Thursday, January 31, 2008

Democrat debate

It's like the Academy Awards with all the stars in the crowd trying to decide which liberal is best. OK, here goes..

On illegal immigration.. blah, blah, amnesty, Repubs were mean-spirited, drivers licenses...ah hell, let's just cut to the chase..

Iraq. Hillary continued her astronomically dumb meme "if I'd known then what I know now"--a backhanded way of saying Bush lied to her. It's something she's been getting away with for many months but Wolf finally called her on it, shocker, which produced the only seminal moment of the debate. She immediately called up the best friend of politicians in trouble--the filibuster--and produced one even God couldn't follow, throwing in a few Bushitler references for good measure. Mission accomplished?

Negatory. Wolf called her on that, too, going nuclear with the Bill Maher question, "were you naive and fooled by Bush?". Wow. Cat calls from the Hollywood elite in the crowd! I thought I heard a guy say, "c'mon Wolf, stop trying to get accountability, geez" but I'm not sure. Anyway, that finally elicited a more humanly genuine reply, acknowledging that Saddam was indeed a dangerous dude as her husband's administration constantly reminded us, as did she. A rather refreshing moment for CNN.

But the stunning thing was the shallow withdrawal from both candidates over timetables for redeployment. For the first time we heard someone mention the 100,000 American contractors working in Iraq and the local citizens who've put everything on the line to help us, and how a rapid retreat might affect them. Sounds like some change might already be in the wind, eh?

Code Pink to face Marines

And no, this isn't from Scrappleface or the Onion:
BERKELEY — Hey-hey, ho-ho, the Marines in Berkeley have got to go.

That's the message from the Berkeley City Council, which voted 8-1 to tell the U.S. Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

In a separate item, the council voted 8-1 to give Code Pink a designated parking space in front of the recruiting station once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a week from noon to 4 p.m.
Well, we knew it was bad out there, but who knew it was this bad? Shameful and idiotic goes without saying. Other than the thought of a possible faceoff between the Marines and these pink dingbats the only redeeming part was the reaction of a local business owner, who:
said Wednesday the elderly Code Pink protesters are aggressive, take up parking spaces, block the sidewalk with their yoga moves, smoke in the doorways, and are noisy. "Most of the people around here think they're a joke," the woman said.
Proving that regular people who daily slave away at their businesses trying to earn the American dream don't mean a damn thing to those council nutballs. Maybe they were trying to compete with the hippies in Vermont who recently voted to arrest Cheney and Bush as to which group could stray the furthest from their jurisdiction.

Notice the woman businessperson quoted above didn't give her name. Who can blame her? She's afraid she'll be next. Maybe over some global warming infraction or for eating too many Krispy Kremes.

The master at work

Here's Bill Clinton responding to, and making mincemeat out of a 9/11 truther. Say what you will about him, but there's simply no politician alive who works a room any better.

This begs a question--is there an 'inside job wing' of the Democrat Party? If so, where are they aligned? Forget Hillary, and Barack is on record as saying he'd unilaterally attack Pakistan to get bin Laden. What about Edwards? He had heavy support from the far left blogosphere (remember Amanda Marcotte) and never seemed to attract many truther disruptions at his speeches.

Certainly this video taken on 9/11 isn't all the nutjobs had on Edwards (which really isn't anything). Maybe this explains their silence. Or maybe this. Or perhaps they just considered him an insignificant target. Bottom line, if there were any Democrat truthers loosely aligned with Edwards they are now homeless. And if the past is a guide they'll become more and more belligerent towards Hillary.

Not sure if Bill was thinking of this when he pulled his magic, although let's not overlook the somewhat self-serving aspect of such a smackback. After all, if 9/11 was an inside job then he's not only a proven liar, but was a party to it. Gotta cover every angle. But bravo, regardless. Encore, as well.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

GOP debate thread

This could be an interesting event depending on the amount of questions they direct at Huckabee and Paul. We all know Huck plays these things well with his quick wit, while Paul is a nut just waiting to crack if they'd only give him the floor for more than a minute or two.

An aside--I caught a few minutes of Rush's show today (he seemed to be backtracking and defensive with a few guests who thought he had given up) but the bigger surprise was a Ron Paul commercial in one of his breaks. Interesting.

HERE GOES NOTHING

Well, got in 30 minutes late (life beckons, sometimes). Already it's apparent that Paul was incorrectly seated next to McCain, who might end up throttling him by the end of the proceedings..

POPULIST PUNISHER

Mac wants to punish people on Wall Street for the sub-prime crisis. What does that mean, exactly?

SPENDING

Mac hearkened back to his old bailiwick, cutting spending, yet he's been in Congress about 400 years and has never seen any spending cut significantly. How does he figure to do it?

BORDER/IMMIGRATION

Huck is seemingly equivocating on this, talking about a fence, then being compassionate, then dignity, then enforcement. Mitt was nailed on a comment he made about deporting people within 90 days, to which he dropped back to talking points. His plan is rather grandiose, though, using arbitrary numbers that could produce chaos. Then he deflects by nailing McAmnesty's Z visa proposal. And he says it all with a smile! Mac says the American people didn't trust them with his bill, yet he's got open borders Juan on his advisory team.

GOP DEMISE, BUSH'S FAULT?

Mitt--the GOP has gone down, but Bush has kept us safe and made the right statement on winning in Iraq and made a pitch to Reagan Republicans.

IRAQ

Mitt--hit a double on the softball lobbed to him about the timetable charge because he idled on too long. McCain's reply? Scorched earth. Of course Mitt's a liar (well, he didn't say liar). But none of this really amounts to a hill of beans.

RON! PAUL!

At least he nailed the "hill of beans" exchange for what it was. But now he's prattling into his stock Democrat talking points which include nothing about long-term consequences of leaving. Which were handled by Huck. Where have we seen this before?

PUTEY POOT

Mitt just exposed the four strategies for world domination in play right now that included Russia, Chiner, AQ and us. Interesting. Not sure I've heard anyone say that aloud before. Mac then chimed in and belted him with the timetable thing again, which caused Mitt to talk to himself. McCain's language, body language and eye movements are all reflective of a heavyweight fighter going for the knockout.

THE END OF THE TABLE

Paul just nailed the fact that presidents are (not) CIC of the economy or people--people should be free. Then he went right back into his Democrat talking points. Huck is rambling too long, groping for time. He was asked about his qualifications as CIC and his answer was something about being a governor.

THE BIG R ENDORSEMENT

Would Reagan love the candidates? Mitt says yes. I can predict Paul's response--"Reagan would never have gone to Iraq, he bailed out of Lebanon". I posting this now..

Surprise, he talked about the gold standard instead. Huck answered correctly, but geez, I sure miss some of Fred Thompson's short quick answers. All these guys are ramblers. And none of them are really stand-out impressive. McCain didn't do any damage to himself and may have done some to Mitt. Terminator endorses Mac. This may be over, folks.

Worst headline of the day award

Goes to Matt Drudge for headlining this story as follows:
Deputy Uses Taser on Fleeing Bicyclist; riding at night without proper lighting...
Pretty sensational. Most readers might get the mental image of some poor nerdy guy being harassed for a light out on his bicycle then tased for good measure.

Here's how the police described the event:
After a half-block chase and several warnings from Smith that he would use the Taser, he did... He added that deputies don't deploy Tasers against subjects who are driving or riding a bike because of the risk factor.
So he wasn't on the bike when they blasted him, he was on foot running. That's not all:
Rivera was transported to Glenn Medical Center, where he was cleared for booking into the Glenn County Jail on suspicion of resisting arrest, riding a bicycle without proper lighting, riding under the influence of alcohol and use of false citizenship/government documents.
In other words, he was most likely an intoxicated illegal alien who ran from police when they tried to stop him over a minor infraction that would have at most produced a ticket and in the least, a warning.

