Monday, June 30, 2008

Beers reappears

Rand Beers, that is.

When last we heard he had joined the Bush administration in 2002 [according to this site at the behest of Richard Clarke] to serve on the National Security Council. He then stormed out in protest five days before the invasion of Iraq.

Since then he's become the chief honcho at a left-wing outfit known as the National Security Network, which features a very interesting cast of characters, many of whom have been in the news lately. For instance:

Advisory Board:
Samuel R. Berger
Wesley Clark
Richard C. Holbrooke

Here's a slice of their policy position on Iraq:
The reckless strategy has taken our eye off Al Qaeda, weakened our military and squandered our leverage around the globe. It’s time to end the war, begin removing our forces from Iraq, ask the Iraqi Government to stand on its own and focus on our real security priorities around the world.
So, with proper background, Mr. Beers was back in the news today:
"So I think," he continued, "to some extent his national security experience in that regard is sadly limited and I think it is reflected in some of the ways that he thinks about how U.S. forces might be committed to conflicts around the world."
Let's recap--we've got Beers saying McCain's POW status nullifies his military experience; we've got Wes Clark saying McCain's military experience counts for basically nothing; we've got Richard Holbrooke apparently leaking a top level backdoor meeting that led to the recent deal with the North Koreans (presented to us by the McClatchey clan) designed to undermine that deal. It's as if they're coordinating.

Beers was in the news back in 2006 after an employee in the CIA's IG office, Mary McCarthy, was accused of leaking top secret information about the secret prisons to the WaPo's Dana Priest, who went on to win a Pulitzer. McCarthy's connection to Beers? Well, he was her former boss during the Clinton years. Note the other names that pop up at that link, such as Larry Johnson (of "whitey tape" fame), Larry Wilkerson, former associate of Colin Powell, and Ray McGovern, leader of the former spooks who hate Bush (VIPS).

All have come out strongly in the press against Bush and at least one, Johnson, has known ties to Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. Most had ties to the Kerry campaign. It's a little more complicated vis a vis Obama and Clinton, since Johnson was/is an ardent Hillary backer while others are advising Obama. But we certainly seem to have a nexus of stories and players at the moment targeting McCain.

MORE 7/1/08

Hot Air has the audio of the comments, which were in response to an audience member ranting about McCain drafting his military age son to go free Syria, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, etc. Beers then answered by suggesting McCain's captivity in Vietnam somehow colored his judgment about warfighting in the 21st century. Seems like a stretch befitting Gumby.

It's also another attempt to paint Iraq with the Vietnam brush served with a side dish of discrediting an opponent's military service in the most bizarre and idiotic fashion imaginable. The fact that Beers was on team Kerry in 2004--a group never shy about mentioning their man's three purple hearts--and is now apparently supporting a candidate with precious little experience, military, executive or otherwise, is glaringly apparent. Is this very smart man really that stupid?

Or how about this: Beers, Berger, Clark, Holbrooke, Wilson, perhaps even Johnson were all likely in line for positions in a Hillary administration. Wonder how they are faring with Obama? What did Bill Clinton and Obama talk about in their nice chat meeting the other day?

Leave Schieffer alone!

The Big Tent Democrat writing at Talk Left seems to be upset with CBS's Bob Schieffer:
Yes Bob Schieffer, really. Do you think it is a qualification to be President? Does CBS News think it is? Why? I think Bob Schieffer has some questions to answer on this point imo.
What's he talking about?

Well, he's talking about a conversation Schieffer had with General Wesley Clark on Face the Nation Sunday. Let's go to the "rush transcript":
SCHIEFFER: With us now from Little Rock, Arkansas, retired General Wesley Clark. He was for Hillary Clinton during the primaries. Once Hillary was out of it, he announced that he was supporting Barack Obama.

And let's get right to it here, General. You heard what Senator Lieberman said. He said that Barack Obama is simply more ready to be president than Barack Obama.

General WESLEY CLARK (Retired; Obama Supporter): Well, I think--I think Joe has it exactly backwards here.
No wonder Big Tent is upset and confused, these people are literally talking in circles.

OK, fun done. The hot potato in question is one word, "really" uttered by Schieffer after Clark suggested being shot down as a fighter pilot has no bearing on becoming president. Our critic has generally failed to consider the context of the word, which was uttered after Clark disparaged McCain's non-wartime command in the Navy and his lack of executive experience followed by accolades about Obama's judgment and superior communication skills sans military experience.

Of course being a wartime fighter pilot, even one who's been shot down in combat, doesn't automatically prepare one for being president. Everyone knows that only riding in small naval Swift Boats can do that.

And of course, the fact that McCain spent more time in the Hanoi Hilton than Obama has in the Senate isn't an instant qualification either because let's face it--anybody can be captured and tortured by a bunch of shortish communists, it takes a strong leader to sit in a church and listen to a radical reverend for 20 years, never communicating any complaints to said reverend then later communicating to the press that he heard nothing controversial until after the reverend retired. Or to mesmerize the press with chants of 'yes we can' while flip-flopping on just about every major issue to date.

But for lefties to go after Bob Schieffer, one of the most polite and unobtrusive journalists in media -- for anything -- seems overly cruel and desperate. For crying out loud he's done his time in the trenches people--in six months or so he'll be living the retirement dream, probably motoring around America in the ole Airstream staying at the KOA. Leave Bob Schieffer alone.

MORE 6/30/08

After further thoughts I've come to the conclusion that Wes Clark simply cannot be that stupid to compare Obama's experience and judgment to McCain's. Chances are this was the first of many attempts to say something so outrageous as to trigger a temper blowup from Mac, which will then become the story. After all, who cares what Clark says? But they would care how McCain reacted.


Surely General Clark's mention of McCain's service and Obama's speech on patriotism were mere coincidences, right? Let's pretend they were. Here's my quick take:

It wasn't his most impassioned speech but it wasn't bad. The fact he gave it only represents more evidence Obama feels the constant need to reintroduce himself to the electorate, not necessarily a good thing for someone running for president. He keeps blaming it on right-wing smears and misinformation, but part of the problem has come from his own associations, which he vaguely referred to in the speech.

Obviously there were several goals, most probably the main one being to dispel conventional wisdom about flag pins, the pledge of allegiance, G-D America and so forth. To great applause he used Mark Twain's quote on patriotism to define it for himself (which is a good one), but that occurred right after criticizing people who criticize the country without acknowledging it's goodness (defining many on his side).

He declared cheap shots at patriotism as off-limits, as if he'd ever personally consider doing such a foolish thing anyway. Clearly, without a military service record and with so much ambiguity about his background that construct mostly benefits him, ie, he's trying to link attacks on McCain's service record with attacks on his association with William Ayers or militants in the black movement.

Towards the second half it was standard political fare with talking points wrapped in the flag. He defined the soldier who blew the lid off Abu Ghraib as a patriot, skipping countless examples of heroic service folks he could have cited. The point was understandable but Abu Ghraib is like code word for the left, leaving the impression that the Times and Post writers who leaked national security info about detaining prisoners might also be patriots. At least that's how I took it.

He said Bush never called anyone to service after 9/11, a lie, and had encouraged people to "shop", which is true, but the attack on America was an attack on our financial system and not "shopping" out of fear would have caused further damage. Here's what Bush said:
I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America is successful because of the hard work, and creativity, and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today.
He criticized the tax cuts during a war, most of which were in place before 9/11. Is Obama suggesting Bush should have raised taxes after a massive drop in the stock market with the financial center of the world laying in ruins?

