Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Save Jose Padilla

CNN.com

Thought I'd beat the liberals to the draw and be the first site to start a "save Jose Padilla" campaign, especially after today's outrageous court decision:
Padilla's lawyers had asked Cooke to order that their client be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, which they contend stems from years of isolation and interrogation while in military custody as a suspected enemy combatant.
The Judge, probably appointed by Cheney, said Padilla had displayed the ability to speak with counsel and that his sitation was unique. An obvious brown skin-hating female dog born out of wedlock.

Said HuffPo commenter "sparkey"
A few days ago,we were told that Padilla wasn't able to be tried in court because he was incompetent. Now, we get get told that he can stand trial. Was the federal judge appointed by Bush? If so, that would explain why Padilla is now competent to go to trial.
Said commenter "nevergiveup"
Who among us could possibly be competent to stand trial after 3-1/2 years of abuse, solitary confinement in a 9 foot by 7 foot cell, with no clock, no calendar nothing to read, no other person to speak to, no daylight. Welcome to an ugly, ugly America! This judge is either a Bush appointee or just effing mean and crazy like the whole Bush/Cheney Crime Family.
And, said commenter "BushEatsCheneysSmegma"
Welcome to Dumbya's American Soviet Union.
Patriots, all. Please send your generous contributions to A.C. McCloud, Memphis, TN. I'll make sure the money gets to where it needs to be.

MORE 3/1/07

Arianna has decided that any condemnation of the insane commenters to her blog amounts to "Swiftboating", since they only represent a "miniscule" portion of her readership. OK. For what it's worth it's doubtful those commenters represent the majority of democrats, but anyone who's participated in chats or message boards recognizes them instantly. They've been saying the same stuff since 2001.

It might be interesting to know the percentage of nutbats to the total registered users. One cannot simply show up at Huffington Post and begin commenting without approval from the boss. Were any of these accounts terminated?

*@^&%$! 3/1/07

This is similar to a study finding that sunrise causes morning:
So how much more does the Left use Carlin's "seven words" versus the Right? According to my calculations, try somewhere in the range of 18-to-1. Yowsers.
Yowsers? Not a real big surprise. Does it mean anything aside from the fact that lefty zealots are generally less inhibited and less respectful? Hard to say.

Power for the privileged

This isn't about Al Gore's ridiculous appetite (for utility power) or rich megalomaniacs amassing political power.

It's a beef. My natural gas bills for both December and January were through the roof-- some of the highest we've ever had. Mind you, the McClouds are not energy hogs. We keep the thermostat around 70 and have recently installed a more efficient central heating unit. In years past we've kept the temp higher with lower bills, so this isn't about increased usage. You'll have to trust me on that, but I've done the comparison.

"Yes, but what were the temperatures?" Glad you asked. We've not felt much global warming round these parts since early January, but even so the average temp for Memphis in both December and January were above normal, by a fairly hefty margin. Nice try, though.

But not everybody in Memphis has fared so poorly. See, we've apparently got a special plan where special city leaders or other special people can get special treatment when they fall behind on their bills. Like, even 16,000 dollars behind. Shut off notice? Just call the special number, you special person! What? McCloud? Pay up, sucka.. Maybe it's the new customer service initiative--we service special people with free utilities and nobody goes to jail.

So we're being hit by all sides. While Gore and his green hypocrites are lecturing us to use less energy and buy old-fashioned push lawnmowers they're off racking up massive bills, explained away by phony-baloney carbon offsets or 'green power'. Meanwhile I'm helping some special person in city government save up for that new Harley or Lexus.

It's an outrage a day anymore, I tell ya. No wonder people dive into mindless TV shows or stories to drown their troubles. I found myself watching Big Break VII on the Golf Channel last night, for example. Gripping golf drama!

But seriously, this is a good example of what happens when the rule of law is not enforced across the board. The result is chaos and resentment. It's the same principle with illegal immigrants, who themselves are also being immunized from certain societal responsibilities because they're doing the jobs nobody wants to do. It's sorta like a slow motion train wreck.

MORE 3/1/07

"An array of evil" is how city mayor Willie Herenton described those who called for the resignation of the president of the Memphis power utility company, who admitted providing free power to influential customers.

Gee, wonder where the director of corporate communications, Gale Jones Carson, is? Maybe she was headed to the mall to visit Banana Republic and take in a dip at Baskin Robbins. A double.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hitchens versus Maher























Christopher Hitchens was recently on Bill Maher's show and managed to destroy just about every meme, conventional wisdom, and falsehood ever written or spoken about the GWoT and Iraq. Must see TV.

By the way, this ain't Hot Air, and I'm not sure the video will even last, but this is the entire show, not just the snippet where he flips off the crowd. Here's the direct link.

I can't think of an appropriate title, sorry

I was going to title it something about "Cheney derangement syndrome" or the need to stand tall against Islamofascists, but the post kind of rambles around a bit. Sorry.

News that Vice President Cheney traveled secretly to meet with Musharraf hit the wires yesterday. Today the Taliban claimed responsibility for a feeble attack by one suicide bomber on the VP at Bagram AFB, which mainly killed innocent Afghanis. We are told the Taliban was tipped, but if so it doesn't speak well for their capabilities. Chances are they read the news yesterday and hastily arranged the attack today, either that or they are still as incompetent as in 2001 when our Special Ops kicked their tails.

By the way, here's the predictable response from commenters at HuffPo, including people blaming Cheney for the innocent deaths. CDS is fun! It's generally fruitless to argue unless she's a hot liberal gal you're trying to persuade. But I digress.

As to Cheney's visit to Islamabad, Mansour Ijaz was quoted as saying:
The CIA evidence reportedly included satellite photos and electronic intercepts of al Qaeda leaders operating in Pakistan.
"President Musharraf is the kind of man who doesn't move until he sees the hard facts in front of his face,"
Riiight. Everyone on the planet knew his agreement with the tribal chieftans was a cave-in designed to kick the problem down the road. Cheney traveled with the second in command at CIA, Kappes. Chances are they didn't go half war around the world just to sit on Pervez's couch looking at the photo album while sipping green Chai. Chances are Musharraf is trying to wait out the Bush administration, hoping for liberal president who'll leave him alone. Chances are our little visit dispelled that notion.

Everyone has noticed the stream of war consciousness right now. Lots of bragging and disinformation, etc. Cheney's meetings will no doubt cause some serious acid reflux in Tehran. Although I'll be accused of warmongering (I've got close family members serving right now, btw) we simply cannot back down in the face of these people. That doesn't mean we have to blow anything up, but the threat needs to remain implicit and real. Anyone in the US Government who is caught leaking information about our future plans without authorization should be arrested. It's what Lincoln would do.

Sure, the thought of an air attack on Iran should scare everyone. Hizballah has a global reach, or so we're told. Some may imagine a liberal president getting Assad, A'jad, and Olmert to sit down and figuratively hold hands and teach the world to sing. If only. But deep down we all know it ain't gonna happen. Ever. The militants have no intentions of negotiating, they want Israel gone. Just like Saddam after the Gulf War, a negotiated truce is seen as a victory when dealing with America. Put enough pressure on, and we'll crack. It's showing.

Hans Blix, once in charge of looking for Saddam's proscribed weapons, is the perfect example of a modern capitulationist. Here's a sample:
"I don’t think military threats are useful,'’ he said. ‘’They will scare a number of people in Iran, yes. But at the same time, I think they are also very dangerous. A spark could fly, and they are very dangerous.'’

Blix said the West should put itself in Iran’s shoes, facing 140,000 American troops in Iraq, bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan which are major US allies, and the US talking to another Iranian neighbor, Azerbaijan.

‘’It’s not absurd that they might feel a little worried about their security and that security guarantees from the US — in the same manner as in North Korea — could be useful,'’ he said.
As Jules Crittendon sarcastically replied, "that’s all Iran wants. To live in peace, unmenaced by the United States." If only.

MORE 2/27/07

The comments I linked to above have apparently been disabled for some mysterious reason. Fortunately Michelle Malkin and others saved a few for posterity, although you won't be shocked.