The question can be asked about why police are stopping people for bicycle infractions. Maybe they stopped him because they suspected he was drunk, or an illegal, but to suggest via headline that the man was tased for not having a working headlight is ridiculous. He was tased for running from the police.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Florida primary

Random thoughts...

If at some point the Democrat Party allows delegates from punished states of Florida and Michigan to count towards the nomination will there be a flying uproar? I don't consider myself an expert by any means.

For example, if the race is decided at the convention and Barack is chosen, how will Hillary's people react to having the Florida delegates disallowed? Will sunshine state voters scream about being disenfranchised? And finally, how many people on the street really understand what in the world is going on (or care)?

Just wondering.

_____

As to the GOP side, so long Rudy. Who could have guessed back in September that both him and Thompson would be out before Super Tuesday? All in all, looks like a big night for the Democrats.

_____

If Johnny Mac goes on to win the nomination--and he's got a flying start--can we officially say that Saddam Hussein killed Reagan conservatism? Had Bush not gone after him or had the invasion ended as smoothly as Rummy thought the blowback wouldn't have been nearly as volcanic. Before Iraq he was still riding a hero wave, leading the charge against bin Laden with a successful campaign in Afghanistan and tax cuts for all. In the end only Bush knows if it was worth it or not.

That was then, this is now

Consider this yet another look back at the history of how the USA once dealt with the likes of Usama bin Laden, al Qaeda, Iran and Saddam back during the sweetness and light decade known as the 90s. If you're tired of it, skip it--no offense taken.

But some of us will never let it go, especially while current day media outlets still pump out blatant nonsense while presidential candidates fire off revisionist rhetoric with the speed of a toy cap gun.

The recent Bush lied "study" comes to mind, issued via the MSM without the slightest bit of fact-checking that even a 12-year-old could have done in between IM posts. It's a sort of advocacy journalism. For those who have forgotten, here's what real journalism looks like, where the reporter actually takes a press release and checks the facts. Rosett's piece will likely be rewarded with plenty of dust, just like her reports about the UN's Benan Sevan. American minds are largely made up and locked down.

A Rosset-like diligence could have been employed by the rest of the media in regards to the events leading up to 9/11 but most have preferred to let Dubya stew in his own pot. Clinton's reaction when Chris Wallace tried to broach the subject might have served as a warning in that regard but chances are good it was a path many didn't want to revisit anyway. They too had a history. That tag doesn't apply to Jack Cashill.

Many might see him as a conspiracist, nevertheless his work provides examples of the carelessness of certain officials in their retelling of the terrorism narrative. One such figure is former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, who is now advising the Obama team on national security matters [team Obama is also being advised by former Clintonites Greg Craig and Anthony Lake, while team Hillary has Sandy Berger].

Additionally, Cashill reminds us of several inconvenient facts, one of which was included in the Clinton administration's 1998 indictment of Usama bin Laden:
In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.
Interestingly, the Justice Department press release at the time only used the Iranian reference of that paragraph. But notice also what was said about Hizballah and bin Laden, a synergy now completely ignored. Also note that Patrick Fitzgerald was one of the lead prosecutors. It's a small world.

Perhaps the question voters should ask is this--why would any serious candidate take advice from experts who failed miserably during the 90s? Maybe it's because those failures are now viewed as successes from a political perspective, which is solid gold to a politician. Fine for them, but we're talking about a Commander-in-Chief here. Caveat emptor, as the smart people say.

UPDATE 1/29/08

Oops. This ground has been plowed pretty thoroughly before, but in the interest of fairness and accuracy the above indictment against bin Laden was 'superceded' in Novemeber 1998. Fitz claimed the information received from a captured AQ operative suddenly couldn't be corroborated anymore (coincidentally after the al-Shifa attack had come and gone) but notice they left ties to Hizballah and Iran intact. There were many more examples of the government linking the two after that indictment correction, including Clarke's famous "Boogie to Baghdad" comment in 1999 and the ABC report that same year.

The point was that back in those days it wasn't politically incorrect to link bin Laden to a state. Somehow after 9/11 it became verboten and the same people willing to formerly make those links now laugh at them. And they are advising the candidates.

Attrition politics

Crisp, efficient:



Despite Mitt's plastic appearance, his apparent lack of street cred, and his fondness for health care mandates he's certainly on the right side of the various issues McCain has championed with Democrats through the years. These issues were outright show-stoppers for the Fredhead conservatives but it remains to be seen whether they'll be roadblocks for the rest.

Indeed, GOP voters will soon be deciding the direction of the party. Fred tried to make this point on his way out. Huck and McCain represent the new direction--more liberal and populist--while Rudy and Mitt are the past. Some say only the former can beat the Democrats this fall. Maybe, but without principles, what's left? If we end up with a virtual Democrat instead of a real one, that hardly sounds like victory.

There's an old saying in politics that never goes out of style--"people vote their pocketbooks". We all know who this favors. Let's see if it still applies.


ht Hot Air.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Plame's cover blown in 2001?

The London Times continued their series on nuclear proliferation over the weekend, and came up with this story:
But she said: “He [the State Department official] found out about the arrangement . . . and he contacted one of the foreign targets and said . . . you need to stay away from Brewster Jennings because they are a cover for the government.

“The target . . . immediately followed up by calling several people to warn them about Brewster Jennings.

“At least one of them was at the ATC. This person also called an ISI person to warn them.”.
Many actually thought her cover was blown by Aldrich Ames. The puzzling thing to many Plame watchers was her assignment to Langley, which suggested she wasn't covert, ie, when the CIA is trying to set her up as a consultant with a dummy company the last thing they'd want is her driving in the front gate of Spy Central every morning (how many 'evasive measures' are there with only one bridge over the Potomac in that vicinity?).

As to Sibel Edmonds, she's probably the premier whistleblower in the government right now yet hasn't been able to get much traction on her stories. They seem to be fine with letting her twist in the breeze, otherwise Waxman would have rolled out the red carpet to his kangaroo court months ago.

Exactly what this says about the entire Plame thing is a bit fuzzy. Valerie was asked for comment but she can't comment per CIA rules. Langley would not have necessarily known that Mr. RSDG -- Mr. Rogue State Dept Guy -- had blown her cover anyway. But RSDG would have been fully aware when his agency attended the meeting at CIA HQ where Plame introduced Joe Wilson into the mix on Niger. Since Wilson and RSDG were supposedly acquaintances from their days working the Middle East, it certainly sets up an interesting novel plot, if nothing else.

According to the Times the FBI does have files relating to Edmonds' allegations. Hey, maybe Hillary will release them one day along with the JFK files, Roswell files, and her own Clinton Library files!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Political haze

It was pretty clear the Clintons were trying to divide the vote in South Carolina. While novices such as myself could see something brewing early on, pros like Dick Morris understood from the root level and predicted things with unusual clarity. His former boss didn't waste any time making him prophet-like by throwing an inside slider at Barack's shin by subtly comparing him to Jesse Jackson. Does anyone not see their shamefully transparent strategy? Well, yes.

Some of us saw Bill Clinton for what he was during his first national TV appearance in New Hampshire in 1991. Others had hopes for the new JFK, and reality has taken a bit longer to sink in:
It made me wonder: Were the conservatives right about Bill Clinton all along? Maybe not right to set up a perjury trap so they could impeach him, but right about the Clintons' essential nature?
Pardon me, but does a bear take a dump in the woods? As Mr. Allahpundit ruefully asked, can people actually be this deluded? Sure. Many accuse those of us who've defended Bush of the same infraction. And we're guilty to some degree, at least to the point of looking the other way about bad things while explaining how the good outweighs the bad. Kool Aid any way you er, slice it.

But for heaven's sake there are some absolutes in this world! While all politicians are pretty much sleazy there are different levels of sleazeball. The left finally has a candidate who comes closer to the JFK vision than do the Clintons, which has allowed a purifying ray of sunshine to creep into the room. We can only wonder if it'll kill the vampires.

