NARN, the Vague, Second-Hand Sources Edition!

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with your hosts Mitch Berg and Ed Morrissey, on from 1-3 CT with live streaming video and chat. If you’re in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station’s Internet stream if you’re outside of the broadcast area, as well as right here on on the permanent Ed Morrissey Show page at Hot Air.

Today, Mitch and I will discuss the week’s hottest stories, and the hottest proto-stories. Proto-stories? Like, there was this time in band camp, and Mitch and me heard that someone told Brad that King Banaian heard about this guy who said he felt harassed. Alert the media! Will we have more “news”? Join us and find out!

Be sure to call 651-289-4488 to join the conversation! You can also register for free at Ustream to participate in our raucous live-chat sessions. (And if the log-in prompt doesn’t come up in the chat box below, use this link instead.)

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Marizela Perez has been missing in the Seattle area for more than six months now. Marizela’s case has a connection here at Hot Air, as she is the cousin of the Boss Emeritus, Michelle Malkin. Michelle is trying to spread the word through Facebook and Q13Fox/KCPQ in Seattle. We want to encourage prayers for Marizela’s family, and also try to reach anyone in the area who knows where Marizela might be and ask them to contact the police.

The search has its own website now, Find Marizela, for the latest in the efforts to bring Marizela home. There is also a fund for the family to keep the search efforts going. Be sure to check there and at Michelle’s site for further developments, and keep the family in your prayers.

America’s Most Wanted is now on the case, too.

Michelle has a new update on the case:

She disappeared from the University of Washington campus area in Seattle at the age of 18 exactly seven months ago today. Spring and summer came and went, along with Marizela’s 19th birthday. Autumn is now upon us. Her university friends are back in school.

Life goes on, but remains at a standstill.

Uncertainty corrodes.

Grief deepens and settles without the ability to mourn.

There are no new developments from the Seattle Police Department. Nothing to report.

The family is moving forward on the legal front to try and obtain information from Marizela’s Internet/social networking accounts that the Seattle Police Department refuses to share with her parents. Internet lawyers tell us the case is complicated, but they’re willing to help and we are grateful.

Continued thanks for all your prayers and well wishes for Emem and her parents.

Keep the prayers coming.

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Obama administration rejects House subpoena on Solyndra

When Barack Obama got asked about the loss of $535 million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans in the Solyndra collapse, he told ABC that he thought it had been a “good bet.”  Now that the House wants the executive branch to produce documents relating to how Obama came to that conclusion, it looks like the taxpayers who thought that Obama’s promises of transparency were a good bet are in for further disappointment:

The White House counsel refused Friday to comply with a subpoena as issued by a House panel regarding the failed solar energy company Solyndra, saying that the initiative “was driven more by partisan politics than a legitimate effort to conduct a responsible investigation.”

Kathryn Ruemmler expressed her views in a letter to Reps. Fred Upton and Cliff Stearns, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. A day earlier, one of its subcommittees requested internal documents regarding the government’s decision to issue more than half a billion dollars in federal loan guarantees in 2010 to Solyndra, which later filed for bankruptcy.

The White House counsel on Friday did not rule out disclosing additional information related to Solyndra, saying that “we remain willing to work with the committee to accommodate its legitimate oversight interests in a balanced manner.”

At the same time, Ruemmler said unequivocally that the subpoena, as written, was unacceptable.

“The committee’s extremely broad request for documents — now a subpoena — is a significant intrusion on executive branch interests,” Ruemmler wrote.

Well, that’s the funny thing about subpoenas.  The people on whom they are served aren’t really the arbiters of whether they’re significant enough to comply with them, nor do their opinions on the motivations behind them matter much, either.  If the subpoenas are valid, then a court will uphold them — and failure to comply will result in contempt of court charges, as well as potential contempt of Congress citations.

Maybe Ruemmler missed a memo on this, but taxpayers lost more than a half-billion dollars on Obama’s “good bet.”  On top of that, the Department of Energy broke the law by subordinating taxpayer interest in the firm to that of a later investor — who just happened to be one of Obama’s campaign bundlers, George Kaiser.  Kaiser will get some of that  investment out of Solyndra, while taxpayers will get nothing from the $535 million loss.

Obama promised a new era of transparency.  Now, suddenly, this White House doesn’t want to produce its records on what looks suspiciously like an attempt to use taxpayer dollars to support the business interests of a key campaign fundraiser, which then resulted in illegal action to protect that fundraiser’s investments.  The use of executive privilege in a case involving a big-time Democratic donor stinks to high heaven, and the Obama administration’s willingness to go to the mat in order to hide the records speaks volumes about the damage they believe will come with full disclosure.

