Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fair Game?

A day after Obama accused president Bush of sanctioning torture ABC News has outed two CIA contractors who helped in the waterboarding process. Obama is looking ahead alright--apparently to the prosecutions.

Wonder how they're feeling over at Langley about now? After all, these were contractors not analysts and Obama has winked and promised not to prosecute anyone. There may be a few who still want revenge on Rove and Cheney for Plame, for all anyone knows. But the bottom line is this kind of thing creates a massive cover-yer-arse culture that cannot be productive when dealing with detainees.

People like to say anyone cutting slack to Bush on this is "pro-torture". Sorry, but not everyone has a warm fuzzy about dunking people, even AQ scuzballs like KSM. It's certainly NOT what America stands for in general. Nor was suspending habeas or rounding up Japanese-Americans. It comes down to a Commander-in-Chief assessing a sufficient threat to act outside the box to save the peace. If Bush lent any credence to information such as this then he acted to connect the dots. The check and balance was Pelosi, who could have impeached but decided to pass for political reasons. Now it's time to move on and focus on today's emerging KSMs--there has to be more than one.

MORE 5/1/09

AG Holder is heralding this as an example of how the law enforcement approach to terrorism can work but seems to me al-Marri is getting off pretty easy compared to fellow jihadist Zacarias Moussaoui.

Regionalism and Voting Rights

From the LA Times:
The fate of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act looked to be in doubt Wednesday as Supreme Court justices questioned whether the Southern states still need special supervision to prevent them from discriminating against black voters.

"Are Southerners more likely to discriminate than Northerners?" asked a skeptical Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

In a nutshell:
The comments and questions during an hourlong argument suggested that a majority of the justices were prepared to strike down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. This provision requires many Southern states, counties and school districts to get approval from the Justice Department before making changes in their election rules. These rules range from the location of polling places to the makeup of districts in state legislatures.

Not surprisingly, the first black president's administration together with the NAACP argued against losing this protection, suggesting it was landmark and that the old ways would immediately come back if removed. Conservatives used facts to argue otherwise:
Roberts noted that Massachusetts had a lower rate of registering Latino voters than Texas. "Why didn't Congress extend the act to Massachusetts?" he asked.
Liberals might point to McCain's deep red victories throughout the south and they'd be correct, except their explanation would be race alone, not good common sense or that photoshopped picture of Sarah Palin with a gun and an American flag bikini. Such charges are hard to prove for everyone except lefties and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The court seems to be trending towards the quaint notion that such oversight usually requires at least a shred of evidence towards discrimination. Yet Congress rubber-stamped the clause another 25 years back in 2006, as if they expected the fraud not now occurring to linger through 2031. Clearly this should be one size fits all, or none at all. Clearly there was a political advantage for Pelosi.

But this might be a good test of America's racial courage should the SCOTUS strike it down since we've been told America is full of cowards. We'll see how these courageous men of the court fare.

On Churchill and Torture

Obama's presser declaration that George W. BushCheney engaged in 'torture' by waterboarding is making the gleeful hay over in leftyland. To many it will signal a door-opening towards frogmarching but they probably missed the other side of Obama's mouth, David Axelrod, who later told Keith R. Morrowmann that Obama is still interested in "looking forward". Anyone who can decipher such 360 degree vision just might be a savant.

But aside from the partisanship from our post-partisan friends a few things were worthy of a hearty tea bag wave regards the presser. Obama's use of Winston Churchill's refusal to use torture in 1940 against captured Germans (HuffPo is saying he stole it from Andrew Sullivan) as a way to blast Bush was tortured at best and must be put down like the rabid dog it is. Here's context:

First, Churchill knew Hitler didn't have WMDs yet. Messers bin Laden, Zawahiri, and KSM were all actively pursuing them and Bush didn't know whether they had them or not. The memos might shine some sunshine on that question but we won't be allowed to see them evidently. Even so, there's obvious differences between a flight of Dorniers and mass casualty weapons.

Second, the captured Germans were uniformed and Churchill was no doubt worried about retaliation on his own captured airmen and soldiers should be cross that line. No such line exists with AQ--heads will always roll no matter how we act. To deny this fact denies an understanding of Islamic fundamentalism.

Third, according to a very fine book on the Battle of Britain called "With Wings Like Eagles" by Michael Korda, Churchill's Chief Air Marshall Hugh Dowding knew where the German air bases were. He had radar installations to see the Luftwaffe coming across the English Channel. They had spies and recon flights and knew the Germans were massing watercraft in preparation for Operation Sea Lion, the amphibious assault on Britain.

He also knew Bletchley Park was making progress in cracking the Enigma Code. The NSA was trying to crack AQ codes when KSM was captured (which the left opposed) but it's doubtful we knew how many sleeper units might exist in the states and how they might be activated.

Air Marshall Dowding also knew the weather was on Britain's side in late 1940 and that if they could shoot down enough Dorniers, Heinkels and Messerschmidts while maintaining some presence in the air it would delay the Germans from launching Sea Lion until it was too late into Autumn. In other words, the weather would prevent the invasion by itself. And that's indeed what happened, which allowed them time to regroup.

It would have done Churchill little good to order torture on rank and file soldiers/airmen when it was pretty clear only Hitler knew the exact date and time of the invasion and that information would soon be known to allied codebreakers anyway. Other than the invasion, there was no single secret that would have prevented the waves of bombers from taking off so Obama's analogy lies as flat as a pancake.

But in discussing all of this he might have leaked some information. He said he was "comfortable" with his decision to remove an important tool in our terrorist toolbox, then said that nothing he'd seen over the past 100 days (threats) warranted any enhanced interrogations. Is he trying to say.... that..... Bush won the War on Terror?! Surely he can't take credit for it yet. That is, unless he's hinting that terrorism is way overblown, both then and now. If so then look out for the investigations. But how could he, after this?

MORE 4/30/09

Technically Sullivan was referring to captured spies not airmen but the premise still holds--nothing told them by a captured spy could not have stopped the German bomber assault on London and they had the code broken anyway. The comparison between Islamic radicals and their suicidal dedication to Jihad and Nazis is a rather specious one anyway.

But before we "prosecute him" (Cheney) as Sullivan demands Obama should at least release the documents so we can all see how ambiguous and ineffective the process was.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The 100 Day Show

The reality is setting in. Conservatives need to come to grips with it--we were given, as Bush once called it, a thumpin'. The country turned to Avis, who tried harder.

A large part of that thumpin' involved Iraq--in some ways Saddam's violent dead-enders, some of whom are still pulling strings in the insurgency, made it possible for the Dems to turn a terror-warrior president who eliminated one of the worst regimes in history into a lying, torturing, war criminal. It really was an amazing feat, and surely the Butcher is currently smiling in hell.

Of course they couldn't have done it without their friends at the Washington Post who helped turn the tide. Today the WaPo has a 326 photo slide show featuring our smiling new POTUS, completing ignoring the Chavez bro handshake, or the bow to Abdullah, or the tea party protesters, or the constant teleprompter.

But like Specter it's no surprise. The Democrats are more the party of popularity, pomp, royalty, celebrity, and symbolism than ever before and with Obama the whole thing is on steroids. The country has figuratively gone to Vegas with 100 bucks hoping to come home with 100 thousand. Obama is the travel agent and the press are providing the narrative and brochures.