If it does, they'll likely carry on as zombies anyway. The Clintons are nothing without their power pursuit, so chances are we've not seen the last maneuver by a long shot. Bill is being used as a handy headline generator while Hillary lays low, all the while knowing she can reign him in when things get rough, explaining his actions as those of an overzealous husband lovingly supporting his wife. Some will still buy it, but not as many as before. Only time will tell if the coming smears can get the rest of the horses back in the barn. And you just know a big one is coming.

MORE 1/27/08

Yet another theory--Hillary was leading in many of the South Carolina polls until Iowa, then began to precipitously fall, eventually being overtaken by Obama by a healthy margin come primary day. How to spin? The Clinton machine knows the media well--they knew MSM reporters would simply herald an Obama victory as a momentum shifter without mentioning the voter demographics. The Clintons didn't want the public to miss the racial breakdown, hence, they began to play the race card to get people's attention on that fact.

Under this theory the Clintons come out slightly less slimy than Morris's grand racial division plan, simply trying anything possible to positively spin a Hillary loss to keep Barack's Mo in check.

OH, BOB...HE LOVES ME 1/29/08

The rotten, two-timing b*stard really loves me.

As predicted.

Piro and Saddam

Just got finished reading Ron Kessler's book detailing FBI agent George Piro's debriefing adventure with Saddam. Piro will be on 60 Minutes Sunday to tell his tale. To balance the show, here are some highlights from the book regarding Saddam's views on several topics, some of which might not make the program:

Women.. Saddam fashioned himself the ladies man and gave plenty of advice. "American women are independent".

Literary.. Saddam fashioned himself quite the writer. Piro asked him about one of his novels, "Zabibah and the King" but not about "Get Out, You Damned One", described as follows several years ago:
Abdel Amir said "Get Out, Damned One" describes an Arab leading an army that invades the land of the enemy and topples one of their monumental towers, an apparent reference to the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York by Islamic militants of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.
Saddam also wrote poetry. He also penned two rambling open letters to the American public after 9/11, now all but forgotten. We'll see if Piro says anything about their meaning. They weren't mentioned in the book.

Food.. we've heard about the Doritos, but Saddam didn't think military coffee was strong enough so Piro let him brew his own using three or four scoops of Folgers instant per cup, proving he was diabolical.

Palestinian cause.. Saddam bragged he was the only Arab leader who never wavered, begging the question as to whether the issue could ever have been solved with him in power.

The Mother of all battles.. he considered the Gulf War still ongoing, something American liberals were never able to comprehend.

Legacy.. his ego prevented him from accepting exile offers. That's believable based on what we know of the man. It could also signify his belief in a final solution of some sort.


The obvious question is whether Saddam was telling the truth and if so, why did he start with Piro? Let's assume for a moment Piro himself isn't lying (his accounts were filed on standard FBI 302 forms and sent back to Washington). Saddam might come clean if he believed there were no tomorrows. But was he resigned to defeat? We know his legacy was important to him.

During the time he was talking with Piro he was also busy going to trial. Throughout the entire affair he kept trying to cause disruptions, most likely with the hope they'd move everything outside the country. The death of several of his defense lawyers, blamed on radical Shias, could have easily also been done by his own Baathist thugs to make things look more unstable. Ramsey Clark was likely there to get the proceedings moved to the Hague, where he might survive.

All of this suggests Saddam was keeping hope alive. According to Said Arburish, Saddam was a survivor and indeed, there were occasional stories about possible deals between the US and Saddam if he'd wave his hand and end the insurgency.

Therefore it seems possible Saddam might not have been brutally honest with Piro. Keep in mind he believed he was talking to a top level security director from the US government (why would they send anybody less) when in fact Piro was just an agent who spoke good Arabic. But at this point you might ask, why would he lie about a lie if he thought he might survive? After all, he admitted to desiring a ramp-up of the program after the sanctions were dropped.

Well, his "WMD was only a bluff" confession conveniently removed some things from the table, such as the notion that he'd violated the UN resolutions (which could come in handy should the trial ever be moved to the Hague) and it also made Bush look like a fool for using WMD as a casus belli. If the WMDs were moved, it maintained their secrecy. Iraqi Air Force general Georges Sada was absolutely adamant that fellow IAF pilots flew WMD materials to Syria in 2002 under the cover of flood relief. Had Saddam ordered that operation it wouldn't have make sense to tell Piro, but apparently he never asked.

There were also the various and sundry chemically-tipped shells found lying around the countryside. Additionally, the WMD bluff negated the need to ask about the Hussein Kamel caper in 1995 or exactly what was destroyed by Operation Desert Fox in 1998.

So we'll have to wait and see what Mr. Piro says. Conservatives are heralding this story as proof that indeed "Saddam lied, people died" but that doesn't remove the Bush lied part, especially since spooks like Tyler Drumheller are still out peddling their wares about Naji Sabri. Ironically, Piro's interviews seem to bolster the notion we had a mole in Saddam's inner circle since the Butcher claimed he was actually at Dora Farms when the pre-invasion surprise attack came, but 'survived'.

TRUTH OR LIES 1/28/08

During the interview Piro recounts the only time Saddam showed real dictator-like anger--when he described what "really" led to the invasion of Kuwait (and it wasn't April Glaspie):
"What really triggered it for him, according to Saddam, was he had sent his foreign minister to Kuwait to meet with the Emir Al Sabah, the former leader of Kuwait, to try to resolve some of these issues. And the Emir told the foreign minister of Iraq that he would not stop doing what he was doing until he turned every Iraqi woman into a $10 prostitute. And that really sealed it for him, to invade Kuwait. He wanted to punish, he told me, Emir Al Sabah, for saying that," Piro explains.
That's not how General Sada described that very same meeting. According to Sada, Saddam sent his number two man, Izzat al-Duri (along with Chemical Ali) to the meeting in Riyadh, in which the Kuwaitis, together with the Saudis, agreed to pay Saddam 10 billion dollars. Since al-Douri had asked for 10 billion at the outset, he was bound to agree. However, when the Emir brought up their border squabbles Izzat saw his opening, feigned indignation and left in a huff.

Hard to say which Iraqi told the truth but we know al-Duri was not punished for 'failing' at that meeting as would normally be the case. And if Saddam really invaded Kuwait based on a personal insult he was even more dangerous than people thought. Chances are the invasion was set in concrete and Saddam simply wanted to stick one to the Kuwaitis on the way out via Piro.

As to his open letters to the American public in 2001 (the second was linked above) it seems possible Saddam might have been the first 9/11 truther. Here's a line from the first open letter, which also rings rather trutherish:
There is, however, one difference, namely that those who direct their missiles and bombs to the targets, whether Americans or from another Western country, are mostly targeting by remote controls, that is why they do so as if they were playing an amusing game. As for those who acted on September 11, 2001, they did it from a close range, and with, I imagine, giving their lives willingly, with an irrevocable determination.
Didn't Bill Maher say the same thing?! The key here is that, unlike other Arab leaders, Saddam was actually praising the hijackers as heroes. Recall he once threatened that "individual Arabs" could inflict harm on America.

If you have some time to kill try comparing the rhetoric in those letters to bin Laden's 1998 fatwa against America, which mentioned many of the same grievances. 60 Minutes made a point to breathlessly report that Saddam called bin Laden a "fanatic" and disavowed any linkages to AQ, yet in his open letters he talked of the new "crusades" and even quoted Allah. None of which proves he was in league with bin Laden--he could have just been leveraging the events thinking he could gain favor in the middle east. But one has to admit the synergy was mighty suspicious and in the end, pretty stupid.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Group hug in Nashville

Apparently the Tennessee House held a group therapy session yesterday. Embattled Democrat Rob Briley, the guy who got drunk last fall and led police on a high-speed chase around the outskirts of Nashville, then when captured sang the tune "springtime for Hilter in Germany" in the back of the squad car (suggesting the officers were part of Bush's coming police state), owned up to his problem in front of his peers Thursday.

