Saturday, June 30, 2007

Interlude

With all the commotion in Britain some words of wisdom and a bit of comfort...



Even more words of wisdom. Clear for takeoff, Clarence..

Speaking of bombings..

One of the commenters at JustOneMinute reminded readers that Larry Johnson, pictured at left and mentioned in the preceding post, was apparently once a supporter of Jayna Davis's "John Doe Number Two" theory. To wit:
"Looking at the Jayna Davis material, what's clear is that more than Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols were involved. Without a doubt, there's a Middle Eastern tie to the Oklahoma City bombing."
Does that make him an automatic kook? Does it suggest he performed a "Ritter backflip" by transfiguring from the Saddam-is-bad camp to the Saddam-ain't-so-bad camp as the political winds shifted? Or did Davis just drop his name out of context?

Not sure, and truthfully, don't care. What intrigues me is Oklahoma City. Call me a kook but the premise of state intelligence service involvement through proxy terrorists doesn't really sound that kookish. As serendipitous as this might sound, the CIA tried to illicit a coup and an old-fashioned assassination of Saddam in the same year, 1995. How many remember those agents being investigated by the FBI?

For the sake of contrast let's take a gander at the three failed car-bombs in the UK in the past 24 hours. Based on just televised coverage it's safe to assume the bombs were not of the same class used in the Murrah building, Khobar Towers, or first World Trade Center bombings. They also bear little resemblance to the daily car/truck bombs used in Iraq. Help from intelligence professionals familiar with ballistics surely might have enhanced the British devices, something we appear to be seeing in Iraq thanks to Iran's alleged meddling.

Running aside the well-known pitfalls of conspiracy theories as to motive, depth and breadth of conspiracy, wealth and fame potential, and personal vendettas, one still has to admit that some interesting dots exist. For example, just like 9/11 we were told not to worry, that the Murrah perps were lone wolves (probably disaffected right wingers fueled by talk radio) and therefore no foreign involvement was possibly possible. Yet they were rather adept lone wolves, weren't they? Pretty good for a first try, I'd say.

Ironically James Woolsey's name is listed on Davis's site as a supporter, which is interesting since he has some background with the man Davis believes taught Terry Nichols how to make quality bombs when both were in the Philippines, Ramzi Yousef. Or was it Abdul Basit Karim? Quite possibly Mr. Woolsey knows the answer to that question since he was dispatched to England twice in 2001 by the US Government to investigate:
Several officials said Woolsey's mission angered officials at the State Department and the CIA and left British authorities puzzled about whether he was representing the U.S. government.
Oddly enough he didn't come home and later write an Op-Ed for the New York Times on his trip, say for example, "What I found in England". Apparently some state secrets are more important than others.

Woolsey DID say this in a 2001 interview regarding the concept of lone wolves (remember, this man once led the CIA):
But the key thing is that a very fundamental misunderstanding takes place in exactly this statement, which is to assume that if someone is a terrorist he’s a sole-source contractor, that he works either with al-Qaida or with Iraq. That is, if I may say so, a particularly stupid and false assumption. There is absolutely nothing to keep these terrorists from working with al-Qaida and to have Iraqi government support for one or more aspects of the operation.
An inconvenient truth for some, so back to Hoyle. Alrighty then...do we call this misinformation, disinformation, or just a misunderstanding?
She remembers Nichols as “Terry” or “The Farmer” and doesn’t remember the name of the other American. She says, “They talked about bombings. They mentioned bombing government buildings in San Francisco, St. Louis, and in Oklahoma. The Americans wanted instructions on how to make and to explode bombs.
Must have been a coincidence that a ragtag bunch of disaffected zealots with very little bomb-making expertise created a blast similar to ones made famous by Islamic terrorist groups during the 90s. And what of the strange unanswered questions involving the mob informant dude? Dare we even go there?

Ah, perhaps nothing but good fiction after all. But as Glenn Beck points out on Davis's site, why wasn't there a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Oklahoma City bombing? What officially became of John Doe numero dos? Guess we'll just have to wait for the 9/11 Truthers to clear everything up for us. They are investigating this, right?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Piccadilly car bomb

Lots of questions of course. Allah (pundit, that is) skeptically asks why the car was left and not detonated by cell phone immediately rather than hours later? The answer could be to preposition the vehicle for minimum suspicion and maximum carnage in the same fashion Iraqi thugs rig roadside bombs at night to hit our patrols during daytime.

This wouldn't explain why the bomber didn't just blow it when the cops showed up unless he wasn't within sight (not required anyway). But it might suggest a more sinister reason--he was awaiting a coordination "go call" but when the story hit TV the mastermind canceled it. After all, even a failed plot can be terrorizing.

Regardless of outcome the predictable intertube responses are flowing like sour vinegar so let's cut to chase and examine some, in stock form:

1. "Heh, I thought we were fighting them there so they won't come here?"

Sounds good on the surface but still flawed since it ignores attacks before we were engaged militarily. For instance, was the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in response to our kicking Saddam back in his box or for previous support for Israel? If the former (revenge for Saddam) that suggests he wasn't as hated as the CIA would now has us believe. If not, then it suggests it doesn't matter. An expanded answer explains more below.

2. "I question the timing"

This really comes from the bowels of the moonbatistan since there's almost always something going on they could claim Bush was trying to cover up. This also requires a belief that Gordon Brown or perhaps MI5/MI6 are in cahoots with Bush, which leads down a yellow brick road to the Illuminati.

3. "people are overreacting"

Some validity, since the chances of any one person becoming a terrorist victim are slim (unless they get WMDs). Not taken into consideration is that since 9/11 people tend to expect the worst in these things, including first responders. The root of this one stems from anger that such attacks tend to verify the preachings of Bush/Blair, which generally undercut every tenet of modern liberalism.

4. "This shows its useless and we need to retreat from the wars"

These are basically the terrorists using western handles.

5. "this proves John Kerry's point--we need to be using law enforcement, not the military"

One commenter at Huffpo called AQ terrorists "the Mad Hatters of The World", IE, they can never be eradicated by armies. Some validity but it also fails the logic quiz. If indeed they are rootless and stateless they cannot be brought to any tables for dialogue, leaving two options--total annihilation or total capitulation.

In Afghanistan AQ was backed with a small army equipped with Soviet tanks, so it seems this logic would require Scotland Yard or NYPD to parachute into the region and attack with handguns, pepper spray and billy sticks. Now apply that strategy to a sympathetic state housing terrorists and trying hard to develop WMD deterrents.

In the end, if the Piccadilly attack turns out to be a bunch of hacks it represents exactly the kind of terrorism we can all "live with". Kerry was correct when he said we can never completely 'win' a GWoT and that the goal should be to make the attacks as much of a "nuisance" as possible. But it seems the best way to achieve such a goal is multi-pronged, 1) use the military to deny training facilities and to go after (or pressure) states that sponsor, 2) use law enforcement to foil plots in advance using intelligence and, 3) use politics to change the minds and hearts of moderate Muslims to engage their help in the fight. We're already doing that.

MORE 6/30/07


It's risky to speculate before the facts are in. I've done it here a few times and received my tasteless and just dessert. But I'm a nobody. Somehow along the way Larry Johnson managed to convince the national media he was a somebody worth interviewing on all things CIA and terrorism. But based on his analysis of the failed London car bombings he needs to be instantly reclassified.

Now just consider how many times he's been quoted in support of the Wilsons.