He talked of the lack of togetherness in weening ourselves off foreign oil (true) without acknowledging the restrictions on actually getting more oil in the interim while we're busy looking. He failed to mention that Bush has put more federal dollars into researching alternative fuels than previous presidents and we have a Democratic-controlled Congress who continue to do nothing aside from drag administration officials in for testimony.

BTW, rather nit-picky, but around 10:15 Obama talks about his mother reciting the Declaration to him when only a wee tot living in Indonesia (not his step-father) and he decided it was time to recite it, to which he said "unalienable" instead of "inalienable" (the definitions are the same). Whoops. It's interesting he felt the need to say it at all. Hey, was that a flag pin or not?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Addington/Yoo hearings

The clip with Addington and Delahunt is now ubiquitous but presented below are vehicles for listening to the full bloviation:

Judiciary Committee hearing on torture 6/26/08

For some reason You Tube isn't much help on this matter. Several clips are horrible, with audio so poorly synched to the video as to be indistinguishable to mankind. The best clip is presented below but only includes the first half before the Addington/Delahunt dustup (testimony begins slightly before halfway through). It does give a sense of the overall inquisitional tone of questioning.

Much was made of context in this hearing. In other words, the events in question occurred directly after 9/11 when the national mood was different, ie, more angry and kickass. Indeed it was. Let's not forget what was attributed to Nancy Pelosi at the time while being briefed on the CIA's efforts:
Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

"The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.
But 9/11 doesn't explain everything. Former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, the self-proclaimed unsung hero of 9/11, wrote a book called "Against all Enemies" whereupon he attributed the following quote to Vice-President Al Gore in 1993 as officials were discussing the first terrorist renditions:
"He's a terrorist. Go grab his ass"
So yes, context often helps when discussing historical events, or even current ones. In his opening statement ranking minority member Franks quoted Jack Goldsmith, former attorney in the Justice Department who overhauled the TSP program legal guidance (the Ashcroft hospital drama) recently said that if anything, the Bush administration has been under-hyping the threat we actually face from this enemy, who would surely chop off the heads of each and every member of the committee, including all the people of color and maybe even the women (unless they were taken into slavery).

Matter of fact, it's fair to ask whether this hearing would have even taken place had we been recently attacked.

That said, the above is not meant to 1) devalue the importance of Congressional oversight, or 2) condone breaking laws, 3) condone torture. One of the main functions of Congress is to exercise their oversight duties, and therefore this hearing was a good thing. We want the same to occur with the next president.

That doesn't mean every hearing has to take place in the open. Congress can take sensitive testimony under closed session to prevent giving up sources and methods, which was the crux of the exchange between Congressman Delahunt and David Addington, the latter who correctly stated that our enemies can certainly tune in and turn on to what we're trying to do. There should be absolutely no ambiguity on that fact. Those who don't agree clearly believe there is no threat.

But in looking through the testimony it's certainly apparent that Professor Yoo was nervous, fidgety, and unresponsive. He fumbled constantly with the privileges he tried to cite and didn't respond very well to the badgering, which is a tactic to get nervous witnesses to admit something. That's probably a testament to his honesty. On the contrary, Addington lived up to everything written about him--acerbic, quick-minded, calculating, intellectually intimidating and certainly a classic lawyer in his speak. It's no wonder they hate him.

His opening statement was less than a minute, to which Chairman Nadler professed shock (is that all?). He came without a written submission, preferring to hand the committee numbered 'exhibits' as if he were in a court of law. That seemed intentional, perhaps to make a statement about the accusatory nature of the affair (treating it like a courtroom where he was on trial rather than just an inquiry). When provided with hypotheticals he constantly reminded the questioners he wasn't there to give a legal opinion, that they "had their own legal staff" to do that. He made light of Dana Milbank's "Unitary Theory" article when it was presented to him. In short, he was a pain. It was kind of fun to watch, actually.

Yet despite the entertainment value it appeared both were less than brutally honest in their testimony, apparently trying to keep themselves from being thrown into the frying pan on behalf of the administration.

Bottom line, the question is whether the administration played fast and loose with the international torture treaties and statutes to allow much-needed info to be pried out of KSM and crew after 9/11 right after a presumed WMD attack? Probably. And if that's the case, Bush shouldn't allow his subordinates to twist in the breeze on his behalf.

Ironically none of that will be remembered. The only lingering takeaway will be Delahunt's slip. Talk is swirling over whether he should be censured but the Democrat leadership should run him out on a rail for screwing up their entire charade. Anyone who's read Kos, Huffpo or Firedoglake these past five years easily saw the slip as a channelling of the collective mindset of the radical left. Rather outlandish to consider, but it makes one wonder if perhaps Delahunt had been briefed on his daily routine:
Still, even foes admire Addington's work ethic and frugality; he takes Metro from his home in Alexandria instead of using his White House parking space.
And we're on the verge of handing over our entire government to these people.

MORE 6/29/08

A couple of addendum points.

It was none other than our local Congressman Steve Cohen who made a small national splash by referring to the VP as a 'barnacle'. Thanks for the notieriety, buddy. Actually, let's be clear here--the Commercial Appeal said he called "Cheney" a barnacle when in fact it was really the VP office.

A reader also points out a moment of dark humor when Conyers asked Yoo if the president can "have someone buried alive". Yoo's last second raising of his arms after answering was priceless. Here's the clip, where you can also watch as Addington responds to the hectoring Conyers on what unitary executive theory means to him.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Side tracks

Can't we all just get along?

This was the only version I could find, which includes the following description:
A song which is an inspiration to understand the people, the planet and our future
Fine, I'm all in favor of the planet and its future, but notice when she shows her parade of flags which one is missing, and which ones are repeated.

In the early days of Journey Greg Rolie was the keyboardist and shared singing duties with Steve Perry. He had been lead singer with Santana and was very good but he was no match for Steve Perry's range and flair and eventually Perry won out for obvious reasons..

If you enjoy this song here's a live version (embedding disabled). It's pretty good.

Truth threats

Say what you will about McCain but don't mess with his spine:
The second question was about an Arizona professor and 9/11 conspiracy theorist who staged a hunger strike outside McCain's office requesting a meeting with the senator. McCain said the professor ended his strike although he was refused an audience.

"I did not" meet with him, McCain said. "Because I don't take well to threats.
Obviously the word "threat" must have sent a few tingles up the legs of the truthers but when some zealot parks himself outside an office and demands an audience or he'll starve, that's pretty much a threat. It's the same type of intimidation Cindy Sheehan tried on Bush. Everyone knows if they get their audience nothing will come from it except publicity for the cause (he didn't tell the truth, etc, etc).

These people are unstable but their confrontations can sometimes provide a useful window into our elected leaders' reactions to unscripted verbal assaults. McCain was fairly cool in that video. By contrast, we've seen Bill Clinton's technique, ironically much more confrontational than the presumed warmonger.

How about Barack Obama? After all, he's the man of change so it would seem logical they'd either hitch their wagons to his campaign or if rebuffed, go after him with a vengeance. The truth on this seems a little fuzzy. Here's an encounter from awhile back (happens towards the end). Notice Obama said he didn't think some of their issues had merit and the interviewer simply said "thanks for answering". That's pretty tepid compared to how other politicos have been treated.

Hmm. Maybe these nuts are smart enough to understand that the easiest way to discredit their entire movement would be to hound a well-liked populist promising the very same thing they are demanding--change. Let's not forget the color angle, either. Most truthers seem to be white. Too much harassment of Obama might lead to a charge of racism, which could pigeon-hole their movement into the same gutter as occupied by the Ayrian nation, neo-Nazis, and KKK. Perhaps best to wait and confront him after the election.

Friday, June 27, 2008


"You die now".