Now, there's nothing wrong with forgiveness. There's nothing wrong with being thankful for a process known as diversion that wiped the evading arrest charge off the map and allowed Mr. Briley to remain a publicly-paid politician when most Tennesseans would have had a felony rap. Hopefully the man will mend his ways, we are all sinners, after all.

But wow, some of our elected Reps are apparently bigger sinners than we knew:
Moore noted that Briley "shined a little light to all of us that every one of us in this room have our own little demons that we deal with."

Moore added, "Some of us are alcoholics. Some of us are thieves. Some of us are adulterers. Truth of the matter is we reflect society."

After the House let out, Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta, called Briley courageous. "He earned a lot of respect today. He's got a lot of issues in his life, but the reality of it is that all of us have issues in our lives. The press has not caught up with all of us yet."

Curtiss said he thought some of Moore's language was too strong. "I would never say there were thieves in there," Curtiss said.

"I don't think there are any criminals in here," Curtiss said. "But we're a cross-section of society. There are people in there that drink, people in there that beat their wives, people in there unfaithful to their wives. No question in my mind about that."
Well, that's comforting, eh? Since they're all admitted sinners does that mean they'll soon pass a law giving all Tennessee residents the same heartfelt lenience the next time one of us gets drunk, evades police and calls them fascists? Not a chanc...hey wait, maybe if we pretend to be illegals?!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

After the fall

Sizing up the remainder of the Republican candidates sans Fred is somewhat of an exercise in frustration, especially after reading this. So, whom to choose?

In some areas Huckabee seems attractive due to his genuineness. At the same time he seems to be genuinely willing to say whatever or capitulate wherever necessary to get the job done. The yin yang suggests some kind of an underlying goal, one I've yet to pin down completely.

Paul is Paul. As blogger Mick Wright recently quipped, it wouldn't be surprising if he soon calls for a return to the original 13 colonies. Notice that's where they keep the blimp.

As to Rudy, he's been relatively unimpressive on the stump so far and like Fred, a little defensive, probably due to the Kerik connection and his wife's limo rides. That's also given him the air of a ex-chieftain rather than an ex-mayor, whether fair or not. And his past personal foibles and feelings on gun control are only a thought away. He'll be resurfacing soon forcing another look, but chances are it'll produce the same effect as the first one.

As to Mitt, he's competent but his recent incredibly awkward "who let the dogs out" moment might be a red flag of attacks to come. Think George Bush 41 not knowing the price of milk, ie, stiff on the street cred. Can he handle the attacks? Well, that just happens to be the subject of a Times article, suggesting ever so softly that he might be a little bit of a softie. They also quoted our next contestant, John McCain, in the story:
“Never get into a wrestling match with a pig,” Senator John McCain said in New Hampshire this month after reporters asked him about Mr. Romney. “You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”
Pigs. Well, there goes the Muslim vote. Ironically the above quote might be an example of the reason McCain cannot win the general election against either Hillary or Obama. The Maverick has some well-known weaknesses:
  • He appears to have a nasty temper, or at least people think he does. Not necessarily a showstopper unless the opposition can goad the inner hornet into a blowup, and since his current media friends will likely throw him under the bus when the game's on the line, it could be disastrous.
  • He has a tendency to speak freely, re the pigs remark. Hey, so do I, but I'm not running.
  • He's older than dirt, in his own words. He'd retire from a second term at 80, which will be mentioned repeatedly by opposition operatives.
  • He has a tendency to wander off the reservation on issues (not on defense--he'd be the best CIC bar none). While this independence may appeal to moderates and some Democrats, conservatives really don't want him waffling on core issues like SCOTUS appointments.
  • The Democrats seem to want him as an opponent. This should make everyone nervous.
Despite the above he still bubbles up close to the top, the field being what it is. But with the Democrats trying to destroy themselves and with Bloomberg and Nadar considering runs (might as well get Perot back in), anything could still happen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The elephant in the room

And it ain't a Republican. Roland Martin has written an interesting piece for CNN.com this morning in which he discusses the white vote in South Carolina, heretofore almost completely ignored. Martin seems to be warning everyone:
Being a black man, I don't mind talking about the nuances of black politics -- I've run three black newspapers, a black Web site and been the news editor of a national black magazine -- but I can also count. And to suggest that white voters are immaterial in South Carolina is nuts.
He's right. Nobody really wants to go there. That's probably because to go there requires an explanation of why more than half of the white voters favor Hillary, while most of the blacks favor Obama. How else can this be explained other than by race? Yet to even make that suggestion might suggest the suggestion maker is a racist. We have much experience with this type of thing here in the Mid South area.

The View ladies weighed in on the subject and it was fascinating to watch. Both Joy and Elizabeth went out of their way to display altruistic approaches to their voting habits (Behar DID admit to being partial to a woman, all things being equal), which produced a light hearted moment towards Elizabeth. But Whoopi made the seminal comment--race is really the elephant in the room.

Perhaps Martin's analysis might explain why the Clintons, as posited by Newt Gingrich on Fox last night, are seemingly trying to bait Obama into a political bar fight, which could act to reduce his stature from a statesmanlike agent of change and into just another garden variety politico slinging mud, likely diminishing his status more in the white electorate than the black. As they say, once in the voting booth, things can change, and South Carolina is a bit different than Iowa.

Maybe it's telling that Barack is fighting back against third term Willie and not the actual candidate. It's a pretty good strategy and one that might even appeal to the McCainiacs and even a few Republicans in the long run. Race not being a factor, of course.

MORE 1/23/08

"What you care about is this. And the Obama people know that. So they just spin you up on this and you happily go along. I mean, the people don't care about this," he added. "They never ask about it. And you are determined to take this election away from them. And that's not right. That is not right. This election ought to belong to those people who are out here asking questions about their lives."
So said third term Willie. today. Allow a paraphrase: "We are victims of the press. This election is being stolen by Obama's evil race-baiters when it's really about the children. The children! The children!!!"

Here we go again

While the press virtually ignored the pro-life Roe versus Wade rally in DC yesterday they certainly didn't miss this Bush lied, people died story today:
A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks. "
So who are these people? Well, the first group, "the Center for Public Integrity" has a Wiki site, which says:
After starting out with headquarters in his home in Northern Virginia, Lewis began by securing funding and garnering support from a variety of a prominent public figures -- early advisers included Arthur Schlesinger Jr., James MacGregor Burns, James David Barber, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Father Theodore Hesburgh, Bill Kovach and Hodding Carter III.[2].
Schlesinger jumps out as does Hodding Carter. The former was an icon in journalism of course, but take a look at what his sons are known for:
His son, Stephen Schlesinger, is a social scientist, former director of the World Policy Institute at the New School University in New York City and contributor to the Huffington Post; son Robert Schlesinger and stepson Peter Allan also blogged on Huffington Post, as did Arthur Schlesinger himself.
Alrighty, then. Keep in mind the New School was where Norman Hsu was stationed. As to Carter:
Hodding Carter, III (born April 7, 1935), is an American journalist and politician best known for his role as assistant secretary of state in the Jimmy Carter administration.
What about the other site. Yeah.

All circumstantial, of course. But this is the context the MSM will not provide because they think it's unprofessional unless the survey was done by a conservative think tank.

OK, with context established, what about the charges? Same ole same old? Pretty much. If one looks at the initial instance of Bush telling everyone there were WMDs as a deliberate deception, then everything becomes a lie:
The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."
As if Saddam Hussein was some kind of marshmallow.

Truthfully, as long as the question remains unanswered as to why so many people now harping about no WMDs/lies had absolutely no problem believing it when told to them by the greatest president of all time and his subordinates this conundrum will never put entirely put to bed. In the meantime an election is approaching. The journalism only gets worse from here.

MORE 1/23/08

Ah yes, the man behind the curtain.

FINAL 1/23/08

If bloggers can Google this stuff in minutes why can't the AP or NYT? Really, is that too much to ask? Since they don't it certainly seems to point towards bias.