Russian neo-dictator finds first target

In what appears to either be a new era of conquest on the cheap for Russia (or a bizarre rewrite of the semi-classic "Ice Station Zebra") Vladimir Putin has laid claim to the North Pole and "all it's gas, oil, and diamonds". One wonders if he'll next announce Mother Russia's legitimate rights to the center of the earth and all it's molten metal (someone inform Rosie)?
The dramatic move provoked an international outcry. The U.S. and Canada expressed shock and environment campaigners said it would be a disaster.
No doubt. Perhaps this has something to do with the recent discovery by Italian researchers of a crater at the Tunguska site, which demystified the long-held notion the Russians actually caused the disaster with a botched firing of their double secret Tesla EMP gun, requiring Putin to strike out somewhere.

Seriously speaking, if the summer ice recedes more with warming the Arctic could very well become a battleground of sorts, if it hasn't already.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

How?

Can one Democratic United States Senator say this on the one hand:
"Increasingly, the president and vice president feel they are above the law," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
while another Democratic United States Senator does this on the other:
The combination of procedures and maneuvers under the Senate Rules that Majority Leader Harry Reid will use to achieve this goal has never occurred in the history of the United States Senate.
Yet still enjoy an almost free pass from the mainstream media? Notice Leahy and Schumer kept a low-pro throughout the immigration "debate" to separate themselves from Reid's rhetoric in an effort to preserve their absolute moral authority to bash the administration. We'll see how that works out for them.

As for today, guess you might call it "a thumpin"--a well-deserved one at that. But not all were deserving, including this Senator:
“When the U.S. Senate brought the Amnesty bill back up this week, they declared war on the American people. This act created a crisis of confidence in their government. Thankfully, the American people won today,”
Yep, we won, at least this round. And here you thought Time Magazine was only joking when they named YOU person of the year! Now, let's punt this into the national debate for 08 and pop open a few cold and frosty ones--after all, we ARE just a bunch of yahoos.

MORE 6/28/07

Hard to argue with Fred. And you might want to check out his response to the Democrats' rather lame corporate lobbying assertion. More to come for sure, from both.

This just in..

Many Senate office phones were down Thursday morning due to a “modest increase in call volume,” according to an e-mail from the Senate assistant sergeant at arms and the chief information officer.
Hmm. So the phone banks must pretty much go down every few days then, right?

Even more hilarious, just a few minutes ago Air America midday jock Tom Hartmann said he opposed the immigration bill because it only helped Big Business, then went to break without explaining why Reid and Kennedy sponsored it. Send it to Bob, Tom.

Bush's speech at the DC Mosque

There was some mild anticipation about what Bush might say in this speech. Heard the pre-game show Wednesday morning on Bill Bennett's radio show with Steven Emerson, who set out some expectations--basically to call out the extremists within Islam. The post-game reviews have so far been a bit on the negative side.

While it's not surprising many would desire an ox-goring the speech was essentially what was required. Bush simply reinforced his 2001 view of why we fight the GWoT, which says we're not there to kick Muslim butt, we're there to kick extremist butt. But, in order to win we need to pit moderate Islam against the extremists:
The greatest challenge facing people of conscience is to help the forces of moderation win the great struggle against extremism that is now playing out across the broader Middle East. We've seen the expansion of the concept of religious freedom and individual rights in every region of the world -- except one. In the Middle East, we have seen instead the rise of a group of extremists who seek to use religion as a path to power and a means of domination.
Look closely and you'll see a theme developing (admittedly this was a bridge too far--Ladies, if you ain't Muslim, you don't need headgear, k?).

Why speak? Every once in awhile it's necessary to define the mission and remind our adversaries, including the good guys. Our military endeavors are aptly named "Enduring Freedom" and "Iraqi Freedom", both kind of melodramatic but still pertinent because the jury is still out on whether people will choose a free and open society (and its permissiveness) or opt for a repressive, theocratic breeder swamp of terrorism and hate.

You're not gonna hear ole Tex say something like, "your head-choppin' religion is in dire need of a reformation just like Christianity; you need to stop treating your women like cattle and by the way, what's that Cube thing all about? Now, when I said 'Religion of peace' it was just a slogan to keep the violence down, but in truth we've got a finger on the button". No, there's a proper way to say things:
Men and women of conscience have a duty to speak out and condemn this murderous movement before it finds its path to power. We must help millions of Muslims as they rescue a proud and historic religion from murderers and beheaders who seek to soil the name of Islam. And in this effort, moderate Muslim leaders have the most powerful and influential voice.
Look closely at the speech and you'll even see a jab about the conditions in Darfur, caused by Muslims.

He simply must be diplomatic when speaking but it's also clear Bush truly believes in this strategic concept. Pitting the west against the entirety of Islam is what bin Laden wants to do and it's a war we cannot win. As many have pointed out, hearts and minds are the reason we fight. Look at it as a good kind of outsourcing.

Hey, nobody wants a 30 year fight but it doesn't have to take that long if we put our hearts and minds to it. Pretending it doesn't exist and hoping it goes away has shown depressing results so far and actually might extend the fight many more years, or end it altogether and in a way we would not enjoy. Losing, in other words. Just like them, we've got a clear choice.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A chamber of children

Wish this were the final post on this issue because frankly I'm pretty sick of it and everything that goes with it. But if we allow Congress to screw this issue up it will adversely affect our children down the line. Blogger gives me a voice beyond my friends and family, so now is no time to hide in the tall grass.

Do we need reform? Yes. Can we trust our government to carry out reform based on the track record set by the the government? No.

In its current form the bill is way too complicated for the average person, much less average illegal alien, to understand. To me it's a matter of gut instinct and soliciting the comments of a few whom I know and trust who work in the field, and from that my conclusion is we need to kick this down the line and let all the presidential candidates debate this. 85 percent of America seems to agree.

The haste and arrogance to which this is being forced through should send large red lights to every parent. After all, parents should recognize this behavior in their own kids...consider the child who wants a toy so bad he'll do and say just about anything to get it. When reminded about the money or other drawbacks a temper tantrum may ensue, or willful blindness, or both. That's how I see the Senate.

It's fourth down and time to punt. They want to go for it. If they blow it we've no choice but to change the coaching staff. Punting is sometimes the right thing to do when the risk/reward shows more risk than reward. You get the ball back later, sometimes with better field position.

Here's the response to a letter I sent to Tennessee Senator Bob Corker. He campaigned against amnesty, so let's see what he says when the game is on the line (a form letter, but still a response):
Thank you for contacting my office to share your concerns about comprehensive immigration reform. Your input is important to me, and I appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts.

As you know, immigration is an issue that deserves in-depth attention. I am in favor of immigration reform that is fair to the American people and immigrants who have come to our country legally. On June 26, 2007, I voted against cloture to proceed to debate on S. 1639. I believe a better approach would be a more modest bill that focuses on border security, employer verification systems, visa exit and entrance mechanisms and other provisions that will put us in a position to actually enforce our immigration policy. As S. 1639 is currently written, I do not think the existing bill is good for America, and I will continue to vote against cloture and final passage of this legislation when it comes to the Senate floor.


We have lost credibility in Washington on this issue, and before the American people will be willing to get behind an immigration policy, we need to demonstrate to them that the federal government is going to do what it says it will do, especially when it comes to controlling our borders.
Emphasis added--by Corker. Nice to see somebody up there actually "gets it".

MORE 6/27/07

Just wondering whether the acts being played out on the public stage are more theater than documentary. In other words, perhaps the Senate knows the House won't pass this mess and are doing nothing but posturing to pander to the growing Hispanic vote. That would explain why so many Republicans voted for cloture yet seem incapable of explaining themselves.

As to Bush, he's a lame duck who can certainly afford to lose a few more points by coming out strong for Hispanics in an attempt to leave the lasting impression that not all Republicans are raving, hateful xenophobes. Or in other words, shamnesty is just that.

Or maybe the above is just my way of dealing with a bad reality.

