Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Tiller Murder

I was going to post on Obama's ostentatious private jet soiree to New York City (after just telling the auto CEOs to "show some restraint") but the Tiller murder seems a more important story.

A suspect is in custody, who appears to be an engaged "Christian" in the abortion debate. But Debbie at Right Truth has the seminal comment on this whole thing:



Christians should be prepared for an onslaught. Obama has weighed in and is outraged--as any president would be at the news of vigilantism--but this will also be used to justify that Napolitano Homeland Security report from a few weeks ago. People will likely be accusing Christians of being no different than terrorists, some even making moral equivalency arguments involving bin Laden. The best way to stop it is by joining the condemnation chorus and strongly reminding everyone this act was something Jesus would definitely NOT do or approve.

This Needs to be Clarified..

My opinion on Judge Sotomayor has been fairly neutral so far but if the Repubs roll over and confirm her without asking how she'd interpret the Second Amendment maybe the party itself should roll over. To wit:
Just six months after Heller, however, Sotomayor issued an opinion in Maloney v. Cuomo that the protections of the Second Amendment do not apply to the states, and that if your city or state wants to ban all guns, then they have the right to disarm you. Such an opinion seems to fly directly in the face of Heller, exposing Sotomayor as an anti-gun radical who will affirm full-on gun prohibitions and believes that you have no right to own a firearm, even for the most basic right of defending your family in your own home.
But one might say, 'Heller still protects individuals from having their entire right to own a firearm stripped away', which sounds correct, as long as the Heller ruling still stands. Obama has tip-toed around this issue in the past, giving the impression he's not coming after firearms...
“Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have the votes in Congress,’
But would he need votes in Congress if the SCOTUS rules that local and state governments right to control guns trumps the Bill of Rights? Most major cities are run by Democrat mayors/city councils I'd gather, but is that even possible? This may be overblown right wing paranoia but let's see her grilled on the gun issue just a bit, to see how and where she comes down.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Side Tracks

Now presenting, Supertramp..

Ringo was presumably on the drums?

Amazing how they could be that good completely blown away.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

The world is not enough for some of these Democrats:
"Cheney's world view, which so dominated the Bush years and dishonored our nation, gained a little traction last week -- enough to persuade me to address it head-on here tonight," Levin said.
What a guy, plying the airwaves to make sure the "torture" gift keeps on giving for the Dems. Wonder if Pelosi still considers it a gift, though? She pulled a Nixon and ran off to China last time the fur flew so unless she wants another vacation it would seem a big no. We will soon see if her "no further comment" policy remains in effect.

It's possible Levin is trying to reframe the debate to save her rear, ie, "Cheney only wanted waterboarded to get phony intel linking AQ and Iraq so he could get their greasy oil". It's the Larry Wilkerson route (although he's hit a few potholes) and is designed to take the debate off terrorists and back on "Bush lied" and "Cheney is evil" where the Dems feel more at home.

But if Levin is really really really interested in demonizing those in government who wondered aloud whether Saddam might be the man behind the curtain he could start by subpoenaing the Secretary of State and asking her why she said--on September 11th--that Saddam would have to be "dealt with" (hard to find now on the web) and that nations would have to be "with us or against us". Golly, that would have been before Bush officially lied, too.

Or maybe Levin could depose his colleagues and ask for explanations about what happened to the links they once talked about so morbidly when Clinton was being impeached. Or maybe he could depose himself, specifically about this statement:
Postwar information supports prewar assessments and statements that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was in Baghdad and that al Qaeda was present in northern Iraq.
..which comes from his own Phase II Senate report That would be must-see TV!

This is tired old stuff but as long as the Dems keep dredging it back up it deserves to be challenged because they are literally trying to re-write history to wipe the GOP off the map. For instance, the Zarqawi debate is considered over by the left--as in Bush lied--but what about the Jordanians, who provided info on his comings/goings? Is Levin willing to call them liars, too? Is Pelosi?

And what of another guy named Abu? Old news but he's proof that Iraq was not beyond using proxies to attack American interests. Here are some other connections. They're out there, just a bit circumstantial. But if someone was going to set up a proxy network...

The bottom line is whether Cheney is lying about the effectiveness of EIT as Levin charges. First off, the public should wonder how Levin was able to view the very documents the CIA won't release to Cheney. Second, the public should demand to see the docs because then and only then will it become apparent who's telling the truth. If it turns out Cheney's bluffing or generalizing it would strongly suggest he was going after links between Iraq and AQ because that's where the WMD threat would have come from. But that's not what he's been saying in interviews.

Maybe he can't admit they got suckered and thought Iraq was involved, which might be a little problematic from a political point of view and would surely elevate Obama's 'superior judgment' into the stratosphere. But if Cheney's lying we need to know. Only the docs can tell. If he's not Levin and crew should receive no quarter.

Whether he's lying or not doesn't change the big Democrat lie, ie--that it's crazy to think a man who wanted the White House turned into dust might have actually tried to do it. Saddam was all about retribution and Arab pride. Apparently the left never truly believed the hype about him during the Clinton years, seeing Iraq as a convenient distraction when the Republicans were wrapping the dress around Clinton's neck. That changed fast with the transition.

Maybe they never really believed somebody would act on it. The real proof lies with the Clintons, who've never fully discarded or debunked it themselves. Whether that's the truth or something designed to protect their legacies (they have a lot of harsh rhetoric on tape) is hard to say, but should there be any truth commissions they should be among the first witnesses called to set the table.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Obama's Strange War on Britain

What exactly is the reason for this?

It's tempting to write it off as the ranting of a pompous ass with no sense of diplomacy but as everyone knows, this junk has been going on since they stiffed Brown on a hospitality gift. As the Telegraph says, they are dissing allies while making nice with enemies. What next, trashing Prince Harry's visit to Ground Zero? It's bloody outrageous.

Meanwhile the Queen is ticked for being snubbed on the D-Day memorial and all we get from Washington is "mum". Yeah, we get it. Hilarious. Laugh on you crazy press diamonds as the world crumbles all around us.

It certainly appears to be a pattern now. So what gives? Surely Obama wouldn't be avenging grandpa, would he? Surely he can't be that petty.

The strange thing is that Gibbs knows most of the Brit press has been sympathetic with American liberals regards stories on Iraq, Bush and torture, yet he seemingly undermined all their previous reporting in one fell swoop. This coming from the spokesman for a man who vowed to improve America's image overseas--he still laments on the damage Bush did to our reputation.

But what if this treatment IS about improving the rep? In his mind. Could they possibly believe that bashing the only country that significantly helped us take out Saddam improves our world image? Perhaps a serious question or two can be squeezed in amongst the giggles sometime soon.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Sotomayor Strategy

Obama has issued a challenge to the right--oppose my SCOTUS candidate or else. Another shocking veiled threat from the scrawny but tough kid from Chicago. Anyone who doesn't take a man seriously who's backed by a media apparatus consisting of Comedy Central, the late night shows, the mainstream media, liberal bloggers, HBO and Hollywood, several major newspapers, several periodicals, college professors and all but one of the View ladies are utter fools.

