Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cheney Again

Cheney hit the airwaves again to talk intel docs, the ones some liberals claimed proved very little in regards to his charges. The WaPo was kind enough to grease a few skids for Darth on Saturday and even mentions today that the docs released might not have been the same documents or versions Cheney originally referred to, which the CIA essentially admitted.

As to the interview, the king of black and white left a soundbite to keep some pants moist for another few months:
WALLACE: So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you're OK with it?

CHENEY: I am.
I'm not, although again it's easy to lose sight of the situation years later when the images of civilian office workers jumping off a 110 story tower have faded. There has to be some accountability at the top. That said, there also has to be discretion at the top. When the CEO says he's gonna look forward then takes off on vacation and allows subordinates to look back that doesn't tend to build confidence in the troops. Basic management school 101.

But the politics is secondary here. This ain't bean bag, and it ain't health care policy debate. It's protecting the country. Andy McCarthy mentions Obama's penchant for transnationalism and suggests he'll let the internationals do his indictment dirty work, a charge which is unfortunately viable based on actions to date, but one that is also loaded with so much domestic blowback it would be crazy to pursue as policy.

Of more importance is Maguire's question, asked by Chris Wallace in the interview--what we do with the next version of KSM? Cheney:
I think that if they were faced with the kind of situation we were faced with in the aftermath of 9/11, suddenly capturing people that may have knowledge about imminent attacks, and they're going to have to have meetings and decide who gets to ask what question and who's going to Mirandize the witness, I think it's silly. It makes no sense. It doesn't appear to be a serious move in terms of being able to deal with the nation's security.
Hard to argue with that but one thing the HIG group seems to do is place interrogation responsibility on the POTUS, not subordinates, going towards the accountability thing. Of course the POTUS will not be doing the questioning (we hope). God forbid there comes another day where that bright line becomes a little fuzzier based on circumstances of the moment, the policy has to work. The Prez has a security detail, the peeps don't.

And while the HIG suggests more accountability it also consolidates a bit more power at the top as well, ironically a charge repeatedly leveled against Cheney, who operated with far less czar positions than the present day government.

REACTIONS 8/31/09

Things occurred as expected today, as if parts of a play. Act one was Obama doing an about face on prosecutions, hiding behind his AG's coattails. Act two consisted of the former Vice President, referred to by a major news periodical as the "emporer" in Star Wars, popping out of his hole to whack his foes in defense of his former king's honor. Finally, act three features the court jester appearing to bash the bad emporer and defend his besmirched king, who's still in hiding.

Plays aside, here's another view: Cheney is as black and white as it gets. After 9/11 there was little room left for nuance anymore on the terrorist paradigm--they'd reached to a new plateau in the good bad thing. He probably figured the folks who slammed planes into the towers were certainly capable of releasing anthrax or setting off dirty--or even clean--nukes. In his support, go back and read about the man on Flight 175 talking to his dad on the phone who begins to realize they are going to kamakazi into a building, followed by the shrill scream of a woman passenger onboard as the phone goes dead. Seconds later the biggest piece of that man left would be a bone 6 inches long. That's fairly powerful stuff. Cheney was partly responsible for stopping more of those events.

So under that mindset a belly slap or water dunk wasn't enough to stop a technique that was at least gleaning some information, even if some of it was erroneous. Isn't some information better than no information? After all, some information can at least be tracked and corroborated. We know that some of these AQ captives were expecting no heavy interrogation due to 'values' and were prepared to give us erroneous information the normal way as well, after stalling.

In regards to KSM and Zubaydah, time was the key factor. The government thought another bigger attack might be coming and they obviously felt they needed to wheedle it out of the very men who knew about it--and fast. They did, and indeed it saved lives.

Cheney's mistake comes from not acknowledging those American values during his narrative. Expressing a bit more remorse over the necessity of having to do such harsh things might go over better in the court of public opinion--a court that has a very short memory.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Pope and Kennedy

What does American pseudo-royalty do when the Pope shuns them in death? Arrange to have a letter read that was sent to the Pope asking for a blessing and delivered by President Obama, of course:
Shortly before his death, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI asking for the pontiff to pray for him as he struggled with an aggressive form of brain cancer, it was revealed at his graveside service Saturday evening.
This is largely a Catholic thing and one which I've no desire to engage, but the perception to outsiders does seem kind of tacky and arrogant, as if the Pope is supposed to bless rich politicians who support abortion, and if he doesn't he's fair game to be publicly embarrassed by the publishing of the letter he apparently ignored. Maybe it's not as bad as having grandkids shilling for government-run universal health care to religious chants of "Lord hear our prayer" in a final intercession, but darn close.

MORE 8/29/09

Well, as soon as that hit the press this came out, apparently unknown to even CNN. In it we get more of the letter, and a response, which kind of makes the Time story above kind of erroneous. First, a snippet of the letter, with emphasis added to make a point:
I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith I have tried to right my path. I want you to know Your Holiness that in my nearly 50 years of elective office I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war.

"Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States senator. I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone. I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God's blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me."
Sounds a bit political for a heart-felt letter to the Holy Pontiff asking for a blessing. Time said there was no reply, but apparently there was, and here it is according to Cardinal McCarrick:
"The Holy Father has the letter which you entrusted to President Barack Obama, who kindly presented it to him during their recent meeting. He was saddened to know of your illness, and asked me to assure you of his concern and his spiritual closeness. He is particularly grateful for your promise of prayers for him and for the needs of our universal church.

"His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God, our merciful Father. He invokes upon you the consolation and peace promised by the Risen Savior to all who share in His sufferings and trust in His promise of eternal life.

"Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord."
That's good, because the Pope should be a man of forgiveness. But it's strange they held it back and let several media outlets report stuff like this:
Back at headquarters, however, there is little room for nuance. "Here in Rome Ted Kennedy is nobody. He's a legend with his own constituency," says the Vatican official. "If he had influence in the past it was only with the Archdiocese of Boston and that eventually disappeared too."
Just what in tarnation is going on!?

Side Tracks

Here's Herb Pederson and Desert Rose doing some Buck Owens..



Love that Telecaster. How about some rockabilly, just for fun.

Testing the Line

Shall we question the timing?
The United Arab Emirates has seized a cargo ship earlier this month bound for Iran with a cache of banned arms from North Korea, the first such seizure since sanctions against North Korea were ramped up, diplomats and officials told The Associated Press on Friday.
The Times story doesn't bother to inform readers when the seizure took place, leaving them to wonder. Or wander on over to Drudge and read the Reuters update:
The weapons seized on Aug. 14 included rocket launchers, detonators, munitions and ammunition for rocket-propelled grenades, they said.
And what was going on August 14?