Draining the American spirit

The following shouldn't be surprising:
“You can take your pick of issues where Republicans are seriously damaging this country: Iraq, global warming, civil liberties. But I resent them most for how they’ve destroyed the American spirit by using xenophobia and fear to hold onto power.
Just like our sexy friend toting the Mao handbag Newman seems to provide more evidence that beautiful celebrities were born without the ability to reason.

There's probably no sense in reminding him that Iraq was overwhelmingly supported by Congressional Democrats; that Saddam was once vilified by Clinton and Kerry; and that climate change couldn't possibly be affected (or mitigated) by anyone, much less a bunch of windbag politicians.

It's also pointless to point out that Democrats in Congress helped pass the Patriot Act in large part because threats from Islamic terrorists DO EXIST, including before 9/11 and well after Bush is gone. Talking about them does not represent "scare-mongering" anymore than pretending they don't exist represents sound policy.

But the last accusation, "using xenophobia", raises the blood temperature to a level that could literally melt steel. It's so utterly beyond the pale batty a response is hardly worth scribbling but one is demanded, no less.

How many times do people need to be reminded that illegally crossing the border is illegal? It doesn't matter who the crossers are. Funny, Mr. Newman is so concerned with Bush's trashing of Constitutional rights that he's ADVOCATING we provide them for NON-CITIZENS! He further suggests the Commander-in-Chief ignore his own Constitutional duty to protect national sovereignty and enforce the law while simultaneously suggesting he ignore the long-term blowback from leaving Iraq and the Middle East in chaos.

Talk about crushing the American spirit.

MORE 6/28/07

More hyperbole-based fund raising. Perhaps someone can ask Edwards to explain the Amanda Marcotte debacle the next time he gets on a roll bashing the poisoned discourse.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A victory for free speech

Has come from the Supreme Court. Their ruling regards the Wisconsin Right to Life group's campaign ad being rejected within two months of an election (which McCain called "regrettable") was a good thing.

As to McCain/Feingold, the money angle is important and the law was designed to remove unfair advantages but a better approach might be to simply educate the public about it--use some public service announcements to explain what's going on then let the chips fall. We can handle it.

But that's not the case. Politicians seem to be developing an ever-growing sense that the electorate has no sense and therefore must be protected from itself. It's the same mindset that spurs talk of reviving the 'fairness doctrine' because Limbaugh dominates AM radio or of ramming an immigration bill down our throats before anyone can possibly understand or debate it. "Danger, Will Robinson" is all that comes to mind.

Besides, if everyone was as dumb as they assume wouldn't we just tune out the issue ads anyway, like we do with most of the others before an election?

Alito, Roberts, Thomas, Kennedy and Scalia voted in the majority, with the money quote coming from Roberts:
"Discussion of issues cannot be suppressed simply because the issues also may be pertinent in an election. Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor."
There are limits to free speech but when it comes to elections we can't let the politicians become the arbiters. Bravo SCOTUS.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Power to the people

Of Peru, for setting Cameron Diaz straight that her "fashion accessory" advertising Chairman Mao and Chinese Communism was offensive to most of the country. Some of these Hollywood stars never cease to amaze with their brilliant ignorance. Don't they read anything other than Variety or People?

One has to wonder if this was some kind of watershed moment for her...one that might provide deep reflection on what it means to be a clueless Hollywood celebrity? Or whether her opinion of the Peruvian people has tanked because they clearly aren't down with the whole global struggle thing? Or whether she'll just go get another bag, maybe this time with a hammer and sickle on it? Maybe she should call Danny Glover.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dick season has begun

Welcome to get Dick Cheney season, folks. Waxman officially ushered it in by publicizing the Executive Order flap (which made more news than a racially charged mob killing in Texas) just in time for today's big four-part WaPo blog expose about the secrety, evil powers of the Veep and how most everyone hates him.

Now granted there are certainly a few questions we need answered about his role in this, that or the other but does no one else see the irony between Waxman's letter and the WaPo's huge expose, coming as the courts and Bush ponder the fate of Libby? It gives the impression that more than a few jaws have been flapping at more than a few cocktail parties inside the Beltway of late. Or that gasp, yours truly is wrong.

Not surprisingly the Huffpo was steering their readers to the Cheney stories this morning, which is fine, but some of the intended consequences were already evident. Near the Cheney links was a story about the conviction of Saddam's cousin "Chemical Ali", who unlike today's source of derision was a true man of death and evil...depending on one's relative perspective of course:
  • Save some ROPE for the IDIOT DUBYA and "DEAD EYE" Dick Cheney!
  • Ditto. When will punishment be meted out to Bush and Cheney and their crew of fleeing rats? They have been responsible fo rmore death and destruction than Saddam and his crew.
  • Could we throw in Cheney and make this event a double ?
  • on second thought if Bush is also thrown in, humanity will win a trifecta.
Modern liberal commenters--the soft, ugly underbelly of modern liberalism. Yeah, dog bites man but wait, man bites dog! On the same thread:
aaahhh, more killing to show that killing is wrong. makes a whole lotta sense.
There's hope for humanity after all.

UPDATE! 6/27/07

Seems the OVP has backed off their claim that Cheney was presiding over the 4th branch of government. As Yoda once said, tell me, why are we here?

Executive order madness

We've been hearing a lot about Executive Orders of late, most notably the rather inexplicable order Bush signed regards the Office of Vice President (discussed more here). It might help if the Veep himself could shine some light of truth on this little matter.

But speaking of EOs, today we hear about an almost equally puzzling order, this time from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome. Seems the maverick mayor has banned SF city government agencies from buying bottled water--even the big bottles for their office water coolers:
In a press release announcing the decision, the mayor cited the environmental impact of making, transporting and disposing of the bottles. More than a billion of them end up in the state's landfills each year, the release said.
Not sure about San Fran's water, but when my family lived in Southern California years ago we got bottled water because the tap water was terrible. Even if it's decent there's a lot of hysteria about tap water these days (talk to John Stossel) so it's likely city employees will simply bring their own bottled water to work. Or buy more Co-colas, Pepsis or green teas in plastic bottles and subsequently throw them in the trash.

But, as with all things political the Mayor's office needed to frame the move to appeal to the constituency, which meant painting it as an attack on global warming (which is really liberal code talk for an attack on Connocophillipsmonsantoburton). A real no-brainer, from several different perspectives.

The only positive seems to be a savings to the taxpayers by not buying water. Was it really a stealthy conservative move?! That might be the only way to do it out there, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here--after all this is a bureaucracy we're talking about. The order might eventually require an entire new city department to pot the potable tap water and bring it to the employees who won't drink it, forcing the expansion of another department to remove it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Good morning, New York Times

They've finally awakened:
Iran is in the throes of one of its most ferocious crackdowns on dissent in years, with the government focusing on labor leaders, universities, the press, women’s rights advocates, a former nuclear negotiator and Iranian-Americans, three of whom have been in prison for more than six weeks.
Front page top left, no less. Late, but better late than never. Wonder how the nutroots will respond to such obvious Bushco/Zionist propaganda?

Friday, June 22, 2007

More on the Austin beating death

CNN

Today's Austin Statesman isn't headlining it on their website and most of the majors have apparently moved on. Looks like it's heading to the dustbin. Previous coverage here.

We did learn today that Mr. Morales was a long-time resident of the area who served in the Navy during the 80s, which suggests he wasn't illegal, although the mob, er, gang, er few heinous criminals might have figured otherwise. His family is demanding to know why it took so long for the ambulance to arrive if there was no mob, a very good question. After all they are saying the ambulance was staged pending reports of a gang fight and had trouble fighting through traffic.

We could engage in wild speculation but we won't. Had we done so it would have focused on the lengths to which Austin officials have gone to downplay the event, highly suggestive they were trying to avoid a powder keg situation. Day by day the event has been reduced from thousands of rowdy Juneteenth participants down to a few random punks. It might help if witnesses would come forward and ID those random punks but so far no takers, including the driver, who "escaped" and is apparently either in protective custody, hiding or gone. Apparently that's something not worth pursuing.

