Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Miller time

AP photo Washington Post
Judy Miller has had some quizzical responses in her testimony so far in the Libby trial. Other than her obvious memory deficiencies, she seemed to display a certain shock and awe upon her return home from the WMD scavenger hunt that some Democrats and mainstream media types were already insinuating malfeasance about the lack of said weapons.

We can examine Miss Run Amok's apparent shock in two ways. On one hand we have a self-interest angle. She had a lot invested in the WMDs, such as her reportorial career (and we saw how that worked out). Additionally, she'd co-authored a book called "Germs", which ironically featured input from Scooter Libby and Dr. David Kelly (she had an email exchange with Kelly right before he passed away). A lot could come tumbling down for her if it turned out the administration had lied.

On the other hand, it could have been actual shock. She had extensive knowledge of Saddam's arsenal and history, and knew the Butcher to be capable of mayhem and deception. It's almost akin to the recent comments from Hillary Clinton noted in the video post below from early 2003. A lot of people were shocked about the missing WMDs, apparently including some of Saddam's generals.

Sounds like a mixture of both. Her stubborn refusal to remember the names of previous sources regards Plame or Wilson prior to discussing Wilson and Plame with Libby, a discusion she'd previously forgotten until prodded by her notes, which didn't prod her on the other sources (got it?) frankly appears like general crapola to me. While some older folks on the jury might identify with her "note based memory" defense, it's not a get out of testimony free card.

Frankly, it seems unfair to Libby if she won't give up these previous sources. So far Mr. Libby seems partially cooked already due to Fleischer's testimony, although they may be hanging their hat on the "Mrs. Wilson" versus "Valerie Plame" distinction, we'll see. But when one factors in Miller's weird, less than ambitious attempt to stay out of jail in 2005 when already cleared to testify, and her comment today that she, "didn't want him (Fitz) to go on a fishing expedition", it should make everyone wonder what kind of fish-fry a sudden note-based memory flash might create.

MORE 2/1/07

While reading the excellent live blogging at FDL something crossed my mind. Here's what triggered it:
Jeffress. That's a really fine distinction for a jury to make.
We're talking to jurors here. It's a crime, it's a crime, to disclose information that may be helpful to our enemies
Forget the bolded part--do the vapid frogmarchers realize the irony of Jeffress's statement? Will they make the obvious connection between a lust for Libby's head and the not-yet-indicted officials who supplied Pulitzer Prize winning classified information to the New York Times and Washington Post in an effort to bash the administration?

CNN airbrushes the bird

Not sure which story is goofier--Joe Biden's Obama meltdown only hours after announcing he's a candidate, or the Boston meltdown over the finger waving cartoon light board. I think it's the latter (the Biden thing really isn't shocking to those who follow politics). Note the Drudge photo on the left, photo on the right.

I was tempted to make a parallel between CNN's tortured decision to show US troops getting fired upon enemy snipers and this, where it seems they tripped all over themselves to erase a lewd image from their site that reflected poorly on the parent company. But I won't. Instead, in the interest of fairness, you'll find a link to CNN's Biden story that proves the MSM doesn't always spike embarrassing racial tongue-slips from Democrats. The bigger question is whether they'll let him live it down.

UPDATE 1/31/07

Watching the O'Reilly Factor segment about it right now, and Bill is clueless about this little lighted finger sign but he wants to arrest Ted Turner. Might as well round up Jane Fonda while they're at it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hillary's fuzzy memory

Via Hot Air, who pointed to Rush Limbaugh's site. The left will discredit this based on origin, but it appears to be taken by a Code Pink member. Comedic highlights--singing before Hillary entered the room; the Senator blaming Saddam for his own problems and suggesting unilateral action wasn't such a bad thing; a ninth inning Bush-bash on the economy, which failed to satisfy the savage anti-war beasts.

Additionally, this site has an audio of Hillary proclaiming on 9/11 that every nation would have to be "with us or against us", and that nations who harbor terrorists would have to "pay a price". Relevance? She is now making the claim Bush misled her, and that 'had I known then what I know now', blah, blah. At the same time she's running on her experience as First Lady, and in the tape claims to have followed the Saddam situation for "the last 10 years". You can do the math.

UPDATE.. 1/31/07

Someone decided to disable embedding, so to view the video you'll need to follow this link.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Wilson. Joe Wilson.

Ari Fleischer's testimony at the Libby trial sent a few more slabs of red meat to the sharks as he detailed a commisary lunch where Scooter brought him into the loop on Wilson's wife. He then blabbed the information to as yet named reporters, which Editor and Publisher named as David Gregory of NBC, Tamara Lippert of Newsweek and John Dickerson of Time. Their reaction was predictable:
He said their initial reaction was, "so what?" But later in his testimony it was suggested that very quickly Gregory's boss back in Washington (Tim Russert) and Dickerson's colleague at Time (Matt Cooper) somehow knew about the Wilson/Plame link.
Of course they knew. Plame's name was "out there" in June because Judy Miller, who is set to testify Tuesday, had scribbled Valerie "Flame" in her notebook back then. We also know Armitage leaked to Woodward in June, and that Miller had other sources she was protecting besides Scooter. Was one of them Armitage? Since it's not clear the OVP leaked the name Plame to anyone, who did? Mr. Prosecutor, tell us again why Armitage wasn't indicted.

Fleischer made it clear he didn't think Wilson's wife's name was classified and confessed to being shocked months later when news of the CIA referral came out. Perhaps Libby never told him "Plame", instead using "Valerie Wilson" or "Mrs. Wilson", which wasn't her clandestine handle. Libby may try to argue he didn't know the name Plame until Russert told him in conversation around the 12th, which is why his memory slipped in front of the Grand Jury. Russert will deny of course, but as Gregory alluded, so what?

Everytime I allow myself to wander into this sinkhole I have to stop myself, jump back in the DeLorean and set the date back to 2002. In those anxious days after 9/11 and before the Iraq invasion the US Government had come across a report about Saddam trying to purchase yellowcake in Africa. Cheney's office was curious. An inquiry was sent to the CIA.

But amazingly, instead of responding to the OVP by setting up an elaborate team of agents, or allowing local station chiefs to coordinate a plan along with other western intelligence services, they allowed a Langley analyst to recommend her husband, a former Ambassador to a country nobody has ever heard of, to assume a James Bond-like mission to singlehandedly determine the entire fate of yellowcake proliferation in Africa and the status of Bush's truthtelling.

Call him Joe. Joe Wilson.

Like Bond, Joe went to Niger, a country only known for yellowcake and junk email, sipped mint tea with the former president, and found it not the least bit strange when the former official said he would have been shocked, shocked, to learn of any Iraqi interest in his country's main export in light of everything going on. Why, surely they wouldn't come back similar to their last visit in 1999, when Iraq's leading nuke expert and Vatican envoy came calling.

Joe trucked back to DC but somehow his report never made it out of the bowels of foggy bottom. Meanwhile Bush uttered the famed 16 words, pen became sword, and the rest is history. And after all this time nobody has ever adequately answered the question of why the CIA believed they could solve the riddle of Africa and Iraq WMDs with one former Ambassador.

MORE 2/3/07

One of our lovely friends from "the reality based community" dropped by, read this post, then decided to link it to his blog in order to make a sneering mention that I had misapplied Niger with Nigeria regards the emanation of junk email. Ok, point taken, reality guy. No junk mail comes from there. So let's see, that leaves only Yellowcake as the prime export, doesn't it.