Also, check this out, which includes a reporter's account of Cheney's trip. Our lefty friends think he's out of the country this week to avoid the verdict in the Libby trial. Matter of fact, won't be long 'til we hear charges that the attack today was pulled off by Cheney black ops.

IN THE "MEANWHILE" DEPARTMENT 2/27/07

The US will participate in a Baghdad conference that will feature Iran and Syria and the Iraqis have tentatively agreed on an oil revenue-sharing plan. Coumbaya.

Monday, February 26, 2007

WMD insurance

The Libby verdict may come this week, and I'm making myself a number one candidate for shutdown day by focusing on the doggone thing to such an unhealthy level. Can't help it--to me it's a microcosm of the entire Iraq war debate.

By the way, as I type this breaking news has come in--the art history expert and the one juror who was seen as a contrarian was removed from the jury for allegedly coming in contact with news media blather. More here and here.

A Libby conviction (on any counts) will likely be spun into a Bush/Cheney conviction by the usual suspects, giving credence to the age-old Bush lied meme and lathering up the friendlies now running Congress.

The elite media knows this investigation was always more about the NIE, which is what most on the left believe and they're driving this boat. Their blindness to fact is obvious, Richard Armitage being the biggest clue, but remember, any "Bush critic" is forgiven.

In the real world, Joe Wilson's trip was probably just a simple insurance policy for the CIA. Libby said as much to Miller,
"I recall that Mr. Libby was displeased with what he described as 'selective leaking' by the CIA," Miller wrote. "He told me that the agency was engaged in a 'hedging strategy' to protect itself in case no weapons were found in Iraq."
Consider it crazed wingnut speculation if you like, but for argument's sake let's say someone down in the bowels knew the documents were fake on the front end. The Senate Intelligence Committee accused Joe Wilson of misrepresenting the truth for making it seem he knew this before the trip--even before the Government had officially received them. Whoops. That's essentially why he was kicked off the Kerry campaign. Under that premise rational minds might scratch their heads about the exact purpose of the trip.

Remember, Joe Wilson was a cable TV analyst during the run-up to the Iraq invasion and several times speculated there might be WMD programs even though he'd already traveled to Niger a year earlier. Even after the offending State of the Union he continued to say in speeches that Saddam might possess active weapons programs. He knew Saddam.

Maybe the reason we saw no "what I didn't find" op-eds before the war was because he wasn't sure. For instance, had we found an acre-sized cavern of VX gas or even that proverbial sugar bag of anthrax William Cohen warned us about there would have been no need for such a story.

Only when it became obvious we weren't going to find stockpiles did he decide to go public. He knew the finger-pointing was about to start--what better way to get out ahead of it by taking the offensive? Recall Armitage told Woodward, "1:21 knew with yellowcake, the CIA is not going to be hurt by this".

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Michael Smith at it again

There's a suspect story in the Sunday London Times about five American generals threatening to resign their commissions should Bush order an attack on Iran.

One of the co-writers, Michael Smith, made himself famous with the Downing Street memos story. An exercise in killing the messenger? Not my intention, but I do believe we need to look at a writer's past history when judging the present. Back in 2005 MacRanger was discussing Micheal Smith's allegation that Bush and Blair used the no-fly zones to lure Saddam into shooting down an airplane so we'd have an instant casus belli and linked to this Scripps-Howard story:
In President Bill Clinton's two terms alone, there were three such major mobilizations.
Here's what Mac said today. Judge for yourself, but I believe I can hear a buzzer sound.

Smith today:
Robert Gates, the defence secretary, has repeatedly warned against striking Iran and is believed to represent the view of his senior commanders.
That might be news to Secretary Gates, who recently said,
"We believe that we can interrupt these networks that are providing support through actions inside the territory of Iraq, that there is no need to attack targets in Iran itself," Gates told the panel, adding that he continues to believe that "any kind of military action inside Iran itself, that would be a very last resort."
Gates made two points there--one, Iran is interfering in Iraq and two, the military option is not off the table. That's a tad different than Smith would have us beleive. Ironically, Peter Pace was quoted in the same Haaretz article as follows:
Pace said special operations forces are continually battling insurgents who are getting aid from Iran. "I think one of the reasons you keep hearing about Iran is because we keep finding their stuff in Iraq," Pace said.
Yet Smith quotes him from a recent interview, unequivocally interpreting it thusly:
But General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said recently there was “zero chance” of a war with Iran. He played down claims by US intelligence that the Iranian government was responsible for supplying insurgents in Iraq, forcing Bush on the defensive.
If Pace has flipped his mind from January to February then perhaps Smith is correct about serious troubles at the top. But reality shows us that two carrier battle groups in the Persian Gulf region and nobody has yet resigned. Something stinks here.

Cameron to announce Jesus existed

He lived, according to James Cameron. He just didn't rise.

If this is his idea of a publicity stunt for Project 880 it's the worse one ever. We have to assume he's serious, which wouldn't be much better. Christmas is still a Federal holiday in this country.

Until more information arrives let's speculate wildly, shall we? First, the weirdest quote of the the Time article was probably this:
...film-makers Cameron and Jacobovici claim to have amassed evidence through DNA tests, archeological evidence and Biblical studies, that the 10 coffins belong to Jesus and his family.
Yes, but which Jesus? Supposedly DNA is controlled by the father, but what would we know about the Father who art in Heaven? Cameron will probably say the corpses labeled Jesus and Joseph were found to have similar DNA, not surprising for people buried close to each other, but that won't make them Biblical characters. He'll have to rely on other data to prove that. Having read "The Case for Christ" there doesn't seem to be mountains of information available other than what Tacitus and Josephus wrote. Maybe he'll claim someone returned from the future and told him.

This might be an interesting debate to watch since Cameron will in essence be saying Jesus did exist, a factoid that might produce heartburn to a few atheists once they stop laughing at the Christians long enough for it to sink in. The fundamentalists will in turn be busy heaping fresh charges of blasphemy on Hollyweird a mere 24 hours after what figures to be the Bush-bashing-est Academy Awards ever, a group of folks who largely believe George Bush is the president of Jesusland, not America.

Cameron's announcement won't shake the faith of believers, many of whom would probably claim he stole from Jesus the famous words attributed to the Terminator--"I'll be back". Additionally, don't expect any rioting, burning of cars, head-chopping or effigies. Christianity is not the religion of peace.

But aside from everything there's just something creepy and disturbing about such a thing, especially with the convergence we seem to be hurtling towards in the Middle East. Let's hope it's just a botched joke.

MORE 2/25/07

More information is beginning to filter out. Here's a Telegraph story that echoes many of the questions folks probably have:
"Tests prove the names are genetically of the same family and statistically, there is a one in 10 million chance this is a family other than the Holy Family," the pre-publication publicity for the book said.
Yes, but:
"It is just not possible that a family who came from Galilee, as the New Testament tells us of Joseph and Mary, would be buried over several generations in Jerusalem."
Makes sense. The writer then closed by calling this "the Dan Brown era", as if questioning the Passion was something entirely new.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bank of America -- pararlo, por favor

"Madness, madness". That's what F. Scott (Patrick) Fitzgerald said in the courtroom the other day, commenting on Libby's lawyer Ted Wells and demanding truth for the masses. He could just as easily have been reacting to the president of Bank of America, who recently defended his "no credit" credit card:
In his Thursday opinion piece, Lewis admitted it is not pleasant to be caught a century later in the "heated" national immigration debate, and that he was "feeling the passion."

Still, he pledged to continue the card program, which he said complies with the USA Patriot Act and other laws
.
President Lewis set it up by reminding everyone how his bank came to being in 1904 to serve Italian immigrants "other banks wouldn't touch". Can you see the emerging corporate strategy?
On Sunday's Academy Awards show, Bank of America will launch a new advertising campaign, with a "Bank of Opportunity" tagline replacing the 4-year-old "Higher Standards" slogan.
Ah yes, the tried and true tactic of painting opponents of illegal immigration as heartless haters of humanity--and what better venue to announce it.

Mr. Lewis should know that America was a different place in 1904. We were facing an immigration crisis then as well, which led to the creation of the Bureau of Immigration in 1906, but chances are the Italians Mr. Lewis used as strawmen were probably processed through Ellis Island. And that's the crux of the debate.