Well, a Russian-crewed cargo ship was being hijacked off the coast of Europe, for one. The hijacked ship, whose story has completely fallen off the radar, was allegedly carrying contraband under a manifest of lumber. The North Korean shipment was characterized in a similar manner:
"The cargo was deceptively labeled," said a diplomat "The cargo manifest said that the ship contained oil boring machines. But then you opened it up and you found these arms."
Interesting. And of course, in the first week of August Bill Clinton visited Pyongyang in a dramatic rescue of two misguided employees of Al Gore's TV network. Slate's Fred Kaplan mentioned this tidbit at the time:
Desmond Ball, a prominent intelligence expert at the Australian National University, has written a widely publicized paper reporting that Burma is cooperating with North Korea on an ambitious nuclear program involving extracting and enriching uranium with a goal of producing one nuclear weapon a year by 2014. The report is based on testimony of two Burmese defectors, and some Western officials find their stories credible.
Burma? Hey, that's the general direction of travel of that North Korean ship the Navy was tracking a few months ago, isn't it? Reports say it returned to port amidst a fireworks show. Meanwhile this event didn't get much press at all.

On a global scale it certainly appears the thug world is kicking sand towards a US president who comes across weaker than previous versions. Obama is smart and will not overtly kick any sand back right now (he only does that to the political opposition at home), which is perhaps prudent based on the tenuous position America finds itself in right now. But as with any school yard bully a time will come where he's probably going to be forced to show a manly hand in reply. Since that goes against his very nature (and leaves ugly comparisons to Bush/Cheney) it will be interesting to see how he pulls it off.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nature Conservancy Global Warming Report

Just in time for cap and trade, the Huffpo is headlining a report from the Nature Conservancy pinpointing likely temperatures 100 years from now across America based on IPCC global warming estimates. Interestingly, the report suggests the highest temperature increases will be in the very center of the country:



Here's how it starts:
What will temperatures be like in your state in 100 years? If current trends continue,
Current trends? Well, that begs the question--what is the current trend? What have temperatures done over the past 100 years in that area? For that we can turn to 'climate doyen' James Hansen's NASA GISS database, choosing two major stations with the longest periods of record in Kansas, both stretching back into the 1800s. Here's Wichita:
And here's Topeka:

Notice the trend at both sites. Temperatures were higher in the 1930s than they are now, and even though both sites have warmed some since 1980 neither have surpassed the early 20th century in any significant way despite a steady rise in CO2. So at least for those two stations the overall 100 year trend has been neutral. Yet the report says based on trends the temperatures will rise 10 degrees.

This is even more curious in light of a recent NOAA report that admitted global warming "holes" around the world--areas where the impact hasn't been felt much, for reasons unexplained--and lo and behold:
However, there is a "warming hole" where no change occurred in the center of the country, roughly between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians, according to Martin Hoerling of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory.
In other words, global warming is happening all over the world, except the plains, but plains residents should have full confidence this unexplained hole will disappear in due course because an outfit called the Nature Conservancy said so based on current trends. Interesting.

Hey, there's nothing wrong with conserving nature. At the same time using questionable science, subterfuge, deceptions, or outright lies to reach political goals (in order to develop the public 'will' for change) can easily nullify all the good deeds. They need to be very careful in how they present data lest they be seen as just another liberal advocacy group.

Of course the bigger question is whether this could have anything to do with the politics of cap and trade. The Huffpo admits there are some issues in the center of the country due to no observed weather changes (as NOAA admits) so what better way to sway those fly-over skeptic farmers by placing a temperature bullseye in their backyard, or rather, their south forty? Farmers are the biggest weather worriers in the world.

By the way, here's another non-climate outfit trumping climatic doom, this time for Cleveland. Hey, maybe it is a trend!

MORE 8/28/09

This CNN story about Bill Gates and geo-engineering hurricanes is interesting but contains a few distortions up front:
Gates and a dozen other scientists have raised eyebrows by submitting patent applications for a technology to reduce the danger of approaching hurricanes by cooling ocean temperatures.
"Other scientists"? At what point did Gates become a scientist?
It's a noble idea, given the horrible memories from Hurricane Katrina, which slammed into the Gulf Coast four years ago this week.
The storm made landfall in Louisiana but most of the Category 3 damage was located in Mississippi, almost always forgotten. The New Orleans damage was largely a man-caused disaster--failure of levees. Perhaps Gates could use some of his loot for jacking New Orleans back over sea level and fortifying existing levee technology.

As to the concept itself, it doesn't sound quite as dangerous as messing around with the atmosphere since as the expert noted the hurricane will overturn the water anyway. The frightening thought is having world bodies in control of such decisions, which would almost surely be necessary to eliminate the finger pointing when things eventually go wrong.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Using and Abusing Teddy

Since time will undoubtedly stop if a few words don't come from this blog about the late Senator, here they are, in no particular order...

1. He was a man of privilege whose institutional family guilt and ideology steered him towards helping the little man. There's nothing wrong with that per se, since the rich should act in a charitable fashion with their money. Kennedy wanted to act with everyone's money. But he never apologized for being a liberal, something more liberals should adopt. And conservatives should respect.

2. Most conservatives will never forgive him for dodging Chappaquidick and going on to become a Senate Lion. This was undoubtedly due to his family name, something the left never had a problem with, although they hammered George W. Bush for the same thing vis a vis the Texas Air National Guard and Vietnam. The answer lies in number one and the absolute moral authority card his rich family earned by taking a liberal-Democrat stance.

3. Right wingers should now understand and forgive his confusion during the campaign when he called Obama "Obama bin Laden". He had a brain tumor, for crying out loud. Much hay was made with this snippet but perhaps it's now time to apologize, just as the left did after making fun of Reagan in his second term only to later find out he most probably suffered from early-stage Alzheimer's.

4. The Democrat leadership pushing the health care takeover would do well to steer clear of attaching Kennedy's name directly to any bill this fall. Despite what some in the media will try to push, Kennedy's name isn't necessarily synonymous with sweetness and light outside Boston and the beltway. Maybe they figure that after putting him in the ground next to war heroes and all this talk about lions and such the way will be paved, but a more prudent approach would be to take a few more polls and eat in a few truck stops out in the hinterlands before pulling that trigger. Just sayin'.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Uh, What Health Care Debate?

Several major stories seem to be lining up with each other today and only one is about health care, and barely. And did something happen with the Lockerbie bomber?

First, Obama has chosen this week to isolate himself in Martha's Vineyard, telling the press he would kick anyone out of the press pool who got caught using their cell phones to track his family's movements (they should all band together and get caught--they would if it were a Republican). The vacation puts Obama pretty much out of touch with the goings on in DC for a few days while some important things happen..

Probably the most important thing was the release of an IG report on terrorist abuse. You can get involved by helping the WaPo find some really juicy stuff to help Obama blast Bush.

Another of those important things was Attorney General Eric Holder's supposedly independent decision to appoint a prosecutor to look into more cases of alleged CIA abuse of al Qaeda head choppers. Surely just a coincidence, eh? Based on the sound of the prosecutor's charge the investigation could conveniently drag on for a long time, like perhaps into 2010. Just another coincidence, surely.

That came amidst leaked stories of the political operative (with no intelligence experience) in charge of the CIA, Leon Panetta, recently being involved in an alleged shouting match in the White House about the investigations, including a threat to quit. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't, but it certainly comes at a time when he'll need some cred with his hostile crowd known as his employees. It has the feel of a coach deliberately getting himself tossed from a game to garner support from the players for standing up.

