Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Good grief

Can any of these candidates at least try to pretend they aren't pandering pathological liars willing to sell their soul and their mother's for the nearest vote?

Hillary will be on Bill O's show tonight. It's surprising the space-time continuum is still intact, but of course Hillary doesn't do anything without a good reason so it's likely she sensed a last opportunity to pounce on a staggering opponent by talking to the the bitter, clinging crowd suspicious of hope and change. Here's a teaser from HuffPo:
O'Reilly: "You're an American citizen, I'm an American citizen, He's an American citizen, Rev. Wright. What do you think when you hear a fellow American citizen say that kind of stuff about America."

Hillary: "Well, I take offense. I think it's offensive and outrageous. I'm going to express my opinion, others can express theirs. It is part of just, you know, an atmosphere we're in today.
So, she's offended, eh? Where was that just two days ago when she was scolding McCain:
"But, I regret the efforts by the Republicans to politicize this matter and I believe that if Senator McCain were serious he would do more than just send a letter..
This of course in reference to the letter McCain sent to the NC Republican Party over a negative ad they aired about Wright, which oddly has now been confirmed and reinforced by none other than Barack himself. "An atmosphere we're in today", no shiite!

Perhaps Obama can now chastise McCain for not being as courageous in taking on Wright. Hey, maybe the NC GOP can remix the ad and use Obama's own words, asking voters how somebody running for president could possibly possess such poor judgment or rank naiveté, depending on which version one believes.

As to Barack's epiphany press conference blasting his former pastor who was not a mentor but who inspired his first book because he wasn't the same man 20 years ago even though he says he was, the most interesting reaction may come from the black community--especially the ones who were clapping and cheering Wright's truthiness to power tour a few days ago. So far a quick check shows some sadness, some satisfaction, some denial, and some nodding and winking. But very little outrage.

MORE 5/1/08

Everybody is going around in circles trying to figure out exactly what's happening with this Wright stuff (sorry), with several popular theories circulating, two of which Allahpundit has summarized here.

I'd add a couple more. How about the "Obama has already secured the black vote so now's the time to purge the Wright problem once and for all". Part of that could involve a complicit national media, who knew about Wright all along but let Barack roll on to victory after victory before springing the jeremiah-in-the-box on the public. This could also include a complicit pastor/black leaders, who knew they needed to remove the issue from the general. Thing is, the superdelegates are still uncertain (unless they waited to get their permission before opening the can).

Another theory is that Wright's working under the table for the Hillary campaign to scuttle the Obama express to preserve the civil rights industry. That would tie into Huckabee's notion that a Barack presidency would itself prove that great strides have been made in racial equality, rendering the race hustling industry redundant.

Not real sure what's going on, but it would seem Obama only comes out fine under the race-hustler conspiracy theory since it suggests he was probably sold out by his ex-pastor due to fears he might actually win. It's certainly possible they filled his ideological and rather naive head with sweet nothings to encourage him to run, never dreaming he might win. That would make their long silence more of an "oh shiite" reaction to his success, and the Wright outburst the cure. Still, it's hard to believe men of the cloth could be that cynical and selfish. Then again, have you seen Wright's new house?

So let's take it even a step further. They might be trying to derail the candidacy not to preserve themselves, but the cause itself. For example, if Obama becomes president and proceeds to screw up (think of the scrutiny on Bush) some may believe it would set back race relations for decades.

Occam's Razor would probably say Obama was just doing the politickin' he had to do in response to Wright's truth talkin', with no undue influence from anyone, even Howard Dean. And here we are.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Not so fast

On Friday reverend Wright was whispering sweet nothings to Bill Moyers, artfully dodging the floating marshmallows being hurled his way by the starry eyed PBS journalist.

At that point the narrative was still intact--Obama could no more disown him than his white grandmother or Bill Ayers when he was eight.

But my how things can change! On Sunday the reverend wowed the crowd at the NAACP then Monday confirmed everything he's ever been accused of saying on the continuous loops. Now on Tuesday the pastor has suddenly become very disownable:
Obama said he was ``shocked'' by Wright's statements during a speech at the National Press Club yesterday in Washington. ``The person I saw yesterday was not the person I had come to know over 20 years,'' said Obama, an Illinois senator.
Of course, he had no choice. Obama had already paved his own road by claiming he'd never heard the hard stuff in church, only the softcore controversial sermons. Defending the man now would amount to glorified hypocrisy since Wright had the audacity to confirm the bad stuff and add a few more zingers for good measure. Barack took the only road left to save face, but it's a dirt road filled with potholes.

At least things seem to be that way. But is it really possible Wright could have gone full circle between Friday and Monday? Is it possible Obama really didn't know the man who brought him to black Jesus and inspired a book title? No. Obama's not stupid. Too inexperienced for president and caught in a political buzz saw, but not stupid.

Problem is, he's still got a nearly insurmountable lead. How will the Democrats get rid of him without causing an uproar? Well, for starters his bashing of Wright will not sit well with many on the black street, some of whom vocally defended and cheered Wright. Obama has now tossed him under the bus for at least the third time, and this one was a flattener. Will there be outrage? Will Hillary start looking better and better as the days pass? Will Barack's words be enough cover for the super-delegates to finally do what they must do?

Monday, April 28, 2008

LA Times blog discovers fauxtography

But not the al-Reuters kind--the US government CIA kind:
Professor William Beeman at the University of Minnesota passed along a note today from "a colleague with a U.S. security clearance" about the mysterious Syrian site targeted in a Sept. 6 Israeli airstrike.

The note raises more questions about the evidence shown last week by U.S. intelligence officials to lawmakers in the House and Senate.
(Emphasis added) In other words, the CIA photoshopped the whole thing? What, we turned an innocent shed into a nuke site so Israel could risk a clandestine attack and destroy it, all coordinated with Turkey, only to say nothing about it for months while the injured party, Syria, rather than raise a massive ruckus at the UN, could also remain silent until just recently?

Maybe some background is in order...the initial reports also questioned the target until more information trickled out indicating that..
Independent experts have pinpointed what they believe to be the Euphrates River site in Syria that was bombed by Israel last month, and satellite imagery of the area shows buildings under construction roughly similar in design to a North Korean reactor capable of producing nuclear material for one bomb a year, the experts say.
It was an independent site, ISIS, that released the early photos. Zionists, probably.

But the blogger should have watched the video on his own blog, since it was obvious based on the spy photographs snapped of the site that it had windows. Who says the 3D image in question wasn't a computer-enhanced version based on both satellite photos (Google Earth type perspective) and still photos from ground level? Did they bother to ask anyone or was it too tempting to bend over backwards to bash America? Will Jeremiah weigh in soon? Will Obama?

Although it's probably not worth the time, the blogger raised some questions about the site, all which could be credibly answered by any ole internet yahoo such as myself..
1. Satellite photos of the alleged reactor building show no air defenses or anti-aircraft batteries such as the ones found around the Natanz nuclear site in central Iran.
Gee, wouldn't that sort of give it away? The jist of this was that it was secret, but satellites can see things from space. We already know about the North Korean and Iranian sites.
2. The satellite images do not show any military checkpoints on roads near the building.
This one's a little better but again, the last thing Syria would want to do would be to draw attention to this facility. It was a pretty desolate area, perhaps the checkpoints were distant.
3. Where are the power lines? The photos show neither electricity lines or substations.
Are these questions really coming from a college professor? Geez, if there were no electric lines that only means it wasn't a nuclear power facility under construction, therefore he must be saying the still photos are faked (just as Syria has said) because they show elements of a reactor. That means if the pictures are real, the facility wasn't a power station or harmless warehouse.
4. Here is a link to a photo of the North Korean facility that the Syrian site was based on. Look at all the buildings surrounding it. The Syrian site was just one building.
It was also under construction and parts of it were buried. Again, the Syrians are well aware of satellite recon and would not have wanted this signature to stand out, especially since Israeli has a few birds up there now. The skeptics simply must do better. Syria and Iran's silence has spoken volumes for months now.

