Sunday, November 30, 2008

Something Must be Done

About the Pakistani tribal agency region.

The Pakis are saying two things right now: one, they are ready to help and two, they are ready for war. Sorry, but when people train in one country to prepare for an attack on another, in this case a long-held enemy, most people assume the host country has some responsibility.

Meanwhile, we know the US has sent drone missions into the terrortories with rebuke but it's the one area in the world we know our enemy resides, yet cannot get to it. As Obama once asked, with us or with the terrorists, Paki?

The Mumbai attacks may finally force this issue one way or the other. Indians want revenge just like Americans did after 9/11. Cooler heads must prevail between nuke-armed rivals but one thing should be clear--Pakistan must either get control of Baluchistan (perhap via the government in exile?) and Waziristan or let a coalition do it for them, history or not. The world cannot stand by and watch while international terrorists are manufactured there while the host government sits on its hands and covers its ears.

Today's Icon

Courtesy A.C., Junior.

MORE 11/30/08

Keeping on the change=same theme, pundits have spent the past few weeks marveling over Obama's relatively 'centrist' cabinet picks, mentioning at times the surprise and downright shock of his liberal base. These stories have even created an air, even if tongue-in-cheek, that Obama will be a third Bush term.

But are we jumping the gun?

A column on this subject by journalists Jim Tankersley and Mike Dorning appeared in at least two major newsers this morning. Here's the LA Times version and here's a Memphis Commercial Appeal version, which assigns the writers to the Chicago Tribune, so take your pick. [Side note--it appears the LA Times and Chicago Tribune are as one or perhaps share a Washington bureau. Interesting in that the Times is still sitting on the Rashid Khalidi tape, which the Trib supported, after having endorsed a presidential Democrat for the first time in their history.]

The wish list is not shocking--gay rights; union strong-arming rights via card check; falling sky environmental policies; and bailouts galore. When campaigning he told groups like ACORN they would even be part of his agenda-shaping transition team. Have we heard that announcement yet?

Then again, while pie-in-the-sky campaign promises got him elected, slow change seems to fit more with Obama's cautious personality (as far we anyone can tell). Perhaps today's column was designed as a gentle reminder that only so much caution will be tolerated. At some point he's gotta come through or put down his promises to force new coal plant investors out of business, take the secret vote away from workers and put people like James Hansen in charge of his environmental policies.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Side Tracks

The first holiday edition of the year is here already, and what better time than for some southern snow. Yes, much to the chagrin of fellow Tennessean Al Gore the local Weather Service forecast for Memphis is calling for snow..

So, how about some tradition..

For some though, 'let it snow' is the last thing they want to hear. Check out this train engineer's eye view passing over fresh unplowed snow at night...(full screen is best)

Not quite the Polar Express.

Terrorists 1, Planet 0

"Everyone involved with Live Earth India ... is stunned and saddened by the tragic events of the past few days in our host city Mumbai," the organizers said in a statement. "We always felt very welcomed and safe as we spent more time on the ground in Mumbai to finalize plans." [emphasis added]
Not anymore, apparently. But if the climate crisis is so severe isn't it worth the risk of taking a few bullets over? Will future terrorist attacks or the threats thereof be allowed to stand in the way of saving the world or scheduled Al Gore hologram speeches? C'mon people, stand up. Stand up!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Where Zawahiri is Right

Our friend Ayman the bearded cave monster released another video today chastising Bush and blaming the GWoT for our financial crisis followed by the obligatory alter call to join Islam. But just because he's a sociopath devoid of feelings for the innocent--unless they are "his" innocent--and just because he's mistaken about the roots of the financial crisis (it was triggered by a socialist experiment not 9/11), he's not too far off-base with this particular grievance:
"The modern economy has been destroyed by the strikes of the mujahedeen (in Iraq and Afghanistan) and usury," he said, using the Arabic term for holy warriors. Under Islamic Sharia law, usury, like drinking alcohol, is among the grand sins.

Zawahri then called on the American people to "embrace Islam to live a life free of greed, exploitation and forbidden wealth."
In truth, avoiding usury (credit) is not a tenet owned exclusively by the Muslims, unless Dave Ramsey is a hidden mujahadeen warrior. Or unless everything we know about Ben Franklin is wrong. Avoiding excessive credit just makes good common sense.

It's human nature to want it all, and want it now. It's also intuitive to know such a philosophy is a path to ruin. I'm not against credit per se--have some--but leveraging yourself to the hilt with tomorrow's projected earnings without a whit of caution about tomorrow is not real wise. It might even lead us to a socialist hell at some point if we don't 'collectively' wise up to the sin of excessive credit.

What Zawahiri doesn't understand is that avoiding it doesn't require a conversion to Islam, only a conversion to common sense. An America living within means would allow more freedom to invest (and strengthen the economy) while freeing up money for charitable donations. Meanwhile a stronger dollar puts the government in better position to wage necessary battles against Zawahiri's barbaric civilian-murdering thugs.

A Bridge Over Troubled Waters?

Who is Timothy Geithner and how did he suddenly become the most important financial guy in the country?
An Economist piece about incoming Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner explored Mr. Geither’s background in the Clinton Administration and his experience handling crises. But a number of blogs were more interested in a middle paragraph that that discusses Mr. Geithner’s youthful appearance and fondness for naughty words. It also notes that he snowboards and has tried skateboarding. The description prompted the Daily Show blog to correct an earlier post that described Mr. Geithner as “boring.”
Well, we probably need some naughty words on the economy about now, although if he mainly says them after screw-ups, perhaps not so much. He's being described as either the best or worst pick ever, whatever that means.

Bottom line, is he just a front man for Summers and Volcker, or his own man? Should we blame him for the Lehman collapse, or for not shouting loudly enough about the problems at Fannie and Freddie? And what were his views on the origination of sub-prime mortgages when he was an Undersecretary of Treasury during the Clinton administration of the mid 90s? Perhaps these questions will be answered at the confirmation hearings, if they last more than a few hours.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Words

On Thanksgiving we give thanks for the good things--family, health, friends, belief in a benevolent Almighty the maker of all things, and country. But the country is a bit wobbly right now under the weight of a growing financial mess and the ever-present specter of terrorist attack.

Some of it is from our own doing. The Founders never intended for success to be measured by excess and greed. They wrote about the perils of unbridled capitalism and how it might one day topple the great "experiment". Adams went as far as saying our Constitution was made for a moral and religious citizenry. But it's a mistake that can be corrected. Terrorism, on the other hand, is not of our own doing. The horrible Bombay/Mumbai attacks could be a preview of coming attractions here. Yet in spite of all our problems these words keep rattling around in the memory banks...

It didn't work for McCain but only because voters rejected the messenger, not the message. His words have meaning beyond a single person, going back to the beginnings of this nation. They are not just words.

As made clear by Zawahiri's recent racist rant AQ extremists are common thugs hiding behind tunics. If they manage to attack us again it'll be a clear attempt to trigger a worldwide financial Armageddon, the very reason Bush felt compelled to urge Americans to "go shopping" after 9/11. Landing a blow to our economic soft underbelly is the only way they win, and we cannot allow it for the sake of our children. We need strong leadership to remind us of this.