Perhaps not, because doing so would force reporters into opening a debate on the sensibilities of hate crimes legislation. The James Byrd dragging death occurred in Texas and keep in mind that Austin is not only the state capital of Texas, it's the progressive capital of Texas.

Amidst the silence we can always turn to bloggers, and sure enough there's a metablog site for Austin where we find Translucence on the story:
Ok, so here's the question of the day...three or four beating a man to death and about twenty watching and doing nothing to stop the violence. Is that or is that not a mob mentality?
Speaking of translucence, that seemingly describes the other bloggers covering the story.

Is it a major story? We don't know. We do know that similar events occur daily in America and that sensationalizing it might well spark more senseless reprisal violence. Yet it sure seems indicative of how certain stories are played for their ability to drive politically correct opinions and worldviews, while others are not.

Will Libby end up as collateral damage?

Things appear to be coming to a head between the Congress and Bush administration, which may not be good news for Scooter Libby.

Politico reports:
The Senate Judiciary Committee authorized its chairman on Thursday to issue subpoenas to the Justice Department and the Executive Office of the President for documents authorizing the administration's warrantless surveillance program.
It's hard for the average citizen to gage this program effectively since we haven't been told the full scope nor all the reasons (threats) that prompted its creation, nor will we ever. That leaves it wide open to demagoguery, of which the usual suspects have exploited rather briskly. But that's not the entire point of this post.

The reason Libby might suffer can be found in Waxman's publicizing of the National Archives/Cheney brouhaha announced yesterday. His formal letter to OVP repeatedly dropped Libby's name while snarkily reminding the Veep of his office's "terrible" track record with regards to securing national secrets. That's a real hoot coming from anyone in Congress, especially considering the Archives' own track record on protecting national secrets, but it sells papers and generates hits. I must admit to scratching my own conservative head on this one.

Meanwhile, Libby is running short of time. If his appeal to remain free on bond is denied he'll be heading to the nearest pokey within weeks. If the Waxman can keep these stories boiling in the press (throw in the kitchen sink) any highly publicized pardon or commutation would be rendered politically toxic with possible collateral damage to the Republican presidential candidates. Most are already on record berating the Plame investigation as a political witch hunt, with Fred Dalton Thompson leading the pack. Appearances quite often trump facts.

The best hope for team Bush/Libby is a favorable appeal ruling, which would temporarily knock the posse off the trail. Waxman and crew have painted themselves as champions of law, order and the Constitution so they could hardly risk impugning a federal judicial ruling without appearing as the political hacks they really are.

MORE 6/22/07

From the White House press briefing today:
Q Dana, when you make requests to the OVP about this, could you please specify that the big, large, question is, why no problem in 2001, 2002, and it starts in 2003? Does it have to do with the war, does it have to do with Scooter Libby, does this have to do with what? Why then?

MS. PERINO: I will check into it. I don't know when -- I don't know why the change, and I'll see if there was any different interpretation --
Hey, it's a good question. We'll see if it gets answered, but breath holding is not recommended. She kept reminding them that Executive Orders are controlled by the president since after all, he does create them, and he excluded the OVP from this one as to reporting. But once again this leaves a lot to the imagination.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A hateful crime in Austin

A vicious, needless, senseless attack occurred against a man this past Tuesday night in Austin, Texas, one which possibly included a racial angle and maybe even an illegal immigration component. Dare we even utter the words "hate crime"? But from reading CNN you'd hardly know:
The car in which Morales, 40, was a passenger had entered an apartment complex's parking lot when it struck a 2-year-old boy, Piatt said. The boy was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
It goes on to say the perpetrators were spillovers from the nearby annual Juneteenth celebration but provides no clues on whether racial tensions were involved. Just a simple accident followed by a weird pack mob beating.

Checking the Austin Statesman we find a little bit more clarity (reg required):
By the time an anonymous caller dialed 911 and the first officers arrived at the Booker T. Washington housing development shortly after 9:30 p.m., the crowd had dispersed, Austin police Cmdr. Harold Piatt said.
The plot thickens. Further reading clears (or muddies depending on your perspective) the picture a bit more:
Hispanic and African American leaders, fearing that the incident would create racial tension because the victim was Hispanic and the assailants were believed to be black, urged people to keep their emotions in check. Investigators said they have no indication that the attack was racially motivated.
Well of course not! The child was most likely black, the perpetrators most likely black and the victim Hispanic and possibly even illegal (?). So, are we to assume the Austin Police think this kind of thing is just standard operating practice in their city--that anytime someone hits a child (or is even riding in the car that hits the child) they are immediately handed frontier justice by the nearest available mob? Sorry, but when the official spokesmen sounds less truthful than Baghdad Bob it just might be a clue.

The article goes on to say how community leaders on both sides are trying to calm the storm, which is good and no doubt sincere. But there are questions. Assuming Mr. Morales was an illegal and assuming this story gets any national airplay it might introduce a new twist into the illegal immigration reform debate. We've not heard from the minority grassroots on the issue, have we?

As to whether this qualifies as a hate crime (removing the immigration angle) it seems to, but maybe the law isn't clear on whether minorities can commit hate crimes on each other. Or if prosecuted as such (or not) whether it might spark more angry mobs. It sounds like a real can of worms therefore it wouldn't be surprising to see this story fade away soon.

MORE 6/21/07

My Way chimes in, but provides no more information than did CNN.

UPDATE 6/21/07

Fox News is on the story, giving us this interesting explanation:
Morales came to his aid and was fatally attacked in what police are calling a "spontaneous homicide."
Kind of goes without saying. The point is whether it was a spontaneous hate crime because the man was Mexican.

ONE MORE 6/21/07

Getting older sometimes produces an occasional bout of CRS (look it up). Case in point--I forgot to paste the original CNN article up above. Too late, because they've updated the story now:
About three or four people -- not a mob of 20 -- beat a man to death after the car he was riding in struck and injured a toddler, police said Thursday.
They also said it was unrelated to the Juneteenth celebration. OK, but that causes another problem. The earlier story said it took over 30 minutes to get Mr. Morales to the hospital because police did not allow the ambulance to enter the area before it was "secured". Maybe this will now raise the interest level in the story.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Don't let the screen door hit you, Michael

I've never quite seen the allure of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. Perhaps it's because I don't live near the Apple anymore or perhaps it's due to the occasional gun control story trickling out. Don't know why he should be seen any differently than the mayor of any other medium or large city in America. Well, except for ours.

But, for some reason people are making a big deal out of his so-called departure from the GOP and possible run for president as an independent. Maybe it's the notion he'll pull right wing voters away and ensure a Dem victory ala Perot in 1992, but based on the following comments made at Google headquarters (where they routinely exclude Memorial Day, Flag Day and Veterans Day in their cutish little holiday tributes) he sounds more like a stock Democrat anyway:
“Whoever out of those 20 becomes president I think has to do something about a country that I think is really in trouble,” Mr. Bloomberg said, referring to the current crop of candidates. “There’s the war, there is our relationships around the world.”

“Our reputation has been hurt very badly in the last few years,” he continued, criticizing what he called a “go-it-alone mentality” in an increasingly interconnected world.
Going it alone, which I reckon puts Poland, Australia, Britain and the NATO countries in some kind of bizarre unilateral coalition. This sounds more like liberal boilerplate code talk.

Speaking of which, the mayor might have also been doing likewise when he mocked terrorism--not quite calling it a bumper sticker--but suggesting the candidates should be spending more energy talking about how they'll protect us from street crime. This will resonate to many but in reality it sends two messages--one, that he'll be coming for guns and two, he'll let the FBI and CIA fight terrorism.