It was also announced the Obama bunch have come up with a new way of interrogating prisoners captured in the overseas contingency operation (peace be upon them), an interagency team that will answer directly to the White House through cabinet members. This sort of overshadowed the decision to keep terrorist rendition in play, although Obama's version of rendition will be most excellent compared to Bush's evil version, or Clinton's, with the State Dept making sure the world doesn't object too much. Kudos to the Times for catching this misdirection and headlining it.

There's also news of Dick Cheney (what would a document dump day about torture be without the king?), with reports suggesting the two documents he wanted released about effectiveness would also be released in today's blizzard, right along with family death threats and mock executions.

And lastly, there's a report about 20-somethings who worked to get Obama elected being AWOL on the health care effort. Evidently they need some jazzing up, and what better way than to start the torture war again? But will it be enough? For some anything short of hangings will never be enough. Or will it completely backfire?

Other than that it was a quiet day on the beach for the president unhassled by the press. Michelle probably wore shorts again.

CHENEY DOCS 8/24/09

They are available here. From page 2:
Reporting from KSM greatly advanced our understanding of al-Qa'ida's anthrax program.

In response to questions about al-Qa'ida's efforts to acquire WMD, KSM revealed he had met three individuals involved in al-Qa'ida's program to produce anthrax. He appears to have calculated, incorrectly, that we had this information already, given that one of the three--Yazid Sufaat--had been in foreign custody for several months before KSM's arrest for unrelated terrorist activity.

When confronted with the information provided by KSM, Yazid, who had access to press reports and therefore knew of KSM's capture, expressed anger because he figured it was KSM who betrayed him. Eventually Yazid admitted his principal role in the anthrax program and provided some fragmentary information on his, at the time, still at large assistant. But it was ultimately the information provided by KSM that led to the capture of Yazid's two principal assistants in the anthrax program."
My feeling is that Cheney was trying to say the waterboarding stopped a WMD attack. It allowed us to understand the role of Yazid Sufaat, the man who studied microbiology in California and whose condo was used for the 2000 terrorist summit in Kuala Lumpur, and what he was in charge of. The document doesn't name the two at large assistants Sufaat later gave up (or they were redacted), which is too bad--they might have rung a bell or two.

MORE 8/25/09

Here's another link to the documents Cheney wanted released. As usual they are heavily redacted, so much so that it appears impossible to determine whether enhanced interrogation played a key role, as Cheney said. There are several instances where KSM and others seemed to unwittingly give up important information, but it's not clear whether it was after waterboarding or not.

At any rate, I found this particular redaction curious:



"..also key to wrapping up such important al-Qa'ida members as ..."? It goes on to list Jose Padilla and Iyman Faris at the end of the sentence. Were other names included in there and if so, why were they redacted if we have them in custody?

Speculating, it could be because they've been released back to the battlefield. Or perhaps they've agreed to turn and work for us. One could also speculate the release of the names may lead people in sensitive directions better left unexplored. Hard to say. Surely it can't be a political reason with the most sunshiny administration in history now holding power.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Send Better Proposals

Obama once again seemed to lecture Americans on his "your weekly address" production regards spreading 'disinformation' about his excellent health care plan for one and all. The linked article contains a Factcheck.org article that busts him (again) for spreading disinformation his ownself. Wee wee on these politicos, they know nothing about health care.

Here's a proposal by a doctor. There are some insightful comments from people in the industry in the replies as well. We need more stuff like this before this thing goes down and can't be reversed. Reform is needed, but there is no reason to rush and leave a manipulated system that will mostly benefit one political party and a handful of special interests.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Side Tracks

Here's some country..



From what I've heard he puts on a good show and plays a lot of music for the price of the ticket.

What Meets the Eye

It appears that convicted and released Pan Am 103 bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi has a similar form of cancer as did a few noted Iraqi thugs, such as Izzat al-Duri, Mrs. Anthrax, and Tariq Aziz. From April:
This would allow Megrahi "to continue his sentence in a Libyan prison, particularly since he is suffering from an advanced stage of cancer and has only a few weeks left to live," the source added on condition of anonymity.
Emphasis added to point out that he only had a few weeks to live back in April and now he's been given several months in August. Praise Allah for the miracle! Or maybe it was the UK's national health service. This new background information calls into question that giant FU rhetorically drawn in the Libyan sand along with the State Dept's noble 11th hour efforts. Either way the FU could have still been totally unexpected. Lying down with dogs, and such.

Speaking of aviation disasters, author Jack Cashill points us to a new book about mafioso Tony Scarpa, Jr. and his role as a snitch in the Manhattan jail he shared with Bokinka and WTC 1 bomber Ramzi Yousef, whereupon the following is alleged to have occurred:
As July 17 approached, according to Scarfa, Yousef was warning friends not to fly on TWA or American Airlines on the morning of July 18.

On the night of July 17, after the explosion, Yousef kept pressing to use Scarpa’s cell phone, which he did not know was part of an FBI sting.

As I previously reported, Yousef called 9-11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed that night, saying, "What had to be done has been done, TWA 800" (last two words unintelligible).
Scarpa was also involved as a snitch against convicted Murrah bomber Terry Nichols, which apparently led to the discovery of a huge cache of weapons buried underneath Nichols' Kansas home. Both events are a bit shady and haven't received any mainstream media scrutiny, so who knows. What the Libyan case suggests is that there's almost certainly more to the story than meets the eye. Surely that applies to other events as well.

MORE 8/23/09

Should the common man take anything away from the presumed lack of outrage expressed by the White House over the release of the Pan Am 103 bomber? Does it signal the Obama administration's belief in one of the various conspiracy theories floating around about the event or just their general belief in a kinder gentler approach to terrorism?

Hmm, well whatever the case they surely can't believe this version, although it does have the reek of disinformation (and we know how much Obama hates disinformation). By the way, here's an excellent summary of airliner bombings over the years. Note how many had Abu Nidal's fingerprints on them. Also note the dearth of any official events since 1994.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Peace Be Upon Them..

Obama delivered lengthy Ramadan greetings today to Muslims across America and the world, doing that connect thing he does. A few evil-mongerer sinners may bear false witness by calling him a Mooslim (he's not, even if Quedaffy said he was) but what he's really trying to pull off is some basic reverse psychology designed to BS the street into not hating AmeriKKKa. It's not a bad play. But does it have a prayer of working? Are the recipients open to hopenchange?

Case in point. Scotland just released the convicted Pan Am 103 bomber on humanitarian grounds. Certain UK brass were a bit wee-weed up about the perception:
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had specifically asked Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi not to give al Megrahi a celebratory welcome, Brown's office at 10 Downing Street said.

Brown wrote a letter to Gadhafi, delivered to the Libyan Foreign Ministry on Thursday, asking the Libyans to act with sensitivity with regard to al Megrahi's return
And there ya go--punked again. It's still a man's world in the halls of middle east power where no good deed goes unpunished. Both Bin Laden and Saddam said they saw the US as a paper tiger and acted accordingly, until Bush acted accordingly. Today we have Obama and the Scots and a few other westerners trying to kill the radicals with kindness and Libya just responded by drawing a great big FU in the sand.