Or to borrow a condescending phrase from the 90s, it's the rule of law, stupid. Some of these companies seem to believe they should be able to pick and choose which parts of the US Code that works best for their bottom line, yet when it comes time for litigation the same folks demand the letter of the law be upheld.

Anyway, since B of A has decided to go humanitarian by tossing out established banking practices such as the use of credit scores for eligibility (lucky for them that credit card interest is no longer tax deductable, eh?) perhaps they could extend that sentiment by publicly advocating the removal of credit reporting houses altogether. While they're at it they could work on lowering some of the highway robbery APRs, capping at 15 percent, for instance. Surely they wouldn't want to be accused of robbing the illegals they're trying to "help", right?

FOLLOW THE TAX MONEY 2/24/07

The Republican-held Tennessee Senate has proposed a bill to eliminate our state's 6 percent tax on unprepared food (groceries) over a 12 year period. Governor Bredesen, a Democrat, is opposed, since he claims the missing revenue will have to be replaced by other taxation rather than just trimming the fat out of the bureaucracy as we go along. But there are other concerns.

The grocery tax is not progressive. Everyone, including a mythical illegal alien I'll call Raul (who has just slipped into Tennessee to work construction) has to pay the same rate. Therefore, Raul is now doing his part to pay for some of the services he's using. But if the grocery tax reduction is passed by this years' Republican state government, but down the road the stripes revert to Democrats, then it's pretty clear an income tax will be proposed as the only "fair" and "progressive" solution to makeup for any shortfalls, which will exist in part because Raul's kids will be going to the local elementary school.

In that case our hypothetical friend Raul would get a break, since those working for cash don't pay income tax. Now--if we somehow make Raul a legal resident, including Social Security Benefits, he'd have to make the decision whether to come out of the closet and get the benies, or remain stealth and avoid income tax. But if there was no income tax...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A trail to anywhere

Instapundit linked to Edward Jay Epstein's new column in the Wall Street Journal today, which takes up where he left off in the 9/11 mystery--in Europe--except this time he's focusing on what Mohammed Atta was doing in Spain.

Epstein is most likely on a trail that leads somewhere but his likely destination is nowhere. As he pointed out, the 9/11 Commission final Report dismissed any state connections to the plot and portrayed the hijackers as "rootless, non-state actors". That linchpin finding was the bedrock on which the entire GWoT paradigm was constructed:
By saying that no one else was involved--not in Spain, Iran, Hezbollah, Malaysia, Iraq, the Czech Republic or Pakistan--these detainees allowed the 9/11 Commission to complete its picture of al Qaeda as a solitary entity.
In light of the Sandy Berger fiasco and the fact the Commission was stocked with political operatives like Jamie Gorelick and Philip Zelikow, why should anybody treat its conclusions as the final word?

The nutty 9/11 professors would wholeheartedly agree with the above for reasons involving their probable OneWorldBushcoPNAC world view, which says all bogeymen reside within the DC beltway. The rest of us believe the 9/11 bad guys came from the Middle East, but really, is it so fanciful to believe that attack might have been a warning shot delivered by several aligned nations using "rootless non-state actors" to carry their swords? Remember, the US Government issued the report in paperback.

In his recent summation in the Lewis Libby trial prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced that Americans deserve to hear the truth. Yes, but can we handle it? Back in the 90s Mr. Fitzgerald was working at the US Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York--terrorism central. TWA800 crashed in his district. Have we learned the truth on that one yet? Some think not:



Her first gaffe could have been an innocent slip-up, but the second one was rather explicit, mentioning plastic explosives and such, ironically supporting Peter Lance's theory that Ramzi Yousef managed to get a seat bomb onboard the plane. And,
In his most eye-opening revelation, Lance contends that Patrick Fitzgerald of the SDNY office permitted Mohamed to remain free even after naming him as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Day of Terror case. Lance also claims that Fitzgerald buried probative evidence of an al-Qaida cell operating in New York in 1996, the year of TWA Flight 800's destruction. If only Fitzgerald had shown the same vigilance in going after Osama as he did in going after Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame case, this would be a much safer world.
It's certainly possible Couric's remarks can be explained by the intense events of the day, after all, it happened with John Kerry, too. I've never been real impressed with Kerry's comment because it was explainable in that he didn't say bomb and TWA 800 side by side, only that they had looked at some issues after TWA 800. However, adding Couric's remarks to the mix seems to cloud that conclusion a little more.

But, but, we have the infamous CIA zoom-climb cartoon to explain the day! Keep in mind it was designed to debunk a missile. Could this have been a clever misdirection by half, keeping everyone talking about a missile to keep them from focusing on a bomb? Can we assume all the passengers on the previous flight's manifest have been cleared? Yousef's MO would call for the bomb being planted on the flight into JFK, with a timed explosion after takeoff on the outbound leg (800).

In closing I wish Mr. Epstein good luck on his quest. If nothing else it might make a great novel one day.

Do as we do

While America was fixed on the Pelosi airplane flap (pardon the pun) apparently the new House leadership was busy crafting ethics rules regarding the use of aircraft by its members. But you just can't please everyone.

For years Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson has used his "bug smasher" (private plane) to attend to his constituency (presumably) throughout a rather large district, reimbursed by the taxpayer, of course. No longer:
He said his Democratic colleagues were "trying to do the right thing" by cracking down on lawmakers flying around in fancy jets, but he was surprised when he was told he could no longer be reimbursed for flying his own plane for official business.
Peterson called it "a pretty stupid deal" and on the surface that might correct, or as the Star Tribune editorial section put it, "[This] appears to be a case of common sense gone mad.". This is not about common sense, though.

While a Beech Bonanza hardly spews out the same level of greenhouse gases than that of a 757 or Gulfstream V it definitely emits more than say a Toyota Prius, and is costlier to boot. The DNC and House leadership are probably boxed in--they know it might be tricky to defend the "it saves me time" and allows better "service to the constituency" arguments while at the same time lambasting Republicans for ignoring Kyoto.

Stupid or not, Mr. Peterson is a product of his party's success. Check out this exchange:
"And I told Nancy Pelosi that if she didn't get this fixed, I was going to quit and there was going to be a Republican in my place, that if I couldn't fly I wasn't going to do this anymore. She just kind of looked at me -- she said it'll be fixed."
Insert your favorite cliche as appropriate.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The backstabbers

Newsmax.com

Remember that song by the O'Jays? It was a great one, in my opinion. By the way, the co-writer, Gene McFadden, passed away about a year ago. He also wrote "for the Love of Money", another big hit with a moral overtone.

Why bring it up? It seems to describe the current political climate quite well.

Whether it be Congressional Democrats trying to undermine a President fighting a war, or candidates sparring in the parties themselves, it seems like nobody can get along. Sorry about that, Rodney.

Hillary can't help but give off the impression of a seething, simmering volcano and Barack is too green to avoid saying something stupid eventually. McCain also has that volcanic quality, and those types of people don't do well as president. The last one I recall was Nixon. The even-keel types usually fare better--say what you will about Bush or Bill Clinton, they both fit that bill and both got two terms.

Aside from Mitt Romney, who's still kind of a mystery to me, it seems Rudy Giuliani might be one candidate who might elevate in such a climate. As Geffen seemed to suggest, we need a president who has the potential to bring this country back together (to whatever degree possible) but it sure ain't gonna be a Clinton or a Bush.

Search for the cause

I wanted to pass on this link (HT Crushliberalism) for an alternate search engine:

Goodsearch

This Yahoo-sponsored engine allows the user to designate a favorite charity and every time it's used the charity gets 50 percent of proceeds.

For power searchers this won't be a permanent alternative since Google remains unbeatable in content, but it's nice to have an attractive alternative to the Googleborg. It'll be interesting to see if it can survive in the free market.