OK sure, we're all more likely to become crime victims that terrorism victims, same as it was prior to 9/11. The difference is that most criminals want your money, not your country and would certainly think twice about setting off a nuke or blowing up a bus full of kids just to get your wallet. As to gun control we're still waiting for the day when a gun kills somebody by itself. Shall we ban Boeing 757s because of 9/11?

The pundits are speculating as to what effect a Bloomberg campaign would have on the others, in other words, would he be seen more as a Nader or Perot? I'm leaning towards Nader due to the above comments, which will be altered full bore if he comes out in support of the 9/11 truthers. But from just seeing him from a distance I don't think his impact will be that great no matter how much he spends.

NO THANKS 6/21/07

As a former resident of the great Northeast corridor I still have some fond memories of the region from New York northward. That doesn't mean this would sit very well on the ole tummy, though. It's bad enough when the Mets and Yanks face off in the World Series..

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Who recommended whom?

Yet more legal news regards Scooter Libby, if you can stand it. His legal team has filed an emergency stay-out-of-jail-pending-appeal appeal. There's much more here per usual, including some very interesting speculation in both the post and the comments about FBI agent Eckenrode and whether he interviewed Tim Russert or was perhaps a source. It does matter.

Meanwhile, as Bush ponders the ramifications of a pardon or commutation let's harken back to a column written by Larry Johnson (don't forget he went to spy school with Valerie) discussing what he considered the real lie about all the lies in this entire friggin mess:
The Republicans insist on the lie that Val got her husband the job. She did not. She was not a division director, instead she was the equivalent of an Army major. Yes it is true she recommended her husband to do the job that needed to be done but the decision to send Joe Wilson on this mission was made by her bosses.
Emphasis added. Now, here's what Valerie had to say in her cinematic performance on Capitol Hill under the admiring gaze of Henry Waxman and about 100 cameras:
REP. LYNCH: That was my next question, if you would. You know, I sort of doubted this. If I was going to send my wife somewhere, it wouldn't be Niger , but -- (laughter) -- nothing against Niger , but -- you know.

Please, if you could lay out -- walk us through everything you did that may have been related around the time of the decision to send Ambassador Wilson to Niger .

MS. PLAME WILSON: Thank you, Congressman. I'm delighted as well that I am under oath as I reply to you.

In February of 2002, a young junior officer who worked for me -- came to me very upset. She had just received a telephone call on her desk from someone -- I don't know who -- in the office of the vice- president asking about this report of this alleged sale of yellow cake uranium from Niger to Iraq . She came to me, and as she was telling me this -- what had just happened, someone passed by -- another officer heard this. He knew that Joe had already -- my husband -- had already gone on some CIA mission previously do deal with other nuclear matters. And he suggested, "Well why don't we send Joe?" He knew that Joe had many years of experience on the African continent. He also knew that he had served -- and served well and heroically in the Baghdad Embassy -- our embassy in Baghdad during the first Gulf War. And I will be honest. I had -- was somewhat ambivalent at the time. We had 2-year-old twins as home, and all I could envision was me by myself at bedtime with a couple of 2-year-olds. So I wasn't overjoyed with this idea. Never the less --

REP. LYNCH: I get it.
Emphasis added again. And it's interesting that the above transcript comes from Rick Ballard's blog, not the House Oversight Committee where she testified. There is no written transcript there, only video. Also notice this WaPo article where the transcript is strangely truncated. Weird and grassy knollish.

Anyway, in 2005 Larry Johnson admitted that yes indeedy, Valerie DID recommend hubby for Niger yet while testifying under oath to Congress in 2007, after a conviction of Libby, Ms. Wilson certainly made it seem otherwise. A man is possibly heading to prison. Why is nobody concerned about such inconsistencies? Yeah, yeah, I know.

Newton's prognostication

Seems the father of modern physics was apparently quite together with his spiritual side. Referencing the book of Daniel, Sir Issac Newton postulated the world wouldn't end any sooner than 2060, something not very popular with the charlatans of his day, one might assume:
Continuing in a decidedly sniffy tone, he wrote: "This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail."
He was even more conservative than the late-night TV charlatans of our day using custom versions of the Bible, like Jack Van Impe for instance. At last check Van Impe had moved his end of the world window up to 2018 or thereabouts. It's sort of like altering the hurricane forecast in the middle of the season--useless.

Hopefully Sir Issac will not be treated too harshly by the rabid anti-religionists for his beliefs, although it's doubtful he cares very much at this point. But it's interesting that even in death he's lambasting our modern prophets of doom.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Songs and Memphis

Somewhat of a theme, even if I drift a bit. Here's the Man in Black singing an Arlo Guthrie classic that mentions Memphis, if only to "change cars".



Ironically, the Illinois Central railroad is now owned by the Canadian National lines. Not right, but ya know, nobody complained. Just imagine had it been by the "National de Mexico". Corumba.

Memphis music means Elvis, but younger folks might think of Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis" (sometimes a prayer is definitely needed while moving around this city). But we all know Memphis is home to the blues so here's an old T-Bone Walker song performed by Slowhand..



Clapton at a Pavarotti concert. Now there's something you don't see everyday. Speaking of Pavarotti, have you seen this?

Here's one more, from the band who electrified the blues better than has any group to date, the Allman Brothers. The magic of You Tube brings us back to the Fillmore East in 1970 where we see the band in all their stoned glory:



Part two.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Serfs up

This comment demands comment:
The Republican whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who supports the bill, said: “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”

At some point, Mr. Lott said, Senate Republican leaders may try to rein in “younger guys who are huffing and puffing against the bill.”
What would he recommend, breaking out the thumbscrews? My comment--what a colossal jerk turd. Even if this was taken out of context (it was in the New York Times) it still represents the stink off the pile--one of those truthy moments that sometimes winds up in the public discourse, something apparently Lott doesn't believe in anymore. Hearts and minds, Senator.

His slip makes it painfully obvious why politicians have avoided the immigration issue all these years. Fewer are more divisive. My objection all along has been the flagrant disregard for the rule of law--we need order--but we also need the workers. They need to be collated into the ones who want citizenship and ones who just want to send some green back. The new law seems to address those requirements in some respects but falls flat on convincing anyone there will be an effective enforcement of its complicated provisions.

Bush even fantastically suggests we can use the proceeds of the fines to fund extra border enforcement. Surely he doesn't really think people will buy this magic pill. It's really more of a "here's your sign" moment because if law-breaking illegals believe their fines will lead to more chance of arrest why pay them? They already know there is safety in numbers.

It makes the most sense to kick this issue into the 2008 presidential debate. The politicos would rather eat dog poop, which is even more reason. In the meantime let them show us what a whole year of border enforcement looks like, just a crackdown on illegals who've committed crimes in this country would do fine (the term criminal illegal alien is an oxymoron). The funds could come from an emergency supplemental similar to the war funding since after all, this is an invasion.

Americans are not grotesquely stupid. We know this is a representative government. And we know that issues aren't always decided via majority rule. But this issue really is a no-brainer. If Congress wants our support on comprehensive reform they need to earn it.












All aboard!



MORE 6/15/07

GOP Chair Mel Martinez:
''If we get the same type of Hispanic support in the next election cycle that we did in the last, there is no way we could elect a Republican president,'' Martinez said.
And that's what comprehensive immigration reform is all about, Charlie Brown.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The wild world of W.W.

This blog isn't about golf and it's not about Memphis but there are no directives written in Sacrete dictating such, so at times we can veer. This is one of them.