It appears he's trying to position the judge as the entire Latin vote, setting up a scenario where if the right bashes her they bash all Latinos, losing the chance to ever gain power again. It's a pick your battles moment with Obama poised to win either way.

Ms. Sotomayor may not be a token but she represents a thank you card to the nearly 70 percent of Latinos who swallowed Obama's hopenchange despite his horrible stance on abortion, unsupportive comments about the church and his wink-wink disapproval of gay marriage. An unspoken part of that dynamic are the undocumented illegals, who probably hope they'll one day be able to vote for the One.

Here's a video from 2007 suggesting amnesty might be on the way. We also know the Judge is purportedly a member of the National Council on La Raza, a group who supports a liberal immigration policy. Obama has ties--he used a waiver on his lobbying rules to hire Cecilia Munoz, a former VP of the NCLR. As most bloggers and internet geeks know the La Raza movement has been rumored to have shadowy ties to groups like MECHa, brought to us by some very, shall we say, interesting web sites:
Believers in the Aztlan legend insist upon the indivisibility of "La Raza" and their common goals, one of them being the need to abolish the border between the U.S. and Mexico. There is a myriad of Raza college newspaper. Some are El Popo, Aztlan News, Chispas, Gente de Aztlan (UCLA), Voz Fronteriza (U.C. San Diego), La Voz Mestiza (U.C. Irvine) and La Voz Berkeley. It is not uncommon for the writers of these publications to refer to the U.S., as "AmeriKKKa."

Rhetoric by some Chicano educators strongly suggest Communist or Socialist leanings.
Not sure when this was written but the KKK America thing certainly jumps out. Dismiss it as rantings of a xenophobic crank--the NCLR web site denies they are affiliated with MECHa or any other open borders movement--instead heralding the financial backing of several large corporations. But wouldn't backings by the government and corporations be an even shadier endorsment? The National Chamber of Commerce is a mouthpiece for cheap labor.

Last night in Los Angeles Obama barked,
I want her confirmed, I want her walking up those noble steps and starting to provide some justice!
'Justice', 'empathy', code words. Obama is currently bathing in the warm light of the new diversity and part of that is reveling in some 200+ year payback. Part is tearing down the opposition--which he learned in Chicago--and part is grabbing new voting blocks like Hispanics. He's been so successful at change it's producing a new cockiness that includes outright dares as he proceeds to kneecap the GOP. So, what are they to do?

Well, they can cower in fear and allow him define their racist guilt. Or they can speak out and have it crammed down their old white throats, every comment dressed as if it came from Rush Cheney himself. And it will succeed.

Or, the GOP can try to salvage something by pushing for Colin Powell to be their point man on this. He says he's still in the party and he can't be called a racist. And the left just got through elevating him, meaning he's got capital. Even if he were to side with Sotomayor it might be a winner just by allowing him to further define himself. If he refuses to speak that's another data point for down the road, and if he comes out against her it'll hold a lot more weight than something from the titular head of the party.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Napolitano's Canadian Gaffe

Everyone, apparently including Janet Napolitano herself, thinks her March statement about terrorists crossing the Canadian border into the United States was erroneous:
"Terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across ... the Canadian border," she was quoted as saying.
But if a mistake, why and how? Surely they don't choose counterterrorism officials based on their ability to start diplomatic rows based on falsehoods. Or maybe they do--whatever--still, the fact remains that only conspiracy theories provide any evidence that terrorists crossed the border from Canada so it's odd she'd make the assertion unless something boiled up from her subconscious.

Towards that end, her department is certainly familiar with terrorists who've crossed the other way, guys like Adnan Shukrijumah (aka Jefar the Pilot) who has passports in both countries and was the focus of a publicized BOLO alert in 2005, and who's still at large (along with another Saudi-trained pilot Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali, although it's not clear whether he ever visited Canada).

And surely she's familiar with the strangest terrorist of all, Mubarak al-Duri, whom the 9/11 Commission once called bin Laden's chief WMD procurement person and who attended the University of Arizona. There's little doubt he entered Canada and their government thinks he was associating with Mohamed Mahjoub, a terrorist arrested in 2000 who was linked to the Egyptian Vanguards of Conquest. VOC is an offshoot of Zawahiri's EIJ, the same outfit who sent operatives to Baghdad in 2002 to meet with Iraqi Intelligence before the US invasion.

So perhaps her mind was swirling with thoughts of others who plied the skies and schools of Arizona during the 90s when she was a US Attorney and later the Arizona Attorney General. At the time her office seemed focused on right wing extremists like Michael Fortier (hey that sounds Canadian) of Oklahoma City bombing fame while associates of the abovementioned characters were running loose, guys like 9/11 pilot Hani Hanjour or a man named Muhammad Al-Qudhai'een, who in 1999:
Their crime: accidentally trying to open the cockpit door of the plane they were on, thinking it was the bathroom, and asking suspicious questions such as, "When will we be arriving in Washington DC?"
He apparently had ties with a terrorist famously mentioned in the Arizona FBI agent's ignored warning to Washington in summer 2001, which later became fodder for inside job conspiracy theories--but only about Bush.

Al-Duri also had ties to bin Laden's principal aide and another former Arizona resident and native Iraqi Wadi el-Hage, currently serving life. Al-Duri has fared much better, fortuitously moving to the Sudan right before 9/11, where both the FBI and CIA later caught up with him to inquire of his friends but for some reason came away empty. Interestingly, those interrogations occurred before the 9/11 Commission labeled him a WMD guy, suggesting it remains an accurate description. Yet remarkably:
According to the most recent intelligence, al-Duri has returned to Iraq...
Never mind he shares the same sirname as the former Saddam RCC leader accused of sponsoring the insurgency.

So who knows, maybe some of this explains Ms. Napolitano's apparent confusion. The only other explanations--general cluelessness or a bias towards Canada--would have been grounds for dismissal.

The Chrysler Closing Conspiracy

In a nutshell, some have questioned whether a litmus test was used when deciding which Chrysler dealers would close. Doug Ross did some research using online donation tools and found:
To quickly review the situation, I took all dealer owners whose names appeared more than once in the list. And, of those who contributed to political campaigns, every single one had donated almost exclusively to GOP candidates. While this isn't an exhaustive review, it does have some ominous implications if it can be verified.
Read the whole thing because it's really eye-popping if even partially true. Here's a map of all the closed dealerships, 789 to be exact:

A pretty standard distribution. It's likely that when the dealerships in question are plotted it won't look much different. Why? Because if something nefarious were occurring they wouldn't want to telegraph it by leaving gaping holes in certain markets. Indeed, as DB's article links, the closing criteria consisted of:
"sales volume, customer service scores, local market share and average household income in the immediate area."
So what's the rub? The rub is potential to use the closings to get rid of political opponents or reduce their viability.