What's fair is fair

The WaPo has an interestingly-timed story today about Sandy Berger's wrist slap, including this comedic line from Clinton-era troubleshooter Lanny Breuer:
"It never ceases to amaze me how the most trivial things can be politicized. It is the height of unfairness . . . for this poor guy, who clearly made a mistake," Breuer said.
He went on to describe Berger's rough sentence of picking up trash in the DC park system for 100 hours, presumably sans ball and chain.

Timing? Scooter Libby sits in wait of a jury verdict that may send him to prison for dozens of years based on circumstantial evidence, while there were credible witnesses in the Berger case.

To ensure confidence in government he should have at least been stripped of his security clearance for life (the WaPo story was misleading on this), which didn't occur. Conceivably Sandy could be working in a new Clinton administration Cabinet while Scooter sits in jail (for the record, I don't think Berger will ever get confirmed because he won't get nominated--his work is done).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It would be helpful to know

As this was being written attorney Ted Wells was knee deep into his closing argument in defense of Scooter Libby. Everyone knows the backdrop--how the CIA issued a criminal referral over the outing of Valerie Plame's classified status by Bob Novak, but what we see now represents the proverbial iceberg tip. The trial might exist in a vacuum but the story doesn't.

Let's set the flux capacitor and return to the conclusions made by the 9/11 Commission, which suggested the intelligence bureaucracies were operating in their own vacuums prior to 9/11. Conventional wisdom also said the administration and CIA were somewhat at odds over intelligence after 9/11, one of the prime reasons given for the creation of Douglas Feith's "Office of Special Plans". Feith recently defended himself during an inquest performed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer:
BLITZER: But what they were saying -- correct me if I'm wrong -- was that Saddam Hussein would not be involved in working with al- Qaeda, because al-Qaida didn't want to have anything to do with this secular Iraqi leader.

FEITH: What they were saying is, the CIA had intelligence, its own intelligence that was inconsistent with its theory that there couldn't be any cooperation, and the CIA was not drawing on all of its intelligence. It was filtering its own intelligence to suit its own theory. It was a proper criticism.
That paragraph might sum up what's going on here pretty well. The attack created intense finger-pointing, butt covering, and 20/20 hindsight, and careers and legacies were on the line. Americans, after all, are largely selfish.

Michael Isikoff reported in a June 2002 edition of Newsweek (I can't find on the web but copies remain at places like this, and ironically, the Congressional Record):
But Almihdhar’s name and face surfaced yet again, in the aftermath of the October 2000 bombing of the Cole. Within days of the attack, a team of FBI agents flew to Yemen to investigate. They soon began closing in on suspects. One was a man called Tawfiq bin Attash, a.k.a. Khallad, a fierce, one-legged Qaeda fighter. When analysts at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center in Langley, Va., pulled out the file on Khallad, they discovered pictures of him taken at the Kuala Lumpur meeting. In one of the shots, he is standing next to Almihdhar.

If, as the CIA now claims, it wasn’t certain that Almihdhar had terrorist connections, it certainly knew it now. And yet the agency still did nothing and notified no one.
The article fails to mention the Iraqi airport greeter at Kuala Lumpur, Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, who reportedly helped facilitate the meeting. Ironically, the WaPo's Walter Pincus, now involved in the Libby trial, wrote in 2004 that the CIA concluded that was simply a case of mistaken identity. Yet we don't really know for sure, and such is the nature of the intelligence business.

Perhaps even more curious, Isikoff's article mentioned "Yazid Sufaat, a U.S.-educated microbiologist who had become a radical Islamist and bin Laden follower". Sufaat's condo was used for the AQ planning meeting. He was picked up in December 2001 and is apparently being held in Malaysia. Here's what his wiki says:
Sufaat was born in Johor, Malaysia and holds Malaysian Passport Number A10472263. He is a former Malaysian army captain and businessman. Sufaat holds a degree in biochemistry from the California State University, Sacramento in the United States. Sufaat is believed to be one of al-Qaeda's main anthrax researchers. [1]
Mr. Scooter was also somewhat knowledgeable about bio-weapons, helping Judy Miller with her book called "Germs". If we stop and play a little game of dot connecting we get the following--the CIA had knowledge in 2000 about a US-educated anthrax researcher and AQ facilitator and there was suspicion that Shakir was a Fedyeen Saddam agent and was also a facilitator. Those are some mighty interesting dots. Add the anthrax letter attacks in 2001 for effect, if you like.

Delving deeper, the Congressman who introduced the Isikoff article into the CR, Senator Fritz Hollings, also entered this paragraph:
Here is a news story from July 21, 2001, before 9/11 of last year, in the Iraqi news. The name of that particular newspaper is Al-Nasiriya. Quoting from it:

Bin Ladin has become a puzzle and a proof also, of the
inability of the American federalism and the CIA to uncover
the man and uncover his nest. The most advanced organizations
of the world cannot find the man and continues to go in
cycles in illusion and presuppositions.

It refers to an exercise called ``How Do You Bomb the White House.'' They were planning it. Let me read this to all the colleagues here:

The phenomenon of Bin Ladin is a healthy phenomenon in the
Arab spirit. It is a decision and a determination that the
stolen Arab self has come to realize after it got bored with
promises of its rulers; After it disgusted itself from their
abomination and their corruption, the man had to carry the
book of God . . . and write on some white paper ``If you are
unable to drive off the Marines from the Kaaba, I will do
so.'' It seems that they will be going away because the
revolutionary Bin Ladin is insisting very convincingly that
he will strike America on the arm that is already hurting.

The point of all this is to provide the reasonable notion that might have existed in some quarters about what we were facing. The Bush folks were roundly criticized for not connecting enough dots, but yet when they did people didn't like the results.

You may ask what this has to do with the charges against Libby. Nothing really, except to provide some background. Obviously Joe Internet can't know the inner-workings of any of these relationships but it's fair to say Scooter wasn't on many CIA Christmas card lists.

No matter what happens with Libby we still won't know whether, 1) the administration, fully convinced Saddam was up to his headscarf in Islamist terrorism and suspecting Langley was covering their failure to see it after 9/11, built the OSP to help better analyze the intelligence in an effort to protect America, or 2) they were using OSP to cherry-pick morsels in an attempt to justify the war on Saddam to steal his oil (or any assortment of nutroot reasons) and the CIA was patriotically trying to stop them, leaving Joe Wilson and his wife as modern heroes.

All the average person can do is carefully note the character of the characters involved on both sides and make a guess. Anecdotally observing the internet wars on this issue it seems the Wilsonian cheerleaders are usually the first to drop into condescending boilerplate rants about their opponents. Perhaps the truth will one day emerge and prove them right but chances are we'll be left with raw emotionalism. As some say, emotions are the shallowest part of a person's being.

EPILOGUE 2/20/07

My prediction is Libby will go down on at least a few counts. Wells made a fairly compelling argument about memory lapses, pointing to Russert's horrible testimony and clandestine meeting with the FBI (which is why Fitzgerald melodramatically hammered the point they could convict without him), but something Wells said at the end of his speech gave it away for me:
Don't sacrifice Scooter LIbby for how you may feel abotu (sic) war in Iraq or Bush Administration. Treat him the way he deserves to be treated. He worked every day to be NSA for this country. Analyze it fairly. Fight any temptation for your views if you're Democrat whatever party. This is a man who has a wife kid. He's been under my protection for the last month. Just give him back. Give him back to me, give him back.
That's not something you say to a conservative-leaning jury. Wells seemed to be setting his appeal case right there.

Democrats and MSM types need to keep the following things in mind. Saddam was a bad guy before Libby and Cheney arrived. Wilson and the media have managed to couch this as a condemnation of ALL the evidence provided by Powell about the WMDs. Bush didn't make this stuff up. Saddam was a bad guy. A guilty verdict would also say nothing about whether Bush blew the towers, shot a cruise missile at the Pentagon, and flew the Flight 93 passengers into Cleveland. It wouldn't conclusively answer the question about Saddam and bin Laden, nor would it take Iran and Hizballah off any hooks.