As Biden says, Obama will soon be tested. He'll start with a clean slate, yet oddly enough another massive attack in America would prove beyond doubt that it wasn't George Bush (or some Cheney pipe dream) triggering the hate. Too many Americans have been living in a cocoon of conspiracy and denial since 9/11, ie, Bush was the reason they hated us, some even going so far as to believe Bush was behind the attacks themselves. One can almost feel a coming decision point in history as those realizations come crashing down and force us all to confront reality.

Let's hope the worse never comes--there's so many things we'd all rather be doing--but a little preparation of mind never hurts. Comes a day we might be faced with a tough decision--either fall down and beg for mercy or stand up and fight. Fighting doesn't always mean picking up a rifle, it can also mean refusing to lose confidence in our way of life (or each other) or volunteering in the local community, or becoming a leader if only to remind people of why we need to stand up. Or just doing the right thing, as a noted filmmaker once said.

When McCain said those words people responded because they could see the scars to back them up. They aren't the same coming from every man. The man America just elected doesn't have the scars but once asked if the great speeches of American history were "just words". He clearly understands the power of rhetoric as it basically won him the presidency. We may soon find out if he believes in the actual words. God hope he does.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and thanks for dropping by this remote outpost.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brennan Out for CIA Post

And Greenwald pounds his chest. You go, sock puppeteer.

Brennan gave his reasons in a letter, which factually pointed out that he was hardly on Bush's Christmas card list. But anything short of a Jamie Gorelick/Jimmy Carter approach to terrorism evidently isn't good enough for the roots. And geez, even Iran's Press TV was intrigued with the possible selection:
“A critical step toward improved US-Iranian relations would be for US officials to cease public Iran-bashing,” The New York Times quoted Brennen(sic) as saying.
Maybe Obama is just trying to mess with their heads.

We'll throw out the obligatory question as to whether this was an orchestrated move for the purpose of throwing a bone to the left base after all the stories recently in the MSM and blogs about how they've been shut out of the transition sweepstakes. Here's the LA Times:
It was unclear whether Brennan had been pressured or asked to submit his letter of withdrawal. A former senior U.S. intelligence official close to Brennan indicated that Brennan was pushed. "John's not the kind of guy who would run away from a fight,"
Sorta backs up the bone throwing thing, but with spooks it's always hard to say. Gotta wonder who the former intel source was as well, other than perhaps Drumheller.

As to a new choice the Times goes on to say that if they're looking for someone with CIA experience who wasn't onboard with rendition (which first came around in the mid 90s, ruling out Scheuer) or the secret prisons/interrogation they're gonna have to dig pretty deep. Greenwald and his fellow goons appear desirous to use the CIA Director appointment to force US policy on terrorism, specifically a return to either law enforcement only or full Geneva no questions asked but they would probably settle for a fellow far lefty of any stripe.

The question is whether Langley will settle for anyone Obama picks if they're from the outside or mindful of reform. They seem to have a history of regurgitating such appointments. Brennan was the devil (or maybe an angel) they knew.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Teach The Children Well

Think about the current financial crisis--we set up a house of cards based on a politically correct line of thought that said nearly everyone should qualify for a home loan no matter how traditionally credit unworthy they were, so the low end was lowered and people got their homes. Wall Street, being the capitalists they are, figured out creative ways to make it work by spreading the risk while Main Street opportunists flipped and Washington politicians nodded and whistled while patting each other on the back.

Now, while some of the puppetmasters are busy using their golden parachute to lower their handicaps, the public is left to clean up the massive train wreck between fantasy and reality. Should anyone be surprised? Well no, not if they've been paying to reality.

In California, home of fabled State Bill 777 (allowing school kids to visit the opposite sex's restroom if they believe themselves to be trapped in the wrong gender) an elementary school is in the midst of using children to argue over the meaning of Thanksgiving:
For decades, Claremont kindergartners have celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as pilgrims and Native Americans and sharing a feast. But on Tuesday, when the youngsters meet for their turkey and songs, they won't be wearing their hand-made bonnets, headdresses and fringed vests.

Parents in this quiet university town are sharply divided over what these construction-paper symbols represent: A simple child's depiction of the traditional (if not wholly accurate) tale of two factions setting aside their differences to give thanks over a shared meal? Or a cartoonish stereotype that would never be allowed of other racial, ethnic or religious groups?
"It's demeaning," Michelle Raheja, the mother of a kindergartner at Condit Elementary School, wrote to her daughter's teacher.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Columbus Day, the War on Terror, evils of free market capitalism, and questioning whether the Founding Fathers were Christian--all part of a war on American traditions, just as O'Reilly likes to howl about all the time. But he's right. It's real.

The sad thing is that no matter what happens with the costumes in California the fun has been taken out of it for a bunch of 5 year olds and their perspective of the holiday might never be the same, if nothing else from watching their parents bicker. It's no wonder the main antagonist in this case is a college professor, herself in charge of molding the minds of students of her own. Ward Churchill, Bill Ayers, Sami al-Arian, the Professors for 9/11 Truth, -- too many of these damn professors are trying to destroy America. Just ask them.

On January 20th a new crew will be sworn in, the leader having once been a college professor himself. There is a move to 'change' America and it ain't just about war and taxes, it's about changing a traditional mindset, of which parents might be the last line of defense.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Confident Prince

According to a CNBC interview Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal feels confident about the future of his investment in Citigroup.

Too bad my confidence isn't as high about the nature of His Highness's alleged associations with former Black Panther turned Muslim attorney/activist Khalid al-Mansour. Many remember the comments made by noted New York civil rights stalwart Percy Sutton when the former borough chief claimed al-Mansour asked him to write a letter of recommendation to help Obama get into Harvard Law.

Politico's Ben Smith supposedly put everything to rest in his story on September 4, whereupon the Obama campaign denied knowing al-Mansour while al-Mansour called Sutton a dear friend who was just sickly and confused. Lke Farralhan, Ayers and Wright, he didn't want to draw any attention that might hurt Obama's chances:
"Any statement that I made would only further this activity which is not in the interest of Barack," al-Mansour is quoted as saying.
One thing is puzzling in the Politico article, though. Smith links to Lynn Sweet's column about Obama's Harvard student loans as proof nobody was bankrolling him. In the article Obama says he took out over $42,000 in loans to attend Harvard, and there were some residual loans for "tens of thousands" to attend the second year at Occidental and two years of Columbia. But in Obama's Change.Gov website it states the following:
He took out loans to put himself through school. After college, he worked for Christian churches in Chicago, helping communities devastated when steel plants closed. Obama turned down lucrative job offers after law school to return to Chicago, leading a successful voter registration drive. He joined a small law firm, taught constitutional law and, guided by his Christian faith, stayed active in his community.
The narrative might be a bit loose. The first sentence could be a blanket statement covering all of his schooling but it could also be interpreted as saying he didn't take out loans for Harvard since it says "after college" he worked to help the people affected by the shuttered steel mills then "after law school" he turned down lucrative offers and led a voter registration drive, etc. Hey, all these guys are lawyers.