What is the White House hiding?  Why don’t they want sunlight on Solyndra?

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U.S. general removed for calling erratic, delusional Afghan leaders erratic and delusional

He told the truth. And for that, he must pay.

The two-star general flashed irritation when he brought up Karzai’s recent remarks that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in a war against the U.S., blasting the president’s comments as “erratic,” and adding, “Why don’t you just poke me in the eye with a needle! You’ve got to be kidding me … I’m sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you’re telling me, ‘I don’t really care’?”

“When they are going to have a presidential election, you hope they get a guy that’s more articulate in public,” Fuller said during a visit to Washington for a conference…

Fuller says he responds [to Afghan leaders] by saying, “’You’re telling us that you’re not appreciative of $11.2 billion from the U.S. this year? We have challenges going on in our own country, and this is our national treasure.’”

In fact, the Afghan government made requests for F-16 fighter jets and tanks, even without the budget to use or maintain them, said Fuller. “I actually had someone senior tell me, ‘All I want to do is put them [tanks] on a flat bed and drive them around in a parade,” he said…

“You can teach a man how to fish, or you can give them a fish,” said Fuller. “We’re giving them fish while they’re learning, and they want more fish! [They say,] ‘I like swordfish, how come you’re giving me cod?’ Guess what? Cod’s on the menu today.”

Surely we can spare a few extra billion so that the Afghan government has tanks to parade around on flat beds. Politico published what he said this morning; by 6 p.m. ET, Gen. Allen had already removed him from duty, replete with lip service about “our current solid relationship with the government of Afghanistan.” According to National Journal, Fuller might be drummed out of the military altogether, which would make this one of the costliest Kinsleyan gaffes in recent political history. Three obvious points, then. One: As irritating as Karzai’s comments were about siding with Pakistan over the U.S., it’s not a crazy thing to say given his strategic predicament. We’re leaving and Pakistan’s staying and they’re ruthless and insane, so unless Karzai signals that he’s willing to play ball with them, there’s little future for him or his allies once ISI and their jihadi clients take over the country (again). Two: Fuller did, in fact, create a diplomatic problem for the White House and his commanders by saying what he said, which is a setback for whatever’s left of this mission. His frustration’s completely — completely — understandable, but it’s a slip in discipline. Soldiers are supposed to make the civilian leadership’s job easier, not harder. Three: Kicking him out of the service will be a mistake in every way for the simple reason that virtually anyone who reads those quotes will agree with him. Firing him will make a martyr of him, will draw more public attention to what he said, and will give the public yet another reason to wish we were out of there. It’d be a huge screw-up. I wonder if they’re foolish enough to do it.

Via Bluegrass Pundit, here’s the latest in “our current solid relationship with the government of Afghanistan.” Exit quotation: “These were not real Taliban ready to make peace. The governor was trying to fool the Americans.”

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Lawyer for Cain’s accuser: On second thought, she’d rather not relive this publicly

No video yet, but it sure sounds like that’s the end of that. For now.

Who knew the big finale would end Sopranos-style?

Bennett said his client sees “no value” in revisiting the issue now, but “stands by the complaint that she made.”

Bennett said his client would disagree with Cain’s characterization of the alleged harassment incidents.

He confirmed that the alleged harassment occurred in 1999 over a period of “at least a month or two.” There was “more than one incident,” he said.

And here’s the key part of the statement from the NRA:

“Based upon the information currently available, we can confirm that more than a decade ago, in July 1999, Mr. Bennett’s client filed a formal internal complaint, in accordance with the Association’s existing policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. Mr. Herman Cain disputed the allegations in the complaint. The Association and Mr. Bennett’s client subsequently entered into an agreement to resolve the matter, without any admission of liability. Mr. Cain was not a party to that agreement. The agreement contains mutual confidentiality obligations. Notwithstanding the Association’s ongoing policy of maintaining the privacy of all personnel matters, we have advised Mr. Bennett that we are willing to waive the confidentiality of this matter and permit Mr. Bennett’s client to comment. As indicated in Mr. Bennett’s statement, his client prefers not to be further involved with this matter and we will respect her decision.