But conventional wisdom is awfully powerful, and a conviction will make it harder for Bush to press any cases from here on out. Certainly a guilty verdict would signify an official beginning of "Bush season" and provide a shiny new veneer to all subsequent investigations. Every single MSM story might contain embedded wording such as "the Bush administration, reeling from the recent conviction of a top level aid I. Lewis Libby, who lied about an revealing the identity of a covert CIA..." That will be hard for the Decider to fight, especially if cowardly members of his own party jump ship fearing political fallout.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The thrill of defeat

While Harry and Hillary continue to trip over themselves trying to get us out of Iraq before their man in Baghdad General Petraeous is allowed to do anything positive, new contender Bill Richardson has chimed in with his own views:
"I believe it's one of the worst blunders, certainly is," New Mexico's Democratic Governor Bill Richardson told "Late Edition." "And the focus now should be on how we can get our troops out and leave Iraq with a chance for sustainability in the future."
Yeah, it's that sustainability thing that's a bugger.
He then added, "But I do agree with that because our obsession with Iraq has cost us enormous amounts of prestige ... around the world. But also the fact that we haven't focused on the real challenges facing this country: international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, North Korea, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian issue."
I thought they got cable in New Mexico. Doesn't he know his party has been working feverishly to stop any effective engagement (ie, not giving in) with Iran to this point?

As to international terrorists, good Lord, time out. He knows they were in Iraq before we invaded yet somehow thinks the halcyon days of diplomacy that worked so well back in the 90s will somehow work this time.

Richardson is a wheeler-dealer no doubt, and this talent might allow some backroom dealin' with some of the people who hold influence over the rootless, nonstate terrorists. But surely any such diabolical deals would only produce short-term political points, not long-term solutions. Recall he was the Ambassador the UN when Oil for Corruption program was off and running. He's got no resume worth running on.

As to our quagmire in Korea, it was fun watching him take credit for Bush's deal,
I believe the president deserves credit. Finally, he listened to a lot of individuals, hopefully like myself, who said, talk directly to North Korea. Don't do it through third parties like China in the six-party talks.
Blitzer failed to mention that Chris Hill was just quoted on his network specifying the deal was NOT bilateral, but rather than tearing him a new orifice like he did with Douglas Feith the other day, Mr. Wolf let that response float to the floor like a feather. It's all about legacy.

As to his jab at Bush ruining our worldwide reputation, I'm pretty sure Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, our various assortment of heinous criminals and substance abusers glorified by Hollywood, and defeatists like John Kerry have taken good care of that long ago. Or maybe he just needed an advance copy of tonight's 60 Minutes.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Plamegame WAG

As the world breathlessly awaits the closing arguments and verdict in the Libby trial, ahem, the speculators have proffered their theories, many focusing on Ari Fleischer. Victoria Toensing described his "pig in a poke" immunity:
That's an old prosecutor's phrase meaning that Fitzgerald granted Fleischer immunity from prosecution without knowing what Fleischer would say.
Tom Maguire plowed the conspiracy field by playfully suggesting Ari was a plant designed to torpedo the case on behalf of Bushco with his circular testimony, made possible only by his immunity deal.

I went deeper (or off the deep end) by suggesting the whole thing was a ruse, designed by Rove as a reaction to the building left wing duststorm over a lack of WMD stockpiles, a charge led by Joe Wilson but supported by many players backstage.

Victory under such a plot might include the following--1) Bush winning re-election, 2) Republicans holding Congress in 2004, 3) no indictments for outing a covert spy, 4) no massive investigations about Iraq weapons, 5) a public exposure of DC media bias and hypocrisy.

This goofy plot might even explain away Armitage's odd behavior. Conventional wisdom says he hated the Bush guys, but we know this mainly thanks to Woodward (more later). We know his boss Colin had massive exposure on the WMD issue and stood to lose as much as Bush and Cheney if they failed to materialize. Is there such a thing as a vocal bagman?

That brings in Woodward. Here's one theory. Woodward was turned by Armitage by feeding him the Plame information knowing he needed continued access for his third book, which would be difficult if he went public. It might also tend to make his previous books look suspect.

Another possibility, even more bizarre--Hollywood Bob was actually an insider from way back, brought into the fold on the real score about the WMDs while doing research for the first book. He was just playing his part by providing reasonable doubt about the testimony of any journalists who might later decide to forget the whole truth and nothing but the truth about their previous exposure to Valery Flame through DC cocktail party chatter, but who couldn't divulge this fact lest they lose their big story and be seen as Democrat shills. Or thereabouts.

In such a high stakes affair a perjury prosecution or two wouldn't be disaster. On the contrary, they could be seen as the cost of doing business. Besides, as we've seen with Clinton and Martha Stewart, perjury ain't what it used to be. If Plame was indeed working in the Iraq section of CPD that sort of speaks for itself, since we'd already removed the threat. Add to that the aforementioned journalists who were spared indictments and it only strengthens the appeal and post-trial op-eds by leaving the witch hunt impression and paving the road to pardon city.

Keep in mind the above could easily unfold outside the realm of whether it was prudent to remove Saddam. This would have been about defense. Rove undoubtedly knew the players behind Wilson were professional political operatives and disgruntled former CIA agents torqued off about Feith's Office of Special Plans. Seems they would need some kind of defensive gameplan.

Rove knew the media couldn't resist a story about itself, which would keep Wilson and his story as the public face of the missing WMDs for years. And what better face to pin to the story than an ex-low level diplomat tagged as an opportunist who was thrown off the Kerry campaign.

All hypothetically speaking, of course. Truth is often more chaotic than conspiracy, and in reality the administration was probably reacting and defending itself on the fly. But I'm hoping those who believe strongly that the towers were blown will at least give this one a shot.

Lefty sites need to set better examples

From Firedoglake:
Now, Righty bloggers are finding themselves in a bit of a pickle. Their audience is shrinking and whatever tissue-thin veneer of credibility they may have gained since 2003 has been squandered like a pallet of shrink-wrapped cash in Iraq as they have gone chasing around and around Big Media's coverage of the Middle East in an increasingly embarrassing quest for signs of "liberal bias".
After establishing superiority the writer goes on to bash Michelle Malkin for Jamil Hussein flap and a few hyperdramatized non-issues, mocks her Iraq trip, and wraps up by proclaiming:
It's time for someone to call the bitch out.
And this is rational discourse?

I'm treading into hypocrites valley here--I've got my own glass house and have fallen prey to hyperbole and childishness, too. A mild cuss word might slip out at times. But I'm just a speck, these people are the heavyweights. If they allow blogging to be seen as a playground the medium will soon reach a level of diminishing returns. Here's a perfect example:
A few days ago, one of Patterico's regular commenters, Carlitos, informed him that a comment he had posted in a debate on abortion on the Liberal Avenger blog was altered (by someone with admin privileges) to include this lurid passage:
Sounds a lot like the message board world. Let's hope that's not the destination of the blogosphere, since many of us started blogs to get away from such nonsense. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about spirited debate or even symbolic yelling, or even the Pandagon flap. I'm talking about dirty tricks, lies, disinformation, inciting violence and slander.

Anecdotally, it seems that more of this stuff emanates from the reality-based side than elsewhere. Whether true or not, the smart folks running those big sites can set the example by refraining and condemning that kind of stuff while advocating winning their arguments above the boards. Otherwise, they run the risk of rendering us all as irrelevant.

__
Inspired in part by this. Also see this, and this.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Chaos in Iraq

When traffic lights fail they usually recommend treating the intersection as a four-way stop. Not in Iraq..



Damn that George Bush.

Do they even bother to look?

Was perusing the fever swamp over at HuffPo last evening and noticed the following headlines within inches of each other on the front page:

"Murtha Lays Out Appropriations Plan To End Iraq War"

"Senate Dems To Force Up Or Down Vote On Bush War Plan"

"Leader Of Al Qaeda In Iraq Wounded" (emphasis added)

Meanwhile, al-Sadr has taken to the hills. We know they'll come back when the surge is over, but this crackdown might give the coalition an opportunity to find some real leaders who want to take back their country and help fight the militias when they return, giving peace a chance and not "wasting" the sacrifices of our troops.