Those cryptic words will echo forever in the minds of the relatives of the victims of the 2001 anthrax attacks, the first WMD attack on America. The killer(s) have never been found. Many theories exist about who perpetrated this heinous crime but the FBI has seemingly been about as successful as OJ in finding the real killers.

The main person of interest, Army scientist Steven Hatfill was fingered in 2001 as the possible culprit after stories surfaced linking the powder to Iraq or Russia, or Fort Detrick, Maryland. He claimed innocence, he sued for defamation, and today he won the lottery. Can't say it wasn't predicted, ahem.

It really was an amazing story--the same judge who adjudicated the Scooter Libby case was presiding over this case and was fining former USA Today reporter Toni Locy thousands per week for her failure to give up government sources. One might think the media would have been all over such a story with one of their former comrades under the screws but for some reason quiet calmness reigned. Ah, but all's well that ends well--Ms. Locy is now off the hook.

Meanwhile Hatfill, like Charlie Brown's sister in the Christmas cartoon, was only seeking his fair share based on what the government had previously given Wen Ho Lee to buy his silence after he sued former Clinton officials who erroneously accused him of giving nuclear secrets to the Chinese. The leakers in that case have never been identified but odds are some of them are still rather active politically in this election cycle. Hatfill's lawyers no doubt saw that as enough precedent to set their client for life.

Oddly, at least one website in the blogosphere predicted this from the beginning. It's no longer operating, but this particular blogger opined that Hatfill was really a spy--and a useful distraction for Bush, who didn't want Americans to know the real culprit(s). That's certainly looking better by the minute.

One man's liberty

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
It's pretty clear--the Founders wanted militias to crimp government tyranny but it's kinda hard to gather one if the government is safeguarding all the guns when revolt time comes.

Yes, liberals will say Thursday's ruling actually hinged on the type of arm rather than the right to bear it, although everyone knows it was really about the right itself. Had the SCOTUS come down supporting the ban it would have been a giant step towards more banning, just as this ruling will do the reverse. Not surprisingly, ABC put it thusly:
The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia, a once-vital, now-archaic grouping of citizens. That's been the heart of the gun control debate for decades.
Emphasis added. Jefferson's head would explode reading that populist drivel. While ABC might think of militias as quaint anachronisms the framers would hardly agree, pointing out that the concept of a militia was meant to instill fear and respect into the minds of our elected officials and would-be robbers. That's the point so many of the pointy heads miss. And not just about men. The ladies deserve every right to protect themselves, especially in this sick age in which we live.

Will this now open the door for personal ownership of tanks, rockets, or RPGs? Well, it seems some already have them! Besides, we pay the police, FBI and other federal agents to enforce laws and when weapons are used inappropriately people should go to jail. And there's nothing wrong with restrictions in public places due to safety concerns, which was mentioned in the ruling.

But this was really more about preserving a citizen's fundamental right to protect their home and family without undue restriction (and yes, if the crooks have handguns and the homeowner is fumbling with a long rifle it's unfair).

So hip hooray for liberty on this one. Surely those protectors of the Constitution who believe Bush has systematically destroyed our privacy and personal freedoms by going after head-chopping terrorists must be agog with glee over this ruling, clinking glasses and high-fiving and such. Right?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ice scare

One needs only to read the first paragraph of this UK Independent article to flag the BS-o-meter:
It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.
"The first time in human history"? Well, since weather satellites have only been around since the late 70s that's a pretty bold statement.

But for the brave souls who care to venture on beyond the first paragraph the article doesn't mention much about any other possible causes for the melt other than Bush-produced warming, such as this theory or this one.

We know the media loves these kinds of pre-emptive sky is falling stories as long as they follow the narrative. Stuff like this, not so much. Trouble is, the narrative has been fuzzed by McCain's embrace of climate change, tempering the gloom since they can't pin the blame on the nearest Republican as easily these days.

But politics aside, is the ice really melting more in summer these days? Yes it is. Such a thing usually occurs when it gets warmer, and indeed Hansen's GISS data, despite his earlier calculation error and the fact he's an arrogant attention whore with a savior complex, shows that it's warmer now than we've seen in hundreds of years. The satellites confirm warming since their inception.

But here's the rub--we still don't conclusively know why we've seen lull since the el-Nino peak in 1998. It could be artificial, something skewed by the exceptionally warm year of 1998 or some other trend not yet discovered. But to hear tell, the zealots claim that upward trends from 1920-1950 and 1980-1998 are unquestionably the sole fault of humans (American humans) yet any downward or steady trends such as from 1950-1980 and recently are sloughed off as feedbacks or natural variability. In other words, don't question the warming, but feel free to speculate like crazy on the cooling or neutral trends. There's a parallel to Obama in there somewhere.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama a Jedi?

George Lucas casually answered that question in the affirmative when quizzed by the media during his recent Washington visit. But did he really think it through or did the press use a Jedi mind trick on him?

From what we can gather based on his movies a Jedi should be a person of unquestioned courage, unwavering moral and ethical convictions, and an accomplished fighter. Has Obama really shown enough of any of these qualities to get the label?

Take courage. While it's hard to gage any man's level of guts (especially when we know so little about him) Obama's resume doesn't suggest many severe tests in that department beyond the normal mortal. Certainly this cannot be said for McCain.

As to moral and ethical convictions, Barack certainly talks a good game but his actions don't. He spent 20 years in a church listening to a pastor and befriending others he later quickly disavowed when they became an issue. He made friends with shady characters like Tony Rezko and William Ayers who helped his personal situation, community standing, and career. Would Luke?

His accomplishments would fit in a two page pamphlet. He's spent less time in the Senate than McCain spent in the Hanoi Hilton. As to being a fighter, Barack has some qualities there--anyone coming out of Chicago does--but Jedis fight clean. We've learned Obama sometimes had to take care of business when push came to shove.

So by any objective standard Barack really doesn't fit the Jedi mold. Who would he be? Well, he's not quite smooth enough to be Lando, although it's close. He's not old enough and wise enough to be Ben Kenobi or Yoda and he's not obnoxious enough to be Jar Jar Binks. Actually he's seems more like C-3PO in the way he talks about dealing with adversaries, but any suggestions are welcome.

Anyway, the press asked Lucas about Bush and Cheney but for some reason they forgot McCain. Let's see, former military pilot, noted maverick, once a self-proclaimed ladies man...?

One for the Duck

Meet 'The Duck':

Bad front paw? No prob, use the chair as a prop. No government program needed.

Yes it's a slow news day but the Duck doesn't care about Obama's latest gift or whether McCain understands economics. The Duck is the Duck. All hail the Duck.

A convergence of sorts?

Of late:
  1. Ahmadinejad said Iran had won the nuclear game although their economy is in shambles.
  2. Israel held a massive military exercise in the Mediterranean Gulf some thought was meant as a rehearsal to an attack on Iran's nukes.
  3. Mohammed ELBaradei warned that an attack on Iran's nuke would lead to a ball of fire.
  4. The Gaza cease fire was ditched as rockets were lobbed back into Israel.
  5. Secretary of State Rice quietly visited Israel.
  6. Sarkozy visited Israel, where Netanyahu told him Jerusalem will "never be divided".
  7. Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen is going to Israel tonight.
  8. A Druze Israeli border security agent supposedly shot and killed himself while providing security for the Sarkozy visit, something determined sans investigation.
  9. Rumors were swirling Tuesday that IAF had already taken out Iran's nukes.
  10. John Bolton publicly speculated that Israel might use the interim between election day and the inauguration to take out the nukes.
Sounds like a giant complex game of chicken. Iran wants the deterrence, prestige and bargaining power of having nukes, something Israel desperately doesn't want them to possess with Hizballah and Hamas on their doorstep. It's quite certain many Israelis think a future President Barack Hussein Obama would more resemble Carter than Bush and they don't trust the unconditional talks he's proposing.