Or maybe there really was a deal. Who knows, maybe this guy's cancer came on suddenly after Sheikh al-Libi decided to hang himself a few months ago in prison. Or maybe it has something to do with Gitmo. Nothing is as it seems with this stuff.

Still Waiting

When trying to win back control of the House in 2006 Nancy Pelosi proclaimed the following in a press release entitled, "With Skyrocketing Gas Prices, Americans Can No Longer Afford Rubber Stamp Congress":
“Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging, rolling back the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies, and increasing production of alternative fuels.”
OK. Here's a chart showing the average price of gas since Nancy took the House gavel:


And here's the price of crude oil over the last 10 years:


It went up after her caucus took power, way up, then it went down. Way down. Success? Or maybe something else. Here's a flashback to November of last year, featuring a usual suspect:
CAIRO, Egypt – Saudi Arabia's king says the price of oil should be $75 a barrel, much higher than it is now, but his oil minister indicated Saturday that no measures will likely be taken until OPEC meets again next month.
And that was a long term prognostication at the time. Meanwhile, the price of oil today reached a new yearly high, 74.72 per barrel, which was explained by saying the European markets might be exiting recession even as we continue shedding jobs. So who knows?

What we do know is that Pelosi and her Democrats didn't do jack squat about gas prices as promised. That is, unless she'd like to say the Democrat plan was to wait for an economic downturn nearly as bad as the Great Depression. But we know that can't be true because the recession is solely Bush's fault, which would mean he would also get the credit. Cue the buzzer sound.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Verily He Say Unto Us...

...that we are bearing false witness-- for believing his You Tube clips. And Good Lord, when a liberal loses McClatchy they're really in trouble.

This new "strategy of rebuke" is about as crazy as Waxman's new class envy snoop program. Yes, leave it to liberals to find a way to make people feel sorry for rich insurance execs.

Ridge's "Bombshell"

Tom Ridge's book is due out in early September and like most books about politics these days it will be a 'tell-all', or at least a 'tell-some'. Here's the grabber headline:
He almost considered resigning after being pressured to raise the terrorist threat level for political reasons
So, like John Ashcroft's deputy he almost resigned, but didn't. And he was evidently pressured by some unnamed person to raise the alert levels, but did not. This will both please and irk the left because they claim he indeed did raise them.

Or maybe he just felt pressured. The other headline was this:
Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was "blindsided" by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him
How would be know whether it was prudent to not raise the levels if they were withholding top level info from him? Maybe the book will name names and kick butt in that department, explaining the specific person who may have said something like "raise the level to orange so George can win, Tom", etc. So we'll see.

The story is coming from "Washington Whispers" at US News quoting Ridge's publisher Thomas Dunne about a book called "The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege...and How We Can Be Safe Again", the stated purpose of which is to raise America's awareness again. That doesn't necessarily sound like a book designed solely to cream the administration.

Matter of fact, with a title like that who can blame the publisher for picking the juciest snippet possible? Bush defenders will be in full retreat here, but keep in mind this same kind of advance publicity was also used with several other insider books about the Bush administration, most recently with Scott McClennan and Alan Greenspan.

Politically speaking, Ridge may be running for office again. If he is there are some housecleaning chores he'll have to take care of eventually, such as jettisoning his Bushitler bonafides, one of which was being in charge of the terror alerts. Of course everyone has to distance themselves from Katrina. Even Michael Brown tried to do that. So, yawn.

MORE 8/20/09

The Bush folks have now weighed in, at least two of them. Correction three if we can count McClellan, who said Ridge will have to back up the claim with facts or the Bush folks will 'pounce'. Yeah, he might know a bit about that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The New Forgotten War

Where did the anti-war movement go? LA over at Yen-Yang picks up the question and observes:
The media picks and chooses the issues of the day on any given day and right now, there is no need to attack the Obama Administration for continuing wars that were so immoral just a year ago.
To be fair, the Gray Lady, WaPo and CNN all reported it prominently but the difference between now and several years ago is the lack of outrage from ancillary bloggers and pundits that helped feed the flame in the big media. A check of Memeorandum around 6 pm central showed the Iraq story down at the bottom of the page, with only 'the Nation' weighing in with much from the left:
The entire heart of the Iraqi capital is in shock. At the foreign ministry, an official told the New York Times, "The whole ministry is destroyed."

And.."For too long, Obama has pretended that Iraq doesn't exist. As I've repeatedly stated, during the campaign Obama promised to enlist the United Nations and other world powers in a major international effort to reorganize Iraq's political equation. So far, he hasn't done a thing, and he's allowed Iraq to fester under US occupation and American political tutelage, with little or no involvement by the rest of the world, including Europe, Russia, and Iraq's neighbors. Inside the White House and the State Department, it's hard to identify anyone with the Iraq portfolio, which has fallen between the cracks. It's no longer an option for the United States to slow or reverse its withdrawal, but UN and international involvement in Iraq's political reconstruction is urgently needed."
The easy answer is that the left declared "mission accomplished" by getting their power back, and the war never really mattered that much. And this could easily turn into a new blame game--it was 'Bush's fault', or 'Obama doesn't care', etc. But that doesn't win any battles.

Expect some to call for Biden's partition solution but with today's attack possibly coming from ex-Baathists it's unlikely the neighboring 'country-states' would get along any better than they do now within the same borders. Besides, a partitioned Iraq would undoubtedly draw client support from surrounding countries due to all the oil up for grabs and the geo-policial stakes involved.

Meanwhile it's not lost on anyone that today's attack came on the sixth anniversary of the UN bombing. Many believe that attack turned the tide of the insurgency and made the US government take notice while fueling the anti-war movement going forward.

So who dunnit? We still don't know. Some thought it was a pro-job from outside the country while some suspected Baathists tied with Hussein (many who would go on to intermix with 'al Qaeda in Iraq' some time later). This nice liberal thought it might have come from, well, Halliburton I think. Others thought Iran's hands were bloody. Indeed, they stood to gain then just as they do now from any failures or hasty departures as it strongly de-leverages our bargaining position vis a vis the nukes.

Obama may not have been in favor of the war but he was in favor of becoming president, so he owns it now. Simply turning on the auto-pilot or throwing out some Bush blame to keep focus on domestic health care will not make anything go away. His mere presence in the White House was supposed to quell the anti-American sentiment around the world but clearly the hate from these people exceeds all levels of charisma and star quality. Discussing issues with people like them is like conversing with a dinner table. And it was that way before Bush invaded.

So here we are. Not only does Obama own the war, he'll also own any retreats. But if he finds a creative way to progress he'll cement his place in history and perhaps save civilization from a massive war. It's not exactly low hanging fruit, but fruit nonetheless.