By the way, that bit about the tipster being "a colleague with a security clearance" could mean he was anything from a high level CIA analyst to an Air Traffic Controller trainee.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reverend Wright, Barack and Fox News

Wright is talking to the NAACP as this is being typed. It's on Fox News, who've made their Sunday programming almost nonstop Barack.

Obama's earlier interview on Wallace's show was uneventful despite the netroot's collective nervous breakdown. Predictable--Fox wants continued access to a man who might be president. Why badger someone they'll need access to later, especially if he becomes president? Obama used his eloquent interview/debate persona, quite different from the one he sometimes employs before partisan crowds, like reveling in the day the world will sigh a relief when Bush/Cheney are gone.

But all in all he scored some points with the moderates despite still not providing details on exactly what he found controversial about the Wright sermons he heard or why the ones he didn't should have been grounds for the bus toss.

In the All Stars post-analysis Juan Williams wondered if Wright was secretly shilling for Hillary by keeping himself in the public eye, something Brit Hume disagreed with rather strongly and was later proven right by Wright's performance before the NAACP and a national TV audience. The reverend may be about Obama, but he was clearly reveling in his own moment in the sun and taking every opportunity to finally get his message out to the "other side". It's prime time Wright time, baby!

And he's a darn good speaker and entertainer. His message about seeing and respecting the differences of others (mainly black folks) was fine and contained some immutable truths. Not sure taking the black race off the hook for not being able to say the word "ask" was warranted since Wright himself was articulate in many dialects (even singing classical) during the speech, but the bigger issue might be pointing out a bigger problem than currently exists. He rolled that into a general lament about man's inhumanity to man, one never to be completely solved on this earth, but his underlying message is clearly one of dumping some guilt on one certain sector of society over another.

This sounds cynical, but in the end a lot of things simply come down to wealth and power, and who has it, and who doesn't. Some believe the road to healing this gap is by redistributing the wealth and power, leaving the 64K question as describing the path. We've had 40 years of effort in changing the racial divide, and Chicago is still under siege due to gang violence. How will Barack change America if he can't even change Chicago? Will Obama suggest we redeploy our police forces from the South Side to force the local city councils to act?

Questions, questions. It's a good thing to preach a message of understanding and coming together, but what good does it do to simply excuse cultural differences and shift blame to others? When coupling Obama with folks like Wright, Ayers, Dorhn and his wealthy San Francisco donors the question becomes even more compelling because most of the changes desired by the reverend lie within the human heart and can be accomplished overnight free of charge without the aid of politicians. So how would these new politicians act to implement this "change"?

MORE 4/28/08

Everyone of faith believes God will eventually bring an end to things here on mother ship Earth. Ministers seem to disagree on the cause/effect, with Falwell and Robertson once saying our "chickens" were of a sexually immoral nature while Wright thinks they're racist against blacks and Muslims. Seems to me the judgment will come against the souls of all men regardless of color. In other words, the blacks, or whites, or browns are not going to survive the wrath due to some form of special dispensation.

Here's some more roost rhetoric, see if you can guess who said it:
If America is going down, and she is, who are the oppressed? It's either the Native American or you (Blacks). You have suffered worse than the Native American because the Native American can still speak some of his language, he knows something of his history. But you have been totally destroyed. And that's why God is angry with America. You may forgive her but I don't know that God ever will. She is going to have to do something real big to get out from under what's coming. I intend to make this known very clearly to America.
If you guessed it was from "one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century,", you'd be correct. Maybe somebody can ask reverend Wright what he thinks about the "Mother Wheel" and how the mountains were made.

Pretty crazy stuff, standing up there condemning the country and comparing us to al Qaeda (well, technically not "us" because it's likely he meant white folks with the exception of "Condiskeeza Rice", et al) It's beginning to look like Juan Williams was right about Wright--he seems to be on a mission to derail the Obama express. Either that, or he's the highest ranking secret member of Rush Limbaugh's 'operation chaos'.

Halp us, Michael Hirsh

We r stuk down south with the gost of Olde Hickery.

Wilsonian? Jacksonian? Robert E. Lee? Cabals with the Catholic Church? Pardon the New Orleans French but such a croque of crappe is rarely seen in print.

This is the same mentality that coined the term "flyover country". And it's probably the reason George W. Bush coddles that fake Texas accent--to remind the various Hirshes of the world that an Ivy League education or a job at a major news organization doesn't make one morally or even intellectually superior to everyone else.

Interestingly, Mr. Hirsh talked figuratively of the "north" seceding from the union but what he most probably meant to say was for people like himself to secede from the inferior people. Heck, we already know a large percentage of Pennsylvania Yankees wouldn't join him--Barack just told us so.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Side tracks

I'd say we need all we can get.

Déjà vu, indeed

Here are some quotes from the Syrian Ambassador to the US in response to intelligence reports given to Congress about the strange little building in the Syrian desert that was blown up by the Israelis:
"ridiculous".."they were showing me photos from inside a building somewhere in the world".."I had to ask myself, is this Hollywood or Foggy Bottom?".."totally legitimate intelligence activities.".."don't be gullible and fall for this,"..
Hmm, where was this outrage after the event took place? But he's right, it is a sort of déjà vu of the Iraq thing, at least in regards to official spokesmen. We've certainly seen it before:

As to Mohamed ELBaradei's outrage over not being told earlier--well, pretty much the same ole same old.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The way things are done?

Fred Thompson was on Hannity and Colmes last night and proceeded to ask the seminal question about Obama..."who is this guy?" Not a new question, but one still lacking a conclusive answer. Yet it's one of those questions McCain just can't ask.

Like many Fredheads I was wondering when he was going to pop to the surface and comment on the proceedings. He confirmed the obvious--he won't be VP (too old) but hinted at something not so obvious--his real role in the general. Are we seeing the emergence of a kind of human 527, the same bad cop who helped McCain knock out Romney and Huckabee in the primaries?

The act going as follows--Maverick keeps on playing Maverick while Freddie steps in every so often and plays Dirty Harry. And if asked by the media to comment on any of Fred's opinions McCain just disavows them. Could work. This keeps the moderates in play at the expense of the hard core righties, who only have the salty dog left to choose from anyway.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wright on Moyers

Perhaps the "Big Tent Democrat" over at Talk Left should be demoted to the "Pup tent Democrat" for this comment regards Reverend Wright's testimonial with Bill Moyers:
I am no fan of Rev. Wright, and for the sake of the Democratic Party, I wish he would keep quiet until after November, but I agree with this:
"this" being Wright's answer to Moyer's question about why Obama was tough on him during the Philadelphia speech, to which the reverend said his faithful former supporter was just answering "as a politician". Thing is, he's not supposed to be running "as a politician".

As to Obama's 2007 comment re his pastor (whom he would have officially dumped at some point after the last time he unofficially dumped him during his campaign announcement), "and in my personal walk, I seek daily to imitate his faith", was that the politics or the faith doing the talking?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Texas hold 'em?

Reports have been trickling out today about the revelations to be sprung on Congress Thursday regarding that odd little building the Israelis destroyed in Syria last year. According to CNN:
U.S. intelligence officials will tell members of Congress on Thursday that North Korea was helping Syria build a nuclear facility, according to a source familiar with internal administration discussions.
No big blockbuster--this has been rumored for months. So why the possible game of poker? Think King of Clubs.

Depending on which Arabs you choose to believe former Saddam henchman Izzat al-Douri is either dead; still in hiding in either Yemen (little Baghdad), Iraq or Syria; or has been captured. Indeed reports surfaced today that he's been captured, again, and Iraq's intelligence minister Mowafaq al-Rubaie was quoted as telling a Saudi newspaper that Syria has long been hiding the Ice Man, another long-rumored rumor.

By the way, we've also learned that former spokesman Tariq Aziz is still not dead and awaits a trial, while Chemical Ali, also still not dead, has gone into the hospital due to a hunger strike. Has anyone told him how that worked out for Saddam?