Meanwhile, Bush's legacy is wrapped up in Middle East democracy, hardly a huge success at the moment. What does he have to lose from allowing a nuke takeout strike?

Obama actually seems to hold great power over this situation but has no real power yet. Talking about it publicly might fan the flames even higher or confuse world leaders, not to mention making him seem arrogant to the voters. While this sounds like one of those infamous "tipping points" we so often hear about it's hard to tell whether it might be another Ritter-like false alarm. But we've been letting hope and diplomacy play out for awhile now, with no results.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hansen's world

So much for being muzzled. Captain Climate Change testified in front of Congress Monday and stated that maybe oil execs should be charged with crimes (with him testifying against them one day) for not listening to his singular 20 year campaign to save the world from capitalism. Wonder if he'd consider his own calculation errors to be criminal in reverse?

But even more interesting was his hint that he might outwardly campaign for green candidates (mostly Democrats) in the fall. Aside from the gross arrogance (who really cares) such a thing might not be legal depending on his current status. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in certain political behavior, especially if they are SES level managers. Since Hansen is the Director of GISS he might well be an SES'er, which means he can't actively work for a politician's election. Even if he's not there still might be a conflict of interest if the people he's supporting are in position to appropriate funds to his project. Surely he knows this, so it'll be interesting to see if he soon retires.

Just in case...

Thousands of people in the Netherlands say they expect the world to end in 2012, and many say they are taking precautions to prepare for the apocalypse.
So the world's going to "end" and they are stocking up on supplies? It's a pretty safe bet that the Coleman stove, cans of hash and bottles of water won't be needed in the afterlife. But this of course goes deeper than just the end, it signifies that everything is indeed spinning out of control and only a change in political parties can save us.

Speaking of the Obaman, he's about to become entangled with James Dobson over some Bible interpretation:
Dobson took aim at examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy - chapters like Leviticus, which Obama said suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination, or Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."
Since the definition of being a Christian is believing in Jesus the Old Testament is therefore subject to revision and Jesus covered the eating thing in there, which Obama should know because he was lecturing everyone to read their Bibles. And while He (Christ not Barack) did tell us to turn the other cheek it's doubtful that applied towards advancing armies as Jesus wasn't in favor of suicide and did mention "rendering to Caesar".

Obama sounds like a garden variety liberal debater on a message board, many of whom specialize in whipping out Leviticus anytime religion is discussed to use the extreme laws in an attempt to discredit the Bible to justify homosexuality. He also seems a few steps away from dropping the "Jesus was a liberal" card but hey why not, he's already pulled the race card.

Speaking of race, it's still not clear whether he agrees with his former pastor about Christ being a black man (strange because believers believe Christ's mother was impregnated by an angel) since he claimed absence at some of the more controversial sermons. But running away from religion seems a strange campaign strategy based on the fact that while not officially a Christian nation, America still has a lot of Christians, many of whom aren't real cozy with McCain. Yet.

Oh well. Maybe next we'll hear his take about good versus evil--the latter of which no decent liberal would ever admit applies to fundamentalist head-chopping Muslim jihadists yet should easily apply to George Bush and Dick Cheney without debate.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Change defined

Obama has announced his working group on national security (it's on his website, so it must be true). Let's take a gander:

  1. Madeleine Albright...biggest memory--clinking champagne glasses with Kim Jong and solving the mideast crisis. Wait.
  2. David Boren...a mentor to George Tenet.
  3. Warren Christopher...brought about mideast peace in our time. Wait.
  4. Greg who represented: Ted Kennedy, John Hinckley, father of Elian Gonzales.
  5. Richard Danzig...prefers the Pooh philosophy of fighting terror
  6. Lee Hamilton...shows up everywhere, including Sandy Berger's consulting firm.
  7. Eric the pardoning of some rich guy connected with Oil for Food.
  8. Tony Lake...former NSA who briefed Clinton on OBL in 1993.
  9. Sam Nunn...long history, considered running for prez himself last year.
  10. William Perry...former SecDef under some guy named Bill.
  11. Susan E. Rice...yet another Clinton official recently noted for saying this.
  12. Tim Roemer...conservative 'crat who served on the 9/11 Commission (sorry truthers).
  13. Jim Steinberg...the drummer for Loggins and Messina...actually, was Deputy NSA guessed it... Bill Clinton from 1996-2000.
So there you have it, the gang of 13 and by my count 9 former Clinton administration officials. Perhaps a little harsh in the fault department--all are accomplished individuals. But do these folks really represent the change we can all believe in when most were involved with the failed policies of the 90s regards fighting terrorism?

You know, that mythical period of sweetness and light when it was the economy, stupid and when the terrorists didn't hate us nearly as bad as they do now and when the world community loved us passionately, despite the fact they never really have? It will be fun to watch Obama trying to defend that backwards change.

So long, George

George Carlin would have probably hated this blog. First, it has a golf theme and he once said all golf courses are a waste of space and should be converted into housing for the homeless. He didn't have much use for political discussion per se, preferring to think all politicians were the same and voting was a waste. He hated religion and the notion of God and was just as tough on the concept of America as the Reverend Wright or Ward Churchill.

But he was tough on anyone he thought wasn't genuine, including feminists, Hollywood types or those resorting to political correctness. He was liberal but never seemed to desire being pigeon-holed as such in case he needed to open fire on them at some point. Given time he would have pissed off everyone on the planet.

But in my view his genius was in dissecting the language. For instance, he might condemn the title of this post as meaningless in his present state and even make fun of the use of 'pigeon-holed' above. And although he was known for the seven words and paved the way for a raunchier brand of humor in the culture, ironically he was just as funny without the profanity, in stark contrast to some of his contemporaries who use it as a crutch to hide their lack of talent.

But the way he could take apart the language will endure for me, such as describing the difference between "taking a s**t and giving one, or the use of "near miss" to describe two planes that didn't collide. It made you think, even if you didn't like it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The trap

Are we really a Christian nation? This debate often flares on the internet and university halls, both sides being fairly passionate. The short answer is no, officially we are not a Christian nation--the Founders made sure of that by guaranteeing freedom of religion without choosing an official version.

At the same time there's absolutely no doubt we are a nation molded from and guided by Christianity, a point often overlooked after conceding the above. Just look around America and notice how many cities and towns are named from the Bible or check out some of our state constitutions and amaze yourself at the early references to Christianity. To ignore that influence would be idiotic.

On that point many are making hay with this statement from Obama, preserved (for now) on You Tube:

While poorly stated (within the context of this clip) he's basically right. We should be careful not to pile-on Obama just because. Knee-jerks can be damaging in this political climate, especially with the Obama campaign already setting the pre-conditions aided by MSM stories like this one
...nearly half of all Americans say race relations in the country are in bad shape and three in 10 acknowledge feelings of racial prejudice...
Interestingly, the WaPo story also says that 90 percent of Americans would be OK with a black president--count me in the 90--while about 50 percent say Obama would be a 'risky' choice. And here's where the obfuscation begins. This makes it seem like the Obamites are saying that to judge Barack's qualifications negatively proves one a racist. In other words, his qualifications are that he's black.

Can you believe this is the presidency we're discussing? The real question should be one of ideology, ie, the reason most of us in the 90th percentile don't want to see Ohama as prez is because we can visualize a government run by Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and someone further left of Gore. If a conservative black were running--different ballgame.