Not to be outdone by State Senator Ophelia Ford, our lovely mayor, W.W. Herenton, held a press conference today and placed the city squarely into the Twilight Zone. If you choose to read the link you'll understand. This might be enough:
I'm angry. Maybe I'm just ugly. I'm not angry. You know I can be forceful, it's amazing. I'll say well, Keith, was I angry? I'm not angry. I'm just poker-faced. I'm sincere, but I'm not angry. I don't want anybody to say that I'm angry. Momma, I'm not angry. I'm talking to my mother. My mother's praying for me. I'm not angry, Momma. I'm disappointed, but I'm not angry.
Would you call that refreshingly nutty? Or just nuts?

The quick and dirty version is that he assembled the media and announced that a conspiracy is afoot to embarrass him using hookers (or something); that he's on to it; and he's subsequently going to take the story national by filing complaints with both the State and Federal governments and even demanded a Special Counsel be appointed to investigate. Hey, Fitz should be available. Come to think of it, maybe Starr would be more appropriate. He dropped Alberto Gonzales' name, apparently he doesn't actually read the newspaper he bashes.

Anyway, don't know how far this will go. Probably not much farther. Or further. Whatever. It's not like the mayor hasn't done stuff like this before. Often. But this time he's trying to take it national, which explains the post. Stay tuned to Comedy Central and Saturday Night Live for updates.

Slammer for Scooter

Judge Walton handed a Flag Day present to the left (no matter what they claim) by disallowing Lewis Libby's request to remain free on bond pending appeal. The judge ruled it was not likely his decision would be overturned, at least not likely enough to let Libby escape the big house while he's proven correct. No official word on whether a possible pardon entered into his thought process.

Most of the judge's reasonings seemed rational to this non-lawyer, such as the ruling on the Special Counsel's "inferior" status (ie, DoJ could have fired him at any time) and on Fitzgerald's mishandling of a national security-related matter. There needs to be some form of Special Counsel process to investigate high levels of government and Fitzgerald certainly remained within his initial charge, which was to investigate the leak of Plame's identity. The same cannot be said for Starr under the old IC statute.

But, from reading the transcripts available at FDL there wasn't much discussion on Andrea Mitchell--the judge simply said bringing her forward required "inference upon inference upon inference", in other words any admission she knew about Plame before Novak's column would amount to a mere trifle, since Russert's testimony was so compelling.

Ludicrous. Sure it would have called for an inference but if her testimony impeached Russert's, so what? His was the glue that held the case together. In the least her quibbling while trying to explain that comment on the stand might have provided reasonable doubt. The sad thing is we may never get to the bottom of what really happened in this whole sordid affair, which is undoubtedly connected to what certain members of the press knew about Wilson's gambit before Novak broke it open.

Que sera. The real games begin now. Bush will be faced with several options, none of them particularly pleasing to anyone (including inaction). Something I've not heard mentioned is that Libby is a virtual treasure trove of national security secrets (code word level no doubt) and insider knowledge of the administration, yet he faces confinement with ordinary crooks. Placing such a rich white guy with such knowledge in the general population seems rather imprudent, if he goes.

And that's part of my prediction--which is that he won't. Bush will commute the jail time pending appeal, perhaps invoking the list of luminaries at the bottom of Libby's bond appeal as precedent. That way they can't get him for completely overturning justice and after all, if Lynn Stewart can remain free on bond after being convicted of helping the Blind Sheikh, why shouldn't Scooter?

And don't even go to why Berger got community service or why a convicted husband killer here in Tennessee was sentenced to less time than Libby. Your head might explode.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Once upon a time

Check this video of Al Gore reading the riot act to George Bush 41 but spilling out all kinds of neocon "propaganda" in the process..



Via Breitbart TV.

This certainly proves that Saddam Hussein was the most influential person of the late 20th Century. When one combines all the wars, political machinations, Oil for Food scandal, GWoT, and ruined political careers it's really a no-brainer. In hindsight Ron Paul's blowback theory is showing up more vigorously in Iraq than anywhere else since we're now facing the result of strategies put in play years ago designed to keep regional power balanced by playing one tyrant against the others. As Gore so eloquently pointed out, these entities were/are dangerous.

It's interesting he said Saddam ordered the attack on the USS Stark, which perhaps factored into thinking of the Vincennes Captain when he mistakenly shot down Iran Air flight 655 a little over a year later. Yet more evidence the "war" has been raging for years whether we knew it or not.

The Hat tip goes to LA over at Political Yen-Yang, who sums up how such apparent flip-flopping has affected his opinion of the Democrats on foreign policy:
Let me just go on to say that this is but one reason, I have lost a lot of respect for the Democratic Party. This is why I criticize them for their hypocrisy. If there were just policy differences about things that didn't affect national security or morale of the service men and women that are engaged in combat right now, it'd be one thing. But when someone wants to politicize something now that he/she was politicizing then (on opposite sides of the issue), an issue that means life or death to people that are carrying out the orders of those that sent them there, I get a bit irritated.
Indeed, this is why many simply will not allow themselves to entrust national security to this party.

I misspoke the other day when saying Gore didn't have baggage on Iraq, he certainly does. A video like this will only elevate Barack Obama, who has none. Gore must be kicking himself about now for inventing the internet.

Libby's appeal for freedom pending appeal

Warning--for those who care nothing about this ongoing saga, which includes most of America, now might be the time to peel off. Consider this a public service message from your friends here at Fore Left!

Tomorrow will be decision day (again) in the Libby trial whereupon we'll find out whether Scooter has 45-60 days to start doing pushups in preparation for lockup or whether Bush gets to slide on the pardon question. Looking over Fitzgerald's package to Judge Walton arguing against bond it looks to me like Scooter is cooked on the first three bullet points. Of course, much more commentary is available at Maguire's place, including team Libby's reply to Fitzgerald.

I'm no lawyer but it looked to me like Fitzgerald easily de-constructed the defense's arguments on the memory expert, the national security substitutions, and the validity of the Special Counsel, but not so much with the Andrea Mitchell question. So let's stick with the latter.

Calling it "fantastical" to believe that her unambiguous statement on CNBC during an October 2003 interview could actually sway the case is like saying that images of a landing flying saucer would not sway public opinion on little green men. Here's her moment in history, preserved on the tubes:
ALAN MURRAY (co-host): And the second question is: 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. But frankly I wasn't aware of her actual role at the CIA and the fact that she had a covert role involving weapons of mass destruction, not until Bob Novak wrote it
.
Pretty straightforward to me, but Fitzgerald fantastically thinks she adequately covered her tracks by simply refuting herself a number of times, as if the follow-up comments somehow excuse the first one. Such a thing is exactly why Libby is sitting in the dock awaiting prison, isn't it?

Had Mitchell said anything other than "her actual role at the CIA" prudence might allow for a pass, but saying it the way she did leaves no doubt she knew Plame worked at Langley. Period. This story should not be allowed to slip into the ether without hearing from both her and David Gregory, whom Ari Fleischer testified he told about Plame several days before Libby's conversation with Russert.

Recall Tim Terrific testified that since Mitchell and Gregory worked for him and their group was fairly tight such a scoop would have been shared. But this is what Mr. Fitzmas said:
As in all of these cases, allowing the defense to call Ms. Mitchell posed the unacceptable risk that the jury would improperly consider Ms. Mitchell’s October 3, 2003 statement for its truth.
Is this one of those things that only makes sense to lawyers? Seriously folks, what good is a jury if cannot decide whether a statement on television pertinent to the defendant is truthful? Remember, they played them several other interviews at trial.

I have no answer, but since we occasionally peddle fantastical tales here as well let's end with one. Most agree that NBC has tilted left in the past few years, rivaling Fox in partisanship. Don Imus was an NBC employee. He interviewed Andrea Mitchell on November 10, 2005 and quizzed her hard about her CNBC interview, and she reportedly set a record for squirming. Unfortunately that interview is hard to find on either video or audio, and Don Imus was fired for doing something he was hired to do. Weird, wild stuff.