Theoretically, if Dem operatives were able to get influence as to the closing list they might desire to pick off some heavy GOP donors in key markets. Two things would be accomplished, 1) it would remove income for those heavy hitting GOP donors, diluting their future ability to donate and 2) it would remove competition for the remaining Dem-friendly dealers so they make more money and in return CONTRIBUTE MORE to the party as payback. That's what Chicago politicians might do. Theoretically, of course.

Could be nothing--just some whining from the losers, yet it's the kind of story 60 Minutes has built a cottage industry around. With GM slated to close up to 2600 dealerships if it follows Chrysler into a packaged bankruptcy there is potentially more to come. A big-league investigation team might be able to crack this conspiracy or put it to rest. Hopefully they're working on it.

But chances are they won't touch it with a forty-foot pole, not only because most are loyal Democrats who voted for Obama (made clear at the Correspondents Dinner) but because print media is itself behind an eight ball with many in jeopardy of being shut down or bailed out by the government. The intimidation factor is powerful, even if it's just the perception of intimidation without any substance whatsoever.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Sotomayor Pick

Well, this might make a few lefty heads explode:
Obama had some truly outstanding legal intellectuals and judges to choose from—Cass Sunstein, Elena Kagan, and Diane Wood come immediately to mind. The White House chose a judge distinguished from the other members of that list only by her race. Obama may say he wants to put someone on the Court with a rags-to-riches background, but locking in the political support of Hispanics must sit higher in his priorities.
So said the left's modern version of Goebbels, John Yoo. The crux of his dissent (which must be coming from an unspecified location outside Berkeley where he is on the faculty) is that she'll let feelings triumph over the law. Her public speeches seem to suggest it. But that's exactly what Obama said he wanted!
It is experience that can give a person a common touch and a sense of compassion, an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live. And that is why it is a necessary ingredient in the kind of justice we need on the Supreme Court.
Before he said he didn't:
Second is a recognition of the limits of the judicial role, an understanding that a judge's job is to interpret, not make law, to approach decisions without any particular ideology or agenda, but rather a commitment to impartial justice, a respect for precedent, and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand.
So it's hard to say.

We know Hannity will be going nuts but as to her formal confirmation, conservatives should be respectful when expressing their dissenting views. The last thing anyone needs is Ms. Mayor's spouse being driven to tears like Mrs. Alito or made the butt of late-night comedians like Tina Fey.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Thank you and Godspeed to all the fallen Sheep Dogs who paid the ultimate price to secure our basic freedoms, including the ability to write even this short thank you note as well as the other political nonsense scribbled here and elsewhere on public forums. Thanks as well to all who've served and are now serving.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

iPhones and Teh Torture

Here's CNN presumably providing a propaganda outlet to a former Taliban propaganda guy:
"It was a bad stain on American history," he said. "If they are closing Guantanamo for justice, they have to bring the people who are torturing people, who abuse people, to justice."
While the left might say "toldja so" the right probably thinks the world is near its end when ex-Taliban members start lecturing the USA on human rights violations. Yet Bush let this guy go in 2005. Why? Well, here's a potential answer:
Though he is no longer a Taliban member, many see him as an unofficial mediator between the government and the Taliban.
Maybe some people are more useful in the field than in lockup. Maybe that's why he found his freedom, such that it is. Anyway, with Obama in power the international language is now Bush's torture not Taliban torture, so he's probably just working the table. Who knows, he might even be in Obama's Blackberry since they both like the new technology.

Madame Bond Girl

This RNC ad is causing all kinds of consternation:

It's a given that many Democrat politicos are happy with the innuendo because it represents a rope thrown to them by the RNC and a chance to go back on the attack. The conservative debate is more interesting. Allahpundit has apparently gone into a cage match with Darleen at Protein Wisdom and others over the wisdom of this...I agree with Allah here.

Everyone knows there's a double standard in play. It's not going away any time soon. Certainly the RNC knows, or should have after the Magic Negro flap, but they appear either tone deaf or outright suicidal, unless they were deliberately trying to provoke outrage so one of their own moderates could stand up and look moderate (is this him?). Not sure Steele is that conniving, but it would be a play to the target audience here--moderates, whether they were targeted or not.

And that's the perspective that needs to be understood here. Unless they were preaching to the choir for donations the crux of the Pelosi flap was the disgust over a House Speaker lying over a national security issue for political gain. So the counter is a childish schoolyard reference, or the perception thereof? Great. The Bond theme without Galore would have been fine--it was clever. Maybe it doesn't go viral but what good is a viral video if it backfires? Surely the Sunday talking heads will appreciate the backdrop for their interviews with General Powell.

There is one consolation here. The RNC shrewdly released this after Madame Speaker said she'd have no further comment on the issue. Now, if she comments it'll represent a further comment and the press (Fox and Tapper) can fire away again. So there's your silver lining, such as it is.

MORE 5/24/09

The old guard was on TV today knocking down the twin bogeymen Cheney and Limbaugh. General Powell claims he's still a RINO, reminding us he voted for both JFK and Carter. Too bad Bob Schieffer didn't go into how he felt about the Carter vote as compared to his recent decision.

The General keeps harping on the need for a big tent but apparently his tent is too small for religious conservatives like Palin or even a man partially responsible for the Republican victories of the 90s. So exactly what would Powell's circus look like? Would it stand for bigger government, as he recently suggested? If so, how is that an adherence to any form of Reblicanism known to mankind?

Those so willing can take a journey with me to explore some of his reasons for supporting Barack Obama:
"And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities — and you have to take that into account — as well as his substance — he has both style and substance, he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president."
In other words, symbolism over substance, because Obama didn't have much substance. One could say Powell was only playing an angle--that he knows today's politicians aren't judged on who they are, but who they appear to be (otherwise Nancy Pelosi would be back on the Berkeley teaching circuit right now). But does he really think that fancy oratory is a primary requirement for a president over and above the real substance that McCain embodied?

As to campaign details, recall his thoughts on the mention of William Ayers:
"Sen. McCain says he a washed-up old terrorist — then why does he keep talking about him?" Powell asked.
Funny, since it darn near took a court order to get McCain to acknowledge him. He was hiding from the media and the Obama campaign was disenginuous about their relationship. As Powell admitted, Ayers was an issue, yet it was only after Palin brought him up on the stump that McCain relented. Powell did not need to come down on the side of the Marxist in that spat. The fact he did suggests there was an emotional reaction to the bashing of Obama.

More specifically as to Sarahcuda:
And the party has moved even further to the right, and Gov. Palin has indicated a further rightward shift."
What, by taking on members of her own party in Alaska or spreading the state's oil wealth? Those aren't exactly old-style moves. Perhaps the small town comment really got under his skin or maybe he even took it as racist, which would represent another emotional reaction. Or maybe it was convenient.
"This Powell endorsement is the nail in the coffin," said one Republican official, speaking anonymously to offer candid thoughts about the party's nominee. "Not just because of him, but the indictment he laid out of the McCain campaign."
Indeed, it was a devastating public jab. But it's not as if the General had no motive for the throwing the sucker punch.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Side Tracks

Here's a short tribute to Charley Pride..