But that's a hard sell in the world of conventional wisdom. "Convenient excuse" and so forth. The Obamites will be more than happy to exploit the notion that non-support of a far left black candidate = racism, it's fruit hanging too low to ignore. The GOP should carefully consider that every commercial they produce, no matter the targeted area or audience, will end up becoming national and being attached to McCain.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Side tracks

Summer's here, and LASunsett has an excellent musical tribute over at Poli-yy. Following his lead here's a few more....

Off to get some fire crackers..

More dots?

Two noted conservative bloggers are reporting a story from a Kurdish newspaper that purports to show a document from Saddam's Iraq seeking a meeting with Ayman al-Zawahiri after 9/11.

Gateway Pundit and Strata Sphere

Both, including Regime of Terror, point out Saddam's previous ties to the Egyptian terror apparatus that featured not only Zawahiri but Mohammed Atta, the current leader of AQ in Iraq Abu Ayyub al-Masri, and the grandfather of jihad against America, the Blind Sheikh. Makes me wonder sometimes what actually happened with EgyptAir 990.

One more thing. In his book George Tenet mentioned the arrival of a group of EIJ members to Baghdad before the war:
What was even more worrisome was that by the spring and summer of 2002, more than a dozen al-Qa'ida -affiliated extremists converged on Baghdad, with apparently no harassment on the part of the Iraqi government.

More al-Qa'ida operatives would follow, including Thirwat Shihata and Yussef Dardiri, two Egyptians assessed by a senior al-Qa'ida detainee to be among the Egyptian Islamic Jihad's best operational planners, who arrived by mid-May 2002
Former Iraqi Air Force General Georges Sada wrote about the animus between Saddam and the Royals in his book, recounting a trip by Izzat al-Duri to Saudi Arabia before the first Gulf War, which partially led to the first Gulf War. This very same hatred was recently exposed by FBI agent George Piro via Ron Kessler's book.

Does this mean Saddam attacked America? No, but if the document is indeed authentic it would represent yet another dot connected between Iraq and the terrorists who did attack America. One has to wonder just how many dots must be connected before we can officially call it a line--and if it becomes a line, how that would change our current political dynamic.

MORE 6/22/08

While 9/11 murderer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed awaits either trial or his habeas corpus petition at Guantanamo the New York Times has apparently decided that it's time to tell the story of his journey through interrogation, including that of the CIA hero assigned to his interrogation. Oh, and then name that man's name and current place of business.

Feel free to read it. There's nothing earthshatteringly new (other than KSM's poems and the notion that Poland is the 51st state). The only reason I can see for printing this (against the CIA's wishes) would be to start the ball rolling so that lower echelon journalists can chase the story and do the Times' dirty work. They must really feel like they're closing in on the enemy.

Setting the pre-conditions

"Michelle Obama is outspoken". "Barack Obama doesn't have much experience". Whoops, were those comments racially motivated? Coming from sites like this one maybe, according to several recent stories.

Example one, Obama's fundraiser in Florida. According to CNN analyst Jack Cafferty it was "shrewd" because "they will" put the racism out there (and they know who they are).

Another flip-flop, but yes, shrewd. That's the skinny fighter from the south side of Chicago coming out, operating with bareknuckles, which everyone knows is the true path to political victories.

Seems he's trying to set the opposition on its heels in hopes they'll spend the rest of the campaign walking on eggshells and afraid to strongly challenge him on the legitimate issues for fear of being labeled according to his initial charges. And some in the media even applaud this tactic. Perhaps they're afraid, too?

Gotta hand it to his advisors, they've really got some of that-there graveltas stuff. Notice the word "fear" in that audio clip. McCain's strongest point will be to accuse Obama not only of inexperience but of being soft on terrorism. That's a standard plate on the RNC buffet line. But by linking fear with his Muslim/Arabic sounding name and his skin color he seems to be suggesting that any criticism of his terror policies will amount to racism.

It also puts McCain into the position of disavowing almost every 527 ad since most will be labeled racist by somebody, which is pretty smart if that's what he's doing.

In example two Mary C. Curtis, a black woman, takes aim at Gloria Steinem and the feminist movement in her WaPo editorial for not coming to the aid of Michelle Obama, whom Ms. Curtis calls a "victim"
Michelle Obama is being demonized for things she allegedly said on tapes that are rumored to exist. She is a victim of sexism and racial stereotypes.
Pay no attention to the fact that the perpetrator of said racial stereotyping was Clinton supporter Larry Johnson. True, Ms. Curtis seems to be targeting her wrath at white Democrat feminists (without using the words white and Democrat) but she leaves the impression it's the conservatives they need to be attacking, the ones who'll be doing the stereotyping. By setting the potential First Lady up as a victim early in the process any future criticism can be called an unfair stereotype, thereby giving her a free pass, and NOW could help by pointing that out.

It would be refreshing to see Obama come out and give another race speech to eliminate this stuff, saying in effect "we don't do inoculations, this is the presidency". And there is a backlash potential if he takes it too far, something he surely understands. But nonetheless, team McCain is facing something no past candidate for president has ever faced. Will we see any 'straight talk' addressing it?

THEN AGAIN.. 6/21/08

Maybe he's talking about this. One would hope the RNC learned their lesson in Mississippi.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Spike Lee on chocolate

An expert on Hurricane Katrina thanks to his film “When the Levees Broke,” Lee said the same problems are affecting Missouri right now.“The money’s going to other things,” he said. “That’s going to change though.” As applause escalated, he added, in a clear reference to Barack Obama, “We’ll have a real chocolate city.”
And here everyone thought New Orleans was the chocolate city. Can't Nagin get him on brand infringement or something? And will Obama be asked to comment on that or do we have to get Clint?

But the most outrageous thing was the Nashville Examiner's comment that Lee was somehow an "expert" on things like river flood control or the Corp. of Engineers just because he made a movie about Katrina. Is that all it takes anymore to be an expert these days? Geez, four years of college and twenty of experience, down the drain. Shoulda invested in a super 8.

McClellan hearings

Scott McClellan had his day in the sunshine today in front of his newfound friends in Congress. Not surprisingly, there were no bombshells. Close followers of the case weren't surprised--new revelations would have been in the book. This was pure theater.

The court of kangaroo was held under the guise of learning more about the Valerie Plame issue but turned out to be primarily a vehicle for lesser-known Congresspeople to bash Bush on national TV. Ironically, the very reason McClellan claims to have bailed on the Bushies--their succumbing to the Washington political meatgrinder culture--was on display in its full glory today.

The only thing we learned new about the matter was that Scooter wasn't brutally honest about his role in the leak (technically he was not involved in the leak to Novak). But little else of value was revealed. Heck, we're still waiting for Plame to identify "walk by guy", of which Conyers and company have absolutely no curiosity about whatsoever.

Let me say I think McClellan is probably a decent man. My sense is he came from Texas with Bush, probably idolizing the man who was going to "change" Washington only to see the reality of politics take over when the admin used him to hit back on the Joe Wilson affair. That probably made him rethink his view on Iraq on the way out the door when combined with the state of the war today and the men and women lost to it.

Example, his greatest disdain was saved for Karl Rove, even though he admitted to having known him since the early 90s. That means he knew Rove was a political operative back then. To express shock that a political operative would engage in partisan politics during a crisis is either deeply idealistic naviete or represents a misunderstanding of politics itself, especially since Wilson's "Bush lied" train was gaining steam at that time. But perhaps it's the same phenomena that has drawn millions to a charismatic unexperienced underachiever named Barack Obama, who's promised to "change" DC. Hope springs eternal, thank heavens.