Meanwhile, NBC News has placed a cone of silence over David Gregory. As Maguire has repeatedly pointed out, we've not heard him answer the question on the Fleischer allegation to date. We've also not heard Walter Pincus explain why Bob Woodward was lying when he testified under oath he told him about Plame in June 2003, nor why Judith Miller had Wilson's name in her day planner before she talked to Libby. Yet Scooter is the only one going to jail for lying. Perhaps Bush should take this advice.

Why does it matter? What motive does NBC have for lying? It's simple. If it could be proved that Russert knew about Plame before Novak's column it would instantly cut NBC News' credibility to ribbons and several luminaries might lose their jobs.

But I'm willing to go deeper into the fantastical tales area. It's worth reading Peter Lance's terrorism timeline if nothing else for the jabs he throws at Patrick Fitzgerald during his time at the Southern District of New York. In those days he was a terrorism prosecutor going after cases like Operation Bojinka and the Day of Terror plot on New York City. He sent Ramzi Yousef to the supermax and played tiddlywinks with Islamic double agent Ali Mohammed. Lance's work can't be fully accepted since for some reason he's decided to airbrush Iraq out all things terror but if he's correct about Fitzgerald's need to atone for 9/11, well.

The American Thinker noted that Fitzgerald was a close friend of James Comey, who selected him for the SC. Comey was recently elevated to star status when he testified to Waxman about John Ashcroft's sick bed experience. Anyone who can't see the divisions within the bureaucracy on matters of terrorism is blind, but at the same time the general public is blind as to the players and teams. A man should not be sent to prison to settle scores or cover butts.

MORE 6/13/07

Here's an excerpt from team Libby's rebuttal to Fitzgerald:
As the Government reads Johnson, the DC Circuit intended to adopt a broad rule of law forbidding a party - any party - from calling and impeaching a witness he knows will disavow a prior inconsistent statement.

This simply makes no sense. Cross-examination would swiftly cease to be "the greatest engine for the discovery of truth ever invented" if criminal defendants were forbidden to challenge a witness's lawyer's claim that the witness testimony will be "X" or "not X".
In other words, this man is on trial for his freedom based largely on a he said, he said conversation witnessed by no one. For the government to say that possible confirmation from Ms. Mitchell that the close-knit NBC News team already knew Plame worked for CIA was a non-factor is patently absurd and certainly could be grounds for reversal on appeal.

Clearly the government viewed calling Mitchell as a defense stunt--take a misquote from a TV show and use it to prejudice the jury. But just consider how powerful her testimony could have been for Fitzgerald had she reached the stand and confidently explained her gaffe and the jury believed her--game, set, match.

Some will say that last possibility is why the defense declined a "test run" outside purview of the jury. Maybe, but maybe they knew it was a lost cause even if she was lying and therefore banning her testimony was more useful as an instrument for appeal than anything else. We will see.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bush's watch caper

By now you've heard about the stolen watch that wasn't. Wonder who first saw this and started the ball rolling? Was it perhaps some of those feral beasts in the UK Tony was talking about?

My off-the-bat conspiratorial guess was that someone on the left noticed it and spread it around with the intent of changing the storyline from "European crowd swarms love on Bush" to "Eurotrash steals Bush's watch". Maybe phase II was to claim Bush spiked the crowd by announcing he was handing out free watches.

But there's a problem with that. Drawing attention to the pilfered watch forces people to view the video of Bush being mobbed and adored, which is probably why leftistan here in America has seemingly yawned and moved along. Besides, playing the story requires explaining how such an inconvenient truth could possibly occur in light of our lousy world image. This surely had to hurt:
Albania issued three postage stamps with Bush's picture and the Statue of Liberty, renamed a street in front of parliament in his honor, awarded him the highest National Flag medal, and the Fushe Kruje town council declared him an honored citizen.
So, whodunit? Snow said the prez just put it in his pocket, but it clearly seemed to be there one minute and gone the next, and he looked down twice. Did the security detail pick it up and give it to the president, who THEN put it in his pocket? I smell a coverup! Someone ring the bell and alert Waxman so he can warm up the Waxmobile.

There's cause for alarm if the White House is bluffing and the timepiece later shows up on eBay. After all, this was a presidential watch--how do we know it didn't contain the secret nookular launch codes or perhaps some form of sophisticated messaging system between him and Rove, Halliburton, or special agent Hilton? Shuddering. Or perhaps an even more sinister communications device relaying orders from the real doctor evil behind Bushco, Inc.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Powell indoctrination

Think Progress and their horntooters over at HuffPo are heralding Colin Powell's appearance on Sunday's Meet the Press as some kind of vindication of leftist ideology:
This morning on NBC’s Meet the Press, Gen. Colin Powell strongly condemned the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, calling it “a major problem for America’s perception” and charging, “if it was up to me, I would close Guantanamo — not tomorrow, this afternoon.”
He'd close it because he thinks it's a drag on our worldwide image not necessarily because he believes people are locked up unjustly--he'd move the terrorists to US prisons. But that's hardly the whole story. Think Progress parsed the transcript and ignored many goodies, such as this one:
GEN. POWELL: We went to war on the basis that we have a terrible regime and what makes—it’s been terrible forever. What makes it so terrible now, in the aftermath of 9/11, is that they had demonstrated that they will use these weapons. They’ve used them against their own people, they’ve used them against the enemy. They had them at the time of the first Gulf war when I was chairman. And the intelligence community said and had every reason to believe that they not only had the capability of having them again, but they have stockpiles.
In other words, the General may be cool but he's not ready to join the Democrats in their 'Bush lied' club quite yet. Like Hillary:
She says Bush misled Congress
And Joe Biden:
"We were misled and we were, in the case of Mr. Cheney, lied to.
..Chris Dodd:
Our disagreement with the President and his administration is that we believed we were misled in 2002 about the rationale for going to war in Iraq.
Hardly worth mentioning except for the entertainment value, Kucinich not only believes Bush misled about Iraq but blew the towers to get there. As to Johnny Edwards, well in 2003:
So did I get misled? No. I didn’t get misled.
But in 2007:
Edwards says Bush and his policymakers misled the country about whether Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction
Under that backdrop Powell's interview represented a series of thrown hand grenades, and not only for the candidates:
GEN. POWELL: I spent five days out at the CIA going over every single piece of information that was going to be in my presentation. There were a lot of other pieces of information that different people would have wanted me to use and it was all rejected. Everything in that statement was blessed by the director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet; his deputy, John McLaughlin; and all of their senior officials. They believed it, too. George has said he believed it.
That seems to be just as much an indictment against the CIA as anyone else. Surely Tim Russert was disappointed he couldn't get the General to jump on the "I was misled" train rather than saying the CIA believed the aluminum tubes were centrifuge material and making it seem pretty clear that Bush' case for war was the American government's case for war. Powell is no Bush sycophant as evidenced by the Think Progress excerpt so if he's a straight shooter on GTMO he should be thought no differently on the war. Here's one more, for good measure:
He (the Butcher) was continuing to hope that he could escape the boundaries of the UN sanctions and get back to making these kinds of weapons. And if you believe otherwise, I think that would be a naive belief.
The General is now advising Barack Obama on foreign policy, which is quite interesting since the Illinois Senator is carrying virtually no Iraq baggage. Believing Powell on the pre-war intelligence paints Obama's opponents as rank liars on the war, something he could possibly exploit. But there's someone else out there looming whose hands are clean on Iraq and who also seems to have a rock-star following. And he's got that little environmental thing going.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A real town hall meeting

The Anchoress continues to be one of the finest blogs on the web. For example:
When I reached the checkout, I asked the cashier if the a/c was broken. “No,” she informed me. “We keep the a/c temperature up because of global warming. Doing our part to save the planet!”