Arctic Sea Caper Gets Weirder

Yesterday came news that a Russian naval ship had transferred the 15 Russian crewmembers to the island of Sal where they would be flown to mother Russia:
He said all members of the Russian crew were "alive, healthy and are not under armed guard."
There was no mention of captured hijackers or anyone else. Today comes this update:
Russia said Tuesday that it has detained eight suspected hijackers aboard the cargo ship that went missing near the English Channel this month, but it offered few details to explain the maritime mystery that has captivated Europe for weeks.
Apparently the ship's whereabouts were known for most of the time it was considered 'missing', which should be rather obvious in our technical day and age. And apparently those Spetsnaz commandos are pretty good--capturing the ship without a shot fired. The question now might be exactly where and when they did it. So let the conspiracies begin!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Evil-Mongering In Our Time

TPM seems to be particularly shocked and perturbed at Karl Rove's comment today on Fox about what might happen if he'd been caught sending out political emails to people who had never signed up for them, defending as follows:
White House officials have said they only get addresses through their web site, and have blamed third parties for possibly signing people up without their permission. But Fox, and Rove, are not convinced.
Sure, other than the obvious fact that "third parties", or even second parties, have no business dealing with information given to the main White House party without their consent or knowledge coupled with the fact some are still fixated over emails perused by Bush to track terrorists, Rove is just flat dead wrong. Who can't see that?

In truth there is a group of people whose daily lives seem to be nourished by hating Cheney, Rove and anyone tangentially involved in their purported criminal crimes, such as Bob Novak so it's not hard to understand why they wouldn't see any problem with a president asking his supporters to narc out their fellow citizens complete with an email addy only to follow a week later by sending out unsolicited emails to folks who never signed up for any such thing.

But as was proven again today a sizable portion of the American left lives in a world of shallow stereotypes about their adversaries, glorified by Hollywood, Saturday Night Live, the mainstream press and nutrootaville. This reality is as transparent as an Obama promise on signing statements, which means they can't see it. Employing some spot group analysis it might stem from a general insecurity about being 'right' about everything to prove their stereotypically ignorant and unworthy opposition as the morons they obviously are. Well, unless that's just a stereotype from Rush Limbaugh.

Passport-gate Update

Remember the night Keith Olbermann thought he had another Watergate? In a fit of hilarity, before he could get his special 'special comment' written about the worstest worst person in the world, which was likely a toss-up between Condi Rice, Bush, Rove or Bill O'Reilly (he's always in play) the story dynamically transformed into contractors accessing all three major candidates' passport records in the State Dept, spluttering the balloon in deflated circles around his neck.

The initial snoopers involved worked for two State contractors--John O. Brennan's Analysis Corp and Phil Nolan's Stanley Associates. Brennan was a big Obama supporter who later became a leading candidate for CIA Director until the nutroots viciously took him out, leaving him a mere intelligence czar, and Phil Nolan was a big Hillary supporter. Sounds like at least a "friendly" rivalry there.

Anyway, the DoJ has been slowly busting employees who gained unauthorized access and today comes news of the fifth employee's takedown. Here's the DOJ release naming names.

Of course this story has overlapped into the birth cert conspiracy, with the general gist being the snoopers were trying to sanitize, or as Ken Timmerman put it, 'cauterize' the records to keep anyone from seeing copies of original birth certs or other stuff possibly in the files. Publicity hounds like Orly Taitz have also made hay with the Lt. Harris murder twist, which does give the whole thing a kind of Robert Ludlum feel, although on deeper inspection, not so much.

The deeper story might be the fraud ring Harris was connected with featuring moles in the State Department selling access. This was all made more stark by today's news of the swiping of information from millions of credit cards. From the Wash Times on Harris:
Mr. Harris also said the fraud ring submitted credit-card applications using the names and “identifying information” of the persons listed on the passport applications, and that a postal service employee then would intercept the cards before they were delivered to the appropriate residences.
Better not let Obama hear about such postal employees when making future comparisons to government health care. As to Harris' death there seem to be three possibilities: 1) he committed suicide, 2) he was rubbed out by former thug pals or by some thug passing by, or 3) some political black ops red team eliminated him. Those who believe Timmerman and his anonymous insiders will undoubtedly believe number 3. Others, including me, will need more proof.

FURTHERMORE 8/18/09

This is the stupidest thing you'll see all day. Or all week. Or all month.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hannity

Not to join the lefty chorus but how can he rail on and on against Obama's big government health care plan one minute and immediately thereafter go to commercial break and shill for Government Motors, without the slightest hint of shame or irony? Yes, I know the answer. But it doesn't look very good.

Fun with Chester Arthur

MSNBC on the notion that Chester Arthur wasn't a natural born citizen:
"It's an old rumor that won't die, political slander," said John Dumville, who runs Vermont's historic sites and knows well the legend. "It's a fun story, and it comes up every year. People latch on to it and they've read about it somewhere and they want to know more."
Somehow that's a 'fun story' and the people who question Arthur's birth aren't generally known as crazed wackos. But questioning Obama's birth records, in any way, calls for newspaper reporters to explain such people as 'birthers' who think his Hawaiian certificate is "fake".

But is it not true that while some may think it's a fake, others may believe the info presented on the COLB but question what's on his complete birth record, still maintaining its virginity in the Vital Records building in Honolulu? Or that some may wonder why his birth announcements in the local papers mentioned an address of a professor at the local university? Or that the story presented in "Dreams" isn't quite accurate as to those early days? Ah well, maybe one day all of this will be a fun story, too.

MORE 8/17/09

Somebody finally found Obama's illegal alien Auntie Z and asked her about the birther controversy:
President Barack Obama’s aunt, who is fighting deportation, says her nephew was born in Hawaii and she can’t understand claims that he is not a natural-born American citizen.
Here's the actual WKYC Cleveland story, which includes video. But the birther conspiracy isn't nearly the main story here.

Several times during the story Auntie Z is placed in the proximity with Obama after her deportation hearing in 2004. Did she lie to Barack about the verdict? Did Obama know she had been deported and was officially on the lamm? You might say, 'so what' either way but the point goes towards honesty.

Oddly (or not) the nephew who 'lifted up the Obama name' around the world has said he will tackle immigration next year when Congress comes back in session in January. Her next deportation hearing is in February. As to the claim she got a hip replacement--rather stunning news in the midst of a health care debate--only Sweetness and Light seems to know for sure but everyone already knows about her receiving public assistance, the insinuation being the taxpayers funded it. But there are possibilities that could take the sting off it, such as a wealthy benefactor paying the tab. If so, perhaps our intrepid media can find out who it was.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Did the Netroots "Mob" Jarrett?

Valerie Jarrett, Obama's long time confidant and now part of his administration, spoke at Netroots Nation yesterday and, well, let's let the HuffPo explain:
"I heard somebody shout out about the pictures," Jarrett replied. "Everybody knows what's in those pictures. And this is where it gets very delicate and I know it is a touchy subject for this audience. But what he is trying to balance as president, is keeping us safe, not giving ammunition to people who already have ample ammunition from what they've seen before to be adverse to us."