And Dolly..

Yee haw!

What's That Plane

No one ran for cover, it was more like "hey look Cletus, a plane is heading for the Pyramid! Grab the handycam." Turns out it wasn't an unannounced part of Memphis in May, rather the local Homeland Security office was testing a defense system here in river city. Why Memphis?
Homeland Security Program Manager Kerry Wilson says they picked Memphis because they wanted to test the equipment in a real world environment where the systems would have to operate amidst technological "clutter."
Well yes, because Memphis is not only the home of Elvis and barbecue, but technological clutter. Everyone knows that! It couldn't have anything to do with the homespun jihadists just busted in New York with a fake Stinger or the Scare Force One event. But they chose well--the story made nary a national ripple as it unfolded Friday afternoon.

The test plane had DHL markings, a tad ironic here in the home of Federal Express. Hopefully Fred Smith didn't take it personally. But probably not, since they are a part of the test.

There's No I in Albert

And there's no I in team, but there is one in "Big Mac Land", at least there used to be....

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

Gotta love the Mad Hungarian saying Albert's swing wasn't grooved right now. Here's hoping he gets it grooved.

Gitmo Didn't Cause the NYC Terror Plot

Here's the Commander-in-Chief from his Archives speech:
Meanwhile, instead of serving as a tool to counter terrorism, Guantanamo became a symbol that helped al Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause. Indeed, the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.
With that in mind, here's some background on the four clowns busted for trying to blow up New York synagogues in the name of Allah (emphasis added):
Muslims fueled by hatred of America and Jews, they spent months scouting targets and securing what they thought was a surface-to-air missile system and powerful explosives — all under the watch of an FBI informant.
Perfect--one was an illegal alien fighting deportation while living off food stamps in public housing (just like Obama's aunt). And horror of horrors:
Relatives said the defendants were down-on-their-luck men who worked at places like Wal-Mart,
As if working at Wal-Mart is synonymous with becoming a dirty terrorist or deadbeat. This is the kind of moral relativism that prompted Bush/Cheney to open Gitmo in the first place. They wanted to keep 'brainwashed' murderers off the streets, out of the courts (with pro-bono publicity hound lawyers) and away from the sympathetic sensationalizing media. Lives were in the balance.

Obama mentioned the prosecution of Ramzi Yousef as an example of our previous sterling success before Bush messed everything up by opening Gitmo. As if. We never got anything of substance out of Yousef because he was put into the criminal justice system immediately upon arrival in New York (he even vowed his buds would one day take out the Trade Centers on the way into town on the helicopter). Most assuredly he knew a lot about his uncle KSM, bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and maybe even some things about state participation in terrorism.

Yet that's Obama's definition of success. He doesn't seem to get it. Yousef wanted to topple one tower into the other, killing hundreds of thousands. He developed that hatred having never heard of Gitmo, as did Zawahiri and bin Laden.

Fact is there have been more than a few whispers about what goes on at Supermax, ie, possible brutality. And there will be more if we put the Gitmo people in similar places. Yet somehow moving the terrorists to a more clandestine and less media-accessible facility will somehow improve our moral values? Not to mention that the New York jihadies radicalized in jail.

Somebody needs to open a history book and show Obama that Bush didn't cause the mess he's now whining about--he inherited it from Clinton, who inherited it from Bush 41. Do we need a better system for detainees? Probably, but dumping on the previous guy while reverting to a failed policy really does nothing to make the country safer. Just words, not change.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Time for the Hook

Here's the Speaker of the House telling everyone she was never told about waterboarding:
"Flat out, they never briefed us that this was happening," she told reporters. "In that or any other briefing … we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used."
Here she is admitting she was told, by an aide, in 2003, sort of:
A Democratic source acknowledged yesterday that it is almost certain that Pelosi would have learned about the use of waterboarding from Sheehy.
Later she explained that the CIA lied to her:
Pelosi repeated that she had not been told about the use of torture techniques, despite the claim in the recently released CIA documents that she had been. “I am saying that the CIA was misleading the Congress,” she said.
Then she walked back the cat:
“We all share great respect for the dedicated men and women of the intelligence community who are deeply committed to the safety and security of the American people,” she said in a statement issued by her office. “My criticism of the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe.
And finally, here's her spokesperson on the defeat of a House resolution to start an inquiry into her accusations of CIA lying:
"This is partisan politics and an attempt by the Republicans to distract from the real issue of creating jobs and making progress on health care, energy and education," said Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami.
How much more international embarrassment can America take? The terrorists are going to start appearing sympathetic by comparison.

GOOD LORD 5/22/09

This is from Hot Air's new Green Room...

Not sure if, as Hot Air says, she's standing by her "comment" that the CIA lied--since it was non-specific it could have been her statement that Bush lied or that she lied. Anyway, it's clear they've handed her a new story and she's stickin' to it. What an embarrassment for our country.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Past is Prologue

It certainly appears Dick Cheney has Obama tied in knots over national security:
President Obama on Thursday defended his decision to shutter the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying the prison has made the United States less safe and set back the country's "moral authority."
Evidently the release of the OLC memos and all the rhetoric haven't done the trick. He keeps having to repeat this campaign theme over and over, only to have Cheney come out and mutter a few things on TV, which prompts a return in front of TOTUS to slam waterboarding again, only to have Cheney's numbers go up. Maybe Dowd was onto something after all.

And how's that for irony--speaking at the National Archives on a national security theme (as to the Gates miscue, looks like he drifted off TOTUS to his notes for a moment, natch).

Meanwhile in the backdrop of this dueling speechifying the US arrested a homespun jihad cell in New York planning to blow up some houses of worship and a military transport. Guess the rhetoric wasn't working on them, either.

Obama still has visions of going back to the salad days where terrorism was a nuisance and terrorists were tried in Federal Court to limited fanfare. He announced the DoJ will bring one of the Africa Embassy bombers from Gitmo to lower Manhattan for trial (where he's been under indictment since the late 90s). According to Holder and Obama if we can do it with Ramzi Yousef and the Blind Santa, we can do it again.

Neither are mentioning the complications present with both those trials that had future ramifications. In the Yousef case they failed to connect any dots to Uncle Khalid, who later blew up the Trade Center. There's also this if you're into conspiracies. As to the Blind Shake case, we had threats for years tied to springing him from jail and of course there was the Lynn Stewart mess. Returning to a law enforcement approach only puts national security back in the hands of the lawyers.

Anywho, the last time our government mentioned Ahmed Ghailani (before his capture) they were gravely concerned about a new attack being planned that might have included the following terrorists:

Abderraouf Jdey
Adam Gadahn
Adnan Shukrijumah
Aafia Siddiqui
Amer El-Maati
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed

Jdey has not been seen since the Canadian CSIS said he left Canada in November 2001. There has been a lot of speculation (just Google him) about him and the anthrax attacks and/or American Flight 587, most of it probably specious, but his disappearance has done nothing to squelch that speculation.