Something strange-looking from space

Ben Franklin once said, "some people are weatherwise, most are otherwise". Throw me in with the former. Nary a day passes without a check of the earth's picture from space, but today's ritual included a twist.

Below are two visible satellite images of the south-central USA snapped this morning. On the left is a pure reproduction, while on the right the picture was adjusted to sharpen the contrast:

Here's a loop of the event (if it doesn't load you can make your own loop here. Liberals, just use your imagination).

What's weird? Notice the lines and holes present in the cloud deck over northeast Texas moving into Louisiana. That's not normal. The lines look like reverse contrails, but the holes don't seem to support aircraft effects. The cloud deck was very high, well up in the ice crystal area between 25,000 and 35,000 feet. I don't think it's an Art Bell moment, but I did show these to a meteorologist friend and he didn't have a clue what was causing it. Does anyone else know?

MORE 1/29/07

Added a closeup shot from a little later in the day.

UPADTE 1/31/07

Looks like my initial hunch about this not being a Men in Black episode was correct. However, my hunch about the cause not being aircraft was off by 180 degrees. Apparently they ARE caused by aircraft, and are referred to as HOLE PUNCH CLOUDS. Fascinating.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Shouldn't term limits apply?

Hillary in Iowa:
"I have a unique perspective having been in the White House for eight years and understanding the challenge that comes from trying to govern our great country."
Meanwhile, the press should force her to identify which evil men she was laughing about, although I'm thinking it was Dick Morris. Or maybe it was the man from Hope. Seriously, the rampant hypocrisy on display was stunning:
"I am going to level with you, the president has said this is going to be left to his successor," Clinton said. "I think it is the height of irresponsibility and I really resent it."
How obnoxiously selfish of her. The Democrats act as if the Iraq war is some kind of bogged down road construction project, with no connection to the GWoT whatsoever despite the AQ guys roaming around there now. There's no doubt Hillary is getting an early start on laying the groundwork for the "blame Bush century" to come, since she knows full well our troops will still be around through 2009, just as they remain in Kosovo, South Korea, Germany and Japan. But I wonder, is this part of that spirit of bipartisanship we've been hearing so much about lately?

Why, why, why?

Why.. do some Americans want us to lose to the terrorists? Blue Star Chronicles has reaction to a Jeff Gutfield piece over at HuffPo about "Patriotic Terrorists". Here's a tease:
Are you a patriotic terrorist?

If you are intensely critical of the US, while tolerating homicidal enemies who condemn everything you previously claimed you are for - human rights, voting rights, gay rights, women’s rights, porn - then you’re a patriotic terrorist

Why.. did our Memphis City Council ever think they could get away with passing a "12 and out" retirement rule for elected and appointed officials? Sure, they've since rescinded it (after word got out) but people like Gale Carson are now double-dipping under a loophole in that law. And why is the WMC-TV story on the story now gone?

Speaking of the local utility, why have all the private aluminum can recycling joints within a reasonable proximity of my house all disappeared? I'm talking about those that paid the going rate for scrap aluminum. That includes all the kiosks in shopping center parking lots that exchanged coins for cans. Gone.

The utility provides me a little box and wants me to gladly leave my scrap aluminum on the curb for them to confiscate under the guise of saving the environment. Meanwhile, they make a handsome profit, yet I'll be called greedy for complaining about it. Sounds like it's time for another property tax increase for you, buddy.

Why, why, why.

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries
are getting dead?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars,
but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw
a revolver at him?

Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that
something new to eat will have materialized?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a
shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, "It's all right",
when it isn't all right. Why don't we say, "That hurt, you stupid
idiot!" ?

MORE WHYs 1/28/07

We all know about the term chickenhawk, used to describe people who are for war but never served. Why aren't there "chickendoves"?

Comments Rick Moran:
To the anti-war crowd I say get off your asses and stand up for your convictions. If you seriously believe American democracy is in danger, don’t just sit like a bump on a log and pontificate about it; get up on you hind legs and fight.
In other words, folks who are against the war but refuse to protest. Both are equally stupid, aye, but we seem to be stuck on stupid in this country.

HT Macsmind

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Kerbala message

The Kerbala massacre passed through the news cycle like any other insurgent attack. But it was certainly no run of the mill event:
The precision of the attack, the equipment used and the possible use of explosives to destroy the military vehicles in the compound suggests that the attack was well rehearsed prior to execution,'
Some think it was a message:
Like I said earlier, this was not just a brazen attack by some militia or terrorists; behind this is a message and a threat from Iran and its surrogates to turn even the calm parts of Iraq into a dangerous war zone for America and the government in Baghdad.
It's probably no coincidence that such a thing occurred immediately after Coalition announcements declaring open season on free range Iranian turkeys. Speaking of which, that makes Kerry's embarrassing performance in Davos even that much more pathetic. If such a thing is possible.

Attacks like Kerbala, which brazenly mock Geneva protocols, should be enough to convince anti-war zealots of the possible future beyond an American Army pullout. But that's like asking a five year old to do Calculus. In reality such things only further steele their resolve to give the head-choppers a big win. And with help in Congress they might actually get it done. But one thing's for sure--the Army may be forced out of Baghdad but America will never leave the region to the Iranians, nor will the Sunnis, Ba'athists, al Qaeda or the Israelis.

MORE 1/28/07

Speaking of Khatami, here's a vintage picture from last year.

In 2004 Iran erected a monument to honor Simon Bolivar, the founder of Venezuela. Bolivar was an apostate no doubt, but hey, death to the Pariahs of America.

The shaping of things

It's pretty clear the MSM is having loads of fun with the Libby trial so far. Here's an MSNBC piece by Michael Isikoff speculating on whether Rove will testify (or plead the fifth) that continually wonders aloud about thoughts and feelings of those employed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

As is typical with many of these Libbygate stories, this one fails to mention the strange nexus between Richard Armitage, the actual admitted Novak leaker, and WaPo superstar Bob Woodward, who many on the left consider a dirty traitor.

Here's exhibit B from the NY Times. It doesn't mention them either, but describes the testimony of Cathie Martin, former press sec for Cheney. Most pundits gaged her testimony as damaging to Libby, but this quote caught my eye:
She said she was then put on the phone with Bill Harlow, the C.I.A. spokesman, who told her that Mr. Wilson went to Africa on behalf of the agency and that his wife worked there.
Not sure why Harlow felt the need to explain about Wilson's wife, unless it was an effort to legitimize the trip, ie, Martin/Libby ask, "why Wilson", and he says, "his wife works at the Agency in WMD and recommended him". If at this point they knew Wilson was essentially a Democrat operative working for the Kerry campaign such news would have set off a few alarm bells in the VP's office.

It might also help to keep events in perspective. During the runup to Kristof's column the press and Democrats were beginning to openly question the lack of WMD stockpiles. In May 2003 both Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz took heat for saying the WMDs might not be there (moved, destroyed, etc) and it started a brush fire in Europe and the UK, whose liberal populations were already teeming with war skeptics. A UN final report on UNMOVIC was due out. It's not hard to imagine major concern in the White House, which might make it real hard for a jury to buy that Libby was too overworked to have noticed. Surely they all noticed.

Across the pond the Downing Street brouhaha was unfolding. Former UNSCOM weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly was embroiled in a controversy involving Tony Blair, one that accused Her Majesty's government of "sexing up" the Iraq intelligence.