Here's a quote for your consideration:
Both parties engaged in what now would be termed negative campaigning, an assault on their adversary’s program and leadership rather than an emphasis on their own platform. Federalists, for instance, left no stone unturned in their attempts to link the Republicans with the bloody excesses of the French Revolution. Jefferson and his adherents, they charged, embraced the same “cant of jacobinical illiberality” as their radical friends in France;… (page 151)
This from the book "Adams versus Jefferson". It's safe to say that if this partisan bickering was going on at the beginning of the republic it ain't gonna be ending anytime soon. To expect someone, anyone, to be able to "change" this culture is well-intentioned but blindingly unrealistic. Bush has always seemed more a pragmatist than an idealist.

But the headlines tell the tale...

New York Times: McClellan Testifies on C.I.A. Leak
Washington Post: McClellan Criticizes White House
LA Times: McClellan testifies he was wary of Libby's leak denial but went along
Chicago Sun Times: no headline found
Drudge Report (AP): SPOTLIGHT: Ex-press secretary decries 'secretive' White House...
CNN: McClellan: Cheney should testify on CIA leak, the stunt was a big failure. Actually, when blogger "Emptywheel" comes off as disappointed then it was definitely a dud.

Perhaps the Dems figured that might occur when they scheduled it to coincide with their voting on the FISA reauthorization bill. Both occurred on a Friday afternoon, surely a coincidence, ahem. McClellan must be outraged.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Obama's first ad

HuffPo is heralding Obama's new ad, which is on the streets. It's quite good, and worthy of some dissection.

Maybe we should call the new image "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Barry O"? He opens by mentioning his white single mom and white grandparents who raised him by instilling their Kansas values but there's no trace of his father's side of the family, African values or even the values handed down from his Indonesian step-father. Under the bus they go?

He talked of bypassing a pursuit of capitalism on Wall Street to help people in Chicago affected by steel mill closures. And indeed:
The sudden decline of American steel stunned the employees of mills across the Chicago area. Between 1979 and 1986, about 16,000 Chicago-area steelworkers lost their jobs.
But he could have been more specific as to how he affected any real change on those folks' lives as a community organizer--the State Senator thing came later.

Let's break down his list of specifics: 1) accountability, 2) self-reliance, 3) love of country, 4) working hard without making excuses, and 5) the Golden Rule (dangnation, how can the Democrats support this guy? He's basically a conservative!). Traditional Kansans would probably agree that actions speak louder than words though, so let's deal with reality here.

While mentioning traditions and values he didn't touch on why he joined a church that seemed to abhor traditional American values (unless he meant the black value system), then only left when it became an issue in the press.

Towards accountability, he's got quite a crowd stowed under that bus, one fueled by a premise that anyone who dares question his love of all the specifics mentioned above just might be a redneck. Pay no attention to his flip-flop on taking federal matching funds.

As to the concept of self-reliance, fantastic--Ron Paul ran on it--but his rhetoric to date suggests he'll more likely punish any traditional hard-working, non-whining Americans who've propelled themselves forward to a plateau of self-reliance (in many cases bringing others with them). It's hard to be taken seriously as a champion of self-reliance while proposing federalized health care, a penal change to the social security system based on earnings and labeling the self-reliant "rich" as deserving of confiscatory taxation. Where are the incentives to become self-reliant in his platform?

The love of country is obvious--don't we all? The fact he even has to waste time professing such a thing is more a product of his own actions (hand on his heart during the pledge/ flag pin, etc) than through some mean-spirited email smear campaign. Mrs. Obama recently said nobody uses the word "whitey" anymore and that may be true, but in the same vein does anyone actually believe everything they read in emails and on the net? Any such people should be probably be quietly escorted away from the voting booth.

As to the Golden Rule analogy, it's nice to see it get some publicity for a change. Perhaps in the next commercial Obama can wax eloquently about his rise through the ranks of Chicago politics abiding by that same rule.

What about the soundtrack? It's as if Michael Martin Murphy might start singing "Wildfire" at the end. Maybe they stole it from a Paul Overstreet song. All meant to drive home the down-home. We must be made to forget about that clingy, gun-toting racist stuff and see the real Obama--just a hayseed farmboy who probably raced in the soap box derby while earning merit badges in the local Boy Scout troop (led by a closeted gay man unfairly treated by the typicals, of course).

Nothing about security, terrorism, or Iraq, but the campaign is clearly trying to fix the image problem first before bragging about Obama's unwillingness to go along with the Democratic mainstream in removing the worst dictator of the late 20th Century. There'll be plenty of time later to bash McCain for suggesting we stay in Iraq long enough to not have our troops die in vain or force others to return later, even if it takes 100 years.

But this commercial tugs--tugs at the ole aw shucks strings. McCain can't do likewise but he can match it with specifics, facts and accomplishments, which he should begin doing rather immediately. Thing is, facts and self-promotion can sometimes be rather dry things, like Aunt Marge's famous dry turkey and cardboard dressing.

WAIT A MINUTE...6/20/08

Aren't those floating crosses?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Welcome to the puff outrage story of the day:
Two Muslim women at Barack Obama’s rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women’s headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

The campaign has apologized to the women, both Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.
According to LGF the womens' plight has stirred up CAIR, who are demanding things.

But maybe there's an easier solution to this without having those women traveling around hither and yon. After all, CAIR has some previous 'experience':

On the AP's fight with bloggers

AP is now proposing to charge bloggers by the word to excerpt AP online stories and Allahpundit (the other AP) at Hot Air wonders why. Allow me to offer some thoughts.

1) Could it be a way to force bloggers into exclusively using direct links instead of blockquoted excerpts? If so, it sure would be easier for the AP to airbrush stories or change verbiage if they screw up. The bigger bloggers could pay but only the top few are making very much money and paying the AP would certainly erode their profit.

2) AP probably hates bloggers. Surely they're perceived as a threat and perhaps they hope this move will be copied by other media providers for a tag-team squeeze. Unfortunately for them the competitors are biding their time watching from the tall grass and laughing as the mighty AP takes a dump in their hat.

3) This will help Obama. It will be harder to prove media bias if people aren't quoting the stories. Most of the AP's impact comes from providing stories to the TV and radio mediums, anyway. But bloggers can ignite stories into the other mediums.

4) AP will continue picking on the edges of the blogoshere by going after little bloggers because they know the pajama crowd will be scared to death of a cease and desist order and won't have the money to defend a lawsuit in court.

All in all it's not surprising AP is doing this. It signifies a weakness of their once rock solid domination of how news gets fed to the public. Careers and reputations are testy things.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A good offense

Anyone who's spent time on message boards these past six years knows the drill--the left says Bush squandered our worldwide goodwill by ignoring those who attacked us on 9/11 to attack Iraq. The right counters by mentioning the successes we've had in the war and the removal of Saddam, contrasting it to the previous administraion. Looks like the presidential battle is shaping up to be no different.

Here's Obama today responding to the charge he's living in a 9/10 world:
"These are the same guys who helped to engineer the distraction of the war in Iraq at a time when we could have pinned down the people who actually committed 9/11," the presumed nominee told reporters aboard his campaign plane. "This is the same kind of fear-mongering that got us into Iraq ... and it's exactly that failed foreign policy I want to reverse."
Never mind that the people who actually committed 9/11 are all dead, and the ones who planned the attack are awaiting their new habeas corpus rights down at Club Gitmo. I'm convinced this silly meme will never go away until Democrats are completely in control of all branches of government, at which point a few will finally admit they were just posturing to regain their power.

Let's keep a few things in perspective. The United States did not have a good image around the world before 9/11 and certainly not on the Arab street, or the attack would not have occurred.

We've killed or captured most of the kingpins of al Qaeda minus the two inspirational leaders, who must be handled very carefully. We could certainly make things worse by allowing them to be martyred.