If the Dems aren't careful they're going to be seen as stopping any chance of such a thing before it even starts--as a party who wants to kill AQ everywhere but Iraq. We know the DNC wants to remove a sticky issue for their 2008 Presidential candidate by stopping the war, but if they go through with actual de-funding, in effect forcing us back into 'stay the course' levels and taking away any effectiveness from a surge, it might well suggest they desire those previous sacrifices to be seen as a waste.

MORE 2/16/07

We must be on the lookout for disinformation from the information ministry. The Shiites might be looking to show progress from the surge where none exists, for a variety of self-serving reasons.

Meanwhile, with all the debate about what to do I caught the courageous Dennis Kucinich on Bryan and the Judge radio show this afternoon. He was quite entertaining. He's Courageous because he's a man of his word and has the guts to defend it. Sadly for you Dennis fans, they handed him his rear in a bag:

Dennis: "we can't impose democracy on anybody, it has to be organic".

Bryan: "we certainly did on Germany and Japan". Zoom-pow.

His plan calls for our total withdrawal with a backfill of international troops and a number of other things, not all bad, but rational folks might wonder which countries are standing in line ready to assist that haven't already. Those countries who decide to help pursuant to a "coalition" withdrawal should be prepared for an AQ counterattack along with outrage from their own liberal populace and the immigrant Muslims, which makes it a non-starter. It might be useful to precisely identify the rank political hypocrites, though.

He also wants reparations, presumably blaming us for tearing up their country and allowing jihadis to blow themselves up. Quite entertaining.


PS..Housekeeping news..
...Firefox users... I realize there are some hiccups on loading the page. Sometimes if the cursor is moved before the page is finished it hard freezes Firefox. Seems to be coming from Haloscan, but not sure. If anyone knows a solution, I'd be appreciative of a link or email. Thx.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's a crazy world

It's mind-blowing to see some of the things happening now. The Speaker of the House:
Pelosi, D-Calif., noted that Bush consistently said he supports a diplomatic resolution to differences with Iran "and I take him at his word." At the same time, she said, "I do believe that Congress should assert itself, though, and make it very clear that there is no previous authority for the president, any president, to go into Iran."
In other words, she's taking the military option off the table in regards to a country that has attacked us many times. Does anyone really think Bush would invade with massive ground forces we don't currently have? Seriously? Even Obama didn't take military force off the table even if he thinks it's generally a waste.

And this Tim Hardaway flap. Where is that one going? Out of sight fast, I'd venture.

Enough of that. I've been tagged by Debbie over at Right Truth with this quiz. It reminds me of one of those surveys women spring on you at inopportune moments, but also represents something quite out of character for a puppy-eating conservative such as myself. Which is why I'm going to do it. Here are six weird things about AC McCloud:

1. I'm a midget.
2. I don't know my blood type, but I do know my cholesterol count.
3. I enjoy getting stopped by a train sometimes.
4. I own an album of the greatest hits of James Bond movies.
5. My cat has no tail.
6. I used to be a DJ and once smashed a Tammy Faye Bakker album on the air. It was college radio, but it really happened.

One of the above isn't true. I'll leave it at that.

The game is played by tagging others, who will no doubt be so thrilled they might kneejerk Fore Left right off their blogrolls. Or laughingly ignore it. Here goes:

LASunsett at Political Yen/Yang, aka "Snowman"
Mick Wright at Mick Wright
Marie at Mariestwocents.
Jonathan at Crushliberalism.
Uncle Pavian at Uncle Pavian and his dancing Orangutan extravaganza, aka NuncProLunch.
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit

What? Anyway, don't hate me, folks. Could be fun.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Green Cards"

As you probably know, the Bank of America has been caught offering credit cards to illegals in Southern California. No social security, no credit, no problemo (wonder what APRs they're offering)?

We've got gold, platinum, so these gotta be green cards. VIVA! Obviously green is appropriate to signify the fact many recipients won't get a real one, but also in memoriam of when the Mexican flag was hoisted about the Stars and Stripes on Cinco de Mayo. And of course, green for greenbacks--the pursuit of which causes corporate executives to lose their collective souls by rationalizing making money off illegal activity.

Ironically, Bank of America recently gained some respect in mi casa when they eliminated the insulting "choose English or Spanish" buttons from their ATMs. Bank deposits shouldn't be held hostage in such a manner, hint, hint, Regions Bank. No really--providing buttons for other languages is fine, just default everything to English and we're good to go.

Actually the Green Cards could be an opportunity. When (if) they roll out nationwide it might be fun to saunter into the local branch and demand a card under a phony name, then pitch a fit when they discriminate due to citizenship.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The al Qaeda caucus

**This is a ridiculously long bloviating rant, done while completely sober. You won't be blamed for clicking off to a Paris Hilton site along the way**

Last we heard from the bearded recluse he was waxing wistfully about our coming defeat:
But I plan to speak about the repeated errors your President Bush has committed in comments on the results of your polls that show an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. But he (Bush) has opposed this wish and said that withdrawing troops sends the wrong message to opponents, that it is better to fight them (bin Laden's followers) on their land than their fighting us (Americans) on our land.
That was in January 2006 when he was somewhat alive, a fact now in question (again) based on Zawahiri's latest tape released today (probably to coincide with the upcoming resolution), which pledged allegiance to Mullah Omar. After calling Bush a drunk loser the Z-man cut to the chase:
These traitors in Iraq and Afghanistan must face their inevitable fate, and face up to the inescapable facts. America - which was transformed from the “Great Satan” into the “Closest Ally” - is about to depart and abandon them, just as it abandoned their like in Vietnam.
Surely that sent a few self-indulgent tingles of joy down the anti-war spine, but not to be outdone, here's our exalted Speaker:
“There is no end in sight,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. “The American people have lost faith in President Bush’s course of action in Iraq and they are demanding a new course of action.”
She speaks for all of us, but kudos to her spirit of bipartisanship for refraining to call him a drunk loser. Courage.

Nothing new here AC, so why the rant? Well, sometimes it just boils out. Ms. Pelosi and friends continue to be of the deluded mind that we have viable options in this fight, as if we can just pick up our stuff and go, leaving the Jihadis to their worldwide celebration. You may call that melodramatic, but if it comes across that way here imagine how it will come off to people around the world. If this is the Democrat plan for regaining our global reputation they're on track, since we're about to go back on another promise just as Z-man said.

The term San Francisco values is a misnomer since many folks now share the convoluted self-loathing Pelosi worldview. In today's Libby trial Marcy Wheeler of Firedoglake was describing the testimony of Cheney's current NSA John Hannah. Their liveblogging has been quite helpful, but Ms. Wheeler was peppering leftist editorial comments all over the place, such as this one:
C Libby pressed for resources to prepare against these attacks. Prepare against anthrax. During period we're talking about Libby was dealing with nuclear proliferation by AQ Khan and efforts to stop his activities. Concerned that AQ Khan held info and materials essential to design and production and was seeking to sell it to hostile powers, including NK, Libya, and Iran. Proliferation would pose a direct threat to US. Considered various means of preventing AQ Khan from proliferating, considered action against his network. [bored journalists start yelling "KHANNN!"]
Bored, huh? Explains a lot, doesn't it. And while it's a bit of a stretch to believe Libby never had time to think about Wilson, for them to mock AQ Khan (who was operating when Clarke and Clinton were in there, Ms. Wheeler) shows how utterly wigged out they've become. Libby wasn't playing tiddlywinks, he was helping to stop threats in an effort to protect the country, including these pathetic ungrateful, unpatriotic asses.

The testimony today called up visions of a passage in Woodward's first Bush book "Bush at War". On page 248 he's describing a NSC meeting on October 17, 2001 with Cheney, Libby, and Tenet discussing the anthrax letter attacks:
Tenet said, "I think it's AQ"--meaning al Qaeda. "I think there's a state sponsor involved. It's too well thought out, the powder's too well refined. It might be Iraq, it might be Russia, it might be a renegade scientist," perhaps from Iraq or Russia. Scooter Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, said he also thought the anthrax attacks were state-sponsored. "We've got to be careful on what we say." It was important not to lay it on anyone now. "If we say it's al Qaeda, a state sponsor may feel safe and then hit us thinking they will have a bye because we'll blame it on al Qaeda." "I'm not going to talk about a state sponsor," Tenet assured them. "It's good that we don't," said Cheney, "because we're not ready to do anything about it."
One might wonder what Mr. Tenet will have to say about this in his new book, and whether he'll shine any light on whether we're ready to do anything as yet. And one might wonder about the references to Russia, and the fact we've got a Sec Def and a Sec State who are Soviet experts.