Don't misunderstand--the fact Soros and other liberals are behind these think tank reports doesn't automatically nullify their content but it does bring into question their objectivity, which is something the readers should be told. It's confusing, because conventional wisdom says the left is otherwise obsessed with transparency.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Service interruptus

Between problems with Haloscan comments and access at the new 'redlasso' video site (which contains the Omar bin Laden video below) we've been relatively dead in the water this evening. Part of the problem is the way my code is laid out in this format but I just don't have time to debug right now. Sorry for the hassle. Should these issues not clear up within 24 hours we might be forced to make some drastic changes.

So long, Freddie

Not much to say except bummer.

No surprises, of course. This was at least as telegraphed as the Bhutto assassination. He pissed off Fox News on opening day and went downhill from there, playing defense by explaining why he "got in late" or why he wasn't "lazy". He allowed his opponents to define him. And that's no way to run a railroad.

As to the stalking horse theory, it's not so far-fetched. One could speculate that his entering the race late allowed a full evaluation of opponent strategies and how the polls were doing with the goal of draining money from other candidates and taking away key endorsements. The National Right to Life endorsement comes to mind, which otherwise might have gone to Huck prior to South Carolina. Weirdly, McCain rose from the askes about the time Fred entered while Rudy began to sink.

And Thompson is an actor and even plays one on TV. Still, the thought of him entering the race only to run interference is a bit much. I won't believe it unless he admits it.

Bottom line, where to now for Fredheads? Personally, I'm having great difficulty with that question. Time will tell. The vote will not be wasted, even if it's a vote against somebody else.

MORE 1/22/08

More fuel to the "Fox News was anti-Fred" meme. Speaking of fairy tales, that certainly sounds like a big one. I'm going with the poor organization due to not making enough early deals explanation. Well, and his inability to articulate like on Law and Order.

MORE 1/22/08

Go here for a literal plethora of Fred coverage. Just keep scrolling because AC (the famous one) is a very productive blogger. Unlike some of us.

Omar bin Laden's quest

This is one of the most interesting stories of the year so far.



Let's just say this whole thing requires a willing suspension of disbelief. Hopefully O'Reilly will get the body language lady on this one.

Notice his much older British wife got her two cents worth, including the creation of a strawman by directly equating the IRA with al Qaeda. Lauer didn't take the bunny trail, which would say the IRA only wanted freedom for the Irish people and not a global Irish caliphate. Nevertheless, this kind of olive branchiness will no doubt appeal to many around the war-weary world. Give peace a chance, brother.

Problem is, when examined with a logical microscope these things tend to fall apart. How do we know he's not an agent? Omar talked about finding "middle ground"--exactly what would that entail? NATO leaving Afghanistan if UBL promised to stand down the Taliban? Wwithdrawal from Iraq based on the promise of a cease-fire as we leave? Some kind of encroachment of Israel or perhaps political changes in Europe? An Islamic nuclear weapon for Iran to balance the west? It's hard to find middle ground with a determined despot who's made his worldwide goals very clear.

Politically speaking, it'll be interesting to see how the Democrats might respond to this since they've made clear their desire to bring UBL to justice with extreme prejudice if necessary, adding numerous jabs at Bush for losing him at Tora Bora. Chances are they'll be forced into consensus with the Republicans for political reasons, although such might go counter to the "change" movement currently being pursued.

Oddly, I agree with Omar and wife that killing or bringing the Sheikh to justice would only produce a replacement-- we've already seen that in Iraq. Kind of makes the loss of bin Laden a little easier to understand. There's much we don't know.

But bottom line, the west has a long-standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists. There's no reason that principle shouldn't apply to their emissaries, even if they come disguised in a Trojan horse wrapped in corn rows and a black leather jacket.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Defining the dream

We have ignored the essence of his life and the horror of his death," said Johnson. "We've allowed white America to escape the guilt of his assassination and we've allowed black America to drift back into a coma."
That's a comment from a Dallas minister, whom the AP called a former ally and fellow marcher with Dr. King, regarding today's MLK holiday. While it's possible he was taken somewhat out of context, the part about white guilt seems rather unambiguous and at the same time, anti-MLK.

Where in King's "I have a dream" speech does he suggest his vaunted promised land would contain a perpetual state of white guilt alongside people being judged by the content of their character, not their color? That's perhaps something out of an Al Sharpton dream. It really doesn't help to phrase things that way. But we know guilt is a big part of the process when a Golf Channel reporter was benched for two weeks for making a comment that the intended recipient, Tiger Woods, reportedly did not find offensive.

As to Reverend Johnson's comment about blacks having "fallen back into a coma", that could be taken two ways. It could mean we've come a long way since the 60s, and we have. Not all the way, but a long way. For instance, the mayor in the city housing the old Lorraine Motel is black as is the leader of the largely white county where Memphis resides.

To that end, what would a Barack Obama presidency do for race relations in America? Most would say it would be positive step, and it would seem to be, but it might also be a setback for some in the civil rights industry. People who make their living suggesting the appropriate payment to assuage such guilt would be hard-pressed to make their case with a black man in the Oval Office--put there by whites (blacks are still only 14 percent of the population).

MORE 1/22/08

Was this real or choreographed?
Is there a racial aspect? If Cheney had done that on MLK day, would the civil rights leaders not be excoriating him by now? Just sayin..

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday night's alright for fighting

This is sort of an open thread on today's caucus/primary action, the football, basketball, with a little music at the end.

On Hillary's win in Nevada:
Clinton, who won last week's New Hampshire primary, was winning the Latino vote by a nearly 3-1 margin in Nevada, according to entrance polls. Latinos make up about a quarter of the state's population and 14 percent of caucus participants, those polls found.
If this holds true it represents a very interesting dynamic. Latinos now outnumber blacks. In trying to understand why they might prefer Hillary over Obama it's tempting to make generalizations; Hillary has made bigger promises and well, she's not black. The real reason is no doubt more complicated, but if the trend continues the Latino voting block could swing the election to Mrs Clinton presuming she keeps the female vote.

As to Romney, no news there--NOT winning would be news what with all those LDS voters in Nevada. Of course, some might suggest McCain's loss in a neighboring state says something, but Nevada and Arizona are different.

Now to the sports. The Carolina Tarheels are no longer undefeated. Yes, they are a long-time AC favorite but Maryland just outplayed them all game long. NC coach Roy Williams remarked to Brent Musberger that his team hasn't really played well enough to be undefeated and it was evident in the last game, and definitely this one. The Terps doubled and put some physical pressure on Tyler Hansbrough and shut him down pretty much, and that made all the difference. But a loss can be good sometimes, and now they're no longer on the pedestal. Let's see how the Memphis Tigers deal with it!

As to tomorrow's football...I'm taking the Chargers and Packers. Just because I can. And what better place to announce it?

Politics, sports, now music. As the title suggests, here's some Elton John:



Not what you were thinking maybe? 'Til later..

MORE 1/19/08

Just watched Huckabee's and McCain's speeches. Although he was hiding it well, Huck displayed less enthusiasm than previous speeches (it almost had the air of a sermon). As the pundits said, if he can't win South Carolina, he really has some problems. McCain gave a good speech, probably as presidential as I've seen yet. Age a problem for you (71)? Don't worry--dude's mom was with him on stage.

The pundits put it this way--McCain is becoming a sort of 'last man standing'. The polls suggest he could beat Hillary in the general. GOP voters will be thinking about that more and more as we move forward, especially if Hillary pulls out a win in South Carolina. They may also be asking themselves, "who would I rather have in office if another terror attack happens?".

Fred was once the cure for McCain's maverick dalliances. But as much as I've tried to defend him here, he just couldn't put out the kind of energy that even a 71 year old could. That's his style, and I respect him greatly for not morphing into something he wasn't, but in the end too many voters must have taken it as a sign his heart wasn't fully in it. And let's face it, there was no question about McCain, Huck or Mitt. Fred may well end up serving in some capacity before it's all said and done, though.