Could be nothing if one believes Sutton lied or was confused. He was a Hillary supporter. But there was certainly enough to hide if Mansour had indeed first heard of Obama in the late 80s, which would require an explanation as to who clued him in and why. If he had helped to bankroll Obama's education then the obvious quid-pro quo comes into play. There was also the Muslim perception problem, which was already bad enough due to his proven relationships with Rashid al-Khalidi and Edward Said, Tony Rezko and Naudhi Auchi.

Perhaps a wee bit more sunshine, such as a glimpse of Obama's Columbia and Harvard records or footage from Khalidi's going-away party, might have illuminated things more but alas it's water under the bridge now. But as new solutions are proposed to 'save' the economic world in the new administration maybe it would be wise to keep these loose associations in mind, especially if the solutions get more and more socialist as time marches on.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sore Winners

Two columnists for the New York Times this morning are advocating Bush's removal from office before his time is up. The first, Thomas Friedman, suggests we amend the Constitution to move up the inauguration to Thanksgiving. The other, Gail Collins, opines that Bush and Cheney simply should resign and hand power to Pelosi until Barack takes the oath Jan 20.

It's hard to top Dan Reihl's reaction:
Fact: If Iraq is successful in holding on to its fragile, fledgling democracy and it begins to spread more broadly through the Middle-east, History will judge George Bush as a pivotal American President instrumental in turning around a particularly backward and malignant part of the world at a time when said world needed it most.

Fact: History will not remember Gail Collins at all. And the way they are going, that may one day prove true for the New York Times as well.
To be fair, Freidman understands the chances of an amendment passing are slim to none and slim left on last night's Greyhound, so instead he's advocating an immediate appointment of Obama's choice for Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner.

Aside from the fact it's a stupid argument to suggest constitutionally moving the inauguration to Thanksgiving based on what the country experienced in 2000, appointing Geithner would require going to confirmation with the Senate we have, not the Senate we elected. Say he finally gets confirmed by Christmas then desires to do something totally antithetical to the will of team Bush? Are we then to have a coup?

As to Ms. Collins, either the article is a joke or she has outed herself as a moonbat on par with Cindy Sheehan. The people didn't elect Nancy Pelosi and besides, Obama cannot effectively do much to stop the financial crisis just by moving his ash trash onto the Oval Office desk. His public works stimulus plan would stand a much better chance of passage with all the new Dems and especially if the Senate has a filibuster buster margin.

Not only that, but having Pelosi at the top seems a massive conflict of interest considering she'd return to her position as Speaker right after the inauguration, perhaps sheparding her own bills through Congress. Quite ridiculous and unhinged, especially coming from an organization that fought the fight against Bush's massage of the Constitution.

But stepping back from this it's quite a marvel to see all the calls for immediate action from the Times. Not saying we might not need it, but when McCain suspended his campaign to fly to DC it was alluded to as grandstanding by some.

What's the Deal with Hillary?

Off the bat it sounds bizarre that Obama would be willing to subject himself to four years of Hillary Clinton in his cabinet. Assuming he's no sucker for punishment, what's up with her appointment and all the demands along with it?
Before Hillary Clinton has been formally offered the job as Secretary of State, a purge of Barack Obama's top foreign policy team has begun.
One might think there was some kind of primary deal between these two, eh? And it seems like a pretty good one for the Clintons as she'll apparently have a lot of flexibility to run and staff State as she pleases:
In negotiations with Mr Obama this week before agreeing to take the job, she demanded and received assurances that she alone should appoint staff to the State Department.
Joe Wilson, Val Plame and Sandy Berger--keep your cell batteries charged!

As Power Line noted, the New York Times always has a humorous take on the situation disguised as serious journalism:
During the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton went out of their way to point out their foreign policy differences, with Mrs. Clinton portraying herself as a hawkish Democrat and defending her decision to vote in favor of the 2002 resolution that Mr. Bush later considered an authorization to use military force against Saddam Hussein. (Later, she said she fully expected Mr. Bush to use diplomacy first — and was shocked that he did not.)
They forgot the second "shocked". Hillary knew exactly what Bush was going to do and approved of it. There's video evidence.

But when faced with an outsider who pitched his tent on the edge of nutrootville and made his anti-war judgment the centerpiece of the election she had no choice but to think of an excuse. Instead of something effective she came up with "had I known then what I know now, I'd never have voted for it", which ironically would have worked back in the old VRWC days but not with a shiny new knight sitting at the round table.

Such nonsense scuttled her chances with the netroots and likely lost her the nomination. It's becoming somewhat clear now, based on the reality of his cabinet picks, that Mr. One skillfully used them without appearing to use them, one of his many rhetorical talents (there'll be a time to steer back towards port after the crisises are solved). But part of his victory was the deal he had to make with BubbaInc, since as everyone knows his vote count came up just shy of screw you. So obviously, this is it.

Can't he just fire her if she gets on his or Michelle's nerves? Yes, but a 'woman scorned' can be a thing of utter nastiness, especially with an established network and a scandal-loving press. Let's hope these two can get along at least a year--for the good of the nation if nothing else.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Side Tracks

Here's one originally done by the Zombies, covered nicely by Santana featuring Greg Walker on vocals.

The Price for Snooping

Verizon Wireless recently fired several employees for snooping on Barack Obama's cell phone records. As they should have.

Back in March our presumed next CIA Director, John O. Brennan, fired several employees who accessed State Department records to snoop on Obama's (also McCain and Hillary's) passport files. As he should have.

But Helen Jones-Kelley, the Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the one who authorized snooping into Joe the Plumber's personal records, received a month vacation without pay for her inappropriate actions. Actions that were designed to help Obama.

Will anyone bother to ask him about this?

Save the Whales?

That was the refrain years ago. It was common to see 'Save the Whales' bumper stickers, especially on VWs and AMCs. They were being saved from overharvesting and environmental pollution, something worthy in principle even if the proponents went just a tad overboard. But it's doubtful any were being threatened by rapidly growing polar ice:
"A couple of weeks ago, when the ice was still moving, there were quite a few narwhal seen out there in the open water," Jayko Allooloo, chairman of the Pond Inlet hunters and trappers organisation, told public broadcaster CBC. "About a week later, they're stuck."
Now that it's been decided by the local hunter/gatherer council that these trapped whales shall be 'culled', exceeding the yearly limit, will we see the enviro-nuts descending on Baffin Island in protest, railing against the policies of Bush for causing the rapidly growing ice or against the natives for trying to make a living in tough economic times?

And what about frightening stories of creeping ice from our media via James Hansen or NOAA or NCAR, or others? What suggestions do they have for stopping it's unchecked growth?

[note to reactionaries--this doesn't mean global warming has stopped. It simply means we don't understand the environment quite as well as we need to yet, certainly not well enough to justify immediate economic destruction under the guise of saving anything]

The 'Trouble' with Brennan

Glenn Greenwald is angry about Obama's proposed nomination of John O. Brennan for CIA Chief:
Still, Brennan has been and continues to be an extremely important adviser for Obama on intelligence issues. His views on past administration conduct are, in many important instances, clearly disturbing and bear watching.
He lists several instances where Brennan defended enhanced interrogation and secret sites. But in this Charlie Rose interview (along with Scott Shane from the Times and Tyler Drumheller) he seems detached enough from Iraq, and importantly Dick Cheney, to suit some lefty needs, despite his defense of former boss George Tenet.