More shouts and protests followed. "I can't hear you," Jarrett said. "You know what you've got to do? You've got to figure out a way to get your question on here [pointing to the computer on stage that was receiving emails from questioners]. We are not going to have shout outs from the audience."

The moderator agreed. "This is not a town hall meeting like that," said Baratunde Thurston, of Jack and Jill Politics and The Onion. The crowd got the reference to the boisterous demonstrators at health care town halls. But they didn't stop. From the back of the room, someone shouted a question about why the private security contractor, Blackwater, was still being paid for work overseas.
Not surprisingly there doesn't seem to be any readily available video of this exchange, which might make for an interesting context piece beside the daily dose of mob rule being bloviated out by the mainstream media donkeys. Kos has a rough transcript though, and here are some clips:
Q president Obama is unflappably calm - has he ever lost it?
A I've never heard him raise his voice.

Q. Tea parties? How seriously does the President take it?
A. The reason he ran is to get away from that tone. They are trying to scare people, elderly people, and I am ticked. It's what we are fighting against, but they underestimate the American people. and media is not focusing on the productive debates we are having, it's not just raucus. we need retail help from you all.

Q. Is the President going to pull the Blue Dogs in and talk to them about what stimulus money they get and where their vote will be on health care?
A. I am convinced he is doing this right. He's going to count on you to put the pressure on. Trust me, it will work.

Q do you believe the birthers are crazy, racist, or crazy and racist?
A. This is nuts, but everybody gets to have a voice. it's hard to be patient, but this week we are talking about health care. Also, the misinformation people will become marginalized as we educate people.

Q why continue with Blackwater?
A. we're working on getting rid of no-bid contracts, but the point is we are only 6 months in and some things take time and we have to follow a process. The president is aware we have peoplerisking their lives for us and has to balance nat security with transparency, and I am asking you to trust him.
[most raucus response so far]

Q. what about paycheck fairness?
A. yes, it is an important issue we are following.
Not exactly sure what "most raucus (sic) response so far" means, although 'so far' suggests people were reacting raucously on previous answers, as HuffPo said. Surely the ensuing video will put things into better perspective. Somebody must have it.

Aside from the gotcha stuff, the question about Blue Dogs being read the riot act on health care based on the stimulus cash coming to their states was by far the most interesting to me. Her reply (which is a paraphrase from the Kos poster) "he's going to count on you to put the pressure on. Trust me, it will work." was somewhat illuminating, since the question obviously suggested the stimulus program might be some kind of stealth political extorsion scheme. Let's see, nutroots pressure or the cold harsh reality of voting districts? Sounds like a good wager.

Mob Nickname

All us conservative evil-mongerers need one. Here's where to get one.

From my input:



Somehow fitting in a bizarrely macabre sense--nicknaming me after Saddam.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Side Tracks

Bruce Hornsby is undoubtedly a pretty liberal guy, which comes across in this giant hit from an excellent compilation of songs 20 years ago (already)...



Are liberals better artists and musicians overall? Or does it just seem that way because their hearts are always at sleeve level? Whatever the case both sides have much to contribute to a balanced society. The problem comes when one side or the other gets too much power and we have all heart thinking or all head thinking. We are seeing it now.

Must be some Pretty Good Lumber

The hijackers who allegedly took the Arctic Sea, or correction, the second set of hijackers who took the Arctic Sea, are evidently demanding a ransom:
Authorities said the ransom demand might be from a second group of hijackers who targeted the ship after it was first allegedly hijacked for 12 hours off the coast of Sweden.
1.5 million, certainly not an outlandish sum based on the estimated overall value of ship and cargo. Authorities seem to be pointing reporters towards a narcotics connection..
"All crew members were 'hard' questioned for a considerable amount of time. The questioning was related to drug trafficking."
To keep it straight this was the first set of evil-mongerers. The obvious question is why, after such an event and with seriously injured crewmembers aboard, did the shipping company not demand they sail to the nearest port? It would seem they might want a proper investigation and treatment for the wounded crewmembers. The whole thing is fishy enough to 'flag'.

Anywho, the Times of London provides more insight:
Theories have so far included fears that the crew have been coerced into smuggling weapons for the Russian mafia, that the crew has seized the ship in a dispute with its operators or that it had been converted into a “phantom ship” for the purpose of stealing cargos.
In other words, the hijackers could be the ship's own crew, hobbled as they are. According to AP the ship's satellite transponder signaled briefly it was in the Bay of Biscay, off the west coast of France, but it may not have been attached to the ship anymore. As can be seen by this handy map (courtesy Google Earth) the Cape Verdes are a long way from both the standard course for a delivery to Algeria or from the original hijacking spot.


This is pretty strange but with the Russians involved maybe not so much (for example, when searching for "Putin riding bareback" on Google the first return seems to be a malware attack site).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Keeping Up with Jones

Although he's funny in spurts Glenn Beck is not really my cup of tea. Compared to the self-important dolt who pompously picks the best and worst persons in the world every night he's rather tame even if he drifts off the rails at times. But who cares? Just turn the channel.

Some do care. Who are they? Human Events says "they" might be Van Jones, once a self-described communist and now special advisor to president Barack Obama. One of his old groups, "Color of Change", is behind the boycott on racial grounds and the HE insinuation seems to be that Jones might be pulling a few strings backstage. That would be huge... but hardly surprising coming from a White House that recently asked people to snitch out their neighbors' emails.

Still, it's hard to say whether the sponsors are bailing due to pressure from groups like CoC or because of Beck himself. Shouldn't ratings tell the true story?

Beck's from July 27, 2009:
5PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
Glenn Beck– 2,275,000 viewers (601,000) (1,050,000)
Situation Room—826,000 viewers (155,000) (292,000)
Hardball w/ Chris Matthews—497,000 viewers (104,000) (192,000)
Fast Money—260,000 viewers (77,000) (122,000)
Prime News–166,000 viewers (a scratch w/ 46,000) (91,000)
Beck's from August 13, 2009:
5PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
Glenn Beck– 2,411,000 viewers (662,000) (1,197,000)
Situation Room—770,000 viewers (157,000) (298,000)
Hardball w/ Chris Matthews—425,000 viewers (108,000) (235,000)
Fast Money—230,000 viewers (a scratch w/ 47,000) (98,000)
Prime News–359,000 viewers (185,000) (226,000)
Looks like they've gone up in the past two weeks. So they're bailing based on a little known entity like C0C without some kind of stronger leverage behind it? Who knows. Surely the mainstream press will be all over it soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Palin Power

Once again Sarah Palin pops out of the political smoke with her honor intact--no 'death panels' in the Senate health care bill. Maybe the strategy is beginning to unfold--she's such a lightning rod that anything uttered, even on Facebook, can ignite a national debate, which then turns into action. Doing that was problematic from the governor's mansion in Juneau.

Actually the last person to stir the end of life pot was Colorado Governor Richard Lamm, who in 1984 said old people had a 'duty to die':
"Like leaves which fall off a tree forming the humus in which other plants can grow, we've got a duty to die and get out of the way with all of our machines and artificial hearts, so that our kids can build a reasonable life."
I can remember being ticked off about that idea as a young person, but Lamm explained he was talking more about the right to die rather than euthanasia. Wonder how he feels about it now, in his 70s?