Debka questions the timing, but that's often like getting an opinion from a 9/11 truth site. Remember, only a few weeks ago the Israeli media was hinting that a report would reveal this site contained vestiges of Saddam's fateful WMD program, which leads to the following wild speculation fit for only a blogger--perhaps Syria offered up al-Douri as a quid pro quo? But for what? The hearing hasn't been canceled and it will tar Assad for dabbling with the North Koreans. Hmm, perhaps that's better than being associated with Saddam's WMDs. If the Ice Man was running loose in Syria who better to coordinate the addition of smuggled Iraqi WMD apparatus?

One thing is certain, if al-Douri is in custody it's certainly a bizarre coincidence. If he was given up by the Syrians it's even more bizarre. Actually, if his capture has anything to do with Syria whatsoever it's terribly bizarre and suspicious. Again, not sure why Bush would sit on evidence that Syria was somehow involved with Saddam's WMDs but maybe they're not ready to do anything about it yet.

Politically speaking it's not hard to see why holding back such a revelation until after the nomination would be advantageous, based simply on the positions already firmly taken by the two Democrat candidates, especially the one with the Muslim middle name. But hey, it's probably just another hoax anyway.

MORE 4/24/08

The US is still insisting the terrorists they picked up yesterday don't include the Ice Man, so apparently it was a big coincidence. Funny how that happens.

Anyway, all this talk about al-Douri brings back memories of the recent Joint Forces Command report about Iraq. Remember, the one that said Saddam had dabbled with Egyptian Islamic Jihad when Zawahiri was running it while all the mainstream media outlets headlined a lack of an operational connection to bin Laden? Michael Isikoff of Newsweek recently covered the story and as usual, it requires some minor clarifications for the sake of balance.

Referring to the EIJ contacts, Newsweek got themselves one of the most Bush-biased ex CIA sources they could find to opine about it:
Pillar notes the Egyptian group—headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri—didn't merge with Al Qaeda until years later. "This is the same kind of word game they played before the war," Pillar says.
Unreal--Mr. Pillar is clearly the one playing a "word game". We've got one terror group run by Zawahiri that merges with another run by bin Laden and they form AQ, yet somehow contact with the predecessor doesn't equate to contact with "al Qaeda" because they weren't incorporated yet. That's a stock liberal argument seen extensively since the statue fell but it represents the deepest myopia possible, suggesting there were no terrorist enemies before AQ was formed. You'd expect more from a CIA guy. Then again.

Isikoff also mentioned the saga of fugitive Abdul Yasin, the man who helped mix the chemicals for the first WTC attack:
..the newly discovered tape shows that Saddam and his ministers were puzzled by the bombing and wondered whether the "Zionists" or U.S. intelligence were secretly behind it. They also were deeply suspicious of Yasin, whom the Iraqis had in custody and were interrogating. Yasin, Saddam says on the tape, is "too organized in what he is saying and is playing games."
He seems quite happy to announce that and why not? There are lots of neocons including Cheney who'll never give that one up. Should we?

Well, it was reported by CBS News that Iraq tried to offer up Yasin before the war and the US rejected the offer. Apparently they wanted too much in return. He was even interviewed by Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes in 2002 before the war and claimed he was sorry and "talked into it" by the others. That sounds like complete BS of course, and obviously Saddam was trying to leverage him against us during the run-up to the war, which if the Joint Forces report is true is the only reason they'd bring him out of custody to talk at all. Otherwise why risk letting a "game-player" appear on American TV?

The most damning report on Yasin to date was the ABC 'stringer' who reportedly found Yasin outside his father's house in Baghdad back in 93 or 94, but Saddam's new tape brings this into the realm of propaganda now.

Did Isikoff leave anything out? Well, sorta. Beginning on page 63, here's a few more tidbits:
The participants in this meeting discuss other possible explanations, including direct or indirect involvement of either Israel or various factions in Saudi Arabia or Egypt. These alternative theories resonate with Saddam; he doubts that Abdul Rahman Yasin,convicted of being the ringleader, is capable of such an operation.

Saddam and his advisors then proceeded to layout a strategic communication strategy on how and when to make dramatic statements about Yasin's arrest. Additionally, they decided that to be effective, they must let out a little information every day. Saddam's approach was that the 1993 World Trade Center bombing suspect, if handled correctly, "will benefit us greatly; it will benefit us in our issue in the matter of the stance that the US has taken against US
Notice he left out Egypt and Saudi Arabia as mentioned culprits, choosing to list only America and Israel.

But this does appear to take Saddam off the hook for the bombing since disbelieving it seems to require believing the tape was fabricated to confuse the Americans or there was a spy in his inner circle. While the left might believe bin Laden tapes are faked it's not prudent to do so without supporting evidence, so we have to treat this tape similarly.

Especially when this revelation about Yasin is taken in combination with the fact Ramzi Yousef used an Iraqi passport to enter America and Mohammed Salameh made dozens of calls to Iraq before the attack. Such business points to an clever conspiracy afoot to frame Saddam and provide a casus belli to have him removed by force. This would implicate either Isreal, one of the other Arab countries, or perhaps Iran, unless of course we attacked ourselves before attacking ourselves was uncool.

Remember, the FBI had Yasin in custody in New York then let him go, after which he boogied straight to Baghdad. Where were the 2/26 truthers back then? Where was Marvin Bush?

Then again, if Iran were behind the attack Yasin was one cool cat to retreat into the belly of the beast in Iraq. Such a thing would also call into question everything we think we know about Yousef and KSM, heretofore thought to be Sunni Baluch terrorists who hated the Iranian Mullahs. That doesn't leave many culprits short of AQ (which according to Mr. Pillar wasn't there in 1993), especially when one considers that nobody would figure Clinton to roll tanks after we'd just left Somalia. And that takes Mossad off the hook because without us, they couldn't accomplish a war, kind of leaving it to rogue terrorists as the 9/11 Commission said. Unless we choose not to believe the tape.

As to Yasin's whereabouts now, well he's nowhere to be found. Dead perhaps, but why would Saddam kill him unless he knew something uncomfortable about the regime? Perhaps the shock and awe killed him by mistake or perhaps the real conspirators got to him first. Or maybe he just melted away. As with everything involving the War on Terror, it's hard for yokels armed with only an internet hookup to definitively say.

A Trojan Horse named Barack

The more information trickles out, the more it seems Obama's proposed change is truly change. Take this:
Barack Obama’s “official campaign blogger,” Sam Graham-Felsen, is a hardcore Marxist—and even leftists like this are disturbed by his presence on the campaign staff:
Or take former domestic terrorist William Ayers. The question is not what Obama saw in him, it's what Ayers saw in Obama. He was the one who apparently helped kick off the campaign so he must have seen the potential--for something. It's doubtful a person like Mr. Ayers would back a man who didn't share his views.

Consider a scenario where some high-minded liberals were aspiring to sneak a candidate into the White House. Would they pick an obvious leftist such as McGovern or Dukakis or a more Clinton-like figure, someone capable of fooling the clinging, bitter masses and who'd break new political ground to boot?

Why not pick a black man, but one who wasn't "too black" (Sharpton questioned his blackness early on). Jesse Jackson ran on the same kind of populist platform in the 80s, but he was too black to sway the clinging bitter hillbillies. At the same time a candidate like Obama could make it very difficult for the opposition to bring up his past with Wright and Ayers by running a race devoid of race. Anyone who dared to bring up his past would then suffer the wrath of a racist label (Ferraro).

Perhaps only Barack Obama could pull off such a stunt. Ironically, perhaps only the Clinton machine could slow down or even derail it entirely, the outcome which is still in question. McCain could not bring up race, ie, Wright.