[ Sidebar--if you read the transcripts between Kelly and the journalists he spoke with on background he not dismissive of Saddam's threat since he possessed intimate knowledge of Saddam's bio-weapons program. He seemed concerned about how the evidence was being shaped, but it would seem inaccurate to suggest he believed the war was an outright lie. Under that premise his subsequent demise was all the more bizarre. ]

The question continues to be one of relevance. A Libby conviction, although strongly suggesting the administration went too far in countering what they saw as Democrat smear campaign, doesn't de facto scuttle the rationale for going into Iraq or the importance of winning there now.

As Stratfor has suggested, the raison d e'tre was multi-faceted and went well beyond WMDs. The western governments simply decided to make WMDs the casus belli since it would resonate better with the public. Besides, providing the public with the downline strategic objective would be counter-productive. When WMDs failed to slam dunk into view it made explaining the action problematic. This is usually the junction where anti-war folks peel off and erupt into their frog-march dance.

Cheney's testimony will certainly be interesting, but no more than that of Armitage and Woodward. For example, in Woodward's book "Plan of Attack" he quotes his friend Armitage on page 414 as follows:
Later in 2003, whenever there was a presidential speech or an issue with the White House, particularly on the Middle East, he would say to Powell, "Tell those people to f--k themselves."
That's an astounding viewpoint. We have much to learn.

But speaking of "Plan of Attack", my mind keeps wandering back to the last page where Hollywood Bob quizzed the President about his decision. Quoting from page 443:
"I was going to act. And if it could cost the presidency, I fully realized that. But I felt so strongly that it was the right thing to do that I was prepared to do so."
He's subsequently bolstered that by indicating he'll never change his mind, even if Barney and Laura are the last ones left in his corner. Sounds like a captain willing to go down with his ship. Or a man in the know.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Royal carrot and stick

Earlier this month I hopped on a small bandwagon of pundits who were getting jiggy about the idea of a coming scuffle with Iran. Signs and signals in the open source world were certainly pointing in that direction, but as usual, the true picture remains grainy.

New signs are offering a slightly different direction. Sure, there are still a few ominous clouds roiling around, but if this report can be believed
(and Stratfor has been fairly accurate regards Iraq so far) it signals an interesting twist and possibly a good omen. The Saudi Royals have begun pumping support into the opponents of Hizb'allah, from Fatah in the Palestinian territories to the Sunnis and Christians in Lebanon. We've already heard Riyadh's threat to use their military in Iraq should we redeploy and leave the Sunnis on their own.

The Power Liners were a tad skeptical as was Jules Crittendon, for good reason. Nothing in this region is ever quite what it seems, which causes all the bloviating and blustering here in America. The war on terror has largely become a chess match of disinformation. For example, one might make an effective argument against any change in threat status by pointing to the recent violence in Beirut, or Tehran's announced "satellite" launch, or their nuclear coumbaya moment with axis of evil partner Kim Jong Il, and one may be correct. Things aren't settled.

Yet, if the Mullahs are seriously entertaining Saudi overtures it might suggest those previously ominous signs and signals did the trick. The left mocks Bush for "blowing off" the Baker Commission yet they fail to notice that Robert Gates, a former commission member and former spook, has made it abundantly clear that bargaining in a position of weakness is worthless. The Baker Commission report is available in paperback at Barnes and Noble. Nobody should seriously believe it was the same version presented to president behind closed Oval Office doors.

We've got reinforcements (a surge, if you prefer) on the way to Baghdad while our guys on the ground now have free reign to round up Iranian troublemakers. There's a fresh Carrier battle group steaming towards the region and the House of Saud is pumping wads of cash to the enemies of Iranian proxies, while reports indicate Ahmadinejad's political situation might be tenuous. While still skeptical myself, I really don't think the Iranian Mullahs want self-destruction or a regional war anymore than anyone else. Perhaps they've decided it's time to reign in A'jad and partake in a little dialogue of their own. Behind closed doors, of course.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Delusional Dick

I know what you're saying..Durbin or Cheney?

Take Dick Durbin. Please. This is a man who has compared our troops to Nazis and referred to terrorist detention facilities as "Gulags". He has no credibility to call others delusional, in my book.

Next, Dick Cheney. Would it hurt to occasionally admit we screwed up here or there? I know, the left takes any utterances as admissions of defeat and begins filling out impeachment petitions. But not everything is about politics. The average Joe or Jane might appreciate a little candor and it might help with the ole credibility down the road.

For what it's worth I thought the question from Blitzer about his lesbian daughter's pregnancy was a classic CNN groin shot. After all, the left flew into a collective outrage anytime someone mentioned Chelsea Clinton. But Cheney, just like Bill Clinton, is a big boy. Republicans going on CNN have to expect such stuff, just as Democrats going on Fox have to prepare for rational questions. He could have handled it better, but at least he stopped short of telling him to F-off (imagine Blitzer squirming in his seat after that).

But back to Durbin. His calling Cheney delusional for saying we've had "many large successes" in Iraq is evidence of his own self-delusion. First of all, the Veep was in process of being grilled by a badgering reporter determined to get the man to admit everything has been an abject failure. While that might make a great CNN or Kos headline, it ain't the truth.

They lambast Bush and Cheney, but hell, could it hurt the Democrats and media to admit that our brave men and women blasted into Baghdad, removed Saddam's army, removed his government, then were responsible for removing his sorry rear from the planet? Would it hurt to admit we got Zarqawi, a guy who beheaded Nick Berg and killed a US Ambassador not named Wilson? Would it hurt to occasionally give credit for the capture of KSM and the formation of the Karzai government?

It's a GOOD THING Saddam is gone. Our initial military objective in Iraq was achieved with flying colors but the stabilization phase has been screwed up. The fact that people like Kerry, Durbin and most of the MSM will only recognize the screw up forces administration officials onto the defensive, sometimes overdoing their pushback in efforts to maintain morale, which is utterly crucial in a war being fought as much through the wires as on the battlefield. The real delusion is the notion that leaving enemies on the battlefield would somehow help America.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

And in other news...

In news nearly as shocking as Hillary Clinton announcing she was "in to win", today John Kerry announced he has not found time in his day planner to run for president:
"But I've concluded this isn't the time for me to mount a presidential campaign," he said. Rather, it is time "to do all I can to end this war" and focus on fighting "the real war on terror," he said.
Yes, the real war on terror. Against al Qaeda. Presumably not including the ones operating in Iraq. Or perhaps that was a botched joke?

In other shocking news, Congressman William Jefferson announced he wasn't running for president either, and Dennis Kucinich announced he was running for president of the universe. Former presidential candidate Howard Dean's response was unintelligible.

MORE 1/24/07

Speaking of the 'real war on terror', the US launched raids in Somalia today. How long until the Democrats blast Bush for this illegal raid and call for our redeployment out of Africa?

UPDATE 1/24/07

The Washington Post has apparently airbrushed part of their story. I quoted Kerry above in the original story where he talked about "the real war on terror". Now the quote reads:
"I've concluded this isn't the time for me to mount a presidential campaign," the former Democratic nominee said. "I intend to work here to change a policy in Iraq that threatens all that I have worked for and cared about since I came home from Vietnam."
Same URL. They changed the date to 1/25. Their own provided video shows that he said the quote from up top, then a few sentences later said the WaPo's second quote. Maybe someone figured it was a botched sentence.

Amazing. Well, not really.


It was a good performance. Bush is much more at ease speaking to actual people versus tele-prompters. His surge speech was absolutely horrible in comparison.