By the way, Drumheller seems a real piece of work, at one point telling Rose that Tenet knew the WMDs weren't there but didn't have the nerve to tell Bush, then later that he thought Tenet believed there were WMDs. Which was it? If your memory no longer serves Mr. Drumheller was the one who claimed to have raised a flag about the intelligence Curveball was providing the German BND service, intel that ended up in Colin Powell's UN speech. Tenet, in his book, roundly disputed his narrative.

But as to Brennan, the lefty criticism seems directed at his unwillingness to harshly condemn "torture" and other efforts Bush used to keep terrorists from killing Americans. Apparently, such a person doesn't represent the change liberals needed in DC, perhaps preferring someone more like Drumheller or even John Kerry to head the CIA and confirm their Bush-era fantaspiracies. But Brennan might possibly indicate how reality sometimes trumps ideology when it comes to practical political survival.

As Rummy once famously said, 'we don't know what we don't know'. On page 193 of Ken Timmerman's book "Shadow Warriors" he recounts a conversation between Undersecretary of Defense John Shaw and Bill Gertz of the Washington Times regarding Saddam's WMDs, specifically the strange assignment of several Russian generals to Iraq in the months before the war. It has long been rumored that Russian Spetsnaz troops helped move anything sensitive with Russian fingerprints out of Iraq and into Syria before the invasion, oddly alluded to (offhand) by Joe the VP in his 2007 interview with Tim Russert. Perhaps Brennan knows something about all of this?

Whatever the case, he knows a lot more than the silly conventional wisdom that floats around the blogosphere about Bushitler. For instance, here's what Tenet writes in his book regarding an encounter between Brennan, who speaks Arabic, and a member of the Iranian MOIS intelligence, page 124:
John walked up to his car, knocked on the window, and said, "Hello, I'm from the U.S. Embassy and I've got something to tell you." As John tells the story, the guy got out of his car, claimed that Iran was a peace-loving country, then jumped back in the car and sped away. Just being seen with some of our people might cause MOIS officers to fall under suspicion with their own agency. The cold pitches undoubtedly ruined some careers, and maybe even lives, but also occasionally paid off in actual intelligence dividends. It couldn't happen to a nastier bunch of people.
By the way, if the name sounds familiar it's because Brennan's company, the Analysis Corp (sounds itself like a dummy CIA front company) was involved in some shenanigans regarding access of Obama's passport, a highly entertaining comedy act affectionately referred to as Passportgate, which spun up right in the middle of Reverend Wright-gate. Imagine that.

Friday, November 21, 2008


This going viral around the web right now. Part of the Leonids, perhaps?

Yeah Al, That's the Ticket

Reacting to a paper suggesting that climatic shifts might have contributed to the downfall of the Mayans, here's the resident expert:
As we move towards solving the climate crisis, we need to remember the consequences to civilizations that refused to take environmental concerns seriously.
So the Mayans, lacking even rudimentary understanding of the global climate system or their microscopic influence on it, are somehow to blame without even one SUV? Guess all that social depravity stuff was completely overblown.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bailout Blues

According to the suddenly fiscally conservative Harry Reid:
The auto industry has until December 2 to fashion a plan that will provide a path to "accountability and viability," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.
Which was topped by Nancy Pelosi Maguire:
"This is an important industry in our country and we intend to save it," Pelosi said. "Until they show us a plan we cannot show them the money."
Thank heaven for corporate jets (too bad they haven't worked with Al Gore yet) since they glaringly displayed the corporate arrogance souring the stomachs of all except the bitter, clinging union auto workers who voted in droves for Obama.

But surely the automakers are scratching their heads about this ultimatum, wondering what to do based on ObamaBiden's plan for US bidnesses:
Reward Companies that Support American Workers: Barack Obama introduced the Patriot Employer Act of 2007 with Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to reward companies that create good jobs with good benefits for American workers. The legislation would provide a tax credit to companies that maintain or increase the number of full-time workers in America relative to those outside the US; maintain their corporate headquarters in America if it has ever been in America; pay decent wages; prepare workers for retirement; provide health insurance; and support employees who serve in the military.
With Obama's overt support of card check and vows to expand programs like family friendly it's certainly going to be an interesting challenge.

Here's a possibility--suck it up and get your labor costs in order like the airlines have for years; start offering better warranties on better built cars; offer to sell the government one factory to keep in reserve for making military vehicles in case World War III ever breaks out--charge them the government rate of course; announce that all top level management will fly commercial and drive their own company cars; along with the labor renegotiation announce that ALL employees will not make more than the highest wage-earner salary in any plant. The only way to make more would be profit-sharing, but the profit sharing plan would allow double or triple earnings over scale based on profitability reports verified by outside auditors.

Either that or announce that all corporate personnel will be replaced Monday morning by Japanese and all wage workers with Mexicans. Either one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On Zawahiri

His little racist rant is making the news today. Guess he's one dude who didn't breathe a sigh of relief.

It's tempting to mock this as instant proof Obama's election didn't shower sweetness and light on America's 'trashed' reputation (because Bush dared to fight back against terrorism) but it cannot be done honestly because Zawahiri is only one man. He doesn't even represent the entirety of the America-hating terrorists. Still, his taunt is interesting for many reasons.

First of all, it's maddening. How dare this turd essentially call the new president a "house n*gger" (and let's be frank, House "Negro" was the politically correct translation used by the press--everyone knows what he meant). Perhaps it's a sign of desperation that Mr. Z feels the need to appeal to the racist leanings of his Arab supporters so soon. Clearly he's afraid of the "Obama effect" on the Ummah and is trying to nip it in the bud by keeping all the jihadies on message, knowing his own limitations in the charisma department:
"You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims, and pray the prayer of the Jews, although you claim to be Christian, in order to climb the rungs of leadership in America. And so you promised to back Israel, and you threatened to strike the tribal regions in Pakistan, and to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, in order for the crimes of the American crusade in it to continue," the message said.
Guess there's no mystery left as to whether brother Hussein will be called an apostate. But Z is a target multi-tasker. Not only is Obama a sell-out to his own race and Islam but greedy Americans are getting their just desserts for fighting the war and for being capitalists, while the Farrakhan wing was so blind they forgot about Malcolm X. Ouch.

Is pissing off the entire black race the new AQ strategy? Actually it sounds more like Zawahiri's goal was to reunite America, although that clearly was not his intent. But hey, he's no bin Laden. Speaking of which, CNN's Peter Bergen asked the seminal question--where is the big guy? He lists several plausible reasons except the prominent one on every reader's mind--tango uniform.

But what if UBL is dead?

Let's ponder the power. Say a few high-level Democrats were to get access to top secret intel that said Osama was killed at Tora Bora. They could release it and claim that Bush kept it quiet to go after Saddam's oil, producing a circus-like inquisition in America. Meanwhile AQ would be left to explain why they kept his horribleness alive all those years (to fend off embarrassment and stimulate recruiting), which wouldn't look very noble. Two birds with one stone.