I have no problem with honoring the President. My 100 day grade is somewhere around a C- as opposed to the proverbial F, mainly because he inherited problems. Of which he's reminded us constantly. No, my problem is that his entire popularity was forged on a canard and most of his policies seem to be built around canards as well. Granted the perspective can sometimes be foggy from an ideological foxhole but when considering the subterfuge we've seen on a near-daily basis--when the promise was for sunshine--he's very lucky to be operating without a functioning press corp.

SNOOZE 4/29/09

Since Obama's answers tend to sound like a documentary about sub-prime derivatives using differential equations I have no words for the hour waste of time known as a press conference, only graphics:

Dr. Randeep Mann

Our local AM afternoon drive-time chatterbox Mike Fleming is asking a question--why is no one talking about Dr. Randeep Mann? The attempted murder of West Memphis Dr. Trent Pierce in February was national news but the Mann story is mainly local. There are some good reasons.

Here's a link to Fleming's March post about the arrest of Dr. Mann and a Google Earth shot of his cozy neighborhood that includes the Russellville Nuke plant:

Here are Fleming's audio links for posterity, since his blog isn't very friendly in the link dept. Here's a handy map of the whereabouts of London, AR:

London is right off I-40 just west of Russellville. Those familiar with the area have probably noticed the nuke plant cooling tower off on the south side while passing. But it's a rather scenic area of the state, and there's a big lake in the area as well, so living by the plant isn't automatically prejudicial.

The story may not be making national news but did get local attention when a meter-reader stumbled over a bag containing 98 grenades semi-buried on his property and started the ball rolling. A search warrant revealed over 100 machine guns and about half as many practice grenades and a grenade launcher in the house, so they detained him on weapons charges. The fact he's a federally licensed firearms dealer might explain the weapons and the titillating assertion that he's been in and out of the country 121 times since 2007. The overseas ties seem to be to India. Putting everything together if he's really a terrorist he's practically screaming "look at me", which wouldn't be very smart.

So let's not jump the gun here. It's true Dr. Mann has had run-ins with the AR medical board and specifically Dr. Pierce regards prescribing narcotics--his DEA license was stripped. So he might have a grudge with Dr. Pierce or at most the Feds. Or he might be guilty of having a bunch of weapons in his possession and nothing more, a right most of us on the right usually support vigorously. Developing, as they say.

BY THE WAY 4/30/09

Quite a few people are searching around wondering what actually happened to Mr. Fleming--he's no longer on the air, a victim of Clear Channel's latest layoffs, evidently (and to the merriment of his competition). I don't have a clue. Ben Ferguson will be his replacement.

Who's Running the Show (All is Well)?

Today marks the first 100 days of president Obama's first term, which seems to be an important milestone for some people. The media will no doubt provide a more flowery look back but as a service to whomever reads this scribble, here's an alternative quick (but not complete) recap.

First Obama, with aid of a teleprompter, triples the national debt in order to cut it in half, then takes over GM and Chrysler on behalf of the United Auto Workers union. Then he bows to the King of Saudi Arabia, later denying it. Next he does the ole bro handshake with a guy who called our previous president the Devil while standing on American soil.

Then he reacts to criticism from a true maniacal terrorist--Dick Cheney--by blowing off five former DCIAs and releases memos telegraphing our interrogation protocol to AQ during an ongoing conflict as revenge. This triggers the former "Alec Station" branch chief Michael Scheuer to essentially add him to the master moron list:
Americans should be clear on what Obama has done. In a breathtaking display of self-righteousness and intellectual arrogance, the president told Americans that his personal beliefs are more important than protecting their country, their homes and their families
Hey, maybe Obama just believes the ISI.

Next Air Force One Jr gets taken on some kind of bizarro joyride over lower Manhattan, which terrorizes the unbeknownst population to include even the mayor. Yet the Commander in Chief was furious, meaning he didn't know; meaning we're to believe AF1 can occasionally be taken out on great postcard photo missions of which the White House itself knows absolutely nothing about. The specter of White House spokesman Robert Gibbs referring reporters to the White House should be enough for sane men to question the very notion of reality itself.

Oh well, all is well. He's got a near 70 percent approval rating and a locked up super majority in Congress. He's staring at a future legacy of government health care, government automobiles, and government banks. And he actually thinks he can change the climate of Earth. Meanwhile his supporters and the media help will sneeringly call any and all opponents a bunch of dangerous radicals. What could go wrong?


This is hardly shocking or unprecedented. Back when Republicans were sweeping to power a few moderate Dems came over so there should be no cause for panic on the right. Maybe he doesn't like tea. Besides, he was practically caucusing with the left anyway and made his stand when he thumbed his nose at stopping the stimulus-backdoor appropriation bill.

This just solidifies the filibuster-proof margin the Dems already technically had. Should be a fun remaining term with lots of vigorous snarling Senate debate along with occasional hugs from John McCain and his sidekick Lindsay Graham. They are family and they are civilized there, you know.

That said it's always odd when someone who's called themselves a conservative for an entire career suddenly buddies-up with the people trying to bring socialized medicine, cap and trade taxes based on unproven science, more taxes, other hidden taxes, extra taxes and a truth commission dog and pony show to politically punish elected government officials for trying to keep Pennsylvania from being littered with more smoldering holes... by using...of all things..the excuse their party has become too extreme for their tastes. Popularity and hubris know no boundaries.

Looking back in the archives I've written a few words about the good Senator here and there. Here's what I wrote about him in 2005 as he threatened to investigate Bush about Jose Padilla:
Padilla was captured before the AQ prisoners necessary to testify against him were, therefore they had to hold him somehow (letting him go was not an option). Placing Padilla in the criminal justice system would have required a charge within a reasonable amount of time.

Perhaps Specter is curious as to why Ashcroft didn't go after the same secondary counts he's now faced with at the outset. The most likely answer is because FBI/CIA wanted time to extract intelligence information from him, not entirely possible any other way. If true Specter should know that, which would raise a flag as to his motives here. This is something not to be politicized.
That should have been a clue. And here's what I wrote a year later after he took an impromptu trip to Baghdad to set the idiot Iraqi prosecutor straight in the Saddam trial:
Notice that Specter used the word "blusterbun". I can't find it in the dictionary, but it somehow seems to fit.
Yes. Blusterbun. Bluster coming from someone's buns. Like it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Air Force One: Mission, New York

This deserves a pretty big whathu:
"Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision," he said. "While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption."

People reported seeing the plane circle over the Upper New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty before it flew up the Hudson River. It was accompanied by two F-16s.
The president is said to be furious. No shite! The first asked question should be why? Who was the beneficiary of a photo-op and why did it require a low pass of Manhattan? We go to the New York Times for more, and get.. nothing. On to the WaPo! Here's the headline, "low flying planes panic locals". Low flying planes--yeah, just backup Air Force One and an F-16. For all we know reading the headline it was a couple of Piper Cubs.