Scanning around the crowd there seemed to be a lot of folks paying close attention, more so than in past SOTUs. Perhaps that was due to his present precarious position, I don't know. The exceptions were the presidential candidates, who appeared to be taking notes, bored, or half asleep. Posturing, no doubt.

Overall and under the circumstances, it was as good as he could muster.

He was a bit weak in laying out the domestic agenda, but let's face it--none of it will come to pass anyway. He's a domestic lame duck. As to border security, more bla bla, but I've always been in agreement that we need a guest worker program. My border beef is the chaotic breakdown of the rule of law, so any program that tackles that issue is good.

But that's where Bush and I part ways because we've already done the amnesty thing and it didn't work. The illegals here now need to be made to recross the border and come in via the new system. If they can't, then they risk deportation. Perhaps some of their employers could help with that transportation, wink, nod. They must also be on a timer, with requirements to leave and reapply every few years. If they want to become citizens that's great, but go to the end of the line. Either we live via a rule of law society or we don't.

The foreign policy part was really the only part that mattered, because as the constitution dictates, he's got the ball. The opening points he made about America's good deeds, such as fighting AIDS in Africa, were necessary and designed to counter recent stories about how Bush has destroyed our world image, which is utter garbage. Our image has always been about the same. It's only perceived as bad now because in the process of eradicating Saddam's murderous regime we've suffered some bad hiccups. That doesn't change the fact we're still the most benevolent society in the history of man.

Matter if fact, Bush's entire "problem" is Iraq, partly due to his own miscalculations but mainly due to the actual enemy--those Islamic insurgentterrathugs who don't want to see us win by succeeding in their world. Unfortunately (and largely not by choice) they have been joined by the Democrat Party and the mainstream media, who both believe Republicans are actually the world's true evil.

It's pretty clear these folks must not believe that our losing would cause long-term consequences or else they would never be advocating retreat, and would have stood in applause when Bush made the point about coming together to get 'er done. I guess it's easier to leave the blinders on and blame everything on the insensitive oil stooges, but such shortsightedness doesn't belong in positions of power.

The anti-war folks who actually do believe in long-term repercussions must be looking at it politically, ie, such a thing would be the gift that keeps on giving. That's much worse. By the way, the Veep's daughter was wondering the same thing yesterday.

It's clear that Iraq is not the only country with some serious societal divisions. Interestingly enough, A'jad was saying yesterday (wrapped in with his daily death to America, death to Israel shtick) that Dubya is purposely trying to divide the Middle East, yet that's exactly what his ilk are trying to do to America. And it seems to be working.

Most conservative pundits agreed the best line was, "you didn't vote for failure", a not too subtle reminder of how many Congresspeoples voted not only for the Iraq Regime-Change resolution in 1998, but for the use of force resolution in 2002. This was designed as a pre-emptive strike against upcoming resolutions next week.

While I agreed with the Gateway Pundit we might see some disturbances in the balcony, and also thought we'd hear more boos and hisses from the port side floor, it was good to see that people behaved. Perhaps the left figured such a move might backfire. The Mutumbo segment was nice, but for me the best moment was the fleeting shot of the wounded Iraq vet hugging the gentleman who saved the people on the subway tracks. That to me represents must-see TV.

Some notes on the aftermath. Webb's response was better than average as such things go, but I noticed a definite mean streak in this man. His comparison of Iraq to Ike and Korea was ridiculous--Ike didn't pull our troops out and South Korea has yet to fall to the commies. The force is still there. Stupid. And his final sentence was uncalled for.

As to McCain's criticism of Cheney it coincidence that Cheney is becoming a pinata now for some on the right? How will this affect his testimony in the Libby trial? It would certainly seem like the walls are cracking within the house of Bush, but chances are this is a strategy.

Finally, as to a US defeat and complete withdrawal from Iraq--if we're to believe Bush and others that our defeat will lead to future horribleness complete with an eventual toppling of the moderate regimes into the hands of Jihadis, then why isn't the rest of the free world not coming to this fight? A worse case would certainly mean bad things not only for Israel, but also for western Europe, China, East Asia and Russia. A radical takeover of the Middle East hurts more than just America.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Let's get 'em some mats

From Michelle Malkin's site:
A reader wants to know how to send mats to the troops. Input appreciated.
For crying out loud isn't there any way we can get these guys some stinkin' mats? I'm willing to fork over some bucks, and I challenge the liberals and everyone else against the war to make the same pledge. Sleeping on the ground with sand flies? C'mon.

That said, the discount mat company shouldn't be lambasted or boycotted. They've righted a wrong much faster than most large corporations, such as the AP with Jamil Hussein, for example.

MORE 1/23/07

This may be a start.

It all began with a simple phrase...

There were a few bombshells in today's episode of Patrick Fitzgerald's Dog and Pony Show starring Scooter Libby, at least according to those in the know. As the Libby show rolls along it's ironic to note that it all started with 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union message, another of which will start momentarily.

I prefer to think of Plamegate as a long-running and confusing soap opera. It needs an appropriate name. How about, "Search for Sense" in the spirit of the old "Search for Tomorrow"? I'm open to other suggestions from those who care, but for now here's a dress rehearsal of the show. Cue narrator.. and...action!

Thanks for joining us today on "Search for Sense" brought to you by Niger Mines delicious "Yellowcake". Welcome to the exciting new season. All your favorites are back for another action-packed season, including I. be Scooter Libby, Patrick "Just da facts" Fitzgerald, Richard "Darth" Cheney, George W. Bushitler, and Judy "Runamok" Miller. Look for special guest appearances by Joe "it ain't so" Wilson and his lovely wife, top secret undercover temptress Valerie "the Flame" Plame.