More than a few have lately pointed to the 1970s movie "Soylent Green" as an analog to this debate, which despite it's mediocrity has retained some relevance. It was also Edward G. Robinson's last flick, 'see'.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Sky.. it's, it's, Falling...

Here's an example of why it's hard to trust the government with health care:
"Climate change is very real," she confessed as she embraced cap and trade's massive tax increase on Michigan industry - at the same time claiming, against all the evidence, that it would not lead to an increase in manufacturing costs or energy prices. "Global warming creates volatility. I feel it when I'm flying. The storms are more volatile. We are paying the price in more hurricanes and tornadoes."
And they mock Sarah Palin. Even Sarah probably knows that both tornadoes and hurricanes are off their climatological averages so far this year. As the story said, Michigan had its coolest July ever. Rule one--if you're gonna use weather to prove climate change it works both ways!

As to bumpier airplane rides, there are two possibilities. One, airline pilots are steering a bit closer to storms than in the past due to the economic crisis and cost of fuel. Flights don't normally encounter turbulence from thunderstorms unless they fly near thunderstorms, which the FAA and airlines spend a lot of time and money trying to avoid. Or two, Ms. Stabenow just made it up in her head because she wants to believe.

And that's the problem. Politicians are trying to sell the public on massive policy changes by using props, doublespeak, threats, innuendo, half-truths, lies, and anecdotal feelings. It's part of the reason constituents come to town meetings and scream. And get called nuts.

Bout Wins Out

Victor Bout, the notorious Russian arms trader, was picked up last year in Thailand on charges of brokering a deal to supply the Colombian FARC terrorists with arms to kill Americans. The US wanted him extradited to New York since he was indicted there, but it looks like the Thais were in a tight spot and chose a safer path:
Viktor Bout, the former Soviet intelligence officer suspected of arms trafficking on four continents, has won the first stage of his battle to avoid extradition from Thailand to the US on charges of offering to supply weapons to Colombian rebels.
The story suggests the unusual decision might have been influenced by the cheap oil Russia has been selling the Thais along with a fighter jet deal, so who knows. Some liberals appear disappointed, which means they figured if he ever got here he'd spill his guts about the secret sins of Republican past.

Bout has been accused of working with just about everyone but like many crooks claims to have drawn the line on working with al Qaeda. The Clinton crowd never got interested in him until the very last year of term two. This from 2002:
Two U.S. intelligence sources tell CNN there is also circumstantial evidence that Bout has shipped weapons technology into Iraq. U.S. intelligence believes he may have supplied Baghdad with a sophisticated missile guidance set. U.S. military officials urgently want Bout in custody to ask him about any possible link between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
And there's this about Bout's business partner Richard Chichakli, a Syrian by birth and former member of the US Army after naturalization:
Meanwhile, Sharjah and its airport will become a hub for al-Qaeda and the 9/11 plot. By 1996, there are daily flights between Afghanistan and Sharjah, and al-Qaeda uses Sharjah for drug and arms smuggling (see Mid-1996-October 2001). 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will live in Sharjah in 1998 (see July 8, 1999), and 9/11 plot facilitator Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi will be based in Sharjah in the months before the 9/11 attacks. Some of the 9/11 hijackers will pass through there and visit him (see Early-Late June, 2001).
And lastly, from a Clinton-era NSC official:
National Security Council official Gayle Smith will later comment, “You want to talk about transnational threats? We had [al-Qaeda’s bombing in] East Africa, global warming, and Victor Bout.”
What about Bush? He signed a writ in 2004 prohibiting the US government from doing business with his air freight company but later he was accused of ferrying equipment to Iraq after the invasion. Like the Clinton crowd, the Justice Dept didn't seem to show any great interest in bringing him down until the last year of Bush's second term.

It's hard to get a grasp of how much this guy might spill if he came back and was free to talk. He could certainly take people on a worldwide tour of buried bodies. One has to wonder if he would simply smear the Bushiburton Texas empire or, as Wretchard asked in this piece about Bout and another international arms dealer arrested in 2008 named Monzer al-Kassar, would the ties run a shade of blue as well:
The DEA and DOJ description of charges against Monzer make interesting reading. And so does the DOJ sheet against Bout. Here's my guess. The US wants both Monzer and Bout down for offenses not limited to the FARC manpad missile sale. But making the FARC missile sale the actual offense of record means that the discovery will go to places nobody minds visiting, except certain politicians who are now frantically checking so see whether they are in any shape, way or form connected with FARC, Syria and Lebanon.
Tangled webs and such. Remember McCain was in Colombia before the election when those hostages were rescued from a FARC camp and so far Obama's Latin American policy has come off less friendly to places like Colombia and Honduras than it has to Cuba and Venezuela, so make of it what you will. It's almost as if the Bush/GOP folks thought that news about FARC and Bout might make a dent before the election...for some reason.

Investigator Douglas Farah has done a lot of research on this guy and seems to think the desire to get him is bipartisan though, at least at the lower levels, noting the contingent of US politicos who now want to punish Thailand for siding with the Rooskies. Gee, for such a no-name player he certainly seems awfully powerful and important.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Status Quo Isn't Working, Indeed

How does a president fight back against an unwilling population and unfavorable videos from town halls? He scripts one of his own, and gets favorable media coverage to turn the tide! CNN covers this one, featuring a common refrain:
He called a health care overhaul essential for ensuring long-term economic stability while ensuring that that virtually all Americans have access to health insurance. "The status quo is not working for you," Obama said, to applause.
Neither is the status quo on reform working so far. It's a mess, actually. Obama seems to be saying that his and only his reform is the way, which is part of the reason old geezers and handicapped people have been recently hitting the streets--they don't trust the man who worked for school reform with a guy like William Ayers. And they don't completely understand it, either. There's a lot of noise from both sides.

All the more reason to hold a giant health care rountable event, where ALL stakeholders can get a guaranteed amount of time to present their concerns and gulp, alternate ideas, to government officials and a national audience. Host it with big name bloggers, not MSM flacks. And make sure the politicians cannot hijack the format and filibuster, as Obama has done in several of his health care made-for-TV adventures.

This is far too important a change for Americans to take the president's word on it verbatim, or that of arrogant elected officials who have the temerity to scold honest hard-working citizens for daring to speak out before permanent 'change' is rammed down their throats in a few weeks.

MORE 8/11/09

Can this be called 'disinformation'?
In selling his plan, Obama listed off the endorsements he has received from industry groups, but he may have overstated support when he said, "We have the AARP on board" and that "the AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare."

The organization refuted that statement, saying that while the organization shares the president's commitment to act this year and wants to work with lawmakers, "indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate."
And here we see the main problem with the sales staff--they've promised record levels of transparency, riding into power on the backs of the previous occupants through a viscous portrayal of past secrecy and war crimes, yet seem to be rather casual with the facts and loathe to open the windows to show the hot dogs being made.