If this was anything short of a preparedness drill that required no foreknowledge (testing response, etc) it was ridiculous and a colossal waste of jet fuel. Especially since Obama has recently announced a program for rank and file federal employees to suggest more efficient ways of doing the government's business. Suggestion number one--stop making practice strafing runs on New York with Air Force One!

As to the secrecy, not surprising considering it was a presidential move and they are not telegraphed. Imagine the bad PR if an Air Force One look-alike started taking SAMs over the Statue of Liberty (by ex-military right wing man-causers, of course!). A nice coup for Jihad, Inc.

But now they've got something almost as good--a gift-wrapped video of people screaming and panicking like on 9/11 over the sight of our own presidential aircraft. Hey, come to think of it that sounds like a good opening for a GOP commercial in 2012...


The New York Times WAS on the case, they simply buried the story in the "NY/Region" section at the bottom of their page. Turns out to be an Air Force photo op, or that's the story. Not sure why they couldn't have notified the public since it's not every day one gets a chance to see Air Force One flying low similar to an air show. And finally, it looks like the Mayor's aides have some splainin' to do. There will no doubt be more in-depth info coming out in the aviation webzines later today and tomorrow..

WHY? 4/28/09

This story certainly isn't as important as the flu crisis, or the government taking over auto companies, or Senator Specter coming out of the political closet, but it's probably more interesting. Deep in the bowels of the internet conspiracy theories are beginning to flow (which normally occurs when the powers that be ignore and obfuscate), one being that the fighter escort was a Red Tail from the Alabama National Guard. Naturally, through forms of tinfoil magic, they are making the link to the upcoming George Lucas movie "Red Tails" (which sounds pretty neat), which may or may not have any validity.

But I did receive a rather strange, unsolicited glossy foldout in the mail a few weeks ago. It had a beautiful shot of a P51 Mustang with some Tuskegee pilots in the foreground, and a foldout War Bonds poster inside. There was no mention of who sent it or any sponsors whatsoever.

First 100 Days

From the official White House photographer. Guess he feels like he can finally lean back in a chair without getting yelled at now. Actually, it kinda looks like he just took a hit of something. By the way, wonder if they ever use that fireplace?

As to the first 100 days, whatever. He's operating with perhaps the most president-friendly media ever and a Dem Congress. What could possibly go wrong, even if it does?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ghosts of Iraqi Past

The New York Times has a story today about the problem of dead-end Baathists still causing problems in Iraq and in doing so dredged up a name from the past:
But the hardening of the government’s stance on Baathists seems to be dousing any flicker of optimism. In a recent message, Mr. Douri rallied insurgents of all stripes to fight American troops and Mr. Maliki’s government.
"Rallied insurgents of all stripes"-- an interesting comment. Iraq's public enemy number one has long been known to have an interest in Islamists, even before the war and despite the conventional wisdom that Saddam was too secular for al Qaeda's tastes.

While violence has been down to the point where McCain and other conservatives have proclaimed victory the latest developments suggest at least a few stumbling blocks on the road to peaceful reconciliation--Obama's best hope for a triumphant withdrawal. The Times mentioned "Mr. al-Douri" a few weeks ago in this piece by Rob Nordland that got very little fanfare in the states (mainly because the average person has no clue who Izzat al-Douri is and doesn't care since few are following Iraq anymore). But the article is worth some comment, so here we go...
The audiotape by the Hussein ally, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who was deputy chairman of Mr. Hussein’s Revolutionary Command Council, was broadcast on Al Jazeera on Tuesday, and an e-mailed transcript was provided separately to The New York Times by a Baath Party representative in Syria.
...who is probably the guy mentioned in today's article, a Lt. Gen. Raad Majid al-Hamdani.
Mr. Douri, 65, is a member of the “deck of cards” of 52 Iraqi officials that American troops distributed after the invasion in 2003. American intelligence officials say he is active in financing and organizing insurgents, including Baathists.
They say the same thing about Saddam's spoiled daughter Raghad, who is wanted by Interpol. She's also operating out of Jordan, which suggests some Persian-Arab detente in play.
“The political process is the occupation’s main project, so attack it through all means available to you,” Mr. Douri said, addressing “jihadis” in Iraq.
According to someone known to this blog working in-country the disputes are more about turf than anything else and al-Douri is above all a gangster (as was Saddam) so this fits nicely. The point here is his willingness to use religious jihadies as tools, which was one of the reasons Bush gave for going to war.
He said a Baathist government in Iraq would seek good relations with the Obama administration and “put behind them what happened in the past.”
This appears to be a veiled threat of some degree, ie, they control the level of violence but can ratchet things down if they get a good deal. But coming from a guy who has died at least twice, why would anyone believe him?
The prime minister’s statement described the bombings as “a gift of the disbanded Baath Party on the ill omen of its anniversary.” Tuesday was the anniversary of the founding of the Baath Party, which ruled Iraq from 1968 until Mr. Hussein was ousted by the Americans.
Of note were the targets of the recent bombings--largely Shiite neighborhoods and mosques on the anniversary of the Golden Mosque attacks in 2006 blamed on AQI that started the last 'civil war' (and probably contributed to at least some of the political change we've seen in America since 2006). In light of the recent attacks Iraq's announcement they had captured the phantom known as Omar al-Baghdadi--again--was probably a psyops move to calm the masses.

I'm certainly not an analyst, just an interested observer, but this looks to be a good test for the Maliki government as to their ability to put down instability, and a good test for the Obama administration in dealing with the disparate parties throughout the region. Hillary seems to be on the case.

Obama and Miss California

You might have seen this video yesterday on Hot Air showing Miss California (who looks as good without the beauty pageant getup) sparring with CNN's Roland Martin. My interest is in the very last few seconds when they switch back to the anchor desk..

Said the woman on the end, "I think like Barack Obama, Miss California sounds like an open-minded person who's willing to hear both sides; an independent thinker; and perhaps her mind would change over time". Well, doesn't that also apply to the president as well? Or does the left simply think his wink, nod on the issue is a cleverly disingenuous done deal?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Side Tracks

The first few bars are always haunting...

From shipwreck to trainwreck and another famous crooner..

Swine Flu

Some may remember the last scare, which killed one. Instapundit tells us that Tamiflu works, and we've got plenty in stockpile now thanks to the Avian flu scare. Should we thank Donald Rumsfeld?

Rubin on Obama

Clinton's former deputy Secretary of State James Rubin has an opinion piece in the WSJ today explaining Obama's kinder, gentler approach to foreign policy, and towards the end of it says the following:
Mr. Obama's new diplomacy is well-suited to an era of democratic government and instant communication. By refusing to snub Hugo Chávez, Mr. Obama makes it harder for dictators and anti-American activists to demonize the U.S.
Well sure. My problem with Obama's handshake wasn't the handshake, it was the whole 'bro' toothy grin look and feel to it. Would Obama greet Karl Rove or Joe the Plumber the same way if he ran into them somewhere? A nice crisp handshake would have sufficed just as well. It's possible Obama had that in mind but was snookered by Chavez, who saw the opening and made a big production out of it. Alas, one of the drawbacks to that strategy.