Previously on "Search for Sense"...
  • Darth Cheney began to wonder about a British MI6 assessment that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. He asked the CIA about it.
  • Someone in CIA (Vinny the fixer?) sent an unknown ex-Ambassador to check it out, based partly on a recommendation from his CIA analyst wife (who was working on Iraqi WMDs). This mystery setup remains unsolved.
  • The Ambassador traveled to Niger and drank sweet mind tea with an ex-government official, who actually confirmed that Iraq's former Envoy to the Vatican (and an expert on Saddam's nuclear program) had visited the country in 1999. But nothing had been going on lately, as far as he knew.
  • The Ambassador, a member of the Kerry for President team, came back to DC and was de-briefed in his home in front of his analyst wife. No written trip report was ever requested or completed.
  • In the interim Bushitler used the British assessment in this 2003 SOTU message, warning about Saddam.
  • It ain't so Joe then went to the NY Times and wrote an Op-Ed, which claimed Bushitler was lying because he'd seen no yellercake in his visit.
  • Whispers started about the man, including his rumored spy wife. DC journalists start to get wind that Joe's wife might work at the Agency.
  • Darth Cheney saw the article in the Times, circled a few curious items, and instructed his go-team to "get it out there", codeword for kill Wilson. His story, that is. The troops obliged by passing gossip with busybody journalists, who probably already knew.
  • Richard Granite Head Armitage spread the word to Washington Post star reporter Bob "Hollywood" Woodward and Robert "the grouch" Novak.
  • When Novak hit the enter button on his story he had no idea of the maelstrom he was about to create, outing a covert analyst listed in "Who's Who in America".
  • The CIA and MSM were shocked, shocked, that such a heinous violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act could have occurred and sent out a criminal referral. Politicians and reporters next demanded an Independent Prosecutor to track down the scurvy leaker. Bushitler announced that any scurvy leakers found guilty would be fired.
  • Just the Facts Fitzgerald was selected as the chief lawman and whistleblower, and blew into town from the windy city.
  • Within days of getting an apartment he became aware of the scurvy leaker's identity--it was ole Granite Head.
  • That started a full-scale investigation of the White House.
  • He began interviewing anyone remotely connected to Miss Flame, including media, government and people who lived in her neighborhood.
  • Some of the journalists valiantly refused to give up their sources, even though their sources had given prior permission to give themselves up.
  • One such journalist, Miss Runamok, preferred going to the big house rather than giving up her source, who'd apparently already agreed to be given up, unless it was actually Granite Head.
  • She finally relented and agreed to testify, but only after narrowly agreeing it would only be about her conversations with I. be Scooter. During this time it was disclosed that I. be had written her a very strange letter while in jail, talking about biological and nuclear weapons and the roots of certain western trees.
  • After testifying she was summarily dismissed and vilified by her old boss at the New York Times along with the rest of her former mates in the press and the entire left wing of America.
  • Another journalist, Matt "Eclair" Cooper, pretended he might go to jail rather than divulge, but caved at the last minute after his source repeatedly insisted his earlier release to grant the use of his name. Eclair's marriage to a top Democrat strategist was deemed inconsequential trivia.
  • The Senate, still Republican at the time, looked into Joe's trip to Niger and his subsequent Op-Ed and concluded he'd been less than altogether truthful. "Cambodia John" Kerry then quietly dismissed him from the Kerry for President team.
  • Liberals spent the next two years in a constant sugar plum dream state, awaiting the promised"Fitzmas present" of seeing Bushitler staffers being "frog-marched" out of the front door of the White House under multiple indictment.
  • In what must have been the letdown of the century, Fitzgerald only indicted I be Scooter for lying to FBI investigators and the Grand Jury, which is somehow still a crime in this country despite past precedent.
  • Meanwhile Granite Head bragged that he hadn't seen the need to waste any cheese hiring an attorney, but denied any deal was struck. His confidant Hollywood Woodward doubted there was any crime committed and wondered what all the fuss was about.
And that's where we are. Now, to last week's show....

Fitzgerald opened the trial by reminding jurors it's not about the war while Libby's attorneys meticulously grilled potential jurors by asking them if they've ever harbored ill thoughts of Bushitler. Most had.

We pick up the action with today's show, which featured Fitzgerald painting an evil picture of Darth Cheney but not explaining why he was never indicted. Libby's attorneys then shocked everyone--seems Scooter holds no love for the evil administration, either. He made a vow not to be scapegoated to save Rove's miserable butt, no how, no way. Besides, we now know he was once a war protester and can even name all the episodes of Star Trek by heart. And he likes the environment and writes racy novels. Maybe he's one of those reasonable folks Mike Stark was talking about.

Now for some exciting highlights from our next show!

Watch as we uncover the mystery of why Darth Cheney would agree to testify for his pal Scooter if I. be hates the administration. Does it mean Darth will drop a dime on his boss? Is there a secret blockbuster bombshell bluedarter deal in the making?? Or is it really just a stunt to allow Darth to leave and let Rudy "the Jewel" Gulliani or Condi "the loner" Rice step into his shoes?

Tune in next time and find out..

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Democrat gamble

Even John Warner agrees that if we chopper out of Iraq before it's stable we risk losing the GWoT. Yet the majority of Democrats who've announced their run for the Presidency have left the impression they're perfectly willing to risk it, since we've heard no counter strategy or sensible exit strategies. And that seems to be OK with a lot of people.

The current President is now ensconced in his media room practicing the 2007 SOTU speech while outside more and more sharks circle in the moat. For gosh sakes, even Hugh Hewitt recently questioned the Republican Party's grip on national security, and Bob Woodward's quote about Bush being left with only Laura and Barney suddenly looks like more than a joke. The WaPo wasn't afraid to put some perspective on it:
More broadly, Bush will be speaking on Tuesday night to a nation that is deeply pessimistic, with just 26 percent of Americans saying the country is heading in the right direction and 71 percent saying the country is seriously off track. That is the worst these ratings have been in more than a decade.
Pretty bad numbers, but wait.. "more than a decade"? How much more? Was it during the 90s? Turns out it was. But a cheap Clinton shot is about all the goodness that can be squeezed out of the GOP rock at the moment.

The reality is that unless a 180 occurs soon (and it's highly unlikely this speech will turn the boat) George W. Bush will probably be remembered as a less than mediocre president entirely due to Iraq--more specifically his failure to anticipate Saddam's insurgency counterattack. America is currently drifting back into her post-attack sense of invulnerability, which further hurts the case for staying.

The Butcher might be dead but he'll go out a winner if we lose Iraq. That stark eventuality should warrant some serious policy discussion from the new Congressional leadership in between their symbolic non-binding resolutions. After all, most of them have experience with binding resolutions, don't they?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The ultimate deciders

The headline was splashed all over the Huffington Post Sunday evening, "Congress should be the decider", which linked to the WSJ survey that said most Americans are not in favor of the surge.

All well and good, but Arianna's headline writers should remember that if all issues were decided by polls we'd probably have a 40 foot high wall along the Mexican border by now and same-sex marriage would be punishable by jail time. That same document they used to justify leaking state secrets to the press is also the one that stipulates the power of the Commander-in-Chief.

So, while some citizens and the leftist blogosphere might believe the people should be the decider on the Iraq issue that's not what the Constitution says, per se. 'Per se' because the people do have the power to change things by lobbying their elected Representatives to impeach and remove the leadership.

It's doubtful the Democrats would push that button (barring anything unforeseen) simply because impeachment trials would get in the way of their 2008 campaign attack plan. Better to turn Waxman loose to run interference and keep the media chewing on petty investigations than actually run the risk of a public backlash the likes of what was seen in the Clinton impeachment.

Besides, if they were to impeach Bush and we were simultaneously attacked or lost badly in Iraq it might make them look somewhat culpable. And I really don't believe they want to weaken America on the whole, per se.

Despite all the rancor it's likely the liberals are right about one thing--Iraq was about more than ousting Saddam. It was likely about killing several birds with one stone by getting rid of the unpredictable tyrant and his WMD deterrence while showing Saudi Arabia and Iran their eventual fate should they push the envelope too far. As a side benefit it would also show the international jihadis we weren't the Soviets.

In a post 9/11 world a holistic approach was probably better than playing cat and mouse, since the jihadis are ultimately dependent on states for their survival. That's a concept not easily articulated--for obvious reasons--so they went after the slam dunk case. When the WMDs failed to turn up Bush's credibility vanished along with them, making it next to impossible for him to convince the public of just how important this is.

Mr. Gates might yet have something to say about the outcome. Are we now seeing the carrot and stick strategy suggested in his Iraq Study Group? Whatever the case, the Democrats can squawk all they want about us being the deciders but until they tell us deciders how a humiliating exit from Iraq is in the nation's best interest (not just theirs) they're talking with their mouths closed while trying to punt on third down.

MORE 1/22/07

Needed: more carrot, more stick, more resolve. It's hard to disagree with the ideas presented here by Christopher Hitchens, even if he is a liberal.

