encourages native ability to learn from mistakes. Both Obama and Jarrett are products of it and their combination at the top may well explain the persistence of bad policies in the face of the damage that they produce. Whether Obama can learn from mistakes or not, Jarrett is not the advisor who should have had that kind of influence with him.
Consider one fact that demolishes the apparatus of nonsense about moderate Islamists and the credibility of those claiming there is nothing to worry about. These are the same people who have been declaring for more than a year that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate. Yet now the Brotherhood's presidential campaign has shown it to be extraordinarily radical, openly demanding a caliphate and Egypt being a Sharia state.
Suddenly the subject is changed. Nobody acknowledges that they were wrong about the Brotherhood. They focus now on a different candidate who we are told is the true moderate Islamist, as if their previous favorite "moderate Islamist" movement has now thrown off its camouflage.
FP: Speaking of inability to learn from mistakes. When it comes to the ME the West has a chronic, acute case of it.
A Pakistani physician who helped the CIA locate Osama bin-Laden in Pakistan has been sentenced to over 30 years in prison for treason.
Dr. Shakeel Afridi was arrested three weeks after US Navy Seal Team Six assassinated bin-Laden at his hideaway in Abbottabad, only 30 miles from Islamabad. Dr Afridi was not present in court on Wednesday nor was he represented by a lawyer:
“He has been sentenced for 33 years on treason charges and has been moved to Peshawar central jail after the verdict was announced by the local court,” said Mohammad Siddiq, spokesman for the administrative head of Khyber, where the case was heard.
Dr. Afridi set up Dr Afridi set up a hepatitis vaccination campaign in March last year, according to residents of Abbottabad. The CIA had seen an al-Qaeda courier enter bin-Laden's compound there, they weren't sure that bin-Laden was actually present. Dr.Afridi's role was to attempt to obtain a DNA sample from a tall figure the CIA knew was inside because of satellite imagery. Although he wasn't able to get a blood sample, Dr.Afridi was able to secure a telephone number for Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, bin Laden’s trusted courier, enabling the CIA to confirm his identity.
What evidence did the Pakistanis have against Dr. Afridi? Simple. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta outed him (on 'Sixty Minutes', no less) and gave the Pakistanis an open and shut case [FP: video at the link]
I seem to recall the Angry Left going absolutely berserk over someone allegedly outing Valerie Plame. I guarantee you that won't happen to Leon Panetta.
More to the point,imagine you're a CIA agent trying to recruit assets in a foreign country. How successful do you think you're going to be after potential informants see the Secretary of Defense performing on national TV and shooting his mouth off like this?
If we were actually in a declared war, this would be treason, by definition.
FP: There are several issues here. First, incompetence; this is what happens if you appoint political hacks without the necessary experience—and mediocre ones at that—to positions like the CIA. Second, it is frequently claimed that the US is hated in the ME by its policies and interventions there; but in reality, aside from sheer religiously-induced hostility, a lot of the hatred is cuased by the American tendency to reward enemies and abandon or screw friends, this case being of the latter kind. Third, this in turn defeats US recruitment and intelligence acquisition. And fourth, the US pumps billions into its Pakistani “allies” who claimed that they knew nothing about the whereabouts of OBL, yet imprison Afridi for the treason of helping locating him. What, pray, other than decline should be expected in such circumstances?
But it’s not just Panetta:
Josh Gerstein at Politico reports that just weeks after Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency officials warned publicly of the dangers posed by leaks about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, top officials at both agencies and at the White House granted Hollywood filmmakers unusual access to those involved in planning the raid and some of the methods they used to do it.
This administration cares about nothing but itself and the election, no matter who and what they damage. Even if you are running in an election and have nothing but incompetence and failure to your name, there should be certain limits with regards to national security. They don’t exist for Obama.
San Francisco desperately wants to be taken seriously, rather than as the fruity, not-so-closeted “City by the Bay.” And, yet, the idiots who run it consult ouija boards and what they claim is the ghost of a dead gay politician for policy advice about whether or not they are far left and anti-war enough and whether their gay militance or anti-war stance should prevail. I guess this is what happens when people eat too much organic food and have too much gay sex. Clowns, indeed…
Yes, they actually did this. Morons. But I think I see a business void that desperately needs to be filled: gay anti-war psychic network.
FP: I live here and I can tell you that despite the “progressive” left political system in the city, it is one of the cities most attuned to the rich, to the point of massive flight of the middle class and the inability of the lower class that serves the rich to live in it, not to mention that it bankrupts itself in providing welfare and free healthcare to illegal immigrants upon asking.