The funny thing is the notion of this new policy being based almost entirely on the perception of the previous president's "bully" strategy towards diplomacy, one largely based on a leftist-created strawman. Bush got the support he sought from most of our Democratic allies (many helped behind the scenes) while trying to isolate the dictators. For that he was branded a bully by the left despite trying to fight a war. Now the same people who helped to create the strawman are happily knocking it down.

What about Mr. Rubin's own foreign policy experience? He failed to mention any successes during the 90s, for obvious reasons. But he's a faithful party man, saying this about Joe Biden last August:
Since 9/11, Senator Biden has also sought to focus American national security policy on the real threats from al-Qaeda. He never accepted the Bush administration's false claims of a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin. Instead, he advocated the kind of counterterrorism plan that the experts know would have worked much better. That is, winning the war of ideas in the Muslim world, using military and law enforcement against the al-Qaeda group, and maintaining international solidarity. Unfortunately, again, the Bush administration didn't listen to him.
Chuckle. Biden voted for the war and Bush never lied about the CIA's standing intelligence--developed before 2000--of previous connections between Saddam and bin Laden. It would have been an outright lie to say Saddam was involved in 9/11, but Bush never said that. As late as 2007 Biden was telling Russert the WMDs might have been moved and it wasn't some Cheney pipe dream.

Finally, while it may be crass to mention a man's private life in the context of his political opinions the fact that he married one of CNN's most notorious reporters somehow seems relevant.

As for me, I will stand on the sidelines and try to quell my partisanship when it comes to Obama's reverse psychology FP strategy. It might work. If it does, conservatives should applaud appropriately and respectfully (unlike the left). But as Mr. Rubin's hero predicted, there will likely come an event (it wasn't four teenaged pirates) where the new president's strategy will be tested and he'll be forced to draw a line and take a stand. That's where true judgment gets measured. As Mr. Rubin suggests, we'll have to wait and see.

What It's All About

During the Mousaoui trial his lawyers evoked discovery on both KSM and Binalshibh (which is a pitfall of trying terrorists in the federal system). KSM provided a 'substitution for testimony', owing to the fact he was still in one of the secret prisons at the time. It's likely most all of this was gathered via the waterboard. Let's not forget this little tidbit, from page 13:
Following this conversation, Atta used a computer program to locate a nuclear power generating plant in Pennsylvania, which bin Laden agreed to add to the list.
That flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania is largely taken as just a coincidence. He provided a great deal of other information about the logistics of the network and the attack itself.

Later he was transferred to Gitmo and had a hearing, where he provided a laundry list of evil deeds he'd done, which seemed quite a bit on the grandiose side. Obviously these were NOT gained via "torture" since he was writing them down and speaking them of his own free will inside a military courtroom. Remember, we've been told it's OK to lie for jihad, something rarely taken into account when folks talk about getting information through standard interrogation methods.

For instance, what if the detainee provides a web of lies that are later proven wrong, wasting valuable time? Imagine somebody like KSM, who appears a very bright person and probably a master manipulator, grinning while saying the next attack is coming, will be worse, and there's nothing we can do about it. Put yourself in the CIC seat with that decision. In pondering perhaps consider the call on 9/11 from victim Kevin Cosgrove...(very disturbing)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oh, Marsha

Say it ain't so..

Rarely does one get their rear handed to them in such deliberate fashion, made even worse by the person doing the handing. Doesn't she have any staff doing research? Geez.

Just add it to Hannity's waterboard challenge with Charles Grodin the other night, complete with a chickenhawk meltdown moment at the end, which is producing widespread tingles today in nutrootvillia.

Heck, combine it with a general feckless inability to expose the transparent faux outrage over the notion of "torturing" terrorists when Bushco thought we were threatened with a WMD attack--a program that ended before the Dems retook Congress--and it hasn't been a very good week to be on the right. We need better spokespersons.

UPDATE 4/27/09

Steve Milloy, the Junk Science boy (sorry) disagrees with the notion that Gore has poured all his money back into his science non-profit:
That is a flat-out lie, according to this March 6, 2008 Bloomberg report that indicates that Al Gore invested $35 million of his own money in various for-profit endeavors.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore left the White House seven years ago with less than $2 million in assets, including a Virginia home and the family farm in Tennessee. Now he’s making enough to put $35 million in hedge funds and other private partnerships.

Gore invested the money with Capricorn Investment Group LLC, a Palo Alto, California, firm that selects the private funds for clients and invests in makers of environmentally friendly products, according to a Feb. 1 securities filing. Capricorn was founded by billionaire Jeffrey Skoll, former president of EBay Inc. and an executive producer of Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary film on global warming.

Kudos to Rep. Blackburn for asking one of the “10 Questions for Al Gore” and exposing Gore as the fundamentally dishonest operator that he is.
While this sounds good it's still not definitive proof, which would come in the form of tax returns, so I'll stop short of apologizing or calling Gore a lying charlatan just yet. Even if true it's certainly something Ms Blackburn's staff could have researched and had in the can for a rebuttal. As is stands 95 percent of the public will never see the reversal and she still looks like a mean-spirited moron, which is what Gore and all the rest of his ilk want.

Tortured Debate

According to the Washington Post team Obama engaged in some rather spirited debate inside the White House on whether to release the Bush-era "torture" documents. But after reading through all the descriptions of strong opinions given by both sides of the issue--mainly Obama's side--the Post ended their reportage with two rather interesting paragraphs:
The aides also said they hope the memos' release will focus public attention on the coldness and sterility of the legal justifications for abusive techniques, with Obama telling reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday that the documents demonstrate that the nation lost its "moral bearings" in the Bush years.

A source familiar with White House views said Obama's advisers are further convinced that letting the public know exactly what the past administration sanctioned will undermine what they see as former vice president Richard B. Cheney's effort to "box Obama in" by claiming that the executive order heightened the risk of a terrorist attack.
So it's all about Cheney, not improving our rep or following the law? The question of whether we're witnessing a political sideshow or something legitimate should now be quite clear, especially after Blair's redacted memo is considered. Of course the politics isn't limited to the White House.

Now, a speculative person might conclude that team Obama is using this issue simply to bait Cheney into an open media war they know they'll win, with the goal of scoring political points towards 2010. Even if Cheney has an ace in the hole he's not the one running this debate, Obama is, and he can shut it down when the polls start dropping or milk it all the way into next year if they rise. We don't ever have to know about the documents Cheney wants released or transcripts of the meeting he says took place if Obama doesn't want us to know.

In this light perhaps Bush was the smarter one all along. Or as Rove used to say, never underestimate the power of being underestimated. Or misunderestimated.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More on Zubaydah

Various blogs are ruminating on the timeline of the Zubaydah waterboard in relation to the thwarted Los Angeles attack. On the surface it does appear they claimed KSM's enhanced interrogation in 2003 broke up a plot on the Library Tower in 2002.

So, being bored and at the same time flummoxed by the slow motion trainwreck this represents for America, I ventured back in the archives here to see whether I'd ever scribbled anything profound about the Zubaydah thing. I didn't find anything. But I did find this:
Actually, reports were that Zubaydah had multiple personalities and was essentially crazy. Others disagreed strongly, especially Tenet, who mentions that Ressam the millennium bomber told them before 9/11 that Abu was going to attack America, which was supposedly briefed to Rice in summer 2001.