More amazingly, if Clinton manages to snare enough superdelegates to get the nomination she'll emerge looking almost conservative by comparison. Long odds at the point? Yes, so perhaps the question is whether an Obama-Clinton ticket could be defeated. Both are nearing the empty stage of their political skeleton closets ahead of the convention, whereas McCain has yet to see the slightest of incoming campaign salvos.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

UFO or ...

Air Force flares? We've had these flare scares before only to discover the 'truth' later.

I'm going with flares. Funny how so many are willing to have faith these are extra-terrestrils without any proof, yet people scoff at the Bible as a collection of fairy tales.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Hillary Hawk

ABC's Jake Tapper was touting a rare sighting of the elusive Hillary Hawk tomorrow on GMA with this quote:
"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."
But Olbermann has already scooped him!

A bit out of character. So, what's the deal? Probably an 11th hour play for the shot drinking, beer chasing clinger crowd but does it have anything to do with Carter's embarrassing trip to Hamas-land after he's dropped hints about backing Obama? Let's let Jimmy explain.

Even if it's not to do with Jimmy, doesn't Hillary's deterrent rhetoric suggest she's already giving up on stopping the Iranians from getting the nukes they aren't officially pursuing? In other words, an assurance to Israel that only a liberal could make--they wipe you off the map, we return the favor after you're crispy fried. If so, no real surprises because the same GWoT strategy was used in the 90s with little success. But her statement represents a sea change in retaliation consequences and a striking difference from Obama's plan.

Danged if he does

This morning's online issue of GovExec has two very interesting stories on the same page. The first is about a new Bush administration policy to foster accountability in the bureaucracy:
The administration says that the order will improve program performance and ensure a higher level of accountability from top agency officials. But others suggest that it will open the door to greater White House interference in executive branch operations, possibly for years to come
OK, accountability officers-- bad. A little later they reported on the GAO audit of Bush's foreign policy vis a vis al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal territories:
GAO stated clearly where the blame for this failure resides: "The president of the United States has primary responsibility to ensure that his national security strategy is carried out effectively."
Indeed, from the actual report here is one of the five recommendations:
The plan should (1) place someone directly in charge of this multidepartment effort to improve accountability;
Er, OK, accountability officer-- now good.

We can make a wild guess and say the Pakistan/al Qaeda study was requested by the Democratic leadership in Congress for one of following reasons: 1) to provide cover/plausible deniability for their members should another attack occur, 2) to embarrass Bush again, 3) to help 2009 Democratic candidates by giving THEM cover should an attack occur after the elections, and 4) all the above.

Congress knows the GAO has no statutory authority over the policies set by the Commander-in-Chief in defending the country. And they know that a truly meaningful report would have required the GAO to secure access to presidential level top secret national security intelligence, which didn't happen. So, while their report might make for colorful special comment fodder for Keith Olbermann it has only limited value in the reality-based world.

But to these feckless huckleberries perception is reality. Little wonder Pelosi recently spittled out the following threat:
"'I think that the president has finally realized that the leverage has changed,' Pelosi said. 'That is the question: Who has the leverage? I think the president realizes now that we do.'"
Followed by a Bronx cheer, perhaps? By the way, feel free to read the rest of the Dan Froomkin article if you're into visions of Bush and Cheney in leg irons.

MORE 4/21/08

The former head of the GAO, Comptroller General David Walker, was in control when this report on the tribal areas was ordered. He resigned effective March 12. According to the WaPo he was a 'gadfly' and someone who irritated both sides. That looks true based on the mission statement of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, where he now works. So painting him as a partisan was not the intention here. BTW, blogging about the Comptroller General must mean things are pretty slow. Or I've lost it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rice trip to Iraq coverage

Compare and contrast the coverage on Secretary of State Rice's surprise visit to Iraq from several mainstream media outlets today:

The AP heralded her "call out" to Muqtada, picked up by Fox:
"I know he's sitting in Iran," Rice said dismissively, when asked about al-Sadr's latest threat to lift a self-imposed cease-fire with government and U.S. forces. "I guess it's all-out war for anybody but him," Rice said. "I guess that's the message; his followers can go too their deaths and he's in Iran."
CNN had an earlier story about Rice's trip that focused mainly on the unusual "force protection" measures necessary (ie, protecting the bigwig) but a later story said only this:
Rice is scheduled to be in Kuwait on Tuesday's for the Iraqi neighbors conference.
The story focused on Sadr's calls for war and his slams of Bush and Rice. The headline was Maliki's comment that Iraq cannot become "another Somalia". The New York Times was a bit more revealing, reporting on Rice's journey:
As rockets or mortars crashed into the fortified Green Zone, Ms. Rice met with Mr. Maliki, Mr. Talabani and other government leaders,
Wow, sorta like real sniper fire! The Times didn't describe her call out but to their credit they seemed less enamored with printing the propaganda of al-Sadr, at one point debunking a claim he made about deaths of Mahdi forces in Nasiriyah. They also printed Rice's invitation to Sadr's group to rejoin the political process.

The WaPo's coverage focused on the dramatic, painting a picture of a near-continual "duck and cover" exercise (Hillary must really be jealous) with the following mention of the call out:
She noted that Sadr has taken up residence in Iran, while "his followers can go to their deaths" in Iraq.
They also mentioned her call to the Sadrists re the political process so overall not so bad, but certainly they didn't give very much weight to that one remark. ABC News, now supposedly in the pockets of the neocons after the last debate, was just terrible. In a headline touting Rice's visit they gave us this:
Rice told reporters she sees signs that the campaign has brought sectarian and ethnic groups together in an unprecedented way, and she said she wants to capitalize on it.
That was on page 3 immediately following two solid pages of carnage about al-Sadr and the fighting and the rockets. Last but not least, the LA Times didn't mention Rice on their front page but did offer this headline: "Dozens killed in Iraq violence". Hmm, let's see if that's it. Yes, there she is! Actually, she figures prominently in the article, which mentioned the call out and several other new bits, such as:
"They want the entire country to be a place where the legitimate security forces of Iraq are in control, not the militias,"
So if a reader wants the whole story they've little choice but to traipse around to four or five web sites to get it. Give the LA Times some credit (unlike their immigration story earlier), they got right to Rice's comments and gave us more than any other outlet except AP. Too bad they had no mention of her trip in the headline.

But the common theme from CNN, NYT and the WaPo, other than not mentioning her call out in its entirety, was the placement of her comments when they did decide to print them. All buried them relatively far down the page, usually after explaining unusual force protections, incoming rockets (were they Iranian-made?) or propaganda from al-Sadr. CNN even included a nice picture of some carnage prominently at the top.

This is by no means a man bites dog story but as the election approaches such nuanced coverage certainly tends to favors one set of candidates over the other. This morning the Captain opined that the lack of mention was a sign that things are "approaching normalcy" (sort of like the lack of coverage of Space Shuttle missions as the luster wears off) but to this observer it's just another day.

Matter of fact, perhaps the heralding of Rice in a war zone might tend to make Clinton's war zone tall-tale even taller while reminding readers that Barack doesn't have any war zone stories at all. As to McCain, well...

Heartbreak for Mexico

"In another year, we could be at the end of the era of illegal migration because of all the fear,"
Sounds like a headline, eh? Yet the LA Times didn't go with it--they went with this one:

Migrants send less money back to Mexico

Gotta admire their reportorial specificity. Contrary to popular belief journalists do follow commandments, in this case, "thou shalt not refer to illegal aliens as illegal aliens". After all, we've been told that people aren't illegal, which is fine and dandy if only talking about people. But if talking about aliens/migrants/fancy name of the day, they surely can be, otherwise we're wasting millions funding ICE. But such things are trivial distractions, so let's move on.

From the story:
But migrants have been quick to adapt to the shifting conditions, such as staying put on the U.S. side to avoid the new rigors of reentering illegally after coming home to Mexico.
Quick to adapt, wow--just like any other human being. Too bad they can't adapt to a decent guest worker program that allows them to come do the excellent work most of them do without the privileges of the vote or drivers licenses or home ownership without credit scores or credit cards without credit scores or social security numbers stolen from citizens.