Now I know why all that happens.
Remember “Terry Elk” a/k/a Tarek Elkafrawi, the Egyptian Muslim whose International House of Pancakes (IHOP) franchises in Indiana and Ohio were raided by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the FBI, and local police, last September? Yesterday, he was indicted, along with many of his employees and associates–most of them Arab Muslims, just like him. They were using IHOP franchises for all kinds of mysterious and illegal activities, some of them believed to be tied to Islamic terrorism. (Mr. Elkafrawi reportedly also owns many restaurant franchises in Texas, as I noted on this site.)
Read the indictment, and note that among the indictees, the Arab Muslim defendants alone, were all accused of committing Medicare fraud, something that doesn’t surprise me since Muslims make up a very large percentage of the Medicare and Medicaid fraud indictees and convicts in America. Go to Dearbornistan, and you will find plenty of Muslims defrauding both systems, while millions of legitimately poor Americans are denied benefits from Medicaid.
At the time of the raids, I told you then that several managers of the franchises, including Elkafrawi’s hand-picked managers, had ties to Islamic terrorism. I received reports that several of his key employees had ties to Hezbollah and HAMAS, and after 9/11, some of his Egyptian employees, specifically indictee Tarek Eid Omar, were suspected of working with Al-Qaeda, which I mentioned. I also knew that the restaurants employed illegal aliens and cashed their checks for them, something I reported to you. They occasionally cashed checks of phantom employees, who no longer worked for them, too. IHOP has a policy of cashing employees’ checks, which allows for illegal aliens to easily be employed and for money-laundering to go on. Let’s see if the company changes that policy, but don’t hold your breath.
And, as I told you, Mr. Elkafrawi spent a mysterious year abroad–apparently in the Middle East–away from his businesses for undisclosed reasons. You’ll note that none of the items in the indictment mention Islam, Islamic terrorism, or Islamic terrorist groups, but I know for a fact that federal authorities know that all of that is involved. That’s why the indictment mentions that some of the money went to “investments in Egypt.” Hmmm . . . “investments.” Is that what they’re calling it these days? How much of that money went to the Muslim Brotherhood and HAMAS, to both of which I’m told that Elks and his Arab Muslim employees are tied (as well as Hezbollah)? There’s a reason why the Joint Terrorism Task Force led this investigation. The items in the indictment are easier to prove than any aid to terrorist groups, but rest assured that is involved also.
FP: And you thought this happens only in Europe.
I was on the phone last night with a former hedge fund CEO who was talking about this. "Facebook," he said, "is a colossal example of a complete clusterfuck where everybody wins except the ordinary investor."
His point was that virtually every week now we see stories like this that hint at a kind of two-tiered market system – in which most of the real action takes place inside an unregulated black-box network of connected insiders who don’t disclose their relationships or their interests, while everyone else, i.e. the regular suckers, live in the more tightly-policed world of prospectuses and quarterly reporting and so on.
All of these stories suggest that Wall Street is increasingly turning into a giant favor-and-front-running factory, where the big banks and broker-dealers that channel vast streams of crucial non-public information (about the markets generally and their clients specifically) are also trading for their own accounts, and sharing information with a select group of "preferred investors," who in turn help the TBTF banks move markets in this or that desired direction by jumping on or off various pigpiles at the right times.
Sooner or later, people are going to clue into the fact that one or two big banks, acting in concert with a choice assortment of unscrupulous "preferred investors," can at least temporarily prop up or topple just about anything they want, from Greece to Bear Stearns to Lehman Brothers. And if you can move markets and bet on them at the same time, it's impossible to not make tons of money, which incidentally is made at everyone else's expense. So we should always be on the lookout for any evidence that that sort of coordinated, non-disclosed activity is taking place.
FP: It’s actually worse than that. If and when these gambles fail, the banks get bailed out with the money of the suckers whom they screw. Courtesy of the corporate welfare state. And the gullible American public still believes it leaves in a capitalist, free market system.
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who rescued thousands of Jews from the Nazis in Hungary during World War II • Group of Conservative rabbis from New York discovers bloody pig legs tied around the statue.
According to the poll, which was presented Tuesday at the Knesset Absorption Committee, 82% of U.K. Jews say Israel plays central or important role in their identity • 95% have visited Israel; 76% see Israel as relevant to their daily lives.
FP: American Jews should pay very careful attention to the experience of their European counterparts.