At the same time they are setting up web sites to glorify their glorious grip on the truth and the disinformation from their opponents, a virtual giant Redwood tree of hubris.

BTW, Obama's comparison of the public option being USPS and the health insurers turning into FedEx and UPS was pretty funny. It's as if he's suggesting we set up a huge bureaucracy, fund it through confiscatory taxes and fill it with draconian red tape and regulations, just so we can get private sector insurance companies to lower costs. Pelosi said it the other day--America has been waiting since Teddy Roosevelt for health care reform. We can wait until a sensible plan shows up that everyone understands.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Angry Mob Shouts Down White House Official

This is indeed a disturbing trend!
Hundreds of students and faculty stormed the administrative offices at UMass Amherst today. They were protesting the honorary degree that will be given to former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. "We have shut down Whitmore, we've shut it down."

"We will not have this man at our commencement," yells a protester.
Strange that the media, and especially university professors, who were part of the UMass protest, didn't pick up on the trend back in 2005. But I guess nobody's perfect. Perhaps she missed the flier.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Rumors of Prosecution

The LA Times is floating yet another "Holder is strongly leading toward a criminal investigation into CIA torture abuses". The headline makes it seem likely; the story makes it sound less so.

Tom 'Scooter' Maguire speculates that it might be a last ditch effort to please the left base should socialized medicine and cap/trade go bust; if it ever occurs I think it'll be designed to get everyone's eyes off the shell containing the pea.

If such a diversion is unsuccessful then as stated, this dog and pony show (to get few results) will likely go on forever or at least until the 2010 campaign season. That allows the MSM to conveniently bunny trail back over to the evils of Bush/Cheney any time things get tight, which got ObamaCo elected in the first place.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

How About A Health Care Summit?

President Obama used his weekly radio address to talk about health care, saying in no uncertain terms that 'reform' would be passed this year, case closed.

Those tactics are rather stiking for a president. He seems to be resorting to hurry up offense with plenty of pushing and shoving, as if only two minutes are left on the clock. It's quite remarkable. When president Bush tried to reform Social Security there were similar strong feelings on both sides but Bush never forced the issue to this point, even with a Republican majority.

It's odd, since the normal protocol for Obama when facing a tough stalemate between warring factions is to call for diplomacy and dialogue, especially when one party has the advantage (like America). His approach to enemies like Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and North Korea is to call for meetings without preconditions, being careful not to offend and tarnish the image of our country. Hmm, does he think the American people opposing his reforms are not worthy of the same treatment? It's not like the tinpots don't have mobs, they do--real ones.

So how about this--Obama should come to the people with hat in hand and invite us to a large town hall meeting, with no preconditions. The networks can host. He can invite all the 'stakeholders': doctors, insurance companies, medical school professors, personal injury lawyers, medical technicians, ambulance drivers, and average people affected by medical bills to sit around a massive roundtable and talk this out in a civilized manner.

Don't we deserve the same diplomacy Obama would offer the Mullahs in Iran before being forced into a health system similar to, well, Iran's? That's the liberal way, isn't it?

Side Tracks

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Town Hall in Memphis

Congressman Steve Cohen is holding a Town Hall on Saturday at 10 AM here in Memphis. Here's one of the fliers:



If a bunch of well-dressed opponents of govt health care show up and get loud, let it be known upfront--they weren't necessarily organized by insurance magnates or Dick Cheney, they might well have been invited by Congressman Cohen himself.

Anyway, here's hoping for a peaceful outpouring of democracy with all citizens given a voice regardless of how distasteful their views or passions might be. Remember, dissent is patriotic!

AFTERMATH 8/8/09

Sounds like a raucous time was had by all; about 500 in attendance that turned into a "shouting match". Here's one comment left at the local paper's site:
I was at this meeting. Nothing I've read in the news yet tells the story that of the 10 or 11 doctors who spoke, all but 2 are vehemently opposed to government run health care. The 2 who were for it, still did not like it in it's current form.

I'm sure the liberal Commercial Appeal will overlook this fact when it's in the Sunday paper.
Not sure, but this seems to be a developing trend.

Bully in the Pulpit

Via Breitbart:



Evidently he was referring to the insurance companies but even so, to stand in the bully pulpit and deny that ANY law-abiding American should have a voice in open democracy is beyond arrogant. Into moon shot territory.

It almost seemed like the partisan audience got that feeling too, at least a little, clapping less after the second time he said it. That's probably why he made the comment "am I right, Virginia?" at the end (laughing at his own remark) since speakers don't usually ask for confirmation if the first effort goes over well.

So we have a community organizer in the White House scolding people for organizing their communities. The same fellow once told bankers he was the only thing standing between them and the pitchforks, the same pitchforks who'd just been bused into tony New York neighborhoods to harass AIG employees (but don't call it manufactured). Now, when the pitchforks are held by average citizen adversaries he's grabbing one for himself. Rather unsportsmanlike.

This same chap once said 'just words' when talking about the speeches of great men. Well, his words today may ring out awhile. Yet he had to know that. He was on the prompter. He certainly knows there are a lot of angry voters and he knows they aren't all astroturfers. He knows.

He also knows a lot of those angry voters reside in tenuous Blue Dog districts, which hold the key to 2010 mid terms. Yet despite all that knowledge he still spits fire and threatens a party line vote on his plan. Why? Is he setting up governance through strong arm or does this simply illustrates the desperate window the Dems think they've got to lock in socialized meds and ensure their power for decades? If the latter then they're liable to do anything. And indeed we're seeing it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Brrrrrr!

The July temp results are in--



Kinda chilly, eh? But it means almost nothing as to climate change, they say (they are mostly right).

So what were 'they' saying about this cool snap? Well, a few of they got together last week in DC and did indeed chat about extreme weather in relation to climate change:
Secretary Locke...These trends are causing more extreme weather, coastal and agricultural degradation, droughts and wildfires. And, just yesterday, Seattle reported an all-time high in its temperature, reaching 103 degrees. Vancouver, Washington reached 107 degrees. Seattle is expected to hover at the 100-degree temperature mark for this entire week...

Senator Kerry...For Secretary Locke, are you serious, 103 degrees?

Secretary Locke...One hundred and three degrees in Seattle yesterday. We moved the whole family out yesterday, caught the plane at 1:00 in the afternoon, but before that visited with my mom and dad who are elderly, making sure that they were drinking a lot of liquids and trying to cool down the house as much as possible.
But the day before, I think we reached about 98, 99 degrees in Seattle, and the rest of the week, all through Saturday and Sunday, it should be close to 100 degrees.

Kerry...Then you'll feel very comfortable in Washington.
Not really. The July average temp at Reagan National was a balmy 2.3 degrees BELOW normal, with only 7 days at or above 90. And they were one of the warm spots! New York City never hit 90 all month long. They didn't even hit 87.

Yet there 'they' were happily jawboning about how 100 degree temps in Seattle somehow say something about drastic manmade global warming, just as they say cannot be done when it's cold. Sheer madness. Actually no, it's just politics.