But in the fantasy world of Pandagon and HuffPo life is ignorantly blissful of any threats that don't emerge from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Unfortunately, they've convinced most of the country to come along with them. Good luck to us all.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Jesters on parade

During the first day of defense in the Libby trial some interesting morsels were served up. For instance, we learned about Robert "the grouch" Novak's first encounter with Joe Wilson (F=Fitzgerald, RN=Bob Novak):
F First meeting with Wilson

RN On MTP. The day of his op-ed.

F You did not become fast friends.

RN We did not exchange words. Most people in the green room quietly read. He was giving his opinion at some length about how things were done in the Clinton NSC, in a very loud voice, I thought that was an obnoxious performance
.
That explains why Novak asked Armitage why the administration would send a guy like Wilson to Niger on a secret mission. Do tell. Perhaps related to that, we also learned that Armitage had mentioned to Woodward (well before he spoke with Novak) that, "CIA is not going to be hurt by this one".

Stir in Doug Feith's combative joust with Wolf Blitzer about the OSP and the picture becomes somewhat more clear.

Finally, we were reminded that Mr. Novak has been covering DC politics since 1963. Dang. I didn't realize he'd been around that long. He's been doing that gig longer than some people blogging this event have been alive.

MORE 2/12/07

Much buzz has been generated by the audio of Armitage's chat with Woodward. Some are finding it "damning" towards Fitz's case, but to me all it does is lead more credence to the notion that Joe Wilson was the pompous self-important wannabe. That doesn't refute his Niger claims, though.

One area that could be problematic for Bush is the conversation about yellowcake, since Armitage says the Niger stuff was left in the SOTU by "White House types" whereas Tenet had gotten it pulled from the earlier Cincinnati speech. As Woodward said, "weird". Think Tenet might have been a little pissed about having to apologize for the 16 words? Maybe he'll give us a clue in his book.

Still, the main takeaway was the cavalier way Armitage let on about Wilson's wife being an "analyst" (not covert like NPR reported today) and how they were working together, this after saying the CIA was not gonna take a hit.

A lingering question is whether Armitage told anyone else he forgot to mention. We still don't know how Miller came to write "Flame" and "Valery" in her notebook sometime before June 23rd. So far only one reporter has admitted knowing about Plame, Woodward, and he says he told Pincus, who doesn't remember. Wily veterans, both.

Incredible model

As a kid I built models all the time, but somehow they never looked like this. It took over a decade to construct this 1/5th scale model version of the British Spitfire WWII fighter plane but it obviously shows in every rivet.

Click here for story and more photos (just scroll down) including amazing interior detail. Wonder if the machine guns fire?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Chicks owe Bush a thank you note

Bash Bush, get a Grammy. Bash Bush, get an Oscar. Bush Bush, get a Nobel Prize. Seems the Decider is getting shafted in all these acceptance speeches.

The Chicks owe him at least something for helping them turn a marginal CD into a Grammy winner.

Now it's true they've always been a little edgy but they were country nonetheless, employing banjo, fiddle and twang. But those bumpkin fans were just a steppin-stone to the real cusswords to power Chicks, who gave the finger to Nashville and hit the wide open spaces on their way to becoming Hollywood darlings.

Here's vintage chick-speak on why it was OK to ditch the fans who helped them to the top:
"I'd rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith," Maguire said. "We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do."
Alright, they may have a point on Reba, but I bet they had a few more early influences than just Stevie Nicks or Little Feat. Like perhaps some ole country folk who weren't really cool. Just guessing.

Why does it seem the more vocal anti-war folks, 1) like to use profanity to make their point, 2) exhibit marginal class and even less logic, and 3) seem overly impressed with themselves? The AQ enemy we fight in Iraq, and even the Mullahs in Iran, would not be so impressed with Ms. Maines. Matter of fact I'm quite confident they would strongly suggest a total body makeover for the entire band. Oh, shoot, I keep forgettin', Bush is the villain here.

Post traumatic stress

As the debate rages about whether America should engage Iran it's exposing the nasty war going on right here within America like never before, which must surpass bin Laden's wildest expectations.

This internal war is not being fought by liberals alone. Sure, we're hearing the predictable "Iran has never attacked us" rhetoric and other blame America first allegations, but we expect such from the far left. They've been doing it since Vietnam and before.

But we don't necessarily expect it from men like this, neither a moonbat nor peacenik:
...Vincent Cannistraro, a Washington-based intelligence analyst, shared the sources' assessment that Pentagon planning was well under way. "Planning is going on, in spite of public disavowals by Gates. Targets have been selected. For a bombing campaign against nuclear sites, it is quite advanced. The military assets to carry this out are being put in place."

He added: "We are planning for war. It is incredibly dangerous."
Why would somebody give away such information?

Years of arguing in the forums, blogs and elsewhere about the GWoT has led me to believe that many of us are suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress regards 9/11. I say this because of the various ways people are coping with what the attack really meant--the end of our once invincible feeling of security here in America.

For some it's apparently easier to rationalize by believing Bush, or the Israelis, or perhaps the Illuminati pulled off the attack. That avoids the alternative, which involves understanding there are people a plane ride away who are unafraid to die and who enjoy cutting off heads with butter knives or running perfectly good airplanes into buildings for no apparent reason. And they are organizing. It's a terrorizing thought.

That said, let's change gears a sec to the Libby case. Some have long ago dismissed the case as partisan poop, but the trial seems a microcosm of the battle between forces who believe Bushco is trying to take over the world versus others who believe the threat of Islamofascism is real yet Bush is being harassed in his efforts to thwart it by subversives and appeasers.

Over at American Thinker, Clarice Feldman has posted an alternate hypothesis regards the FBI interview with Tim Russert and points out FBI agent Eckenrode's notes of the interview are conveniently missing. This could break the case open, or not. Some will claim she's a hero, others a Zionist pig.

Both sides are just searching for truth based on long-held worldviews polluted by years of media-charged scandals and corruption or notions of bias. There seems to be enough circumstantial evidence to support both sides, which makes it hard for either one to gain traction. Both have different visions of what constitutes winning, therefore it's not hard to imagine a few willing to go that extra mile in pursuit of their side, possibly as far as a bloodless coup d'├ętat. Hey, ends justify means when the cause is noble, baby.

That brings us to this. Zbignew Brezensky's recent testimony to Congress is making some waves in netland, mainly for his veiled assertion that the Bush administration might just pop off another 9/11 as a casus belli to our coming attack on Iran. He's not a moonbat and has years of geopolitical experience, including working on the plan that helped defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan. Yet it surprising a man of his pedigree, once at the right hand of the US intelligence apparatus in 1979 when the Iranian radicals captured our Embassy employees, and who has witnessed the murders committed by Hizballah since then, would suggest something so preposterous. What in the world? What if he's right!

When questioned afterwards by reporters he provided no evidence of any plots, either then or now, only suggesting they would be "hard to trace". But the point is clear--he's endorsing the premise that Bushco is indeed trying to take over the world, part of the new American Century.

Wilson and his backers are undoubtedly in the same camp, and interestingly both are ex-diplomats, a point which came through loud and clear in Zbigniew's suggested post-disengagement remedies:
Concurrently, the United States should activate a credible and energetic effort to finally reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace, making it clear in the process as to what the basic parameters of such a final accommodation ought to involve.
In other words, diplomacy solves all. I agree it's the moral path, and war itself is immoral, but why should he think anyone would believe that negotiations will work between parties where one side refuses to acknowledge the other's right to exist? And does he realize the country he's accusing Bush of setting up a false flag attack here to justify invading--Iran--has itself been the biggest cheerleader for the notion that Israel has no right to exist?

When pressed, he might suggest that Iran would change those stripes if we just leave Iraq and come to the table, with a big Mideast peace summit. But history doesn't give very good odds on that, all of which makes his testimony and suggestions the more bizarre, as if he wouldn't mind seeing us defeated.