A tiny little nuclear bomb

Scotland Yard has announced they have video of a mystery figure who may have poisoned Alexander "Sasha" Litvinenko:
"He is described as being tall and powerfully built, in his early thirties with short, cropped black hair and distinctive Central Asian features.".
This is a very interesting story, perhaps more interesting than we've been led to believe. The official story is that Litvinenko was intentionally poisoned. But AJ Strata has been studying this for many weeks and holds to a theory that he was accidentally poisoned due to the mishandling of the substance. A recent revelation that the ex-KGB agent was contaminated in a hotel room, not the bar as previously thought, bolsters his theory. His post is a must-read for anyone seriously following this story.

As to the mystery man, what constitutes "central Asia"? Googling the term returns the following geographic area, which includes all of the "'stans". If AJ's theory is correct that's a tad ominous and certainly suggests this "Vladislov" person could have had certain leanings, the same kind that caused Litvinenko to allegedly request a Muslim burial.

Plenty of questions are still unanwered on this. Perhaps Johnny Depp will be able straighten everything out for us.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Site maintenance

The site is experiencing some hiccups, mainly due to the new format, Haloscan, and the know-nothing IT person. Hey, get what you pay for. Will attempt to load a new template tonight. It's a cheap substitute for a night on the town, but cheaper.

BTW, this is a perfect day--cloudy and cold--for remembering Denny Doherty, former lead vocalist with The Mamas and the Papas and singer of California Dreamin'. Don't miss the dancers in this groovy rendition.

She's in to win

Kinda obvious--"I'm in to win". But, slogans are effective sometimes. Her campaign strategists, perhaps even Mandy Grunwald, wife of Time Magazines's Matt Cooper (of Plamegate fame), want the word "win" and "Hillary" to be connected at the hip in people's minds. Mind control, if you will. She's got a campaign website, of course, where you can learn about "pets for Hillary".

Here's a suggested slogan for the Repubs.. "Elect Hil, get backdoor Bill". That could backfire, though, but c'mon, shouldn't there be a law keeping two-term Presidents from taking quarter in the White House again?

Looking around the major media outlets it was slightly amusing to see the front page picture associated with her announcement story. Do the chosen pictures tip the hand of the sentiments of each news department? We report, you decide..

CNN / MSNBC........................ABC........................CBS...................

NY Times....................WaPo/Drudge................Fox News...........

To be fair and balanced, Fox's picture went with their winter weather story. The only thing missing from the Times' photo was a tooth sparkle.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Loco on the eights

This is becoming a bonafide brouhaha. When was the last time you saw a weatherman fight? Glasses flying, TI calculators clattering, little yellow sunshine symbols twirling in a sea of science-cuss words like 'skeptic' or 'charlatan'. It's great.

Heidi Cullen, perhaps the best looking weatherwoman since Jill Brown, started the fight by strapping on her SS uniform and proclaiming that TV weathercasters who don't fall lockstep with the new left-leaning Weather Channel programming change are heretics unworthy of their AMS seals of approval. What's next, their degrees?

The thought of such of a thing momentarily sent me into a dreamy vision of the old TV show "Branded" with Chuck Connors, except this time it featured Cullen, wearing high-heel Nazi boots and a TWC brownshirt, ripping the AMS seal off some poor TV weather guy who looked like Jared from Subway wearing a pocket protector.

Stereotypes aside, I've been harping on this subject a good bit lately and will continue to bore you with data if you desire to read on. As a skeptic like Ms. Cullen, the data I've been showing here from ground sites taken from the NASA GISS site aren't entirely supportive of a coming cataclysm quite yet. There are still too many unanswered questions to dump everything in one basket. Science is often like that.

I'll leave you with another 100 year temp chart, this time from North Platte, Nebraska, an area where the land-use hasn't changed much and there's only been a small increase in population since the transcontinental railroad went through 140 years ago. Notice the trend, or lack thereof. What caused the warming in the 20s? What caused the cooling into the 60s? Maybe Ms. Cullen can tell us.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The block

Lots of scares about Iran in the news, including a denial they fired on a US vessel after allegedly shooting down a UAV on Wednesday. The Beeb fired their own shot today, suggesting the US turned down a proposal from Iran in 2003 that was tantamount to what the Iraq Study Group was suggesting--a bargain. This will get the required spin by the MSM and bloggers, but the Captain has a good take on it's meaning, even if he was wrong about the source.

With all these recent stories people have completely forgotten the donkeys:
Iraqi security forces intercepted six donkeys carrying 53 anti-tank mines and an anti-tank rocket near the Iranian border in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Thursday. The bomb team determined that the mines were Soviet and Italian-made. One was set up to be used as a roadside bomb, the military said.
Sounds like quick work for Task Force 16, though.

Actually, it was well known to some in 2003 that Iran was willing to cooperate with us on OIF. They wanted Saddam gone more than we did. One of those who knew was George Friedman of Stratfor, who in his book "America's Secret War" postulates an overarching theory of why we went into Iraq to begin with. His thought--it wasn't only WMDs, or regime change, or Saddam's propensity to do irrational things, it was a show of force to those who blew the towers. It was to show the Mujahadeen that we could finish something we started, including them.

His reason? As noted in Afghanistan and most recently in Somalia, jiahdis have a nasty habit of scattering to wind to fight again, making it hard to ever win a war. But a decisive stroke to roust Saddam and show his fellow tyrants our resolve might serve a better purpose. The jihadis are tied to states, most notably Saudi Arabia, but the imagery of a swinging Saddam and his half-brother Barzan in two pieces on the floor would certainly leave an impression. Under this premise it makes perfect sense when Bush ambiguously says winning Iraq makes the world safer, despite the fact no WMDs were found and no connection to AQ was ever proven. "Shock and awe", anyone?

With that in mind, this outrageous story doesn't sound so weird, even though it comes from questionable sources and an even more questionable medium. While the moonbats might tingle at such trivia they fail to realize it actually points a finger in a direction other than Washington.

Think about what we already know. A small group of alleged relatives were responsible for the 1993 WTC bombing and planned the 2001 attack. Along the way they planned a massive attack on 10 jumbo jets, all before swearing allegiance to the bearded one. The odd distance kept by both Ramzi Yousef, who confessed to the 1993 attack, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has allegedly confessed to the 2001 attack, has always been somewhat weird, as exposed by Laurie Mylroie a few years ago. Both hail from Pakistan, who appear to be getting away with murder for reasons probably involving enriched metals.

Heck, while we're out there why not take a stab at this story, unearthed out of Afghanistan by Little Green Footballs. If the Taliban had it, and we found it, that means it can be tested and traced. The results will likely not come to light, but it might solve some perplexing questions.

Crushing of scientific dissent

What a winter season. Blizzards in Buffalo before Halloween, colder than normal at Thanksgiving with 13 degrees here in Memphis before December 15th. Then warm. Very warm. Very, very warm. Global warming. Stories all over the MSM.

Bingo, bango, bongo and now we're back to cold. Ice storms everywhere. 3/4ths of the fruit crop lost in California and snow at LAX. We won't see global cooling stories or mention of "the Gore Effect" in the MSM, but we will see "climate change" stories if the cold weather lasts.

And now, all hail the climate nazi:
The Weather Channel’s (TWC) Heidi Cullen, who hosts the weekly global warming program "The Climate Code," is advocating that the American Meteorological Society (AMS) revoke their "Seal of Approval" for any television weatherman who expresses skepticism that human activity is creating a climate catastrophe.
She's got a blog, and as the story says, check out the responses.

Here's my take, as someone with a few meteorology courses in days past. Take a look at the 100 year temperature record for St. Louis, Missouri and tell me what caused the warming in the 1920s. It sparked the famed "Dust Bowl" days. Nobody seems to blame that on GW. Our current warming shows up most dramatically in urban areas, but many of the rural sites outside the sprawling concrete jungles do not show the same. Cities have shown a marked increase in nighttime low temperatures for years, which skews the averages upwards.