Speaking of the ICE men, and women, they've lately been cracking down across the land (confirmed not only through media stories but personal acquaintances), which could shift the conditions for those still remaining in America illegally due to the shifting conditions. Who says the problem can't be addressed without comprehensive reform? Word of mouth is powerful.

However, a short term crackdown doesn't a long term trend make. It's likely this reversal towards law and order may shift back in the favor of lawlessness come next year. All of our potential POTUS candidates have at various times shown their love for lawbreakers. To them it's a game of pandering, and "them" even includes non-candidates such as residents of the Vatican. And those forces are powerful. But if nothing else our latest crackdown and the resulting behavioral changes has shown what can happen once the hammer drops, even if only a few inches.

Liberals will label such a post unfeeling but they should carefully consider their own whining about Bush hacking the Constitution into pieces regards terrorism and civil liberty issues. Nevertheless, conventional wisdom would suggest your humble correspondent is perhaps a callous, unfeeling, bitter rube not smart enough to vote for Barack due to a clinging of xenophobia. You decide. In the meantime, there are ways to get this Mexican labor flowing back to northward into Los Estados Unidos so they can commence their hard work and most importantly, according to the LA Times at least, resume the much-needed flow of wire transfers of Jeffersons back southward to help ease the burden of their corrupt government who doesn't care a whit about them. It's called a real guest worker program, beefed up borders, and continued enforcement. As we've seen, it just might work.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Who's gonna win it?

The revolution, that is.

Not that I have anything against revolutions. Thomas Jefferson was certainly an advocate of periodic revolutions if the need arose, but that doesn't mean revolution for the sake of it. The Beatles put that into some perspective with their song of the same name. History certainly reveals that revolution was good for the wallets of the Jefferson Airplane, most of whom were singing about the ills of capitalism.

Fast forward to rapid Hillary supporter Larry Johnson, the outspoken critic of the Bush administration during the Valerie Plame mess. He's posted some historical video about the Weathermen, clearly in an effort to bash Obama over his connection to former Weatherman Bill Ayers. It's an interesting expose into the heart and soul of a bunch of disaffected Marxist idealists but it might shed some light on our present situation.

Why? Because Bill Ayers and wife have never disavowed that terrorism past, at least not publicly and certainly not since 9/11. So when Ayers first saw Obama back in the mid 90s and was presumably taken with his potential, what did he see? What would a former terrorist devoted to the overthrow of the US Government's capitalistic structure, with the goal of replacing it with something "more humane", be looking for in a candidate?

Has his goal to overthrow America been replaced with something softer due to the practicality of age and tenure, or is he still quietly fighting the good fight in his job at the University of Chicago University of Illinois at Chicago (while another famous domestic terrorist receives just rewards at the Supermax)? That's something we need to know, dontcha think?

Actually, thanks to Mr. Ayers's own site, we don't have to look too far. What strikes me about his column is the reference to Martin Luther King,
He called the U.S. “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” and argued that he could not condemn desperate, angry young men who picked up guns until he first condemned his own government. He urged resistance to the war and counseled youngsters not to join the armed services. And he said the U.S. was on the wrong side of the world revolution, that we would need to rekindle a revolutionary spirit in order to create a “revolution in values”—against militarism and racism and extreme materialism—that could lead to restructuring our economic and social system top to bottom.
He also included King's question as to whether America would go to hell for her sins. Sound familiar?

We'd be remiss by not mentioning the irony about Johnson and some right-leaning Democrats pointing out this history in light of the fact that Bill and Hillary themselves were radicals at one time, although judging from Bill's two terms he dumped that idealism long ago. We presume Hillary wouldn't be much different, making her a known commodity.

But in trying to figure out Obama we really only have the sum total of his recent comments, friends, supporters, past, and voting record in the Senate to work from. Based on those inputs it's becoming entirely possible that some on the radical left see him as a sort of Trojan Horse they can push into Washington only to jump out screaming when the dust settles. Certainly not a settled question but it's a question the Democrats need to answer soon, at least the ones who aren't still pursuing Utopia regardless of method (the ones who don't cling to various items of Americana).

A nice thought but heaven isn't a place on earth. That's not to say America is figuratively going to hell like reverends Wright and King suggested but there's no guaranteed spot in heaven, either. Our actions have at times been everything the radicals claim and more, our treatment of the American Indians being an easy example. We are far from perfect.

But the key to this debate revolves around the offered alternatives, or as Barack might say, 'change'. Most all forms of government have now been tried and most all are proven failures, yet some can't resist glorifying America's faults over her vast reservoir of good deeds and positive advancement to peace and justice to justify their own disaffections and lusts for power. In a world vulnerable to resources and full of people without fear of exploiting them, which path would Obama choose to take America?

MORE 4/20/08

Changed out the first YT due to some hippie-chick scenery that might have been offensive to some, but was certainly a staple of outdoor concerts back in the day. But I apologize to anyone who might have let their kids watch.

It's interesting McCain is now bashing Obama over Ayers, seemingly setting up a sort of hippie-versus-hawk showdown theme for the general. McCain's turnaround can arguably be traced to the debate where he famously said, "I was tied up at the time" in regards to the Woodstock museum Hillary wanted to fund.

At any rate this year may represent the official end of the "Vietnam effect" on presidential elections. The former protesters and vets are getting along in years and Obama himself is the first national candidate since the war ended who's too young to have served.

MORE 4/26/08

Thanks to reader Uncle P for correcting me as to the exact location of Mr. Ayer's employment. The University of Chicago is perhaps better known for their tenure of professor Ted Fujita, developer of the "Fujita Scale" for measuring tornadoes, which has absolutely nothing to do with domestic terrorism.

Defenders of the faith

Iran held their annual "Army Day" celebration in Tehran on Thursday. Aside from the customary chants of "death to America, death to Israel" some of the big wigs expanded on that theme:
"In a not so distant future, we should reach a point to have the most powerful military equipment in the world so that no one even think about invading our borders." Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said in his Friday prayer sermon carried live on state radio.

"And not only that of the Islamic republic, but also the borders of Islam ... We must defend oppressed Muslims everywhere so that the enemies do not dare to attack Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq."
Here's a propaganda packaging of last year's Army Day:

As to the current rhetoric, it's not clear whether they mean the current occupiers of those countries or other future invaders should we leave. Nevertheless, it's appears a direct threat based on acquisition of additional deterrent capability, understanding the weakness of our present thinned out military deployment and our aversion to a draft. There's only so much an air attack can do, for instance, if we take out their nuke sites and they send a million men/suicide brigades into both Iraq and Afghanistan we'd likely be overwhelmed. That's the current deterrent.

How does this square with our presidential candidates? Barack and Hillary are both advocating we leave Iraq and move troops to Afghanistan, so it's unclear whether that maneuver would fit the invaders bill since we're already there. Perhaps if a surrounding Sunni country were to fill the void left in Iraq by our departure they would technically qualify as an "invader" despite their Muslimness. Iran wasn't very

Barack's rhetoric is perhaps even more complicated, as he's hinted at rolling tanks into Pakistan to chase down bin Laden if the intelligence arises. At last check Pakistan was a Muslim country, so that appears to fit the bill.

Yet whenever anymore on the right mentions challenging Iran--the country making more daily threats than any other in the world, we get reactions like this:
Further, why would Iran strike at the U.S. with terrorism when they have been doing everything possible to avoid a war that would devastate their country?
Or nutball stuff like this:
Bush and Cheney have less than two years to go in their current role and want to go down in the history books as the heroes of the Pax Americana, as the men who managed to conquer the Middle East and its oil, as the men who took full-spectrum dominance seriously, while in their own country booking successes through exorbitant profits for the military-industrial complex and the realization of radical legislation.
So, if we challenge a country with a record of attacks on America a mile long we're oil mongers. Yet Barack Obama has said he'll attack AQ whenever and wherever he finds them. We know he means Pakistan, but no one has yet bothered to ask whether that would also include Iran (sections of which are Sunni, such as Baluchistan) or even the Hub of Islam itself--Saudi Arabia. After all.