MORE 1/20/08

Er, how bout those Chargers? Ahem. We'll keep the day job--three interceptions and it still wasn't in doubt by the fourth quarter. Yeah, pretty silly.

Game time temp in Green Bay...minus 1. That's almost too cold for hockey.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A study in politics

A better study might not come along for awhile. On one side, the upstart man of hope and change, riding on uniting rays of sunshine and elevating himself above the insanely over-ambitious and opportunistic rightful heir to the throne, who pales in political comparison.

On the other side, a man FROM Hope, a populist man of the Word who understands small-town Americans and their troubles and who can reach the emotional heart of the matter like few others, such as with Rebel flags:
"In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole, that's what we'd do."
Both are outside the main establishment. Both have huge mountains to surpass. Obama is a bit too young, but he's trendy and could be the first black president. Huck is not too old, not too young, and is a conservative who knows what trendy is.

Whether they meet in the general or not, it's certainly been an interesting study so far.

MORE 1/18/08

The above was meant to be at least partially sarcastic, but re-reading it perhaps the sarcasm didn't come through very clear. Let's cut to the chase, then.

The gamesmanship being displayed by the Huckabee campaign is really shocking considering his background. It sure looks like Huck deliberately demagogued the flag non-issue to appeal to the NASCAR dad voter, many of whom still secretly revere the battle flag as a symbol of southern pride even if they're too modern to admit it publicly. In a weird way he was attempting to take ownership of the southern vote over McCain and Romney. He's a crafty one, that John Huckabee.

If all it takes is something that simpletonian to cause a rise in the polls, Fred Thompson might as well just quit today. But it's just so tempting to carry on...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blame it on Libya

News today in the world of bombed airliners. A US federal judge has ordered Gaddafi to pay 6 billion (with a b) dollars to the families of victims and interested parties of the UTA flight 772 incident in 1989. The judge had ruled earlier that Libya was to blame, the case displaying similarities with the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie bombing of a year earlier.

But 103 and 772 aren't the only aircraft bombings Libya had been tied to. In 1986 Pan Am 73 was hijacked in Karachi, Pakistan on it's route from Bombay to JFK. The plane's crew was able to escape through a hatch before the hijackers got control of the aircraft, effectively stalling the hijacking on the ground.

The terrorists, led by Zayd Hassan Safarini, killed 20 people and injured many more. They were connected to the notorious Abu Nidal Organization and were trying to barter for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Safarini was quietly captured shortly after 9/11 and was sentenced to life in prison in 2004. He's currently chilling at the Supermax in Florence, CO along with other noted terrorists.

But what about this Abu Nidal Organization? During the 80s they were perhaps the most feared terrorist group in the world. Nidal himself boogied to Baghdad towards the end of his fabled career and was given state-sanctioned lodging. Most who follow this stuff know about Mr. Nidal's tragic demise in 2002. He either committed martyrdom by shooting himself in the head--several times--or was pushed to that end by a visiting contingent of Mukhabbarat intelligence officers, who had dropped by for a friendly chat.

It was believed that Saddam, after having given Nidal sanctuary for a number of years, got rid of him as a gesture to the west to forestall an invasion. Others believe it was to keep him from turning or giving information to the coalition about Saddam's old tricks. Probably a little of everything.

But wait, there was another airplane bomber associated with Iraq. Back in 1982 Mohammed Rashed planted a small seat bomb on Pan Am Flight 830, bound from Baghdad to Toyko (and on to Honolulu) which resulted in the death of a Japanese teenager. He was part of, well, here:
The group, known as the 15th of May for the date in 1948 when the first Arab-Israeli War began, was based in Iraq, with operatives around the world.
Here's an earlier story from my site about this from last year:
Interestingly, this was the same MO used by super-terrorist Ramzi Yousef, himself a Palestinian sympathizer. Rashed's 15th of May terrorist group was relatively inactive past the mid 80s, but according to Thomas Jocelyn, Saddam still harbored its leader Abu Ibrahim until 2001-2002. Add him to the likes of Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, and the still unaccounted for Abdul Yasin, a WTC-One bomb mixer.
We all know about Gaddafi giving up his nuke program after the shock and awe settled over Baghdad in 2003. That seemed to complete the circle between Libya and Iraq, yet for some reason the new conventional wisdom about Saddam being an absolute monster incapable of harming Americans remains vibrant and strong.

So strong that a serious contender for the presidency regularly pats himself on the back for not removing the man from power, even after 9/11, and even after the effect it had on Libya, all without the faintest of protestations from the press. Here was his part of his pledge from 2002:
After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again.
Surely one day this will all make sense.

MORE 1/17/08

This is a pretty graphic series of pictures of the disintegration of an airplane in flight, this time an F15C over Missouri that eventually led to the grounding of all F-15Es (the pilot bailed out and survived). The point? To illustrate the after-effects of the catastrophic loss of an aircraft's nose section while in flight. Due to the shift in the center of gravity, the remaining section cannot continue in flight by itself, rising thousands of feet higher due to thrust of the engines. The pieces simply fall to earth.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A win for Mr. Fix It

Good thing he didn't use an Olympics metaphor in his acceptance speech. Which was pretty good, by the way. Mitt Headroom really knows how to whip up his fans. I can't see Thompson being able to do that, or even McCain. And Huck was not a Pentecostal preacher.

The crowd made one little mistake by repeating a Romney miscue about our broken government not giving up a middle class tax cut--Bush DID, several, actually. But the power of the moment is powerful. Imagine that kind of love being showered on your own self? Being in Michigan he could have probably said, "they didn't give us a case of Stroh's and two dozen Dunkin Donuts" and they would have roared in reply.

Needless to say, Mitt's latest tact presumes Bush either hasn't fixed DC or has broken it himself (yeah, yeah, it's an attack on the Maverick). Got news--nobody can fix DC. Might as well promise to change the climate if elected.

So, what's next, a Ron Paul victory? Even Newt has given up trying to predict it. If Thompson somehow wins South Carolina and Rudy wins Florida it would throw everybody into bankruptcy...all but.. Mitt! He wins a battle of financial attrition.

But assuming he's the nominee, we could do worse. First, neither Hillary nor Obama would DARE attack his religion. Too risky for the party of tolerance and diversity. Second, he's reasonably conservative on most of the issues, although he's flexible. Still, he's been truer to principle than McCain (although Johnny Mac's got him beat on CIC credentials).

But let's face it--Mitt has the camera appeal, the others not so much. When the body language lady on O'Reilly says Fred has "bad posture and terrible body language" there might be a problem. It shouts vice president.

So color me less than thrilled. At this point, Jeb Bush is starting to look good, from a distance at least. Or maybe Dennis Miller.

Minneapolis bridge collapse update 2

An interim NTSB report was issued today whereupon blame was placed on the "gusset plates", suggesting they were 50 percent too thin to hold the steel structure together. Chairman Mark Rosenker said:
The Minneapolis bridge was a steel-deck truss bridge that opened in 1967. Rosenker said it wasn't clear how the design flaw made it into the bridge because investigators couldn't find the design calculations.
Which sounds rather amazing. The design flaw theory does seem to eliminate a lot of parties from the threat of litigation, though.

This accident resembles several recent aviation accidents since 1996, all catastrophic, no-warning failures. The TWA800 crash in 1996 was blamed on a spark inside a fuel tank that caused it to just blow up midflight, and in 2001 American Airlines flight 587 was flying along and the tail basically just fell off, later blamed on excessive use of the flight controls. A terrorist or sabotage explanation would be much preferable than a world where important stuff just falls off at inopportune moments, but I guess that's the world.