There's no question Obama, like Clinton before him, wants nothing to do with military engagements of any kind, anywhere. Such a revelation would throw momentum towards a total withdrawal from all theaters to focus on the social and financial issues at home, just as Bill Ayers and his minions would prefer. The concept of a GWoT would be overturned for the real threat--global warming. And everyhing would be fine as long as AQ didn't pull off anymore attacks.

Such a scenario is fraught with peril though, such as perhaps triggering a desperation attack by AQ amidst a divisive political brouhaha here while a financial crisis rages. Obama, being a careful man, would probably pass.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Griffey Junior named Envoy

You heard that right:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named Griffey a public diplomacy envoy Tuesday, tasking the All-Star slugger with spreading "the values of the United States" in large part by helping to spark interest in America and in our culture."
A ceremonial envoy. And I think a very good choice.

But hold on a sec--Fran Drescher was also one? Fran Drescher? She's fine, but with that accent how many countries actually thought she was a weapon being employed against them by Bush? Now imagine that voice in the US Senate (yes, there are some laughs worse than Hillary's).

Piracy on the High Seas

The recent spate of piracy in the Gulf of Aden/Red Sea area is obviously spiraling out of control, setting up an eventual showdown, by somebody. Somewhere.

The US media has largely yawned at these stories especially during the pre-election maelstrom. But with news slowing down they've now taken mild interest, especially after the British killed a few pirates last week coupled with the Saudi tanker captured this week, and others.

Oddly, the capture of an Iranian-owned ship several months ago that was said to have been carrying a mystery mineral cargo from China was almost completely ignored by the majors, despite reports that several pirates perished upon inspecting the booty. And very little has been said about it's release.

At any rate, decisive action is imperative lest the entire shipping lane be rendered too dangerous for passage. Problem is, "action" can be quite dangerous in and of itself due to that area's geographic sensitivity to world commerce, particularly oil transit. Perhaps the pirates grab of the tanker was a statement to that effect. If so, the ante has been upped. All the way.

So, what's to be done? Will small wars break out leading to an AQ resurgence in the anarchist colony formerly known as Somalia? Will certain well-known leaders suggest talks with the lead pirates without preconditions? If so, will our new Secretary of State get involved? Will carrots and sticks be used, or just sticks? Is it time to call Kofi Annan out of retirement or should Bush just ignore everyone and gather another coalition of the willing to start one final unilateralist pirate ass kicking contest?

And what of Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright? Will they soon pop up on for the defense of international piracy, suggesting it's a only a forced social justice movement responding to the evil white capitalists who run the world, with the solution found in spreading the wealth? Stay tuned.

Monday, November 17, 2008

President Government

During the campaign season, while everyone was busy hyperventilating over the billions of dollars the Federal Government would soon be sending to Wall Street while Mac was busy suspending his campaign (and chances), Obama announced his plan for reinventing government. And just like almost every other Obama plan it was brilliantly conceived and structured to cover both sides of the issue. To wit:
In the plan, Obama pledged to "thin the ranks of Washington middle managers, freeing up resources both for deficit reduction and for increasing the number of frontline workers."
In other words, getting rid of middle managers making GS-12 or 13 pay with more "frontline workers" at much less allowed Obama to have the best of both worlds. He knows middle managers are perhaps the most vulnerable of federal creatures since they aren't protected by unions, don't have any consequential political connections as compared to high level managers and possess only minimal civil service protections if fired or laid off.

And since most of them are directly managing the frontline workers it's likely they aren't on many Christmas card lists nor held in particularly high regard by the taxpayers.

Looks like change is coming for these poor slobs...a change of careers, perhaps.

On the same note the WaPo is reporting today about some letters Obama sent to selected federal workers before the election. Pandermania no doubt, but a common thread runs through them all--Bush was bad but the One will put more stuff in your pocket and keep you employed, promise. When combined with his previous attack on middle managers it's clear his 'spread the wealth' thing will not be confined to just the average Joes.

Here's a sample of some of the wording used in the letter he sent to employees in the Department of Labor:
I am also pleased to see the so-called “pay–for-performance” system advanced by the Bush Administration has finally been withdrawn. While I strongly believe that workers can and should be rewarded for high quality work, any such recognition program must not reward one employee at the expense of another. This is unfair and serves to reduce morale, rather than improve it.
It beggars belief that government workers are actually having money taken away from them to subsidize bonuses for others. More likely the top-ranking employees are getting extra amounts while the others are not, which does tend to foster bad morale. It also tends to foster increased performance through a concept known as competition.

Conversely, when everybody gets the same raise it also tends to lower the morale--of the high performing workers who actually worked more. They tend to leave. Good luck with that, middle level managers. Just remember, the One will not be on your side.

For some reason the departments of Transportation, Commerce, Treasury, Interior, Agriculture, Energy, Education and State didn't get any love notes from Obama as he focused mainly on the 'touchy-feely' branches (with a throw-in to DHS and DoD mainly over labor unions and veterans benefits) who administer the socialism entitlements. Whether that was only a function of getting more bang for his writing buck is not clear, but it very well could be a telegraph to the other federal agencies as to which ones he may use the hatchet on. Gotta get the money somewhere.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jihad Politics

David Ignatius believes the election of Obama is a jihadist's worst nightmare:
The upsetting news for our imaginary jihadist is the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States. This wasn't supposed to happen, in al-Qaeda's playbook. Its aim was to draw the "far enemy" (meaning America) ever deeper onto the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Instead, the jihadists must cope with a president-elect who promises to get out of Iraq and whose advisers are talking about negotiating with the Taliban. And to top it off, the guy's middle name is Hussein.
Was the election a brain rattler for some of the more virile anti-Americans, including jihadists? Probably. Some here are still trying to figure out how it happened. Will it alter recruitment? Maybe--it's harder to recruit if the people don't hate.

But there's one small detail missing, "Hussein" is not a Muslim. He was born of a Muslim father and adopted by a Muslim stepfather, yet turned to Christianity. That's a fairly decent recruiting tool if propagandized correctly after a few missteps. And there will be missteps when trying to play both sides, as Obama always does.

Not just that, but Ignatius has forgotten the jihadi tenets that triggered 9/11 and all the other attacks beforehand and which still generally drive the hatred: Palestine; Sha'ria law; US out of Arabia; stopping western cultural encroachment; and Israel's continued existence. Obama has a tall order to fill.

Actually, believing he'll somehow stop the GWoT just by waking up every morning in the White House is as silly as the believing Bush drove them to hate us more. Looking back at the golden age of Clinton they damn sure hated us enough to stage the 9/11 hijackers here, partially due to our sanctions on Iraq but mostly due to our continuing support of Israel.

This is largely ignored in the column, clouded by a houkaload of hopeandchange in hopes the jihadists will soon see the same light many have here. But the changing dynamic is still a mirage at this point. Truth is, unless he gives in to the Arab demands he may end up a bigger heretic than Bush or McCain could have ever hoped to become.

Ignatius does touch on one item of significance:
Our imaginary jihadist may be singing the blues as he contemplates the Obama presidency. But when he looks on the bright side, there is the global economic disaster. The financial news brings daily evidence that Allah is smiting the infidels.
And what better time for a massive attack? Perhaps that's why he begs Obama to solve the financial crisis, yet odds say his approach will be through socialism rather than capitalism. History is replete with weak-kneed socialist governments capitulating to bullies for their security. Take Spain, for instance.