But whatever the case it's a complicated picture, no doubt:
Bush can also see China and Russia waiting in the wings, not to promote conflict but to take advantage of self-destructive missteps that the United States takes that would give them more leverage over and control of global energy flows. Iran has the third-largest undeveloped oil reserves in the world and the second-largest undeveloped natural gas reserves.

Bush also knows that Iran controls "the temperature" of the terror networks it runs. Bombing Iran would blow the control gauge off, and Iran's terror networks could mobilize throughout the Middle East, Afghanistan and even the United States
Then again, one might say the most important valve was removed a few months ago. There was a time some thought that valve was THE most important one:
The Iraqis, who for several years paid smaller groups to do their dirty work, were quick to discover the advantages of Al-Qaeda. The Israeli sources claim that for the past two years Iraqi intelligence officers were shuttling between Baghdad and Afghanistan, meeting with Ayman Al Zawahiri. According to the sources, one of the Iraqi intelligence officers, Salah Suleiman, was captured last October by the Pakistanis near the border with Afghanistan. The Iraqis are also reported to have established strong ties with Imad Mughniyeh.

"We’ve only got scraps of information, not the full picture," admits one intelligence source, "but it was good enough for us to send a warning six weeks ago to our allies that an unprecedented massive terror attack was expected. One of our indications suggested that Imad Mughniyeh met with some of his dormant agents on secret trips to Germany. We believe that the operational brains behind the New-York attack were Mughniyeh and Zawahiri, who were probably financed and got some logistical support from the Iraqi Intelligence Service (SSO)."

Mughniyeh was the only one believed to have tried it before. On April 12th 1997, he was reported to be only two hours away from achieving the highest goal of any terrorist organisation (until last week): blowing up an Israeli El-Al airliner above Tel Aviv. A man carrying a forged British passport with the name Andrew Jonathan Neumann was in a Jerusalem hotel preparing a bomb he was supposed to take on board an El-Al flight leaving Israel, when it accidentally went off. Andrew Jonathan Neumann was very badly injured but strong enough to reveal later to the Israelis that he was not British but Lebanese, and that his operation was supposed to be a special "gift" to Israel from Imad Mughniyeh.
Hmm. The next president will be handed an armload. Unfortunately there's no "magic wand to wave" to make it all go away.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What earthquake?

Seems a lot of our northern friends, ie, yankees, are whining and caterwauling about today's little temblor temblors up near West Salem, Illinois. Ms. Althouse noticed way up in Madison, WI...hmmm, you'd think Madison would have a social program to prevent such a thing by now. Perhaps the residents will now become bitter and cling to Wicca and their ACLU lawyers.

And what about that Barack Obama? Global warming? Yaaah! He didn't say ONE DAD-BURNED THING about preventing earthquakes in the debate or afterwards during his bird-flipped whine. About that--dude, if you're gonna flip her the bird just do it, don't hide it. Guess that's the definition of new age politics.

So there was an earthquake. Neither I nor any of my few friends felt it, saw it, or heard it, nor did our animals. That's not to say it didn't happen, it surely did, but it wasn't a very big deal around Memphis no matter what WREC radio told me on the way to work this morning. Hey--we survived Iben Browning, thank you very much.

No folks, the image above is the real deal. It's so scary I was reluctant to post it without a rating, er again, because if when it happens it will make Katrina look like a picnic. And despite what the government might say, regardless of whether the government is Obama or McCain or Frosty the Snowman, don't believe them--they will not be there for us. At least not for about a week or two.

So we must learn to prepare by stockpiling cans of green beans and ramon noodles. Admittedly it's not easy with Bush in the White House (had to get in some pre-emptive blame). And can't forget the gas prices. Yep, I suppose a lot of folks will be clinging to God, guns, xenophobia and mistrust of weird strangers at that point, God forbid and Allah willing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's a debacle

From Yahoo News via McClatchey:
The war in Iraq has become "a major debacle" and the outcome "is in doubt" despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon's premier military educational institute.
From the report, which somehow didn't make the McClatchey headline generator:
On the eve of the 2003 war, all disputes on such details as aluminum tubes and uranium oxide from Niger aside, most international intelligence agencies believed, as did former President Clinton, that Saddam still possessed a major chemical weapons stockpile, a significant missile force, and active R&D programs for biological and nuclear weapons.

I find nothing in credible sources to support the notion that the WMD threat was concocted by U.S. Government officials and then sold to a gullible public, nor do I believe that any one Iraqi source tricked us into our beliefs. No special offices within OSD or cabals of neoconservatives created the dominant perception of the danger of Iraqi WMD. We now know that there were many holes in our knowledge base, but senior officials and analysts were almost universally united in their core beliefs.
As with the recent Joint Forces report, this one will also contain supporting information as to Bush's assessment to take out Saddam. It will also contain a highly critical assessment of how the war was handled, but post mortems are always 20/20. Hopefully we can learn from such things, but one thing is certain--liberal media establishments will cherry-pick the worst and feature it prominently every time.

UPDATE 4/18/08

Why is this not surprising?
“The Miami Herald story (”Pentagon Study: War is a ‘Debacle’ “) distorts the nature of and intent of my personal research project. It was not an NDU study, nor was it a Pentagon study. Indeed, the implication of the Herald story was that this study was mostly about current events. Such is not the case. It was mainly about the period 2002-04. The story also hypes a number of paragraphs, many of which are quoted out of context. The study does not “lay much of the blame” on Secretary Rumsfeld for problems in the conduct of the war, nor does it say that he “bypassed the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” It does not single out “Condoleeza Rice and Stephen Hadley” for criticism.
Just like the Joint Forces report. But the damage is done. The news cycle is short, and there will be no apologies or follow-ups.

Promises of the Founders

That's how Obama described the Democrat mission in Wednesday's debate, yet he doesn't seem to understand the promise of the Founders at all. Here were his next few words:
We are seeing people's economic status slipping further and further behind. We've seen people who have not only lost their jobs but now are at risk of losing their homes. We have a sharp contrast in terms of economic policies. John McCain wants to continue four more year of George Bush policies and, on the foreign policy front, wants to continue George Bush's foreign policy.
In other words, Obama thinks a foreign policy that includes not losing a war is somehow offtrack from what the Founders might want, yet thinks bailing out people for making poor choices on home loans somehow is one.

The pundits are saying this was the toughest debate yet. Agreed, because the candidates finally gave us a glimpse of their mindset, temperament, and candor. Neither were very impressive.

Barack showed why he's survived up to this point. When the fire gets hot he simply turns to his radio quality speaking voice and goes into a Willy Wonka vat of syrupy rhetoric. He has a way of producing a near-narcotic effect, especially when he throws in the hope and change things, rendering the question forgotten after 2 or 3 minutes. Of course he's not answering the question at all, simply using the old media trick of falling back on boilerplate talking points during a crisis (ie, a tough question). Last night neither Gibson nor Stephanopoulis let him get away with it.

Which got them honorary new rear ends from the nutroots gang for essentially, gasp, asking follow-up questions...and sometimes...shock...even two! This diluted the golden pablum like never before. Shoot, score.

On Iraq, both candidates continued their incoherency. They continue to speak about departure timetables as if they are something that might actually work and not vapid pandering to the anti-war set. These comments are usually couched as "pressure to bear" on the Iraqi political coalition to act but they're really just gifts, not only to the AQ and Ba'athists but to Ahmadinejad as well.

Speaking of A'jad, the question about Israel and Iran was most enlightening as we saw Obama snaking around through the tall grass before finally agreeing he'd support them in a pinch. Hillary jumped on this hard and made a very easy point, even mentioning the recent news that Ahmadinejad has come out as 9/11 troofer. Neither were asked about possibly going after Bush administration officials for war crimes after the election, though.