Perhaps the only worthwhile reason to post on this was the reaction at HuffPo. Remember, this bridge collapse was Bush's fault but if it was a design flaw that meme becomes crippled. As a result, some of the commenters are in quite a tiff:
Maybe somewhere in this "investigation" which was probably censored by bush cronies, they say who the designers were. If there is a design flaw, there are designers. Find them and sue them.
Reply | posted 06:35 pm on 01/15/2008
NEW expand collapse hootie1fan (See profile | I'm a fan of hootie1fan)

Like that's ever going to happen
Reply | Parent | posted 06:57 pm on 01/15/2008
NEW expand collapse Quantumystic (See profile | I'm a fan of Quantumystic)

Blah Blah Blah

...and Iraq had nuclear weapons. BS. There's not one single federal institution whose integrity hasn't been compromised by Bush appointments to leadership positions. The credibility of EVERY U.S. government agency has been irreparably tainted for the duration of this admin, and I for one utterly refuse to believe a single word they say.

The damage Bush-Cheney have done to America surpasses a dozen 9/11s. IMPEACH and CONVICT!
Reply | posted 06:05 pm on 01/15/2008
expand collapse wadenelson1 (See profile | I'm a fan of wadenelson1)
Apparently they don't realize that the federal government declared the bridge "structurally deficient" in 1990. So aside from Bush 41 it would seem the lion's share of blame would have to go to the Clintons for not fixing it when they had power back in the golden decade of sweetness and light known as the 90s. If one were prone to thinking in such ways, that is.

REAL ID and reality

As you may know, Tennessee is among 17 states pushing back on a federal deadline regarding the incorporation of READ ID Act standards into drivers licenses. The deadline is May of this year. Several major news orgs have recently picked up the story and headlined a threat made from Homeland Security chief Chertoff regarding long lines at the airport should our licenses not pass muster in May.

So, what's holding this up here in TN? Is it resistance against the forces of the coming mark of the beast; is it pressure from the ACLU; or is it panic over how to handle a burgeoning illegal alien population who will not be able to get phony ID anymore? After all, the National Council of La Raza seems to be upset about it:
The fight against the REAL ID Act is not over, and NCLR continues to work hard to challenge the new law and make its implementation as harmless as possible.
Emphasis NOT added. What about the state of TN? Here's a state spokesperson:
"In the forthcoming weeks the Department of Safety will conduct a detailed review of the final rules in order to fully evaluate the impact REAL ID implementation will have on the citizens of the state of Tennessee," Department of Safety spokeswoman Laura McPherson said. "We will examine options that enable us to provide services that balance homeland security concerns with public safety practices as efficiently as possible."
In other words, they are blaming cost. It will cost more, but they've known about it for years. Are we to believe that the state government made a New Years resolution to be more fiscally conservative in 2008 or are we getting a smokescreen?

Tennessee has had a shadowy recent history with drivers licenses. Personally, I can vividly recall going to the DL station on Summer Avenue here in Memphis to renew my card and seeing what looked to be construction contractors shepherding what looked to be illegal aliens through the process.

That was before 9/11. Then they changed. And changed again. Somewhere along the way a DMV supervisor was murdered here in Memphis after being charged with selling licenses to middle easterners. That case appears about as close to being solved as the anthrax letters attack. We could do better, but that doesn't mean throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

In reality, the REAL ID Act exemplifies the unfortunate nexus between terrorism and illegal immigration here in America. There is no question a tighter security network would make it harder to defraud the system, commit terrorist acts, or vote illegally. There is also no question such a database would put a hurt on illegal immigrants and those who employ them. But the trade-offs are not trivial.

Human nature being human, there is no such thing as 'tamper proof ID' (and do we really want to live in that world anyway?)--fraud and abuse will eventually work into any human-designed system. Money talks as loud today as it did in Pharaoh's time. And once a system is in place it's hard to remove it. What to do?

Other TN bloggers are wary as am I, mainly as this relates to the future our kids and grandkids will inherit. That said, doing nothing seems irresponsible as well. My jury is still out until we see what the state legislature proposes in response.

MORE 1/16/08

Reader and blogger Mick Wright points me to the TN legislature's response on this matter, issued last summer when they took up the TN Senate's resolution to oppose the enactment of REAL ID. My parting thought was in reference to whether they might blink as the May deadline nears. Not sure they want to play that political game with the state's airline passengers, but at the same time, there are just so many illegals living here they can't be ignored, either. An interesting game of chicken, eh?

Tennessee seems to be hoping its residents will overlook the illegal alien angle and think only about the coming mark of the beast or looming national ID card, which has its own merit, and they may well do so. But all of this ties directly to the previous brouhaha with our own two-tiered system (since scrapped) along with all these stories we've seen lately about various east coast governors wanting to hand out semi-legitimate licenses to the workers doing the jobs Americans won't do to get around REAL ID requirements. Who can forget when Hillary stepped into this minefield? Think any other politicos will want to follow?

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Democratic race card

The media is all giddy over Billary's new race kerfuffle with Barack. In actuality it illustrates just how little there is to talk about right now, but since that's it we might as well talk about it.

Only Bill and Hill know their hearts. The public can only judge by what we hear and what we've seen in the past. While we know there's never been any racist leanings from either, we also know they rarely ever do anything without a reason. Their pictures are in the dictionary beside the word shrewd.

Think back to before New Hampshire. None of this black-white talk existed, it was basically bickering about issues. After Hillary won New Hampshire by a thread we began to hear commentators saying the blacks in South Carolina might be changing to Barack, this after many months of supporting Hillary. Indeed, Obama has a healthy lead in the polls as we speak, something that didn't exist before Iowa (check the graph).

Let's also not forget this entire thing emanated not as some planted bombshell, but from the players' own mouths in highly public settings. Yes, Obama's group is the one trying to spin it as racist but is it possible the Clintons didn't see that one coming? Is it possible they goofed?

Yes, but doubtful. First of all, the space-time continuum is still intact. Second, the only way Barack wins the south is to obtain a large chunk of white Democratic voters and hope most of the blacks go for him. Granted, Edwards could be a factor here since chances are he'll pull voters away from Hillary rather than Obama (which is why he's jumping on the Obama bandwagon--more proof that he really belongs back in some law firm, in my opinion). But what if the white voters perceive a race war?

There were numerous examples over the weekend of whites coming to the defense of Ms. Rodham Clinton. Even our noted conservative black radio host here in Memphis came to her aid. Being called a racist is something whites know well--especially southern whites--and if the Clintons manage to position themselves as the victims they might change the dynamic.

Bottom line, even though this might be entirely engineered by Obama despite this document, don't discount the Clintons. Getting Barack embroiled in the race game suddenly makes him seem less messiah-like. It also might provide an opening for Hillary-friendly journalists to unleash a story about Barack's church, heretofore seen as lowball. As long as they remain the victims the Clintons won't be accused of any skullduggery and will maintain the support of several leaders.

This play could also earn her sympathy points from some moderates or even a few conservatives in the south and midwest, which might come in handy down the line. South Carolina is not the end of her road by any means.

MORE 1/15/08

Obama is taking off the gloves and putting on his reconciliation halo. I think it's a good move.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Diana's secret

Well, this certainly seems to beg a few questions:
At the height of their romance, she kept his picture by her bedside, introduced him to William and Harry, and studied the Koran every night.
All the while the Taliban were going gangbusters in Afghanistan with help from the Pakistani ISI and would soon host Osama bin Laden:
Diana visited Pakistan several times, and there was intense speculation that she intended to follow in the footsteps of her friend Jemima Khan, who had married former cricketer Imran Khan, and move there.
Meanwhile AQ Khan was cavorting all over the region selling nuclear secrets while Pakistani native Ramzi Yousef was caught in Islamabad in 1995 after a worldwide reign of terror. Islamabad, not Quetta or some cave. There must have been at least some concern from Buckingham Palace about Diana's forays (unless she was the world's most unlikely spy). We already know there was some concern at the NSA.

It's also interesting that after being dumped by Khan she took up with Dodi al-Fayed, son of Mohammed Al-Fayed, who married the sister of Adnan Khashoggi, who himself has reportedly been within six degrees of every major event since 1960 according to Slate's Timothy Noah (including a childhood friendship with Mohammed bin Laden).