A male voice groused, rather loudly, “Well, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!
You simply must read about the exchange. An impromptu town hall meeting such as this, where nobody is swayed by the thoughts of being in print or on TV, probably tells us more about America than anything cable news or Katie Couric could ever muster. Yes, the Gorebot was mocked, but notice how Bush was both bashed and praised at the same time.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Saving the party?

Why is Bush so obstinate to pass this immigration bill despite such a large vocal opposition? Perhaps we should look to Rove for the answer. He'd never be in favor of something that could cripple the long-term prospects of the Republican Party, not a chance. That should be a signal. Rove is thinking long-term, and without Hispanics there is no long-term for Republicans.

But A.C., if we legalize illegals they will vote Democrat anyway. Not necessarily. There are enough Hispanics with deep enough religious roots who'll eventually be turned off by the anything-goes Democrats unless they feel the conservatives pose a greater threat as a pack of Mexican hating xenophobes. Maybe that's why el-Diablo is out there calling for Reid to resuscitate the bill.

Well, not gonna solve it tonight, for sure. Since it's Saturday how about some appropriately themed music to go along with the post? Here's Santana with Stevie Ray Vaughn, Los Lobos and Greg Rollie on vocals. It's pretty raw (just like this issue) but it's a treat to hear Rollie's vocals with Carlos Santana's melodic guitar, even for just a little bit.



Hasta luego.

MORE 6/10/07

NIMBYs strike out against a virtual fence. This shoots a hole in the enforcement-first position of some (including me) because any such plan depends greatly on stopping illegal entry at the border, otherwise deported illegals will just come back. No mitigation plan, including targeting employers or sanctuary cities, will work if people along the border are acting to sabotage the plan.

Terrorist civil rights

Nicely timed to coincide with Bush's trip to the G8 a Swiss investigator named Dick Marty has broken a story about the CIA prisons in eastern Europe, alleging criminality.

The CIA shot back in defense, no big surprise there. As far as we know there was no former Ambassador involved in this one.

Rendition or secret prison stories are common but almost all of them display a lack of background on the program, for obvious reasons I think. Those who wish to understand the issue (including the MSM) need to take a minute and and read this interview conducted by Der Speigel with Michael Scheuer, the father of rendition who developed it at the behest of Bill Clinton in the mid 90s:
Who invented the "extraordinary renditions" system?

Michael Scheuer: President Clinton, his security counsellor Sandy Berger and his terrorism counsellor Richard Clarke instructed the CIA in autumn 1995 to destroy Al-Qaida. We asked the president what we should do with the arrested persons? Clinton replied that this was our problem. The CIA indicated that they are not jailors. It was then suggested we find any solution whatsoever to this problem. And this is what we did, we established a procedure and I myself was part of this working group. We concentrated on those members of Al-Qaida who were wanted by the police in their respective countries of origin or those who had already been convicted during their absence.
But it gets better:
Why would countries wish to cooperate with you on their own territory? They could have done all the work themselves?

Michael Scheuer: They thought that only the USA was under threat. And that they would only become the target of terrorist attacks once they start arresting suspects. If we had not started the process, nobody would have done it
.
Was the New York Times or Washington Post outraged back in the day? I don't recall it.

The question goes to the heart of liberal democracy in the age of mass-casualty attacks and is no more solved today than 9/12, ie, do we throw caution to the wind and deny terrorists the moral victory of subverting our justice system while risking that such actions might enable them to pull off pending attacks on our cities, killing thousands?

Most detractors would unhesitatingly answer "yes", pointing out that such a pathway is a paved road to Hell. That is until the target city becomes their own, whereupon the answer might produce a bit more reflection. All politics is local, as they say.

It's tough. I really don't have the answer. But I'm certain that criminalizing or politicizing such things is not helpful. It's more than a little irritating when certain Europeans--ones who've heavily benefited from the blood of American soldiers in ridding their Continent from tyranny--act this way.

A change of Pace

The Bush administration has decided not to renominate General Peter Pace for another term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to Defense Sec Gates he'd initially decided to give him the nod but the Democrats changed his mind, some of whom had promised him a heavy round of hindsight artillery fire during the General's confirmation hearings, just in time for the 2008 election season.

Obviously Harry, Nancy and the gang would have taken us on a whirlwind tour of all the war mistakes during Pace's terms and they probably would have been successful. The show could have even included a Christian-bash due to Pace's remark that Don Rummy was "inspired by God" in his daily pursuits of the war. Crusader! There's also a recent letter in support of leniency for Scooter Libby, which would have surely helped create a near perfect storm of leftist boilerplate bashing.

But there's potentially more, sort of on the gossipy side. When Bob Woodward was hawking his most recent Bush book "State of Denial" on the talk show circuit he mentioned offhand that Pace told him he still believes Saddam was somehow involved in 9/11--the holy grail of liberal scoff. While this utterance is hard to find on the web Woodward could have always regurgitated it back up at some critical moment. Considering all the above it's a PR battle even Reagan would lose.

So, despite whether Peter Pace is a quality leader, a patriot, or even just an all around good guy his level of honesty mixed with the politics of war eventually produced a sort of new level of the Peter Principle, one without the incompetence. Showing once again the real war is the one going on in DC.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A good walk spoiled

New York Times

Golf, that is. The title phrase was coined by Mark Twain back when clubs were made from hickory sticks and balls from something called gutta percha, which is a fish. Oh, for those stumbling on this site for the first time Fore Left is NOT a golf blog. Disregard the fact there's a picture of a famous golfer in the masthead, the title is a play on words based on golf-speak. The site is really about Paris Hilton.

I am a golfer, at least I carry a bag of clubs and make motions towards hitting the ball. It's actually an enjoyable pastime. I usually walk whenever we're not in the middle of Memphis summer because let's face it--there has to be an exercise component somehow.

That brings me round to point. The PGA Tour is making a stop in Memphis this week and, since those guys are good and I was fortunate enough to locate a few spare hours, I headed the jalopy out to the TPC Southwind golf course to watch the action. By the way, the Golf Channel will broadcast the event this evening so you can look for me on the tube. I'm the one wearing the hat.

Golf tournaments are unlike any other sport. You can get real close to the players, ridiculously close actually, which allows you to see their deft talent and touch. They play a game I'm not familiar with, matter of fact.

But many spectators walk around half paranoid of speaking too loudly lest a pro be disrupted during his swing and send his much tougher-looking caddie over to verbally abuse them. Yet they serve alcohol! Baseball crowds are better.

There's also an air of upper crusty self-importance at such events. I know I had it. But seriously, stand in one spot long enough and you'll hear people bragging up a storm. As a younger man I once tried that stunt at a bar with friends to impress the women but all we did was provide entertainment. These people are actually rich.

A few notable pros held their noses and came to play such as Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh and John Daly. No Tiger Woods. Isn't it time to call him out on this snubbing? He's never come to Memphis despite our large percentage of persons of color, many of whom have taken up the sport in his name. You'd think he could find time.

Towards the end of the day I witnessed a pro actually throw a club. That was cool. He hit a ball in the water and tossed his iron end over end across the fairway. Funny, a few years ago I saw another pro break an iron over his knee on that very same hole. It's a true gentleman's game, though.

The scores were horrible today partly because Memphis has become part of the new great southeastern desert due to Bush's failure to adopt Kyoto. Winds to 35 mph and temperatures well into the 90s made the course hot and hard. Now there's some sexy golf talk. Tomorrow it might rain as it usually does during tournament week, which will make the scores much better.

And that's the dichotomy of golf--you hit down to make it go up, you hit easier to make it go farther, and you call penalties on yourself. It's frustration interrupted by an occasional miracle in a dog chasing its tail pursuit of excellence. Maybe that's what keeps some of us stumbling back.