Gadahn, aka, Azzam the American, was a public voice on Jihad TV for awhile, but has now disappeared. Whether he was introduced face to face with Mr Hellfire is unknown.

Shukrijumah is perhaps the most dangerous terrorist in the world who hasn't done anything yet (that we know of). Here's a piece on his importance. And yes, he's a pilot.

Siddiqui was captured in Afghanistan and later was involved in a gun battle while in captivity according to the military. She's particularly important due to her university background. No word on how her prosecution is going, but she's not at Gitmo.

Amer al-Matti is also a pilot, also a Canadian, and also hasn't been seen in Canada for awhile.

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed is still on the lam. He was an accomplice in the African Embassy bombing plot 10+ years ago, when Holder was last at DoJ.

Matter of fact, there are several others still on the loose besides number one and two, like Abdullah Abdullah, Sheikh Swedan, Saif al-Adel, Fahid Msalam, Ahmed Ali, and Anas al-Libi who are all still wanted for the African Embassy bombings; a few Hizballah thugs still wanted for the hijacking of TWA 847 in 1985, several of the perps involved in Khobar Towers and of course Abdul Yasin, one of the bomb mixers in the 1993 WTC attack, last seen in Baghdad.

Moving forward is fine but history doesn't simply go away. Obama promised a transparent government; his attempts to politicize his predecessor's approach to terrorism--something even an uber-liberal from San Francisco wouldn't do when things were hot--is perhaps the biggest transparency of his administration so far. And it appears the public is beginning to take note.

Yes I know, most are tired of hearing all this. Perhaps the Republicans should focus on the government's control of GMAC and 2/3rds of the US auto business; or related dichotomies; or stuff like this:
Dan Brockman, who retired from his job at a General Motors Co. brake plant in Dayton in 2007 after learning the plant would close, applauded the federal assistance and said he might be one of the workers helped by it.
Harder targets, I guess.

MORE 5/22/09

The anonymous commenter was correct. The point here was to illustrate how fruitless Obama's TOTUS-fueled campaign rhetoric of blaming Bush seems to be, while pointing out how fruitless our previous law-enforcement approach to terrorism really was. But don't worry, my day job is still intact. Allow me to defer to a professional writer:
If any president has gone to such lengths to attack his White House predecessor as Obama did today, I don't recall it. True, presidents have blamed the prior administration for problems they inherit, but I can't think of a president who did so as aggressively and with such moral preening as Obama.

There was a reason for this. His speech was a dodge because when it came to the issue at hand--what to do with the 240 remaining terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo--he had no answer at all. Instead, the best he could do was elaborate on the five categories in which his administration has pigeonholed the detainees.
Meanwhile, SecDef William Gates is out defending Obama's decision to close Gitmo on day one without a plan because the place is a taint on the US, but it seems to me a blue-ribbon panel announced on day one to 'study' the issue would have worked just as well. We need a prison camp somewhere.

As it stands, Obama has poked himself with his own knife by creating a needless ultimatum for himself while Cheney runs around reminding everyone how dangerous are detainees KSM, Binalshibh, and Zubaydah as the world (including Congress) takes a Pandora's Clock approach.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Powell, Zarqawi, and Wilkerson

In the continuing saga called Pelosi, is Colonel Wilkerson perhaps morphing into Colonel Mustard? His contention that Tenet invented new data about al-Libi before the Feb 2003 UN briefing--data that put his boss General Powell over the top for going to the UN--seems now to be debunked by Maureen Dowd's own paper:
The unraveling of the Qaeda story in Iraq, still under way, took on some of the drama of an espionage thriller when, following the murder of Mr. Foley, the Qaeda deputy to Mr. Zarqawi suffered a lapse of communications discipline, a coalition official said. As he drove across northern Iraq to the Turkish and Syrian frontiers, he could not resist using his satellite phone to call Mr. Foley's murderers to congratulate them and to tell them he was on his way to meet with them.

''The captured assassin says his cell received money and weapons from Zarqawi for that murder,'' Mr. Powell said. In December, Jordan said it had two men in custody who had confessed to killing Mr. Foley on the instructions of Mr. Zarqawi.
Unless Cheney death squad members were in the car waterboarding him into using his satellite phone to give up intel, linking Baghdad to al Qaeda, I'd say this looks like strike four for Colonel Wilkerson.

But not so fast. The question of Zarqawi in Iraq and terrorist ties was quite contentious and something Powell later apologized for (and apologies for the left wing narrator):

Notice the General isolated Tenet from blame for not being given 'burn notices' about faulty intelligence, which appears contrary to his current stance. How many would bet that Powell really backed Obama as part of his ongoing war on Cheney?

Anyway, the notion that Zarqawi's Iraq AQ network was planning attacks in Europe might have been true:
British intelligence officials in Iraq are questioning an al-Qaeda operative after information relating to the 7 July London bombings was allegedly found on his computer drive.

The man, who has not been named, was captured by US forces last month. He is understood to have had a portable computer drive on him that showed 'knowledge' of the attacks that killed 56 people.
There was also evidence that Zarqawi was tied to former regime elements, something al-Libi told us early on. The government would have been negligent not to pursue these leads based on the long track of intelligence dating back to the Clinton years.

One could possibly make the argument that CIA analysts were trying to cover their rears after the WMDs failed to materialize but it seems ridiculous for them to lie to Pelosi, Goss or anyone else in 2002. If anything they were probably embarrassed for being fooled by the Iraqi Intelligence Service all those years or others like Curveball, but that would not have come in 2002.

Loose Archives

Uh, oops:
The National Archives lost a computer hard drive containing massive amounts of sensitive data from the Clinton administration, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and Secret Service and White House operating procedures, congressional officials said Tuesday.
Let the Sandy Berger jokes begin. Actually, upon some quick study the National Archives is more than just an arcane old building in Washington, it's a small network. The facility in question was their records building in College Park, MD. Here's a quip from the website:
One of our primary missions is to promote easy access to records, and we will make every effort to see that these security measures do not unduly interfere with your research or visit. Thank you for your cooperation.
Mission accomplished, apparently. The WaPo has their own version of the AP story and provided a bit more info about who was accessing the data when it was lost:
A Republican committee aide who was at a briefing held by the inspector general said the Archives had been converting the Clinton administration information to a digital records system when the hard drive vanished.

The aide, who was not authorized to be quoted by name, said the hard drive was left on a shelf and unused for an uncertain period of time. Later, the drive was found to be missing.
Interestingly, the WaPo version didn't include the years along with the dates of possible disappearance. My Way News wrote it this way:
The drive was lost between October 2008 and March 2009 and contained 1 terabyte of data - enough material to fill millions of books.
Not sure why the WaPo felt the need to dump the years other than the obvious fact that March 2009 would include the Obama era. But that's ticky-tack in comparison to what happened here, which the FBI and Secret Service are investigating.