But aside from the distinct possibility all these conspiratorial tidbits are pure fantasy just imagine had the Princess--still a symbol of the west and certainly influential despite her divorce from Charles--suddenly announced she was converting to Islam.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Overdose of "process"

After his performance in the South Carolina debates Thursday night, Fred Thompson spoke to a CNN reporter who seemed more fixated on strategy than substance:



Specifically,
"I'm not gonna even talk about process anymore tonight, this is a night of substance--we were talking about substance here tonight and that's where I'm gonna leave it."
Noble and necessary for Fred, but perhaps wishful thinking in today's world. Everybody paying attention today is mesmerized by process, ie, the strategical moves designed to win elections but having absolutely nothing to do with the issues, as if the country's future was secondary.

Thompson has been hitting on this disconnect from the beginning to no avail. He's absolutely right about the direction of the Republican Party, since only Duncan Hunter is as consistent as Fred and a vote for any of the others would represent a change of platform to some degree. Maybe such a change is necessary in today's world but if so, what does that say about today's world?

But speaking of process, nobody more exemplifies the term than do the Clintons. Many are talking about the excerpt from Sally Bedell Smith's book in the London Daily Mail, in which she picks apart the Clinton marriage and shows it for what everyone already knew it was--a deal with the devil.

Based on Ms. Smith's account of Hillary's influence in the White House it's clear she should be able to claim two presidential terms on her resume, but of course she can't for obvious reasons (as I keep repeating, term limits should apply to her). But let's see if CNN or the others have the guts to ask Lady Machiavelli the same type of leading, slightly condescending questions they ask of Fred or even Ron Paul.

MORE 1/13/08

Seen enough debates? This just about says it all. "Withdraw from the Jay Treaty".

Friday, January 11, 2008

Meanwhile...

It snowed in Baghdad today. First in 100 years, they said. Pretty cool. They also said it was a sign of peace. How odd for such a thing to occur while president Bush is busy touring the region, eh? Shall we start the countdown clock until the first moonbat accuses Rove and his weather machine?

Speaking of Bush's trip, he's getting far less attention from the mainstream press than one might think judging by the sheer boldness of the trip. Had this been Nixon, Reagan or Clinton it would be making big headlines by now, but perhaps with Bush it's the result of him being long ago pigeon-holed as the terrorist kickbutt guy, which makes it hard to view him as the peace guy.

Whatever the case, we should all hope for a positive outcome with a healthy dose of "been there, done that" skepticism for good measure.

By the way, Hillary is not the only politico who gets misty-eyed:
Earlier in the day, Bush became misty-eyed as he toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. He called the memorial a "sobering reminder that evil exists and a call that when we find evil we must resist it."
Hillary could not be reached for comment--she was in Vegas telling illegal alien women they aren't illegal, apparently sans tears. Evita comes to mind for some reason.

The prez will be moving on to Arab lands next and will end up very close to where the Iranian speed boat caper occurred, ie, the Tonkin Gulf. Expect similar passive coverage from the MSM unless, God forbid, something happens to his entourage.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

She is woman, will she roar?

Jiminy frickin Christmas:
Hillary's disdain for masculinity fits right into the classic feminazi package, which is why Hillary acts on Gloria Steinem like catnip. Steinem's fawning, gaseous New York Times op-ed about her pal Hillary this week speaks volumes about the snobby clubbiness and reactionary sentimentality of the fossilized feminist establishment, which has blessedly fallen off the cultural map in the 21st century. History will judge Steinem and company very severely for their ethically obtuse indifference to the stream of working-class women and female subordinates whom Bill Clinton sexually harassed and abused, enabled by look-the-other-way and trash-the-victims Hillary.
It's hard to imagine Rush Limbaugh topping that. No comment other than, damn.

Amidst the verbal undressing Paglia took time to offer a few interesting points, perhaps the boldest being the notion that electing a woman with a man problem--a woman who'll be the leader of the free world with her finger near the button and responsible for dealing with oft-hostile male-dominated governments with misogynistic leaders, might be something to carefully consider. Followed by a vote for Obama.

After all, Hillary got misty-eyed over her failure to completely dominate after only ONE primary. How might she react if China, Iran, or Syria pulled some embarrassing stunt that made her look weak and trembly on the world stage? Would all that repressed man-hate come pouring out on a warhead for Pyongyang? Or would we be replacing cowboy diplomacy with crybaby diplomacy? They keep talking about 'change' and those would clearly be changes.

Personally I've always been more concerned with her domestic agenda than foreign affairs, figuring her natural battleaxe persona combined with years of living with Bill had hardened her immeasurably.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Iran to media: Gulf of Tonkin!

Regards the recent action footage released from one of three Navy ships buzzed in the Straits of Hormuz by Iranian speedboats, the real Iranian government has taken the Rosie approach:
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's Revolutionary Guards accused the United States on Wednesday of fabricating video and audio released by the Pentagon that shows Iranian boats confronting U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

"The footage released by the U.S. Navy was compiled using file pictures and the audio has been fabricated," the state-run English-language channel Press TV quoted an official in the Revolutionary Guards as saying
.
Disregard the fact the phony Iranian government had earlier said they had every right to unleash speedboats on any ship passing through international waters within their territory for purposes of identification and to test defensive responses, now we learn it was all faked. Word, dudes.

Actually, today looks like a truther twofer-- US caught fabricating a Gulf of Tonkin incident and New Hampshire primaries probably stolen by counting fake paper ballots. Wake up, sheeple!

MORE 1/9/08

The Iranian patrol boat games were serious, of course. For those not familiar with this site, the jesting above wasn't meant to downplay the seriousness, only to point out the running insanity of our world. I have to constantly fight the urge to go overboard with that. Family members are riding on those boats, one of them mine, so the reality is things are a little worrisome right now, especially with the president touring the immediate neighborhood.

MORE 1/10/08

The IRGC has released their own footage of the event, which doesn't include the "fabricated" part shown by the Navy of the patrol boats buzzing around the ships like angry insects or the audio about blowing up.

From the video it's barely noticeable, but you can see the blue color of the speedboats. The Navy ships are there. It doesn't take a genius to understand video editing. In other words, the Iranians have just provided corroborating evidence of the Navy's account whether they realize it or not. If there are tapes of that transmission all the Navy has to do now is release the rest of the transmission in sequence and voila, case closed.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Paul hit piece

Big news, Ron Paul attracts a fringe element! OK, there's more "hit" than "piece" in this diatribe, which is mainly rehashed stuff from the 90s. But what's with the bi-partisan hand clapping?

Well, we know--the cheering conservatives have long been angered by his "blame America first" campaign theme. Many have spent years arguing with unhinged liberals over this very topic, so Paul, despite his libertarian leanings, slipped over the edge when he pulled that card.

And liberals don't like Paul's stance on social issues one little bit, but at the same time his "blame America first/get out of Iraq now" mindset was like a big frosty mug of Kool Aid gleaming in the sun on a hot summer day. Some in the disillusioned set--those frustrated with the inactivity of the establishment candidates to do what they demanded be done--made the jump. That could explain the Paulmobs--Republicans are generally too timid for such stuff.

Maybe the New Republic figured a large part of his mob were actually Dems, not otherwise, and maybe they figured those shallow Dems, still engaged in a willful suspension of disbelief, might come back home if "shown the light". The fact they broke it today suggests an experiment to see how deep those supporters are rooted.

McCain's priorities

According to the press John McCain's final message for New Hampshire voters was a promise to "clean up the planet" and follow bin Laden to the gates of hell.

That's great, but what if the impossible happens and Bush somehow manages to nab bin Laden in the next few months? That would seem to leave McCain as the environmental candidate. Yet in this interview he alluded to the fact we're not going to achieve energy independence overnight. So I think we need to hear more about how McCain would save the planet as opposed to say Al Gore's solution.