The seminal moment came during questioning about the economy and Social Security. When challenged by Gibson about his threat to raise the capital gains tax despite the fact that government revenues rise when this rate is cut, Obama's answer was basically one about fairness. Not sure where the fairness promise resides in the Constitution as to setting tax rates, but that says a lot. Most making under 35K don't pay federal taxes anyway and Bush is the first president in my memory to write ME a check. I've seen my bank statement today--I'm still not rich. So it seems Obama's sense of fair is something pretty extreme in waiting.

He was also busted for promising not to raise taxes on people making under 200K then agreeing he might eliminate the 97K cap on FICA, which would amount to a tax since those people could not be able to claim those benefits in proportion to contribution after retirement. Many don't understand that, but McCain has a huge opening to hammer Barack about the head and shoulders with those words when the time comes. It was clear that when Barack can't use his rambling narcotic replies he's much less effective.

There was one moment where I wanted to scream at the TV and it was the question about how each candidate might use George W. Bush after he's gone. Each nearly laughed it off, clearly displaying their BDS. Barack almost pulled a Saddam by saying he might enlist Bush 41 over 43, a pretty big slap that 41 probably didn't appreciate. Obama might as well have said he'd install an inlaid Bush 43 face on the floor of the White House foyer. Yet there was nothing about what they'd do to stop Jimmy Carter? Seems they missed some big scoring opportunities there.

All in all, tough but fair. We need to see these suckers under fire because if they can't handle Charlie Gibson, they can't handle the world.

MORE 4/17/08

Barack's reaction was almost as revealing as the debate. On the "gotcha" nature of the questions:
"Last night I think we set a new record because it took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people," Obama told the North Carolina crowd. "Forty-five minutes before we heard about health care, 45 minutes before we heard about Iraq, 45 minutes before we heard about jobs, 45 minutes before we heard about gas prices."
Again, they don't want questions, they want speeches. Thing is, they could let both of them talk for 45 minutes without interruption and neither would offer any realistic solutions for any of those things. Besides, Obama was given an opportunity to show his financial acumen on the topic of capital gains and blew it.

So with that we've seen the last debate, now that Barack realizes they're actually going to challenge him (the VRWC no doubt). Said he,
"I'll be honest with you. We've now had 21," Obama said of the debates. "It's not as if we don't know how to do these things. I could deliver Senator Clinton's lines. I'm sure she could deliver mine."
"Lines", indeed.

Mistrial in Miami

Down in flames, again:
The second trial of six men accused of plotting attacks on Chicago's Sears Tower and FBI offices ended with a second hung jury Wednesday, an embarrassing blow to a case the Bush administration had cited as an example of nipping a devastating terrorist attack in the bud.
An example of how our system has trouble handling cases involving potential terrorists, especially when racial components are involved. Who doesn't think it's going to get harder for juries to convict in similar cases as the years accumulate beyond 9/11 while daily stories identify the real enemy combatant in our midst?

So, who were these guys? The ringleader Batiste sounds like a real winner,
Batiste led a sect called the Moorish Science Temple that blends elements of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and does not recognize the authority of the U.S. government.
He reminds me more of a nutty street hustler preacher than a bona fide AQ operative. Maybe that's what some jurors saw too and just couldn't send him the the gang upriver without more smoke from the gun. Americans tend to be that way.

After all, who's not angry these days? Just think of these fellows as bitter small towners clinging to religion, guns, separatism, and war with America due to failed federal policies ruining their lives. It's understandable--who wouldn't want to take out that bitterness at the very symbol of devilish oppression worldwide--Sears and Roebuck? It's darn fortunate these guys didn't get it done since Barack was busy up there taking notes from various mentors on the prevention of terrorism through income redistribution and not going into Iraq.

By the way, ABC euphemistically replaced the term "hung jury" with "deadlocked" on this story. Too suggestive of nooses, perhaps? One would hope it wasn't the other popular usage of the word!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Circumstantial terror

The Britney-obsessed world couldn't care less--Simon Cowell's haircut is much more interesting. And the liberals wouldn't believe Saddam was involved with terrorism if a video surfaced showing him loading WMD cannisters into a white Nissan driven by bin Laden. Most conservatives are preoccupied with obsessing about Obama.

So why bother? Fear of being wrong about a major issue that led to war? Perhaps, but then again perhaps it's the specter of the alternative--a president who betrayed his country and oath of office for obscenely self-serving reasons. According to conventional wisdom there are really only three choices regards Iraq; either Bush lied for oil, was an imbecile, or was clandestinely reacting to genuine threats. Since most enjoy exploring the first two possibilities it seems the third deserves at least a little sunshine every so often.

Remember the recent report from the US Army Joint Forces Command on Iraq? The MSM highlighted the report's lack of any "operational" connections between Saddam and bin Laden but those who bothered to read more than a few pages would have found the purported link between Saddam and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a very dangerous terrorist group tied to AQ number 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri through their offshoot "Vanguards of Conquest". It's amazing our highly paid professional media seemed to dismiss the implications of this possible relationship. OK, it's really not, especially in light of what Barack said he might do if elected. But browse this about the Vanguards while remembering that Mohammed Atta was an Egyptian.

Let's strap into Doc Brown's DeLorean and go back to January 30th 2001, a week after George W. Bushitler took office, when a letter was received at the Citizenship and Immigration Office in Ottawa, Canada threatening to use anthrax if fellow terrorists were not released from lockup. According to reports the letter contained a white powder with a short note of mainly jibberish (like this?).

The letter was addressed to Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan who had co-signed the detention certificate against one Mahmoud Mahjoub, a suspected AQ operative in captivity mainly for his former job working on bin Laden's farm in the Sudan during the 90s. He was recently denied release again, perhaps with this background still fresh:
Jaballah’s colleague Mahjoub was #2 in Zawahiri’s Vanguards of Conquest. When Mahjoub’s bail hearing was announced in January 2001, one of Zawahiri’s minions threatened to use anthrax if bail was denied. This was the subject of a February 2001 Presidential Daily Brief from the CIA to President Bush. Bail was denied on October 5, 2001. The potent anthrax was mailed the next day to the US Senators deemed most closely associated with appropriations to Egypt and Israel and the rendering of the Vanguards of Conquest (Egyptian Islamic Jihad) members.
Not surprisingly, Mahjoub is a controversial figure in Canada. He and several others have been held in a sort of Gitmo-north prison for a good while now, becoming a sort of cause-celebre for the Canadian chapter of north american moonbats and their strange bedfellow jihadi advocates abroad. Some of these guys even tried to grandstand for the release of James Loney and the Christian Peacemakers held in Iraq back in 2006.

By the way, the 9/11 Commission reported on AQ's pursuit of bio-weapons, notably through a guy named Yazid Sufaat:
Atef turned to Hambali when al Qaeda needed a scientist to take over its biological weapons program. Hambali obliged by introducing a U.S.-educated JI member, Yazid Sufaat, to Ayman al Zawahiri in Kandahar. In 2001, Sufaat would spend several months attempting to cultivate anthrax for al Qaeda in a laboratory he helped set up near the Kandahar airport.23
An aside--the CIA turned Atef into particles of desert without the whiff of a trial or a puff of hot air from the ACLU. Had they captured him the same folks would have insisted on Miranda rights.

Anyway, Ross Getman takes all this Canadian activity to it's logical conclusion per the US anthrax letters in fall 2001, but he tosses in a twist on why they might have targeted liberal Senator Pat Leahy (as if that would matter to AQ--it only works if you believe Bush was involved) with one of the most potent strains:
For a half decade now, the media has inexplicably overlooked the fact that Senator Leahy is author of the "Leahy Law," a provision that prohibits appropriations to military and security units if there is credible evidence of human rights violations -- evidence of torture.
Getman believes the attacks are in response to our infamous rendition program (ie, torture) but that seems fairly short-sighted considering US troops in Saudi and the jailing of the Blind Sheikh were the roots of their evil, before rendition began.