As to access, the website clearly states the public has access to materials in the archive, while the story clearly states that 'visitors' had access to the area where the disk was lost (which is fairly incredible):
Besides those with official access to sensitive material, the inspector general said janitors, visitors, interns and others passed through the area, according to Issa.
Sounds like it's time to go to the video tape. Surely a facility like an Archives with presidential records would contain security video, right? Having none would be almost as bizarre as Fort Detrick not having any to catch Dr. Ivins or whomever brewing up the anthrax letter material. We await further review.

As we await, how about some speculation? Aside from somebody inadvertently throwing the disk away or deciding they needed an add-on to their home PC, it's hard to imagine either political side being so foolish as to simply steal a hard drive from the archives. Of course, stuffing documents in socks was hard to believe as well, and Obama did sign an EO on presidential records in January, but even so, it still sounds implausible. A more troubling scenario would be somebody selling the disk to a foreign intelligence service or using it as blackmail.

This doesn't appear to be much of a story right now. It could have been big--just imagine had Keith Olbermann been told of this in October 2008. Oh well, maybe if a Republican becomes a suspect.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ford and the New Standard

Obama will announce today an acceleration of the MPG targets Congress had originally set for 2020, moving America towards a national standard for the first time ever. Most will see this as good and long overdue. The MPG will have to increase anyway to offset the fact the Democrats won't let anyone drill here and now.

But from the sound of this statement, Ford sees this move partially for its implied threat:
"We are pleased that President Obama is taking decisive and positive action as we work together toward one national standard for vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions that will be good for the environment and the economy," Ford said in a statement.
As if they've been slogging hard towards this goal for years. Such rank pandering is normally reserved for third world types. Then again, surely GM and Chrysler's reply was "yes sir" "thank you sir, may I have another", so Ford has that going for 'em.

The Never-Ending Storm

Cheney derangement syndrome is apparently contagious. Pulitzer winner Maureen Dowd was caught cutting and pasting Josh Marshall (for all we know they collaborated on JournoList and forgot who was to take credit) and Larry Wilkerson made a timeline error.

Both were evidently in a hurry to move the focus off the fairy tale being told by Pelosi and back on Bushitler where it belongs. Funny, the left thinks it's the right trying to reframe the debate. Apparently it's OK to mislead when attacking an opponent for lying.

Anyway, as told by Maguire, Wilkerson's timeline mistake was explained, sort of, in an email to Spencer Ackerman:
I am basing my conclusions on the fact that DCI Tenet and DDCI McLaughlin presented the information about al-Libi to Secretary Powell in Feb 2003 and not in Feb 2002. The strong impression was that the interrogation had just occurred or, at a minimum, that Tenet had just received the information (otherwise, why wouldn’t they have given it to Powell much earlier, say when he first expressed concerns over the terrorist links some days earlier?).
The al-Libi confession should have been known to State intelligence since it had been bandied about through DIA as Maguire points out. Wilkerson's offhand suggestion they created the confession is obviously silly but was Powell or State read in on every CIA interrogation? Maybe they're still sore for not being trusted. How much of all this has been about ego and professional reputations?

Since Wilkerson's central defense involves Powell's trip to Langley to get his UN story straight devoid of interference by Bushco, let's go to George Tenet. Here he is describing the meeting scenario, beginning on page 372:
We could let the administration write its own script, knowing they might easily mischaracterize complex intelligence information, or we could jump in and help craft the speech itself. We chose the latter.
In other words, they were trying to tamp down the Laurie Mylroie lobby who was convinced Saddam was working with AQ, and Powell was helping. Tenet even scoffs at Scooter Libby for providing Powell...
..a forty-page paper of unknown origin entitled "Iraq's Dangerous Support for Terror" which the secretary promptly dismissed.
If al-Libi was mentioned in that 40 pager it certainly would shoot down Wilkerson completely but Tenet doesn't mention Libi in this section. He also doesn't mention any 11th hour intelligence given to Powell either, which would seem weird if they were working together to clean out some of the AQ-Saddam stuff.

Whatever the case Mr. Wilkerson seems to be suggesting that Pelosi is correct in her accusation that the CIA lied to Congress about various matters, in this case, Iraq. Based on Tenet's narrative (which has admittedly been shaky in some spots) the only way Wilkerson's account could be correct is if somebody in the White House backdoored the al-Libi info through Tenet after realizing Powell was wavering, which calls into question Mr. Tenet's truthfulness. Wonder when somebody will badger interview him on this?

As if on cue, Newsweek today picked up the al-Libi "suicide" story, dropping a hint as to the Obama administration's curiosity:
Al-Libi also had been identified recently by U.S. defense lawyers as a possible key witness in upcoming trials of top terror suspects. "We want answers," said an administration official familiar with the case, who asked not to be identified discussing a sensitive matter. "We want to know what really happened here."
'Demanding answers'? That's rich coming from an administration that still hasn't been up front about AF1 buzzing New York or the president's own college transcripts. Assuming these folks aren't blowing smoke to Newsweek in support of the above gameplan it's logical to wonder if they think someone murdered al-Libi in prison to cover something up? But who would have motive?

Al-Libi had already recanted his AQ-Iraq confession, providing embarrassment to Bush and the CIA, so how much worse could it get? Do we know whether Mr. dead terrorist wasn't prepared to recant his previous recantation? Why should anyone believe him anyway? Well OK yes, the left would have believed him wholeheartedly had he only bashed Cheney--maybe that's a motive for Darth. Or maybe he told the aid workers to screw off for their lack of help and that if ever called he was going back to his AQ-Saddam story. In that case maybe Quadaffy saw an opportunity to score points with Obama.

But the nonsense is already out of the barn. Stories are popping up to suggest that Emperor Cheney ordered interrogators to look for Iraq-AQ links at Gitmo, as if such a thing occurring in 2002 was tantamount to Cheney asking them to find links between AQ and the Pope. The anthrax attacks had not even been blamed on Steven Hatfill in early 2002.

Anyway, here we are talking about the UN, Libby and Iraq instead of the Speaker of the House politicizing national security and accusing the CIA of lying to Congress while Obama runs amok socializing and spreading wealth. Mission accomplished, at least for awhile.

MORE 5/19/09

Colonel Wilkerson appeared on the Maddow show last night:

The Weekly Standard sorts it out for us. His answer to the al-Libi timeline mistake was that he'll need to investigate more, as if he shouldn't have already been privy to the details bloggers so easily found by looking at publicly released Senate Intelligence reports. The whole thing has a kind of Clouseau/Barney Fife feel to it.

For instance, Wilkerson made a rather startling statement aside from al-Libi, saying that by 2002 (during the time the al-Libi and Zubaydah interrogations were ongoing) the US had not only "torn AQ a new one" in Afghanistan but done some other things to demobilize them to the point where, he says, people in 'the business' were not as worried about new attacks.

Really? Can he corroborate that, because the Bali bombing occurred in October 2002 and we still didn't have the top two kingpins of AQ in captivity, nor did we have KSM, Hambali, binalshibh, etc. Perhaps the Colonel has inside info he's not able to share to confirm this notion or perhaps his memory is somewhat fuzzy, but considering the Madrid and London attacks occurred after 2002 that certainly was an erroneous assumption if anyone made it.