Of course, Ressam's name brings to mind Sandy Berger and whatever it was he was trying to redact from the National Archives. Recall it was something to do with the Millennium After Action Report. Many possibilities, in other words.
Berger risked his career stuffing those docs in his socks yet the answer to why he'd take the chance has never been forthcoming and the Bush Justice Dept never seemed very interested in justice. Ah yes we were told--he was just a lone wolf bumbler.

Anyway, Zubaydah was also involved with the various players attending the famed Kuala Lumpur terror summit in 2000, including Yazit Sufaat, a microbiologist supposedly studying bioweapons for al Qaeda, and the notorious Hambali. Perhaps the CIA interrogators grilling Abu in 2002 were trying to pull something out of him in that general area and weren't getting anywhere with the conventional, so they wanted to go with plan B. Recall the Bybee memo said the CIA "knew" he was withholding information. Cheney also mentioned the anthrax letter attacks as one of the mitigating factors on the Hannity interview Monday. And from CBS News in 2003:
Hambali, as al Qaeda's main connection in the Far East, was apparently trying to open an Al Qaeda bio-weapons branch plant.

According to the interrogation documents, Hambali told his U.S. interrogators he had been "working on an Al Qaeda Anthrax program in Kandahar," Afghanistan.

There he worked with a man named Yazid Sufaat, a fellow member of the al Qaeda affiliated terror group Jemaah Islamiyah. Sufaat had received a degree in chemistry and laboratory science from California State University in Sacramento.

But in October 2001, when things became too hot during the U.S. bombing campaign of Afghanistan, Hambali and Sufaat fled to safety in neighboring Pakistan. There again according to the interrogation reports, the two men discussed "continuing the anthrax program in Indonesia".
But I continue to be intrigued that Gerald Posner got the following quote for his book published in 2003:
To the surprise of the CIA team watching the event unfold live on video, Zubaydah said that 9/11 changed nothing because both Prince Ahmed and Mir knew beforehand that an attack was scheduled for American soil that day. They just didn't know what it would be, nor did they want to know more than that. The information had been passed to them, said Zubaydah, because bin Laden knew they could not stop it without knowing the specifics, but later they would be hard-pressed to turn on him if he could disclose their foreknowledge.
Hmm. Bring on the hearings?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Has America Gone Back to Sleep?

Hot Air links to a Gerald Posner column about the victorious Taliban, making progress in moving slowly towards Islamabad as we here in America squabble over torture and such.

Posner is actually quite seminal right now, having written a book on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, which was covered on this blog here. I'm still under the impression that the CIA tapes were not only destroyed to protect the identity and tactics of the CIA officers involved, but perhaps to protect any sensitive information about other countries possibly involved in terrorism that might have burbled out.

So the question on Pakistan appears two-fold. Owing to Bush's failure to work effectively with Musharraf in controlling the terrortories the bad guys sent a message by murdering Bhutto and are spreading their influence towards the capital. Obama has said that if HVTs are located in Pakistan and their government won't act, he will. Question is, what if that government becomes the Taliban?

Lastly, what happens if he acts and we catch a HVT such as Mehsud or Omar? What would Obama do considering Mehsud has already threatened Washington, DC? It's certainly not above his pay grade and well worth asking.

MORE 4/23/09

All this twaddling about torture and blame and commissions and Nazi comparisons and crossing red lines might be fascinating to political junkies but seems to me we've pretty much put ourselves into an untenable position should another large attack happen here. Where would we put captured detainees? How could we get anything out of them? Who would be to blame? Where could we strike back?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cheney on Hannity

Regards Cheney's appearance on the Hannity! Show Monday night (defending himself and the administration against the recently declassified 'torture memos Obama just released after a tortured four weeks of deep thought)--Cheney made a few interesting remarks:

Filter through his diplomatic admissions (the USA shouldn't come across as arrogant; their administration blamed problems on Clinton's; he holds no grudge against Biden) and we find him dropping another little hint. He likes to do that--recall his appearance on Fox News Sunday awhile back:

Who wants to bet some of the memos he says prove the interrogation worked might also contain a few addressees with the very familiar names, ones who've recently been in the media flapping their political gums? Just a hunch. Bush's 'bad cop' can throw high and tight when necessary.

But indeed, they all play hard ball up there, witness the Jane Harmon brouhaha, which ironically might tie into all this since Ms. Harmon was one of the first Democrats to be briefed on the anti-terror tactics after 9/11. But c'mon, the Power Rangers involved?

Obama is quite content to try this case in the court of public opinion using his transparent two-faced approach of look back, look ahead with a generally friendly media. Cheney has decided to join him there, and although not packing the dramatic air of cool hipness of his rival, Cheney's got substance on his side. We'll know who won in about two months depending on whether anyone aside from the far left is still talking about this.

Thing is, we all lose so long as this bitter division gets wider. This stuff isn't occurring in a vacuum, as Cheney's aide Addington once alluded in testimony to Congress--AQ might watch CSPAN, too.

MORE 4/21/09

Well, Obama calls Cheney's bluff. Amazing how that worked. Question is, will the GOP now pull Darth back or can they withstand a 'truth commission' politicizing this issue right through Decision 2010? I suspect there's a lot of high level ruminating under way--on both sides.

For instance, what if the Dems are skipping merrily and somebody reveals an inconvenient truth about Iraq, when the boss is on record that Iraq was the worst foreign policy mistake ever? Or what if another massive attack occurs in the midst of grilling the Bush crew over using caterpillars to pry intel out of terrorists in an effort to stop further attacks? Try explaining judicial processes to victims.

Nancy Pelosi punted impeachment in 2007 and 2008 despite Kucinich's articles. That was the correct Constitutional process, because the POTUS is the decider. Everything since has been rank politics, showing once again that the Democrats have no ceiling for exploiting and politicizing a war. Shamelss, actually.

Obama Slashes Govt Programs

Obama's announcement that he's directing cabinet heads to cut 100 million in extraneous spending is not drawing the normal amount of ire from the left that such announcements usually produce. This sounds particularly ominous:
Obama also said that he plans to announce in the coming weeks the "elimination of dozens of government programs shown to be wasteful or ineffective," adding that there will be "no sacred cows, and no pet projects."
Such a bold proclamation should be sending shock waves through the nutrootospehere, right? Imagine Bush announcing such a dastardly act and how the left might see the immediate harm to our nation's children. Yet a quick check of the big lefty sites reveals they're obsessed with KSM and apparently cannot multi-task their outrage.

Anyway, everybody knows 100 million is a drop in the bucket--couch cushion change really, but cutting extraneous waste from the federal bureaucracy is ALWAYS a good thing no matter who does it and no matter whether programs are cut or not, so here's a clap for the president.

Now, does anyone really buy this wasn't a PR stunt unrelated to the tea party protesters? Obama knows the MSM won't remember the trillion+ Omnibus budget loaded with pork he refused to veto despite his no earmark pledge.

MORE 4/20/09

Let's get straight what's actually being 'cut' here. First, the 2010 budget has already been submitted to Pelosi. Matter of fact, Obama asked his bots to go out on the streets and get pledges for it, which apparently didn't strike Axelrod as being unhealthy. Presumably Obama's team has already gone through the new budget 'line by line' and found nothing wrong with it, since they submitted it. So....