So, in that sense the warming IS man-made, but more due to a raising of nighttime lows or the siting of the instruments than an accumulation of CO2 in the air, since we should be seeing warming at nearly every site if carbon were to blame. Just my two cents.

MORE 1/19/07

A colleague brought up the following--if the global warming nazis continue down this path what's next, stripping away people's university degrees? Sounds silly, but it's the definition of slippery slope.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Robo Soldier is here

Has everyone seen the body armor suit invented by Canadian inventor Troy Hurtubise? He's the same guy who invented an anti-bear suit called the Ursus Mark VII some years ago.

His new soldier suit is called "the Trojan" (click on picture for video). He claims input from Special Forces with an eye on protecting coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's even air conditioned.

Regardless of whether his robo suit sells (market might be better on e-bay initially) surely similar suits are the future of warfare and policing. It's inevitable based on the fact that western populations are less inclined to tolerate casualties than ever before.

Aside from the obvious benefits there could be some drawbacks. Technologically or financially challenged enemies could more easily resort to WMDs if frustrated with an approaching indestructible force.

Just another example of the future before our very eyes--UAVs and robots to disarm bombs, internet and GPS to target, and soon Robo-soldiers using EMP weapons. Somehow the old song "In the year 2525" comes to mind, single of the year in 1969. Chances are Zager and Evans were a tad too conservative.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What didn't happen at the Libby trial today

It didn't get dismissed.

But they did go through jury selection. Those who've ever been on jury duty know the drill. Here in Memphis a typical day involves sitting around in an auditorium, reading, staring and lapsing in and out of a catatonic state, broken every second hour or so by a "tie guy" who strolls in with a list of index cards and reads about 20 or 30 names. There are over a hundred in the room hanging on his every word. After awhile you start praying your name is called just so you can leave the room, even if the case is MS-13 against the Gambino Crime family.

In the courtroom the judge asks everyone to introduce themselves, identify your profession, etc. Next he asks questions pertaining to potential bias. Last time I 'did jury' they called me into a medical malpractice trial and the judge began asking people about conflicts. He came to an attractive late 30-ish, early 40-ish woman who said she might have a conflict. The judge asked why. She said it was private. He pressed. She finally admitted she'd been involved in a lawsuit, over silicone breast implants. It was as if E.F. Hutton had just whispered something in there--everyone strained as the judge asked for further clarification. She was eventually tossed.

This happened today in the Libby trial. Judge Reggie Walton quizzed potential jurors on whether they harbor Bushitler tendencies, and many simply couldn't hold back. Whether they were really haters or just creative liars remains unknown.

The AP made the most of those anti-Bush quips, repeated in the New York Times and WaPo, (who yesterday said the Bush administration "cherry picked" intelligence without proof) but we don't know what else was said in that courtroom. For example, someone could have said this:
"With all due respect your honor, Bush-hate has no more bearing on this case than Bush-love. As laid out this case is only about whether Mr. Libby misled the FBI and Grand Jury, not about what Mr. Wilson didn't find in Africa, or whether Ms. Plame-Wilson's status at Langley was covert, or whether Bush and Blair blew the towers. Sir, it's not our job to speculate about why Mr. Armitage was never indicted or why we won't be hearing directly from the CIA officials who sent Mr. Wilson to Africa to begin with. We're only here to judge Mr. Libby in this narrow context, and I feel confident I can do that."
Meanwhile, as most of America yawns and concerns themselves with football and the latest edition of 24, they're tossing weenies on the grill over at the tailgate party. For the record, I'm taking the Colts and the Saints.

MORE 1/17/06

I remain a mere spectator in comparison to sites like JustOneMinute, THE go-to site for Libby speculation. also has some helpful stuff, for those who care. I'll continue to babble about it here from time to time because, well, I can. And it's free.

So far my favorite speculation comes from McGuire's site, which says it might work in Libby's favor if the jury ends up being chocked full of DC-area Democrats. That will make any final guilty verdict appear partisan and biased, making it politically easier for Bush to later issue the pardon. Could be the reason Cheney has agreed to appear, since they know "Old Man Potter" is a lightning rod for virulent lefty-hate (more than Bush himself) and his appearance will create a feeding frenzy.

My prediction is Libby will go down with a pardon at the end, but the administration is hoping to score political points along the way by making Wilson and the Democrats appear childish in light of serious national threats being handled at the time, some of which will come out during his defense.

By the way, some of those threats (certainly only some) appear in "America's Secret War" by Stratfor's George Friedman, which includes panic about nukes and other WMDs in the hands of AQ. Perhaps it's a good sign if the administration is willing to exploit those in defense of Cheney, since it would seem to diminish them at this point.

Monday, January 15, 2007

"Enemy of my enemy" hypocrisy

We all know the refrain--it was impossible for al Qaeda to have been aligned with Saddam because Islamic fundamentalists don't mingle with secular socialists/fascists. Although that canard has been partially whittled away by facts, why isn't the same construct applied to Iran?

Ahmadinejad is currently hop-scotching around South and Central America, no doubt a push-back against Bush's recent strong rhetoric. He's networking with newly elected socialist leaders in Ecuador and Nicarauga, and with Chavez in Venezuela. Last we heard the pseudo-marxist leader in Caracus was working towards making his country more socialist. So, if we throw 'em in with Syria (socialist/Ba'athist) that means most of Iran's allies are closer to Marx than Mohammed.

Oh, one more thing. We've been told by the National Academy of Sciences that if we just wait, Iran's oil revenue will dry up by 2015 negating the need for any attacks. In the meantime they're building a bomb and forging ties to all kinds of nuts while in effect, waiting out the American public.

Maybe it's time for Bush to call in the secret weapon.

MORE 1/15/07

Speaking of the enemy of my enemy, INDC is in Falluja and provided an interview with a Falluja policeman where this exchange took place:
Mohammed: "Because the al Qaeda organization came to this city and controlled it so hard by killing. And some people here actually like killing and they liked Saddam Hussein as well, and I think the al Qaeda organization and Saddam Hussein are the same face."

INDC: What do you mean by "the same face," because Saddam was secular, he was not religious and al Qaeda is ...

Mohammed: "Because the language they use is killing. And the same people who used to be with Saddam, now they participate with the insurgency."

INDC: So their motivation for killing is what?

Mohammed: "Money and to be famous. And I think the first reason is to fight the American troops. They say, 'we can start from here and cross all the way to America to fight them.'"
It's hard to know the legitimacy here, and the left will no doubt attack the credibility and anonymity. Interesting perspective, though.

The return of Scooter

Scooter Libby's trial begins Tuesday. Although most people consider this case a piece of partisan puffery with no merit, it nevertheless figures to be an interesting excursion into the world of politics and journalism on the highest levels.

Conservatives see the trial as a witch-hunt, an opinion bolstered by the odd revelation that prosecutor Fitzgerald knew the identity of the leaker from the get-go, as relayed by DC busybody Bob Woodward.

We're left to assume Fitzgerald tried to set traps for Bush administration officials, knowing they didn't know he knew the leaker in an attempt to uncover a wider conspiracy. Lacking much smoke, perhaps Fitzgerald is allowing this fire to flicker with the hope that exposing Libby as a lying water-carrier for Bush/Cheney will spur further investigation.