As Bush has said many times, 9/11 changed the paradigm, but ah yes, if WE pulled off 9/11 as he seems to be alluding, then everything will be alright. All we need do is frog-march a few folks, admit our sins and retreat to that same bargaining table his former boss Jimmy Carter once occupied and we'll surely have peace in our time. And if the next attack occurs, it's Bush's fault.

MORE 2/11/07

Eason Jordan is out with a screed against the Bush administration on both Iraqslogger and HuffPo essentially lambasting them for using anonymous spokesmen to present evidence that Iran was abetting the violence in Iraq. He's calling for accountability to prevent a repeat of Iraq:
After the bogus Iraq evidence debacle in 2002 and 2003 -- allegations that led to war, tens of thousands of lives lost, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent -- only a fool would accept as the gospel supposed evidence against another country that's presented by officials who insist on making their allegations anonymously.
Pot meet kettle. Does everyone know Jordan's background? He was former head of news at CNN but subsequently resigned after making unsubstantiated charges that US forces were killing journalists. He was also at CNN when agreements were signed with Saddam to slant the news in exchange for exclusive access. Just sayin.

Throwing the dogs off the scent

A hearty legal debate is boiling about whether NBC's Andrea Mitchell will be called to testify in the Libby trial. The defense would love to know what she meant by the following words uttered on CNBC in October 2003:
Murray: Do we have any idea how widely known it was in Washington that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA?

Mitchell: It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger. So a number of us began to pick up on that
.
Sounds fairly material. Her attempt to re-frame the answer came on the "Imus in the Morning Show" (she chose poorly) and ole Don got her to stumble around like a drunk on a bicycle trying to explain herself. The case will never be closed if she doesn't testify.

However, while daydreaming about Andrea another thought crossed my mind. An evil, devilish thought dark enough to draw liberal respect. Here it is. What if the sudden convergence of Wilson, no WMDs, and an increasingly skeptical press caused the White House to go into a hushed defcon five panic mode in June 2003? Perhaps they realized that leaving Wilson unchallenged would make it very hard to put down the "no WMDs" snowball, which would surely expand exponentially as decision-04 approached.

Switch to Iraq, circa June 2003. The vats of VX and anthrax were not turning up. Judy Miller had just left her embed with a Army weapons hunting task force, who had come up empty. When she got back to DC the White House began pumping her with info about Wilson but she was more interested in the weapons. Where were they? Her resume was chock full of stories about Saddam's evils so career-ending nightmares must have been flashing through her mind at that point, and Wilson's badgering wasn't helping.

Under that cloud she probably chose to stay out of the Wilson game altogether, which might be confirmed when her editor takes the stand and denies Judy ever suggested a story. And why would she? Her reputation was riding on a big discovery.

Now the tinfoil part. Seeing that reporters weren't writing much about Cheney's denials of sanctioning the Wilson trip (think about Libby's angry exchange about Matthews) perhaps the administration felt they had no choice but to release the Plame information, but more in an attempt to throw the MSM dogs off the scent than anything else.

The nuclear issue was secondary anyway. The president never said Iraq had a nuclear program, only that he wanted one, which was indisputable. By June they had already scoped out the nuke program and Plame was supposedly working in the Iraq division at CPD, therefore the potential harm to national security would be minimal.

We could go off on a Richard Armitage bunny trail at this point but it would take too long. Suffice to say he was the most successful in getting Plame her 15 minutes of fame than all the others, probably by working Novak against Woodward to spur the needed competitive juices. There are many alternate theories available at this juncture, including some involving Novak himself. Suspecting Armitage is risky since his boss and hero Colin Powell was up to his neck in the WMD story as well. But we'll leave that for another day.

In closing, the above doesn't require a belief that the pre-war intelligence was shaken and stirred by Bush. On the contrary. Libby told Miller he thought the CIA was playing CYA games by trying to hedge their bets. The media wasn't playing ball in getting out the push-back, so the Plame revelation might have been a pragmatic panic button.

Something worked--because the self-absorbed DC media spent an inordinate amount of time reporting essentially about themselves instead of the missing cauldrons of WMDs. Bush got reelected, thanks in part to Kerry's bonehead notion that Wilson could somehow help him. And nobody got frogmarched. Not yet, at least.

MORE 2/11/07


This is a particularly useful summary for those interested in understanding the patriot games involved in this story. The most interesting assertion was one by Seymour Hersch that VIPS members created the phony Niger docs themselves as a prank to embarrass Bush officials.

One day this might all be explained as a bunch of self-important people trying to out-do each another over their self-important ideologies. Whether Libby outed Plame or not doesn't exonerate Saddam in the least. Even if he wasn't trying to buy a little yellowcake on the side that was small potatoes compared to what we DID know about him, which was contained in the 2002 NIE. One example, we still don't know the whereabouts of Abdul Yasin, wanted for the 1993 World Trade Center attack, nor do we know why Saddam harbored him. Hosenball? Isikoff? Corn?

Fact is, whether Rove used the Plame outing as a diversion to keep DC media tied up in knots doesn't explain why so many people, like Wilson, Cannistraro, and many others who expressed hawkish notions during the Clinton administration became doves after 9/11. Doesn't make much sense, does it?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Climate change Holocaust

Ellen Goodman's Boston Globe comparison of global warming deniers to Holocaust deniers is old news in blogospheric terms, but since I don't much like being compared to Ahmadinejad, I'll comment here a bit.

First of all, few rational people deny it's warming in a statistical sense. While I've used this blog to illustrate that not all sites are warming, when you do the math, most are. To deny that means you deny observational science.

But that's not what most people are denying. They are denying the cause of the warming. After throwing her H bomb Ms. Goodman reaches that point later:
Try these numbers: Only 23 percent of college-educated Republicans believe the warming is due to humans, while 75 percent of college-educated Democrats believe it..
How does she explain the dichotomy? Why, with stock liberal hyperbole, of course!
This great divide comes from the science-be-damned-and-debunked attitude of the Bush administration and its favorite media outlets
Bingo, she's identified the problem. The liberals are far too quick to lapse into their schoolmaster mode, pointing the crooked finger at everyone and telling them to get in line. Given enough time it will happen every single time in every single debate about every single issue. It's an "our way or the highway" kind of tolerance.

Permit me generically boil it down. Too many on the right probably don't accept enough blame for their carbon footprint because they fear manipulation of the data by liberal socialists who want to take their hard-earned stuff. Too many on the left believe their carbon footprint is bigger than it is because they're liberal socialists who don't like the right and would love to teach them a lesson by taking their hard-earned stuff and giving it to somebody they feel is more deserving.

If that's right, it ain't right.

Sure, it's prudent to attempt a level of mitigation just in case we're partly to blame, but it must not be at the expense of our economy. For example I have no problem changing to new light bulbs or buying a hybrid since these things might also benefit my family, but until the science is precise enough to offer an exact percentage as to human contribution to the warming, it makes no sense to move to a teepee.

Realistically, if anthropogenic contribution could be measured at greater than say 80 percent the planet is doomed regardless of what we do, since carbon has a long half-life and we can't change the world's economic structure fast enough to avoid global turmoil or wars for oil. Similarly, if the human contribution is measured at less than say 5 percent, there's nothing much we can do, either, because that will mean the sun is blame.

Throwing around cheap ad-hominems or assinine comparisons simply adds nothing to the debate.

VIRGIN TERRITORY 2/10/07

Sir Richard Branson's idea is pretty cool. Entrepreneurial solutions are certainly far preferable to tight government control. The liberals won't like it because it takes away their ability to clamp behavioral restrictions on people like Mr. Branson and his large fleet of CO2 spewing jumbo jets.

Al Gore might publicly endorse the plan, but he's given us only 10 years to save the planet before we all roast so there may not be enough time. That's assuming ALL the recent warming can be blamed on America, er, sorry, humans.

But not only that, couldn't such a machine represent a possible threat in the wrong hands? Sucking too much CO2 from the atmosphere might not be very good, either, if such were possible.