The cuts being accomplished now are not true cuts, but rather changes in business practice. Let's not diminish this--saving money by doing things more efficiently is a good thing. It's what Gore, then Bush set out to do, but didn't.

But nobody should get carried away with such trivial bureaucratic stuff--it is NOT cutting the Federal budget because the FY2009 monies have already been appropriated and the agencies have authority to spend the money. Otherwise Obama would have vetoed the Omnibus.

Do Away with the Service Academies?

Shouldn't ideas like this be troubling? Why would anyone suggest getting rid of the service academies and replacing them with conventional universities and their ROTC programs unless they felt there was something wrong with the curricula? Does Mr. Ricks really feel like a more liberal education would make for a better soldier-leader, or is the goal more sinister?

I'm certainly no expert but have a feeling some on the left might believe efforts like this aren't as effective in the traditional halls of the academies as they are amidst the Ivy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Piracy Apologia

It was bound to happen eventually:
The Somali situation was further complicated by a series of economic and ecological problems that have struck the region in the past decade. In the wake of the government collapse, the Somali coast became a target of illegal commercial fishing. This is a problem across East and Southern Africa but rampant in Somalia. According to one report, some 700 vessels were illegally operating in the region and fishing the local stock to near depletion.

As recently as 2006 Somali fishermen complained to the U.N. that illegal fishing was driving them to the brink of economic collapse. To add to the burden, the coast also became a favorite locale for nuclear waste dumping.

In 2005, U.N. officials confirmed that barrels containing illegally dumped nuclear waste had cracked open during the tsunami that year and begun washing ashore. The situation was widely reported by international news outlets with virtually no consequences.
The above is the from an opinion piece by professor Jelani Cobb at Spelman College, who goes on to argue that we helped create the pirates due to neglect and therefore any outrage about such criminality is, to use one of the left's favorite tactics, 'selective'.

His arguments might have been stronger had he provided evidence on the fishing claim, because let's face it, such are the tools of the criminal. They say nobody in prison considers themselves guilty. Surely the Vikings and other pillagers throughout history have felt morally justified.

Dr. Cobb also didn't go into much detail about the nuclear waste claim other than making it, but here's a report that essentially blames a Somali named Mahdi Mohammed, a man who "worked closely with the UN" during the 90s relief efforts around the time some of the alleged dumping took place (and somewhere around the time our soldiers were being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu). According to the link most of the material consists of non-radioactive waste but the coup de grace was this--it was allegedly European in origin. That would be the very same Europeans Obama is now apologizing to. And whom the left is trying to model our society upon.

This history expert also didn't mention George W. Bush's massive AIDS aid to the continent or his partnership with Ethiopia to root out the precursors of the al-Shabab/AQ factions now running part of Somalia (some reported to have been involved with the East African Embassy attacks during that remarkable time of peace and prosperity called the 90s). Or the fact that Islam contains some convenient verses that justify such pillaging. Or stuff like this.

The curious can dig deeper and find more from Dr. Cobb, like a blog, where he goes a little deeper into the construct with a juicy blame-America-first reminder of America's previous pillaging in Africa (hint-slaves). So there you go.

On the surface it appears to be the same game Barack Obama has been playing on his world tour, reminding foreigners not of our leadership and wonderful accomplishments but that we've often been greedy, warmongering religious bigots (he heard at least one controversial sermon at Trinity United). Thing is, it's quite possible Obama is using such rhetoric as a clever ruse to turn the tables on our detractors by using a sort of reverse-psychology rubric. On the other hand Mr. Cobb, even in his nuanced way, sounds rather serious.

EPA Declares the Atmosphere a Pollutant

Heck, why not--the Supreme Court already ruled on it..
Six heat-trapping gases that contribute to air pollution pose potential health hazards, the Environmental Protection Agency said Friday in a landmark announcement that could lead to regulation of the gases...
If CO2 contribute to "air pollution" then God might be the greatest polluter of all time since he made it and placed into the atmosphere. Or if you don't believe in God, then substitute Gaia or that Lizard thing, or Klattu. Whatever the case, air pollution is normally produced by ash, soot, sulfates, black carbon or other smokestack particulates spewing from evil capitalist plants (that save or create jobs), which tends to fan out and hang in the low atmosphere during inversions to produce smog. Like we saw in Red China during the Olympics. CO2 disperses.

Matter of fact in an odd twist of fate the Clean Air Act is the genesis for the current CO2 ruling yet recent research suggests the Act itself might have contributed to global warming simply by clearing the air of pollutants. Imagine CNN's puzzlement. But here's the deal. Pollutants tend to COOL THE PLANET by scattering the sun's rays away from the ground. So in a weird way EPA is responsible for the melting ice caps. Using liberal logic.

Congress is ready to pop on this, of course. The AP has a somewhat misleading article about the pending legislation, tying it with previous bills on air and water pollution as if they're exactly the same. Not really. Back then we had direct evidence--Dennis Kucinich standing in front of a burning river for instance--but fast forward to today and the IPCC still can't tell us the exact percentage of anthropogenic warming versus natural warming.

Nevertheless Waxman's bill will direct a draconian 20 percent cut in CO2 output by 2020 that he says is non-negotiable. So, even though the technology is not here yet we must act. Similar to the closure of Gitmo they're betting on the come. But don't bet against them --as sure as the snow-laden Colorado sunrise we're going to see CO2 regulation.

The article is not without some irony in trying to explain why everybody (bitter clingers) won't be gung-ho to increase utility bills and the cost for everything else during what president Obama described as a worldwide economic crisis:
With climate, “you are asking people to worry about their grandchildren or their children,” he said. “That is why it will be so tough to get something like this through.”
Just ask the tea partiers worried about those trillion dollar deficits their grandkids will be paying back, thanks in part to CO2 regulation.

Anthony Watts has a link on his blog for public comment so feel free to partake--for what it's worth. He also has a quote from renowned scientist Thomas Huxley regards 'settled science':
The pretension to infallibility, by whomsoever made, has done endless mischief; with impartial malignity it has proved a curse, alike to those who have made and it those who have accepted it

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Recovery Dot Org

Anyone who's ventured into the labyrinth known as in an attempt to keep up with stimulus funds will hardly be surprised to discover that the private sector has already come up with a more user-friendly version...
"We put up to do for the federal government what it is not doing for itself," Onvia Chief Solutions Officer Michael Balsam said. "We felt that we had an obligation to make this information available to businesses, taxpayers and the government."
How long before the Feds either take credit for their innovation or shut it down?

Side Tracks

Since the grip and grin is the biggest news item of the day, here's a song about smiling..

And they won't us embed this one, but the words somehow seem pertinent.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Getting it out of Their System?

The advance of liberalism is stunning at the moment. The lefty honey-do list that's been gathering dust since Newt swept to power in 1994 is being run through like a contest winner on a shopping spree.

Just marvel at the course of events since we first became bedazzled with Sarah Palin--a fortuitously-timed global financial crisis, which allowed Obama to sweep to power and later make stunning progress against the left's chief foe--capitalism--while plowing the ground for a new global financial order that weakens the biggest economic engine and favors spreading wealth around.