Does that waiver apply only to today’s statement or is it a general waiver that would allow her to speak if she changes her mind down the road? Because if he’s the nominee, the left will be keenly interested in hearing from her, especially now that the promise of multiple incidents has been dangled in front of them. And the worse the economy looks, the keener that interest will be. There is, or was, potential for this to hurt him among GOP primary voters too, but unless something more specific than gossip like this drops, that potential’s gone now. WaPo’s new poll, conducted after the Politico story broke, finds him still neck and neck with Romney, with 70 percent saying the allegations won’t matter to their vote. There’s room for that to change — 37 percent of Republicans polled called the charges a “serious matter” — but it’s 4:45 p.m. ET on Friday as I write this and, after a full week of accusations, we still have yet to hear a single credible detailed account of what happened between him and the accusers. Hard to believe anyone’s vote is changing based on that.

Here’s CBS’s report on the settlement agreement that was signed between the NRA and one of the accusers in September 1999 (yes, 9/99). Cain himself didn’t sign, and had actually left the NRA in June of that year; it’s unclear if the woman filed the complaint before or after he departed. CBS points to that as evidence that Cain really might not have known about the settlement, as he first asserted earlier this week. Could be, but he did find out about the underlying accusations at some point: Remember, he told Richard Miniter that he mentioned them to Curt Anderson back in 2003 when he was a Senate candidate. Ah well. Maybe the timeline will be clarified in one of Politico’s next 90 stories about this.

Update: Jim Geraghty summarizes the argument from the accuser’s lawyer thusly: “I won’t say what he did, but trust me, he’s guilty of wrongdoing.”

Update: Interesting question from Nate Silver. Cain’s numbers probably won’t shrink because of this, but will the way the campaign handled things create a ceiling on his support?

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Quotes of the day

“‘We have had twelve meetings,’ one member said last night during a CB1 session in City Hall, ‘and now we’ve given up.’ It is about time. To most clear-thinking people, it has been painfully obvious for some time that the powers that be have credulously indulged a group that is simply playing games with the democratic process. Now those powers may have caught on, too…

“Thus we see the nauseating spectacle of rapes being reported not to the police, but to the ‘Security Working Group,’ which hands down internal punishments to offenders. According to activist Channing Kehoe, those guilty of assault are punished by having their blankets taken away. American civil society does not include the option to opt out of the laws of the land, but that is precisely what Occupy Wall Street has done. Their ‘negotiations’ are simply taqiyya for the secular Left. Once upon a time, we called such behavior ‘secession.’

“There is increasing concern that the authorities have made a rod for their own backs. ‘Are we seriously suggesting that if a jihadist or neo-Nazi group moved in, they would have been indulged like this?’ asked a community-board member pointedly. ‘Or the Klan!’ interjected another. Meanwhile, the chairman worried about the precedent: ‘If any other group moves in in the future, would we be able to evict them, given the example we have set?’ His ashen expression answered his own question.”

***

“‘We had people who attempted to break into our building,’ the landmark Rotunda Building on Frank Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall, Tagami said Thursday. He grabbed a shotgun that he usually keeps at home, went down to the ground floor and ‘discouraged them,’ he said.

“‘I was standing there and they saw me there, and I lifted it – I didn’t point it – I just held it in my hands,’ Tagami said. ‘And I just racked it, and they ran.’…

“‘We’re very concerned that a group of people can be allowed to do this type of destruction to our town and to our image without any repercussions,’ Tagami said. ‘They need to be held accountable.’ He rejected assertions that the anarchists were a small minority, saying, ‘No, you can’t have it both ways.’

“Tagami added, ‘I support a peaceful protest. But it was a siege situation last night, and quite frankly, I’m glad we were here. But I never want to have to do that again.’”

***

Via R.S. McCain. “‘Occupy DC’ protesters just attempted to force their way into the Washington Convention Center where the Americans for Prosperity Foundation is holding its Ronald Reagan tribute dinner for the ‘Defending the American Dream Summit.’

***

“In 2005, the Weinstein Co. set up financing of about $500 million to fund production and distribution. The investment vehicle was created and syndicated by a little firm called Goldman Sachs. One of the films that was produced by TWC using funds from that investment was Moore’s documentary Sicko. Given the success of his previous film, Fahrenheit 9/11, which he made with Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Moore was able to command a terrific deal for himself…

“If Moore really wants to be seen as someone outside the circle of those he is protesting, it would be great if he would disclose how much he has made off his TWC-backed movies and why he was willing to associate himself with financing set up by Goldman Sachs. Further, journalists should start showing more backbone in testing the veracity of statements made by those who use the media to disseminate a holier-than-though message.”

***

Via Philip Klein.

***

Via Accuracy in Media.