Not to mention that any left turns for America will likely be spun as a net victory for bin Laden just as would a hasty retreat from Iraq or a failed treaty with the Taliban. That is unless Obama will be able to somehow convince the world that a collapsed Karzai government and new training camps springing forth in the Afghanistan moonscape is a good thing.

In truth much of this new sugar plum vision can be blamed on George W. Bush for continually suppressing attacks on America these past eight years. William Ayers was recently quoted as saying Obama's election represented a rejection of the the fear of the 9/11 years, as if Bush and Cheney had manufactured all our current and past threats. People of this ilk may well be rudely reminded one day soon that this GWoT thing ain't no Cheney pipe dream.

So in reality the outlook for jihadists is anything but gloomy these days. It's actually looking relatively hopeful.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ayers on GMA

As predicted, only a tad later:
In his first television interview since he became the center of controversy in the presidential race, Chicago activist Williams Ayers breaks his silence in an exclusive interview with Chris Cuomo on Friday's "Good Morning America."
Of course, any idiot could have predicted that a cowardly ex-revolutionary who called the pigs police on a Fox News reporter might suddenly emerge from his pre-election cone of silence to gloat and join the Palin pile-on.

A tougher prediction is whether GMA will ask the professor whether Obama shares his views on the evils of capitalism (it would seem rather prudent under the circumstances) or about Chavez's education reforms. Or when he first met Barack. Or why he stayed out of the limelight if Obama hardly knew him.

MORE 11/14/08

Cuomo did a fairly decent job but he simply didn't have enough time or moxey to do what was necessary. A couple of points stood out to me:

1. Ayers said his WU acts were NOT despicable, contradicting Obama's view.

2. Ayers bragged of having edited 13 books. Sorta brings Cashill's conspiracy into the realm of reed thin possible.

3. Cuomo had Prairie Fire in his hand and didn't ask whether Ayers still believes in the tenets of that manifesto, nor did he show the picture of the distinguished respected prof stomping the flag.

4. He didn't delve into Ayers' recent trips to Venezuela and his praise for Chavez's education reforms, which could have easily been mixed into a question about whether the two shared beliefs or ever discussed what type of reforms they wanted for Chicago and America. If Obama had no clue as the philosophy of Ayers or had never talked at length with the man who organized the Annenberg challenge then why was he serving as its president? This suggests he's either stupid, overly opportunistic, or down with the theme. And we know he's not stupid.

5. Ayers admitted he had a coffee to kick-off Obama's political career, but said Obama also went to about 20 other houses that day. We know Ayers donated 250 dollars to the 1995 campaign at that point, so this is firm. Yet during the final debate with McCain, Obama said the following:

At the 3:35 mark Obama denies he started his political career in Ayers' living room.
Interestingly, this time Obama called him a professor of education, not english. He also admitted to the challenge (which he didn't when Hillary mentioned Ayers). Obama then created a strawman by refuting the notion Ayers was an advisor or would work in the administration, which nobody had ever accused anyone of suggesting.

Again, team Obama and his liberal apologia have repeatedly blurred the issue. It was never about the terrorist acts, it was about his unrepentant nature. It was never about serving on a board together, it was whether they shared goals.

Ayers is getting his 15 minutes (on his terms) and will soon fade away. But the question of their relationship and when they actually first met along with Barack's mysterious New York years may never be answered. The sun shines only on the future.

MORE 11/15/08

CNN presents their defense of Ayers, as told by Ayers and CNN. They even defended Obama without even quoting him:
Asked about the issue in his final debate with McCain, Obama, who was 8 years old at the time of the Weather Underground bombings, said he has "roundly condemned those acts."
The "when I was 8" thing really worked, eh? Funny, Ayers didn't call his attacks detestable--even now, when Obama is 48. CNN also didn't expand upon the comment Ayers made about ending "the wars", plural, meaning he wants to end the war in Afghanistan. Digging into that pit might turn up some serious Wright-style hate America gruel. Remember, Obama was still a member of TUCC through 2005, the year he says he last had contact with Ayers. Wright likes to use old sayings like chickens coming home to roost, how about birds of a feather?

But OK, I can hear the talk-- " A.C., the election is over. You lost. Why harp on Ayers? You are becoming Obama deranged". Perhaps it's because I don't like false narratives anymore than the unrepentant, Marxist-loving, flag stomping, double-hooped hippie trying to pass one off now in an effort to further tear down his long time opponent--the United States of America.

MORE 11/16/08

Here they are again, pontificating airily about the meaning of the election. To paraphrase, "the racist pigs (McCain voters) were turned back at the gate by the heroic Obama voters, who ushered in the generation of worldwide love brought forth by the light worker leaving the fear of the 9/11 era behind".

Or even the fear of hazy presidential associations with unrepentant ex-radicals who still believe the very tenets of their 60s platform to change America.

We can now move back to fearing the climate, food shortages, poisoned apples and toys.

Applying for Change

Those seeking a job working for team Obama better be prepared to rummage a bit:
A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive — some say invasive — application ever.
More than a little irony here--Obama spoke frequently about sunshine in government yet we never saw his Columbia or Harvard transcripts. But this morsel might get more attention:
Applicants are asked whether they or anyone in their family owns a gun.
It's easy to let the imagination run wild as to the purpose of this question. Will gun ownership be a disqualifying factor for applicants? If so--and that's a big if--does it say anything about future policy initiatives whereupon an aid owning a gun would become an embarrassment?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama's bin Laden Strategy

According to several new reports Obama plans to "renew" the hunt for bin Laden. Here's CNN:
The Obama team believes the Bush administration has downplayed the importance of catching the FBI's most-wanted terrorist because it has not been able to find him.

"We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority," Obama said during the presidential debate on October 7.
Biden went further, saying Obama would not only find him but would "send him to hell" (conspiractists insert your anti-Christ references here).

Indeed, Obama has promised that if he receives intelligence on the whereabouts of UBL or other HVTs in Pakistan, and they won't cooperate, he'll plow ahead anyway. In other words, "with us or with the terrorists"! Funny how those words were condemned as evil and ignorant coming from one president's mouth and not the other's. Just words? Perhaps. After all, McCain said he'd follow bin Laden to the gates of hell then later said he knew where Osama was hiding. Was he calling Pakistan hell or some other country? And if he knows where UBL is why hasn't he told anyone? So they all tend to overdose on the promises.

Irrelevant now, though. Obama has the football and the public expects him to move the ball. Since first downs and touchdowns don't happen by standing behind center and barking out dummy signals he's gotta call a play. The CNN article quotes Dalton Fury, US commander at Tora Bora, on one possible play:
Fury says the best route for the president-elect to take would be to change the dialogue about bin Laden. Intelligence officials do not believe he is playing an operational role and so has no reason to move around or communicate.