Meanwhile, we have an EPA who just returned to their 70s heyday by declaring a natural and vital element of life a dangerous pollutant (no, not dihydrogen monoxide) while the federal government holds two-thirds of the domestic auto market (thanks to that fortuitously-timed financial crisis). Meet your new car, the Fiat Algore. Don't like it? You're going to jail, planet-raper.

Since liberals don't care too much about tradition our new president has found it way too easy to daily bash the previous administration and even America itself at times, feeling no qualms in defining Bush's legacy as 'dark and painful' while reminding everyone we must look ahead not back. But what do we have to look ahead to?

Well, specifically a fresh start with Cuba, no condemnation of North Korean nukes, open talks with an emboldened Iran on the verge of a nuclear weapon, and smiles all around for Hugo. And how about support for the troops as they fight a worldwide al Qaeda network in the only place the leftists find suitable for fighting--the rugged tribal mountains of Afghanistan. No cutoffs for funding there! The support will also no doubt extend to the killers coming home from Iraq by increasing the threat bulletin frequency accordingly. Ooh rah.

Some conservatives fear it might be the end; that everything the moderates were warned about (Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers) is coming true with a vengeance and America will soon be Sweden without the beautiful blonds running around everywhere. That may well occur. But can it continue?

Think about it--no. The United States population is still armed to the teeth. For every Howard Dean or that Lambert guy on Idol there is a Ted Nugent who knows how to clean fish and run a trot line and is happy to cling to his Browning and a Bible. We're also equipped with a healthy internet and radio feedback infrastructure that basically allowed the tea parties. This will be impossible to tear down before 2010, which is why Axelrod and Emanuel are nearly pulling hammies trying to get as much of their agenda passed as possible before the middling muddle wakes up. They were there when Clinton imploded in the early 90s and suffered the fate of having to endure Dick Morris.

So what's the best strategy? Well, we can continue hitting the streets and risking wild overreactions and downright lies from the Obamapress and the Constitution-loving liberal bloggers, or we can pull off an inside job by working within the system and through social networks to get the message out--a message of responsibility.

Right now the left is acting like a petulant know-it-all teenager, bound and determined to show mom and dad the error of their ways by acting like a fool. We all know how that usually ends. So perhaps a considered course might be to allow junior to screw up just enough to allow everyone to notice before offering our services when the crying begins.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

HSR to Nowhere?

I'm not averse to high speed rail (HSR), even though it's surely a part of the leftist Utopian fantasy now coming true before our very eyes. There were plenty of times I wished for a TGV type train along some of the highways I've been stuck driving over recurring periods. But I can say the same about flying cars.

Most Republicans have long been opposed to perpetually funding the FUBAR known as Amtrak--mainly because it's a hopeless FUBAR wasting US tax dollars on a failed 20th century idea. Therefore, using some porkulus loot to study a better way seemed fine to me despite Hannity's flare up over Harry Reid's Vegas express.

Now we have a plan. Here's the corridor map:

The gray lines are essentially existing long-haul Amtrak service with the red being existing corridors under discussion, some of which make sense for high speed trains. Others? Well hopefully they are peacemeal because c'mon, who's going to ride between Little Rock and Dallas? Even Matt Yglesias agrees. By the way, notice anything missing? Yep, Reid's Vegas express!

The report also seems to suggest some of these trains will share tracks with freights, which is just an accident waiting to happen. High speed rail needs to be discrete to be successful. To do that the government must deal with Nimbys, and lots of them. But there is another big problem.

Under current proposals HSR will have no competitive pressure to excel. Secretary LaHood went out of his way to point out the funding behind aviation and highways (which favor trucks) but forgot to mention the competition it preserves. When a customer wants to travel from Chicago to Florida they have a choice of several airlines, or the car. No such thing will occur with Government HSR. Think of Amtrak now, add billions, increase the speed a bit, and that could easily be the result.

So I think they need to be very careful here. HSR is worth studying but how about starting with a national proof of concept demonstration on one high-density corridor to see if it's worth pumping billions more om down the line? Instead they seem determined to haphazardly start spraying out money on some kind of a patchwork quilt to nowhere, which could easily wind up being the biggest waste of tax dollars to ever come down the pike.

A Tortuous Past

Obama has released the Bybee "torture" memo and a few others, succombing to pressure from the ACLU. Note the memo's preamble
Zubaydah is currently being held by the United States. The interrogation tearn is certain that he has additional information that he refuses to divulge. Specifically, he is withholding information regarding terrorist networks in the United Stares or in Saudi Arabia and information regarding plans to conduct attacks within the United States or against our interests overseas. Zubaydah has become accustomed to a certain level of treatment and displays no signs of willingness to disclose further information.

Moreover, your intelligence indicates that there is currently a level of "chatter" equal to that which preceded the September 11 attacks. In light of the information you believe Zubaydah has and the high level of threat you believe now exists, you wish to move the interrogations into what you have described as an "increased pressure phase."
Perhaps we should start by asking detractors to place themselves in the position of being Commander-In-Chief of the United States less than a year after 9/11 with an unsolved anthrax attack still pending. What would they do? Would they tell the CIA "sorry, we're toast, he won't talk and we can't make him. Give him his prayer rug and let's all hope for the best"? The CIA guys would be left to watch the evil smirk on this guy's face as the next mass casualty attack unfolded. These same men and women would likely later be hauled in front of a panty waste Congressional commission demanding to know why they didn't connect the dots.

That's not to diminish the concern. It's always been a tough call and the military's point of view is most certainly valid, as are the views of civil libertarians. But they didn't have the helm. Perhaps the best course of action for Bush would be to offer himself up for prosecution, sort of a Captain Phillips move designed to take his crew off the hook. Maybe the sight of him on the stand with an Olbermann-like prosecutor breathing down his neck would be enough to knock some sense into people, well, at least once his defense dove into the memory vault.

Such as this:
"The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.
Or from a former Vice President:
The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass."
Which is precisely why Obama has done all the sunshine he'll do on this subject. Trying the previous administration in the court of public opinion--with only yahoo bloggers and Fox News providing defense--is much more effective than bringing them to court where both sides get a chance to defend their positions and bring up misty memories of this guy.

MORE 4/16/09

Tom Maguire has a very fair and balanced assessment, while professor Reynolds obviously reads this blog..heh.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Real Terrorists

While this statement certainly seems rational and prudent regarding the recently leaked DHS bulletin on right wing extremism..
"Let me be very clear: we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States. We don´t have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence," Ms. Napolitano said.
..(emphasis added) didn't Ms. Napolitano also recently say we needed to get away from the "politics of fear" by dropping the use of that word?
Napolitano: Of course it does. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word "terrorism," I referred to "man-caused" disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.
Just trying to keep up with the fears, here.