The ones we do kill with hellfire missiles do not get habeas corpus rights or taxpayer-funded ACLU lawyers. So far nobody has complained about that.

We have thwarted many attacks aimed at the United States by taking an offensive approach to the problem. Obama wants a return the law-enforcement approach, which means we sit and wait for the attack before acting. This is a non-starter if there's a likelihood that terrorists will acquire WMDs. Fortunately they won't be given them by Iraq now.

The restrictions on interrogation and the new rights will limit the amount of intelligence we can gather from detainees and the speech with which it can be obtained. Giving terrorists or their lawyers discovery access to national security intelligence weakens our defense.

Right now jihadists are caught up in two war zones, which is spreading them thinner and limiting their ability to spread attacks. Many (including bin Laden) feel that losing Iraq to an infidel power would represent a huge loss for Islam so it mustn't be lost, which requires financial and manpower resources to be diverted.

But bottom line--voters should ask themselves whether they want to return to the "failed policies" of the 1990s. Contrary to Obama's beliefs all the terrorists involved in the attacks prior to 9/11 are not siting in the Supermax. Some have been tried in less restrictive foreign countries, like Yemen, which allowed several convicted of the Cole attackers to escape, and Germany, who in 2006 released a legacy Hizballah terrorist who murdered an American sailor during a hijacking in 1985.

It's a tough conundrum that really shouldn't be hashed out like a partisan spitting war, but sadly that appears imminent. Barack is not alone--many Americans have either put the threat out of their minds or have come to believe the whole thing was an invention of the Bush administration. But if Obama is elected and returns to the defensive posture it's almost a given that should another attack occur the bulk of Americans will be clamoring for a return to the Bush doctrine overnight.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Danzig and Pooh

A rather odd way to explain a potential foreign policy regards the GWoT:
Mr Danzig told the Centre for New American Security: “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.”
That's the presumptive National Security Advisor in a Barack Obama administration, one Richard Danzig. Presumably the Pooh Bear analogy is in reference to changing our current strategy as to engaging enemies. Is he a genius or is this just nonsense?

Well, liberals who fail to notice any progress in fighting terrorism since 2001 (despite zero domestic attacks) will likely see Danzig's analogy as brilliant whether it is or not. Projecting the image of an overfed little fuzzball honey-addicted pacifist rather than a fierce Grizzly seems exactly what Obama wants to do and as the article says, the Euros will love it. But the bottom line is, what's the bottom line? Will displaying a different face make a difference? We had a more Pooh-like face in the 90s and there were plenty of attacks.

According to his resume Mr. Danzig was the former Secretary of the Navy during Clinton's second term and is an expert on bioweapons. His wife is a psychotherapist. He currently sits on the board of directors of a company called "Human Genome Sciences Corporation", which is a pharma company involved in developing some interesting medicines:
HGS is a commercially focused biopharmaceutical company with a broad pipeline of novel drugs that includes three promising products in late-stage development, moving toward commercialization: Albuferon® in Phase 3 trials for hepatitis C, LymphoStat-B® in Phase 3 trials for systemic lupus, and ABthrax™ in late-stage development for inhalation anthrax.
It's really a small world for these 40 pound brain types--here's a conference he spoke at in 1998 which included Scooter Libby, Condi Rice, George Schultz, and John C. Yoo, the infamous drafter of the Justice Dept memos many on the left believe were meant to justify and legalize torture. And Danzig was among those who wrote a letter to Judge Walton on Libby's behalf prior to sentencing. Perhaps they swapped a few tales at the Aspen Institute?

But if his analogy of terrorists emulating Luke Skywalker is any indication of how he'll advise the president we could really have some serious change coming in November. The voters will certainly be given a choice. Matter of fact, it'll be interesting to see if McCain goes after him since one of the arrows in his quiver is that Obama will represent a return to Jimmy Carter--and Danzig served in that very same administration. Think about our success with terrorism back then.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Keeping it all straight

It all started with Larry, the man once trained in subterfuge and psyops. Everyone on the web knows this. But Barack Obama's new fight the smears site isn't intended for net savvy customers.

For example, this power to truth site claims a Republican operative named Roger Stone is a "well-known sleazemeister". How can someone be a well-known anything when they're not very well known? And is he now a sleazemeister because the site said so?

In making his point Obama posted a You Tube of the guy talking about the whitey rumor on June 1 yet ignored a tape from known Democrat strategist Bob Beckel from June 3, which threw gas on the Whitey tape fire several days after Stone's utterances. Heck, he could have also pointed to a host of lefty bloggers who favored Hillary, like this one. But he didn't.

Today Allahpundit pointed to yet another MSM story blaming conservatives for the whole flap, this time from ABC News. Actually the Village Voice had the narrative down a few weeks ago, shown in this May 27 post blaming the right. Like Obama they mentioned Johnson but spared him the scorn. It's true the MSM doesn't need a website to help them bury important facts from a story but it can't hurt. It's also official, not just some idiot blogger.

Well, none of this should be shocking, unless SOP is shocking. Who could forget the traction Hillary got with her "vast right wing conspiracy" BS during Bill's trouble? And she almost got away with the vastly idiotic "if I knew then what I know now" explanation for her Iraq war vote, one of the silliest ever, that is until Barack came along and removed the press's reason for incuriosity.

But hey, beauty is truth, truth beauty-- who's going to watch the watcher, Snopes? Ah heck, who needs 'em?! All we know is that right wing bloggers or talk show hosts can't be trusted to debunk anything anymore--all they do is pass along smears.

UPDATE 6/15/08

Beckel just boarded the train. His initial video is posted above. You decide.

Hold on just a minute

So much for keeping a low-pro. One of the remaining vetters on Obama's VP selection team, Eric Holder, decided the best defense is a good offense:
In addition to closing Gitmo, Holder insisted the next president should:

* Declare without qualification a policy that the United States will not torture political detainees, engage in forced interrogations or submit people to degrading treatment in prison;

* End all programs, covert or otherwise, to transfer detainees to nations that practice torture;

* Stop domestic search and seizures without warrant and end wiretapping of citizens.

Holder is best known for his role in the Marc Rich pardon but he was also a high-ranking Justice Official during a time when terrorism was officially a back-burner issue. One of the ways they kept it from boiling over was the "rendition" program, thrown together by former CIA bin Laden unit official and now TV analyst Michael Scheuer back in the mid 90s.

But it was apparently an old idea. Richard Clarke, who recently wrote another book trashing Bush's ruination of the universe, had a previous book wherein he described an encounter between Bill Clinton and Captain Planet about how to handle terrorists:
The first time I proposed a snatch, in 1993, the White House Counsel, Lloyd Cutler, demanded a meeting with the President to explain how it violated international law. Clinton had seemed to be siding with Cutler until Al Gore belatedly joined the meeting, having just flown overnight from South Africa. Clinton recapped the arguments on both sides for Gore: Lloyd says this. Dick says that. Gore laughed and said, "That's a no-brainer. Of course it's a violation of international law, that's why it's a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass."
Emphasis added, for effect. Not very polite, sir. But sometimes it's hard to think with a headache.

But OK, right or wrong, for some unknown reason snatching terrorists and sending them via CIA airlines to countries who were kinda fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing re torture was okey dokey back then. Of course, that was back during the halcyon days of bi-partisanship, when everyone thought Saddam might one day blow up the world.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thompson on Boumediene

The ole country lawyer ain't happy:
People can disagree over whether Congress got it right, but at least members have to face the voters. What remedy do people have now if they don’t like the court’s decision? None. If that thought is not enough to cause concerned citizens to turn out on Election Day to elect a new president, then I don’t know what will be.
He touched on something concerning me as well--the possibility detainees might obtain access to the national security information used to detain them. If indeed correct the 5 SCOTUS judges who allowed this should be impeached.