Oddly enough, the FBI's Amerithrax investigation team recently focused public interest on three people employed at Fort Detrick, MD for that crime. Presumably Dr. Hatfill's off the hook and awaiting a large check (by the way, at last check former USA Today reporter Toni Locy was still under contempt charges racking up thousands per day in fines for not giving up her government sources, but that's another story).

The odd thing about the Mahmoud situation has always been the role of Mubarak al-Duri, an Iraqi the 9/11 Commission called "bin Laden's WMD procurement agent". He spent time in Arizona when Wadi al-Hage was there, then spent time in Canada with Mahmoud and friends. His last known location was the Sudan where the FBI actually interviewed him in 2001, an event famous for the mocking laughter produced when they asked him about links between Saddam and bin Laden. Apparently since the Feds bought that story he was allowed to disappear, remaining a WMD procurement agent for AQ on the loose. Who knows, maybe he's at the same secure location occupied by WTC-one bomb mixer Abdul Yasin. Or this guy.

The obvious and still unanswered question is whether al-Duri, being a WMD point man connected to bin Laden and Zawahiri, both of whom were seeking bio weapons, was in any way trying to procure said material from Iraq despite their feelings about Saddam and apostasy. Recall Iraq never secured UN verification when they destroyed their anthrax stocks and were evidently loosely connected to Zawahiri's gang. The fact that Mubarak al-Duri has the same surname as the current leader in exile of the Ba'ath Party in Iraq is only suspicious if you want it to be.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The logical extension of Obama's comments

Before going further, I have to say this is funny:

Picturing Hillary running around toting a 30-30 or hiding in some duck blind is pure hilarity, wouldn't you agree? Behold the genius of Barack Obama. He's like a comedian working a room on Comedy Central, spinning the crowd away from the controversy and towards the punchline. And therein lies the problem.

Hugh Hewitt has an insightful piece about Hickgate today, correcting various liberal media types who were helping Obama clarify his statement. Hewitt thinks Obama is out of touch with flyover country due having never lived there (Chicago doesn't count). There's credence in that notion, matter of fact it's part of an overall lack of seasoning that should disqualify Obama from the presidency. At least this time.

But Hewitt left open a few questions for the rest of us to ponder. One, the race factor. Clearly it appears Obama was referring to white residents of PA and the midwest with his statement otherwise he wouldn't have couched his remarks around xenophobia or not liking people who were different.

What if he were to apply his bitterness quotient to small town blacks? Would he dare describe them as "clinging to black liberation theology or that old time religion to handle their long frustration with the rich white men controlling the country"? Well, maybe. He's already got the black vote and dissing the rich white men would be a condemnation of guys like Bill Clinton, but he's already fired missiles in that direction. He's essentially running his candidacy on that very concept anyway despite the public disagreement with his mentor.

What about Hispanics, mainly illegals? They live in small towns as well, and are part of the bitterness felt by small town whites, and even some blacks, due to the notion of disparate treatment and a callous disregard for the rule of law. Would Obama ever consider describing the reason they aren't coming onboard as because they're "clinging to Aztlan or other notions of reconsquista, ritual Catholicism, and rowdy drunkenness or gang violence due to a failure of the government to stop the ICE man or remove the grandstanding politicians who might favor taking away their American dream"? Obviously not, besides, it really doesn't work anyway. Many are only bitter because others want them to obey the law and go back and Obama has no concrete answer (nor does anyone else).

So by and large the only non-radioactive target is the angry white man. Barack privately, then publicly dissed them as bitter rubes, yet few seem upset. Maybe it's just the same stuff, different day thing, or maybe they feel bitter enough to generally agree. Whatever the case Barack will likely get away with it scot-free--he's becoming a celebrity as evidenced by the video above. The news cycle is progressing fast and the reporters will continue moving the goalposts around like a shell game to keep their great black hope viable against an obvious flawed Hillary and the third edition of Bushitler, who doesn't hold enough absolute moral authority to protest too loudly anyway.

MORE 4/14/08

I suppose we can always keep hope alive.

Shocking science news

Remember the hoo-hah created by the Gore crowd over researcher Kerry Emanuel's 2005 paper linking hurricane strength with global warming? It was responsible for the urban legend that Katrina was caused by man and became part of the undergirding of Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth".

Have you heard the news about Mr. Emanuel? Seems he's been hard at work researching how computer models model hurricanes, or don't, and has come to a startling conclusion:
One of the most vocal scientists in the field of hurricane prediction has backed away from his earlier certainty of a link between global warming and stronger hurricanes after developing a new forecasting technique that suggests a moderate increase – or even decline – in storm activity over the next 200 years.
He explains:
"There are various interpretations possible, e.g. a) The big increase in hurricane power over the past 30 years or so may not have much to do with global warming, or b) The models are simply not faithfully reproducing what nature is doing. Hard to know which to believe yet.
Uncertainty is an integral part of science, or at least it used to be. No doubt this news will not seriously deter Gore and the climate glitterati, though.

As to whether sites like and will adjust their narratives--both use the global warming-hurricane link to make their case--well, that's up in the air. Perhaps they'll add disclaimers to indicate the nature of the ongoing research. Perhaps pigs will fly. And just consider how many schools have presented Gore's movie as gospel under pressure from Laurie David.

Nevertheless, the "hurry up and change the way you live" mantra will not be shaken regardless of whatever inconvenient evidence pops up, such as no warming in the last 10 years or links to hurricane strength. Some people still will still feel compelled to do outlandish things in the name of the cause, like demanding journalists change headlines or suggesting that anyone who refuses to accept consensus belongs in the nearest nut hatch. All I can say is thank Gore for the internets! Speaking truth to power is a good thing.

With that, how about a reprise of this....

Carter's terrorist adventure

Damn the torpedoes, Jimmy's going to meet with Hamas come hell or high water. No surprises--like a lot of liberals he's an idealist to the core. We need all types in this world but whether we him there now is another question.

There was a time back in the day when I defended him, when people were making fun of his southern roots and his beer swilling brother and Georgia in general. But in retrospect he wasn't a very good president.

Yet up until the time Bush took out Saddam I thought he was one of our best ex-presidents, working quietly for democracy and Habitat for Humanity and staying out of day to day politics. Sadly, his recent actions have been more reminiscent of the failed presidency. He's not helping our image around the world--unless embarrassing confusion is the new goal.

Ah, but we do live in strange times indeed. Grits meeting with terrorists in Damascus while the Pope visits Ground Zero and prays for their conversion to Christ. We'll have to see how they respond to all this flowing love--probably with a few suicide attacks or a celebratory head chop. Sorry, just the cynic in me. I wouldn't be a very good peace negotiator.

In the meantime here's a few open questions regarding the Carter trip:

  1. What if he gets kidnapped? What ransom for a former president?
  2. Speaking of which, how does one meet with terrorists with a Secret Service detail in tow? Do they all get blindfolded and driven around? That's hard to visualize.
  3. Will the Hamas Mickey Mouse will be there to greet him?
  4. God forbid they kill him, would that officially start World War III? What about just an attempt?
  5. What does Carter have to offer either side? He's a private citizen and doesn't speak for the USA. Say for instance Hamas demands Israel allow them to fulfill their mission statement or eradication, does Jimmy nod his head and offer them a peanut or protest at gunpoint?
  6. Will the Obama endorsement come before or after the visit?
  7. Will he be allowed to provide Obama with details of the meeting or will he be debriefed by State and told to zip it? Will any such correspondence be available to the public before the election?
  8. If Hamas offers ridiculous concessions they know Bush won't agree on in order to score a PR victory will Carter be charged with treason if he demagogues it along with them?
  9. If it's a rank failure will it serve as an example of why talking to enemies is often pointless?
  10. What if they demand he don a Hamas keffiyah for PR purposes? Will he do it? Hold a sword, perhaps? Chant death to Israel? Shake hands with the mouse? What are his personal show-stoppers?

Time will tell.