The some in the lefty blogosphere has already commenced their pre-trial tailgate party holding out hope of seeing at least somebody frog-marched to pacify their massive Rove disappointment. All this dovetails nicely with Waxman's investigation roulette wheel, producing visions of impeachment sugarplums in many liberal heads.

But even if Fitzgerald's tactic is successful it doesn't answer the central question of why Wilson was sent to Africa in the first place. Earlier questions remain largely unanswered. Groping for a reason behind Wilson's op-ed, Libby surmised to Miller that the CIA was trying to set up a self-protecting CYA. It was becoming clear by then that Saddam did not have the WMD stockpiles maintained in most CIA assessments, including those given to the President.

Some on the left see the fact that Valerie Plame worked in the WINPAC section at Langley on Iraqi WMDs as proof of just how serious the outing was, but at the same time that also seems to support the "uh oh, we're screwed" scenario Libby was describing, perhaps a reason for the junket. Bureaucrats work in mysterious ways sometimes.

Fast forward to the present. It's doubtful Cheney would agree to take the stand if anything remotely incriminating might trickle out. In my humble opinion his reasons are as follows, 1) he is a genuine friend of Libby's, 2) he believes his testimony will show the level of threat we were facing at the time, countering assertions from Wilson the war was pointless, and 3) it could expose Joe Wilson's group as the real "cabal".

There's another possibility. Perhaps Cheney's willingness to testify is a bluff designed to scare certain entities into retreat to keep the spotlight off cabal-friendly journalists or connections with high-ranking Democrat Party members.

Finally, the trial might resuscitate Libby's infamous letter to Times reporter Judy Miller while she was in jail writing her book. Here are the last two paragraphs of that letter, for the sake of posterity:

I admire your principled fight with the Government. But for my part, this is the rare case where this "source" would be better off if you testified. That's one reason why I waived over a year ago, and in large measure, why I write again today. Consider this the Miller Corollary:"It's okay to testify about a privileged communication, when the person you seek to protect has waived the privilege and would be better off if you testify." If you can find a way to testify about discussions we had, if any, that relate to the Wilson-Plame matter, I remain today just as interested as I was over a year ago.

You went to jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover--Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work - and life.
Secret message? Threat? Melodramatic prose? Love note? Harmless? You decide. As for myself, it looks like a message that her testimony would help more than hurt, just like it says. He knew someone else had told her about Plame first. He may have suspected the source.

But it doesn't explain the last paragraph, the odd one. I find it interesting he didn't mention Iraqi WMDs, yet did mention biological threats and the Iranian nuke program in the same breath. The 'turn in clusters' comment with regards to Aspen (Institute?) can only be understood by the players themselves.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Missouri kidnappings

I'm not a mental health professional nor connected with these families, but something just doesn't seem right on this one. The pizza manager abductor worked long hours and the boys were apparently free to run, but didn't.

CNN is running a story equating their strange story to Elizabeth Smart's, which was the first thing that crossed my mind as well. They rounded up some experts who listed out a variety of syndromes that might explain everything, one being threats made by the perpetrator on either the boys or their families. That seems plausible, but after awhile you'd think such a thing would wear thin. Maybe some form of Stockholm Syndrome?

Admittedly most adults have never experienced such circumstances so it's hard to completely understand, but if you read through some of the St. Louis message boards as to what their local TV stations are saying--things like the kids going out to fast food joints and even having sleepovers. That's either a pretty powerful threat, or no threat at all.

MORE 1/22/07

The talking head shows keep showing clips from the initial news conference after Shawn was discovered. The look he shot his step-dad that very first day...well, let's leave it at that.

Urban legends and incalculable stakes

Tony Snow calls the notion of Bush's speech being a precursor to a strike on Iran an urban legend. Fine, maybe bloggers are blowing things out of proportion a little bit, but only because the evidence seems to say otherwise when taken with a helping of Bush's speech.

Secretary of Defense Gates, testifying in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee recently, also dropped a few hints:
Mr. Gates said further setbacks in Iraq would further embolden Iran and Syria to take advantage of the United States’ weakened position in the region.
Only a short while ago this career spook and recent university executive was part of the Iraq Study Group, whose final recommendation called for dialogue. For some reason Churchill's famous quote keeps coming to mind, "in wartime the truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies".

News Sunday suggests the Iranians captured in Irbil were also a part of the al-Qods forces, just like the group detained in Baghdad before Christmas. If bad deeds are to mean anything then Iran deserves to have its butt kicked all over the map. We've been putting up with proxy attacks for years, mainly because the attacks were never to the point of warranting a risky response capable of inflaming a regional war or retaliatory terrorist attacks, or yes, disruption of oil flow. Besides, America doesn't like war, not even Bush.

But America doesn't like getting slapped around by punks, either. The Iraq situation has eroded our ability to turn a blind eye towards Tehran anymore. Blame Bush if you like, but he wasn't in office when the first of many Iranian-backed attacks killed innocent Americans.

Everyone would like to see a peaceful resolution to the situation in the Middle East. Everyone. However, if that means a return to an ostrich policy to the benefit of Iranian-backed terrorists, then it just kicks the problem down the line. Bush has shown he is not one to employ such strategies in a post 9/11 world.

The Democrats, poised to take the White House in 2008 if they behave themselves and the Iraq troubles continue, will not answer the question of how a troop redeployment might affect conditions over there. Mr. Gates will. He described the stakes as "incalculable" in his testimony. The man is dripping with something the left loves--gravitas--and so far he's been rather forthright under Congressional examination. Is there any reason we shouldn't believe him?

MORE 1/15/07

This Iran issue seems to be the topic of the day. While grilling Condi Rice in the Senate Chuck Hagel recently made the Vietnam-Cambodia analogy regards cross-border forays into Syria and Iran:
"When our government lied to the American people and said, 'We didn't cross the border going into Cambodia,' in fact, we did," Hagel said, referring to the Vietnam war. "So, Madam Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous."
Two points. Although the parallels are rather striking the big difference is that Iran has attacked us several times before 9/11 while Cambodia had no similar intentions. Also, wonder how these same people feel about cross-border raids into eastern Iran or Pakistan in chasing bin Laden or Zawahiri?


As David Bowie once said. That was when he was much younger than his current 60. I remember seeing the Rolling Stones in the early 80s and thinking it was their farewell tour. After all, they were old farts in their 40s at the time.

As you can see I've wasted an evening playing around with the new templates in Blogger Beta while watching football. My Saturday nights aren't what they used to be. Anyway, I think everything came over from the other side, but there may still be some fiddling left. Thrilling, isn't it?

Haven't seen much in the news that strikes me as blogworthy from my perspective. Scooter Libby's trial starts Tuesday with jury selection (I wonder if Sandy Berger's eligible?). I get the feeling this trial could be a little more interesting than people might think.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Opposing views

Regards the Drudge story about Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" being pulled from a Seattle-area school district because they require "opposing views". From a parent:
"The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."
Hey, a warmup is a warmup, whether created by Republicans or God. Gore's movie doesn't necessarily disprove the Bible.

Now, from scientific expert and the film's co-producer Laurie David:
"There is no opposing view to science, which is fact, and the facts are clear that global warming is here, now."
Wow, good thing she wasn't around when scientists were challenging the 'fact' that the earth was flat, that we were the center of the universe, or that electricity was a fluid.

Let's end this with another chart. This is the 100 year temperature trend for Olympia, Washington, on the Pacific coast and the namesake of a once-popular adult beverage. Enjoy!