But it does lend itself to a line of attack that suggests the administration was covering up their success against AQ to prepare for Saddam, and were torturing the necessary talking point links out of unsuspecting detainees to help them get there. And that Powell and Tenet were the fall guys should anything go wrong.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Bernardin Factor

During Obama's Notre Dame speech he mentioned the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin several times, whom the New York Times described as a voice of reconciliation. It's not hard to see why Obama would be drawn to him but perhaps there's another reason he dropped the name. Here's Amanda Carpenter reminding everyone in 2006 about the "Bernardin Amendment":
As an Illinois senator, Obama introduced the “Bernardin Amendment,” which would have inserted language from a pastoral letter by the late Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Bernardin into a universal health care program. The amendment contained Bernardin’s line: “Health care is an essential safeguard of human life and dignity, and there is an obligation for society to ensure that every person is able to realize that right.” The bill, which did not pass, was to be funded with money taken from tobacco companies.
What better place to field test a religious approach to socialized medicine than at Notre Dame?
If nothing else, that knowledge should give us faith that through our collective labor, and God’s Providence, and our willingness to shoulder each other’s burdens, America will continue on its precious journey towards that more perfect union.
Shouldering each other's burdens sounds inspirational until one digs down a few inches to find the rocky collectivist subsoil. America was founded on rugged individualism and the rights of the individual to pursue happiness, which may not always be defined as shouldering their neighbor's burdens or mortage payments. Or did Reverend Wright already clear all that up?

Obama at Notre Dame

Here's Obama sending off the graduates at Notre Dame with a message of tolerance and respect for diverging beliefs:

How do we work together to reduce unintended pregnancies without discouraging pre-marital sex, by the way? Anyway, contrast that to Obama's words at the 100 day rally in St. Louis talking about diverging beliefs in regards to protests over his spending policies:

The Notre Dame speech was probably a decent Obama speech since he excels at delivering forward-thinking and inspirational messages full of hope. But as he said during the campaign, words do have meaning, so let's throw caution to the wind and parse a few of those phrases in a search for the true meaning of his words. Start with this:
Your generation must decide how to save God’s creation from a changing climate that threatens to destroy it.
Sounds like a modern comparison to Noah. But what exactly is he suggesting will be destroyed, the climate or the generation? Either way it's rather draconian and melodramatic, since there's not a computer model in existence showing a "destroyed" climate over the next century and it's doubtful global warming would eliminate or destroy the graduating class of 2009.

And, since he didn't directly blame the climate change on the graduates or their parents, how does he propose this generation should affect any change on the weather of earth, which makes up climate?

Here's a comment that presumably targets terrorists and tinpots:
Your generation must seek peace at a time when there are those who will stop at nothing to do us harm, and when weapons in the hands of a few can destroy the many.
Indeed, but if the harm-doers will 'stop at nothing' then how does he propose we 'seek peace' with those people?
In short, we must find a way to live together as one human family.
Through world government? Because otherwise, the radical Muslims have their own view of a world family and in theirs we are basically slaves. Minor clarification needed.

Next he moved into the goal of changing human nature itself (don't accuse him of being soft on goal-setting):
The strong too often dominate the weak, and too many of those with wealth and with power find all manner of justification for their own privilege in the face of poverty and injustice.
Those on the atheist side usually refer to it as Darwinism or natural selection but Obama did mention original sin. But even Christ said the poor will always be present. One could use their imagination and connote another attack on the AIG bonus recipients too, something Limbaugh might have fun with.

Next, the One did the two-step around abortion, taking both sides. He's good at that:
Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.
Like naming a dog Miss California? Or making gestures of waving tea bags? Or using the handicapped as a joke prop? Or Rush Limbaugh? Or Hannity? Or Joe the Plumber? Surely caricatures like Jeanine Garofolo, Bill Maher, Perez Hilton, and Keith Olbermann will clarify all this soon.

MORE 5/18/09

Other views. Debbie points out some hypocrisy. Is she reducing things to caricature or being an intolerant bigot? Politico reminds us of Obama's pay grade.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another Place, Another Time

One of the Green Room guys at Hot Air has unearthed a comment from Miss Nancy in May 2002 regards our friend Abu Z:
Since his capture in March, Abu Zubaydah has shared some valuable information, says a senior U.S. intelligence source. "He's not us on everything." Then again, says Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, "he is also very skilled at avoiding interrogation. He is an agent of disinformation."
Zubaydah was the only top-ranking AQ fish we'd captured at that time and his complicity in past acts was well-known before Bush arrived, perhaps even to a long-time member of the House Intelligence Committee. Tenet described Abu as someone who thought he was more clever than his interrogators. The passage of time has softened Abu's rep but we have the internets!
In early 1999, Hijazi and Abu Hoshar contacted Khalil Deek, an American citizen and an associate of Abu Zubaydah who lived in Peshawar, Pakistan, and who, with Afghanistan-based extremists, had created an electronic version of a terrorist manual, the Encyclopedia of Jihad. They obtained a CD-ROM of this encyclopedia from Deek.
This encyclopedia apparently contained counter-interrogation techniques, some of which were probably familiar to Zubaydah. His history also included coordinatng the Millennium attacks, as explained by 60 Minutes II in late 2001:
Other holy sites were on the hit list: a hill near the Dead Sea where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Thousands of pilgrims were expected there. Another target: Mount Nebo, which Moses climbed to see the promised land. But the top target was the Radisson hotel in downtown Amman, its 400 rooms fully booked by Americans and Israelis for the big millennium party. Jordanian agents got word that the man known as Abu Ahmed the American was boasting there wouldn't be enough body bags in Jordan to hold all the corpses.

Everything was set. The planning had been completed, the explosives were hidden in Amman. Abu Ahmed the American was about to return here from Afghanistan. It might have come off if Jordanian intelligence hadn't intercepted a phone call on the evening of Nov. 30 from Osama bin Laden's lieutenant in Pakistan to the cell in Amman. The lieutenant spoke in code. His words were: “The grooms are ready for the big wedding.”

The message had come from Abu Zubaydah. Osama bin Laden's chief recruiter.
The story goes on to recount the American version thwarted by an alert border guard spooking an over-anxious Ahmed Ressam (any mention of the Millennium plot always brings to mind Sandy Berger's socks caper and why he wanted that after-action report so badly).

And while this history doesn't serve as a smoking gun as to whether Pelosi was briefed specifically on waterboarding in September 2002 it does serve as a reminder of how dangerous and important they believed Zubaydah was at the time and how it was seen as key to get information from him before something else happened. That would explain why Pelosi and Goss asked the CIA whether they were 'doing enough' during that meeting.