"I think it's important to understand that bin Laden had his chance at martyrdom. He was in the mountains of Tora Bora, he ran away. In my opinion, I think we ought to promote this," Fury said.
Could work, but also fraught with some peril. First of all, would bin Laden fall for it? He's been under cover for awhile now with zero credible video appearances of late. Calling him a chicken in an effort to taunt him to the surface might seriously blowback in our faces if he pulls off a worse-than-9/11 attack then later comes out to gloat on his own. Obama would likely get blamed.

Questioning his manhood might also increase chances of martyrdom. Hassan Turabi, former leader of Sudan and would-be uniter of the Arab/Muslim world to fight the west, once said killing UBL would create a "thousand more". Every one of them would be dumped in Obama's lap. Yet as Fury notes the American public will never be satisfied until he's brought to justice or confirmed dead.

Talk is already spreading about the Taliban's desire to make a deal to "finish" the war. Obama would be crazy to ever sign the line without having AQ numbers one and two in GTMO Leavenworth or confirmed dead.

But if bin Laden is actually long dead could it be admitted in talks? Such news might indict the Bush administration for covering it up but it would also indict the Taliban and AQ for doing likewise. No martyrdom or a thousand bin Ladens there.

Adding more troops won't help us find bin Laden or Zawahiri--in another country. And although regional peace talks might sound promising (with Iran included) they would never work unless all parties agreed to marginalize and condemn al Qaeda, something that might upset the locals. It's quite a fix.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

From the description..

“To The Shores of Tripoli” commemorates the 200th anniversary of the U.S.S. Constitution bombarding the Fort of Tripoli, now Libya, on August 4th 1804. President Thomas Jefferson had sent the U.S.S. Siren,& six gunboats loaned to the U.S. by the King of Two Sicilies, & the U.S.S. Constitution under the Command of Commodore Edward Preble, to the Mediterranean. Unlike European nations Jefferson refused to allow the United States to pay tribute or ransom to the Tripoli pirates who were taking American citizens prisoner. Instead Jefferson sent the U.S. Navy to show defiance of their piracy & to successfully liberate American citizens from enslavement. (Artist's note.) [emphasis added]

As we honor our brave volunteers today is also a good day to honor the valor of the first Marines and Sailors involved in fighting the "Global War on Terror". They both share the fight against tyranny.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama to the House

"Hey, we came pretty close with the columns.."

"So the stuff about the UFOs is true? Holy sh... "

"You mean the utilities aren't included???"

"Saddam did what?"

source LA Times

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hope and Same

Jamie Gorelick being considered for Attorney General?
Used to work as: Vice chairwoman at Fannie Mae, the giant mortgage lender, where she was paid a reported $25.6 million in salary and other compensation from 1998 to 2003. She went on to join the Washington law firm Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr as a partner, where she has represented a range of clients, including Duke University in defending claims brought against it by some of its lacrosse players in a highly publicized rape investigation. She was a Democratic appointee on the 10-member commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks.
Sounds like a tri-fecta winner. But since this is blogland let's have some fun. Here's something else:
Only Zelikow and Gorelick reportedly are allowed to read classified intelligence reports — known as the presidential daily briefs — in their entirety.
It would be interesting to know why those two were the only 9/11 Commission panel members allowed to read PDBs in their entirety. Security clearance, luck of the draw, or something else?

For an into the weeds answer there's always this but conspiracies aside, Obama sold America he would bring change to DC...

Jamie Gorelick is not change. She is Washington.

Aunt Z Update

Many might be wondering if Obama's Aunt Z has fled back to Kenya as so ordered four years ago. Well, she's fled alright--further west into the shadows of Cleveland. And she plans to fight her deportation order:
“She will do whatever she can do to fight for the privilege to stay in America,” Ms Wong said. Details of Ms Onyango’s US asylum application have not been revealed, but it is believed to have been based on the claim that she might fall victim to ethnic violence in Kenya.
So she deliberately defied the law during a time she could have returned with zero fanfare but now can't return due to fanfare? Only in America.

Hey, now that she's in Ohio and in the public spotlight maybe the Office of Job and Family Services should start digging into her background, right?

Obama isn't talking much other than to say Aunt Z should be subject to all applicable laws. He didn't mention whether such enforcement would amount to terrorist tactics, though.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Side Tracks

Back to the 80s. Here's Squeeze..

Promises, Promises seems apt these days...

Red Skies at Night by the Fixx was a cool song but they won't let us embed.

But perhaps this captures the mood best of all right now..

"leave it to me, everything will be alright.."

The Redeployment Shuffle

CNN is featuring a Time piece this morning on the shocking possibility that Obama might have to 'change' his Iraq withdrawal timetable:
While promising a 16-month timetable for getting all U.S. fighting forces out, Obama repeatedly insisted on what he calls a "responsible" withdrawal. Pulling nearly all U.S. troops and equipment out of Iraq in 16 months is "physically impossible," says a top officer involved in briefing the President-elect on U.S. operations in Iraq.
For anyone paying close attention this should be a yawner. Too bad Tim Russert didn't live long enough to follow up on his 2006 MTP conversation with Obama regards Iraq:
MR. RUSSERT: The question is, here at home what are the politics, and you said this according to the Chicago Tribune. “It is arguable that the best politics going into ’06 would be a clear, succinct message, ‘Let’s bring our troops home.’...It’s certainly easier to communicate and I think would probably have some pretty strong resonance with the American people right now.” Why do you think that’s the best political message?

SEN. OBAMA:"Well, you know, one of the things that I think in politics you’re always looking for is contrast, and obviously that gives a sharp, clearly-defined contrast to administration’s policy. Keep in mind, though, that that quote was presented in me explaining that that’s actually not the approach that I’m pursuing. My position has been that it would not be responsible for us to unilaterally and precipitously draw troops down regardless of the politics, because I think that all of us have a stake in seeing Iraq succeed. We need to get the policy right, and it’s inappropriate, I think, to have politics intrude at this point in such a critical stage in the development of the Middle East.
With Obama there's always a "...however", yet the underlying message on the trail seemingly went something like this: "pssst--Bush was an idiot for getting us into Iraq, Hillary was an idiot for voting for it, McCain was an idiot for believing the promises, and I'm the only one who can get us out of this mess because I was never in favor of getting us into it..". The devil was in the details but the details were just concise enough to sway an electorate hoping for change, who mainly voted on the overall premise. Here are some snippets of those "details":

Pretty forceful, but his only specific was "2009". Here's another that illustrates how just words can be used to achieve desired results..

And here's a good summary..

"Let me be as clear as I can be...I intend to end this war." Well yes, surely president Bush intended to end the war several years ago as well but as McCain said in the debates it all comes down to our national security interests moving forward. Obama scored a victory in the first debate by diverting McCain's attention away from his wrong-headed opposition to the surge and reminding everyone of McCain's previous comments about us being greeted as liberators and so forth, yet Barack's only official action regarding the issue to date has turned out fairly wrong and he will not admit it.

Let's see what his new '' transition website says about Iraq (screen-capping for safety):

Quick sidebar--can we get someone to confirm whether this an officially sanctioned taxpayer-funded government website or just a personal site? If it's an official site our tax dollars are essentially paying for the government to condemn the government's official positions. If not how did he get a .gov extension? Can anyone?