Oh, as to the Director's personal involvement in Oklahoma City perhaps she can tell us what formally became of John Doe Number Two investigation, or perhaps answer Mr. Clarke's question about that mystery trip Mr. Nichols took to the Philippines..
What Clinton Did Right
Page 129: Declared "a war on terror before the term became fashionable." This was back in 1996, after the first World Trade Center attack, the Bush assassination attempt, the Khobar Towers attack, and the Oklahoma City bombing. (On Page 127, Clarke notes that it's possible that al-Qaida operatives in the Philippines "taught Terry Nichols how to blow up the Oklahoma Federal Building." Intelligence places Nichols there on the same days as Ramzi Yousef, and "we do know that Nichols's bombs did not work before his Philippines stay and were deadly when he returned.")
Of course if that's true it puts the far right in league with al Qaeda. Applying liberal logic gets a direct equivalent between Rush Limbaugh and bin Laden so who knows, it might work. They could have the CIA construct a new AQ tape with Zawahiri praising 'the Maha Rushie" along with a Paul Shanklin-like parody song mocking Obama's outreach to Islam (done by Azzam the American). The media would probably play along.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lefty Tea Party Love and Right Wing Hate

What's more Constitutional than peaceable assembly? The tea parties might reflect a little sour grapes from the right but there's an important principle other than protesting an outrageous expansion of the government through mortgaging our childrens' future via Beijing--the right to protest government policies.

After eight years of telling everyone (or often screaming) about how Bush 'trashed' the Constitution and said it was just a 'GD piece of paper' one might think the left would be hailing the peaceful patriotic dissent scheduled to take place tomorrow and throughout the summer. It's Constitutional, baby!

If so, they have a funny way of showing it. And here's your Casablanca reference.

Meanwhile their Obama-voting friends in the mainstream media who've said almost nothing about the tea party movement to date are suddenly in possession of a flaming hot DHS report about the increasing threat from crazy right wing terrori, er, man-causers. So far we don't know if the government has started a Domestic Contingency Operation but some of this stuff has produced much right wing conniption, such as suggesting that espousing federalism is enough to get somebody on the watch list.

And right on schedule we have LGF to throw cold water on all the outrage:
That’s ludicrous. First, this DHS assessment was begun more than a year ago, before Barack Obama was even nominated. It has absolutely nothing to do with “tea parties,” and it was not done at the behest of the Obama administration.
This isn't about Bush. But Charles didn't mention who else was making hay with this story, and just in time for April 15!
If you think the conservative "Tea Party" movement is daunting then take a look at a new report issued by the Department of Homeland Security that says right-wing extremism is on the rise throughout the country.
Logic says both Charles and AJ are just trying to prevent Obama Derangement Syndrome from ruining the conservative movement, which stands to be harmed much more in their dissent than was the looney Bushilter left due to an unbalanced media.

However, both should know there's a game to this. From initial reports it doesn't appear that Obama demanded Napolitano release the DHS report to coincide with tomorrow's tea parties. So, even though Axelrod and Emanuel have already admitted a strategy of trying to paint the right as a bunch of Rush Limbaughs; and even though the boss himself has been running around the world apologizing for Bush, there's absolutely nothing to worry about here, right? This is how Reuters is playing the headline in their coverage:
Recession fueling right-wing extremism, U.S. says
The story can now be about crazy right wing extremists instead of patriotic dissenters. That's how they roll.

If it comes out that nobody from DHS or another government agency tipped the media to the existence of this report I can live with it, but pardon me if I question the timing.


Scanning around last night produced a surprising lack of MSM coverage of the DHS right wing terrorist report aside from lefty blogs and Reuters. Today is a new day, though!

Here's the picture used by on their report:

And here's MSNBC:

Surely just a coincidence...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Texting Their Way to Freedom

It must have been a bizarre day in the White House briefing room as Obama sent Robert Gibbs and his new Special Assistant to the President and a Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, Dan Restrepo, to announce he was dropping all restrictions on the ability of individuals to visit family members in Cuba, and to send them remittances. Quoting Mr. Restrepo:
Todos aquellos que creen en los valores democráticos básicos anhelan una Cuba que respeta los derechos humanos, políticos, económicos, básicos de todo su pueblo. El Presidente Obama considera que estas medidas ayudarán a hacer realidad ese objetivo. El Presidente - El Presidente alenta a todos quienes comparten este deseo, que sigan cometidos a su firme apoyo para el pueblo cubano.
Loosely translated, this will help bring the freedom through the coming cell phones and Direct TV to the Cuban peoples if the regime doesn't get upset.

Who is Restrepo? He's an advocate for reforming illegal immigration by first stopping the haters:
To achieve that control, the president will have to work with Congress to leave behind the hate-filled demagoguery that defines the immigration debate.
So there's that. At the presser a question was asked by a Colombian journalist about the kind of relationship Obama would pursue with his country coming off their favored status with the previous one. Mr. Restrepo used a diplo-punt to avoid the question, but perhaps answered it last year:
On the U.S.-Colombia free-trade pact, Restrepo said Obama believes the agreement cannot move forward until progress is made against violence committed against Colombian labor and civic leaders.
He went on to say McCain's experience in the region didn't trump Obama's image of reform (no, he didn't mention Che). Now he's in the administration and reaching out to pursue better relations with communist Cuba, who've shown very little progress on democratic reforms. Go figure. Anyway, the press soon asked the obvious question (along with asking why Obama himself wasn't out there announcing such a thing):
Q But the Cuban government would have to allow it to move forward? I mean, they could stop this if they wanted to I assume.
Well, yeah. At last check they were still a bunch of totalitarian commies who don't follow White House Executive Orders. But Gibbs and Restrepo kept hammering their message of fostering travel and money orders between Cuban Americans (who normally vote Republican and have helped carry Florida for the GOP in the past) so another reporter asked this:
Q Will you allow -- does this announcement allow direct flights between the U.S. and Cuba? How will Cuban American families get there?
And the answer was presumably yes, sort of maybe. Whether this would count as part of Fidel's "how can we help Obama" pledge is unknown at this time; or whether this might apply to new routes for Cubana Airlines is still pending. Perhaps they needed a Cuban government spokesman as well. Ok, cheap shot.

Bottom line, as with everything liberals propose this has a big upside if the stars align. Obama is apparently using his international political capital to put pressure on the regime to loosen up, perhaps taking Fidel's offer and turning it around on him. Since nothing else has worked, maybe this will. A freer Cuba is the end goal for everyone.

But there's always a nagging, underlying feeling these kinds of things are mere ruses to actually help the Marxists while appearing to hurt them. It's not as if Obama has never dabbled with, shall we say, 'different' political philosophies before. Then again, you're reading a blog written by a tea-baggin' wing nut hung up on tradition so--being as diplomatic as possible and using a helpful politically correct tool-- tendremos que esperar y ver. The Iraqis really liked their cell phone and cable TV freedoms after we eliminated Saddam.


Not sure if this is reaching out the hand or clenching the fist, but I'd say it's the latter:
Castro, in his message, said Obama can use his "talents" in creating a constructive policy that would end the embargo that "has failed for almost half a century."

"On the other hand, our country, which has resisted and is willing to resist whatever it takes, neither blames Obama for the atrocities of other U.S. administrations nor doubts his sincerity and his wishes to change the United States policy and image," Castro said. "We understand that he waged a very difficult battle to be elected, despite centuries-old prejudices."
Hopefully Obama will not leave dangling the impression that Bill Clinton committed an "atrocity" by not doing as he did (we already know what he thinks of Bush, of course).