It also serves as an example of how the public perception has changed in eight years. We've either reverted completely to a 9/10 frame of mind, squabbling over moral questions that would have given few pause when officials were scrambling to stop further horrible attacks, or Bush actually won the GWoT when nobody was looking, nullifying future threats. History, intelligence, and common sense would suggest neither--the public is surely still aware of threats, moreso than before 9/11. But after seven years of war and the Democratic propaganda against it they're confused as to the real enemy.

The Skunks

Chas Freeman, the man bounced out of a nomination to Obama's National Intelligence Council, is quoted in the Times' Sunday rumination about why Obama hasn't changed the Middle East yet, leaving this sidelong quip:
“You can’t really tell anything by what happened to me and the fact that he didn’t step forward to take on the skunks,” he said, referring to his own appointment controversy and Mr. Obama’s silence amid critics’ attacks.
So, who exactly are these skunks? He didn't specify, but the so-called Israeli lobby was his loudest detractor, including the likes of Senator Schumer:
"His statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration," said Senator Chuck Schumer in a statement. "I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing."
If he would use a term like "skunks" to describe those who voiced protest at this nomination then it appears Obama made the right call to maintain silence over his departure.

Biden Blows Secret Location

VP Biden has apparently blown the cover of a Vice Presidential 'secret location', at least one of them:
Ever wonder about that secure, undisclosed location where Dick Cheney secreted himself after the 9/11 attacks? Joe Biden reveals the bunker-like room is at the Naval Observatory in Washington, where Cheney lived for eight years and which is now home to Biden. The veep related the story to his head-table dinner mates when he filled in for President Obama at the Gridiron Club earlier this year.
Actually the veil has been lifting ever since the Emperor left DC, which was the same day Google Maps/Earth unfuzzed its photo of the Naval Observatory.

Well, it's nice that a man so prone to verbal gaffes can laugh at concepts like the continuity of government. Or maybe we should hope number two in succession is just crazy like a fox.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Side Tracks

Live with the Edmonton Symphony in 1971..unfortunately there's no video but I can distinctly remember the picture on the sleeve of the single..

Continuing with the Latin sound..

Speaking of sleeve covers...never mind. The mid-late 60s/early 70s were certainly a weird and transformative period in music history, reflective of society in general.

Obama Chooses Huntsman

CNN is reporting:
President Obama announced Saturday that his choice for U.S. ambassador to China is moderate Republican Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who expressed some surprise at the appointment.
Should he have been 'surprised'? After all, he must read the papers and talk to his aides, who surely told him of this recent quip:
President Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, tells the U.S. News and World Report that Governor Jon Huntsman makes him, a "wee bit queasy...I think he's really out there speaking a lot of truth about the direction of the party."
I think this calls for at least a small hmmmmm.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tenet on "Torture" and other things

Panetta is holding the fort:
CIA Director Leon Panetta says agency records show CIA officers briefed lawmakers truthfully in 2002 on methods of interrogating terrorism suspects, but it is up to Congress to reach its own conclusions about what happened.
As Kit Bond said on Morning Joe, CIA briefers don't brief legislators on what they might do. It seems a done deal, although Maguire's a bit wobbly. So is Allahpundit, although such trepedation comes from being burned before:
I know, I know — “it’s not that she condoned waterboarding, it’s that she lied” — but if the left forces her out, it won’t be because she’s a weasel. It’ll be because she didn’t have the moral acuity to throw caution to the wind after 9/11 and shrug off the odds of more attacks all so that Khaled Sheikh Mohammed wouldn’t be pretend-drowned. Click the image to listen.
Based on their track record of using this stuff for political gain it's fairly unwise to accept that any of them want Pelosi gone without a pound or ten of flesh in return.

And that pound or ten probably involves prosecutions for torture, so let's travel back and see what the DCIA said about all this in his tome about Zubaydah. Keep in mind ole Abu predicted we'd find Zarqawi in Iraq during his interrogation in Egypt, so not everything he said was available for recanting. Also keep in mind we sent a specialist from Johns Hopkins to save Abu's life after he took three gunshots from the Pakistani police during his capture. So here's Tenet from page 241, with my emphasis:
Now that we had an undoubted resource in our hands--the highest ranking al-Qa'ida official captured to date--we opened discussions with the National Security Council as to how to handle him, since holding and interrogating large numbers of al-Qa'ida operatives had never been part of our plan. But Zubaydah and a small number of other extremely highly placed terrorists potentially had information that might save thousands of lives. We wondered what we could legitimately do to get that information.


CIA officers came up with a series of interrogation techniques that would be carefully monitored at all times to ensure the safety of the prisoner. The administration and the Department of Justice were fully briefed and approved the use of these tactics. After we received written Department of Justice guidance on the interrogation issue, we briefed the chairmen and ranking members of our oversight committees. While they were not asked to formally approve the program, as it was conducted under the president's unilateral authorities, I can recall no objections being raised.


Like many of the al-Qa'ida detainees, Abu Zubaydah originally thought he could outsmart his questioners. He would offer up bits and pieces of information that he thought would give the impression of his providing useful material, without really compromising operational security.

But Abu Zubaydah ultimately provided a motherlode of information,


A published report in 2006 contended that Abu Zubaydah was mentally unstable and that the administration had overstated his importance. Baloney.
So the CIA came up with the techniques, not Cheney. This also stands opposed to FBI expert witness Ali Soufan. Let's also keep in mind that Zubaydah was part of the 'system blinking red' warning that Tenet gave Rice in summer 2001 about pending attacks, one which the left used to accuse Bush of failing to connect dots.

Yet somehow, after the 9/11 dust settled, Zubahday became mentally unstable and overstated--perfect for setting up the torture canard. And somehow Pelosi developed a sudden moral epiphany she had been hiding for years. Sorry, if anyone deserves to be prosecuted for this stuff maybe it's the ones who were politicizing it. The war isn't even over.

MORE 5/15/09

While it seems that Panetta is involved in a low-level war with Pelosi, maybe both are still just covering their rumps. His letter today did not specify that CIA briefers specifically told Pelosi and Goss that waterboarding had occurred, only that it was a tool. There was probably a wink-wink in there that both understood at the time, which could be why Goss is so upset and why Nancy is holding the fort with Clintonian word parsing darts in hand.

Panetta is throwing it back to Congress (as he should) without providing the actual noose, which will have to come in the form of a writ, presumably through Nancy. Meanwhile Obama is nowhere to be found on this. Maybe he's out having a smoke near the swingset.


Oh brother:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has backed down slightly in her fight with the CIA, saying that she really meant only to criticize the Bush administration rather than career officials.

"My criticism of the manner in which the Bush Administration did not appropriately inform Congress is separate from my respect for those in the intelligence community who work to keep our country safe," Pelosi said in a statement.
The loyalists and perhaps some in the media will buy her "Bush lied" diversion, but will the Democratic leadership? Meanwhile, where is Obama? While the entire country is looking back his official posture is that he's looking forward, even though he lit the match by releasing the OLC memos. I suppose you can't blame him for hiding in the tall grass since so far only the token Fox guy has bothered to notice. We'll see if the Sunday pundits can find him.