Alright, if you've followed this far thank you. Here's a recap: Obama has been consistently against the war since 2002 but he's been rather cleverly confusing regarding specifics. He has now received a top level intelligence briefing--perhaps we can expect more change but any wind shifts can be covered with his oft-used rhetoric "we have to be just as careful getting out as we were careless getting in".

Just words. Here are a few more words in closing. The 2006 Russert interview contained the following exchange:
MR. RUSSERT: But there seems to be an evolution in your thinking. This is what you told the Chicago Tribune last month: “Have you ruled out running for another office before your term is up?” Obama answer: “It’s not something I anticipate doing.” But when we talked back in November of ‘04 after your election I said, “There’s been enormous speculation about your political future. Will you serve your six-year term as United States senator from Illinois?” Obama: “Absolutely.”

SEN. OBAMA: I will serve out my full six-year term. You know, Tim, if you get asked enough, sooner or later you get weary and you start looking for new ways of saying things. But my thinking has not changed.

MR. RUSSERT: So you will not run for president or vice president in 2008?

SEN. OBAMA: I will not.
But ahh, they covered that one nicely as well. He had no choice. The Republic was at stake.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Presser One

Barack gave his first presser today. The big news was the Nancy Reagan comment (apologized for) which, other than sounding a little amateurish, wasn't a biggie. My impression was that he temporarily blanked on the other living presidents and was looking for some filler while collecting thoughts.

Frankly, he looked exhausted and the entire thing was a bore-fest aside from the Nancy moment. Perhaps they could have given him a few days off after a two year campaign season. The electorate certainly needed it.

Of more interest were two other questions, one asked by Candy Crowley of CNN about whether he'd changed his mind about anything after receiving his intelligence briefing and the other by Jake Tapper about whether he'd responded to Mahmoud A'jad's congratulatory letter. As to number one,
Crowley: You are now privy to a lot of intelligence that you haven't had access to before, in fact, much of what the president sees, I'm sure all of it. First of all, do you -- what do you think about the state of U.S. intelligence, whether you think it needs beefing up, whether you think there's enough interaction between the various agencies?

And, second of all, has anything that you've heard given you pause about anything you've talked about on the campaign trail?

Obama: Well, as you know, if -- if there was something I had heard, I couldn't tell you. But...

Question: (off-mike)

Obama: I have received intelligence briefings. And I will make just a general statement.

Our intelligence process can always improve. I think it has gotten better. And, you know, beyond that, I don't think I should comment on the nature of the intelligence briefings.
When this question was being asked it looked like Obama was clenching and swallowing a little hard. Oh, for that proverbial fly on the wall..

As to the second question from Tapper,
Senator, for the first time since the Iranian revolution, the president of Iran sent a congratulations note to a new U.S. president. I'm wondering if, first of all, if you responded to President Ahmadinejad's note of congratulations and, second of all, and more importantly, how soon do you plan on sending low-level envoys to countries such as Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, to see if a presidential-level talk would be productive?
The answer was diplomatic and pure politicospeak including a reminder there is only one president right now, but the damage was done by asking. The bigger question is whether he'll call on Tapper anytime soon.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Change Dot Gov

Obama-elect already has an official government web portal, where one can learn all kinds of fun facts about the new guy. This is from his page:
THE EARLY YEARS Barack's father eventually returned to Kenya, and Barack grew up with his mother in Hawaii, and for a few years in Indonesia. Later, he moved to New York, where he graduated from Columbia University in 1983.
Guess his step-father wasn't very memorable, relegating him to "a few years in Indonesia". Oh well, let's look forward to the college years:
..but Barack had come to realize that in order to truly improve the lives of people in that community and other communities, it would take not just a change at the local level, but a change in our laws and in our politics.
Now we're getting to the crux of change--politics leading to a change in "laws". The mystery is unfolding but let's back up a minute. At the top of the page there is a short synopsis, which says:
He took out loans to put himself through school. After college, he worked for Christian churches in Chicago,
In other words, Harvard Law wasn't one of the colleges he took out loans to attend? The narrative might not be complete, but it appears that after leaving Columbia in 1983 and working as a community organizer for peanuts in the mid 80s he moved on to Harvard without loans. OK then, moving on to his Senate career:
His first law was passed with Republican Tom Coburn, a measure to rebuild trust in government by allowing every American to go online and see how and where every dime of their tax dollars is spent.
Yet only John McCain allowed people to go online and see who was giving money to his campaign--Obama didn't even realize illegal alien family members were contributing to his. Next, corruption:
He has also been the lead voice in championing ethics reform that would root out Jack Abramoff-style corruption in Congress.
Or maybe Tony Rezko-style corruption? William Jefferson--watch out! Now, on to some issues. Here's one:
Inadequate Security and Political Progress in Iraq: Since the surge began, more than 1,000 American troops have died, and despite the improved security situation, the Iraqi government has not stepped forward to lead the Iraqi people and to reach the genuine political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.
In other words, he still will not admit the tide has turned. No wonder most Iraqis wanted McCain. As to Afghanistan:
The decision to invade Iraq diverted resources from the war in Afghanistan, making it harder for us to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden and others involved in the 9/11 attacks.
When the buildup to Iraq began, in mid 2002, the Afghanistan war was essentially over. The Taliban had been routed into the mountains; bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Omar were in hiding somewhere; most AQ foot soldiers were either dead or in GTMO. All indications were that the AQ hierarchy were in Pakistan. Yet somehow taking out Saddam in the cradle of terrorism diverted resources from what, attacking Pakistan? Puzzling.

Here's something called the "Katrina" section (what, no section for "Greensburg Tornado"?):
He and Joe Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.
Considering the catastrophic failures were partly because the emergency response plan was never adequately carried out, even though a Cat III hurricane was a well-predicted eventuality for a city under sea level, Mayor Ray Nagin better watch out.

There are some miscellaneous tidbits:
Obama will reverse President Bush's policy of secrecy. He will institute a National Declassification Center to make declassification secure but routine, efficient, and cost-effective.
Declassifying all the Bush documents and leaving the Iraq documents sealed, perhaps? Maybe Sandy Berger can apply for this job, there is a application page.

But one area is not quite fleshed out yet:

From all appearances this site is a continuation of his campaign site but appears to be a taxpayer funded site. Should a dot gov site be bashing the current acting president and his policies? Paid for by us?

MORE 11/06/08

Maybe this is the "content needed"?

MORE 11/08/08 is so far living up to its name quite nicely. Via Gateway Pundit comes a good observation from the site Reboot Congress:
Kudos to the Obama team for making this slight policy adjustment! I'd recommend that you guys port the site to a wiki. That will allow everyone to see the sausage being made—the historical edits to each page. Open government is a very good thing and it will prevent the new administration from being painted as Orwellian.
Whether the airbrush was simply an oversight by the webmaster as they transfer content from to isn't known but it certainly in no way represents an auspicious beginning to the most honest and open government in history.

Here at Fore Left we've got a policy of never changing content once posted, although some grammatical errors are so humorously or embarrassingly egregious they demand immediate edits. It's a vanity thing. Obama's site is changing content without announcing the edit, which is a creepy government thing and certainly not sunshiny. Perhaps we could announce a new slogan here--"Fore Left--more ethical than the government". Hmm. Maybe not.