Even if not, we live in a partisan world where circuit judges legislate from the bench based on personal convictions and passionate lawyers leak for the same reasons (think Lynne Stewart). The court has now taken the ability for persons charged with protecting the country to manage this process, or even for a Congress that had likely considered such issues when they crafted the current detainee bill, at last check seen smoldering in the corner.

Perhaps the most famous former federal prosecutor of the Southern District of New York office (besides his friend Patrick Fitzgerald) is Andrew McCarthy, who has a book on the shelves that goes into depth about the mistakes made by our country in pursuing terrorism leading up to 9/11. The title basically says it all--"Willful Blindness", in which he figuratively laughs at himself in retrospect to being on the front lines of the war against radical extremism in place of actual fighting men. He talks about protecting vital intelligence on page 55:
Much of the CIA's knowledge, particularly that drawn from its covert operations, is top-secret intelligence. When an Agency analyst gives the kind of briefing I needed on Afghanistan, it is certain to be based on at least some classified information, including intelligence from deep-cover operatives, from foreign countries, and from electronic surveillance the CIA was lucky enough to set up on just the right telephone or meeting place. Such intelligence is sometimes confined to a circle so tight its revelation would effectively blow the source.
To this layman it seems the government will be faced with multiple decisions on whether to charge detainees with things like dirty bomb plots or something much less based on the risk of blowing important sources/networks. We'll be trading the possibility of detaining an innocent man for a judge refusing to allow a terrorist to be kept off the streets--again, as long as Americans understand that, we're all fine, right?

Some in positions of power might see an immediate sentencing via death as a viable alternative but certainly we'll see our share of, to use government parlance, ass covering. As McCarthy says in the opening page of his book, "imagine the liability". Terrorists will understand--they've been adapting their strategies all along.

As to Fred, can't help but wonder if there's an "Attorney General Thompson" title in his future.

MORE 6/14/08

This isn't a judge that would be determining the fate of detainees, but you get the picture...

Friday, June 13, 2008

So long to a true professional

The news about Tim Russert was shocking and sad to say the least. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Losing someone is bad enough but when it's unexpected it hurts even worse. Our time is indeed limited here on this third rock from the sun.

Although Mr. Russert had previously worked for Democrats in his early days one could hardly tell--he was unquestionably a true fair and balanced journalist. The true measure of his craft was the fact that he could irritate partisans on both sides of the aisles, having both swear he was in the tank for the other side.

There were times where this blog was hard on him, but the respect was always there. It's nice that he was able to honor his dad in these past few years and sadly, he won't be around for Father's Day this Sunday. But he'll certainly leave a void. There was nobody at NBC even close.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

First name basis?

You might have seen this over at Hot Air, a Time Magazine editor blaming the "Whitey" rumor on Rush Limbaugh and righty blogs.

If you listen closely to the clip you'll hear him call her "Michelle" instead of Michelle Obama or Mrs. Obama. Whether this was just a linguistic short-cut or he calls her that all the time is unknown, but it certainly sounds a little too casual and chummy for an outfit like Time.

Perhaps more interesting is how these folks have taken such an aversion to rumor-mongering, seeing as how they resisted Kitty Kelley's book or McCain's rumored affair (and make sure to note the source).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The torture of KSM

TChris over at Talk Left (a good lefty site, by the way) is posting again on the GTMO trials, suggesting they are nothing but show trials:
As TalkLeft noted here, the Bush administration is encouraging a sudden rush of trials at Guantanamo to put on a nice show for voters before the November elections. Some of those trials may seek the death penalty, much to the dismay of the international community.
The article says the UN believes any death sentences rendered from the trials are "just not acceptable".

Forget for a moment that the administration never wanted trials to begin with, that it was the international left who demanded and gained such instruments through the U.S. courts. And forget for a moment that John McCain has been outspoken about closing GTMO, making it hard to see how this is about politics (unless reminding Americans that Islamic jihadists still hate us is just politics). And forget for a moment the left has been playing politics with the GWoT since 2002 and even had admitted it, well, sorta .

The question is whether the removal of the death penalty amounts to torture.

After all, KSM is a devoted jihadist. His religion says dying for the cause will get him some perks from the big A, so naturally he wants to be martyred (killed dead) rather than locked up via a corrupt secular court system. To purposely deny him of that privilege sounds cruel and unusual.


The SCOTUS handed down what the media are calling another defeat for Bush (does that mean its a victory for the terrorists?) that basically seems to put America on a path to 'taking her chances' against future attacks and attackers. Hopefully everyone understands that. Perhaps we can now do away with those fanciful notions of the duties of a Commander-in-Chief.

If the Congress refuses to tighten detainment through law (and they don't even want the telcoms to have limited immunity) then it seems logical to think this could affect commander decisions on the ground as to whether a terrorist in the sights should be captured or introduced to Mr. Hellfire. Having limited practical knowledge it almost seems safer for the commander to just pull the trigger, after all, nobody cried over Mohammed Atef's lost rights or those of Zarqawi. Hampers the dots-connecting thing, though, but remember, we're taking our chances now anyway.

Not very good times for Bush. On the 20th his former press secretary will be joining the fray to tell the most partisan bunch of rats alive about how terrible it was to be around a guy who succumbed to fighting back against those VERY SAME PARTISAN RATS, which led to his subsequent back-stabbing book tour. Bush lovers are perhaps reduced to hoping McClellan is actually an agent under very deep cover with the goal of dropping some kind of unsuspecting bomb during his testimony. That's about all there is left.

Obama's sex appeal strategy

We already know many in the media have a crush on Obama. The story about his sex appeal is not new, dating back to the "Obama Girl" videos. We also know he's long been adored by many in Hollywood.

But now it's becoming blatent :
When asked what brought her to the Hill, Lopez smiled.

“I’m not ready to do any press yet,” she said, her eyes hidden behind a pair of big, black sunglasses
Today we saw yet another story:
Scarlett Johansson, it appears, has a crush on Barack Obama.
OK, admittedly not a shocking development coming from the same Hollywood who treated Bill Clinton like a movie star. It's also entirely consistent with the shallow nature of the entertainment field in general, many of whom might rank sex-appeal a higher presidential qualification than the average skid row drunk. Therein lies an opening for McCain--exploiting Hollyweird hate.

Thing is, McCain doesn't have any street cred with the values voters. They don't have the passion like Scarlett and McCain hasn't returned much love back--the entire Hagee affair left the odor of rank pandering gone awry. And the recent story of his polite refusal to meet with Billy Graham, whether true or just a mixup, exemplifies the perception.

Showing his keen political acumen Obama didn't waste any time meeting with religious leaders, seizing on McCain's tripups while trying to repair the damage done by reverend Wright. He might get some in the forgiveness crowd to believe.

But in general most will not defect. Now, whether a big Hollywood wet kiss on Barack might be enough to turn their collective stomachs remains to be seen [and no, there's no racial overtone in the preceding question. -ed]. The Supreme Court issue isn't going anywhere and while Obama might try to nuance his way through the debates on his judge selections most conservatives won't be buying. The 64K question is whether McCain can turn those voters out like Bush did. Right now it looks dicey.

Regardless, raw sex appeal fueled by a friendly media is a variable not to be overlooked in this day and age and with so many moderates in play. The left will carry no qualms about using sex and peer pressure to guilt young voters into going with the Obama flow so McCain's strategists best have that factored into their calculators.