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Video: Former Clinton adviser says jobs report “not good news”

We can safely expect the Obama administration to spin today’s jobs report as good news.  After all, some net jobs got created in October, even if they fell 15,000 short of the expectation of 95,000.  But as Clinton adviser and economist Robert Reich explained on MSNBC this morning, that’s actually going backwards in the context of population growth, and that makes this report decidedly not good news:

Reich actually uses the tougher floor of 125,000 net growth per month as a threshold for treading water, while others use figures that range from 100K-125K.  So far the economy has produced an average of about 125,000 net jobs per month, which is a maintenance-only mode — and October fell off the pace.

Reich isn’t the only one giving bad reviews from Obama’s side of the aisle, either.  The New York Times headlines the story, “Report  Shows a Mere 80,000 Added in US in October,” and originally included this excerpt:

While job growth is certainly better than job losses, a gain of 80,000 jobs is barely worth celebrating. That was just about enough to keep up with population growth, so it did not significantly reduce the backlog of 14 million unemployed workers. As a result, the unemployment rate hardly budged, dropping to 9 percent from 9.1 percent in September. The rate has not fallen below 9 percent in seven months. In the year before the recession began in December 2007, the jobless rate averaged about half that, at 4.6 percent.

That changed to this in a later revision, leaving out the “barely worth celebrating”:

October’s job gains were just barely enough to keep up with population growth, and so did not significantly reduce the backlog of 14 million unemployed workers.

The unemployment rate was 9 percent in October, slightly lower than September’s 9.1 percent but about where it has been for the last seven months. By contrast, in the year before the recession began in December 2007, the jobless rate averaged about half that, at 4.6 percent.

Admittedly, that “barely worth celebrating” sounded like editorializing and probably should have come out of the report, but its original inclusion is indicative of the frustration building from Obamanomics.  Even one of its key architects, Obama adviser and stimulus-package collaborator Jared Bernstein, says that the economy is “stuck in a slog,” and cautions about reading too much into the slight drop in the jobless rate:

We’re just very much stuck in a slog here. The private sector is expanding at a snail’s pace, while state and local governments continue to cut jobs. It’s a vicious cycle where weak employment growth is leading to weak wage* and income growth and that’s dampening consumption and GDP growth. And as long as consumers remain strapped, it’s hard for me to see why corporations sitting on trillions in cash reserves would invest here as opposed to expanding, emerging economies elsewhere. …

I suspect we’ll hear some people get all jiggy about the growth of employment in the Household survey of 277,000. But that’s well below the confidence interval of 400,000 (the sample size is a lot smaller in the Household survey; ergo, the wider confidence interval).

That doesn’t mean there’s no information in the headline numbers for months like October, where the change in both employment numbers is statistically insignificant (as is the change in the unemployment rate, by the way, from 9.1% to 9%; on the other hand, the increase in private sector payrolls of 125K is significant). If you average over a bunch of months, you’re essentially increasing the sample size and that gives a more reliable read (which confirms the slog I mentioned).

One reason why it’s hard to see corporations investing in the US rather than “expanding, emerging economies” elsewhere is because of the inability to project regulatory and tax costs over the next few years, thanks to Obama’s agenda of expanding ambiguous regulation on businesses across the board in the US.  For tax relief, Obama proposes only gimmicky short-term policies like a temporary payroll-tax holiday, while promising higher tax rates in 2013 and beyond.  Why anyone would invest in this climate is a question that Bernstein and Obama have yet to explain.

That may be why a new study by a Democratic Party pollster for the Democracy Corps — a James Carville organization — concludes that Democrats are losing the argument on the economy:

The Democrats are losing the battle of public perceptions over which party can best improve the economy, according to a new analysis by prominent Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and other strategists.

Greenberg’s Study for Democracy Corps, a Democrat-oriented research organization, finds that, “Although voters do not trust either party right now to create jobs, the Republicans are more trusted on the economy, business and big business, and spending and deficits…Democrats are losing the economic argument because right now voters do not see how increased spending helps the economy and they fear increased debt will prevent the economy from growing.” …

The Democracy Corps says, “The mood on the economy is as bleak as we have seen it in recent years. By a two-to one ratio, voters are pessimistic about the future of the middle class.” And the least optimistic people are union members, white women (both married and unmarried), non-college educated whites, and white voters living in rural areas outside the South. All of these groups have been hit hard by the recession and they will be crucial in the 2012 election.

Their advice?  Focus on “breaking the nexus of money and power in Washington and Wall Street.”  I think the collapse of MF Global and the plight of its now-former CEO Jon Corzine makes that an even tougher argument for Democrats to win.

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